I have been thinking on this one and feel that it is worth a post of it's own.
When insults, put downs, and bad language are used by a poster, injury will probably occur. Those of us that are experienced posters have grown defenses against these injuries. And those of us that are mature will recognize when we have done an opps or are receptive when it is pointed out to us, and will quickly make amends.
Most of us are not that experienced or mature.
It is our job to protect our members from these injuries. When you see a post that insults, tears down or contains bad language aimed at a person or religion then you need to make a decision. Does the situation require an apology? Remember that the majority of our members just read the posts. You must also place yourself in the shoes of the injured party. Will a edit and warning suffice or is there reason to believe that the injury is bad enough to warrant an apology.
If you believe that an apology is warranted then follow these steps.
Edit/delete the post(s).
Post a requirement on that thread announcing the need for an apology from that poster and why. Send an email to the poster stating why you are requiring an apology. I have access to all email addresses or the site programmer can get it for you. Just tell him who and why.
The apology will be posted on the thread. If the injured party is a member(s) then he will also email the apology to you or me. We will send it to the injured members. In this way we are not giving out private emails to potential harassers.
If the offender refuses then he will be banned. The majority of our banned members are over the apology requirement.
Yes debates get hot and controversy brings in more posters, but there are too many members that take the debates personally and when they perceive that they are losing the debate they may resort to insults and put downs. So stay on top of the threads and watch for possible conflict. Soon you will recognize those that will resort to personal remarks and their breaking point. Hopefully we can head the discussion off before it becomes hostile.
The gentle soft word is heard over the shout.