Rules for Commenting (or, a Lesson in Internet Etiquette)

Recently there was a bit of drama on the feelingelephants comments. People don’t leave many comments, so this was a bit of a surprise. Even more of a surprise was how uncivil the poster was. A brief chronology of the event exists below, but first, I would like to summarize the rules which I created in reaction to the ugly behavior of that one commenter:

-Ad hominem attacks are not permitted.
-Profanity is rarely useful, but is un-prohibited.
-Opposing views discussed politely are permitted.
-Crudeness is rarely useful, but is permitted as long as it is not obscene.

I figure these are the loosest rules I could tolerate, and so were a good first step of adding some law to the previously lawless (and nearly unused) comments sections on feelingelephants. Hopefully I won’t have to do anymore.

Below is a brief, and hopefully impartial, summary of my first experience with a comments spammer.

29 January, 2009 @ 12:12 am, “Clint Mahoney” comments on Planned Parenthood Escorting–Protester Images

29 January, 2009 @ 12:22 am, “Clint Mahoney” comments on Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood Escort

29 January, 2009 @ 12:40 am, I (feelingelephants) reply to “Clint Mahoney”‘s comment on Planned Parenthood Escorting–Protester Images, not having yet seen his comment on “Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood Escort”

29 January, 2009 @ 1:03 am, I reply to “Clint Mahoney”‘s comment on Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood Escort, having just been notified of it.

1 February, 2009 @ 11:00 pm, “Clint Mahoney” comments on Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood Escort

1 February, 2009 @ 11:53 pm, I reply to “Clint Mahoney”‘s comment on Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood Escort

Clint Mahoney is, as far as I can tell, an pro-life organizer. In the above chronology I used quotes around “Clint Mahoney” because I am making no assumptions about my commenter’s actual identity.

If you want to read the conversations, feel free, they’re in the comments sections of the posts linked to above. A friend of mine replied to a few of his points, so there is some good discussion. For all of my comments I was pretending I was Miss Manners, so they may read a little formal.

You may be wondering why I have given “Clint Mahoney” this much more exposure (by not just deleting him once he started insulting me at the time, and now by writing a post referencing him), since the comments-storm someone using his name was stirring up at the time was probably a ploy to gain more exposure for their anti-Roe Anniversary protest.

I am giving “Clint Mahoney” this exposure because 1) the commenter confirmed publicly that he is Clint Mahoney; 2) I believe he comported himself badly in his commenting and I think this is a good lesson in netiquette. I also feel I comported myself well, and answered his accusations in a polite way, and want to show off a little.

Btw, if Clint Mahoney does not want his name tied to this commenter, he may comment here and we’ll see what we can do about it. You will notice in the comments I signed my full name, because I do not hide behind handles when I am engaging in political debate.

Also, if you are interested in a simpler lesson in internet manners, I will direct you to one of the more succinct posts on netiquette which I have found.

Anyhoo, for my first encounter with a flamer, this was probably tame. But it certainly was interesting, and helped me articulate my rules for commenting on feelingelephants.

Have a great day!

Inspirational Quote:

I think we can disagree without being disagreeable” Barack Obama.


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