Letters must take high road
Freedom of speech is a powerful thing. And with power comes the need to behave responsibly and like human beings, including (especially), when writing letters to the editor. And yet, in the last few months, the so-called discussion in some letter...
Freedom of speech is a powerful thing.
And with power comes the need to behave responsibly and like human beings, including (especially), when writing letters to the editor.
And yet, in the last few months, the so-called discussion in some letters to the editor weve received has deteriorated to who can call whom what and how often.
A public forum like this editorial page is intended to discuss and debate ideas, not to take shots at fellow writers. Calling other people names doesnt do any good and contributes nothing to the public discussion.
From now on, the name-calling and other related activities can be done elsewhere. This page is for an open discussion of ideas, not speculating about the brainpower (or lack thereof), religious or political affiliation or any other traits of another person. Be forewarned: Any letter that contains such activity will not be printed.
Back-and-forth name-calling is a disservice to the privilege of freedom of speech. If you want to argue with your fellow human beings and tell them how stupid, ignorant, unholy, inhuman they are, go ahead; just do it somewhere else. It will no longer be tolerated in letters to the editor.
That doesnt mean you cant disagree with other writers, but you must keep your letters focused on a topic, not on the writer. If you disagree with a letter, say which information you disagree with and why. Present your argument. Youll be much more effective if you focus on facts rather than just insult someone else. That really diminishes the point you want to make.
In addition, please heed these other ground rules:
" Limit the rhetoric. We have, on occasion, stopped letter writing that ceased to present any new information or viewpoints. We will continue to do so. Please dont continue to write letter after letter with the same viewpoints and information. Again, they will not be printed.
" Letters to the editor may not be longer than 500 words. Those that are longer will be edited at our discretion. You have a chance to edit them before you send them in.
" As always, we reserve the right to edit letters for libel, accuracy and fairness.
Normally, we dont put too many restrictions on letters, but so many of late have forced us to remind people of a few ground rules. These rules shouldnt come as a surprise; theyre just common sense. We ask that you be mindful of these rules; after all, theyre not only good for letters to the editor. Theyre just good reminders of conduct for human beings.