Comment Policy

This blog exists to raise the level of discourse available on the Internet regarding naval matters.  To that end, here is a brief discussion of the comment policy for this blog.

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Purpose.  Comments exist to further the discussion of the associated post.  Comments should be used to add relevant detail, expand the premise of the post, or critically analyze the premise. I’m looking for comments that address the main premise rather than try to pick apart some minor side detail.  I’m looking for comments that build on the main premise.  I’d love comments that have an opposing view and are supported with data and logic.  “You’re wrong”, is not a productive comment.

Expectations.  I expect my readership to be a cut above the typical blog readership.  I’d rather have one good comment than ten pointless ones.  

Privilege.  Commenting is a privilege that is extended to you, not a right.  Abuse the privilege and you lose the right.

Moderation.  I do not, at this time, moderate comments prior to publishing.  I do, however, "moderate" comments after they appear, meaning that a comment may be deleted if it fails to meet the standards described herein.

Data and Logic.  I hold commenters to the same standard as the rest of the blog. Comments must be based on data and logic.  If you make a statement that is not generally accepted as fact, offer a reference.

Speculation.  There is nothing wrong with pure speculation.  I engage in it frequently. However, make it clear that the comment is speculative.  Do not present speculation as fact. To the degree possible, speculation should be based on some underlying fact and must always be logical.

Politeness.  Politeness and respect towards myself and other commenters is mandatory. Argue the idea, not the person.

Arguments.  Argument for the sake of argument will not be allowed.  While I will gratefully and gladly accept a factual correction, I have no interest in arguments that do not further the discussion. A typical example is if the statement is made that southern US cities have warmer climates than northern cities, someone will, inevitably, respond with a comment citing some southern city that, on some given day, was colder than some city in the north – as if that disproves the general statement.  This kind of comment is simply argumentative and does nothing to further the main premise.

Trying to find one example, somewhere in history, that appears to contradict a main premise is simply argumentative.  Now, if you want to take that example and build a logical case for an alternative view, that’s fine – unlikely, but fine.  Just as the main premise is never built on a single example (single examples of anything mean nothing) so too, an alternative view can not be built on a single example.

Stupidity.  There’s a famous saying that there are no dumb questions.  As far as this blog is concerned, there certainly are dumb questions and, more to the point, dumb comments.  In order to contribute to raising the level of discourse, you, the commenter, have to do your homework.  I expect a basic level of knowledge about naval matters which includes a familiarity with naval history and an understanding of the basics of naval operations and tactics.  You don’t have to be an expert but, I’ll be honest here, this is not the blog for amateurs who have no grasp of naval fundamentals.  There are plenty of books and websites where you can go to learn the basics. 

That said, I have no problem with someone asking a basic, sincere question and trying to learn.  I’m happy to respond to that.  What I don’t want to do is embark on a long term educational foray spanning many posts/weeks.

Deletion.  I never delete a comment because it disagrees with me.  I do, however, delete comments, whether they agree or disagree, when they’re based on stupidity. Comments will also be deleted if they are impolite, disrespectful, or merely argumentative.  If your comment was deleted it was for one or more the following reaons:

-you were disrespectful or impolite
-you made a comment that was unsupported by common knowledge, data, or logic
-you made a comment that didn't further the discussion
-you made a stupid comment

All of this should not discourage readers from commenting.  Instead, it should encourage readers to put a bit of effort into their comments and try to become part of a conversation rather than part of an argument.  I recognize that there is a fine line between discussing a point of disagreement and arguing.  The difference is that the former is done with an open mind and a willingness to learn and further the discussion while the latter is a simple attempt to “win” and serves no purpose.

I’m sometimes asked why I don’t respond to a given comment.  The answer is that I respond to comments that meet the above criteria – comments that further the discussion, raise new and valid points, and offer insights.

I encourage you to be part of something challenging and worthwhile.  Recognize, though, that means you may have to put a bit of effort into it.