As 2016 Begins: A Message to Blog Comment Writers
I want to thank those of you who have written comments, whether critical or complimentary. Their presence gives the blog a dialogic identity that I find valuable. I do my best to listen, and if possible respond, but at timers feel overwhelmed by agreeing to do more than I can manage.
I do not welcome comments that framed by invective, comments that seek to insult others with whom they disagree, and exhibit rage and arrogance. Although the blog touches on a wide range of subjects I find that impulse toward defamatory comments is almost exclusively limited to those who seek to support Israel and discredit its critics, questioning their motives, information, and character whether outright or through innuendo.
As I have declared previously, I will block in 2016 any further comments that cross lines of courtesy and civility. As we learned in the case of Stephen Salaita, freedom of speech should be protected whether civil or not when it assaults conventional orthodoxies, but I consider this website to have become a kind of digital home where the purpose is to nourish thought, reflection, and even community. From this perspective in a manner parallel to Gresham’s Law ‘bad speech drives out good.’
I don’t doubt that are good faith differences as what is bad speech and what is good speech, and do not pretend to be objective, although I try to be fair. I realize that in the past when I have reacted similarly, I have not always followed through consistently, but in the spirit of new year’s resolutions, I will try harder. On the basis of past experience, I know that authors of past defamatory comments will fuss and fume, but I hope others who take time to read my posts will take advantage of what I hope will be a more nurturing atmosphere for conversation.
Also, to avoid wasting anyone’s time do not waste your energy attacking this message intending to establish at the start of the new year guidelines for the future. It is my intention to block uncivil attacks on the sentiments expressed in this message if contrary to the canons of digital etiquette appropriate for this website.