Gee whiz, people. The level of discourse on some blogs has gotten alarmingly low. It's mean, nasty, and very often devoid of logic or relevance.
But hooray, help has arrived! I present to you my four (so far) rules of civil engagement, complete with links to examples. You'll see that most examples are from Cynthia Tucker's blog at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Tucker is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who, for some reason, seems to bring out the worst in people. It's a goldmine if you're looking for obnoxious responses.
Here are my rules (so far):
1. Making up names for people ("Obozo"), organizations ("Rethuglicans"), and philosophies ("Libtards") doesn't show that you're clever. On the contrary, it tells us your debate skills are severely limited, and name-calling is the best you could do. Exceptions: "The Bush" and "wingnut" are okay because, well, I happen to like them. And anyway, it's my blog. So there.
2. Sweeping generalizations, often accompanied by words such as "never" and "everybody knows," are a pretty good indication that the writer doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.
3. If you are constantly accusing someone of race-baiting, chances are excellent that it's YOU.
4. Making judgments about a person's looks, or about someone's masculinity or femininity, doesn't make you smart. It just makes you an asshole. Even if you're making fun of Ann Coulter.
Got a rule of your own? Feel free to add it below.