Open Thread Mondays: Comment Etiquette

This past week was filled with e-mails to me saying I should ban this person or that. But, unlike other cases where I’ve been asked to ban someone, the person wasn’t saying anything out of line. They were not swear-filled rants. They didn’t threaten, and couldn’t qualify as hate speech. They didn’t disclose private information about other people. They were not spam.

These are pretty much the conditions that would cause me to edit or delete comments, or block a user from commenting. But the people I received complaints about didn’t do any of these.

They were just annoying. Really, really annoying. And rude.

So this open thread isn’t really an open thread. In fact, I’m asking for very specific input from readers. I want to know what you consider right and wrong ways of commenting. I want to know the etiquette that you think is important to keep debate flowing well – but the sort of things where occasional transgressions can be forgiven.

And don’t single anyone out. Don’t say, “Just don’t act like…” or anything like that. If all goes well, this post will be a resource to use in the future, so that when a commenter begins to annoy others he can be linked to this post for a set of user-created guidelines. Consider it a warning shot before we need to discuss banning for disruptive behavior.

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