To ban or not to ban

That is the question. . . .I think it’s good for people to hear from those who disagree with them. I believe in freedom of expression and freedom of conversation. Contrary to what some of you realize, I have banned people from this blog, those who kept throwing in racist comments or obscene language. Some of you have asked me to ban different commenters for being offensive in various ways. I have sometimes admonished the offenders, but I have resisted blocking them from participating in the discussions. But now I have heard in one of the comments (somewhere past 400 in the “Where are the Lutherans” thread) a new consideration. Some commenters, it was said, bring out the worst in some of you, to the point of making you sin in your reactions. That frames the issue differently, not in terms of rules but in effect, not focusing on a person’s misbehavior in isolation but on the harm it does to others, thinking in terms not of abstractions but in love of neighbor.

So what do you think? Should I ban participants in this blog with greater frequency? Are any of you being harmed morally or spiritually by anyone who comments here (no names need be mentioned)? Not just offended but tempted to uncharitable thoughts and emotions?

We really do have a kind of community here, so I take seriously what you think. Can we take a vote?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 1

  • Pete

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 1

  • SKPeterson

    I’m often tempted to uncharitable thoughts and emotions and not just on this blog. Mostly, I’m just exasperated, but the talk needs to continue.

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 2

  • SKPeterson

    I’m often tempted to uncharitable thoughts and emotions and not just on this blog. Mostly, I’m just exasperated, but the talk needs to continue.

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 2

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    If folks find themselves sinning, they need to go to the Lord for grace. Banning comments will not help them.

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 3

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    If folks find themselves sinning, they need to go to the Lord for grace. Banning comments will not help them.

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 3

  • Jeremy

    If you think about it, isn’t it odd that a racist comment is more serious than a heretical comment? If our beliefs about other races are really that important for eternity, then most all people living before the civil rights movement are in really deep trouble. However, according to several Christian doctrines, the wrong belief about God could damn a person to hell for all eternity. Given a certain set of Christian beliefs, a heretic is far more dangerous than a racist.

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 4

  • Jeremy

    If you think about it, isn’t it odd that a racist comment is more serious than a heretical comment? If our beliefs about other races are really that important for eternity, then most all people living before the civil rights movement are in really deep trouble. However, according to several Christian doctrines, the wrong belief about God could damn a person to hell for all eternity. Given a certain set of Christian beliefs, a heretic is far more dangerous than a racist.

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 4

  • Dennis Peskey

    I followed the posting on “Where are the Lutherans” thread through #400. Much of the posting was irrelevant to the topic and there was considerable animosity demonstrated in several postings. Having seen this, I would not favor banning any particular poster bases upon that thread; the participants in that exchange realized the futility of exchanges with some people and should follow their own advice. Either the posters speak to the issue presented or ignor their posts; they will either tire and depart for other blogs or they may actually find themselves confronted (and considering) alternatives to their beliefs they strongly advocate.

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 4

  • Dennis Peskey

    I followed the posting on “Where are the Lutherans” thread through #400. Much of the posting was irrelevant to the topic and there was considerable animosity demonstrated in several postings. Having seen this, I would not favor banning any particular poster bases upon that thread; the participants in that exchange realized the futility of exchanges with some people and should follow their own advice. Either the posters speak to the issue presented or ignor their posts; they will either tire and depart for other blogs or they may actually find themselves confronted (and considering) alternatives to their beliefs they strongly advocate.

    No ban.

    Vote tally:
    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 4

  • Dennis Peskey

    Oops – too late; Jeremy’s vote registered first. Vote update:

    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 5

  • Dennis Peskey

    Oops – too late; Jeremy’s vote registered first. Vote update:

    Ban – 0
    No Ban – 5

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    It’s your blog. Ban or don’t. I have found the blog less enjoyable since a few people arrived what seems a year ago. I like contentious debate, I’ve engaged in it. But it atleast has to be debate. This blog has had much fun debating. I think most would say it is a growing experience. Some of us have been divested of positions and views. We have admonished one another, and applauded. We find on one topic we vehemently disagree, and become allies on othe topics. It isn’t being uncharitable, sinning or anything like that I’m concerned about. What I don’t like is the debate is stifled and suffocated. There is no room for gorwth. Infact there is no debating with them. There is just repeated slander. The debate is removed. All we have is contentiousness.
    I would say don’t ban just warn, and explain to the person that they should engage, by recognizing points made and answering questions. But that has bEen tried so many times. I don’t believe I’m saying this. As I probably ought to be banned myself at times, but if it were up to me just ban.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    It’s your blog. Ban or don’t. I have found the blog less enjoyable since a few people arrived what seems a year ago. I like contentious debate, I’ve engaged in it. But it atleast has to be debate. This blog has had much fun debating. I think most would say it is a growing experience. Some of us have been divested of positions and views. We have admonished one another, and applauded. We find on one topic we vehemently disagree, and become allies on othe topics. It isn’t being uncharitable, sinning or anything like that I’m concerned about. What I don’t like is the debate is stifled and suffocated. There is no room for gorwth. Infact there is no debating with them. There is just repeated slander. The debate is removed. All we have is contentiousness.
    I would say don’t ban just warn, and explain to the person that they should engage, by recognizing points made and answering questions. But that has bEen tried so many times. I don’t believe I’m saying this. As I probably ought to be banned myself at times, but if it were up to me just ban.

  • Tom Hering

    Find out why they’re here, and who sent them.

    Waterboarding -1

  • Tom Hering

    Find out why they’re here, and who sent them.

    Waterboarding -1

  • Louis

    Ok, not more frequently, but in this case there is one, constantly contentious inidividual, who has no behavioural standards etc. This is not about “bringining out the worst in me” type of thing – this is about toxifying the atmosphere. This is an exceptional case. If I count Bror above –

    Ban: 2
    No ban: 4
    Waterboarding: 1 :)

  • Louis

    Ok, not more frequently, but in this case there is one, constantly contentious inidividual, who has no behavioural standards etc. This is not about “bringining out the worst in me” type of thing – this is about toxifying the atmosphere. This is an exceptional case. If I count Bror above –

    Ban: 2
    No ban: 4
    Waterboarding: 1 :)

  • Eric Brown

    I rarely read your comments or track them, so I don’t know the situation. What I would have people think is this — even if a person is banned, will it make there be less sin, or will it just let sin be focused in different ways? I lay this burned upon the Blog author and his own wisdom.

    Ban: 2
    No Ban: 4
    Waterboarding: 1
    Benevolent Veith-ocracy: 1

  • Eric Brown

    I rarely read your comments or track them, so I don’t know the situation. What I would have people think is this — even if a person is banned, will it make there be less sin, or will it just let sin be focused in different ways? I lay this burned upon the Blog author and his own wisdom.

    Ban: 2
    No Ban: 4
    Waterboarding: 1
    Benevolent Veith-ocracy: 1

  • SKPeterson

    All hail the Benevolent Veith!

  • SKPeterson

    All hail the Benevolent Veith!

  • Joe

    If someone brings out the worst in you, I would suggest that it becomes your obligation to leave the conversation. I comment less than I used to because I have found myself tempted to “go off.” While, I believe the person or two I am thinking of generally adds little to no value to most of the discussions around here, that does not give me license to sin. I would not seek a ban to save me from myself – it won’t work. But I think it well within Dr. Veith’s purgative to ban someone if he feels it necessary to keep the conversation/debate at the level he deems appropriate for his blog. We often refer to the good Doctor as our gracious host. He is in fact our host. Let him set the house rules.

    Ban: 2
    No Ban: 4
    Waterboarding: 1
    Benevolent Veith-ocracy: 2

  • Joe

    If someone brings out the worst in you, I would suggest that it becomes your obligation to leave the conversation. I comment less than I used to because I have found myself tempted to “go off.” While, I believe the person or two I am thinking of generally adds little to no value to most of the discussions around here, that does not give me license to sin. I would not seek a ban to save me from myself – it won’t work. But I think it well within Dr. Veith’s purgative to ban someone if he feels it necessary to keep the conversation/debate at the level he deems appropriate for his blog. We often refer to the good Doctor as our gracious host. He is in fact our host. Let him set the house rules.

    Ban: 2
    No Ban: 4
    Waterboarding: 1
    Benevolent Veith-ocracy: 2

  • Kirk

    If find the notion of blaming the object of your sin for your sin troubling. If a commenter consistently ticks me off, my sin is anger. Removing the commenter in question only removes a catalyst for my sin. It only means that my sin will not manifest itself in a particular context (this blog), but I’d still be an angry person at heart. The problem still remains. I think that whoever is calling for the banning should reevaluate their position. So far as they should be concerned, the problem is their anger, not that another person is obnoxious.

    But, like Bror said, there is a question of atmosphere. I’d have no problem with establishing standards of discourse. If people consistently fail to meet these then a banning might be in order

    So, count me as anti-ban but pro-standards.

    Also, reasonable commenters could stop feeding the trolls. We know who they are.

  • Kirk

    If find the notion of blaming the object of your sin for your sin troubling. If a commenter consistently ticks me off, my sin is anger. Removing the commenter in question only removes a catalyst for my sin. It only means that my sin will not manifest itself in a particular context (this blog), but I’d still be an angry person at heart. The problem still remains. I think that whoever is calling for the banning should reevaluate their position. So far as they should be concerned, the problem is their anger, not that another person is obnoxious.

    But, like Bror said, there is a question of atmosphere. I’d have no problem with establishing standards of discourse. If people consistently fail to meet these then a banning might be in order

    So, count me as anti-ban but pro-standards.

    Also, reasonable commenters could stop feeding the trolls. We know who they are.

  • cruxsola

    nobody can make anybody else sin…..

  • cruxsola

    nobody can make anybody else sin…..

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I’m with those who say that if a particular commenter brings out the worst in you, you probably need to look in the mirror. Reality here is that we have an opponent who is far worse than any flesh and blood, and if the Spirit allows us to engage that opponent, we ought to be able to civilly engage one another.

    That said, one of the things I routinely do–and for which I’ve been attacked a time or two as well–is to abandon a thread after it reaches 100 comments or so, as all too often, that’s my first sign that whatever is going on is NOT what our gracious host tries to teach about rhetoric at PHC! Others may wish to contemplate this as well, and your mileage may vary.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I’m with those who say that if a particular commenter brings out the worst in you, you probably need to look in the mirror. Reality here is that we have an opponent who is far worse than any flesh and blood, and if the Spirit allows us to engage that opponent, we ought to be able to civilly engage one another.

    That said, one of the things I routinely do–and for which I’ve been attacked a time or two as well–is to abandon a thread after it reaches 100 comments or so, as all too often, that’s my first sign that whatever is going on is NOT what our gracious host tries to teach about rhetoric at PHC! Others may wish to contemplate this as well, and your mileage may vary.

  • CRB

    No ban. Perhaps the Reformation might be somewhat of a guideline
    as Luther certainly spoke his mind about the pope, et al. Of course,
    this blog is not about reforming the church, but then…

  • CRB

    No ban. Perhaps the Reformation might be somewhat of a guideline
    as Luther certainly spoke his mind about the pope, et al. Of course,
    this blog is not about reforming the church, but then…

  • WebMonk

    To those few who stuck around on that thread – you do realize that you have now wasted many hours of your life that you can never get back? :-) *Don’t feed the trolls!* (unless it’s an official troll-baiting thread, of course!)

    I suspect that “Benevolent Veith-ocracy” qualifies as “Ban” votes. That’s sort of what most blogs that do active banning are, though some aren’t very benevolent.

    That said, I wouldn’t vote for banning except for spammers, and maybe those who are using excessively crude/fowl language, like calling someone a chicken … er, wait, I meant foul language.

    A blog can be self-policing. It’s called *Don’t feed the trolls!* There are other self-policing methods, but I don’t think they would work very well on here as they involve an overwhelming flaming by the entire community to totally drown out and drive away the troll with truly massive amounts of mocking and derision. I don’t think that fits this blog very well. 4chan – sure. geneveith – not so much.

    So, my vote: No Ban.
    *Don’t feed the trolls!*

    Ban: 2
    No Ban: 7
    Waterboarding: 1
    Benevolent Veith-ocracy: 2

    (I added Kirk’s, CRB’s and my vote to the tally)

  • WebMonk

    To those few who stuck around on that thread – you do realize that you have now wasted many hours of your life that you can never get back? :-) *Don’t feed the trolls!* (unless it’s an official troll-baiting thread, of course!)

    I suspect that “Benevolent Veith-ocracy” qualifies as “Ban” votes. That’s sort of what most blogs that do active banning are, though some aren’t very benevolent.

    That said, I wouldn’t vote for banning except for spammers, and maybe those who are using excessively crude/fowl language, like calling someone a chicken … er, wait, I meant foul language.

    A blog can be self-policing. It’s called *Don’t feed the trolls!* There are other self-policing methods, but I don’t think they would work very well on here as they involve an overwhelming flaming by the entire community to totally drown out and drive away the troll with truly massive amounts of mocking and derision. I don’t think that fits this blog very well. 4chan – sure. geneveith – not so much.

    So, my vote: No Ban.
    *Don’t feed the trolls!*

    Ban: 2
    No Ban: 7
    Waterboarding: 1
    Benevolent Veith-ocracy: 2

    (I added Kirk’s, CRB’s and my vote to the tally)

  • Tom Hering

    And now for something completely serious. (Despite starting off with a Python reference.) I hate the way good discussions are ruined, not by people who honestly challenge the Lutherans here, but by people who stick it to the Lutherans here – and then use the rest of a ruined thread to just state their heretical views, over and over and over again, without addressing anyone’s objections.

    Now, I’ve personally decided to deal with these folks by using the Luther/Augustine approach, which sees heretics as goads and opportunities to go deeper into the Word. However, there is a community to consider. So, my recommendation is …

    A warning first.
    Then a temporary ban.
    Then a permanent ban as a last resort.

  • Tom Hering

    And now for something completely serious. (Despite starting off with a Python reference.) I hate the way good discussions are ruined, not by people who honestly challenge the Lutherans here, but by people who stick it to the Lutherans here – and then use the rest of a ruined thread to just state their heretical views, over and over and over again, without addressing anyone’s objections.

    Now, I’ve personally decided to deal with these folks by using the Luther/Augustine approach, which sees heretics as goads and opportunities to go deeper into the Word. However, there is a community to consider. So, my recommendation is …

    A warning first.
    Then a temporary ban.
    Then a permanent ban as a last resort.

  • paul

    I’m a simple but very busy parish pastor who comes here daily to read the posts and often to read the comments which help me frame my thinking on the various issues. It is helpful to see different viewpoints, especially from non-Lutherans as well as Lutheran more well read and insightful than I am. This blog serves a very useful purpose for Lutherans like me struggling to think through issues which intersect faith, vocation, and culture. I could go on and on.

    But recently there have been digressions which have me turning away from this reading and thus probably missing some very important, useful insights and discussion. To me, the comments end up reflecting the ‘debate’ I’m already experiencing elsewhere rather than the reasoned considerations from various viewpoints and disciplines I come here to find.

    Perhaps those who enjoy and/or engage in such things could move their threads to another blog which they sponsor rather than carrying on here. Discussing principles of interpretation and logic are helpful; but discussion with those who don’t know such things is fruitless and frustrating at best and turns this blog into a brawling place at worst. I enjoy a pub (or blog) where discussion is lively, but I will stay away from one where disagreements become undisciplined. Take the fights outside, please.

    Dr. Veith: to me it is a question of whether or not this is the sort of discussion y0u wish to foster and have associated with your name and thought and principles. It is, after all, geneveith.com. I’m sure that even the areopagus had groundrules. I think that there comes a time to call a troll a troll, exercise some discipline, and maintain decorum in the establishment with your name on it.

    I vote to ban.

  • paul

    I’m a simple but very busy parish pastor who comes here daily to read the posts and often to read the comments which help me frame my thinking on the various issues. It is helpful to see different viewpoints, especially from non-Lutherans as well as Lutheran more well read and insightful than I am. This blog serves a very useful purpose for Lutherans like me struggling to think through issues which intersect faith, vocation, and culture. I could go on and on.

    But recently there have been digressions which have me turning away from this reading and thus probably missing some very important, useful insights and discussion. To me, the comments end up reflecting the ‘debate’ I’m already experiencing elsewhere rather than the reasoned considerations from various viewpoints and disciplines I come here to find.

    Perhaps those who enjoy and/or engage in such things could move their threads to another blog which they sponsor rather than carrying on here. Discussing principles of interpretation and logic are helpful; but discussion with those who don’t know such things is fruitless and frustrating at best and turns this blog into a brawling place at worst. I enjoy a pub (or blog) where discussion is lively, but I will stay away from one where disagreements become undisciplined. Take the fights outside, please.

    Dr. Veith: to me it is a question of whether or not this is the sort of discussion y0u wish to foster and have associated with your name and thought and principles. It is, after all, geneveith.com. I’m sure that even the areopagus had groundrules. I think that there comes a time to call a troll a troll, exercise some discipline, and maintain decorum in the establishment with your name on it.

    I vote to ban.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Uh, oh. I think I am about to get voted off the island.
    :-(

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Uh, oh. I think I am about to get voted off the island.
    :-(

  • WebMonk

    Nah, sg, you’re safe. You’re still dead wrong whenever you disagree with me, though. :-D

    Ban: 4
    No Ban: 7
    Waterboarding: 1
    Benevolent Veith-ocracy: 2
    (added Tom and Paul)

  • WebMonk

    Nah, sg, you’re safe. You’re still dead wrong whenever you disagree with me, though. :-D

    Ban: 4
    No Ban: 7
    Waterboarding: 1
    Benevolent Veith-ocracy: 2
    (added Tom and Paul)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    paul @19 prompts me ask a few questions on decorum, specifically on gratuitous insults. There are some folks that are, let’s say, out of fashion and are sort of a sport to deride and defame in the current culture. Since I find this offensive, I tend to challenge such statements that are either contrary to fact or gratuitously insulting. So, yeah, I have been guilty of derailing. Anyway, if folks who challenge these statements are trolls, what are those make these statements? Are both detracting from the discourse? Or just one? If so, which one?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    paul @19 prompts me ask a few questions on decorum, specifically on gratuitous insults. There are some folks that are, let’s say, out of fashion and are sort of a sport to deride and defame in the current culture. Since I find this offensive, I tend to challenge such statements that are either contrary to fact or gratuitously insulting. So, yeah, I have been guilty of derailing. Anyway, if folks who challenge these statements are trolls, what are those make these statements? Are both detracting from the discourse? Or just one? If so, which one?

  • paul

    sg @22

    I’m all for one defending himself (or herself) as long as they don’t automatically fall to the same level of instigation. Challenging a troll does not make one a troll any more than waging war against the Nazi’s made Britain et. al.an aggressor.

  • paul

    sg @22

    I’m all for one defending himself (or herself) as long as they don’t automatically fall to the same level of instigation. Challenging a troll does not make one a troll any more than waging war against the Nazi’s made Britain et. al.an aggressor.

  • L. H. Kevil

    Warnings, then ban.

    Some of the newsgroups I follow quickly deteriorate owing to the abusive and vulgar postings of a few individuals. The anonymity of the Internet does seem to bring out the worst in some.

    I suggest that commenters mention it when in their opinion someone has crossed the line. This might help Gene know when to issue a warning. I think we can trust his judgement.

  • L. H. Kevil

    Warnings, then ban.

    Some of the newsgroups I follow quickly deteriorate owing to the abusive and vulgar postings of a few individuals. The anonymity of the Internet does seem to bring out the worst in some.

    I suggest that commenters mention it when in their opinion someone has crossed the line. This might help Gene know when to issue a warning. I think we can trust his judgement.

  • paul

    Kirk @13

    “If a commenter consistently ticks me off, my sin is anger. ”
    “I’d still be an angry person at heart.”

    Do you assume that all anger, expressed or kept inside is sinful? What then do you do with Jesus’ anger?

  • paul

    Kirk @13

    “If a commenter consistently ticks me off, my sin is anger. ”
    “I’d still be an angry person at heart.”

    Do you assume that all anger, expressed or kept inside is sinful? What then do you do with Jesus’ anger?

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Ban or do not ban is your choice, but if you do decided to ban, ban-able offenses need to be clearly delineated. Me, I am with Tom, if you instate greater control have gradations of action. As regards to the community, we can help. If you think they are a troll, don’t respond. With the exception of the really good trolls they are generally easy to spot.

    Although on the internet, I have found it hard to exercise this wisdom ” Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. ” Proverbs 26:4-5

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Ban or do not ban is your choice, but if you do decided to ban, ban-able offenses need to be clearly delineated. Me, I am with Tom, if you instate greater control have gradations of action. As regards to the community, we can help. If you think they are a troll, don’t respond. With the exception of the really good trolls they are generally easy to spot.

    Although on the internet, I have found it hard to exercise this wisdom ” Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. ” Proverbs 26:4-5

  • Matthew Christians

    As a frequent reader/rare commentor, I have to say that I deeply appreciate a lively debate and quickly stop reading when things get nasty. I just don’t want to let any of that into my brain (I struggle enough with my own sins to voluntarily let in anything more – plus to my mind it robs the debate of its joy). But it seems to me that commenting on someone’s blog is a privilege not a right. Dr. Veith should hold commentors to whatever standard he sets for this community and repeat offenders who have been repeatedly warned should indeed be banned from commenting.

  • Matthew Christians

    As a frequent reader/rare commentor, I have to say that I deeply appreciate a lively debate and quickly stop reading when things get nasty. I just don’t want to let any of that into my brain (I struggle enough with my own sins to voluntarily let in anything more – plus to my mind it robs the debate of its joy). But it seems to me that commenting on someone’s blog is a privilege not a right. Dr. Veith should hold commentors to whatever standard he sets for this community and repeat offenders who have been repeatedly warned should indeed be banned from commenting.

  • Michael Z.

    I am a forum moderator as part of my job. Permanent bans really won’t keep a persistent “troll” away, since Veith’s blog doesn’t require any verification of identity. My recommendation would be the benevolent Veith-ocracy in which he deletes individual posts.

    Though I do think that he should delete both the trolls’ posts and the posts of the people who were “caused to sin” (whatever that means, I mean seriously people, learn self-control Joe@12 is exactly right)

  • Michael Z.

    I am a forum moderator as part of my job. Permanent bans really won’t keep a persistent “troll” away, since Veith’s blog doesn’t require any verification of identity. My recommendation would be the benevolent Veith-ocracy in which he deletes individual posts.

    Though I do think that he should delete both the trolls’ posts and the posts of the people who were “caused to sin” (whatever that means, I mean seriously people, learn self-control Joe@12 is exactly right)

  • Tom Hering

    Ahh, good point concerning bans, Michael Z. We need to know whether bans are enforceable or not, before continuing to vote.

  • Tom Hering

    Ahh, good point concerning bans, Michael Z. We need to know whether bans are enforceable or not, before continuing to vote.

  • My point exactly

    They aren’t, Tom@29

    -Michael Z.

  • My point exactly

    They aren’t, Tom@29

    -Michael Z.

  • Michael Z.

    Though, Veith may be able to ban by IP which would be fairly effective…though still not enough to stop a true “troll.”

  • Michael Z.

    Though, Veith may be able to ban by IP which would be fairly effective…though still not enough to stop a true “troll.”

  • Are You Sure About That?

    Thanks, Michael Z.

  • Are You Sure About That?

    Thanks, Michael Z.

  • Mary Jack

    Debate necessitates staying on topic with its derivatives. I’m all for debate and thinking things through. But if someone’s consistently off-topic, whether with Palin references, Luther on the Jews, bashing Lutheranism, etc., they are out of line & contrary to the purposes of this blog as I am aware of them.

    I’d like to see more rules govern comments (so that maybe I and a great many others would return to reading them). But I think it’s a crazy idea that Dr. Veith would have the time to sift through all comments.

    Ban or don’t ban. I can read or not read the comments. There are certainly people who comment that I ignore completely, and I think banning them would unclutter the place, but if a stern warning would straighten out their commentator chaos, more the better.

  • Mary Jack

    Debate necessitates staying on topic with its derivatives. I’m all for debate and thinking things through. But if someone’s consistently off-topic, whether with Palin references, Luther on the Jews, bashing Lutheranism, etc., they are out of line & contrary to the purposes of this blog as I am aware of them.

    I’d like to see more rules govern comments (so that maybe I and a great many others would return to reading them). But I think it’s a crazy idea that Dr. Veith would have the time to sift through all comments.

    Ban or don’t ban. I can read or not read the comments. There are certainly people who comment that I ignore completely, and I think banning them would unclutter the place, but if a stern warning would straighten out their commentator chaos, more the better.

  • larry

    Tom,

    You got me busting a gut, “waterboarding”. Very good!

    No ban. I like good strong debate, its honest and I don’t hate someone because of it. Quite the opposite, I can’t stand facades and pretend.

    If I were king for a day and where to ban at all, and I would not even for this, but if I were to even entertain the idea I’d ban the lovey dovey “we are saying the same thing a different way” that hides the reality and truth and pretends to be loving.

    So count me as a no ban.

  • larry

    Tom,

    You got me busting a gut, “waterboarding”. Very good!

    No ban. I like good strong debate, its honest and I don’t hate someone because of it. Quite the opposite, I can’t stand facades and pretend.

    If I were king for a day and where to ban at all, and I would not even for this, but if I were to even entertain the idea I’d ban the lovey dovey “we are saying the same thing a different way” that hides the reality and truth and pretends to be loving.

    So count me as a no ban.

  • WebMonk

    One of the effects a warning from the site owner tends to have is that the typical troll will try to argue back to the owner.

    As a past moderator, and in accord with my experiences on many other blogs, I can confidently state that there are few things that will get a person banned more quickly than arguing back with a moderator. Mods tend to let things fly rough among the regular participants, but once they put on their moderator voice and tell a person to stop something, arguments and accusations replied against the moderator as moderator are very quickly replied to with a ban. (Same thing with functionally ignoring a mod’s direction.)

  • WebMonk

    One of the effects a warning from the site owner tends to have is that the typical troll will try to argue back to the owner.

    As a past moderator, and in accord with my experiences on many other blogs, I can confidently state that there are few things that will get a person banned more quickly than arguing back with a moderator. Mods tend to let things fly rough among the regular participants, but once they put on their moderator voice and tell a person to stop something, arguments and accusations replied against the moderator as moderator are very quickly replied to with a ban. (Same thing with functionally ignoring a mod’s direction.)

  • SKPeterson

    Well, one would hope that this blog continues to be a forum for robust dialogue, even outright demagoguery on occasion is fine. What has people frustrated in many respects is not disagreement, it is something akin to obstinacy. An obstinacy that relies upon the pejorative, on obfuscation and a persistent refusal to engage. Debate, even internet blog debate, requires a give and take that acknowledges the opposite point of view. It does not necessitate agreement, but it cannot ignore the argument of the opposition. When one disregards the arguments of the opposition and proceeds to engage in almost calumny, argument and debate have ceased to be. The debate has descended into Harangue – the endless repetitive accusations of “Did not! Did too!”

    This does not, however, require a ban, but rather upon a set of rules adopted by the moderator that is agreed to by those commenting. Dr. Veith is very generous in that his rules are quite limited, which is to his credit. The rest of us perhaps need to follow the generally accepted rules of public decorum and refrain from vulgar speech and simply ignore those who refuse to play by the rules. Arguments and debates are for adults, let them be for those who can act like adults in this forum, and ignore those who want to act like fools.

  • SKPeterson

    Well, one would hope that this blog continues to be a forum for robust dialogue, even outright demagoguery on occasion is fine. What has people frustrated in many respects is not disagreement, it is something akin to obstinacy. An obstinacy that relies upon the pejorative, on obfuscation and a persistent refusal to engage. Debate, even internet blog debate, requires a give and take that acknowledges the opposite point of view. It does not necessitate agreement, but it cannot ignore the argument of the opposition. When one disregards the arguments of the opposition and proceeds to engage in almost calumny, argument and debate have ceased to be. The debate has descended into Harangue – the endless repetitive accusations of “Did not! Did too!”

    This does not, however, require a ban, but rather upon a set of rules adopted by the moderator that is agreed to by those commenting. Dr. Veith is very generous in that his rules are quite limited, which is to his credit. The rest of us perhaps need to follow the generally accepted rules of public decorum and refrain from vulgar speech and simply ignore those who refuse to play by the rules. Arguments and debates are for adults, let them be for those who can act like adults in this forum, and ignore those who want to act like fools.

  • Stephen

    I’m the one who brought it up, but I never used the word “ban.” I talked about ignoring and used some other strong language after some suggested, like Webmonk says here, “do not feed the troll” and others wondered why we bother. The comments begin here:

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/06/27/where-are-the-lutherans/#comment-120788

    If you have time, please read the conversation that follows, as well as the offenders response, which to me is further evidence of their behavior and attitude. I attempted to understand the best approach not merely for the sake of avoiding sinning (though there is that) but to also consider the witness it creates for others, especially new people. It was already troublesome to a new visitor, which is part of the reason why I attempted to tackle it.

    It is about people who come with a specific agenda which is solely to impugn, insult and slander both a particular historical person who is “admired” here, but also anyone who admires that person as well as the tradition and confession that followed this person’s influence on the history of the church. (no names please!). To be quite honest, a the son of Lutheran pastor, I personally am insulted as it pertains to my own family and heritage.

    Anyway, my position or the one I was trying to discuss was more nuanced than and up or down vote on banning people. It had to do with how someone who is decidedly outside of a community ought to be regarded. They are not only bothersome, but are outright hostile to people here in my opinion, with no evidence that they wish to be any less than that. I think this particular attitude is worthy of consideration.

  • Stephen

    I’m the one who brought it up, but I never used the word “ban.” I talked about ignoring and used some other strong language after some suggested, like Webmonk says here, “do not feed the troll” and others wondered why we bother. The comments begin here:

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/06/27/where-are-the-lutherans/#comment-120788

    If you have time, please read the conversation that follows, as well as the offenders response, which to me is further evidence of their behavior and attitude. I attempted to understand the best approach not merely for the sake of avoiding sinning (though there is that) but to also consider the witness it creates for others, especially new people. It was already troublesome to a new visitor, which is part of the reason why I attempted to tackle it.

    It is about people who come with a specific agenda which is solely to impugn, insult and slander both a particular historical person who is “admired” here, but also anyone who admires that person as well as the tradition and confession that followed this person’s influence on the history of the church. (no names please!). To be quite honest, a the son of Lutheran pastor, I personally am insulted as it pertains to my own family and heritage.

    Anyway, my position or the one I was trying to discuss was more nuanced than and up or down vote on banning people. It had to do with how someone who is decidedly outside of a community ought to be regarded. They are not only bothersome, but are outright hostile to people here in my opinion, with no evidence that they wish to be any less than that. I think this particular attitude is worthy of consideration.

  • WebMonk

    Let’s keep in mind what a troll is, too. A troll isn’t just vigorous debate or name calling. Banning trolls doesn’t stop or hinder raucous arguments. There are a variety of things that can qualify one as a troll, but merely getting into a heated argument isn’t a banning offense if the bans are intended just to weed out the trolls.

    All the talk of banning though still doesn’t change my vote – I don’t think we need banning. I think we need to have better self-control and to learn to let jerks and asholes have the last word and not feel that you have to respond to a person just because they are so very stupid and wrong. Especially when they are known trolls – just don’t respond at all to begin with.

  • WebMonk

    Let’s keep in mind what a troll is, too. A troll isn’t just vigorous debate or name calling. Banning trolls doesn’t stop or hinder raucous arguments. There are a variety of things that can qualify one as a troll, but merely getting into a heated argument isn’t a banning offense if the bans are intended just to weed out the trolls.

    All the talk of banning though still doesn’t change my vote – I don’t think we need banning. I think we need to have better self-control and to learn to let jerks and asholes have the last word and not feel that you have to respond to a person just because they are so very stupid and wrong. Especially when they are known trolls – just don’t respond at all to begin with.

  • Jonathan

    Since Dr. Veith is already banning those who use racist and obscene language, my two cents is, keep things the same.

    I suggest a racist and nonbeliever are similar, based on the following from I John 4: 19 We love, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. 21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.

  • Jonathan

    Since Dr. Veith is already banning those who use racist and obscene language, my two cents is, keep things the same.

    I suggest a racist and nonbeliever are similar, based on the following from I John 4: 19 We love, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. 21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.

  • Rob

    Coming from one who avoided the comments section for a long time because of the vitriol:

    The only problem with the whole “no response” thing is that it allows some patently false statements to stand. I am always amazed when, 100 comments in, someone speaks up who’s been following the whole thing. Thus, if I am following along, I will chirp a bit when Grace or TUaD really go off the rails. Usually with questions, so they can show everybody how they are really operating, without me having to get too polemical.

    How about this: the Benevolent Veith is authorized to issue a personal warning to the offending party (or parties – where’s Kerner? Isn’t he a lawyer?) specifying what is not okay (i.e. implying that all Lutherans are Nazi sympathizers for no cogent reason). If the person refuses to comply, then the Benevolent Veith can certainly ban. Anyway, it’s your blog Dr. Veith and you have my full support in doing so.

    Meanwhile, instead of ignoring the trolls, how about everyone who’s a regular just saying, “We’ve covered this elsewhere: not relevant.” Imagine if one of Grace’s Nazi-sympathizer accusations immediately had 25 of those replies, verbatim. No onlookers get the wrong idea, no troll has been fed, and there’s been no offensive behavior toward the offending party.

    Count that as one vote for a complex, rambling solution.

  • Rob

    Coming from one who avoided the comments section for a long time because of the vitriol:

    The only problem with the whole “no response” thing is that it allows some patently false statements to stand. I am always amazed when, 100 comments in, someone speaks up who’s been following the whole thing. Thus, if I am following along, I will chirp a bit when Grace or TUaD really go off the rails. Usually with questions, so they can show everybody how they are really operating, without me having to get too polemical.

    How about this: the Benevolent Veith is authorized to issue a personal warning to the offending party (or parties – where’s Kerner? Isn’t he a lawyer?) specifying what is not okay (i.e. implying that all Lutherans are Nazi sympathizers for no cogent reason). If the person refuses to comply, then the Benevolent Veith can certainly ban. Anyway, it’s your blog Dr. Veith and you have my full support in doing so.

    Meanwhile, instead of ignoring the trolls, how about everyone who’s a regular just saying, “We’ve covered this elsewhere: not relevant.” Imagine if one of Grace’s Nazi-sympathizer accusations immediately had 25 of those replies, verbatim. No onlookers get the wrong idea, no troll has been fed, and there’s been no offensive behavior toward the offending party.

    Count that as one vote for a complex, rambling solution.

  • Tom Hering

    WebMonk and Stephen, I think ignoring, which is exercising self-control, could work for the regulars here. Usually. But everyone has their limit, beyond which they just can’t ignore offenses anymore. And everyone, sooner or later, will reach that limit. Then ignoring is out the window. Also, as Todd asked in that other thread, what about newcomers? Can we really expect them – when they’re unfamiliar with the history here – to exercise self-control and just ignore the offenders in question? I don’t think that’s realistic. So, the toxic atmosphere would continue, even if the regulars stop contributing to it.

  • Tom Hering

    WebMonk and Stephen, I think ignoring, which is exercising self-control, could work for the regulars here. Usually. But everyone has their limit, beyond which they just can’t ignore offenses anymore. And everyone, sooner or later, will reach that limit. Then ignoring is out the window. Also, as Todd asked in that other thread, what about newcomers? Can we really expect them – when they’re unfamiliar with the history here – to exercise self-control and just ignore the offenders in question? I don’t think that’s realistic. So, the toxic atmosphere would continue, even if the regulars stop contributing to it.

  • Kirk

    @25

    No, but the implication here is that the anger is sinful.

  • Kirk

    @25

    No, but the implication here is that the anger is sinful.

  • SKPeterson

    So what we need is the blog equivalent of the 10,000 lb. weight used in Monty Python that drops on pretentious commenters?

  • SKPeterson

    So what we need is the blog equivalent of the 10,000 lb. weight used in Monty Python that drops on pretentious commenters?

  • WebMonk

    Rob 40.

    The only problem with the whole “no response” thing is that it allows some patently false statements to stand.

    Many can probably predict what my next line will be. :-D
    http://xkcd.com/386/

  • WebMonk

    Rob 40.

    The only problem with the whole “no response” thing is that it allows some patently false statements to stand.

    Many can probably predict what my next line will be. :-D
    http://xkcd.com/386/

  • Stephen

    Tom and others,

    It is an impasse that I have noted due to the response of others on that thread. I was trying to take it in a decidedly theological direction as in “what is our duty to the neighbor?” – both the troll and the newcomer. I admit to being at a bit of a loss myself. That said, I do not think a “troll” (since we are using that term) with an agenda ought to receive the same treatment as others. If that is indeed the case, then the question is what the proper treatment should be. If it is “harmful” to the the discussion, thread, let alone the community that is created here (albeit virtual) then some sort of action or response is warranted, and I think that it ought to be some kind of agreed upon response, not simply “too each his own.” At least that seems the Christian response. WE are not simply autonomous actors.

    That does not by necessity limit anyone from speaking directly to someone who is offensive and attempting to correct something which appears unkind or unjust. It does mean, however, that there is some kind of mutual understanding that certain things are not going to be tolerated. What does that look like? I guess that is the question here. I do think it is ultimately Dr. Veith’s call. I think Dr. Luther is right in that whatever the “rule” becomes, we all must fall under it and agree to respond appropriately when we transgress.

  • Stephen

    Tom and others,

    It is an impasse that I have noted due to the response of others on that thread. I was trying to take it in a decidedly theological direction as in “what is our duty to the neighbor?” – both the troll and the newcomer. I admit to being at a bit of a loss myself. That said, I do not think a “troll” (since we are using that term) with an agenda ought to receive the same treatment as others. If that is indeed the case, then the question is what the proper treatment should be. If it is “harmful” to the the discussion, thread, let alone the community that is created here (albeit virtual) then some sort of action or response is warranted, and I think that it ought to be some kind of agreed upon response, not simply “too each his own.” At least that seems the Christian response. WE are not simply autonomous actors.

    That does not by necessity limit anyone from speaking directly to someone who is offensive and attempting to correct something which appears unkind or unjust. It does mean, however, that there is some kind of mutual understanding that certain things are not going to be tolerated. What does that look like? I guess that is the question here. I do think it is ultimately Dr. Veith’s call. I think Dr. Luther is right in that whatever the “rule” becomes, we all must fall under it and agree to respond appropriately when we transgress.

  • WebMonk

    Tom 41 – sure, new people will probably get sucked into typing at and being typed at in return by trolls.

    Hopefully the regulars would make a comment along the way to let the new person know that they’re dealing with a known troll, and maybe offer some encouragement to just let the conversation drop and allow the troll to have the last word.

    The world isn’t going to end because Grace posts some sort of drivel that isn’t immediately countered. Anyone following the comments or anyone coming in will easily see from the existing 85 comments that Grace is spouting idiocies and won’t be twisted to start torturing squirrels because there aren’t another 185 comments arguing with her.

  • WebMonk

    Tom 41 – sure, new people will probably get sucked into typing at and being typed at in return by trolls.

    Hopefully the regulars would make a comment along the way to let the new person know that they’re dealing with a known troll, and maybe offer some encouragement to just let the conversation drop and allow the troll to have the last word.

    The world isn’t going to end because Grace posts some sort of drivel that isn’t immediately countered. Anyone following the comments or anyone coming in will easily see from the existing 85 comments that Grace is spouting idiocies and won’t be twisted to start torturing squirrels because there aren’t another 185 comments arguing with her.

  • Louis

    Webmonk, iow:

    Welcome to the Cranach community! We love to debate. Please ignore Grace. Proceed :)

    BTW, what I meant by “Trollus Delendus Est, as the great Cato said…” is to defeat the troll – and the only way outside banning is not to feed it. It seems there will always be people feeding the troll , hence my ban vote. But if we manage not to feed it, I’l be happy…

    Note: I’m not seeing the Troll on THIS thread. I wonder why? ;)

  • Louis

    Webmonk, iow:

    Welcome to the Cranach community! We love to debate. Please ignore Grace. Proceed :)

    BTW, what I meant by “Trollus Delendus Est, as the great Cato said…” is to defeat the troll – and the only way outside banning is not to feed it. It seems there will always be people feeding the troll , hence my ban vote. But if we manage not to feed it, I’l be happy…

    Note: I’m not seeing the Troll on THIS thread. I wonder why? ;)

  • WebMonk

    Just to toss out the idea, which has already been touched on earlier – instead of banning, it is perfectly possible for Veith to delete comments.

    For example, someone is consistently ‘trollish’ and some thread starts going septic. A mod can go in, delete out as widely or narrowly as he or she wishes, and put a comment in letting everyone know what happened. Let them know that the thread will continue to receive heavy deletions if it keeps up.

    That is typically enough to stop the runaway nastiness in the comments, allows any ‘good’ threads to continue under that post, and avoids banning anyone for ‘just’ being a troll.

    If someone starts to argue with the moderator … well, I previously mentioned that’s an excellent way to get well and truly banned.

  • WebMonk

    Just to toss out the idea, which has already been touched on earlier – instead of banning, it is perfectly possible for Veith to delete comments.

    For example, someone is consistently ‘trollish’ and some thread starts going septic. A mod can go in, delete out as widely or narrowly as he or she wishes, and put a comment in letting everyone know what happened. Let them know that the thread will continue to receive heavy deletions if it keeps up.

    That is typically enough to stop the runaway nastiness in the comments, allows any ‘good’ threads to continue under that post, and avoids banning anyone for ‘just’ being a troll.

    If someone starts to argue with the moderator … well, I previously mentioned that’s an excellent way to get well and truly banned.

  • Cincinnatus

    DELETING POSTS IS A VIOLATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT.

  • Cincinnatus

    DELETING POSTS IS A VIOLATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT.

  • Rob

    By the way, Webmonk. My wife and I send our thanks for the Xkcd link on the other thread. Now, whenever I am distracted by the computer, my wife says, “Somebody wrong on the internet again?” and I hang my head in admission of guilt.

    Wait… why was I thanking you again?

  • Rob

    By the way, Webmonk. My wife and I send our thanks for the Xkcd link on the other thread. Now, whenever I am distracted by the computer, my wife says, “Somebody wrong on the internet again?” and I hang my head in admission of guilt.

    Wait… why was I thanking you again?

  • Tom Hering

    I’ve seen it here before. The troll gurgles, a newbie responds, a regular clues the newbie in, the troll belches, the newbie tries again – in the hope that reason and charity will win the day – and the thread spirals downward, with the troll laughing its head off, and the newbie blaming the regulars for not being more reasonable and charitable, like he/she is. Blech.

  • Tom Hering

    I’ve seen it here before. The troll gurgles, a newbie responds, a regular clues the newbie in, the troll belches, the newbie tries again – in the hope that reason and charity will win the day – and the thread spirals downward, with the troll laughing its head off, and the newbie blaming the regulars for not being more reasonable and charitable, like he/she is. Blech.

  • http://nbfzman.blogspot.com nbfzman

    I know you said no names, but: ban Gene Edward Veith.

  • http://nbfzman.blogspot.com nbfzman

    I know you said no names, but: ban Gene Edward Veith.

  • DonS

    There is always the option of closing comments on a particular thread, when the commenting no longer has any relationship to the original post or especially when it is no longer edifying or is repetitive. That is probably a lot easier than moderating individual comments on a 400 comment thread, though that can, of course, also be done. Dr. Veith is a busy man.

    Speaking as a non-Lutheran who has been a regular commenter for several years here, I again encourage my fellow non-Lutherans to be respectful. We are guests on a Lutheran blog. Whether we agree or disagree with particular aspects of Lutheran doctrine, we need to conduct ourselves appropriately as members of the Body of Christ. Civil discourse is a beautiful thing, even if no minds are changed, because it leads to a greater insight and understanding of the beliefs and viewpoints of others. But when it degenerates into insult or personal attack, it is sin, and serves no godly purpose. Satan wants the Body of Christ to fight and bicker — better that we absorb ourselves in internal strife than preach the Gospel to the world. It is great that we are welcomed here by the Lutherans who regularly participate, but don’t wear out your welcome by being a repetitive and discourteous bore.

    If you have already had a discussion about particular doctrinal points, such as baptism or communion, unless you have new questions or insights on the issue nothing will be served by engaging in further lengthy discussion with the same people. Acknowledge your differences respectfully and move on. Or focus on the many non-theological posts that occur here. At this point I seldom participate in the Lutheran-oriented posts and their comments discussions, but I very much enjoy reading them and by doing so gaining further insight not just on Lutheran theology, but my own.

  • DonS

    There is always the option of closing comments on a particular thread, when the commenting no longer has any relationship to the original post or especially when it is no longer edifying or is repetitive. That is probably a lot easier than moderating individual comments on a 400 comment thread, though that can, of course, also be done. Dr. Veith is a busy man.

    Speaking as a non-Lutheran who has been a regular commenter for several years here, I again encourage my fellow non-Lutherans to be respectful. We are guests on a Lutheran blog. Whether we agree or disagree with particular aspects of Lutheran doctrine, we need to conduct ourselves appropriately as members of the Body of Christ. Civil discourse is a beautiful thing, even if no minds are changed, because it leads to a greater insight and understanding of the beliefs and viewpoints of others. But when it degenerates into insult or personal attack, it is sin, and serves no godly purpose. Satan wants the Body of Christ to fight and bicker — better that we absorb ourselves in internal strife than preach the Gospel to the world. It is great that we are welcomed here by the Lutherans who regularly participate, but don’t wear out your welcome by being a repetitive and discourteous bore.

    If you have already had a discussion about particular doctrinal points, such as baptism or communion, unless you have new questions or insights on the issue nothing will be served by engaging in further lengthy discussion with the same people. Acknowledge your differences respectfully and move on. Or focus on the many non-theological posts that occur here. At this point I seldom participate in the Lutheran-oriented posts and their comments discussions, but I very much enjoy reading them and by doing so gaining further insight not just on Lutheran theology, but my own.

  • SKPeterson

    NOT ALLOWING PERSONS TO DELETE COMMENTS ON THEIR BLOG IS A VIOLATION OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. ;)

  • SKPeterson

    NOT ALLOWING PERSONS TO DELETE COMMENTS ON THEIR BLOG IS A VIOLATION OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. ;)

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I think all caps should be a ban-able offense.

    The meme “somebody is wrong on the internet!” has been heard around my house for sometime. Both the dear wife and I are bad about seeking to correct all the fools who post. I just find myself wanting to bash in minds. Now if only I were better at it.

    What I would like to see is an up/down vote similar to getreligion.org, it makes it very easy to see who is making a good or bad point.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I think all caps should be a ban-able offense.

    The meme “somebody is wrong on the internet!” has been heard around my house for sometime. Both the dear wife and I are bad about seeking to correct all the fools who post. I just find myself wanting to bash in minds. Now if only I were better at it.

    What I would like to see is an up/down vote similar to getreligion.org, it makes it very easy to see who is making a good or bad point.

  • Steve in Toronto

    I just found my self speaking quite uncharitably towards Bror. If you want to can ban me I am fine with it but cut Rev. Erickson some slack. I have gotten a lot out of my conversations with him.

  • Steve in Toronto

    I just found my self speaking quite uncharitably towards Bror. If you want to can ban me I am fine with it but cut Rev. Erickson some slack. I have gotten a lot out of my conversations with him.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I wonder how many people here are thinking about the community here, and not just how individuals should behave. Because a blog is a community — an ecosystem, even. You have the core commenters, those who comment most frequently and all seem to know each other, at some level. You have the infrequent commenters, and the lurkers, who almost never comment. You have various parties and alliances. The commenters who you have come to like, and those whose comments you almost never enjoy (and often skip). And, of course, Our Gracious Host. On and on. And there are complex interactions in all of this.

    To simply say “people shouldn’t respond to trolls” is all well and good, but it ignores many of those interactions, and how the larger community is affected by trolls.

    Perhaps those opposing bans are simply not interested in the community? They’ve got theirs, and that’s what matters? Because if you’ve spent any amount of time here (or on the internet in general), you know how it happens:

    The Host suggests a topic. A reasonable conversation ensues for several comments (though it doesn’t get truly insightful until those of us on the West Coast wake up, of course). And then the Troll shows up. And regardless of what you personally do (or think others should do), someone responds to the Troll. And then others respond — if not to the Troll, then to the Troll-responder. And soon, the conversation is well and truly derailed. Those who were interested in the original topic are disappointed that no one’s talking about it anymore. Those who subscribed to the comments via email are annoyed. All but the hard-core abandon the conversation. And random passers-by aren’t sure what to make of it, and what it says about the blog itself or its community.

    You can wish all day that people won’t feed the Troll, but they do. Besides, even if everyone of us form a pact to not feed the Troll, that isn’t binding on newbies or those otherwise not joining us here right now. How do we direct them not to feed the Troll, exactly? Or is that their problem, perhaps? Of course, we’re less likely to attract interesting, new people — the kind of people you like! — with that approach. I’m pretty sure Rob has testified to his own reluctance to join in (though maybe that wasn’t exactly about Trolls, per se), though I’m glad he’s here now.
    Besides, if the entire community is agreed to ignore Trolls in a very consistent, united way, then what exactly is the difference between that and outright banning, anyhow? Some concern for Troll freedom of speech?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I wonder how many people here are thinking about the community here, and not just how individuals should behave. Because a blog is a community — an ecosystem, even. You have the core commenters, those who comment most frequently and all seem to know each other, at some level. You have the infrequent commenters, and the lurkers, who almost never comment. You have various parties and alliances. The commenters who you have come to like, and those whose comments you almost never enjoy (and often skip). And, of course, Our Gracious Host. On and on. And there are complex interactions in all of this.

    To simply say “people shouldn’t respond to trolls” is all well and good, but it ignores many of those interactions, and how the larger community is affected by trolls.

    Perhaps those opposing bans are simply not interested in the community? They’ve got theirs, and that’s what matters? Because if you’ve spent any amount of time here (or on the internet in general), you know how it happens:

    The Host suggests a topic. A reasonable conversation ensues for several comments (though it doesn’t get truly insightful until those of us on the West Coast wake up, of course). And then the Troll shows up. And regardless of what you personally do (or think others should do), someone responds to the Troll. And then others respond — if not to the Troll, then to the Troll-responder. And soon, the conversation is well and truly derailed. Those who were interested in the original topic are disappointed that no one’s talking about it anymore. Those who subscribed to the comments via email are annoyed. All but the hard-core abandon the conversation. And random passers-by aren’t sure what to make of it, and what it says about the blog itself or its community.

    You can wish all day that people won’t feed the Troll, but they do. Besides, even if everyone of us form a pact to not feed the Troll, that isn’t binding on newbies or those otherwise not joining us here right now. How do we direct them not to feed the Troll, exactly? Or is that their problem, perhaps? Of course, we’re less likely to attract interesting, new people — the kind of people you like! — with that approach. I’m pretty sure Rob has testified to his own reluctance to join in (though maybe that wasn’t exactly about Trolls, per se), though I’m glad he’s here now.
    Besides, if the entire community is agreed to ignore Trolls in a very consistent, united way, then what exactly is the difference between that and outright banning, anyhow? Some concern for Troll freedom of speech?

  • Louis

    Todd makes a persuasive argument.

  • Louis

    Todd makes a persuasive argument.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (in Toronto @56 — criminy, how many variations on Stephen do we have here; it’s, like, half of us!), I’m pretty sure the community doesn’t want to ban you. Or Bror. (Though I do want to ban his poor typing, as it gets in the way of my understanding his point.)

    Is that why people are opposed to banning? Because they fear it would be used against them?

    Because being banned from a blog for trollery is like being fired from a job — you kinda should see it coming, unless you’re extraordinarily self-deluded. And, sure, self-delusion is probably far more prevalent among trolls, but still.

    Regardless of what solution this community and/or Dr. Veith arrives at for handling trolls, I’m pretty sure it will involve plenty of warnings and urgings to stop the problematic behavior. Dr. Veith, in particular, clearly wants us all to have good discussions, not exercise some farcically wee amount of power.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (in Toronto @56 — criminy, how many variations on Stephen do we have here; it’s, like, half of us!), I’m pretty sure the community doesn’t want to ban you. Or Bror. (Though I do want to ban his poor typing, as it gets in the way of my understanding his point.)

    Is that why people are opposed to banning? Because they fear it would be used against them?

    Because being banned from a blog for trollery is like being fired from a job — you kinda should see it coming, unless you’re extraordinarily self-deluded. And, sure, self-delusion is probably far more prevalent among trolls, but still.

    Regardless of what solution this community and/or Dr. Veith arrives at for handling trolls, I’m pretty sure it will involve plenty of warnings and urgings to stop the problematic behavior. Dr. Veith, in particular, clearly wants us all to have good discussions, not exercise some farcically wee amount of power.

  • Craig

    Ban from the Table yes! But from the blog, well I believe it’s up to the host.

    From Websters
    Definition of GRACE
    1a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

    I don’t believe that anyone on this blog finds that our Grace is a divine assistance in our regeneration or sanctification.

  • Craig

    Ban from the Table yes! But from the blog, well I believe it’s up to the host.

    From Websters
    Definition of GRACE
    1a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

    I don’t believe that anyone on this blog finds that our Grace is a divine assistance in our regeneration or sanctification.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    The problem is that some trolls may be dealing with mental illness. (Asperger’s in some cases, maybe other conditions)
    So what do you do?
    It is evident they aren’t ‘hearing’ anyone else and post long, rambling comments meant to dissuade Lutherans from their faith and doctrinal positions. So instead of profitable discussions we are subject to their anti-Lutheran rants over, and over, and over again, rehashing the same points ( baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Luther’s anti- Semitism.) I am all for debate on these subjects, and relish these conversations as much as the next Lutheran, when engaged in with an able and reasonable opponent. But this is not the case here, and instead of lively conversation on a variety of topics, each thread devolves into the same rehash trying to reason with crazy.

    My vote is to ban

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    The problem is that some trolls may be dealing with mental illness. (Asperger’s in some cases, maybe other conditions)
    So what do you do?
    It is evident they aren’t ‘hearing’ anyone else and post long, rambling comments meant to dissuade Lutherans from their faith and doctrinal positions. So instead of profitable discussions we are subject to their anti-Lutheran rants over, and over, and over again, rehashing the same points ( baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Luther’s anti- Semitism.) I am all for debate on these subjects, and relish these conversations as much as the next Lutheran, when engaged in with an able and reasonable opponent. But this is not the case here, and instead of lively conversation on a variety of topics, each thread devolves into the same rehash trying to reason with crazy.

    My vote is to ban

  • helen

    Haven’t been here all that long but I’ve learned about “Grace” and go away. Will the regulars please tip me off to any others?

    I agree that if a topic is lost in a circular shuffle, it might be better to close it down.

  • helen

    Haven’t been here all that long but I’ve learned about “Grace” and go away. Will the regulars please tip me off to any others?

    I agree that if a topic is lost in a circular shuffle, it might be better to close it down.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @57

    Somebody has to stand up for the freedom of the Trolls. Just because they are unpopular smelly, ugly beasts doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a chance to spread their repugnance everywhere. Besides isn’t the old saying “They came for the Trolls but nobody said anything…” ;)

    @59
    I am not sure it is fear of banning that motivates some people into voting against. I know of several people who are philosophically opposed to debate boards/blogs exercising any moderation because they feel it would stifle the conversation.

    Me as I said before, I don’t mind banning as long as the ground rules for commenting are spelled out, and as you said tODD I am pretty sure people would have ample opportunity to right their course before having privileges revoked.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @57

    Somebody has to stand up for the freedom of the Trolls. Just because they are unpopular smelly, ugly beasts doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a chance to spread their repugnance everywhere. Besides isn’t the old saying “They came for the Trolls but nobody said anything…” ;)

    @59
    I am not sure it is fear of banning that motivates some people into voting against. I know of several people who are philosophically opposed to debate boards/blogs exercising any moderation because they feel it would stifle the conversation.

    Me as I said before, I don’t mind banning as long as the ground rules for commenting are spelled out, and as you said tODD I am pretty sure people would have ample opportunity to right their course before having privileges revoked.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Have we really defined what behaviors lead to banishment?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Have we really defined what behaviors lead to banishment?

  • WebMonk

    tODD does, indeed make a good point. It’s a very nicely principled argument in the abstract, but similarly well-principled arguments can be made on the other side as well. IMO, obviously.

    My vote against banning isn’t a hard and fast principle, but rather based on the particular tendencies of this blog. There are blogs that I heartily approve of bans. A very non-troll commenter here got kicked off another blog and I cheered wildly because he was being an ass on that blog, and the banning policy fit that blog well.

    I don’t think an active banning policy would really harm this blog’s community, but neither do I think it’s the best way for this blog. Self-policing is difficult, has pitfalls, and is messy, but that’s part of life, and all that messiness adds to the community interactions as well.

    Really we’ve only gotten three or four trolls across the years, including current residents. IMO, they aren’t a problem as much as the outsized reaction to them has been (typically by long-time regulars here who ought to know better!!!!!).

  • WebMonk

    tODD does, indeed make a good point. It’s a very nicely principled argument in the abstract, but similarly well-principled arguments can be made on the other side as well. IMO, obviously.

    My vote against banning isn’t a hard and fast principle, but rather based on the particular tendencies of this blog. There are blogs that I heartily approve of bans. A very non-troll commenter here got kicked off another blog and I cheered wildly because he was being an ass on that blog, and the banning policy fit that blog well.

    I don’t think an active banning policy would really harm this blog’s community, but neither do I think it’s the best way for this blog. Self-policing is difficult, has pitfalls, and is messy, but that’s part of life, and all that messiness adds to the community interactions as well.

    Really we’ve only gotten three or four trolls across the years, including current residents. IMO, they aren’t a problem as much as the outsized reaction to them has been (typically by long-time regulars here who ought to know better!!!!!).

  • Jonathan

    @65, “A very non-troll commenter here got kicked off another blog and I cheered wildly because he was being an ass on that blog, and the banning policy fit that blog well.”

    Wow. At least provide his initials…and the name of the other blog…? :)

  • Jonathan

    @65, “A very non-troll commenter here got kicked off another blog and I cheered wildly because he was being an ass on that blog, and the banning policy fit that blog well.”

    Wow. At least provide his initials…and the name of the other blog…? :)

  • Kirk

    I’d like to point out that Hitler liked banning people.

  • Kirk

    I’d like to point out that Hitler liked banning people.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Your blog, your rules. Period. People who do not like your decisions, are free to start their own blogs and do their thing there.

    My comment policy is much more restrictive than yours, Ed. But even with your wide-open “talk all you want” policy, there comes a point where I think your blog is harmed by trolls, that is, if somebody really does follow the comments.

    In the vast majority of cases, people are reading your posts and don’t really give a hoot about the comments on your blog.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Your blog, your rules. Period. People who do not like your decisions, are free to start their own blogs and do their thing there.

    My comment policy is much more restrictive than yours, Ed. But even with your wide-open “talk all you want” policy, there comes a point where I think your blog is harmed by trolls, that is, if somebody really does follow the comments.

    In the vast majority of cases, people are reading your posts and don’t really give a hoot about the comments on your blog.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Thanks, everybody. This discussion is helpful and clarifying. I really like the suggestion from Webmonk, et al., to just strike particular comments. My problem is that I usually don’t have time to closely monitor the blog, so I’d probably do that inconsistently. But maybe that would be the answer. Instead of setting up rigid rules, perhaps my criterion would be “It strikes me the wrong way.” In addition to comments that are obnoxious, repetitious, and derailing, I would also smite the ones about Sarah Palin when I wanted to talk about William Shakespeare!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Thanks, everybody. This discussion is helpful and clarifying. I really like the suggestion from Webmonk, et al., to just strike particular comments. My problem is that I usually don’t have time to closely monitor the blog, so I’d probably do that inconsistently. But maybe that would be the answer. Instead of setting up rigid rules, perhaps my criterion would be “It strikes me the wrong way.” In addition to comments that are obnoxious, repetitious, and derailing, I would also smite the ones about Sarah Palin when I wanted to talk about William Shakespeare!

  • Tom Hering

    I’d like to point out that people liked banning Hitler.

  • Tom Hering

    I’d like to point out that people liked banning Hitler.

  • http://www.wordoflifelbc.org Pastor Ed

    Veith-ocracy. Definately Veith-ocracy.

  • http://www.wordoflifelbc.org Pastor Ed

    Veith-ocracy. Definately Veith-ocracy.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Todd makes the best points. Go with what he says, I say.

    Michael Spencer used to have in place some moderation and some of us Lutherans might be held up in it when it got to sacraments and such, but I always got through in the end. I noticed that some very off topic and condescending individuals seemed to get gradually phased out. Obviously, they had a little “counselling” along the way. I would see it part of the management of the blog not that the debate would be stifled or points be kept out, but that the discussion and community remain relatively civilized.

    If Dr. Veith does not have time for this kind of hands on approach, he might find someone who volunteers to help him. It would be a worthwhile effort, as I have found this blog more frustrating than I would expect to be necessary.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Todd makes the best points. Go with what he says, I say.

    Michael Spencer used to have in place some moderation and some of us Lutherans might be held up in it when it got to sacraments and such, but I always got through in the end. I noticed that some very off topic and condescending individuals seemed to get gradually phased out. Obviously, they had a little “counselling” along the way. I would see it part of the management of the blog not that the debate would be stifled or points be kept out, but that the discussion and community remain relatively civilized.

    If Dr. Veith does not have time for this kind of hands on approach, he might find someone who volunteers to help him. It would be a worthwhile effort, as I have found this blog more frustrating than I would expect to be necessary.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    There are several problems with deleting offending posts. One is that, again, someone almost always responds to the offending post. Should the response be deleted as well? It certainly won’t make sense without the comment that prompted it. But what if the second comment only partly responds to the first? Also, a decent number of us reply to comments using the comment number. Deleting comments messes that all up. And, if a certain person’s comments are routinely being deleted, why is that better than a ban, exactly? Finally, deleting comments involves far more work than does banning a person. (And, to answer an earlier question, people can be banned by IP address. Sock puppetry, as it were, isn’t as easy to get away with as you might think.)

    Ultimately, I think Rob’s suggestion (@40) may be the best, at least as far as a community response goes. It gives the Troll something of a non-response, which may be enough of a release valve for those whose hackles are so raised they Must Say Something. But more importantly, it tips off the newbies and the lurkers that the community is aware of this behavior and doesn’t approve.

    The idea would be to come up with a pat phrase that could be pasted in response to trollery. This would be a de facto per-post vote, and I still don’t see this sort of response as being fundamentally different from a ban. But it would be different inasmuch as the Troll could continue to post, and the response would come from the commenters, not from Dr. Veith. Of course, in my opinion, if the community is taking such an action, that’s a sign that a problem exists and is being resolved in the face of a lack of authoritative action. It’s T cells attacking the invader because the vaccine wasn’t taken.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    There are several problems with deleting offending posts. One is that, again, someone almost always responds to the offending post. Should the response be deleted as well? It certainly won’t make sense without the comment that prompted it. But what if the second comment only partly responds to the first? Also, a decent number of us reply to comments using the comment number. Deleting comments messes that all up. And, if a certain person’s comments are routinely being deleted, why is that better than a ban, exactly? Finally, deleting comments involves far more work than does banning a person. (And, to answer an earlier question, people can be banned by IP address. Sock puppetry, as it were, isn’t as easy to get away with as you might think.)

    Ultimately, I think Rob’s suggestion (@40) may be the best, at least as far as a community response goes. It gives the Troll something of a non-response, which may be enough of a release valve for those whose hackles are so raised they Must Say Something. But more importantly, it tips off the newbies and the lurkers that the community is aware of this behavior and doesn’t approve.

    The idea would be to come up with a pat phrase that could be pasted in response to trollery. This would be a de facto per-post vote, and I still don’t see this sort of response as being fundamentally different from a ban. But it would be different inasmuch as the Troll could continue to post, and the response would come from the commenters, not from Dr. Veith. Of course, in my opinion, if the community is taking such an action, that’s a sign that a problem exists and is being resolved in the face of a lack of authoritative action. It’s T cells attacking the invader because the vaccine wasn’t taken.

  • Stephen

    I don’t know if I agree with the last part of your comment Webmonk. It seems to me that what happens is an unwise newbie engages the troll and then other, more experienced people jump in to help out. that’s my impression. THEN it becomes a free for all and the newbies become nonplussed and upset.

    Anyway, I think, to answer sg’s comment, trollish behavior would be defined as people with a definite agenda that often derail conversations in a hostile way. I don’t mind when conversations drift. That is natural. I certainly have my pet issues and everyone does. It’s when the particular, familiar agenda comes out over and over which is only aimed at demeaning others and unleashing vicious attacks, both on the other commentors and what they believe.

    Am I nuts, or do all not know what that looks like as opposed to heated arguments where people stand on what they believe? We can all be told once in a while to tone it down or let others know when we are offended. That happens fairly often. But it does not ALWAYS spring from or lead to the same set of issues that devolve into intentional, ugly, personal attacks.

    Maybe I’m wrong. I also don’t think this is democracy, by the way. I think it is Dr. Veith’s blog and he has to make his own mind as to what it is going to be about and who is or isn’t permitted. All we can do is state the issues as clearly as we see them in my opinion. We can also accept responsibility for ourselves. But as far as the atmosphere of this blog is concerned, it would be much more productive if certain things were not tolerated. It’s like removing an obnoxious drunk from a bar. It doesn’t mean we can’t all drink, but it does mean we are here to have good time, and someone is obviously spoiling it and refuses to stop.

  • Stephen

    I don’t know if I agree with the last part of your comment Webmonk. It seems to me that what happens is an unwise newbie engages the troll and then other, more experienced people jump in to help out. that’s my impression. THEN it becomes a free for all and the newbies become nonplussed and upset.

    Anyway, I think, to answer sg’s comment, trollish behavior would be defined as people with a definite agenda that often derail conversations in a hostile way. I don’t mind when conversations drift. That is natural. I certainly have my pet issues and everyone does. It’s when the particular, familiar agenda comes out over and over which is only aimed at demeaning others and unleashing vicious attacks, both on the other commentors and what they believe.

    Am I nuts, or do all not know what that looks like as opposed to heated arguments where people stand on what they believe? We can all be told once in a while to tone it down or let others know when we are offended. That happens fairly often. But it does not ALWAYS spring from or lead to the same set of issues that devolve into intentional, ugly, personal attacks.

    Maybe I’m wrong. I also don’t think this is democracy, by the way. I think it is Dr. Veith’s blog and he has to make his own mind as to what it is going to be about and who is or isn’t permitted. All we can do is state the issues as clearly as we see them in my opinion. We can also accept responsibility for ourselves. But as far as the atmosphere of this blog is concerned, it would be much more productive if certain things were not tolerated. It’s like removing an obnoxious drunk from a bar. It doesn’t mean we can’t all drink, but it does mean we are here to have good time, and someone is obviously spoiling it and refuses to stop.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@65) said:

    Really we’ve only gotten three or four trolls across the years, including current residents. IMO, they aren’t a problem as much as the outsized reaction to them has been (typically by long-time regulars here who ought to know better!!!!!).

    First off, I’m sure I have no idea to whom you’re referring.

    Secondly, you’re agreeing with my identification of the problem. Of course Trolls aren’t, of themselves, the problem. The problem is the response they generate. In fact, I’ll go further: if they fail to generate a response, they’re not really Trolls! (At least, in the long run. They will go away. Trolls want a response. They’ll go where they can get it.)

    But let’s assume each as a given: Trolls want to be Trolls, and regular commenters can’t help but reply to them (whether because (1) they keep hoping against hope that the Troll actually wants to engage in a reasonable dialog, (2) they are concerned that others will be swayed by the Trolls’ bad arguments or even falsehoods, or (3) they are reacting sinfully out of a lack of love for the Troll; and yes, I believe all of those to be actual factors for many).

    This is, ultimately, the definition of the problem. Suggesting that part of the problem shouldn’t exist doesn’t resolve anything. So what else would you suggest to fix this problem?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@65) said:

    Really we’ve only gotten three or four trolls across the years, including current residents. IMO, they aren’t a problem as much as the outsized reaction to them has been (typically by long-time regulars here who ought to know better!!!!!).

    First off, I’m sure I have no idea to whom you’re referring.

    Secondly, you’re agreeing with my identification of the problem. Of course Trolls aren’t, of themselves, the problem. The problem is the response they generate. In fact, I’ll go further: if they fail to generate a response, they’re not really Trolls! (At least, in the long run. They will go away. Trolls want a response. They’ll go where they can get it.)

    But let’s assume each as a given: Trolls want to be Trolls, and regular commenters can’t help but reply to them (whether because (1) they keep hoping against hope that the Troll actually wants to engage in a reasonable dialog, (2) they are concerned that others will be swayed by the Trolls’ bad arguments or even falsehoods, or (3) they are reacting sinfully out of a lack of love for the Troll; and yes, I believe all of those to be actual factors for many).

    This is, ultimately, the definition of the problem. Suggesting that part of the problem shouldn’t exist doesn’t resolve anything. So what else would you suggest to fix this problem?

  • Tom Hering

    Good point, Todd @ 73. A lot of discussions would become quite confusing if deletions messed up the references to comment numbers.

  • Tom Hering

    Good point, Todd @ 73. A lot of discussions would become quite confusing if deletions messed up the references to comment numbers.

  • Rob

    We could really have fun deciding what the pre-fab troll response would be!

    But, in the end, this is a really slow week for me, so I have indulged in commenting much more than usual. Go with the input of people who really are regular commenters, not regular post-readers and sporadic, if wordy, commenters.

  • Rob

    We could really have fun deciding what the pre-fab troll response would be!

    But, in the end, this is a really slow week for me, so I have indulged in commenting much more than usual. Go with the input of people who really are regular commenters, not regular post-readers and sporadic, if wordy, commenters.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, I know you were trolling when you spelled “dialogue” “dialog.” And I bit.

    See, this is the problem. Obvious troll, but I responded anyway.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, I know you were trolling when you spelled “dialogue” “dialog.” And I bit.

    See, this is the problem. Obvious troll, but I responded anyway.

  • Tom Hering

    So, is there a way to delete comments without changing the numbers of the other comments? By, perhaps, substituting a “comment deleted” notice in the place of the deleted comment?

  • Tom Hering

    So, is there a way to delete comments without changing the numbers of the other comments? By, perhaps, substituting a “comment deleted” notice in the place of the deleted comment?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’d also disagree with Pastor McCain’s assertion (@68) that:

    In the vast majority of cases, people are reading your posts and don’t really give a hoot about the comments on your blog.

    It would be easy, of course, to argue that I’m a little deluded on this point because I obviously do care about the comments here (could you tell?).

    But Dr. Veith’s blog is very intentionally set up to incite discussion. In this respect, it is different from other blogs, in which the primary (or possibly only) goal is to give the author a voice, and you can respond if you want, but you’re mainly responding to the author.

    Contrast that with this very post, among others. Veith asks us questions. The post, by itself, is not all that interesting. This isn’t to say that Veith’s posts aren’t chock full of his own very interesting insights and framing — they are! But I would suggest, absent his coming out and saying so right now, that it is exactly this compelling framing that is part and parcel of the discussion this blog sees. Veith doesn’t merely toss out red meat or give us his take, even if those things are sometimes there as well.

    But seriously, scroll down the home page of this blog. Note how much of it is either (1) quotes from other articles Veith wants us to consider, or (2) questions he wants us to consider in commenting on those articles.

    As should be obvious, I am rather taken with this approach, because of the community it creates.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’d also disagree with Pastor McCain’s assertion (@68) that:

    In the vast majority of cases, people are reading your posts and don’t really give a hoot about the comments on your blog.

    It would be easy, of course, to argue that I’m a little deluded on this point because I obviously do care about the comments here (could you tell?).

    But Dr. Veith’s blog is very intentionally set up to incite discussion. In this respect, it is different from other blogs, in which the primary (or possibly only) goal is to give the author a voice, and you can respond if you want, but you’re mainly responding to the author.

    Contrast that with this very post, among others. Veith asks us questions. The post, by itself, is not all that interesting. This isn’t to say that Veith’s posts aren’t chock full of his own very interesting insights and framing — they are! But I would suggest, absent his coming out and saying so right now, that it is exactly this compelling framing that is part and parcel of the discussion this blog sees. Veith doesn’t merely toss out red meat or give us his take, even if those things are sometimes there as well.

    But seriously, scroll down the home page of this blog. Note how much of it is either (1) quotes from other articles Veith wants us to consider, or (2) questions he wants us to consider in commenting on those articles.

    As should be obvious, I am rather taken with this approach, because of the community it creates.

  • Tom Hering

    Of course, that still leaves the problem of replies to the offending comment. These could really add up before Dr. Veith gets around to deleting the offending comment. Do they all get deleted too? That’s a lot of “comment deleted” notices in one thread, which would scare off any newcomer, I would think.

  • Tom Hering

    Of course, that still leaves the problem of replies to the offending comment. These could really add up before Dr. Veith gets around to deleting the offending comment. Do they all get deleted too? That’s a lot of “comment deleted” notices in one thread, which would scare off any newcomer, I would think.

  • Cincinnatus

    Isn’t tODD an administrator here? Do we dare empower tODD with the awesome powers of censorship?

    All Hail Veith and tODD His Prophet!

  • Cincinnatus

    Isn’t tODD an administrator here? Do we dare empower tODD with the awesome powers of censorship?

    All Hail Veith and tODD His Prophet!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Regarding the reasons for banning, I think that may be premature. For starters, let’s remember that the genesis of this blog is in an effort by World Magazine to bring people of different churches together, not to provide a “Lutherans” forum where non-Lutherans are only welcome so long as they don’t ruffle feathers. If our host wishes to move it to the latter point, that’s his business, but let’s remember the origins.

    Also, along with comment #42 in the reference thread, I also implore y’all to consider whether you’re setting the stage, inadvertently or otherwise, for a “troll” to derail things. Like it or not, a lot of the arguments I saw resembled a bad sermon where the preacher uses a prooftext he knows every church interprets differently, chooses his interpretation, and then assumes that the only way anyone could disagree with him is deliberate sin.

    In which case the only “argument” that might result is that of a troll with the billy goats, and that without the third billy goat gruff, this being the Internet.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Regarding the reasons for banning, I think that may be premature. For starters, let’s remember that the genesis of this blog is in an effort by World Magazine to bring people of different churches together, not to provide a “Lutherans” forum where non-Lutherans are only welcome so long as they don’t ruffle feathers. If our host wishes to move it to the latter point, that’s his business, but let’s remember the origins.

    Also, along with comment #42 in the reference thread, I also implore y’all to consider whether you’re setting the stage, inadvertently or otherwise, for a “troll” to derail things. Like it or not, a lot of the arguments I saw resembled a bad sermon where the preacher uses a prooftext he knows every church interprets differently, chooses his interpretation, and then assumes that the only way anyone could disagree with him is deliberate sin.

    In which case the only “argument” that might result is that of a troll with the billy goats, and that without the third billy goat gruff, this being the Internet.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    I’m with Todd again. There is an inherent contradiciton in what Paul McCain says. One: his comment policy is much more restrictive. Two: no one reads the comments anyways.

    Maybe he is just saying: “I’d rather have no comments anyhow and I don’t really care that much what you think.” Then it would make some sense.

    There is now also something of a sub-culture of those who have been disregarded by Paul McCain or at least feel that they have been. This has also become an item of discussion. Something of a middle-way has to be found for prominent Lutheran blogs, perhaps requiring something more of a team approach to split the work-load.

    It does not help to say: go do your own thing on your own blog. There is a different burden or responsibility for prominent blog owners.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    I’m with Todd again. There is an inherent contradiciton in what Paul McCain says. One: his comment policy is much more restrictive. Two: no one reads the comments anyways.

    Maybe he is just saying: “I’d rather have no comments anyhow and I don’t really care that much what you think.” Then it would make some sense.

    There is now also something of a sub-culture of those who have been disregarded by Paul McCain or at least feel that they have been. This has also become an item of discussion. Something of a middle-way has to be found for prominent Lutheran blogs, perhaps requiring something more of a team approach to split the work-load.

    It does not help to say: go do your own thing on your own blog. There is a different burden or responsibility for prominent blog owners.

  • Stephen

    I like the “script” idea – “Excuse me ma’am, but if you cannot speak in a more cordial tone and cease from berating our other customers, then I must ask you to leave. If you do not comply immediately we will have to call the police.”

    I hear sirens!

  • Stephen

    I like the “script” idea – “Excuse me ma’am, but if you cannot speak in a more cordial tone and cease from berating our other customers, then I must ask you to leave. If you do not comply immediately we will have to call the police.”

    I hear sirens!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@83), come on. There are quite a number of non-Lutherans who comment here — including many of the core crowd — who are known to “ruffle feathers” from time to time.

    I’m pretty sure you understand that that, alone, does not constitute trollery.

    I, for one, am pretty sure that you would not be subject to such a ban (even though I think you occasionally go out of your way to provoke on certain topics).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@83), come on. There are quite a number of non-Lutherans who comment here — including many of the core crowd — who are known to “ruffle feathers” from time to time.

    I’m pretty sure you understand that that, alone, does not constitute trollery.

    I, for one, am pretty sure that you would not be subject to such a ban (even though I think you occasionally go out of your way to provoke on certain topics).

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    “Are any of you being harmed morally or spiritually by anyone who comments here (no names need be mentioned)? Not just offended but tempted to uncharitable thoughts and emotions? :
    No
    and
    No…
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    “Are any of you being harmed morally or spiritually by anyone who comments here (no names need be mentioned)? Not just offended but tempted to uncharitable thoughts and emotions? :
    No
    and
    No…
    C-CS

  • Cincinnatus

    Look, people, trollery has an actual definition. Trolling is an intentional attempt to incite anger or disagreement for its own sake by posting intentionally inflammatory, simplistic, and/or offensive comments. Generally, the troll does not actually believe what she/he posts and is doing it solely for personal entertainment. Derailing the thread is a bonus. The troll gets imaginary points for each “bite” she/he attracts. As others have noted, we only have a few trolls around here–none actually commenting at the moment in this thread (and, strictly speaking, even our undisputed trolls might not even qualify: I’m pretty sure Grace actually believes what she’s posting and is attempting to make some kind of point; this is purely optional and, indeed, unpreferred in elite-level trolling).

    Being provocative or inflammatory is not trolling. Changing the subject is not necessarily trolling (in fact, changing the subject seems par for the course in an inherently fluid discussion on the internet). Disagreeing with everyone is not trolling.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to deleting obviously troll-riffic comments, but I honestly don’t care either way. Sometimes I respond to trolls for my own entertainment, but, in general, the only annoying part is the fact that everyone gets annoyed. Either ignore it or respond in a suitably amusing way–or, better, continue with the discussion. Otherwise S–U and G–O (common internet acronyms censored for this civil blog). I honestly don’t know what’s so hard about simply ignoring Grace if you feel like it. Or not. But whatever you do, don’t post extended disquisitions upon your negative feelings about trolls or serious attempts to convince a troll of the error of her/his ways.

  • Cincinnatus

    Look, people, trollery has an actual definition. Trolling is an intentional attempt to incite anger or disagreement for its own sake by posting intentionally inflammatory, simplistic, and/or offensive comments. Generally, the troll does not actually believe what she/he posts and is doing it solely for personal entertainment. Derailing the thread is a bonus. The troll gets imaginary points for each “bite” she/he attracts. As others have noted, we only have a few trolls around here–none actually commenting at the moment in this thread (and, strictly speaking, even our undisputed trolls might not even qualify: I’m pretty sure Grace actually believes what she’s posting and is attempting to make some kind of point; this is purely optional and, indeed, unpreferred in elite-level trolling).

    Being provocative or inflammatory is not trolling. Changing the subject is not necessarily trolling (in fact, changing the subject seems par for the course in an inherently fluid discussion on the internet). Disagreeing with everyone is not trolling.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to deleting obviously troll-riffic comments, but I honestly don’t care either way. Sometimes I respond to trolls for my own entertainment, but, in general, the only annoying part is the fact that everyone gets annoyed. Either ignore it or respond in a suitably amusing way–or, better, continue with the discussion. Otherwise S–U and G–O (common internet acronyms censored for this civil blog). I honestly don’t know what’s so hard about simply ignoring Grace if you feel like it. Or not. But whatever you do, don’t post extended disquisitions upon your negative feelings about trolls or serious attempts to convince a troll of the error of her/his ways.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    back to the “Where are the Lutherans” thread–
    Sad – the question was never answered-
    Guess Lutherans – as a whole- have been rendered weak and afraid to speck out on political and social issues…
    C-CS
    LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    back to the “Where are the Lutherans” thread–
    Sad – the question was never answered-
    Guess Lutherans – as a whole- have been rendered weak and afraid to speck out on political and social issues…
    C-CS
    LFL

  • Cincinnatus

    And, in addition to the concerns expressed in Kirk’s fine comment about sin, let’s chill out. First, is it really “uncharitable” or “sinful” to regard our common trolls as simpletons with dishonest motives? Those assumptions seem to be factual, not sinful. Second, as Kirk said, if trolls are actually causing you to sin in some unspecified way, I suspect the problem is not ultimately the troll’s.

  • Cincinnatus

    And, in addition to the concerns expressed in Kirk’s fine comment about sin, let’s chill out. First, is it really “uncharitable” or “sinful” to regard our common trolls as simpletons with dishonest motives? Those assumptions seem to be factual, not sinful. Second, as Kirk said, if trolls are actually causing you to sin in some unspecified way, I suspect the problem is not ultimately the troll’s.

  • Dennis Peskey

    There is another solution. We could, as a community, follow the example of the Inuit tribes of northern Alaska. Having no formal police nor lockups for miscreants, they practice a communal form of banning (similar to shunning in some religions).

    Rather than lay the full responsibility on Dr. Veith, we could declare our own Bloviation Alert Notice with appropriate summary; i.e. comment #(@) irrelevant to posting – subject to BAN. Sure beats the Flip Wilson attitude of the devil made me do it.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    There is another solution. We could, as a community, follow the example of the Inuit tribes of northern Alaska. Having no formal police nor lockups for miscreants, they practice a communal form of banning (similar to shunning in some religions).

    Rather than lay the full responsibility on Dr. Veith, we could declare our own Bloviation Alert Notice with appropriate summary; i.e. comment #(@) irrelevant to posting – subject to BAN. Sure beats the Flip Wilson attitude of the devil made me do it.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    that would be
    speak out…
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    that would be
    speak out…
    C-CS

  • Louis

    Things should never get to complicated. Also, many of us care very deeply about the comments – Lutherans and non-Lutherans alike. Currently, off the top of my head, we have one troll, and one potential, occassional troll. According to Todd, the Troll has ignored previous warnings from Veith. Voluntary bans have not worked in this cae. This individual is what you call a classic troll. Other non-Lutherans have also said so, publically and privately (just so that no-one thinks this is a us vs them thing. IT IS NOT.)

    Ban the troll. It is the simplest, and least time-consuming. Regularly deleting comments, on a busy blog like this, is beyond the scope of any here, I think.

  • Louis

    Things should never get to complicated. Also, many of us care very deeply about the comments – Lutherans and non-Lutherans alike. Currently, off the top of my head, we have one troll, and one potential, occassional troll. According to Todd, the Troll has ignored previous warnings from Veith. Voluntary bans have not worked in this cae. This individual is what you call a classic troll. Other non-Lutherans have also said so, publically and privately (just so that no-one thinks this is a us vs them thing. IT IS NOT.)

    Ban the troll. It is the simplest, and least time-consuming. Regularly deleting comments, on a busy blog like this, is beyond the scope of any here, I think.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, you know, I think you might be right on the whole deletion thing. I don’t think it would be tenable here. I’ve used it and seen it used on numerous threads, but those threads were all either
    1) single-threaded but not very discussion oriented
    or 2) multi-threaded.

    Deleting out chunks of comments (I would suggest cutting out the troll comments and the replies to them) would, indeed throw off the numbering which we so frequently use here.

    As an FYI, our use of referring to numbers with names is somewhat peculiar to this blog. I don’t do it other places, and I don’t see it done other places. Huh.

    I’m not a WordPress user, so I don’t know how their admin systems work. I have used a couple of less-than-convenient comment deletion blog systems (blogspot) and I can certainly imagine that deleting out numerous comments would be rather burdensome.

    I’ll officially retract my suggestion for deleting out comments as a method of troll control.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, you know, I think you might be right on the whole deletion thing. I don’t think it would be tenable here. I’ve used it and seen it used on numerous threads, but those threads were all either
    1) single-threaded but not very discussion oriented
    or 2) multi-threaded.

    Deleting out chunks of comments (I would suggest cutting out the troll comments and the replies to them) would, indeed throw off the numbering which we so frequently use here.

    As an FYI, our use of referring to numbers with names is somewhat peculiar to this blog. I don’t do it other places, and I don’t see it done other places. Huh.

    I’m not a WordPress user, so I don’t know how their admin systems work. I have used a couple of less-than-convenient comment deletion blog systems (blogspot) and I can certainly imagine that deleting out numerous comments would be rather burdensome.

    I’ll officially retract my suggestion for deleting out comments as a method of troll control.

  • SKPeterson

    I sympathize with the concern for the community and for the potential of trolls to cause dismay amongst the new or weak. I think the best way is to have community policing. I like the idea of a generally accepted standard admonishment, like “Get thee behind me, Anti-Veith!” or some such.

    What we need to do, and are now doing, is delimit the bounds of courtesy and charity extended to all in the community.

  • SKPeterson

    I sympathize with the concern for the community and for the potential of trolls to cause dismay amongst the new or weak. I think the best way is to have community policing. I like the idea of a generally accepted standard admonishment, like “Get thee behind me, Anti-Veith!” or some such.

    What we need to do, and are now doing, is delimit the bounds of courtesy and charity extended to all in the community.

  • Rob

    Personally, I like Dennis’ idea for the troll response – “This comment subject to the BAN (Bloviation Alert Notice)”. Especially since “the ban”, like this site, has Lutheran roots.

  • Rob

    Personally, I like Dennis’ idea for the troll response – “This comment subject to the BAN (Bloviation Alert Notice)”. Especially since “the ban”, like this site, has Lutheran roots.

  • Stephen

    Dennis has actually brought it around again. My initial suggestion on the other thread was that we ought to ignore them and get together on it for the sake of the community and the newbies.

    Cinncinatus seems to think this doesn’t quite fit the definition of a troll because someone believes what they are saying. I would distinguish it differently, as someone who is repeatedly and obviously hostile, not just to the topic at hand, but to the others in the conversation. It is more than someone getting their kicks, though it may be that too. In this case, it is about intentional negative behaviors that repeat ceaselessly, and that can be judged in themselves as a violation of the intentions and ethos of the community as well as the discussion at hand.

    I don’t care as much about getting off topic. If that is where things seem to be headed for th sake of gaining new insights then fine. But what to do with someone who shows up repeatedly and is belligerent in the exact same manner over and over?

    As it happens, I read 2 Kings last night by pure accident. King Josiah spared nothing when he cleansed the land of idolatry after he heard the book of the covenant read to him. Talk about vocation! A good king does such things to protect and care for his realm. Food for thought.

  • Stephen

    Dennis has actually brought it around again. My initial suggestion on the other thread was that we ought to ignore them and get together on it for the sake of the community and the newbies.

    Cinncinatus seems to think this doesn’t quite fit the definition of a troll because someone believes what they are saying. I would distinguish it differently, as someone who is repeatedly and obviously hostile, not just to the topic at hand, but to the others in the conversation. It is more than someone getting their kicks, though it may be that too. In this case, it is about intentional negative behaviors that repeat ceaselessly, and that can be judged in themselves as a violation of the intentions and ethos of the community as well as the discussion at hand.

    I don’t care as much about getting off topic. If that is where things seem to be headed for th sake of gaining new insights then fine. But what to do with someone who shows up repeatedly and is belligerent in the exact same manner over and over?

    As it happens, I read 2 Kings last night by pure accident. King Josiah spared nothing when he cleansed the land of idolatry after he heard the book of the covenant read to him. Talk about vocation! A good king does such things to protect and care for his realm. Food for thought.

  • kerner

    No ban.

    I lost count of the votes.

  • kerner

    No ban.

    I lost count of the votes.

  • Louis

    SKP: Trolls generally do not respond to admonishments. That is why they are trolls. Trolls are not people with different opinions. Trolls are near-psycopathic when pursuing their murky goals on blogs and forums. No insult, not advice, no argument affects them.

  • Louis

    SKP: Trolls generally do not respond to admonishments. That is why they are trolls. Trolls are not people with different opinions. Trolls are near-psycopathic when pursuing their murky goals on blogs and forums. No insult, not advice, no argument affects them.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@88), I think it’s pretty clear that trollery does not have an “actual definition”. Did what you describe in your comment constitute trollery? Sure. But is that all that trollery is? Your own comments suggests it isn’t (“this is purely optional and, indeed, unpreferred in elite-level trolling”).

    Your definition:

    An intentional attempt to incite anger or disagreement for its own sake by posting intentionally inflammatory, simplistic, and/or offensive comments

    My attempt:

    A comment that is clearly off-topic, to the apparent end of merely inciting, and in a manner that is not conducive to discussion.

    Of course, we never really know what someone’s intentions are, which is why defining trollery is so hard. Depending on how good someone is at reasoning, communicating, and typing, depending on their ability to correctly read others’ intents, depending on their own social aptitude, a person may come across as more or less trollish, even though none of those things themselves contribute to trollery, per se.

    Frankly, I don’t think it’s very easy to label any single comment in isolation as the work of a troll or not. I think something that both of the above definitions are lacking is the chronic nature of trollery. It is a persistent habit of not adding to the conversation, but instead derailing it, without even engaging in the purported new topic, and so on.

    But whatever you do, don’t post extended disquisitions upon your negative feelings about trolls or serious attempts to convince a troll of the error of her/his ways.

    But on what basis or authority would you suggest that we all adopt this as our guiding principle? And if you’re not interested in “negative feelings about trolls”, why are you involved in this discussion? Is it that you … just can’t help yourself to leave a response? But isn’t that the problem you also suggested we all fix in ourselves?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@88), I think it’s pretty clear that trollery does not have an “actual definition”. Did what you describe in your comment constitute trollery? Sure. But is that all that trollery is? Your own comments suggests it isn’t (“this is purely optional and, indeed, unpreferred in elite-level trolling”).

    Your definition:

    An intentional attempt to incite anger or disagreement for its own sake by posting intentionally inflammatory, simplistic, and/or offensive comments

    My attempt:

    A comment that is clearly off-topic, to the apparent end of merely inciting, and in a manner that is not conducive to discussion.

    Of course, we never really know what someone’s intentions are, which is why defining trollery is so hard. Depending on how good someone is at reasoning, communicating, and typing, depending on their ability to correctly read others’ intents, depending on their own social aptitude, a person may come across as more or less trollish, even though none of those things themselves contribute to trollery, per se.

    Frankly, I don’t think it’s very easy to label any single comment in isolation as the work of a troll or not. I think something that both of the above definitions are lacking is the chronic nature of trollery. It is a persistent habit of not adding to the conversation, but instead derailing it, without even engaging in the purported new topic, and so on.

    But whatever you do, don’t post extended disquisitions upon your negative feelings about trolls or serious attempts to convince a troll of the error of her/his ways.

    But on what basis or authority would you suggest that we all adopt this as our guiding principle? And if you’re not interested in “negative feelings about trolls”, why are you involved in this discussion? Is it that you … just can’t help yourself to leave a response? But isn’t that the problem you also suggested we all fix in ourselves?

  • Stephen

    Dr. Veith,

    I guess if it was my blog I would have no problem with shutting people out for these kinds of things. I would just do it and not say anything, unless perhaps someone asked, at which point I would offer my reasoning. But I would not feel beholding to anyone to do other than what my own conscience directed.

    I really don’t think it’s a democracy and voting seems kind of silly to me. No offense meant Dr. Veith, but I think you seem to be handing over too much power here. You can do whatever you want as is evidenced by shutting down certain threads in the past. However we vote, and why I am resistant to that idea, is because the reality is you can still choose to override that vote. Whatever you decide, we ought to all respect that it seems to me, even if we disagree, feel hurt or misunderstood.

    Beyond that, as frequent commentors we can decide together a plan of action among ourselves . That was what I was trying to get at on the other thread. But that’s as far as it goes it seems to me. It’s a little different than asking for suggestions on the aesthetics around here. Setting up rules is really for the moderator. It is, after all, a vocation. :)

    So, if I consider my own vocation in regards to this blog, it’s to go by whatever the rules are and perhaps respect the needs of others especially when they have been expressed explicitly. Not easy, and there will likely be transgressions along the way. But this is not about forgiveness, it is about law and order. Some of the rules can be gleaned by assumption but there has to be boundaries, and you have already stated that there are some, blatant racism being one of those. Why not deliberate sabotage and obvious hostility toward others?

  • Stephen

    Dr. Veith,

    I guess if it was my blog I would have no problem with shutting people out for these kinds of things. I would just do it and not say anything, unless perhaps someone asked, at which point I would offer my reasoning. But I would not feel beholding to anyone to do other than what my own conscience directed.

    I really don’t think it’s a democracy and voting seems kind of silly to me. No offense meant Dr. Veith, but I think you seem to be handing over too much power here. You can do whatever you want as is evidenced by shutting down certain threads in the past. However we vote, and why I am resistant to that idea, is because the reality is you can still choose to override that vote. Whatever you decide, we ought to all respect that it seems to me, even if we disagree, feel hurt or misunderstood.

    Beyond that, as frequent commentors we can decide together a plan of action among ourselves . That was what I was trying to get at on the other thread. But that’s as far as it goes it seems to me. It’s a little different than asking for suggestions on the aesthetics around here. Setting up rules is really for the moderator. It is, after all, a vocation. :)

    So, if I consider my own vocation in regards to this blog, it’s to go by whatever the rules are and perhaps respect the needs of others especially when they have been expressed explicitly. Not easy, and there will likely be transgressions along the way. But this is not about forgiveness, it is about law and order. Some of the rules can be gleaned by assumption but there has to be boundaries, and you have already stated that there are some, blatant racism being one of those. Why not deliberate sabotage and obvious hostility toward others?

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, I’m posting because I have a vested interest in maintaining the current structure of this website. It works. Our gracious host posts a few provocations, a group of regulars arrives and shares their thoughts in a mostly civil manner. It is this framework of relative liberty that distinguishes this blog. And if Grace is someone we consider deeply problematic and uncivil, we apparently haven’t ventured far on the internet.

    Yes, Grace and those like her are annoying. But deleting comments and banning avatars are time-consuming endeavors, possibly oppressive (i.e., deadening to conversation), and ultimately fruitless (as Michael Z. aptly noted).

    Seriously, when Grace arrives, I usually don’t even read her comments. When I do, I am bemused. Sometimes, when she makes especially absurd remarks, I am moved to respond–with no particular end in mind except that it is good sometimes to articulate one’s thoughts and contentions for one’s own sake.

    Is it really that hard? No need to make a federal case about it. They’re blog comments–and they aren’t even obscene. I can assure you that, if you find it so troublesome when Grace appears, the world will not care if you decide prudently to ignore a thread altogether. We’re lucky: on many popular blogs, trolling is considered a regular sport. As it is, we just have Grace, who just posts stupid things (that I think she sincerely believes) that don’t really contribute, but that are rather pedestrian otherwise.

    Like I said earlier, this is Dr. Veith’s blog, and he is perfectly free to manage it as he sees fit. But I don’t think the issue is urgent.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, I’m posting because I have a vested interest in maintaining the current structure of this website. It works. Our gracious host posts a few provocations, a group of regulars arrives and shares their thoughts in a mostly civil manner. It is this framework of relative liberty that distinguishes this blog. And if Grace is someone we consider deeply problematic and uncivil, we apparently haven’t ventured far on the internet.

    Yes, Grace and those like her are annoying. But deleting comments and banning avatars are time-consuming endeavors, possibly oppressive (i.e., deadening to conversation), and ultimately fruitless (as Michael Z. aptly noted).

    Seriously, when Grace arrives, I usually don’t even read her comments. When I do, I am bemused. Sometimes, when she makes especially absurd remarks, I am moved to respond–with no particular end in mind except that it is good sometimes to articulate one’s thoughts and contentions for one’s own sake.

    Is it really that hard? No need to make a federal case about it. They’re blog comments–and they aren’t even obscene. I can assure you that, if you find it so troublesome when Grace appears, the world will not care if you decide prudently to ignore a thread altogether. We’re lucky: on many popular blogs, trolling is considered a regular sport. As it is, we just have Grace, who just posts stupid things (that I think she sincerely believes) that don’t really contribute, but that are rather pedestrian otherwise.

    Like I said earlier, this is Dr. Veith’s blog, and he is perfectly free to manage it as he sees fit. But I don’t think the issue is urgent.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    “Bubba (@83), come on. There are quite a number of non-Lutherans who comment here — including many of the core crowd — who are known to “ruffle feathers” from time to time.”

    tODD–agreed 100%. The point I was making is that some are more or less saying “mind your manners, this is a Lutheran blog” to those not of the Lutern persuasion. Beyond the fact that this is poor hospitality, I was pointing out that the original genesis of the idea about ten years back is that a series of World-blogs was thought to be a good way of bringing people of divergent faiths together. See what I’m getting at?

    To the question of what to do with one particular offender, again, I would counsel a bit of navel-gazing to see if “the regulars” are inviting it by not engaging the real arguments. Yes, there are some who won’t clue in to a real argument, but if you find yourself insulting the “jerk who said,” well, you’re putting gas on the fire.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    “Bubba (@83), come on. There are quite a number of non-Lutherans who comment here — including many of the core crowd — who are known to “ruffle feathers” from time to time.”

    tODD–agreed 100%. The point I was making is that some are more or less saying “mind your manners, this is a Lutheran blog” to those not of the Lutern persuasion. Beyond the fact that this is poor hospitality, I was pointing out that the original genesis of the idea about ten years back is that a series of World-blogs was thought to be a good way of bringing people of divergent faiths together. See what I’m getting at?

    To the question of what to do with one particular offender, again, I would counsel a bit of navel-gazing to see if “the regulars” are inviting it by not engaging the real arguments. Yes, there are some who won’t clue in to a real argument, but if you find yourself insulting the “jerk who said,” well, you’re putting gas on the fire.

  • Louis

    bike – the person who most pertinently said that, DonS, is himself not a Lutheran – in fact, he attends the same denomination as Grace (Calvary Chapel).

  • Louis

    bike – the person who most pertinently said that, DonS, is himself not a Lutheran – in fact, he attends the same denomination as Grace (Calvary Chapel).

  • Michael Z.

    @tODD 100
    I think Cincinnatus is right. Trollishness is based on intent, not content.
    What Grace, (and many of you) has been guilty of is called “flaming”, not “trolling” since her intent is not simply to draw a response.

  • Michael Z.

    @tODD 100
    I think Cincinnatus is right. Trollishness is based on intent, not content.
    What Grace, (and many of you) has been guilty of is called “flaming”, not “trolling” since her intent is not simply to draw a response.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus said (@102):

    I have a vested interest in maintaining the current structure of this website. It works.

    On that much, we agree. However, I don’t think we agree on what it is that “works” about the “current structure”. The question is: are trolls inherent to, or disruptive of, what “works” about this site? Given your subsequent description, I’d say the answer isn’t necessarily obvious:

    Our gracious host posts a few provocations, a group of regulars arrives and shares their thoughts in a mostly civil manner. It is this framework of relative liberty that distinguishes this blog.

    That could happen with or without troll banning, you know. In fact, it is obviously my argument that banning trolls (or at least their trollish comments) would be more likely to keep things exactly to that description.

    If Grace is someone we consider deeply problematic and uncivil, we apparently haven’t ventured far on the internet.

    Yes, exactly. We don’t want this site to be like the rest of the Internet. We want it to be better. The question is: how do we do that? Pointing out that things are even crappier elsewhere only makes me want to keep this site working all the more.

    Deleting comments and banning avatars are time-consuming endeavors, possibly oppressive (i.e., deadening to conversation), and ultimately fruitless (as Michael Z. aptly noted).

    Which of these do you agree with: there are so many trollish comments on this blog that moderating them would be “time-consuming endeavors”, or there are so few trollish comments on this blog that you “don’t think the issue is urgent”? Because those appear to be at odds. Myself, I don’t think moderation would be all that time-consuming, because this issue is relatively infrequent.

    As to “possibly oppressive”, which do you think kills a conversation more: removing the troll, or allowing the troll to derail things to his own ends? From what I’ve seen, the latter doesn’t exactly encourge the sorts of conversation everyone says they want to be having.

    As to “ultimately fruitless”, again, WordPress has more complex options for managing comments — should it come to that — than could be evaded by most of the commenters here. Besides, I don’t think we’re discussing sport-trollery.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus said (@102):

    I have a vested interest in maintaining the current structure of this website. It works.

    On that much, we agree. However, I don’t think we agree on what it is that “works” about the “current structure”. The question is: are trolls inherent to, or disruptive of, what “works” about this site? Given your subsequent description, I’d say the answer isn’t necessarily obvious:

    Our gracious host posts a few provocations, a group of regulars arrives and shares their thoughts in a mostly civil manner. It is this framework of relative liberty that distinguishes this blog.

    That could happen with or without troll banning, you know. In fact, it is obviously my argument that banning trolls (or at least their trollish comments) would be more likely to keep things exactly to that description.

    If Grace is someone we consider deeply problematic and uncivil, we apparently haven’t ventured far on the internet.

    Yes, exactly. We don’t want this site to be like the rest of the Internet. We want it to be better. The question is: how do we do that? Pointing out that things are even crappier elsewhere only makes me want to keep this site working all the more.

    Deleting comments and banning avatars are time-consuming endeavors, possibly oppressive (i.e., deadening to conversation), and ultimately fruitless (as Michael Z. aptly noted).

    Which of these do you agree with: there are so many trollish comments on this blog that moderating them would be “time-consuming endeavors”, or there are so few trollish comments on this blog that you “don’t think the issue is urgent”? Because those appear to be at odds. Myself, I don’t think moderation would be all that time-consuming, because this issue is relatively infrequent.

    As to “possibly oppressive”, which do you think kills a conversation more: removing the troll, or allowing the troll to derail things to his own ends? From what I’ve seen, the latter doesn’t exactly encourge the sorts of conversation everyone says they want to be having.

    As to “ultimately fruitless”, again, WordPress has more complex options for managing comments — should it come to that — than could be evaded by most of the commenters here. Besides, I don’t think we’re discussing sport-trollery.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Louis; regarding #104, I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at, except perhaps the “this is a Lutheran site” comment. Whatever it is, rest assured that I cannot point at just one person as an example of anything I’ve mentioned in this thread, nor would the identity of one person doing so really have a bearing on the argument I think you’re referring to.

    The good side is, I guess, that I’m not pointing at just one person, and the bad side, is, of course, that I can’t point at just one person. Which has a lot to do with the topic at hand; if we cannot blame one person for setting a tone, then banning them from a site has no particular effect. The same dynamics will be involved.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Louis; regarding #104, I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at, except perhaps the “this is a Lutheran site” comment. Whatever it is, rest assured that I cannot point at just one person as an example of anything I’ve mentioned in this thread, nor would the identity of one person doing so really have a bearing on the argument I think you’re referring to.

    The good side is, I guess, that I’m not pointing at just one person, and the bad side, is, of course, that I can’t point at just one person. Which has a lot to do with the topic at hand; if we cannot blame one person for setting a tone, then banning them from a site has no particular effect. The same dynamics will be involved.

  • SKPeterson

    Maybe I’m just one of those soft-hearted types who thinks that reason will one day prevail and the scales will fall from the eyes of the self-deluded. I understand the serious impact that trollery can have on the flow of a blog conversation and it is serious when conversations are hijacked to the caprice of a blogger. However, the times that this occurs in this forum are few and far between. I cannot recall the last time a thread on this blog went over 500 comments, much less even reached 200. This thread itself is already at the 100+ mark, which puts it into what I would expect to be the top 5% of lengthiest threads.

    I don’t think a ban is worth the effort; it gives too much credit to the troll. Instead, let’s opt for Dennis’s suggestion of the BAN.

  • SKPeterson

    Maybe I’m just one of those soft-hearted types who thinks that reason will one day prevail and the scales will fall from the eyes of the self-deluded. I understand the serious impact that trollery can have on the flow of a blog conversation and it is serious when conversations are hijacked to the caprice of a blogger. However, the times that this occurs in this forum are few and far between. I cannot recall the last time a thread on this blog went over 500 comments, much less even reached 200. This thread itself is already at the 100+ mark, which puts it into what I would expect to be the top 5% of lengthiest threads.

    I don’t think a ban is worth the effort; it gives too much credit to the troll. Instead, let’s opt for Dennis’s suggestion of the BAN.

  • Louis

    Bike: You said (some) Lutherans here were saying

    “mind your manners, this is a Lutheran blog” to those not of the Lutern persuasion.

    The only one on this thread who I saw making any such comment is not a Lutheran (DonS @ 53). I added that ironically, he is of the same denominational background as the Troll in chief.

    I’m not sure what it is that you are not getting.

  • Louis

    Bike: You said (some) Lutherans here were saying

    “mind your manners, this is a Lutheran blog” to those not of the Lutern persuasion.

    The only one on this thread who I saw making any such comment is not a Lutheran (DonS @ 53). I added that ironically, he is of the same denominational background as the Troll in chief.

    I’m not sure what it is that you are not getting.

  • Louis

    SKP – complex solutions are unlikely to work.

    All: Forget about all these theoretical discussions, niceties etc.. Let me put on my Afrikaner hat (ie straight talk) and ask it:

    Will banning Grace improve the tenor, debate and general flow of the comments here?

    I say yes.

  • Louis

    SKP – complex solutions are unlikely to work.

    All: Forget about all these theoretical discussions, niceties etc.. Let me put on my Afrikaner hat (ie straight talk) and ask it:

    Will banning Grace improve the tenor, debate and general flow of the comments here?

    I say yes.

  • Stephen

    Perhaps if we avoided the labels “troll” we could have a conversation about what is or isn’t okay here. There does seem to be a lot of assumptions flying around about how it ought to be. The term “troll” for what it is worth seems to mean someone who is deliberately disruptive. Whether it is for sport or because of a kind of fanaticism or mental illness is beside the point. We can tell they are deliberate by the way the are repeatedly disruptive in the same way.

    The reason for suggesting that the moderator decide what goes and/or agreeing on points of accepted behavior would be so we don’t have a lot of random rule-setting by individuals. I have certainly seen this happening. I can also imagine a situation where the whole thing becomes extremely clique-ish, with others banding together and adopting a B.A.N. policy ala Dennis simply because a majority disagrees with what someone is saying. In such an oligarchy it might mean someone getting shut out for alien ideas rather than for deliberate sabotage. In which case, I think it is up to the moderator to decide who needs to be banned based on their own observations of the situation at hand. He can base his decision on his own sense of urgency or from the concerns of those who come here, or simply his own set of criteria that he sees as fair and useful to the aims of the blog.

  • Stephen

    Perhaps if we avoided the labels “troll” we could have a conversation about what is or isn’t okay here. There does seem to be a lot of assumptions flying around about how it ought to be. The term “troll” for what it is worth seems to mean someone who is deliberately disruptive. Whether it is for sport or because of a kind of fanaticism or mental illness is beside the point. We can tell they are deliberate by the way the are repeatedly disruptive in the same way.

    The reason for suggesting that the moderator decide what goes and/or agreeing on points of accepted behavior would be so we don’t have a lot of random rule-setting by individuals. I have certainly seen this happening. I can also imagine a situation where the whole thing becomes extremely clique-ish, with others banding together and adopting a B.A.N. policy ala Dennis simply because a majority disagrees with what someone is saying. In such an oligarchy it might mean someone getting shut out for alien ideas rather than for deliberate sabotage. In which case, I think it is up to the moderator to decide who needs to be banned based on their own observations of the situation at hand. He can base his decision on his own sense of urgency or from the concerns of those who come here, or simply his own set of criteria that he sees as fair and useful to the aims of the blog.

  • Stephen

    Louis, you gave me an “Amen” elsewhere so here it is right back at you . . .

    “Amen”

    One of my best friends is from “Jo-berg” and he’s not afraid to say what he thinks either. Refreshing at times, confrontational at others, but always honest.

  • Stephen

    Louis, you gave me an “Amen” elsewhere so here it is right back at you . . .

    “Amen”

    One of my best friends is from “Jo-berg” and he’s not afraid to say what he thinks either. Refreshing at times, confrontational at others, but always honest.

  • Tom Hering

    Let’s remember that in the latest incident, it was TUAD who started things off with an anti-baptism, anti-Lutheran, anti-sacraments article, copied and pasted from elsewhere. Grace joined in later to support TUAD (who continued to copy and paste off-topic), and to eventually bring up Luther and the Jews, off-topic, for the umpteenth time. How is any of that not a deliberate attempt to upset the Lutherans here, for no good reason related to the discussion? How does it not destroy the atmosphere of friendly disagreement we all commendably maintain?

  • Tom Hering

    Let’s remember that in the latest incident, it was TUAD who started things off with an anti-baptism, anti-Lutheran, anti-sacraments article, copied and pasted from elsewhere. Grace joined in later to support TUAD (who continued to copy and paste off-topic), and to eventually bring up Luther and the Jews, off-topic, for the umpteenth time. How is any of that not a deliberate attempt to upset the Lutherans here, for no good reason related to the discussion? How does it not destroy the atmosphere of friendly disagreement we all commendably maintain?

  • Jimmy Veith

    To “Dr.Veith: “: Do we want a “Big Brother”, telling us what is acceptable speech?

    Oh wait a minute. You are my big brother!

    In all honesty, I think that as the host of this blog, you should reserve the right to filter out stuff that is obviously inappropriate. I trust your judgment in this matter. (Just don’t filter me. Please.)

  • Jimmy Veith

    To “Dr.Veith: “: Do we want a “Big Brother”, telling us what is acceptable speech?

    Oh wait a minute. You are my big brother!

    In all honesty, I think that as the host of this blog, you should reserve the right to filter out stuff that is obviously inappropriate. I trust your judgment in this matter. (Just don’t filter me. Please.)

  • Tom Hering

    P.S. And even Grace is capable of maintaining, so long as the topic isn’t evangelicals/non-denominationals.

  • Tom Hering

    P.S. And even Grace is capable of maintaining, so long as the topic isn’t evangelicals/non-denominationals.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Perhaps if we avoided the labels “troll” we could have a conversation about what is or isn’t okay here. There does seem to be a lot of assumptions flying around about how it ought to be.”

    I agree. The deference required here is fairly low, yet some manage to sink below it, hence the current discussion. Maybe a banning standard should be stated.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Perhaps if we avoided the labels “troll” we could have a conversation about what is or isn’t okay here. There does seem to be a lot of assumptions flying around about how it ought to be.”

    I agree. The deference required here is fairly low, yet some manage to sink below it, hence the current discussion. Maybe a banning standard should be stated.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In all honesty, I think that as the host of this blog, you should reserve the right to filter out stuff that is obviously inappropriate. I trust your judgment in this matter. (Just don’t filter me. Please.)”

    Well, that is the line isn’t it. Censor them not me.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In all honesty, I think that as the host of this blog, you should reserve the right to filter out stuff that is obviously inappropriate. I trust your judgment in this matter. (Just don’t filter me. Please.)”

    Well, that is the line isn’t it. Censor them not me.

  • Craig

    After seeing 112 posts I am now of the opinion that Dr V should ban that Troll. I can imagine engaging on a non-Lutheran blog where I am not wanted nor respected and I only am there to cause trouble. There may be something to that Aspergers diagnosis? There are some really good/great comments/commentators on this blog. Larry is my fav, nice and earthy, no disrespect to tODD he is brilliant but a little too lofty for my taste(and my intellect). However he is worth reading to be sure. There are several others who are great as well. My point is that the Troll derails so many of the great rolls. The conversation is moving along then the typical Luther was a gay jew hating God defying non-Biblicist fat loser and the Lutherans are even worse. That garbage is so tired and is really bad for this blog IMHO.

  • Craig

    After seeing 112 posts I am now of the opinion that Dr V should ban that Troll. I can imagine engaging on a non-Lutheran blog where I am not wanted nor respected and I only am there to cause trouble. There may be something to that Aspergers diagnosis? There are some really good/great comments/commentators on this blog. Larry is my fav, nice and earthy, no disrespect to tODD he is brilliant but a little too lofty for my taste(and my intellect). However he is worth reading to be sure. There are several others who are great as well. My point is that the Troll derails so many of the great rolls. The conversation is moving along then the typical Luther was a gay jew hating God defying non-Biblicist fat loser and the Lutherans are even worse. That garbage is so tired and is really bad for this blog IMHO.

  • Craig

    Can someone censor everything on PCR except EI? Well at least F for the F.

  • Craig

    Can someone censor everything on PCR except EI? Well at least F for the F.

  • Tom Hering

    “Well, that is the line isn’t it. Censor them not me.”

    Not at all. The line can be drawn for everyone, and be as simple as: “No inflammatory off-topic postings.”

  • Tom Hering

    “Well, that is the line isn’t it. Censor them not me.”

    Not at all. The line can be drawn for everyone, and be as simple as: “No inflammatory off-topic postings.”

  • Stephen

    Or “While we allow for heated disagreements and debate, repeated and deliberate attempts to disrupt and incite discord here will not be tolerated and will be considered hostile to this blog community”

  • Stephen

    Or “While we allow for heated disagreements and debate, repeated and deliberate attempts to disrupt and incite discord here will not be tolerated and will be considered hostile to this blog community”

  • DonS

    Louis @ 104: Shhh! ;-)

    Please, let’s make it clear that in no way does the person you are referencing represent or typify the doctrine, views, or style of interpersonal engagement of folks attending my local church or other churches of which I am aware with which our church is affiliated.

    To clarify, I was addressing my comment specifically to people like Grace, who seem to divert unrelated posts into opportunities to gratuitously smear Lutherans and Lutheran doctrine. The Nazi references are particularly sickening to me. Civil and substantive engagement is the key. I appreciate sharp discussion and disagreement as much as the next person, but civility and graciousness are important. Also, not every post needs to be diverted into a discussion of the sacraments. Those who are non-Lutherans also ought to respect our guest status, though that doesn’t mean we should back down from a serious, thoughtful, and perhaps blunt discussion.

    To be fair, I have seen things work the other way, including to myself, and I have complained about it when it happens. A while back, for example, we were commenting on a theological topic entirely unrelated to the sacraments, and I was basically told by a certain occasional and usually snarky commenter that I had no business commenting since I was non-sacramental. I reacted to that comment pretty indignantly, because it was a non-sequitur and I had no desire to get back into yet another discussion about the sacraments, but certain regular Lutheran commenters on here piled on, completely diverting the thread. I finally quit that thread in disgust.

    As for the issue of banning commenters, I think that is a drastic remedy to be reserved for the worst cases, such as repeated profanity, etc. I still say, as I said above, that closing threads is an option when things go haywire, as Dr. Veith said above, strike him wrong. If it is an important topic, it will be re-introduced in a future thread, to be sure. And, community standards are important as well — we in the commenting community can maintain our own decorum and civility, hopefully shaming or at least disappointing the wrongdoer.

  • DonS

    Louis @ 104: Shhh! ;-)

    Please, let’s make it clear that in no way does the person you are referencing represent or typify the doctrine, views, or style of interpersonal engagement of folks attending my local church or other churches of which I am aware with which our church is affiliated.

    To clarify, I was addressing my comment specifically to people like Grace, who seem to divert unrelated posts into opportunities to gratuitously smear Lutherans and Lutheran doctrine. The Nazi references are particularly sickening to me. Civil and substantive engagement is the key. I appreciate sharp discussion and disagreement as much as the next person, but civility and graciousness are important. Also, not every post needs to be diverted into a discussion of the sacraments. Those who are non-Lutherans also ought to respect our guest status, though that doesn’t mean we should back down from a serious, thoughtful, and perhaps blunt discussion.

    To be fair, I have seen things work the other way, including to myself, and I have complained about it when it happens. A while back, for example, we were commenting on a theological topic entirely unrelated to the sacraments, and I was basically told by a certain occasional and usually snarky commenter that I had no business commenting since I was non-sacramental. I reacted to that comment pretty indignantly, because it was a non-sequitur and I had no desire to get back into yet another discussion about the sacraments, but certain regular Lutheran commenters on here piled on, completely diverting the thread. I finally quit that thread in disgust.

    As for the issue of banning commenters, I think that is a drastic remedy to be reserved for the worst cases, such as repeated profanity, etc. I still say, as I said above, that closing threads is an option when things go haywire, as Dr. Veith said above, strike him wrong. If it is an important topic, it will be re-introduced in a future thread, to be sure. And, community standards are important as well — we in the commenting community can maintain our own decorum and civility, hopefully shaming or at least disappointing the wrongdoer.

  • Tom Hering

    The line I suggested involves two standards, “inflammatory” and “off-topic.” A comment would have to be BOTH to be deleted, and a commenter would have to REPEATEDLY post comments that are BOTH to be banned.

    Example: in a thread discussing Lutheran presence in the Evangelical world, someone posts an anti-baptism/anti-Lutheran article from another site (BOTH inflammatory and off-topic) or brings up the Jew-hating history of Lutheranism (BOTH inflammatory and off-topic).

  • Tom Hering

    The line I suggested involves two standards, “inflammatory” and “off-topic.” A comment would have to be BOTH to be deleted, and a commenter would have to REPEATEDLY post comments that are BOTH to be banned.

    Example: in a thread discussing Lutheran presence in the Evangelical world, someone posts an anti-baptism/anti-Lutheran article from another site (BOTH inflammatory and off-topic) or brings up the Jew-hating history of Lutheranism (BOTH inflammatory and off-topic).

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I think in, whereas out .

    And another thing, if too many not ever .

    That is not a . It is a .

    Know what I mean?

    (there…I have censored myself)

    .

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I think in, whereas out .

    And another thing, if too many not ever .

    That is not a . It is a .

    Know what I mean?

    (there…I have censored myself)

    .

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    (there were supposed to be lage blank spaces between those words…like the one between my ears)

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    (there were supposed to be lage blank spaces between those words…like the one between my ears)

  • Tom Hering

    DonS @ 122, I remember that discussion. Yes, we Lutherans have to remember this isn’t an official Lutheran blog, but rather just a blog with “a Lutheran twist” (because of its author’s faith). A fine distinction to make sometimes, but a real one to be kept in mind.

  • Tom Hering

    DonS @ 122, I remember that discussion. Yes, we Lutherans have to remember this isn’t an official Lutheran blog, but rather just a blog with “a Lutheran twist” (because of its author’s faith). A fine distinction to make sometimes, but a real one to be kept in mind.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    I know the thread you are referring to and I was in on that. The difference would be that for Lutherans, it IS all about the sacraments. What you suggest is a non-starter. That is why when someone says they don’t want to talk about it or a discussion shouldn’t involve mention of them comes across as basically antithetical to who we are. You might as well say “I’m here now so you all will have to be silent.” Even though we often talk about world events and such, and don’t touch on theology per se, if a Lutheran is going to talk theologically, they will talk about the sacraments. The sacraments are the elephant in the room. They are not some side aspect of Lutheran identity. If you read the comments on the other thread “Where are the Lutherans” that got this thread started, this is always the sticking point between ourselves and any other Christian denomination of affiliation out there. It is why we don’t jump on the ecumenical wagon so very easily. Holy Baptism, Lord’s Supper, as well as the near sacrament of Absolution – not giving those up ever, and they matter intrisically to every theological point to which a Lutheran gives expression.

    Besides that, while I agree with you about attempting to be civil and respectful, what you are saying is an example of individuals making up rules because they are uncomfortable or don’t like things. That isn’t what I was suggesting. What we are talking about (or at least I think we are) is about deliberate attempts to cause trouble, and not about theological disagreements that people get a little unhinged over. If it were about that, then I would have to go myself. And that being said, if others think that I am not making a worthy contribution and feel I am being deliberately disruptive in order to carry out a hostile, and dare I say it, downright hateful agenda, then I would need to go.

    So its not about theology or what people feel strongly about or will defend at all costs. I agree that “attack” you recieved initially was rather off-handed, but then attempting to defend yourself by insisting, among Lutherans, that the sacraments shouldn’t matter will get you nowhere (as I’m sure you know) and will likely get others to jump in and defend them as an essential core of orthodoxy. Forgive me if that is a reduction or mischaracterization of the argument, but that is what I recall.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    I know the thread you are referring to and I was in on that. The difference would be that for Lutherans, it IS all about the sacraments. What you suggest is a non-starter. That is why when someone says they don’t want to talk about it or a discussion shouldn’t involve mention of them comes across as basically antithetical to who we are. You might as well say “I’m here now so you all will have to be silent.” Even though we often talk about world events and such, and don’t touch on theology per se, if a Lutheran is going to talk theologically, they will talk about the sacraments. The sacraments are the elephant in the room. They are not some side aspect of Lutheran identity. If you read the comments on the other thread “Where are the Lutherans” that got this thread started, this is always the sticking point between ourselves and any other Christian denomination of affiliation out there. It is why we don’t jump on the ecumenical wagon so very easily. Holy Baptism, Lord’s Supper, as well as the near sacrament of Absolution – not giving those up ever, and they matter intrisically to every theological point to which a Lutheran gives expression.

    Besides that, while I agree with you about attempting to be civil and respectful, what you are saying is an example of individuals making up rules because they are uncomfortable or don’t like things. That isn’t what I was suggesting. What we are talking about (or at least I think we are) is about deliberate attempts to cause trouble, and not about theological disagreements that people get a little unhinged over. If it were about that, then I would have to go myself. And that being said, if others think that I am not making a worthy contribution and feel I am being deliberately disruptive in order to carry out a hostile, and dare I say it, downright hateful agenda, then I would need to go.

    So its not about theology or what people feel strongly about or will defend at all costs. I agree that “attack” you recieved initially was rather off-handed, but then attempting to defend yourself by insisting, among Lutherans, that the sacraments shouldn’t matter will get you nowhere (as I’m sure you know) and will likely get others to jump in and defend them as an essential core of orthodoxy. Forgive me if that is a reduction or mischaracterization of the argument, but that is what I recall.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 127: Hmm. Well, I certainly didn’t say that the sacraments shouldn’t matter. I simply said that our view of the sacraments was not related to the point that was under discussion. If you are going to insist that a sacramental view is essential to every discussion about theology to be held on this blog, and that it is fair game to attack and dismiss every commenter who is non-sacramental whenever they chime in on a theological issue, no matter what it is, then you also can’t claim that a non-Lutheran bringing them up in every theological discussion is “off topic”. Nor can you claim to be welcoming of non-Lutherans. You may as well have a “closed blog” as you do a closed table.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 127: Hmm. Well, I certainly didn’t say that the sacraments shouldn’t matter. I simply said that our view of the sacraments was not related to the point that was under discussion. If you are going to insist that a sacramental view is essential to every discussion about theology to be held on this blog, and that it is fair game to attack and dismiss every commenter who is non-sacramental whenever they chime in on a theological issue, no matter what it is, then you also can’t claim that a non-Lutheran bringing them up in every theological discussion is “off topic”. Nor can you claim to be welcoming of non-Lutherans. You may as well have a “closed blog” as you do a closed table.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen: I’ll second DonS’s complaint, actually. In my theological world, the sacraments are everything as well, but on this blog, which is not (?) specifically Lutheran, discussions regarding theology can wax a bit exclusive. While I tend simply to exit such threads, as my eyes begin to glaze over, it’s not terribly welcoming. Positively insular, even (to reference a rather famous thread at the moment).

    It gets a bit more bothersome when discussions essentially unrelated to the Lutheran sacraments–discussion about politics, current events, and what have you–become discussions about Lutheran sacraments anyway. This happens rather frequently.

    Just sayin’

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen: I’ll second DonS’s complaint, actually. In my theological world, the sacraments are everything as well, but on this blog, which is not (?) specifically Lutheran, discussions regarding theology can wax a bit exclusive. While I tend simply to exit such threads, as my eyes begin to glaze over, it’s not terribly welcoming. Positively insular, even (to reference a rather famous thread at the moment).

    It gets a bit more bothersome when discussions essentially unrelated to the Lutheran sacraments–discussion about politics, current events, and what have you–become discussions about Lutheran sacraments anyway. This happens rather frequently.

    Just sayin’

  • Booklover

    Dr. Veith, in my opinion, you should just continue doing what you have been doing in the past. I am of the belief that each of us should guard ourselves. For instance, if we think we are reacting to others in a sinful way, we should get our idle butts off the computer for a period of time.

    One time I thought I had hurt a posters feelings, inadvertently, so I stayed off for a few months. Another time, someone admonished me for “changing the topic.” So instead of retaliating, I attended to other duties for a while.

    This worked for me, and in my opinion, each of us should exercise our own self control.

  • Booklover

    Dr. Veith, in my opinion, you should just continue doing what you have been doing in the past. I am of the belief that each of us should guard ourselves. For instance, if we think we are reacting to others in a sinful way, we should get our idle butts off the computer for a period of time.

    One time I thought I had hurt a posters feelings, inadvertently, so I stayed off for a few months. Another time, someone admonished me for “changing the topic.” So instead of retaliating, I attended to other duties for a while.

    This worked for me, and in my opinion, each of us should exercise our own self control.

  • Booklover

    So, although the Veithinator would be cool, I go for the benevolent Veithocracy. But it’s your blog; do what you want. :-)

  • Booklover

    So, although the Veithinator would be cool, I go for the benevolent Veithocracy. But it’s your blog; do what you want. :-)

  • Stephen

    DonS

    To clarify:

    “If you are going to insist that a sacramental view is essential to every discussion about theology to be held on this blog, . . .” is not what I said nor is it what I meant. I mean that a Lutheran cannot be asked to exclude the understanding of the sacraments when theological conversations happen. It will always begin and end there for a Lutheran. What I heard from you was “stop bringing this up for the sake of civility” which for me is like saying “stop talking about theology altogether.”

    I’ll admit the Lutherans can go on and on and that I like it. I get a lot out of it. And as I recall, you yourself said you like to read along. So I’m not sure what gives exactly. I would think that a blog dedicated to the Lutheran Doctrine of Vocation would be a fine place to have Lutheran theological discussions. And if you are going to talk Lutheran, you are going to talk about sacraments. And if you talk about sacraments, it will often be about distinquishing Lutherans from others because the sacraments are so very central to our confessional identity – namely, our particular witness in the Church universal.

    Is that insular? This is the crux of the matter I guess. The Christian faith does make exclusive claims. Reading the Gospel of John will reveal this to be so. What I am attempting to discuss is how to dela with people whose actions are deliberate and obviously spiteful on a repeated basis. It has to do with deliberate, repeated hostility that has one agenda and one only – to impugn and insult purely for the sake of disruption.

    Well, this is a good conversation to have. Where else ont he Internet are peoplehaving this kind of conversation I wonder? The boundaries are never quite clear and we make it up as we go along it seems. It began as a suggestion for dealing with particular instance of what we all seem to agree is repeated bad behavior. As I said, I think it is up to Dr. Veith’s judgement ultimately. Meanwhile, if we can’t agree together to ignore this person for our good and that of others, then I’ll seek to be more diligent myself.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    To clarify:

    “If you are going to insist that a sacramental view is essential to every discussion about theology to be held on this blog, . . .” is not what I said nor is it what I meant. I mean that a Lutheran cannot be asked to exclude the understanding of the sacraments when theological conversations happen. It will always begin and end there for a Lutheran. What I heard from you was “stop bringing this up for the sake of civility” which for me is like saying “stop talking about theology altogether.”

    I’ll admit the Lutherans can go on and on and that I like it. I get a lot out of it. And as I recall, you yourself said you like to read along. So I’m not sure what gives exactly. I would think that a blog dedicated to the Lutheran Doctrine of Vocation would be a fine place to have Lutheran theological discussions. And if you are going to talk Lutheran, you are going to talk about sacraments. And if you talk about sacraments, it will often be about distinquishing Lutherans from others because the sacraments are so very central to our confessional identity – namely, our particular witness in the Church universal.

    Is that insular? This is the crux of the matter I guess. The Christian faith does make exclusive claims. Reading the Gospel of John will reveal this to be so. What I am attempting to discuss is how to dela with people whose actions are deliberate and obviously spiteful on a repeated basis. It has to do with deliberate, repeated hostility that has one agenda and one only – to impugn and insult purely for the sake of disruption.

    Well, this is a good conversation to have. Where else ont he Internet are peoplehaving this kind of conversation I wonder? The boundaries are never quite clear and we make it up as we go along it seems. It began as a suggestion for dealing with particular instance of what we all seem to agree is repeated bad behavior. As I said, I think it is up to Dr. Veith’s judgement ultimately. Meanwhile, if we can’t agree together to ignore this person for our good and that of others, then I’ll seek to be more diligent myself.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Hmm, see I don’t consider DonS, bike, cincinnatus, or steve outside torronto to be “guests”. I mean I’ve been on this blog for some years now, and these guys and other Non-lutherans have been around just as long, some longer some shorter. I enjoy their conversation.
    I sort of look at this blog as a cafe, where guys get together to discuss things, and enjoy eachother’s comapny. We don’t agree on everything and that is what makes the conversation interesting. I don’t expect these my internet friends to hold back on their views out of respect or whatever, I’m insulted they think they should. I want the conversation to be honest. I know I can be blunt, outspoken, whatever. But I gairly expect the same back. It is only when one is corrected, and doesn’t acknowledge it, spouting the same falsities on nu{rous threads but not defending theiir positionwhen called on it that I get annoyed. As for the trolls currently trolling,as near as I can tell they have not once wanted to engage in any reall dialogue, and never answer any questions in a sensible mannerm this has generally destroyed the atmospher of intelligent discussion that has historically marked this blog.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Hmm, see I don’t consider DonS, bike, cincinnatus, or steve outside torronto to be “guests”. I mean I’ve been on this blog for some years now, and these guys and other Non-lutherans have been around just as long, some longer some shorter. I enjoy their conversation.
    I sort of look at this blog as a cafe, where guys get together to discuss things, and enjoy eachother’s comapny. We don’t agree on everything and that is what makes the conversation interesting. I don’t expect these my internet friends to hold back on their views out of respect or whatever, I’m insulted they think they should. I want the conversation to be honest. I know I can be blunt, outspoken, whatever. But I gairly expect the same back. It is only when one is corrected, and doesn’t acknowledge it, spouting the same falsities on nu{rous threads but not defending theiir positionwhen called on it that I get annoyed. As for the trolls currently trolling,as near as I can tell they have not once wanted to engage in any reall dialogue, and never answer any questions in a sensible mannerm this has generally destroyed the atmospher of intelligent discussion that has historically marked this blog.

  • Stephen

    If it is a café (or a bar) then the manager has the right and perhaps the duty to throw bums out. Even the regulars get a little out of character and need to tone it down for the sake of everyone else. Sometimes their friends need to tell them to cut it out or take them home because they’ve had too much. I get that. the next time they come back they will have to regain some respect.

    But if someone is consistently crashing the joint, showing no respect to begin with, making a lot of noise and not responding to repeated attempts to cool it, sit down and do like the rest of us instead of picking fights, then they shouldn’t be allowed in anymore.

    That is, if this is really like a café or a bar.

  • Stephen

    If it is a café (or a bar) then the manager has the right and perhaps the duty to throw bums out. Even the regulars get a little out of character and need to tone it down for the sake of everyone else. Sometimes their friends need to tell them to cut it out or take them home because they’ve had too much. I get that. the next time they come back they will have to regain some respect.

    But if someone is consistently crashing the joint, showing no respect to begin with, making a lot of noise and not responding to repeated attempts to cool it, sit down and do like the rest of us instead of picking fights, then they shouldn’t be allowed in anymore.

    That is, if this is really like a café or a bar.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    that said though, I think cincinattusn that it might be helpful if you realize that for is lutherans, the sacraments are just that much more central to our thinking. Often time I see the nonlutheran guests getting annoyed at what they think is derailing to the sacraments, whereas from a lutheran perspective it is often just a natural progression that we see. And that is why I’m also so suspicious of anglicans saying they believe the same as we do. I think we use the same language sometimes, but have very differnt concepts as to what that means which explains the disconnect. Which might also explain why you think the “Lutheran wording” to be a “tad wierd”. That seems to me an indication that we might actually not be on the same page you say we are. Just saying.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    that said though, I think cincinattusn that it might be helpful if you realize that for is lutherans, the sacraments are just that much more central to our thinking. Often time I see the nonlutheran guests getting annoyed at what they think is derailing to the sacraments, whereas from a lutheran perspective it is often just a natural progression that we see. And that is why I’m also so suspicious of anglicans saying they believe the same as we do. I think we use the same language sometimes, but have very differnt concepts as to what that means which explains the disconnect. Which might also explain why you think the “Lutheran wording” to be a “tad wierd”. That seems to me an indication that we might actually not be on the same page you say we are. Just saying.

  • fws

    Gods word will have its way with all of us.

    I see everyone here, especially my own self, changing over time on this blog. and I think alot of it has to do with our interactions with each other.

    where else are you going to find such a widely divergent group? And I think we really do respect each other.

    Hey Cinn! I am still waiting for your response to my two questions about the words potential and essence in our discussion about marriage. You said that my questions were fair but your response was long….

    i have similar problems in responding eh? so we get to learn here to become more civil. more winsome in our responses and not just argumentative. we get to learn to try to truly listen to the other side. we get to learn to chose love over being righeously right. this is all good stuff. and we get to learn patience with Grace. None of this is a waste of time.

    I get to learn to be brief….

  • fws

    Gods word will have its way with all of us.

    I see everyone here, especially my own self, changing over time on this blog. and I think alot of it has to do with our interactions with each other.

    where else are you going to find such a widely divergent group? And I think we really do respect each other.

    Hey Cinn! I am still waiting for your response to my two questions about the words potential and essence in our discussion about marriage. You said that my questions were fair but your response was long….

    i have similar problems in responding eh? so we get to learn here to become more civil. more winsome in our responses and not just argumentative. we get to learn to try to truly listen to the other side. we get to learn to chose love over being righeously right. this is all good stuff. and we get to learn patience with Grace. None of this is a waste of time.

    I get to learn to be brief….

  • Rob

    This is a really fun high concept meta-narrative exercise now. We are talking about what we’re doing when we’re talking about things, as we talk about them. Tom Stoppard would totally love this!

    And it still managed to be a discussion about the sacraments for a little while! This is awesome. I may give up all my other hobbies and just read the comments on Cranach.

  • Rob

    This is a really fun high concept meta-narrative exercise now. We are talking about what we’re doing when we’re talking about things, as we talk about them. Tom Stoppard would totally love this!

    And it still managed to be a discussion about the sacraments for a little while! This is awesome. I may give up all my other hobbies and just read the comments on Cranach.

  • Joe

    Okay time for the barkeep to make a decision and for the rest of us to stop wringing our hands.

    I mean what kind of a bar is this? Are we drinking Appletinis or whiskey?

  • Joe

    Okay time for the barkeep to make a decision and for the rest of us to stop wringing our hands.

    I mean what kind of a bar is this? Are we drinking Appletinis or whiskey?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I’m pondering, Joe. Maybe I’ll get a bouncer.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I’m pondering, Joe. Maybe I’ll get a bouncer.

  • trotk

    I find it interesting that it became a discussion about the sacraments at the instigation of a non-sacramental Christian.

    Bror, as an Anglican (and I discovered on the other post that I was heterodox, which I wouldn’t have seen had Steve not referenced it above, because I quit reading before comment 4000), I am curious about your assertion that we speak the same language but mean different things. You may be right.

    The sacraments are central to my life as a Christian, and have been for as long as I have been Anglican (and perhaps before then, because I felt driven to the Anglican Church because of the sacraments). But the centrality of them in my life has grown, if that is possible, because of listening to Lutherans discuss them.

    As for banning, I have read this blog for 6 years. I have noticed a great uptick in comment numbers over the last year. I think that the people who attempt to derail conversations have served the purpose of forcing others to defend their views, rather than merely agreeing with one another, and thus I am not bothered by them. Sure, they never listen to arguments offered back to them, but having to put your idea into words is a good thing for your own understanding, and it oftentimes helps others who are listening from the sidelines.

    But at the end of the day, we have all learned that the best way to get them to leave is send tODD in as a detective.

  • trotk

    I find it interesting that it became a discussion about the sacraments at the instigation of a non-sacramental Christian.

    Bror, as an Anglican (and I discovered on the other post that I was heterodox, which I wouldn’t have seen had Steve not referenced it above, because I quit reading before comment 4000), I am curious about your assertion that we speak the same language but mean different things. You may be right.

    The sacraments are central to my life as a Christian, and have been for as long as I have been Anglican (and perhaps before then, because I felt driven to the Anglican Church because of the sacraments). But the centrality of them in my life has grown, if that is possible, because of listening to Lutherans discuss them.

    As for banning, I have read this blog for 6 years. I have noticed a great uptick in comment numbers over the last year. I think that the people who attempt to derail conversations have served the purpose of forcing others to defend their views, rather than merely agreeing with one another, and thus I am not bothered by them. Sure, they never listen to arguments offered back to them, but having to put your idea into words is a good thing for your own understanding, and it oftentimes helps others who are listening from the sidelines.

    But at the end of the day, we have all learned that the best way to get them to leave is send tODD in as a detective.

  • Cincinnatus

    Once again, I find myself seconding trotk. Great Anglicans think alike…?

  • Cincinnatus

    Once again, I find myself seconding trotk. Great Anglicans think alike…?

  • trotk

    Exactly. And both from the Appalachians, no less, for which Peter would have derided us (Whoops, he did deride the Appalachian hicks!).

  • trotk

    Exactly. And both from the Appalachians, no less, for which Peter would have derided us (Whoops, he did deride the Appalachian hicks!).

  • Rob

    It’s a sidetrack, but what happened with this whole Peter/Porcell thing? It obviously happened when I was in remission from Cranach comments and my curiosity is definitely piqued.

  • Rob

    It’s a sidetrack, but what happened with this whole Peter/Porcell thing? It obviously happened when I was in remission from Cranach comments and my curiosity is definitely piqued.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “All Hail Veith and tODD His Prophet!”

    Greetings Lord Veith and Todd Vader!

    To Ban or Not to Ban?

    It’s your blog. Do as you wish.

    That is the question. . . .I think it’s good for people to hear from those who disagree with them. Can we take a vote?

    Didn’t someone ask a mob about what to do with someone who was innocent?

    These were helpful comments from above:

    o “If find the notion of blaming the object of your sin for your sin troubling. If a commenter consistently ticks me off, my sin is anger. Removing the commenter in question only removes a catalyst for my sin. It only means that my sin will not manifest itself in a particular context (this blog), but I’d still be an angry person at heart. The problem still remains. I think that whoever is calling for the banning should reevaluate their position.”

    o “I’m with those who say that if a particular commenter brings out the worst in you, you probably need to look in the mirror.”

    —–

    Also, with regards to the “Where are the Lutherans?” thread, there was this particular item in the main body of the post: “4. The Lutheran view of the sacraments is a bridge too far for many evangelicals…”.

    Comments #1, #2, #7, #22, #29, #34 specifically addressed the Lutheran view of the sacraments. I posted at #51 which was also about the Lutheran view of the sacraments. Given prior commenters commenting about the Lutheran view, it didn’t look off-topic at all.

    Furthermore, folks really didn’t engage the substance of the comments I posted. There were multiple approaches made to show that Baptism is not necessary/essential for salvation.

    With regards to the meta-discussion about banning, why not post a list about taboo topics as ground rules? Specifically, make a ground rule that: “There will be *NO* comments challenging the Lutheran views on Baptism and the Eucharist. Commenters violating this rule will be issued a one-time warning, then banned if further violations.”

    If I knew that, I wouldn’t have posted any comments at all challenging the Lutheran view of Baptism.

    Lastly, there were some commenters who were particularly vile and nasty in their ad hominems towards Grace. Some comments even included profanity. Christians should be concerned/ashamed about the logs in their own eyes.

    Pax in Christ alone.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “All Hail Veith and tODD His Prophet!”

    Greetings Lord Veith and Todd Vader!

    To Ban or Not to Ban?

    It’s your blog. Do as you wish.

    That is the question. . . .I think it’s good for people to hear from those who disagree with them. Can we take a vote?

    Didn’t someone ask a mob about what to do with someone who was innocent?

    These were helpful comments from above:

    o “If find the notion of blaming the object of your sin for your sin troubling. If a commenter consistently ticks me off, my sin is anger. Removing the commenter in question only removes a catalyst for my sin. It only means that my sin will not manifest itself in a particular context (this blog), but I’d still be an angry person at heart. The problem still remains. I think that whoever is calling for the banning should reevaluate their position.”

    o “I’m with those who say that if a particular commenter brings out the worst in you, you probably need to look in the mirror.”

    —–

    Also, with regards to the “Where are the Lutherans?” thread, there was this particular item in the main body of the post: “4. The Lutheran view of the sacraments is a bridge too far for many evangelicals…”.

    Comments #1, #2, #7, #22, #29, #34 specifically addressed the Lutheran view of the sacraments. I posted at #51 which was also about the Lutheran view of the sacraments. Given prior commenters commenting about the Lutheran view, it didn’t look off-topic at all.

    Furthermore, folks really didn’t engage the substance of the comments I posted. There were multiple approaches made to show that Baptism is not necessary/essential for salvation.

    With regards to the meta-discussion about banning, why not post a list about taboo topics as ground rules? Specifically, make a ground rule that: “There will be *NO* comments challenging the Lutheran views on Baptism and the Eucharist. Commenters violating this rule will be issued a one-time warning, then banned if further violations.”

    If I knew that, I wouldn’t have posted any comments at all challenging the Lutheran view of Baptism.

    Lastly, there were some commenters who were particularly vile and nasty in their ad hominems towards Grace. Some comments even included profanity. Christians should be concerned/ashamed about the logs in their own eyes.

    Pax in Christ alone.

  • trotk

    Truth -

    I think you don’t see it. People weren’t bothered because you were questioning the Lutheran view of the sacraments. They were bothered because you were cutting and pasting other comments from other blogs, refusing to respond to questions and arguments, and ultimately, because you were deriding the Lutheran view when the debate wasn’t about the Lutheran view. The debate was about whether Lutheran sacramentalism scares other Christians off, not whether Lutherans have the right view of the sacraments.

  • trotk

    Truth -

    I think you don’t see it. People weren’t bothered because you were questioning the Lutheran view of the sacraments. They were bothered because you were cutting and pasting other comments from other blogs, refusing to respond to questions and arguments, and ultimately, because you were deriding the Lutheran view when the debate wasn’t about the Lutheran view. The debate was about whether Lutheran sacramentalism scares other Christians off, not whether Lutherans have the right view of the sacraments.

  • Tom Hering

    TUAD @ 144.

    If, like your argument here, you had made a reasoned argument of your own @ 51 in Where are the Lutherans?, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion of banning now.

  • Tom Hering

    TUAD @ 144.

    If, like your argument here, you had made a reasoned argument of your own @ 51 in Where are the Lutherans?, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion of banning now.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “The debate was about whether Lutheran sacramentalism scares other Christians off, not whether Lutherans have the right view of the sacraments.”

    I beg to respectfully differ. Given the presupposition that Lutheran sacramentalism “scares” other Christians off, the debate is then WHY* does Lutheran sacramentalism scares other Christians off.

    But this thread is not about Lutheran sacramentalism in Baptism, and given how taboo and touchy a topic that is for Lutherans to even encounter opposing views, I won’t comment any further about it.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “The debate was about whether Lutheran sacramentalism scares other Christians off, not whether Lutherans have the right view of the sacraments.”

    I beg to respectfully differ. Given the presupposition that Lutheran sacramentalism “scares” other Christians off, the debate is then WHY* does Lutheran sacramentalism scares other Christians off.

    But this thread is not about Lutheran sacramentalism in Baptism, and given how taboo and touchy a topic that is for Lutherans to even encounter opposing views, I won’t comment any further about it.

  • Tom Hering

    TUAD, we almost had a reconciliation started here. But then you had to go and ruin it by making another comment about Lutherans. Sigh.

  • Tom Hering

    TUAD, we almost had a reconciliation started here. But then you had to go and ruin it by making another comment about Lutherans. Sigh.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rob (@143) the most pertinent answer to your question can be found by reading through this thread. It’s not terribly enlightening reading, but it’s the end of the story.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rob (@143) the most pertinent answer to your question can be found by reading through this thread. It’s not terribly enlightening reading, but it’s the end of the story.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    TUaD (@144) asked,

    Didn’t someone ask a mob about what to do with someone who was innocent?

    Comparing yourself to Jesus is almost never a good idea, of course, whether because it is bound to come off as intensely presumptuous, or because you will merely pale in comparison. One might also note that you are hardly innocent, both in the general sense, and, in particular, on that thread.

    Regardless, you seem to have missed what was so aggravating about (most of the) 37 comments you left over on that thread. It wasn’t the position you were taking, it was your tactic of quoting at length from other blogs, out of context, with only a tangential relevance to the topic at hand, repeatedly, and demanding a response from us to these conversations we weren’t involved in to begin with. Did you not notice this?

    Shall I remind you? In comment #51 on that thread, you quoted extensively from baylyblog.com, and proceeded to post follow-up comments also quoting from the same post at #141, #191, #197, and #207.

    In comments #65 and #296, you quoted extensively from rhoblogy.blogspot.com, and proceeded to post follow-up comments also quoting from the same post at #71, #89, #176, #191, and #197.

    In a particularly egregious example of this, you broke a truly extensive quote from fromlutherantoreformed.blogspot.com into three comments — #211, #212, and #213 — and proceeded to post a follow-up comment also quoting from the same post at #226.

    In comment #242, you quoted extensively from biblicalstudies.com. Remarkably, you did not find the opportunity to quote from that post again.

    And, finally, in comment #302, you quoted extensively from robinwoodchurch.wordpress.com.

    Most of the rest (slightly more than half; the ones that weren’t cut-and-paste jobs) of your comments involved you repeatedly (and I mean repeatedly) demanding answers to questions you had raised earlier.

    So, your memory now having been refreshed, allow me to ask: you don’t think that’s just the slightest bit boorish? Honestly, is this, in your opinion, the best way to go about having a constructive conversation?

    Has it not occurred to you that there might be a reason you’ve been banned from so many other sites (and it’s not that They’re All Out to Get You)?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    TUaD (@144) asked,

    Didn’t someone ask a mob about what to do with someone who was innocent?

    Comparing yourself to Jesus is almost never a good idea, of course, whether because it is bound to come off as intensely presumptuous, or because you will merely pale in comparison. One might also note that you are hardly innocent, both in the general sense, and, in particular, on that thread.

    Regardless, you seem to have missed what was so aggravating about (most of the) 37 comments you left over on that thread. It wasn’t the position you were taking, it was your tactic of quoting at length from other blogs, out of context, with only a tangential relevance to the topic at hand, repeatedly, and demanding a response from us to these conversations we weren’t involved in to begin with. Did you not notice this?

    Shall I remind you? In comment #51 on that thread, you quoted extensively from baylyblog.com, and proceeded to post follow-up comments also quoting from the same post at #141, #191, #197, and #207.

    In comments #65 and #296, you quoted extensively from rhoblogy.blogspot.com, and proceeded to post follow-up comments also quoting from the same post at #71, #89, #176, #191, and #197.

    In a particularly egregious example of this, you broke a truly extensive quote from fromlutherantoreformed.blogspot.com into three comments — #211, #212, and #213 — and proceeded to post a follow-up comment also quoting from the same post at #226.

    In comment #242, you quoted extensively from biblicalstudies.com. Remarkably, you did not find the opportunity to quote from that post again.

    And, finally, in comment #302, you quoted extensively from robinwoodchurch.wordpress.com.

    Most of the rest (slightly more than half; the ones that weren’t cut-and-paste jobs) of your comments involved you repeatedly (and I mean repeatedly) demanding answers to questions you had raised earlier.

    So, your memory now having been refreshed, allow me to ask: you don’t think that’s just the slightest bit boorish? Honestly, is this, in your opinion, the best way to go about having a constructive conversation?

    Has it not occurred to you that there might be a reason you’ve been banned from so many other sites (and it’s not that They’re All Out to Get You)?

  • Tom Hering

    The tally of those who gave a clear answer to the question of banning (which was really a question of banning “with greater frequency”):

    BAN: 8 (Bror Erickson, Louis, Tom Hering, paul, L. H. Kevil, Matthew Christians, Patrick Kyle, Craig)

    NO BAN: 10 (Pete, SKPeterson, Mike Gastin, Jeremy, Dennis Peskey, Kirk, CRB, WebMonk, larry, kerner)

  • Tom Hering

    The tally of those who gave a clear answer to the question of banning (which was really a question of banning “with greater frequency”):

    BAN: 8 (Bror Erickson, Louis, Tom Hering, paul, L. H. Kevil, Matthew Christians, Patrick Kyle, Craig)

    NO BAN: 10 (Pete, SKPeterson, Mike Gastin, Jeremy, Dennis Peskey, Kirk, CRB, WebMonk, larry, kerner)

  • Stephen

    Not to wear out an analogy, but I have been in a few bars in my life, and whenever someone gets the heave ho they always cry about how they are being persecuted.

    And as far as comparing oneself to Jesus Christ, as I recall, he barely opened his mouth when he was dragged before the authorities. I don’t remember him whining about being unfairly persecuted or trying to convince others he was innocent. The most he said was to ask others what they think about him. So then, if we go that route in assessing this particular situation, where does it leave us?

    My request, rather than a vote, would be to set down ground rules and then ask people to stick to them. The authority to ban someone needs to come from the one whose blog it is. In other words, it’s Dr. Veith’s property. I’m not comfortable being a juror even though I am sorta the one who brought it up. I’m more comfortable with Dr. Veith being judge, jury and executioner. My point was always to discuss it together, which is happening. For me, it is about the function of law and how it is useful for the sake of peace among neighbors.

    On another, somewhat related, issue – I also think it is interesting how some of the most staunchly law and order conservative folks seem to be the ones getting all ACLU on this issue. That may sound like a slam, but it is not meant to be. It is meant to be a reflection on the law we all say that we regard so highly, myself included. What are, after all, the limits of tolerance? And is it that we only tolerate what we like? Maybe I am doing that. I’m not sure. I don’t think so, but how do we know?

  • Stephen

    Not to wear out an analogy, but I have been in a few bars in my life, and whenever someone gets the heave ho they always cry about how they are being persecuted.

    And as far as comparing oneself to Jesus Christ, as I recall, he barely opened his mouth when he was dragged before the authorities. I don’t remember him whining about being unfairly persecuted or trying to convince others he was innocent. The most he said was to ask others what they think about him. So then, if we go that route in assessing this particular situation, where does it leave us?

    My request, rather than a vote, would be to set down ground rules and then ask people to stick to them. The authority to ban someone needs to come from the one whose blog it is. In other words, it’s Dr. Veith’s property. I’m not comfortable being a juror even though I am sorta the one who brought it up. I’m more comfortable with Dr. Veith being judge, jury and executioner. My point was always to discuss it together, which is happening. For me, it is about the function of law and how it is useful for the sake of peace among neighbors.

    On another, somewhat related, issue – I also think it is interesting how some of the most staunchly law and order conservative folks seem to be the ones getting all ACLU on this issue. That may sound like a slam, but it is not meant to be. It is meant to be a reflection on the law we all say that we regard so highly, myself included. What are, after all, the limits of tolerance? And is it that we only tolerate what we like? Maybe I am doing that. I’m not sure. I don’t think so, but how do we know?

  • Tom Hering

    “… I also think it is interesting how some of the most staunchly law and order conservative folks seem to be the ones getting all ACLU on this issue.”

    It’s we more liberal types who are fascists at heart, you know. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “… I also think it is interesting how some of the most staunchly law and order conservative folks seem to be the ones getting all ACLU on this issue.”

    It’s we more liberal types who are fascists at heart, you know. :-D

  • Stephen

    Trotk makes a good point. Certainly the arguments with said person helps to clarify what one thinks and believes (we are not following the rule that Dr. Veith laid down by not mentioning names, by the way). At what point does it turn into a brawl or perhaps some form of necessary self-defense though? My initial inclination was that we get together on ignoring the repeat offender, but we can’t seem to help ourselves when attacked over and over.

    It’s like dealing with a hydra. Maybe that is a good thing for the sake of practicing our swordsmanship, maybe not. What tODD said earlier resonated with me – we are determining what kind of community this is, and I guess for Dr. Veith, it’s about figuring out what to allow in his establishment.

    fws seems to believe it is about practicing patience. I confess that I never have had a lot of that.

  • Stephen

    Trotk makes a good point. Certainly the arguments with said person helps to clarify what one thinks and believes (we are not following the rule that Dr. Veith laid down by not mentioning names, by the way). At what point does it turn into a brawl or perhaps some form of necessary self-defense though? My initial inclination was that we get together on ignoring the repeat offender, but we can’t seem to help ourselves when attacked over and over.

    It’s like dealing with a hydra. Maybe that is a good thing for the sake of practicing our swordsmanship, maybe not. What tODD said earlier resonated with me – we are determining what kind of community this is, and I guess for Dr. Veith, it’s about figuring out what to allow in his establishment.

    fws seems to believe it is about practicing patience. I confess that I never have had a lot of that.

  • SKPeterson

    This is not entirely on topic, but not exactly off either. Regarding the occasional vituperative assault on Luther regarding the Jews and the supposed horrible consequences for Lutheran theology, I offer up this:

    http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2011/07/looking-with-21st-century-vision-at.html

  • SKPeterson

    This is not entirely on topic, but not exactly off either. Regarding the occasional vituperative assault on Luther regarding the Jews and the supposed horrible consequences for Lutheran theology, I offer up this:

    http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2011/07/looking-with-21st-century-vision-at.html

  • Dennis Peskey

    Stephen (#152) “What are, after all, the limits of tolerance?

    The limitation imposed on tolerance is truth and, as Christians, we should recognize there is only one Truth. When we depart from the Word, our prayer should be for our brothers to rebuke and correct (in a gentle -but firm manner) so we may be shown the error of our way for there is only one Way. When we as a community examine, discussion and exhort each other in theological discourse, only the Truth will stand above all else pointing the Way to eternal Life. Lord, to whom shall we go for you have the words of eternal life.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Stephen (#152) “What are, after all, the limits of tolerance?

    The limitation imposed on tolerance is truth and, as Christians, we should recognize there is only one Truth. When we depart from the Word, our prayer should be for our brothers to rebuke and correct (in a gentle -but firm manner) so we may be shown the error of our way for there is only one Way. When we as a community examine, discussion and exhort each other in theological discourse, only the Truth will stand above all else pointing the Way to eternal Life. Lord, to whom shall we go for you have the words of eternal life.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Stephen

    SK-

    As someone said to me once, some people are so full of their particular issue that they are like a steaming hot cup of coffee filled to the brim. Any attempt to move them will burn your hand. It just so happened that at the time I heard this little analogy, the discussion was about inclusive language in the ELCA hymnal. It’s that language that got under my skin. An obvious agenda had gained prominence, even in the language of the Creed and the Sacraments. I finally had to leave and come back home.

  • Stephen

    SK-

    As someone said to me once, some people are so full of their particular issue that they are like a steaming hot cup of coffee filled to the brim. Any attempt to move them will burn your hand. It just so happened that at the time I heard this little analogy, the discussion was about inclusive language in the ELCA hymnal. It’s that language that got under my skin. An obvious agenda had gained prominence, even in the language of the Creed and the Sacraments. I finally had to leave and come back home.

  • Tom Hering

    Thanks, SKPeterson. It was good to read the thought that the only writings of Luther we “own” are those that appear in the BoC, which is the only document all Lutherans confess. So we’re under no obligation to disown Luther’s other writings, though others think we should be both owning and disowning them every day.

  • Tom Hering

    Thanks, SKPeterson. It was good to read the thought that the only writings of Luther we “own” are those that appear in the BoC, which is the only document all Lutherans confess. So we’re under no obligation to disown Luther’s other writings, though others think we should be both owning and disowning them every day.

  • Stephen

    I completely agree Dennis. However, I think the issue is not one of Gospel but of Law. What I mean by that is like closed communion (as an example). In that case, no one is being judged for what is in their heart, even though it seems like it. The judgment falls only upon external things – “do you confess what we do?” That may seem like an issue of Gospel, but even this practice is all about the Law and good order, about stewardship and love for neighbor. Is it loving to imperil the neighbor who potentially eats and drinks to their damnation? That is what is at stake and the criteria for a corporate confession as a means to determining who is allowed to commune.

    So, I was trying to get at that kind of tolerance. In other words, where do we draw the line because, like it or not, lines must be drawn for the sake of earthly peace. That is how the Law works, and even though it has no eternal consequences as something we do, it is still something God would have us do for the neighbor.

  • Stephen

    I completely agree Dennis. However, I think the issue is not one of Gospel but of Law. What I mean by that is like closed communion (as an example). In that case, no one is being judged for what is in their heart, even though it seems like it. The judgment falls only upon external things – “do you confess what we do?” That may seem like an issue of Gospel, but even this practice is all about the Law and good order, about stewardship and love for neighbor. Is it loving to imperil the neighbor who potentially eats and drinks to their damnation? That is what is at stake and the criteria for a corporate confession as a means to determining who is allowed to commune.

    So, I was trying to get at that kind of tolerance. In other words, where do we draw the line because, like it or not, lines must be drawn for the sake of earthly peace. That is how the Law works, and even though it has no eternal consequences as something we do, it is still something God would have us do for the neighbor.

  • larry

    It’s not surprising at all that the discussion became a discussion about the sacraments from an anti-sacramental question. For he said in item #4. The Lutheran view of the sacraments is a bridge too far for many evangelicals, and the faddish nature of evangelicalism is a bridge too far for many Lutherans.

    Yet as Sasse wrote plentiously “We Confess The Sacraments” (Lutherans).

    Thus to have a Lutheran “join in the conversation” sans the sacraments would be like inviting a man from China to a conference on international cultures in order to get a Chinese culture and say to him, “just don’t say a word about China at all, its a bridge too far for us”.

    Complete nonsense. If that’s what they want, just invite another denomination to fill the seat because it won’t matter substantially given the parameters.

  • larry

    It’s not surprising at all that the discussion became a discussion about the sacraments from an anti-sacramental question. For he said in item #4. The Lutheran view of the sacraments is a bridge too far for many evangelicals, and the faddish nature of evangelicalism is a bridge too far for many Lutherans.

    Yet as Sasse wrote plentiously “We Confess The Sacraments” (Lutherans).

    Thus to have a Lutheran “join in the conversation” sans the sacraments would be like inviting a man from China to a conference on international cultures in order to get a Chinese culture and say to him, “just don’t say a word about China at all, its a bridge too far for us”.

    Complete nonsense. If that’s what they want, just invite another denomination to fill the seat because it won’t matter substantially given the parameters.

  • Dennis Peskey

    I apologize for not accomplishing this earlier – but for a particular commentator who asserts an incorrect view of Lutherans and Jews I offer the following response from the LC-MS:

    What about the anti-Semitic statements made by Luther?

    Q: What is the Missouri Synod’s response to the anti-Semitic statements made by Luther?
    A: While The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod holds Martin Luther in high esteem for his bold proclamation and clear articulation of the teachings of Scripture, it deeply regrets and deplores statements made by Luther which express a negative and hostile attitude toward the Jews. In light of the many positive and caring statements concerning the Jews made by Luther throughout his lifetime, it would not be fair on the basis of these few regrettable (and uncharacteristic) negative statements, to characterize the reformer as “a rabid anti-Semite.” The LCMS, however, does not seek to “excuse” these statements of Luther, but denounces them (without denouncing Luther’s theology).

    In 1983, the Synod adopted an official resolution addressing these statements of Luther and making clear its own position on anti-Semitism. The text of this resolution reads as follows:

    WHEREAS, Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism are a continuing problem in our world; and
    WHEREAS, Some of Luther’s intemperate remarks about the Jews are often cited in this connection; and
    WHEREAS, It is widely but falsely assumed that Luther’s personal writings and opinions have some official status among us (thus, sometimes implying the responsibility of contemporary Lutheranism for those statements, if not complicity in them); but also
    WHEREAS, It is plain from scripture that the Gospel must be proclaimed to all people–that is, to Jews also, no more and no less than to others (Matt. 28:18-20); and
    WHEREAS, This Scriptural mandate is sometimes confused with anti-Semitism; therefore be it

    Resolved, That we condemn any and all discrimination against others on account of race or religion or any coercion on that account and pledge ourselves to work and witness against such sins; and be it further
    Resolved, That we reaffirm that the bases of our doctrine and practice are the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions and not Luther, as such; and be it further
    Resolved, That while, on the one hand, we are deeply indebted to Luther for his rediscovery and enunciation of the Gospel, on the other hand, we deplore and disassociate ourselves from Luther’s negative statements about the Jewish people, and, by the same token, we deplore the use today of such sentiments by Luther to incite anti-Christian and/or anti-Lutheran sentiment; and be it further
    Resolved, That in our teaching and preaching we take care not to confuse the religion of the Old Testament (often labeled “Yahwism”) with the subsequent Judaism, nor misleadingly speak about “Jews” in the Old Testament (“Israelites” or “Hebrews” being much more accurate terms), lest we obscure the basic claim of the New Testament and of the Gospel to being in substantial continuity with the Old Testament and that the fulfillment of the ancient promises came in Jesus Christ; and be it further
    Resolved, That we avoid the recurring pitfall of recrimination (as illustrated by the remarks of Luther and many of the early church fathers) against those who do not respond positively to our evangelistic efforts; and be it finally
    Resolved, That, in that light, we personally and individually adopt Luther’s final attitude toward the Jewish people, as evidenced in his last sermon: “We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so that they might become converted and would receive the Lord” (Weimar edition, Vol. 51, p. 195).

  • Dennis Peskey

    I apologize for not accomplishing this earlier – but for a particular commentator who asserts an incorrect view of Lutherans and Jews I offer the following response from the LC-MS:

    What about the anti-Semitic statements made by Luther?

    Q: What is the Missouri Synod’s response to the anti-Semitic statements made by Luther?
    A: While The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod holds Martin Luther in high esteem for his bold proclamation and clear articulation of the teachings of Scripture, it deeply regrets and deplores statements made by Luther which express a negative and hostile attitude toward the Jews. In light of the many positive and caring statements concerning the Jews made by Luther throughout his lifetime, it would not be fair on the basis of these few regrettable (and uncharacteristic) negative statements, to characterize the reformer as “a rabid anti-Semite.” The LCMS, however, does not seek to “excuse” these statements of Luther, but denounces them (without denouncing Luther’s theology).

    In 1983, the Synod adopted an official resolution addressing these statements of Luther and making clear its own position on anti-Semitism. The text of this resolution reads as follows:

    WHEREAS, Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism are a continuing problem in our world; and
    WHEREAS, Some of Luther’s intemperate remarks about the Jews are often cited in this connection; and
    WHEREAS, It is widely but falsely assumed that Luther’s personal writings and opinions have some official status among us (thus, sometimes implying the responsibility of contemporary Lutheranism for those statements, if not complicity in them); but also
    WHEREAS, It is plain from scripture that the Gospel must be proclaimed to all people–that is, to Jews also, no more and no less than to others (Matt. 28:18-20); and
    WHEREAS, This Scriptural mandate is sometimes confused with anti-Semitism; therefore be it

    Resolved, That we condemn any and all discrimination against others on account of race or religion or any coercion on that account and pledge ourselves to work and witness against such sins; and be it further
    Resolved, That we reaffirm that the bases of our doctrine and practice are the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions and not Luther, as such; and be it further
    Resolved, That while, on the one hand, we are deeply indebted to Luther for his rediscovery and enunciation of the Gospel, on the other hand, we deplore and disassociate ourselves from Luther’s negative statements about the Jewish people, and, by the same token, we deplore the use today of such sentiments by Luther to incite anti-Christian and/or anti-Lutheran sentiment; and be it further
    Resolved, That in our teaching and preaching we take care not to confuse the religion of the Old Testament (often labeled “Yahwism”) with the subsequent Judaism, nor misleadingly speak about “Jews” in the Old Testament (“Israelites” or “Hebrews” being much more accurate terms), lest we obscure the basic claim of the New Testament and of the Gospel to being in substantial continuity with the Old Testament and that the fulfillment of the ancient promises came in Jesus Christ; and be it further
    Resolved, That we avoid the recurring pitfall of recrimination (as illustrated by the remarks of Luther and many of the early church fathers) against those who do not respond positively to our evangelistic efforts; and be it finally
    Resolved, That, in that light, we personally and individually adopt Luther’s final attitude toward the Jewish people, as evidenced in his last sermon: “We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so that they might become converted and would receive the Lord” (Weimar edition, Vol. 51, p. 195).

  • Dennis Peskey

    Stephen (#159) You are most correct (and confessional) that we are called to judge both doctrine and life. The issue of close communion is an excellent example; if we believe in our understanding of the Lord’s Supper, we would be most unloving to invite other people to share in our fellowship at the communion rail. We know what St. Paul said regarding those who would commune without a proper understanding.

    In this regard, I concur with the application of Law in determining our koinonia with our neighbors outside our Synod. As an example of the biblical indicative calling for us to exhort and correct others, I finally (forgive my tardiness) found the LC-MS official position on Luther and the Jews which I posted at #161. Whenever a particular poster raises the issue – regardless of the particular thread – the truth of what we believe, teach and confess will confront them. If they ignor the truth, I shall treat them as anathema.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Stephen (#159) You are most correct (and confessional) that we are called to judge both doctrine and life. The issue of close communion is an excellent example; if we believe in our understanding of the Lord’s Supper, we would be most unloving to invite other people to share in our fellowship at the communion rail. We know what St. Paul said regarding those who would commune without a proper understanding.

    In this regard, I concur with the application of Law in determining our koinonia with our neighbors outside our Synod. As an example of the biblical indicative calling for us to exhort and correct others, I finally (forgive my tardiness) found the LC-MS official position on Luther and the Jews which I posted at #161. Whenever a particular poster raises the issue – regardless of the particular thread – the truth of what we believe, teach and confess will confront them. If they ignor the truth, I shall treat them as anathema.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Stephen

    Great help Dennis in posting this! I’ve never actually read that, being as I have been for some 20+ years a Lutheran drifter. And thanks for the high compliment of my confessionalism. That is humbling and I am still learning. Having studied theology both academically and personally most of my life, I never got around to the actual Lutheran Confessions in much detail until the last couple years. And then it all flowed together, from the things my father taught me, to learning the catechism in confirmation, to everything about Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Holy Scripture and the Christian tradition itself (which is, for all intents and purposes those very things I just listed!).

    There are two kinds of theology – cats and monkeys. When a kitten goes astray, the mother cat comes and grabs it by the scruff of the neck and brings it home. Baby monkeys have to hang on or they will fall to the forest floor. I always knew Lutheranism was essentially cat theology. Christ comes and finds us and brings us to Himself. The Lutheran Confessions are like the jaws of the mother cat carrying me back. And it doesn’t even hurt!

  • Stephen

    Great help Dennis in posting this! I’ve never actually read that, being as I have been for some 20+ years a Lutheran drifter. And thanks for the high compliment of my confessionalism. That is humbling and I am still learning. Having studied theology both academically and personally most of my life, I never got around to the actual Lutheran Confessions in much detail until the last couple years. And then it all flowed together, from the things my father taught me, to learning the catechism in confirmation, to everything about Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Holy Scripture and the Christian tradition itself (which is, for all intents and purposes those very things I just listed!).

    There are two kinds of theology – cats and monkeys. When a kitten goes astray, the mother cat comes and grabs it by the scruff of the neck and brings it home. Baby monkeys have to hang on or they will fall to the forest floor. I always knew Lutheranism was essentially cat theology. Christ comes and finds us and brings us to Himself. The Lutheran Confessions are like the jaws of the mother cat carrying me back. And it doesn’t even hurt!

  • Tom Hering

    Thanks for this, Dennis:

    “… Luther’s final attitude toward the Jewish people, as evidenced in his last sermon: ‘We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so that they might become converted and would receive the Lord’ (Weimar edition, Vol. 51, p. 195).”

    Grace’s accusation that Luther was an unrepentant Jew-hater to the end of his days has been answered by the incontestable fact that he wasn’t.

  • Tom Hering

    Thanks for this, Dennis:

    “… Luther’s final attitude toward the Jewish people, as evidenced in his last sermon: ‘We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so that they might become converted and would receive the Lord’ (Weimar edition, Vol. 51, p. 195).”

    Grace’s accusation that Luther was an unrepentant Jew-hater to the end of his days has been answered by the incontestable fact that he wasn’t.

  • Tom Hering

    Dare I post this well-known illustration of Stephenic (@ 163) theology?

  • Tom Hering

    Dare I post this well-known illustration of Stephenic (@ 163) theology?

  • Tom Hering

    Actually, here’s a better illustration:

  • Tom Hering

    Actually, here’s a better illustration:

  • SKPeterson

    Also, close(d) communion is a practice with deep, historical roots in Christianity predating the practices of the LCMS. It is, I should add, regularly practiced by the RCC, the Orthodox, and the Copts. I’m not sure what the viewpoint of the Anglican Communion is. If one wants an exhaustive treatise on this history, I refer you to Werner Elert’s Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries accompanied by a quick, breezy read of Jesus Wars by Philip Jenkins. Elert describes much of the theologizing and Jenkins covers the practical fallout.

    Suffice it to say that communion and admission to the table implies complete agreement on central tenets of the faith as well as often including issues of church governance and authority. It seems that much of Protestantism has abandoned such historic, catholic views on Eucharistic practice – in direct conjunction with their devaluation on the Eucharist itself. I’m not sure why the ELCA abandoned closed communion (actually its predecessor churches sometime in the 50′s or 60′s) but they are the deviants, not the LCMS or WELS or other Lutherans that hold to close communion. The historical burden of proof lies on them and those other Protestants that practice open communion to justify their practice.

  • SKPeterson

    Also, close(d) communion is a practice with deep, historical roots in Christianity predating the practices of the LCMS. It is, I should add, regularly practiced by the RCC, the Orthodox, and the Copts. I’m not sure what the viewpoint of the Anglican Communion is. If one wants an exhaustive treatise on this history, I refer you to Werner Elert’s Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries accompanied by a quick, breezy read of Jesus Wars by Philip Jenkins. Elert describes much of the theologizing and Jenkins covers the practical fallout.

    Suffice it to say that communion and admission to the table implies complete agreement on central tenets of the faith as well as often including issues of church governance and authority. It seems that much of Protestantism has abandoned such historic, catholic views on Eucharistic practice – in direct conjunction with their devaluation on the Eucharist itself. I’m not sure why the ELCA abandoned closed communion (actually its predecessor churches sometime in the 50′s or 60′s) but they are the deviants, not the LCMS or WELS or other Lutherans that hold to close communion. The historical burden of proof lies on them and those other Protestants that practice open communion to justify their practice.

  • Stephen

    Thanks for the references SK.

    Having been associated with the ELCA for a long time, what I came to understand about the theology of the sacrament is a kind of general assumption or idea that “Christ sets the table” and all are welcome to the Gospel. While this appealed to me in theory, it also is quite universalist and rationalistic. It seems to imply that nothing is actually given or received, including faith let alone Christ. In other words, Jesus is doing something, but he is not actually there in the means himself by the promise of his Word. It is a spiritualized supper, and why it is not a big deal to gloss over the Holy Name of the Trinity in the liturgy by saying “God” in place of the Heavenly father or any male pronouns. It is also, I suspect, why altar and pulpit fellowship is easy breezy.

    Well, that has become my conclusion anyway.

  • Stephen

    Thanks for the references SK.

    Having been associated with the ELCA for a long time, what I came to understand about the theology of the sacrament is a kind of general assumption or idea that “Christ sets the table” and all are welcome to the Gospel. While this appealed to me in theory, it also is quite universalist and rationalistic. It seems to imply that nothing is actually given or received, including faith let alone Christ. In other words, Jesus is doing something, but he is not actually there in the means himself by the promise of his Word. It is a spiritualized supper, and why it is not a big deal to gloss over the Holy Name of the Trinity in the liturgy by saying “God” in place of the Heavenly father or any male pronouns. It is also, I suspect, why altar and pulpit fellowship is easy breezy.

    Well, that has become my conclusion anyway.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    If this is to be a “bar” on the Internet, I’m hoping at least that beer and wine will be available. I don’t do hard liquor (dangerous for a gulper), and especially not appletinis. Count me in otherwise, and count me in for a cafe, too. Will pumpkin bread/loaf be available? :^)

    Seriously, count me glad that people are seriously discussing whether tolerance of bad rhetoric/logical fallacies might be the big factor to deal with regarding trolls. And for those of us who are seriously old timers here and on World’s blog, if you wanted to see trolls and people being super-obnoxious, World’s site about five years back is your example. Anyone else remember “Lincoln,” or “Nick Peters”?

    Oh, and a touch of a sense of humor does wonders, too.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    If this is to be a “bar” on the Internet, I’m hoping at least that beer and wine will be available. I don’t do hard liquor (dangerous for a gulper), and especially not appletinis. Count me in otherwise, and count me in for a cafe, too. Will pumpkin bread/loaf be available? :^)

    Seriously, count me glad that people are seriously discussing whether tolerance of bad rhetoric/logical fallacies might be the big factor to deal with regarding trolls. And for those of us who are seriously old timers here and on World’s blog, if you wanted to see trolls and people being super-obnoxious, World’s site about five years back is your example. Anyone else remember “Lincoln,” or “Nick Peters”?

    Oh, and a touch of a sense of humor does wonders, too.

  • Tom Hering

    In the case of Grace and TUAD, it’s very clear they aren’t here to discuss differences, but to divide Lutherans from their faith. (In the case of Grace alone, to also divide the Reformed from their faith. Though she makes common cause with a Reformed extremist, TUAD, when it comes to Lutherans.)

    “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him” (Titus 3:10).

    On a blog, the instruction to “have nothing to do with him” could, it seems, be carried out by either banning or ignoring. In either case, however, two clear warnings must precede the action. Then, the question arises, will Grace and TUAD take the warnings seriously? Only, I think, if the warnings are issued by an authority, and the only person with authority here is the blog author, Dr. Veith.

    Which brings us to the problem with the ignoring approach. It can’t have the desired effect of shaming Grace and TUAD into changing their purpose and behavior (repentance) because it would be carried out by commenters, who are without authority here, and so wouldn’t be taken seriously. The bad behavior of Grace and TUAD (and others to come who are like them) would continue.

    So, warnings, to be taken seriously, must be issued by the only person with authority here, Dr. Veith (unless he appoints someone else as the official “bouncer”). And, on a blog (unlike a real-world social gathering) ignoring can itself be ignored. That leaves banning as the only (possibly) effective remedy.

  • Tom Hering

    In the case of Grace and TUAD, it’s very clear they aren’t here to discuss differences, but to divide Lutherans from their faith. (In the case of Grace alone, to also divide the Reformed from their faith. Though she makes common cause with a Reformed extremist, TUAD, when it comes to Lutherans.)

    “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him” (Titus 3:10).

    On a blog, the instruction to “have nothing to do with him” could, it seems, be carried out by either banning or ignoring. In either case, however, two clear warnings must precede the action. Then, the question arises, will Grace and TUAD take the warnings seriously? Only, I think, if the warnings are issued by an authority, and the only person with authority here is the blog author, Dr. Veith.

    Which brings us to the problem with the ignoring approach. It can’t have the desired effect of shaming Grace and TUAD into changing their purpose and behavior (repentance) because it would be carried out by commenters, who are without authority here, and so wouldn’t be taken seriously. The bad behavior of Grace and TUAD (and others to come who are like them) would continue.

    So, warnings, to be taken seriously, must be issued by the only person with authority here, Dr. Veith (unless he appoints someone else as the official “bouncer”). And, on a blog (unlike a real-world social gathering) ignoring can itself be ignored. That leaves banning as the only (possibly) effective remedy.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    Somebody is workin’ some biblical theology! Good going brother!

    Authority IS the issue. And it seems in the blogosphere that question is still up for grabs, as it is just about everywhere else in our world. Everyone thinks that no one can tell them anything. That is a perfect description of the postmodern dilemma – the soup we are all in.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    Somebody is workin’ some biblical theology! Good going brother!

    Authority IS the issue. And it seems in the blogosphere that question is still up for grabs, as it is just about everywhere else in our world. Everyone thinks that no one can tell them anything. That is a perfect description of the postmodern dilemma – the soup we are all in.

  • Tom Hering

    I wasn’t sure biblical instruction for the church really applied here, on a blog. But then, Titus 3:10 is just common sense. There’s nothing really churchy about it, unless two warnings is a form of patience that’s uncommon outside the church. Hmm. I don’t think so.

  • Tom Hering

    I wasn’t sure biblical instruction for the church really applied here, on a blog. But then, Titus 3:10 is just common sense. There’s nothing really churchy about it, unless two warnings is a form of patience that’s uncommon outside the church. Hmm. I don’t think so.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    It’s all Law and earthly righteousness. It is all written on the minds of everyone as conscience, believer, unbeliever, orthodox and heterodox. Nothing can be added to Aristotle (common sense).

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    It’s all Law and earthly righteousness. It is all written on the minds of everyone as conscience, believer, unbeliever, orthodox and heterodox. Nothing can be added to Aristotle (common sense).

  • Tom Hering

    “Everyone thinks that no one can tell them anything.” – Stephen @ 171.

    I’m sure you think that’s true, and your truth works for you. But it’s not my truth, and it doesn’t work for me. Why are you such a hater?

  • Tom Hering

    “Everyone thinks that no one can tell them anything.” – Stephen @ 171.

    I’m sure you think that’s true, and your truth works for you. But it’s not my truth, and it doesn’t work for me. Why are you such a hater?

  • Tom Hering

    You didn’t like my standard postmodern reply??

  • Tom Hering

    You didn’t like my standard postmodern reply??

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Re trolling blog comments:

    I really shouldn’t, but can’t resist.

    http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/4gem/#by=sp

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Re trolling blog comments:

    I really shouldn’t, but can’t resist.

    http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/4gem/#by=sp

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    Have you ever read 100 Years of Solitude. Ever seen the film 12 Monkeys or Obre Los Ojos (Vanilla Sky). It’s like that. No way in and no way out. Stuck in a story that isn’t real to begin with that signifies only itself.

    Sg -

    You really shouldn’t. I think people go to hell for that. :)

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    Have you ever read 100 Years of Solitude. Ever seen the film 12 Monkeys or Obre Los Ojos (Vanilla Sky). It’s like that. No way in and no way out. Stuck in a story that isn’t real to begin with that signifies only itself.

    Sg -

    You really shouldn’t. I think people go to hell for that. :)

  • Jeremy

    The issue of Lutheranism appears to be very divisive on this forum, and I don’t understand why. Do people really think that your average Lutheran congregations understands even the fundamentals of the faith? Imagine I were to pull out your average Lutheran church member and start asking him how Lutherans are different from Catholics, Presbyterians, or Methodists. Do you realize that George Tiller attended a Lutheran Church? Clearly there is quite a bit of diversity in the Lutheran church. Trying to define your average Lutheran is like nailing jelly to a wall.

  • Jeremy

    The issue of Lutheranism appears to be very divisive on this forum, and I don’t understand why. Do people really think that your average Lutheran congregations understands even the fundamentals of the faith? Imagine I were to pull out your average Lutheran church member and start asking him how Lutherans are different from Catholics, Presbyterians, or Methodists. Do you realize that George Tiller attended a Lutheran Church? Clearly there is quite a bit of diversity in the Lutheran church. Trying to define your average Lutheran is like nailing jelly to a wall.

  • Stephen

    Jeremy -

    “Imagine I were to pull out your average Lutheran church member and start asking him how Lutherans are different from Catholics, Presbyterians, or Methodists.”

    Well, that assumes they have a lot of interest in those distinctions between denominations. It doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of what they themselves believe.

    It’s not that hard to define a Lutheran. There’s the ethnic thing – Germans and Scandinavians for the most part, something that is a national joke ala Garrison Keillor. Justification by grace through faith and some allegiance to that as a core understadning of Christian faith is another. And yes, I think a lot of Lutherans could tell you the difference, especially if they were confirmed Lutheran and grew up in it. But that’s based on my experience, and it seems that there are some statistics that might refute that statement which have already been offered up. Maybe we are losing that identity.

    Still, particular morals don’t make someone a Lutheran anymore than voting Republican is required to prove ones bona fides as a Christian. George Tiller went to an ELCA parish. People see the moral implications of abortion differently. Regardless of where anyone falls, there is a clash of ideals. I’m not excusing his actions any more than I excuse the actions of the person who shot him who also claimed to be a doing his Christian duty. One could be said to be more politically liberal or conservative, even extreme in either direction, but neither situation makes one Lutheran or Christian. That has to do with where one puts there trust for their eternal salvation.

  • Stephen

    Jeremy -

    “Imagine I were to pull out your average Lutheran church member and start asking him how Lutherans are different from Catholics, Presbyterians, or Methodists.”

    Well, that assumes they have a lot of interest in those distinctions between denominations. It doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of what they themselves believe.

    It’s not that hard to define a Lutheran. There’s the ethnic thing – Germans and Scandinavians for the most part, something that is a national joke ala Garrison Keillor. Justification by grace through faith and some allegiance to that as a core understadning of Christian faith is another. And yes, I think a lot of Lutherans could tell you the difference, especially if they were confirmed Lutheran and grew up in it. But that’s based on my experience, and it seems that there are some statistics that might refute that statement which have already been offered up. Maybe we are losing that identity.

    Still, particular morals don’t make someone a Lutheran anymore than voting Republican is required to prove ones bona fides as a Christian. George Tiller went to an ELCA parish. People see the moral implications of abortion differently. Regardless of where anyone falls, there is a clash of ideals. I’m not excusing his actions any more than I excuse the actions of the person who shot him who also claimed to be a doing his Christian duty. One could be said to be more politically liberal or conservative, even extreme in either direction, but neither situation makes one Lutheran or Christian. That has to do with where one puts there trust for their eternal salvation.

  • Lou

    James 4:1 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions [1] are at war within you? [2] 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

    I don’t think you should ban someone on the false view that they “make other people sin.” People sin because they are sinners. However, if someone sins in their commenting, then yes I think you should warn them. If the persist, let’s say one or two more times, then I think a ban is warranted.

  • Lou

    James 4:1 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions [1] are at war within you? [2] 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

    I don’t think you should ban someone on the false view that they “make other people sin.” People sin because they are sinners. However, if someone sins in their commenting, then yes I think you should warn them. If the persist, let’s say one or two more times, then I think a ban is warranted.

  • Tom Hering

    What led Dr. Veith to consider banning with greater frequency was the revelation that some commenters were being tempted to sin by other commenters (anti-Lutherans). An objection was raised that no one can cause someone else to sin. Another objection was that the sinner alone is responsible for his sin. Yet another objection was that it’s up the sinner alone to deal with his sin.

    As to the first objection (no one can cause someone else to sin):

    “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” (1 Corinthians 8:13)

    As to the second objection (the sinner alone is responsible for his sin):

    “‘Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!’” (Matthew 18:7)

    As to the third objection (it’s up to the sinner alone to deal with his sin):

    “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently … Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1,2)

    So all three objections contradict what the Scriptures tell us about sin, responsibility, and community (about the way earthly righteousness is either upheld or undermined).

    We might remember that the earliest replies (many months ago) to the anti-Lutheran commenters were a mixture of reason, charity, sarcasm, and condemnation. Though everyone who replied to them attempted, at one time or another, to employ just reason and charity in the hope that these might win the day. They didn’t. The anti-Lutheran comments grew in frequency and intensity, and replies to those comments went increasingly downhill – to the point where some replies were downright nasty (some of my own replies included).

    “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”

  • Tom Hering

    What led Dr. Veith to consider banning with greater frequency was the revelation that some commenters were being tempted to sin by other commenters (anti-Lutherans). An objection was raised that no one can cause someone else to sin. Another objection was that the sinner alone is responsible for his sin. Yet another objection was that it’s up the sinner alone to deal with his sin.

    As to the first objection (no one can cause someone else to sin):

    “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” (1 Corinthians 8:13)

    As to the second objection (the sinner alone is responsible for his sin):

    “‘Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!’” (Matthew 18:7)

    As to the third objection (it’s up to the sinner alone to deal with his sin):

    “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently … Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1,2)

    So all three objections contradict what the Scriptures tell us about sin, responsibility, and community (about the way earthly righteousness is either upheld or undermined).

    We might remember that the earliest replies (many months ago) to the anti-Lutheran commenters were a mixture of reason, charity, sarcasm, and condemnation. Though everyone who replied to them attempted, at one time or another, to employ just reason and charity in the hope that these might win the day. They didn’t. The anti-Lutheran comments grew in frequency and intensity, and replies to those comments went increasingly downhill – to the point where some replies were downright nasty (some of my own replies included).

    “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”

  • Lou

    Oops. I’m afraid I come off a bit trollish, since all the best things have already been said by WebMonk, tODD, Benevolent-Veith, et al.
    (Note to self: be careful coming late to the conversation — and at least browse the comments before adding $.02 in order to avoid devaluing the currency of the debate.)
    Sorry guys.

  • Lou

    Oops. I’m afraid I come off a bit trollish, since all the best things have already been said by WebMonk, tODD, Benevolent-Veith, et al.
    (Note to self: be careful coming late to the conversation — and at least browse the comments before adding $.02 in order to avoid devaluing the currency of the debate.)
    Sorry guys.

  • Lou

    Tom, I agree ref: “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”
    And for the record, you belong my list above of favorite commenters. Thank you.

  • Lou

    Tom, I agree ref: “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”
    And for the record, you belong my list above of favorite commenters. Thank you.

  • Tom Hering

    Thank you, Lou, for the very kind compliment. Continue commenting – even late to the game. No one in their right mind would expect you to read through almost two-hundred comments before commenting yourself!

  • Tom Hering

    Thank you, Lou, for the very kind compliment. Continue commenting – even late to the game. No one in their right mind would expect you to read through almost two-hundred comments before commenting yourself!

  • Stephen

    Ditto for me Joe. Hang in there. It’s “all good” as the kids say.

  • Stephen

    Ditto for me Joe. Hang in there. It’s “all good” as the kids say.

  • Stephen

    I said Joe and I meant Lou. I gotta pay more attention too! :)

  • Stephen

    I said Joe and I meant Lou. I gotta pay more attention too! :)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Have you ever read 100 Years of Solitude.”

    I hate his work. My husband used to read it to me. Yuck.

    I like fun stuff like Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Have you ever read 100 Years of Solitude.”

    I hate his work. My husband used to read it to me. Yuck.

    I like fun stuff like Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency.

  • Stephen

    sg

    That book was one long, clever trick. Otherwise, forgettable.

  • Stephen

    sg

    That book was one long, clever trick. Otherwise, forgettable.

  • Randy

    Set lasers to “ban.” Fire at will.

  • Randy

    Set lasers to “ban.” Fire at will.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X