Theistic Satanism: Home > Blog network > 2007 concept > Rules
Theistic Satanism Blog Network, 2007 concept:
Tag topicality and other rules and guidelines
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2007 by Devil's Domain Press. All rights reserved.
- What are "tags" (a.k.a. "labels" or "categories") on a blog?
- Tags for automatically listed posts
- Why all these rules? - The blog network as a de facto forum
- Blogger discretion on comment policy
- Topics to be avoided in posts with some tags, but allowed with other tags
- Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only vs. Satanisms and society
- Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion
- Theistic Satanism troll playground
- Discussion about blog network administrivia
- Things we must avoid under all tags
- Other rules and recommendations
- Central enforcement of network policies
- What are "tags" (a.k.a. "labels" or "categories") on a blog?
Tags play a key role in the Theistic Satanism Blog Network and how it is organized. Probably the easiest way to explain what tags are is to show you some examples on different blogs.
On my Google/Blogspot blog, there is a list of "LABELS" at the bottom of the side panel on the right hand side. If you click on various labels, you can see that the label list serves as a subject index for posts on my blog. Observe also that there is a series of "LABELS" at the bottom of each post. When you click on any one of the "labels" there, too, you'll be taken to a collection of posts with that label on my blog.
The same is true on my LiveJournal blog too, except that here the labels are called "tags," and the tag list is now at the top rather than the bottom of the right hand column.
On my WordPress.com blog, the list of "CATEGORIES" is the second item from the bottom on the side panel on the left hand side. And, again, there are tags ("Posted in") at the bottom of my posts as well. However, on WordPress.com, if you click a tag at the bottom of a post, you'll be taken to a list of posts with that tag not just on my own blog, but on every blog that has used that tag recently on WordPress.com. But the "Categories" list on the side panel still serves as a subject index to posts on my own blog only.
Tags serve a number of different purposes. We've seen how they can serve as a subject index, and, on WordPress.com, a way of finding other bloggers who share your interests. They are also an aid to search engines (at least provided you don't use too many tags on one blog post).
The Theistic Satanism Blog Network will use certain specific tags in yet another way, as explained in the next section.
- Tags for automatically listed posts
Once the blog network script is completed, there will be pages on this site containing automatically updated lists of links to posts with each of the following tags on all eligible member blogs, a separate page for each tag:
- Theistic Satanists only (primarily spiritual topics, avoiding contentious social, ethical, economic, and political topics; comments requested from theistic Satanists only)
- Satanists and Pagans and occultists only (primarily spiritual topics, avoiding contentious social, ethical, economic, and political topics; comments requested from Satanists, Pagans, and occultists only)
- Satanisms and society (for discussion of societal and political issues, including the more contentious issues that are prohibited or discouraged under the first two tags; comment policy set by individual bloggers, usually limited to Satanists, Pagans, and occultists)
- Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion (civil and rational comments welcome from people of all religions and worldviews, including Christians and mainstream atheists; individual bloggers may elect to prohibit preachy/evangelistic comments)
- Theistic Satanism troll playground (maximally loose comment policies, keeping in mind the blog hosts' terms of service and our need to avoid or minimize soap opera)
Each blog post must have at most one of the above five tags. (This restriction will be enforced automatically by the blog network script.) Individual bloggers may announce additional restrictions on comments beyond those indicated by the tag.
A Theistic Satanism Blog Network member's blog(s) may be on any of the blog hosts discussed on my page about The blog hosts we use. The blogs need not be devoted solely to Satanism. General personal blogs are fine, as also are general scholarly, journalistic, or activist blogs, among other possibilities. Just please put one of the above-listed Theistic Satanism Blog Network tags only on posts that have something to do with Satanism. Only posts with network tags will be listed automatically on the above pages.
Why all these rules? - The blog network as a de facto forum
The automatically updated listings of blog posts here on this site will serve as a de facto forum. Each page of listings can be considered a de facto sub-forum.
Alas, the vast majority of high-profile Satanist forums have tended either to (1) not allow much dissent at all or to (2) degenerate into a total cesspool of flaming and petty bickering. We aim to avoid both these pitfalls, and to have a de facto forum which not only allows but encourages lots of dissent and debate, yet keeps it rational and civil most of the time. This is not an easy challenge in a high-profile public forum with a hot-button word like "Satanism" in its name. To achieve this goal, it will be necessary to have some rules.
Many of the guidelines below are based on the rules for my soon-to-be-defunct public Yahoo groups, substituting the different network tags for the different Yahoo groups. Where possible, I've tried to make the rules for the blog network more lenient than the rules for my Yahoo groups. However, most of the problems that were addressed by the rules for my Yahoo groups are not likely to go away, hence will still need to be addressed in as much detail, even if more leniently.
A simple rule of "no flaming" is far from sufficient, in my experience.
It is necessary also to isolate the more volatile kinds of discussion into their own separate sub-forums, so that people who wish to avoid certain kinds of discussion can easily do so. For example, it is much easier to keep a debate between Satanists and Christians rational and civil if the link to it appears on a page with a title like "Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion," so that those theistic Satanists who aren't prepared to deal with Christians in a friendly manner can easily avoid it. To do otherwise, while still allowing wide-ranging dissent, is like waving a red flag in front of a bull and expecting the bull just to sit there and behave itself.
Among people of all religions and worldviews, there are, alas, many people for whom the mere mention of certain topics, or of certain opinions, is like waving a red flag in front of a bull, and it doesn't matter whether you waved the flag in a polite manner. In my personal opinion, Satanists should know better, but the reality is that Satanists are human just like everyone else, and, if anything, tend to be even more hot-tempered than most people. Managing a high-profile public Satanist forum which allows lots of dissent is like trying to manage a herd of several different species of mutant bulls, who react to different colors and who also have hair of colors that other species react to, plus a bunch of people who like to hang around the pasture waving flags of various colors. The only way keep the peace, while still letting people wave whatever color flag they want, is to divide the pasture up into sections for the different species of mutant bulls, and to keep flags of any given color out of the sections for the wrong kinds of bulls.
Hence the five different network tags, intended for different kinds of discussion, to be accessed from different pages here on this site.
My soon-to-be-defunct public Yahoo groups have long been noted for attracting a relatively mature and intelligent crowd, and for allowing a very wide variety of people, with a very wide veriety of views, to exchange ideas in peace, to a degree unheard of elsewhere in the online Satanist scene. What has made my forums attractive to the more intelligent folks in the theistic Satanist scene has been precisely my ability to keep the peace while allowing wide-ranging discussion and accommodating many different points of view. However, what a lot of these folks apparently have not realized is that the separation of my forums into different topics and audiences - a feature which various folks have complained about as inconvenient, or as a limitation on their freedom of expression - is an essential part of the secret of how I've managed to keep the peace to such a unique degree. If my blog network is to retain the same very inclusive yet (for the most part) drama-free flavor, then all the bloggers in the network will need to understand, in detail, the principles behind the separation of topics and audiences. Hence this page.
It is especially necessary to quarantine discussion of contentious sociopolitical issues, which otherwise are likely to be extremely upsetting and offputting to a lot of people who would otherwise be interested in discussing spiritual matters with us. There's also a bunch of other reasons to quarantine sociopolitical discussion, some of which reasons are unique to the Satanist scene, and others of which are common to nearly all large, high-profile online religious or occult forums (or even a high-profile atheist forum such as Internet Infidels), nearly all of which have one or more "politics" sub-forums and want political topics to be confined there, and for good reason, if they allow political discussion at all.
The volatility of political topics should not be chalked up just to closed-mindedness. For many people, at least some political issues are bread-and-butter issues. For example, gripes about people on disability are, obviously, going to be very offensive to people on disability. On the other hand, an owner of a struggling retail business is likely to be very offended by any talk of, say, raising the sales tax.
If allowed everywhere, without any limits, sociopolitical discussion tends to crowd out spiritual topics - in any public forum, but even more so in a Satanist context. The majority of Satanist sites on the web consist primarily of sociopolitical rants, or sometimes more restrained sociopolitical commentary, voicing controversial and often extreme points of view - or sometimes views that are actually quite mainstream, but voiced in a deliberately obnoxious and extreme-sounding manner - sometimes meant seriously, and sometimes tongue-in-cheek. Partly this is due to the dominance of LaVeyan symbolic Satanism. However, even the more spiritually minded public Satanist groups tend eventually to be dominated by a sociopolitical agenda, unless they specifically make a point of countering that tendency.
I personally do not believe that Satan champions any one particular social or political order. I believe that it is up to us humans to figure out for ourselves what kind of social and political order works best for us. I believe that Satan does encourage us to examine the sociopolitical order in which we live, but that examination may lead to very different conclusions for different Satanists.
The political and social views of Satanists vary all over the map, and a lot of us are very passionate about our views. It should not be assumed that all or most of us agree with Anton LaVey. So, if we were to allow political discussion without limit on all our pages for all tags, then at least one of the following things would almost inevitably happen: Either the entire forum would be dominated by endless sociopolitical debate, or, at the other extreme, there would be a lot of spontaneous informal pressure toward political conformity, informally driving away or silencing those who disagree with whichever political viewpoint happens to have the loudest advocates. (The latter would occur because people with the less popular political views would likely either (1) get thoroughly disgusted and leave us altogether themselves or (2) offend others to the point of getting thoroughly disgusted and leaving.) I don't want either of these outcomes.
Another reason to quarantine sociopolitical discussion is that the Satanist scene attracts a lot of folks who seem to use Satanism primarily as a political recruitment tool. The most notorious of these are neo-Nazis, but they include activists of other political persuasions as well, Such people are more likely to leave us alone if our rules specifically restrain sociopolitical discussion in one way or another.
At the same time, because of my belief that Satan does encourage us to examine the society in which we live, I do not want to forbid sociopolitical discussion entirely, or limit its scope in any way beyond what is absolutely necessary (e.g. avoiding "hate speech," which is forbidden by the terms of service of nearly all online entities these days). And I do not want us to become politically homogeneous. I aim to encourage wide-ranging, thought-provoking social and political discussion and debate, and to encourage the expression of many different points of view. But I also want to keep such discussion from dominating the entire forum, and from becoming too acrimonious.
I know of no good way to accomplish the above set of goals without separation of topics. So, the network pages for two of our tags are intended to serve as de-facto forums where we can put aside our political differences completely - and I do mean completely.
Besides sociopolitical topics, it is likely that we will need to put some limits on certain other topics of longstanding contention within the Satanist scene, such as the very definition of the word "Satanism." There are some Church of Satan partisans who love to go into other kinds of Satanist forums and yell, in as disruptive a manner as they possibly can, that the word "Satanism" must never be used to refer to anything except "the philosophy of Anton LaVey." There are also some dogmatic partisan theistic/"traditional" Satanists who loudly proclaim that their own particular belief system is the one and only "true Satanism." In my Yahoo groups, I outright forbade debate about the definition of "Satanism" in the main Theistic-Satanism group and in Theistic-Satanists-and-others (the nearest equivalents of the blog network's pages of links for the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags). For now, we won't outright forbid that topic in posts listed on any of the network's pages, but we'll have to play it by ear and see what happens.
Yet another topic with a tendency to take over Satanist forums like a weed, driving out other, more worthwhile kinds of discussion, is Christianity. There's no need to forbid discussion of Christianity entirely in any of our sub-forums. However, if we become too obsessed with Christianity, we give onlookers the impression that we don't have a spirituality of our own, but are just reacting against Christianity, an impression that can be extremely offputting to the very people who might otherwise be our most valuable participants, e.g. knowledgeable and experienced occultists. At the same time, nearly all of us have been affected by Christianity in one way or another, a fact which is often worth discussing. For now, we'll have a much looser policy on discussion about Christianity in blog posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags than I had for the corresponding Yahoo groups Theistic-Satanism and Theistic-Satanists-and-others, but I'll need to do something if/when that topic ever threatens to take over my page of links for either the Theistic Satanists only tag or the Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag.
If you're thinking of joining us as a blogger but don't understand the reasons for some of our rules, please feel free to discuss those rules with us. Below are some relevant blog posts:
- Zalbarath’s commentary - Diane Vera, WordPress.com, Wednesday, June 13, 2007
- Punkwolf’s commentary on the tags and the rules - Diane Vera, WordPress.com, Wednesday, June 13, 2007
- Theistic Satanism Blog Network: more about the draft of rules - Diane Vera, WordPress.com, Monday, June 11, 2007
- Theistic Satanism Blog Network: draft of rules, etc. - Diane Vera, WordPress.com, Sunday, June 10, 2007
- Theistic Satanism Blog Network - Diane Vera, Google/Blogspot, Saturday, June 9, 2007
Feel free to post comments on the above posts, or to email me about a response you've posted on your own blog. (If you send me email, please be sure to include "Theistic Satanism Blog Network" as part of the subject line, to help me distinguish your email from spam.)
Blogger discretion on comment policy
This page contains some rules and guidelines about what kinds of topics may be discussed in blog posts with particular tags. These guidelines apply primarily to the blog posts themselves, and only secondarily to comments. To a large extent, it will be left up to individual bloggers to decide how they will manage comments on their own blogs.
Bloggers are asked to make at least some effort to enforce network topicality policies on comments too, e.g. to prevent comment threads on nonpolitical posts from getting derailed onto contentious political topics, but are not required to be 100% strict about it, and the details of enforcement will be left up to the individual blogger.
It is recommended but not required that posts with the Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag end with with something like, "Comments requested from Satanists and Pagans and occultists only. Please avoid digression onto sociopolitical topics." When a comment thread on a post with the Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag nevertheless begins to drift onto a sociopolitical topic, one possible response might be for the blogger to post a comment like, "No more comments about issue X here, please. Debate that issue in reply to the following post instead," followed by a link to a separate post with the Satanisms and society tag. Or, if the blogger prefers to keep the discussion where it is and not redirect it to another thread, another option would be simply to change the tag of the original post to Satanisms and society. Yet another possible approach (the one I myself will probably use, in most cases) is to refuse to approve or unscreen any sociopolitical comments at all in threads with a Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag, but instead to post copies of those comments as quotes in new posts with the tag Satanisms and society or Theistic Satanism troll playground, as appropriate. Still another possible solution (perhaps the easiest) would be to let the borderline political comment through, without redirecting the discussion to another thread, but then immediately reply with a statement forbidding further discussion of issue X but also (and this is important) pointing out that Satanists hold many different political views and that not all Satanists would agree with position X. (The latter disclaimer, without actually debating about position X itself, would help to mitigate the "red flag" effect of the borderline political comment, by preventing readers from jumping to the conclusion that we all agree with position X, an impression which otherwise would likely cause some readers either to react very angrily or to leave us in disgust. Such a disclaimer is especially desirable in response to any claim that any given sociopolitical stance is mandated by Satan or is otherwise "truly Satanic.")
Similarly, if by some miracle a post with the Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag gets an inoffensive comment from a friendly Christian, one possible way to respond might be to let the comment through but then respond with a comment saying something like, "Hi! It's very nice to meet such an open-minded Christian! But let's continue this discussion in reply to the following post," followed by a link to a separate post with the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion tag. Alternatively, one could change the tag of the original post to Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion. Yet another alternative is to refuse to approve any comment from a Christian at all but to post a copy of it in a new post with the tag Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion.
It is okay for bloggers to make occasional spur-of-the-moment exceptions to announced comment policies. But there's no point in announcing a comment policy if you don't intend to enforce it at all. If you do make exceptions, then it is usually a good idea - though not required - for you to follow those exceptions with comments of your own stating explicitly that you've made an exception amd why, so that other onlookers don't assume they have carte blanche to break your stated rules.
Bloggers are free to add further limits to those indicated by a given tag. For example, posts with the Satanisms and society tag might be limited to comments by theistic Satanists only, or by Satanists, Pagans, and occultists, only, or they might prohibit comments containing some specific kind of political debate that the blogger personally finds especially annoying. Posts with the Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag might include, for example, a strict prohibition on unholier-than-thou comments. Posts with the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion tag might limit comments by Christians and mainstream atheists in particular ways, e.g. by prohibiting attempts to proselytize. All such additional restrictions should be clearly stated by the individual blogger.
It is recommended but not required that all posts with network tags end with a brief statement of the blogger's comment policy. On a WordPress blog, you also have the option of setting up a static page devoted to your comment policies and then linking to it from the end of your posts.
It is recommended but not required that comments be both moderated and limited to registered users of your blog host (or to registered users of a larger system that includes your blog host, in the case of Google/Blogspot). The latter requirement will help us both to discourage troublemakers and to keep track of them and, if necessary, to report them.
On WordPress blogs, it is recommended but not required that comment policies be enforced more leniently for pings than for actual comments. A pingback can effectively serve as, for example, a way of adding a political response to a nonpolitical discussion without derailing the original comment thread, or a way that a Christian can respond to a discussion otherwise limited to Satanists, Pagans, and occultists, again without derailing the original thread. (But it's a good idea to reject even pings from blogs that advocate criminal activity, or that are otherwise in flagrant violation of the terms of service.)
I, the manager of the blog network, will insist absolutely on the enforcement of certain comment policies (or the changing of tags) only in the following cases: (1) serious potential trouble (e.g. blatant terms-of-service violations, or a danger of us being dragged into major Satanist soap opera); (2) personal insults being allowed in a comment thread, on a post with a network tag other than Theistic Satanism troll playground; (3) a blogger frequently allowing comment threads on posts with the Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag to turn political without limit; or (4) glaring discrepancies between a blogger's announced policies and practice, e.g. frequently allowing comment threads on posts linked from the Theistic Satanists only page to turn into debates with Christians, especially if any theistic Satanists get into quarrels with the Christians who are allowed to post there. In most of the above-mentioned extreme cases, the blogger will be asked either to delete/edit the offending post/comments or to change the tag, whichever of these options the blogger prefers.
Topics to be avoided in posts with some tags, but allowed with other tags
Our aims are (1) to allow a lot more dissent than most Satanist forums do, but at the same time (2) to keep the debate rational and civil for the most part, and also (3) to give our members the option of choosing which kinds of dissent they wish to expose themselves to. Debate is less likely to be acrimonious when people are exposed to it willingly. To that end, different kinds of discussion will be separated onto different pages of automatically updated listings of posts, using different tags, with stricter quarantining of the more contentious kinds of topics.
- Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only vs. Satanisms and society
Both the Theistic Satanists only tag and the Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag are intended primarily for discussion about spiritual matters, including theology, demonology, epistemology, history, mythology, and spiritual/occult practices, including but not limited to magick. Questions, commentary, and civil and rational debate on all these topics are welcome - including discussion and debate about the theological beliefs and spiritual practices of all theistic Satanist groups except for the few that promote violent criminal activity in the name of Satan or Satanism.
However, in posts with either the Theistic Satanists only tag or the Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag, bloggers are asked to avoid discussion of contentious social, ethical, economic, and political issues, which should be discussed in posts with the Satanisms and society tag instead. (Why? See the section of this page titled Why all these rules? - The blog network as a de facto forum)
Sociopolitical issues to be avoided in posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags include: (1) one's own political, social, and economic views; (2) the political, social, and economic views of Satanist leaders and groups; (3) any claim that Satan Himself endorses a particular social, political or economic viewpoint; (4) ethical issues of kinds likely to lead to sociopolitical discussion, e.g. any mention of anything having to do with LaVeyan "elitism" or "social Darwinism," which some theistic Satanists agree with and others don't; (5) urban legends about Satanists or alleged Satanists in politics (e.g. anything having to do with the Illuminati, "the New World Order," the claim that the peace symbol is a Satanic symbol, or any claim that any particular political leader is a Satanist); (6) specific people or groups who actually do practice or advocate violent criminal activity in the name of Satan, or any such allegations about specific people or groups; (7) the internal politics of the Satanists scene, including the organizational policies of Satanist groups; (8) debates amongst different kinds of Satanists as to whether Satan should be seen as "good," "evil," or neither, (9) excessive debate about the definition of "Satanism," (10) excessive discussion about Christianity, and (11) discussion about blog network administrivia (with some exceptions).
Especially to be avoided in posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags are topics like economics (socialism vs. capitalism, protectionism vs. free trade, welfare policy, etc.), social hierarchy (e.g. "egalitarianism" vs. "stratification"), government structure (e.g. democracy vs. dictatorship), particular government officials or political parties, international politics, war policy, nationalism, immigration policy, racism, etc., especially any claim that any particular viewpoint on any of these matters is "Satanic" or endorsed by Satan Himself. All these highly contentious political topics should be strictly quarantined to the less spirituality-oriented tags.
In posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, please completely avoid the topics in the above paragraph. In posts wtih those tags, please try to avoid even mentioning, for example, the Nazi (or whatever) sympathies of certain people in the Satanist scene, or your feelings about people on welfare or about the U.S.A.'s Middle East policy. Also, if you feel the need to bring up a potentially contentious political issue to illustrate an essentially non-political point in a post with the Theistic Satanists only tag or the Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag, even that should be done in a separate post with the Satanisms and society tag. Your post with the Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag should be kept strictly nonpolitical except to include a link to your separate post with the Satanisms and society tag.
We'll be less strict about the following topics:
- Religious civil rights issues affecting Satanists may occasinally be discussed briefly in posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, although this topic is more appropriately tagged Satanisms and society. Ditto for occasional discussion about the practical difficulties of coming out of the closet to one's family or friends as a Satanist.
However, in posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, please do avoid, as completely as possible, ideological debate on such questions as whether it is "truly Satanic" to care about civil rights issues or to be out of the closet in a particular situation. Thus, for example, the typical LaVeyan put-down of "martyrdom" should definitely not be posted under the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, and likewise any critiques of that view. Such debate belongs in posts with the Satanisms and society tag. In posts with the more restrictive tags, any discussion about civil rights issues or about coming out of the closet should be strictly in practical terms, not ideological terms, with no berating of other people aboutt their personal choices or inclinations on these matters.
- Occasional discussion in general terms about Satanism's criminal fringe is allowed in posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, as long as discussion about specific allegedly criminal groups and individuals is avoided. Also to be completely avoided, in posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, is any discussion about specific individuals or groups that advocate or are alleged to advocate criminal activity (especially violent criminal activity) in the name of Satan, and, of course, any blog posts which themselves advocate criminal activity. (The latter are not allowed at all, under any tag.)
- Occasional brief diatribes against the religious right wing are allowed, though discouraged, in posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, as long as particular elected officials are not named. It can be safely assumed that none of us wants to live under a Christian theocracy, so an occasional brief expression of dislike of Christian (or Muslim) would-be theocrats is unlikely to be contentious among us. However, some American Satanists are likely to have mixed feelings about (rather than total hatred of) the presidency of George Bush, who therefore should not be mentioned at all in posts with the more-restrictive tags, since even mentioning his name, or that of other elected officials, is likely to lead to a political discussion. Also, in-depth discussion about the religious right wing should be confined to posts with the Satanisms and society tag.
The following topics too are discouraged in posts using the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, but will not be outright prohibited in posts with those tags, except perhaps to declare an occasional temporary moratorium when they threaten to get out of hand:
- Debates among different kinds of Satanists about the definition of "Satanism." This guideline is in place mainly to minimize disruption by Satanic Bible thumpers, of both the LaVeyan and Christian-based duotheist varieties. For our purposes, a "Satanist" is anyone with a favorable view of Satan (as either a being or a symbol), and a "theistic Satanist" is anyone who reveres Satan as a god. It is recommended that debate about these definitions be confined to the Satanisms and society and Theistic Satanism troll playground tags, especially when there are obnoxious dogmatists hanging around.
- Discussion about Christianity, except insofar as Christianity is directly relevant to some form of Satanism. If you need to talk about Christianity in order to explain who and what you believe Satan is, that's fine. It's also fine to talk about Christianity when discussing your own personal religious background and upbringing. But please don't use posts under the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags just to vent about Christians, or to discuss Christianity apart from its direct relevance to some form of Satanism or to your own personal history. Discussion about Christianity is more appropriate under the Satanisms and society tag, because Christianity is a key part of the sociopolitical climate in the countries where most of us live. However, in posts with the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags, let's try to focus primarily on our own spirituality rather than on Christianity.
Most of the topics that are unwelcome under the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags are welcome under the Satanisms and society tag. Exceptions:
- Posts from people who identify as Satanists yet who argue that Satan is "all-evil," or who berate the rest of us for not being "evil" enough, should be confined to the Theistic Satanism troll playground tag, if they are allowed at all. (If they advocate criminal activity, they will be excluded from the network entirely.)
- Threads about the internal politics of the Satanist scene, including the organizational structure of Satanist groups, will need to be watched very carefully lest they degenerate into soap opera. As long as they remain impersonal, they may carry the Satanisms and society tag, but, in most cases, we'll ask that such threads not carry any network tag at all. They should, of course, be strictly excluded from Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only.
Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion
Any well-behaved Christians, Muslims, mainstream atheists, etc. who join us as bloggers will be allowed to post using the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion tag, but not Theistic Satanists only, Satanists and Pagans and occultists only, or Satanisms and society.
In posts with the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion tag, it will be up to individual bloggers to decide, and to announce, what kinds of inter-religious dialogue they are or are not interested in. For example, some theistic Satanists enjoy debates with Christian apologists, whereas others may wish to avoid such debates, but may be willing to answer questions from religiously tolerant Christians about theistic Satanism.
Of course, discussion about Christianity is allowed and appropriate under the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion tag, as long as it's kept civil and rational on the part of all parties involved.
On the other hand, most of the other topics that are prohibited or discouraged under the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags are also discouraged under the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion tag, which likewise is primarily for spiritual topics, not political topics. However, because only Satanists, Pagans, and occultists are allowed to post using the Satanisms and society tag, in most cases also limiting comments to to Satanists, Pagans, and occultists, people who are not Satanists, Pagans, or occultists may introduce political topics occasionally in posts using the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion tag. We ask that they not overdo it. Also we ask that any sociopolitical posts that are linked on the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion page be given explicitly sociopolitical titles, and that sociopolitical tangents from nonpolitical threads take the form of separate posts, so that a nonpolitical post isn't followed by a lengthy political comment thread.
If you intend to allow any Christians at all (or any mainstream atheists) to comment on a post of yours, please give it the tag Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion (or possibly Satanisms and society or Theistic Satanism troll playground, if more appropriate), rather than Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only. Please do not use the more restrictive tags if, for example, your actual intent is to allow comments from a few exceptionally nice or open-minded Christians while refusing comments from evangelists. In the latter case, please use the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion tag (or one of the other relatively unrestrictive tags), but end your post with a sentence like, "No proselytizing comments, please." (If a post has a comment thread consisting largely of a discussion with a Christian, even a friendly and open-minded one, then a link to that post from the Theistic Satanists only page would be just plain false advertising, and is likely to provoke hostile responses to the Christian from some theistic Satanists, out of an offended sense of territoriality, in much the same way that even a friendly Satanist would not be welcome in Christians-only portions of even the better-run and more open-minded Christian forums.)
My Yahoo groups have occasionally attracted people who were torn between feeling drawn to Christianity and feeling drawn to a form of Satanism, and who wanted to talk out their mixed feelings. If and when our blog network attracts such people, they should be considered Christians for purposes of our rules, i.e. they should be strongly - though gently - encouraged to confine their comments to posts listed on the Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion page. (They are far more likely to have a productive dialogue with those theistic Satanists who are willing to talk to Christians than with those theistic Satanists who want to talk to theistic Satanists only. In terms of my flag-and-bull metaphor, waving a flag that's half red, half blue, isn't much different from waving a red flag.)
Theistic Satanism troll playground
In posts with all network tags other than Theistic Satanism troll playground, personal insults and other personal attacks should be strictly avoided, both in posts and in comment threads.
The Theistic Satanism troll playground tag is intended as a safety valve for debates that get especially heated, but stop short of outright libel, harassment, etc.
Posts with the Theistic Satanism troll playground tag may also be used as a place to post copies of and laugh about the more hateful comments we may have had to unapprove or screen on other threads. (If you re-post someone else's comment, it is best to make the original comment invisible rather than outright delete it, in the event that you are accused of misquoting.)
Also, in the unlikely event that a very preachy Christian, or an SRA scaremonger, or a very obnoxiously dogmatic sectarian Satanist wants to join us as a blogger, such a person will be confined to posting using the Theistic Satanism troll playground tag. (It is unlikely that very many such people will want to join us as bloggers, due to our requirement of a link back to the main Theistic Satanism Blog Network page on a side panel.)
Discussion about blog network administrivia
As a general rule, posts discussing blog network administrivia should not have the tag Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only. Most network administrivia matters are of concern to everyone in the Theistic Satanism Blog Network, thus should not be posted using tags that inherently exclude any bloggers or potential bloggers from posting comments.
Exception: Posts discussing topicality rules for the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags themselves may carry one of those tags, preferably Satanists and Pagans and occultists only (so as to include all possibly concerned parties). However, it is more preferable that discussions about the topicality rules for the Theistic Satanists only and Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tags carry the Satanisms and society tag, because the reasons for some of our policies pertain to the internal politics of the Satanist scene and the wide variety of political views amongst Satanist groups and leaders.
(In my Yahoo groups, there was a rule excluding all discussion of forum policy, even the topicality rules for the main Theistic-Satanism Yahoo group and Theistic-Satanists-and-others, from those two forums, on the grounds that our forum policies were themselves an aspect of the internal politics of the Satanist scene, hence to be confined to Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics. But, for now, we'll experiment with a looser policy in the blog network. I'm hoping that administrivia discussions won't be as disruptive on a blog network as they tend to be on an E-list.)
Things we must avoid under all tags
There are some things we don't want to see on member blogs at all. Nearly all of these are prohibited by the terms of service of most blog hosts. Such basic prohibitions include:
- Hate speech, including anti-Christian hate speech. It's fine to criticize Christianity as a religion, but please avoid genocidal sentiments, overgeneralizations about Christians as people, schoolyardish name-calling, etc. Ditto regarding Islam and Muslims.
- Libel - or anything that might give your blog host the impression of a risk of being sued for libel, in the event of a complaint from a lawyer hired by whoever you were criticizing. Any unpleasant personal allegations you make about another person should be carefully documented, preferably with sources you can link to. Be especially careful about any allegations, insinuations, or remarks having to do with illegal activity; or a person's job, profession, or business; or a person's medical conditions or sex life. (To be on the safs side, I would suggest avoiding even purely rhetorical accusations on these topics, e.g. "What have you been smoking? Must have been good stuff!" or "What's your problem? Did you forget to take your meds this morning, or what?") On the other hand, it is definitely not libel to say you think that someone's ideas are stupid (at least as long as you steer clear of challenging the person's professional competence or mental health). Also, be sure to distinguish between opinions and allegations of fact. (Other factors being equal, statements containing phrases like "in my opinion" or "it seems to me" are less risky than statements without such qualifications.)
- Harassment, including threats, giving out private personal information about other people, and announcing that you've put a curse on a specific named individual. Also, your blog as a whole should not be devoted largely or primarily to personal vendettas against any person or group.
- Copyright violations and plagiarism - a biggie, more so than many Internet novices may expect. Copyright violations and plagiarism are probably the number one reason why blogs, forums, and other websites get deleted. Please do not copy graphics, videos, music, or large amounts of text from other websites, especially without acknowledging your source. Don't assume that the absence of a copyright notice means it's okay to copy something, especially if you don't know where your source got it.
It is usually best to copy and paste just a small amount of text (several sentences at most) and then a link to the original page.
If you post a complete poem, story, or article that was written by you, please say explicitly that it was written by you (and, better yet, include your own copyright notice). Ditto for any videos, graphics, or andio files that were created by you. On the other hand, if you got them from another source and you have permission to re-post them, please state this explicitly too, and name your source.
- Hardcore pornography and other sexually explicit content, or links to same. Our blogs can be read by minors, remember.
- Blogs whose sole or main purpose is to promote another website or forum, or to advertise a product, service, or organization. Feel free to include a link to your site on your side panel or on an "About" page, and feel free to post occasional announcments containing links to your website, but don't overdo it. The vast majority of your public posts should contribute actively to discussion within the Theistic Satanism Blog Network, or within your blog host community, or within the larger "blogosphere."
- Any promotion of illegal activity, or links to sites promoting illegal activity.
But remember that there's a big difference between promoting lawbreaking and promoting changes to laws in favor of activities now illegal. The latter is okay, at least in most cases, as long as you make it clear that you are not advocating that people break the law. (For example, in posts with the Satanisms and society tag, it's fine to advocate the liberalization or elimination of drug laws and to link to political advocacy organizations like NORML, but it's not a good idea to tell us about how you yourself smoked some dope last night, in a place where it's now illegal, and it is definitely not okay to offer to sell us some.)
Although a lot of people may be able to get away with all of the above, elsewhere on the Internet, it is wise to assume that a high-profile Satanist website or forum, such as the Theistic Satanism Blog Network aims to be, will be surrounded by enemies with nothing better to do than to hang around looking for things to complain about and report them. Such enemies could include fanatical Christians, fanatical Muslims, partisans of rival Satanist groups, and overzealous anti-"hate group" activists who mistakenly believe that all or most Satanists are neo-Nazis. So, everyone, please read carefully the terms of service of your blog host, and follow them.
Also, we aim to avoid being dragged into Satanist soap opera. Discussion of the internal politics of the Satanist scene is not entirely off-limits, but please confine it to the Satanisms and society and Theistic Satanism troll playground tags, and please be extra careful to avoid anything that could be seen as libel or harassment. Protracted personal squabbles, if aired publicly on network blogs at all, should be confined to posts without any network tags.
Other rules and recommendations
Blogs in the network must have a side panel containing a link to the main Theistic Satanism Blog Network page, in addition to whatever other links you may choose to display. This means you must select a layout/theme/template which lets you display a links list (also known as a "blog roll"), or which allows "widgets" including a links list.
It is also recommended, but not required, that your side panel include a list of "tags" (or "categories") that you've used with blog posts. This will help your readers find blog posts that interest them.
The majority of posts on a network blog must engage in substantive public discussion. We do not, for example, welcome blogs whose main theme is just to ask people to email the blogger privately.
Please give your posts titles that indicate clearly and specifically what the post is about. Avoid vague or misleading titles.
Network blogs should be mostly text. It's fine to link to or embed occasional videos, graphics, audio files, etc. (as long as there are no copyright infringement or plagiarism issues), but we'd rather not have blogs that consist primarily of videos, graphics, or audio files. (If you hate typing, or if you can't type, you might try LiveJournal's option of allowing you to post by voice, translated automatically into text.) Furthermore, especially with videos, but also with large graphics and with audio files longer than a minute or two, links are far preferable to embedding, because there are still a lot of people who don't have high-speed Internet connections, especially in rural areas and in many countries outside the U.S.A. If you link to (or embed) a video or audio file, please preface it with some text introducing it.
When referring to other posts in a post of yours, please link to the post you are responding to. If you don't yet know how to put links in your posts, we'll help you learn.
Central enforcement of network policies
In order for the blog network to work well, we'll need all bloggers to make an effort to understand both the rules themselves and the reasons for the rules. To that end, we'll need to have occasional discussions about the rules. All new bloggers in the network will be asked to participate in such a discussion, and to ask questions about any rules that don't fully make sense to them.
But it's inevitable that some bloggers will still make mistakes.
If a post is given an inappropriate tag and thus gets listed on an inappropriate page on my site, I'll ask the blogger to change the tag (or edit the post, if the blogger would prefer to do that instead). If a blogger repeatedly ignores the rules about tag topicality, that blogger will (at least temporarily) lose one's ability to post using the more restrictive tags and to have those posts be listed automatically on the blog network pages. (See Sets of people eligible to use particular network tags.)
If a blogger appears to be posting content in violation of terms of service (including what looks like possible copyright violations or plagiarism), the blogger will be at first warned. If the warning is ignored, or if the blogger repeatedly violates these basic rules, the blogger will be expelled from the network.
Member forum of the Theistic Satanism Forum Network
This page was originally here.