Thursday, March 6, 2014

My commenting guideline

The thing I find the most interesting about Progressive Bloggers and that which I like about it is that there is such a wide variety of opinion. It's a great experience rolling through the blogs and reading opinion whether you agree or disagree with them. I also enjoy the fact it is a loose-knit community, I read many of the blogs on there fairly regularly and I would hope the other authors read mine. The more ideas that are exchanged the better the dialogue that can develop.

Often while reading other blogs I find they jog different trains of thought, influence, or as was the case the other day a direct comment. All have been extremely useful since I started to dabble in blogging.

My intentions when commenting or directly responding are never malicious, or self promoting, my only intention is to convey my thoughts and usually only if the subject is something that is a core part of what I cover. Even if I disagree, or am writing a rebuttal, it is never meant to put down the other author or insult them, rather the intention is to get some discourse going. I view these issues I cover as extremely serious and I went in to this realizing I will be stepping on toes by covering them, I don't fuck around but I don't think anyone should be fucking around. I believe if you believe your convictions you should be able to debate them without the need to resort to slurs or insults or to misrepresent information on purpose to make yourself appear in the right without allowing anyone else that's viewing to properly weigh the opinions for themselves.

To ensure that I stand by my intentions I've sort of created a set of guidelines I use when commenting on other pieces, either professional journalism or other blogs. These guidelines I believe provide a layer of respect for all writers in the political scene regardless of how I feel about their opinion though I know some may not agree. I'm going to share my guidelines with you as I've noticed a number of posts going back and forth on there lately which reference other blogs without due respect. It's not my place to say people should follow these guidelines, but I have a fairly good reasoning for them and believe they are not only beneficial to the other author, myself, but also public discourse.

  1. Always link the post in question. I try to substantiate everything I say with some sort of source (unless it's something I say a lot as I've sourced it enough already). I expect my readers to follow my links, otherwise I wouldn't put them. My posts are meaningless if you don't take the time to understand the information I'm basing my opinion and commentary on. It's only courteous to the user to allow them to investigate for themselves.
  2. Always quote directly and in context. Not only is this proper, it's also more effective. I will write my opinion on what I think someone means but if I am commenting on another piece I paste the entire piece, or paragraph, always within full context, differentiate it so the reader clearly knows where it's coming from, and then provide my comment afterward. This allows the reader to compare the two, and if the source truly describes what you are saying it is always more powerful to simply allow the subject matter itself to say it. Inferring, or interpreting, especially if incorrect, leads to misinformation especially if no links or quotes are provided.
  3. Do not personally insult the author. If you feel what he says is actually offensive express your anger utilizing the subject matter.
  4. Always contact the author informing them the piece is being published and allow them to respond if they wish. If they respond on their own blog or from another source (instead of within comment forms) update your post to provide a link to their response. This is extremely important, there is no point commenting on someone else's opinion if you don't give them a chance to respond, or at least become aware of your opinion and more importantly reasoning.
So those are the guidelines I follow and feel they provide a less adversarial atmosphere and a lot more clarity regarding people's positions and I hope you find them useful.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for CenturyLink

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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