I appreciate the intelligent and lively discussions we have here at SBC Voices. I thought it would be good for me to say a little bit about my philosophy and approach here. I have made a few small changes since I was appointed editor, and so I thought I should let you know my philosophy and policies for blogging and commenting.
First of all, the point here is to have an open discussion of current trends and issues in the SBC and to deal with biblical topics. We do not have a single viewpoint here. We have contributors who are five-pointers and other who see n0 point in Calvinism. We have people with different perspectives on SBC issues. Amillennialists. Premillennialists. We are all Southern Baptists, but we do not have viewpoint conformity beyond that.
We also do not enforce viewpoint conformity in comments (though that accusation is often made). We want a free and lively debate here. On the other hand, we do not want to do anything that damages the name of Christ. We are not here to provide a forum for verbal free-for-alls.
So, here is my basic comment philosophy.
1) Comment on the topic of the blog or in the natural flow of the discussion. I have very little patience for those who attempt to hijack threads or who ignore the intent of the author to post on whatever they wish. I consider it rude, self-centered and annoying when people constantly make comments that have nothing to do with the post.
A light-hearted comment, a brief social exchange, a random comment are fine. But a consistent pattern of thread hijacking, irrelevant comments, etc will simply not be tolerated.
2) Everyone who blogs gets upset sometimes and gets a little rambunctious. I’ve said things I should not have and so have you, most likely. You are responsible for your words and your actions. This will not be a heavily moderated blog, so exercise self-control. Its not that hard.
On the other hand, I don’t want comments that have no purpose but to insult another person. This is the hardest part of moderation – deciding when a comment has crossed that line. Every time I have exercised this authority, someone has gotten offended at me. Same thing will happen next time. But, while I am editor, I will try to fairly determine when a comment crosses that line. I will fail, but I will use the best judgment I have.
There is a fine line between a comment that makes a point in an offensive way and a comment that has no point but to insult another. I will generally allow comments that advance an idea, even if they do it in a way that I’m not comfortable with. If a comment has no purpose than to insult, it will be gone. Again, that’s a judgment call that I have to make. You can join the long list of folks who are angry with me when I delete your comment!
3) When someone consistently crosses the line and generally drags the comment line down, they will be put into moderation. That means that comments will not appear until I look at them and approve them. It is not something I enjoy doing, but it is amazing how much it improves the conversation when certain bloggers comments are moderated.
I do not moderate comments based on viewpoints. In fact, right now there are only two people on the moderation list. One is far to the left and the other way on the right.
4) I also have the capability of banning someone permanently. At this point, there is no one on the banned list. That action would only be taken in the most extreme of circumstances.
5) There are two other items you should be aware of, which are part of the setup of SBC Voices.
- First time commenters are automatically moderated. Once I approve their comment, they have free access thereafter.
- Comments with two or more links are automatically moderated.
We want lively and free conversation. We do not want a free-for-all of personal attacks and insults. Its a tight-rope we will try to walk. I’d appreciate your help in keeping things copacetic.