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I used the title as my sig line for quite a while. I can be as angry and mean-spirited as the next person, fortunately only in small bits and pieces. It's hard for me to stay angry at most people for very long, hard because I usually see a lot of reasons why they come to their viewpoint, even if I don't agree with them.

Here in Daily Kos we have an unusual storm of anger welled up amongst us and within us. We are angry at the shooter in Friday's tragedy and all those that have come before it. We are angry at those who enable circumstances, whatever that may mean, for such a thing to happen. We are angry at those who resist changes in circumstances, which we are sure would keep this from happening again.

And we are angry at each other.

But people are tender, fragile, and should be handled with care. It is so easy to hurt, to tear at others when we are angry. I ask you to please, be kind. It matters.

I went back into the list of diaries published by the group Courtesy Kos. The group was initiated in May of this year with a simple intention:

Civility is important not just because this is an election year, as kos' diary alludes to, but to the very fabric of the community that kos and all of us have built over the years. I know it seems simple -- just don't click -- but flame wars spill over into all sorts of diaries. Comments threads get derailed with endless personal drama over this or that from years ago. This new group will be dedicated to breaking the old cycle of name calling and bitterness, because it helps our community remain vibrant, diverse and open.  Emphasis added
Whatever you think about having a group to encourage civil behavior, I don't care. The intent is important, in my view, regardless of the existence of a group. (And I say this because many people deliberately attempted to derail the group at the beginning, ridiculing the concern and the intention to improve discourse. To say that some of them were even "dickish" about it would be an understatement.)


From the list of diaries I opened three, and found some excerpts I want to share. First, from One Pissed Off Liberal's Lessons from the Blogosphere,

When expressing a difficult or contentious truth, IMO you will go farther by saying it without insult. If you want your audience to calmly consider your point, don't twist it into a giant insult and slap them upside the head with it. When you do so, you rob the reader of the opportunity to consider your point calmly and rationally. You explode their heads, and your argument dies, simply because you frame it as an insult.


Don't rob yourself of an opportunity to fine-tune your message so that it's clear to whom it is directed, and ensure that you don't inadvertently pummel those who would be your allies or push away those you might otherwise persuade. Don't be a bull in a china shop. If your intent is to do damage, let it at least be targeted. Avoid collateral damage when you can. I think it's important to be specific, avoid broad brushes, and question the necessity and/or effectiveness of insulting language.


We need more reasons to cooperate and not hate each other. It's easy to imagine a world filled with hate, it's the world we live in, but we are going to have to change that if our species is going to last much longer.

Next, in Wee Mama's Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? diary, she tells us the short tale of the Three Sieves:
A LITTLE boy one day ran indoors from school and called out eagerly: "Oh, mother, what do you think of Tom Jones? I have just heard that ——"

"Wait a minute, my boy. Have you put what you have heard through the three sieves before you tell it to me?"

"Sieves, mother! What do you mean?"

"Well, the first sieve is called Truth. Is it true?"

"Well, I don't really know, but Bob Brown said that Charlie told him that Tom ——"

"That's very roundabout. What about the second sieve — Kindness. Is it kind?"

"Kind! No, I can't say it is kind."

"Now the third sieve — Necessity. Will it go through that? Must you tell this tale?"

"No, mother, I need not repeat it."

"Well, then, my boy, if it is not necessary, not kind, and perhaps not true, let the story die."

And finally, from twigg's I'd Like to Say a Few Words about Comment Threads,
In the past, in other Forums in a different life, or at least a different part of my life, I didn't resist temptation very well. When I found this place I determined that I would never again tread that path. It's unhelpful, destructive and worse, it would reduce my ability to persuade or discuss things that really matter. Want to be shunted to the sidelines, the murky margins of a conversation? It's easy, all you have to do is get a reputation for intemperate speech .... even if it is Free :)

I was also scared stiff by many of the regular contributors here, so I watched, I learned and slowly I joined in.

Some have yet to learn that lesson, and they are dragging the tone of the debate down to a level that makes it, at times, futile to continue. Those people, the ones who cannot keep a civil tongue in their keyboards are damaging the message, making the task harder to accomplish, and generally being "dicks".

It helps me to remember, even under the most intense provocation, one simple guiding idea ....

The people contributing to this Blog, to it's Diary Lists and Comment Threads, are not the enemy.


We are not the enemy. YOU are not the enemy. Most of us do our best to move through our lives in the real world without hurting others. But sometimes we forget to treat others tenderly in blogspace. This is our home. People should be able to feel safe in their own home.

Consider the words of these wise members, and please, be kind. It matters.

Originally posted to Melanie in IA on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 01:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Jim & Melanie in IA, Anglican Kossacks, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Courtesy Kos, and Pink Clubhouse.

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