Don’t Call Other People Names

I’ve noticed (and I’m not the only one) that as of late, some of the exchanges in comments have gotten more vicious. I don’t mean disagreement – I mean flat out name-calling. Now I enjoy mocking stupidity as much as the next guy, and if I rummage around I can find instances where I’ve crossed the line myself, but at some point it is off-putting to a lot of people.

I am not talking about disagreement… regular readers know we have a policy of putting up posts even by people with whom we disagree. But calling people names, and doing so regularly, doesn’t move anything forward and probably doesn’t benefit anyone.

I’ve also noticed that the viciousness ebbs and flows depending on the ebb and flow of the personality of some of our commentators. For instance, once PGL’s bestest troll in the world stopped coming by regularly, the degree vitriol dropped quite a bit for a while. Now, its an upswing again.

So we have to consider our options…

1. Ignore it hope one of the ebbs comes soon.
2. Ask people politely to keep the vitriol to a minimum.
3. Start moderating.
4. Ban people.
5. Use ridicule.

Now, none of us have the time to start moderating the comments. Its just not possible. But I don’t think any of the other options are incompatible with each other. So… let’s try this:

Please, keep the vitriol to a minimum. Don’t call other people idiots, or any synonym for that word. If you want to demonstrate someone is an idiot, feel free. Break out with the facts and show it. It will be a lot more convincing to everyone else than whatever assertions you make. But remember the key word: facts. Neither your opinion, nor mine, is a fact, no matter how strongly held and how often you repeat it. There aren’t always facts available, and sometimes the facts are open to interpretation, but when you have to go with something other than a fact, be cognizant that it is not, no matter how much believe it, a fact.

Don’t make us have to figure out how to ban you. Its a waste of our time, and yours.