Update July 2018:

A regular participant found this week he couldn’t get the blog to accept a comment, and I’m concerned this may have been happening to others too.

He tells me that after he cleared cookies from the site the problem resolved.

So, if you’ve had problems commenting here, please clear your cookies (the site does not place many) and you should be good to go.

The participant had been concerned I’d quietly banned him. Please know that I do not ban lightly, and that only three bans have ever been necessary. This blog has always had good participants.

I would also never ban anyone without at least one explicit warning. So if you find you can’t comment it’s not that I’ve stealth-banned you without a word. That will never happen. It would be a technical glitch on your side (browser) or because you’ve included links (in which case your comment goes into a queue for approval).


Please don’t sign your comments with common first names only. I have regular commenters called John, Jack, Ian and Chris, but other people have also signed comments with those names and it can be confusing. At least give yourself an additional initial – be John P. or John S. – or invent a name to use on this blog, it doesn’t have to be a real one.

How commenting works on WordPress, by default:

The first time someone comments, it’s held for my approval. After that, the person can comment freely.

Nonetheless, any comment containing links is always held for my approval (because this resembles features of comment spam). So if your comment doesn’t immediately appear, this is why.

In this context approval means I see no reason the comment shouldn’t be posted. It does not necessarily mean I agree with it or endorse it myself.

I reserve the right to delete off-topic or abusive comments. Personal attacks on me or on other commenters are not welcome.

Do not attempt to use this blog as a soapbox for your idée fixe.

Fundamentally, I want comments to answer questions that have arisen, or add clarifications or interest in some other form. Disagreeing civilly is welcome. Trolling – posting to provoke – is basically boring, and can get you banned.

I keep a pretty close eye on the comments. If you make a comment in the wrong thread, please repaste it to the correct one, and I’ll notice and delete the mistaken one.

I do fix typos and formatting in comments, up to a point.

Je suis contente de voir qu’il y a quelques gens qui participent ici en français et j’aimerais souligner que c’est aussi bienvenu que l’anglais.


June 2017: A participant wanted two of their own comments removed retrospectively from a discussion thread. Removing these comments would have made nonsense of the thread, where several people had replied to points the participant had made.

I ended up anonymizing the person’s contributions to the thread instead. Later I removed some side remarks not relevant to the main topic.

This was a one-off. In general, assume anything you post here is written for all time. I’ll gladly fix inconsequential typos, though, if you ask me in a second comment or in email.