Saturday, April 07, 2012

Let's review

I thought since we've finished the long break that it might be a good time to review the commbox rules.

I realise that since most of the superfluous, unimportant people have probably gone away (yay!) that most of you are the regular readers who have remained loyal through all my years of whimsical abuse, who know all about the Rules and have never given anyone cause for ... shall we say... disappointment.

Still, you never know. There might be a few left of the New People who might have decided they want to join our club, and of course, like all successful Evil Overlords, I know the value of a firm hand.

The main rule (apart from the first one, "I am the god of this blog, you shall have no other blog-god before me) is that we insist on the use of real names. Pseudonyms or anonymous posts are not allowed. For some reason, this seems difficult for some people to accept. Or, more precisely, it seems some people find it difficult to believe that I really mean it.

Be assured, I really mean it.

Whenever someone comes into the commbox sporting some kind of obviously false name, the routine is mostly the same. If they have left a note that is worthy of interest, I will post a reply saying thankyou, but you must respect the rules, primary among which is that we use real names. I invite the poster to read the commbox rules posted to the sidebar on the left and to use a real name the next time.

If he has left a post of no value, if it is rude or stupid, there is no warning and no appeal. Smite.

It's funny, but I've found that this one little thing, leaving a real name, really makes people behave. I've found that when one is wearing the internet equivalent of a costume, one is more than usually tempted to playact a role. Posting under an assumed name seems to make people think they can behave in a way they never would when meeting someone in real life. I established this rule of real (or plausible-sounding) names to force the commenter to own manfully up to his statements.

If you are tempted to adopt an alter ego, I can assure you that you will meet no new friends here.

Think of this blog as a salon - run by Ming the Merciless - a private living room where a select group of guests are welcomed to entertain each other with interesting news and oddments of information, amusing anecdotes and funny stories. It is a polite and lively group of well-read and well-mannered people. New people are welcome if they want to join in. But imagine the reaction in such company if someone new comes in wearing a mask, and starts insulting the other guests, making sharp remarks about the colour of the carpets, and using the wrong fork at lunch. What sort of a hostess would I be if I did not see such a boor off at the nearest opportunity?

As you will see below, disagreement is not only welcome, it is almost mandatory. We have all read Aristotle; we are all aware of the necessity of conflict to create drama. Rudeness, stupidity, boorishness, and bad language, however, are a quick ticket to the smite button.

The Rules:

Rule one: "God-like powers"
I'm the boss.

That means I'm the absolute ruler. The person with my finger over the Smite button. And I'm not that nice, warm, friendly, forgiving Christian God we're all used to. I'm more like the evil, unpredictable, unreasonable, vengeful gods of the pagan world. This means that I apply the rules with a capricious and whimsical arbitrariness according to my mood, the weather or how many cups of tea I've had.

No rules apply, either democratic or otherwise, to my blog other than my own. Those who complain are encouraged to be men and not whiney crybabies. If you keep a civil tone, own manfully up to your statements and say intelligent things related to the posts, the odds are about even that you will not incur my Smite button.

We do not believe in "freedom of speech" here. Disagree, by all means, but if you can't do it politely, you're not the sort of person we want to hear from anyway.

There is no appeal process.

Rule two: "Pseudonyms"
Posters have to use a real or plausible-sounding name. We use real names here. The kind used on driving licenses and birth certificates. We do not use pseudonyms or monikers. If you sign in as "Sage Mossyrock", (and no, I don't care, actually, how many years you have been using it on the 'net) you will be asked to show proof that this is indeed the name your mother gave you. If you cannot provide convincing proof, and if I'm feeling particularly magnanimous, you will be asked politely but firmly to change it to something less obviously made up or to leave.

If you cannot resist the temptation to hide your identity, you may call yourself something like "Ian" or "George" or "Janet" or "Mary". This will serve to keep your Big Important Identity a secret whilst avoiding the tiresome implication that you and your insufferable ego have a Big Important Identity to keep secret.

If you really are a Person of Consequence who would be sacked or kicked out of the seminary for posting a comment here, you may email me and convince me that your case merits an exception and I will assign you an acceptable pseudonym from my long and growing list of obscure early Anglo-Saxon saints. Being named Aethelfridwich will be a suitably humbling experience for the person so afflicted and a salutary warning to others.

It is to be remembered that one of the great criticisms of the internet and its residents is that we forget that it is another human being on the other end of the line, and do not know the difference between reality and our own egos.

These policies are in place to help our readers maintain a healthy perspective and have stood me very well in eight years of blogging.

Rule three: "Nasty"
Anyone posting Nasty under an obviously assumed name or anonymously has no reason to expect not to be deleted; we don't do nasty here. Cowards hide behind false names or no name. We don't do cowardice here either.

The only person at this site who is allowed to be unpleasant is me. (cf. Rule One, above)

People making unpleasant comments or using an incivil tone will not be asked to leave; they will be deleted without comment.

I do not feed trolls.

And a "troll" is defined, according to my own entirely arbitrary criteria, as anyone I don't like or whose tone offends me personally.

Remember Rule one: my blog is my universe.

Rule four: "Favouritism"
If you're Billy HW, you may post anything you like, all the time. You've earned it. Others with special privileges include Tom of New York, Mark S. Abeln, Karen, Jon, Keith, Louise, Steve S., Dale, Gregory, Johannescarlos, Steve T., Andrew C., Andrew M., California John, Birmingham Bernadette, Fr. T., Fr. PJM, Robert, DF, JTCB, Nick T., Felicity, Dorothy and Mary A. Also, anyone who has donated to the cancer fund or sent me books.

Rule five: "Crazy"
No paranoid nutbars.

Rule Six: "Do not be a bore."
Posts that say nothing more than "Great post! I loved it!" which fail to contribute meaningfully to the conversation, which make me in any other way bored or annoyed,

will also get the Smite button.

And now... 

Rule Seven:
Spelling counts.



mjl said...

Good idea of banning nome de plumes. Among the reasons why I blog using a variation of my real name (hint: nobody in the real world calls me Jordan) is because I know I can be nasty when anonymous. After a while, I even found my best friends got nasty and argumentative on the net with their monkiers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't know the rules.

Wendy in VA said...

I'm glad you're back. And I wanted to let you know you inspired my 18yo daughter to create a T-shirt with the words "Don't make me smite you!" on the front. It is the one exception I make to my "no shirts with words on them are to be worn in public" rule.