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>Charity police

>Jugulum makes an interesting observation. I have noticed this but I wonder if it is predominantly confined to Christian blogs. Blogmasters vary in what they expect of commenters; some blogs are freer in the range of tone, though curt language tends to be less tolerated from newbies and will likely result in a response in kind. Others expect more courtesy and will remove offence or ban offenders. What is amusing are commenters whose sensitivity buttons are grossly oversized. They expect kind language but are harsh in enforcing it. Jugulum notes,

If you read many blogs on the internet, you will find people who speak very uncharitably–they’re constantly unnecessarily harsh in tone and unreasonable in how they interpret others. You will also find people who are obsessed with accusing others of being uncharitable. You can call them charity police. And those guys can be some of the least charitable people around–accusing others of uncharity at the drop of a hat or the slightest hint of language that isn’t excessively polite. Majorly unreasonable & oversensitive.

This often true. Most of the problem with charity police resides in their own personalities.

I will add that exacerbating the problem is that text communication is intrinsically blunt. Thus one finds his comments less blunt due to the fact he is writing what he is thinking and others’ comments more blunt because he is reading what they are writing. One should reread what he has written to get an idea of tone. Always assume the tone is slightly harsher than it reads. If you think someone will find your comment a little blunt and you don’t know how to tone in down, consider using (as much as I am not particular fan of them) emoticons.

Categories: blogging, civility
  1. 2009 February 16 at 05:23

    I like the way Vox has kept his blog open and the rules are pretty lax over there. Now while I haven’t been keeping up with comments for a good 6 months or more now, and I understand there are a few people who can pull comments, I haven’t seen too many people banned. Myself, I have never had to ban anyone. The only instance I ever had where there was a problem I simply pulled the whole comment thread. But basically, I just let those few visitors to my blog say what they will, however they will. As long as they can back up any assertions they make I am all good with it.
    But then again I don’t take offense easily.

  2. 2009 February 16 at 09:01

    I agree. I have a pretty liberal approach. Let people post what they will and remove an inappropriate comment later if necessary. That is one of the reasons I went to haloscan as couldn’t see how to do it with blogger without approving every comment. I have several thoughts about what I would like in commenting software, perhaps I should post on it.
    I have been keeping up with Vox’s posts but like you I haven’t been keeping up with the Popoli for some months. Read the occasional comment thread and give my 2 cents.
    Read your post earlier today, meaning to add some thoughts some time.

  3. abigail
    2009 February 16 at 17:40

    Great observation.
    It’s interesting that some blogs long for controversy and differing viewpoints and others call all disagree-ers “haters.”
    I, for one, love the differing viewpoint. It sharpens me and causes self-examination. It brings me to the cross and the Word. A good place to be.

  4. 2009 February 17 at 19:17

    You can be sure that those who label others as “haters” are those who scream the loudest for diversity. I love diversity of thought for the same reasons as you. I keep my mind open to the possibility that I am wrong or that there might be a better way of looking at things. So I am happy to have someone civilly disagree with me and have an actual ability to support their viewpoint. But you will never hear me scream for diversity. I prefer to live it instead.
    Oh, and I refer to diversity of thought as it is the one thing we have 100% control over in our lives. I couldn’t care less who you were born to or how much money you make or what school you went to or who your friends are.

  5. 2009 February 19 at 01:50

    Haven’t been by in a few days.
    The previous thread is way over my head!!
    I comment frequently at a blog which for the moment will remain nameless. (not Vox’s)
    My experience at this blog is that the screams (and some of them are screams) about tone and “charity” almost always follow someone having their position not just proven wrong but eviscerated.
    This particular blog is populated by young 18-27 singles and college age people who have little life experience and most have been through the education mills, so they have the opinion that the piece of paper they are in the process of earning or have recently received makes them an expert on everything.
    Shoot their arguments full of holes, (especially using Scripture) and they simply do not know how to handle being proven wrong. So they start the tirade about “lack of charity”.
    My wife thinks that I set about to cause this reaction. I tell her that really it’s a pride issue. These people have simply never had an ignorant, uneducated farmer take away their lunch and eat it in front of them and their peer group. Their immediate reaction is to cry, foul.
    BTW, that’s one reason I so enjoy the farmer handle. Most of you realize who and what I am, but the vast majority of people who have not interacted with me assume that I am some knuckle dragging, slop headed, hairy backed, Neanderthal, who walks with a chimpanzee gait, talks with one syllable words and eats with my hands.
    Come to think of it, all of that is true. :) :)

  6. 2009 March 13 at 01:52

    You’ll appreciate this as it is eerily in keeping with the topic of this post >:)

  7. 2009 March 13 at 09:33

    Yes Mike T, very amusing.

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