Civility Linkblogging: Pakistan, Mississippi, Twitter, and More

By Anita Pratanti, via flickr

This post is part of our ongoing effort to highlight discourse about civility around the web. Our articles for civility linkblogging come from a wide cross-section of blogs and newspapers, magazines and other websites, from the United States and abroad.

This week, the thing to notice in our list is less the specifics of the articles themselves than the scope of topics and geographies that defines them as a group. We have calls for civility in the civic culture of Pakistan and in the local politics of Massachusetts. We have incivility on Twitter and in one newspaper’s letters to the editor. We have horse racing, the legal profession, and the ongoing disputed primary between incumbent Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel for the Republican Senate nomination in the state of Mississippi.

The scope, this week, is especially broad.

If you have an article that you think would be right for future civility linkblogging posts, please do not hesitate to email it to us at [email protected]. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now — the list:

A Call for Civility a Matter of Common Sense
Posted at The Andover Townsman Online, June 26, 2014

Lyman, who spent more than 20 years in public service starting in 1992 on the School Committee followed by a dozen or so years as selectwoman, said the tone of civic dialogue had grown too contentious for her to bear.

Indeed, it was one of the reasons she had chosen not to seek a fifth term as selectwoman.

In Search of Civility
Posted by Rehan Ul Haque at, June 29, 2014

After having spent a year out of Pakistan, and having experienced the plain civility of the people in Canada, I find some of the following quite troublesome here in the Pak Land….

How much effort does it take to just say Thank You? If you are servicing a customer in a shop or any other commercial establishment, Thank You makes a huge difference.

Political Civility 101
Posted at, July 2, 2014

We remain eager to share as many of your views as possible. But we cannot allow Viewpoints to become a space to launch ad hominem attacks, or make false or unprovable claims.

It’s tough to come up with a specific list of things which will move a letter to the rejection pile. So we must rely on our ability to “know it when we see it.” We suspect that, if most writers looked at their letters with a cold, critical eye before they hit the send key, they’d see it, too.

Civility is always a winner
Posted by Edward C. Poll at The Daily Record, July 3, 2014

Recently, California has acknowledged that fact with a new rule. On May 1, 2014, the California Supreme Court adopted Rule 9.4 of the California Rules of Court. The rule modified the lawyer’s oath of office. The oath taken by every lawyer when being admitted to legal practice in California still begins, “I solemnly swear (or affirm). …” However, that oath now ends with newly added language: “As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.”

A #@% Here, a B*l*e*e*p There, Civility’s Scarce on the Internet
Posted by Hembree Brandon at Delta Farm Press, July 14, 2014

The election night Twitter feed was, alas, a microcosm of the proliferation of incivility and decline of manners/respect that have occurred as the Internet has become a part of everyday life. The anonymity of screen names and the almost complete absence of monitoring of posts on websites and social media venues have spawned a Wild West, anything-goes arena in which people can write anything — however derogatory or vile — with no consequences.

Often as not, posts have nothing to do with the website’s topic or interest. Whether a financial website, medical, automotive, you-name-it, the posts are laced with vulgarities and crude insults directed at other posters.

Civility Linkblogging: Judaism, Lawyers, and Centrist Strategies

Civility Linkblogging posts, as always, are part of an ongoing series meant to highlight trends and thoughtful discourse about civility around the web. We find recent articles from blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other online venues from the United States and abroad. And we repost them here as a civility snapshot for interested readers.

This week’s links range geographically from Florida to Washington State, Colorodo to New Jersey. But in terms of topic, they focus on two recurring issues: strategies for maintaining and enforcing civility in the legal profession; and the possibility of finding civility in centrist politics at the municiple level, and in our political parties more broadly.

Do you have a link that you think would be right for this segment? Please do not hesitate to email it to us at [email protected]. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now — the list:

A Civility Crisis
Posted by Greg Anderson at The 16%, July 17, 2013

As a former county commissioner, I realize civility is often easier discussed than practiced. Strong emotions, personal values, and competing agendas can fuel uncivil fires. Ironically, even the strongest emotions, values, and agendas can be expressed within a civil framework. In other words, I can honor you even if I strongly disagree with you.

Intentionally practice civility. Good governance cannot exist without it.

National Policy Director Urges Civil Dialogue
Posted by Rober Wiener at New Jersey Jewish News, July 17, 2013

“Don’t make a table with just your friends,” he urged. “Make a table with all the people in the community you could possibly work with. Don’t limit. Because when the table is big, we have become the solution. If someone says, ‘We are not going to deal with J Street,’ then we are not going to be successful,” he said, referring to the left-leaning Israel advocacy group.

Gutow said the JCPA is working with the UJA-Federation of New York in a young leadership project so that “people age 20 to 40 learn how to talk to each other about Israel.”

Civility Counts: The Importance of Professionalism
Posted by Ryan S. Hansen at Denver Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, July 17, 2013

As young attorneys, we must recognize that there is no place within our profession to treat opposing counsel, opposing parties, court personnel, or judicial officers with any amount of disrespect, acrimoniousness, or belligerence. Attorney incivility tarnishes our profession, frustrates the timely resolution of legal matters, hampers clients’ interests, and erodes the already tenuous trust the public has in lawyers. There is no doubt that with concerted effort and forethought, we can all zealously represent our clients’ interests without engaging in caustic, uncivil behavior.

New Court Panels Will Police Lawyer Incivility
Posted by Rafael Olmeda at The Sun Sentinel, July 21, 2013

Attorneys across the state will soon be called on the carpet in a new way whenever their incivility toward each other crosses the professional line.

Courthouse administrators in Broward and Palm Beach counties are establishing local professionalism panels to resolve disputes between attorneys before they escalate into formal complaints to the Florida Bar. The panels were ordered in each of the state’s 20 judicial circuits by the Florida Supreme Court.

A New Take on Tension, Civility in Politics
Posted by Chris Thomas at The San Juan Islander, July 22, 2013

Parker J. Palmer called democracy “a non-stop experiment in the strengths and weaknesses of political institutions,” and said tension is key to the process.

“It is a system that was designed to hold tensions, problems, questions – to keep them on the table so that we can keep returning to them for better answers. The question is, can we hold those tensions creatively, in a way that doesn’t create enemies, doesn’t demonize people who think differently from us.”