You'll find my e-mail address at the top of the left sidebar. When I receive e-mail, I assume that I can quote any or all of e-mails in the blog unless you specify that you do not want it republished, which I would honor, of course. Due to the overwhelming amount of e-mail I receive, I may not answer every one. However, I do read them all and try to respond when I can.
I've had readers ask if they can post messages to this blog. I'm inclined to say no, but if an e-mail is well-written and I'm interested in the subject, I'll occasionally post it myself with appropriate credit. I encourage anyone who thinks they'd like to write posts from time to time to start their own blogs. Blogspot and Blogger have free blog programs (they sell banner advertising for revenue), and Typepad allows a more professional look for a small monthly fee, which includes the hosting service. Typepad runs on a web-based version of Movable Type, which powers this and many other blogs.
Let me know if CQ inspires you to start your own blog!
When I began my blog, I was advised to disable comments as some blogs have experienced many problems with "trolls", but I think that the comments are in some ways the best part of CQ. In my definition, a troll is a commenter whose comments are off-topic and designed to insult other readers or us or to start silly flame wars. Threatening comments also are the hallmark of the troll. Any comments from trolls may be deleted by the author of the post at our discretion, with or without warning or notice.
However, I do not delete comments that disagree with me, even when that disagreement is handled disagreeably. I have a number of fine, intelligent readers who regularly disagree with me, and I appreciate their points of view. I love the debate, so please feel free to continue to post your disagreements. I also don't worry too much about foul language, although you should remember that cursing should be handled as a spice: too much and you overwhelm the meal.
I am not inclined to host long comments. Comments should be a reasonable length and address the topic at hand. Long jeremiads will get junked by me if they make it through the filters, especially those obviously lifted from advocacy sites. My decisions are final on that score. If you want to write long comments, I'd suggest starting your own blog.
I will rarely edit anyone's comments. I would be more likely to delete it altogether. I have had people ask me to edit their comments after they have been posted for accuracy or basic grammar issues, and I will do that when asked. (Hint: the Preview button is your friend.)
I use complex spam filtering on the blog, which will toss out comments coming from known IP addresses of spammers, comments with too many URLs, comments with URLs from known spammers, etc. I do not consider it a duty to do search and rescue on junked comments, so be sure that your comments don't bait the anti-spam processes.
People who conduct themselves in an abusive manner will get banned with no warnings. I'm going to apply this standard: conduct yourself as though you were a guest in my house. If you start calling me names or insulting my guests, I'll show you the door, and probably without warning.
Otherwise, banning will only be implemented when a troll refuses to get the message that their comments do not meet my guidelines. If you find you can't comment, drop me an e-mail and I'll see if I can fix the problem, but you'll have to tell me your IP address for me to troubleshoot.
... are enabled purposely on CQ. I like Trackbacks; it allows other bloggers to continue the debate on their own blogs and spreads traffic around. For those who do not know the etiquette on Trackback pings, you must refer to Captain's Quarters or one of us by name in your blog post with a link back to the post which you've pinged. Trackback pings for posts that don't link back to CQ will be deleted.
I don't know how the Trackback ping system works, although explanations are out there. If you have a Movable Type or Typepad blog, they're fairly simple to use. I'm not sure how to do it if your blog system doesn't include it. The same spam filters in place for comments work on Trackbacks as well. If your ping isn't making it through, it may be getting flagged as junk by that process. I understand that Blogger pings use URLs that don't resolve back to the domain name of the individual blogs, and they will almost always get junked. There's nothing I can do about that; you may want to ask Blogger, or use a manual ping system instead.
Mostly, I just want people to enjoy the blog and join in the community of readers at CQ without worrying about a bunch of rules. The only reason I'm posting this is to make sure you understand my outlook on these issues so that I don't wind up disappointing you later on. If you have any questions about these policies, feel free to e-mail us.
Thank you for reading Captain's Quarters!