Eight Simple Rules…

Awhile back, we had tinkered with the idea of instituting a commenting policy for readers, but we decided that we’d fall back on the commonsensical rules in place over at Bitch PhD’s spot: don’t be obnoxious. But being obnoxious is kinda like being a racist: most never really think they are. (“Why, some of my best friends exhibit common courtesy!”) As our readership has grown, we’ve been getting more commenters (good!) which necessarily means more jackassery (bad!). In order to maintain an environment conducive to conversation — and not get your comment deleted, which we’d rather not do — we decided to codify some basic do’s and don’ts for specifically commenting here at PB.

There shall be no litmus tests for ‘proper blackness.’
Blackness is a fuzzy, complicated thing, and we’d really like to discourage essentializing it, policing it,  legislating it, or lambasting folks for showing insufficient fealty to some goofy, arbitrary Negro ideal. Calling Michael Steele a coon? Claiming __ is setting us back? Don’t do that, fam.This is the only thing you can do here that will get your comment deleted automatically.

No ad hominem attacks. Disagreement is good, but refrain from calling the mama of the poster/commenter you’re disagreeing with a dusty-ass mud duck.

Link game crazy. If you’re leaving a comment, we encourage you to use blockquotes and links to other sources.

The HTML for blockquoting is <blockquote>And then she was all like…</blockquote>.

The HTML for linking text is <a href=”www.url.com”>Thing being linked to</a>.

Also, if you’re tossing in a lot of links, your comment will get held for a second because of the spam filters. Hit us on e-mail and we’ll dig that jawn out. (We should also note here that all new commenters get held for moderation initially; once your first comment is approved your comments should show up immediately. Also, also: we don’t approve “anonymous” commenters. That is, if your comment has a clearly fake e-mail address  — “no@no.com,” por ejemplo — then  it won’t get approved.)

Arguing by way of assertion.
This is more of a personal peeve, but if you’re going to make a bold claim, be ready to back it up.

School us! There’s a lot of stuff that’s way above our pay grade, so if we’re misstepping somewhere or misinterpreting something, chide us and point out where we went wrong. We can take it!

Be verbose, within moderation. Yo, I appreciate what you saying right now, playboy, but there’s no need for your comment to read like The Illiad. As a long-winded cat myself, I know it’s hard. Exercise restraint.

Get tangential, but don’t derail. The best discussions always branch off into other, quasi-related realms.  Try not to use the commenting section as an opportunity to thread-jack or to speak to one of us directly. (Again, that’s what e-mail’s for…) Also, we know Michelle Obama is beautiful, brilliant and seems like an awesome person. It’s unnecessary to leave comments on posts that mention her in passing that read something like “Michelle is doing the damn thing!” or “Now every little black girl can dream of being first lady!”

Black Thought is the best MC doing it.
You can disagree, and we probably won’t dead your comment, but we will be side-eyeing you.



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • The operative question, when asking “is X a member of X minority group,” is “would a racist/misogynist/homophobe/anti-Semite/etc. think so?” However many long essays people like Debra Dickerson might have written questioning Obama’s blackness, the really important question, I’m sorry to say, was “would he have been served at a lunch counter in Alabama in 1955?” And the answer is of course not. Nobody knows the face of the oppressed better than the oppressor.

    There, I just broke #1, I think.

  • I don’t believe all of PB staff agreed on #8. Just saying.

    • shani-o

      As the creator of Black Thought Appreciation Week, I shall not tolerate dissenting voices, even among my colleagues.

      • blackink12

        After a week of pondering this very subject, I’ll even take it a step further: Black Thought > Jay-Z.

  • GreenbackCafe

    Thanks for #1 — I appreciate the opportunity to listen in and, when appropriate, give my sympathetic white guy opinion.

    Hey, I wouldn’t have an RSS-subscription to this blog if I didn’t think it civil, interesting and worth my attention.

    I also think you do a great job of editing the comments.

  • MikeCee

    Ok. Those are the best eight rules for a blog eva. New lurker, enjoying you. And yes, Black Thought is the best MC doing it. 😛