April 24, 2006

Comment Policy

I've warned several of you in the various threads that my patience is growing short. There are a few simple rules here. If you cannot observe them, keep your fingers off the keyboard.

1. Stay on topic. That means everyone. There are Reader Tips threads for link dumping and general commentary.
2. Cut the profanity - there are people reading who are on work computers.
3. All points of view are welcome, but trolling is not. Those who persist will find their access denied without further notice. On that score, let me deal with the "drive by's". Don't respond to them. (Troll definition)
4. This is not a chatboard. If you wish to pursue ongoing debate/chatter with another individual, get their email address and do it privately. Otherwise, send me a check for your share of the bandwidth.

Back to regular programming.

Posted by Kate at April 24, 2006 7:59 PM

What is your definition of "trolling"? I always try to raise important points with wit, humor, and incisiveness. Some of the other people around here, on the other hand, are animals.

Posted by: bigcitylib at April 24, 2006 8:20 PM

I consider you a troll. Is that a clear enough "definition" for you?

Posted by: Kate at April 24, 2006 8:23 PM

We are all, by definition, trolls. Unless you agree with everything the webmaster posts.

To clarify:

3. All points of view are long as they support Kate's point of view.

Posted by: Banned at April 24, 2006 8:24 PM

Is that all it is then? What you decide? How unfree. Given the definition you link to, I am definetely not a troll, and yet you call me one. That hurts.

Posted by: bigcitylib at April 24, 2006 8:25 PM

Thanks, Kate, for your clear definitions and for linking everyone on this blog to "Troll Definition." Some of us are new to blogging and weren't clear about what was allowed and what is discourteous.

I am happy to see that my gut instincts about ignoring trolls is the best policy. I figured as much...

Thanks for this site, Kate.

Posted by: new kid on the block at April 24, 2006 8:26 PM

Long overdue Kate. The longer those who come here for no other reason than to stir up emotions, and denigrate your content should go. If they disagree with your content 24/7 then they are only here to disrupt. You have a lot of regulars who are of mixed opinion about your posts, and most of these individuals are polite, stay on topic, and never dominate the threads.

The trolls on the other hand have no intention of being involved even in polite discourse; and they are push and push until they get a reaction.


Posted by: Debris Trail at April 24, 2006 8:30 PM

Thanks. Lets get back to some reasonable two way substantive debate. Its annoying as hell to see people just post but never back up thier arguments. It would be nice people, if we left personalities and name calling out of it. Its not a schoolyard.

Posted by: Ken at April 24, 2006 8:34 PM

Thanks Kate for keeping the threads clean and the site relevant. As I regularly remind myself, this is YOUR site and if used responsibly is open to many. The vast majority of the posters are responsible people and couch their opinions in fact. Those that engage in the drive by slagging are no more relevant than a child who "eggs" a house.

It is laudable that you take your responsibility seriously and keep your site relevant. It is unfortunate that you have to remind some to do the same.

Posted by: pilot at April 24, 2006 8:40 PM

Sounds good, Kate. I'll take that as a timely reminder for more temperate typing.

Posted by: blues rune at April 24, 2006 8:47 PM

In regards to the "bandwidth cheques"...
My advice is to chuck a few more ads up and make a little Ka$h. This is a new Canada, and capitalism will NOW BE TOLERATED...

Posted by: Knight of Good Mr. Iron Man at April 24, 2006 9:19 PM

Go for it, Kate! There's just a handful of them inflicting themselves on this site and it's readers. I think we all know who they are...and it'd be good to see the back of all of 'em.

Posted by: Dave at April 24, 2006 9:23 PM

Many thanks, Kate, for the "Troll definition" information. I'm new to this and learned a thing or two.

Posted by: lookout at April 24, 2006 9:54 PM

Hey watch it now, man
Watch it, watch it

Mattie told Hattie it's the thing to do
Wooly Bully

Get yourself a filly
To pull the wool with you

Wooly Bully, Wooly Bully
Wooly Bully, Wooly Bully
Wooly Bully

You got it, you got it

Posted by: Hans Rupprecht at April 24, 2006 10:15 PM


I heard about your declaration and I like it a lot.

I am also pleased to have read the links you provided. I also read a link on the importance of posting comments properly. I am guilty of type/don't edit/post/regret, but shall try to change that habit.

I know how boring it is to read poor spelling, run-ons, etc. I shall abide by the outlines of dealing with the undesirables ... I have been a proponent of that for some time.

Posted by: Duke at April 24, 2006 10:33 PM

Bottom line is that Kate gets to decide who the trolls are. As a paying host she's got the right. No problem for me so long as this space doesn't become a dull echo chamber for a particular viewpoint - a rightwing 'Kos'. Bigcitylib's opinions may be annoying but what lib's aren't? He seems to be dedicated to the lefty stuff he peddles, though, so I wouldn't be too quick to label him a troll.

Posted by: JR at April 24, 2006 11:06 PM

I agree, bigcitylib. At first, when you started your blog, I saw you do several activities I WOULD characterize as trolling, like posting the same long comment on several blogs simultaneously linking back to your site.

However, now, while you have viewpoints that are so outlandish that they're eclipsed only by your complete inability to defend them rationally, I, personally, for one, don't see your behaviour in presenting contrary views and debating individuals as a concern.

But, as they say, I don't pay the bills....

Posted by: Chris from Victoria, BC at April 24, 2006 11:21 PM

I share the same concern as you, JR. My only question now is is my comment about your comment inappropriate because it's not directly in response to Kate's post?

How I see blogging (for those blogs that have comments) is they are a wonderful way for the blogger to express themselves and their views and share news that matters to them... but by opening up a blog to comments, particularly a political one [say as opposed to something purely family/personal like mine, although I did have someone call me a *** (rhymes with hag) the other day, and I just responded "Intellectual giant." and left it there] is that you're expressly welcoming debate and for other people to express themselves and to debate (or express agreement with) not only other commentators about the issue at hand, but to challenge or agree with the blogger herself.

Kate may see things differently.

Posted by: Chris from Victoria, BC at April 24, 2006 11:28 PM

I am new to the net and I hereby promise not to respond to trolls and to try and figure out why my spell check won't work in the comments section.

Posted by: greg at April 25, 2006 12:10 AM

Kates Blog = Kates rules. Works for me!

Bye bigcitylib.


Posted by: CRB at April 25, 2006 12:17 AM

Declaring war on trolls is good for increasing readership, since it creates controversy. But calling bigcitylib a troll doesn't make sense. Is there any particular instance where they've posted randomly, swore, or acted like a troll. Frequently disagreeing with or proving you wrong, Kate, isn't trolling.

Posted by: Saskboy at April 25, 2006 12:18 AM

Additional resources:

RFC 1855, 1995-10-24: Netiquette Guidelines

Netiquette Home Page


Posted by: Vitruvius at April 25, 2006 12:37 AM

I didn't put those rules up to stimulate debate. I did not request feedback.

They are the rules. Respect them or leave.

Posted by: Kate at April 25, 2006 12:41 AM

I'll keep my lingo unsalted. No cussing for me. I know I'm bad for profanity, and if my posts get salty folks, say something. You'll get an apology out of it. Same for any trollish behavior I may display.

My personal word on that.

This is Kates house, if we can't be bothered to wipe our feet and be polite, She has every right to kick our sorry butts out the door.

Posted by: Albertan Technophile at April 25, 2006 1:25 AM

According to the archives, BigCityLib has, as Saskboy asks, "posted randomly, swore, or acted like a troll", in at least the following cases. (My appologies for repeating some of the language used, but this is a point of order.)

March 10, 2006 11:55 AM - The kind of fake cowboy talk by chickenhawks not old enough to have hair on their dicks, which seems to permeate this website [...]

March 9, 2006 09:19 PM - You clearly have shit for brains.

March 11, 2006 10:26 AM - My bottom line: Belinda explains that she left the Tories because they weren't Man enough for her.

March 23, 2006 09:27 AM - Conservative blogs are like porno groups; the women are mostly men pretending. It has to be that way. Otherwise, you people couldn't pick up girls on a radar screen.

March 28, 2006 08:33 PM - I personally think a guy that wouldn't want to meet Pam to discuss whatever topic is probably gay. I mean, there are other possible reasons. He might be entirely dickless.

March 29, 2006 10:21 AM - Kate, that is the biggest load of horseshit I've read on this or any other blog. [...] learn to write better.

March 30, 2006 03:18 PM - [...] the Alberta model--stick a tube in the ground and watch the black gold flow.

March 31, 2006 08:58 PM - Oh my! So many Conservatives to smite. [...] As to the rest of you, your blithering, and not very skillfully either. Buy a thesaurus.

April 19, 2006 11:36 AM - Tory Daycare plan. [...] get the Theocons to come out and argue that this is the daycare system mandated in the Bible.

April 19, 2006 10:42 AM - Interesting that you're talking about ammonia tanks the day after S. Harper issues his daycare dare.

April 21, 2006 10:47 AM - You clearly don't understand the nature of electric guitar. [...] If you did, you would not speak out so foolishly.

April 20, 2006 03:47 PM - I go wherever there are conservatives in need of smiting. There are a lot of conservatives here, so I am here alot, smiting them.

April 20, 2006 11:40 AM - The generation of snot assed little punks so well represented here on small dead animals.

April 20, 2006 11:15 AM - [...] your hapless blithering has given me too good an opprotunity to pass up.

April 20, 2006 06:57 AM - [...] They ought to force march every conservative out West to wherever they're keeping Jean Chretien, and make them kiss his ass.

April 21, 2006 12:32 PM - Harper has been deliberately asshole like [...] I assume he is reverting to form.

April 23, 2006 07:02 AM - Kate's off her Meds.

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 25, 2006 1:45 AM


Well, that's an easy choice.

I can think of dozens of blogs, left, right, and centre, but especially right, that allow debate. Before I participated in [what is no longer to be] the conversation here, I would occasionally visit because it's a good source of news.

But the key to a great political blog is debate. That's why Andrew Coyne, who I agreed with less often than Kate, had for a time the best blog going including in any US one. There were instances of rules mercilessly enforced (no libel, mainly), but debate from radical and prominent people from every persuasion.

So while I understand your wanting to keep comments on topic, and I like you personally since you've always been kind, respectful, and have gone the extra mile to be your decent self, and I agree with you on most important issues, you've announced that you no longer welcome debate.

The funny thing is that my debate was usually (not always, but usually) in support of ideas close to yours while bigcitylib is the complete opposite so mine would probably be more welcomed by you than his. And he was the one threatened with banning and not I.

I don't particularly like the guy (or girl). I've left one comment on BCL's blog and it wasn't flattering. But BCL is sincere in a nutty way and I respect sincerity and courage to express oneself.

If radical Islamic terrorists can threaten to cut people's heads off and blow them up over what are arguably offensive cartoons to Muslims, and you and I and most people here believe the cartoonists should be free to do exactly that to express their points in their chosen medium, then BCL and the threat he poses is very minor.

Yet it comes down to private property. It is your blog, and it is very successful. I'm sure it will continue to be so... although, unfortunately, with less of a free flowing exchange of ideas, support, and criticism (well, certainly less criticism) and a more top down one-way flow.

Best wishes and I'd welcome hearing from you at any time,


Posted by: Chris from Victoria, BC at April 25, 2006 1:45 AM

I don't see, Chris, how Kate's policy terms (or the history of netiquette) proscribe conversation or debate. When Kate says that this is not a chatboard, I understand that to mean that she doesn't want us wandering way off topic or behaving in a less than civil manner at *her* site. That seems not only reasonable to me, it seems like a good idea in general.

As far as I can tell, Kate has always let it be known when she finds us to be straying too far, and in general people have wandered back on track. I've been caught out myself on occasion too.

The problem arises when people, rather than taking a hint and behaving according to Kate's standards, or taking a hike, insist on behaving even worse. At that point, I see no problem with denial of access.

Even debate clubs have bouncers at the door.

There's a good essay titled "Minding Our Manners" by Theodore Dalrymple at The American Conservative ( ) that concludes with: "My father would no doubt have said that their innermost decency was the origin of their habitual good manners; my mother would have put it the other way round, that their innermost decency was the result of their habitual good manners. Without going quite so far as that, I think daily interactions are likely to be more pleasant in a society in which a degree of formality is required and admired than in one in which formality has been abandoned for ideological reasons. And, after all, small interactions are, within quite wide limits, what determine the quality of our lives."

It is possible to disagree with someone and still maintain one's manners, but I do think it is rude for one to participate at a private web site without respecting its owner's terms and conditions.

Posted by: Vitruvius at April 25, 2006 4:15 AM

Rules - wonderful things; properly used, they are liberating. Why is it that conservatives get this, but liberals don't?

Thanks, Kate. I'll stop "lurking" and start posting again. I'll try not track mud over your floor.

Hey, Vitruvius: your 1.45 post is great. Troll subdefinition - one who employs the "big lie" defense when called on his behaviour.

Posted by: Henry at April 25, 2006 7:36 AM

Good for you Kate, I have noticed that a few of the long-winded know it all's from other sites have invaded your site lately. They take issue and bash everyone they do not agree with. To them, comment then shut up. Most people here are intelligent enough to discern and make up their own minds about both the comments and the commentator. If you disagree with someone argue or discuss it with them elsewhere, I am not interested in having to read how right you think you are. Again, say your piece and shut up. Kate, take action, get rid of them and I think you will find even more people will take part on your Blog.

Posted by: Western Canadian at April 25, 2006 7:50 AM

I have never posted before, I started reading SDA during the last election campaign.
It is now the first site I check out after reading my emails.
I look forward to the different subjects Kate posts and all opinions.

Kate's site, Kate's rules

Posted by: Barbara at April 25, 2006 8:42 AM

Funny thing about blogs, they're meant for one way commentary. Lot's of talking not much listening. Is it time for a Canadian Political message board/forum?

Posted by: the bear at April 25, 2006 9:02 AM

I'm not sure whether I'm a troll or not. I frequently agree with the topic and general thread discussion but when I don't I become very vocal.

My byline is: Taking sloppy conservative thinking and tearing it a new one, usually with no class whatsoever. A different take on Angry In the Great White North

Does this make me a troll?

Posted by: Blogwell Fray at April 25, 2006 9:16 AM

Only if your skin is rubbery, and you have purple polyester hair growing sideways, Blogwell.

Post recent photo to confirm,then blog on.

Posted by: Douglas at April 25, 2006 9:42 AM

Kate, Thanks for the wakeup call. Going through the definition and associated links was a good refresher, especially for those of us who would like to be more articulate in our writing. I'm one of those who realize I should have paid more attention in English Grammar 101.

By the way, I'm sorry about feeding the trolls.

Posted by: Texas Canuck at April 25, 2006 9:44 AM

Since I started this blog, there have been 69,050 comments posted here. That is not a typo.

Some of you who have your nose out of joint should sit on the other side of this box for a while. I'm on dialup - while it takes most of you seconds to load a comments thread, it can take 2 or 3 minutes on this connection. Then, if I have to do cleanup, it takes minutes to bring up the admin page, delete, and rebuild it.

I cannot monitor the sometimes hundreds of comments made here each day, much less review each growing thread as they continue to grow.

Then, there are the people who email to complain about the other guy! Sure - if there's something particularly offensive, I need to know. But the complaints that "I'm going to leave if you don't ban Joe" are pretty childish. Don't send them.

This, all takes place, of course, in addition to daily maintainance to delete the spam attacks that sneak in each night.

I depend on the "regulars" especially, to behave as adults, and to ignore those who don't. If someone is particularly offensive or becomes a problem, they are banned - but in over 2 years, I've done so with fewer than 10 people, and most of those have been vulgar driveby's. (A drive-by is someone who surfs in, calls me a host of 4 letter words, threatens to kill someone, etc.)

Now, as I said, the rules are simple. They do not restrict free discussion or debate. I have one of the most open comments policies on the net, for a site that generates as much traffic as this one. If you can't live with that, then by all means, find another place to chat.

Posted by: Kate at April 25, 2006 10:23 AM

The Bear, there was, it was called the Babble on but it imploded recently I've heard. Granted it was admin'ed by a hard left admin, opposite to Kate's hard right administration.

"I didn't put those rules up to stimulate debate. I did not request feedback."
I didn't mean you necessarily did on purpose, but it's the natural course of most message boards I've seen, and like it or not, your blog has become a sort of message board. You could do like most message boards and purge those you don't like, somewhat at the peril of your popularity. You'll remain popular with people who slurp up koolaid, but lose a lot of credit with everyone else.

Posted by: saskboy at April 25, 2006 10:59 AM

Considering how few Liberal sites have open comments, and how many of the Libs threaten to track down posters they don't like, SDA is a breath of fresh air. Just look at Cherniak's site: It's suddenly a debate-free zone.

Posted by: Feisty at April 25, 2006 11:02 AM

Thanks Kate for posting the rules again. I appreciate very much the clean crisp debates we have on your site. Never feed the trolls!
O/T Westbank First Nations (Kelowna): I received email last night that they were going to have a protest today from 1-4:30, sypathy support I believe. Tell you that they will not be as brave to block the highway. The birdge access blocked would drive the people crazy here!Will let you know if anything goes down.
Love you site!

Posted by: MaryM at April 25, 2006 11:11 AM

Cherniak's is a debate-free zone? Have you read any of the comments over there? He tolerates more vulgar abuse from commenters than even Kate does. The only thing he changed was to disallow anonymous commenters because of some impersonating that was going on.

And I also take issue with the comment that most liberal blogs don't allow comments. Cherniak's does. Calgary Grit does. Wonderdog does. The Dan Report does. Dawg's Blawg does. Even McLelland at My Blahg has re-opened to all commenters after closing up for a while due to a lot of nasty trolling by both left and right. So which liberal or lefty sites are you reading Feisty. All of the big ones are open to comments. Not only that, but I'm not aware of any censoring going on that is any different than here.


Posted by: Ted at April 25, 2006 11:39 AM

Forgot to add me: Cerberus allows comments and, as a big lover of John Stuart Mill, I don't censor. Not even the trolls (unless it is libellous).


Posted by: Ted at April 25, 2006 11:41 AM

Hi there Kate. Since I started reading your blog site, "I was driving listening to the radio when I heard of your site". It has opened my eyes to new sources of info, "never knew of the expression internet trolls". Reading the comments, its a hoot. It also reminds me of a political correct joke that I was sent years ago, saved it on my computer and every now and then when the occasion calls for it I look at it and laugh. It would not matter if to some people that they are wrong, they will invade your space and argue that they have the right. You have always maintained that your site was only for opinions and to keep it clean. Stay the course and thanks Kate. Merle

Posted by: Merle Underwood at April 25, 2006 11:48 AM

First: I can't imagine doing all you do on dialup should I comment here about how chretien promised to give everyone high speed internet. Would a tip jar help or is their no faster line to hook up to?

I don't even wear a helmet when I ride my bike.
: )

Big city lib you live in a dream world. Try posting on babble a non lefty point of view and sooner rather than later your rights will be terminated.

This isn't a democracy its a site kate pays for if you don't like it start your own "successful" blog, I'm here as a guest not by divine right.

You don't see Kate trolling on your blog think about that. Could it be she has something to say that actually resonates in inetland.

Posted by: DrWright at April 25, 2006 12:05 PM

Well, sorry - this was the last straw for me. I was just telling someone the other day that the quality of your site had improved since the election. However, I am and have been concerned that your comments section has degenerated into a LGF-esque cesspool. I have a feeling your "new" rules will only accelerate this process. Ciao!

Posted by: Ian H. at April 25, 2006 1:18 PM

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out Ian. Ciao!

Posted by: Bums Rush at April 25, 2006 2:00 PM

Hey Kate, I see business is slow eh, nothing like provoking a fire storm with the Politicaly Correct types on here...


Posted by: tomax7 at April 25, 2006 2:17 PM

Yeah, why do the Lib's troll here? Like they don't have enough blogs to spew their oxymoronic logic on...oh say like the CBC.

Communistic Blog Committee.

Posted by: tomax7 at April 25, 2006 2:21 PM

Feisty, I run a site with open comments and I'm not conservative. Who are these people you refer to with closed comments, and why do you consider them influencial if they don't allow discussion or interaction with their readers? That's one reason Kate's blog holds so much weight, is that she has a community of readers held together by the ability to discuss news here.

Some people like Rick Mercer don't want to hire a moderator to moderate open comments, and I sympathize with Kate's plight since people with free speech are sometimes poo heads that get out of hand. That's why CommentsPlease blog arose, but it's had problems I've noticed, where it was shut down from trolling. Handling trolls, just like bullies, is a tricky matter where it's hard for everyone to win.

Posted by: Saskboy at April 25, 2006 4:17 PM

Thank you is extremely frustrating to find your most interesting posts ....riddled with useless noise in the comments.
I like participatiing on your blog but have found it impossible on many occasions.
Price of success? I guess!

Anyway thanks again.

Posted by: PGP at April 25, 2006 5:52 PM

"sit on the other side of this box for a while. I'm on dialup"
May I suggest "dialing" the Yellow Pages for a new communication company to deal with...

Posted by: Knight of Good Mr. Iron Man at April 25, 2006 6:21 PM

Knight of Good, you're not from SK, are you? ;-)
In rural SK, it's Sasktel or the highway when it comes to dialup Internet service, or you wind up paying long distance charges to call the ISP.
Off topic, sorry, but I thought Kate wouldn't mind me explaining why she's using dialup. [I'm battling by email with the Sasktel president right now trying to get unlimited dialup hours as an option for customers here, like it is in Manitoba].

Posted by: saskboy at April 25, 2006 7:42 PM

You Saskatchewanites ever think about getting satellite internet? It has come down in price drastically, but even if it hadn't I'd pay a small fortune to never have to use a dial-up connection again.

Posted by: JG2 at April 26, 2006 1:02 PM

JG2, that's a consideration, but so is cost. 2X satellite isn't cheap for one household, but then again neither is a second phone line and 1-way satellite too. And the latency isn't acceptable for some applications like games where ping time matters. Sending the signal into space and back makes about a 2 second delay.

Posted by: Saskboy at April 26, 2006 6:47 PM


Short answer is Kate's site is just too good and too addictive.

Long one is I was wrong. As I've observed over the past week or so, Kate tolerates debate. Often ridiculous debate on the left. I've been dismayed and just laughed out loud thinking about what qualifies for leftist "ideas" here. I'm really going to consider Jason Cherniak a deep philosopher by comparison if this keeps up.

She doesn't tolerate as much trolling as I would, but so be it.

I don't have to run a controversial cutting-edge site on dial-up.

Therefore, I apologize. Can I come out and play?

Posted by: Chris from Victoria, BC at April 29, 2006 7:16 PM