It's been a while since our last installment, so just to recoup:
We've been reviewing and dissecting, in order, each of the AcitveRain Community Guidelines at length to ensure that we're all on the same page, and are fully aware of the expressed expectations for members who participate in our valued community.
~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~
Our next guideline reads as follows:
"We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we don't permit hate speech which contains slurs or the malicious use of stereotypes intended to attack or demean a particular gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or nationality."
This particular guideline has recently been the focal point of some rather exhaustive discussions/introspection. There are times when the actual guideline itself isn't debated so much as is how the guidelines are/should be enforced. Suffice it to say, that the administrators of this platform do genuinely attempt to apply/enforce all of these guidelines and the Terms of Service fairly and equitably to all members. In the final analysis, we have a very serious duty and responsibility to our members to ensure and maintain a safe, respectful environment of participation. The decisions we must make at times are never easy or pleasant, but our intentions are always for the benefits of the greater membership.
With that said, let me simply make a few observations as it relates to this guideline:
ActiveRain Membership ISN'T FREE!
Your involvement here has a cost. And it's called RESPONSIBILITY and RESPECT.
Membership here on ActiveRain is a privilege, not a given right. Your right of continued active participation is earned by the manner in which you consistently conduct yourself and the way you treat your fellow professionals.
Blogging, by it's very root and nature, serves to evoke and stimulate meaningful discussion and debate. Many times these discussions involve contrary, dissenting, or unpopular points of view. How we deal with such differences reveals the very core of our character. It is entirely possible to express our views and argue the merits of our position without resorting to hateful personal attacks and malicious slurs. It's completely acceptable to 'agree-to-disagree' without compromising your opinions/convictions. While it's many times easy to become emotionally embroiled in spirited debate, we must strive to keep issues professional, and not personal.
And, as those who have an intimate understanding of the Fair Housing Act, you would think we would possess a heightened awareness/sensitivity towards protected classes, and a clear understanding of those actions which constitute a violation against those classes. That's not to say that a violation of our community guidelines necessarily equates to a violation of Fair Housing. But I think the underlying priniciples are similar.
Take a lesson from a recent incident where a real estate agent lost their license for a full year because of an inappropriate comment they made on a blog post. Being suspended from ActiveRain is one thing. But most of us can ill afford to have our license revoked!