Since this is our site and not yours, we determine whether which comments we do and do not allow, according to our own standards. This documents provides some general rules we use to determine whether we approve a comment or not.
We assume that all commenters have read this document. Hence unfamiliarity with the rules mentioned here, is not an excuse.
All these “rules” have the sole purpose of enabling a constructive discussion in our comment sections. Unfortunately enough sites have had their comment sections become disrupted by bad moderating.
Persons who repeatedly violate our comment policy will be banned, and their comments will be removed from this site. It does not matter whether one has previously approved comments or not. We have banned people just for attempting to post comments which where in violation of our comment policy.
First time commenters are moderated, i.e. their comments needs to await our approval before visible on this site. In this way we can prevent trolls and other nasty people from disrupting this site.
Further we monitor and supervise the comments of visitors with previously approved comments. Our experience is that most people with approved comments will continue to post appropriate comments.
2 Inappropriate contents
All comments with discriminatory or sexist contents will be refused. Also ad hominem attacks are not allowed, and any such comment will be deleted and the person who has posted it will be banned.
3 Anonymous commenters
Further we do not allow “anonymous” comments, by which we mean comments posted by “anonymous” or variations thereof. We respect if you do not want to share your true ID, but in this case we urge you to take a pen name. If you don’t chose a pen name we will not approve your comment.
The reason for this, that we and other commenters cannot distinguish between multiple “anonymous” comments. And we have seen on other sites, that “anonymous” comments are often used by trolls and other annoying people who hinder a constructive discussion.
4 Off topic
We don’t appreciate off topic comments, i.e. comments not related to the topic of the post. In general such comments will be deleted, and you will get a warning. Repeating posting off topic comments will result in getting banned.
Occasionally we will tolerate slightly tolerate off topic comments from our regular visitors with a good record. But also in this case, we urge people to contact us privately.
4A Comments submitted on the wrong post
On a related note, please submit comments at the relevant post only. If you have to say anything about post X, post your comment there and not at post or page Y.
By submitting comments on posts, which actually deal with a different post, causes confusion and will make the discussion incomprehensible to other visitors.
5 Secular arguments
Due to our commitment to secularism, we do not allow arguments based on religion. Because different religions have conflicting opinions about all kind of topics, invoking a religious argument will inevitably turn into a discussion about the truth value of the religion involved. And we don’t want such discussions on this site.
6 Burden of proof
If you make a statement, you need to back it up with evidence. We have comparably lax standards of what we accept as evidence for your position. Nevertheless we do not allow people to shift the burden of proof to others, i.e. demanding that others should refute your statements. If you are unable to back up your claims, it is an indication that you might be wrong.
An attempt to shift the burden of proof, is sufficient to get you banned.
If you quote from documents, such as treaties or legal instruments, you need to explain why have cited that quote and what your purpose is.
Also if you quote something mark your quote either with >>, “…” or with italics. For reasons of readability we urge you to include a white line after each quote.
8 Science fiction
Though it might be tempting to refer to works of science fiction on this site, we urge you to take care with doing so. We want people to take space colonization seriously, and a too close association with science fiction might frustrate this. Consequently we want to keep the number of references to science fiction low on this site.
Nevertheless we will not ban all references to SF beforehand, as there are numerous great and relevant works of science fiction.
If you want to discuss science fiction, you should take a look at Fascinating Future.
9 Conspiracy theories
Also comments promoting conspiracy theories, will be refused by us. Unfortunately there are a lot of people on the Internet who believe they have promote their conspiracy theories all over the web, on fora and on other people’s blogs.
Since the topic of this site, Space colonization, is fairly controversial, we cannot allow that our reputation is damaged by all kinds of internet cranks spamming our site with their idiocy. If you are not sure whether your comment is promoting a conspiracy, we advise you to check this page. However this list is not exhaustive, but the examples might provide you some understanding about what we consider to be conspiracy theories.
Also we do not allow comment from cranks. We will ban commenters we think are cranks.
Also we will not approve comments which we cannot understand. If you make incomprehensible statements on our site and we are unable to make sense of what you mean, we are unable to determine whether your comment would fit within our policy and therefore we have to reject your comment in this case.
11 English only
Although we can read Dutch, French and German and a little bit Russian, we will never approve a comment written in any other language than English.
We do not care whether you use British or American English. However, we urge people to use proper spelling. Do not use “sms” spelling or self-conceived abbreviations. Since you have enough space to type down what you have to say, please to take your time to write a decent comment.
If you want to emphasize something use italics instead op of CAPS. Using CAPS is both ugly and sounds screamingly. The only legitimate reason to use CAPS is abbreviations – at least if the use of CAPS is the normal use of of that particular abbreviation.
It is fine if you post links, as long as they are on topic and you should also give a (short) explanation what the link is about and why it’s relevant. Links to obscene or fraudulent web pages are not allowed. For this reason all comments containing links are moderated.
Generally we will not approve pingbacks or trackbacks, this because these usually do not enable a constructive dialogue.
13 USA specifics
This site is aimed at a worldwide audience, hence we urge residents of the US [a plurality of our visitors are from that country] to take into account that not all our readers are US residents. So try to avoid references to specific US laws, customs etcetera. You might create unnecessary confusing by doing this, because we and others might not understand certain references. Do also realise that something which applies in the US, might not be universally valid or even be totally irrelevant.
14 Disagreement with us
The simple fact that you happen to disagree with us, is not a reason to reject your comment. But we will not approve a mere statement of disagreement, like “I happen to disagree with you” without any explanation why you disagree with us. This because we (and other commenters) cannot engage in any constructive discussion with you, if we do not know your arguments.
Also we will not waste our time debating those who are determined to disagree with us. We are open to criticism, but it needs to be constructive (i.e. furthering our goals). Sometimes you will be able to convince of us of your position, but often also not.
If you happen to enjoy to debate people with opposing views, but have no interest in a constructive engagement with us, we strongly suggest you to join a debate club. This site is definitely not a debate club.
Out-right hostility towards us, or for that matter to any commenter on this site, will not be tolerated. Hostile comments will be refused or removed, and the poster will be banned.
15 Editing comments
In general we do not edit comments of others with two exceptions: at (implied) request to correct typos. Further we will replace the word “blog” with “site”.
16 Disapproval and appeal
We try to decide on whether we will allow your comment within 24 hours after you posted your comment, however it may happen that we are not able to do this (for instance it is possible we do not have access to a proper internet connection, or we are busy with other things). If more than 72 hours has passed since you have posted your comment, you may assume that we have decided it is spam.
In case you disagree that your comment is in violation with our comment policy, you may contact us. However we urge you to support your case with proper arguments and to use polite language, otherwise we will not consider your appeal. If we after reconsideration, still conclude that your comment is in violation with our comment policy, we will explain our position. What we will not do is discussing the contents of your comment, this is only done if your comment is approved and will be done publicly on our site.
In case you have questions or remarks about us or our site, which aren’t meant for public discussion use our contact page to contact us. General requests should not be submitted as comments on any post or page, use also in this case the contact page instead. Also for question about our comment policy, please use the contact page.
We hope you will enjoy our site and participation in the discussions.