You should read this.
Everything on the site is my opinion (except comments written by others, which are their opinions). I have strong opinions. At times, you may not agree with these opinions, or how I choose to express them. This is not my problem.
I make no claims as toward being even-handed, fair, or nice. I write what I want here. Your being offended is not a reason for me to stop writing as I choose.
I run this site as I please. You do not get a vote. If you try to suggest that you do, I may be rude to you.
With all that said, remember that I am, as are we all, an imperfect being. I can be as full of shit as anybody else.
This site features content going all the way back to the 1990s. Pieces I’ve written here reflect my views and writing style at that time. A piece written years ago may not reflect my current thinking on a topic, whatever that topic might be, nor might it represent how I would approach the topic stylistically. It is often useful to check to see if there is a more current piece on the topic that better reflects my current thinking and writing style. There is a search function on the site.
You are welcome to comment. I like comment threads with a wide spread of thoughts and opinions, and I take what I feel is well-justified pride in the general high quality of the comment threads on the site. I prefer to take a light hand at comment moderation, and thanks to excellent commenters, I am usually able to do just that.
That said, you have no right to free speech on this site. This is my personal site, and I am not the United States government. I reserve the right to edit all comments, and to moderate all comment threads, as I see fit. Your comment is more likely to be edited, moderated or deleted if it contains phobic content (based on race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, etc), is a personal attack or threat toward another commenter, is entirely unrelated to the entry topic, features more than a “fair use” amount of someone else’s copyrighted work, has such poor grammar and spelling that it annoys me, is an obvious piece of trollage, or if I find it or you obnoxious and decide I’ve had enough. Don’t like it? Don’t comment. Simple.
A good rule of thumb is to comment as if the person to whom you are commenting is standing in front of you, is built like a linebacker, and has both a short temper and excellent legal representation. If you would like a longer, more nuanced idea of what I think makes for good comments, here’s an entry on the subject.
Please note: Comments that contain some variation of “I’m betting this comment will be deleted by the moderator” are likely to be deleted because I would hate to disappoint. See this for a longer discussion.
During comment moderation I will sometimes tell people to “move on.” That means they should not comment further in that particular thread. Subsequent posts in the thread by those people will likely be deleted. They may comment in other threads as they will. Likewise, if I say that a particular conversation thread is off topic and needs to be wrapped up, I will likely delete followups.
Particularly persistent trolls are likely to be kittened.
Aside from two cases noted below, I do not moderate comments before they are published. If your comment is dropped into the moderation queue unexpectedly, you have probably triggered a spam filter, either by using a black-listed word or phrase or by posting three or more links in an entry, or you’ve posted a comment on a thread more than 30 days old. If this happens, don’t panic; I’ll release your entry sooner than later. If your comment is not released in a day, I may have accidentally deleted it. Sorry. Please post it again.
Here are the special cases regarding moderation. One: If you’re getting on my bad side by making bad comment posts, I will warn you to behave. Behave. If you don’t, you may be dropped into the moderation queue (i.e., I read your comments and decide whether to publish them). If you behave, you’ll be let out eventually. If you don’t, you’ll be banned. Two: If you’re obviously a troll, I may put you into moderation without warning you. If you are a troll it is unlikely you will behave, so you probably won’t ever get out of moderation.
Oh, one other moderation special case: If you attach a picture or video file/URL to your comment, it’ll likely go into moderation until I can check out the file to make sure it’s appropriate for the thread.
I participate in comment threads. Fire away at me. You need to be aware that I respond to tone as well as content. If you’re polite, I’ll be polite. If you’re a jackass, I’ll be a jackass back. If you argue poorly, I may correct you. If you want to gauge my levels of tolerance, watch how others comment to me and triangulate accordingly.
With the exception of comments moderated or deleted for the reasons noted above, I do not delete comments. Here’s why. Also, while I will occasionally go in and fix formatting on someone’s comment, I won’t go in and remove links or other information you’ve put into the post that I would not otherwise delete for moderating purposes. If you’re not willing to have your words and deeds stay on the site for as long as it exists (not to mention as long as archives of the Internet over which I have no control exist), don’t comment.
I, John Scalzi, do not retain any of your information on this site for any commercial or technical purpose (and I don’t sell ads here, so I don’t run third party software for that purpose). Obviously any comments you make on this are public and can be seen by others, including me. Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, which hosts this blog and created the software it runs on, does collect information from you to help me run this site, including email addresses and very general IP information. Here is Automattic’s privacy notice.