TAH FNG – Read before you post

This page is primarily for the benefit of new TAH readers. However,  even longtime readers will find it a useful reference from time to time.

This FAQ is a living document.  It is expected that additions/deletions/changes will occur from time to time as new issues/questions arise.

General Info for New TAH Readers

1. TAH is a military/veterans blog. Its readership is largely (though not exclusively) serving military and veterans. Expect coarse language, blunt discussions and articles, and rather “rough and tumble” commentary.  If you’re an easily offended “special little snowflake”, you might want to reconsider spending time here.

2. If you come across as an a-hole or jackass, you will almost certainly be so advised – immediately, bluntly, and probably somewhat crudely – by one or more of the other commenters. If you can’t take criticism, this probably isn’t a place you’ll enjoy.

3. While well-supported opinions and arguments are allowed and encouraged, there are indeed lines you can cross that will get you moderated – or banned outright. So it’s probably a damn good idea to “lurk” a while before commenting to get a “feel” for what’s acceptable. If not, at the very least you risk taking verbal fire.

4. Spending some time poking around the site’s archives is also a good idea. Doing that may answer some FNG questions. It will also provide additional background on why the site exists.  And it can be rather entertaining, too. (smile)

5.  If you can’t afford an attorney, don’t make comments that cause you to end up in court. We can not moderate/monitor every comment, you are responsible for your own conduct.  All of these phonies try to muzzle us and if you make statements about “curb stomping” or “throat punching” them, expect that someone will try to drag you into court.  We have our own attorneys and we keep them busy making sure these embellishing phonies are held accountable.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: What’s this site all about?

A: The media likes to portray veterans as a homogenous voting bloc – but we’re here to dispel that misconception. All of us never agree on everything. We also celebrate those heroes among us who are saving the world after their military service as well as condemn those who are screwing the world up. We’re proud of our service and we’re proud of the people that we’ve become as a result of that service.

2. Q: Who are you people?

A: See the About Us page. There are also a number of additional authors not listed there who contribute occasional articles at this site.

3. Q: How do I contact the site admin/owner?

A: See the Contact Us button on the site banner. That’s the same place you found this “TAH FNG FAQ” button.

4. Q: Who comments here?

A: Generally, anyone who wants to. The vast majority of commenters are vets or currently serving in the military. More details are found in the “Members Gallery” page.

5. Q: Why is my first comment moderated?

A: That is covered in the Contact Us page.  I’ll quote a section of it here:

Your first comment will be moderated here – it’s not an attempt to stifle debate, it just keeps the spammers at bay. So if this is your first time here, please be patient. If you change your screen name or email address, it might happen again.  Please use an email address that you actually check.  Your email does not appear when you post, it is our primary means of contacting you if we have a need to do so.   If we attempt to contact you and you do not respond in a reasonable period of time…expect to be banned.

6. Q: Do I have to send a photo and text for the “Members Gallery”?

A: No, that’s optional. Some regular readers and contributors do that; others elect not to.  Your call.

7. Q: What’s the policy on moderating comments?

A: Short answer: comments are not censored or moderated based on opinion or political point-of-view. The site is run as an open forum. If you want to have a different point of view than the one shared by most commenters here – have at it. Make and support your argument. But in that case, you might want to be prepared for some pushback.

Longer Answer: As noted above, first comments will be held for approval. After that, moderation is imposed on a case-by-case basis for cause only. For moderation/banning, the Administrator acts as judge, jury, appeal authority – and when necessary, executioner (speaking figuratively, of course).

The site is run as an open forum. There is no censorship based on language or political point of view. However, certain things can get you moderated or booted.

Thinking about making a comment that is blatantly racist, misogynistic, or threatening? A word of advice: don’t. Those are a NO GO. Do that type of thing and you will be put on the list for moderation – or will be banned outright.

Post personal information (e.g., home addresses, SSNs, home phone numbers, etc . . . ) about phonies being discussed and/or other commenters and the same may happen (e.g., moderation or banning). That type of info will likely be removed as well once it’s been noted.

Become a disruptive troll (e.g., someone who comments here merely to “stir up sh!t” and p!ss off the site’s readers without ever making a substantive point), and once that’s apparent you’ll very possibly be told, “AMF” too.

Posting pr0n links, spamming the site with “copypasta” comments (especially across multiple discussions), trying to sell products, etc . . . , are also all NO GOs. Don’t.

8. Q: Is there a formal policy for what types of comments are and are not acceptable?

A: No. This is an open blog, and allows free discussion. Moderation and/or banning is by exception only, and the limits and whys are the Administrators call. See previous Q&A above for info regarding some of the ways to get banned in a hurry for more info.

9. Q: I had a brain-cramp and posted something stupid. Can I get it removed?

A: Contact the Administrator.

10. Q: Why can’t I use a proxy server for anonymity when I post here?

A: Short answer: We’ve had some significant problems with trolls.   A second short quote from “Contact Us” page:

If you use a proxy server, your comments will never be approved because that’s a mark of a troll.

11. Why are the commenters here so blunt?

A: Most TAH commenters are vets or serving military. A fair number are/were rather senior. They don’t have a high tolerance for BS or lies, and they react to those they perceive as idiots or liars by calling them out – often very bluntly.

12. Why the coarse language in articles and comments?

A: Geez. Did your Drill Sergeant/RDC/MTI/DI always speak to you like they were members of the clergy? Or your peers in the service, assuming you served in the military?

Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen/Marines often speak to each other using plain, unambiguous, and often coarse language. Deal with it. It’s a fact of life here at TAH.

13. Why all the acronyms?

A: Most readers and authors here are serving military or veterans. As anyone who’s served knows, “Acronyms ‘R Us” applies to the military.

14. Who do I talk to or contact if I have a complaint?

A: See the Contact Us page for contact information.

If you have a well-reasoned argument to support your complaint, by all means contact the Administrator.

However, if you’re a special little snowflake who’s easily offended or who gets butthurt easily, you might want to think twice about contacting the Administrator regarding petty stuff. Ditto if your complaint and supporting argument is half-baked or illogical. In those cases, the Administrator will likely to revert to back to Infantry Platoon Sergeant mode – and rip you a well-deserved new flatus vent. I doubt you’ll enjoy the experience.

15. How do we know the info you post concerning Stolen Valor is correct?

A: Short answer: unlike many if not most national and local media outlets, TAH does its homework and exercises due diligence.

Long Answer: articles here exposing fakers are backed by documentation. This documentation almost always consists of either (1) copies of official documents forwarded to us, or (2) documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from official Federal or (for National Guard fakes) state sources. (On rare occasions, personal communications from 3rd-parties with knowledge of the individual and/or situation in question are also available and used.) See the articles under the Military Records button on the site banner for more details regarding the FOIA process.

16.  What about that records fire?  Didn’t it destroy a load of records?

A:  No.  See this article, also found under the Military Records button, for full details on what the 1973 fire did and did not affect.  Bottom line is that if an individual served in the Navy or USMC, or during Vietnam or later – no dice.  Their military records were not affected by the fire and are in the archives.

Further:  many of those records affected by the fire have been at least partially reconstructed from alternate sources.  That’s also discussed in the linked article.

17. Q: What kind of comments are OK?

A: Dissent is OK, ditto strong argument and language. Go overboard and you’ll likely get warned or moderated; go way overboard or show yourself to be a repeat offender or provocateur, and you’ll likely get banned. Just use good judgment and you should be OK.

18: Q: Can I post links in my comments?

A: That depends. Links to pr0n and/or other obscene materials are a NO GO. Ditto links to any sites involved in or advocating illegal behavior.

Any links of a purely commercial nature should be cleared before you post same.

Links to news sources, factual sources, etc . . . are almost never an issue. (I say “almost never” because I’m sure there is some oddball “corner case” where such a link could be a problem. I haven’t seen one yet, though.)

Links to suggestive material (e.g., anything that should have a NSFW warning) are iffy. These are generally not a problem, but if they’re too overboard could be. ALWAYS POST AN NSFW WARNING if you post such a link. We don’t want to get anyone who might be viewing the site on a break at work in trouble. However, I’d suggest staying away from links to anything involving significant nudity, as that can be construed by some to be pr0n.

Post only one or two links per comment, though.  Post too many links in a single comment, and the spam filter flags the comment as potential spam and sends it to moderation.

19. Q: Why is the site so conservative, politically?  Is this some kind of “right wing debate club” in disguise?

A:  Um, no.  As a whole, the military tends to be much more conservative than the rest of society – although it’s hardly uniform in that respect, and the trend is not nearly as strong as the media tends to portray.  That trend towards being more conservative is mirrored here; most TAH readers are veterans.

It could also have something to do with that oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States . . . ”  Military people and vets tend to mean what they say.

20. Q: What do you mean by “Stolen Valor”?

A: As used here, “Stolen Valor” is a short-term for false claims regarding one’s military service, decorations, badges, or qualifications.  As such, it’s a bit broader than the legal definition contained in 18 USC 704.   An analogy is the term “treason” – legally, it’s quite narrowly defined, but most people would consider spies like John Walker and Robert Hansen to be traitors anyway, even if legally they don’t technically qualify.  (If you’re reading this and don’t consider such individuals traitors in the common, non-legal meaning of the term, I suggest you go fornicate yourself.)

“Service” can mean either (1) serving in the military at all, or (2) serving in a particular place/time/war/location. Service in designated operations, locations, or campaigns are often documented by an expeditionary or campaign medal. These show physical deployment to a designated combat zone (or other designated area in which there is deemed to be a substantial risk of hostilities).

“Decorations” are awards granted by the military as special recognition for exemplary performance, a significant achievement, or outstanding acts. They are commonly referred to as “medals”. Some are for awarded solely for heroism; others can be awarded for outstanding acts (including heroism), performance, or achievement. One – the Purple Heart – is awarded for being wounded in combat; another, the POW Medal, is awarded for honorable service as a POW. False claims to any such decorations are truly despicable acts. False claims to awards for heroism, a Purple Heart, or the POW Medal are particularly galling.

“Qualifications” and “badges” are awarded by the military services to show the wearer has demonstrated proficiency at a special skill, often requiring arduous and/or difficult training over an extended period of time. Examples include SEAL qualification, Army Special Forces qualification, Parachutist (“Airborne”), Pilot or Air Crew wings, or Ranger qualification.

A few very highly prized badges/decorations can only be earned by personal participation in combat. These are the Army’s Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Medic Badge, and Combat Action Badge. The rough Navy/USMC and USAF equivalents are the Combat Action Ribbon and Combat Action Medal, respectively.

21. Q: Why should anyone care about stolen valor?

A: Let me approach that from a civilian perspective. Why should anyone care about false claims to being a cop? Or a doctor? Or a judge? Or an All-American basketball player? Or having a PhD, Masters Degree, or a Bachelor’s degree? Or a pilot’s license? Or any other professional certification or honor?

If you were a cop, or doctor, or a judge, or an All-American athlete – or have a college degree – you’d almost certainly be p!ssed as hell if you caught someone walked around lying through their teeth about having/being the same thing. Why? Because you worked your a$$ off to earn that or did something truly special; they didn’t.  Their lies diminish your hard work and effort – and when they’re exposed as liars, people will likely begin to wonder if you’re lying about your credentials too.

The same is true for false military claims. There’s just one slight difference. For the military, the stakes are almost always higher.

When the military deploys to war, some people come back hurt. Some come back seriously wounded – literally.

Some come back but are crippled for life.  Others come back in coffins.

And some never come home at all. We still have over 81,500 missing in action (MIA) from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia.  Missing, as in “their bodies were never recovered”.  Many of them never will be.

So yeah – to veterans and serving in the military, false claims about military service, decorations, and badges/qualifications are indeed (to quote a certain prominent politician) a “big (freaking) deal”.