The 7 virtues of a great Civilian

Welcome to the Civility blog!

For this first post, I felt it would be helpful to consider: What qualities make one a good discussion participant? The following list is based on nearly 40 Civility Project Alpha discussions.

Cultivate these virtues and not only will you get more out of every discussion, but your fellow participants will as well.
  1. Charity - Give others the benefit of the doubt, bias yourself towards the most charitable interpretation of their statements.  
  2. Respect - Respect others and their individuality, go out of your way to help others feel heard and welcomed, especially if and when their beliefs and opinions run contrary to your own. 
  3. Self-awareness - Be aware of your conversational footprint, give others the space to respond to your ideas and encourage them to do so.  
  4. Humility - Accept that there are things you don’t know, and that there are things you believe that you might be wrong about. “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. 
  5. Honor - Stay away from ad-hominems, unsubstantiated empirical claims, virtue signaling, emotionally manipulative statements or actions, etc. 
  6. Courage - Have the courage to play devil’s advocate when a non-obvious idea goes unquestioned, to respectfully disagree with facts or opinions stated by others, or to put a competing theory out into the discussion to be considered. Civility is a playground for ideas, and the game is no fun if you don’t muster the courage to catch the ball and toss it back. 
  7. Appreciation - Cherish the opportunity everyone else at the table is granting you. Because of them, you’re getting a chance to learn new ideas and perspectives, to grow as a person, to become a clearer thinker and a clearer speaker, and to engage with a subject matter you’re interested in for a good couple of hours. Appreciate that opportunity, and do your best to give others that opportunity in return.
Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments.