That’s right. With civility and respect. You wouldn’t shout at them, wouldn’t insult them, wouldn’t hide behind a bush and hurl epithets.
You’d act like a decent human being.
That’s what we expect here, and we know that for most of our guests, it won’t be an issue. But let’s face it, this is the Internet, and you can only expect so much.
Which is why we have rules. And if you don’t follow the rules, we’ll just ask you to find another porch to hang out on.
In order to host the aforementioned constructive, civil discussion where people can discuss topics freely in an atmosphere of mutual respect, these are the rules of engagement for participation in our comment boxes:
1. Use your real first name and email address in the comment form. Pseudonyms create problems for everyone.
2. Refrain from personal attacks and insults; constructive criticism is welcome, but focus your response on the topic, not the individual. Do not insult the blog host or other commenters.
3. Do not post any messages or materials that are illegal, libelous, or defamatory.
4. Within reason, stick to the topic of the thread; please do not hijack or derail the conversation. READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE COMMENTING.
5. Do not spam posts commercial or promotional material. If you’re linking to a product or service related to the topic of the post, that’s OK, but be advised that the spam filter may pick you off before your post ever sees the light of day. It really doesn’t like links.
6. Encouraging or threatening violence against anyone will not be tolerated.
7. Defamatory or racist comments and general ugliness are all subject to censure or permanent bans.
8. Trolling/arguing/being a sophist in the comment box without contributing in a meaningful way to the discussion will not be tolerated.
9. If you don’t agree with these rules, don’t participate.
In an attempt to create an environment where all readers feel comfortable taking part in a productive discussion, we will remove any comment that violates the rules or in our judgment detracts from a productive discussion. Exceptions will be made solely at moderator discretion. Repeated violations of the rules will result in the offending party being banned.
I get a lot of email from readers these days. I try to get to every email, but sometimes — especially if the email is long or complex — things stack up in my big, fat, procrastination pile and sit there for a looooong time.
Short, sweet emails are best. Medium emails (if thoughtful) are cool. Novellas are a no-no.
I also adhere to the rule that if you email me, I can quote it in whole or in part for public consumption or private correspondence unless you specify otherwise. Please consider this when writing.