On Commenting and Watch Blogging

I’ve been thinking about the subject of comment moderation and why I, in general, don’t use it. The big reason I tend to not moderate comments is I find it can (it doesn’t always) hinder conversation. But there are times when moderation is a good thing.

Occasionally, I get some feedback from what is generally referred to as a “watch blogger.” A watch blogger tends to dedicate their efforts to shooting those they don’t agree with, like a Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney, John MacArthur, Andy Stanley (I’m sure there’s at least one hater out there), Erwin McManus, Dan Kimball, or…

You get the idea.

I generally try to be sensitive to those kinds of things because:

  1. I tend to be hyper-critical by nature; and
  2. I don’t want to ever be known for what I’m against rather than what I am for.

Sometimes, folks labeled as watch bloggers aren’t. Sometimes they’re folks who have something legitimate to say, but are maybe not using the wisest choice of medium to get their message across. Perhaps they’re people who have been genuinely hurt by something a church, pastor or speaker has done, but don’t know the most appropriate way to address the situation. Perhaps their choice of words is lacking or rabid, undiscerning defenders of whoever they’re speaking against decide to make war in defense of their idol.

But there are other times when I get the impression that, in reality, those who are watch blogging are contentious people who may have experienced church discipline and rather than humbly repenting of their sin, have gone to war and are trying to build an army of supporters to do… well, I don’t know what exactly.

In saying all this, I do not want to minimize any person’s feelings. It’s always amazing how our feelings lead us into confusion when we forget that “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9). Even when our feelings are real, it doesn’t mean they’re based in truth. Our perception might be off.

So why am I writing this? One action and one request.

If you are one whose only comments are only meant to direct people to a watch blogger-type of website, your comment will be deleted. This is the only form of moderation I will take, beyond a simple request to keep language clean. I always want to interact with anyone who reads this blog, but if you post, please do not suggest that I read a site that “tells a different story.”

That’s my action. Here’s my request:

I am asking anyone who regularly reads this blog to hold me accountable to the standards I’ve laid out. As I’ve said, my general bend is to be hyper-critical and I do not ever want to be known only for what I’m against. So I am pleading with you—watch what I write, call me on my attitude. Question me if my motives seem off. Be patient with me.

And help me to grow in holiness as I write.

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  • cliff ball

    thanks for your commentary. as an ametuer, i wasconcerned about how others might react about being “off”. I can relate to being critical, i wouldn’t worry about that. i am glad to almost know you, Aaron!

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

      Thanks, Cliff.