Civility Rule

200px-John_Bauer_-_The_Princess_and_the_Trolls_-_Google_Art_Project

Civility and Decorum Policy:

This blog is committed to the principles of free speech and, as a consequence, we do not ban people simply because we disagree with them. Indeed, we value different perspectives and do not want to add another “echo chamber” to the Internet where we each repeat or amplify certain views. However, the Turley blog was created with a strong commitment to civility, a position that distinguishes us from many other sites. We do not tolerate personal attacks or bullying. It is strictly forbidden to use the site to publish research regarding private information on any poster or guest blogger. There are times when a poster reveals information about themselves as relevant to an issue or their experiences. That is fine and is sometimes offered to broaden or personalize an issue. For example, I am open about my background and any current cases to avoid questions of conflicts or hidden agendas. However, researching people or trying to strip people of anonymity is creepy and will not be allowed.

Frankly, while I have limited time to monitor the site, I will delete abusive comments when I see them or when they are raised to me. If the conduct continues, I will consider banning the person responsible. However, such transgressions should be raised with me by email and not used as an excuse to trash talk or retaliate. I am the only one who can ban someone from the blog and I go to great lengths not to do it or engage in acts that might be viewed as censorship. Yet, we have had a few people who simply want to foul the cyber footpath with personal name-calling, insults, and threatening behavior. If they will not conform to our basic rules (which should not be difficult for any adult person in society), they will have to move on.

We do allow comments as well as anonymity, which some sites have disallowed. It is a curious thing how anonymity will unleash vile and dark impulses in people. Yet, anonymity is part of free speech and, while we have discussed eliminating anonymous comments due to abuses, we are trying to preserve this important element to free speech. It is possible to be anonymous but not obnoxious.

The blog is for civil dialogue on all manner of topics and not the promotion of commercial interests. If you have a product or service for sale, please refrain from including that in the comments section.

Given my family and professional responsibilities, I cannot continually monitor the comments. It is a challenge to post multiple stories early in the morning each day. This is reflected by the typos that sneak into my posts at 5 in the morning while I am trying to pour caffeine into my body. For that reason, this site relies heavily on its regulars to preserve decorum and civility. The failure to delete or respond to a post is not a reflection of any agreement or content-based review. All comments are solely the view of the poster and not the blog, myself, or the guest bloggers. We get thousands of comments and have only limited screening ability for foul language. For that reason, your help is not just welcomed but absolutely necessary in maintaining the character and tenor of this blog.

Like all sites, we attract trolls and juvenile posters who want to tear down the work of others. It is a sad reality of the Internet and the worst element of our species. Don’t feed the trolls. Ignore them. They are trolls and live under cyber bridges for a reason.

We have often been described as a place where people can have passionate but respectful discussions. That is not for everyone. Indeed, one of the leading legal blogs expressly rejected a civility rule as boring and unnecessary. We disagree. If you find it difficult or unfulfilling to discuss issues without personal insults or foul language, please move on. Our Guest Bloggers are asked to avoid any tit-for-tat fight with trolls and critics. Likewise, most of our regulars refuse to engage in such exchanges. Please help us keep this an island of civility and mature discourse on the Internet. Address the issues and not the individuals in our debate. Be passionate but don’t let it get personal.

And thanks again for being part of our blog community.

Jonathan Turley

68 thoughts on “Civility Rule

  1. Check out the JT Blog’s most recent post. Haha but he’s purely an academic, don’t make it personal! And how about setting an example for us? Not so much.

  2. The civility rule is a joke. Don’t make it personal? You talk about people’s personal lives on here every single day you post. This site is a joke (is that civil?).

  3. I took a couple of minutes to read this column on civility. No matter how much I disagree with someone I will keep your civility rules in mind. This is a great forum. Best wishes Professor Turley.

  4. hardy har [giggle, snarf] karen halnon – i thought your above paragraph sounded way too familiar. ‘fess up now: did you ghost write prof turley’s opening remarks at the top of this civility page? or does plagiarism ride again?

  5. Darren Smith

    I have been unable to receive posts from any WordPress Blogs since April 16th 2015. I have a new Computer since April 18th and tried to switch to Google and was told maybe expired???? I changed to 3rd party cookies??? help???

  6. You just can’t feed the trollls. They are everywhere. It is the price of free speech. You ignore them. 😉

  7. Really??????
    We have often been described as a place where people can have passionate but respectful discussions. That is not for everyone. Indeed, one of the leading legal blogs expressly rejected a civility rule as boring and unnecessary. We disagree. If you find it difficult or unfulfilling to discuss issues without personal insults or foul language, please move on. Our Guest Bloggers are asked to avoid any tit-for-tat fight with trolls and critics. Likewise, most of our regulars refuse to engage in such exchanges. Please help us keep this an island of civility and mature discourse on the Internet. Address the issues and not the individuals in our debate. Be passionate but don’t let it get personal.

  8. Boxer Buddy

    If it is not in your spam folder because that happened to me for a while, try re entering it as if it was new. That is what I would do. If that doesn’t work. Put Darren Smith’s name up there as a header as the is the local IT expert.

    Hope this helps

  9. I was getting your blog emailed to me every night, then it suddenly stopped and I cannot get it back. My email address has been declared a non working one. I cannot go through WordPress because they do not recognize my email address.
    Does anyone know how to fix this?
    Thank you.

  10. Hmmm, just read this and it seems most here are civil and uncivil as mood dictates. But cannot see, admit, or dictate their own actions according to this dictum. I can admit when I am uncivil at times and I apologize – blanket apology 😉

  11. I am no longer able to receive your blog via email and I don’t know why. When I try to contact WordPress….they don’t recognize my email at all. Help!!

  12. The F-bomb will automatically take a comment to the trash bin?!

    Wauw, that is SOME commitment to the principles of free speech, guys.
    What are we here, kiddies trying to become lawyers?!

    Lewis Black has some intelligent things to say about this:

    Can we try to grow up and act as bloody adults?
    (Pardon the expression!! Don’t ban me!!)

  13. Professor Turley,
    Is it possible if a group of blog subscribers individually petition you to provide their email address to other members of the group by a back channel? It would provide a safe means for subscribers who have developed blog friendships to take non thread related discussion off thread?

  14. Professor Turley,

    “However, researching people or trying to strip people of anonymity is creepy and will not be allowed.”

    I didn’t see this, so if I could be so bold as to suggest adding a clause that you lose your right to anonymity if you contact another contributor by tracking them down on Twitter for instance, and disclose yourself as using another name without a request to keep it anonymous.

    This occurred recently and when I used the “twitter” name in this blog this person contacted you to complain. This might eliminate the creepiness that comes from having someone stalking you outside this blog.

    Thank you

  15. In the early 1980s, I used to listen in to a daily 5 min. political segment on the radio where Ted Kennedy – Senator (D) Mass. and Alan Simpson – Senator (R) would argue a topic, each day taking turns going first, and after each spoke their initial position, each got to rebut the other.

    Each would blast the other’s position, sometimes calling each other mild derogatory names, and it informed the public the view of both sides of the argument.

    To the uninitiated, you would come away thinking these guys totally hated each other and given the chance, would press a button to make the other one disappear from the face of the earth.

    But in reality, they were best friends. They went on family vacations together, they attended each others graduations, weddings, etc. When Ted Kennedy died, Alan Simpson gave interviews where said that while they always were on the opposite sides most of the time, they viewed political arguments as our founders did. They must remain civil, they must not contain slanderous personal attacks, and at the end of the day, when they left the Senate, they left any animosity inside the Senate.

    While the Republican members are not immune from launching personal attacks, since the 2000 election cycle, the Democrats have been the largest contributor to steadily increasing personal, slanderous, and outrageous attacks on both a Republican president and VP, Republican Presidential and VP Nominees and Republican members of the Senate and Congress.

    It is one thing for members of the media and the public at large to make these statements, but when they are said on the floor of the House and Senate Chambers, they amount to a willingness to do and say anything to win.

    When a Democrat does it, they are never called out by the main stream media, or the Democratic leadership. There are rules in Congress they forbid this kind of outrageous attacks. When the Democratic Leadership itself delivers these attacks, totally ignoring the rules, then the situation becomes even more hypocritical.

    In the 2008 and 2012 election cycle, numerous official Democrats, especially
    Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz, were caught outright lying on just about everything, their own record, statements and claims about the Republicans, etc. CNN even called Debbie Wasserman Shultz an outright liar. Most of the media followed suit and pounded the Republicans daily with the same talking points.

    Since then, the JURNO_List coordination by members of the media and just this week, the Google Group of 1000 “Main Stream Media Journalists” were caught in collusion together coordinating attacks on Conservatives, proving the Republican accusation that the media is coordinating with the Democratic Party.

    There is a video on Youtube that illustrates how effective this coordination has been in past elections. The film maker interviewed numerous average liberal voters, at the voting booth, right after they voted. They asked them a couple of simple political questions.

    1st Question – Who did you vote for – All said Obama.
    2nd Question – Who is Harry Reid – Not one knew who he was.
    3rd Question – Who is Nancy Pelosi – Not one knew who she was.
    4th Question – Who received $150k from her party to buy a wardrobe – Every single one of them answered Sarah Palin.

    When almost all of the media outlets are parroting the same attacks, the results speak for themselves.

    This same habitual lying has infected most of the Democratic Party and Obama appointed heads of Federal Agencies. 2 days ago, a report came out that basically said the Obama administration and most of the Federal Agencies were being prevented from auditing these said agencies, be the heads of the agencies themselves. Refusing to answer questions, refusing to provide lawfully required documents so the money allocated to those departments can be accounted for.

    While we can disagree on political viewpoints, if one party, the Democratic party that is currently running the government, outright refuses to obey the law, refuses to allow Congress to perform their Constitutional duties of overseeing and auditing the Federal Government, and is willing to do and say anything to stay in power, folks were are in a serious Constitutional crisis.

    When the Main Stream Media, and the Democrats on the street support and approve of these actions, civility becomes a mute point and pushes more than half the states in the country to begin to believe maybe its time to split the country into two nations.

    If you have to lie and miss-represent your political viewpoint to win elections and the passage of laws, then your real viewpoint or the true intent of the law must not be a winnable position.

    Jim Rose

  16. Thanks for speaking out today to Congress: That Government “by the people” should not perish from the face of the Earth, at least without some kind of discussion.

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