Posting Guidelines

Magna Carta

What you need to know to enjoy this site …


Guidelines for posting or submitting appropriate commentary on this site.

For additional guidelines for submitting manuscripts for publication on this site, see our post page “Manuscripts” in Writing NOTES.

When we have set site security to allow it, we encourage factual, objective commentary that meets common sense standards set below. We also encourage correspondence and manuscript submissions via e-mail. Direct site posting is generally restricted to selected content in the WordPress departments after the user has registered and logged in.

We support the Blogger’s Code of Conduct, drafted by Tim O’Reilly and currently (April 2007) being circulated for comment. is not an “anything goes” site.

What constitutes appropriate usage of a website that opens up its pages to comments and dialog from the world wide web? first went “interactive”in 2001, with our hand-coded “Megadb” flat-file database forums. At that time, we wrote:

“Safe Space: Databases, pages, posts, comments¬†and site records are generally available to all viewers in Search (browse) mode. The database services are offered for viewer pleasure, information and as a community service. To keep SummitLake’s¬†resources a “safe space” for the general public, please keep entries brief, courteous, and respectful of others.

All data on this site is the property of (unless otherwise copyrighted). This is a private site. Entry of copyrighted material, or abusive, defamatory or blatantly inappropriate material is prohibited, and may be removed by us without warning, at our own discretion. Please contact us to report abuse, or with any questions you may have about the database or this policy.”

Our experience as guests on other forums has taught us that guidelines are most useful as a reference for the “others”, the people who least often need them. High-maintenance users will usually split hairs on borderline issues while continuing to do what they always did. Not only do we want feedback from our users, we encourage lively discussions and spirited contributions. For this to work, we do expect invited guests to behave accordingly.

The WWW doesn’t stand for “Wild Wild West”. Check your guns with the marshal before riding into town. For the benefit of the community at large, and for the benefit of administrators or moderators who have better things to do than baby-sit each topic or thread:

Common sense is the golden rule. We provide more specific guidelines for administrators, moderators and users. Use these ONLY to help determine what is or might not be inappropriate behavior. Administrators and moderators may issue warnings or take stronger preventative action at their discretion. This site is under no obligation to arbitrate, discuss or hear appeals on actions taken to control what we consider to be abusive behavior.

The other golden rule: we publish what we like, at our own discretion. We do not have to endorse or agree with the published material of others, but it has to comply with these Guidelines, and it must (in our opinion) be well expressed, represent a relevant viewpoint or topic, and relate to general interests of readers who would frequent this site or its respective departments.

  • Ad hominem attacks: a general class of attack upon another’s arguments, position or character which substitutes unsubstantiated falsehoods, or unprovable smear, for facts. A smear undermines without actually addressing any issue. See our article “Rhetoric 001“. An ad hominem attack includes defamation of either individuals or groups. We don’t publish them.
  • Cuss words: God love ’em — at home. We have a cuss words filter now, which may or may not be installed on the web application one is using. The user may or may not get a warning: if someone had to come here to find out why a word they used caused their entire entry to evaporate, they’ve been warned.
  • Race, ethnicity, nationality, gender: attacks against entire classes of people are not tolerated.
  • Religion and Politics: Tread carefully. Keep comments focused and substantiable. While not banned outright, public discussions of these topics often become more trouble than they are worth. We harbor little tolerance for any form of dogma, including any form of dogma which pits one dogma against another.
  • Corporations: Keep comments focused and substantiable.
  • Hate Groups and Certifiable Bad Guys: Chances are, we don’t need instructions on why we loathe hate groups.
  • Off-topic threads: Not too likely here. When we do host an open topic or forum, or turn on “comments” on posts, we reserve the right to lock down runaway threads or comments.
  • High-maintenance users: no one on this site is paid to entertain or adjudicate behavior problems. Any issues will re resolved quickly on a case by case basis. “Two strikes” would usually be classified as a “fatal”. is under no obligation to warn of, or explain, actions taken to correct problems of concern to administrators, moderators, or the user community as a whole.
  • Subject to change and revision: Since there is no paid membership or subscription base, no consideration has been exchanged. There is no “agreement” to be modified or negotiated. Guidelines are subject to change without notice at the convenience of
  • Links, Advertising and Spam: Do not post any advertising or linked content on this site without our written permission. We do our best to blacklist after a first offense.
  • Privacy: We do not collect or share any data on visitors to this site. If a Facebook ‘Like’ button is clicked, our app will post the same information as would appear on your Facebook page.

Over the years, readers have, on the whole, been generously kind and supportive to us, and we’re grateful. Our usage guidelines are intentionally strict as a way of saying “thank you” to the 99 percent of you who have been so kind as to come back to visit us again and again, yet who effortlessly managed to avoid ever, ever leaving garbage in your wake.



last updated 3-16-2009

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