(I turned off comments on the page, but if you want to comment, the post directing you here is here.)
PART ONE: personal rules
So...my "rules to blog by" - the first section is what I hold myself to...Obviously, I can't hold another blog by these rules, the "your" is generic language, applied to myself)...The goal is not to squash debate, the goal is to have reasoned, Biblical, and polite debate.
- Don't fight attitude with attitude. While it is never fun to have offensive language used against me (or my "side" of the debate) it is not right (in other words, it's a sin) to respond in kind. No matter what has been said to or about you or your faith, it is never nice to respond to the other side with (in short) "you trust [whatever] more than the Bible [or God]." Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
- Don't use your blog to advertise debates or to recruit debaters with the intention of winning a debate with a majority, or simply overwhelming the original blog to the point of exhaustion. Flooding a blog with brand new readers and commenters sounds like "the fallacy of the majority"
- Don't cut others that you are debating with by name in your own comments section. Reading such things about yourself, such as "they are so steeped in hatred...that their hearts are hardened..." and "They have the storm windows battened down against the Holy Spirit." are deeply hurtful and do not help your cause. If you do write about a debate on another blog, do it factually, not making character judgments.
- Don't say things to others on their blog that you would not say to their face (the above words illustrate the point) If you would not say things like these to other bloggers to their face, don't use them on their blog. If you would not say things like these to bloggers to their face, don't use them in public forums, behind their back.
- Don't use another blog (that you don't agree with) as a springboard for your own apologetics - especially if you know that you have a tendency to get overly-passionate (this one was a hard one for me to learn). There are a couple of exceptions
- When differing opinions are specifically asked for - and even then only if you are a known commenter on that blog.
- When I see another person’s character slammed - I will say something.
- When I know that the complaint is about me and I was never asked the question to my “e-face”, only complained about.
- When I am in agreement with the host blogger, and again, only if I am an known commenter on that blog
AND THE "DO'S"
- Do "be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, " If you/I need to, write "gentleness and respect" on an index card and stick it to your/my monitor - this is vital when dealing with somebody who goes for a reaction and pushed your buttons.
- "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness..." Use it.
- Do not go beyond what is written. Do remember that catechism (Westminster Larger, Roman Catholic, whatever) is not Scripture.
- Seventy times seven. If another repents for their bad behavior, be ready to accept that, forgive them and not hold it against them. This is one place where a person can have doubts about their faith, or the faith of another; the Bible clearly spells it out: "but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses
- Do be the first to repent of bad behavior "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." There are limitations on-line. It is frustrating to offer a sincere offer of changed behavior, only to have that offer ignored. Be comforted - if they do not forgive you, God will not forgive them.
- Put God first, give Him the glory. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." Do be passionate, but not mean.
SUGGESTIONS ON HANDLING BLOGS
- Don't be afraid to use moderation. If a person is consistently personal, ask them to stay on topic. If they refuse, warn them that they will be moderated and/or their comments deleted.
- Do follow through on that.
- Don't be afraid to tell the ones that you agree with that they're stepping over the line.
- Do follow through on that one also.
- It's good to have rules ahead of time: Elena posted a while ago on the Harris twins, who have written "complete commenting guidelines". It's a great blog and even if you don't use the guidelines, I'd suggest you stop by and visit the boys.
- Whether there is a debate or not USE LINKS! (This is where I mess up - it's not out of maliciousness, just forgetfullness. The other thing I forget is to link to the actual post, not the home page). If it's a good thing you're linking to, it's nice to send folks to other people's blogs. If it's not so nice, it's still kind to give the other person a "heads up", even if you know (or especially if you know) that person reads your blog.
When you've finished reading "Personal Objectives and Expections", you can either go back to the main page, go to my "The Harris Twins' Commenting Guidelines," or "Blogging with Gentleness and Respect.