#VT – The lead up to Town Meeting Day each year in Vermont is a time for debate in many locales. In areas with active Front Porch Forums, this discussion starts earlier, involves more citizens, and provides access to more supporting materials.
And, it can bring more heat to the argument. Generally, FPF staff are hands off and let clearly identified neighbors debate as they like on our site. But we do step in when political points morph into personal attacks. We hold the posting and ask the writer to help us keep things civil and consider attacking the topic and not the neighbor. Often this does the trick, and the author thanks us for saving them the embarrassment of e-fisticuffs on the virtual town green.
But occasionally the anger that was directed at a neighbor swings full around to blast FPF staff. One of my colleagues compared it to working as a bouncer, trying to break up two fighting bar patrons… when suddenly the customers start pounding on the bouncer.
This happened the other day in Jericho. And, as usual, we stuck to our approach, stayed calm, and explained our approach. It didn’t go well… several nasty remarks were tossed our way. My colleague reported feeling anxious today then, when she spotted an incoming message from the troublemaker. But lo and behold, here’s what he had to say…
I wanted to take a moment to apologize for the tone of my emails earlier this week. I admit I was over reactive at what I perceived to be an unjustified censorship of my contribution to our forum’s conversation. I do understand the need to keep conversations civil and attempt to make them constructive. I really appreciate all the work you guys do to provide this important service to our communities and I am sorry to have been such a pain in the ass.
Success! What a champ to take the time to send his thoughtful note our way. Thanks to him who shall not be named.