Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Another Kind of Civil Debate

Standards of Civility in the Blogosphere

One of the great tragedies of modern life is the lack of civility in discourse among people who have a platform to present their point of view.

Most people have suffered through, if only for a moment before clicking to another site, a blog or email that is laden with aggressively belligerent terms and even pictures. It has been a weakness of mine, in that when I read these writings, I get a little tempered myself. Not at disagreeing with the political views(which normally are the topics of such blogs), but at being subjected to such low class mud slinging. So when I came across this write up from the New York Times which presents the attempts by two innovators of the web to clean up the discourse I was simply happy.

To consider that in modern times, with this marvelous technology that allows us to reach millions and millions of minds with our thoughts and our words, many opt to degrade their otherwise poignant stanza's with such gutter terms as "idiots", "$#%-hole", "%$#@head", and other similar vulgarities is a real shame. We can put people in space, but we can't fill the space of people's minds with the vocabulary to disagree politely.

Personally, I suffered through a seemingly never ending series of e-mails with an individual that one would think was better educated than the image he presented with his uncivil terminology about anyone who simply disagreed with him. I put an end to that discourse not because I was unwilling to expose myself to someone's different point of view, but because I just don't have the time to suffer through, voluntarily I might add, such base attacks.

Additionally, it did nothing to help me improve my thought processes, which is what I want in an exchange. Anyone can tell me Bush is an idiot, I want to know why, as detailed as possible, so that I don't have to make the assumption about your mental acuity.

One of the ironies in all this angst that bloggers want to convey with their impoverished rantings is the real fact that all these politicians who stoke the anger, who incite the differences, are themselves dining richly, warmly, and comfortably with each other. While we, or at least some of us, are allowed to be controlled by them.

I don't let them lower me to incivility, and you shouldn't either.

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