I saw a video of a blog meeting titled, “How to disagree without being disagreeable.” I was rather appalled at the whole thing. It struck me as most disagreeable.
This has motivated me to write what I call, The Blogosphere Code of Conduct (BCOC), or “How to Disagree without Being Disagreeable”. It is a set of do’s and don’ts. Here it is in no particular order.
Do be thick skinned. The anonymity of the Blogosphere leads some people to say things they wouldn’t dare say to your face. Ignore them. Their parents probably never taught them good manners.
Don’t call people names or generalize about them – even if you want to. Sometimes one is tempted to say, “Well you just say that because you’re an a**.” This does nothing to further the debate.
Do grant your opponent credit when he/she makes a valid point. In any debate, you’re going to win some points and lose some. Acknowledge the ones you lose and move on. It’ll really disarm your opponent.
Don’t just cut and paste from some other source into the comments section. If you’re not smart enough to summarize the point, you want to make 100 words or less, you’re out of your league. No one is going to read the whole thing and you’re point will be lost.
Do have a sense of humor. In a thick and heavy discussion, a little self-deprecating humor can lighten the whole atmosphere. Making a joke about yourself shows you’re your ego is not threatened by what others think or say about you. If you can’t make a job at your own expense, get counseling. Life is just too short not to have some fun occasionally.
Don’t speak in generalities be as specific as possible. To say, “This economy stinks,” says nothing. If you say, “The U.S. economy grew at only 0.5% in the last quarter and that is the lowest quarterly growth rate since 1863,” then you’ve made a specific point that your opponent will have to counter.
Do be truthful. You can lie and get away with it for only a short period. It is just too easy to fact check what you say in the Blogosphere and you’ll be found out. Lose your creditability and you blogosphereically dead.
This has grown to be longer than I wanted and it violates my own admonition to be brief. As Strunk and White say, “Omit needless words.” Therefore, here’s the Readers Digest version.
If you feel I need to add or omit anything, I am open to suggestions.
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Attack the arguement not the debater. You can challenge the logic and facts of an arguement, but refrain from personal attacks.Posted by Ted at May 8, 2005 07:31 PM