Comments Policy

When you submit comments or e-mail via our contact form, please consider the following, because by doing so you are agreeing to it:

GENERAL CONDUCT: Our first and perhaps most important rule was adapted from and perfectly communicated by honorary Scrutiny Hooligan Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in his 1965 novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater:

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies – God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

In other words, be lively, be friendly, be critical, be funny, be snarky, be strident – go nuts! But be civil. Don’t do anything in our house that you wouldn’t do in your own. We’re fans of people who know how to have a good time without breaking anything.

FIRST-TIME COMMENTERS: We currently require that all comment authors have a previously approved comment before it appears on Scrutiny Hooligans. What this means is that if you’re a first-time commenter, your comment will be held in our moderation queue until a site administrator can okay it. This is a one-time thing just to make sure that you are indeed a real person and not a robot, a spammer or a robot spammer. Don’t take it personally.

USING HTML: If you’re comfortable with using HTML formatting tags, feel free to use them to spruce up your comments. Just above the comments box, there is a list of acceptable HTML tags that you can use. Any tags outside of the posted list (such as image calls, javascript code, media embeds, etc.) will be automatically removed from your comment. One thing to keep in mind when leaving comments – any URLs that you post will appear as hyperlinked text. This is a handy workaround if you’re not quite comfortable with the anchor (“a”) tag. Also, inserting four or more URLs inside a comment will trigger the spam filter. We do monitor our incoming spam comments for false positives, and legitimate comments will eventually be approved by an administrator. Again, don’t take it personally if these aren’t retreived immediately – we’re all busy with jobs, families and sundry obligations.

EDITING: There’s nothing more frustrating and maddening than typing out a long comment only to find that you misspelled a word, forgot the old “I Before E” maxim, or accidentally left one of your participles dangling. By popular demand, commenters now have a five-minute window in which to make corrections to their comments after they’ve been published. We figured that five minutes was enough time to catch most errors in comments, which are usually short. The new comment editing function also includes a spellchecker, just in case the browser you’re using is old enough to not have one built in.

SPAM: Our policy on comment and e-mail spam is simple: We don’t like it. We don’t want it. We won’t tolerate it. Our Akismet spam filter catches about 99% of it, but every once in a while a few will slip by. These get deleted, and corresponding network and e-mail addresses get banned.

VALID E-MAIL ADDRESSES: Your privacy will be respected and, unless you give us express permission to publish it, your e-mail address, which is a required field in the comments and contact forms, will remain private. Any message containing an obviously fake e-mail address (like “” or “”) will be treated as spam.

FLOODING: You’ve seen it before, where someone leaves a long barrage of successive comments in a short period of time. This is known as “comment flooding”, and while in some circumstances can be considered useful (such as “liveblogging” an ongoing event like election returns, a city council or county commission meeting, trial proceedings, etc.), this is considered by many, including us, an annoying and abusive practice. We ask that you collect your thoughts somewhat and incorporate them all into a single comment if possible. If something slips your mind, feel free to leave another comment – we’re only human, right? But if we deem it to be abusive, comment flooding will be treated as spam.

SOCKPUPPETRY: Let’s say, for example, that one of our contributors posts something about Hubbert’s peak oil theory. If someone posts a comment reflecting a contrary view, we have absolutely no problem with that, but if the comment originated from a computer belonging to, say, ExxonMobil or Halliburton, we have a big problem. Let’s also say that a situation arises here similar to what happened with fomer Rep. Charlie Bass in New Hampshire during the 2006 campaign, where one of his top staffers took it upon himself to post demoralizing comments to local blogs in order to artificially deflate support for his opponent, Rep. Paul Hodes (who was elected in 2006). These are examples of “sockpuppetry”. All sockpuppet comments will be treated as spam, and a full disclosure statement will be posted in the appropriate thread by a site administrator. No exceptions. For an accurate and thorough definition of sockpuppetry, click here; by “full disclosure”, we mean this.


Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Godwin’s law is often cited in online discussions as a caution against the use of inflammatory rhetoric or exaggerated comparisons.

The rule does not make any statement as to whether any particular reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that one arising is increasingly probable. It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact.

So we’ll just put the kibosh on those threads that get all Hitlery. If folks do it over and over, they’ll get banned. We don’t imagine this will ever happen.

Here’s a shoutout to all of you who know exactly how to behave when in the Hooligans’ living room – with wit, style, information, and truth.