Civility at RBC

I think I should clarify a change I made a few months back about how I handle comments. When I started posting and someone would write a comment that included some genuine content mixed in with some insults, I was pretty indulgent, i.e., Use the editing function to sand off a little Jew-baiting here, airbrush the remark about one of the commenters’ parents not being married there, and voila, a civil, intelligent comment all ready for publication.

I see that some other bloggers here provide the same service and I admire their dilligence. What I decided for myself at least a few months back is that I am going to spread the burden of civility more broadly rather than take it on as solely my responsibility. If you post an otherwise thoughtful comment and then throw in an insult to someone’s character, intelligence, ethnicity, race or gender, I now delete the comment whole cloth. If this happens to you, please don’t walk away saying that no one appreciates your extraordinary brilliance. Instead, read the comment to yourself as if you were receiving it to identify the unecessary name calling and then try to re-post your substantive content minus the degrading words. If this seems too much to ask, the web and indeed the world is full of places where you can be as nasty as you please in debate. But that’s just not the product that is on offer here.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.