Culture At Large

Some Thoughts on Commenting

Jerod Clark

I’ve been thinking a lot about commenting lately. As the one who ends up moderating most of the comments, I’m always wondering how the TC conversation will go based on comments that are approved. In general, the policy has always been to be light handed in moderating to allow the conversation to naturally flow. Very few comments submitted are bumped or edited.

Because of this policy, I feel like the conversations happening on Think Christian are becoming more confrontational and off topic. Obviously, that’s a direction we don’t want to go. I realize some of the contributors are to blame for this as well. That’s why I’ve asked them the same thing I’m asking you to do. Just take a couple of minutes to review the commenting guidelines for TC (linked here and here.)  Honestly, I have the discussion guidelines on the wall next to my computer monitor and I haven't looked at them lately either.  So this will be good for me too.

Some highlights include that good comments are:

  • specifically relevant to the issues or questions raised by the original post
  • reasonably short and concise
  • friendly and polite in tone and language (even if you're commenting on something with which you strongly disagree)
  • contributes something positive and new to the topic

So use whichever time-out metaphor you want. Maybe it’s a coach frantically putting his hands together to try and stop the clock in the last few seconds of a football game. Or maybe it’s a kid standing in the corner. Whatever it is, let’s take a little break. We all want this to be a place where we can share our thoughts without feeling like we’re being attacked or criticized. We also want to be able to carry on a conversation without feeling like things are taking a weird, off topic turn.  As we take time to look over the guidelines, all of us at TC are committing to be better moderators, who unapologetically make sure this blog is a place of good Christian conversation and not a place for diatribes.

To show our commitment to quality comments, we’re going to start highlighting some of the best comments from TC-er’s each month. Starting next month, we’ll pick a handful of the top comments and ask for your favorites too. There will more details to come about this, but I’m sure there could be some lovely TC prizes involved.

As I’ve said before, I truly value the TC community and I’m always impressed at how it often moderates itself. Thanks for talking a minute to read this and thanks for being a part of Think Christian.

Topics: Culture At Large, News & Politics, Media