Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Reminder on Etiquette and the Rules for Comments

I'm really sorry that some people have had a frustrating time with posting comments. Much of the problem has been that Blogger has an anti-spam feature that can automatically block comments, especially when multiple links are in the comment. The other problem is that occasionally, rather rarely, I will delete comments when they violate my policies. I'm sorry that this has been offensive to some. Let me explain the rules and expectations I have.

Basics of etiquette for the Mormanity blog: Civil, on-topic dialog is the standard I ask for. Shouting offensive remarks is not participating in civil dialog. Off-topic posts are frowned upon. Links to anti-Mormon sites are generally unwelcome: I don't want to increase their page rank on Google and don't want to send people there as a general rule. Yep, there's my horrific, benighted bias out for all to see: this is actually a PRO-Mormon blog.

Long essays posted in numerous chunks do not strike me as civil dialog, but as unwelcome hogging of bandwidth with a monolog. If you can't make your point in 4000 characters, you aren't going to make it in 80,0000 split across 20 comments in a row. People aren't going to read that. I'm not, anyway. If you have a long essay, get your own blog and share it. It's easy and it's free.

Remember, this is Jeff's blog. Not a place for you to do and say anything you want. If I object to what you're doing and delete a comment, it doesn't help to come back and tell me what a vicious hypocrite I am. Tell your story of being viciously repressed by me elsewhere in anti-Mormon halls where you may receive a hero's welcome.

Think of this blog as a neighborhood party with free food. I create a dish occasionally and put it out on a table in front of my house to let neighbors and others come buy and taste it, with an expectation of politeness. I allow them to put sticky notes on the table responding to the dish I've prepared. Some like it, some don't, some have suggestions on alternate recipes. But if a sticky note is objectionable or if someone tries to blanket the table with their own sticky notes accusing me of serving poisoned food or cooking babies, or if someone wants to hog up the whole table for themselves with zillions of sticky notes, I reserve the right to yank a few off. You can be offended, but you have no rights to demand anything more from me.

If you are fuming with anger as you type, first go to Wal-Mart and get a free blood pressure test. If your you're above 135/85, go out in a field,, sit down, and meditate for a few minutes. Oh, check where you are sitting first, especially here in the dairy state of Wisconsin. Relax, cut down on sodium and fried foods, work out a bit more, and once the blood pressure is normal, then write a more calm entry. This is not a place to express anger and hatred, as valid as you may think those emotions are. It's a place for civil dialog. On-topic dialog.

If you post the same thing or nearly the same thing four or five times, I frown upon that. If you are promoting a business or an anti-Mormon website, I frown upon that. Angry insults aren't helpful. Links to YouTube videos are suspect unless I know the source or know what's in it because I've had people give links to videos that start off OK and then become highly objectionable and I really don't have time to screen them.

Recognize that Blogger has an automatic spam feature. One recent poster has 23 entries sitting in the spam area of Blogger. He thought I was sitting here deleting them one by one and that I have not banned his name from comments at all. Not so. What he posted over and over fell into the spam-like filters that I didn't create. This can happen to good posters as well and I can go in and manually clear them, but sometimes that takes a while for me to notice and fix. If a comment disappears a few seconds after you post it (refresh to check), it was probably the automatic spam filter. Adding links, especially lots of links, to a post seems to be the main way to trigger it. If you are sharing a link, I suggest copying your comment before sending it to make sure it clears the spam filter. I think the spam filter might recognize "bad behavior" from a single IP address or screen name, but I'm not sure. Interesting that so many comments from one poster would be captured as spam. Sorry, but that's not necessarily because Mormons are toxic.

15 comments:

zerabp said...

For some reason people believe that freedom of speech extends to someones personal blog, and it does what they fail to realize is you have the freedom to remove that speech as well, as your own way of practicing free speech. These are the people that truly only support free speech if you agree with them.

Thank you, for doing a good job, at least in my view, of keeping the atmosphere here pleasant and thoughtful.

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

Thank you for having the courage to have a bias. I appreciate your "pro-Mormon" stance, and that is why I read your blog.

Thanks!

hnhoj said...

Yaaaay Jeff.

Droobles said...

Good for you, Jeff! I love your blog, rarely comment because some people are so hateful on the commentaries I figure they'll attack me if I write anything! Others are much more civil, but I 100% agree if they want to share their own views, their own blog would be the way to do it. I come here to do a few things:
1. Support you. Your blog(s) have answered questions and helped shore up my faith when I was having a spiritual crisis. Thank you!
2. Learn more about your views. You're a thinking and a thoughtful man, and I like the way you view things. If I'm not expanding my paradigm and experiences, I'm not progressing.

Keep up the great blog, and thanks for all that you've done. It's made a difference to me.

Andrew

Michemily said...

Yes, comments can be real downers. Lame. I'm sorry.

dovh49 said...

I have to admit. I have been a little on the negative side in a comment when it was about politics. Being a pretty hard core libertarian it's sometimes hard to hold back. But I do enjoy your blog and its positive tone.

Mormon Women: Who We Are said...

You should be the comment policy writer for all LDS blogs. Well said, and I'm sorry you've had some bad experiences. I've noticed, though, that you aren't afraid ideas that are different from yours, and I think your readers should know that. Yes, this is a pro-Mormon blog, but you are not closed-minded in your willingness to address questions and issues and opinions that are different from yours.

There is plenty of place for respectful dialogue in disagreement, and it's unfortunate that that doesn't happen more often.

Peter LLC said...

Think of this blog as a neighborhood party with free food.

I would say it's more like a storefront in all the major "bloggernacle malls."

Cathy said...

Bravo! Well said.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Peter, help me out with the storefront comment. I don't think I get it. Sorry - am not feeling very metaphorical today. All the pressure of moving to China, etc.

Carey Foushee said...

I am so excited you are moving to China. I've learned so much from your site and am thrilled to think of all the new things you'll be able share with all of us.

MichaelF said...

Although I am not LDS (or any other denomination for that matter!)I read your blog regularly as I find you have some very interesting and thought-provoking things to say. I happened on your site by chance while doing some research into Helmuth Hubener after I had bought the DVD "Truth and Treason". That brave lad (just 17 when he was executed by the Nazis)deserves to be known far more widely than he is. Anyway, I wish you well, and keep on blogging!

MichaelF said...

Sorry, the DVD about Hubener is entitled "Truth and Conviction".

Papa D said...

Jeff, I read the storefront analogy as a compliment - that Mormanity probably is one of the top listed blogs on MANY other blogs in the Bloggernacle, broadly defined (the "storefront" to the larger world of the Bloggernacle, if you will).

Maybe that's not what Peter meant, but it's how I took it - and I agree wholeheartedly. If there is a personal blog that exemplifies what a Mormon-themed blog should be (a blog through which people should pass when they discover the Bloggernacle), I think Mormanity is it.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Papa D, you're far too kind. As they say over here, 不用客气 (don't be so polite!). Hey, this was my first comment while in China, in spite of the Great Firewall which blocks Blogger, even when we're rooting for China! It can be done--and I didn't even use VPN.