Mika: You’re very welcome. I think I found you through SITS and you wrote something about bringing up boys. When I read your other posts, I realized this was the sort of wise advice I could really use.
Maryleigh: Oh, you are too kind! However, living in a house full of boys, the “Mom,-you-are-so-wise” sentiment is severely lacking so I will just enjoy that nice sentiment! I only had one brother – and I was raised with my mom, grandmother and aunt, so it was a very feminized household. I had no clue! Now boys are my life!
Mika: God really gave you the chance to learn on the job. I have no brothers at all, and as expats we’re not very close to our cousins, so I have no idea how to bring up boys! I feel like that even with just two, and one a girl! It’s good to see that others have survived so I know I can too.
Maryleigh: So, we agree on parenting, pretty much – and when you just love your kids, you love being around people who love theirs, too.
Mika: Yes, that’s true.
Maryleigh: You are so lucky to have a girl! I can only dream – so live the dream for me – and put in a lot of pink. I so miss pink.
Mika: Pink, yes. I was never bothered about pink myself, but now I find I like it increasingly!
Maryleigh: But we do disagree.
Mika:Yes, we disagree. I imagine we might even disagree on child-raising methods although I haven’t come across anything so far!
Maryleigh: Oh, that’s a hot-bed of discussion opportunity! LOL. But we disagree on the interpretation of Obama Care – and the international rating of The American Health Care System. Anything else?
Mika: Generally, I think I am more socialist in outlook than you.
Maryleigh: I love your comments. Instead of attacking me, you contribute to the discussion by adding information that supports your view. I like that.
Mika: I don’t know if any of your other commenters like it.
Maryleigh: But that is what makes the comment section so interesting. It furthers the discussion of the post. I like how, even though we disagree, we do it respectfully, no verbal eye-rolling, no adjective attitude slaps, no punctuation punching! No questioning the functioning of my brain.
Mika: I’ve found most people are able to think, even if their thinking leads them to different conclusions than mine. And also the information that is available to me isn’t always available to others (and vice versa), so there’s no point in assuming stupidity when they may simply not have read the same stuff I have, just like I haven’t always read what they have.
Mika: Over the last month or so I’ve been thinking more about how I act in blogdom. I’ve had a private, friends-only sort of blog for several years now, as well as a more recent public one, and I have also participated on various forums (or should that be fora?) All this has given me the chance to make lots of mistakes, say lots of things I would later regret, and also learn a lot from others.
Maryleigh: Well, that leads to a question. Should we respond publicly to the debate we set up in the post? Or should we respond privately, via e-mail. For example, manners-wise, is it appropriate to set up the debate and then get involved in it, or set-up the debate and jump in with everyone else – just like you would if you were at the coffee shop with a bunch of moms or on the playground?
Mika: Hmm. I think it depends on the type of comments perhaps.I think I would, myself. I mean if it’s just an open debate, rather than a critique of whatever you posted, then everyone gets to have a say in the comments, including you. That’s more like a coffee morning.
Maryleigh: Well, that’s a good “manners” idea – that if you “throw the party” why not participate in it – rather than one education method where you set up the learning opportunity and then sit on the sidelines watching it all unfold.
Mika: But if you posted something and then the comments are responses to you rather than discussion with each other, then it’s more like you gave a presentation and now you’re fielding questions at the end. I guess then the question is are you opening the debate for educational purposes or just for discussion to hear what your commenters/friends think and interact with them, get to know each other better…
Maryleigh: In a mom-community, do you not carefully pay attention to who joins your group on the playground? It would be bad manners, to walk up to the group, listen for a few minutes and then belittle their views with snarky language.
Mika: Yes, exactly. To any group, even. Not just mums at the playground! So in a sense perhaps it’s more like having a coffee morning in your front garden where passers-by could join in, theoretically. But it wouldn’t be acceptable to shout rudely over the fence – it is still your garden so you can talk about what you want.
Maryleigh: I love your analogy! Yes, shouting over the fence because they are not really coming in, getting to know us and grow in relationship. They are just drive-by snarks!
Mika: Exactly! One of the thoughts I’ve been having about that behavior – because it is tempting to drive-by sometimes, isn’t it!
Maryleigh: How do you handle those drive-by comments without feeling like you are manipulating your content area? I hate direct conflict. I get enough of that raising sons! LOL
Mika: One of my thoughts is that if the blog upsets me enough that I feel the need to be snarky or aggressive then probably I shouldn’t be reading that bog, and I certainly shouldn’t be following it.
Mika: It’s hard to handle drive-by comments. Leaving them up and ignoring them would be one option, but then they are there to upset the other ladies (and potentially gents) in your garden.
Maryleigh: The only time I edit a comment is, for example, when my sweet mother-in-law leaves a comment along with her last name. I edit that out.
Mika: Yes I think editing is probably out. Unless there is unsuitable language (of course, then you get into what counts as unsuitable!). Addressing the commenter directly is most likely the way I would go.
Maryleigh: However, no comment goes on my post until I have accepted it. I accepted a few in the Summer and Fall, but I put one commenter on hold because they didn’t just attack my ideas but my intellect. The tone was abusive. That’s where it is o.k. to use the Bouncer approach and escort that commenter out of the blog.
Mika: Yes, I agree. Abusive is not ok. It also makes the other commenters feel unsafe, and potentially makes others feel like this is an ok place to be abusive too. Having said that, I once had a really angry discussion with an acquaintance online, in which he suggested something rather nasty about my attitude to America… and we’re now good friends!
Maryleigh: My blog is like my house or the neighborhood playground. I want people to feel comfortable and safe to stop by and spend some time.
And that is what Conversations with Civility is all about – feeling comfortable in the blogahood! Over the next few Mondays, Mika and I will be discussing the following:
- Comment Review Ethics
- Top 5 Commenting Tips
- Visiting Etiquette