Comment Policy

My rules about commenting:

0. The comment policy has been changed several times and will be changed several more times without warning or explanation.

1. No comment is ever published by a new commentator until I know of its existence. Please wait a period of 13 hours without evidence I am active anywhere on WordPress to conclude your comment has been deleted and seven days to conclude I am not responding to it (I respond more quickly to shorter comments). Once I approve a commentator’s comment, that commentator can comment on this blog freely. I respond to comments as soon as I can (except when I don’t). Comments with over three hyperlinks are not considered spam by either Akismet or me, unless, of course, they are, in fact, spam or Akismet declares them spam for whatever reason. All comments declared by Akismet to be spam for whatever reason will be deleted without explanation. I never look in the spam folder. As hundreds of comments have been published at this blog without incident, I am confident of Akismet’s ability to distinguish legitimate comments from spam comments. To see if your comment went through the spam filter, but was not approved by me, check the Dungeon below 17 hours or more after posting your comment.

2. Speak English better than any other language you speak or as well as your first language. Proper grammar, capitalization, and spelling are musts. Gratuitous profanity is not permitted for new commentators. Those commentators whose comments do not show obvious familiarity with the English language will be blocked from commenting. Comments which both display a clear unfamiliarity with the English language and lack a clear point shall be deleted. I look at your IP Address when you comment, so your general location is not secret to me if no precautions are taken to obfuscate it. Link(s) to a webpage/webpages not in English without explanation may lead to non-publication of your comment.

3. All spam will be deleted. If you are just spreading links to your website without making a comprehensible, relevant, and non-generic point about the post on which you are commenting on, you are a spammer, and deserve two minutes of brutal torture for every time you try to post your spam comment. Though I freely admit to being guilty of spamming the Marginal Revolution threads in order to keep resistance against Cowen’s disorder alive, I ask you to do as I say, not as I do.

4. Link to your own website/YouTube channel/Facebook profile/Twitter profile/whatever social media profile you happen to have-or don’t link to one at all! If a comment is of insufficient intellectual caliber and breaks this rule, it will be molested. If your link does not direct to an actual web page, I have the full right to revise your link so that it does direct to an actual web page whose contents are controlled by you (e.g., if you leave your name and link to a nonexistent blog with your name being part of the url of that nonexistent blog, if you do actually have a real personal blog which can be found by searching your name on the web, I may change the illegitimate url you put in to the real url of your actual blog).

5. One must make at least one clear, relevant, and non-generic point when commenting.

6. Insults or irrelevant and/or unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks are impermissible. If you find me or any other commentator to be incorrect (especially on a major point such as the existence of an invisible man in the sky), substantiate your assertions and always give links to your sources. To prevent rumor-mongering, comments that make claims of fact I’ve never heard of and do not link to or mention sources to back up those claims may not be published or may be deleted after publication.

7. I do not typically communicate by email. Threads should be made out in the open, and, even more importantly, made. Do not expect your comment to continue to stay, or even be, published if you do not to respond to my replies to your comment unless you’re an established commentator here.

I do not reveal my email addresses to the general public. If I want to communicate with you by email, I’ll contact you. If you want to contact me privately, send me a PGP-encrypted comment, as seen at the very bottom of this page. Post your public key along with your PGP-encrypted comment! My public key is here. Download the file by clicking the download button at the top, then save the file and import it into your PGP application. For a PGP application to decrypt PGP-encrypted comments, each of the four long dashes at the beginning and end must be replaced with five minus signs. Obviously, I would not recommend this if I hadn’t tried it myself. For newbies to PGP, I recommend the below video, recorded by none other than the great man himself:

Though I recommend use of gpg4usb in place of gpg4win, for various reasons. In gpg4win, GPA is still very much preferable to Kleopatra.

8. If you do not read the entire post/page on which you are commenting on, and your not reading is visible from the content of your comment, I will delete or otherwise molest your comment.

9. If you do not have anything to contribute, do not post a comment. This is the rule for ending discussions. Please give a warning if you plan to end a discussion. Sometimes, a warning cannot be given, as the discussion is potentially never-ending in a finite world; I understand this. If you claim that no amount of evidence will persuade you that a belief of yours which I do not accept is false, you will be blocked and the discussion will be declared over with.

10. As I am using a theme which does not allow numbering of comments or decent nested comments, and I am not willing to cough up $30 for Custom Design, you all have to bear with me and clearly indicate to which comment you are responding. If you do not do this, I may do it for you. By some strange wizardry, I am able to use the “reply” feature as a blog administrator all the time, while you aren’t.

11. Bald-faced lying and willfully misrepresenting publicly available source material without regard for truth is not acceptable and may result in banning.


I have refused to publish the comments of over half a dozen commentators on this blog. However, until February 12, 2013, I have not bothered to record them. Thus, the below list is incomplete. Spammers are not recorded.

On This Blog:

phoo34 (August 24, 2012), from the area of Milan, Italy, for violating Rule 2 by not knowing English. Commented on Mountain of Fire Extinguished-A Critical Review. One of four commentators officially blocked by me.

olivecandlevoice (September 5, 2012), from the area of Alberta, Canada, for violating Rules 2, 6, and 8. All comments published and translated in blog posts with responses to his points. Commented on AJaL, the Comment Policy page, and the About page. Couldn’t find the main page of this blog, was at first incapable of identifying me as pithom (this was before I added the Gravatar to the sidebar). Probably doesn’t even know his comments were published in blog posts.

moi moi (February 14, 2013), from the area of Portland, Oregon, for violating Rules 2, 4, and 5. Comment not published. Commented on Pattern-Seeking: Ingeniousness and Stupidity.

ken05777 (July 25, 2013), from the Detroit metro area, for violating Rules 2, 10, 5 and 6. Comment not published. Commented on AJaL. Another commentator officially blocked by me.

dein (July 11, 2013), from Bornean Malaysia, for not responding to me, thus violating Rule 7. Request for a response given by me on day of comment’s approval. Comment deleted in August.

Serge D (August 23, 2013), from Poitou-Charentes, France, for his deleted comment consisting almost entirely of a link to a French-language Facebook page of a French crank. His other comment was allowed through, as it linked to somewhat more interesting (still crankish) French-language sources. Commented on The Equator in “The Revelation of the Pyramids”.

Riley Frost (August 27, 2013), from Norfolk, UK, for not responding to me, thus violating Rule 7. Comment deleted one day and one week after it was published. Warning of possible deletion given one day and one week before deletion. Commented on A Few Weekly Conclusions About Syria.

helen (November 14, 2013), from Ashland, Ohio, for violating Rules 2 and 6. Comment not published.

inyourface (December 4, 2013), from Spain(?), for violating Rule 6. Comment not published. Commented on Yeah, Khufu’s Cartouches in the Great Pyramid of Giza are Genuine.

wakawakawaka (December 20, 2013), from the area of Vancouver, Canada, for violating Rule 2. Comment not published, but responded to. Commented on I Discover the True Location of Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham Fort! Asked me my thoughts on Henry B. Smith Jr. of Associates for Biblical Research.

John DAuria (December 26, 2013), from the area of Sofia, Bulgaria, for violating Rule 2. Comment not published, but responded to. Commented on My Late Christmas Gift To You All. His second comment on the same post is published.

robacosta (September 11, 2014), from the region of Denver, Colorado, is the reason for the existence of Rule 11. All comments published. Commented on AJaL. The third commentator officially banned by me.

fjg (September 14, 2014), from the region of London, Ontario, Canada, for violating Rules 6 and 2. Comment not published. Commented on Yeah, Khufu’s Cartouches in the Great Pyramid of Giza are Genuine.

Wesley Walker (December 3, 2014), from the region of Bentonville, Arkansas, for violating Rules 6 and 9. Sanctimonious and deluded religionist. Comment not published. Clearly hadn’t read the About page. Commented on AJaL. The fourth commentator officially banned by me.

On YouTube:
rianski21 (July 28, 2012), for violating Rules 2 and 6. Comment deleted. Commented on Ron Wyatt’s Sodom and Gomorrah video.

delphos1223, (July 29-30, 2012) for taking the first and second discussion-ending options in Rule 9. Commented on Ron Wyatt’s Sodom and Gomorrah video.

earlysda (September 28-29, 2012), for violating Rule 6. Commented on Ron Wyatt’s Sodom and Gomorrah video.

classicjukebox (December 24-25, 2012), for non-compliance with special demands I made upon him (to answer some questions I posed to him) under threat of deletion of the entire conversation between me and him.

I watched a spider in the center of his web, tug and jerk at the web to see if the insect it caught was alive or was a leaf.
If you can see these things and deny God, I just dont know what you are thinking.

-All you need to know about how deeply this person can reason.
All his comments and all my replies to him deleted. Commented on Ron Wyatt’s Sodom and Gomorrah video.

ken05777 (July 25, 2013), for violating Rules 10, 5, and 6. Commented on the Jebel Maqla/Lawz NOT Mount Sinai video. Comment removed and user blocked.

A bunch of random commentators’ random attempted, but unremoved, links on this video that had piled up over the course of half a year (comments deleted on September 3 and 4, 2013).

8 thoughts on “Comment Policy”

  1. Hi Enopoletus Harding,
    I noticed a comment that you submitted to Coyne’s blog and noticed that you were commenting a lot in that thread. I don’t expect you to publish this blog, but I don’t see an e-mail for you, and Coyne didn’t want to publish this on his blog for whatever reason.

    I figured that I’d pass it along to you since I had a few concerns with the process that TED used.

    First, I did some extensive research into the timeline of events leading up to where TED removed the pseudoscience videos. I really wanted to understand the mindset, reasoning and process of this decision.

    I hope that you find that it accurately lays out the skeptic perspective and the TED rules that justify removing videos that they find are considered bad science.

    Here are my open questions that are concerning to me:

    * There seemed to be a public review process for Sheldrake’s video, but not for Hancock’s. Should TED have a public review process for any controversial video where specific grievances can be identified and debated?

    * There wasn’t an appeals process for either Sheldrake or Hancock. There was no opportunity for their side to be presented. Perhaps they have legitimate counter arguments, but I would’ve liked to have seen them have an opportunity to provide evidence on their behalf before a verdict had been reached. It’s fine if they can’t provide legitimate evidence, but at least give them a chance.

    * There were not direct quotes from Hancock’s talk presented by TED in their justification for removing the video. Instead, there were a number of perceived mischaracterizations of things that they were claiming that he said, but could be argued were not said and the meaning not implied. Should there be a process to determine more specific evidence as to which grievances are legitimate?

    * Do you find that it helps intellectual debate when you label people with names such as “crackpot”, “kook,” or “World’s Biggest Woomeister”? This sounds like “us vs. them” language to me and a bit hypocritical to play into the ad hominem name-calling game — and then to block comments from people that call you names. It shouldn’t matter who started the name-calling game, by not taking high road you’re modeling the level of discourse that you’d prefer to have.

    * TED’s Scientific Board was completely anonymous. Is there a good reason for having this type of anonymity? There’s a concern that some scientists have an idealogical agenda or bias against certain topics as listed by TED in their fields that are ripe with bad science.

    * Without providing detailed grievances and an appeals process, then how do you fight claims of idealogical censorship?

    * From the timeline, it appears that TED did actually remove the two videos from all Internet access for 2-3 hours and only posted the two back videos online after receiving complaints of censorship from Hancock’s fans, which they then denied in the blog post. This claim of not censoring the videos seems disingenuous if you read the letter that TED sent to TEDxWhitechapel, which was forwarded to Hancock. TED did not communicate the plan to keep the videos posted Hancock or to TEDxWhitechapel. Instead, what they did communicate is that they videos would be immediately removed from all video distribution sites without an appeals process. Hancock was not provided detailed information about the grievances about his talk, and there was no time to appeal the decision. This is partially the result of unclear communication from TED, but they seem to be shifting the blame to Hancock’s fans.

    * Breaking existing YouTube links, removing the view count from videos, and preventing the embedding of videos can indeed be perceived as a form of censorship. For example, if you look at your previous blog posts about Sheldrake and Hancock, then you will not be able to watch the videos and the context under which you were criticizing them. This is a form of Internet silencing, and is in general bad form the health of free and open discussion on the Internet. It’s not even possible for you to embed the videos, or link to a specific time on your blog anymore. The only way is to link to TED’s blog post. This could legitimately be argued as a form of memory-holing points of view that the majority disagrees with, and in general hurts intellectual discourse. TED has the copyright authority to do this, but it could be argued that it’s generally bad for discourse on the web.

    1. I do like your timeline. I have written no blog posts about Sheldrake and Hancock-I have merely written comments about them. “Free and open discussion” is not the virtue you think it is-any completely unmoderated forum gets fully covered with spam within a week. Mirror videos of Hancock’s talk on YT have been made.
      As for my answers to your questions:
      1. A public review process for Hancock’s video might have been a good idea, but I can’t see it as essential.
      2. Same answer as to 1.
      3. Yes, not timestamping or quoting was a mistake of TED (that is unlikely to be remedied by its staff). I have no idea what such a process would look like.
      4. Such terms may do the good work of firing up the base and may do the bad work of descending into the totality of a case against a person’s ideas.
      5. Not that I can see, but I have no relation to TED-I’m just a blogger on the Internet.
      6. Ridicule Hancock’s little anti-science rant at the 10-11 minute mark (and his woo-ey rant after it). I might do this over the weekend in a blog post on this blog.

      1. I understand that there is definitely a place for moderation, and unmoderated discussions can be spammy and noisy. I like Reddit’s voting system, and there are better software solutions than blog comment threads (which are horrible).

        But I guess the main point that I wanted to pass along is that I’d prefer free and open discussion to memory-holing breaking existing links based upon a non-transparent review board that has no accountability and no opportunity for appealing the judgments of an anonymous science board. Thanks for hearing me out even though this context is a bit weird.

        Feel free to nudge Coyne to publish my comment since for whatever reason he’s decided that he needed to not publish these opposing viewpoints that I listed above. Thanks for your time.

  2. Underwater Monument of Yonaguni……
    If is genuine man made structure (hard to argue not) It is older than Pyramids. Thus one would conclude this is evidence of an somewhat advanced pre-ice age civilization, then cataclysmic flooding (Ice Caps melting)….etc etc etc

    1. Fuuuuuuccck.

      If is genuine man made structure (hard to argue not)

      -Actually, pretty fucking easy.

      Along the southeast and northeast coasts of Yonaguni Island the Yaeyama Group sandstones are abundantly exposed, and here I could observe them weathering and eroding under current conditions. I became convinced that presently, at the surface, natural wave and tidal action is responsible for eroding and removing the sandstones in such a way that very regular step-like and terrace-like structures remain. The more I compared the natural, but highly regular, weathering and erosional features observed on the modern coast of the island with the structural characteristics of the Yonaguni Monument, the more I became convinced that the Yonaguni Monument is primarily the result of natural geological and geomorphological processes at work. On the surface I also found depressions and cavities forming naturally that look exactly like the supposed “post holes” that some researchers have noticed on the underwater Yonaguni Monument.

      Robert Schoch, crank.
      If even a trained crank geologist accepts this monument as natural, why should anyone hold the slightest thought that it might be artificial?

      It is older than Pyramids.


      Thus one would conclude this is evidence of an somewhat advanced pre-ice age civilization, then cataclysmic flooding (Ice Caps melting)….etc etc etc

      -Yes, but it’s evidence so weak as to not deserve consideration.
      And why the fuck is this comment on the Comment Policy page?

  3. Hi, pithom.

    I had some trouble posting a comment today – and after I had finally managed to do it, the comment was deleted… Is it something I have done?…

    1. I don’t know how WordPress categorizes comments, so if your comments don’t get approved instantly, it’s not my fault. I might have deleted a repeat post from you at some point, but I don’t see it in the trash. Must be buggy WordPress software. Interestingly, I didn’t turn on my computer at all between 1:20-ish PM Israeli time yesterday and 11:10 AM Israeli time today.

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