Commenting Note

A reminder and clarification on site policies.

Overall, I think the tenor of commenting has improved of late.

Still, there’s too much name-calling and direction of profanity* at other commenters. The political and social climate is exasperating enough without adding to it. Take issue with people’s ideas and facts, not their motivations.

As I related note, I ask that you refrain from juvenalia like “Tiny” and “Dennison” for President Trump and “Rethugs,” “Repugs” and the like for the GOP. (The same goes from “Demonrats” and “Democraps” for the Democrats but, given the dearth of Republican-leaning commenters here, I haven’t seen that in some time.) They do nothing to advance the discourse and discourage whatever engagement from supporters of the opposition party might be forthcoming.

I will allow “Cult45” as a shorthand for Trump supporters.


*In the not-that-distant past, some vulgarities automatically triggered the moderation filter. I don’t mind the occasional use for emphasis but prefer it not be directed at others in the community.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, OTB History
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. EddieInCA says:

    Thank you for this. I was actually going to post something along these lines in the open thread today, but… Chipotle was calling me.

    I see good arguments and discussions derailed by “Rethug”, “Libtard”, etc. etc. It minimizes and cheapens whatever argument is being attempted.

  2. Gustopher says:

    We can’t use “tiny”? Well I guess it’s your site.

    I have nothing to say about this Trump tweet from today then.

    I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads. It was only done to make me look bad, and perhsps it now doesn’t even work. Should have been built like rest of Wall, 500 plus miles.

    Or this one.

    When I play, Fake News CNN, and others, park themselves anywhere they can to get a picture, then scream “President Trump is playing golf.” Actually, I play VERY fast, get a lot of work done on the golf course, and also get a “tiny” bit of exercise. Not bad!

  3. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Leader and Chairman of the Republican Sex Workers Party Kim Jong-Trump.

    So sorry we ever knew you at all.

  4. Bill says:


    We can’t use “tiny”? Well I guess it’s your site.

    I have read all manor of espionage novels where if someone is nicknamed Tiny it is because they are large sized. Usually tall. I even used it for a minor character in my espionage ebook- Angus ‘Tiny’ McPherson.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    I feel picked on 🙂

  6. Mister Bluster says:


    Article II “Where I have the right to do whatever I want” President Trump

  7. CSK says:

    Well, I’m guilty of “libtard,” at least when illustrating how a Trump aficionado speaks, and I suppose “Lardass” is now officially proscribed. Pity. It did suit Trump to a T.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I don’t mind the occasional use for emphasis but prefer it not be directed at others in the community.


  9. JohnSF says:

    Am I allowed to use “bl00dy stupid bunch of £$&#7*!” for Brexiteers every now and again, please?
    It helps maintain my even strain.

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Bill: Yes, I believe it is used to refer to President Donald J. Trump’s waist, or near about that anyway.

  11. David S. says:

    Would this be a good time to ask where the “Dennison” name even comes from? I see people here use it all the time and it took me a while to realize it wasn’t some separate admin official that I hadn’t heard of yet.

  12. charon says:

    @David S.:

    Dennison is the pseudonym Trump used in his payoff agreements with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

  13. Mister Bluster says:

    Submitted for approval:

    Donald “Article XII” Trump
    President “Grab ’em by the pussy”
    Mr. “if you don’t test them they won’t get sick” Trump
    “Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Navy and the Revolutionary War Air Force”

  14. Gustopher says:

    I’m honestly having trouble understanding why Cult45 is ok, but Dennison isn’t.

    What about Individual #1?

    Putin’s Puta? (Ok, that one might be too vulgar)


  15. Teve says:

    Is there some way that I can refer to Trump’s outrageous lie that he is 6’3 and 239? I’ve been 6’0 and 240 and I was going to UNCs climate-controlled Olympic-sized pool and swimming 32 laps without stopping three times a week. I wore size 38 waist pants at the time, and Trump looks to be around 43 or 44 inches.

    Also he wears lifts:

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    Today’s Quiz
    Who Are:
    John Barron, Carolin Gallego and John Miller?

    A) Members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    B) Three Hobbits that Tolkien never wrote about.
    C) Donald Trumps other pseudonyms

    Today’s winner receives a “Get out of Jail Free Card” for the next time they lie to a Grand Jury.

  17. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Oh, ffs. Trump couldn’t even spell “Caroline.”

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Well, they ain’t members of the Flying Circus…

  19. David S. says:

    @charon: Thank you.

  20. Kurtz says:

    @David S.:

    Oh, man that must have made a ton of posts confusing.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Question, is it OK if I continue to refer to trump as trump? I mean, I really don’t think he deserves the honorific of having the first letter of his name capitalized. Doing so denotes a certain amount of respect, something I think he is wholly undeserving of.

  22. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Pervert in chief
    Traitor in chief
    Moron in chief
    Poor Man’s Richard Nixon
    Tin-pot dictator wannabe
    Putin’s Puppet
    Racist in chief
    Puppet in chief
    Putin’s bitch
    The Amazingly Shrinking Brain

    The possibilities are many.

  23. Slugger says:

    Don’t submit anything that you would not say face-to-face. I understand anger, but it accomplishes nothing other than blowback. Never let them see you sweat; never let them hear you yell.

  24. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Not Hobbits; IIRC all Hobbit names are Germanic or Celtic derivation. John isn’t.
    And I should know 🙂

  25. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher: I don’t love “Cult45,” as it’s assuming a lot of facts not in evidence (although there’s certainly more evidence than there was 2 years ago). But it’s at least a shorthand for a longer argument that would get tedious if it had to be restated from scratch each time.

  26. James Joyner says:

    @JohnSF: Yes, I’ll allow it.

  27. Mister Bluster says:
  28. Barry says:

    James, in general thanks for starting this blog and dealing with the comment troubles.

  29. JohnSF says:

    @JohnSF: @Slugger:
    And can I just take this opportunity to say “b&*$ you all, yiz’ sh!7en8itty f@#&%4ers”
    Thank you.

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    I did call him a despicable human being recently.
    Even if I never use that phrase again on OTB I think it still holds.

  31. JohnSF says:


    Never let them see you sweat; never let them hear you yell.

    “Never let them know you have a pickaxe handle, until their back is turned.”

  32. James Joyner says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’m actually fine with that characterization in the context of an actual argument. Pure, sophomoric name-calling isn’t an argument.

  33. An Interested Party says:

    I’m going to miss Supreme Leader and Chairman of the Republican Sex Workers Party Kim Jong-Trump…it has a certain mischievous ring of truth to it…

  34. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I believe I used the phrase “morally foul” recently.
    I think I may also have said some things of an uncomplimentary nature regarding “Boris” Johnson at some point.
    Mea culpa.
    But not very culpa.

  35. Moosebreath says:


    “Question, is it OK if I continue to refer to trump as trump?”

    I’ve seen someone on another site remove letters of the name to reflect his loss of stature (though I think she started out just liking the idea of calling him “rump”). However, now that he is just “p”, it takes much of the fun out from it.

    More seriously, I think this is a good policy to implement, as generally if someone uses the sorts of juvenile names listed, it tends to cause people not of their political persuasion to just tune out.

  36. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: In defense of juvenalia and sophomoric names for President Donald J. Trump, worst of his name*, sometimes people need levity to deal with the world these days.

    I know that when I refer to him as El Cheeto Loco or whatever, it’s often because what I really want to write would likely get me a visit from the FBI.

    But it’s your blog, and your rules. And I shall refrain from Mandarin Mussolini, short-fingered vulgarian, toddler-in-chief, Cuck L’Orange, Dotard Don, and the like. And when I ask “Will no one rid us of this meddlesome President?” I will make it clear that I mean the Republican Senate should have convicted him during impeachment, rather than any second amendment remedies or watering the tree of liberty with the blubber of morbidly obese proto-fascists.

    *: When they send Trumps out into the world, they don’t send the best and the brightest, they send grifters and criminals and rapists and murderers**. And, I suppose, a few good ones.

    **: His bragging about telling people to slow down the testing, since it also impacts the contact tracing, appears to be a confession to at least negligent homicide if not actual murder.

  37. Kathy says:

    Usurper in chief
    Bastard in chief
    Toddler in chief
    Impostor in chief*
    Oval office occupant
    White House resident troglodyte

    *According to the Fowler Determination, The resident White House troglodyte could not possibly feel impostor syndrome, because he’s already an impostor.

  38. Teve says:

    Seriously, has nobody yelled Cancel Culture at this point?

  39. KM says:

    Is MAGAt or Trumpkin acceptable under the same logic as Cult45? It signifies one who ascribes to MAGA as a philosophy if not straight up lifestyle choice. MAGAts are different from Republicans the same way BernieBros were different from Sanders supporters – there’s an element of fanaticism and cult of personality overwhelming rationale or decent behavior. Personally, I feel it’s important to make the distinction as our hosts may be conservative in nature but most certainly aren’t going to be lumped in with the groups we’re normally discussing. Precision matters, especially when we’re trying to avoid tarring everyone with the same orange tainted brush.

    While I admit to using it somewhat insulting but as a descriptor, it should fall within the guidelines. I’ll attempt to assign less… animosity to it if it helps.

  40. PJ says:

    President Trump. The P is silent.

    Though not in the video with the Russian ladies!

  41. de stijl says:

    Totally with James on this.

    If you use a diminutive or a name for Trump that isn’t his name your are undercutting your own argument. It’s cheap.

    Call him by his name and describe his behavior and words.

    Had you stumbled upon a site 6 years ago where every third comment said Obummer or Nobama, you would not have reckoned it a proper space for open debate and passed by.

    I do not want a dunk on ’em OTB.

    I avoid places like that.

    Plus, he co-owns the joint. His rules rule.