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April 19, 2010Leadership

Comment Policy

Thanks for coming by the blog to comment. In order to facilitate conversation, we are seeking to be good hosts. That is always a difficult task because so many struggle with good conversation-- leading an increasing number of Christian blogs to shut down comments. In order to make this a good place for conversation, we have to be wise stewards of the forum here.

To do that, we have created some comment policies at the blog. If you are a regular reader, you can help by pointing out the policies to those who may wander astray.

My hope is that the end result will be a conversation that honors God, leads to learning, and provokes us to love and good deeds.

In order to facilitation good conversation, please keep the following in mind:

1. Please do not post anonymous comments.

There are few exceptions to this rule (such as being a missionary in a restricted access country) and you must state "why" in your comment. You must have a real and verifiable email to go with that real name (though that email will never be shared). If you have a blog or website you should include that, but it is not required.

2. Be sure to stay on topic.

If the topic of the discussion is the mission of God, it is not helpful to start a new conversation on gender roles, Calvinism, or something else. Actually, probably the most common issue is turning a discussion into a denomination-specific discussion. There are many denominational discussion blogs, so if the issue is not denomination-specific, it should not always end up there. (If you are interested in blogging about SBC issues-- my denomination-- I blog on those over at Between the Times, the SEBTS faculty blog.

3. You can share opinions, disagree and even argue, but you must be polite.

The point of a blog is to have discussion. If I wanted to post my opinions and have you just read them and marvel at my brilliance (a joke), I would not have a blog. I welcome the discussion, but they need to be polite and on point. Do not use my blog for your agenda. If you can add to the discussion, please do. If you just want to use my blog to promote your views because my blog has wide readership, don't.

4. While you can graciously take apart someone's perspective, you may not tear apart an individual.

We do not allow ad hominem attacks here. We do allow robust discussion and critical thought, even if I am the target.

5. If you do not follow the rules we will have to block you from commenting further.

This is always a last resort. But no one has the "right" to comment on this blog.

6. Don't be a troll.

Trolls come in many forms, but wikipedia explains:

In internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

I have generally left troll comments in place, but many have asked me to block them. I will start doing so. And, my staff will decide who is a troll.

7. Please don't feed the trolls.

Arguing with a troll just distracts from the conversation, and feeds their need for validation. Ignore them when they appear. Since we don't moderate, they may not be immediately removed from the comment stream.

8. Feel free to make your point, once.

If people engage with your point, disagree with it, or discuss it, you can engage in that. But, do not make the same point over and over on that post or other posts.

9. Please don't make drive-by comments.

I have noticed a tendency among some who leave comments that they simply cannot discuss without saying, "they should just preach the gospel." If you don't think that culture, mission, and strategy should be considered, and your answer is to tell everyone (using ALL CAPS) that they should just "preach the gospel," this is probably not the blog for you.

We want this to be a place for good conversation. Keep in mind that this is a place for fruitful dialogue, not information requests, etc.

Our team will be more proactive in removing comments that don't meet the above criteria and don't advance the conversation. We do not indicate that a post is removed, it is just not posted. If your comment is removed, it is because we thought it did not meet the comment policies. We do not debate the reason with you on the blog, via email, or on Twitter. If your comment does not make it on the blog, feel free to post it on your own blog. But, for this blog, those are the rules.

This blog is a limited public forum for discussion and, as host, it is my job to help make it a positive conversation. We will try to make that conversation better by being better hosts.

Thanks for coming by and commenting!

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