My Comment Policy

At Debunking Christianity I welcome most anyone to comment on what is written. I like the challenge of educated discussions between educated people. I think educated people can disagree agreeably. Only people not fully exposed to alternative ways of thinking will claim their opponents are stupid merely because they disagree. But not all Christians who visit here are educated. I get a lot of utterly ignorant and even some threatening comments from Christians ("You are going to hell Loftus.") These kind of comments will not be tolerated. Nor will I tolerate personal attacks against me coming from my side.

One thing I demand is that people recognize this is my house. You are asked to be respectful of me in my house. Them's the rules. At my sole discretion I might edit or delete a comment or even ban a person for one or more of the following offenses, especially if you personally slam me. Once banned you will probably never be allowed back so be careful.

Utter Ignorance. This is not a site for grade school level arguments. First finish High School, take a few college classes and then come back after doing so. You risk being mocked or banned otherwise.

Criminality. Any attempt to harass, threaten, slander, or incite violence against any person is punishable by immediate banning.

Offensiveness. Racists, sexists, gay bashers and other noxious bigots will be swiftly banned.

Sock-puppetry. Choose an identity and stick to it. You can comment anonymously if you wish, but don't try to masquerade as multiple people or pretend to be someone you're not.

Unoriginality. Your comments should be your own thoughts, in your own words. When quoting relevant material, try to keep the excerpts brief. Don't say the same thing over and over again.

Preaching. Theist commenters are welcome, but bear in mind that atheists do not gather here just so that we can be more conveniently proselytized. Attempts to sermonize or recite apologetics at us are frowned upon. A good rule of thumb is that if you want to have a genuine conversation with us, you're welcome to stay; if you only want to convert us, you can expect to be shown the door.

Soapboxing. Related to both unoriginality and preaching, this occurs when a person has a pet cause which is the only thing they ever want to talk about, regardless of the topic of the thread. If all your comments keep coming back to the same point, you're soapboxing. Don't do this.

Imperviousness to reason. I expect that people who debate here will show at least some responsiveness to arguments raised against their position. If your typical response to a counterargument is to repeat your original argument in unchanged form, your presence will soon grow tiresome. Acknowledge the things that other people say to you and respond accordingly.

Thread derailing. A certain amount of topic drift is inevitable in any long-running discussion, but I reserve the right to take action against people who are consistently responsible for thread derailing.

Trolling and/or Spamming. The essence of trolling lies not in any single comment, but in a pattern of behavior: persistently antagonizing other commenters, monopolizing the discussion, commenting just to provoke a response, and generally behaving in a way that produces more heat than light. Trolling is annoying, unproductive, and a drain on other people's time and energy. Trolls are not welcome here, and I will not hesitate to remove them in order to clear the air for legitimate, good-faith discussion.

(I was helped significantly above by Daylight Atheism's comment policy.)

Now I should say something about the use of mockery. I have been arguing my case online for several years and I grow tired of hearing the same ignorant things over and over from the other side. I am polite and civil with people who are respectful of me though. But any believer who comes here to straighten us out with their answers in a demeaning way will probably be treated with mockery, usually by my posse of skeptical commenters. If you are respectful of us and show a willingness to learn I will try to ensure you will not be mocked. Of course, we can lose our patience with you. And I'm tired of being the hall monitor. But you will probably get what you dish out, so be forewarned. Repeated ignorance, an unwillingness to learn from us, and preaching will draw our fire from time to time.

Other than that, have some fun; learn something from each other, and disagree all you want to here at Debunking Christianity. But if you’re a Christian, be forewarned that your faith may just take a hit.

John W. Loftus

[First posted on 2/20/11]