Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Comment Policy"

Eastertide

I think it's time I had a comment policy. Mind you, this isn't a reaction to anything recent, and in fact, I've been enjoying the interactions on this blog even more than usual (particularly on the Purpose-Driven Life post), but this something I've wanted to talk about for awhile. It's a statement that's more about what I want my blog to be about than what I want commenters to do or not do. The point of this whole thing is to keep in touch with friends, strike up some "e-friendships," and to "do" theology in a way that challenges, instructs and encourages me, my friends, and anybody who comes by to read.

So please understand this "comment policy" as an invitation to challenge, discuss, encourage, and in your own way help me to be consistent with my own intentions in writing the blog. Leave an on-blog comment, write me an e-mail, or just keep reading. It's all great. Have some fun.

There have been several instances when I've been called sarcastic, either as a criticism or compliment. I know that people use the word in different ways, but as far as that goes I'd rather talk my behavior than other peoples' at the moment.

I am often quite critical. Sometimes I have really good reasons, other times not. Sometimes I'm quite fair, and other times less so. I want to be fair. I want to learn to challenge and be challenged in kind ways. That takes patience and creativity, and I want to learn that. It is a major purpose of this blog that I learn to do that - it's more about instructing me in how to dialogue about theology and teach the Faith than giving all of y'all interesting things to consider.

Help me learn to be more kind and season my speech with salt (as it were) and help me to be critical in a positive and constructive fashion. I think that's not only possible, but needful. If anybody cares enough about me and what I write to get offended by something, I care enough to hear about it. I just ask that you assume I'm writing in good faith and not trying to be ugly or hurtful. Sometimes I do say ugly things, and giving me the benefit of a doubt (even if it's a small one!) is probably the best way to call me out on it.

Part of doing theology faithfully is about exposing the lies and pretensions that set themselves up against God's reign and its effects in our lives. We talk these things out in order to learn the Truth (and that's Jesus, not mere propositions about him), and in the course of that we uncover lies, some more worrisome and harmful than others. Sometimes we hold on to some harmful ones pretty tightly. How do we discern that and learn to let go of them? I don’t know, but this whole blogging thing is part of how I want to learn it.

If you think I've been sarcastic in the literal, hurtful sense of the word, let me know, on-blog or by e-mail. Talk to me about what you've heard. I think mostly I respond well to that, and other times I just don't get it (I'm being honest here!). Please assume that I don't mean to malign your faithfulness, and malign mine in turn. Let's put forth a good faith effort to learn faithfulness together.

Okay, so here are the "rules," perhaps better understood as strong suggestions; after all, this policy is really much more about my behavior than yours.

If you make an ad hominem attack, I'll probably delete it if I don't feel like making you look ridiculous instead. Remember to deconstruct and criticize ideas, not people. Especially if the people in question are me.

Telling people they're wrong isn't abuse. (though it matters how one does it!) It's not "denying their personhood." If you think that, I'll be the first to let you know that you find your identity too much in being right, and not enough in being loved and redeemed by the Trinitarian god.

While it is technically possible to leave anonymous comments (I don't want to insist people have a Blogger account to comment), I ask that you refrain from it. Please give me a name and a little context, so I know who you are if I don't already. That's an issue of accountability. Most of my commenters know me and are known to me on some level, so it's most often a conversation among friends on this site rather than a debate between strangers. Please respect that when you join in (and I hope you will!).

For folks with an account, Blogger lets you delete comments you've made on others' blogs. I don't like it because it skirts accountability. Because it's so easy to misread and disrespect one another in a medium like this, I think it's important to go out of our way to show courtesy and discuss things with integrity (And Mike, I'm talking about meaty dialogue or people being jerks, not silly photos, so no worries!).

Or as Mohan suggested, "comments that suck will be deleted."

Any thoughts?


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8 comments:

-mike- said...

The whole time I was thinking... "That mean Anglican!!!" But, hey, no worries...

:)

I like commenting policies. Mine was very similar to Mohan's. If it sucked. It died. T@hat's how the game is played, beotches.

J Hearne said...

Sounds fine to me.

How are you with Ad Baculum arguments, though?

You better be okay with them or I will break your face.

Tom Mohan said...

Good policy Kyle. This is an amazing blog.

My suggestion came from Jon Armstrong (husband to the famous chick blogger Heather "Dooce" Armstrong). It's concise...here is the whole policy in its entirety:
Comments that are off subject will be deleted. Comments that suck will be deleted. Don't suck.

Aly H. said...

Damn. I had great plans for off-topic, sucky, ad hominem insults. My life is over.

-mike- said...

Do you remember that racist, kinist, reformed nut job that was commenting for a while on my (now dead)blog, Kyle?

If you get any like that, you should keep them up. Just to make them look stupid. I almost regret having taken those down...

Kyle said...

Naughty!

Anonymous said...

A friend directed me to this site and I've enjoyed reading it. I'm an Asbury College student so I'm in the Lexington area. I saw a link to The Rock/ La Roca UMC on your sight. Any particular reason you have that church linked? I attended there for a year and half before switching to First UMC.

Kyle said...

Hi, Carrie Ann!

Thanks for visiting, and I'm glad you like the site.

I have friends who are or have been part of The Rock / La Roca and its ministries to the folks downtown, and have worshipped with them from time to time. I really respect what the congregation is doing, and what they're about.