Here are “Da Roolz,” guidelines and strictures for posting on this website. The site has evolved since it was created in 2009 to provide evidence for evolution, and now covers a variety of topics that strike me as interesting or newsworthy. I like readers to have fun, weigh in with their opinions, learn, educate, but also respect the personal integrity of other readers.
- The opinions stated on this website are mine alone (or, when they’re posting, Greg Mayer and Matthew Cobb), and do not necessarily reflect those of our respective employers.
- If you’re a first-time poster, I have to approve your initial comment. This won’t necessarily be immediate, as it depends on my checking email. After that, posting is automatic.
- If you have your own website, you may put a link to your anonymous (or pseudonymous) website in your posting name. I like people to use their real names when possible, as I think this makes them more accountable for their words, but I recognize that there are sometimes good reasons for not doing so.
- If you try to post under more than one name in an attempt to circumvent moderation or pretend you are more than one person, you will be banned. Stick to one name. If you have to change your posting name for a good reason, let me know by email.
- If you are religious, and profess that strongly in your post, it’s often my habit to ask you to provide evidence for what you believe. (After all, I wrote a book on the evidence for evolution.) Do not be offended at this request; simply give a short list of the reasons why you’re so certain there’s a god. And be prepared for others to dispute the evidence.
- Please do not tell me how to run my site. That is, comments about “too many cats,” “too many boots,” “not enough biology,” “too much religion,” etc., are not welcome. I provide content free of charge, and if you don’t like the mix of posts, you’re free to go elsewhere. By all means take issue with what I say, but don’t argue about the balance of topics.
- Do not insult your host. Pretend that you’re speaking to me in my living room which is, in a sense, what this website is.
- Most important, please try to refrain from insulting other posters, no matter how misguided you think they are. I don’t like name-calling, for it lessens whatever class this site has and certainly doesn’t foster discussion. I will often warn people about this behavior either on the site, or in a private email. About 70% of those who are warned respond with truculence, either insulting me or saying that their behavior is fully justified. That’s a good way to get blacklisted—almost as good as telling me to stop posting on cats or cowboy boots. If I ask you to apologize to a commenter whom you insulted, please do so.
- Try not to dominate threads, particularly in a one-on-one argument. I’ve found that those are rarely informative, and the participants never reach agreement. A good guideline is that if your comments constitute over 10% of the comments on a thread, you’re posting too much.
- If you find something that you think would interest readers, by all means send it to me. My email is easily available via elementary Googling. I can’t, of course, promise to use everything, but I do look at what people send me.
- Sometimes I miss comments, particularly ones that contain links, since those are held by WordPress. I don’t always read every comments that accompanies a post, so these sometimes slip through the cracks. Please don’t assume that your comment was trashed, as I rarely do that (except from those sent by trolls).
- Be judicious about posting videos and very long comments. I like good discussion, but essays are not on, particularly if you have your own website where you can post it. Embedded videos are okay, but please think before posting: do they add to the discussion? If your comment is longer than, say, 600 words, it is too long. If you want to write stuff longer than that, please get your own website!
- It’s a website, not a “blog.” Humor me on this. Likewise, you will see words like d*g (a play on the Hebrew word for God) and Twi**er, due to my aversion of seeing these words spelled out.
- I am glad to receive items from readers, though at times their number is a bit overwhelming! But many of my posts come from those contributions, and I try to remember to h/t readers if I use their contributions. (Sometimes I forget this acknowledgment—in which case my apologies.) If you send me a link and I don’t write about it, please do not feel bad. I get many more tips, photos, and other stuff than I can possibly use, and have to choose. But please do not send me items asking me to post them, or saying, “I think this would make a great post for your site.” That feels a bit presumptuous and coercive, and, as readership grows, I’m starting to get these requests more frequently. Also, please do not ask me to publicize your or your friend’s book, business, or any other endeavor. If you want to call something interesting to my attention—and of course it must be of potential interest not just to me, but to readers—that is great, but don’t ask me to post things.
- That said, I especially welcome readers’ photographs, particularly of wildlife or nature, but also their cats (in which case you must provide some information!). I can’t, however, promise to use every photo I’m sent.
- Linking to videos. Don’t embed them directly unless you have something really special to show, for it makes the comments unwieldy. If you just paste in the http:// address of a YouTube video, for instance, it will put the entire video in your comment. Occasionally I will let this go, but sometimes readers insert multiple videos. To avoid this, and create a link, use the following html formulation:
<a href=”URL”>LinkText</a> (note space after first “a”)
- Please do not use this site to promote your project, book, website, and so on, or to raise money for your cause. If you think there’s a cause that deserves my attention, by all means email me simply calling it to my attention. Please do not tell me that I should post about your pet project, or that my readers need to hear about it or would love to hear about it. A simple mention of the project, without the pressure or, especially, fulsome flattery, will suffice.
- If you post a link to your website, referring us or asking us to read something you’ve written on that site, the site cannot be anonymous; there must be a real named person who writes it. You have every right to keep your site anonymous, but I don’t have to link to it, for I believe people should stand behind what they say publicly. That said, I’m not demanding that commenters on my own site reveal their real name. Further, I will not allow “pingbacks” in my site if your site, which has referenced this one or reposted part of one of my posts, cannot be linked to a named and real human.
- Please do not post comments consisting only of a link or a video. At least say a few words about why you’re posting it.
- If I post about food, and I often do, realize that those meals are exceptions and I don’t always eat like that! There is no need to give me (or the readers) a lesson on healthy eating.
- This is a cat-friendly site run by a biologist who cares about animals (and plants!). Please don’t diss the moggies, or advocate human violence or cruelty to any animal species.
- Finally, do not cry “censorship” if I don’t post your comment. I reserve the right to trash comments that are hyperreligious, hyper-creationist, uncivil, trollish in nature, or otherwise inappropriate. There is no “right” to have every comment you make published on this site. If that is “censorship,” then it’s also “censorship” when the editorial section of a newspaper doesn’t publish some readers’ letters in the interest of keeping a civil and interesting atmosphere. I try to use as light a hand as I can consonant with keeping an atmosphere of civility and sanity. If you have something to say that I won’t go along with, you are free to start your own site. Readers who are obnoxious and keep making the same argument again and again, adding nothing new, will be considered trolls and subjection to sanction.
- Due to the high volume of hate email I get, I reserve the right to not only publish threatening or extremely nasty and unsolicited emails,but also to publicize the email address and name associated with them. I do this to try to stem the tide of such emails. I will not, however, reveal any personal details (including email addresses and IP numbers) of people who leave comments on my website unless I consider those comments threatening to me, another reader, or some other identifiable person. In other words, don’t threaten anybody with harm, and if you email me anything abusive, do so at your own peril.
If you’re having problems commenting, subscribing, getting comments sent to you from this site—or any other technical issues about WEIT—my tech helper has set up an email site where you can email your woes, and we’ll try to help you out. Send your complaints and issues to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they’ll go right to the person who can help.