Regular readers will know that since avfl added comments threads to posts, moderation is minimal, and/but a few readers think it’s time to reconsider that approach. Says one:
I realize that you don’t want to get too heavy-handed with moderating comments (I can understand that this might partly be due to time constraints); but I wish something could be done. I used to really look forward to coming here. Now, I almost always regret it when I look at the comments. [snip] The intellectual level of the discourse has fallen somewhat.
Ah the good ole days!
I find it ironic that those who don’t like this blog are driving away those of us who do. I’m so tired of every topic becoming a name-calling, who-can-outtrash-the-other free-for-all. If you can’t stick to the topic, and add something substantive, please go away. Find another blog to misuse for your own satisfaction. You sound like preschool children. Enough! Some of us appreciate Doug’s insights and critiques.
Thanks for the kind words.
Still another reader finds more madness than method in my moderation:
It’s just difficult sometimes to gauge what’s “safe” and acceptable on your site and what’s not.
These are not new problems, either for readers or writers online, though some are more easily handled than others. The problem of what’s safe to post and not is, for me, usually (though not always) less difficult than the question of how low to let a conversation go. The comments in which posters seem deaf to the irony of using my forums to demand my silence may be self-discrediting, but they’re also an essential plot point on the continuum of worldviews and perspectives that shape common approaches to gospel music and culture. Name-calling makes me uneasy, but then again, life ain’t all patty cakes either. Most scatological references pretty consistently put me off (comment comparing build around extended bowel movement metaphor? DELETE!), except of course, when they don’t. I trust you get the point.
The trash-talking, lowest-common-denominator, race-for-the bottom tendencies of many comments threads leads some bloggers to ban comments as a matter of principle. Andrew Sullivan:
[T]his blog tries to air debate by reading and editing the smartest reader contributions and trying to moderate them a little to provoke and advance or clarify the conversation. [snip] A little dorm room conversation in one’s later years is worth doing - and blogs, if they’re edited and curated well, can help.
In theory I’m on board with this. And of course I wish the comments here drifted more toward the thoughtful and engaging rather than slightly less in the direction of the bombastic and self-righteous. But in the context of averyfineline (and aside from the time commitment it takes to sift and sort emails a la Sullivan, who is a paid, professional blogger with real-live interns to handle mail and research), I’ve given this a lot of thought (and continue to do so regularly) and keep coming to the conclusion that in southern gospel culture, where most healthy dissent is culturally stigmatized and forced consensus often distorts issues and oversimplifies the range of viewpoints in play, freer-flowing conversation that tends toward bombast and santicomony is better than the altnerantive, even if this approach runs the risk of more being less in some cases.Email this Post