Archive for August, 2010

Uncivility Sucks

August 22nd, 2010 by hughillustration

I recently discovered an anti-Critical Mass website called It’s a slick site with some angry tirades about all the usual things that people hate about Critical Mass: we don’t stop for lights, we’re supposedly attacking motorists, etc. The slickness of the design and writing tell me it was probably created by some sort of sophisticated marketing professional.

But beyond the slickness, what is notable about this site are two things: 1) the nasty, mean spirited tone, rude language and insults he throws around, and 2) the fact that he does not allow comments. (And he has gone to the trouble of registering his site anonymously to prevent any public contact.) Also notable is the absence of serious, well-reasoned arguments — this is a person who prefers scoring cheap points to changing minds.

Our blog is not perfect. But we have never, in any of our posts and arguments, called anyone a “bitch” or a “douchebag” or used any insulting language whatsoever. We have never resorted to sarcasm, taunts or insults to make our points. And we allow comments.

Now, the comments are a real sore point for me, since I have mostly been the one receiving them and answering them one by one. They are mostly negative, but I publish them anyway, so long as the tone is civil. (We also allow comments on our Facebook page.) On more than one occasion, rather than deleting threatening comments I have written back to request a re-written, more civil comment — and gotten it. I or my co-bloggers have responded to every comment with fair and respectful replies.

We have also made ourselves easy to contact and identify. Chris and Joel both post under their own names. I use a pen name for Google search reasons, but I’m easy enough to find: click on my pen name and you’ll be taken to my site.

This seems to me a basic requirement of any site that seeks to influence the public: facing your critics and taking responsibility for your opinions. Sure, it’s a pain. Actually, it’s a lot of work. But to do otherwise would be hypocritical, it seems to me.

So, in response to all the taunting name calling, I’m calling Mr. out with a challenge. Open up your site to civil, respectful comments and let the public agree or disagree with your point of view. See if you can live up to the challenge of defending your opinions. It’s the right thing to do.