I’m a big fan of free speech.
As an American, I respect the First Amendment and what it was created to protect. But I also believe that free speech has consequences.
In my home, I regulate and exact those consequences. I love having people over to discuss important issues, argue about solutions, and figure stuff out. Still, If I invite you over for dinner and you insult my wife, make derogatory comments about my friends, and tell lies to my children, you’ll be out the door in a heartbeat, and you won’t be coming back.
As a blogger, I have a different sort of house to run. We’re all here, presumably, to help each other discover and defend the truth, and hopefully to meet like-minded people along the way.
I read every comment that gets posted (even if I only skim it.) I don’t always respond. Can’t. Too much else to do. I expect my commenters will have disagreements, get in arguments, even get mad once in a while. All fair. And I expect grownups to be grownups and self-regulate.
But if I see anything I believe has crossed the line into abusive, counter-productive, or otherwise excessively obnoxious behavior, I’ll step in. If I have to, I’ll kick you out or close down the thread. I’d rather not, but there are times when if I don’t, it creates too much hassle for me. As the Man in Black so eloquently said:
Once word leaks out that a pirate has gone soft, people begin to disobey you, and then it’s nothing but work, work, work all the time.
Please let’s be civil. I try to be fair and lenient, but if it comes down to it, my reign can become arbitrary and capricious.
In other words: Don’t make me smite you.
I get a lot of email from readers these days. I have an autoresponder so you know I received your information. I try to get to every email, but sometimes — especially if the email is long or complex — things stack up in my big, fat, procrastination pile and sit there for a looooong time.
Short, sweet emails are best. Medium emails (if thoughtful) are cool. Novellas are a no-no.
I also adhere to the rule that if you email me, I can quote it in whole or in part for public consumption or private correspondence unless you specify otherwise. Please consider this when writing.