Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rules of engagement

Triablogue has no formal theological affiliation. It's a group blog. But the editorial viewpoint of the blog represents conservative evangelical theology and ethics. And there's a Reformed emphasis.

In principle, commenters are welcome to ask questions about what we post or raise objections. But certain kinds of behavior can get a commenter banned. Because this blog has an apologetics emphasis, admins maintain certain intellectual standards. If a commenter makes a claim, he thereby assumes a burden of proof. Just making assertions that beg the question isn't intellectually acceptable.

Likewise, if you raise an objection to what we post, and we respond, it's incumbent on you to acknowledge the response and engage the response. Some commenters are like tape-recorders with prerecorded objections. When we make the effort to respond to their objection, they simply push the rewind button, then replay their original objection. But that's not intellectually acceptable. If you raise an objection, and we respond, it's incumbent on you to either show that our counterargument was flawed or else withdraw your original objection.

Then there's the kind of commenter who keeps moving the goal post. He raises an objection. We refute his objection. Then he changes the subject by raising another objection. But if, every time his objection is refuted, that has no impact on his position, and he just wheels out another objection, then he's not giving us his real reasons, since they make no difference to his position. He's arguing for the sake of being argumentative.

There are commenters who think we have a duty to start from scratch every time they raise a stock objection. That we're supposed to run through all the arguments for our position and debunk all the arguments for their position, as if every time an issue is raised, this is the first time. But even if it's new to the commenter, commenters have a responsibility to acquaint themselves with preexisting answers. We're happy to point them to resources. If they lack the intellectual interest or patience to consult the resources, then it can't mean more to us than it does to them. We don't have a duty to repeatedly make the same case for our position when that's already available. Where we can provide links to our arguments, or links to supporting material by someone else. It's gratuitously time-consuming to go over the same ground every time a question or objection is raised, especially when that requires a detailed explanation.

Folks sometimes email us with questions. As long as the questions are of general interest, we reserve the right to post an anonymized version of the questions and answers. That's a better stewardship of our time.

Last updated: April 16, 2020.