Robin Vander Wall
I overruled the rest of the editorial staff and allowed your comment/reply to post. It’s an uncomfortable position for me because I work very closely with these folks on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. Aside from your prolific use of our comment sections over time, I really don’t know you from Adam. So, I hope you’ll appreciate the fact that I’m sticking my neck out in the interest of a free and fair exchange of ideas, opinions, and all things Americana–and I’m doing so at the risk of losing the respect and admiration of my own friends.
There is a level of civil discourse we expect from the people who post here. Yes, you are correct that we have the option to edit anyone’s comment before it’s approved. We do a fair amount of editing for clarity and presentation. But we rarely edit for substance or content. If something is too objectionable, we simply don’t post it. This is not an uncommon policy for any organization that manages a forum, prints a newspaper, or provides a public space for anyone to expound his or her thoughts and opinions. We really do not feel as though we are asking a great deal from anyone who posts to maintain a modest level of respect and decorum….and especially to keep in mind that the folks on the other side of your screen are working tirelessly for the same (or similar) ends you likely seek. All of them volunteers, I might add.
Much of what you write has its audience. But not everyone is going to agree with you. I expect that you understand that. Persuasion is a difficult rhetorical skill to master. Some say there is nobody really trying to master it anymore since the tone and tenor of social discourse has, of late, been more akin to lobbing anvils at the other guy until he’s drowned out or simply too dead to say anything further. In the end, nobody is persuaded of anything rightly or wrongly. There’s just a lot of noise and pollution in the air. “Might makes right” sort of thing.
This should not be construed as any kind of warning or notice that your privileges are likely to be revoked. We want you to feel comfortable posting here and speaking your mind. But it would be a huge assist to us if you would nudge your level of self-censorship up just a wee bit more in an effort to smooth the way. Give that a try?