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Midnight repost: No obscenities on Behind the Black

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: I first posted these rules pertaining to commenting on Behind the Black on December 31, 2017, but have always adhered to them.

Anyone, without registering, can come this website and comment about anything (though preferably in connection to something I have posted), as long as they act like an adult. If they want to point out an error in something I’ve written, great. If they want to disagree with me civilly, even better. All they have to do is keep their language clean and not resort to childish insults.

Over the years since I have been amazed how many people in today’s increasingly barbaric culture can’t seem to do this simple thing. Thus I think these rules bear repeating, if only to outline to my many new readers where I stand on this issue. (Note that since I posted this I have relaxed the rules slightly. First time offenders are now issued a warning instead of being suspended immediately.)
No obscenities on Behind the Black

I have stated this now bluntly more than a few times. I will not tolerate obscenities or curse words on this website. Despite this, today two different regular commenters thought it was perfectly fine to ignore these rules. One I have suspended for a week. The other might be.

The rest of the world might want to wallow in barbarism and ill behavior, but it will not happen here. This is my workplace. If you want to participate in the conversation on Behind the Black, I expect you to act like a civilized adult. If you can’t abide by these rules, then go somewhere else.

And don’t think it is okay to quote someone else verbatim and get away with this. As I noted just now in a reply to the suspended commenter, when Richard Nixon’s White House used the term [expletive deleted] everyone knew what it meant. It wasn’t a great solution, but it at least showed that they recognized that it was inappropriate to nonchalantly print obscenities, even ones spoken by the president. At the same time, they knew they couldn’t edit the transcripts, so they found a way to make it clear what was on the tapes without adding to the misbehavior.

Consider this a final warning. From now on I will not simply delete the obscenity and issue a warning. From now on, any violation of this rule will get an immediate suspension for a week. A second violation by the same person will get them banned.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • James Stephens

    Mr. Zimmerman:

    I know the commenters to whom you’re are referring and it’s a shame you’ve had to make this statement. It’s your website and as it would be in your home we are guests who should be courteous to you and one another. It’s not too much to ask. A competent writer should be able to get their point across with out resorting to insults or vulgarities. The world is full of strife today, I for one try not to add to the discord. I try to keep any writings free from vitriol and constructive even when disagreeing. Little steps like these might just make the world a little better place. I appreciate your reporting and opinions and those of your commenters. But in the end opinions are just that and nothing to get worked up about.

  • Chris Lopes

    Some of us forget things, but a week suspension is an effective reminder. :)

  • John Hare

    I got a warning on another blog for using a character mix to signify the bad language in a quote. Only lost comment privilege long enough to apologize and get an explanation.

  • Jeffrey L Breuer

    I appreciate Bob’s willingness to provide a comments forum for me and all who want to participate. Consider it an intellectual challenge to bypass the seven words you can never say on television (Hat tip George Carlin), or any other in that category. And the seventh word really is a “friendly” word. With respect Bob..Thanks

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

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