June 2017: It came up recently that a participant wanted two of their own comments removed retrospectively. I had never been asked for this before. Removing the comments would have made nonsense of the thread, where several people responded to the comments in question. I ended up anonymizing the person's contributions to the thread instead.

This was a one-off because I’d never had an explicit policy on the matter. In general, assume anything you post here is written for all time. Requests to fix typos or other trivial mistakes are not what’s meant here, but actual opinions or statements.


January 2017: If you're commenting with more than a sentence or two, best to compose on your side then paste your text into the comments box. An occasional transient bug sometimes interferes with comment posting. I don't want people losing any thoughtfully composed comments.


July 2014: Could I ask people not to sign their posts with common first names only? I have regular commenters called John, Jack, Ian and Chris, but other people have also (innocently) signed comments with those names and it can be confusing. No automatic mechanism on the blog stops this from happening. If you're new, at least give yourself an additional initial – be John P. or John S. – or invent a name to use on this blog, it doesn't have to be a real one.


In December 2013, I changed from a name-based user banning system to one based on IP numbers.

I have very few user bans in place on this blog. It's long odds that someone else who wants to comment here will be reassigned those IPs in future, but if you find yourself unaccountably unable to comment, please drop me a line.


How WordPress commenting works:

The first time someone comments, it's automatically held for my approval. After that, the person can comment freely.

Nonetheless, any comment containing more than one link is automatically held for approval (because this resembles features of comment spam). So if you post a comment and it doesn't immediately appear, this is probably why.

In this context approval means I see no reason the comment shouldn't be posted. It does not necessarily mean I agree with it or endorse it myself.

I reserve the right to delete abusive comments or close commenting on a post if the tone becomes hate‑filled or drifts to ad-hominem shots or irrelevancies.

I also balk at having the blog used as a soapbox by anyone trying to co-opt every topic to promote an idée fixe of their own.

Personal attacks on me or on other commenters drift you into probationary territory.

Fundamentally, I want comments to answer questions that have arisen, or add clarifications or interest in some other form. Disagreeing – civilly – is also beneficial. Trolling – posting to provoke – is basically boring, and can get you banned.

I keep a pretty close eye on the comments. If you make a comment in the wrong thread, please repaste it to the correct one, and I'll notice and delete the mistaken one.

I do fix typos and formatting in comments, up to a point.

Je suis contente de voir qu'il y a quelques gens qui participent ici en français et j'aimerais souligner que c'est aussi bienvenu que l'anglais.