| June 21, 2009


Review of the Art of Manliness Comment Policy

The Art of Manliness has from the beginning been designed as an open forum and gathering place for men of all backgrounds and beliefs, a place for all men who are interested in every aspect of manliness, from the fun to the serious. AoM’s mission is to provide content that both entertains and inspires, all with an eye towards ultimately helping men become better. To this end, I’ve tried to keep the comments section of our posts as open and free as possible.

However, over the last few months I’ve been unhappy with the tone and tenor that some have been bringing to the comments section. AoM is designed to be a community of gentlemen, but many of the comments of late have been downright ungentlemanly in nature and are making the blog a rather unpleasant place to visit. As a blogger, I understand that criticism comes with the job, but I am more concerned about the treatment of our guest writers, regular contributors, and fellow commenters. As guests of my blog, I desire for them to be treated with the utmost respect, and they have not been.

I will absolutely acknowledge that I have myself been guilty from time to time of leaving comments that did not show an appropriate level of politeness. When people leave snarky and angry comments, it is admittedly quite difficult to not respond in kind. And so I am sorry if my behavior has not been up to the standard of gentlemen. I readily and frankly admit my mistake. And I have resolved to respond as civilly as possible in the future. I will do better in leading by example. But I will also be raising the bar on the level of discourse on the blog as a whole and holding all commenters to a higher standard.

We’ve had a comment policy in place for some time now, but I don’t think many have read it, and it would be a good idea to review the guidelines. We do not and will not censor comments unless they contain content that:

  • is off-topic
  • makes spelling or grammatical corrections. We read through every post 3 or 4 times before publication. We truly try very hard to catch all mistakes. Yet every editor knows that sometimes mistakes still get past. But the comments section is for comments relevant to the post, not for spelling or grammar corrections. If you see something we missed, please use the contact form to tell us, and we’d be more than happy to make the correction.
  • contains ad-hominem attacks. You are always welcome to criticize the content and position of a post, but you cannot make personal attacks on its author. It’s impolite and an ineffective argument.
  • promotes hate of any kind
  • uses excessively foul language. Damn and hell are fine. Other 4 letter words are not. If you need to use excessively salty language to make your point, your argument is probably not a strong one to begin with.
  • is blatantly spam
  • is excessively whiny, snarky, or rude. Let’s cover whiny first. I respectfully ask that you do not expect everything on the site to align with your personal interests and beliefs. It’s simply never going to happen. We publish a broad range of articles, designed to appeal to a broad range of men. There are billions of men out there, and they all have their own ideas about manliness. There’s no way we can please all of them, all of the time. Please be mature enough to be able to enjoy the things we publish that interest you, while discarding that which doesn’t. If you don’t like a particular post, there’s no need to bellyache about it and say how this site is horrible. Chances are, something you do like will pop up very soon. If you do feel the need to complain, please email us instead of using the comments to do so. We’d be happy to respond.
  • Now on to the subject of rudeness and snarkiness. As I’ve mentioned, dissenting on articles is fine. We encourage it. But the criticism must be couched in a calm, respectful, civil and gentlemanly way. It is possible to debate and disagree as gentlemen. And that is the standard that shall prevail on this site. If your comment is not something you would say to a person’s face, than it does not belong on the site.
  • does not make a valuable contribution to the site. I’ll say this one more time: criticism and dissent is welcome. But a passing comment to tell us that something is “stupid” or “sucks,” adds nothing of value to the discussion and brings the discussion down a level.
  • does not use a valid email address. I understand that people are concerned about spam. But we don’t spam. Ever. We require a valid email address because I may wish to respond to your comment by email. And we want to know you’re a real person, not a troll. So [email protected] is not going to work.

As I said, we’ve had this policy in place for quite awhile now, but I’ve been lax in enforcing it. And so I wanted to give you all the heads up that I will be holding all comments to this standard. Learning how to debate like gentlemen is an invaluable skill I think we all could work on. I want the Art of Manliness to be a welcoming place, where men feel free to share their ideas and advice on manliness in a civil and respectful way. I thank those who have done this all along, and I look forward to moving forward and continuing to improve the experience here at AoM. I thank you in advance for helping make AoM a better place.

Last updated: October 20, 2010

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