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OpEdNEws Demands Civility Among Disagreeing Progressives

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There are some readers who think that if an editor changes a title, or instructs a writer to change a title, or delete a statement, or words in an article, that's censorship. WRONG! Censorship is done by the government. Leaders in the media have the right and responsibility to edit.

OpEdNews has grown BECAUSE of our editorial policies and actions. We encourage some writing. We reject some writing. We insist that writers meet standards and rules we set. Some of our writers join us and stay with us, because we HAVE standards and rules.

One rule that is already important and that is going to be more important in coming months is that we demand civility in articles and comments. If a writer fails to maintain civility, that writer will be edited or even further steps will be taken.

Get used to it. Progressives will be disagreeing over the coming nine months. I want OpEdNews to be a place where progressives in all parties can advocate for their candidates and criticize other candidates. But I DEMAND civility.

One writer who was instructed to change a title of his article yesterday thinks this is just another website.

"What's the big deal? This site isn't the New York Times!" a comment said (I paraphrase him.)

Writers can post anything they want to their low traffic websites and blogs, and see as many readers in a month, as we get in an hour or even five minutes.

Part of the reason this site gets over half a million readers a month is the editorial judgment and leadership exercised. Some writers join opednews because of the way we manage our content. Part of that management means refusing to tolerate nasty, small minded attacks, unsubstantiated attacks and claims. And our efforts, albeit not always successful, at keeping things civil in this community are being increased.

Yesterday, one writer responded to my insistence that he change the title (without giving him the words to use) and document the exact quote he was using to base his assertion that Obama was a liar, with an attack on me at his website, citing private emails I sent him, which he has, since, removed. He took offense at being edited with a firm hand.

Several members commented that I was engaging in censorship.

If you think my action was censorship, then you have a naive concept of censorship and frankly, I don't have a lot of patience for it anymore.

There are indymedia sites where anything goes. And they have a valuable role to play. I am not disparaging them. Go read through them-- comb through the un moderated heap of articles, the lame journalism and pathetically written and unsubtantiated or documented articles you find there, along with the gold. People come here with expectations that we're doing our job, screening articles for quality, newsworthiness, journalistic integrity... We don't always succeed to everyone's expectations. An email received minutes earlier, cancelling a subscription, by a university emeritus professor who complained of our lack of standards and allowance of too much bombast probably primed me in my response to the article I edited yesterday.

But get used to it. We're trying to make OpEdNEws a civil place. I've been through this before. We are demanding quality writing. We are demanding civility. Name calling and insults are not a part of intelligent, adult, meaningful discourse we seek to support here.

Telling a person his brain doesn't work well is not acceptable. Calling a person a liar-- that's what children do. You want to question Obama's claims-- fine. Do it responsibly. Cite, with an embedded link, the exact words Obama used. Then document how he lied. And cut out the name calling. I know it's hard to do. I know I personally lapse on that rule myself. I'm working on it and will gladly accept feedback and reminders.

I make mistakes and I welcome the feedback either in comments or emails. But I won't tolerate one of my writers, who I write editorial feedback to privately, in an email, publishing my emails, without my permission, in a pique of anger. That's reason for banning from the site.

One reader said that OpEdNews is not the New York Times. Well, we want to be as valued and respected as the NY Times. It takes making a stand, having standards, maintaining rules to get there. So I say to writers-- write well, follow good journalistic standards, stay civil, don't hold back on ideas and supported claims-- even speculate, but make it clear it's speculation. And if you can't follow these reasonable rules, or feel that this is censorship (which is total BS) I wish you the best and goodbye. Either get on board or get out of the way. You can write for your blog or find other sites that will accept your work.

I'll repeat. The coming nine months will see progressives supporting a range of candidates-- first, the competition between Obama and Clinton will get more contentious. We at opednews will support articles pro and con both candidates, but they must remain civil and professional. No name calling. At the same time, third party candidates like Cynthia McKinney will emerge. Support for them and the idea of third party candidacy is also acceptable here at OEN. And again, civility must reign. No name calling.

It is healthy for progressives, who share agreement on many issues to disagree on some-- candidates to support, immigration, Israel/Palestine, 911 Truth, Atomic Energy, Ethanol... and the best approach, in my opinion is to keep the conversation open-- sans nastiness.

As we take a firmer stand on our policy, some will call it censorship. We disagree and, frankly, if you can't stand it, we wish you well as the door slams your behind as you say goodbye. If you can't be civil, you're welcome to read what we publish, but you are not a welcome part of the commenting or content posting community.

 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also (more...)
 

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I've had to struggle with this issue as an adm... by John Howes on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 11:12:57 AM
"People always have the option of tuning them... by meremark on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 6:40:32 PM
ANY MEDIUM MAY DECIDE WHAT TO CARRY BUT THE GOVERN... by rhalfhill on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 11:34:33 PM
These issues will become increasingly more im... by Ferdinand on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 1:01:59 PM
What Rob said, GRRREEEAAAAAAAAAATTT !!!No, wait, e... by meremark on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 4:41:53 PM
Proud that OpEdNews is not the New York Times. I s... by Cheryl Biren on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 1:06:50 PM
English language does not have a 'respectful&#... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 1:36:33 PM
Now about the formal and informal tu and vous stuf... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 5:04:47 PM
Panurg, I like your criterion! It is the intentio... by Oh on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:15:34 PM
As a former professional nit-picker (copy editor) ... by tabonsell on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 1:44:59 PM
Mr. BonsellI hope you would agree that women-mothe... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 2:20:12 PM
Zdravstvyuitye, tovarisch. Kak vi cevodnia? (exc... by tabonsell on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 5:59:47 PM
Tambovski  wolk tebe tovarish (no offense, ju... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:14:52 PM
I never said that all the people at NSA are nice f... by tabonsell on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 1:06:36 PM
With all respect, if you want to convince yourself... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 2:56:43 PM
Their is still to much pore righting and fratuitou... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 1:58:24 PM
nice touch, that....... by ardee D. on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 2:58:52 PM
Everything I write kould look like this.  The... by Sandy Sand on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 3:27:38 PM
Any writer who doesn't expect to be edited and... by Cheri Roberts on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 2:23:44 PM
You put up a new pic also. What is that you are we... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 4:22:11 PM
On my skreen the pik is all bla'k.... by Sandy Sand on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 6:02:19 PM
She changed it back! (darn, shouldn't have sai... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:30:57 PM
She changed it back! (darn, shouldn't have sai... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:31:10 PM
She changed it back! (darn, shouldn't have sai... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:31:20 PM
I did put up a new pic, but was told this one was ... by Cheri Roberts on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:28:55 PM
When the LA Times, a private company, refuses to p... by Jeanette Doney on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 2:27:38 PM
doesn't seem to me that in this particula... by Cheryl Biren on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 3:03:00 PM
I hope we can agree to disagree with all due respe... by Jeanette Doney on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 10:05:37 PM
differences in opinion are an integral part of the... by Cheryl Biren on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 10:26:53 PM
One of the things that has attracted me to this si... by Sharon Roach on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 2:32:27 PM
It should be written really well.Robert Halfhill&n... by rhalfhill on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 11:46:18 PM
I almost wrote about this yesterday as someone was... by tjb on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 2:58:29 PM
I agree with Cheryl, "not-being" the NY ... by John R Moffett on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 4:03:54 PM
Censorship is censorship whether committed by the ... by WML on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 4:33:52 PM
The New York times' supressing an important st... by Maxwell on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 8:31:24 AM
That sounds like something you can use in your adv... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 4:57:09 PM
I have issues with sites that accuse you of antise... by W. Christopher Epler (Bill) on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 5:14:20 PM
Several Huckabee supporters have commented to post... by The Stiletto on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 5:31:42 PM
I think this one is on target. I think you and I h... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 5:47:37 PM
1) Censorship does not have to be related to the g... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 6:22:28 PM
(and I think you've made this point repeatedly... by C.Bid on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 2:59:24 AM
CROWBAIT  (and I think you've made this p... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 7:28:52 AM
basically calls someone an a**hole and that's ... by coyote on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 8:36:43 AM
Now, go back and re-read it slower and you will se... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 10:05:48 AM
that you are being very uncivil here.Anyone can se... by coyote on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 5:32:46 PM
No Wily. You do nto get to come into my thread, li... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 at 1:25:55 AM
But it's simply a matter of perspective I gues... by C.Bid on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 9:17:46 AM
Love the Cheney reference. Look, i agree and I am ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 10:16:15 AM
And isn't it curious that if one just looks at... by coyote on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 5:40:20 PM
Are you a "respected" writer?YESAnd isn&... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 at 1:35:32 AM
I assume Crow that you know i was not referring to... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 10:07:38 AM
Thanks for the reply.  Contrary to coyote'... by C.Bid on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:00:29 PM
well said :^)... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:24:52 PM
OPEN POLITIC EXPRESSION, ESPECIALLY IN THE CONTEXT... by James Cordray on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 6:52:45 PM
I'm sorry, I must have missed the humor in you... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:14:29 PM
Still, I can see how the attitude of hall monitors... by rhalfhill on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:03:42 AM
I cringed when the term zio-nist was deemed someho... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 1:37:03 AM
Controversial articles are what gets people’... by Gallaher on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:08:02 PM
P.S. - Rob, I do need censoring. Thank you for you... by Gallaher on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:11:36 PM
I'll second that! (I.e., with regard to myself!) ... by Oh on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:45:57 PM
You are only making my point. I have nothing to ge... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:17:07 PM
I told him that calling Obama a liar was not accep... by Rob Kall on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:05:29 PM
Right on Target, Bro!... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:45:39 PM
Thanks Prof!... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:48:06 PM
You are highly welcome and a breath of commonsense... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 7:52:26 PM
And I gotta tell ya' ... being @^#%^... by Mr M on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 8:27:58 PM
Is that third word in the title spelled correctly?... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:55:22 PM
The government edits too. The main difference betw... by SpiritBlooms on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:16:08 PM
well said... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:22:46 PM
...The ability to self censor comments would be ni... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:38:32 PM
...The ability to self censor comments would be ni... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:40:06 PM
Good observation.... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:49:07 PM
Sometimes I would like to redakt my komments.I als... by Sandy Sand on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 6:38:41 AM
First you may need to involve yourself in an anthr... by coyote on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:59:14 PM
I will cite an example from another discussion lis... by rhalfhill on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:41:07 AM
I wondered as i read, "does he have a thesaur... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 1:30:39 AM
at my side but I hope it's okay if I use big w... by coyote on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 8:32:07 AM
At my side but I hope it's okay if I use big w... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 10:01:06 AM
who see the flaws in others but are simply blind t... by ardee D. on Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 at 9:48:41 AM
You know nothing about me ardee, not a thing. Yet ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 at 3:57:59 PM
of my words....Not that they were need, your own p... by ardee D. on Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 11:00:05 AM
by Thomas Feakins... Why is i... by coyote on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 10:05:17 PM
I cannot see how anyone could sincerely make the c... by WML on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 10:14:51 PM
you're making entirely too much sense.... by Mr M on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 11:20:16 PM
I've been here from the beginning.  OpEd ... by Amanda Lang on Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 at 10:32:19 PM
Hello friendsI can remember when I was posting to ... by Kathryn Smith on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:44:00 AM
Thank you Rob, well put.   I am thrilled wi... by Meryl Ann Butler on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:48:15 AM
...however, it is the editor's job to edit. Th... by Pappy on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 2:18:04 AM
You are the exception, i will grant you that. You ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 3:05:41 AM
Ok, Mr. Wade My-God's-better-than-your-God. Yo... by Pappy on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 3:44:47 PM
I find that, agree or not, your words ring with si... by ardee D. on Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 11:03:18 AM
You think having a war with a moron earns you some... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 5:14:08 PM
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_anthony__0... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 3:07:13 AM
Discernment is MAJOR.  When I go quiet and tu... by davy on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 3:58:41 AM
I agree with those above and below this comment th... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 7:44:03 AM
I agree that truly abusive comments should be mode... by SpiritBlooms on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 1:03:22 PM
If you train a puppy and keep swearing at it, it w... by Keith Mothersson on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 8:27:59 AM
This thread is likely dead but I'll add my tho... by erik mouse on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 8:35:29 AM
Why did you wish to refer to him as a liar, what w... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 9:01:47 AM
I don't know exactly what it is called now but... by erik mouse on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 9:17:44 AM
I posted at the end of the Gatto thread. It is a s... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 9:52:32 AM
Frankly, I'm inclined to agree with the profes... by Maxwell on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 8:48:36 AM
Although I just expressed a rather hawkish view on... by Maxwell on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 8:55:56 AM
I, for one, think Rob Kall is doing a bang up job ... by shirley reese on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 9:56:18 AM
Just as a benchmark, here is Wikipedia’s cod... by Meryl Ann Butler on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 4:03:00 PM
Not a fan of theirs because you can alter reality,... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 5:04:41 PM
I hate when people use the term "progressives... by Jason Homer on Friday, Feb 22, 2008 at 5:22:50 PM
The title should say Rob Kall demands civility ins... by Ty on Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 at 11:36:36 AM
It means you have to be a human being about how yo... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 at 4:02:17 PM
I admit I should have highlighted this phenomenon ... by Margaret Bassett on Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 at 12:13:01 PM