Saturday, June 7, 2008

Commenting Guidelines

When I started this little blog it was just to make sure that my comments to Candy were carefully documented so that she could not mislead, misguide or say something about my comments that were not true. The purpose of this blog has grown and developed overtime. It might morph into something else in the future.

Originally I struggled with wanting to allow ALL comments here, because Candy's commenting policies seemed very restrictive. I still believe that it is a disservice to the reader to post about a controversial topic, and then not allow dissenting albeit appropriate comments. I still feel that way. However, in the last couple of weeks I have also thought that in some ways Candy might have the right idea!. It's not any fun to keep finding rude, mean and antagonizing comments in your comment boxes. It goes with the territory I suppose - but its still not much fun.

So I would like to reintroduce to everyone our long-standing commenting policies, based on the guidelines of the Harris twins. I urge everyone to read them through. I am giving the Reader's Digest Condensed version below.

In a nutshell:

NUMBER ONE: Understand the ‘classical’ view of tolerance.
Hard on ideas and opinions, soft on people! We will not allow any personal comments against anyone, especially Candy on this blog. That means you can debate her theology all of you want. You can say things like, "That logic is whacked!"

You cannot say,
"She's whacked!"

There's a difference.

If I have any doubt in my mind at all about whether the comment is following #1, I'm just going to delete it. If you REALLY have something you need to say about anything, to vent, e-mail me. I'm a great listener (er...or reader in this case).

NUMBER TWO: “No ‘ad hominem’ attacks, you moron!”
Nothing more quickly degenerates a discussion than when people start attacking those making the arguments rather than refuting the arguments themselves. Remember that the character, circumstances, or political ideology of the person has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of the proposition being defended.

This goes with #1. I am also not going to take personal comments against myself, Kelly or Erica. If you think I'm a bitch that's fine, just don't put it in the comments here. That's what e-mails are for! I have been particularly struck by the sola scriptura Christians who are unfamiliar with Matthew 18:15

King James Bible
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

DO NOT stoop to name-calling (moron, idiot, etc.)
DO NOT imply negative monikers onto people simply because they disagree. (i.e. “Anyone who’s even slightly intelligent will believe that cows are people too.”)

NUMBER THREE: Eschew Obscenity & Prohibit Profanity
The use of inappropriate language and shocking statements is a sure sign that the author lacks the ability to communicate their position in a calm and reasonable manner. It shows tremendous disdain for others and will not be allowed on respectable blogs.(including this one!!)

Drop the F-bomb and watch how fast your comment will disappear!

NUMBER FOUR: He who asserts must prove.
This is one of the most critical aspects of proper argumentation and requires that you carefully guard yourself from making groundless statements. Every proposition should be supported by either logic or evidence.

NUMBER FIVE: Respond to the argument, not to the spelling.

DO feel free to point out significant errors that impact the validity of a claim.
DO NOT point out errors solely for the purpose of embarrassing your opponent. And before someone jumps all over me for this one... my bad, mea culpa. That comment is history!

NUMBER SIX: Debating When Less Is More.
A common tactic adopted by inexperienced debaters is to ask a long series of questions that place an enormous burden on their opposition, without actually making any particular point. Such an approach is not only unfair to your opponent, but it really isn’t argumentation at all. These kinds of “question avalanches” can hardly be responded to in the confines of a comment section, but will often foster animosity. THIS HAPPENS TO CATHOLICS ALL THE TIME! and it's not fair. Particularly when those asking don't really want to read the answers.
We have lots of archives here and a search engine. Chances are we've already answered your problems with Mary, the saints, the rosary, statues etc.

Check out my other post on How NOT to witness to a Catholic Christian.

NUMBER SEVEN: Do your own research.

NUMBER EIGHT: The fallacy of the majority.
When the majority of participants in a discussion hold your position, it is common to start acting as if the last seven principles no longer apply to you. You feel you can destroy the dissenter, along with their position, since you have so many like-minded chums. This too has happened to men on non-Catholic blogs. Here at VTC there are many of us who are likeminded. We have to be very aware that we do not attack differing views like a pack of wolves. We need to remain gracious and open.

NUMBER NINE: NEW!!! Stay on topic.
I like how comments in threads tend to weave and morph and turn into something else. Truly I do. But sometimes it is detrimental to what is happening on the blog and if I try to stop it by saying "It's off topic" then I get folks in my face complaining about "well you let so and so talk about her nephew's first communion!!" So stick to the point of the post.

OK, that's pretty much it. I'm pretty lenient and open minded and like to manage with a light touch. However because I want the comments to be open to all, I will remove posts without explanation if I feel they are violating the above.

Feedback is always welcome, no matter what the topic is. My e-mail is available at

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