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02 April, 2013

More on Civility.

I'm really liking what I'm seeing at Ellen Beth Wach's blog. People are being met on a level of discourse and reasonableness I have rarely seen in the FtB forums. With each new comment, I'm afraid the other shoe will drop and someone will start in with the "die in a fire, you misogynist, cis-gendered white male!" but so far, both sides are being met rationally when they disagree on points.

This is the kind of conversations we should have been having all along. People are willing to admit mistakes, clarify their position, are encouraged to back up their arguments. It's really great to see and I really hope it lasts. Ellen Beth seems to be really making an effort to shed the poisonous attack-style call-out culture that many (including myself at times) have participated in.

I'd like to see parties make some formal apologies with some specifics, but I'm not completely holding my breath. I would even accept a general, "I apologize for any way that I've contributed to the break-down of rational discourse, call-out culture, ridicule or personal attacks on people who don't share the same views as me on certain issues. From here on out, I will try my best to cool my head and address disagreements with conflict resolution in mind." In fact, consider that my apology.

Also, if some of us slip back into old behavior (which I know I do), I'd like that to be pointed out with reasonable politeness, too, and not treated as the nail in the coffin on someone's character. We should be encouraging people to change their behaviors and admit mistakes, not slamming them every time they blunder.

That's not to say that we should be afraid of what we say. Sometimes friendly jabs are warranted, but they should never be used as arguments against the other person's position. Some could do well to grow a bit thicker skin while others could learn to better clarify the intent of their humor.

I really related to this that was just put out by the American Humanist Association.

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