To judge or not to judge?

You’ll of course remember a few days ago when Chris posted his Blogger’s Manifesto, right? Well now David Weinberger has parodied that into the Real Blogger’s Manifesto, which is pretty funny.

Then, Mike Sanders kicked in with his question about the original manifesto; how Chris can routinely judge others while asking not to be judged himself. Now having some background into what Chris was trying to write, and interspersing my own thoughts, let me say this. I don’t think Chris judges people in the same way that he’s asking not to be judged. For myself, I can disagree with someone’s ideas, and publicly say so right here on my blog, but I try to not judge them as a person. There’s a large difference between saying “Chris, I don’t think you’re right about that and here’s why…” and “Chris you’re an idiot”.

I try and always follow a simple rule that was laid out by a wise mail-list admin years ago. “Attack ideas, not people”. If I post something on here about someone that seems judgemental, I always try and make it about specific ideas or actions, not about the person as a whole. I expect the same from my readers. If you disagree with me about something, leave a comment, post something on your blog, say something, engage me in debate. Maybe I’ll turn out to be wrong, or maybe we’ll both learn something new about the area in question. I don’t claim to be the purveyor of all correct knowledge, that’s for sure! Or maybe, because this is the written word and prone to misunderstanding, you’ll give me the opportunity to more clearly explain what I was trying to say. Don’t leave a comment and tell me what a worthless person I am, or anything like that, because that ends all further debate, and it’s not a comment that I’m going to respond to, on a good day. On a bad day, look out! *L*

So maybe what Chris should have written was “Judge the content of my blog as you will, but don’t use it to judge the content of my character.” That’s how I try to treat people who are discussed in the blog, whether it be other bloggers, big companies, software makers, the government, etc. And it’s how I expect to be treated in return.

Update: Chris has changed the point! The Manifesto now reads “Judge my thoughts, but not me” Simple, direct, and exactly what I was talking about here!

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