Crime and Consequences Blog welcomes comments that contribute to thoughtful discussion of the issues of criminal justices. We do not welcome comments that are insulting, vulgar, rude, or attempting to use our blog as an advertising platform. To this end, we have established the following policies. The policies will be applied in a viewpoint neutral manner. Commenters who disagree with posts are just as welcome as those who agree.
- Registration Required. All commenters are required to register before commenting on the blog. Registration under the user’s real name (i.e., first and last name by which you are regularly known) is required. Experience shows that anonymity tends to aggravate the incivility problem.
- Moderation. A newly registered commenter’s first comment will not appear on the blog until it has been approved. Generally speaking, one appropriate comment will be sufficient for a commenter to be removed from moderation status and for future comments to appear immediately. However, a commenter may be placed or kept in moderation status for posting inappropriate comments.
- Generally. We want our discussion area to be a civil one. Commenters should treat the post author and each other with respect and refrain from insults, ad hominem attacks, and general incivility. While that general principle should be sufficient, we will also spell out a few other rules.
- Profanity. Don’t use it. And no, replacing a letter of a profane word with an asterisk does not take a comment outside the rule. In rare cases it is necessary to use profane words in the discussion of an issue, such as quoting its usage as a material fact of a case. See, e.g., Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971). That is a different thing than using it yourself.
- Trolls and Other Pests. Since the beginning of internet discussion (and even earlier on Usenet), there have been some people who have no wish to engage in meaningful discussion but rather post merely to fling insults, stir up angry exchanges, or take cheap shots. Such behavior may result in a commenter being put on moderated status or banned from the blog.
- Misrepresenting Others’ Statements. A common form of cheap shot is the Straw Man Fallacy. Instead of engaging with what the original post or another comment actually says, some people will declare that it says something else and then attack that — setting up a straw man and then knocking it down. We will not put up with that here.
- Spam. Comments that seek free advertising by posting a vacuous comment and then linking to a website will be deleted, and the poster will be banned. Links in comments should be limited to factual information to back up the position taken. The spam filter built into WordPress flags comments for moderation if there are too many links in a comment, so hold them to three or less when possible.
- Off Topic. Stick to the point of the discussion. Off topic comments may be deleted. Threads sometimes drift in degrees, but if the drift gets too far off the topic of the original post the post author or an editor may close the thread to further comments.
- Whataboutism. Comments to the effect of “what about …” “why don’t you talk about …” or “why aren’t you concerned about …” followed by some unrelated matter are considered off topic for the purpose of Rule 5. Our blog is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of all topics related to criminal law. It is intended to fill a need regarding topics, facts, and viewpoints that do not presently receive enough discussion. One reason a topic may not be discussed at C&C is simply that it has been thoroughly covered elsewhere.
Blogger Participation in the Comments: Along with the above policies, we would like our commenters to have realistic expectations regarding the participation of the author of the original post in the comment thread. We have “day jobs,” and writing blog posts takes time away from other essential tasks. Often, the press of other business limits the blogger’s participation to writing the post and then returning to the other business. Do not expect that the poster will necessarily be available to answer questions. Sometimes yes; sometimes no. Particularly do not expect that you can make your point via Socratic dialogue with the post author. State your point directly.
For similar reasons, one should not expect that the post author has time to do further research in response to a comment. Further research may be a good suggestion for a future post, but the current post will typically not be augmented.