Site Rules

one more thingI woke this morning to discover that someone had posted a long screed railing against something I rather liked right here on one of my recent updates.

I deleted the screed immediately. Not because I disagreed with it, but because of its venomous tone.

Its author is clearly a newcomer to the site and is unlikely to revisit. In case he returns, or that other axe-grinders start showing up, the rules about interacting here are pretty simple.

Mostly this site is devoted to things that I find of interest, so, in addition to posts to promote my own fiction you’ll find discussion of favorite writers, the technique of writing, wool gathering about my favorite TV shows and genres, and occasionally pieces of music that struck me as interesting, links to the absurd, amusing, or enlightening, and other nonsense. Feel free to comment, civilly, upon ANY of that.

I do not discuss or debate politics on this site.
I do not discuss or debate modern religious issues on this site.
I spend little to no time in discussion of sexual matters, except in defense of women’s rights and same-sex marriage if it comes up in a review of something I’ve read or watched.
I┬ádon’t plan to soapbox any of the above topics on this site.


cowboybobYou may correctly infer some things by what I enjoy (for instance, from my posts about Cosmos you’d be right to conclude I believe in evolution). You may incorrectly infer other things (I’ve had some readers assume that I, Howard, as am sexist as the sometimes thick-headed Asim, narrator of The Desert of Souls — a man of his time who does overcome his prejudices, albeit slowly). But don’t assume that because of this I must be like that, and don’t come here to seek out an argument with me.

(I see argument, incidentally, as different from disagreeing with me politely on some topic more germane to my site.)

I want NO vitriol on this site. Any opinions must be presented in a gentlemanly or lady-like fashion. When I was a little kid the Indianapolis cartoon show host Cowboy Bob always ended every show with the advice that: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I never forgot what seems like a pretty good screed, and while sometimes it IS necessary to say things that aren’t very nice, on MY site, anyone who communicates in an uncivil way gets their post deleted. Repeated uncivil posts will get the poster banned.

Now go out there and have a great weekend.

15 Comments on “Site Rules

    • I’d never heard that one, but I like it. Certainly applicable for all writers. Imagine people cornering Lucas and suggesting that he was in favor of everything Darth Vader said or did!

  1. Good rules Howard! Anyone who has actually met you and assumes you’re somehow even close to the “thick-headed Asim” needs to spend some time in critical self-examination. Sorry sounds like the comment was disturbing.

    • Thanks, Matthew. Well, some people just don’t get “unreliable narrator.”

      The comment was more irritating than disturbing. It just added up to one too many odd things that have been said to me over the last couple of years, some on the web site, and I decided to get things off my chest.

  2. Well, you’ve always treated me in a disgracefully sexist manner!

    • It’s that lovely accent, Peadar. It just makes me lose my cool.

  3. The lack of venom is one of the things I like about this site.

    And it never ceases to amaze me that people think that because a character in a book thinks or acts a certain way, the author must as well. What do those people think about a book with characters who hold completely opposing views? That the author has MPD?

    • Thanks, Keith. I try. And you’re right — how DO people reconcile that kind of thing? I guess a lot of people react without thinking, even when reading, which would seem to promote thinking…

  4. Your rules are the same sort I want enforced everywhere I spend my time. I have little patience for vitriol anymore. My wife, a habitue of design and decorating blogs, is always a little surprised by the lack of rancor on the fantasy/writing blogs I read (let me tell you, those design folks can get pretty belligerent).

    • I agree, Fletcher, and it’s the same way John tries to run Black Gate (although with so many contributors there has been an occasional issue).

      Sorry to hear that your wife encounters this sort of thing.

      By the way, I loved your use of the word vitriol so I stole it to replace my second use of the word “venom.” I didn’t have my anti- word echo sensors on full power when I wrote the post…

      • Your welcome for vitriol. Most of the design commenters are actually very nice, but a lot of them will get up in a person’s face, demanding to be heard and demanding to be agreed with (and more willing to argue about it).

  5. You mention Cowboy Bob, but not a word about Janie… Interesting…
    I jest.
    Good on you for expecting and requiring civility on your site, an attribute sadly lacking in so many frontiers of the internet these days. Well done.

    • I remember Janie — she seemed nice, and I think I had a kindergarten crush on her. But I don’t remember her having a tag line like Cowboy Bob’s.

      He closed every episode by saying “and remember, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” and it really DID stick with me. I’ve read that other people recall him for the very same reason, and I’d hope that he’s proud that he influenced so many of us with words of wisdom. Some might mock it as cornballl, but there’s a simple and powerful societal truth in those words, and I commend him for his dedication to making sure his audience heard it every day. Following that advice is one important step towards being a gentleman, to my mind.

      • No, I don’t think Janie had a tag line for her show, although her demeanor certainly seemed to embody the sentiment all the same. And yeah, I think I had a little crush on her myself. It’s funny that you should mention how fundamental an impact Cowboy Bob’s closing had on you, as like many I’m sure, I still remember it to this day, and had occasion to pass it along to my own son just a couple of days ago–with proper credit, of course. A simple phrase, and yet so meaningful…and at times hard to live up to.

        I wish there was still television like good old Channel Four on today.

        I guess I should get my cane and start shaking it out on the lawn.

  6. I haven’t had this issue at my site – I suppose I might at some point. I’m interested in all sorts of ideas, but have no interest in snark or vitriol: it’s not why I’m online.

    When I started poking around the speculative fiction community, I brushed up against a fair amount of of discourse that I wasn’t interested in (primarily due to tone, rather than content). The answer to that, for me, has been to invest in the parts of the community that I enjoy and to not spend much time on the rest.

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