How We Conversate

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So, over the past few months this blog has grown some in readership. We're actually down this month, but the overall trend is up. That's mostly a good thing. As with a growth in readership, we're also getting a growth in our commenting community. That's a good thing too, though it presents the need to repeat some rules of the road for debating

1.) Try to assume the good will, and honest motives, of your fellow commenters. Half of the unnecessary beef I see up here comes from basic misunderstandings. I'm not saying that there aren't really differences. There most certainly are. But the point is to spend our time on those, as opposed to what we "think" someone was trying to imply.

2.) Try not to be unnecessarily antagonistic. This rarely happens here, but I generally find that an extra heap of sarcasm ("Heh. Yeah, that's real intelligent.') or the occasional tweaking ("I'll be commenting on you momma tonight!") or even the threat for bodily harm ("What's that about Michelle Obama? I'LL CUT U!!!") tends to serve as distractions. I mean, it's fun, but probably not good for the neighborhood.

3.) If your comment is "held for moderation," it rarely means that you've said something objectionable. More likely you've managed to trip the spam filter. Send me an e-mail. I'l fish it out as soon as possible.

4.) It's worth remembering that this is a liberal blog, written by a guy whose politics are unfailingly liberal. So if you see me defend Huck or Palin, it's probably not because I'm "going soft" on them, being "too polite," or "a sleeper agent for birthers the nation over." It's most likely just on that one issue.

5.) There are no set of rules for why someone might be deleted or banned. The only big one holds that if you came here, through google's news portal, to tell us why Sarah Palin is our country's foremost intellectual, you will be banned. Beyond that, don't be an ass, and we'll be fine.

6.) White people. Never, ever comment on one of my barbershop threads. We tried this once. Someone ended telling me to go to Hair Cuttery. In Obama's America, I thought you guys might be ready. You're not and hence banished to the bleachers. Just kidding. Sorta. I mean damn, Hair Cuttery??

7.) Claiming that conversate isn't a word, is a bannable offense. Ditto for "irregardless." And "overstand." All words are words. That is all.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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