Our Opinion: Our Opinion on ‘rants’ in Your Opinion

A suggestion has been made, and seconded, to eliminate “rants” from the Your Opinion forum.

The recommendations by contributors to the forum prompted opposing opinions.

This diversity of opinion exemplifies how the forum, at its best, is designed to work.

The forum is named Your Opinion for a reason; it’s yours.

We try to limit our involvement.

We do have guidelines — both objective and subjective — for what we will publish.

The objective criteria for the Your Opinion forum is straight-forward. We publish opinions on “timely topics,” which we construe broadly. Letters must not exceed 400 words and be from contributors within our Central Missouri coverage area. Some exceptions are made, largely for legislators — who are part-time residents — and officials advocating for statewide groups.

We also apply one subjective test; we will not publish letters we consider “mean-spirited.” We define mean-spirited as a personal attack. A contributor may disagree with another’s opinion, but taunting or name-calling is unnecessary and unacceptable.

We invoke this criteria to promote the exchange of ideas, not an exchange of insults.

Determining what does and does not constitute a rant would introduce added subjectivity. Rant has multiple definitions — including “to complain in a way that is unreasonable.”

But, as contributions to the forum indicate, writers have very different opinions about what is reasonable.

And your opinion of what is reasonable may differ from ours.

We have a forum for Our Opinion; we offer another for Your Opinion.

We are not inclined to venture into your forum and attempt to separate acceptable opinion from unpublishable rant.

We welcome and appreciate your exchange of opinions. The discussion and debate advances and clarifies the community conversation. All we ask is you respect fellow contributors and the integrity of the forum.

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