I got an email the other day from “David,” who had a lot of nice things to say about my articles, but who was concerned about my sometimes snide or snarky attitude in comment discussion. I think he’s right. I owe an apology to a few commenters here, especially Sault and Fleegman. Perhaps some others, too.
A few years ago my wife and I were talking with a school official about something wrong that had been done to one of our children. It was a pretty serious situation and it took a few months to get it resolved. I told him early on that he should expect us to be professional, courteous, and respectful; but since I didn’t want him to confuse our courtesy with not caring how it turned out, I added that he should expect us to be very persistent. Persistence in that situation meant a combination of strength and patience in the process until we reached resolution.
The facts in that situation were clear to all. (The question we had to settle was, what do we do about it?) Here on this blog the facts are often in dispute or doubt. Still there are parallels between the two settings, especially in those discussions where the facts seem clear to me. I would like commenters to be able to expect from me that same stance of courtesy, respect, and patient strength. I want also to be open to learning new things from others, and un-learning old things I have learned wrongly.
I have not always been that way. My snarkiness has been a reflection of my impatience. I offer my apologies and I hope to change.