"If you are not kind on the internet, then you are not kind."

Well that's tidy. And it may even be true. The problem, however, is that some bloggers are very good at conflating what is justified, measured criticism - delivered respectfully - and what is an objectively cruel and dismissible attack.

Also, time and again I've seen bloggers take a piece of hateful or mean-spirited criticism they've received, hoist it up like a flag above their head, and wave it back and forth for all to see. Look! Look how mean they are! Then they lower that flag and proceed to hide behind it, using it as an excuse to ignore ALL criticism - even that which merits consideration and response.

Or they just let their fans/readers/friends raise the flag for them.

If bloggers are genuinely interested in "truth-telling", they have to be willing to examine the nuance of the criticism that's coming their way, and a bit slower to categorically dismiss it as "cruelty" or "bullying." And they have to be honest in their representation and characterization of that criticism.

The vitriolic and senseless attack of the reader sitting to my left does not invalidate the insightful, measured observation of the reader sitting to my right. Go ahead and write off the entire table, if you want, but don't be surprised when you lose my respect.

Because if you are not intellectually honest on the internet, then you are not intellectually honest.