Discussion

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ONLINE DISCUSSION RULES

Democracy applies to discussion as much as to political action. Stick to these simple rules in our discussions and we’ll progress together!

  1. Be polite when disagreeing, and don’t forget to point out what is good in the other person’s arguments. Above all, don’t descend into personal abuse – it screws up debate and creates unnecessary enemies.
  2. Be respectful of people’s opinions – we have so much to learn from each other if we are willing to listen. Remember that communication is a two-way process.
  3. Be clear concentrate on the main issues – don’t confuse debates by nitpicking or point-scoring. Be prepared to suggest further research or discussion.
  4. Be humble don’t be arrogant like you know everything – we are learning all the time. Remember we have all been wrong at some point in the past and will be wrong again!
  5. Be precise don’t stick labels on people assuming they are something they aren’t… or treat them as stereotypes. People have things in common but they are also individuals.
  6. Be cool don’t get too emotional or act in the heat of the moment. Sleep on it before sending off a hot-headed reply – you’ll save yourself a lot of embarrassment and keep friends and comrades. And don’t post too quickly unless specifically answering a question – try to allow other people to come into the debate
  7. Be patient don’t escalate problems or accusations until you’ve given a chance for people to respond. And keep a sense of proportion – don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
  8. Be open don’t prejudge ideas because they come from inexperienced or unpopular people. Remember the message is more important than the messenger.
  9. Be tolerant don’t poison your arguments with judgements about people’s lifestyles. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’.
  10. Be aware that other people are busy. Some people might take more time to mull things over. You don’t have to be responded to right away.
  11. Be conscious of the frequency of your posts. The list is no one person’s personal blog. Posting too often puts other people off and imbalances the discussion
  12. Try to see what the other person is actually saying (not what you THINK they are saying at first glance). What words have they actually used? What are those words likely to mean to that person — even if they don’t necessarily mean the same thing to you? What might they be TRYING to say, from THEIR point of view, even if they haven’t quite said it in the same way you would have, or if they have been less than eloquent?
  13. Seek clarification if necessary (and it usually is). Don’t get stuck on the surface of an argument. Go beyond the smokescreen. Seek out underlying issues. Demonstrate, to the other person’s satisfaction, that you have, indeed, understood them.
  14. Build upon areas of agreement, and then show how any areas of disagreement relate to each other. A simple clash of world views with no mutually intelligible vocabulary or concepts or approaches is futile. Bridges must be built; terms must be defined, and negotiated.
  15. Check motives including one’s own. Do you really want to communicate? Do you really want to understand? Or do you want to win, or to defeat?
  16. It goes without saying that any post including racist, homophobic, sexist and libelous content will be negatively verified by the moderators and their authors banned permanently. Same applies to vulgar, offensive and insulting entries.
  17. Note that you are legally responsible for your publications on the forum and that you are identifiable once you register!