In this post I would like to address some questions I have received about blog “comments” and in so doing reaffirm the blog’s policies and procedures.
As all of you know, blog members at the Silver, Gold, or Platinum level are allowed to make comments on posts and respond to comments of others. The limit is 200 words for a comment and only two per day are allowed. These limits are designed to help commenters keep their remarks direct and on point, and to make the entire enterprise manageable for the one person who manages them (yours truly).
A lot of the comments the posts invoke involve a question for me and I try to respond to each and every one. Since we began the blog in 2012 we have had over 112,000 comments and I have written some 37,000 responses. Ouch.
Most of the time, commenters give a remark or reflection on a particular post. You can ALWAYS do so on an old post, no problem. I’ll post it/answer it no matter how old the post. EVEN MORE: if you simply have a random question or comment, simply attach it to any post you want, whether it is relevant to what you want to say/ask or not.
Since its inception, the blog has had two requests of every comment. Actually, these are not just requests; let’s consider them requisites (!).
- First is that comments be polite and respectful of others. I realize that is not an etiquette generally well served on the Internet as a whole, which, it seems to me, originally took its approach to civil conversation from the old Saturday Night Live Weekend Update (Dan Ackroyd!) (For those of you from my generation). But on this blog, at least, I want people to be able to express their views without being attacked for being idiots or miscreants, and so I don’t post comments that (seem to me) a bit (or a lot) snarky, rude, or overly personal.
- Second is that the comments be relevant to the guiding concerns of the blog and its members, the understanding of the New Testament and early Christianity in non-sectarian, historical, and literary ways. I think everyone has the right to believe and think whatever they want; but for the purposes of the blog, I want us to stick to literary/historical views. For that reason, I don’t post comments that are overtly political or religiously proselytizing (fundamentalist or Free Spirit; Muslim or Mormon; Buddhist or Bahai. I try to be even-handedly even-handed).
The problem with these two requisites, of course, is that deciding when someone has crossed the line is a subjective business. On the other hand, since I am personally a subject (as well as an object), hey, I’m qualified to be subjective. But I will be the first to acknowledge (though not the first to point out) that sometimes inappropriate remarks slip through the cracks, and some (other) times I judge badly. But my intent is to keep the blog courteous, respectful, and focused on our mutual concerns.
Finally, sometimes members have asked about comments that don’t get approved right away, and I know that can be frustrating. To be transparent: my practice is to review post comments five days a week. Sometimes I do more than that, but hardly ever less. BUT, there are occasions when a comment requires me to think more than usual, or to look something up that’s not already stored in my head when I’m not around my books, and if so, then it may take a couple of days. And sometimes I simply miss one. Sorry ‘bout that. But as a one-time committed Calvinist, I’ve never said I was perfect.
In any event, if you have posted a comment and wondered why it hasn’t appeared, you may want to re-read it and see if was respectful and relevant. If that’s clearly not a problem, just send a note to Support (Click Help) and just ask what’s gotten into me lately…
I hope these comments on comments help. I think it’s a terrifically useful feature of the blog, and hope those of you who participate in making or reading them do as well. As always, if you have suggestions, do let me know. As long as the suggestion is not to allow more and longer comments. 😊