Monday, October 15, 2007

Queensberry rules?

In the two-and-a-bit years that I've been blogging, I have had occasion to visit purely soapbox type blogs, where people have set forth their strongly held views on some or other topic, only to come in for a fair amount of vitriol from readers. It seems there is this whole sector of the blogosphere just spoiling for a fight, and it can get really ugly, petulant and personal.

I have always returned from these forays grateful for the civilised nature of the bloggers in my neck of the cyberwoods. We don't always agree, but it always seemed that we had our eye on the ball and our end goal was the quest for knowledge, for improved learning provision.

I have posted comments disagreeing with the views expressed by various bloggers and they have responded with their views. Similarly, there have been disagreeing comments posted on some of my posts, with the same result. We have continued to disagree, but it has all been polite and mutually respectful. Some of them have gone on to become Facebook friends, Twitter friends, LinkedIn connections and people I would like to meet in person, should the opportunity ever arise. I have found the whole experience enriching, empowering and informative.

But that seems to be changing. Either that, or my veil of illusion is being stripped away.

A while ago, Donald Taylor made an appeal for evenhandedness in our responses to a controversial issue. I thought it was a little odd at the time, since I hadn't seen much evidence of anything else. Since then, I have spotted an occasional foray into character assassination that has sat very uncomfortably. This weekend one post in particular seemed to generate a debate that involved personal insults from rather surprising quarters.

I feel led back to the point I was making in this post about "the gatekeepers of truth".

I would just like to point out, be it ever so humbly, that even the wisest and most learned among us are looking at the world through the skewed perspective of what (we think) we know. There is just so much information out there that we don't have or that we haven't taken into account because we didn't realise it was relevant. No one person has the complete picture - omniscience has thus far eluded mankind (as far as I know!). So how can any one person categorically state one thing and resort to namecalling against those who dare to disagree?

For those who are hoping to find links to the "offending" posts or individuals - sorry, I don't work like that. But I would like to raise my ineffectual little voice in feeble protest... as either Dean Shareski or Darren Kuropatwa recently pleaded on Twitter: why can't we all just get along?

Please, please, my highly respected, valued community... can we be gentlemanly about this?

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