Because many websites are designed to elicit responses, people feel quite free to say what they think and many brave souls do. But after reading through various comments it is obvious that the skills for communicating respectfully, rather than down or slightingly, are not apparent.
And to make it worse, some, in an expression of contempt, will sprinkle their remarks with all kinds of unwanted language, usually aimed at other people. More like a diatribe than a dialogue.
Feeding this tendency is the fact that we don’t see the other parties and will probably never meet them so why worry about the rage our comments provoke. Let it rip. Say what you really think. Fire off a response with no regard for the person at the other end.
And if anyone doesn’t like it, who cares! Haven’t we fought for the right to speak freely.
Yes, the first amendment protects the right to speak freely but those who wrote that principle into law were well experienced in making and responding to arguments respectfully. They sometimes spoke heatedly in the process of carving out constitutional rights but they remained focused on the issue not the respondents.
And they made the assumption that we, the constituents, would understand that insulting, hateful, dismissive, contradictory, vindictive and threatening remarks aimed at individuals were not fundamentals of free speech.
We have proven them wrong on that account and that is why recent laws have been written to curb our vicious free speaking tendencies.
Yes, it is a great privilege not only to think but also to share our thoughts but remember the following rules before and as you write. [Read more…]