(Sorry for the length...>.<)
I find that assumptions made about the written word tend to be sketchy at best. Tone and intonation are important in getting the full emotional meaning of words. Do I think that saying that is a touch rude? Certainly. But there is a large difference between directly calling someone an idiot and in being slightly rude due to having a strong, visceral standpoint on a topic.
So I think I'm confused as to why slightly rude is allowed but outright rudeness is not. Slight sneering is still sneering, in my view at least. I think it bothers me because asking if someone thinks before they speak is then criticising the person, not the issue, when your opinionated problems are with the issue, not the person. The rest of that response option is fine to me, because it criticises the issue and then states a belief/opinion/thought/interpretation of the speaker. But that third part still seems unnecessarily rude to me.
Even in the situation considered originally -- Person A publicly puts out an idea strongly opposite of Person B's, and Person B responds, also publicly, to Person A -- I don't agree with the third part of response #1. It's still the idea that is the vehement opposition, not Person A, so I think Person B would be well within their (human?) rights to present their strong opinions regarding the opposition of the original idea, but it would be wrong to attack the person. (Even saying, "Your logic/information is incorrect," is directed at the idea, not the person.)
And yes, I agree that the written word is inadequate at addressing tone and intonation. But the original topic -- blogging -- is primarily written
. So I think it falls on the writer, not the reader, to convey what they mean, tone and all, in the best written
phrasing they can. Asking for it to fall upon the reader feels to me like this:
Person C/Writer: How many fingers am I holding behind my back?
Person C/Writer: OMG YOU FOOKING NUB IT'S OBVIOUSLY THREE!!! GAWD you're such a HORRIBLE representative of the human race!!!
Person D/Reader now feels somewhere between an idiot who should have known better and an innocent bystander incapable of even possibly having known better.
No, as my AP US History teacher kept telling me on my test essays, in writing it's not always obvious what you meant to say or how you meant to say it. This is important for both our Persons A and B, whether you're introducing the touchy conversation topic or responding to it. Sometimes I would like to say things like "misguided" for a literal meaning -- incorrect reasoning -- but I know people can take that to mean I believe they don't know how to think, because they may read an attack on their work as an attack on themselves. Not everyone is awesomely good at taking criticism, and even the best of those can take it badly at some point. So I believe it's best to cut the other person some slack. Extend the first peace offering, y'know?
I'm not trying to say I should hold people's hands when discussing why their blogged opinion is completely wrong in my view, but I should consider that I'm talking to a human being with feelings that may be as attached to their opinion of the discussion as I am attached to mine. First I try to make sure I understood them correctly and that they understood me correctly. At the very least this acknowledges that I'm listening to them and their ideas and not just blatantly writing them off as a nutcake with a stupid idea. (Generally I've found that after I feel like I've been listened to, I'll be more willing to think upon other ideas as to why I'm wrong.) Then, once we're on the same page, I try to direct my criticism as best I can to focus on the idea they had, rather than on them themselves, because it's the idea I have issues with, not the person. Lastly I make sure that my phrasing of my criticism is obvious that I'm attacking the idea not the person, and that I still respect the person themselves, as best as I possibly could.
If I get caught insulting them unintentionally, then I apologize. Maybe it wasn't my fault at all, but a wrong was perceived, so I will try to rectify my perceived rebuttal. Perceived wrongs are like the fire patches in Koralon; no, I/the boss didn't cast it with a specific cast bar or emote action, but yeah, they may not move out of the fire, and yeah, while they continue to stand in the fire, it will hurt. Fortunately, unlike Koralon, my aim is not to kill my dissenting commenter. My aim is either persuasion (partial or full, and of either side) or agreement to disagree. On the flip side, if I find I'm standing in fire, I try to tell the person that that was offensive, but I don't expect an apology. It's awesome if I get one, but it's not my responsibility if somebody wants to be a complete jackass to other people.
Of course, there are people who will take offense at anything and everything, at which point it's "I'm sorry if I've offended you, I did not intend to imply anything rude or mean, but I just can't agree with you, for the explained reasons," and then I leave. Because it's pointless to have a conversation like that.
so TL;DR conclusion:
Offense is subjective & written words are typically inadequate of carrying other information such as vocal intonation and body language. Because of this, I feel the participants of a blogged or otherwise written, online conversation should work towards making sure everyone is on the same page and understands all contributed points of view as best as possible, rather than just huffing off with "it's not my fault you don't understand/you're wrong/you can't take criticism my way." I also feel that when issues are discussed, the issues should be critiqued, not the person, so even lightly rude remarks are not acceptable.