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Civility & Discourse

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last post. The biggest thing has been the rollout of a new site design and engine at The Mac Observer. Dave Hamilton, Adam Christianson, and Eddie Machado of outside design firm Themble did an amazing job of bringing The Mac Observer into the present.

We also brought back the TMO Spin, a vehicle for our news guys to add perspective, context, and opinion to our news coverage separate from writing up the straight new itself. In that the thing that most interests me in my day job is the analysis side of things, I am super stoked we did that.

But, it’s kept me very busy. Then there was Apple’s iPhone 5 media event and all of the extra news generated by that. The spec comparison I wrote on Friday alone was a 12 hour task, and that’s not counting after-the-fact corrections and responding to comments.

Hence, the lack of updates.

An actual email I received

 An actual email received.

One thing that I have been delighted with is that the comments and emails I’ve been getting on that spec comparison have been fantastic. Such pieces usually bring out partisans in both the pro-Apple and Apple-hating camps, but this time around, everyone has been reasonable, polite, and many have added some great perspective to the discussion. Even the people pointing out my mistakes have been polite and helpful. Mostly.

All in all, it’s been awesome. Truly gratifying, even.

It reminds me of the value of being civil, and of comporting oneself with aplomb and grace. I won’t say I manage to do so 100% of the time—far from it—but I value it more and more as I get older.

One thing I’ve been thinking about is how individual members of a community generally speaking rise or fall to the standards set by or imposed on them by the community. If we expect each other to treat one another with reason and respect, do so on our end, and don’t negatively reinforce those who fail to do so, the quality of discourse will rise.

It sounds simple, and it is a simple concept, but sometimes it’s a lot harder to actually do.

Image made with help from Shutterstock.

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