Ray Radlein on dKos
Ray Radlein at Wikipedia
Ray Radlein on Twitter
Ray Radlein on Flickr
A Few Thoughts
- If you call someone a kitten-eating wingnut (or a moron, or evil, or a goober or whatever), there are basically two things you can do: You can call them a kitten-eating wingnut and not give any evidence to support your claim; or you can all them a kitten-eating wingnut and give evidence to support your claim. In the first case, all you're doing is making noise: There's no reason for anyone to trust your claim without evidence. In the second case, you're being redundant: Once someone reads the details of various kitten-eating wingnut exploits, they will know that the subject of your article is a kitten-eating wingnut, without you having to tell them that fact.
- In reality, this boils down to the most basic Ruile Number One of writing: "Show, don't tell." In fiction, you don't simply tell your readers that a character is an Evil Bastard — you show him doing the things that an Evil Bastard would do. This should be no less the case in writing that aspires to be non-fiction. Don't waste your words and the reader's time calling someone a right-wing douchebag; simply give examples of their douchebaggery, and trust your readers.
- The goal, to quote Thomas Jefferson, should be to "place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent."
- After all, telling readers what to think about someone is the sort of thing that right-wing blowhards do. We're better than that.
- Remember that not all Democrats, and not all liberals, adhere to the same liberal orthodoxy that you do. Casting aspersions on someone's belief in gun ownership rights, for instance, runs aground on the reef of the large number of liberals and Democrats — including both the guy who runs this place and the head of the Democratic National Committee — who believe likewise. Similar examples can be found for many other issues, from immigration policy to health care to the proper role of religion within the community.
- Remember: lockstep orthodoxy is for the other guys, not us.
- Just because dKospedia doesn't share Wikipedia's slavish devotion to NPOV doesn't mean that every article should be an angry screed of some kind. NPOV should still be the default starting point for all factual articles (i.e., articles about people, places, historical events, and so forth). Advocacy articles such as Frameshop and Memetank practically require partisan ranting, but the encyclopedia-type articles should remain firmly with the realm of the Reality-Based Community.
- All that demoting NPOV from The Highest Principle to a "mere" Guiding Principle means is that we can write articles about 60 Minutes and GWB's Air National Guard "service" that don't have to pretend that Powerline's idiotic font pictures constitute any kind of actual evidence. Thank God.