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It's A Two-Way Conversation

(CBS/AP)
Last January, the Washingtonpost.com closed its blog comments in response to a flood of less-than-civil postings about Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell. At the time, the episode was seen by many as a lesson in the dangers of engaging with the often anonymous and occasionally profane blogging audiences. Now, however, the Post.com has some words of warning for Washington Post reporters about keeping their online chats civil. Here is part of an internal Post memo sent by Len Downie, editor of the print edition of The Post and Jim Brady, editor of the Washigntonpost.com, courtesy of FishbowlDC:
There have been a few cases in recent months where Post or post.com staffers have used questionable language in live discussions on washingtonpost.com, so we wanted to remind everyone of a few key rules and policies for Live Online.

-- Interaction with readers is essential to the success of Live Online. Disagreeing -- even strongly -- with the premise of a reader's question is part of that dialogue, but we should not use profanity or call readers names in our responses.

It's unclear specifically what incidents the memo is referring to but it's great to see the acknowledgment that these conversations are two-way streets. Bloggers and online commenters aren't going to get a lot of respect simply by being the loudest and foulest voice out there and mainstream media types certainly don't help their own cause by being rude or dismissive of the rest of us.
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