Josh and I are fascinated by all the energy being created here at our little bitty site called Stupid Church People! One thing is obvious, we come from a wide variety of backgrounds; a broad spectrum of beliefs, and a myriad of different personality styles. With the name of our site and the nature of our commentary you might think the sky’s the limit here and you can say anything you want. Well, to a degree this is true. At SCP, we are trying to build something positive. Although somewhat controversial and offensive at times…we still desire there to be a positive outcome. Our goal, is for people to talk about what we are sharing and thinking.
However, Josh and I felt it was necessary to share with you some Blog Etiquette guidelines we found on another site that we thought were written very well. I have slightly tweaked them for our uses here.
Now, I want to differentiate for a second between the Blog and the Podcasts. Josh and I feel the Podcasts have a very different flavor and intent than the Blogs. On the Podcasts we take many liberties with the spoken word. We are trying to have fun, speak our mind and let it fly. Think of it as if you were sitting at the next table to us at a restaurant as Josh and I spout off all types of things. Seriously, if you were to follow us around, we have lunch a couple a times a week and this is what we do. Then one day a week we get together and tape it. The Podcasts are thoughts (often not very well thought out ones) that typically provide us with something that we will Blog about later.
The Blogs are more thought out (see number three below) so we understand that what we write should be held to a higher scrutiny.
First, here are some great general rules for our purposes (as found on MMIBlog.com and written by Tally Wilgis at his blog):
1. Each blog you visit is the internet “home” of someone.
You wouldn’t dare walk into a home and run your mouth at the host. It’s inappropriate to do on blogs as well. It’s just ugly and you end up looking stupid. Don’t do it. It’s immature.
2. Any attack on a blog is a public attack.
It’s one thing to debate a friend in college where it’s you two in a room or sitting out on the grass with no one else around. Imagine if you took some of those debates and broadcasted them to every dorm room on campus. Yeah. Be aware of what you say. You can look stupid, no matter how ‘valid’ your point may be.
3. It takes time to type so people will judge you a little tougher.
When everyone knows you took time to type your thought it gets a little more scrutiny than if you just said something in a conversation. It’s one thing (still dumb) to blurt out something ignorant in a conversation b/c you don’t have the facts or you come off as rude but to type it solidifies any thought of you being immature or ignorant. Read what you type. You have time to think it through!
4. A sign of maturity is the ability to delay gratification.
One thing that separates a mature person from the immature is the ability to hold back from immediate gratification. This is true for the blog world. We all have opinions.
If you have a brain you have a thought but not every thought has to be brought forward and presented in the dialogue. I try to operate on terms of ‘value added’. When I’m considering posting I ask “Is what I’m about to say going to add value to the conversation?” My “opinion” sometimes means NOTHING to the core of the author’s post. Therefore I keep my golden brain to myself no matter how great I think I may be at the time.
5. Watch out for Ad Hominem arguments.
Not to insult all of you fine readers, but I had to look this one up.
An ad hominem argument is a logical fallacy that involves replying to an argument by addressing the person presenting the argument as a basis for the argument being incorrect, as opposed to pointing out a flaw in the argument.
The jest of an Ad hominem is that it’s an attack on the person rather than the argument. I see this so much in the blog world it makes me sick.
Goes a little like this– BLOG POST: “So and so is doing something amazing for God.” Immature Commenter: “So and so is a blank and blank. Why doesn’t so and so just become more humble, (LIKE ME)!” Don’t attack the person. If you disagree and you must get your thought on record, do it in a civil way. Don’t go after people. If you must respond, talk about the idea presented. 6. You can be both true and wrong at the same time! For many immature bloggers they don’t understand that perception is reality. Although the context of what they are saying is true, how they are spraying it is wrong. For effective communication both parts must be able to be received.. the saying AND the spraying. Those who don’t want to work to make their communication better received by their audience have lowered themselves to bully status. “I’ll say what I want and you WILL listen or else”. The ‘or else’ in blog world is usually “Or else I’ll keep posting!”
7. A challenge to your idea is not an attack on you personally. You as the “poster” have to differentiate. It goes both ways. If you feel like your idea is being challenged it is easy to take that personally. I know…trust me. However, I have been guilty of responding as if the person meant their comments towards me personally. It is hard to read voice inflection, etc in comments, so take it all with a grain of salt. This blogging and commenting is great for developing thick skin.
Now for some more specific rules for the SCP website:
1. Stick to the subject. All discussions to the blog will need to stay on topic. If the author (Josh or I) posts a topic with or without questions, just respond to that. Seems fair, right?
2. Keep it Short. Each person will be allowed to post up to 5 comments per blog topic (I think this is quite liberal). These should be kept as short as possible. If you want to have a running dialogue with another commenter (especially when it is off topic), get their email address or phone number and go to lunch.
3. Don’t Get Personal. There will be no tolerance for personal attacks. Josh and I might be the object of a personal attack but please do not feel the need to add fuel to the fire by personally attacking anyone on our behalf. And if someone attacks you personally… just walk away. For me, I am taking the policy of not responding to anything I deem to be a personal attack on me. I will not be baited and neither should you.
4. Feel Free to Disagree, but… There will be room to discuss different thoughts and ideas… and to disagree. I will continue to tap into controversial topics from time to time and allow for input, but the input should not turn ugly or judgemental. Be gracious and kind, even when disagreeing. As it has been said, “If you are right, but you are rude, then you’re wrong!”
Bottom Line: All that a personal attack or immature comment does is bring the site, it’s purpose and the dialogue to a screeching halt. People stop by, see all the bickering and figure it is just a waste of time to be involved. If that is your intent, my suggestion is for you to get your own blog. That’s a great way to get your message out to the world.
That’s it. I really hope that this will set the stage for the SCP site to continue to grow and honor God, each other and our individual expressions.