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Category Archives: Online Civility



Bristol’s “Share the Road” discussion may lead to more considerate behavior

The topic of sharing the road between motorists and cyclists is heating up on the Bristol Front Porch Forum this week.  FPF member Marc’s posting made a great point…

I’m feeling a bit nervous now that I have opened the door to this conversation between bicyclists and car drivers sharing the road. But the door is now open so here goes.

After reading your post Ryan I found myself agreeing with almost all your points and identifying with your irritation… It also got me thinking that all your wonderful points and my points and Debbie’s points are maybe beside the point or at least not the main point.

A story: In my early 20s I shared a house with four unrelated people. We would get irritated with each other over not doing the dishes the right way or at all, leaving a mess around, being too noisy, etc. The less time we interacted with each other the more irritated we would get. When we did things together or just hung out and talked things would improve. Somehow people did a little bit of a better job and we became more tolerant and less annoyed. I think what happened is that we saw each other more as people and less as just annoyances and wanted to be nicer to each other.

So in my mind this conversation about bicyclists and car drivers sharing the road is not about whose points are right and whose points are wrong. It’s about having the conversation, making our points in a kind way, hearing our neighbors’ concerns and being heard by our neighbors. My hope is that in some magic way a kind and considerate conversation will lead to kinder and more considerate behavior on everyone’s part and a safer road for all of us.


Praise in public; criticize in private

13702760“I’ve read some recent public appraisals of public servants on FPF. There is an old and very good adage about this. Praise in public; criticize in private. When we have a problem with how someone’s performance or behavior is affecting us, it is best to tell that person directly, in private. Try to do it without personalizing it and assume the other is a good person who wants to do the best they can. Doing it in public humiliates and hurts people but rarely resolves a conflict.”
• Michael, Westford Front Porch Forum



Online harassment survey results

Craig Newmark, of craigslist fame, recently released an infographic highlighting the results of a survey about online harassment.  Some points from the survey:

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Limerick On Being Neighborly

#VT – By Sara on Bristol Front Porch Forum

When sharing our thoughts on email
Rather than over an ale,
Keep kindness in mind
And I think we will find,
With goodwill, our forum can’t fail.