May 1, 2011

Agreeing to Disagree

I have been asked a lot of questions since I launched The Mom Pledge about what bullying is - and isn't. I'm not an expert, but I have scheduled some guest posters to write on this topic. But there is one area I have repeatedly been asked about that I would like to clarify.

Some people have interpreted The Pledge to mean that you delete ANY negative or dissenting view comments from your blog. And they are not comfortable with that.

In no way is the Pledge intended to discourage discussion or even disagreement. I believe having a healthy dialogue is a good thing. And, the Pledge does not necessarily call for you to take down "negative" comments. You can leave comments that convey opposing points of view, as long as they do so respectfully.

In my opinion, there is no call for being rude and disrespectful. Having different opinions is fine, even strongly so. And no blogger should have the expectation that everyone who reads her posts will agree with her and say, "Yeah, you're awesome!" Yes, you want support and usually get it. But you have to understand not everyone will agree with you all the time.

Asking a hard question is not bullying. Neither is disagreeing with someone. But, there is a line that often gets crossed. When a commenter starts to name call and sling insults, that it is when it is time to shut things down. I see it happen all the time. Things deteriorate in a heartbeat, and soon you have a cat fight on your hands.

There is no reason to call people names or sling insults at them in the comment section of a blog. Period.

Countless times, I have watched as the comment section of a blog posts rapidly deteriorates in to a cat fight. By the time it is over, it has little or nothing to do with the subject of the post, or even the blogger. It turns into the commenters attacking each other while heatedly debating a topic.

Respectfully disagreeing with someone is in many ways a fine art. The more emotionally charged the issue, the harder it is. I think we would all do well to remember that the other person is doing what she believes is right.

Many of us are passionate about our beliefs. And we want to share them with others. But I believe it is incumbent upon us to be open minded and accepting of differing beliefs. And to respect that not everyone will agree with us.

Please note that these are my personal opinions. And it was with these opinions that I crafted The Mom Pledge.

I have read some fabulous posts by members of our community on this topic.

I also set up one of The Pledge Prompts to get some discussion going on the topic. If you have written one, be sure to tweet a link using #themompledge, share on our Facebook page and through our BlogFrog Community

The Mom Pledge is about more than simply putting a button up on our blogs. We need to make sure we are living the principles every day. Some are easier to commit to than others. But respecting one another, even when we disagree, is essential.

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