A New Comments Policy

I am a fan of keeping discussions as open and unmoderated as possible.

But in a discussion yesterday, one commenter called me “so vastly ridiculous as to be every satirist’s dream” and said that “anyone reasonable would see that I take God seriously and I take you lightly.” If this had been said of anyone else, I would have deleted it, but I left it up since it was about me. (I don’t want to ignore critiques.)

However, I received emails from three separate individuals saying they thought this went too far, and asking that comments on this site be kept more on-topic and more respectful.Β A rule of thumb in customer service is that if three people care enough to email, chances are they speak for 30 or 300 who are thinking the same thought. And as I thought about it, I realized they were right. So, right above the comment box, you will now see our new comment policy. It’s clear and concise:

Ground rules: Don’t attack or belittle groups or fellow posters. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic. (Move off-topic discussions to our open threads.)

Occasional jokes or comments that are only tangentially related are fine, provided the exchange only goes for two or three comments at most.

I trust that I successfully avoided belittling those with whom I disagree. Yet I admit to and apologize for contributing to the off-topic detour yesterday. To be clear, I am not ashamed of my worldview, or of my attempts to carefully apply the Bible’s principles to all areas of life. Yet I recognize that even if the comments section is the venue where my worldview is challenged, that doesn’t necessarily make it the venue to defend it.

This site has had well over 25,000 (approved) comments; 99% or more would have fit within these new guidelines.Β Thank you for making this one of the friendliest places to discuss Southern Gospel. Let’s keep it that way! On to the next 25,000!


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45 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Onward indeed. πŸ˜‰

  2. Thank you, I come here everyday and appreciate how you keep us informed but I was really turned off by the comments yesterday. I wrote you an email but didn’t want to offend you by sending it.

    • Thank you!

      I try very hard to be hard to offend. (But that would’ve made it four!)

      • I didn’t compose an e-mail, Daniel but I thought that the comments were beneath the quality of discourse that you have established here. I was embarrassed to read some of the comments.

      • Wow! Well, let’s hope that was the last time you ever have to be embarrassed to read comments here.

      • Amen!

  3. Well if that isn’t the stup….. πŸ˜‰ JUST KIDDING.

    “A rule of thumb in customer service is that if three people care enough to email, chances are they speak for 30 or 300 who are thinking the same thought.”

    What if a person has a split personality? πŸ˜‰

    Seriously, though. I don’t think these change the norm here much at all, if at all. It is more drawing a line. It sounds to me that this is a good compromise between being iron-fisted and not allowing conversations to evolve (I hate using that word) and letting things turn into a free-for-all. I do enjoy you and the other poster bickering in fun, but yesterday was a bit much. I certainly understand how such things stray far from the original topic sometimes and take over a good thread. I am glad that you are allowing a few jokes within them though as they can lighten things up and make the place more fun. Yet, it is good to keep the topics on topic for the most part so that the original intent is the main thing and people can read what they were there to read in the first place.

    • Thanks, and agreed!

      I’ll try to keep things as unmoderated around here as possible.

      I do hope that having the open threads link right above each comment will make it super-easy to take any off-topic discussion there!

      • Ah, I didn’t realize you did that. That’s great.

      • Thanks!

      • Did you know the “open threads” link takes you here? πŸ˜• Was that on purpose?

      • Oh, dear! I was up way too late last night!

      • Fixed . . . I think! Would you double-check?

      • Yup, works for me.

        Now, everyone, stop distracting me from my job until I can get this deposit counted!!

      • Man, I guess you took me serious. πŸ˜•

    • “Split personality.” You’re too funny.

      I hate the word “evolve” too—it sounds hopelessly modern when used in this context.

  4. I think that the deal is, no matter how much the other fella is sure he or she is just joking, it’s easy for stuff to … get a little prickly. And it gets worse if we begin to feel like maybe they’re a little serious, not just joking. And then when we know there are at least a few commenters who won’t know that they’re joking and will think they’re serious.

    I used to feel like joking was better if it wasn’t too based in reality. Off-the-wall jokes that nobody could believe are just easier to take. I recognize now-a-days that the truer kind are also a lot funnier. But they require a lot more caution.

    Honestly, it happens with my (newish) husband and me all the time. I evidently still don’t know when he’s joking and when he’s serious!

    • Good points.

      That’s the problem with April 1 posts, by the way. Even with clearly delineated statements that it’s a joke, there will always be someone who takes it seriously. That has played into my decision to cancel what would have been a delightfully funny post I had been pondering for later this week!

      • Aaaah. πŸ™ I don’t care!

      • Hopefully you will privately tell me what the joke would have been. I agree though in that although your previous April Fools’ jokes were funny, there were some who took them seriously and never knew they were a joke even if you later said they were. Then too, people can find them later and not realize they were written on April Fools Day.

      • There are some people that it is impossible to help. Don’t worry too much about them. (Said with tongue halfway-in-cheek)

        I’ve seen repeated posts from one individual (that’s as specific as I’m gonna get) that I began to wonder if they were satirical, or intentionally exaggerated. So I meandered on over to YGG’s blog, as person with similar interests, to discuss my thoughts where they wouldn’t be offensive.

        Only to discover that this poster had beat me there. πŸ˜†

      • Amy and Q-M, check your email.

        πŸ™‚

      • Hey Amy, I hear that’s a really good blog. I stop by there every day. It’s funny and engaging, with heart. Recommended. πŸ˜›

      • Please move further discussion of said site to open threads. πŸ™‚

      • Oh brother… look, everyone’s in a good mood here, we were just having a small side conversation. It’s not like this is a thought-provoking article or news item where it would be preferable for comments to address the topic specifically. πŸ˜‰

      • You would be surprised at the number of emails I have already gotten asking if I’m actually serious about keeping discussions on topic, due to what I’ve already let stay up in the last day. So I’ll repeat . . . let’s take anything further along this particular line to an open thread. Thanks! πŸ™‚

      • OK… I hear that at least a couple of people thought I was talking about them here. Sorry! I thought saying more might be offensive, but I shouldn’t have opened my mouth at all if I was going to leave it so vague.

        Suffice it to say, that if you read this and thought I was talking about you, I probably wasn’t. I apologize for the confusion and if I hurt any one’s feelings. πŸ™‚

      • Oh Daniel, I was going to ask you about that April Fool’s plan. Don’t tell me you’re canceling it! πŸ™

      • Sorry!

        I’ll still do something to celebrate the day, though on a much smaller scale. (Hint: It involves the Greater Legacy of Voting Booths.)

      • …and to keep things on topic here, let’s just leave it at that till April 1, or move further discussion to an open thread.

      • OK, here it is! My mind is at peace again. (Sorry for all the ridiculousness, but I guess that’s what happens on April Fool’s. I just didn’t think I could have dreamed this up or my mind was that unreliable.)

      • It would be pretty clever for you to come up with in your sleep…!

  5. Just to clarify for any onlookers: This thread is actually about the comments policy, and what sorts of comments fit and/or do not fit here. So discussions are actually on-topic here that would not be on-topic anywhere else.

  6. I’m proud of you Daniel. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. Keep up the good work you ” intelligent handsome man.” πŸ™‚

    • If there was any lingering doubt as to whether sop was a guy or a girl, I think it was just cleared up for us. πŸ™‚

      • I thought you already did that “lovely beautiful yankee girl” πŸ™‚

  7. Great news Daniel! I think that yesterday’s part 2 post was one of the best posts ever on your blog and it got lost in the comments section due to that silly discussion.

    I also will probably never be able to hear “In Christ Alone” again without thinking of the 3-4 times that got kicked around. It still turns my stomach.

    And don’t even get me started about seeing little ducks….:) Keep up the good work!

    • I’m afraid I must answer guilty for helping the ducklings find the blog. I was not aware that they would become such a hot topic of controversy so quickly! Just so everyone knows, they’ve safely found their way back to the pond, and even though their nerves were somewhat ruffled yesterday, they are in fine shape all round. πŸ™‚

      • You mean they had their feathers ruffled. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, talks like a duck. then it must be a duck, right? This is getting a little quacky! he he he

      • [Looks around nervously, whispering.]

        Ahem, methinks we may be coming dangerously close to getting off-topic. But perhaps we could take the ducklings to an open thread before the Den Meister notices. πŸ˜€

      • Yes, please do!

  8. All kidding aside folks, I can completely understand why the events of yesterday got under your skin, and I sincerely apologize for the part I played in that. As the readers, you deserve not to have your time wasted. From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry.

    • Weeell… I guess we’ll keep you around, then. It would be a little boring here without you. πŸ™‚

      Can we move on now?

      • If Daniel will post something interesting, I’ll gladly contribute on-topic.

        (Hint, hint.)

      • Come back in five minutes.

        πŸ™‚