Comment Policies, Guidelines and Proper Flow of discussions
Mormon Apologia blog will carry out the following rules of engagement and will be an addendum to the comment policy for this particular blog. This comes from the guidelines that many instructors at a local community college make for Discussion board interaction. They are very applicable for the contributors and commentators here on this blog:
A. Respect other group members
1. Judgmental, critical, and derogatory remarks and/or actions are not appropriate.
2. This blog is not a competition nor is it an exercise in back-and-forth judging members. Competition and comparison among participants is highly discouraged.
3. Help keep the focus on the topic of discussion, emphasizing similarities and differences of interpretation. DO NOT INTRODUCE NEW TOPICS IN A CURRENT DISCUSSION! True dialogue is not based on how many questions can be asked, it is about remaining on task and resolving the current topic under consideration – not to debate, but to discuss and agree to disagree in certain instances. Any new topics that need addressing should be submitted as a new article.
B. Listen to each other
1. Carefully read what an individual posted/or the article published. Many times, one will make the mistake of skimming an article already convinced they have an answer to the article or comment. However, by carefully reading what is published, one shows respect for the time it took to prepare and publish, or the thoughts provided in commenting on said subject.
2. Respect the person poster by acknowledging what they bring to the dialogue. Even if you disagree with something being said, it is far better to acknowledge and see it from their perspective.
C. Trust is important for healthy discussions
1. Private and personal information is not to be shared on this blog. Any information posted on this blog including screenshots will not be posted on any outside blogs, social media networking sites, et al. PERMISSION MUST BE GRANTED! This will save the aggravation of creating hostility between different blogs and online groups that may have differing positions or thoughts. If you want to quote someone, ask them privately first. If you want to quote from the article itself, follow proper citation methods established by the APA, Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, et al.
2. Along with trusting one another in what we share, how we share, it is also important to realize many of us come from different backgrounds and understanding. Not everyone may have the same knowledge as everyone else. For this, respect and trust in their own ability to communicate. There should be no mocking of a person’s inability to present the information, belittling them if they have poor grammar or misspellings. Constructive Criticism is greatly beneficial, however, if someone posts something as a comment and another comes behind and belittles them by pointing out the flaws, that does not show trust, and unwanted behavior.
3. If you disagree with an article, express your reasons about why in your own words. Originality establishes credibility, trust and shows that you have a basic understanding of being able to freely speak of your own accord without having someone else speak for you. If you need to have a link posted to direct where you have retrieved the information, I have the capabilities of going in, editing comments and correcting proper link attributions.
D. Copy/Paste linking content – no spamming the comments
1. No one likes spam, or a heavy laden commentary with links. Therefore, link when necessary to either attribute a statement, or to attribute a quote. This does not mean it is okay to link to content that has no relevance to the discussion.
2. Only link to support your reference and original voice. Do not link to content with the intent of letting the content speak for itself. For instance, if you are going to link to a counter-cult ministry group – mention the specific article in support of your own interpretation of that idea or concept. Do not say “Here is a good link that explains why Mormons are not Christians”. It will be removed without warning.
3. The only time you should copy and paste something is to emphasize a point. Not to post an entire article from a different website and then link it to the website retrieved from. The limit for copy and pasting quotations is one whole paragraph on an as needed basis.
E. Wikipedia is not a reliable source
1. When you offer support for your position, do not link to Wikipedia. Most college professors who teach college level English, or those classes that require research paper’s plainly and emphatically state that Wikipedia is not a reliable source. While I will allow particular citations and support to come from established websites (within reasons), one should also avail themselves to finding information from credible Journals and not some interpretive work from an online blog.
2. The only citation of any form of Wikipedia is if it is from a particular site that uses the Wikipedia format. For instance. FAIRLDS.org utilizes the Wikipedia platform on many of their articles. This so specialized and exempt from the prohibition against Wikipedia in general.
F. Freedom of Speech vs. Hate Speech
1. While we do have the privilege of speaking openly and honestly, and to speak on relevant issues of the day, this blog does not allow any form of “hate speech” as defined by legal standards and means. “Hate speech” includes speech that speaks derogatory toward any group of people because of their gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or even ethnicity. What classifies hate speech? Here are some examples that are Hate Speech:
Joseph Smith is a pedophile
Mormons are condemned to hell
You are problem some mental case idiot that is off his meds
By mere definition of the law, these are construed as derogatory against a religious group. Therefore, it is not free speech. If one wishes to push the issue of comment moderation here on this blog – one needs to take a fundamental class on the US constitution and actually read that it says – Congress shall make no law. It means exactly what it says.
Keep in mind the following principle as well:
Communication is important in all aspects that we do. However, there are some who feel that they can abide by lesser rules where ridicule, mockery, and unsubstantiated claims are made. This will be the new flow of communication on this blog from this point forward. Before you comment on any Article, make sure this is read, understood, and applied.
Any violation of these rules will be subjected to a warning, and then an automatic ban from commenting. Do not ever question the moderation of one’s comment because if the comment was deleted for any of these rule violations, there is nothing more that needs to be said.
Again, it is the hope that discussions will be balanced, open, and honest in their approach with the particular subject. Whether one may or may not agree with the teachings, history, or doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are two ways we can go about discussing those similarities and differences. We talk like rational human beings, or we act like children and engage in the name-calling mudslinging contest. I prefer the former to the latter.