One of the factors that has made me hesitate to get much involved in blog-sites of others, much less open one myself, is the behavior of some people who participate. Sites that are supposed to be all about serious academic issues concerning the New Testament and early Christianity, for example, attract comments that are rude, ill-informed, and downright pig-headed (of the “I know what I think and alternative views don’t deserve the time of day, much less a modicum of courtesy” type). For some people, obviously, the chance to “comment” on a blog site means the opportunity to fire off shots from the safety of their anonymity (and blogging pseudonym) rather than to engage in reasoned debate.
So at this early stage of this blog-site I want to urge some “blogetitquette” for all who wish to contribute, and I commit myself to the same level of behavior. Sharp and direct debate . . . fully welcome, so long as participants show respect for those they’re debating and a commitment to critical engagement with the evidence and to offering reasoned arguments for any position taken. Otherwise, I’m not interested, and there is nothing to gain. And if we don’t try amongst ourselves to raise and maintain the standard of reasoned discourse that should characterize scholarship at its best, then blogging turns into cheap bloodsport and those of us keen on productive use of discussion should just logoff. Here endeth the sermon for today.