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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Bad Manners and the Rules of Engagement — Reminder

posted by Nell Minow

I love hearing from the people who read what I post here and it is my hope that we can create a community that welcomes a spirited discussion on media, culture, and values. I am lucky to have found a job as a critic because it suits my interests and personality. I love movies (I often say that the primary qualification for the job is the willingness to watch an unlimited number of awful movies) and I love to express my views. And as a critic myself, I love to hear the views of other people, whether about the movies I review or the reviews themselves. Opinions are less often good or bad than interesting or uninteresting, well-supported or not well-supported. You don’t agree with what I had to say? Bring it on! Nothing would make me happier than hearing about what you saw in a movie that I missed.

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But I have no tolerance for bad manners and it is important to me that everyone feel that this is a safe place to ask questions and express views. You are more than welcome to disagree, but no one will be allowed to be disagreeable, hostile, or rude and I will delete any comments I consider inappropriate. “Why do you think that?” is fine. Corrections are appreciated. But insults of any kind are not permissible. That includes questioning anyone’s motives or the legitimacy of their views.

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I do not understand what makes people feel that it is all right to be rude or hostile in an email or a comment when they would never do so in person. Please keep in mind that you diminish the credibility of the points you are trying to make when you post insults instead of arguments. We want to know what you are thinking. Lack of courtesy does not tell us anything interesting about what is on your mind.

Many thanks to those of you who have taken the time to write thoughtful comments. You have made me laugh, you have made me think, you have made me fix mistakes — you have made this a better place to be and I will do my best to make this place a welcoming and safe community for you. I hope you will return often and keep letting me know what you think. Those whose comments I have deleted are also welcome to return; I know you can do better and I look forward to hearing from you again.

  • Sam Baker

    Bravo Nell! Learning how to debate in a civilized manner is a bed rock skill for a successful society. Creating such a space here through an open dialogue about movies is a great service to the world. It is easy to shoot the messenger, but then we have a lot of dead people. Thank you.

  • Big_Dave_T

    Hmmmmm, wonder what brought this on. I’ve been on vacation and am catching up. Was it the John Wayne post? He always WAS a controversial character. Probably stirred a lot of passions among folk.
    Hopefully it wasn’t anything I wrote here. I really do try to be civil.

  • Rick

    Sam and Big Dave. A wise man once said “If you are worried about being rude or disrespectful, then you most likely won’t be!”

  • Nell Minow

    Quite right, Rick. Sam and Big Dave and you are just the kind of commenters I hope for. I am all in favor of vigorous debate about ideas, but I will not stand for insults or questioning anyone’s motives. I have not had to delete very many comments, but I wanted those whose comments were deleted to understand why.

  • Tim1974

    Slowly raising hand as one who “may have” been deleted once, or “maybe more.” However, in my defense, I have always tried not to be rude or disrespectful. I am just passionate about my beliefs. And, if not for me, would the little hairs on the back of neck actually have anything to do ? Thanks for you understanding(tolerance) and I look forward to continuing to be part of your website. (As you already know, it isn’t that easy to get ride of me.) With that said, I can’t disagree with you more about………. well, that is for another time. All kidding aside, I will continue to try to abide by all the rules. And yes, in school my desk was always up near the teacher. Hmmmmmmm still wondering why.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Tim! I’m glad you’re here (really).

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