No Warranty

The site and its content are offered as-is, with no warranty. Posts, pages and comments are the personal opinion of their authors. Individual end-users bear all responsibility for compliance with all relevant local law.

Site policy is subject to change without notice, at the sole discretion of the site administrator.

If you don't like what you read here, your only recourse is to stop reading (or post something worth reading, or convince -- through rational discourse and sterling example -- others to do so).

If you contribute, you accept (as a condition of access) all liability for content you create. Remember that the whole site could vanish tomorrow, and that backups -- if any -- are only for the convenience of the admin. If you want to preserve what you write for posterity, then you must preserve it yourself.

License for Re-Use

Except as specifically noted otherwise, all original site content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License and owned by the author.

Creative Commons License

The site as a whole is Copyright (c) 2009-2015 Douglas Henke.

Follow the link for full legalese, but this means you can re-use what's here as long as you 1) give credit and 2) release your derivative work under a compatible license.

Copyright law grants you several additional rights, including "fair use" rights to quote this site for the purposes of education, review or parody.

Permission for other uses may be granted on request; please ask in advance by email for clearance.

Copyright law applies to the "detailed expression" of a work. That means you need to follow the license (or be cleared under "fair use", or have written permission) to re-use the exact words (and images and so on) that appear on this site. Ideas, on the other hand, belong to no one, and you are free to do with them whatever you like.

You don't need permission to link to this site. You can link to whatever you want; that's how the web works.

Comment Policy

Identification and Attribution

Site users may post comments without registration or account creation, and may do so anonymously if desired. You may choose whatever screen name you wish (within the bounds of the comment policy -- see below).

If you provide an email address when commenting, it will be visible only to the site administrator and used only if he must contact you with a question about your comment. These addresses are not used for any other purpose.

If you do not wish to provide a working email address, you may use a false address under one of the RFC2606 domains, such as "me@myhost.invalid". Never leave an email address (real or otherwise) under a real domain which is not yours!

Comment Moderation

Some comments may be held for moderator approval prior to being visible to the public. Inappropriate comments may be removed after posting. Examples of inappropriate comments include but are not limited to:

  • spam
  • links to malware or phishing sites
  • clear violations of intellectual property or libel law
  • doxing (posting addresses, telephone numbers or other personal information to harass or threaten)
  • threats against any person or group (even if "obviously" a joke)
  • trolls, topic derails and shock sites or images (and responses to same)
  • ad-hominem attacks on specific individual site users (unless extremely funny and directed at a deserving target)
  • expressions of prejudice based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender or sexual orientation
  • astroturfing (defined as posting someone else's talking points verbatim or nearly so)
  • sock-puppetry (use of multiple identities by the same person in order to deceive readers or evade a ban)
  • comments with no apparent intelligible content
  • comments to the effect of "First!" or any variation whatsoever on that general theme (unless extremely funny)
  • attempts to impersonate a specific, real person (other than with clear satiric intent)
  • comments asserting an obnoxiously restrictive license on their contents

I'm seeing an increasing number of comments which are not obviously spammy, but which are so vague they could be responses to any post or comment on any blog. My assumption is that these are "stealth" spam where the whole point is poster's URL (leading to a presumed-spammy website). I'm handling these on a case-by-case basis, but if you want to be certain your comment is not misidentified as spam, please directly address the topic of the post in some way. It isn't necessary that every post be 100% on-topic; digressions are fine. But if you post a comment like "I found your site on Google! My old roommate used to talk about this all the time!" (and no other content) then you get a free trip to the bit-bucket.

I use the Akismet plugin on to fight comment spam. Spam volume has grown so high (hundreds of spammy comments a day on average) that I can no longer manually review every comment Akismet flags as spam before I delete it. While I hope and expect that no legitimate comments will be lost, I regret that it is a real possibility. Please feel free to contact me by email if your comment does not appear in a timely fashion.

Note that comment moderation is also done on a best-effort basis; there is no guarantee of when (or if) inappropriate comments will be removed, nor of how quickly perfectly nice comments will be approved.

If you post a comment which is rejected or removed, there is no guarantee that you will receive any explanation of the reason.

Comments will not be deleted or rejected for any of the following reasons:

  • statement of an opinion with which the moderator disagrees
  • factual error
  • use of indelicate language
  • user request (whether from the original author or others)

Like all other aspects of site operation, comment moderation is done on a best-effort basis. Some utter garbage may slip through, and some well-crafted comments may languish in unapproved limbo.


The first two letters of WWW stand for "World-Wide"; the web has no official language. The maintainer welcomes contributions in any language. However, as a practical matter, please be aware that said maintainer is fluent in no language other than English. Therefore, moderation of non-English comments will necessarily involve methods such as machine translation which are slow and error-prone.

If you are able to post in English, this will help ensure that your contribution will be handled quickly and not mistaken for spam. It will also allow you to reach the broadest possible audience.

The maintainer regrets that he does not currently have the resources to make the site policy available in languages other than English. In the event that translations become available, the English-language version of the policy statement is the definitive one.

Note that most site content is released under a Creative Commons "attribution, share-alike" license. This means that translations (both machine and human) are authorized (and encouraged), provided they are properly attributed and released under a compatible license.

Editorial Policy


This site isn't a place for posting the unattributed or mis-attributed words of others. This rule applies to staff, contributors and comment writers alike. (Some common sense applies -- if you say "Alas, poor Yorick!" nobody expects a full bibliographic entry.)

A consequence of this is that comments will either be approved in full or rejected in full. The moderator will not alter comments (to fit site policy or for any other reason) except in cases where he deletes a comment entirely.


Within the limits of copyright law, articles may include images which are the works of others. Site policy is to use a locally-hosted thumbnail and full-size image, but to clearly identify (and, where possible, link to) the original source in the article text. There are two reasons for locally hosting images:

  1. Loading images, especially large ones, incurs significant bandwidth costs. When Small Golden Sceptre is the referrer, it is only fair that we bear those costs. (Indeed, many sites block image loading for external referrers for exactly this reason.)
  2. External sites change and disappear over time. Hosting locally helps insulate our articles from such changes.


There is no strict house style. However, posts and pages should generally conform to accepted standards of spelling, grammar, diction and composition. Some posts may involve swearing and adult themes. As a courtesy, links which may lead to truly explicit images -- when used at all -- should be clearly labeled as such.

This site won't knowingly host or link to malware.

Posts which are longer than a couple paragraphs should begin with a very brief lead (sufficient to allow a prospective reader to judge his interest level in the article) followed by a "cut". Only the lead will appear on the home page, accompanied by a link to the full article text.


Pages may be revised as needed without any ceremony.

Minor changes to posts (to correct things like spelling or grammar errors, or omitted words) may be done as required.

Substantial edits to posts will be clearly marked, including the date, time and author of the change. If at all possible, the original text will be left intact and marked with a strike-through, and new text shown in red, thus:

The irrational number pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its radius diameter.

[Edited 2009-09-14 by dhenke to correct an obvious factual error.]

As a general rule, posts which embarrass the author will be left as written, though a correction, retraction and/or apology might be added. Only in truly exceptional cases will something be "unposted".

Admin Responsibility

The site administrator will, on a best-effort basis:

  • keep the site software up to date and securely configured
  • fix software and configuration problems
  • make responsible hosting choices
  • respond in a timely and even-handed fashion to complaints and suggestions
  • use shared computing and network resources in a considerate way
  • back up the site content
  • manage search engine indexing and advertising
  • develop policy to protect the site and encourage contribution of worthwhile content

Note that this site is a hobby, and said administrator may be absent from the helm for days or weeks at a time. "Best effort" in this case may not be that great, and should be interpreted as "no promises, and if you complain you'll be met with hollow laughter."