A new day is dawning. We have decided to establish a Discussion Forum for the blog. It will be up and running very soon, probably later today. Many thanks to Steven Ray, my assistant in all things technical and technological, for all his hard work in getting this set up.
The forum is designed to provide an outlet for members of The Bart Ehrman Blog: The History & Literature of Early Christianity to have discussions *among themselves* about issues of interest to them. The one major proviso is that these interests need to be related to the concerns of the blog – the history of early Christianity (including the historical Jesus and the NT, up through the fourth century or so) and related topics (such as the Hebrew Bible). Now, instead of simply making comments on my own posts – which will continue at the same rate as before, i.e. 5-6 / week – you can talk with one another about related topics.
I will not be participating directly in the Discussion Forum as a rule. But I will be moderating it. Every post will be approved before it will appear. I *will* try to answer any direct questions to me (although questions on any of my posts can come in comments there); and if anyone suggests topics for me to post on, I will certainly take the suggestion under advisement.
In order to get to the Discussion Forum, simply click the tab that you see (“Discussion Forum”) when you first come to the Blog site. From there it should be obvious how to post a new discussion topic or how to respond to someone else’s post.
I want this to go well and I want it to be civil. So I’ve devised a set of “Rules and Guidelines” for participants on the Discussion Forum. They are given on the site itself, but I give them here as well so you can see what you’re getting into before you get into it.
If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or even compliments, feel free to let me know. Here, then, are the Rules and Guidelines.
The mission of the Bart Ehrman Discussion Forum is to provide an enjoyable and secure place for registered users to discuss each and every issue of their choice related to the history and literature of Christianity in Antiquity. The ultimate goal of the forum is to increase the blog’s growing community so that we can raise more funds for charity. Of greater interest, possibly, to you: the larger our community, the more interaction you can have with others. So please feel free and encouraged to invite others to join.
The following are the rules and guidelines for the discussion forum; please read to the end!
By accessing the “The Bart Ehrman Discussion Forum” you agree to the following terms. If you do not agree, then please do not participate. Those who refuse to follow the rules will be cast into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. If that proves to be impossible, they will be warned. If that proves to be ineffective, they will be banned. (If any new guidelines are added, or if any of these are changed, we will inform users.)
- The Discussion Forum is for members of The Bart Ehrman Blog: The History & Literature of Early Christianity only. Others will be able to see the topics of the forum, but will not be to view or to contribute to any of the conversations.
- In making a contribution to the forum, you agree not to post anything that is abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, harassing, threatening, sexually-orientated, mean-spirited, or inconsistent with good taste and civilized judgment. You also agree not to post anything that may violate any laws, either of the country where the “Bart Ehrman Discussion Forum” is hosted (the good ole USofA), of your own country, or of the international community. Anyone who violates this latter guideline (the law!) will be immediately banned. Moreover, if we think we are required to do so, we will notify your Internet Service Provider. The IP address of all posts are recorded to help us to enforce these conditions.
- You are not allowed to post anything for the purpose of doing business.
- The purpose is the Forum is not to try to convert others to your religious, or anti-religious, point of view. It is to promote discussion about the New Testament and early Christianity (up to, say, the fourth century) from the historical and literary perspectives. Please do not try to use the Forum as a medium to proselytize.
- You agree that the moderator of the Forum (that, for now, is me, Bart Ehrman) has the right not to approve any post that is deemed inappropriate or not relevant to the objectives of the forum or the blog. I will approve all messages before they post, and I will do my best to keep all objectionable messages off. But please note: messages express the views of the author alone. Neither I nor Simple:Press may be held responsible for their content. In other words, don’t blame us.
- You agree that you yourself are responsible for the content of every one of your posts, including any representation of products, lectures, videos, advice, or references of, by, or to others. You release the Forum and its successors from any and all damages resulting from your posts, whether they contain original content or summaries and/or quotations of others.
- As a user you agree that any information you enter may be stored in a database. While this information will not be disclosed to any third party without your consent, neither the Forum nor Simple:Press shall be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised.
- The Forum is powered by Simple:Press, which is a bulletin board solution released under the “General Public License.” It can be downloaded fromhttp://www.simple-press.com, where, as well, you can learn more about it. The Simple:Press software only facilitates internet based discussions – the Simple:Press Group is not responsible for what we allow and/or disallow as permissible content and/or conduct.
- Please contact me and/or Steven, my computer support person, with any concerns through the contact form, or at email@example.com.
- I strongly recommend that you think carefully before submitting a post. Please do not dash something off without thinking about it or proofreading. If a post is incoherent, I will not approve it.
- Please realize that if your post is LONG, far fewer people will actually read it. If a post is ridiculously long (say, 1000 words), I won’t approve it. I’d suggest posts from 100-500 words, on average. The fewer words the better. Succinct is good.
- Also realize that if you make tons of posts, people will be less likely to read any one of them, thinking to themselves, here s/he goes again! So choose your spots. If I were you, I would never post more than five times a day, with one to five posts optimal.