1. Free, open, robust debate is encouraged in comments on this blog. All manner of viewpoints — political, ideological and otherwise — are welcome. This blog adheres to the principle that the best way to fight against bad ideas and misguided opinions is through the marketplace of ideas, not through censorship. It is also understood that debate will sometimes inevitably get heated. A comment is not necessarily verboten merely because it may hurt someone’s feelings or offend someone.
2. Having said that, a certain basic level of civility is expected. Blatant trolling will not be tolerated. Excessive vulgarity is discouraged. Personal insults should be avoided. Commenters are encouraged to debate the issue being discussed, not the personal merits of the individuals discussing it. Comments that “cross the line” of civility are subject to deletion, at my sole discretion. Commenters who routinely fail to be civil may be banned, again at my sole discretion. In order to avoid any “chilling effect,” I tend to utilize this discretion only in extreme cases. But I urge everyone not to test me, and to just play nice with one another.
3. I have a strict “no blogging about work” policy. You will not see me blogging in any level of detail about my legal career, nor about any jobs, past or present. Commenters must respect this policy as well. Please do not post comments about issues related to my career that I have not discussed on the blog; such comments will be deleted, and anyone deliberately violating this rule will be banned. This rule will be strictly enforced. If you have any doubts about whether to say something that might implicate this rule, don’t say it, or ask me first privately by e-mailing irishtrojan [at] gmail.com.
4. Similarly, there are certain aspects of my personal life that are not to be discussed on the blog. For instance, Becky and I have chosen not to reveal the real first names of our children, instead referring to them by “blog nicknames.” This and other choices regarding what to reveal, and what not to reveal, are final and not subject to public debate. Comments revealing “off-limits” private information will be deleted, and, if the violation of this rule is deliberate, such comments’ authors will be banned.
5. It is up to each individual commenter how much, or how little, to reveal about his or her own career, family, personal life, etc. Each commenter’s wishes in this regard are to be respected. Certain regular commenters may personally know other regular commenters, and may therefore be privy to private information about those commenters. However, such information should not be revealed if it violates the wishes of the person being discussed. Violations of this rule will result in deletions and possible banishment, similar to the above rules regarding my own private information.
6. If someone violates one of the above rules regarding discussion of “off-limits” information, please do not engage them in public debate about their conduct. This simply “feeds the troll” and draws attention to the improper comment. Moreover, such debate is pointless, because reactions to the offending comment (even benign reactions designed to be helpful) are liable to be deleted along with the comment they are responding to. So, instead of replying, simply e-mail me at irishtrojan [at] gmail.com and tell me what has happened. If the comment is indeed improper, I will delete it and, if necessary, take action against the commenter.
7. Links to images or other material that is “not safe for work” should be labeled “NSFW” or otherwise described as such. If in doubt, provide a warning. Likewise, “spoilers” regarding upcoming movies, books, TV shows, etc. should be marked as such. Basically, if you can think of a reason why someone might not want to click the link you’re posting or read the comment you’re making, tell them so before they take the plunge.
8. Material that is defamatory, obscene, or otherwise illegal is not allowed and will be deleted immediately upon its discovery by me. Readers are urged to bring any such comments to my attention by e-mailing irishtrojan [at] gmail.com.
9. In order to combat spam, trolling, and other deliberate violations of these rules, anonymous comments are not allowed. In order to comment, you must either create an account on this blog, or else log in using a Facebook, Google, OpenID, Twitter, AOL or Yahoo account. (Details here.) Registering under a pseudonym is okay, but the pseudonym must be unique to the individual commenter, and must be associated with a valid e-mail address. This rule aims to encourage accountability and thus prevent trollish and other improper behavior.
10. Notwithstanding all of the above, I take on no obligation to delete comments that others deem objectionable, and I certainly cannot promise that comments which violate these rules will be deleted immediately, because I cannot check comments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Again, readers are encouraged to bring potentially objectionable comments to my attention. Understand, however, that there may be a delay in my ability to respond, and/or I may disagree and let the comment stand. Such decisions, like all blog management decisions, are at my sole discretion. At the end of the day, my blog is not a democracy; it is a dictatorship. I like to think of myself as a benevolent dictator, and one who rarely exercises his dictatorial powers — but nevertheless, when push comes to shove, I decide what’s kosher for my own blog, and that’s that.