Over the weekend the comment board related to the blog post reviewing Michael Denton’s book devolved into some bad behavior. When I check the board this morning (I don’t do mod stuff on the weekends, usually), there were flags left and right and several people had messaged me and @Christy in concern. By the way, thanks to those who used the flagging system. It is indeed the fastest way to get the mods’ attention.
So a couple of minutes ago I deleted 80 posts from that thread. That’s a lot of posts. I’ve never deleted that many before, but the problems I saw there were egregious enough to warrant this action. If you had your posts deleted, I’m sorry, but my job is to enforce the rules of the Forum, and this is how I chose to do it. For reference, the following rules were repeatedly violated in this weekend’s exchange:
- Commenting about the actual topic of the thread. Some of you have herculean difficulty staying focused on the topic at hand. If you want to talk about something that isn’t directly related to the OP (original post, or topic of the thread), that’s fine, but you need to create a new thread to say it in. Any user can create new threads to talk about something!! Simply press “reply as new topic” beside any post, or press “new topic” on the homepage.
- Not using inflammatory language or broad stereotypes in reference to other commenters. Please, don’t call someone a “troll” in a public post. That helps no one. Nor should you say, “you seem like you belong to “x” group, and people in this group are always like this, so your motivations must also be this or that.” That’s not conducive to gracious dialogue.
- Respecting someone’s level of self-disclosure. This forum does not force anyone to reveal their real name or other info about their identity. They also are allowed to self-disclose their personal beliefs in whatever way they wish. Nobody should feel pressured to reveal any of this information in ways they don’t wish to do, especially as it relates to someone’s real name, institutional affiliation, or beliefs. You may ask someone for this information privately if you wish in a non-confrontational way. But public calls for someone to “out” themselves are inappropriate and will be deleted. This rule is important if we are to be a safe place for those of any belief about faith and science to contribute without fear.
- Staying away from nit-picking each other’s posts ad nauseum. The overwhelming majority of the posts I deleted were nit-picking in the extreme. If you don’t have something substantial to say about the topic at hand, then don’t say anything. Picking apart every word of someone else’s posts guarantees that the discussion will devolve into arguing about arguing (which the final state of decay in online discussions).
I’m not asking for finger-pointing here. But let’s do better, please.