Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet: 6 Ways to Bring Civility Online

by Brett & Kate McKay on July 13, 2011 · 244 comments

in A Man's Life, On Etiquette

“All u need is one shell: for yourself. Done.”

“Nothing says survival like a tube of Carmex. Add a little to that condom you stored and protect the world from more people like you…”

The above comments were left on Tuesday’s post about building the Ultimate Survival Shotgun. That post was a big hit, quickly becoming one of our most popular articles of all time (thanks Creek!). But not everyone really got it—it was designed neither to be a humorous satire nor a super serious survival tutorial. Rather, it was simply supposed to showcase a fun project that also taught some of the basic principles of building a survival kit; it was meant to be an extremely cool look at a challenge a man set for himself—how to build a survival kit on a shotgun without any separate packs—and how he very cleverly accomplished the task.

Okay, so not everyone saw that, and even if they did, they still didn’t like it. That’s fine. We don’t expect everyone to like every article! But how does a man go from not liking a blog article to finding its author unworthy of reproduction or life?! I’ve come across plenty of blog posts that I’ve detested, but I’ve never made the leap from my distaste for a piece to thinking the author should off himself. Where does this kind of angry, cringe-inducing inhumanity come from?

Certainly the loss of empathy from interacting as anonymous, disembodied selves is a major factor. But the real root of the problem is how we view our time online; many see it as a break from their “real lives”—a place where they can let it all hang out. In their off-line lives they must be civil and refrain from telling their boss how they really feel about him, yelling at the customer service rep who’s giving them the runaround, and getting out of the car and punching the rude and reckless driver in front of them. The anger from this restraint boils inside of them, and online, freed from any real consequences, they unleash their pent-up venom.

But the world is spending more and more of its time online. For many, it has become our major source of education, entertainment, communication, and debate. Isn’t it time to let go of the false wall between our online lives and our “real” ones and act with the same kind of civility on the internet that we do in our day-to-day interactions?

Why a Man Should Strive to Be More Civil Online

A gentleman treats others with dignity and respect, regardless of the kind of forum in which he participates. He treats life’s fellow travelers as he himself would like to be treated. And in doing so, he makes the world a little better of a place everywhere he goes. He leaves those he interacts with feeling edified and uplifted instead of depressed and angry. Every man has the power to brighten his corner of the world, whether that corner be in the office, his home, or online. The more men who decide to take the higher road of civility, the more enjoyable everyone’s lives become. And choosing to reject our baser impulses in favor of our higher ones is a big part of becoming our best selves and building our legacy.

We all have daily annoyances that build up a well of anger inside of us. But instead of taking this rage out on others, it should be released healthily through things like exercise, meditation, and time spent in nature.

How to Be More Civil Online

Being a gentleman online simply involves the application of common sense. But anyone who leaves their home each day knows how uncommon common sense can be.

In our grandfathers’ and great-grandfathers’ time, etiquette books were extremely popular; believe it or not, Emily Post’s tome on the subject was one of the most requested books by GIs during World War II. Our forefathers understood something we often forget: no matter how common sense something is, without frequent reminders and practice, humans are drawn to the path of least resistance. While our culture has largely dropped these reminders to be our better selves, today we’ll fill in the gap by reviewing some common sense principles for being a gentleman online.

1. Remember that there are real people on the other side of the computer.

This is so easy to forget. We see only our screen and our empty apartment; the faces of folks out there who will be reading what we write seem unreal and nebulous. But they are out there. And your words can truly wound them. So when writing something, keep this rule in mind:

2. Never say something to someone online that you wouldn’t say to the person’s face.

Perhaps the most important rule for online interactions. People level the kind of vitriol online they would assuredly never say to someone’s face. I know a website owner that sometimes figures out the phone numbers of those who leave extremely rude comments and calls them up to ask what made them say something like that. Inevitably, the confronted person, hearing the voice of a real human being, is reduced to a stammering, apologetic mess.

3. Use your real name.

This is simple: if you’re not proud enough of something to have it associated with your real name, then why are you writing it?

Yes, there are caveats to this rule–legitimate reasons for anonymity. But when typing in an alias, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Do you have a valid reason for doing so, or do you simply wish to avoid ownership of your words because they are rude?

4. Sit on it.

This is something I’ve had to learn by experience and still struggle with. You see something that makes your blood boil, you’re filled with the desire to absolutely eviscerate a person, and you furiously type out a scathing response and press send. And later you regret it.

Instead, go ahead and write out your comment to get it off your chest, but sit on it for several hours or even a day. I know it feels like you simply have to get it off your chest at that very moment, but your adrenaline and heart rate are up and you’re not thinking clearly. Give it some time and you’ll be amazed at how “I must respond!” will transform into “Eh, who cares?”

Source: xkcd.com

5. Or don’t respond at all.

Your mom was right: If you don’t have something nice to say, sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all. This is another thing I’ve learned from experience and still slip up with. I used to want to rebut every bit of criticism directed at me, but I’ve learned to choose my battles and that it’s often better not to get involved at all. Just let people do their thing. I know it’s difficult because when we feel someone is wrong, it’s so hard to let it go. We want to show people the error of their ways and change their minds.

But as sure as you are about being right, you can never win an online argument. Why? Because of something called the “backfire effect.” In this article on the effect by David McRaney, which I highly recommend reading, he explains the fact that far from changing people’s minds, threatening someone’s beliefs actually strengthens and entrenches them further. This is why I generally abstain from heated internet debates; they get you all worked up, waste your time, and go absolutely nowhere.

If you come across a discussion where you really feel like a different perspective needs to be added, just jump in and civilly state your case instead of responding directly to specific people. People are much more likely to consider your point of view when they experience it indirectly as opposed to feeling attacked.

6. Say something positive.

Studies have shown what people already know from experience: folks are more likely to make negative comments in online forums than positive ones. It makes sense; when something makes you angry, you’re much more motivated to complain about it and want to vent. McRaney explains why this is:

“A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one “you suck” can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happens is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information which lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something which threatens your beliefs, something which conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing.”

Well, I certainly want to keep breathing, but I don’t want to only respond to things that make me angry. So this is something I’ve been working on too. When I read a blog post I enjoy, I find it easy to think, “That was great,” before surfing away. So I’ve been trying to take a minute to type those thoughts out before moving on. As a blog owner myself, I know how incredibly encouraging it is to hear something positive.

How else can we cultivate civility online?

 

{ 244 comments… read them below or add one }

1 KrellPW July 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I like the idea that if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it at all. My personal filter has always been, “would I say this sitting around the table with family and friends?”

2 Jason July 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Brett,

You are absolutely right. Rule number 2 is the most important rule for me. The words I use online are pretty much the same words I’d use in a conversation. Over the past few years I began to realize that a now former friend of mine acted differently online than he did in person. I didn’t appreciate that this person wasn’t being his true self. He was very friendly and conversational in person, but online would completely ignore everyone. I find that I really know a person when I know them online. If they are a jerk online, they are a jerk in person to me. I refuse to be friends with anyone of such a duplicitous nature and I ended the friendship.

3 Steve W July 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Very well put.

When I first started working a wise mentor had me always put every letter I wrote in the desk drawer to reread the next day before going out. I do follow this with email other than a casual chat type email. by saving a draft and releasing it later after a reread.

Have been experimenting with responding to communications with a different media than how it arrived. Returning emails with a voicemail, faxes with a letter, voicemail with a fax. My idea being to separate the message from the media. I can put a lot more into a voicemail through tone of voice, inflection and even speed of delivery that will never come through in other media. Some emotively flat media is great to make sure I don’t convey an emotional response not useful for the great purpose of the communication.

Great write up on the email aspect, and thank you!

Steve W

4 John Rose July 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I agree with this 100%. Being a forum mod on other sites, as well as working on the internet most of the day, and being in constant contact with people all over the world, this article is a must. You are not freed from the prices you pay as if it were ‘real life’. You reflect who you are through text just as you do through the words you speak. Just as important as it was to write a letter properly, your comments, posts, blogs, updates, tweets, etc should follow those same strict guidelines. If you do not agree with someone over something, then voice it in a controlled manner. It’s okay to not agree, it’s not okay to judge someone’s right to live over it. If hate is what you want to breed, I’m sure there are groups and websites that would accept you with open arms. It’s not tolerated here.

5 Cameron T. July 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Personally, I think Wil Wheaton summed it up best: “Don’t be a dick.”

6 Christopher Gould July 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I think men have at least two strikes against us: 1) we live in society that is enthralled by irony & sarcasm, both of which translate to negativity; 2) as men, some of us have been taught – by fathers or peers – that being negative is more manly than being positive.

Being positive also leaves us vulnerable, whereas negativity can be used as a sort of shield. That being said, I enjoyed an agree with the post, as I have been enjoying the web site very much.

7 MasterRanger July 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Make us all register. I’d love to add to my “Do not hire list” by noting who’s civil and who’s an idiot.

8 Mike July 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Thank you! This is one of my biggest online peeves, the person who leaves a rude, useless comment. Hopefully this article will help at least one person change their ways.

9 Nick M. July 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Great post, Brett. Whenever I get drawn into a debate I try to be the voice of reason, addressing points instead of attacking them.

10 Steve Slatten July 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Amen to this article. It’s strange how Americans can defend each other in a war or after a terrorist attack, but hate each other over silly things like politics, cultural issues, etc.

Many people have become so convinced of the veracity of their own opinion, that they think anyone with a different opinion is somehow evil and destroying the country.

Personally, I think it’s a scam, cooked up by politicians and talk radio/t.v. personalities. There’s a LOT of money to be made in fomenting hatred, particularly against people who think/look/talk differently. This strategy worked pretty well for the Nazis.

Perhaps we should all commit to being gentlemen online.

Any thoughts?

11 Michael1359 July 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Brett, I agree 100%!! I have always lived by the rule online of not saying anything on the internet that I would not say to someone’s face. Sadly, many do not do that. It’s been a while since I posted in the AoM forum, and this is the reason. Too many contentious people arguing and being disrespectful to each other. Life is too short to deal with all the drama. You have the right idea, I just hope they will finally get it.

12 Randall July 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm

A great article. I’ve always wondered why people like to act like that. I’ve even seen some of my cousins who would act “normal” around people and then start trash talking gamers while playing a video game. I couldn’t comprehend what made him talk like that.

I’m very glad that you posted this because I think this is a serious issue which I almost never see addressed properly. Thank you very much and keep up the great work.

P.S. If I ever get a website and someone starts trolling the forums, I’m definitely going to use that phone strategy. :D

13 Nick M. July 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm

As my main man TR put it,

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

14 Andrew July 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Something that I have certainly noticed about internet arguments that relates in part to both the backfire effect, and people not thinking of the internet as being as real as, for lack of a better phrase, the real world; is that it is really impossible to convince someone of your perspective over the internet if they are of a differing opinion. On the internet, in order to convince someone they must at the very least be interested in or on the fence about the topic, otherwise it doesn’t matter how rhetorically perfect you argument is, they will find some point in it, imagined or not, and use it to validate their preconceived belief in the inaccuracy of your argument. The truly trying thing about this is that this is true even if you can use the same argument to convince those of identical demographics in real life.

At first glance it might seem that the simplest and easiest method to convince is to use a series of interrelated sub arguments that lead to an inevitable conclusion, much like Aristotle did by starting from a given accepted point and then building step by step to convince the audience of a controversial perspective, whether he was wrong or not was and is really irrelevant to the point. The advantage of this style is that when used properly it denies the audience the option of refusing the conclusion, thereby making the arguer’s job much easier. There are however two primary problems with this when used on the internet. First, that style requires that the same audience be present at every step of the argument, carried from conclusion to conclusion until they are wholly convinced. Second, it requires that people allow the argument to augment their understanding of the world, even if you the argument is perfect, if the audience doesn’t care enough to let it change their perspective then it was all for naught. The reason that internet users will not allow an argument to reshape their perspective is that they don’t see internet arguments as being legitimate. As was stated above it is all about seeing the internet as being as real, as real life.

15 Ulrich July 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I really like #6 and take some personal joy in actually making the effort to send praise and feedback to those I deal with on the internet (if they deserve it – of course).

It’s also nice to see they actually respond to it.

Maybe making someone elses day a little brighter will save me some time in Hades. ^^

16 Gavin West July 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm

In response to the last question…
I think a proper step in creating internet civility would be to get rid of 4Chan. ;)

I very much enjoyed this article, it reminded me of a few points I sometimes myself forget, particularly along the lines of staying civil when correcting people, rather than doing it in a mean fashion.
Wonderful piece.

17 Helen N July 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm

As a woman I am not sure whether it is appropriate for me to comment. However since I have a positive opinion I think very few people will object. I like this website – it is against the Lad-ethos which annoys many people. Also it really hits the heart of the problem with the internet and the effect it has on society, people using anonymity to be horrible instead of using their freedom of speech to say positive, supportive or merely questioning things. You don’t have to agree but to question rather than to abuse would surely be better?

18 Greg July 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I am glad you posted this article, as this is something that has needed to be discussed for quite sometime. The blogs on the news websites are the worst, especially if the article is about something controversial. The language that people use, calling each other names…etc. Sometimes I believe the harsh comments are not only someone venting, but are people who just like to stir the pot. Another thing that could be happening is this: People who don’t like the theme of your website, not just the article, are sometimes the one’s who throw ill-mannered dissention into the discussion. Ex.) It is like a liberal who blogs on Fox News, or a conservative who blogs on MSNBC. The “Art of Manliness” is a GREAT website that I visit frequently, and the articles are informative, and bring back, as you say the “art of manliness”. There is art, education, particular manners, distict beliefs, a way of dressing, and also skills, that are imperitive in order to be a MAN in my opinion, but unfortunately in today’s world, there are many men who don’t behave like a traditional man, but instead want men who act more feminine, or who are “softer” to be the norm, and these are the men in my opinion who don’t like this website, and whom want to dissent and take an article out of context, and to critisize or downplay what this website represents. To me, If we had more MEN who lived in a way that is represented on this website, the world would be better off, socially, morally, politically, and with a well regarded sense of manners and behavior.

19 Josh July 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I believe Justice Brandeis said it well when he stated that privacy was “the right to be let alone . . . the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized man.” The problem with privacy is that both the tyrannous and the trecherous frame it as the right to act illicitly with impunity, when it is anything but. An anonymous man is honest, whereas an identified one tends to speak with the purpose of raising his standing. I do not believe the latter to be more ‘civil’, so I shall keep my anonymity. Furthermore, in the era of 160 character messages, “out of context” is the rule rather than the exception, so I would rather not waste time explaining context to those who know how to use Google.

20 Stefan July 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Hear Hear, sir. Only a coward disparages someone behind their back in the physical world, and on the Internet this is doubly true.

#7: I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment, both on this site and elsewhere. If you have something to say, have the courage to sign your name. Your real name (not to regurgitate what was so gracefully said above).

As for how we cultivate civility – this is a tough nut to crack. Anyone who has ever waded into the comments of YouTube (in particular, for whatever reason) would not come away with high hopes for common decency. When I’m faced with things of that magnitude in life, I tend to drop back and only handle the things that I can control – how I comport myself foremost, and how my children act and behave (as much as I can control that, at any rate). You hope that this will elevate others to the level of acceptable discourse.

As #5 said, I have another Wil Wheaton rule: zero tolerance on the sites where I’m moderator or owner, or on services I use that get followers (Twitter, GPlus, Facebook, etc.) On the sites I make the “terms of discourse” clear, and that any violation gets you banned. If you’re a dick, you get blocked from following me.

21 Daniel July 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Excellent article; it is about time someone wrote on this subject. Thanks, Brett!

Uncivil words on the internet are also a huge pet peeve of mine. Would a person who posts such venomous words or engages in ad hominem attacks do so in person, face-to-face? I would hope not…

22 James July 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Great article. I’ve felt this way a number of times while reading blogs. The level of “absurdness” from people is sometimes outstanding. I agree with what the poster above, MasterRanger said, I believe if more blogs and forums required people to register, using an actual email, before posting, a lot of the negative posts would end. Even though it’s easy to make up a fake email, it still makes the childish, immature out there take pause for a second, knowing that if they say something too rude, or off the wall, they won’t get a chance to spread their vile comments anymore. Not only that, but if they have yet to register, it may give them a moment to realize how ridiculous of a comment they were about to make.

23 Rob Holtsberry July 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Good points that I need to remember. Thank you.

24 Eric July 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm

@Nick – Exactly! No better way to sum this up.

Brett, Creek – keep up the great work. It’s amazing how some people can criticize so vehemently, but I don’t see them with a blog with this kind of traffic. And I definitely don’t think they’d fare better than Creek in a survival situation!

25 Morghan July 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I only use an alias for restaurant reviews.

Don’t want someone spitting in my burger because I said they had the slowest service in town.

26 Stan July 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Great points. A lot of what you see is spill-over from on-line games where young players try to act tough. Unfortunately, that has translated into mean spirited exchanges that have become the norm.

27 Chris Ballance July 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm

My Dad always explained it to me like this:

“Behave as if there is an army of photographers documenting your every move. Given that, if you would still do what you’re about to do, then go for it.”

28 Greg July 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Couldn’t agree more. My wife and I were just having this conversation the other day. I think your first point is the Golden Rule of internet communication. Really, your other points just expand and elaborate on it. If you remember the people you’re arguing with, or want to shoot down or whatever, are real people, you’re much less likely to tear them apart. Really well stated.

29 Ryan O'Doud July 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm

you make the mistake of thinking of people as being civilized in the first place, my fine sir.

30 PJ July 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm

One of the greatest things about the internet is anonymity.

One of the worst things about the internet is anonymity.

A smarter person than I once summed up the phenomena described in this article quite well:

Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Douche

31 Chris July 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm

@Gavin

If you think 4chan is the biggest reason why people are so inconsiderate to each other, you need to look at more sites. There are many gaming communities that put them to shame.

Back on topic, while this is a good article and brings many things for people to consider, the people who actually need the advice are not going to see it, and even if they do, they won’t respond to it in a positive manner. As long as people can continue to hide who they are online, it will continue to be a vicious cycle among many. Don’t be civil for the sake of other people, be civil because you want to be and don’t stoop down to others who act poorly.

32 Andrew July 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I believe that leaving responses in correct grammar and without emoticons (smiley faces and such) can help bring that much more classiness into responses and posts.

33 Logan July 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Show 904 of “The Thomas Jefferson Hour” provides some great discussion on the topic of civility in the modern world and in the time of Thomas Jefferson. It’s an excellent radio program that a friend just introduced to me. Plus, it’s made all the better by the fact that it’s produced in my native North Dakota. You can find it at:
http://www.jeffersonhour.com/index.html

34 James July 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Chris Ballance, that is a great quote from your father. I am going to pass that along!

35 Dave B. July 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I’m surprised and delighted to see this article. The fact that as powerful a force for betterment in our world as AoM is backing this frequently ignored issue is reassuring.

I was frankly amazed by those comments appearing on what I found to be (virtually without exception) a friendly, collaborative website. They struck me as nigh opposites of manliness; they were personal attacks against a man taking action and sharing the fruits of his labor, his methodologies, and his wisdom.

Now, I understand that people may dislike a given post. I also acknowledge that people may not like particulars of a post and offer their own opinions- as I did in recommending semi-automatic rifles over shotguns as survival weapons in the comment section of the post in question- but I have difficulty in seeing what good personal attacks do. That’s because these do no good. They are valueless statements. They accomplish nothing more than hurt feelings and devaluation of the speaker’s credibility.

If you’re really out to see the topic you’re addressing improved, start by pointing out some things you did like about it! This will allow your opinion on other topics to seem less the sniping of a troll and more the advice and input of an interested peer.

I would like to also say that I was pleased by the amount of positive feedback that the article in question got- it says quite a lot about this community that for but a handful of hurtful statements, there was an abundance of praise and a great deal of sharing with other social media; this is a site that much of the internet direly needs to look up to.

36 Seth Mintz July 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm

There is an art to crafting a well written email. In our texting happy lives, this craft has gone by the wayside. If they don’t already, the higher educational establishments in this country really need to teach a course on “The art of the email”

Always remember: Paper and ink can burn, the Internet won’t.

37 Robert Brown July 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Very, very insightful, and something some of my (college!) students can learn. I always have one that sends me a scathing and very hateful email every semester, only to come back a few days later and profusely apologize.

Wired Magazine wrote a really great, albeit tongue-in-cheek, guide to this back when Inglorious Basterds was out, and GQ recently wrote a serious guide about how to be civil anywhere in life. One or both of them stated you should view Facebook as a meeting hall-if you don’t feel comfortable standing on a box with a megaphone and saying the same thing, to your grandmother, you might want to reconsider exactly WHAT you’re saying!

Great article, and in this third technological revolution, required reading.

38 Scott S July 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Adding my pastor on Facebook has certainly cleaned up my cyber-act quite a bit. Not that it was very horrendous to begin with.

39 Kenny A July 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Brett,
My compliments on another well written article. However, the comment you responded to, regarding “One shell, for yourself.” I believe, may have been misunderstood. As a zombie movie buff, I believe the poster was refering to the notion that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, the would prefer to off themselves (one shell) than suffer through a hell on Earth.
Keep up the manly effort!

40 Alec Moore July 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm

This was a perfect article, I don’t know why you did’nt post something like this sooner! Civility is seriously lacking in my generation. There were two fellow students in one of my classes loudly and rudely cracking wise about one another’s mothers. Mind you this is a college course. So very sad.

41 Rae July 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Thanks for posting; well put and very good advice.

42 Lank July 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Civility is not truth, civility is secular, truth is religion.

43 Zach July 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Glad to see a post like this, and glad it said what it did. I hope it changes not only a bunch of people who need to hear it but me as well.

44 Mike July 13, 2011 at 9:56 pm

This is the reason I made a rule for myself that I don’t even try to read the comments section on any web site anymore. The things people say to each other never ceases to amaze and disgust me. Of course sometimes I let my curiosity get the better of me, and I peek. I almost always regret it. I applaud you and your stand for civility, I hope many will read and take heed.

45 Steve Dowling July 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm

One rule of thumb I use is: One post, one reply. I will post my point as clearly and succinctly as I can. Wait a bit, to see responses, reply to them, and that’s it. I’ll only follow up if my point is wildly misunderstood. If I took the time to correct every argumentative idiot on the internet, I’d never get to the bar!

46 Niko July 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm

The difference between things that I write on-line and things I’d say in real life is that everything that gets posted on the internet is visible to everyone at every time for years. My facebook account runs under a fake name so that people can’t find me since I don’t want to be part of a social network but have to have an account due to work. Giving away ones full name makes scam much more dangerous and a wide spread email address increases the amount of spam you get.

Another reason why there is so much hate around here is that you can’t decide who you meet. If I had to deal with the same persons in real life that I meet online, I’d evolve in an aggressive/depressed asshole in no time…

and to point number 6
Such positivism cleared the path for most of those terrible, terrible youtube videos that no one likes, no one needs but if you express criticism (even if it’s productive) you get yelled at because “at least he tried”… (Of course, “gay!” does not help and doesn’t even make sense most of the time)
If something is bad, state out why it is. If the producer puts more effort in the next time, you’ve done us all a great service, if he stops making more of it, nothing of value was lost, and if he just ignores a negative majority, hope that there is an ignore button an that service.

I’m sorry if this sounds rude, but this “every child is special” nonsense gave us a generation that thinks they can and should do everything and show it to everyone in the world. (I’m part of this generation, so this is not the rant of an old man)
So please, don’t let your kids win in games all the time, don’t approve if they performed way under their possibilities(!), life won’t tread them that way later on.

Thanks you two for writing this article that’s hitting the nail most of the time.

@Lank, religion is believe, but you are right that civility is not truth as it gets defined by custody and moral and those two thinks are never the truth, they are nothing more than common agreements.

@Andrew, since text is unable to transport the tone of a message, we have to use smilies to show how the message should be taken up.

You should concentrate on the rhythm before you try to do anything fancy.

and

You should concentrate on the rhythm before you try to do anything fancy. :)

sound quite different.

47 Andy July 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Sit on it! I too have learned this the hard way but this is absolute gospel. Write it out, save the draft, walk away and before you know that higher brain kicks in and you make the right decision. Outstanding write up…

48 Fulano July 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm

The saddest thing about our current internet situation is that it wasn’t always that way.

A long way back the internet was mostly a tool for academics, things would get ugly every September when the new crop of freshmen got online for the first time and found how easy it was to shoot off at the mouth. At that time, there were enough people to properly socialize them and it got better quickly.

Then the internet hit the big time.

When the wave hit, the ‘freshmen’ started to outnumber the net veterans and the socialization stopped happening. Dave Fisher called it the ‘Endless September’.

Hopefully, with more articles like this, and a concerted (but polite) effort we can finally end September. As a Scott S mentioned above, it’s easier to be polite if you know your pastor can read your posts :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September

49 Andrew July 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Perhaps it’s just me taking your last piece of advice to heart, but I really appreciate your post. It seems as though there are few gentlemen on the Internet, a place where criticism runs rampant. While even I sometimes forget myself, I appreciate your post and will look to it often when I get my proverbial dander up.

Thanks,
Andrew

50 Ivan K. July 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm

A good response to the people who feel a need to lambast others. I’d add that it’s not okay to reply to somebody in a way that would cause their parents to get angry with you. However, don’t forget that some people are just out there to get a response out of people (i.e., a whole article semi-dedicated to them). First rule of forums: Don’t Feed The Trolls! :)

51 Sean Jacobson July 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Excellent article. I really needed to hear “sit on it” and “or don’t say something at all.” I so easily let a statement or article drive me into quickly posting an angry or sarcastic response, one which I almost invariably regret later. In that same line, thanks for identifying the “backfire effect.” I had been beginning to pick up on that phenomenon, but I needed a name and good description of it to fully realize how accurately it describes the usual response to being attacked. It so clearly proves the point that it’s useless to attack someone for disagreeing with me. Thank you for writing this — hopefully it helps me change!

52 TeaPot562 July 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm

I particularly liked the point “Don’t put words in a comment that you would not say to the other’s face.”
I’m nearly 80 now, but when I was working a dozen years ago, a test my employer used to use for ethics, when some unusual “business decision” was being considered was as follows:
“If you make this decision this way today, would it embarrass you to read about it tomorrow morning on the front page of the L.A.Times? If reading that would be embarrassing, DON’T MAKE THAT DECISION!
Again, I enjoyed your column and the 6 suggestions made.
TeaPot562

53 Steve S. July 14, 2011 at 12:00 am

Excellent Post. In a time when our online life is blending more and more with our offline life, it only makes sense to live one life like the other. If you strive to be a better person in your offline life, do the same online.

54 Another Stan July 14, 2011 at 12:10 am

http://blog.wisefaq.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/GreaterInternetDickwadTheory.jpg

Just sayin’

For my part, I loved the Ultimate Shotgun article, and was equally troubled by the horrible commentary. This Internet civility blog post is spot on.

55 Jay July 14, 2011 at 12:26 am

Posting online is relatively new when compared to interacting w/others in person. So I believe we have to learn our manners for our online lives just as we did growing up from childhood to adulthood. The points made in the article are similar to things one learns when growing up. Unfortunately, I’m noticing more of the uncivil behavior seen online leak into real life. Maybe ettiquette books should be included in every ereader app or device.

56 jeff July 14, 2011 at 12:34 am

Your goals are laudable, but you’re being presumptuous in how a site like this works. There are no individuals on a website there is a community, and community is dominated not by etiquette but by culture. The culture will be determined not as a democratic process, but one of dominance. No matter the size of the group the way a site works over and above what the creator wanted, will be set by the people who post the most, who establish authority by aggression and intimidation, and who simply are seen by the most people who post. In the end, just like any crowd the ones with the loudest voices will be heard, and the quiet or well mannered or intended will be walked over as if they were laid out by being hit over the head with a rock. Because of this most sites have a time limit for being useful or interesting and that time limit is when the bulling of the most by the fewest becomes less a matter of enjoyment and more a plodding regurgitation of what was puked before. All sites are first entertainment, and when it no longer is fun the site dies. When there is a drop of people when the bullying minority shows up, when the only people on the site will be new people you never heard of and a handful who never shut up, you know that the time is coming. But it is nice you talk of manners, but it is simply futile.

57 Mike July 14, 2011 at 12:39 am

Couldn’t agree more. People need to get a sense of humor and thicker skin. Love the shotgun by the way.

58 Peter July 14, 2011 at 12:45 am

Well said, well timed. I’ve recently become convicted that I oftentimes have a bit of an “itchy twitter finger” and have been striving to change for the better. Perhaps the most helpful aspect of this post is its applicability to every day life. Thanks for speaking truth and connecting the dots for us, giving us helpful things to consider going forward.

59 Joseph Kraft July 14, 2011 at 12:45 am

Require a real name and home town in the comment section and make people sign in to comment. You’re not going to insult the guy who just built his own shotgun if he knows where you live. -Joseph Kraft, College Station, Tx

60 Alvin July 14, 2011 at 1:02 am

Hi. Before doing anything big or small or while doing it if concentrations won’t be diminished (driving, walking, fixing things), just say “for the love of Jesus” inline with the teaching of the Church of course, so you’re always in tune in doing it for the love of Jesus and not for people anymore which is a higher purpose. It’s essentially praying without ceasing and you’re conscience is always inline with obeying God and not just obeying but obeying with love as described in Cor. Ch:13 (love based on actions which patience starts and should come up to humility, the source of all virtues). Gbu.

61 Gustav P July 14, 2011 at 1:14 am

Thanks.

Although obviously, I´v never thought about it! Thanks for a great article, and a great blog! Keep up the good work.

With regards from Sweden!

Gustav

62 TroyP July 14, 2011 at 1:22 am

So true. Too often I see comments/tweets/etc where people couldn’t have thought through their words. Like you said, there are people on the other side; be nice.

I also couldn’t help but notice the Apple. Can’t we all be civilized and use Apples? I mean really, life would be so much better for everyone.

63 tantj July 14, 2011 at 1:52 am

Thanks for this post.
I found this blog not too long ago and it has been a constant source of solace for me; in the knowledge that there are other people out there who respect, treasure, and try to uphold the same values as I do.

Looking forward to more from you.

TJ

64 Michael D. July 14, 2011 at 1:59 am

Hear, hear kudos my good Sir, I wholeheartedly agree. My problem is I am generally better online than in person a refresher to how to interact in the real world would be beneficial to me even though most of this article transfers over to the world outside the “mouse”. For your information I really liked the shotgun article, You guys always impress me with the caliber of posts from quest writers and the regular contributing writers.
I am sure this link has already been posted, but I can not help myself. I hope everyone takes this in the good spirited nature I intended this in :)
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/tips-for-not-appearing-crazy-on-the-internet/

65 Mike July 14, 2011 at 2:00 am

This article was well overdo. Thanks, Brett. This is something that I have been working on as of late. I used to get my news on CNN.com and couldn’t help but read the comments at the bottom. Often, rude and ridiculous remarks would prompt an equivalent response from myself. I have been able to avoid the situation entirely by either not scrolling down after reading the article, or getting my news elsewhere entirely.

66 Mike July 14, 2011 at 2:22 am

Thanks Brett. I was reading the Shotgun article, enjoyed it, and let it pass by without a positive comment.

I later saw some of the “dislikes” and was pretty blown away (no pun) by the really distasteful things that people said, correcting the guy about proper gun use, or whatever.

It’s a project he was kind enough to share. If you want to talk about your new project, go all out.

67 ED July 14, 2011 at 2:24 am

Good post. I doubt AoM readers can change the internet, but this site, at the very least, should strive for civility. While not perfect, I’m usually not holding my breath when I read comments here. I hope we can keep it that way.

In answer to the question as to what else we can do to remain civil: In the context of an argument online, particularly here at AoM, people should keep in mind that it is perfectly okay to be wrong. If you want to have an argument with others, be willing to be wrong. If you aren’t, then you aren’t really arguing. I suspect it is this closed stance followed by facing a good argument on the other side that makes people stoop down to personal attacks.

68 David July 14, 2011 at 2:35 am

This is probably one of my favorite posts you’ve done so far. It’s not as educational as some, but well written and well thought out.

69 Alan Drury July 14, 2011 at 3:22 am

For me, one of the best ways to check my behaviour is to ask myself a simple question – “Are you contributing?”
It’s so easy to jump into an interaction fuelled by our own ego and ‘righteous anger’ at the faults of others. But telling someone he’s an idiot helps neither him nor the others in the conversation. Before posting I try to ask myself whether what I’m about to say is going to help, develop or add value to the individual, the discussion and the community as a whole, or whether it’s just me wanting to vent.
By the way, I’m not a gun owner (they don’t let us do that sort of thing here in England) but I did enjoy the shotgun article. And the Art of Manliness is a constant source of inspiration. Keep up the good work!

70 Mike P July 14, 2011 at 3:22 am

Cool!

71 Amanda Kennedy July 14, 2011 at 4:46 am

“Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself!”

This is a mantra I’ve always strived to live by, and having had an internet presence for many years now, I believe I’ve strived for this in my online conversations too.

One thing many people fail to consider also is their reputation – how many friends, potential employers or partners may Google your name and potentially find inflammatory comments which serve as derogatory values to your offline reputation?

Admittedly, yes we do need to develop a thick skin when working online. The keyboard and monitor serve as barriers to face-to-face interaction and there will always be trolls in any walk of life, but surely the comments presented at the start of this article are more appropriate to the boards of 4chan than in any serious discussion on this wholesome and informative site?

For my part, I really enjoyed the shotgun article (despite being a woman and living in the UK where we aren’t realistically permitted to arm ourselves with shoguns!). The link was passed on far and wide, from my partner to my dad and even my son as an example of an informative, useful and highly interesting guide. Equally so will be this article – perhaps I’m more conscious of online manners than most, though I firmly believe we should restrain ourselves online as well as off.

Thank you for publishing this. No doubt there will still be haters, but at least in the light of this article they may realize their place!

72 GaijinAss July 14, 2011 at 5:31 am

Very appropriate post!

Ever since the AOL days people have made a full time hobby out of trolling around and trying to make other people upset, often for no reason at all. Just ignore it when you see it for simple name calling and correct it casually when its factually incorrect.

I love the site here by the way!

73 Hal July 14, 2011 at 6:04 am

The idea of civility on the Internet is admirable and needs occasional articles like this to remind us to behave. Given the freedom to say nearly anything that comes to mind, I don’t believe all people will understand or care if they are ill-mannered or hurt someone. The “…get a thicker skin” is not the answer to bad manners. I could say, if you can dish it out then be prepared to take it, and the fight is on. Better, as Brett said to say nothing than to haul out the asbestos underwear.
Another excellent post.

74 Mark W July 14, 2011 at 6:24 am

Great article – It’s really nice to hear that others agree that civility is an important aspect of connecting with others online.

One thing that I try my best to think about is simply not being judgmental – Things can be viewed as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – but often things aren’t always as clearly defined as that. When I feel myself saying that’s right or wrong, I try to stop first (pause) and consider actually what’s the impact of the thing being said. By taking the judgment out of the equation, it becomes far easier to react in a more civil and positive fashion. Keep up the great work at this site – thanks and best regards! Mark

75 Bonnie July 14, 2011 at 6:44 am

A great post! I’ve been thinking about the leave-your-real-name thing lately, for the same reasons as you mention. Yet I hesitate, because I feel like the Internet has already stolen so much — all? — of our privacy and I hate to leave any more clues to my identity than I already do. Yes, I’m paranoid, but I’m a child of the Cold War.

A few months ago I went directly to the webmaster of a popular “kitchn” site and asked him to remove my ability to comment from the site. He demurred, but I insisted. They have a bunch of prissy germophobe readers who believe they’re too good to live on the planet, and I was beginning to let my irritation show in the comments.

Even now they get my dander up and my fingers start itching to tell them off for snarking off on some perfectly harmless decorating tip — Ooh, they make me so angry! Then I remember I can’t comment, and I move on. A big win-win for the planet, I like to think! Smiley face!

76 Rob S July 14, 2011 at 7:08 am

Thank you for responding to those ugly comments at the top of your article with a positive, corrective stance. I work for a classical, Christian school and our daily aim is to teach our students how to debate ideas clearly and persuasively. Did you notice I said, “ideas”? When we debate people we get personal. When we debate ideas the common ground of the opposing parties is to get to the core of truth, beauty and goodness.

Your practical thoughts get to the core of debating ideas. Thanks for the great site. We recommend our entire community — students, parents and grandparents to the Art of Manliness.

77 Bryan Roy July 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

Great post Brett, I have always wondered what possesses people to act so distasteful. If you’ve come to this site to learn to be a gentlemen, then please do so with some humility and integrity. Men who act in such ways ruin it for the rest of us who want or to remain better men. Thanks again, and for the rest of you gents who keep this site inspirational, cheers to you!

78 Richard Williams July 14, 2011 at 7:39 am

Good article. The “sit on it” is always my course of action when considering a potentially harsh comment, though they are sometimes necessary.

This article provides some insight into what seems to be an increasingly aggressive, bullying society: http://lewrockwell.com/orig11/black-s70.1.html

79 Adam R July 14, 2011 at 7:47 am

I have been thinking this article needed posted from the beginning of the “interwebs”. I browse a few blogs and continuously am appalled at the “trolls” at each site. I get very tired of comments that do not have any redeeming qualities except to tear down people and would love to see these comments removed immediately. (From all blogs, not just this one)

Perhaps AoM could begin having “tryouts” for commenting and each person on the site must be an approved commenter before their comments actually show up on the site? Lifehacker.com has a system like this and it seems to work very well. I am not sure if your site is capable of having a system like this, but it may keep the trolls at bay.

Great Job and keep up the good work.

80 Justin West July 14, 2011 at 7:52 am

Online Crassness has it’s source in the complete anonymity provided by the web, as proven by John Gabriel:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/3/19/

81 David Y July 14, 2011 at 7:56 am

Excellent article Brett & Kate.

We do seem to be in a time where there is a sad lack of civility both on-line and in real life. It seems that it may have started back in the sixties when I was growing up. It has gotten worse over the years. It affects too many aspects of our lives and culture.

Can we turn it around and become a more civil country again. I don’t know. But, we can try.

82 Bill Sugas July 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

What a great article! My daughter is very upset over a negative fan-fiction comment someone anonymously left her, and this will be helpful for her (and Dad).

83 Bob Bakker July 14, 2011 at 9:28 am

I also subscribe to DPS (a photography site) where they routinely have guest photographers put together an article on some aspect of photography, usually with examples of their work, and I get the same cringe factor reading some of the responses to the peoples work there.

Its amazing how the “anonymous experts” only step forward and demonstrate their “genius” when someone else has the courage and puts in the effort to create something with their identity on it. I guess I don’t really understand why people that would feel the need to make the kind of comments demonstrated in this article would even be here in the first place, it’s called “Art of Manliness”?

DPS by the way, pretty good site if you have photography interests, you just have to ignore the trolls, like everywhere else.

84 Matt July 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

Brett –

By all means, I agree with THIS post – that we all need to be honest and have integrity when interacting online. With that in mind though, I still hold by my original opinion that the “Zombie Survival Shotgun” post was a big mistake. To have been authored by a “survival expert”, it had one too many big “no-no’s” when it comes to gun safety and survival skills. If someone was to interpret this information as fact, then they could get seriously hurt. Also, if the post was intended solely as a “fun project”, then it should have been apparent throughout the post. Not once in the post was “zombie” mentioned, only in the title. Also, the only time it was mentioned as light hearted and fun was in the opening paragraphs. The remainder of the post seemed to be intended as serious information. The author should have either made it more apparent it was a joke, and also left out some of the info that could get someone hurt.

85 Mike miller July 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

Spot on,man. I’ve been questioning where our society’s civility has disappeared to for some time now. Keep up the good fight to make men men again. Peace.

86 Lindsey LaDelle July 14, 2011 at 9:36 am

Excellent blog post. I was introduced to your blog this year among many others that I regularly read now. Your articles are always well written and insightful.

I especially liked TeaPot562 wrote about his past employer’s decision making test:
“If you make this decision this way today, would it embarrass you to read about it tomorrow morning on the front page of the L.A.Times? If reading that would be embarrassing, DON’T MAKE THAT DECISION!”

The comments people leave are usually just as enjoyable as the blog post. However, a few negative comments can linger with me and put a damper on what could have been a pleasant and fruitful discussion. Thank you for bringing this issue to the table.

87 Ethan July 14, 2011 at 9:52 am

This is a thoughtful and well-argued article. In brief, thank you.

At length, I, like most, understand well the impulse to attempt to “enlighten” people to seeing my point of view. Something I’ve learned (though I still often struggle with putting it into practice) is that it’s much easier for everyone if I keep an open mind rather than try to convince them to believe in my restrictive perspective. As the (fairly controversial) film Dogma asserts, having beliefs is fine but it’s often better to have ideas. When I can step back from a situation and remember that I am not the center of the universe, I have a much easier time accepting the behaviors and presence of those around me. To conclude, this commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace at a college graduation, reprinted here in the Wall Street Journal, addresses some issues relevant to this article, I think.

88 Ethan July 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

Oops, I forgot to actually post the link for that speech:

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB122178211966454607-lMyQjAxMTIxMjAxNDcwODQyWj.html

89 Phil B July 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

I don’t know if it’s the nature of the post that’s made respondents conscious of it, and maybe this is me being an internet cynic, but I am stunned there wasn’t a crass comment within he first five, nevermind the civil tone that seems to have held for all posts so far. That said, I’m pleased to be disappointed in that regard. Keep blazing that gentlemanly trail, gentlemen.

90 Jeremy July 14, 2011 at 10:04 am

Brett and Kate,
Thank you for this well-timed article. Everyone has seen horrible comments online before, but I have been surprised lately at how many people leave such hateful comments to each other here. I’m grateful for this project that the two of you have undertaken; I have learned so much from your articles and those from your guest writers. Thank you!

I guess the only thing that I would say is that for those who comment, to remind yourselves of the purpose or the goal of the website to which you are commenting. In commenting the remarks of individuals, it is important to know if their comments are reflective of the goal of the website. This website, from what I understand, has the goal to help men everywhere to learn, be reminded of, celebrate, improve, develop…their manliness, in everything that manliness SHOULD be.

Obviously, the idea of what manliness should be is a subjective idea.

However, this is one filter that can easily apply; this website is not a forum to complain about random things, to pick fights, to put out one’s dirty laundry or that of someone you know, to spread hate…or even to discuss common things like politics (aside from how they may relate to the common goal of becoming better men–regardless of what end we may seek individually in that goal, we all share the goal of becoming better men), or to discuss women’s issues, or to discuss specifics of religion (I hold a strong faith that is a major part of my life, but aside from discussing the potential benefits or disadvantages that religion/faith may have in a man’s life…this website is not the forum to discuss specific tenets of religion or atheism or philosophy with the goal of proving/disproving one or the other…but only to share those tenets specifically contribute to the common goal of becoming better men).

We are all men from different backgrounds, different countries, different beliefs, different goals…but we are all men with the goal of becoming better men. Instead of using our differences as tools to divide us, we could use those differences to contribute to this goal. I am Christian, I am heterosexual, I am engaged to be married, I am a college student, I have been raised all over the country, and I am relatively Liberatarian…but only so far as that I wish the goverment would get out of everything. Someone reading this may be atheist, liberal, gay, raised only in one place or maybe in a place I have never lived. They may be Muslim, or from a different branch of Christianity than I am…but I know without a doubt that their experiences and the things that they have learned can help me on my journey. I know that my experiences and even my beliefs can contribute to their journey.

Each of us may not have the same goal in regards to how we would like to develop as men, but we can still help each other get there. We don’t have to take the same path and we don’t need to see things the same way.

However, by insulting or by spending all of our time debating…we only shut ourselves out of potential growth. There is so much more that we could accomplish if we would take the opportunity to hear a conflicting opinion, and instead of saying “this is why I think you are wrong,” inviting an opportunity to learn by saying “how has that helped you to become a better man?” and then evaluating the potential benefit in your life, and either accepting it or deciding that it won’t help you get to where you want to be. Even if it won’t help you to get to where you want to be, it may help that person to get to where they want to be as a man.

I know this is long, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful to Brett and Kate by leaving a “blog” on their blog.

Thank you again Art of Manliness for helping me to expand my horizons and learn things that I may have never come across on my own, I completely support your goal and I am very grateful for your efforts. I have learned a great deal in the last few years that I have been following your posts.

91 Dane July 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

I agree with everyone else–this article should be required reading before using the internet.

There was a comment I didn’t necessarily agree with, though, regarding web communities. He mentioned that such communities, like all cultures, require users to establish dominance by, for example, posting the most. I think this is an interesting theory, but I can speak from my own experience that this hasn’t helped me want to belong to an online community.

When people argue, or provide uninformed and thoughtless opinions, or simply post just to post, it doesn’t make me want to contribute; in fact, it makes me question the community’s integrity (and, admittedly, the site’s integrity–which is unfair but something many readers automatically start considering). It gets worse when people start trolling, or post racist/sexist/homophobic/otherwise insulting comments. And the “get thicker skin” argument is a cop-out.

It’s one thing to discuss establishing cultural dominance in real life, especially in a hypothetical “culture-building” survival scenario, where the choice to walk away is far more difficult; the only choice is to submit or compete. But it is easy to walk away from the computer, and I think a lot of people do so. Communities whose cultures rely on this dominance are probably scaring people potential commenters from them, which is actually detrimental to the community.

I never comment for this reason, even anonymously, and part of the reason I’m commenting now–because this thread of comments exhibits thought-provoking opinions that are worth discussing, even ones I don’t agree with. Had the commenter who made the aforementioned comment done so in an idiotic, insulting way, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But he was civil, and so I decided to come out of my hiding spot.

92 Lank July 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

In its inner nature religion is a mood, a subjective inner attitude, a calling for infinity. It is a feeling (Gefuhl) of our dependence on a higher power. Civility is a barrier in most instances represents a barrier to truth and to religion. Just ask the British.

93 Brad July 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

Great article and great point. I didn’t read the comments on the great shotgun article, but I read the article itself and thought it was fun.

Now with our communication being increasingly more via computers, it’s critical for those who want to be a gentleman (and surely many don’t) to learn how to operate in a civil and respectful way.

Keep up the great work, Brett and Kate!

94 John Pink July 14, 2011 at 10:32 am

Excellent article. All very well put. I too come across articles that are not my taste, I simply choose not to read them and move on with my day. It is ironic to me that readers of AOM (who I assume are reading like me, to make themselves better people) will take the time to post such un needed negativity.

Keep up the good work!!

95 Eddie Guanajuato July 14, 2011 at 10:39 am

Brett,

I MUST becoming a civilized gentleman. I read the “gun” article and was not impressed until the last support. (The gun stock with the Bible verse). It was simply just not my cup of tea….But I chose to appreciate the article for what it was….

I think it sad that so many “men” feel compelled to offer such lurid and stupid comments. They certainly need to keep reading your blog.

I have recommended this cite to more friends then all other cites. Please continue to with what you are doing. It has evolved me because after reading the gun article, I chose to “Sat on it”

Eddie

96 Don E. Chute July 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

Thanks for this post, as I have been known to blow peeps away verbally online. For what reason?…that I don’t agree with their asinine point of view!

Although this always seems to occur mano e mano. For it is to be a Gentleman to treat a Lady with respect, always.

Aloha From Sunny South Florida!

97 Greg July 14, 2011 at 11:08 am

I greatly appreciate the article!

It is often times too easy to respond without thinking that there is a live person receiving your comments on the other side.

I do disagree with Jeff. I believe a site like AoM will survive not based on the comments and the domination of a few. When articles and information continue in the same manner that drew us to this site, that is when the future is decided. With a consistent vision of great, fresh material, I will always return, sometimes not even reading comments after an article. And my contribution will still be shown in the site activity and the continued business that I will give to advertisers. But I appreciate your view, and hope you enjoy reading about the Art of Manliness as much as I do.

98 Timothy July 14, 2011 at 11:22 am

Brett and Kate

Thanks for this and all the effort you continue to pour into this site. I’m a better man because of it!

99 Luis July 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

Good article as always. Something else that I recommend is to stop using sarcasm. It doesn’t translate well over the internet and its not really the polite way to say something.

100 Stephen July 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

very solid – and I really enjoyed the shotgun article as well.

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