I’ve had it. I’ve worked my ass off for the past 2 years helping to create clipmarks.com. I’ve watched Derek and W and Adam and more recently Skiff bring their heart and soul to work every day and many nights trying to create a special place on the web for people. A place where people could enjoy themselves, learn from each other and share. Share what? Share information. Share ideas. Share opinions. Share perspectives. Share knowledge. Share confusion. Share anger. Share encouragement. Share experience. Why? Because I believe there is so much to learn. And because through learning, I believe people become better. They become better because they are less ignorant, less naïve, less intolerant. Through learning they become more open minded, more accepting, more aware. In my opinion, the best way to learn is from each other. That very fact alone demands that we don’t all see things the same way. If we did, then through each other nothing new would be learned. So I embrace disagreement. I embrace debate. I actually embrace realizing I was wrong. Better to realize it than continuing to go on falsely thinking I’m right.
It is with many of those ideals in mind that clipmarks.com was created. I believe it is with those ideals in mind that so many of us go out to the web and clip interesting things we find. And we don’t only post clips so others can see them, but also so that others can comment on them. We do this because it is though comments that everyone is given a chance to be heard. A chance to react, to present different points of view, offer different opinions, different approaches, different answers. That is how we all learn from each other and not just from the clips that are posted.
From my experience on this site, I believe there are two key components that are necessary to make the ideals of the site become reality. The first is that interesting clips about a wide variety of topics need to be posted. I’m ecstatic to say that together we are all creating a vast, diverse library of fascinating clips that offer an incredible resource for people to learn from. It is through these clips that bridges are made between people and ideas. It brings me great pride and happiness to be a part of it. The second necessary component is that people need to act with civility and respect towards each other. I believe that nearly all of the people who participate on the site do so in a way that i’m not only comfortable with, but i am extremely proud of. But amazingly, it seems to only take a few exceptions for a powerful, disruptive friction to grow that interferes with the positive nature and flow of the site. Not only that, but it is literally exhausting. Deciding whether to fight back or simply ignore mean spirited, antagonistic comments is not an enjoyable or productive way to spend your time. I want to be very clear. I am not suggesting that people should agree with other or that they even have to be friendly towards each other. But you must treat others who are on the site with respect and civility if you want to remain on it. Otherwise, I will deactivate your account.
Recently, Kevin Rose of Digg.com took a bold stance and decided that on behalf of his users he was going to permit a controversial story to remain on the digg.com web site. In conclusion, he said, “If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.” Well, I’m saying the same thing now in response to a different issue. Clipmarks.com will be a place where people can share information, ideas and opinions in a civilized, respectful way. It will be a place where people who are sick and tired of the typical hostility, name calling and bitter divisiveness that is so common in most of our media can come to get away from that without losing the variety or substance of the content. Clipmarks is not a place for liberals or conservatives, democrats or republicans. It is a place for liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, and everyone in between or on either side of those all-to-often conveniently used labels.
I wish I could tell you there was some sort of black and white definition of what will be considered acceptable. Maybe some day there will be an algorithm in place for determining this (maybe Google already has something like that). But today, on clipmarks.com it’s just going to be based on our (and yes, that mostly means my) perception of what is reasonable. Track records will definitely be taken into consideration. But we will do whatever we feel necessary to protect the sanctity of the system we believe so much in. I have no idea how many people that appeals to, but that is who we’re going to appeal to.