4 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Leaving a Jerky Comment

Etiquette, Manners and Just Being a Good Person

You know what I love about being a parent? I love the instant camaraderie you feel with other parents. We all have different lives, different kids, different parenting styles, but there are so many universal things we all can relate to, both the struggles and the satisfactions of parenting. And we learn so much from each other even if we just learn that we're in the same boat.

You know what I hate about being a parent? How easily we can turn on each other. How judgmental and sanctimonious we can be about the one area of our lives where every parent feels self-doubt. After all, don't we all live in glass houses?

On Ohdeedoh, we don't all have to agree or even be nicey-nice. We do have to be respectful of each other. That's what a community is. By nature I'm not a confrontational person and am never eager to step into the fray. But as the Managing Editor, I'm your host and it's my job to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable at the dinner party, especially if they brought a dish to pass. I'm not here to censor your ideas or your opinions, but if they violate our comment policy I will enforce it. I invite you to read our comment policy in full, but here are the basic tenets:

Our four rules for comments:

1. Be honest and fair, yet gracious.
2. No ad hominem attacks or gratuitous meanness.
3. Stay on topic.
4. Add value, don't take it away.

Still having a knee-jerk desire to leave a jerky comment? Stop and ask yourself these four questions:

1. Would you say this to someone face to face?

The internet offers varying degrees of anonymity often leading to a disconnect between how we conduct ourselves in the world and how we conduct ourselves online. It's somehow easier to be snarky, petty and just plain mean from behind our computer screens than it is when speaking with someone face to face. "Would I say this to your face?" is a good question to start with when you leave a comment because karma will hold you accountable even if no one else does.

2. Will you have commenter's remorse?

Did you know that you can't delete your own comments here? I frequently get emails from readers who wrote a comment they later regret. Most tell me they were having a bad day or a bad moment and ask if I can delete the comment for them, which I'm happy to do. Or you can apologize or retract your comment within the comments section.

3. How would you feel if someone said this about your home, your project or your parenting? (i.e. Are you the world's best parent with the world's safest and most beautiful home?)

When you share something on a blog you do, in a sense, have to be prepared for some amount of criticism. As in life, not everyone is going to love everything you do and, by golly, they'll tell you. Without being too hokey, I think following the Golden Rule and treating others how you would want to be treated isn't too much to ask.

4. Is this how you would want your children to act?

I sometimes wonder if parents are often so mean to each other online because we censor ourselves around our children and seek an outlet where we can dump our negativity. We (try to) stop swearing, we eat more vegetables and we generally try to be our best selves in front of our children. They look up to us and learn from our example. So before you unleash a jerky comment online, ask yourself if you'd be okay saying it aloud to your child. If they asked you why you said something mean, how would you answer?

Go forth and inspire, inform and delight each other within our pages, just do so with respect, kindness and good manners - like your mama taught you.

(Image by Flickr member seier+seier licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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Family, Parenting

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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