To me the “female principle” is, or at least historically has been, basically anarchic. It values order without constraint, rule by custom not by force. It has been the male who enforces order, who constructs power structures, who makes, enforces, and breaks laws. - Ursula K. Le Guin
Regular readers already well-know that I am what one might call a pragmatic anarchist; though in principle I adhere to the Wiccan Rede, “And it harm none, do what thou wilt”, I understand that a society needs to have some rules because individuals’ views of what constitutes “harm” vary wildly. IMHO the best principle for government is therefore, in the words of Thoreau, “That government is best which governs least.” I do not mention this merely for academic reasons but rather for practical ones: up until recently my readership was relatively small and admirably self-constrained, but in recent weeks my popularity has increased dramatically and with it the number of comments and the breadth of human experience represented by my commenters. The practical upshot of all this is that while this blog used to be a sort of quiet tea party in which a loud or raucous individual stood out like a turd on a tablecloth and was therefore easily chastened by a glance from the hostess, it has now grown into a large cocktail party in which it is easier for guests to forget themselves and more difficult for your hostess, however vigilant she may be, to keep watch in every room all the time. So as much as it pains my freedom-loving soul to do so, I’m afraid I shall have to establish a few rules in order to keep the house from being trashed and to maintain a civilized atmosphere. With the exception of the first two, these aren’t meant to be rigid “laws” but rather flexible rules; if you technically break the letter of one but do not violate its spirit you’ll be fine. 96% of my posters have never even come close to violating any of these guidelines, so don’t stress yourself; I’m actually very difficult to annoy so it’s nearly impossible to do so inadvertently. You’d almost have to break one of the rules on purpose to get me to invoke it.
1) Please read my column of January 1st and understand that this is my blog and nobody else’s; I won’t put up with anyone telling me how to run it or what it “should” be, nor will I endure thread hijacking, spamming, or flooding of my comment threads with innumerable inappropriate posts. Such posts will be deleted without warning.
2) Anyone who introduces himself for the first time with an insulting, dishonest or trollish post will not ever make it to the board unless I choose to talk about the communication within the context of a column as I did on September 27th and December 27th. If the first attempted post is hostile but pertinent I may allow it through, but alter the identifying information so subsequent posts must still be moderated. So if you got a comment or two in but notice that subsequent attempts fail to appear, you might consider asking yourself why that might be so.
3) Please be civil; I had enough acrimonious argumentation with my ex-husband to last several lifetimes and I will not put up with it here. If the involved parties restrain themselves quickly I won’t step in, but if it goes on without sign of stopping I reserve the right to delete as many of the offending posts as I like. If I choose to do this, the posts of BOTH naughty children will be deleted. Remember Brandy’s mantra: “I will behave on Maggie’s blog, I will behave on Maggie’s blog, I will behave on Maggie’s blog…”
4) Please be pertinent; though I don’t mind if a regular poster occasionally throws out something off-topic, or if threads wander organically (which is practically inevitable when more than half my readership is female), that’s a far cry from constantly making posts which have nothing to do with my topic in even the most tangential and cursory fashion (see rule #1 above). WordPress is free; if you have an agenda you wish to advance, please get your own blog rather than repeatedly attempting to proselytize on my virtual premises.
5) Please, no manifestos; though nearly everyone needs to make a long post from time to time to say what needs to be said, if your typical post can’t fit all on one screen you should probably consider doing your own blog and just posting links. I’m not talking to those who are just naturally long-winded; if I made a rule against that it would be pot calling kettle black. I’m talking about those who cut and paste huge blocks of text, usually on many different websites.
As Le Guin says, I “value order without constraint” and prefer to “rule by custom not by force.” If you’ve been here a while and I’ve never complained about one of your posts I probably never will, and if you’re contributing positively to discussions I’m willing to look the other way even if you do break my rules once in a while. But if you’re here to make trouble or even if you’re just naturally cantankerous, you might want to keep these guidelines in mind before spending 25 minutes typing a post which you suspect I might delete.