(The cartoon above is by one of my favorites cartoonists political and otherwise, the good Mr. Marlette who I enjoyed reading for years in the Charlotte Observer and then he moved on to Atlanta).
(I’m not certain where this came from as it was floated my way, but its too good not to re-post. I can claim no credit for its creation).
Recently Larry Hurtado republished his rules for commenting on his blog. Amongst the more useful ones are the following (and I quote):
“Names: In polite conversation, people introduce themselves; they don’t hide behind masks or use phony monikers. So, on this site, I remind everyone, let’s observe normal social conventions. You know my name, so use yours. Sign your comments.
“Decorum: Direct challenge (e.g., you’ve mis-read X, or haven’t noted Y, or misunderstand Z) is fair comment. That’s what scholars do all the time. It’s fair also to characterize someone’s position as crazy, ignorant, bizarre, tendentious, etc. But let’s avoid name-calling. And in particular let’s avoid accusations that comprise defamation. I’ve simply trashed a few comments of that kind recently, e.g., some arising over the “Jesus’ wife” fragment.
“Bear in mind that things you put on the internet/web are “published”, and so liable to the laws of defamation. There’ve been some recent cases in the UK where people have been sued and/or prosecuted for Twitter comments and comments on blog sites. If I were to allow such a defamatory comment I could be liable as well. So, keep it within the law. Indeed, let’s try to do better than what the law requires.”
I have no wish to damp down lively discussion on this blog or even strong disagreement with my own views. That’s absolutely fine. But if you strongly want to share your views then you need to have the courage of your convictions and state who you actually are, as Larry says. No hiding behind a screen name, and especially not on a blog where there is a profound interest in truth and honesty about God and ourselves. So, in the New Year let’s have more vigorous discussions by all means, actual discussions and not just taking snide pot shots at one another whilst not having to take responsibility for one’s views by hiding behind a screen name. You are welcome to use your screen name in addition to initially sharing who you are. Let the games begin.