I am very grateful for the fact that so many interesting, intelligent and polite people post so many interesting, intelligent and polite comments at UR. At this point, I trust the collective judgment of the audience enough to say that if people stopped commenting, my ego would curl up in a ball and die at the sheer impact of their terrifying, irreversible and undoubtedly righteous opinion. And certainly, when I do become boring, I hope someone will tell me to stop.
However, since so many people do post comments, I feel there should be some policy. Etc. Ergo, I announce the following rules. Please follow them.
Rule zero: I will delete any comment whenever I feel like it. There is no appeal.
Rule one: before commenting on any post, please make sure you have read it completely, and followed any links in the text that it declares as must-read. (This is normally no more than two or three links per post.)
Rule two: when you comment, please try to either address your comment to other UR readers, or at least make sure it is something they will find interesting. Any thoughts meant only for me should just be emailed to me.
Rule three: when you state facts in your comments, please try to check them. I try to check my facts as well. When I am wrong, I hope people tell me so. While this hope may or may not be satisfied, and while it may represent a personal aspiration for a higher spiritual state which is not always reflective of my actual real-world behavior, hopefully everyone can at least share it.
Rule four: please try not to be rude to (a) other commenters, (b) other writers on the net, or (c) me. UR is not a tea salon. We deliver and receive sharp blows to the intellectual testicles. However, we are grownups and we endeavor to maintain a civilized decorum in all of our discussions with other grownups. The general principle is that you can get very rough with me, extremely rough with other writers, but only just rough with other commenters.
Rule five: please try not to post any comments that I would post myself, if I used sockpuppets. In return, I promise that I have never used a sockpuppet and I never will.
Rule six: please remember that I am not a Bond villain. Lots of people know my actual name. If you have any reason to care, email me and ask. In return, if you *do* know my actual name, or even just have a very good guess, please try not to mention it where search engines will learn to associate the two.
Rule seven: TGGP is restricted to no more than five comments per post.
Rule eight: I will probably continue my pattern of promising to respond to comments, then not doing so. I have no excuses for this. It is genuinely antisocial behavior. However, if your comment is in the form of a question rather than a statement, you can email it to me and I will try to answer it. While not exactly an inbox-clearing superstar, I am slightly better with email than with comments.