Look. I know you probably think I’ve said something wrong. And that’s great. I’ve probably said something wrong. I love an argument. I love discussion. I don’t think that your disagreeing with me means that you hate me. I believe we learn through conversation. And that’s how I understand comments… part of a conversation.
First – you’ve got to understand that I view this entire site as an ongoing conversation – you might be chiming in late, and you’re welcome to do that – generally you’ll be able to pick up where a post fits in with a conversation by clicking on the tags on the post and reading the back story – but that’s a lot of work. And I don’t expect you to do that – feel free to ask for clarification, or why I’ve said what I’ve said, just be prepared for me to refer you here, to this policy – and then on to my archives.
Second – you’ve got to understand this is my house. These are my rules. I’m happy for robust discussion, I almost never censor – though I’ll remove foul language, and if you’ve completely missed the point of my post, or insult me, then I reserve the right to edit your comment or delete it. That’s your choice. If you really want to come after me, that’s fine too. I’d just prefer we did it in person, it’s harder to hate on someone to their face, and failing that, in email – where hammer and tongs are available and there’s less collateral damage.
Third – Play the ball. Not the man. We’re hopefully all grown ups here. Conversation can get heated. Arguments can happen. But make sure you’re not engaging in ad hominem fallacies, or conflating position and person – people have inherent value, arguments don’t always… I don’t buy into the idea that negativity or disagreement are, by definition, not loving or disrespectful.
Fourth – I like to think that this is a civil conversation, but robust – I don’t want to be a tone troll – but if your tone is consistently something I don’t appreciate, I’ll politely invite you to start your own blog.
Fifth – If you really don’t like what I’ve said but can’t substantiate your complaint by showing me that I’m wrong, I’d like you to make your alternative case as passionately, forthrightly and clearly as possible – but don’t hang around whinging and wishing I’d change. Change the channel. Go somewhere else. Nobody is forcing you to read or take part.
Sixth – I reserve the right to quote comments made here in subsequent posts. That’s part of this being an evolving conversation. I assume your comments are public.
Seventh – The length or brevity of a post is no yardstick for the quality of a post, the thought behind it, the time or effort spent on it, or how much I care. I blog spontaneously, quickly, in spare moments, without much proof reading, or at times, agonise over every word of a post. There’s no indicator for when this is the case – but in the main I’m trying to pump out a post as quickly as possible as part of a bigger conversation, or I’m writing in very small windows of time. Don’t assume I’ve written with meticulous care, but assume some level of deliberation and deliberateness when it comes to words chosen.
Eighth – If I’ve misrepresented you, please tell me. If I’ve “hurt your feelings” – please tell me, but don’t expect me to care all that much unless I’ve misrepresented you. Offense is almost completely subjective, and it’s not a great measure of truth or love.
Ninth – Interpret charitably. It’s possible, especially given point seven, that I do not mean what you think I mean. Ask. Preferably before taking offense. It’s possible I’m just wrong. Tell me. But assume that I, like all people, am completely fallible. I make mistakes. Don’t read looking for sarcasm, I try not to be sarcastic in writing. Don’t read one post and judge me on the basis of one post alone – there are 5,500+ posts here to get a feel for what I’m passionate about… and even then, judging somebody by the sporadic moments of free time they have to write about stuff is kind of weird. These are my ideas, they’re my words, but they’re not my whole life. It’s absolutely ok to assess how I approach my life based on what I say, but don’t assume I don’t do anything other than sit in some dank basement and throw explosive words at people. I realise there’s a fair chance that people contributing to a discussion aren’t part of the bigger discussion – that you’re here because I’ve said something controversial, or something your friends have shared. But the rule is the same – interpret charitably, try to understand what I’m saying, take the best reading, not the worst. I’ll soon confirm if you’ve read me too kindly.
Tenth – try not to say anything online that you wouldn’t say to my face. Try not to say anything about anybody that you wouldn’t say to them. I make every effort to contact people I post about. That’s part of my code of blogging ethics.
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