A New Comment Policy
Over the course of my interview with leading theologian, Dr. Wayne Grudem, I have seen afresh both the value and the danger of comments. Dr. Grudem was drawn in to respond to comments here on two occasions – once to correct minor errors he had made in his post, and once to retract his agreement with the use of the word “blasphemy.” A lot of helpful points were raised, and I enjoyed having so many comments.
With large numbers of comments, however, come many dangers which have become obvious to me. These dangers have crystalised in my mind a number of principles that will be guiding me as I now take responsibility for pre-vetting comments personally or via an associate. If you want to comment here, you would do well to try and follow them yourself up front – it should increase the likelihood of me approving your comments:
Guidelines for Commentators on This Blog
(Read in conjunction with the post Principles for God Bloggers.)
1. You do not have a right to say whatever you like on MY blog.
Some people seem to view it as their right to post a comment on this blog and get indignant when any restriction is placed on their “right” to say whatever they like.
They forget that this blog is something like a cross between on the one hand sitting in my front room at home chatting with me and a few of my guests and on the other reading a newspaper or magazine-like publication.
So, using the first analogy, if you were in my home and you were in any way rude about one of my guests, I would be tempted to ask you to leave – especially if you refused to listen to my warnings and just continued to repeat the same accusations again and again.
Also, if you wrote a letter to the editor of a major newspaper you would not expect to be published. Instead, you would be pleased if you were fortunate enough to be selected to do so. You would hope that someone, somewhere was reading your letter, but would recognise that the editor could choose which of the many comments coming in he would select for the honor of publication.
Whilst this is not anywhere near the league of a major newspaper, I hope you will understand that, in terms of my new policy of publishing comments, it will be similar. In the same way that a newspaper does not tell everyone who submits a letter for publication why they have not been selected to appear in the newspaper, I will not be writing to everyone whose comment I have turned down. I cannot even guarantee I will always be able to answer an email asking for clarification. (You are welcome to try and reach me that way, however.)
2. Stick to critiquing a person’s teaching, not their character.
This is not primarily a news blog. Even if it were – and perhaps I will report more on news items in the future – I am not prepared to publish undocumented accusations about my fellow Christians’ behaviour here. There is a time and a place for calling people out as immoral or whatever, but that time and place is not here on my blog in my comment section.
Quite simply, I will not allow ANY criticism of a person’s character in a comment – no matter how minor. On the other hand, I do not usually reject postings that challenge the theological points made – please remember that I may well not agree with everything in a comment that I allow through onto the blog.
3. Mind your manners.
On a related front, rudeness, coarseness, and cussing will not be tolerated. Ulitmately I am the judge of how I define that, but if it would offend a homeschooling mum or an aging children’s Sunday School teacher, the chances are it won’t slip past me.
Please don’t try and get something like that under my nose – then I might get in trouble for publishing something that might be perfectly appropriate for a conversation in a bar but not online on my blog! Remember, this is NOT a bar, it’s my blog and anyone can read it.
4. Don’t fall into the trap of anonymity.
One of my pet bug-bears is bloggers and commentators who for no real reason keep their true identities secret online. Put bluntly, I am far more likely to publish your comments if you let Blogger have your email, or at least complete something in your profile page, or if in your first comment you introduce yourself.
Think about why you need anonymity, and remember that even if you think you can hide your comments from everyone who knows you in real life, there is an audience of One who is watching you and will ask you to give an account for every idle word you say or write.
Actually, the anonymity trap works both ways. Those who commit murder and other horrible crimes use all kinds of tricks to “dehumanise” their victims. Don’t allow youself to forget that those you are writing about are people, too – in fact, on this blog the chances are very high that – just like you – they believe that they are Christians. Remember that as much as they may disagree with you on a point, they almost certainly believe sincerely that their opinion is the correct one – they are also probably not deliberately trying to lead the Church astray from the truth. They may even have the same temptation to treat you as though you are a deliberate assistant of the Devil. Instead, treat them as you yourself would like to be treated by someone who loves you, but sincerely believes you are wrong. Do this for the sake of our Saviour Jesus, and the honor of His name.
5. Don’t repeat yourself or post irrelevant comments.
OK, so I have finally succumbed. I now want you to stick to the topic of the post at hand and NOT to post things wholesale that have been written elsewhere. Please feel free to post brief comments that link back to pages on your own blog or comments elsewhere rather than merely copying and pasting. This MUST be done using the following format – <a href=”http://yoururl.com”>your text</a>. I am not willing to accept non-active links as I think they look ugly and mess with my layout. So, no long urls simply copied into comments, please.
6. Remember – whichever comments do get published is my decision alone.
There may be many comments that I reject simply for space reasons – i.e. not to swamp the blog with voluminous comments – or those which repeat the points others have made. Most of my readers do not get involved in the comment section – any more than most readers of newspapers ever send in a letter to the editor. Also, some posts which do not generate many comments generate higher readership leve
ls than other posts which stoke the comment fires.
Please, if I do not publish your comment, do not take it personally – it need not mean that I think you have violated some bloggers’ etiquette code.
Links In and Out of the Blog
Unlike on this blog, I, of course, have no influence on what people say on their own websites. As a result, posting at your own site, with a link to the specific page here, should result in a link appearing on the blogpost here. (Incidently, if those links don’t work, make sure your feed is working, then stick it through feedburner.com to publicise it – if that doesn’t work, it is a Google blogsearch issue that I can’t help you with!)
This request for help in regulating the links equally applies to the automatically generated links that appear in the Warnie Winner Box at the top of my site, as well as the grey box for bloggers I know in real life, and before the comments at the end of each post.
I must warn you that you should exercise caution before following any of the links found on my site, especially those not included in the main text of a specific post. You may want to be sure that the link comes from a blog you recognise by hovering over it before clicking on it – I cannot guarantee the appropriateness of every link, and obviously not every blogger will follow my strict commenting rules on their own blogs.
I endeavor to respect copyright here, and ensure that my use of others’ materials meets criteria for fair use. I ask that you do the same. If you believe you have discovered an infringement of copyright, either on this site or connected with it, please drop me an email to bring it to my attention.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license. You are free to share – to copy, distribute, display, and perform the blog (although how you can perform a blog I don’t know!) with the following conditions:
- Attribution. You must attribute the work by refering to this as Adrian Warnock’s Blog or online by means of a hyperlink.
- Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes without my explicit permission (requests to republish articles in any format are considered.)
- No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work without permission. (This does not apply to taking short quotes and attributing them, nor to building upon the ideas in a post whilst linking to it.)
Searching the Christian Web
I have implemented a modified Google seach engine at the top of this blog. You are free to implement this search engine on your site or to suggest major Christian websites I can include in it via email.
To include the seach engine on your site, simply utilise the following code:
<!– Google CSE Search Box Begins –> <form
action=”http://google.com/cse”> <input type=”hidden”
name=”cx” value=”013640929550799605651:siu5eokuslq” /> <input
name=”q” type=”text” size=”40″ /> <input
type=”submit” name=”sa” value=”Search” /> <input
type=”hidden” name=”cof” value=”FORID:1″ /> </form>
<!– Google CSE Search Box Ends –>