Welcome readers and lurkers to WYLD C! ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?!
(I kinda do think of my blog as a theological version of the Wyld Stallyns…though even I am not sure what that means!)
I post thoughts here that I welcome interaction with. Thoughts on the scriptures, thoughts on various writers and thinkers, thoughts on the MB conference and churches therein, thoughts on whatever. I welcome all lurkers and readers and even those who think I’m a fool and want to rub my face in it.
I enjoy a fair bit of spirited interaction, and even downright aggressive criticism. I’ve been online since the early 90’s, and I’ve been arguing and debating online for pretty much since then. I enjoy rational engagement and theological swashbuckling and like many bloggers, I have some ground rules for those who show up here and want to have a tussle:
1. Bring actual argument, not ambiguous attack.
Now on the internet, it is basically unarguable that 99% of people don’t know logical argument two ways from Tuesday. Anyone who doubts that can simply log onto the Answers In Genesis Facebook page and behold the cacophony of yodeling goats that show up there.
A simple logical argument goes like this:
a. Make a propositional point.
b. Provide some form of supporting reason.
– Things like “Calvinism is a false Gospel because John Calvin said that Jesus never existed” is an argument that can be interacted with. It has a clear proposition (Calvinism is a false gospel) and a clear supporting reason (Calvin said Jesus never existed). That is something we can work with. I can interact with both those statements and deal critically and concretely with them.
– Things like “You must open your mind to the possibility that I’m right” is simply a statement and “what if you’re wrong?” is simply a question. Statements and questions cannot be interacted with, beyond saying something like “You must close your mind to the possibility that you’re right” or each person re-asking “what if you’re wrong?” ad infinitum. Statements masquerading as arguments are fairly clear to see; they get cast aside because they’re not arguments.
If you come on here and drop verbiage without dropping off an argument, you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of humor, not serious interaction…in other words I may sarcastically (or mockingly) point out your lack of argumentation by responding with a non-argument.
2. Posting a URL is not a response.
On the internet, people who are inexperienced debaters will sometimes respond to a post with some form of the “read this” response, where they toss a link or series of links at you like that’s some sort of actual response to your points. The idea behind such a response is “if you read this, you’d understand my positions and the truthfulness of it would become patently obvious”. I find that this response comes from people who are frustrated or unable to articulate their ideas and are feeling trapped or flustered. I sympathize for such people, but bad arguments are still bad arguments.
If you post a series of URLs as a response on here without summarizing the content and presenting the argument of the articles/links, you’ll be referred to this page and may have your post edited at my discretion.
3. PM’s and E-mails are fair game.
One thing that is astonishing to me is how the Internet has shown what people do with anonymity; it’s rarely “honor God”. If you decide to privately contact me for the purpose of a heated rebuke or an actual threat, I may choose to post and interact with your PM or e-mail. If you have an idea that cannot stand up to public interaction, it’s not that great an idea. If you’re saying something that is unbiblical, teaching something that is unbiblical, or actually attacking the faith, I’m going to publically engage your ideas/teaching because scripture tells me to expose public error in the public sphere. I’d say that Acts 18:27-28; 2 Timothy 4:1-5 and Titus 1:10-13 set precedent and give me some straightforward commands in this regard.
If you try to “light me up” in an e-mail or privately command me to shut up, I may post your e-mail for all to see (at my discretion).
4. Be Cordial.
You don’t have to like me, and you definitely don’t have to agree with me, but you do have to try to post comments with a little civility and decorum. No swearing, no insulting, no racism, etc. If you need to be told how to avoid these sorts of things, you’ll be banned after a warning or two (depending on the infringement).
5. Try to comment in a specific and orderly manner.
Don’t show up at a post about Islam and try luring me into a debate about eternal security, don’t write a single paragraph comment that has 1,000 words and 100 different points, and make specific criticisms and comments. Verbal diarrhea is both annoying and not conducive to constructive interaction.
6. Friends and Family are off limits.
Cheap shots will see you instantly removed from the comment board.
7. Criticisms about “tone” mean you’re desperate.
You’re dealing with a text only document, written by a person you either don’t know or barely know. This means that, no matter who you think you are or who you think I am, you don’t know me enough to read “tone” accurately into posts or comments. You bring 80-90% of the “tone” you find in a blog post to that blog post, and people who cannot deal with arguments whine about “tone”. Nobody likes a whiner.
8. Grammar and Spelling Nazi’s annoy everyone.
Let’s face it. This is a blog, not a published book. Nobody here is a professional writer, and I’m under no delusion that I’m even a half decent writer. People who comment here often throw down thoughts in a rush, are mediocre writers who confuse “your” and “you’re” or “who” and “whom”, and sometimes are commenting in a language that isn’t their first. If you pick on someone’s spelling because as a response to something that they write, that suggests that you are a lousy thinker who covers up that fact with being annoying. Your not fooling any one when you pick apart bad writing as some form of response to logical arguement. Nobody likes a weiner.
9. ALL CAPS = I AM CRAZY.
Just so you know, if you want to emphasize something, feel free to use CAPITALS. If you write EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS, you sound like you’re yelling and people that yell all the time are, as a general rule of thumb, the same kind of people who go to the symphony with the strange delusion that it is supposed to be an interactive evening (and loudly hum along with the orchestra during a piece of music). You know the type? Socially speaking, the V-8 is somehow firing on 5 cylinders? That may not be you, but if you use a ton of CAPITALS, you appear to be a symphony hummer.
10. Unrelated verbal diarrhea + an invite to your blog = I AM CRAZY.
Now I enjoy an *eccentric* commenter as much as the next guy, but it’s rather annoying when that person posts a comment that is 5 pages of rambling on a topic completely unrelated to the post on which they’re commenting, and then closes the comment off with an invite to their blog. I’m not pleased with those people at all. That’s worse than being a symphony hummer. That’s basically going to the symphony with your laptop and watching YouTube with the volume cranked. It’s both significantly rude and annoying and suggests that you’re missing a few cards from your deck (at least on a level of what’s socially appropriate).
In other words, #10 is a rather annoying pet peeve of mine...so don’t do it! (If you do, you’ll get a warning and then I’ll take it on myself to edit the content of your posts to make them far more entertaining. You’ve been warned).
11. Any invite to your blog = I am obnoxious.
This is another pet peeve of mine. I’ve done several hundred posts now and have established a reader base over a period of around a decade. My reader base isn’t huge, but I write on stuff that’s of interest to me and I tend to write stuff that involves a lot of work (which limits my following since I don’t post as often as I’d like or on topics that are terribly popular, but I actually like it that way…far less comments to interact with!). Still, I try to regularly write stuff that is interesting/edifying or biblically/spiritually helpful, and I don’t have a Twitter/Facebook account where I follow everyone and their dog so that they’ll follow me in return and inflate my “blog following” numbers. There are enough folks out there who buy a fancy looking blog, write generic or “encouraging” garbage, and post links to their blog everywhere. If people want to find you, they will find you if you’re worth finding.
So don’t be obnoxious. Sign in under your WordPress account to post comments, or if you’re anonymous, link your blog in your name. If you’re smart enough to actually post a comment worth reading, they’ll follow the link back to your blog and check it out.
So in summary, follow these two simple rules:
You man now load your weapons and commence firing!