I have noticed that in more conservative circles there is this very odd idea that the only books you should read, websites you should look at, sermons you should hear, etc, are ones that you can 100% place yourself under the authority of and accept wholesale everything they say. It’s like the “Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear” mantra applied to grown-ups. Some people are teachers and everyone else is a follower who is expected to swallow what the approved authorities dish out. (I won’t get started on how sick I am of hearing about “authority” in the context of church and leadership these days.)
There are all these websites that have lists of approved and “dangerous” authors and the idea is that you should never even read a book by an author you might disagree with because such a person should not be allowed to teach you anything and giving them that “authority” is in itself almost a sin or something.
A long time ago, a friend of mine started a book club at a church and ran into problems with the leadership with some of her proposed selections, because the leadership at the time felt that if the church sponsored a book club, that meant that every thing the book said had to be endorsed by the church, because people were going to be “taught” by the book. It took some dialogue, but the woman finally convinced them that the nature of a book club is to think about and discuss and evaluate ideas and potentially learn things, but not passively “be taught.” It was like this big revelation for a certain person that some people read books they know they are probably going to disagree with parts of and still manage to find the experience valuable.
I think the deletion of comments that people might learn something from is a symptom of this subculture. It’s the same reason they never actually link to the sources they are criticizing and supposedly citing in their articles (following the normal internet journalism conventions the rest of the world follows) because even providing access is somehow construed as a tacit endorsement or encouragement to go be taught by a false teacher. It is very weird. Not to mention condescending and paternalistic.