As 2010 approaches and discussion of 2012 begins, religion talk is growing – and much of it is ugly. In 2008 and great deal of the anti-religion and religious infighting happened not in the mainstream media, but in the comment streams below mainstream media, or new media. pieces.
As a blog devoted to civility and proper balance in the discussion of religion and politics we are asking our readers to help police comments at web sites that are of a prejudicial, bigoted, or offensive nature. Here are some “rules of the road” for this effort:
- Whenever possible use “report abuse” systems rather than engage in argument. We are not going to be able to change people’s bigotry, but we can “train” web sites not to pass it on.
- If you must comment, try to complement the web site owner, but do not engage the commenter. Something like “I find it alarming that a web site of this quality would allow such overt religious bias, as demonstrated in comment X, to reside in its comments.”
- Stick to big name, widely circulated news sites. Small blogs or sites devoted to religious bias will just be a waste of time.
- ALWAYS BE CIVIL AND REASONABLE, no matter how much provocation is thrown your way.
- Apply our standards equally. Do not complain about comments aimed at Christianity and let ones aimed at Buddhism sit – complain about all of them.
- Don’t worry about repetition – quantity matters in this effort.
This list is likely to grow and change as this effort takes shape so stay tuned.
To help you find places where these comment might occur, we have established this twitter account. It uses Google’s search capability and automatically “tweets” news stories that might be of interest. It is liable to be massive as this moves forward, so sort through it carefully. It’s on autopiloit – we are not moderating it save through our choice of search terms.
Email us and let us know about your efforts. Please include your email in the body of the note – it will enable us to respond to you.