Fair warning

be respectful

I’ve tried to be clear from the beginning that Connected deals with more than the sexual adventures of the four main characters, that their sexual adventures are really secondary to some of the larger themes that are the main focus of the story; and I’ve also tried to be upfront that this is a political tale, not just a love story.

It’s not my intent or desire to cause anyone to have a stroke or a heart attack, but I’m telling the story the way it was told to me and I’m not going to change it because it may not conform to prevailing political pieties.

If you weren’t already aware of it, all of the main characters in this story are bright and don’t necessarily accept whatever they are told by their parents, their teachers or their peers. They think for themselves. In the case of Nolan and Josh, they’re struggling to have the courage to be different sexually; and as they become more and more comfortable with not being intimidated by the prevailing sexual mores, that will have consequences. Once you’re not afraid to be different in one part of your life, you may find the same is true in other aspects of life as well.

There are lots of fine stories available for free out there that don’t get into the topics this story is exploring and only you can decide how much aggravation you’re willing to put up with. But if you were offended by Josh questioning why Anthony died in the last chapter, I can pretty much assure you that you’ll be apoplectic by the time we get to the end of the story. If you prefer not to be aggravated by points of view different than your own, you may want to think about finding another story to read.

I do want people to comment on the story and I’ll go out of my way to try to accommodate alternative points of view. But I’m not going to allow ad hominem attacks in the comments section. No one will want to comment if they feel like they could be attacked at any moment for what they say. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s all that hard really. “I disagree with Josh when he said X because …” or even “I think Josh is too young to fully appreciate just how tough it is to be in combat”are okay. But “I think Josh is stupid …” or “I think Josh must not have been raised right by his Mom or had bad teachers” are not okay.

In the first case, you’re explaining what you disagree with specifically and why or, alternatively, offering an opinion that relates your own experiences to the story. In the second, you’re just hurling insults or questioning motivation or character without explaining what you disagree with or why.

I realize no one is perfect, including myself, and that sometimes we struggle to say exactly what we want to say in exactly the right way; and I’m willing to put up with a lot if I have the sense someone is making an effort to be fair.

The bottom line is that the story is going to become more controversial, not so much in the immediate chapters ahead but especially toward the end of Part III and in Parts IV and V for sure. As it does, tempers may fray and people may be tempted to take shortcuts in writing their comments. So there may be times when I ask you to rethink a comment and try to rewrite it in a way that isn’t personal and that is fairer. And if I have to go to a system where I need to individually approve every comment to enforce the kind of respect I’m going to insist on, that’s what I’ll do. In any event, feel free to ask me directly if you feel you need more guidance on any of this.

So hopefully that’s fair warning and everyone is mature enough to make their own decision about what they want to read and whether they’re willing to avoid cliches and personal attacks.

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