I follow Crocker’s rules. Crocker’s rules, named after and framed by Lee Daniel Crocker, is a social communication protocol or etiquette used to reduce emotional impact on debate. Crocker was an early contributor to Wikipedia, and, with Larry Sanger, Fred Bauder and others who chose to contribute pseudonymously or anonymously, helped to form its rules to maximize objective reporting.

Declaring yourself to be operating by “Crocker’s rules” means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you. Crocker’s rules means that you have accepted full responsibility for the operation of your own mind — if you’re offended, it’s your fault.

The underlying assumption is that rudeness is sometimes necessary for effective conveyance of information, if only to signal a lack of patience or tolerance: after all, knowing whether the speaker is becoming angry or despondent is useful rational evidence.

Anyone is allowed to call you a moron and claim to be doing you a favor (which, in point of fact, they would be. One of the big problems with this culture is that everyone’s afraid to tell you you’re wrong, or they think they have to dance around it).

Two people using Crocker’s rules should be able to communicate all relevant information in the minimum amount of time, without paraphrasing or social formatting. Obviously, don’t declare yourself to be operating by Crocker’s rules unless you have that kind of mental discipline.

Note that Crocker’s rules does not mean you can insult people; it means that other people don’t have to worry about whether they are insulting you. Crocker’s rules are a discipline, not a privilege. Furthermore, taking advantage of Crocker’s rules does not imply reciprocity. How could it? Crocker’s rules are something you do for yourself, to maximize information received – not something you grit your teeth over and do as a favor.