Here we go:
Be reasonably civil.
No profanity. For the record, 'hell', 'damn' and 'pissed' are not considered 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule; also for the record, the more offensive racial slurs and epithets will be deemed to 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule
Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.
Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.
Like Tac, we don't ban for ideological reasons (unless you're a Nazi or something equally vile) and/or simple disagreements (never mind that it's not the easiest thing in the world to find someone who can manage to disagree with all of us on the same topic). We're all adults here, so I'm sure that this should be sufficient - with one caveat: there are a couple of notable trolls out there who will be banned the moment that they show up. As of 1:18 PM EST, Sunday, November 30, 2003, they haven't, so if you've made a post here before then I'm not talking about you.
Lastly, just a reminder that Left and Right have very broad definitions and that people are going to take it personally if you inform them that of course all Xs eat babies, should they themselves be Xs (or Ys trying to keep things cool).
UPDATE (05/19/2004): As you may have noticed, we delete and ban spambots on sight. This is because comments sections are for original and/or interesting thoughts, not mass postings. Therefore, please note that if I come across a overly-long comment that is obviously a cut n'paste job, out it goes, no apologies, no regrets. Small cut n'pastes are fine; entire articles are not: when in doubt, it's too long. Mind, if you have seen or made a comment elsewhere that would be perfect for a particular thread, you are more than welcome to link to it; just don't give us the entire thing. We don't have unlimited storage space.
ANOTHER UPDATE (10/24/2004): Calls for the assassination of any politician will be subject to immediate banning. An exception is made for legitimate military targets in time of war; due to the unique nature of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, members of the Palestinian Authority are to be considered 'politicians' for the purpose of this rule.
The above should be explicitly not read as being a prohibition on (but is not limited to) criticism, vituperation, espousal of conspiracy theories, disagreement, speculation on personal habits and/or motivations, expressions of contempt, unfavorable extrapolations of past behavior in order to guess future behavior, mild cursing or any other traditional method of expressing disapproval with a politician's policy positions or personality, provided of course that such behavior does not violate another of the Posting Rules.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE (7/23/2006): Calls for the assassination of any person will be subject to immediate banning. Exceptions are made for legitimate military targets in time of war, being put to death after being convicted of a capital crime, etc. -- basically, the things that make a killing not 'assassination' to begin with. As before, this is not a prohibition on criticism, vituperation, and all those other good things; just a recognition that there's all the difference in the world between passionately disagreeing with someone and calling for that person's death.
STILL ANOTHER UPDATE (1/19/2007): If a commenter feels that another commenter has violated the posting rules and would like to request a temporary or permanent ban of that person, please send a request via email.AND ANOTHER UPDATE: We have no desire to censor people whose views we disagree with. However, there is a difference between stating and defending an unpopular position on the one hand, and repeated drive-by insults on the other, and the fact that we welcome the first does not mean that we must accept the second. We therefore reserve the right to warn and, if necessary, ban commenters who show a consistent pattern of blatant disrespect toward groups of people (e.g., people of a given race, military status, sexual orientation, or religion), when that disrespect is coupled with an apparent lack of interest in providing evidence for one's views or engaging in reasoned argument about them.