A number of people have wondered why their comments on a particular topic have not shown up on the site. The fact is, they have been excised.

Deciding which comments to allow and which to delete is an imperfect science if it is a science at all (which, come to think of it, it is not). To aid us all in understanding how to set a policy about comments that is fair and understandable, Alan Jacobs has made his first contribution to this site. He has pointed us to John Scalzi’s “How to Be a Good Commenter.”

Here are Scalzi’s 10 questions to ask before making a comment. (For a fuller explanation of each, click on his link above.)

1. Do I actually have anything to say?

2. Is what I have to say actually on topic?

3. Does what I write actually stay on topic?

4. If I’m making an argument, do I actually know how to make an argument?

5. If I’m making assertions, can what I say be backed up by actual fact?

6. If I’m refuting an assertion made by others, can what I say be backed up by fact?

7. Am I approaching this subject like a thoughtful human being, or like particularly stupid fan?

8. Am I being an asshole to others?

9. Do I want to have a conversation or do I want to win the thread?

10. Do I know when I’m done?

To which he adds, “No one said being a good commenter was easy. But the good news is that the more you’re a good commenter, the less you’ll actually have to think about being one before you type. It becomes a habit, basically. So keep at it.”

To which I add, we love having you as a part of our conversation about how to work out a practical conservatism to replace the shambles that is for some reason still called the Republican Party. You are as much a part of this project as we are. Ask Scalzi’s questions of yourself, be fruitful, and multiply.

ADDENDUM: Daniel McCarthy, ever the editor, asks me to warn that sometimes comments are swallowed whole by the spam filter. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen, and we still don’t know why. (We’re working on that.)