How can we encourage each other to be civil?

An important part of building community through conversation is building trust, and being civil. How can we encourage civility?

By examples of violations

I believe that asking for real names may prove helpful.

Anonymity seems to tempt some to attack instead of contribute.

Anonymity preempts a sense of community.

Anonymity distracts from careful thinking and otherwise compelling argument.

Anonymity makes it all too easy for those who feel uncomfortable by what is written to attack rather than engaged.

Anonymity would have ended the Protestant Reformation before it began.

Like ‘unnamed sources,’ anonymity weakens the credibility of the writer.

Allowing anonymity tends to besmirch the good name and credibility of Spectrum.

Just responding to the invitation here …


It seems easier to write foolish/rude comments when hiding behind a nickname. Nobody wants their real name associated with bad attitude or rudeness.
Though I fully support the use of a nickname in cases when employment with the Church is involved. But just being a Church member is not a justification.


I think that modeling good language is the key. I believe that the author of the piece should stay engaged, and that their rhetoric should provide an example of respectful dialogue. A more active voice of Spectrum and the author of the piece lets people in the conversation know that someone is actively watching.

I also find anonymity to be a problem, but there is no way to ensure people actually identify themselves.

The community guidelines state that users should flag inappropriate comments but I don’t see a way to so in this new discussion tool.


Taking time to reflect before replying tends to reduce the heat of comments.


I couldn’t find it either. Messaging in private appears to be a tool also available, but I can’t see how to do it. We will learn it all soon.

I just used the quoting tool, and it’s working well.


  1. The flag option just appeared. It appears that it is one of those things that one “earns.”
  2. I just figured out the private messaging. Just clicking on the person’s icon will open their profile and there is the message option on the bottom left.

Just working out how things work, but as church employee I hope there is further information about maintaining anonymity. It appears however that full disclosure of identity is not currently being enforced.


One can comment on an article or someone else’s post and disagree with the idea or premise without putting down the author. We are all humans and should be on the same level here. There is no reason to try to make oneself superior or to make someone else feel inferior. Simply disagree and state why without trying to make the other person less than you (think you) are.


just trying if that works…

Hi Marianne,
It worked fine, I got the notification via email, as you should do now as well.

I did a little reading and things like private message aren’t available to users of the “new user” trust level. They show up at the “basic user” level, since that only seems to take a little bit of activity to achieve it shouldn’t be a problem. A “new user” could ask a “basic user” to private message them and then they could reply the private message. (I think.)


Looks like the feature to flag a post is also earned at the “Basic user” level.

How do you tamp down the temptation. Sometimes the comment, no matter the topic or the tone or the rationale is really all about the writer. And there comes a time when silence feels like a prison and the writer has the key and you just want to do a glissando on the bars with your tin cup over and over.

This is no trivial matter. Not that putting down the author is the goal, but the author sometimes is the topic. And disagreeing with the topic is bound to read like a personal dispute.

Further advice is most welcome.


I had thought I had clicked the Reply button to Floyd Poenitz’ “One can comment …” comment, and my comment was added to the end of the comment thread rather than next to Floyd’s comment. I’m trying again.

Bill, in this system new comments will always be posted at the end of the thread, never next to the original original comment.

Thanks George,

Your comment showed up in my inbox as an email from you. I think I like that, though all new comments being simply streamed at the end of the comment list will destroy the little conversations groups we are used to in Disqus.

I find these sidebars often interesting, and more often the source for a level of background noise that preempts discussion of the topic at hand. I don’t think this feels good to the web managers at Spectrum and surely it is something of an insult to the writers.

The comments offer a microphone to so many of us suffering such pent-up need to be heard from a distance (self diagnosis). It is no wonder the comment threads easily drift off the topic the writer of the article has invested so much in preparing.

Well, being a novice on the new system here, I ran up against three-comment limit to my surprise. That goes away as my ‘trust’ rating increases I read. An overall limit as to how many comments a given person can offer to an article will greatly reduce the sidebar problem, where an exchange can soak up a dozen or more entries in a couple of minutes of forth and back in a totally personal exchange.

I would also like to explore whether the system could be made to accommodate sub-thread conversations, and then to automatically move them to a separate sub-conversation under the main comments on the topic at hand. Visually, the comments would be Article Title, with the six or eight most recent comments displayed, and then under those Sub-Titles for each sidebar conversation that has three, say, or more comments associated with it.

The sequence of sidebar listings would be by the time of the latest entry for the sidebar.

By more consistent moderation… giving warnings as is sometimes done now… by marking specific violations so as to facilitate a “learning curve” by both the comment that has objectionable features… and by removing posting privileges from those who show no signs of cooperation and improvement after a few warnings…

It would also help if there was a “dislike” facility… which at least showed the number of dislikes… as the old system did… and it would, I think, be even more of a moderating tool if it would show those who have indicated their “dislike” in this way. It would also tend to cut down on the number of comments that say any more than “I agree”… or “I disagree”.

Hi Bill,
You got an email because, like mine, your “preferences” are setup to receive an email every time someone writes a reply to your comment.
Regarding the other technical issues you mention, unfortunately I have no idea, they have to be addresses to the Spectrum guys. I just stop by here once in a while for a quick look… :slight_smile:

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Yes, a “dislike’ facility’” would be great. It would not be used for comments like yours and mine, of course… (lol), but those who write weird comments could at least have some feedback from the participants before getting a ticket from the sheriffs…

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