The commentary on a post below prompts me to write this post. I have been writing this blog for three years and have had very few occasions to reject comments submitted by readers. Indeed, there have been many thoughtful, heartfelt, heated, and humorous contributions. Even those who disagree with what I or others have said have done so in a fashion that is not disagreeable.
During this time, the readership of the blog has grown substantially, and I think that has a lot to do with the level of civility on these pages. But as readership has grown, it has attracted some people who might be used to the kinds of comments found on many other blogs and in the comment section of newspaper websites. So, I thought it would be good to reiterate the standards that I apply for this blog.
First, as noted at the outset, I cannot comment on individual and legally confidential patient care issues in this forum -- although I can refer patients of our hospital to the appropriate people if they have problems or complaints. I also cannot comment on individual and legally confidential personnel matters of our employees -- although I can refer people to the appropriate folks in the hospital to help them. Accordingly, if you submit a comment that falls in to these categories, I will not post it, but I will refer it along.
Second, I will not post comments that make ad hominem arguments and use foul language, that "flame" rather than make points in a civil fashion, or that have prejudicial implications about race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Third, I will not post comments that are clearly designed to advertise a for-profit product, service, or company in the health care field. I retain discretion to post comments that advertise something that would be of general interest.
Fourth, I usually will not post comments that are excessively long. This is tricky because sometimes the person has something interesting to say, but my sense is that most blog readers do not want to drag through very long posts and comments. Encountering a really long comment, many will give up and not reach other comments that follow. So please do the opposite of Pascal: If you have something to say, take the time to write a short letter.
Sometimes I will post a comment telling the commenter that his or her comment has been received but not posted. Other times, I will simply delete it.
Anonymous comments are fine, and I understand why they might be prudent in some cases, but I personally think you can often be more persuasive if people know who you are and where you come from. Also, it feels good to "stand on a soapbox" and be "seen." People have given their lives to allow us to have freedom of speech. Try it!
So, please dive in, keep reading, and send us all your thoughts on the issues of the day. Thank you for your loyal readership and for spreading the word about this blog.