The Rules of Posting

If you are debating a post in this weblog — mine or someone else’s — and you don’t want to see your posts deleted, bear in mind the following rules:

  • Be to the point. I won’t blink at deleting a post that misses the point of the blog entry in favor of attacking some side issue or unrelated issue that you think I SHOULD have addressed instead.
  • Don’t attack individuals. If you’re angry and writing quickly and you discover that the word “you” appears in your post, you’ll very likely find yourself deleted. I also don’t choose to tolerate name-calling or libel.
  • Think your argument through before posting it. Do your best to avoid fallacious arguments.

HOWEVER … I reserve the right to delete any post for any reason. My blog; I make the rules.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

8 comments… add one
  • Holly Lisle Oct 20, 2003 @ 13:41

    I think that’s a little harsh. If he has something to say and follows the rules, he should be able to contribute.

    Perhaps. But in five or six separate instances, he chose personal attack as his method of discourse. You’re welcome to tolerate such things in your weblog if you’d like. I choose not to.

  • Bev Thompson Oct 20, 2003 @ 13:33

    "any further posts from him will be deleted as a matter of course"
    I think that’s a little harsh. If he has something to say and follows the rules, he should be able to contribute.

  • Holly Lisle Oct 19, 2003 @ 4:28

    A couple more notes on posting, since the rules post seems to have made people nervous.

    First, if the posting box is at the bottom of the entry, you’re welcome to respond to that entry. Conversational (as opposed to debate) posts are always welcome. If I’m discussing writing and you want to add your thing on writing, do it. If I post a homeschooling anecdote or something about gardening or painting and you want to comment or throw in your own anecdote, do it.

    Second, rules of debate only apply to debate. If you aren’t debating anything, you can ask questions and make broad, unsupported statements and be funny or silly or whatever, so long as you aren’t attempting to incite trouble. The weblog is a place to be conversational — conversation is welcome.

    Third, if you are debating, the rules aren’t that hard. If you’re responding to a debate post, respond by debating. Know your argument, post your argument, and make sure it falls within the rules. If you read the list of Fallacious Arguments first, you can use it as a tool to construct a good argument, as opposed to the sort of crap you hear on television when politicians debate. Taking the time to construct a good argument will also:

    A) make you look really smart;

    B) present whatever it is you’re arguing for or against in the best possible light;

    C) force people who disagree with you to be equally careful and intelligent in their responses or risk having their arguments look weak compared to yours;

    D) raise the overall tone of this weblog and the value of its content, and;

    E) decrease the chances that I’ll delete your post even if I disagree with you.

    Taking the time to debate well also allows you to explore why you believe what you believe. When you eliminate knee-jerk responses and take the time to support your beliefs with background material, sometimes you find your beliefs change. I’ve had a lot change over the years, more by trying to support some increasingly unsupportable beliefs than by anything anyone ever said to me. (I used to be a registered Democrat, for example. The beliefs that took me there didn’t have survivability when confronted by repeated reality. Your Mileage May Vary)

    Finally, relax. The rules are simple instructions on how to debate. They’re a codification of the "Don’t be a jerk, don’t pick fights" rules that your parents probably presented you with when you were six. And if they didn’t, well, mine did, and I’m willing to share. Welcome to the rules.

  • Holly Lisle Oct 18, 2003 @ 6:01

    Note: In posts elsewhere, Michael felt he was within his rights to argue with me about what I choose to keep on the site and what I choose to delete. I chose previously to delete a list of questions he threw, along with the assertion, unsupported except by these questions, that we were in another Vietnam.

    He chose also to suggest that since I was paying for the bandwidth anyway, it wouldn’t make a difference if I was paying for him to ask me stupid questions instead of actually saying what he thought, and decided that he wanted to call that my fallacious argument, and then resorted to accusation of censorship.

    Folks, if I’m paying for the bandwidth, I get to be the editor of the content. I decide what stays, I decide what goes. It isn’t censorship. It’s EDITING.

    If you don’t like that, LEAVE NOW. Michael is no longer welcome here, and any further posts from him will be deleted as a matter of course.

    And for anyone else who can’t put an opinion together well enough to actually say what you mean, and who is considering resorting to asking argumentative questions in lieu of making statements (Argument by Question, one of the fallacious arguments), DON’T. Either take your stand and say what you mean, or don’t say anything. I may delete your post anyway, if what you believe is something that I find particularly egregious. (Don’t decide, for example, that this is the place where you want to make your great stand about America being the Evil Oppressor. My bullshit meter is really sensitive these days.)

    But I WILL delete your post if it consists of you asking a couple of argumentative questions and then sitting back with a smug smile on your face, saying, "There, let her answer that."

    If you’re not willing to put yourself on the line by saying what you really think, and if you’re not willing to be associated with your own arguments or to claim ownership of your own beliefs, your posts aren’t worth my time, or anyone else’s.

  • Jim Woosley Oct 17, 2003 @ 20:25

    That is a good list of logical fallacies. I covered them in my college logic course (high school didn’t offer them), but we only had sixteen, a lot fewer than on that list. (Although our instructor used another textbook for the symbolic logic section, he presented the verbal logic out of Copi’s book, which I believe is still in print, though I’ve found second-hand copies of older editions fairly regularly over the years).

    I’ll definitely be looking more closely at that site.

    And you’re right — your blog, you pay for the site, so your rules. 🙂

  • Holly Lisle Oct 17, 2003 @ 17:34

    I got the logic training, including the majority of that list, in high school. At the time, it was one hell of a good high school, apparently, even though I don’t always use what I learned. I am invariably falling back on things that I learned there. I was delighted to find that link, though, and happy to be able to pass it on.

  • jess Oct 17, 2003 @ 15:36

    Love the fallacious arguments link. However, I did bellow a great many colorful expletives upon realizing I paid $400 or so to get all that information at a university. Doh!

  • Joel Oct 17, 2003 @ 13:19

    "My blog; I make the rules."

    I’m still amazed people forget that simple statement.

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