The Eight-Fold Method of Internet Ethics:
A Primer for Health Care Professionals

R. W. Pies, MD; psychcentral. com; Jan 21, 2011


1. When criticizing a colleague, try to begin your critique with something appreciative and positive or at least neutral"such as, "Dr X. raises some very timely and important concerns in his/her thoughtful essay."

2. Try not to write anything about your colleague that you wouldn't feel justified in stating to his or her face, at a professional conference (and bear in mind, that"s the place that the two of you may meet next! )

3. Never dash off an email or blog remark in a fit of anger; instead, write a draft version "off line"; reflect upon it; modify if necessary; and send out only following a suitable "cooling down" interval.

4. Always consider having a colleague read over every critique that results in you feeling apprehensive or slightly "guilty" regarding assertions about another person.

5. Always phrase your critique with regard to ideas or actions, not your opponent"s character or thinking process; for example, point out, "The belief that we ought to use that approach is misguided, in my opinion", not "Dr. X is totally out of his mind!"

6. Make an effort to incorporate some points of agreement with your opponent, when you can legitimately find any (and look hard for them! )

7. Hard as it can be, endeavor to credit a harmless objective or commitment to your opponent; eg, "Dr. X clearly intends to protect the welfare of the public; nonetheless, in my view, her approach may perhaps lead to serious difficulties." ("In my view" is a great mantra to recite).

8. Always make an effort to review your opponent"s view in a fair and convincing fashion, while allowing for the possibility that you have misitreperted his position. (In the Talmud, the School of Hillel garnered a lot more approval than did its opponents, the School of Shammai, because in writing their opinions, the Hillelites typically began by accurately stating the Shammaites" point of view).




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