Forum Moderation Policy

The William James Forum is a space for discussing and exploring all things related to William James. We come from various ways of life, and we value the diversity of people and opinions as our greatest strength. Our community is the most important aspect of the site, and your comments and conversations are the best part. To ensure a safe and fun space for all, we expect those who participate in our comment threads to agree to do the following:

  1. .Treat everyone with respect.
  2. Do not use prejudiced or phobic language (including but not limited to comments on race, sex, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, religion, class, etc.). Note: this also applies to web links—links to pages with hateful, prejudiced, or phobic language or content that otherwise violates the policies outlined on this page will be unpublished.
  3. Do not flame, bait, or otherwise troll the comment threads. Under NO circumstances should this be used as a place to insult, attack, demean, slander, or otherwise hurt others.
  4. Keep disagreements civil, and remember that just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that he/she dislikes you. Disagree with an idea, not a person.
  5. Avoid name-calling, both in your comments and your choice of a username. Comments containing insults and name-calling will be unpublished.
  6. We ask that you keep all comments on topic and relevant to the subject matter covered in the original article/essay, particularly with regard to matters involving politics and political figures. Off-topic commentary on political issues and politicians will be unpublished wherever it threatens to derail or disrupt the discussion of the original post. In instances where specific political topics are introduced in and covered by the scope of the original post, we ask that you keep your political commentary civil and in keeping with the rest of the points outlined in this Moderation Policy (see points #3, #4, and #5 above, in particular.)
  7. We welcome counterarguments and differences of opinion as long as those differences are expressed in civil and constructive terms. Rude and blatantly dismissive responses do not further discussions and are often employed in an attempt to silence or discourage others from expressing themselves or joining in the larger conversation. Accusing others of having a hidden agenda or ulterior motives in stating their opinion, asking “So what?” or “Who cares?”, or telling people that their thoughts aren’t worth your time are all examples of this behavior, so please: be respectful and constructive in your responses and criticisms.
  8. We ask that you willingly be bound by the decisions made by the moderators. This means adhering to any and all warnings. Normally one warning is all you’ll get, so take heed. Repeat offenders will be banned from posting further comments.

Please be aware that replies or rebuttals which follow a moderated comment may also be edited or deleted, as needed—if the original comment was problematic or in violation of our community standards, chances are responses to that comment (no matter how well-intentioned) won’t make much sense without the original. While we will always try to respond to problems on the site as quickly as possible, there may be a lag between flagging a comment and moderator intervention, so please try to be patient and respectful until we are able to respond.

When necessary, we may close down particularly contentious comment threads, especially over nights and weekends when the moderation team cannot provide the constant coverage required in such situations. This is often a temporary measure, and the thread may be reopened as soon as the team is able to return to full-time, rigorous moderation of the conversation in question. Please note: After 30 days, comment threads on most articles will close automatically (with some exceptions for ongoing rereads, rewatches, and columns).

The moderators are the final judges of what constitutes a violation of these rules and will take whatever actions they feel necessary to address misbehavior, including, but not limited to, editing, deletion, or banning. This is a private community, and to participate in it, you must agree to express yourself in a way that does not violate these rules.

Some other things to keep in mind:

Duplicate comments and comments that are irrelevant promotion of products or services will be deleted. This includes any comments incorporating promotional links/links unrelated to the original post. Don’t spam us, or we will ban you.

Using so-called foul language is OK, as long as it’s used intelligently and not to attack/insult others. This, however, does not apply to hate speech (see number 2).

We believe in community-based moderation. In theory, anyone can momentarily act as a moderator as long as your action is warranted and in keeping with the spirit of this policy. If you feel that someone is being abusive or otherwise problematic, always flag for the moderator. However, overzealous vigilante moderation on the part of commenters won’t be tolerated by the site moderators any more than insults or trolling. On the flip side of the coin, if another user has stepped in to point out that you are in violation of this policy (or are otherwise acting like a jerk), take heed, cool off, and back down.

To sum up: Be nice. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

We hope that you enjoy coming here and being part of our community.