Best Practices for Public Scholarly Deliberation

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 1 The purpose of this online forum is to promote public deliberation that is informed by practice, advances scholarly discourse, and responds to challenges that present themselves in the public sphere.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 It is designed to be a site for critical analysis and engagement, but is not intended to be a place for individuals or groups to demonstrate their superiority, or the superiority of their view, through confrontation and antagonism.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Participation on the site signals your consent to have the community evaluate your contributions according to the standards provided below. The following is not intended to be an exhaustive list of the characteristics of productive dialogue, nor is it intended as a clearly defined set of rules to be followed. It is an attempt to articulate some of the values to which we aspire in our scholarship in a way that will help visitors and participants alike orient themselves to the kind of discussion we would like to see taking place within the Community section of the Public Philosophy Journal.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Be Responsible
Each participant bears some responsibility for ensuring that the forum functions to enable productive, respectful dialogue. This includes, but is not limited to, exercising sound judgment concerning the tone and content of one’s own posts and drawing attention to any posts by others that appear not to be productive or respectful (in intent or in effect).

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Be Generous
Despite our best efforts to articulate our views as clearly and unambiguously as we can, it will always be possible for some party to the discussion to come away from it with an inadequate understanding of what we are saying (or of what we are doing by saying what we are saying). Recognizing that we are all capable of misinterpreting others remarks, it is best to respond to claims we don’t initially accept by first asking the person making them either to confirm that we have in fact interpreted the claim correctly or to clarify what it is that we have misunderstood. The kind of discussion we are looking to facilitate does not benefit from the uncharitable exploitation of ambiguities in others’ claims as implicit or explicit grounds for not taking what they have to say seriously.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Be Concise
Be as brief in your posts, and in your comments on others, as is consistent with making the specific contribution to the discussion that you are looking to make.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Be Conscientious
In choosing to comment on something posted by another, participants acknowledge a responsibility to have read carefully and worked to understand what was posted within the context of the discussion to which it was contributed. Comments evidencing the failure to live up to this responsibility do not make positive contributions to the discussion.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Be Respectful
Any person that is either a party to the discussion or is made reference to within it deserves to be treated with respect. Attacks on persons are inconsistent with the standards of scholarly communication and publication, and are of no value for addressing the challenges we face.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 4 Be Open
All participants should maintain a degree of openness to the perspectives of others and, to the extent that it is possible, treat others’ views as potential contenders for truth on the same level as their own.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 Be Relevant
Consider the relevance and the originality of your contribution before making it. If a comment does not clearly fit into the discussion, but is nevertheless worth making, then it should probably be used to start a new comment thread. If a comment simply echoes something said previously, it does not add anything new to the conversation. Ask yourself if you are pointing out something relevant to the discussion that has been overlooked up to this point.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Be Thorough
Subject your intended contributions to the same review and editing processes that you would prior to sharing with a colleague or submitting for consideration to be published in a traditional journal. Post the best possible version of your thoughts to improve the level of the conversation.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Be Self-aware
We are aware of the emotional stakes community members have in the issues that we address in public dialogue. Emotionally charged language, however, has been shown to be counter-productive for processing the often complex information that is relevant for critical and deliberative public dialogue. The aim should be to contribute to informed discussion and not to provoke emotional responses and polarize the issue. We should respect the emotional investments of all members of the community (including our own) by expressing and evaluating views in language that is not antagonistic or otherwise emotionally charged.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Be Connected
This forum aims not only to promote productive deliberation, but also to document and archive the products of this deliberation in scholarly ways. When possible, hypertext links to texts and other resources that are referenced in posts and comments should be provided for the reader. When referencing material that is not available online, do your best to give enough information so that others can track down your references (include, e.g., author, title and date of publication).

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 8 Be Rigorous
Examine the ideas and justifications presented in this forum with the care they deserve. Be on guard against tendencies in your own thinking that you would be likely to notice and criticize in others; e.g., the tendency to overlook the flaws in positions with which we agree and to overlook the solutions offered by positions with which we disagree.

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Source: http://ppj.matrix.msu.edu/best-practices-for-public-scholarly-deliberation/