Phil Cubeta’s House Rules

For Our Guests in Phil’s Virtual Home

  • Please come prepared, if prework is suggested in the invitation 
  • Listen to understand, not to object or win an argument
  • Bring your full attention and your best self
  • Attack positions, not persons
  • Avoid ad hominins (attacking an idea by attacking the kind of person who holds it)
  • Avoid cheap shots, moral grandstanding, and self-promotion to the extent possible
  • Seek to understand before seeking to be understood
  • If triggered, ask forgiveness
  • Forgive as you hope to be forgiven
  • Respect confidences
  • Forgive our dog, Lucy, if she barks during our call

For Phil as Host

  • To create a welcoming space for thoughtful differences of opinion
  • To welcome all professions and identities who come in civic friendship to achieve shared understanding with an eye to public benefit
  • To manage and if need be to rusticate those whose behavior jeopardizes the conversation 


  • As host and teacher in his own place, Professor Cubeta reserves the right to “rusticate”* you at his sole discretion if he deems you to be in breach house rules.  
  • If money was paid he will issue a refund.
  • Rustication may be lifted upon confession, reformation, supplication, and approval.
  • * For those who may not be aware, rustication at Oxford University is when you are “sent down” from your college to wherever you came from. We have adopted that term for when you are not invited “up” to another conversation at 

Your Privacy as a Contributor to this Conversation

These are private conversations of public importance. Note, however, Phil will likely create a public summary (“briefing) on the wisdom he gleans from the discussion. He may email this to subscribers, post it on social media, or add to a future course. However, he will not cite participants in the private conversation by name. He may say, “One participant in the group noted….” He will not say, “Jane Jones noted.” The rationale here is that we live in a time when social media are full of opinionated strangers making wounding remarks. These “conversations at Phil’s house” are an antidote to that. They are a safe place to practice the art of philanthropic conversation among civic friends with an eye to the commonweal.

Acknowledging your Contribution

If Phil posts a briefing on social media, say, Linked-In, he reserves the right to acknowledge your participation. In the acknowledgements, he may say that you participated and may link to your profile. However, he will not tie any remarks you have made to you personally. If you want your personal views to be publicly aired with your name attached, you may respond to Phil’s briefings on social media.

Good Manners for Participants after Our Gathering

Please don’t quote our conversations with attribution of specific views to specific participants unless you ask permission from that participant first. In other words, respect confidences and don’t embarrass anyone by quoting out of context and without permission.