Da Roolz! (Guidelines for posting on this site)

March 9, 2014 • 11:57 am

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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.  

  1. The opinions stated on this website are mine alone (or, when they’re posting, Grania, Greg Mayer and Matthew Cobb), and do not necessarily reflect those of our respective employers.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. Nuisance
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. 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!
  13.  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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16.  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”)
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.

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Posted at 11:57 am

56 thoughts on “Da Roolz! (Guidelines for posting on this site)

  1. The “censorship” issue is very interesting. People somehow think that everybody has a duty to publish all comments they receive, as if not doing so would amount to censorship. They don’t know what censorship is. It would be censorship if the website owner was a Government agency with the power to prevent the publication of a book, news story or blog from that person. In this case, it is just sane editorial policy.

    1. I agree. Censorship is the blocking of the content of a message. If all you’re doing is blowing smoke then it’s not censorship to turn on the exhaust fan.

      1. Censorship is the denial, usually by a government agency, of a publication right that somebody would otherwise have. There is no right to have one’s comments published on a private web site, therefore there is no censorship.

  2. I received a notice that I needed to explain my personal views on God and religion before I could post again.

    However, I didn’t see a reply button of that requirement so that I could respond so am posting here:

    whyevolutionistrue requested I answer some questions, “If you believe in God,, could you please provide for us the evidence a. for your God”

    a.
    As I stated previously, I think the existence of ethics, and self-conscious, reasoning human beings, and mathematics,and the structural organization of the cosmos show the universe isn’t meaningless and purposeless.

    and

    “and b. If you adhere to a specific faith, why do you think that, as opposed to others, is the right one. You must answer this question, according to the Roolz, before you can post again.”

    b.
    I don’t adhere to a specific faith, though in the recent past I was a member of the Society of Friends. However, for a number of reasons, I came to the conclusion that the Christian religion, even that espoused by liberal Quakers, isn’t probably true.

    Currently,(as I already explained in one post here), if I speculate (How could I possibly “know” the ultimate nature of reality that gave forth the Big Bang and trillions of light years, etc.)
    As I say if I speculate, I think the outlook of Charles Hartshorne, Whitehead, and other process philosophers
    makes the most sense of existence and the facts.

      1. ?
        Yes, I do (as I thought I explained, “I think the outlook of Charles Hartshorne, Whitehead, and other process philosophers makes the most sense of existence and the facts”).

        (Sorry for the late response, haven’t been back here for a while).

  3. Is there any amount of time for which a transgression might be forgiven? Is there any form of redemption at all? Attempting to engage in any type of meaningful conversation while awaiting approval for every single comment is an exercise in futility. I am lucky to get more than one comment posted before the article goes right off the end of the front page.

    If I am to be forever under constant supervision here I will find other places to go. If I am not welcome you need only say so, inflicting training wheels with no foreseeable termination is unnecessary.

  4. //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.//

    I am sure that that is a good guide line, however if a believer turns up, it probable that that person might be asked multiples of questions which might make them look like they are dominating when all they are doing is seeking to answer questions.

    Its just a thought, the intention to dominate might not be there.

    1. Wildkennet, you were right. They do have an intention to dominate, but they hide it like a snake. This is a quote from the Humanist Manifesto where all of their beliefs come from: Expanding upon the role the public education establishment should play to bring about the goals described in the Humanist Manifesto II, John Dunphy wrote: “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being…The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with the promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbor’ will finally be achieved.”

  5. Retribution

    Having blown himself up, an 18-year-old suicide bomber appeared before Allah.

    He said, “Oh, Allah, I did your bidding but I have a request. Since I’m only 18 and spent all my time in terrorist training school, I have never been with a woman. So, instead of 72 virgins, who also won’t know what to do sexually, can I have 72 whores?”

    Allah regarded him for a moment and then replied, “Actually, the 72 virgins are here in heaven because assholes like you murdered them before they could experience the pleasure of sex. So you’re here to service them. Since they’re virgins, they’re quite sexually ravenous, and frankly, you’ll be on constant, exhausting duty..”

    The bomber responded, “Well, I guess I can live with that. How hard can it be to keep 72 women satisfied for all eternity?”

    And Allah replied,

    “Who said they were women?”

    Hope this makes you smile!

  6. Hullo Mr Coyne,on a number of occasions lately your subscribed post on Why Evolution Is True has arrived in my inbox marked with the warning, “phishing” e-mail. As I always enjoy your posts I just check it out on your W.E.I.T. web site. I have no idea where or why this “phishing” originates but thought that probably it should be brought to your attention.
    All that apart I must say that I always enjoy the breadth and depth of the subject matter you cover. And your humour. And the cats.
    Thank you.
    Reggie

  7. Seems like a reasonable request. I accept your roolz.
    P.S. Watched your interview with Dr Noor on Cousera. Enjoyed thoroughly. (Nice demonstration of vestigial ear muscles! LOL)
    Looking forward to reading ‘Why evolution is true’ and the contents on this website, not blog.

  8. How clever of you.

    You don’t allow your readers to see what I said, only your denouncement of it. And the echo chamber is protected.

    1. Okay, since you want your day in the sun to spew your crazy theories on my site, here’s what you wrote:

      I believe that life and semiosis are coextensive, and that semiosis at the origin of life is one of science’s most profound discoveries. It is made even more profound because of the particular type of semiotic system found in the living cell. There are two distinct categories of semiotic systems. One category uses representations where the arrangement of the medium (like a pheromone) is reducible to the physical properties of the medium itself; the other uses representations that have a spatial orientation and are not reducible to their physical make-up (like the words on this page). This property also makes such systems uniquely identifiable among all other physical systems.

      The first type is found throughout the living kingdom. The second type is found nowhere but in recorded language and mathematics (and in the genetic code).

      This leads to an intractable observation of physical reality; the singularly-unique material conditions required for a dimensional semiotic system, which would ostensibly not exist on Earth until the rise of human intelligence, were entirely evident at the very origin of life. They are the physical means by which the living cell became organized.

      Like all cranks, you’ve put up some impenetrable prose, and you’ve posted it on the ROOLZ thread,where it doesn’t belong (and where nobody will read it!). Now go away: you’ve had a moment to show your mushy theory, and you can go promulgate your nonsense somewhere else.

      1. “(and where nobody will read it!”

        I read it, the rules that is, and even this bit of weirdness. I did not try very hard to understand it (the weirdness; the rules are plain and simple).

    2. Not that you’ll probably ever see this, but… if you were honest or sincere, you could easily have had an audience here. Yes, believers do post here.

      There is no “echo chamber.” But, you’re logo is nice.

  9. Submitting this request to post comments on your website. I work as an urban planner at a university in Taiwan, with additional interests in human evolution, secularism, and atheism. Particularly relevant is that cats know me as a friend, as do other fellow species. Having read your two latter books, and have visited your website regularly for at least five years, I appreciate your efforts in contributing to a more rationale society. Many thanks.

  10. Submitting this request to post comments (ask questions, really) on your website. I work in Zambia (Africa), managing a small-holdings where I have undertaken to train people who are interested in sustainable conservation agriculture and managing natural resources. I am also doing research into producing and using bio-fuels as a small-scale alternative to conventional electrical power. I am a Christian who has an interest in understanding evolution and I have been informed your website includes the best forum to provide me with any information I need. I have already subscribed for your email service. Thank you.

  11. (Before you read this know that I wanted to comment on this on the article about God’s Not Dead 2)
    I just wanted to say that even from a christ-like worldview, which I myself hold, God’s Not Dead is pretty unrealistic, and actually harmful. It kind of conditions christians who see it to believe that every one who doesnt follow Jesus is out to get them and persecute them. While this may be more true in other parts of the world, where some are martyred for their faith, this warning is more like a monster in the closet for most first world countries (for now anyway-I believe that severe persecution will come, as told in revelations) and only breeds tension, fear, and hostility, instead of encouraging believers to share the gospel openly, while being friendly and gentle, as The Bible prescribes us to do. If you wanna read more about this there’s some really interesting points made here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/chrisicisms/2016/03/30/5-ways-gods-not-dead-fails-christians/
    And, if its not too much of a bother, I’d like to hear (obviously message me privately) what your beliefs are about God, and how you came to them. I love hearing other perspectives! Thanks!

  12. I lover your posts, I was discussing your ark park surveillance request with my financial advisor who lives in Louisville, KY and he sent me this link to a recent news story on the ark (http://www.wlwt.com/news/riding-wave-of-popularity-ark-encounter-exceeds-attendance-projections/41685054).
    If this can be believed they are getting 4000 guests per day and are projecting 1.4 million per year.
    Yikes! What a waste.
    I could not figure out how to email you directly so put it in this spot.

  13. Initially I found some of da Roolz a bit on the harsh side, but the evidence of their effectiveness is there. Your site never has -as far as I know- a thread that degenerates into vulgarity and uninteresting shouting matches, something that can’t be said of many sites and blogs. (This is not flattery, just the observation of a fact).
    If ever -not planning- I start a website, I hope to steal quite a few of da Roolz!

  14. I visited this site in hopes of finding compelling arguements and evidence for “Why Evolution is True”. Instead, I found cats, religion disparagement, and social commentary promoting atheism. I am disappointed. Your agenda is quite apparent.

    1. Dear Mr. Martin,

      I feel your pain! If you want to read the compelling arguments and evidence for evolution, well, there’s one post right today. But yes, I post on a variety of stuff. If you don’t like it, don’t let the door hit you on the tuchas on the way out!
      You won’t be posting here any longer, but perhaps you can learn to not just jump onto a website and begin disgorging your emotions within a few minutes.

      But thank you for giving a prime example of a Roolz violation.

  15. Dear professor Coyne,

    I have 5-6 min video of “river” of cormorants flying past ( close to water surface ) Sir Bani Yas Island in United Arab Emirates. They’ve been flying past for about 15 min on the way to nearby island, apparently, it happens daily for about the week every year during mating season.
    Wonder if you would be interested in posting this video and if yes, how to send it to you?

  16. I’ve been trying to resubscribe for several months. I don’t know why I lost my original subscription. WordPress totally ignores me, and I am becoming offended. Maybe clicking the box below will work. I love this website.

  17. Hello,This is my first comment on this website. I love all wildlife photos posted by various readers and also the photos of cats on this site. I am myself an amature birder I have some photographs of birds from Indian sub-continent which if feasible,I would love to share with all the readers.

  18. I stopped receiving email notifications two days ago. I could not find any other place to submit this.

    I am hoping this will find its way to the appropriate destination.

    Dan

  19. Frankly, I prefer the more traditional Satan, as depicted in TV show Evil.: file:///Users/sumac2/Desktop/evilsatan.jpg

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