A note to readers of this blog and those who make comments on this blog:
I was asked last year to allow free interchange among corespondents to Preludium without "comment moderation," the plea being that this would make for more rapid and healthy interchange of ideas without my having to be burdened by being disciplinarian for this blog.
(i) one thread capture wanted to somehow assure us (whether or not that was the topic at hand) that we ought to not sign the Covenant for the sake of conscience, and that we should stand on principle and that of course this would mean two Communion groups, etc. The capture was to get "liberals" to effectively buy a realignment principle, namely that alignment would mean a future with two different Anglican Communion groups. This thread capture lead to entrapment in a decoy argument.
(ii) one thread capture wanted to take whatever the topic and bring it around to a rant about how terrible The Episcopal Church is, that it is on its way to extinction, that its leadership has a "gay agenda" at its core, that The Episcopal Church is the enemy. This thread capture was a trashing scheme.
(iii) one thread capture simply wanted to turn every conversation in on itself so that members of the corresponding community would be led down a path to a place where no actual commentary on any topic would happen, but only escalating name calling. This thread capture was simply a spoiler so that no one in his or her right mind would stick around.
So. It turns out there is a simple way to stop this nonsense. I am turning on comment moderation. That means no comments will appear until I have read them, and I will exercise the following:
(a) I will allow whatever comments I wish. It is finally my blog and if others want to go somewhere else with issues then let them start their own blog.
(b) I am very interested in constructive criticism, alternate viewpoints, useful counter essays, etc. So comment moderation will make substantive alternative comments all the more useful. Comment moderation is not here to be used as a means of allowing only the like minded in the room. I invite substance, and if what is written seems worth it, will give primary blog space to the writer.
(c) I will trash any comment that deliberately misleads the reader, maligns others, or is destructive of the line of argument or arguments going on on the thread.
(d) I will allow considerable latitude in a thread, but if it gets too far off topic, I will suggest that the writer send an entry that begins, "Consider this for a new topic" and I will.
(e) Those who comment can sign on with any name they want, but if the continue to come back without a name I will eventually trash them as well. Find a name and on a given thread stick to it. It makes it easier to follow arguments if we can know that a response is from a particular player in the program. I have no idea who people are (except for a few) and I don't need to know. But if it appears to me that someone is signing on with several different names in order to "manage" the conversation, I will delete their comments.
The level of stupidity and foolishness in some of the comments these past few months has been very discouraging - enough to make me think of simply shutting down the blog. However, I am convinced that some of what is written here does in fact concern "Anglican and Episcopal futures" and have given that as a sub-heading to "Preludium" and is of value to readers.
Speaking of readers: I have discovered a temptation in blogdom, namely to be conscious of the number of readers, where they come from and daily readership. The wackos in the comment sections revisit often and when they start their comment wars there is obviously a spike in readership. So the temptation is to leave the comments section open to all comers - after all ten visits a day from one of our trolls is still ten visits. But then it kicks in: by visit eleven our troll has disgusted readers, and more rational folk pick up and leave. Furthermore, I believe it is better to have fifteen "hits" for the content and the possibilities for discussion then to have one hundred "hits" for the purpose of pissing in the soup.
I am pleased that Preludium has now had 1,450,000 visits. I hope there will be many more. But I also hope those trolls who live in the shadows will stay there or go elsewhere. If them come out they will be cast into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.