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Banning and Moderation Policy

(In light of the banning of Phil, I thought I would dust off, and update, this post from 2012.)

TAC is a group blog and each contributor normally makes moderation and banning decisions in regard to their own threads.  When the blog started nine years ago I was initially somewhat hesitant to use either moderation or banning but that has changed over the years.  Here is some explanation of my current policies regarding both.

Moderation is automatically applied to anyone who has never left a comment at the blog.  This of course is a mechanism to prevent drive by trolls from launching a pure insult comment.  After the initial comment is approved the commenter is taken off moderation and may post freely.

What gets someone placed on moderation?

Direct insults aimed at another commenter.  I normally allow some lee-way if a commenter is directing an insult at me, at least if it is witty, although my patience tends to be limited.  A repeat offense may result in a ban.

Outrageous comments.  (Yes, T.Shaw I am looking at you!)  These include threatening to shoot anyone, a comment filled with vulgarities, etc.  I have T.Shaw on permanent moderation in this category, although I suspect he rather likes it as it enhances his bad boy of the blog image.  Happy to oblige T.Shaw.  (I have taken T.Shaw on and off moderation over the years.  I think it has become a game with us!)

Anti-Catholic bigotry.  This blog was not set up to give anti-Catholics a forum.

Riding a hobby-horse too frequently.  Some commenters will insist upon bringing every discussion around to their hobby-horse issue.  Do that too frequently and moderation awaits.

Wall of Text.  No, you may not engage in text spam that bears little relationship to the subject of a post.

Getting on Don’s nerves.  I blog for fun, and commenters who take the fun away will find themselves in moderation.

This is not a comprehensive list, but the above are the major categories.

Banning from the site occurs in the following situations.

Drive by trolls.  Normally you do not get to see the comments and I simply ban the authors as a matter of course.

Anti-Catholic bigots.  Banning is for those who either do not take the hint from a stay in moderation, or who make a comment so vilely anti-Catholic that it is a waste of time keeping them around.

Anti-Semites and Anti-Blacks. I do not wish to keep them from their Klan rally.

Disturbed individuals.  If a comment indicates to my untrained eye that someone is mentally disturbed they will be banned, mostly since taking verbal potshots at a deranged individual is not sporting.

Conspiracy mongers. If you are certain that the Illuminati, the Tri-Lateralists, the Cattle Mutilators or (insert name of group) are behind the scenes pulling the strings, we will not keep you from sharing your insight on other sites.

Being a persistent pest.  Longtime readers may recall the Catholic Anarchist who was banned after a year’s attempt at turning every thread into a fight between him and all and sundry.  That got old fast and it was a violation of the first commandment of blogging:  Thou Shalt Not Bore!

Attack trolls.  If your goal in life is to start constant fights on the internet, this is not cyber fight club.

F-bombs.  Constant use of profanity is boring and will not be tolerated.

Violating the rules against acting crazy on the internet.  Go here to this fine post by Paul Zummo to read the rules.

Not a comprehensive list of the factors I take into consideration when banning someone, but most of them.  I hope that no one I ban takes it personally or to heart.  Banning from a blog to my mind is equivalent to being gummed by an elderly toothless poodle who is attempting to tell you that your presence is no longer desired on her turf.  It doesn’t really hurt, but it is time to move on!

Banning and moderation help me prune the comboxes to make them more entertaining to our readers.  To me, the comboxes are just as important as my posts, and I pay close attention to the comments as a result.

We have a great stable of regular commenters at TAC.  I usually find your comments insightful, frequently witty and sometimes challenging.  You have helped make this blog the success it is, and I thank you from the bottom of my cold lawyer’s heart!

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

27 Comments

  1. As one who has broken a couple of the rules, thanks for allowing me to share my opinions.
    My hope is that some of them we’re worthy of your comboxes. Your a good community and I have learned about scholars and scoundrels. I hope to study from the former and run from the latter.

  2. Rules seem awfully fair ‘here.’

    By contrast, a once very interesting left coast Cal-Catholic news site which shall remain anonymous otherwise (started originally long-ago by Fr. Fessio: it is now moderated by a board— the death of anything worthwhile) has seen its newfound FrancisChurch-purpose, tally ho!) to control potentially ‘dangerous’ conversations, even suddenly announcing “Comments Have Now Been Closed” by the mysterious moderator (there are several)—discussions which had seemed fairly objective and factual, but inevitably we’re tending in the direction that there is something smelly-rotten in Denmark-Francis-Church.

    I am told the traffic and donations (it is a registered nonprofit), as well as commentary have significantly dropped off. [= their version of taking a knee ].

    But who cares, Amorous Leticia, yay!
    ( Leticia must be a stunner).

  3. As I said last night, Don is actually way more patient than I was. If you annoyed me, you were gone. Admittedly I may have been a bit too severe.

  4. About the teacup dog: Some years back I was watching one of those “real life” crimes shows, and the case in question had to do with a man who got into the house to attack and rob this stereotypical elderly lady and her stereotypical, athritic, half-blind Pomeranian.
    .
    The Pomeranian didn’t think much of having a burgler in his territory and out came his inner guard dog. Somehow, the little beastie managed to take on the intruding Goliath, and like David, brought him down (although unlike David, did not kill him). The police were impressed and the owner very proud. I do not know if the dog enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, but I do assume he enjoyed whatever treat he surely must have got for his “hero-ism.”

  5. Excellent filtration criteria Don and most becoming as a blog where is reason is suppose to trump emotion—most of the time.

  6. This my first posting on this site that I look forward in reading everyday and copy to a friend in NH. At 83 I’ve witnessed and experienced a lot of history which includes seeing the Hindenberg on the day he went down flying over Philly on the way to history. My grandparents came from Belfast in which my grandfather was an Orangeman and my grand mother Roman Catholic which enough to invite them out of the country. My father a very quiet man had me Baptised in the Episcopal just as a compromise.
    The Episcopal Church was part of the Apostolic Progression until went off the rails like a number of other faiths. It was then I reaffirmed my faith as a Roman Catholic. A lot of people don’t know there former married Episcopal Priests who are now Roman Catholic priest.
    My friend who is an official in the WELS Synod Lutheran Church insists on a complete separation of church and state where no religious influence is to be tolerated. Abortion is ok because the government says so even though he is against abortion. He becomes very irked when I say that what he stands for in government sanctioned infanticide of the unborn innocent. the other issue is that he questions the presence of a soul at the time of conception.
    Looking back at my age as an observer I am blessed that I know what I was meant to be which I’m still able to practice. It’s amazing how this nation was founded by the founding fathers which included a number of Deists recognized God’s influence. The problem today is a number of people fail to recognize that which the 1st Amendment precludes the establishment of a particular religion it in no ways bars the religious moral input of the legislators.in the making of laws.
    More later if anyone is interested.

  7. I thought nobody was reading.

    Anyhow, old age hasn’t moderated me. The first 70 years of childhood are the most difficult.

  8. Thanks Don.

    That’s a real shame. I always found that Phil showed a lot of love and support to other commenters, including myself, over the years that I have been reading this Blog. And to ban him over one incident….?

    I would like to speak in his defence- Phil had a very valid point about the tobacco industry and it’s clear he felt frustrated and unsupported by fellow Catholics on an issue such as this one, which is never brought up in Catholic commentary. It was clear he was using this absolutely unrelated issue to make a point about what Catholics consider relevant issues to fight. I think many missed this point, or rather refused to admit Phil had a point.

    I think that Nate’s snarky drinking remark was nasty and unnecessary and rather than calling him out on it, a number of commenters gave him a high-five for it. There are alcoholics amongst us. And furthermore, rather than taking Phil to task about his comments directly, Nate chooses to talk ABOUT Phil to others in the comments by indirectly hurling insult ABOUT Phil. Nate does this often. Hurl insults indirectly. I will probably be the only person to call him out on it, but by your moderation rules it would be fair to warn him in the future. It is nastier than calling someone a bigot. One word does far less damage than consistent rotten tactics.

    I hope in the spirit of this wonderful blog with wonderful writers and equally wonderful opinions, that all commenters are moderated fairly and equally.

    Thanks for letting me have my say.

  9. Explains why I was confused about you banning a long-standing commenter. I apologise for my confusion. 🤦‍♀️

    When I read the series of comments on that thread I did find that “Phil” had a valid point. I didn’t think anything of his comments besides the use of the word “bigot”. But he’s obviously offended before.

    I still stand by my comments about Nate as I have been subjected to his tactics.

    Apologies again for my confusion.

  10. Phil had a very valid point about the tobacco industry and it’s clear he felt frustrated and unsupported by fellow Catholics on an issue such as this one, which is never brought up in Catholic commentary.

    Because tobacco is not a stupefacient and it’s well-known it is unhealthy.

  11. Staten Island Chuck? Lol.
    That was part of the cover-up.
    They flew Phil in from Puxatony but made up the Staten Island Chuck story as a cover…
    🤔

  12. “Because tobacco is not a stupefacient and it’s well-known it is unhealthy”

    If there are addictive additives added to the product to boost sales and profits, contributing to 400,000 deaths a year…you question the lack of morals and business ethics behind this corporate greed.

    Pure tobacco is not addictive. Didn’t kill my heavy-smoking grandparents.

    The question remains: is celebrating a homosexuality lifestyle more sinful and destructive to our modern society than corporate greed at the expense of human health/life?

    I know the LGBT agenda’s aim is to break down the family structure. We currently are awaiting results of a plebiscite to determine if gays can marry, in Australia. The vitriol has been horrible from the pro-Gay lobby, sending gay porn to people who oppose gay “marriage”, vandalising Churches, knocking on random homes and yelling at them when they declared a NO vote to gay “marriage” etc…the list is endless.

    BUT, at the same time, we have other destructive elements in society, like corporate greed which goes under the radar, which has far-reaching negative implications to a good God-fearing society. Especially if it is killing people.

  13. Pure tobacco is not addictive. Didn’t kill my heavy-smoking grandparents.

    Because the relationship between tobacco exposure and cancer is probabilistic, not deterministic. And, yes, nicotine is found in tobacco naturally. It’s not an additive.

    If there are addictive additives added to the product to boost sales and profits, contributing to 400,000 deaths a year…you question the lack of morals and business ethics behind this corporate greed

    Ezabelle, people who do not smoke do not enjoy eternal good health. Use of tobacco reduces your life expectancy. So does sedentary living. So does excess caloric intake. How it differs is that use of tobacco does not prevent conscientious living in the here and now. It’s one of life’s pleasures. Like any pleasure, it has its downsides.

    No one who buys tobacco is unaware that use of it damages your health. Producer and consumer know that. I’m not aware that profit margins or compensation in the tobacco business are abnormally large, so I’m not understanding your imputation of ‘greed’ to people who work in them. Nor is it anything other than gratuitous to suggest that someone who obtains a corporate charter is infected by ‘greed’ any more than someone who operates an unincorporated enterprise.

  14. “No one who buys tobacco is unaware that use of it damages your health.”

    If everybody knows that tobacco kills, then why does the Tobacco Industry wield so much power? Taxes. Pay government to ensure the profits are large and fat. At the expense of public health.

    BAT developed the e-cigarette which they say has fewer chemicals but it is not clear what the long term effects are. They market these as healthy alternatives. Hah! They call this strategy “harm reduction”. How were they allowed to develop and sell this? Taxes.

    In the UK, every year, more than 200,000 young people take up smoking. Cigarettes. Cigarettes which contsin Lead, Mercury, Benzopyrene are amongst the 200 ingredients in cigarettes. These are usually from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Not everybody is as analytical as you Art Deco. They don’t think it harms anymore than a glass of beer.

    The problem lies in that BAT say they dont market to under 18 year olds, but the statistics say otherwise, this is total nonsense. Taxes are just too appealing to the government.

    Just like Casinos, oligarchs of corporate greed, who say they don’t target the young and impressionable to come to their casinos, they do. Taxes. (The firm I used to work for assisted, developed an architectural concept which was titled “youth gambling” for a client TAB (a betting company which used to own casinos) back in 2006 which was to attach itself to the current casino precinct in Sydney- Star City, now called The Star. Thankfully, the State government rejected it; but instead this casino went about a sneak Route and have opened up numerous youth nightclubs attached to the building- a 70 year old is wiser, but a 18 year old fresh out of school sees $$$ and heads straight for the machines.

    There is reduced corporate responsibility, just a bunch of lawyers (sorry Don, slimy lawyers I meant, not good lawyers like you) helping BAT and their ilk navigate the current laws, at the expense of human health.

    Sorry to bore everybody. If I worked for BAT, I wouldn’t be shouting it from the rooftops.

  15. “I’m not aware that profit margins or compensation in the tobacco business are abnormally large, so I’m not understanding your imputation of ‘greed’ to people who work in them.”

    Rather who run them. If you are keen you could look up 2016 annual profit of BAT. I think I have exhausted the topic 😩

  16. <3 the clear and useful definition of “conspiracy theorist.”

    I’ve seen that one abused far too often for “believes in something I personally don’t.” (in one case, I seem to remember it was the Fast and Furious thing…and the “conspiracy theorist” was the one with the gov’t reports on the program… Hey, technically that is a conspiracy theory that one believes in.)

    ********

    Ezabelle-
    I confused the two Phils, too.

    The newer one has been here before, and gone off in a huff before, from memory.

  17. If everybody knows that tobacco kills, then why does the Tobacco Industry wield so much power?

    They don’t. They were subject to a mega shakedown orchestrated by one law firm in Mississippi. That’s not what an influential industry looks like.

  18. The problem lies in that BAT say they dont market to under 18 year olds, but the statistics say otherwise, this is total nonsense.

    There are no publicly available statistics which is going to tell you the marginal increment to sales among a demographic segment attributable to an ad.

    Taxes are just too appealing to the government.

    Excise taxes amount to about 4.5% of public revenue. About 12% of all excuse revenue is attributable to tobacco taxes. The imposition of excises will reduce consumption. I thought you were against tobacco consumption. Or is it your contention that tobacco should be banned? Kinda foolish…

Comments are closed.