This post has to me made every few months. I guess now is as a good a time as any. We've gotten quite a few new commenters, in the wake of Michael Jackson's death. We've also got some new people responding to our guest bloggers. I welcome the new contributors, as well as the continued input of older ones. I've enjoyed the spirited debate--especially over Ricci.

That said, I'd like to remind people that this is a social space and one that tries to take its cues  from the virtual and the real. I've said before that it helps to think of this blog as a dinner party. I'm your host. This week, I have a few cohosts. I'd ask you to speak to your fellow guests with same respect that you'd give to a fellow guest at an actual dinner party.

That may seem unusual or weird given the conventions of the internet and most blogs. But that's kind of the point. If you're feeling pissed off about something, if you want to call people names, if you want to revel in snark, than this probably isn't the place for you. And that's fine--the web is awash in spaces tailor-made for blowing off steam. But this minor stop, on the sprawling, infinite internet isn't one of them.

It's worth thinking before you hit that publish key. It's worth talking to people like they're people. It's worth avoiding straw-men. It's worth assuming the good faith of your adversaries. It's worth considering what they have to say. Do that and you'll be ahead of most people who argue for a living.

Truthfully, I forget those lessons all the time. But I hold them as values. I ask the same of my commenters. Again, I know that sounds weird. But I see my commenters not as mere after-thoughts or appendages, but as a valuable resource. With that in mind, it's kind of hard to ask any less.

Thanks in advance for bearing with me.

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