I regret having promoted Richard Dawkins latest book. What I should have done is to suggest people refrain from buying it until we hear something from him that places his insensitive and idiotic comments, those uttered on PZ Myer’s blog Pharyngula regarding Elevator Gate, in some sort of explanatory context that makes Dawkins look less like the rest of the emotionally disturbed highly offensive lumps of drek that inhabit certain blogs which I shall not name. See, in that post I tried to do two things that miserably failed. I tried to demonstrate bridge building, and I said a very simple seeming thing that required more than a third grade level of comprehension to get. Fourth grade, at least. Bridge building with people who revel in bridge burning might be possible but it is not worth my effort*, and exposing slightly complex conversations to the emotional and cognitive borderline of the blogosphere is just asking for trouble.
That is context, background, but not explanation for something I want to make clear to you, dear reader. When I first started up the X-Blog, I had two goals, and both were formed in relation to my blog at Scienceblogs.com. The first was to separate out, most of the time, what I write about topically. I stated that I would not be held to some idealized version of topical separation that others might form in their fertile imaginations, but that I would more or less blog about science and science related topics (including science education and policy) on Scienceblogs.com and other political or social topics here on the X Blog. That has actually worked out fairly well, and I’ve not had too much trouble making that distinction.
The second objective was to move the free-wheeling no holds barred often nastier discussion over here to the X Blog, encourage those of you who, for some reason, have decided that being offensive is a good thing and part of your mode of expression, to take your severe tone and your snarky language here, to allow my Scienceblogs blog to develop a more PG-13 demeanor, in line with our National Geographic association.
With respect to my blog at Scienceblogs.com, that has worked fairly well. The offensive comments, those with the severity and snark and insult, most recently have only come from Climate Change Denialists and the occasional Nuclear Power Apologist. And, I have allowed the AGW denialists to have a bit of room in the commenting section for one reason only: To demonstrate to those just tuning in how far out on the fringe they are. But, as that has largely been accomplished, anti-Science yammering in general is now re-disallowed. Let the accusations of censorship Begin! I don’t care! I’ll delete them all! Bwhahaha!!
But with respect to the other part .. moving the drek over to The X Blog, I now see that this was a mistake. Drek is still drek. It still smells, it still annoys, it still serves no purpose. I learned this when the angry children of the blog that shall not be named came over to the Dawkins post and started giving me and various readers a hard time for not subscribing to their version of MRAdvocay or misogyny.
Now they are banned, and no longer welcome here. It pains me to do that because one of those assholes was actually someone I consider a friend. But a friend who has no ability to respect is not a friend, really. Might as well cut that bit of gangrene off sooner than later.
So now let me explain the new commenting policy to you. It is very simple.
The part where you insist that it is my responsibility to ensure your right of free speech? No. It is not. I am the arbitrary Hand of Blog which shall smite your comment any time I want to, and you are not welcome to do whatever you want at The X Blog. Not even a little. I will write my blog posts, you will read them, and you will comment respectfully to the other commenters and to me. And I will be respectful to you in return. If that is not acceptable, you should have little difficulty finding something else to do.
And there will be transgressions and regressions, and thus forgiveness. Up to a point.
I need to do this because I need to be more comfortable with certain things I’m doing. You may need to embrace this new approach for similar reasons, whether you know it or not, though I don’t expect everyone to feel the same way. And if you don’t feel the same way, you are of course free to express yourself.
*For those who take “it is not worth my effort” for “I’m trying hard to do it” let me be more clear: I am not interesting in building those bridges. Not. That’s a negative. Negation.