Sunday, January 11, 2015

Whatever happened to polite conversation?

A while ago there was quite a dust up among the comments -- one quite unrelated to the blog post I wrote -- but it has caused me to look more closely at the comments.  I will be honest here. I do not spend as much time on my blog as some of those who comment.  I do not read the comments -- except perhaps those registered very soon after the blog post.  I hardly ever go back and read comments that were placed upon the blog some weeks after the initial blog post or later -- that is, of course, unless I see the number of comments suddenly jump!

I have attempted from the beginning to allow the comments to be a free flowing discussion and do not moderate the comments.  I do not see them before they appear on the blog and no one should assume that I approve of or agree with comments posted on this blog -- least of all those that attack me or my position.  I would hope that we could continue to allow comments to be unmoderated and free flowing.  I have neither the time nor the desire to moderate comments and would probably shut down the comments altogether rather than take the time to review all comments before they are posted.

That said, it troubles me when comments become personal attacks on what others have said.  You are certainly as free to disagree with comments posted as you are to disagree with me what I have posted.  I would hope that we can act with some level of decorum and address one another politely even in disagreement.  So I ask those who comment to refrain from personal comments, from making derogatory comments about the person, or from offensive comments designed more to incite than to debate the points raised.  If you want to attack me personally, well, I am a big boy and I will survive;  if you want to personally attack other people commenting upon this blog, please count to ten, calm down, and think better about it.

Our comments should be designed to add light and not just heat to the discussion.  I do not claim infallibility and I reserve the right to change my mind.  Sometimes I have had to rethink what I wrote because of a comment.  Sometimes I have responded to comments posted.  I am grateful even for those who respectfully disagree with me.  I am not so grateful about those who use the comment box just to attack or falsely characterize my opinion.

I hope that you will take this to heart.  I certainly look forward not only to your readership but also a lively discussion of the issues I raise.  I can think of nothing better than for a blog post I wrote to initiate a healthy debate.  Please, however, do so politely and respectfully, without resorting to attacks upon the person.  If you make a statement, it is fair game for others to disagree -- just like the the blog itself.  Let's keep the focus upon the issue.  Thank you for your faithful readership and for your responses to my humble opinions.  The blog format may be aging but I will be here as long as I have a meandering opinion.  God bless you!


Janis Williams said...

Thank you. Needed on a world of other blogs, mostly "Christian."

Janis Williams said...

Also why I gave up blogging...

John Flanagan said...

I agree. We should debate issues without personal attacks. It is not Christian like to be nasty.

David Gray said...

Not to argue but Luther was quite proficient at playing rough in an argument.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Grey:
I sort conversations into three types: verbal combat, discussion and persuasion.
Verbal combat consists of personal insult and derision, ignoring what your opponent is saying, restating it so that you can mock and deride them personally. You win when they abandon the field.
Discussion requires that the issue is clear and both parties argue to the issue. I think a test is to make sure I can state the opponent’s argument. It is about clarity.
While Luther undoubtedly played rough in an argument, I think that much of what goes on in comments is verbal combat; it does not rise to the level of an argument.