Conversation Etiquette

Much better title than Comment Policy I think, don’t you? Good! I stole it from another blog.

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is welcome to join any discussion here. Below, I’m going to describe the format for discussion. The reasons for this are to make sure the comments stay readable and simple to follow along. It’s also to prevent misunderstandings and keep the flow of conversation moving forward.

  1. Read. Read the entire article and be specific when responding to it so we can avoid misunderstandings. Read all comments before commenting.

  2. Be humane. Treat the strangers here with courtesy and respect. Entertain their ideas and keep it friendly.

  3. Be open-minded. Be empathetic. Reach for understanding, especially when you encounter ideas not like your own. If you already have your mind made up, then it’s no longer a conversation. It’s not possible to have conversations without being interested and open to what others have to say. Conversations are about connecting and exchanging, being prepared to come away with a new perspective. That doesn’t mean that you must change your mind, but that you must be prepared to do so.

  4. Be calm. No rants, no angry tirades, no verbal tantrums. Even the slightest sign that you’ve lost control will get you instantly muted. I do not owe you a warning. Signs that you have lost control? Excessive capslock, excessive punctuation, retreating to extreme positions, ad hominem responses, etc.

  5. Ask. If you’re not sure what something means, it’s totally best to not jump to conclusions about it. I know the turn-based nature of conversation in comment sections requires special patience. Just ask for clarification.

  6. Be Honest. I sometimes get things wrong. So do you. Despite our best efforts, misunderstandings will happen and sometimes we will realize that our information is flawed and requires re-evaluation. Do not avenge your comments; it makes conversations unnecessarily argumentative.

  7. Sources when possible. When possible, please cite your sources of information. I ask this of you so that others can pursue the information they’re interested. I don’t need a bibliography, but just a name, a link if possible, and/or a title. If you’re attempting to cite facts to support your arguments you should provide some information for others as a courtesy.

Finally, don’t be the kind of person who tries to win an argument. There’s no prizes here or in life for “winning” in a conversation. Even looking at discussions as a win/lose situation entirely misses the point.

I’m allowed to get things wrong and so are you. You’re not allowed, however, to break any of the above etiquette. Let’s all work hard to maintain a very mature, welcoming and interesting conversation by respecting one another. Let’s all leave our egos at the door.

Join the fray, speak your mind, and follow on Twitter @trredskies!

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