SK Parks Spark Heated Debate

Today, I’m debating with myself my role as host of this blog. The reason: the increasingly hostile tone of comments on this topic (SK Parks).

I have in the queue several comments I haven’t posted yet, and I’m considering imposing a moratorium on entries that include verbage like “scathingly nasty,” “vicious,” and sarcastic comments implying the other party is sick en la cabeza. My Web editor, no doubt, will be unhappy with me. After all, this kind of stuff is highly entertaining, but so is Jerry Springer.

I defend each blogger’s right to assert her (or his) opinion and back it up with facts, well- or ill-founded. I invite you to take each other (and me) to task over facts well- or ill-founded. I welcome sharp criticism and passionate posts. But I wonder if the cat fight we’ve got going here really advances constructive discussion of an issue that is already so divisive. I knew Chuck Jeu, not as well as some of you, but my bet is he’d take a dim view of the escalating invective. My opinion — and my editors may disagree — is it ultimately reflects poorly on the Kitsap Sun as the host of this platform for civil (?!?!) discourse.

Of course if I were to start taking a heavier hand in monitoring the blog, I would run the risk of people saying, “Why did you post her’s and not mine?” People might start to feel they’re walking on egg shells. We could lose a lot of the honesty and immediacy that makes this blog so vibrant. The question of where (and if) to draw the line on a blog is food for thought, and something we as a blogging community must define as we continue to engage each other over issues that we care about deeply.

So I ask you, what do you want to see? What’s the purpose of this blog, and what, if any, guidelines would you like to see about postings that smack of personal attacks?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Take care, Chris

10 thoughts on “SK Parks Spark Heated Debate

  1. Chris–

    My apologies to you for any of my comments that may have made you feel uncomfortable as the intermediary and host of this blog.

    Although I do think that posting honest feelings and reactions, controversial as they may seem, is a right, there probably should be an effort made by all (self included) to be more judicial in what is said.

    Take care,

    Melissa Lund

  2. I love dialog, in person or via newsgroups and blogs. Perhaps it is because I love to debate issues because it causes me to think and often provides the building blocks of common ground and brave new directions.

    However, I do not like personal attacks. If you have a fact that is one thing, but if you are just slinging mud, that is unacceptable.

    If my post slings mud instead of makes a legitimate point, it should be sent back to me suggesting that I either focus on my point or drop the mean-spirited attack.

    We should not filter opinions about issues. But I do think that filtering diatribe about people is, unfortunately, necessary from time to time because people aren’t always their own best self-monitors.

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  3. Yes, please censor words like “invective”; it’ll save me from having to scrounge around for a dictionary in order to know whether I was just insulted or not… 🙂

    I didn’t know Chuck Jeu but I have also speculated that the tone of the discussion is probably not what he would’ve wanted. With accusations aplenty, the pressure surrounding it has been building for years so I’m not surprised to see a few gaskets bursting here and there. As I’ve stated before, everyone has sufficiently demonstrated passion for the park.

    I do think debating an issue is more fruitful than personal attacks and the spiral from the former to the latter can be subtle and swift. Moderating a group of passionate citizens who sit safely behind their keyboards isn’t an enviable task but the Tracking the Speedway Rules might be a good place to start so we all know what is acceptable and what will get us spanked.

    If there must be some level of censorship/moderation, it’s application should be consistent. I had a comment censored once in the “Letters to the Editor” section because I had *implied* someone’s view was “delusional”. Later, that very same person was allowed to directly call someone else “a dope”.

    In my view, a direct labeling such as “You are an idiot” is worse than an indirect implication such as “Your view is idiotic” but the LTE moderator either doesn’t share that view or they are not applying the same level of moderation consistently.

    I learned two lessons from that:
    1) don’t waste time posting replies to Bemrose in the LTE section
    2) try to keep the comments directed on the issue rather than the person

    Of course, anyone who wants to search the archives will surely find evidence that I have not always been successful but I’m working on it.

  4. Chris, I’m sorry you’re subjected to reading unproductive ‘stuff’…and to tell you Jerry Springer is not entertaining…to this reader..

    Seems to me the Blog Host sets the tone….and the question is edit or don’t edit. Print or don’t print.
    Toss whatever you are uncomfortable with…any time a person does what is best for themselves, the rest falls into place.

    Second guessing never works…set your standards and host a blog you are proud to be a part of … contribute to quality…as you do.

    Pleasing your editor is never as important as being part of something that matters, that helps make a positive difference in your community … blogs are/should be brainstorming to a good outcome, a sharing of thoughts, ideas… any good editor would agree. Or not.

    You have good judgment, Chris…follow your ‘gut’….

    Best wishes…. Sharon O’Hara

  5. Read the “blog decorum” entry over at “Tracking the Speedway.”

    A specific comment prompted Gardner to speak up when he did:

    “Linda Fischer wrote:

    “This is exactly why I don’t normally participate in blogs. Instead of engaging in an intellectual, well researched discussion, bloggers attack the intention or intelligence of those who disagree with them or who present data that invalidates current thinking.” [Emphasis added.]

    In my experience, commenters who behave as though they can read minds often add little of interest. When they assert that another commenter has ulterior motives or is behaving in a deceitful manner, it lends nothing useful to the discussion.

    Toss out all those you can.

    Imagine you’re an old Southerner for whom “honor” is more than just a word. Then imagine the comment was directed at you. If the thought of giving the commenter a thrashing crosses your mind, click “delete” without posting.

    I occasionally deliver a “Dutch uncle lecture,” and I assume it will cause the other person some discomfort. But I don’t see this as being the same as accusing someone of using false pretenses or otherwise behaving with deceit.

    Of course, if I get up on my high horse and you want to click “delete,” go ahead.

    We need a community discussion forum, not a verbal brawl.

    When I read down through the comments, I’m hoping to find useful information that adds to what was said in the main entry, not accusations of bad faith, etc., directed at other commenters.

  6. You read my thoughts Chris- so your entry doesn’t surprise me. Thanks for possibly straightening some of us out!

  7. Sharon, can you elaborate on: “…any time a person does what is best for themselves, the rest falls into place.”

    Thank you.

  8. Sure…and I’ve just discovered it is not an easy answer…but it is my opinion..

    By ‘pleasing oneself’ first…I do not mean anything illegal, immoral, mean or hurtful to another person.

    Bill Gates is a good example. He left school because his passion wasn’t a college degree…his passion led him elsewhere. He pleased himself first.

    Too many of us do not follow our ‘gut’, our passion.
    We follow the crowd. We want to be part of the crowd and not stand out as different.

    Anyone who has ever done anything interesting has followed their own passions and not been swayed by public opinion or the risk of being ridiculed.

    I’ve known folks who disliked their job. They worked for week-ends, holidays and dreamed of retirement.

    If we spend one third of our life working at a job we dislike..we have wasted that time … the precious too short time we have on earth.

    In my opinion, a good editor will let their Blog Host set their own guidelines for that blog.
    .
    A editor would not put someone like Chris (if she really disliked it) as host for a desired ‘Jerry Springer’ type blog.
    She wouldn’t enjoy the job and it would show.

    If a person lives their life to suit themselves, they are not wasting energy on dislikes, but using that positive energy in some beneficial manner.

    The doc who did the first heart transplant faced his peers…all who said it couldn’t be done.

    The first barbers to cut up cadavers in order to learn anatomy and how the body worked…was the forerunner of our current great medical society.

    They pleased themselves first…they followed their passion to know, to learn.

    Is that bad?

    The earth was once flat or so it was believed until a visionary proved differently.
    Sharon O’Hara

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