Civility Patterns

Complaining about the DeclineOfCivility is fine, but what can we do about it?

The civility challenged usually mean well, and they have lots to contribute. They just lack two things: an understanding of the techniques of civility, and a theory of why civility is a good thing. Unlike most people, they require the latter before they'll willingly practice the former.


Give them a civility pattern language.

Well, I'm not up for a pattern language right now. But how about a few CivilityPatterns?

Let's not limit these to participation on a Wiki. In fact, let's not do WikiOnWiki at all. Let's post some practical insight into sharing a planet day to day with other human beings.

I'm sure there are lots more.

Contributors: BenKovitz, lots more (already!)

I have to disagree here. Patiently repeating yourself as many times as necessary is probably a genuine civility pattern. MissManners? has written some interesting pieces about this. For example, she says that to train children to say "please" requires about 20 years of repeating to them that they need to say "please", and there are no shortcuts. Another example: she says that when someone doesn't take the hint that you aren't interested in continuing a conversation, just patiently hint again, and again, and again, until they become so bored that they decide to go away on their own.


20 years! Miss Manners is mistaken. I have a 7yo and 4yo that are almost perfect about saying please --PeteHardie

Wait until they become teenagers, and you'll see

OnceAndOnlyOnce seems a little out of context here. OAOO is about protecting written material from being corrupted because of unknown duplicates. Civility should include tolerance for a repeated message that may not yet have been understood by others.

Some stuff shifted to WikiOnWiki ( upon a particularly civil request !)

See also LevelsOfPoliteness.

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