My long-time readers know I welcome comments. I don’t put suggestions at the end of posts just because I’m asking rhetorically. I want conversation. I’d like to have more. Neil gets more explicit, at least in his more recent offerings, and will ask you point-blank what you think. In a sort-of professorial way I admire.
In the early days of the blogosphere, I visited many blogs and made a virtual pest of myself to many conservative Catholics. I understand well the tickle to argue a point to death. How fun! There’s still a spot between my third and fourth ribs …
I’d like to think I have a far more generous approach here than most conservative Catholic blogs. Commenters are free to veer off topic. They can utter all sorts of untheological and unorthodox (and even–gasp!–conservative) views, and it won’t bother me. If they don’t think what they have to say will fit, they can e-mail me and I will post it separately. My traffic is light enough here that I feel I can handle what the outspoken can dish out and keep the place uncluttered and pleasant.
I don’t mind e-mail correspondence. I’ve exchanged many great notes, conversations, and gifts with many fine people over the years. That’s the best part of blogging.
I also do not mind if a strong-minded person wishes to offer repeated comments. Thirty, fifty times a day, and as long as you’re not spam, go ahead and knock yourself out.
I would like to remind people of one rule and offer one sincere suggestion.
The rule: please do not offer insults, either to me or to other commenters. If anyone is offended by name-calling and wants me to take action, let me know in the thread or by e-mail and I will consider editing a comment. I’ve never had to remove a post before, and I don’t believe that step is anywhere near necessary today. If a personal insult is given to me or someone else I feel is over the line, I will use the editing tools at my disposal to alter your comment minimally and appropriately. Unlike conservative Catholic blogs, your commentary here will never be deleted, no matter how brisk it may be.
I mention this reminder not to suggest anyone recently has stepped over the line, but just to let people know they are playing in a ballpark with fences.
My sincere suggestion is that you use a real e-mail address when WordPress asks for it in the combox. On many occasions I’ve been clear that e-mail correspondence is not blogable. If you write something in confidence, it stays confidential. In return, I would ask that you give me a way to contact you, should I feel a discussion is turning personal and needs to move one-on-one. I offer you my e-mail address. I don’t think I ask too much for you to return the courtesy.
As a last resort, I will call someone out publicly, but only if no other option is given.
That said, I know some people have what they believe are good reasons to remain anonymous. They don’t want to be outed as a blogger. They don’t want their e-mail coopted by an evil third party. I use WordPress, but obviously I can’t guarantee some meanie won’t hack the whole darn thing and demolish all of us–bloggers and commentariat alike–with identity theft.
Regular commenters in the past and present have used and do use bogus addresses. Or names not their own. In some cases you have explained why, and it’s not my place to disagree with you. Just realize I may get more chirpy with you, but for the most part, you do realize that and accept it.
I think that says what I need to say. Sorry it comes off as preachy. I had a preaching episode with the young miss earlier today and it wore off a bit. As with her, it’s likely I will screw up on occasion, and when that time comes, I will offer a sincere apology. Meantime, comment a lot, play nice, and be holy and without blemish.