Tag Archives: agreeing to disagree

House Rules

This blog is like my house, and it’s time to set the House Rules.

house rules, here comes the fun

here comes the fun

You’re invited to visit. I hope you come by often and bring friends with you. We throw a mini party here with every post. All guests are welcomed to comment, regardless of their viewpoints.

Last week, some comments on my first syndicated BlogHer post got a little rowdy. The BlogHer community manager chose to delete several of them because they violated the BlogHer community guidelines.

In the meantime, I held all comments in moderation on everyday epistle to prevent a similar fiasco here.

While this protected my site from trolls, in a way it also punished legitimate readers who faithfully and respectfully express their views here. Those readers will be happy to know I’ve lifted the stricter comment approvals.

But I still want this to be a safe place to agree to disagree.

Following BlogHer’s example and friends’ suggestions, I’ve written community guidelines for this site. They’re available in the top menu under House Rules.

Ten things you should know:

1. There will be a diverse group of guests in my house.
All sorts of people read this blog. I want everyone to feel free to respectfully comment if they choose to dialogue.

2. There will be discussion about many different topics, including some you may consider controversial.
This is my place to write what matters to me without editor or client changes. God and country are important to me; those topics will appear in the mix of posts.

3. Sometimes there will be disagreement.
It’s unrealistic to believe we’ll all agree about everything. This isn’t Parrot Island. We have to engage in civil discourse concerning matters of disagreement if we ever hope to reach solutions for the challenges we face. Go ahead and state your case, just mind your manners as well.

4. There will be civility and grace.
If you can’t play nice and respect the intrinsic value of the humans involved, you need to go elsewhere.

house rules, do not block

do not block

5. There will be no profanity.
This is a blog, not a bar. Think of another word to use or expect your comment to be deleted.

6. There will be no bullying.
That means no personal attacks, mudslinging, name-calling, direct threats, implied threats, stalking, harassing, posting of personal information that doesn’t belong to you or has nothing to do with the topic being discussed, libel, defamation, blatant misrepresentation of another person or group, violations of privacy, or links to profane or pornographic material.

7. There will be no spam whatsoever.

8. I determine what is unacceptable here, and I’m not limited by the House Rules.
As the sole owner, content creator, and community manager of this blog, I reserve the right to change the House Rules and to remove unacceptable comments at any time and without notice.

9. A word to trolls.
If you are a troll, you may comment if you abide by the House Rules. Otherwise, your comment will be deleted. And if you send me hateful tweets, I will block you so I do not receive your messages.

house rules, olive & kickin

olive & kickin, as seen in Asheville, NC

10. Don’t like the rules?
Find another site with different rules.

Some of you may think this is harsh, self-aggrandizing overkill. Does a small, personal blog really need community guidelines?

I wish you were right. But last week’s experience prompted Momma Bear to law down the law.

This is my house. I will not allow it to be destroyed by abusive comments or overrun by trolls. Play by the rules or exit the party.

But let all who take refuge in You be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. Psalm 5:11 NIV

The only Overkill here is by Men at Work from 1983, a very good year.

Have you ever been afraid to express your opinion?
What impact did that experience have on you?


Filed under America, blogging, writing & reading

Parrot Island

“A room full of parrots is no good.”

That’s what my friend Wading Across said in our discussion here about trolls. Hadn’t heard it put that way before. Hadn’t heard the song Somebody That I Used to Know until recently either. The comment and the song stuck with me.

parrot by rotorod creative commons license

scarlett macaw, image by rotorod, creative commons license

Admit it. We subscribe to news sources slanted toward our beliefs. We listen to commentators we like. We friend people on Facebook with the unspoken expectation they won’t offend us with their status updates.

We block or unfriend them if they do. We leave snippy comments or stop reading bloggers when they push it too far.

Creating a room full of parrots is a piece of cake. Imagine an island.

Welcome to Parrot Island! Your feathers are lovely. Your feathers are lovely. Your feathers are lovely! Margarita? Margarita? Don’t mind if I do. I do. I do!

Conflict is not my thing. I like to read and relate to folks who see things my way. The world’s all warm and fuzzy when people agree with me.

I don’t have to venture very far offshore before I’m troubled by the other side’s point of view. The surf. The waves. The water. Where’s the drop off? How far does it go down? Is there riptide? Who lives across the water?

Beyond the hype, beyond the labels working or stay-at-home, conservative or liberal, Christian or atheist, gay or straight, there’s a person. And possibly an opportunity.

Another writer with a razor sharp wit. We could spar over dinner. An old classmate who seems like a sibling now. We share years. A stranger who savors mint tea as much as I do. Pour me a cup. Or not.

I may never become best friends with the person on the other side, but we can still be polite. We can agree to disagree. We might even learn something.

flamingo by rotorod creative commons license

I am not a parrot, image by rotorod, creative commons license

Don’t get me wrong, dear readers. I treasure every sweet comment you keyboard as I’m certain do most bloggers.

People thrive on being in community with others who share common interests, goals, and beliefs. It’s unhealthy to remain in relationship with those who abuse you or trample your boundaries.

But I wonder if Wading Across was onto something when he said the folks benefiting the most are those who read all the positions. You know, the ones taking it all in. The ones listening.

And I wonder if their thoughtful comments of agreement or disagreement serve to promote understanding.

Novel concepts, listening and understanding. Might come in handy as we enter the heat of election season. Easier said than done of course. Because birds of a feather flock together.

Care to leave a comment? Don’t mind if I do. I do. I do!

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NLT

Island music with Bob Marley and the Wailers: Stir It Up, little darling.

 What do you think can be gained by sharing and listening to different opinions? What can be lost?

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Filed under America, blogging