Hello, Comics Curmudgeon readers! This site has some interactive features: you can post comments on individual blog entries, and can also participate in the discussion forum.
I’m generally too lazy to police either the forum or the posts on a moment to moment basis. I am usually content to allow a free flow of discussion, whining, cuss words, and so forth go on my site, and I cheerfully proclaim that all comments are the responsibility of those who post them, not me. However, this is my private playground, and if I feel that someone is being so disruptive as to make other users’ lives unpleasant and drive away traffic, I also cheerfully reserve the right to erase any comment I please and ban any user I please, for any arbitrary reason.
So, how can you avoid such a sad fate? Just follow the golden rules:
- Don’t post a FIRST POST! just for the sake of posting a FIRST POST!
- Don’t post commercial spam.
- Don’t attack your fellow commentors or forum members, and remember that this is a very diverse community and that racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and other prejudiced comments will inevitably be an attack on one of your fellow commentors.
- Don’t get into unpleasant fights with your fellow commentors about stupid stuff. Especially about politics. Don’t fight about politics.
- Don’t be an insufferable prick.
I’m deliberately keeping these rules vague because the sort of people who are most likely to get banned are also (surprise surprise) the exact same sort of people who like to argue about the rules that they have or haven’t broken to get banned, to which I can say: see rule number five. But perhaps the following FAQ/Socratic dialogue will help you understand in more detail where I’m coming from with these rules, and how I’ll enforce them.
I’d like to make a politically-themed joke about one of the comics you discussed or that I read today. Can I do that?
It’s not a banning offense, but I’d rather you didn’t. Be aware that if said comment sets off some political argument/firestorm, and I get my banhammer out, you may be among the bannees.
A political view expressed in Mallard Fillmore/Doonesbury/La Cucaracha/Fred Basset made me so mad today! Can I express my rage in the comments?
I’d really, really rather you didn’t. And since some of these strips (Mallard Fillmore in particular) are really just political cartoons crammed into the comics section, just bringing them up is more likely than not to get you banned even if no firestorm results.
Some other commentor made a political observation/joke that I disagree with. Can I correct them with reasoned argument and/or spittle-emitting vitriol?
I don’t think you understand. They’re being wrong on the Internet. I need to correct them.
Let me assure you that you do not in fact need to correct them, and attempts to do so will meet with my displeasure. Be a bigger person. Let it go.
But they started it!
What are you, 12 years old?
Well, to put it in a more mature way: why did I get banned for responding to a political comment, when the person who wrote the original political comment didn’t get banned?
Because what bugs me isn’t politics per se. What bugs me is fights in my comments section. And in my experience, the overwhelming majority of fights in my comments section are about politics. (If you do try starting a fight over a non-political issue, I’ll ban you for that too. “Being an insufferable prick” can be wholly apolitical!)
Why are you censoring me?
When a government body is threatening you with fines or imprisonment over your speech, that’s censorship. What I’m doing is more akin to kicking you out of my party when you start a fight with another guest. There are any number of free blogging platforms where you can express your views to your heart’s content.
But if I post my Mallard Fillmore/La Cucaracha/Fred Basset screed to a LiveJournal blog or whatever, your commentors probably won’t see it!
This is not my problem. You have a right to free speech, but you have to earn an audience for that speech yourself. I’ve earned mine over more than six years of blogging, and I don’t have to share it with you. In fact, since my blog is a commercial enterprise, and much of its appeal is its pleasant commenting community, I have a financial interest in not letting that commenting community become unpleasant. I plan to protect this interest.
Why are you bothering with this? The Internet is a cesspool of hate. Why fight it?
“The Internet” is not a single undifferentiated thing. My corner of the Internet has maintained a shocking level of civility over the past six years, in part due to my occasional enforcement of these rules.
This other guy did the same thing I did and I got banned and he didn’t! It’s not fair!
Seriously, you’re in middle school, right?
Fine, to be more mature: You seem to enforce these rules somewhat inconsistently.
Probably! I get so many comments that I literally can’t read them all, so there’s stuff I miss. Plus banning people does take work on my part, so I’m generally willing to let low-level stuff that burns out quickly slide. That still doesn’t mean it’s OK.
You obviously have a liberal bias.
It’s true that my politics trend pretty far left, but I like to think that I enforce these rules in an even-handed fashion. For what it’s worth, the political-fighting troublemakers I’ve banned (and there really haven’t been that many) came from both sides of the political spectrum.
Just the fact that you ban “racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic” comments shows that you have a liberal bias.
If that constitutes a bias in your view, then that’s a bias I’ll cop to.
You obviously have a conservative bias.
People have accused me of this. Trust me, it is not the case.
I really, really want to talk about politics on your site.
Well, there’s always the Cockpit, a portion of the forums that I set aside for political and other battles. Originally I actually moved fights from the comments over to this section, cutting and pasting each and every comment, but now I don’t bother and just delete and ban. You can feel free to post whatever you want there! Nobody will read it.
And, of course, you can always work out your political jones with some hot, hot Roosevelt/Taft slash fiction.
I have my own blog where I make fun of comics, just like you do! Can I promote it in your comments section, at no cost to me?
Not more than once.
Would you like to buy some Viagra?
No, thank you!
SERIOUSLY DUDE KNOCK IT OFF