Comments and Moderation

Dear Reader:

Thanks for reading.  Here are a few basic guidelines for those wanting to leave a comment on New Oxonian.

All responses are welcome and will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.

The standard for this site is civil discourse, using Kenneth Gergen’s standard now widely used in colleges and universities.  The national crisis in civil discourse is created, not least, by the speed and ease of communication, which create opportunities for the abuse of language, ideas and persons.  Civil discourse is therefore: “The language of dispassionate objectivity [which] requires respect of the other participants, such as the reader. It neither diminishes the other’s moral worth, nor questions their good judgment; it avoids hostility, direct antagonism, or excessive persuasion; it requires modesty and an appreciation for the other participant’s experiences.”

Underlying this principle is that while the ideas and the actions of individuals are always subject to scrutiny and correction, attempts to discredit ideas through personal insult are never appropriate.

The site is moderated: no posts that do not meet the following editorial criteria will be published:

1. Posts that are merely abusive, personal, or just terribly dull will be trashed.

2. Posts that are tangential to the topic, oratorical, overly pedantic, or just plain strange will be trashed. (If you want to be pedantic, get your own blog).
3. Posts that, given a fair response from me but devolve into the argumentative (not to be confused with argument which is highly valued), will be trashed.
4. Theoretically I will not post a comment that I can’t reasonably respond to, or don’t have time to respond to, but there are exceptions–if, for instance, I hope to be able to respond, or if the respondent has a dialogue going with another commentator (as long as it meets other criteria).
5. Occasionally, but not without asking, I like to make a respondent’s views the jumping off point for another blog and quote from your response.
6. Because I do not have time to whittle overly long comments down to size, I ask you to try to keep comments under 500 words, and preferably shorter.
7. Comments will be closed on most posts after 10 days. Old news is old news.

8.  If you think one of your comments has been unfairly judged and that you were really just trying to help the conversation along, let me know about it.

17 thoughts on “Comments and Moderation

  1. I made a comment this morning to the post on Religion, and the comment has disappeared in moderation.

    As far as I can see, the comment does not violate any of the rules stated above.

  2. “…It answers a deep need in man. It is neither a metaphysic, nor a morality.”

    Very well spoken by Friedrich Schleiermacher. Religion need be explained no further, although it is useful to pick through the ashes.

    We can never be humanists until we account for, describe, embrace what it might be that springs eternal in the human breast…There is work to be done then when the atheists have been sprayed with OFF.

  3. Joe

    Not for publication

    So, Have I caught your attention?

    You may not be hugely surprised to learn that I spent some time at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford, and possibly not much more surprised to discover that the theories which arrived, by the ream, in our postboxes every day made vampires and werewolves seem positively plausible by comparison.

    On the other hand, if one is going to be lumbered with those reams I can imagine no more idyllic a setting than Mason Croft in which to write the invariably courteous and scholarly rebuttals of the latest lunacies, particularly since as a mere researcher I could usually simply pass it up the chain and get somebody else to write them. Apart, that is, from when it impinged on my own work which involved, inter alia, Edward Alleyn, so if you have detected a certain froideur in my comments thereon I can claim some small justification.

    Should you ever find a good enough excuse, sorry, reason to attend the Birthday Celebrations, perhaps involving the pressing need to consult the libraries, then I think you should grab it with both hands.

    Actually, and perfectly seriously, I do genuinely feel that Marlowe’s Faust would repay attention from someone with your skillset. I know the fact that you might win the annual Hoffman prize will not weigh with you overmuch since $15,000 is not exactly riches beyond the dreams of avarice, but it may serve as an addition to my view that this is something which you could do, do very well, and should do.

    If you have any interest in this then I would be happy to provide you with an introduction to some members of the staff; in particular, Martin Wiggins who won the Hoffman prize himself in 2006 with his paper on the dating of Dido.


  4. I am very glad to have stumbled onto your Blog searching for critical reviews of Chris Hedges, “I don’t believe in atheists.” You gave me a jolt by being a reasonable atheist who agrees with Hedges. I think I did, too, but didn’t know how to express it without seeming to be dis-loyal to my new “new atheist” friends. I look forward to exploring your extensive writing more fully. I was also surprised to see that you are heading yet another search for the historical Jesus. Lots of luck! I am a former Presbyterian minister turned social worker and in retirement still searching for truth or wisdom. I also look forward to reading your comments on James Luther Adams, since I m currently exploring UU “theology.” I am wondering if you know Ralph Potter. He was a class mate and close friend in the late 50′s. I thought your paths might have crossed. Thank you very much for your erudition, balance, fairness and provocations. Oh, yes, I am involved in The Clergy Project of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and find their closed website helpful and challenging.

    • Earl, thank you. I knew JLA slightly, he was still going strong in my day, and Ralph was an ethics teacher of mine–a very solid and generous man. Still searching for wisdom? Aren’t we all. I lament that the new atheists don’t seem to be.

  5. @David: Tell me if you feel you have had a comment of substance “disappeared”; I would have thought that posting the comments would have made your query redundant, and I am trying to prevent comments from going orphan. There have certainly been a few abusive comments (not from you) that do not meet moderation standards for the site.

  6. I’m writing to enquire about a youtube video that was attached to your last post “Secularism isn’t Atheism” and had a minor heading “Videos from this email”.
    The video is titled “3 Surviving Seduction : Remaining Orthodox in a Secular World : A Sermon by Frank Shaeffer”.
    I’m wondering if the attachment was intentional on your part? I suspect it wasn’t.

      • I shouldn’t have used the word “attachment”. It was a direct link to the video I mentioned and appeared after “Thanks for flying with WordPress” message that is normally appended to the email I receive from your blog. I believe the problem is on my end. Google or Youtube appears to be adding viewing suggestions on it’s own. I’ll update once I understand why Gmail included the link. Thanks for your time and sorry for bothering you over a minor issue.

  7. Where is any bit of actual factual information about historicity of Jesus. All is philosophy. I heard much better arguments before, one of the best is. There are so many mistakes in describing life of Jesus that if he was not real, why would the writers go through so many troubles?

    • It isn’t true that “all is philosophy.” But not all is fact, either. Shakespeare wrote a play called Julius Caesar. Do you know which bits are real? Do you think that Julius Caesar was not real because Shakespeare wrote a play called Julius Ceasar, or do you think Julius Caesar was real because writers 1500 years before Shakespeare were better historians. To do history, you have to understand the sources you’re working on. Some demand a rasp, some a chisel, some a shovel–but very few approaches advocate sledgehammmers as a way of getting at the facts.

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