As I said in the comment policy, I don't like banning people permanently and will impose lesser sanctions when available. But there are cases where the offense is so egregious, or the bad behavior so persistent, that no lesser sentence will do. In the service of openness and transparency, this is the list of all commenters who have been banned from Daylight Atheism, along with what they did to merit this punishment. I hope it serves as a clear illustration, if any is needed, as to what kind of behaviors I find unacceptable.
Name/Alias: Rev Spitz
Why Banned: Apparently a real person named Donald Spitz, an out-and-out terrorist sympathizer who praises violence and applauds the murder of innocent clinic workers by anti-abortion fanatics. I let his single comment stand as evidence that there are still dangerous lunatics out there, to remind any atheists who might otherwise become complacent.
Name/Alias: Bill Perron
Why Banned: A disgruntled kook with a grudge against James Randi. Claimed that Randi owed him a million dollars because his proposal for a completely unblinded test of astrology was rejected. By itself, that would only have gotten him laughed at. When he started flinging around anti-gay slurs, that was another story.
Name/Alias: John Donohue
Why Banned: Objectivist drone. Threatened to sue another commenter for criticizing Ayn Rand, pompously announcing, "I have directed authorities to this blog." I do not tolerate threats against me or my commenters, legal or otherwise.
Why Banned: A rather strange character with a bizarre and completely idiosyncratic interpretation of Christianity which he wanted to talk about to the exclusion of all else, regardless of the topic of the thread. I put up with it for a while, then it became tiresome. Tried to sneak back under a different name and gave himself away when he couldn't help expounding his weird theology; was promptly banned again.
Offense: Preaching, soapboxing, sockpuppetry
Name/Alias: theistscientist, Roman Catholic, Dr. Francis Patterson, atheist redux
Why Banned: One of Daylight Atheism's most bizarre kooks. Derailed many threads with semi-literate preaching and Christian spam; I finally had enough and banned him after he left identical comments in six threads calling all atheists mass murderers. When he found out about this, he flew into a psychotic rage and spent an entire night trying, unsuccessfully, to post dozens of raving, obscene, scatological comments. When he realized this wasn't working, he switched tactics and spent some time sending me e-mails in which he threatened to contact every atheist blogger on the internet to expose my duplicity. He promised that my site would cease to exist within several weeks unless I unbanned him. Needless to say, he's still banned and I'm still here. Also a sleazy little morpher who tries to sneak back every so often under a different name.
Offense: Preaching, imperviousness to reason, thread derailing, repetitiveness, sockpuppetry
Why Banned: Racist.
Why Banned: A long-standing commenter who claimed to be an atheist and a nihilist and to recognize no government over himself. When he posted a comment in which he proclaimed himself a "sovereign power" and implied that he would use violence against government agents who came onto his property, I deleted it and warned him in e-mail not to advocate breaking the law on my site again. He chose to disregard that warning, posting another comment which advocated tax evasion.
Why Banned: Christian troll whose contributions were limited to chanting "Darwinism is a cult" and repeating Christian apologist talking points, even in threads where neither had anything to do with the subject of the post. When I contacted him by e-mail to explain the comment policy, he was hostile and defiant and refused to change his behavior.
Name/Alias: Steve Leone
Why Banned: See this post, plus the subsequent comments.
Offense: Trolling, sockpuppetry
Why Banned: An initially reasonable-seeming Christian who soon began to overrun every thread he participated in with a steadily greater and greater volume of filibuster-like comments, which invariably boiled down to petty quibblings about wording, grammar or other irrelevancies, or obsessively cataloging all the unfair treatment he felt he'd received from other commenters. When this behavior started driving away other commenters, I restricted him to one comment per day so he could have his say without drowning out everyone else. This resulted in him changing tactics, whining about "censorship" and posting a steady stream of petulant demands that I pay personal attention to him. I ignored this for a while until he finally, deliberately, crossed the line by violating an explicit warning he'd been given about this behavior.
Why Banned: A dull-witted and rather misogynist right-wing Catholic. Although capable of intelligent conversation when he wanted, he often resorted to spamming threads with reams of irrelevant cut-and-paste text, like long extracts from Catholic apologist sites or lists of every pope there's ever been. More recently, he was treating this site as his own personal anti-abortion soapbox, complaining about abortion and advertising anti-choice videos in every single comment he posted, regardless of relevance to the thread.
Offense: Soapboxing, spamming
Name/Alias: Dennis Markuze, David Mabus, many others
Why Banned: Deeply disturbed, mentally and emotionally unstable individual who's been trolling atheist and skeptical websites for years with incomprehensible ramblings about Nostradamus, 9/11 and atheism, using a limitless stream of sockpuppet accounts. Lately, his rantings have taken a disturbing turn and often include explicit threats against atheist bloggers.
Offense: Threats, harassment, insanity
Name/Alias: Lion IRC
Why Banned: Here's how to not engage in honest and fruitful conversation: Flatly refuse to say anything about your own views; state that you don't care whether other people believe what you say; finally, make vague but inflammatory claims, and when challenged by other commenters to support those claims with a citation, refuse to do so and instead begin taunting them to try and guess what you're talking about. Any one or two of those behaviors, irritating as they were, probably wouldn't have gotten me to take action, but all three together were too much. I gave this person one final choice - either produce a citation for the claim, or withdraw it - and he refused to do either, choosing to surrender his commenting privileges instead. Also banned on Pharyngula.
Name/Alias: Neil C. Reinhardt
Why Banned: A Tea Party-esque conservative atheist and military veteran. Despite his troglodytic political views, he'd be an interesting character, if not for his habit of erupting into a bellowing, profanity-laden rage whenever anyone disagrees with him about anything. Repeated warnings in comment threads and over e-mail failed to get him to act like a civilized human being. Undoubtedly has a serious anger-management problem; badly needs therapy or medication, or possibly both.