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In order to make the writing and feedback meaningful we suggest that all writers and commenter consider the following as guidelines for our writing and reacting efforts:
1. In general, please maintain a civil discourse in discussing any and all topics. Remember that matters of ethnicity, culture, and faith are very sensitive matters, and so we ask that you keep that in mind and avoid blatantly offensive labels, and slang. It is ok to have minority views, even unpopular views, and to express great passionate about what you are writing, but please resist any compulsions you may have toward mindless ranting, and turning differing opinions into personal vicious attacks on the writings of someone else. Arguments should be made on the merit of their reasoned content, not on boorish insults or flagrant expressions of contempt for someone else’s perspective.
The purpose of Kerplop.com is to promote productive, not destructive, dialogue.
2. Threats of violence are not acceptable, EVER, and will not be tolerated on this website.
3. Ignore comments by people who are perpetrate “trolling.” The term, trolling is defined as the act of someone who deliberately posts an absurd or outrageous comment with the sole intention of provoking a hostile reaction. Pay no mind to such negative attention-seekers, because that’s precisely what they want. It is the preference of Kerplop.com not to censor the expression of ideas, even outrageous content expressed with the intent of causing a free-for-all fight. We would rather ignore the ignorant than engage with ignorance. When you argue with a crazy person, you end up no where, and they will still be crazy.
Here is a suggested checklist to keep your op-ed article on track:
- Focus tightly on one issue or idea --- in your first paragraph. Be brief.
- Express your opinion, and then base it on factual, researched or first-hand information.
- Be timely, controversial, but not outrageous. Be the voice of reason. We want ideas not mud-slinging, because when the doodly-squat hits the fan it is never evenly distributed.
- Be personal and conversational; because normal expressions of your thoughts and feelings are better than formal stuff when it comes to op-ed essays.
- Be funny when it is appropriate. Funny goes a long way toward selling your point of view.
- Know what you think and express what you think. Come down hard on one side of the issue. Don't equivocate, prevaricate, or beat around the bush until all the leaves fall off..
- Provide insight, understanding, and make an effort to educate your reader and at the same time, try not to be preachy. Writing is tough.
- Near the end of your essay, re-state your position and in all pervasive essays, when your goal was, from the beginning to change people’s minds, it is just smart to issue a call to action.
- Have "fire in your belly." Opinion Editorials should morph indignation with logical analysis.
- Don't ramble or let your op-ed unfold slowly, because this is not a classroom essay, it is writing that intends to shake people up, spark discussion, and to change minds and actions. Get to your point.
- Use clear, powerful, direct language. Have specific instances, or an enumeration of briefer examples.
- Emphasize active verbs, forget the adjectives and adverbs, which only weaken writing.
- Avoid clichés “like the plague” and eliminate jargon, because jargon is just plain UN.
- Appeal to the average reader. Clarity is paramount.
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