Correcting Misconceptions about SBC Voices

by Dave Miller on August 4, 2012 · 38 comments

I got a direct message on Twitter from a friend when I got home today, asking why he had been placed on moderation. Somehow, our computer had read him as a new user and blocked his comments until I approved them. But that started me thinking how often people seem to have mistaken ideas about how we operate here at Voices, and what I do here. So, I thought I would share a few facts I have shared before.  Several times recently, I have been asked questions that indicate that there is widespread misunderstanding about how we work.

Frankly, some of that is intentional. There are people out there who twist the truth to make a point, and no amount of truth-telling can straighten them out.  It does little good to present facts to them, because they do not let the facts get in the way of their story-lines.  But I thought that the readers of Voices might find it helpful if I reiterated the truth about how we operate.

So, here is the straight scoop.

1) This is NOT my blog. 

His Eminence, the Rev. Dr. Tony Kummer owns and runs this blog. He started it and then got less interested in SBC politics, so he turned it over to the Highly Reverend Matt Svoboda, who ran it for a year or two. Then, when Matt gave up the reigns, Tony asked me to run it (on my birthday in 2010 – September 13).  I have been the editor since then.

So, as editor, I do three things.  First, I write. Second, I manage the schedule of posts. My goal is to have three a day Monday through Friday, and to post on the weekends as the mood hits me – a lot of special interest or discussion forum type stuff.  The third thing I do is the least enjoyable. I moderate the comments.  People really do not like that.  Some have taken a deleted comment as an insult to their very existence.  But, I try to manage conflict and keep the discussion at least somewhat friendly on the blog.

But, this is not my blog. It’s Tony’s.  I answer to him.

2) The opinions of the other writers are NOT my own. 

I had a certain vision for this blog when I took over. I thought we should be posting two or three times a day – a variety of topics and writers. To do that, I put out a call for contributors and put together a team of writers. Others have joined us along the way.

Here’s the thing. With very few exceptions, I simply post what the contributors put in the queue. There have been a couple of times when I have questioned posts that I felt were over the top.  This has led to some of my “fan club” – that’s what I call the half-dozen or so people who don’t like me and talk about it fairly often – to complain about my consistency.

Let’s say, for instance, I post on the need for more balanced dialogue on a particular subject and then the next post from one of our contributors is a strident treatment that topic.  That will bring out my fan club questioning my sincerity (that’s their main job, enumerating my failures of integrity).  But, the simple fact is that I write what I write and others write what they write.

I do not generally censor posts, not without the most egregious of reasons.

3) I am one of the least technologically savvy people who run a blog.

People contact me all the time with formatting questions, with questions about the way the site operates. I give them the same answer.  I don’t know.

One of our regulars contacted me yesterday with questions about opening one of our posts. I gave her my normal answer.  I don’t understand it. I think I blamed demons.

Often, people act like they don’t believe me. But if Tony didn’t have technological prowess, this site would not be around. I know how to write and schedule posts. I know how to delete comments and put people in moderation or block them.  Beyond that, if it is a technical question, it is likely to go way over my head.

4) Much of our moderation here is computer-driven. 

People don’t like to get moderated.  In my years of doing this, I have blocked 3 men – all for repeated abuse of our commenting policies.  I have placed a few people on moderation for repeated (but less egregious) violation of policy, especially for commenting off topic and trying to steer the discussion off topic.

But a good bit of the moderation here is done by our programming, and sometimes it is mystifying.  Here is what I know.

  • If you are a first-time commenter, your comment will be in moderation until I approve it.  After that, you are in the club.
  • If you are a repeat commenter, but your IP address, or the way you write your name, or your website, or anything else changes, you will end up back in moderation. The computer treats you as a first timer.
  • If you used two links in your comment, its going in moderation until I approve it.
  • Sometimes, the computer has a moment of spiritual darkness and tags a comment as either SPAM or sends it to moderation.  Contact me at davemillerisajerk@hotmail.com to get things straightened out (if I can).

If I am putting someone on moderation, I generally give them an email explaining why.  So, if your comments are disappearing and you haven’t heard from me, just let me know. It’s probably some kind of glitch.

5) I have no control over the “SBC Watchlist” aggregator. 

That is Tony’s project. He adds blogs and removes them at his discretion. I have made suggestions to him and he has taken some of them and not taken others.

I wouldn’t even know how to run that thing if he gave me control.  People ask me all the time about whether I could add them to the list or not.  I can’t. I can suggest it to Tony, but the list is his.

6)  I don’t read everything here.

I’ve got a job. This blog takes way more of my time than perhaps I should give it.  But I cannot be a full-time blogger. (Is there such a thing?) I do not read all the comments, especially on posts I do not write.

If you see something that you find offensive, don’t assume I’ve read it.  Email me and let me know.  I’ll check it out when I have time.

If you have any other questions, I’ll take a crack at answering them.

1 Dave Miller August 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Oh, and everything that goes wrong here is Doug Hibbard’s fault.

2 Doug Hibbard August 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

I gladly take full responsibility for anything that goes wrong here that is my fault, whilst disclaiming responsibility for anything that goes wrong here that is not my fault.

3 Jared Moore August 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Dave, can you put my blog on the main aggregator?

4 Chris Roberts August 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Psh. Remove all blogs from the main aggregator, then add mine, then don’t add any more.

5 Joshua Breland August 4, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Wait, I thought the right term was “aggravator.”

6 Dave Miller August 4, 2012 at 10:01 pm

To some, it evidently is.

7 Mark August 5, 2012 at 12:46 am

Always takin about me in code.

8 Dave Miller August 5, 2012 at 1:57 am

Yep

9 Doug Hibbard August 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I thought you had to win Blog Madness to get listed on the elevator…

10 David Tuten August 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

You forget the last computer moderation criteria: your online presence is scanned to determine your major league baseball and college football loyalties.

11 Dave Miller August 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Were that so, CB Scott would be banned.

12 Jennifer August 4, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Been following your blog for awhile now…you do a great job!

13 dr. james willingham August 5, 2012 at 12:12 am

What a relief! I thought there was a conspiracy. I know I see one hiding in every corner of existence. O that is the Lord. He is in a conspiracy to win the whole earth, beginning, hopefully, in this generation, and continuing for a thousand generations until He can fulfill His humorous remark in Rev.7:9.

14 cb scott August 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Let there be no “Misconceptions about SBC Voices” when the FOOTBALL season returns. I shall return to keep all the posts related to any all all true sporting events
(BTW, Water Polo is not a sport. It is a game played at a pool party by preppy, college guys who were never good at real sports and it should not have been part of the Summer Olympics in London. Pitiful, just pitiful.)
focused on the greatness of the SEC and its flagship, the SABANATION.

GO BRAVES! and of course, ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!

15 Doug Hibbard August 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Water Polo was on while we were eating lunch. Who cooked up that idea?

Put a shark in the water. Make it exciting.

16 Dale Pugh August 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm

CB:
If I were you I don’t think I’d get out there and dog paddle with those guys while taking elbows to the face all the while getting punched and kicked in places where it really hurts. Plus, there’s always the risk of losing your modesty when the opponent grabs your trunks. Not a game for wimps, I’d say…………
That being said, LET’S GO RANGERS and GO DUCKS!!!

17 Doug Hibbard August 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Ducks come here, mainly to chill out in the freezer!

Oh, wrong ducks.

18 Dale Pugh August 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Nice try, Doug! I’ll exhibit my Pac 10 pride all season long as the Oregon Ducks steamroll their way to a national championship! (And they’ll look good as they do so, too…..)

19 Doug Hibbard August 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Oh, that kind of Ducks. I forgot they played football up there in the Pac-10. I thought that was a conference renowned for its water polo and underwater basketweaving skills.

20 Dale Pugh August 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

You’re cracking me up………

21 dr. james willingham August 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Well, the Cardinals were the Southern gentlemen’s baseball team in the days of Harry Carry, but I am hard pressed about football teams, having attended 10 schools. We watched the Kansas City Chiefs work out on the William Jewell College football field back in the Fall of ’60.

22 Jeremy Crowder August 6, 2012 at 1:03 am

Agree with cb scott Go Braves! and Roll Tide Roll!

23 Doug Hibbard August 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm

For someone to start off so right seems promising, but then you ended in a pile of elephant mess.

Come to the light. Support the only team that you cheer for by eating the mascot: GO HOGS!!

24 Max August 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

“Water Polo is not a sport.”

I couldn’t agree more, CB! I would also like to include “Beach Volleyball” on the list as not worthy of Olympics consideration.

25 Greg Harvey August 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm

A light update to the ‘About’ tab with a little more of this information might be beneficial, Dave (or Tony).

26 Doug Hibbard August 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm

If I could tag-team this suggestion: put a list of links to various “explanatory” blog posts at the bottom of the about page. Might be easier.

27 Smuschany August 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I would just like to point something out that happened today. Here on this very post, we have Bro Miller giving clear and concrete ways in which he deals with “moderation”. People who have laid charges in the past either now have an obligation and duty to either admit that he is right, or charge that he is wrong. Specifically in regards to areas that Dave will at the very least tell someone why he has removed their posts and or prevented them from posting in the future.

At another blog, there is no such action taken. I apologize Dave that you have wanted (in other threads) names not to be mentioned, so I will do my best. But a blog where many who have made these accusations against Dave participate recently removed my post, and blocked me from posting in the future. All for simply warning people about the true nature of a historical quote they posted and started admiring. I was not given a warning, I was not given an email, I was not given anything before my post was simply removed and my ISP apparently blocked. All because I dared to challenge them.

So you people who accuse SBC voices of doing that very thing, you have simply two options, you either now and directly call Dave Miller a liar and claim he really does do things you accuse him of rather than what he says he does. Or you admit that SBC voices is a lot more open than some of the blogs you support yourselves.

28 Jeremy Crowder August 6, 2012 at 1:46 am

To my knowledge SBC Voices hasn’t deleted any of my comments. I’m not a fan of many of the things written but appreciate being allowed to be a guest and post critical comments. I will try to contact you though to find out your personal experience elsewhere. Honestly I’ve been surprised by the fairly even handed moderation on all the SBC related blogs I participate.

29 Chris Roberts August 6, 2012 at 5:09 am

Funny, I recently had the same experience at another blog.

30 Tom Parker August 6, 2012 at 7:41 am

Smuschany:

You said:” Specifically in regards to areas that Dave will at the very least tell someone why he has removed their posts and or prevented them from posting in the future.”

I can honestly say that Dave Miller has emailed me every time he has deleted one of my comments. And in retrospect I can not think of even one my comments he deleted that did not need to be deleted.

IMO some sites are totally one-sided about issues and contrariarn comments are not wanted and they will in essence block your comments or ban you.

These sites do not like to be challenged.

31 Darryl Hill August 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Well, I’m a new kid on the block to SBCVoices so my recent comments were moderated before being allowed. After I got over being highly insulted, I realized that it was most likely standard procedure to weed out those who might want to post things which are inappropriate. So, I’m over it now, though I had to go to therapy for a short time.

Seriously Dave, I do not envy you regarding moderating this site. God bless bro!

32 dr. james willingham August 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm

My son would never forgive me, if I did not speak up for the Heels, especially when basketball season rises on the horizon.

33 Dale Pugh August 5, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Well, sir, when it comes to basketball North Carolina is in a class by itself……

34 Jeremy Parks August 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

Thanks for the clarity.

On a related issue, what am I to think when my actual posts go to moderation?

35 Greg Harvey August 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

The first question is: “did I put two links in?” If so, then it is in moderation. The second question is: “did I modify my name or mailing address or website?” If yes, then that might be why it’s in moderation.

The third question is “is it the third blue moon of the year AND a Tuesday?” If so, you should–if you are a Star Trek fan–realize you’re playing fizzbin and you are losing. And that’s why it’s in moderation. Another sign of losing a game of fizzbin is that James Tiberius Kirk just knocked you out.

36 Dave Miller August 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm

That is funny.

37 Dave Miller August 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Tim Raccine, I removed your comment because I think it might have been meant for a different thread, but was not appropriate here.

38 Jim Pemberton August 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I post from a couple of machines and devices and don’t recall having any moderating issues. Even if I did, what I say is not terribly important and it probably wouldn’t phase me if something I wrote got dropped. Frankly, I think you’re doing a great job, Dave. Keep up the good work.

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