BlogHer '10 Speaker Spotlight, June 8, 2010 -- How to Start, Engage in and Moderate Civil Political Debate

BlogHer Original Post

You can't please everybody all the time, especially in open forums like blogs. It's why some folks choose to close comments, and why others have shut down their blogs entirely. But for many, their blogs are platforms for civil discussion among a diverse group of readers. BlogHer '10 is featuring a session focused on exactly that, which we've called: "How to Start, Engage in and Moderate Civil Debate." Here's the description:

What are the online “rules of the road” that can keep even heated debates civil? Where is the line between dissenter and troll? How do you take personal responsibility for your role in the debate, and how do you encourage the behavior you want to see on your site and at the online communities you frequent?

Meet the speakers:

Ann Friedman is the deputy editor of The American Prospect, a monthly progressive political magazine, and an editor of, a leading feminist blog. She has appeared on CNN, Al Jazeera English, PBS's To the Contrary, BBC Radio, and National Public Radio.

Denise Tanton is BlogHer's community manager, where she wrangles thousands of users, including their comments, all while keeping her finger on the pulse of the community. She got her start online at iVillage, and has previously moderated sites like and WebMD.

Pam Spaulding is the author behind, a blog focusing on current political events, LGBT and women's rights, race relations, and more. She also writes for progressive publications such as Pandagon and Huffington Post. Pam has won awards for her contributions toward eradicating homophobia, named a political game-changer, and for online journalism.

Suzanne Fortin publishes Big Blue Wave, a blog dedicated to current affairs as they relate to family, the Catholic faith, fetal rights/pro-life issues, and social conservative issues in general. Suzanne also writes a bi-weekly column at, and for eight years operated an interreligious discussion board.

Have you ever had readers disagree with you in your blog comments section? What did you do when a Twitter follower re-tweeted your status update, disagreeing with you? Have you ever contradicted or challenged another blogger? Come tell us what you've done, how you've moderated on your own site, how you've promoted healthy dialogue, and how you've kept the peace, all while agreeing to disagree.

About the Speaker Spotlight Series: BlogHer is excited about our upcoming conferences this summer (yes, conferences, plural: BlogHer Business '10, White House Project Workshop and BlogHer '10 will all be taking place under one roof in New York City this August). Though we may still be a few months away, we figure it's never too early to begin introducing you to our speakers. Over the next many weeks, I'll randomly select a panel or two to highlight each Tuesday. Though the panels are randomly selected, our speakers are not -- we take great care in researching, considering and inviting speakers for each conference, with a special focus on featuring new and diverse voices. We hope you’ll learn a lot, think a lot and jump into lively conversations with these speakers!

Previously featured:


In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.