Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What I've Learned from Blog Comments

It is hard to believe that Truthbomb Apologetics started 6 years ago.  In those six years I've had the pleasure (most of the time) to interact with both believers and unbelievers of all stripes and in that time I have learned a few things about blog comments and the different kinds of people that leave them.

The Good

1. The Sincere Questioner- I have received emails and comments from folks who sincerely desire answers to their questions and we are grateful to receive them.

2. The Encourager- These are the folks who leave comments such as, "Thank you for this!" or "Keep up the great work!"  This is always appreciated and I realize I need to do more of this myself.

3. The Sharpener- This is the person who challenges something you've written or points out a possible error you've made in a very respectful manner.  Further, they may share a tip on how to better communicate a point your trying to make.  This is much appreciated and a great example of Proverbs 27:17: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

The Bad

1. The Time Sucker- These are the folks who apparently have an endless amount of time to sit on their computer and argue with you, all the while not really wanting answers to their questions in the first place.  I recall once spending hours talking with a skeptic and I felt like I was offering some fairly sound arguments and he just wasn't dealing with them.  Finally I said, "I'm really sorry I haven't been able to help you remove the stumbling blocks that are keeping you from becoming a Christian, but I can offer you some great resources for further research."  I'll never forget his reply- "I have no desire to be a Christian."  Lesson learned.  If  he would have told me that in the beginning, he could have saved me much time!

2. The Assumer- This is the person who thinks they can diagnose everything about you and your entire worldview from a few sentences you've written or simply because you identify yourself as a Christian.

3. The Complainer- This person has no arguments of their own and doesn't even feel they need to offer any. They simply complain about the evidence for Christianity.

4. The Advertiser- These folks like to leave a very brief comment that may or may not have something to do with the post and then leave a link to their blog.

The Ugly

1. The Abuser- These are the folks who offer nothing but name-calling and ill will.  I recall one person telling me that I should just die!  Thankfully, these types of people have been few.

The most infamous in my memory was a guy who's blogger name was first "bobxxxx" and then he changed it to "Human Ape."  When I would do a feature relating to origins he would religiously comment and tell me how stupid I was and how I was "lying for Jeebus."  He would also routinely chastise me for moderating comments and tell me that it was because I was "a dumb Christian who was afraid of evolution," which is funny when one considers we have done numerous posts on evolution!  So, I began visiting his blog and challenging some of his assumptions and he began deleting my comments and now you can't even comment on his blog unless you are a member!  He still maintains that all Christians are "idiots" and that the world would be a better place if they all just died. [1]

Advice to Others Bloggers

Here are some tips that I have had to learn "on the job:"

1. Guard Your Time- Contend for the faith, but not so much that it takes you away from your God or your family.

2. Stay Patient- One blog comment is not going to destroy Christianity.  Take a few days to think about the comment and do your research before responding.

3. Don't Feed the Trolls- This is a tip given to me by a fellow blogger that has served me well.  By "troll," I mean someone who is merely commenting to complain or argue, but has no desire for real answers or dialogue.  Be clear, concise and brief with these types and be careful not to "throw your pearls before swine" [Matt. 7:6].

4. Pray- When you are involved in an exchange with someone, pray for them.

5. Provide Resources- There are so many questions out there that chances are you will be asked a question that you don't know the answer to.  In a case like this, it is completely acceptable to offer a resource or book that you know deals well with the topic in question.

Comment Publishing

We try to be very discerning about what comments get published and what comments do not.  Sure, we have a comment policy, but ultimately the blog authors have final say.  Our goal is to always be fair and when a comment doesn't get published, it is with good reason.

In conclusion, it has been a privilege to interact with folks from around the globe and I understand what I believe better because of it.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:

1. I hesitate to share the name of this blog due to the fact that the language on it is deplorable.  Should you want to know what it is, please send me an email and I will gladly give you the link.  However, reader beware.  The blog is a prime example of quote mining, straw-manning and name-calling.  

5 comments:

Lisa Quintana said...

I just started blogging and tweeting to the "big outside world" myself, and stumbled upon troublesome comments, etc. Your blog was truly an answer to prayer! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us newbies!

Preacher said...

This is a great way to not only think about blog comments but also to handle regular people outside of blogs. Sometimes we devote a lot of time to people who have no intention of every thinking seriously about what we believe. There are times we can get into flame wars with others. As Christians, we need to love and care about others and at the same time, be careful about "casting our pearls" where they are not wanted.

Chad said...

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for taking the time to comment! I'm so grateful that you found the post helpful!

Blogging is surely an adventure! Enjoy!

Godspeed

Chad said...

Preacher,

Thank you taking the time to comment!

You advice is very wise indeed.

Godspeed

danno4krist said...

Thanks for this post...I'm also new to blogging and your words have both shown me the right attitude to making comments and also how to identify and moderate properly comments on my own blog...
Thanks for sharing!