The rule: Don't burn bridges, and don't hide under them.
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This rule refers to bridges metaphorically in a purposefully ambiguous way:
- Don't burn bridges - i.e. don't assume that others participating in a discussion with you are idiots. If given the choice between believing "the person I'm speaking with is an idiot" and "I don't fully understand the person I'm speaking to", choose the latter, and try to build a bridge to them.
- ...and don't hide under them. - don't be a troll,and don't assume it is your sole responsibility to be the gatekeeper. You may think you're being a clever provocateur, but it could be that you're just being a jerk, dissuading others from joining your cause. One may not think they are being a troll, when in fact they deflating the enthusiasm of a newcomer.