The Society Moderately Against Extremism

because good intentions aren't enough
Here are a few simple vows to take if you wish to be a part of the Society Moderately Against Extremism.
  1. I will not exaggerate.
  2. I will not polarize.
  3. I will evaluate the merit of ideas (actions, policies, systems, etc) mostly based on the results they produce, instead of mostly the intent behind them.
  4. I will keep in mind that most topics are not simple black-and-white issues, and that thinking in black-and-white terms will usually lead me to wrong answers.
  5. I will avoid hurting people whenever possible.
  6. I will not condemn entire populations or demographics based on the actions of a tiny percentage of its members.
  7. I will objectively research topics with an open mind before speaking or posting about them in public.
  8. I will get my information from a wide variety of sources.
  9. I will actively try to prove myself and my beliefs wrong.
  10. I will include my sources when making verifiable assertions.
  11. I will give more weight to sources which are scientific, academic, or peer-reviewed.
  12. I will seek solutions which are beneficial for everyone, not just myself.
  13. I will focus my efforts on my own communities, since I probably don't understand what's happening in far-away places.
  14. I will not reduce my opponents' views to strawman arguments, or waste time debunking ideas nobody has actually proposed. More generally, I will exercise the principle of charity -- choosing a strong and coherent interpretation of what other people say, instead of cherry-picking an unlikely or weak interpretation.
  15. I will not post unfair memes, even if they're really funny.
  16. I will try to understand orders of magnitude, and keep in mind that a difference in magnitude is probably important.
  17. I will try to understand the differences between my world view and the world views of others.
  18. I will exercise extreme caution with absolutes like "always", "never", "everyone", "nobody", etc. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
  19. I will not de-rail a discussion with irrelevant ideas... unless the discussion is sorely in need of kittens to help everyone calm down.
  20. I will be patient. Change takes time, and people usually don't change their ways overnight. Reward small improvements.
  21. I will seek continual improvement of both my ideas and my ability to communicate them. Good communication is hard.
  22. If I have to make up a story to prove my point, it probably isn't a very strong point.
  23. If I even thought about Hitler or nukes while forming my argument, I will stop, calm down, and re-evaluate my thought process to determine where it went wrong.
  24. I will not be a dick.
  25. I will not play devil's advocate. That's usually just another way to be a dick.
  26. I will keep in mind that "winning" an argument is often a counter-productive goal, and try to focus on actual progress rather than the satisfaction of winning. Humans are still closer to monkeys than they like to admit, and protecting the feelings of others tends to be a prerequisite for any real communication.
  27. When in doubt, I will choose not to say anything, not to escalate the situation, not to widen the gap between people. Even when someone is obviously wrong on the internet.
  28. Above all, love. I will remember that everyone is a person and that most people have good intentions and they are not stupid or evil just because they don't agree with me.
Of course, we can make exceptions to all of the above... but only in exceptional circumstances. And those circumstances happen less often than we might think.

Here's some of the same, in meme form:
Last modified: May 15, 2019 @ 3:45 MDT
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