We think it’s great if you participate in our site by commenting on our posts. Our site will be enriched by lively, informed debate. Readers should feel free to express differing viewpoints, and strong opinions are heartily encouraged.
That being said, we also feel compelled to offer a few words of guidance. Under no circumstances is it permissible to treat someone with disrespect, condescension, or just plain meanness. Before you comment, ask yourself, “Is this mean, condescending, or otherwise disrespectful?” If the answer is yes, go ahead and delete what you’ve written.
If you’re interested in some further instructions about how to comment online, keep reading. You’ll find our Wisdom for Online Commenting.
1) Remember That You’re Speaking to a Person: It’s fairly easy to be mean to someone who isn’t a real person; it’s quite difficult to be genuinely mean to a real person. The commenter on the other end of the computer screen is an actual person with goals, ambitions, insecurities, fears, etc. In other words, they’re human just like us. Treat them accordingly.
2) Remember (and practice) the Golden Rule: As lame as it sounds, this one is critical. Generally speaking, the standard you use is the standard others will use against you. Be generous with others and most people will be generous with you. Simple self-preservation.
3) Cultivate Strong Relationships Offline: Spend time developing friendships with people in the real world. It’s even better if a lot of these people have different worldviews, experiences, favorite football teams, etc. Doing so will offer good perspective when you encounter people with different opinions online.
4) Assume the Best In The Other Person: Simple and self-explanatory.
5) When You Fail, Seek Forgiveness: We don’t always succeed. Comment sections would be a lot less evil if folks regularly sought out and granted forgiveness.