I want comments on this site to be intellectually stimulating and worth readers’ time. Hence, since mid-February 2011, I have put all comments under moderation and have begun exercising relatively stringent guidelines.
Unlike most other online sites, what I have here are positive guidelines, meaning that comments are disallowed unless they satisfy the guidelines in the main. On most other sites, the prevailing rule tends to be the opposite: comments are allowed unless they fall foul of guidelines.
For Yawning Bread, the guidelines are:
1. Comments must be relevant to the topic discussed in the post, or be a meaningful and natural extension of the topic. For example, this is not a space for comments with a tenuous connection to the topic, as a springboard for anyone’s pet peeve.
2. Comments need to be cogently argued, providing food for thought; they should not be reiterations of banalities. Opinions and interpretations of data should be civil, rational and within the bounds of reasonableness.
3. Where assertions of fact are made, reference should be provided to sources and these sources have to be (at least prima facie) reputable.
There are certain situations where I will cut off comment-makers:
4. When the comment-maker begins to flood the post;
5. When a handful of comment-makers engage in a to-and-fro, each trying to gain an upper hand over the other and slowly going off-topic.
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I notice that some readers are trying to use this Comments page as a kind of general discussion board to drop notes opening new topics. Please note I will moderate them out on the ground of irrelevancy. The topic is ‘re comments’ not ‘any other comment’.