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On Flame Wars, Elbow Throwing …

Commenters and blurkers often wonder why I allow overly passionate commenters to post at Huckleberries Online rather than give them their walking papers for good. Frankly, I enjoy much of what they post and tolerate their politics when passions are high. Most of you know that I’m a social conservative with respect for human rights and a touch of green on local planning issues. However, as a member of the SR editorial board, I’ve learned to respect the opinions of others. That’s why it doesn’t bug me when Green Libertarian or Bearable Bob are dissing Bush for Iraq or his response to New Orleans or lack thereof (as long as they don’t become so predictable that my eyes glaze over).

However, I don’t have much use for a passionate argument that turns to name-calling. At that point, I figure, the name caller has lost and is trying to pick a fight because s/he lacks substance. We had a pretty nice fight re: the New Orleans blame game going Sunday until I stepped in late. On Saturday, everyone was arguing facts. On Sunday, name-calling had replaced facts. I had to use the Blog Bomb to settle things down. And they were Monday.

Why do I put up with the passionate posters? Most of them add spice to the blog. Without them, we might become too parochial. I pride myself that I’ve only kicked only a handful of people off the blog. And some have been welcomed back after they assured me they could play by my rules. My goal is to keep as many former flame throwers posting as long as possible, and possibly steer them toward a better way of arguing. If one gets an occasional timeout, so be it. I don’t hold that against him. If we all learn something from this online experiment in optimism, that’ll be good too.

DFO


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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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