October 28, 2020

Site News: Kicking Moderation Up a Notch

angry_woman_with_computer.gifA few weeks ago, I made a small change in this site: I stopped requiring registration in order to comment.

So far, it’s been a great change. The traffic on the site and in the comments, especially, is way up. The average IM essay easily has 3 or 4 times more commenters than before.

Now for the problem. Recently, I’ve begun to have more and more commenters who push the envelope of what I’m going to subsidize on this site. I can’t exactly explain why, but apparently really angry, obsessed people don’t have time to register in order to tell me I’m an idiot. So we’ve all learned something.

So here’s the deal. I’ve got some specific messages for some of our new commenters:

  • -To the vast, overwhelming majority of you, thanks for making the site better. I’m glad to have you at the site, and I’m glad you read Internet Monk.
  • -If you are here to agree or disagree with anything or everything I say, have at it.
  • -If you are going to make it personal, your commenting career will be short. You can email me. I’m not paying for space to be called an idiot, etc. even if I am one.
  • -If you are here to say your church is the only true church, you will likewise have a short commenting career. You can communicate that directly, or just by being a snarky wiseacre, but if that’s your bottom line, you can, again, email it.
  • -I’m not going to post comments that are overt attempts to evangelize me into your church. Email.
  • -I am not going to post comments with long quotations or series of quotations. Don’t bother to email. I won’t read it.
  • -I don’t have comments to spend a lot of time answering questions, so please understand that your request for further information or answers may not get a response. I’m not trying to be a monologue, and I will comment at times, but I can’t answer every question, every email, every request for another essay, etc. I’m fortunate to do what I do.
  • One last note: If you want to complain about my complaining, condemn me for condemning, rant about my ranting or accuse me or being accusatory, you’re a hypocrite. If you think I’m wasting my time writing, then consider your investment of time reading me as enablement. In other words, pot, stop calling kettle black.

    Expect a bit more active moderation, and those of you on an mission to make me the next big trophy in your church’s trophy case, give it up, or at least be nice about it.


    1. This is a good summary of BLOG commentary problems. Recently, I stopped all comments on one of my BLOGS for the reasons you cited, because I didn’t want to have to moderate every response. Granted, I am sort of “in your face” on that BLOG, but not on a personal level. It is an anti-Mormon (I am ex-Mormon) BLOG, so by its nature it offends some people. Alas, if they would be polite, I would debate with them.

    2. You make me laugh Michael Spencer!!

      I just want to say a big huge AMEN to all that.

    3. With those guidelines I don’t have anything to comment?
      Seriously, polite discourse, even just civil exchange seems to be sadly lacking in the “electronic dialog” of blogs in general. I appreciate your effort. Here is to hoping Imonk is a place where it is different.

    4. For some reason I could never get a registration to “stick” under the old system. I don’t comment much; but under the new system, it’s nice to know that I actually can 😉

    5. radioalarm says

      I received much enjoyment from reading your guidelines.

    6. “Snarky.” (chortle) I like it.

    7. MICHAEL ~~ Rant on, complain on and please DO NOT change your style. Your site may be one of the few places I read that is beautifully honest and transparent. I’m not sure where many of the loons out there get the notion that they must turn everyone else into their clones in order for their brand of Christianity to be considered valid. I’ve never once heard you ask us to be like you or subscribe to your vision or experience of the journey, but it sure helps me to read your honest struggle to keep your commitment to Christ.

      So use that delete button often and without remorse. Think of it as your “loon-be-gone” oasis!

    8. I really enjoy your podcast and blog. You have a very open attitude to discussion. This is a sure sign of solidity of belief. I always tell my students that truth does not need them to enure that it is true – was before we were here, and will be after we are gone. Discussion cannot hurt. I am R.C., and I was interested in your comments on music in liturgy. Before V II only time you heard music was high mass, and usually the same one over and over b/c it was they only one the organist could play and choir could sing(?). Today, we are flooded in new music. Some is great, but a lot is mediocre. I am an organist in our church, accompanying our music director/pianist/cantor, who is an excellent liturgist. I still wonder after some liturgies if the music hasn’t been overdone. Still, playing through the Church Year with changing order of solemnity is still moving – especially the Triduum – wow! How people miss these three liturgies is beyond me – sum of the whole creation/salvation/eschatology mystery in three days!

      Please keep the intelligent dialogue coming. I would request more information on accessing recommended posts and blogs. I can’t seem to find many. I am especially interested in the recently mentioned discussion on Marian theology.


    9. Good policies, funny to read.

    10. Hey Michael,

      I have been following your blog for at least a year now and am glad that you have opened up the comments. Love the podcasts. Keep up the good work!

    11. Thanks Matt, but the comments here at IM have been open for 7 years. I removed registration, but perhaps you’re thinking about the Boar’s Head, where we don’t have open comments.

    12. I was thinking about starting up an Internet Monk watchblog. See, I’ve been reading your stuff and listening to your podcasts for a while, and have discovered that I think about you and your opinions and your Christian practice all the time. It’s like I’m obsessed with Michael Spencer!

      I have interpreted this as a call from God to complain about you constantly to other people who have nothing better to do. How’s that for online community?

      I’ve been clipping quotes out of context for a little while now, but you also say enough things within context to make good watchblog fodder, as you know.

      It’s too bad you don’t have a flickr page; if you wouldn’t mind e-mailing me some photos of you doing heretical things (like, I don’t know, talking to a priest, or sitting in a cathedral), it would add a much-needed multimedia component to my watchblog. Also, I’m not good with photoshop.