There have been two discussions on this blog that have tallied an absurd amount of comments. The first was “Ecclesiology of Starbucks” from September 21st that currently sits at seventy-four comments. The second was “Finally, Consistent Complementarianism” from October 14th that currently has one hundred and sixty comments. While it is exciting to see that much interaction one major flaw of the medium of blogging was exposed. The direction of both discussions became (a) a bit incoherent and (b) almost totally detached from the original subject.

I don’t think it is necessarily bad when a discussion evolves (devolves?) into something else, but I do think this is something that should be problematic at times. These two posts are good examples of when it becomes problematic. If someone arrived a couple days later hoping to engage the original subject they would quickly realize that everyone had in essence “moved on” and I am not sure this is what I want to happen.

Craig Benno made a wise suggestion on this blog the other day (see here). He suggested that one of the “unspoken rules” of commenting on another’s blog is that you continue to address the subject of the original post. This is easier said than done because who is to say what is a naturally evolving conversation compared to a derailed one. While this may be more art than science let us say we can never go wrong to try to keep on topic.

Likewise, one should try to engage the blogger on the blogger’s terms. For instance, if you think the blogger said something that sounds like something N.T. Wright, or Gordon D. Fee, or Karl Barth, or Augustine said, but this person is not quoted, don’t attack Wright, Fee, Barth, or Augustine. If  the blogger quotes one of these people it is fair game because the discussion revolves around the idea of the name theologians. If not, then keep the discussion where it belongs.

Another thing we should keep in mind is the intent of a post. For example, if a post is intended for humor, and you see “humor” as the tag, it hardly makes sense to prepare to go to war. It was intended as a joke. If you find the joke offensive you can say so but let it be on those grounds, not on the grounds that you took something intended to be funny as something intended to be serious.

We put a commenting policy in place not to long ago in order to help give this blog some stability. I don’t plan on making these ideas into additional points but rather just suggestions. The worst thing for the medium of blogging is to derail a conversation that could have been kept on track.