Those we speak to and speak about are real people. They are not less real because we cannot see them through our screens. They live, laugh, love, and hurt just like the rest of us. Treat those you speak to and speak about like real people who matter just as much as any other person on this planet.
In practice this means (but isn’t exhausted by) something like the following:
- While criticism of arguments is appropriate (and encouraged), criticism of people should be approached with caution. Unnecessary personal attacks should be avoided.
- It is often helpful to keep a positive, or at least neutral tone in engaging with others. Spread a bit of happiness if you can.
- Careful, considered reflection is an antidote to misunderstanding. Take a while to think about what you want to say, and if possible resist your impulse to dash off the first remark that comes to mind.
- Try to avoid extended, hostile arguments with others. There is often a degeneration of politeness and thoughtfulness as comment chains grow longer. Let’s break that trend.
It also means:
- Racism, sexism, and all forms of bigotry are entirely unwelcome on this blog and will result in a permanent ban.
- Commenting may be restricted on posts that are especially likely to receive rule-breaking comments.
- No spam, please!
Lastly, thank you for your engagement. Please know that I read, and value all of my readers’ comments. Blogging is a dialogue. This blog could not exist without engagement from readers. I look forward to hearing what you have to contribute.