I’ll offer some general thoughts on him, on blogging, and on this site’s approach to commentary.
- I don’t believe in trolls. I wasn’t impressed with “Three Billy Goats Gruff” when I was a kid. Nothing has changed. Labeling people as “trolls” is a lazy way out. People comment persistently on sites to disagree for quite a few reasons unrelated to post topics. And I don’t have a problem here with it being an emotional outlet.
- Having been labeled as a troll myself, I don’t think I can do to another what I wouldn’t want done to myself.
- As long as Max’s posts adhere to the general rules of courtesy, he is free to offer emotional and provocative statements. As many as he wishes.
- Because we’ve never had a heavy traffic of commentary here, the “rules” about participating in discussion haven’t been explicit. And sometimes I’ve been soft on them. A comment would have to be very insulting, obscene, or gravely unsuitable for mixed company to get edited. My policy, invoked only two or three times in ten years, has been to edit the offending portion and leave the skeleton. I don’t believe in banishment.
- Max, to my viewing, has never been gravely insulting to others at RNS. My observation is that he presents himself more as an anti-religionist than as an atheist. I plan to treat him as he presents himself.
- Other readers may feel free to engage him or ignore him, as they wish.
- I do not spend limitless hours of my day on this site. I have times while I’m on break at the parish, or between activities at home when I check comments or review the spam files, or drop a prepared post. I do not reply to every comment here.
- My plan is to respond to Max as I see fit once a day. Like any other person, he is free to email me. I check my personal email once a day.
A general manifesto on comments here. As with real life, I prefer people bring themselves to their dialogue. Not others. Offer opinions on third persons–you all know I do that. WordPress is a skeptic when it comes to more than one link in a comment. I’m not going to rescue such comments from the filter. My challenge to commenters is to bring your own ideas. I’m not interested in another person’s lens on a topic here. I’m not interested in prowess with ctrl-V. If you want to deluge me with links, then your only recourse here is to write me and ask me to put something up. Or better: start your own blog. If you want to post long sections of someone else’s material, I suggest you rethink that. Especially if you aren’t attributing with a link. And if you do too much of that, well, see how WordPress likes that.
Any thoughts from anyone? Including Max?