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Freedom to discuss politics

Posted by Dinah on January 24, 2009, at 11:12:24

In reply to Re: Trotsky Sigismund, posted by fayeroe on January 24, 2009, at 9:52:13

The rules here are the same as always. The civility guidelines still apply to politicians who were formerly in office because they would still have supporters.

A good rule of thumb when posting would be to substitute a politician you support, or a group of citizens you feel should be protected, into your post in place of whoever it is you're talking about. If you can see that posting that about that person or that group of people would not be civil or conducive to a supportive atmosphere at Babble, that would be a good sign you probably should not post it. It isn't foolproof of course, but it would be a good start.

So say you believe that Congressman Smith is the best thing that happened to Congress in your lifetime, and Congressman Jones will singlehandedly bring down democracy if not stopped.

It would be fine to say "I think Congressman Smith is the best thing that happened to Congress in my lifetime." This is fine, even if others may disagree or feel defensive of Congressman Jones.

It would not be ok to say "Congressman Jones will singlehandedly bring down democracy if not stopped." If it helps to make this distinction, mentally substitute the words. "Congressman Smith will singlehandedly bring down democracy if not stopped." If this would seem offensive to you, as a fervent supporter of Congressman Smith, it is likely against site guidelines to say about Congressman Jones.

Or say that you are a Martian and have felt your way of life threatened by Venusians, or have felt put down by Venusians. And vice versa. If you are about to post something about Martians, substitute Venusians into your proposed post, and see if you would consider it civil. If not, it is likely against site guidelines.

I recognize that it is common to believe that one's position is true, and that all evidence points to the fact that one's position is true. Putting aside any arguments of "truth", truth is not a reason for incivility on Babble. I am fat and ugly. If someone cared about me, and suggested that I might want to watch my diet for the sake of my health, or that my eyes would look pretty with a bit of makeup, this would not be uncivil. If someone cared about me, and told me I was fat and ugly and I'd always be fat and ugly unless I do something about it, that may be loving, but it is uncivil under site guidelines. If someone were to just call me fat and ugly, it is absolutely true, but that does not make it civil under site guidelines.

Again, this is not foolproof since some people will obviously have different thresholds than the civility guidelines. However it is a good rule of thumb, and one we often use when assessing the incivility of a post.

This post is not directed at anyone in particular. I have been thinking about this topic for a while. Any "you" in my post is a universal you, not a specific you.




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