M* Awards?

There are the Mormon Matters’ Niblets, and BCC has the Boggs-Doniphan Awards.

Isn’t it time for the M* to have its own awards to hand out?  We need something interesting, but definitely different than the other Mormon Awards that are out there.

Suggestions on what would make for a good and interesting Award(s) that M* could offer?  Should it be voted upon by the unwashed LDS masses, or be decided by the permabloggers here?  Should we seek to have an award we share with others on the Bloggernacle to develop?

Thoughts?

108 thoughts on “M* Awards?

  1. We did awards once for the Tare of the year. Basically we tried to find the most anti-but not claiming to non-mormon we could find. Not a great example of Christ-like behavior no matter how fun it was to get nominations. So, I suggest NOT doing those awards :)

    How about most compelling post?

  2. I just love that the Niblets are considered to be Mormon Matters’. I consider that a private victory.

    Sorry for not contributing anything substantial with this comment.

  3. Yeah, Andrew S. There are so many things wrong with the partnerships listed in the OP that it’s hard to know where to begin…

  4. Let’s start with this last line (actually next-to-last one) instead:

    Should we seek to have an award we share with others on the Bloggernacle to develop?

    LOL. Actually, I don’t know what to say to this either.

    I’m guessing that M* has a certain…orthodoxy…it is trying to project as its brand. So perhaps it should try to partner with Nothing Wavering rather than the ‘Nacle?

  5. Ram,

    I think you are right. I think it’s time to look at doing some M* awards.

    AndrewS: Dang right. And don’t you forget it. ;)
    My thoughts:

    There is no such thing as the unwashed masses

    A partnership with Nothing Wavering would be awesome.

  6. I always thought we were one of the flag ship Nothing Wavering blogs, and that we were only part of the bloggernacle because that was where it started and just haven’t been kicked off yet. :)

  7. Yeah… Not that I’m jealous AT ALL, but new M* posts are auto-tweeted via the Mormon Archipelago/Bloggernacle twitter account. Some blogs don’t get that, needless to say.

  8. Jettboy,
    As I understand it, you don’t need to wait for the MA to remove you if you’re ashamed or embarrassed by inclusion. I am certain that the MA deciderers would remove M* if you emailed a request to them.

    I hope you don’t, fwiw.

  9. It’s time for Scott B. to put together a multi-part history of bloggernacle awards, including the bringing of Bloggernacle Times out of mothballs for a year to sew up rights to the Niblets and then settle back to the tomb once no one cared any more.

  10. Scott B., my Straight and Narrow was kicked off of the Bloggernacle without warning, e-mail, or any indication of a reason it would no longer be listed. Ironically, it was right after I actually posted a positive statement about the Bloggernacle for its (although lopsided) inclusions. My point isn’t that I want M* off of it, but that I am surprised those that kicked my blog off haven’t done the same to this one.

  11. M* defies all categorization. We want to be read by as many people as possible.

    As for the awards, I propose four:

    –Best General Conference coverage (BCC wins this imho, but there might be better coverage out there).
    –Most spiritual post.
    –Best post explaining/exploring Church doctrine.
    –Best post promoting liberty.

    Rame, what do you think? Do you want to run with this? Any other categories you can think of?

  12. Ardis, because blogging awards are like grade school popularity awards. Most people are afraid they won’t get anything, so they find it easier to attack the concept itself. Since it stems from deeply-rooted childhood trauma, it’s largely a subconscious thing.

    That’s my psychoanalysis of the day, anyways. And I don’t even charge.

  13. How about whiniest post, and just so I can win, whiniest comment or most self-righteous comment?

    Geoff’s suggestions in 11 are really good too.

  14. Ardis,
    I don’t know if anyone is fighting here. I just don’t understand how the connections in the OP were made. To wit:

    -BCC’s B-D Award isn’t related in any way to blogging. It’s for a human being who has some impact on Mormonism. More importantly, it only exists because of another non-blogging award–Mormon of the Year–at Times & Seasons, which was left off of the list.

    -The Niblets, regardless of where they are held, do not belong to Mormon Matters anymore than they belong to M*. Posts from virtually every blog on the MA are nominated and voted on in the Niblets. If any blog–M* or otherwise–is underrepresented, that is only because M* authors (or fans of M* posts) didn’t nominate them.

  15. I guess the thing that bothers me is that the OP seems to be prescribing distantly separated tables for people who really ought to be dining together. I’ve always felt myself to be kind of an outsider in Mormon blogging circles, because I wasn’t around in the early days and really only know a few people. Nevertheless, one of my most frustrating observations is the degree of us vs. them mentalities that exist on the group blogs. I see it at BCC, I see it here at M*, and I’ve seen it virtually everywhere else. If you look back at posts from 2004-2007, you could see a lot of mixing. T&S authors commented at BCC, BCC authors commented at M*, and every other combination existed also. Now, there are only a couple of people from each of these blogs who venture out of the safe havens of their own blogs. I’m one of those people–on this post alone, I’m probably tripling the number of comments I’ve made at M* this year.

    I find that terribly sad, but the reason I find it so sad is that I can never escape the feeling that the reason is offense and hurt feelings and petty treatment of each other. I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that Bruce Nielsen has argued in several places–based on his experience at MormonMatters–that some kind of faithful/critical demarcation is necessary and unavoidable. I agree, but I firmly believe that, in trying to create a safe place to discuss our faith in Christ, in the Restoration, and everything else that crosses our paths in the kingdom, we’ve all collectively drawn some unfortunate and unnecessary lines in the sand using personal insult and resentment as our swords, instead of actual security and belief.

    Maybe I’m just asking if we could all try and forgive each other a bit more?

  16. Different blogs have different cultures. Boundary maintenance is critical to maintain these different cultures. While some people may long for a bigger, broader tent, this belies how relationships work in the real world. You should know that since I’ve taken it wholesale from your co-bloggers.

    It goes even further than a faithful/critical demarcation. T&S has a different atmosphere than BCC, although I’d both go to venture they are “faithful” (although in a very different way than the Nothing Wavering blogs, which at best lie as remnant of the Bloggernacle and at worst are completely separate, but perhaps not as separated as Outer Blogness is from those other two), so that’s not the only distinction.

    So, while forgiving each other and stuff is nice advice, the real issue is that for everyone to meet together, we’d have to continually walk around on egg shells, because we are used to very different community norms that don’t mesh well. At best, it’s a confederation, not a federal union.

  17. Andrew S.,
    I know you’ve taken it from my cobloggers, and I really, truly find that regrettable, especially for any part I have played in it. I don’t agree with you religiously, but I don’t recall you ever saying anything at BCC that wasn’t entirely appropriate (in content) for the conversation being held.

    As for the rest, everything you said is not new to me, and I even acknowledged the need for boundary maintenance above, where I said that I agree with Bruce Nielsen’s argument. While no one would give out food awards and put steak and ice cream in the same contest, that doesn’t mean we have to keep the Italian dishes and Mexican dishes and American dishes all separate from each other, too.

    Maybe a better example, which gets closer to the heart of what bothers me here: Movie Awards. There are dozens of awards for movies, and each of them has a slightly different focus. That’s fine. I like the idea that Sci-Fi has it’s own awards (Saturn Awards) because those films don’t often get appreciation in other circles. However, with those Awards, consideration in one show doesn’t mean that no other show can consider the same film. In this case, it seems to me that if the quest is for (as Geoff B suggests) the “Best Post Promoting Liberty,” why does it need to come from Nothing Wavering? Or M*? If the point is “Best post explaining/exploring Church doctrine,” why shouldn’t a post that was written by Andrew S., an atheist at Wheat & Tares, which does a bang-up job of explaining/exploring Church doctrine, be considered?

  18. we’d have to continually walk around on egg shells, because we are used to very different community norms that don’t mesh well.

    I agree, but I maintain that some genuine forgiveness and some genuine apologies would melt a lot of insult/offense-based icebergs that have been dressed up as doctrinal or philosophical disagreement.

  19. Having participated behind the scenes in several similar efforts allow me to add:
    1. I think there is great value in highlighting outstanding posts and comments from the past year.
    2. The awards format always leads to boundary drawing that is bound to offend people.
    3. Hosting the niblbets has been the death of a blog or two.

  20. Scott,

    Don’t worry about it. I find it truly regrettable that I didn’t get the hint for so long and persisted in being obnoxious. But it was a lesson that I nevertheless had to learn. Now, I’m just more aware when others don’t get that lesson…and it bothers me that I was once so socially unaware (if commenting on internet blogs can be a part of social intelligence, hehe.)

    It seems that you set up arbitrary limits for boundaries. Steak and ice cream, ok. But why not divide different ethnic foods in a food competition? That could very plausibly be a meaningful point of division.

    As for the movie thing, I think the issue is precisely because different people have different tastes. So, while of course, “best post promoting liberty” could come from any site, but the people of M* and Nothing Wavering are going to have a considerably different idea of what that post would look like than the people of MSP and Outer Blogness, or BCC and the Bloggernacle. So, you said earlier “if any blog is unrepresented, that is only because [that blog’s authors, or fans” do not nominate those posts.”

    But that’s only part of the issue. Even if I nominate my posts for a BCC-run competition, unless I swamp the votes (which is inconsiderate behavior), I know my posts aren’t going to win, because I’m outnumbered in that foreign community.

    OF course there will be consideration. But since “best” isn’t objective, it really only highlights the division: the group with the most fans will win every time. Or, to paraphrase someone else (don’t remember who), “In my bloggernacle, we don’t award Niblets to the likes of Chino Blanco.” So why have the charade to begin with? And this is ignoring the fact that different blogs have different philosophies of how to even proceed with nominations and awards. Democratic or hand-selected? etc.,

    I agree, but I maintain that some genuine forgiveness and some genuine apologies would melt a lot of insult/offense-based icebergs that have been dressed up as doctrinal or philosophical disagreement.

    Genuine forgiveness and genuine apologies would be great. BUT even if these get rid of some icebergs-hiding-as-doctrinal/philosophical-disagreement, this doesn’t mean there are NO genuine disagreements in terms of doctrine and philosophies. There are.

  21. Hosting the niblbets has been the death of a blog or two.

    While I don’t deny that hosting niblets is really tough on everyone involved, I don’t know which blogs died as a result of them (although death doesn’t seem an unlikely result.) But then again, I’m not the Bloggernacle Historian. Maybe Scott can write an article at Bloggernacle Times about it (…or is that one of the dead blogs?)

  22. Andrew,

    I wasn’t clear. I am fine with another round of awards, which reflect the different judges’ tastes in content and style. What I don’t understand is why it needs to be open only to posts from certain sites, and I got the impression (perhaps wrong) that that is where the OP and the initial comments were taking the idea. In a nutshell, I don’t understand why a post I write with libertarian leanings and a post Geoff B writes with libertarian leanings can’t be nominated for the same award, whether it be one given in the Niblets, the M* Awards, or some entity.

    It seems that you set up arbitrary limits for boundaries. Steak and ice cream, ok. But why not divide different ethnic foods in a food competition? That could very plausibly be a meaningful point of division.

    I think that dividing ethnic restaurants into separate classes is great if you actually have enough ethnic restaurants to have a meaningful competition–but I also don’t see the problem with having a competition that welcomes all _dinners_ and only excludes desserts, beverages, and salads from nomination. After all, they’re all dinners!

    Even if I nominate my posts for a BCC-run competition, unless I swamp the votes (which is inconsiderate behavior), I know my posts aren’t going to win, because I’m outnumbered in that foreign community…OF course there will be consideration. But since “best” isn’t objective, it really only highlights the division: the group with the most fans will win every time. Or, to paraphrase someone else (don’t remember who), “In my bloggernacle, we don’t award Niblets to the likes of Chino Blanco.” So why have the charade to begin with?

    First of all, there IS no BCC-run competition (just getting that out of the way for clarity’s sake).

    Second, this is precisely the sort of thing I’m so frustrated with. Both your statement about not winning a BCC-run competition, and the statement about Chino Blanco, represent a I’m-gonna-take-my-ball-and-go-home attitude: people no longer sharing with each other, no longer striving with each other, and buying into the belief that friendship is out of the question. While that’s fine and dandy during a competition, the evils of the attitude bear their fruits slowly, over time, because they encourage us all to avoid each other more and more, until the day comes when the only times BCC people show up at M* are to scream at J. Max and Geoff B’s posts, and the only time M* people show up at BCC is to scream at John C.

    Wouldn’t it be better if everyone just said “I’m sorry I shot my mouth off in that argument about the Niblets in 200X?” and we all graced the same red carpet once a year before heading off to the yellow and green and purple carpets of other ceremonies?

  23. I agree with Scott’s statement. For my part, I’ve simply been exhausted with working and haven’t had the time or energy to post on other blogs. I haven’t felt unwelcome. That being said, M* will always be one of my very top blogs. I don’t care who hosts the niblets–it’s a thankless job no matter who does it.

    Kind of like being elected president after a blowhard from TX decides to spend billions invading Iraq.

  24. “the only time M* people show up at BCC is to scream at John C.”

    Goodness!

    I missed a chance to scream at John C!!! ;)

  25. “So, while forgiving each other and stuff is nice advice, the real issue is that for everyone to meet together, we’d have to continually walk around on egg shells, because we are used to very different community norms that don’t mesh well. At best, it’s a confederation, not a federal union.”

    Very true.

    Scott B,

    Okay, I have a proposal for you that represents my personal (and undoubtedly controversial) beliefs no how to improve. Take it or leave it. Or better yet, criticize it.

    Here it is: I think the various blogs should interact *way more* but via open — but tolerant — criticism of each other!

    I think we should all expect to get criticized and expect to be challenged. I think the cross culture should be one of open criticism, openness of our personal beliefs (vs criticizing others beliefs but hiding our own beliefs so that we can’t be criticized in response), and avoiding cultural rules that hedge us in such that we all have to flee to a certain site that matches our point of view. (For example, the asinine unspoken rule that asking someone what they believe on the subject they are criticizing someone else on is somehow equivalent to accusing them of being an enemy to the LDS Church.)

    In short, I believe in Popper’s “Myth of the Framework” approach to blogs. I think tolerant but open disagreement is the real key. I believe that if we all knew we were going to get openly criticized (but without personal insults) we’d probably both learn to enjoy it but also be more careful. I also think we’d become closer to each other with time.

    And I think these open criticisms should less be in comments (where they tend to be off the cuff and not thought out) and more in posts referencing posts. I also think we should name people by name and say “I saw so and so say this and here are the reasons I can’t agree.” And lastly, I think if you are going to be on a Mormon Blog you should expect to be evaluated from within a Mormon view point and that that must always be on limits.

    In short, I strongly favor *more criticism* but also *more tolerance* towards points of view that you can’t agree with. (I’ll define ‘tolerance’ like this. And not in the usual way as a weapon against those you disagree with. Note: open criticism is what teaches people real tolerance.)

    Or we can just keep doing what we are doing and grow apart. Really, it’s not the end of the world either. What’s wrong with allowing multiple platforms that let you take your pick?

  26. Scott,

    I am fine with another round of awards, which reflect the different judges’ tastes in content and style. What I don’t understand is why it needs to be open only to posts from certain sites, and I got the impression (perhaps wrong) that that is where the OP and the initial comments were taking the idea. In a nutshell, I don’t understand why a post I write with libertarian leanings and a post Geoff B writes with libertarian leanings can’t be nominated for the same award, whether it be one given in the Niblets, the M* Awards, or some entity.

    Yeah, firstly, I didn’t get that vibe from the original post or from the comments. But even if that was the intention, there would be a good reason: filtering posts in a competition cuts the charade. We know that these kinds of awards are self-congratulatory in nature, so why not just design an award from the get-go recognizing that instead of having this pseudo-ecumenical approach?

    The cultural landscape that we have is basically like this: if you were writing posts with libertarian leanings that would truly fit in a competition with a post by Geoff B about libertarian leaning, then it would be likely you would already be at M* (or a Nothing Wavering blog). Whether you self-selected that or were bumped out of one environment to the other. So, it’s not as if there’s a formal barrier (actually, maybe there are formal barriers in some cases, but I’m not from a site that has permabloggers cull and select entries), but there certainly are informal, organic barriers to these things.

    I think that dividing ethnic restaurants into separate classes is great if you actually have enough ethnic restaurants to have a meaningful competition–but I also don’t see the problem with having a competition that welcomes all _dinners_ and only excludes desserts, beverages, and salads from nomination. After all, they’re all dinners!

    The existence of entirely different (and vibrant) blog aggregators suggests to me that we do have enough ethnic restaurants to have a meaningful competition. The fact that there is little “cross-blog commenting” suggests further to me that people are comfortable eating the food that they grew up with, rather than going to different ethnic restaurants every night.

    A competition that welcomes all dinners isn’t impossible. People already try it. It’s just that we know that the different ethnic groups are going to tend to stick to their own dinners. Even if they try the other dishes, they already *know* they don’t like them. They already *know* they aren’t accustomed to them. So of course they are going to prefer their own ethnic dishes.

    First of all, there IS no BCC-run competition (just getting that out of the way for clarity’s sake).

    Sorry, I play fast and loose with my metonymies, but I am aware that BCC isn’t “formally” the owner of the Bloggernacle. There are certainly other blogs who have cofounders of it.

    Second, this is precisely the sort of thing I’m so frustrated with. Both your statement about not winning a BCC-run competition, and the statement about Chino Blanco, represent a I’m-gonna-take-my-ball-and-go-home attitude: people no longer sharing with each other, no longer striving with each other, and buying into the belief that friendship is out of the question. While that’s fine and dandy during a competition, the evils of the attitude bear their fruits slowly, over time, because they encourage us all to avoid each other more and more, until the day comes when the only times BCC people show up at M* are to scream at J. Max and Geoff B’s posts, and the only time M* people show up at BCC is to scream at John C.

    Wouldn’t it be better if everyone just said “I’m sorry I shot my mouth off in that argument about the Niblets in 200X?” and we all graced the same red carpet once a year before heading off to the yellow and green and purple carpets of other ceremonies?

    Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but trust me, many of the MSP regulars (for example) are quite willing to reach out on other blogs…it just happens that they’ll continually find themselves blacklisted, or on auto-moderation, or with the discussion closed, or… This hasn’t seemed to discourage a lot of people, but that’s what I’m saying is regrettable. That’s kinda obnoxious. Why keep trying to go some place where someone has made it perfectly clear you’re unwelcome?

    Or, put in another way, you talk about people taking their balls home. But isn’t this a rational response when you realize that others don’t want to play the same ball game to begin with? Isn’t it OK to want to play different ball games in different groups? Why should we strive to make the best little league in the world when some of us wanted to play basketball, others football, etc.,?

    I’m not saying that it would be a bad thing to apologize for things in the past. But what I’m saying is that this isn’t about the past. The things that keep people, blogs and aggregators separate is still present. It still continues. It’s not a temporary difference that will resolve if we pay some kind of reperations to each other. It’s an ongoing difference that will not change unless we compromise who we are and for what we stand.

  27. Andrew S.,
    I certainly recognize that the MSP crowd and…well…everyone else have issues in getting along. When the categories are “believers” and “not believers” there is a dynamic that I don’t have a solution for, and to be honest, while I’m addressing you in these comments, I’m not really talking about that divide. It’s a different beast altogether, because we’re no longer talking about interpretations and applications of inspired doctrines, policies, and teachings–we’re talking about the existence of the “inspired” element, and that is a discussion many Mormons aren’t interested in arguing about. So help me, I’m one of those who has zero interest in it.

    As to the rest of your comment, I really think we’re just not connecting here. I think that the existence of multiple aggregators reflects different outlooks and tastes and styles, yes–but that inclusion in those aggregators, as well as the existence in some ways, also has strong roots in insults, offense, and ego as well. Nevertheless, the existence of multiple aggregators does not by itself demonstrate a vibrant population of ethnic diners. A city may have 9 directories displaying restaurant listings, but if those 9 lists only contain a combined 17 restaurants, then you get a different picture of the impact of sub-dividing the restaurants.

    if you were writing posts with libertarian leanings that would truly fit in a competition with a post by Geoff B about libertarian leaning, then it would be likely you would already be at M* (or a Nothing Wavering blog)

    I am at BCC because BCC asked first.[1] M* asked me to come post here the day after my guest posting stint at BCC was over. I would have accepted, but BCC asked me to stay on, and I felt like it was probably improper. I asked J. Max to add my solo blog to the Nothing Wavering directory, but it was politely declined.

  28. Oops–the footnote up there should have been:
    [1] Technically, hawkgrrrl from MormonMatters asked first, but at the time, I had no idea what the big world of Mormon blogging was like, and I didn’t think that I’d enjoy a group blog format. Several months later, BCC asked me out of the blue. I was planning on declining the invitation, several friends encouraged me to try the group thing out, so I did.

  29. Scott,
    Although I speak for anyone else with some hesitancy, I suspect that the motivation for suggesting M* awards is similar to J. Max’s original motivation for creating Nothing Wavering. To some people, the regular bloggernacle is the moral equivalent of the DAMU.

    Andrew,
    MSP actually has its own awards because of this problem. We don’t consider ourselves to be fellow travelers with you religiously, because we occupy different religious realities. That isn’t to say that I think you or the MSP crowd are inherently bad, but you are very, very different (even if J. Max doesn’t think the difference is that great). So I wouldn’t generally consider MSP a part of the bloggernacle. We can still talk, of course, but I don’t feel compelled to host the sort of conversations that take place at MSP.

    Jettboy,
    The answer to your question is that there are more people at M* than you.

    Bruce/Geoff etc,
    Would you mind putting an Archipelago icon somewhere on the site? It’s good for bloggernacle solidarity.

    I imagine the bloggernacle to be a place where all participants are generally sympathetic to the church (or, failing that, pretend to be (or, failing that, are not jerks, usually)). Beyond that, I may or may not like your approach but I won’t normally argue for your exclusion.

    The key to understanding the act of “taking your ball and going home” is this. Are you inviting others to play? If you are, then the game isn’t just yours anymore, even if it is your house. That’s why taking your ball and going home is bad form. Now, there are plenty of times where taking your ball and going is an option (bad form be darned). For instance, if someone nominated MSP for a best blog niblet, I’d argue against it. But there are plenty of times where the distinctions being made are unhelpful. J. Max knows that I’ve long thought that Nothing Wavering is a bad idea and that the distinction he is trying to make is a false and ugly one. If the M* awards are the Nothing Wavering awards, that’s your right, but they’ll be just as false and ugly. Not that you want or need my approval, of course.

  30. Bruce,
    As a theoretical matter, I think that asking people what they personally believe if fine. I certainly like to know the motivations, backgrounds, and such when I’m discussing important things. I know some people–as do you–who don’t like that idea. So be it. That said, I think that it’s certain to fail in practice, and likely just make things worse. A couple of reasons:

    First, the primary reason we feel compelled to ask that kind of question–not just in matters of religion, but in any kind of debate–is because we want to be aware of any traps we may be walking into. We suspect things. We need to feel out people who disagree so that we can save face by not jumping into the deep end. This only happens when the other person has _done_ something to arouse our suspicions, and that’s the problem:

    If someone has given you enough reason to suspect their beliefs, what makes you think that you would believe them, regardless of their answer? If you asked me, Scott B., about my belief in the Book of Mormon, and I told you that my belief in the Book of Mormon is [insert beliefs], why would you believe me? If you are so willing to take my statement at face value, with nothing else to go on, then what value does asking about the belief do in the first place? To make matters worse, the door will now swing back in the other direction: If you _don’t_ believe me[1], then now you’ve not only suggested that I have hidden, out of the mainstream beliefs, but you’re saying I’m dishonest, too. This is not a winning combination.

    Second, you need a way to figure out what to do with that grand answer that, in my experience, is the hallmark of many, if not most, people in the church when they are probed about their specific beliefs in such-and-such doctrine/policy/teaching: “I don’t know.” But that’s not all–you need to know how to deal with that reply when it’s a) an honest, genuine answer and b) when it’s a dodge.

    And I think these open criticisms should less be in comments (where they tend to be off the cuff and not thought out) and more in posts referencing posts. I also think we should name people by name and say “I saw so and so say this and here are the reasons I can’t agree.” And lastly, I think if you are going to be on a Mormon Blog you should expect to be evaluated from within a Mormon view point and that that must always be on limits.

    YES YES YES YES YES YES.
    This is also something that, in the early years, often took place: Blogs responding to blogs. However, at some point in time, the practice of doing that became very rare. I know that some people think of it as poaching *cough*SteveEvans*cough*, but I think it’s the best solution to encouraging more interaction between the great writers and thinkers at the various blogs[2], and one I’ve wanted to see more of for a long time.

    [1] Let’s be honest, it’s pretty easy to imagine people on the blogs doing their very best impression of evangelical Christians telling Mormons what they do and don’t believe, no matter what the Mormons say.

    [2] Not quite true–I think the _real_ best way would be to have 2-3 bloggers from each site do week-long guest stints at other blogs on a semi-regularly basis (Geoff B, will you have me?).

  31. But Scott, it’s not just nonbeliever vs. Believer. What I say about MSP bloggers is just a strong exactly of something we can see between blog groups. So whether it is the existence of the inspired elements or the level of nuance that different blog groups have… Or the directionality of whatever nuance is recognized, these all are conflicts that exist.

    Unless the problem simply is that we have a hierarchy of groups that believe the other is hopelessly apostate (where Nothing Wavering opposes the Bloggernacle, and the Bloggernacle opposes the Dehlin sphere of influence… Even if blogs that once were a part thereof are now separated.) maybe that’s something to ponder… A Mormon caste system.

    I don’t see why the diversity of participants to the various blog aggregator is a controversial point. I mean, have you tried visiting nothing but Nothing Wavering blogs for even a day? Can you not tell that there is an ongoing difference in the kinds of things written about on these blogs than on bloggernacle ones? I have no doubt — just because I know the history of the inception of NW, but it seems as if J. Max didn’t develop it then, it would have been logical for someone to develop it at some other time.

  32. Scott B asks: “If you asked me, Scott B., about my belief in the Book of Mormon, and I told you that my belief in the Book of Mormon is [insert beliefs], why would you believe me? If you are so willing to take my statement at face value, with nothing else to go on, then what value does asking about the belief do in the first place? ”

    Actually, from a debating standpoint (not that that is the best standpoing, but you were discussing it from that point of view) I prefer people lying. Then you can use their lies against them. “Well, you said this.” So no worries.

    But this isn’t really what I meant. What I really meant was that if you have a definitive position that the Book of Mormon *must* be talking about modalism because Joseph Smith believed in Modalism and anyone else that does not believe that is ‘immature’ then by golly, I expect you to speak up and explain how you reconcile that to other Mormon beliefs. Especially if you just claimed you were a believing Mormon and that you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. Even just saying “well, actually I’m an atheist, but I believe in spirituality” (that’s just an example) is fair and allows real dialog to take place in a respectful manner.

    The issue isn’t people not speaking up with their beliefs, per se. The issue is being highly vocal — perhaps even mean — to those that did speak up about their beliefs and pointing out all the (potential) problems of their position but refusing to advance any theory or counter theory of your own. (Probably because it’s more fun to throw out problems and make people squirm than it is to have to defend your own beliefs.)

    Anyhow, I’m a minority view on this, I know. But I am convinced this is more of a problem then people give it credit for. I think it creates an automatic imbalance towards a ‘doubting’ position that can’t be rectified in any way.

  33. Andrew,
    Caste is way too formal and powerful here. Divisions are primarily self-selecting. Cliques is probably more accurate. But not a one of us is popular. For instance, I’m if you compared BCC’s traffic to Meridian’s, Meridian would win (and I think most of what is printed there is terrible). So perceived slights are even less important than they’d be in an arena where things mattered.

    As to the content difference, the differences I see between blogs that are exclusively bloggernacle and blogs that are exclusively Nothing Wavering tend to be political. And that is the only difference I can tell. And if we can’t imagine an internet or a church including political rivals, that is a small and ugly thing indeed.

  34. John C,

    I am on the same page here. I just believe that the distinction between Outer Blogness and the Bloggernacle is an extreme case of exactly the same division between the Bloggernacle and Nothing Wavering, or the Nacle and john Dehlin’s sphere of influence.

  35. John C,

    I am on the same page here. I just believe that the distinction between Outer Blogness and the Bloggernacle is an extreme case of exactly the same division between the Bloggernacle acle and Nothing Wavering, or the Nacle and john Dehlin’s sphere of influence.

  36. Andrew S.,
    This is probably a point that we’re not likely to agree on. I think that believer vs. non-believer is a fundamentally different scenario than believer with idea set A vs. believer with idea set B. Although the spectrum of belief may be very long, there are some breaking points in it. Just my opinion. You (likely) feel like we want you to come back to the church, we generally feel like you want us to leave the church. It’s just not the same thing as “What do the scriptures say about liberty or taxation or social justice or feminism?”

    Unless the problem simply is that we have a hierarchy of groups that believe the other is hopelessly apostate

    Yes. That’s the problem. It’s a problem because, even IF someone IS apostate (and everyone reading this can decide for themselves what apostate means here), the “hopelessly” descriptor is the one that causes people to take their balls and go home.

    As far as NW goes, I have spent lots of time on it. There are a lot of blogs there that are interesting to me. However, there is also a lot of overlap with the MA–that’s my point: they are not mutually exclusive aggregators. M*? On both. Keepa? On both. And lots of others.

  37. Note to self: I need to stop commenting on my phone. All sorts of weird things (like double posting) occur and others respond more quickly than I do.

  38. Bruce,
    I’m all for people putting forward their beliefs in the form of counter-argument. As you know, I worry that we often request other’s beliefs as a means of saving ourselves time in argument (Ah Ha! You are one of those folks, therefore you must believe x, y, and z and I can dismiss your argument forthwith). Like I do with Andrew, for instance, ;) But putting forward counter-arguments is important and I’m for it.

    So, I think that the distinction being made between Nothing Wavering and the Mormon Archipelago is trivial and unnecessarily divisive. I think that an award that caters exclusively to one or the other is blind and self-deluding. I don’t think this is the case with an exclusion of MSP, because I think the believer/non-believer distinction is significant. That the Niblets thusfar have only recognized Mormon Archipelago blogs (which isn’t even factually correct) is more a problem of scope than exclusion. That said, the Mormon Archipelago does attempt to be exclusive. They try not to let DAMU blogs in, blogs that are of poor quality, blogs that are obnoxious, or blogs that encourage people to question their testimony. I can think of a couple exceptions, but we try to keep it to a minimum. Also, we excluded Jettboy. I’ve no idea why and I will happily look into it if he would like me to.

  39. Bruce,

    Anyhow, I’m a minority view on this, I know. But I am convinced this is more of a problem then people give it credit for. I think it creates an automatic imbalance towards a ‘doubting’ position that can’t be rectified in any way.

    I fully agree that it’s a problem. I just don’t think that your proposed solution solves it. And fwiw, I think that the much bigger problem of the two I raised above is the second one–the I don’t know part. It doesn’t allow you to use words against anyone, because it hasn’t staked out a position that must necessarily maintain consistency. Saying “I don’t know” allows a person to freely move between thoughts and ideas that a participant finds convenient or useful at any given moment in time–it’s the perfect weapon for someone trying to be sneaky. However, it’s also frequently a completely true and accurate characterization of the beliefs of an honest seeker.

  40. re 36

    John C,

    And if we can’t imagine an internet or a church including political rivals, that is a small and ugly thing indeed.

    But this *is* a big sticking point. It *does* lead to polarization.

    re 39,

    Scott,

    Well, I just think that empirically, it hasn’t played out that way. I just don’t agree that the reason we see so many fractures is just because of past offense, but because current differences in beliefs, perspectives, and even operating philosophies continue to encourage those fractures.

    You (likely) feel like we want you to come back to the church, we generally feel like you want us to leave the church. It’s just not the same thing as “What do the scriptures say about liberty or taxation or social justice or feminism?”

    I don’t get that feeling at all, really. I get more of a sense that “you” (whatever “you” means) want “us” (whatever “us” means) to shut up and move on. Maybe “coming back to the church” would accomplish that goal, but that’s not what people are aiming for, I feel…and it’s not even a sure bet. Because “coming back to the church” doesn’t mean that, that’s where I feel there are fractures even among believers. Even if two people go to church, there are some issues that they will want the other to shut up and move on about. And so, Jared (a la LDS Alive in Christ) annoys people at BCC (although that may just be ancient history, haha) even though he very much goes to church.

    As far as NW goes, I have spent lots of time on it. There are a lot of blogs there that are interesting to me. However, there is also a lot of overlap with the MA–that’s my point: they are not mutually exclusive aggregators. M*? On both. Keepa? On both. And lots of others.

    There are of course, overlaps in the other aggregators. Even in the ones that supposedly form the divide between believer and nonbeliever.

  41. “But this *is* a big sticking point. It *does* lead to polarization.”
    But it shouldn’t. I really believe it shouldn’t. I’m saddened that it does. That it does just tells me how far we have to go to get to Zion.

  42. re 41

    John C,

    So, I think that the distinction being made between Nothing Wavering and the Mormon Archipelago is trivial and unnecessarily divisive. I think that an award that caters exclusively to one or the other is blind and self-deluding.

    What if the point of awards is to be blind and self-deluding? What if all it’s supposed to do is to pat oneself (or one’s group members) on the back? If not formally, then informally?

    P.S., the believer/nonbeliever divide doesn’t describe the distinction between Bloggernacle and Mormon Mommy Blog, but when Mormon Matters included them, there was such a backlash. How to explain this, without accounting for fractures other than believer/nonbeliever? (although there are some blogs that I suppose would count as Mormon Mommy Blogs in the “diversions” section of Mo Arch.)

    re 44:

    But it shouldn’t. I really believe it shouldn’t. I’m saddened that it does. That it does just tells me how far we have to go to get to Zion.

    If only human nature were easy to modify.

  43. Andrew,
    Mormon Matters included Seriously So Blessed. Did it mention others? I was actually fine with it, but I understood other folks’ objections, which were along the lines of “they don’t really participate in our discussions” and “apples and oranges.” Mommy posts tend to be about different subject matter, so comparisons are difficult. That said, I’m all for bringing them in. Not that they need us, of course.

    As to the self-delusion of awards, there is certainly an element of that. But if it is a faithful Mormon-interest blogging award, deliberately excluding a whole host of faithful Mormon-interest blogs is silly.

  44. re 46,

    Ah, SSB was controversial in 2008. In 2009 there was an entire category for best mommy blog, but I can’t see how many were in that (since the poll doesn’t show up for 2009 anymore).

    But think about those objections: “they don’t really participate in our discussions” and “apples and oranges.” So we can have faithful blogs who still, by all means, have no reason not to mingle with each other, but still they can be divided quite far…”apple and oranges.”

    That they have a different subject matter is one thing. The more important thing is that it’s OK for them to have a different subject matter, ok for the two groups not to intermingle. It’s ok for them to be apples and oranges even if they agree on “the existence of the inspired element.”

    So, it seems that y’all are comfortable dividing “faithful” and “nonfaithful.” It seems like y’all are comfortable dividinng further “Mormon-interest” and “non-Mormon-interest.” “Non-obnoxious” vs. “obnoxious.” Faith promoting vs. faith questioning. Quality vs. non-quality.

    Why not allow for other divisions that already for the most part exist (recognizing that even as these divisions exist, there always can be and are some exceptions that straddle the line or that coexist in two or more spheres)?

  45. Wow, lots of strong opinions here. For the record, the only reason Mormon Arch does not appear on M star is that I don’t have the technical skills to put it on here. So it kind of fell by the wayside. Let me see if I can fix that. People fixating on Jmax should take a chill pill. He has his own standards, just like everybody else does.

  46. “the weird place.”

    I’m going to make that my new blog.

    FWIW, I completely agree with what J. Max does and is doing. He has his own standards, and creates (really nice) things in alignment with them.

  47. Few people remember this, but the very first bloggernacle awards were done by the Bell brothers, long before the ‘niblets’. They announced them on their own blog, called ‘Intellexhibitionist’. Then before the awards were announced, they helped start M*, and the very first winners were announced at M* on February 2nd, 2005. They were called the ‘Blogscars’. The post has mysteriously disappeared, probably during the transition from B2Evolution to WordPress.

    So M* really started the whole bloggernacle awards thing…

    I was never really much of a fan of the idea.

    It’s funny that this awards post, which I was not aware of or involved in, would lead to a discussion of LDS Blog Balkanization.

    It’s clear that some people blame a great deal for the balkanization of LDS Blogs on me. It is telling that Nothing Wavering gets so much of the heat while conveniently forgetting the Banner of Heaven fiasco and the fact the I created Nothing Wavering largely as a RESPONSE to having my blog, Sixteen Small Stones, kicked off of LDSblogs.org for 1. Suggesting that there might be a conflict between Obama’s position on same-sex marriage and that of the Church, and 2. Calling the bloggernacle ‘The Murmurnacle’.

    Anyhow, contrary to popular belief, I don’t sit around brooding about how to destroy the bloggernacle or obsessively watching everything that goes on. Most of the time I read Nothing Wavering blogs as my time permits and don’t worry about the Murmurnacle or Outer Blogness, both of which do a bang-up job of marginalizing themselves from mainstream Mormon readers all on their own. :)

  48. It’s clear that some people blame a great deal for the balkanization of LDS Blogs on me. It is telling that Nothing Wavering gets so much of the heat while conveniently forgetting the Banner of Heaven fiasco and the fact the I created Nothing Wavering largely as a RESPONSE to having my blog, Sixteen Small Stones, kicked off of LDSblogs.org for 1. Suggesting that there might be a conflict between Obama’s position on same-sex marriage and that of the Church, and 2. Calling the bloggernacle ‘The Murmurnacle’.

    SEE!!!! PAST OFFENSES!!! SEE!!!!

    Oh man I love it when I’m right.

  49. J. Max,
    If your time permits, and you see this comment, let me state for the record that I don’t blame you for the balkanization of LDS Blogs. While I have referenced early time periods in a few comments up above, the vast majority of the changes I’ve seen have taken place more recently–long after you started NW and have been unrelated to anything you’ve done in terms of your side projects. Your role in my observation has been mostly demonstrating the evidence of fragmentation: I rarely hear anything about the goings-on here at M* unless you post and send everyone into an uproar for this or that. :)

    Also Geoff B.–you didn’t answer! Will you have me?!?

  50. Sixteen Small Stones [was] kicked off of LDSblogs.org for 1. Suggesting that there might be a conflict between Obama’s position on same-sex marriage and that of the Church, and 2. Calling the bloggernacle ‘The Murmurnacle’.

    I suspect similar motes are behind most bloggernacle banninations/permanent mod que statuses.

  51. Balkanization? Past offenses? Kicked off the Bloggernacle???

    How do I miss these posts??

    Is it too late for me to start throwing food? ;-)

    Scott B., it is nice to see you increase your posts count on M*. For the record, when I am done with graduate school, we need to re-engage on Twitter for some truly uplifting discussions, like online names for apostles. :-)

  52. In all seriousness, though, M* exists as a place where people can feel comfortable discussing the Church and the gospel without the disbelieving comments of the NOM’s and others who do not share the same beliefs.

    As for Nothing Wavering, J. Max is doing the same thing with his blog aggregator–creating a place where blogs that identify themselves as faithful, believing blogs exist separate from blogs that have greater latitude in their discussions of the Church and the gospel.

  53. Wow, I post what I thought was an innocuous post, yes perhaps with some poor attributions to some blogs, and then go off for a couple days to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary, only to see that I’ve caused a major meltdown of ‘Nacle.

    For what it is worth, Ardis, I apologize to you. The rest of you will just have to deal with it…. ;)

    I personally like the idea of many blogs that give the various perspectives of LDS members. We are not the Morg. It shows we have not all been completely assimilated by what some believe to be an evil presence in the Church. Instead, it shows that there is room for a variety of ideas and beliefs – even if we do not always agree on what those ideas and beliefs should be. As it is, little by little, I expect more and more of you to see the light and agree with me.

    Geoff B suggested the following awards:
    –Best General Conference coverage (BCC wins this imho, but there might be better coverage out there).
    –Most spiritual post.
    –Best post explaining/exploring Church doctrine.
    –Best post promoting liberty.

    I agree. I would suggest the following as well:

    * Best General Conference blog post.
    * Best posts in various categories of Church doctrine
    * Most controversial post

    I’d also like to see not only a winner, but honorable mentions be included, as well….

    Are there any other suggestions for awards? Such as, should we include an award for best history of the “Murmurnacle”? ;)

  54. More award ideas:

    Best inter-blog diplomat (e.g., Scott B., Brian Duffin)
    David Whitmer Award (best disaffected [but still sort of interested] Mormon)
    Amy Adams Award (best disaffected, uninvolved Mormon)
    Best Metaphysical Post
    Best Philosophy of Science Post

  55. Ben, you realize that if it is an M* award, Steve Evans is not going to win Best Philosophy of Science Post for global warming…. ;)

    I do agree that Scott B is a decent diplomat. But is it all just a secret sham so he can take over here? He is, after all, asking Geoff B for the keys to the car!

  56. I readily concede to Scott B. on inter-blog diplomat. I have always been impressed with his ability to be a diplomat and peacemaker. Also, I love his podcasts. You can’t beat a good podcast when it has Scott B. on it.

  57. “you realize that if it is an M* award, Steve Evans is not going to win Best Philosophy of Science Post for global warming…”

    CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

  58. Just kidding. I honestly wouldn’t know where to start for that kind of post, though I’m sure I would base it off WALL-E.

  59. Brian,

    Thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate it, especially now when someone recently told me that I was not nice on the blogs, and it made me pause.

    As for Nothing Wavering, J. Max is doing the same thing with his blog aggregator–creating a place where blogs that identify themselves as faithful, believing blogs exist separate from blogs that have greater latitude in their discussions of the Church and the gospel.

    I wish it were so–however, I absolutely identified my solo blog as a faithful, believing blog and never have deviated in any way from that position in word or content. However, my blog was declined admission. J. Max, in his explanation, acknowledged that he had no reason to believe that I was anything but a believing LDS, and didn’t have any problems with the ideas or topics of the posts I had written. He gave me other reasons for declining admission–and I don’t question his right to set his criteria however he wants, and I didn’t argue or debate with him. My point is, inclusion on NW is not simply a function of identifying as a faithful, believing blog–or even writing only faithful, believing content.

  60. I wouldn’t trust Steve Evans to write a scientific post based on Wall-E. Anything he wrote would “inevitably become just another card in the deck of fear-mongering tactics employed by our common Enemy to get power, money, control, oppress mankind with false “prophets,” and terrorize prior to the return of the Savior.”

  61. Scott, now how can we award you with the Shirley Temple Super-Nice Person award if you are going to attack Steve Evans for fear mongering? Yes, he probably is involved in priestcraft and has the numbers 666 etched into the back of his skull, but that doesn’t mean he’s all bad….

  62. Ignoring this entire conversation and just commenting on the original post, my thoughts weigh against this. I’d rather we all just try to provide quality content for readers, without worry about evaluating or being evaluated. I’m not sure awards will do anything valuable. Speaking for myself, my motivations definitely change once I know there will be potential recognition for my writing. And I don’t want my motivations to change.

  63. I don’t know if this still goes against what ldsphilosopher is saying, but I do think that all “awards” systems need to be refocused, if they are going to be kept. It shouldn’t be about evaluating and rewarding. Rather, it should be about sharing and celebrating content from the previous month/year/whatever that we might not have read.

    But I don’t think the way current systems work that people really spend time to read all of the posts or comments or whatever “nominated.” And with a voting system, they don’t really have an incentive to, if people know who they are going to vote for from the start.

  64. So, instead of an awards, perhaps a weekly/monthly recommended list that people can put their favorites on?

    Oh, and LDS-Philosopher, you didn’t have to worry. No one was going to nominate you anyway, so your articles would not be impacted in the slightest! ;)

  65. I like what Ray does by highlighting posts. You could pick a theme every week or something, and highlight the post of that week from another blog that best captures that theme. Focusing on the good, preferably, and not the bad.

    That is less a recognition and more an appreciation.

  66. “I honestly wouldn’t know where to start for that kind of post, though I’m sure I would base it off WALL-E.”

    Classic.

  67. I am a better blogger than all the rest of you losers put together, so why don’t you just hand me the [cuss] award, and be done with it.

  68. Scott said:

    I absolutely identified my solo blog as a faithful, believing blog and never have deviated in any way from that position in word or content. However, my blog was declined admission. J. Max, in his explanation, acknowledged that he had no reason to believe that I was anything but a believing LDS, and didn’t have any problems with the ideas or topics of the posts I had written. He gave me other reasons for declining admission–and I don’t question his right to set his criteria however he wants, and I didn’t argue or debate with him.

    No need to beat around the bush, Scott. I didn’t include your solo blog because of your relationship with BCC and because your solo blog sometimes linked back to BCC content.

    My point is, inclusion on NW is not simply a function of identifying as a faithful, believing blog–or even writing only faithful, believing content.

    Well, if you had not been linking to and talking about BCC then your blog would likely have been included. And the published blog selection guidelines do clearly say “Exclusion from Nothing Wavering does not necessarily mean that a blog does not contain worthwhile content or that it is not faithful by official standards.”

    [Sorry to threadjack Rameumptom...]

  69. J. Max,
    Please don’t make me your opponent or party to a quarrel here–I’ve never given you any reason to do so. I am not beating around the bush. I didn’t give details on the reasons you excluded my blog because I respect your right to do so for whatever reasons you choose, and because the the details–other than the fact that they were not related to identifying as a faithful blog–are not relevant to the point I was making. I was not attempting to bring BCC, or anyone else into the discussion–my sole purpose was to demonstrate exactly what your blog selection guidelines say, which is contrary to what Brian had said above.

  70. Well, if you had not been linking to and talking about BCC then your blog would likely have been included.

    Again, that is making my point precisely: It’s not just about actually being faithful; it’s also about other things, like, in this case, your feelings about the company I keep.

  71. Scott,

    Brian describes Nothing Wavering as my effort to create “a place where blogs that identify themselves as faithful, believing blogs exist separate from blogs that have greater latitude in their discussions of the Church and the gospel”.

    That is essentially correct. Why are you disputing it?

    All of the blogs that are included identify themselves as faithful, believing blogs. That doesn’t mean that all blogs that do so will be included. Don’t over-complicate it. All dogs are mammals, not all mammals are dogs. I strive for all Nothing Wavering blogs to be faithful, but not all faithful blogs are Nothing Wavering blogs.

    Looking at the published guidelines, it’s pretty clear what I’m looking for in Nothing Wavering blogs.

    Contrast my selection guidelines (linked in my previous comment) with John C.’s statement above: “I imagine the bloggernacle to be a place where all participants are generally sympathetic to the church (or, failing that, pretend to be (or, failing that, are not jerks, usually)).”

    By John’s definition, Bloggernacle blogs include any blog where the participants are

    1. generally sympathetic to the church
    2. or pretending to be sympathetic
    3. or unsympathetic but amiable

    Nothing Wavering blogs, on the other hand:

    1. Actively support the Brethren and the Church and discourage complaining and murmuring about them, including in the comments
    2. Do not stir up controversy with or question church doctrine or policy, or emphasize supposed weaknesses and mistakes by the church or its leaders
    3. Avoid even mild profanity, a light-minded attitude toward sexual content, sexual references and jokes, and discourage sarcasm or belittling language

    I think that the distinction is clear as day to just about everyone. “Faithful” is just being used as an easy synonym for these attributes.

    It’s not necessarily Faithful vs Unfaithful. It’s more like Nothing Wavering vs Murmuring. Thus my Murmurnacle epithet.

    Now y’all are sure to complain that Murmuring is a ‘bad’ word in Mormonism. And all I can say is, Yes. Yes it is.

  72. JMax,
    While I’m hardly a spokesperson for the Archipelago, I think I misspoke. While I would say that my three criteria indicate participants, I wouldn’t say that they indicate the tone of the blogs. To my knowledge, we don’t include NOM blogs. Some participants may be NOM, but we don’t usually consider it our duty to ditch blogs because of the behavior of some participants (notice the emphasis on usually there).

    That said, I don’t feel like all the NW blogs uphold your second point. I think most bloggernacle blogs support the Brethren (those that don’t, don’t actively denigrate them). As to the profanity/sex/etc. clause, I think we try to encourage a family friendly atmosphere.

    My point being that I think that this has much more to do with your perception of these criteria than any sort of objective measure. As you note, simple association with blogs you disapprove of is sufficient to necessitate disassociation on your aggregator’s part. It’s all you. Which is, of course, your right. But don’t pretend otherwise, unless you want to be insulting.

  73. Regarding my participant point, I mean that there is a difference between permas and commenters. Archipelago blogs don’t include blogs wherein the permas are made up of NOMs, although some permas may be NOM. It isn’t generally my job to judge the sincerity of someone else’s faith.

  74. John C,

    I think the issue is that from a NW perspective, there is more diversity than “believing,” “nonbelieving,” and “NOM.”

    Bloggernacle blogs aren’t NOM blogs, and certainly they consider themselves to be believing blogs and I don’t think anyone will dispute that, but other believers are completely free to want something more out of their believing blogs. J. Max’s criteria are pretty clear and it’s clear that Bloggernacle blogs don’t meet them.

    Is there a problem with this? No. Different strokes for different folks.

  75. Pingback: The Mormon Shelf « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  76. John C.,

    simple association with blogs you disapprove of is sufficient to necessitate disassociation on your aggregator’s part.

    Scott’s blog wasn’t excluded because he also blogs at BCC. It was excluded because he uses his solo blog to link to and promote BCC content, and BCC does not meet NW criteria. If his solo blog was less coupled to BCC content then it would be fine, even while he continues to participate at BCC.

    I don’t feel like all the NW blogs uphold your second point.

    You are right that some posts on NW blogs fall short of #2. But in selecting blogs I have tried to target blogs that generally follow this standard. Like marriage, I use a high barrier for entry and then try to be more flexible once the relationship has been established. I aim for an ideal, and am patient when it isn’t quite reached.

    Some participants may be NOM, but we don’t usually consider it our duty to ditch blogs because of the behavior of some participants
    [snip] I think most bloggernacle blogs support the Brethren (those that don’t, don’t actively denigrate them)

    NW on the other hand actively excludes all blogs that knowingly include NOMs as permabloggers, even if they are in the minority or post infrequently. Blogs where the comments frequently veer into NOM territory, even if all the permabloggers are mainstream, will also usually be excluded.

    …this has much more to do with your perception of these criteria than any sort of objective measure. [snip] It’s all you. Which is, of course, your right. But don’t pretend otherwise, unless you want to be insulting.

    At least I have some written selection criteria. They may involve subjectivity (what doesn’t?) but I attempt to be consistent and transparent. When my blog was kicked off of MA, it was purely subjective, without even an attempt at consistency. When people come to Nothing Wavering, they have an idea of what they can expect. In the bloggernacle, by your own admission, you have to expect anything because any individual post being promoted could be from a NOM, or someone with tenuous belief in the church, or even from an ex-mormon arguing against church policy or doctrine, even if a majority of the bloggers are “faithful”. The bloggernalce is leavened with the leaven of the NOMs, who are perfectly happy to spread dissent under the guise of acceptability because they are in a mixed company of believers.

    For you that is acceptable. For me, and many others, it is not.

  77. JMax,
    I’ve seen things on NW blogs that are at least as objectionable as anything posted by a NOM. I recall a post once that consisted of an adult male describing how a group of teenage girls he knew in the church were all dressed like [insert sex worker term of your choosing here]. I feel like you are creating a false sense of security for your audience by inferring that you are protecting them from bad behavior on the net. I don’t think you are even protecting them from the type of behavior that you claim to. But whatever…I know I’m not going to change your mind.

    We’re all gatekeepers of one sort or another around here and the difference here is where we draw perceived lines. That I think your perception is off is well-established (as is your sense that mine is off). So I suppose I don’t have anything else to add to the conversation.

  78. J. Max,
    I think that a careful reading of what Brian said above will help you understand what I’m saying here. He wrote, as you quoted, “a place where blogs that identify themselves as faithful, believing blogs exist separate from blogs that have greater latitude in their discussions of the Church and the gospel.”

    You said that this is “essentially correct.” I’m saying that it’s fundamentally incorrect, and your own explanations of the selection process make this very clear. It’s not a place “where blogs that identify themselves as faithful, believing blogs….”–It’s a place where “blogs that YOU identify as faithful….”

    These are very, very, very different statements, and I know you’re smart enough to see this. Brian’s statement allowed for the blogs _themselves_ to do the identifying. Your criteria–and there is really just no if, and, or but about it–do not allow the blogs themselves to do the identifying. I identified my blog as faithful. You didn’t agree with that. Under Brian’s statement, I should have been included. Under your statement–the _actual_ criteria–I was not.

    This really isn’t hard.

  79. As to the profanity/sex/etc. clause, I think we try to encourage a family friendly atmosphere.

    I am aware of a number of conversations on BCC that involved far more sexual innuendo than what I would consider “family friendly”. And while infrequent ‘damns’ and ‘hells’ probably wouldn’t disqualify a blog, they are far more frequent at BCC than they should be, and I have seen even stronger profanity used in BCC conversations as well. Perhaps BCC participants are desensitized to profanity since they allow themselves to regularly watch R-rated films, so that their idea of family friendly is a bit different than mainstream Mormons.. ;)

  80. J. Max,

    Scott’s blog wasn’t excluded because he also blogs at BCC. It was excluded because he uses his solo blog to link to and promote BCC content, and BCC does not meet NW criteria. If his solo blog was less coupled to BCC content then it would be fine, even while he continues to participate at BCC.

    I think that this is really probably the core of where you and I don’t see eye to eye, even if we agree on a whole host of other things. I don’t think that I was promoting “BCC content.” I think that I was linking to something I–Scott B.–wrote at a different venue. As narcissistic as it is, I was promoting myself–what I had written. Nevertheless, the blog posts speak for themselves–my solo blog had hundreds of posts on it. Of those, maybe 6-7 made mention of blogging activities elsewhere, most of which were making thinly-veiled jabs at BCC when I was a (very cynical) guest there. Bad timing, I guess![1]

    In any case, I get it, and I don’t begrudge your decision.

    [1] If you visit the blog now, I recognize that it looks far more BCC-centric than it really is–this is because there is a widget in the sidebar with the RSS feed for BCC in it. Why is that there? I haven’t the foggiest idea. My best guess is that I was probably trying to test a new widget or something and needed a feed to try it on.

  81. I am aware of a number of conversations on BCC that involved far more sexual innuendo than what I would consider “family friendly”.

    Yeah, me too. Aaron Brown is kind of a potty-blogger.

  82. Scott, that seems like a quibble to me. Of course the blogs don’t self-select. I don’t think that is what Brian was saying. You’ve been hanging out with too many lawyers.

    You are also incorrectly assuming that I am the only one making the decision. I have also consulted with others when evaluating blog applications, and sought insight from others who have participated on the blog or know the blogger better than I, especially when I have concerns.

  83. Scott, the BCC linking issue was probably a matter of bad timing. If you want me to reconsider, then I will re-add your blog to my evaluation queue.

  84. Jmax, this has proven that NW has high value, which is a good thing. I’s also like to point out we have an Archipelago link now. I guess all I have to do now is asa Scott B to send in a guest post, and we are all best buddies. Scott, send to the address up there under guest posting. I love you all!

  85. J. Max,
    I really don’t think it’s a minor quibble, though I do work in the legal arena! To me, it is, as they say, a big fat hairy deal. But as I stand back and observe the quantity of text I’ve produced on this thread, I’m about ready to let this one die. I’d be happy to have you reconsider, but the thing is, I haven’t posted at my solo blog for ages, and I don’t really see that changing anytime soon.

    Geoff B,
    Does BCC get to have someone from M* for a week, too? I know J. Max is itching to have his own by-lines over there.

  86. If J. Max could get over his obvious hatred of me and of BCC, I think he would be welcome to write a guest post.

  87. I can see the guest blog: The New Online Mormonism – Where everyone sings Kumbaya and cross posts as guest bloggers….

    I’m very excited to see that Scott will be guest blogging here. I’ve enjoyed his posts over the years. And I’ve enjoyed Steve Evans’ posts, as well. I’ve learned that I don’t have to agree with everything a person blogs about or thinks in order to learn from him/her, or to appreciate their viewpoint.

    Andrew S., is this a politically arranged marriage, or is it more like a Brigham Young-directed polygamous arrangement between the octogenarian and the young virgins? You know, where you do it to feel you are following the prophet, even though there may be a yuck factor involved? ;)

  88. Geoff, fair enough. I have only J Max’s words to evaluate his state of mind, and if this thread is any indication then he still hated me and BCC as of yesterday. Perhaps he would choose a different word: loathing, pity, disdain, or something like that. As you asked, I’ll leave it at that.

  89. The social and historical importance of my piece on “Excessive Mormon Prudery” (or whatever it was called) cannot be overstated, so don’t be haters Scott B and J. Max. :)

  90. “I’s also like to point out we have an Archipelago link now. I guess all I have to do now is ask Scott B to send in a guest post, and we are all best buddies.”

    “best buddies”? On the contrary, Geoff, I think (by the precedent set on Scott’s personal blog) it means you’re about to get delisted from NW! Promoting and associating with BCC! ;-)

  91. Pingback: Strange bedfellows for progressive Mormons | Wheat and Tares

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  93. Pingback: The Fractures and Factions of Mormon Blogging, Part II | Wheat and Tares

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