Tom Baxter recently pondered the disturbing lack of Web-iquette in this new age of instant and numbingly senseless mass communication. Apparently what mankind has been missing all these millennia is the ability to “Twitter” a complete stranger at a moment’s notice and inform them that “my cat is now struggling with a massive hairball” or “I hope you and all your stupid political ilk die from a horrible contagious body rash.” The only thing lacking in these exchanges is a bit of politeness and a few guidelines on “when to delete” one of the more offending idiots from your list of 9,523 Facebook friends. Tom has a very good point. Someone should put their foot down and insist on some rules. I, of course, want to help.
(Disclaimer: The following rules can be applied to blogs, Web sites, Facebook posts, MySpace, tweets, IMs, other forms of annoying, teenage mass media or even to some ass who has wandered accidently into your house uninvited. Furthermore, most of us won’t need these stupid rules; we’ll simply pick up the phone, call our “actual friend” and tell him to bring back our lawnmower before we are forced to kick his ass. And to all those idiots who claim to have 4,000 “Friends,” you aren’t fooling anyone; no one has 4,000 friends. If you are posting on Facebook it’s because most likely you’re a sad, lonely individual and don’t have any friends.)
The following is the set of criteria I use for structuring polite discourse on my blog. (I’m not saying it works, but it’s a start.)
The Rules Are:
1) I make the rules…and I don’t care if you think they are fair or not.
2) No shirt, no shoes, no service.
3) Anyone with poor hygiene or missing teeth will be deleted.
4) All ads from Catholic priests soliciting children will be deleted.
5) All ads from escort services will be accepted.
6) If you can’t spell or use spell check, you will be deleted.
7) It would be nice if one of you would check my spelling. (Dodgeball was my strong suit in grammar school, not spelling bees.)
8) If you aren’t funny you will be deleted (that’s funny “ha ha,” not funny “odd.”)
9) If you aren’t funny, but send me money, I will encourage your fine writing skills.
10) If you don’t like my opinions or writing style, I really don’t give a crap or a tinker’s damn (what exactly is a “tinker’s damn” anyway?)
11) Idiots, morons and the politically dull are not allowed to participate in any discussions whatsoever, so please just sit there quietly with your hands folded. You know who you are.
12) If I somehow I managed to offend you, it was probably intentional.
13) If you don’t like my viewpoints, please do not post your complaints. It’s mutual ; I don’t like yours either.
14) Reading while inebriated is encouraged, but please stay fully dressed at all times.
15) Please don’t write about any of your “spiritual experiences,” your “pet kitty” or the “tough time you had in high school.” No one gives a shit, and you will be deleted.
16) If you are a guy, please encourage your girlfriends to post inappropriate photos of themselves.
17) If you are a dude, DO NOT post inappropriate photos of yourself. That’s totally wrong dude!
18) If you think the writing is poor, shallow, boorish, sexist and exhibits incredibly bad taste, I’m deeply offended … though you are correct and I’ll try and do better.
19) Please stow all items in the overhead bins above your seats.
20) The general rule is: I will write about something that entertains me, or conversely something that pisses me of. If you find it without any redeeming value, remember, this shit is free. Did you really expect Shakespeare?
21) Tech support is not provided on this site. If help is needed please call India or your nearest Dairy Queen.
22) If I am really drunk, hung-over, suffering from oozing boils or currently incarcerated, I probably won’t post anything on that day…you shouldn’t either.
23) If my wife catches me looking at the inappropriate photos your girlfriend sent, I will probably have to shut down the blog.
24) If I catch my wife or brother in-law looking at the inappropriate photos your girlfriend sent, I may be able to turn this thing into a profitable porn site.
25) No running with scissors.
26) All rules are subject to change at a moment’s notice.
So please, behave yourselves, crack a beer (or fire up a jigget), follow the damn rules and try to engage in civil discourse!