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Posted by on Feb 16, 2013 in Debate | 0 comments

Notung on civility codes

Over on his blog on this same network, my colleague Notung has what I consider a useful post about codes of civility. Like me, he is concerned about detailed codes, though he is prepared to sign up to the much less detailed and demanding pledge that I posted a couple of days ago – basically a pledge to make at least an effort to be civil, reasonable, and charitable. I remain convinced that even that would raise the overall level of discourse greatly. (I’m sure that many people actually take pride in being as hurtful as possible to those whom they think deserve it, and as intimidating as possible to those who are seen as enemies, making them think twice about participating in discussions or expressing their real views on certain topics.)

There’s the beginnings of a thread, with a fair bit of discussion about freely given apologies (I give my own reasons for giving mild apologies fairly freely, but not being prepared to pledge to do so). Notung’s post also has the advantage of linking to a number of others on the same general subject, so it provides a bit of a portal or hub that you can use.

Edit: I think it’s also worthwhile just reposting this network’s own discussion policy, to remind us that we do have a brief policy that is binding on bloggers and commenters at Skeptic Ink:

“Invectives which demean individuals on the basis of ethnicity, sex, religion, gender identification, appearance, or age will not be tolerated. While it is fashionable in some corners of the internet for atheists to crassly denigrate people, that is not acceptable here. We will focus on the arguments themselves. Sensitive commenters should be warned that poor arguments may be called out as such, and that it is our obligation to do so, even if it is upsetting to the person we argue against. But no position worth defending requires the sacrifice of either manners or respect for other people. We seek a calm, intelligent debate on the issues that divide us or none at all, and we demand the same from our commentariat.”

So, we have a commitment here to manners, respect for others, calmness. and an attempt at intelligence. We don’t demean or crassly denigrate people. This is not a “safe space” for certain ideas that are considered sacrosanct and beyond challenge, but ,to put the matter even more simply, it’s a place for thoughtful and civil debate.