Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rules of Engagement

Triablogue has no formal theological affiliation. Its default mode is Calvinism.

Unlike some Christian blogs, Triablogue allows and welcomes your comments. Unlike some Christian blogs, we also have a very lenient policy on commenters.

  • There is no particular word limit.

  • You can post comments anonymously.

  • You can post links—but not to porno sites!

  • You can post secondary material as long as it doesn’t infringe on copyright.

Triablogue isn’t Mother Hen. We don’t make a habit of moderating the combox. It operates under the honor code.

Posting comments is a privilege, not a right. This privilege can be abused and revoked. Abuse it and lose it.

1. You can say pretty much anything you please about the team. Attack us with impunity. We don't care. We can take it.

2. It is not, however, equally acceptable to turn the combox into a free-fire zone whereby one outsider can heap personal abuse on another outsider.

You are here as a houseguest. Behave like one or find yourself back on the curb!

A lurker or commenter who is not “one of us” should not be made to feel that he has strayed into enemy territory and needs to keep his head down lest he get it blown off.

Anyone is welcome to disagree with anything we say. It matters not whether he's an atheist or Romanist or what have you.

3. Dialogue is a two-way street. If someone comments on what we say, we reserve the right to respond.

By the same token, we reserve the right to use harsh, judgmental language where appropriate. Invective is context-dependent. The Bible employs harsh, judgmental language for apostates, false teachers, and other enemies of the faith. The Bible is full of taunt-songs.

Remember that, in Scripture, most false teachers are professing believers. So merely calling yourself a Christian doesn’t immunize you from judgmental language where appropriate. It is our Christian duty to analogize from Biblical cases to contemporary cases.

4. By the same token, we reserve the right not to respond. You don’t pay the bills around here. We choose where to put our time.

Some trolls recycle the same stock objections no matter how often we’ve refuted them. This is dishonest. And it represents an abuse of the combox.

Some trolls make no effort to be consistent in their objections. This is dishonest. And it represents an abuse of the combox. In both cases, there comes a point of diminishing returns.

Some trolls are like skunk bears. Skunk bears have a natural repellent, secreted from their anal glands, which they spray on food to keep other animals away.

Some trolls don’t comment on a post because they have anything reasonable to say. Instead, their only motive is to stink up the post in hopes of driving other readers away. This is an abuse of the combox.

5. Expletives, abbreviated or not, will not be tolerated. Ad hominem invective, as a substitute for reasoned argument, is unacceptable.

Abusive language directed at God will not be tolerated.

Triablogue has the technical wherewithal to delete improper comments. We’re very loathe to exercise this prerogative, but there may be lurkers out there who have something they need to ask or want to say, but are scared off by the tone of the combox if it gets out of hand.

Triablogue is a ministry, not a shooting-gallery. It is necessary that we preserve the pastoral character of the blog.

6. Folks sometimes email us with questions. As long as the questions are of general interest, we reserve the right to post the questions and answers—while honoring the anonymity of the correspondent.

7. There are trolls who, left to their own devices, will infiltrate the combox and take it over, turning the combox into a parasitic, parallel universe to further their own agenda. This is impermissible.

8. Triablogue is not a host-site where you can come to revisit an old grudge match between you and a second-party, or between a second-party and a third-party, who is not the topic of the post in question.

9. By the same token, we will not permit Triablogue to be co-opted by an outsider to slander a second or third-party. If you have a personal beef with somebody, contact him directly. Don’t go using Triablogue as a platform to take potshots from behind the bushes of a second-party blog.

10. We have no crystal ball. Hence, there may be unforeseen contingencies which the stated policy doesn’t cover.

As such, Triablogue reserves the right to make exceptions or change its rules on the fly, without advance notice, although we will make every effort to be as arbitrary, inscrutable, and flagrantly unfair as is humanly possible.

Nepotism and bribery aside, Triablogue is no respecter of persons or parsons.

This is not the Talmud. We’re not going to lay down case law for every conceivable situation.

This is not the court of appeals. We’re not going to explain ourselves beyond the above.

This is how it works: you get to exercise your discretion, then we get to exercise our discretion.

Like the lady and the tiger, choose with care what door you go through!

Steve Hays, February 2006