Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Why I Decided to Deactivate Comments on My Blog.

I love to engage in discussion. I may be too strongly passionate about expressing my opinion. However, I also want everyone to have a place at the table. Even if I not only disagree but think that they are completely and totally wrong. So, I am very hesitant to limit opportunity for someone's voice to be heard. On the other hand, I do not owe anyone a debate.

Unfortunately, after my last blog was posted. I found a comment that while it may have been truly well intentioned and not meant to spur argument. Was constructed in such a was as to be unanswerable without starting an argument. It contained multiple questions, and a clause setting me up as a Strawman. Even just a few years ago I would have gone in with phasers set to kill. However that is not who I am trying to be.

At this time I am trying very hard to live by the principles of Quakerism. The reference that I use is Faith and Practice of the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (with a name like that it's no wonder we go by Quakers or Friends). There are several sections in the Advices and Queries in Faith and Practice that I consulted when I was considering my dilemma of what to do about this problematic comment.

From the Advices.

#3 Friends are advised to be mindful of their conduct and conversation and to observe the testimonies of simplicity and moderation.

Engaging in an online argument would be filling my life with unnecessary anger. Thereby complicating it. So it does not fit with that aspect of Quakerism.

#10 Friends are advised to observe integrity in their living and to inspect frequently the state of their temporal affairs. In their dealings with everyone they should endeavor to maintain a truly Christian character, ever bearing in mind the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I want to set an example of the best way to be a good person. A True Christian if you will (more on that in a future post). Jesus himself told us to turn away from unnecessary conflict (Matthew 5:38&39).

#15 All are especially cautioned against any harshness of tone or manner when administering counsel or reproof, either privately or in meetings. Friends should speak truth with love, remembering that if they would do God’s work, they must abide in God’s love. Even a seeming harshness may check the beginnings of true repentance, and a lack of sympathy may cause harm where only good was intended.

As I said before, I welcome debate. Unfortunately this comment was impossible to address without engaging in an argument. I want the person who posted it to know that I have nothing but love for them, and I am sorry that I was not able to discuss their concerns peacefully. I felt that I had to delete the comment for the good of all.

From the Queries.

#4 Are love and unity fostered among us? If differences arise, do we endeavor to reconcile them in a spirit of love and truth? Are we careful not to manipulate and exploit one another? Do we avoid talebearing, and are we careful of the reputation of others? 

While one poor comment does not deserve as long of an answer as I have supplied. I felt called to express how my action of deactivating comments was done out of love, strength, and holding to my principles as a Friend. Not cowardice and a lack of conviction. Also, I have called no one out specifically, and I deleted the problematic comment so no one may see it and attack the poster.

#7 Do our vocations provide constructive and beneficial service? Do we observe integrity in our business transactions? Do we avoid involving ourselves beyond our ability to manage? Are we careful to conduct our affairs punctually, justly, and honorably? Do we avoid participation in lotteries, betting, and gambling?

Writing this blog is a Vocation for me. I feel I am called to share the insights of my Faith and life experiences. I do not have the time or ability to engage in extensive moderation. Which is unfair to those who might post with pure intentions, and could be driven out by those whose intentions are questionable. Since Facebook is my primary method of sharing my blog, and Facebook has an active Moderating Team and more powerful tools to address negativity. It is irresponsible of me to try to moderate here.

#14 Do we make ourselves available in a tender and caring way when we sense a need for assistance in time of trouble? Do we trust each other enough to make our needs known to someone in our meeting?

 As I mentioned previously, I primarily share this blog through Facebook. Anyone who wishes to share their thoughts, troubles, or insights may do so through the posts where I share the links to my most recent Blog.

So in conclusion. I decided that I could not personally provide moderation of this Blog while maintaining myself as a Quaker. I bring attention to this blog through the outside source of Facebook. So, I deactivated comments in order to make use of Facebook's already existing moderation instead. Without limiting discussion.