Civil Commentary – Blog or Article Commenting

We were discussing on-line comments we’d encountered this week on various websites and specifically the outright nastiness of some of the contributors.  It seems the anonymity of the on-line world gives one the impression that scathing charges or shocking retorts are acceptable; harsh words are used that we believe one would never dare utter if face-to-face. I was firmly mounted on my soapbox declaring the demise of general civility in the world (despite the best efforts of The Image Builders!) and feeling quite disheartened …

… when I came across this note of thanks for the positive comments from the day before by Scott Schuman on his blog, The Sartorialist“… For me, this is blogging at its best. Being able to create a community of individuals that share information and ideas that can make the community as a whole a better place. Thank you.” 

That’s it! Isn’t that what the wonder of the world wide web is all about? Sharing information and ideas? Being part of a community?  Being part of any community involves respecting one another despite the very real possibility that we don’t always see the world the same way.

Freedom of Expression is a privilege and a right and how fantastic to be able to evaluate a wide range of heartfelt reactions and opinions in forming one’s own, but not, in my opinion, at the expense of basic human respect or civility.  I for one, tend to discount comments when they are rude or mean spirited.  If the writer is relying on shock value and doesn’t take his own position seriously enough to present it diplomatically then it has no value beyond being an irritant. It ends up being a wasted opportunity for meaningful dialogue. 

That’s my rant for today, thank you very much.  Feel free to comment!!

Also over at The Sartorialist find a blog entry (Feb 2nd 2010) called “A Graceful Man, A Gentleman” extolling the virtues of a graceful and mannerly approach to relationships – thoughtful reading in time for Valentine’s Day.


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