Alas, A Moderation Policy


We have few hard-and-fast rules that people aren’t allowed to violate; we just have a goal for the discussions we’d like to have, and we’d like people to move us towards that goal rather than away.

Here’s a (non-comprehensive) description of the discussion we’d like to have:

  • Debates are conducted in a manner that shows respect even for folks we disagree with.
  • Comments are funny, critical and vigorous, but not mean-spirited.
  • Obvious racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fat-hatred, antisemitism and other bigotries, are avoided by everyone. Subtle forms of these bigotries inevitably creep in, but are subject to analysis and criticism.
  • Thread-jacking and wandering away from topics isn’t allowed, except when it is.
  • If a blogger wants to set special rules for their thread, everyone respects that.

If in the subjective opinion of the moderators, your presence is bringing us further away from the conversation we want to have, then you’ll be asked to change your behavior. Or to depart.

There are some discussions we’re simply unwilling to have on “Alas” – period. Here’s a few that have come up often enough to be worth pointing out. This is not a comprehensive list.

  • Trans women are women. Trans men are men. If you want to disagree with this, do it on another website.
  • No race is inherently inferior or less intellent than another race. If you want to disagree with this, do it on another website.
  • Don’t use the term “illegals” or “illegal aliens” to refer to people. If you want to do that… you get the idea.

If you’ve been banned on “Alas,” you can still submit comments, but each comment will need to be individually approved by a moderator. If you impress a mod with how smart, interesting and civil your comments are, they could appear. But they won’t appear right away, and they might not appear at all. And even if some of your comments are approved by moderators, that doesn’t mean we’ll approve any more comments from you.

(Moderators have lives and jobs and may not see your immortal prose until Tuesday, or next year.)

Alternatively, we might just set up your comments to be automatically deleted, without even being seen by a moderator. In which case no comment of yours will ever be approved.

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6 Responses to Alas, A Moderation Policy

  1. 1
    Kevin Moore says:

    3. Any post that fails to adequately praise the awesomeness that is Ampersand will be spanked with a cat of nine tails. Especially if you like that sort of thing.

  2. 2
    Hershele Ostropoler says:

    Isn’t this, like, at least the sixth post about this in as many years? Is the policy evolving or are people simply not getting it? Or is this a, let’s say, subtle way of yelling at someone ?

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    It’s an evolving policy. :-)

    And people do get it, by and large, but it’s nice to have an official “policy” I can point to. I was describing the policy to another blogger, and I couldn’t find a statement of our current policy to point to. So I wrote something up, emailed it to the “Alas” moderators, and they rewrote parts of it, and now here it is.

  4. 4
    Teresa (new) says:

    I am wondering how busy the comments are going to be from this site and is there a way to get the days comments in a digest daily? Somehow I stumbled across this site, and after 15 years of chronic pain, which is caused by a botched neck fusion and then later 2 bank and front of neck (3 days apart) to try and repair pretty much unrepairable damage….I knew this just might be the site for me. Thank in advance, Teresa

  5. 5
    Teresa says:

    How do I change my account information? Sorry Guys NEW and stupid!

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    To everyone – there were a few comments here which I thought belonged on the “How to avoid being seen as a drug-seeker” thread, so I’ve moved them to that thread.

    Teresa, I’m afraid we don’t have either the daily batch option here, or any way for you to change your account info, other than just creating a new account.