It is so easy to misunderstand written media, especially online it seems. Forums and discussion lists constantly deal with people getting off topic or someone getting offended or upset because he/she misunderstood someone else. There is no way to add inflection or tone of voice to enhance meaning. You just put the words out there. Often people “hear” through the filter of their own opinions rather than truly listening to what the other person is trying to communicate. Things can get out of hand easily.
So, here is my comments policy. By posting on my blog, you agree to the following:
1. You may comment without registering. You can log in via Disqus, OpenID, Twitter, Facebook – or not at all. It’s up to you.
2. You may post anonymously. I don’t recommend this, but you may do so if you wish. I may change this rule if it is abused.
3. You may post follow-up questions. If you have a question, chances are you are not alone. Others are likely thinking the same way. Therefore, I would prefer to receive your comments on my blog, rather than by e-mail. It is more effective to address everyone at once rather than answer several similar e-mails.
4. You may disagree with me. I welcome debate. However, I ask that if you do disagree with me – or with anyone else’s comments for that matter – do so in a way that is respectful. In my opinion, there is way too much shouting in the public square to tolerate it here.
5. I reserve the right to delete your comments. This is my blog, after all. I don’t have an obligation to publish your comments. The First Amendment gives you the right to express your opinions on your blog, not mine.
Specifically, I will delete your comments if you post something that is, in my sole opinion, (a) snide; (b) off-topic; (c) libelous, defamatory, abusive, harassing, threatening, profane, pornographic, offensive, false, misleading, or which otherwise violates or encourages others to violate my sense of decorum and civility, or any law, including intellectual property laws; or (d) “spam,” i.e., an attempt to advertise, solicit, or otherwise promote goods and services. You may, however, post a link to your site or your most recent blog post as a part of your comment.
6. You retain ownership of your comments. I do not own them, and I expressly disclaim any and all liability that may result from them. By commenting on my site, you agree that you retain all ownership rights in what you post here and that you relieve me from any and all liability that may result from those postings.
7. You grant me a license to post your comments. This license is worldwide, irrevocable, nonexclusive, and royalty free. You grant me the right to store, use, transmit, display, publish, reproduce and distribute your comments in any format, including, but not limited to, a blog, in a book, a video, or presentation.
In short, my goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. I believe this simple comments policy facilitates that goal.