Based on my experience with online forums, both recent and less recent, it occurs to me I should take a more cautious approach to posting here. In that spirit, I would like to propose the following rules, which I will attempt to impose on myself from now on.
1. Shhhhh! When I feel like posting something, I should be quiet for a while. If it's worth posting, it will keep. If it's not worth posting, that will become clear with even a brief period of time for critical reflection.
2. I'm wrong. I should always assume that I am starting from a false premise, that I am missing something, that I am making a false assumption, that I have the wrong filter on. This rule is in the great Socratic tradition, according to which the admission of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom . . . and the Aristotelian tradition, according to which inquiry begins with wonder. Mainly, though, this rule is to keep me humble and open to learning; it's to keep me listening and attending to what's around me; it's to keep me aware of and sensitive to people who may be discussed in or affected by what I write, including the otherwise hapless readers of this blog.
3. Be constructive. I was going to write, No whining!, but that would have been in violation of the spirit of this rule. (Just imagine: "I whiiiine too much! I really hate it when I whiiiine!") Basically, I should confine what I post to positive, constructive efforts to figure something out about myself, or to post things I have figured out, or discovered, or accomplished, or that simply struck me as pretty wonderful in themselves. If I am unable to live up to Rule 3, I should refer back to Rule 1 right away. (In other words, if I don't have anything nice to say . . .)
4. Attend to responses, rather than reacting to them. If someone replies to something I've written, I should refer immediately to Rule 1, proceed in due time to Rule 2, then, perhaps, to Rule 3 . . . before returning again to Rule 1 for a couple of hours, at the very least. Once I've really thought things over and determined I have something useful and constructive to say in reply to a reply, then I can post it. If I don't get to that point I should return to Rule 1 and remain there.
That's a start, anyway. If I think of any further rules, I'll post them. In the mean time, shhhhh . . . .
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 03-08-2013 at 01:04 AM.
Reason: I was wrong about something.