“THE CAMELS WITH HAMMERS CIVILITY PLEDGE”
I’m linking to it, as well as reprinting it as a page on the masthead on the off chance you don’t want to give Patheos any money. This pledge is the culmination of a good two years of blogging and back and forth discussion on Dan’s blog about the feasibility of promoting civil discourse on the internet. It is far reaching and incredibly well thought out. Just following the discussion has led me to moderate my language and reconsider some of my long held positions on how to deal with Trolls and other refuse on the intertubes.
And I’ve been one of the gadfly’s in this discussion. I am going to fail to uphold a lot of this pledge because I firmly believe that there are lines that once crossed, forfeit one the right to be treated civilly. In cases such as that the best thing to do is most likely to disengage as best as you can. And in cases like the horrible people who harass Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, Rebecca Watson and others in the skeptical and atheist movement on a weekly basis… well I’m likely to lose my temper.
I have another reservation. I recommend reading the whole Pledge. I recommend reading everything Dan writes, even the stuff about the dreary Christopher Nolan Batman films that I have grown tired of. He’s an incredibly intelligent and reasonably friendly fellow. The very fact that he and I can have silly spats on Facebook about careerist hack Andrew Sullivan is one of the miracles of the modern age, and I cherish those conversations even when I come out of them feeling like I’m on the short end of the stick.
Because lets face it. He’s a college professor, a full on practicing philosopher.
I’m a two time college drop out with a Chomsky fetish and an internet connection. If it weren’t for the Girl there’s a good chance I would be typing this as part of a Manifesto from my Unabomber cabin.
Giving up on vitriol feels a bit like disarming. Snark is part of my armor, it helps keep the bad guys at arms length. It’s easier to make forceful and eloquent arguments without resorting to personal attacks when you have been training your whole life for it. Some of us are just dudes (and dudettes) with blogs trying to sort out the world. Give us some slack as we catch up.
But I’m signing anyway, even if I honor the pledge as often in the breech as in practice. I have The Hellions to watch over, and their world is likely going to be even more interconnected by this internet thingy. I suppose it behooves me to model the kind of world I want them to grow up in, even if that means I become a relic of a less enlightened age.