- Anonymous comments are discouraged. If you have the courage of your convictions, you shouldn't need to hide behind anonymity. We all post under our real names, and respect those who do likewise. This is all about conversation, after all, and it's hard to have one with somebody who doesn't give you his name. If you have a good reason for needing to retain your anonymity feel free to use a pseudonym, as long as that name does not make a statement that violates points #2 and #4 below.
- Personal attacks should be avoided -- whether it be toward someone mentioned in a post, the author of a post, or someone writing in the combox. Intelligent critique of positions and statements is of course completely different than a personal attack, and are quite welcome.
- Debate is welcome, but should maintain respect, and should be presented as you would present it in a formal debate or argument: in other words, reasoned and relatively dispassionate.
- We should not confuse critiquing with ranting either. This is a "no-snark zone." If you are feeling very angry about a particular comment, we suggest that you type out your comment on your computer first and then walk away from it for a short time to settle down, re-read the post from the original commenter (or blog poster) again to see if you read all the details of their argument correctly. Re-read your own comments, and then use that opportunity to remove anything such as point #2 and #4 addresses, focusing instead on the approach outlined in #3 above.
- Banned words. Blasphemy, of course, is absolutely unacceptable and will result in immediate deletion of your comment. Profanity is to be discouraged, although the occasional “hell” or “damn” may be acceptable (provided it is not used in a personal attack). Vulgarity is purely subjective. “Ironic Snark,” i.e. “Umm…” and similar words and phrases, is unnecessarily cute (if you're trying to be clever, just put that thought right out of your mind) and will result in a warning, followed by comment deletion and banning if necessary.
- Finally, before you write anything remember this.
The editors of Our Word pride ourselves on civility, by us and by our correspondents. Our goal is to present in-depth commentary and criticism while at the same time keeping disagreements and debates civil. This is a call to absolutely everyone: let's keep it that way.
(Acknowledgements to The New Liturgical Movement for format.)