A Few Thoughts about Blogging: If You Plan to Comment, Please Read This!

First, let me say that blogging is a joy for me. I do it out of a sense of mission. In my opinion, there are too few moderate evangelicals blogging about serious theological subjects and attempting to steer a path between theological conservatism and liberalism.

Second, let me say thanks to all of you who only read and a special thanks to those who engage constructively in dialogue here. I benefit from reading many of your responses to what I write and enjoy even the well-thought-out and articulate critiques.

Third, a few recommendations and cautions about commenting here:

1) Remember this is my space and nobody has a natural right to have their comment posted here. If you compose a comment that is not appropriate for this blog, you are wasting your time and will never see it posted here. Appropriate comments are civil, respectful, and constructive.

2) Following up on number “1″ above–I will no longer post comments here that I detect are overt or covert attempts to promote alternative theologies without engaging in the topic constructively. For example, if someone posts a comment here, however well-crafted, that seems solely designed to preach or teach Calvinism, fundamentalism, liberal theology, atheism, Jehovah’s Witness belief, Mormonism, etc., I won’t post it here.

3) Please keep your comments relatively brief. Be concise.

4) If you are responding to something I or someone else wrote here, please be sure your comment reflects what was really written and not something else. Don’t respond to what was not written. If you’re not sure what was meant by what was written, say that (viz., “I’m not sure what you meant by…but if you meant that…here’s my response”).

5) Know when to drop the subject. I will delete comments that simply repeat what was said or asked before (in the same discussion thread).

6) Don’t expect me to answer every question. I simply don’t have the time.

7) Expect me to delete your comment if it is hostile.

8) Don’t post hyper-links or URLs here. I don’t have time to preview all of those and so I delete comments that contain them or, in some cases, I edit those out. Occasionally I post a comment that contains one if I have reason to. That’s my right–to override my own rule. But normally I do not post comments containing hyperlinks or URLs here.

9) Know that occasionally I am away from any computer. When I travel I take only my ipad and my ipad does not play well with the discussion software here. I try, but sometimes it simply doesn’t work. If you detect that I am not posting much for a while and not posting comments often, it may be that I am traveling. I never say here that I am traveling. So just assume that’s a possibility if the blog seems to go dormant for a while.

10) If any of the above is confusing, don’t let it daunt you. Just keep in mind that this is a safe space for respectful, civil, constructive discussion of theology and stick to that mode of communication.

  • Timothy Rayner

    Dr Olson, re #9: have you tried using Chrome on your iPad? I had issues with the default browser and have found that Chrome has worked consistently (for now!) with the Disqus software :)

    • Roger Olson

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look into that.

  • Tim Chesterton

    And I’d like to thank you, Roger, for this excellent and thought-provoking blog!

  • jfkaess

    I don’t think i have ever left you a comment before, but i want to let you know that i cherish the moderate approach. I have two of your books and have profitted from reading them. Particularly the book about Arminian Theology Myths. I also enjoy Ben Witherington’s blog because of his moderate approach to theological extremes. Keep it up.

  • Marc Fischer

    Did you already have some interactions with militant atheists (also called anti-theists?)
    They are extremely aggressive, hostile, mocking and they openly preach the “moral duty” to practice moral bullying and ridicule everyone who disagrees with their worldview.

    And they keep pretending they’re following the Golden Rule.

    I’ve read lots of stuff from these and been insulted quite a few times.

    Interestingly, 95% were previously Christian fundamentalists, at least in the western world not concerned by muslim immigration.

    In comparison, the Calvinists who intervene on your blog are very civile and respectful.

    • Roger Olson

      I do not hold all atheists responsible for the rudeness of some (here and elsewhere). Yes, I have had interactions with militant and non-militant atheists here. As for Calvinists, well, you don’t see the comments by some that are rude, aggressive, uncivil, etc. The ones I post here are the civil and respectful ones.

  • Dale Wayman

    Thanks for moderating your blog so well. I have stopped commenting and reading blogs that are not moderated. It just ends up in internet flaming and is dishonoring to Christ. I appreciate that you want to be a good witness to the world (and to other Christians).

  • http://www.jonathanguenther.com/blog Jonathan Guenther

    Dr. Olson,

    There are iOS apps that might help you with your iPad. Since you’ve requested no links, you might search “Disqus” on the App Store and see if anything looks helpful.

    • Roger Olson

      Thanks, Jonathan.

  • Lonnie

    Excellent rules Dr. Olsen. I’ve found the blogs I like the most lay out rules which ask all of us to offer common kindness, decency, and respect.


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