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Blogfight! Blogfight!

July 27, 2006

Yesterday I did a dumb thing.  I went over to someone else’s blog (not CEFC) and got into an argument about why I thought that “obscenity” in Ephesians 5:4 needed to be defined by cultural and canonical context.

I ended up being called a “so-called Christian” who is “unfit for ministry”.

So, I’ve learned my lesson. I don’t want to do that again.  Last night at Bible study Matt mentioned some rules he has for himself for staying out of such trouble in the blogosphere.  I’m interested in hearing those rules now, and I’m interested in all of your lessons learned from similar experiences.   

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2006 9:50 am

    Although you know this better than I do, I suggest applying the wisdom of Solomon to make your path clear:

    Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
    Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.
    (Proverbs 26:4&5)

  2. July 27, 2006 11:19 am

    I first mentioned my self-imposed rule over at Egana’s blog:

    Essentially, I only reply-to/comment-on posts from people I know.

    Additionally, the internet/blogosphere is practically infinite. If I don’t impose some guidelines I could easily try reading it all with nothing but frustration to show for my efforts. It largely amounts to weighing the profitability of the exercise. I’m not likely to even read the comments over at TeamPyro because it lacks any sort of mechanism for separating the sheep from the goats. But I will read comments at SlashDot because it does use an effective mechanism for letting me filter most of the noise out of the signal. Not reading goats comments also helps prevent me from reading something I feel compelled to invest in when there’s no personal connection.

    But I even find that there’s little profit (for me) in reading the main posts at at sites like TP. Unlike /., the content at TeamPyro really matters, and I lack the personal connection with which to explore those things that need more discussion. I have a virtually limitless supply of Godly input through my church, and I find my time is much better spent discussing important things with them than looking for other sources that will ultimately turn out to be a dead-end. And since I already have a tendency to be obsessive-compulsive about exploring every avenue for data, I have to be particularly careful.

  3. July 27, 2006 12:13 pm

    And after reading the blogfight, it clarified another rule, one that’s important in every relationship, especially those online.

    Don’t beat a dead horse.

    I mean this in the literal sense, not in the cliche sense of talking about something after someone is tired of it. If the other person is not thinking logically, don’t present logical arguments, they’ll fall on deaf ears. Making a logical point up front to test the waters is good, but after that the argument is unprofitable.

    Another factor with avoiding blogfights (and my aforementioned rules), is to not post in someone else’s community. You picked a fight in someone else’s community, and it’s no surprise that the community would be populated with like-minded people that would present a similar defense to the one you were facing. I don’t doubt that someone picking a fight here would see (and be disappointed by) a sort of “groupthink” here.

    Even if a person is inclined to be convinced by reason, they are disinclined to do so when surrounded by their likeminded community. One on one communication might be more profitable, but once I can see that my tack isn’t making headway, I need to change direction or bow out. I’m probably too quick to abandon discussion with someone who seems unreasonable, but I’m at a loss for how to communicate unreasonably.

  4. July 27, 2006 12:59 pm

    MN: This is quite an excellent collection of blogospheric “rules of engagement.” I might write them up into a semiformal document and put them in a separate page on my blog.

  5. July 27, 2006 2:42 pm

    Thank you. Leave it to a hermit to create rules by which he can feel justified in not interacting with another person. : )

  6. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    July 29, 2006 8:27 pm

    Tom says: “Hi Mike, I’m posting.”
    Showing my Amish bone here, but I find that very little of use can be said on a blog-type format. Lots of communication takes place, but little of it gets through. Even when it does, the normal rules of civility don’t seem to apply. I prefer a face-to-face conversation, or at least a telephone call (or formal writing, but that’s a different area). That way if the fella’ I’m talking to needs to punch me in the mouth, he doesn’t go away frustrated.

    Not only does nobody seem to listen much, but it strikes me that the goal of a conversation in this context is to persuade someone of something. For many folks, they are simply not going to grasp the critical areas of emphasis (and thus line the matter up right) without having a live person there talking things out. I can write out theological treatises all day, but more often than not only a direct conversation can make the crucial points. So, except for this esteemed thing here, I don’t blog.

  7. July 31, 2006 8:41 pm

    Best rule I’ve made for myself (and broken twice with disastrous consequences):

    No personal names go in my blog, except for mine and that of my immediate family. It will come back to haunt you.

    Same goes for pictures- if they involve minors or someone I think might not be comfortable with having their photo on the net, ask permission first.

    Other rules worth mentioning:

    Be as respectful as possible, particularly when asking questions (or critiquing) someone’s opinions/religion/practices. Just be respectful period…

    Do not ever mention negative things about your place of employment without heavily filtering it first (the dooce rule).

    If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say it at all. If you must say it, make it private or super-mega-filter it. No personal (ipso somethingorothero) attacks, particularly in communities or other peoples’ blogs.

    Don’t read it if you think it might upset you… Be kind enough to warn people if stuff you’re posting might upset them.

  8. August 2, 2006 10:00 pm

    you have recieved many good peices of advice.

    recently I had a few weeks of interaction with a person online. the person became very upset (they had some really BAD church experiences) and seemed to misunderstand everything I said, no matter how respectful I was, etc.

    the reasom I bring this up, is that I was in daily prayer for this person during this three week blog relationship. The intensity kept it in my mind and on my heart. Since things have quieted down (this person has forbidden me to contact them) I find I forget to lift them up as often. Negative interactions can motivate us to prayer much more so than relational safety does!

    i think my wise pastor just preached a sermon about this sort of thing a few weeks back… I’ll see if I can get you the mp3 file. *wink*

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