Starting January 1, I am implementing a change of direction for this blog, as follows.
Scheduled posts: Posts will be scheduled in advance by topic and author. I will publish the schedule semi-annually.
Guest authors: I will invite a select group of contributors to author the posts. Don't call me; I'll call you. ;-)
Delayed and moderated comments: After an author publishes a post, it will remain on the site without comment for one week. After that time, I will begin to release those comments that gain approval. The screening of comments will take place solely according to the following rules:
- Comments that interact with the original post by contrasting it with the fully documented words of relevant historical sources will be permitted.
- Comments that interact with the original post by presenting a well-reasoned critique of the logical development of the post's thesis will be permitted. Such comments should refer to specific wording of the original post as the basis of the critique. Where such critiques employ the material of other authors or other works by the same author, they should refer to specific wording and be fully documented.
- Comments that interact with the original post by posing a question well-crafted to further the dialogue and bring forth more information will be permitted.
- Foul and offensive language on the part of the comment author will not be permitted. Foul and offensive language will only be permitted in quotes of others if the inclusion of offensive material is necessary to the point being made. Anything that does not meet the tests of being substantive and well documented will not be permitted. This includes, among other things, spam.
- If a comment is rejected, I may decide to make suggestions to its author as to how he or she might improve the comment (e.g., "You need to provide a citation for the quote that you give in paragraph two") and allow resubmission.
Here's my purpose: I'm trying to set up an online forum that approximates the experience of participating in a doctoral seminar. You need not have any academic degree to participate. Indeed, I see this as a way for people to experience something approximating the doctoral study experience without having to pay tuition or pass qualifying requirements. I want the blog to become a forum where people all come having actually prepared for a discussion that is well focused around a clearly defined topic. It is a rare and wonderful thing to enjoy dialogue among people who do indeed know what they are talking about. They may have different viewpoints, but when they share them they wind up sharing more than just opinion—they convey content.
For a while after January 1, at least, this will be the only format of material on this blog. I'm not committing to this format forever, because I don't believe that the "journal of personal opinion" function of a blog is completely without merit. I'm merely observing that there is no place in the entire Southern Baptist blog realm that creates the kind of careful, credible dialogue that I hope to achieve. The more "academic" blogs generally either allow a free-for-all in the comment stream or do not allow comments at all.