October 21, 2020

Let’s take a break today. I think we need it.

Raging Bull 2

Today, we’re going to take a break from conversation here at Internet Monk. This is a “no comment” post.

Why? Because on Friday there were too many comments that simply do not fit with what we are trying to do here.

I was very busy Friday and Saturday and so did not follow the discussion closely. This is not unusual; I work and have a family and other responsibilities. So does Mike Bell, the author of Friday’s post about how he became an egalitarian. After checking in at one point he became distressed about how people were getting off topic, launching personal attacks, and failing to contribute to a positive, respectful conversation. And so he wrote:

I was so disappointed with the tone and tenor of the comments, that rather than sifting through them and finding the few that actually interacted with the content of the post and contributed to the discussion, I decided to save myself the hours it would take to do that, and deleted them all. My apologies to those who tried to contribute in a positive way. I have limited availability on Fridays so have to hope that those who comment will behave themselves. Unfortunately today this was not the case. I had also hoped that there would have been more interaction with the actual content of the post, but this too was not the case.

I respect and back his decision.

These things happen from time to time on a blog like ours, so I don’t want to blow this out of proportion. This is no crisis. But it does give me the opportunity to do something that we usually find necessary about once a year — to remind our readers and commenters about the basic rules of participation at Internet Monk.

At the top of the page under the “ABOUT IM” drop-down menu is a link that directs readers to a page called, “FAQ/RULES.” I encourage you to take this conversation-free day to go there and read it thoroughly. In the meantime, here is a pertinent passage from it, summarizing my own approach to overseeing discussions on the blog:

editorCM: Michael was a little more aggressive than I am in confronting commenters, putting them on moderation, and banning them. I am learning how to do this moderating thing, and I ask that IM participants be patient with me.

I welcome diverse points of view. The IM auditorium has seats on the right, in the center, and on the left. Why would I want to be part of a discussion that only includes people who agree?

The main things that tick me off are:

  1. Those who only care about spouting their opinions and don’t listen to others,
  2. Name-calling, hitting below the belt, or questioning someone’s salvation just because they disagree on some point of theology or interpretation,
  3. Those who try to hijack the comment thread and lead it away from the point of the post in question,
  4. Those who refuse to heed the warnings of the moderator.

I want to reinforce what Michael [Spencer] said above [in the FAQs]: “I do not have any commitment to absolute free speech on my blog.” This is not a place for people to say anything they wish. Like life, you may not think the rules are fair or get applied consistently all the time. And you’ll be right.

We have something truly special here.

Let’s try and keep it that way.