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The Comment Policy Is “Victorian Sufi Buddha Lite”

There is an ancient Sufi saying beloved of the Buddha, which like a surprising number of ancient Sufi sayings beloved of the Buddha, originates from a book of preachy Victorian poetry. It goes:

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates; At the first gate, ask yourself, is is true? At the second gate ask, is it necessary? At the third gate ask, is it kind?

Slate Star Codex has lower standards than either ancient Sufis or preachy Victorians, and so we only require you to pass at least two of those three gates.

If you make a comment here, it had better be either true and necessary, true and kind, or kind and necessary.

Recognizing that nobody can be totally sure what is or isn’t true, if you want to say something that might not be true – anything controversial, speculative, or highly opinionated – then you had better make sure it is both kind and necessary. Kind, in that you don’t rush to insult people who disagree with you. Necessary in that it’s on topic, and not only contributes something to the discussion but contributes more to the discussion than it’s likely to take away through starting a fight.

Nobody can be kind all the time, but if you are going to be angry or sarcastic, what you say had better be both true and necessary. You had better be delivering a very well-deserved smackdown against someone who is uncontroversially and obviously wrong, in a way you can back up with universally agreed-upon statistics. I feel like I tried this here and though a lot of people disagreed with my tone, not one person accused me of getting the math wrong. That’s the standard I’m holding commenters to as well. And it had better be necessary, in that you are quashing a false opinion which is doing real damage and which is so persistent that you don’t think any more measured refutation would be effective.

Annnnnnd sometimes you might want to share something that’s not especially relevant, not the most important thing in the world – but if you do that it had better be both true and kind. No random interjection of toxic opinions that are going to cause World War III. No unprovoked attacks.

Threats, doxxing, most things people would call “slurs”, et cetera fail this test as neither kind nor necessary. You people are smart and don’t need me to explain this further.

I feel like these standards are pretty lax. In fact, they probably permit most spam – this spambot saying “this is a wonderful piece of writing” is both true and kind – so I will inelegantly add a kludge that spam is also unacceptable (I have it on good authority that this was in the original Sufi saying used by the Buddha as well). Remember that before you worry this is too unduly restrictive.

I don’t always read comment threads, and when I do my brain automatically screens out comments it expects to be low-quality, and even on the rare cases where I see them I usually figure that even if I don’t like them other people might. What I’m saying is I’m a terrible moderator and will never catch bad comments if left to my own devices. So I have added a REPORT button to comments. Right now it’s large and ugly and if somebody wants to play around with the theme so that it’s less obtrusive I’ll give them the access to do so. Please use the REPORT button if you think a comment violates the above policy, and please err on the side of using it too much rather than too little.

I will review reported comments. If a comment gets only one report, I will have a strong bias towards not reacting, unless it is so obviously bad that something must be done immediately. If a comment gets three or more reports, I will have a strong bias towards reacting, unless it’s obvious to me that the reports are malicious or the comment can’t possibly be construed as violating the policy.

If I need to react to a comment, I will delete it only if it is dangerous to leave it up (ie comment contains people’s personal information, comment contains strong basilisk, comment is so offensive that Internet mob would use my leaving it up as an excuse to attack me). Otherwise, I will leave it up but post in large red letters below it “COMMENT VIOLATED POLICY FOR [REASON]. POSTER BANNED FOR [TIME]”, for approximately the same reason all those people in Game of Thrones leave bloody heads on spikes in front of their castles. For first offenses, bans will be for about a day. For second offenses, bans will be for about a month. For third offenses, bans will be for about forever.

Many people have told me I have too many low-quality commenters, especially on the Reactionary side of the aisle (this is not persecution; even some Reactionaries have told me this). So I will be trying to cultivate a very itchy trigger finger for a while. If you want to help, please cultivate a very itchy REPORT-button-pressing finger. You can also volunteer to be a moderator, but only if I know you pretty well in real life and have some reason to trust you and I get some kind of moderator system up and running.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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102 Responses to The Comment Policy Is “Victorian Sufi Buddha Lite”

  1. Andy says:

    comment contains strong basilisk

    What is basilisk?
    Otherwise, the policy looks good. It’ll take some practice, but I can live with it.

    • Scott Alexander says:


      …uh, sorry. A basilisk is an information attack that can directly hurt someone in a way more fundamental than just telling them something they didn’t want to hear.

      In a very strict interpretation, it might include things like flashing images that cause seizures.

      In a less strict interpretation, it might include goatse or other deliberately disgusting and shocking images.

      In an even less strict interpretation, it might include things in the general class of knowingly telling an anorexic person that she’s really fat and needs to go on a diet, in order to trigger her illness.

      In a very loose interpretation, it might include certain complicated decision theoretic proofs that “prove” that you should kill yourself or torture yourself or something which are sometimes very hard to find the flaws in and so make people who take decision theory seriously very upset and tempted to try it.

      • Andy says:

        I am confused??? And a little frightened?
        Is this some LW slang that I haven’t run across yet?

        EDIT: Explanation is understood.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          I just edited the comment above to be less glib.

        • ozymandias says:

          A basilisk is an idea that hurts people. Think like a trigger– if some people read, say, a very vivid description of a rape, they will have a flashback to their own rape. Some people think there are basilisks that are bad for all people, not just for susceptible people, and Scott reserves the right to delete those.

          ETA: And I see Scott has already edited his comment to explain it. Sorry.

        • Andy says:

          A basilisk is an idea that hurts people. Think like a trigger– if some people read, say, a very vivid description of a rape, they will have a flashback to their own rape.

          Trigger’s a good example. A Universal Trigger.
          Out of curiosity, Scott, have you ever seen any Basilisk in the comments of this site? I’ve now read Roko’s Basilisk, but I honestly can’t imagine such a thing on this site that doesn’t fall under the heading of triggers.

        • Alex R says:

          I believe the term originated (in more or less that context) with the short story BLIT:

  2. Oscar_Cunningham says:

    I like the comments policy, although to be honest I’d trust you as a benevolent dictator.

    I’m seeing two “Leave a reply” forms, which is a bit odd. Maybe you broke something when you added the buttons?

    EDIT: Oh wait, it’s just so that you can post a comment before or after reading the comments. I see. I guess I’ve never seen a post before anyone’s commented before.

    • Andy says:

      There’s always been two forms for as along as I’ve been commenting here. Are you seeing one above the block of comments and one below, as well as the one generated when you click “Reply?” If so, that matches my experience.

      • Oscar_Cunningham says:

        Yes, I just realised that. It was just that I was looking at the page before anyone else had commented, and so I didn’t realise how they worked.

    • Douglas Knight says:

      Another difference is that the first one has a preview and the second one does not. That’s because people who read the comments before replying don’t like previews.

  3. Erik says:

    I have one suggested alteration to make, which is that punishments should perhaps decay over time, with the record of offenses being gradually blotted out, such that a person isn’t banned for life if they have three bad days over the course of a lifetime where they post angry rants. This should be fairly easy to implement simply by being forgetful.

    Regarding the policy as is, perhaps it should be linked either in the header, near to “About”, or in the footer, near to this comment box I’m using now.

    And arguably, the spambot you mention in the kludge isn’t speaking truth (nor falsehood).

    • RCF says:

      If SA derives pleasure from spambots telling him that he has good writing, and the pleasure outweighs other considerations, why is he banning them? On the other hand, if it bothers him to have spam in his comments, then it is not kind.

  4. suntzuanime says:

    How likely are you to be persuaded that shaking someone out of their naively-unexamined beliefs and opening their mind to the possibility that they might be really truly wrong is actually an act of kindness?

    Yeah, I’m not buying it either. How likely are you to be persuaded that a bold, provocative claim which is not fully well-supported but reflects an additional side to the argument that the arguers currently incorrectly dismiss and whose effect on the discourse will be to move it towards a more correct position of uncertainty counts as “true”?

    How likely are you to be persuaded that a series of rhetorical questions makes no actual claims and thus stands as vacuously true?

    • suntzuanime says:

      If a statement is polite to interlocutors but tends to have the effect of undermining society at large, does that count as kind or unkind?

    • Sniffnoy says:

      Yeah, I’m not buying it either. How likely are you to be persuaded that a bold, provocative claim which is not fully well-supported but reflects an additional side to the argument that the arguers currently incorrectly dismiss and whose effect on the discourse will be to move it towards a more correct position of uncertainty counts as “true”?

      Well, it’s generally possible to be kind about such things, I think. Explicitly marking it as a claim rather than just a fact helps, I think. Instead of “The United States is really governed by a conspiracy of antarctic giraffes“, “I claim the United States is really governed by a conspiracy of antarctic giraffes“. Or, if you don’t want to go so far as actually stating it as a claim, “You would do well to consider the possibility that the United States is really governed by a conspiracy of antarctic giraffes.” Or “I think you’re all missing the distinct possibility that the United States is really governed by a conspiracy of antarctic giraffes.” Etc.

      • suntzuanime says:

        It’s not possible to be kind about shaking someone out of their naively-unexamined beliefs and opening their mind to the possibility that they might be really truly wrong.

        “Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of ‘touching’ a man’s heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it.”
        — G.K. Chesterton

        • Andy says:

          My reading of this, is that if you are opening someone’s mind to a different possibility, it might be “necessary,” and you can go through the “Truth” gate by supplying evidence as to why you may believe it to be true. Then you can avoid questions of the “Kind” gate, as long as you’re not explicitly rude.

        • Zathille says:

          I’d argue that shaking someone out of their own beliefs is outright impossible, such a task befalling the holder of such beliefs themselves. ‘Tis an oft-repeated cliché, and deservedly so, that to engage in a discussion expecting to change the minds of others is an effective way to disappoint oneself.

          That is not to say, of course, that discussion is inherently fruitless and people’s beliefs fixed and intrinsic to their persons. Its aim, I believe, is to present facts and analyses relevant to a given matter, with arguments and counterarguments for any sides engaged in it.

          The point of encouraging ‘niceness’ (As far as I understand) is not to blunt the edge of one’s criticisms, but to avoid certain signalling vices that may hinder the discussion. Examples may include an argumentative style that implies bad faith and ill-will on part of one’s critics, name-calling as well as assorted unpleasantness which were cause for such a comments policy to be enacted. None of the above-mentioned, I believe, add anything of value to the discussion. On the contrary, I’d argue they only serve to distract and entrench the positions of the participants as a venue for honest inquiry degenerates into an interpersonal honour arena.

        • fubarobfusco says:

          Isn’t there another Chesterton line about [something-or-other] not having been tried and found wanting, but found difficult and not tried? I wonder if that might apply here.

        • Jai says:

          Have you checked? My anecdotal experience is that it’s much easier to change my mind when I feel I’m on friendly and safe ground. When things are adversarial, I usually lurch into “I must defeat my enemy and win this argument” mode.

          Edited to add: The Backfire Effect seems like a thing worth considering here, though I’m not sure if there’s research on how the presentation of the contradictory information effects changes in beliefs.

        • suntzuanime says:

          Two interesting methods to get people in a state where they might be willing to change their minds:

          1: The Last Psychiatrist method: bait them into agreeing with a deliberately weak position you advance, and then brutally undercut it. The shock wrenches their mind open, and if they’re watchful for traps in the future, that just means they’re actually evaluating arguments to see if they have hidden weaknesses, which is what you want.

          2: There’s also the method, which I have seen Yudkowsky use but would feel bad naming after him, where you present a case but wait until very late in the argument to present a piece of crucial context that radically changes their instinctive response. This sets the sunk-cost fallacy against their knee-jerk reaction, hopefully suppressing it long enough for them to actually consider the argument. (An example of this in practice is in Three Worlds Collide (spoilers): Yudkowsky waits until fairly late in the story to introduce legalized rape, until we’ve already been nodding along to his metaethical points for a while.)

          There’s also the Moldbug method where you write so much you become a one-man social proof, but that’s not really well-suited to comments.

          My point is that these methods are not Kind, and with the amount of deception involved I have a hard time calling them True. Maybe they’re too Dark Side for this comments section. But you can’t do brain surgery without cutting open the patient’s skull, so without access to bonesaws all we’ll be doing is throwing rocks uselessly at each other’s heads.

        • suntzuanime says:

          There’s also what I guess I would call “heightening the contradictions”: calling people out on their hypocrisy can be effective, because it means they have to pick sides instead of having it both ways.

          This is certainly Unkind, but both True and Necessary, so it passes. But the issue is that hypocrites will see it as Unkind, Untrue, and Unnecessary, and will report it. And you can’t necessarily be trusted to mediate between the two correctly, and your moderators less so.

          I sort of suspected this was the primary purpose of the new rules, actually, because a comment section where hypocrisy is unwelcome is an unwelcoming comment section to hypocrites, i.e. people. But you claim not to want to be rid of me so I dunno.

        • Anon says:

          I’m preeeeeety sure Yudkowsky didn’t want us agreeing with the future society that legalized rape.

        • suntzuanime says:

          The legalized rape isn’t the core issue he’s trying to promote – rather, the possibility of coming to accept rape is the crucial context that would have led us to dismiss his ideas out of hand if he’d introduced it earlier.

          Many people dismissed it out of hand on that basis anyway, but what can you do.

    • Watercressed says:

      How effective will appending “OR 1=1” to a questionably true comment be?

      • Me says:

        That would make the comment in question a tautology, thus ensuring that it passes the “truth” gate.

        However, a tautology conveys no information, and so does not contribute to the conversation. Thus, it fails the “necessary” gate.

        Therefore, we arive at the conclusion that it is permited to post such a comment iff the comment in question is kind.

        Q. E. D.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        I endorse this comment but I also endorse Me’s response.

  5. St. Rev says:

    Anyone else fretfully examining their own past comments now?

    • Andy says:

      Yep. I am repenting many, many sins. Especially from the Anti-Reactionary FAQ, Empire/Forest Fire, and the Left-Libertarian Manifesto comment threads.
      Scott, do you sell indulgences?

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Comment policy does not apply retroactively.

    • Sniffnoy says:

      Mmm. I’m wondering what the bounds of “necessary” are. Like this comment I wrote recently — it’s not exactly on topic, and it’s not exactly responding to anything Andy himself actually did, but I feel like it was pretty necessary to point out the problem with the simple statement “feminism is complicated” or “feminism is not a monolith”.

    • Randy M says:

      I don’t think I’ve violated it often, but I do fear I rarely live up to the “quality commentator” bar nonetheless.
      Being able to edit and delete shall help kill comments that are simply noise, I think.
      Hmm, it might be interesting to have an “auto-delete after x hours” function on ones comments, when one wants toparticipate in an ongoing conversation but not necessarily write something worth preserving in internet stone.

  6. Daniel Speyer says:

    I spent a few minutes in firefox’s css editor and concluded that float:right;color:#e22; looks pretty good for the report link. I tried a couple of borders and color reverses and they were all too prominent (at least unless the reply link was similarly modified).

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Can I give you access to the code and you can put this in? I can’t figure out where it should go. Email me at scott[at]

  7. Alexander Stanislaw says:

    That report comment button is a bit too close to the reply button. It is also an eyesore, can you put it in the top right hand corner? Maybe as a flag icon instead of “report comment”, or least in smaller font?

    I think this is a good comment policy. It’s good to have in writing in for reference. Most people won’t read it, but you can direct people to it if they have questions.

    • Heather Gaye says:

      Try: {
      color: #C5C5C5;
      font-size: 11px;
      position: absolute;
      right: 10px;
      top: 5px;
      } {
      color: #FF4B33;

      • Alexander Stanislaw says:

        Sorry, I don’t understand, do I write that somewhere and it changes the formatting for me?

        • do I write that somewhere and it changes the formatting for me?

          Yes, but where you write it depends on the browser and might require an browser extension. I think “user css” is the term for it.

    • I am a web developer and not a web designer, but my feeling is that if Scott can’t find a nice-looking icon to act as the “report comment” button, it would be best changed to a single word (“Report” or maybe “Flag”), and put on the same line and in the same font as the “Reply” button. Possibly erring on the side of having many spaces between them to reduce mis-clicks.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I agree but don’t have the programming skill to change the original. Can I give you (or Heather) access to my account and you can do the necessary work?

  8. Kiboh says:

    I’d suggest a minor tweak to that system. If a comment is bad enough to ban someone, then you’d probably want to put the “banned for $TIME because $REASONS” notice at the TOP of it, not the bottom. That way, it’ll act as a de facto trigger warning, as well as letting people who just don’t want to read troll posts avoid wasting their time on it.

  9. Kiboh says:

    Just noticed that I can report admin comments, as well as the preview for my own comments. Not sure what, if anything, to make of that.

    . . . okay, the curiosity is overwhelming, I’m reporting my future self to see what happens.

  10. Vilhelm S says:

    I like the standard “on topic and contributes more to the discussion than it’s likely to take away”, but I don’t feel “necessary” is very mnemonic for that. For me that word suggests something like your standard for deleting comments, “not taking this action would cause unacceptably bad consequences”.

    Maybe you don’t make this distinction because you’re a utilitarian, so everything that is good is mandatory? 🙂

  11. Damien says:

    Belated comment policy ideas I just had:

    * comments must be in E-prime (I wouldn’t like this myself, but the idea amuses.)
    * comments must conform to the limits of Kadmahmic conlang grammar: no unquantified plurals, certainty indicators, evidential indicators, only hypothetical imperatives (“You should X if you want Y”, AIUI)

    • Damien says:

      I also think the Reply and Report links should be more similar and co-linear. Though maybe not exactly the same, to minimize mistakes? But right now Report is far more prominent, which seems odd.

      Another inspired though, per my comments in the previous thread: one thing I’ve noticed is people who stay within the rules, avoid personal attacks, even sound reasonable a lot of the time… yet have a cumulative effect of a wearying miasma. Part of it’s disagreeing with them, but not all of it: I ignore-listed one person who’s mostly on “my side” but was too damn annoying. A lot of it seems to be unwearying argumentativeness, or nitpickery, or both, or just intrusiveness.

      Sorry I can’t be more specific, esp. without naming names I don’t want to. But just something to look for, maybe: comments that aren’t clearly untrue or unkind, and individually okay, but cumulatively toxic. Given your moderation style, these may be invisible, especially since no post is itself reportable. But I figured I’d raise the concept, at least.

      • Kaminiwa says:

        Oh goodness, second that. I am so sick of running in to variations on that problem person every time I try to join an online gaming community (I’ve had the issue far more places than just

      • Scott Alexander says:

        Realistically I am never going to notice this, so shoot me an email if you encounter this problem.

      • Alexander Stanislaw says:

        Now I’m curious. I can’t say I can relate. I’m also concerned that I might be that miasma.

    • Daniel H says:

      Could you please provide a link for what you mean by “Kadmahmic conlang”? Googling returns 0 results for “Kadmahmic conlang” or “Kadmahmic constructed language”, 0 results with three suggested but useless alternate searches for “Kadmahmic language”, and 0 results for “Kadmahmic”, but automatic change the search to the to the useless “Kad Mahmic”.

      Also, I’m unsure if this comment would have counted as true, kind, or necessary if it was just the request for clarification. I think it wouldn’t be true, but would be kind (because of polite wording) and necessary (because, like Vilhelm S, it seems that “necessary” means “conversation-advancing” in this case). I hope Scott posts a clarification or examples, given that I don’t seem to be the only person confused.

  12. Anon says:

    Even though obviously all comment systems are flawed and you don’t want to waste too much time optimizing this I think a couple minor tweaks could have large impact. Plus, let’s be real, you weren’t optimizing anyway. 🙂
    1. Part of the point of a report button is to let users know what sort of comments are acceptable. It’s sometimes tough to figure that out without learning from experience, and limiting people to three mistakes will ban a lot of people with high potential. Depending on what the goals of this site are, maybe that’s okay with you. My instinct is to first feel bad for the people being excluded though.
    2. I think most people banned for a month are likely to either create new accounts or lose interest in the site, so such a large penalty might be counterproductive. It would be better if you handed out bans more often (maybe even VERY FREQUENTLY) but with less severe penalties. That means that people get more feedback on what sort of behavior is acceptable, and that people don’t have as strongly compelling an incentive to create a new account.

    3. This also means that you don’t have to waste time or mental health worrying about whether or not a ban is truly justified, which I expect you probably would do otherwise.
    (A great punishment scaling to fix these issues would be: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ban. That’s a fun Schelling point and it lines up pretty well with my intuitions besides. The system is forgiving at first, but the punishment gets exponentially worse for those who won’t learn.)
    4. If someone goes several months in between offenses, they shouldn’t be punished as severely as someone who exercises a frequent habit of making bad posts. Any escalating punishment system should have a counter built in that resets after either a certain amount of time or a certain number of good comments, with an obvious exception for permabans.

    • Douglas Knight says:

      Or, for something simpler, simply warnings before bans.

    • Kaminiwa says:

      It’s interesting to think about #4 and what Damien said about people who are a sort of low-grade miasma without actually tending to break the rules.

      I think reconciling the two is pretty easy if you just allow for moderator discretion: If you’re posting pro-nazi propaganda or do nothing but nitpick, we can go to “ban forever” quickly. If you have a lot of good posts and 3 reported posts then the Fibonacci ban-sequence seems neat.

    • orthonormal says:

      Disagree. Allowing people too many chances and weak penalties makes for even worse disregard of the rules than would a lack of banning, for the same reason that charging people small amounts for arriving late to pick up their kids leads to them arriving later than before (because now they can pay a cheap price instead of feeling guilty).

      • Anon says:

        Your reference to that study seems flawed.
        First, it’s an agreed social convention that forcing someone to watch your kids is rude. It’s obvious to the parents that it’s rude to show up late. It’s much less obvious to bad posters that their comments are something to feel guilty about. Most bad posters feel misunderstood, not ashamed of themselves.
        Second, we’re not comparing social obligations to money. We’re comparing one penalty to another longer one of the same kind. Literally none of those things are the same. I have no idea why that study jumped into your head, because to me it’s clearly irrelevant.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        The psychology literature is very clear that certainty and speed of punishment are the important details, not size of penalties.

        Even the result you cite is about how mere scowls are more effective than small fines. What is important is that it is considered punishment.

    • Ialdabaoth says:

      Instead of fibunacci, I’d recommend a direct doubling of ban lengths, with a “decay” rate equal to the next ban rate.

      I.e.: Do something dumb, you’re banned for a day and “on notice” for 2 days. Do something dumb while “on notice”, you’re banned for 2 days and “on notice” for 4 days.

  13. Oliver Mayor says:

    This Ancient Victorian Sufi saying, beloved by the Buddha, was used by none other than Inspirational Speech Socrates himself. That speaks well for your policy.

  14. houseboatonstyx says:

    As long as you’re tinkering, what about an additional Response counter at the very bottom of the page, so we can quickly find out how many new comments, if any, have been added.

  15. Daniel H says:

    How do the bans work? I don’t need an account to comment, there are other Daniel Hs who probably wouldn’t appreciate it if you banned based on name, and I have a nearly infinite number of email addresses (it would be literally infinite, but there’s apparently a maximum length for an email address, so I only have about 10,000 googol), as does anybody with a GMail address (although I’m not sure which of those would be recognized as valid email addresses by WordPress). In any case, you can’t ban by name or email address. The website isn’t required, and I also have a near-infinite number of those anyway. I also believe I frequently change IP addresses and other people use the old ones (though I’m not as sure of this because wireless networks are complicated).

    Thus, I don’t see how you can ban by name, email address, website, or IP address without it being either trivial to get around the ban, banning a large number of innocent people, or both. I think this is a common problem in a lot of websites, but exacerbated by you not requiring user accounts, and I’m curious how you handle it.

    • Eric Anholt says:

      I don’t think worrying about how the technology behind bans can be defeated is worth the time. Sure, if someone really wants to come in and make noise, they can find a way (and some will for a while), but having what they say repeatedly marked with “EVERYONE HATED THIS AND THOUGHT THIS GUY WAS A JERK — The Mods” is going to be demotivating for most people.

      I am a reluctant op on some IRC channels, and while we don’t have to ban often, I’ve turned around one commenter through temporary bans, and turned away a couple of others with only a bit of noise popping up from different IPs.

    • Matt S Trout says:

      Seconding what Erik said – I am a much less reluctant IRC op, and I’ve found that in the vast majority of cases whack-a-troll is not a game the troll chooses to play for that long before losing interest. A truly persistent troll is a truly annoying thing, but even across a couple dozen channels I only get one of those every year or two.

  16. If this comment gets rendered like it was in the preview the report comment link will be quoted.

  17. Avantika says:

    I also think the ‘report comment’ button should be moved far away from the ‘reply’ button.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Yes, I agree, waiting for someone with the computer knowledge to edit the comments plugin to agree to fix it.

  18. Wm Jas says:

    Surely “necessary” should be enough — or does that word not mean what I think it means?

    • Ialdabaoth says:

      The problem with “it was necessary to do X” as a defense, is that one can do X is many different ways.

      The idea here is, if it is necessary to do X, you must either find a way to do X with the truth, or you must find a way to X with kindness.

      If you cannot do either, then wait for someone else who CAN do X with truth or kindness to do X.

  19. Prussian Prince of Automata says:

    Not sure if this is part of the new policy, but one of my posts just got caught in moderation because it had too many links to citations (I think, it might have been for some other reason). This seems like a potential issue now that Truth is one of the three pillars.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      This has always happened to posts with too many links. I’m prepared to just approve them when I see them if it means I can avoid some spam.

  20. Contaminated NEET says:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    ― C.S. Lewis

  21. Michael Mooney says:

    How do I get myself on that spam list?

  22. Andy says:

    If I don’t check my comments regularly, how will I know if my comment got modhammered?

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