A place for believing members

As the defacto, yet clearly Luddite administrator of Millennial Star, I get to see a lot of the comments via my inbox. I don’t always read every comment, because if I did that, I would never get anything else done. When I do read comments, a few of them tend to stand out.

Let me preface my comments by saying that I hold no ill will or malice against those who do not believe in the truth claims of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There is ample room for thoughtful discussion and disagreement. I do not expect to change the hearts and minds of those who are already disaffected. I get it. Let’s agree to disagree.

What I do find humorous, though, is the expectation of some of these aforementioned individuals and their sense of entitlement to post whatever comment they wish, and for the writers of M* to publish them…no matter what.

One such individual wrote in a follow-up comment, “Really? Was my post really that out of line? Thanks a lot.”

You are welcome.

Or, I love this selfish plea/command, “What happened to my comment in moderation? Please find it and post it!”

Um, no. Not going to happen.

First of all, for those who wish to participate in the discussions at Millennial Star, please note that this is a safe place for believing members. You [the non-believers and disaffected] are more than welcome to participate in the discussion, but you must understand that this is not a forum for you to come and stand on your soapboxes and preach. If you want a platform to discuss your ideas, get your own domain name and hosting company. It’s that simple.

I should note that each blogger is solely responsible for moderating the comments on their individual posts. That said, I, or any other M* writer, is not above intervening on behalf of another writer when the conversation goes wildly astray. I personally have little tolerance for much of what I will call the incessant anti-Mormon diatribe that many of the disaffected seek to spew in the comments section of Millennial Star. When that happens, your comments are deleted and you are put directly into comment moderation. No warning necessary; no warning given. Why? Because it is our blog, not yours. Again, if you want a platform for your beliefs, ideas, and arguments, start your own blog.

If this post should make any of you reconsider your participation at Millennial Star, then it should be obvious that you are participating on wrong LDS blog. Perhaps an internet search with the keywords you desire will help you locate a blog that is more suitable to your tastes. M* does not cater to calumny and its cacophonous cohort.

For those of you who still do not understand what I am trying to say, I suggest you read J. Max Wilson’s excellent blog post, Bite the Wax Tadpole: A Manifesto for Internet Conversation and Debate. (Point number six is especially relevant here at Millennial Star).

 

47 thoughts on “A place for believing members

  1. Thank you very much for maintaining this high standard of moderation. It keeps this blog most enjoyable to read. Critics just want to hijack every internet site they can to establish an antagonistic agenda (and whine when you won’t let them) and it is nice to find a place here and there where admins take a stand. So again thank you.

  2. Brian D, this is a CLASSIC:

    “M* does not cater to calumny and its cacophonous cohort.”

    Right up there with “nattering nabobs of negatism” from William Safire (written for Spiro Agnew).

  3. I think my best work and discussions are done here where I don’t feel like I have to watch my back. Unlike my Straight and Narrow, I also don’t feel so alone. Thank you for letting me participate.

  4. While I appreciate what you say, I worry a little that in some places this goes too far. Where is the line between your (beautifully phrased) “calumny and its cacophonous cohort” and simply deleting a comment because you don’t like it or because it doesn’t agree with your views?

    I consider myself very faithful. I just got my TR renewed today. I go to church every Sunday. I am a High Priest and have served in the group leadership. I have now been called to teach Seminary. I serve where I am called to serve, I try to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those in need of comfort. And, in the bloggernacle, my views are, I believe, quite moderate. Since I always use my real name (I refuse to hide behind pseudonyms) you can easily check out what I write. Many of you know well what I write.

    But despite that, it seems like my views, the blogs I write for (I now actively write for 5 blogs) and what I write are somehow considered “questionable.” And this fact makes me wonder if statements like yours in the op are really about maintaining a place for faithful discussion, or if it is about creating an echo chamber for those who have a restricted set of views.

    I don’t think this is the case at M*. I have been treated well here, and I’ve had great discussions with many of those who blog here. But other blogs that claim to be for “faithful” Mormons? Not so much. In fact, I feel quite offended at some of them. Do they really want to offend someone like me? Someone whose default reaction is to defend the Church?

    The problem I’m trying to describe is that without some kind of policy I think that it is way too easy for bloggers to moderate comments they don’t agree with or don’t want to deal with — and the resulting echo chamber benefits very few.

    So, having said that and described that problem, what is M*’s policy on moderating comments? How do you avoid simply moderating comments you don’t like even though they are faithful?

  5. Brian,
    Is this a place where we can discuss M*’s comment moderation policy? Because there are times where I have felt like I had comments removed arbitrarily, because removing them meant that the poster wouldn’t have to address awkward questions, or, in a couple of cases, so that the poster would simply be able to get the last word in. As someone who considers himself a faithful member of the church, M* has long not felt like a safe place for me to express my opinions. Not that it has to be, of course, but if you all really subscribe to the “living room” idea of blogging, then you should host a private blog and pre-approve your commenters. As it is, it looks like you enjoy the idea of appearing to be an open forum for discussion, but that you dislike and discourage people who disagree with you from participating. I know that there are exceptions, but I can’t figure out why those exceptions exist because I don’t feel like I’ve behaved any differently than them. Sigh, I never get to hang out with the cool kids…;)

  6. John C.,

    First of all, thank you for reading and commenting. I am open to discuss the comment moderation policy.

    I think part of the confusion comes from the different and distinct styles of moderating M*. Me, personally, I am a bit more open to discussing ideas that might be disagreeable to others. Right, wrong, or indifferent, that is just how it is.

    Now, my post was aimed specifically at those who do not believe in the Church and actively speak out against the Church. I have little or no tolerance for their points of view. As such, I am liberal with the comment moderation when I post…which is rare.

    Btw, I am NOT the cool kid on M* or anywhere else. Let’s just make that point clear and obvious. ;-)

  7. John C and Kent, I cannot speak for Brian, but I can speak for myself. I do a large percentage of the moderating here, so if you want to aim your ire at anybody, most of it should be at me. It is impossible to make everybody happy. There will be seemingly arbitrary moderating. John C, I know several dozen people who complain about BCC’s moderation policy. You know what? I defend it. You draw the line differently than I do, but that is because you are a different person and have different experiences, goals, perceptions, etc. But the point is you do have a line for moderating, it is just a different line.

    We got bombarded with more than 50 anti-Mormon commenters when we were linked on an ex-Mo board. These people seem to have an unlimited amount of time and energy. A lot of their comments got deleted. I have no problem with that, and at the end of the day we maintained an atmosphere that supported the church while still allowing a smattering of the antis to have their say. When it comes to political debates, there will be times when people are willing to debate, and there will be other times when they don’t want to debate anymore. You may think that your point is essential — the writer may think it is repetitive and tangential and it will simply be deleted based on the writer’s annoying whim.

    Please read the following and then keep in mind that the problem you are mentioning will probably still be around several years from now. M* is not for everybody, and it doesn’t intend to be.

    (For people new to this blog, if you insult the OP, the author or another commenter, use profanity or insult the church or its leaders or write things that are perceived to encourage questioning of the Church, your comment has a 99.9999 percent chance of being deleted).

    1)Some people seem to believe they have an “open” community. Then, the following takes place: a commenter writes a polite, controversial comment that disagrees with the majority of the people in the community (let’s call it political incorrectness). Then the people of the community bully and gang up on the person who expressed an unpopular opinion. Polite disagreement (or bringing up counter points) is fine. Bullying, personal insults and ganging up on somebody (which happens all the time on some blogs) is unbecoming of latter-day Saints. This does not make you “open.” This shows that you truly are afraid of alternative opinions and are in fact quite “closed.” What you are doing is setting boundaries that deliberately close off your community to unpopular opinions. In that environment, thoughtful people with different opinions will simply go away, although a few crazies will hang around (for what reason I do not know). Then, you point to the crazies as evidence that your opinions are superior. The reality is you have never even opened yourself up to thoughtful disagreement, because thoughtful disagreement is vilified.

    2)All blogs have comment policies. The question is: where do they draw the line? This is a good thing. Nobody wants to read expletive-filled tirades. Don’t condemn another blog because that blog has decided to have a comment policy that is different than yours. Your blog also “censors” other opinions, either through bullying (see number 1) or through enforcing your own, different comment policy.

    3)A post is the writer’s “intellectual property.” The writer can decide his own comment policy on his own intellectual property. Again, you enforce your own comment policy in different ways (see 1 and 2). If the writer enforces his own (different) comment policy, you must recognize that the writer is different than you, has different purposes and has his/her own way of doing things. True tolerance is recognizing this.

    4)It is not an insult to you for a writer to express an unpopular opinion. Blogging is an imperfect art. Sometimes people are just putting out ideas for their own peculiar reasons. Unless a post is directly aimed at you, it is not an insult to you for the person to contradict an ideology or worldview that you have. Direct attacks on specific people are different. Attacks on an ideology are attacking ideas, some of which you may currently have, but who knows your ideas may change, perhaps even by being challenged by that very post!

    5)Stop taking things so seriously. It is just a blog. If something offends you, choose not to be offended. Or go write a polite rebuttal.

  8. FWIW, Kent & John C., I have no problem with either of you, even when I sometimes disagree with you.

    My moderation has a lot to do with, well, moderation. It’s a time management tool. Life is too short to deal with every contrary comment. I let through comments I feel like I can justify the time to respond to or that I think make good points worth displaying on my blog. I read all comments made on my posts, so whether or not the comment is displayed publicly, the message is received and I think about it.

    I understand what you are saying about an echo chamber, but in my opinion people should be free to deal with contrary information on their own terms and in their own time frame. I have no obligation to entertain your contrary comment whenever you decide to force it upon me. I have a life and priorities.

    Plus, I read the criticisms of my posts that are written elsewhere. I have good friends who disagree with me on most issues. To truly produce an echo chamber I would have to unfriend 70% of my Facebook friends and never read another link in my life.

    Heck, I’ve met with John C. in person for long discussions. Bruce N. and I went to lunch with a couple of self proclaimed apostates we met online just a couple of weeks ago, and will likely be going to lunch next week with another. I have members of my own family who are apostates.

    It is a fallacy to think that a blog constitutes the whole of a person’s interaction with challenging information.

    So the echo chamber concern is really specious.

    Kent, let’s go to lunch sometime.

  9. “It is a fallacy to think that a blog constitutes the whole of a person’s interaction with challenging information.”

    Very well said.

    I like how you use the other meaning of moderation to explain what moderation often boils down to.

  10. Kent, I echo what J. Max has written here. Since we are separated by a distance that takes a mere two hours to travel, I suggest that we meet for lunch sometime soon.

    I welcome and appreciate the comments of my brethren and sisters from http://www.ByCommonConsent.com. Yours is one of the heritage blogs of the Mormon Bloggernacle and has some fine content and scholarship. While I do not always agree with every post or comment, I appreciate and value the diversity of opinion that exists within the Church.

  11. Alas, somehow the question I’ve asked has not really been answered. I do understand the need for moderation. I too will remove comments that are anti-Mormon or contain personal attacks.

    I even understand J. Max’s position of deleting comments that he doesn’t have time to respond to properly — although, I can’t really agree with it (wouldn’t a simple “I don’t have time to respond” work? Surely other commentors will respond!

    But my question isn’t when you delete comments, but where is the limit! How do you keep from going too far? Is there a check on moderation?

    J. Max’s comment gets closest to an answer, and I agree that no blog can “constitute the whole of a person’s interaction with challenging information.” But you seem to be saying that it doesn’t matter if moderating goes too far, so no limitations on what you moderate from the conversation are needed. To me that seems a bit extreme.

    My point is simply this: Isn’t there a point at which moderation can go too far? And if so, how do you, the bloggers here on M*, avoid that?

    As always, I’d love to have lunch with each and all of you. J. Max I have no idea where you live, so that is a bit of an impediment. I will be in Utah for the 1st 3 weeks of August, so lunch is possible with anyone there during those weeks (I know I’ll see my good friend Ardis Parshall then).

    Brian, I agree that we live too close to each other to not meet for lunch, or maybe a ballgame or something.

    BUT, I must disavow the supposition in your comment — much to Steve Evans’ delight, I’m sure [GRIN], I don’t blog at BCC — that’s John C. I’m at an older, more established and, perhaps, more conservative member of the bloggernacle.

  12. Kent, I probably have a more permissive approach to moderating my own blog, but I can afford to because it rarely attracts the attention of the truly vicious.

    But I’ll take a stab. I have encountered the bullying tactic of moderation in both faithful and critical blogs is and Facebook groups. I have only blocked our had my comments deleted once. (At ZD, which is utterly closed minded, no matter how politely one disagrees.)

    I think the truest and best check on oneself is the desire for actual communication. Many of those sporting vitriol don’t really want communication. So, unless you are being inundated with a slew of comments, which makes careful discernment more difficult, the question I ask myself is whether or not the comment is aimed at polite discussion, or merely an attempt to merely discredit or cause trouble.

    There is no reason the latter should be tolerated. The closed-minded love to trumpet tolerance only when it is on their side.

  13. Kent, my apologies, I should have remembered that you blog at Times & Seasons, which, of course, is another of the heritage blogs in the Bloggernacle.

    A ballgame would be great, provided you cheer for the right team. Are we talking Mets or Yankees?

  14. I usually just delete the posts from people I consider very stupid…. For some reason, there hardly ever seems to be any comments on my posts afterwards though. Go figure… ;)

    Seriously, I delete very few posts. They have to be rather nasty or outrageous for me to delete. There have been times when I’ve questioned some of the other mods here in their decision, but I’ve never overridden their final decision.

    I would hope that unless it is a very obvious and egregious comment, they would leave the moderation of my posts to me. That said, I would never let others over-control the discussion or take it way off topic to fit their own agenda.

  15. Silver Rain, that policy really seems reasonable, exactly the kind of limits I prefer.

    Brian, I’m enough of a fan of baseball as a game, that any game is great: Yankees, Mets, SI Yankees, Brooklyn Cyclones, college teams, etc. For the past several years I’ve gone to a Bees game whenever I’m in Salt Lake during the season — its fun to be within spitting distance of the infield (even if I don’t spit at anyone).

    For better or worse, I am a Yankees fan, but I’m not above rooting for other teams when the Yankees aren’t playing. And I have come to the conclusion that rooting against anyone is bad form, so I don’t do that. We’ll have to see if we can get together after I get back from Utah in late August.

  16. Kent, we are going to have a M* meet and greet at a private house in Orem July 31. I don’t know if you will be in Utah then, but you are certainly invited. Please contact me privately and I will send you directions.

  17. Kent, good choice. My son is a Yankees fan, so I am expected to cheer for his team. I will keep my calendar open. I would love another trip to Yankee Stadium.

  18. I respect your right to moderate your blog however you choose and have no problem with it. I don’t understand a good half what I read here anyway.

    We at MM are a lot more lenient and I like how we do it. We seldom ban or censor comments (although I changed the wording in one to read “Fluffy puppy you.”). I would hate if all the blogs were alike, though, how boring that would be.

    One issue with moderation, though, maybe you guys don’t have that. Our spam filter will isolate comments that aren’t problematic at all. My own comments go to spam every once in awhile. We have to be pretty vigilant.

    Stating one’s opinion is the beauty of blogging. Those who do are in a very vulnerable position, risking rejection. I think it’s important not to reject any more than is absolutely necessary. I wouldn’t put down those whose opinion is so important they ask where it went.

    First, for the most part, it’s a complement that they took the time to read your blog (speaking of anybody’s blog, using the royal “your”). There are no little people here, or there shouldn’t be. It’s a small courtesy to welcome them and be considerate of the fact that they are concerned with how what they had to say was accepted –or rejected. Rejection is a powerful message and I believe in blogging it should be avoided.

    That being said, there have been times when I’ve said to myself “that’s it. I’m done with you. You’re outa here.” You have to sometimes, to keep from going Lord of the Flies.

  19. Annegb, thank you for commenting.

    Based on the language and tenor of a majority of the dissafected, I would hazard to say that they are not reading the blog for any other reason than to contend with the author of the post. There is an old phrase I will herein invoke to summarize what happens when you engage with people who have an agenda and are not their to discuss, it is called “pissing in the wind.” Sorry, I cannot summon the words to articulate it better than that.

    Rejection is a sad fact of life. At one time or another, we will all experience rejection. I am simply trying to minimize the blow by inviting said individuals to reconsider their involvement at Millennial Star. I am not DKL and do not possess his ability to contend with people. Even if I did, I don’t know that I would waste my time explaining myself to someone who clearly does not like the Church, and probably never will.

  20. Y’all are a bunch of pantywaists. Your girly comment policy was written by bunnies and enforced by perennials.

    A REAL comment policy, a forthright, manly and straightforward comment policy like we have at the Junior Ganymede, is one where we delete your comment for amusement or just to keep in practice.

  21. Oooh, SilverRain is right about bunnies being vicious. Have you not seen Monty Python’s Holy Grail? Bunnies, I am afraid, can be quite vicious when provoked.

  22. Bunnies, like girls, drop the upfront honesty that is the hallmark of all manly endeavors in favor of luring you in with fluffy cuteness and getting you when you least expect it.

  23. I’m sure if Adam G. went back and looked at a M* post a couple of weeks ago where his comment was (apparently) deleted just because he disagreed with the approach being taken in the post (along the lines of “You guys would call foul if others took this approach, and yet you’re using it here”), he’d eat his words in 21. Frankly, I was surprised the comment was deleted, because I think you guys generally do a fine job moderating comments (as far as I can see). Unfortunately, occasionally some very good criticism gets unfairly deleted. I think most faithful members who write honest, critical comments would rather see those comments posted and attacked than have them disappear.

    I know one of the big LDS blogs recently “forgave” all those it had previously banned. Unfortunately, the comments went down in quality for a few weeks because of that. I think BCC would be a better blog if they’d take a little more of your approach in their banning philosophy instead of letting the obvious trolls continue on, and I think M* would be a better blog if some of the more heavy-handed moderators would allow a little more of the honest criticism to stay.

  24. Of course you can do whatever the hell you want on your own blog. Not sure why its worth explaining, unless you’re trying to clear your inbox (very likely).

    I’m all for banning/deleting trolls who just want to be, well, trolls. But what’s the fun in keeping the discussion limited to people who agree with you? When I used to write for a small ‘nacle blog, I was ONLY doing it for the lively discussion. Seeing that only like minded people had commented on a particular post was pretty disappointing.

  25. When some sites make a fetish of never moderating comments, it brings to mind the quip about the Member of Parliament who gave a long speech without any notes and scarcely any point.

    The whole commenting business also feels at times a little too close to “What do you think, Linda?”

  26. John, I don’t know of a writer, commentator or run a the mill troll who doesn’t want a large audience to soak up their precious thoughts and feelings on any given subject. What’s the point otherwise?

  27. Tim,
    for what its worth I disagreed somewhat vociferously over my comments being deleted, but them’s the breaks.

  28. CTJ- I don’t think the goal of moderation, at least it isn’t for me, is not to obtain a perfect synergy of thought. Rather, I am addressing the run and gun comments from those who I would consider enemies of the Church. M* exists to build up the Church, not to tear it down. I love a good discussion with opposing points of view. But that should not give license to the Dehlinites of the world to have free reign on M*. Not going to happen.

    Tim- I think sometimes moderation at M* can be heavy handed. Taking a step back can be a good thing. My goal is to be open to discussion, provided certain boundaries are not crossed (e.g., outright attacks on the Church & its leaders, discussing sacred topics reserved for the temple, etc.).

  29. Sorry, Adam G. Just giving you a bit of a hard time. I’m glad you noticed and took issue with it.

  30. As someone who has been moderated at M* let me say that discussions seem to be more open than they have been in the past and I feel more welcome to comment here than I have. I also don’t believe this particular post is directed at me, but since we’re discussing the moderation policy here I did want to note that “a place for believing members” in the OP becomes a place for not “encourag[ing] questioning of the Church” in #8, and a place where comments must “justify the time to respond to [them] or that… make good points worth[y of display]” (in #9, although I’m not sure JMW is a permma).

    Point being, one way to construe the moderation policy here is that comments by believing members who do not question the Church (however the might be construed) and/or who make good points (whatever that means) that don’t require too much time to respond to.

  31. SmallAxe, I don’t think cobbling together individual parts makes up the whole of the moderation policy. The broader point I was trying to make was that M* is not the place for former Mormons, disaffected Mormons, or New Order Mormons who simply want to come over and preach their negativity about the Church.

    Obviously, the moderation policy plays into the overall discussion, but I don’t think it is fair to cobble together bits and pieces from the various parts (permabloggers) to draw conclusions about the whole of M*. I think you will find that each permablogger has their own unique style of moderation and comfort level in engaging people in discussion. Sufficient to say, if someone comes on the site and starts bashing the Church, they are gone.

  32. Btw, SmallAxe, this post was not directed at you or any other member of FPR. The ‘inspiration’ for the post came as I was reading random, drive-by comments from a group of people blasting the Church. Obviously, our trash bin was well utilized during that exchange. And Geoff B. nearly crashed the servers with all of the traffic that came our way. ;-)

  33. My apologies for cobbling something together that wasn’t even grammatically correct.

    I get that your primary point for this post is aimed at a particular group, and that each perma has his/her own discretion when it comes to moderation; but I think you’re also not owning up to the way that the parts reflect the whole. While you admit that each blogger has responsibility to moderate comments on his/her posts, you also recognize that occasional intervention by other permas does occur, and more importantly the OP isn’t styled such that “my posts are a place for believing members” while other posts are places for “believing members who don’t question the Church,” etc. Rather, it’s positioned such that M* is a place for believing members.

    Lastly, MJW’s notion of moderating comments because they would take too much time to respond to is ridiculous, and I hope that if such is the case it’s dully noted in the comment policy. There’s nothing wrong, as someone mentioned above, with leaving the comment and noting that one doesn’t have the time to respond to it.

  34. SmallAxe,

    I think you are oversimplifying my reasons for moderation (which is explained more completely in my Bite the Wax Tadpole post, to which Brian linked).

    However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that your characterization is correct: Let’s say that I do moderate comments for no other reason than because I don’t have enough time to properly respond to them.

    Can you elaborate on why you call it “ridiculous”?

    Upon what principle should I be forced to display negative or contrary comments for which I have insufficient time to respond?

  35. This has now devolved (or evovled, depending on how you look at it) into a meta-meta discussion. Talking about talking about talking.

    Not just navel-gazing.

    Not just talking about navel-gazing.

    But talking about talking about navel-gazing.

    Let’s get back to talking. Or at least merely talking about talking.

    My patience is getting thin, I tell you. I’m about to tell people to take their exegesis and shove it up their epistemology. And I’ll put M* back in my router’s web site filter.

    But, like J Max who once swore off the Mormon Blogosphere and came back, I’ll probably be back too. After all, how can one go to bed at night knowing that “Someone is wrong on the internet“?

  36. First, sorry for getting your initials out of order. It wasn’t intentional. Second, I’m largely sympathetic to your concerns about setting the grounds for conversation, placing other priorities above blogging, and not feeling like you have to respond to disagreements immediately.

    I see the refusal to display comments on the basis on not having the time to respond to them as “ridiculous” for the following reason(s):

    Your living room analogy falls short. Who has a living room in plain view for anyone to see and conversations for anyone to hear? Guests are welcome in my living room too, but they always knock first and then I decide whether or not I’ll let them in. If you seriously view M* or your blog as your living room you should make them private; and if guests want to come in they can contact you first to ask for permission.

    A more apt analogy would be a forum for discussion where you are the host of the discussion and others are the guests. There is still a host-guest relationship at play here where each party has certain obligations. Guests shouldn’t demand a time frame for answers, make offensive comments, etc. Hosts have an obligation, in my opinion, to acknowledge questions asked of them. Deleting a comment on the basis of not having the time to respond to it is equivalent to ignoring a question in a live discussion rather than saying, “I’ll have to think about that.” “I don’t have time to respond to that now.” etc. This is a breach of the obligations of a good host.

    I read your BWT post and the relevant parts come across as you being open to discussion as long as it never leaves you losing face. Wanting to engage in discussion means sometimes saying, “I don’t know.” Or even “I’m wrong.”

    Lastly, M* shouldn’t position itself as a place for believing members if there’s the possibility that comments will be deleted on the rather random basis of whether or not you feel like you have the time to respond.

  37. SmallAxe, you might have a point about this not a living room because its not private, but since you don’t have any control here I don’t see your point as significant. Same with anyone else who posts here and expects freedom of any and all expression. Its just not going to happen. Sorry. We will just call it a blog controlled by people who make decisions that aren’t other people’s decisions. If you are really offended by what you see as arbitrary or unreasonable moderation, you don’t have to comment. Lots of people don’t or have stopped. Other places moderate by peer pressure. This one does it by not posting or by deleting.

    Its not personal. Its, as this post explained, philosophical or ideological. That is the beauty or curse of freedom; sometimes one kind of freedom will curtail other freedoms.

  38. Jettboy, here’s why I think you should see it differently: If this blog is seen as a forum for discussion for faithful members where you all are the hosts and we are the guests, then there are certain kinds of obligations associated with entering into this relationship. Guests shouldn’t behave badly (along the lines pointed out by the OP and J. Max) and hosts should treat their guests properly. When guests do not meet their obligations, the host does not necessarily need to fulfill theirs and can take action otherwise.

    What I hear you saying is “As host I have no obligations to my guests even when they are being good guests.” If posts can be deleted simply because of the whims of the hosts, it’s not philosophical. It’s random, and, IMO, it’s not being a good host.

  39. SmallAxe, we can argue until we are blue in the face about your perception of what it means to be a good host. There are many, many Mormon blogs that are incredibly rude to commenters who don’t fit the orthodoxy of that blog. You know what? I don’t comment on those blogs. If you want to let us know what you consider “being a good host is,” then fine, you have done it. Concerns noted.

    There is one big flaw in your logic, which is the assumption that you know when people are being “good guests” or not. Being a good guest is entirely in the eye of the host because *the host is hosting the event and therefore gets to decide who to invite and what kind of behavior is acceptable to the host.* If the guest does not like the terms that the host provides, the guest is not forced to come. But the guest DOES NOT get to determine what “being a good guest” is. The host does.

    So, let’s say you are having a BBQ and one of the terms is that people are asked to bring side dishes. Most people bring a salad or potato chips or a dip. But one guest brings sushi and asks everybody to eat it with chop sticks. The guest may very well think he is fulfilling the societal obligation (he has after all brought a side dish), but the host hates sushi and thinks that it is entirely inappropriate for a BBQ. Here is the point: it doesn’t matter what the guest thinks of the sushi — it only matter what the host thinks. The host believes there were certain things implied when he said “BBQ,” and he gets to decide whether sushi gets served at a BBQ or not.

    So, you may very well think you are being a good guest, but I’ve got news for you, if you don’t fit certain societal conventions, that may seem random to you but are clear to the host, then too bad, you are not being a good guest. The host determines whether or not you are a good guest.

    I have had enough of this discussion. Bookslinger is correct that this is talking about talking about navel-gazing, and it is a huge waste of time.

    Brian, I am very sad to see what this thread has become and how it devolved from its original purpose.

  40. Geoff, this is the same kind of belittling condescension that crops up so often on the blogs you’re calling out. Smallaxe made a valid point, he isn’t criticizing a philosophy of moderation and the actions that stem from it, he’s commenting on a head scratcher of a moderation action that has no philosophy behind it, “I don’t have the time to respond so I’ll delete your comment” and he commented respectfully, thoughtfully and succinctly. And what is your response? The same one John C. threw out a few days ago at BCC when someone thoughtfully disagreed with him, “you’re wasting my time, end of discussion”. Kettle meet pot.

  41. SmallAxe,

    I appreciate your feedback. Thank you. Ironically, I do not have time to respond to your thoughts at the moment. Perhaps I can email you some thoughts when and if I find more time?

  42. KLC, at least we can be a pot and kettle in control of other pots and kettles. That is the point! He controls that place and others control this one. Its not about hypocrisy, but about some people having their own place where others have theirs.

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