In doing some research for this post I was amazed at what some blogs have to put up with. Here at Better Bibles Blog, we may have to deal with the occasional irate commenter but some blogs are constantly flooded with rage, obscenity, SPAM and sales pitches.
As I look through the Posting Guidelines for this blog, a lot of it can be summarized as, “Be polite.” Everyone writing and reading this blog is a real person (I think) and we are all busy with jobs and family and IRL (In Real Life) responsibilities. BBB provides us all a chance to talk about some really interesting topics. Just be nice, OK? Each author is responsible for moderating the posts he writes. But if you have something that’s bugging you, you can email Wayne or me directly (See our profiles for our addresses).
More than “Be polite,” you can summarize our Posting Guidelines with “Say what you mean without being mean.” Don’t beat around the bush. Politely tell us exactly what you think. List your reasons, back up your position and let us have it.
The current post Rom 4:1 is a good example of this. There are currently more than fifty comments. And few of them are less than a paragraph. Lots of people are thinking out loud and battling it out over how best to translate this passage. Iver’s post is about 1,1oo words long. That’s a little longer than an average post. But check out those comments! Currently over 11,000 words. That’s ten times the length of the original post.
That ratio makes us very happy. We want our posts to promote discussion. Peter, and Dannii and Mike and the rest all have their opinions but we’re happy to hear opposing viewpoints as long as you’re nice about it and back up your claims with solid evidence.
This morning I had the word “dialectic” in my head. Dialectic is different from debate. A debate pits two opposing sides against each other to argue out a point and then someone decides who won. Dialectic has a much more modest aim. In dialectic, two parties with differing ideas get together to discuss a topic. From the start I think there is an assumption that neither one is going to convert the other but that through their interaction they’ll better understand the topic, be better able to articulate their position, and also appreciate opposing viewpoints. A personal example that comes to mind for me is my long-standing “feud” with John Hobbins over Bible translation styles. We have argued for years over how Bible translations should be done and neither of us has been won over to the other side. But I have learned a lot through the process. And (don’t let him know I said this) he’s converted me on quite a number of occasions.
What’s your take on the exchanges that take place in the comment threads of this blog? Too hot? Too long? Too good to miss?
If you were describing Better Bibles Blog to someone who had never heard of it, how would you describe it?