Comment Guidelines

NOTE: Guest comments (comments made without registering for any kind of account) will require approval. Picking a single handle for all your guest comments and sticking with it helps to recognize a guest commenter and can quickly make you “whitelisted” (your guest comments will appear without requiring approval).

The guidelines below are sourced from Humanistic Paganism ground rules for comments, and Druid Etiquette 101 By Elm-ily Post. Some revisions were made for brevity and various perspectives as found appropriate for the functionality of this blog.

By following these general guidelines, you might avoid putting your foot in your mouth, and probably be respected for your manners.

1) Use “I” Language, not “you” language. Use words like I think, I believe, for me, in my opinion, I feel, personally, in my Group, etc. Talking about how you think or feel, rather than making accusations against others.

2) Keep it Civil: Comments that stray toward rants or flames will be deleted.

3) Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

4) Avoid setting yourself up as the mouthpiece for your particular practice/path/religion – You don’t want to get flak from folks when you don’t mean to offend.

5) Avoid words like all, everyone, no one, never, always, “every (insert kind of practitioner)” and other general terms that imply that everyone believes the exact same thing in the exact same way. Exceptions are frequent. Problems are avoided by using words like; many, most, some, a few, often, sometimes, it seems, it appears.

6) When you are talking about an ancient practice/religion/path, say so, when you are talking about a modern practice/religion/path, say so; and when you are talking about specific sub-sect of a certain practice/religion/path, say so.

7) Use a consistent name in conferences, even if you primarily use an alias. Using multiple accounts or names is not only confusing to many, but may actually engender suspicion that you are trying to “agree with yourself” by using alternative identities. Put your name with a criticism and stand by your words as long as you think you are correct.

8) Be courteous and cordial with each other, even when they are not.

9) Give each other the benefit of doubt in uncertain matters.

10) Use proper grammar, clear terms and emoticons to avoid miscommunication.

11) Review all letters for a moment before sending to check for improperly stated thoughts. Write slowly and thoughtfully.

12) Being funny is a fine thing, but if you perhaps poked someone a bit too deeply, apologize.

13) Do not be afraid to state your personal beliefs, but try to do so in a tactful or diplomatic manner when you think they might be controversial. There’s a way to make a point without making an enemy.

14) Do not completely demonize or ridicule opponents. Try to give a more balanced and objective view of the situation, although you are welcome to state where your preferences lie.

15) Agreeing with people is nice, tell them so on those rare occasions but put the extra effort to turn a bland “yeah, me too” agreement posting into a deeper more interesting response. Giving illuminating examples from your life or some complementary thoughts.

16) Don’t just “quote scripture” at people on an issue. Give clear rational arguments why you believe so, because not everyone agrees that your source material is without doubt.

17) Remember not everyone is as well versed as you. By giving a bit of a clear simple lead-in, you can draw in a bigger audience than if you start off using technical words they don’t know.

18) Try to cite your sources, especially if you are heavily relying on a few obscure authorities for your point.

19) Separate facts from theories.

20) Accept that people will not always agree with you.

21) Listen and try to understand someone you disagree with, then you constructively criticize, also offer a variety of viable alternatives and solutions.

22) Share fun ideas that work locally, but don’t be hurt if they aren’t adopted elsewhere.

23) Don’t expect even the greatest ideas to be accepted as official outside your Group.

24) Attempts to make codes of morals are likely to irk people.

25) Don’t try to “pull rank”/push your authority on folks. It is more effective to provide supporting evidence for your point than to state your professional position to get your point across.

26) If you say everything you want to say, you’ll probably hear something you don’t want to hear.

27) Don’t post people’s private e-mails without permission or maliciously reveal things in confidence.

28) Write a thank you note when someone does something nice for you, or goes out of their way to advise you.

29) Be honest, but tactful. Timing & phrasing is key.