On Having a Discussion

I just thought I’d make a note about how to have an honest, open discussion on a blog.

First of all, some people have wondered about my comment moderation policy. It’s pretty simple: I have only one person in my moderation queue, and that is because he made repeated demeaning and disgusting comments to other commenters. That’s it.

Other than that, comments go into the queue when someone posts for the first time. Once the initial comments are approved, comments are automatically posted without moderation. On rare occasions I have edited comments to remove profane or abusive language, but other than that, I let people speak for themselves in their own words. (A technical note: comments are logged by email address, so if you use the same email address, your comments will be posted without moderation after the initial post. I once had a commenter who was furious with me because his comments went into the queue, but that was because he typed in his email address incorrectly.)

I say this because Meg Stout and her friends are free to say whatever they wish over here. I would love to have this conversation on Meg’s “home turf,” but that’s apparently not possible. (She blogs at millennialstar.org.) Every comment I’ve made has gone into her moderation queue, and only some have been approved. This has left the impression that I am not responding to some pretty egregious misrepresentations of my position and personal insults.

In the end, though, Meg has steadfastly refused to provide documentary evidence that supports her “narrative framework,” as she puts it. So long as that evidence is not forthcoming, there’s no point in continuing this conversation. And if she ever provides any documentary evidence, I’m pretty sure the conversation won’t continue on her blog, but here.

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5 Responses to On Having a Discussion

  1. Andrew S says:

    runtu,

    I have gone back and forth with some of the M* permas over this, and I even was part of a Sunstone session with several other bloggers about this (alas, M* and the rest of the Nothing Wavering blog aggregator crew boycotted Sunstone, so no response there.)

    The argument is that they are trying to create a certain kind of safe zone, and the way they implement that safe zone is through explicit moderation.

    Their argument would go further to say that people who claim to not moderate are still doing some forms of informal moderation — for example, letting other commenters “dogpile” on or whatever. (This was really more of a critique to certain Bloggernacle blogs, but they were applying it toward Main Street Plaza as well.)

    So, since M* wants to be a safe space for believing Mormons, of course they are not really going to want to host a debate about polygamy where non-faith affirming narratives are promoted.

    Also, last I checked, M* really doesn’t think that there can be a central place for discussions. So, rather than having a blog with believers and nonbelievers and everyone else over at one blog, they think that having different niches is preferable and necessary, and that if there is to be any communication between niches, it should be via back and forth blog posts (kinda like you’ve been doing with Meg, i guess?)

    • runtu says:

      I get that. I just wanted to make sure people understood that it’s not that I’m not responding over there, but that I can’t.

    • Andrew says:

      I’m not so sure Meg is being honest about moderation policies at M*, I think she could allow the discussion to happen. But either way, it’s absurd to allow comments calling for response, but then not allowing a response, making it look like you ran away to readers. Either allow all sides of the discussion or no sides. It’s not reasonable for one side to goad the other and then they block your response. And if you don’t want to host the discussion, what’s the harm in allowing a link to the discussion? Some of the posts they are blocking are literally just a simple link over to here. Really?

      • runtu says:

        She tells her readers she’s been “pilloried” and called dishonest because she’s pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. Let me be clear: I said her material is dishonest, first, because it provides no documentary support for her assertions. Also, as I pointed out, she used a source dishonestly, claiming that Joseph Smith’s approach to Emily Partridge was not a marriage proposal when Emily said it was exactly that. That’s dishonest.

  2. Vajra says:

    I read many of Ms. Stout’s posts at millenialstar.org prior to the string of posts here, as well as other posts she has made in other blogs. My opinion then was that she reflected a behavior that I have seen in many LDS women: passive aggression. This was particularly noticeable in her posts on “Ordain Women” and the excommunications of Kate Kelley. This latest conversation demonstrates this aspect and is highlighted by her recourse to victimization. She attributes any criticism of her work to bias, while failing to support her work with any factual documentation. She does not distinguish between her statements and her self. Nor does she distinguish between facts and her wishes. You cannot win with a passive aggressive; their sense of victimhood is too great.

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