November 3, 2009

Blog Now Supports Comments

When I began blogging in February 2002, I characterized Lionel Deimel’s Web Log by the tagline “Random quick takes by Lionel Deimel.” At the time, I viewed the blog as an extension of my eclectic Web site, Lionel Deimel’s Farrago. Blogger software allowed me to compose and post essays more easily than I could build pages conforming to the style I had developed for that site. I expected that my blog would, like so many other blogs of the day, become a diary of personal anecdotes and modest observations. At the time, I wasn’t looking for literary criticism or dialogue.

As time went by, comments on Olympic performances and anecdotes about running down my car battery gave way to political commentary and observations on the political struggles within The Episcopal Church. My “quick takes” sometimes became long and elaborately formatted. My blog, like my Web site, remains a kind of farrago, and some takes are still quick. I do think of myself as an Episcopal blogger these days, though, rather than simply a blogger. (I hope no one thinks I should be ordained before I can call myself an Episcopal blogger.)

In these changed circumstances, the initial decision not to support comments on my blog seems increasingly dysfunctional. When I write something that invites discussion, that discussion can only occur through private e-mail or through comments on someone else’s blog. I have, in fact, been accused of not being interested in dialogue because visitors have not been able to leave comments. That has never been true. The evolving character of Lionel Deimel’s Web Log has finally convinced me to support comments on my blog.

This decision was more troublesome than I expected, as my blog template was not easily modified for comments. I finally decided to drop it in favor of a new template that needed fewer customizations. As a result, Lionel Deimel’s Web Log looks a bit different today than yesterday. Well, change is good.

Since I have not hitherto run a blog that supports comments, please bear with me if it takes me a while to fall into a comfortable mode of dealing with them. (The look of the blog may require a few more tweaks, too.) My main reason for not implementing comments earlier had been fear of being overwhelmed with the management of them. I still harbor that fear, but I am trying to minimize the problems that comments might create.

At least for now, here are my guidelines for comments:
  1. Comments cannot be anonymous. I cannot force people to use real names, but some name is required, if only to identify multiple comments as coming from the same writer. My preference is that people leaving comments will use their real names, along with any other identification they think may be useful. I won’t insist on this.
  2. Comments will not be pre-screened, and I don’t even promise to read all of them, though I will try to do so. I have a high tolerance for language, but gratuitous profanity or libelous statements will not knowingly be tolerated. Send me e-mail if you think a particular comment inappropriate.
  3. I appreciate discussion, but I reserve the right to limit discussion that goes wildly off-topic. (We’ll have to see what this means in practice.)
  4. I reserve the right to remove comments that violate the above guidelines.
Please do not be intimidated by the above rules; I do want to encourage discussion. If you have concerns or suggestions about my guidelines, leave a comment here or send me e-mail (see link at right).

5 comments:

  1. Hello, Lionel! I look forward to your continuing thoughts on the world of the Episcopal Church, having gained a great deal from your perspective. And I will be interested to see the discussion that develops. Congrats on the new format.

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  2. Thank you, Laura. You have the distinction of being the first person to leave a comment on the newly renovated blog. You should get a prize, I suppose, but I think I’ll save that for the millionth comment. Anyway, drop by again soon.

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  3. Well done!!! I like the look!!

    I also look forward to leaving constructive comments and adding to the froth of engagement.

    I have appreciated your updates, observations and insight to the "goings on" in The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (NOT ANGLICAN!) and well as the wider Episcopal Church.

    I am among the Pittsburgh Diaspora. Your comments have been an important lifeline to back home.

    Best wishes in the new format.

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  4. Lionel: Thank you for the change. A quick perusal of the comments will allow your followers to gauge more of the sentiment of the local Episcopalians. Hopefully my comments will adhere substantially to the issue at hand. Your ongoing labors in the recent time of troubles have been much appreciated by those of us who are consumed by mundane occupations. My first comment is this: The daily e-mail from the Episcopal News Service today contains a story about the release of the departed clergy, and responsive comments are invited. I have already responded to the ENS that the ringleaders of the recent rebellion have been treated too leniently. I regard their efforts to keep diocesan and parish property, of all kinds, as little more than theft, despite the defiant protestations otherwise. Perhaps I am hard-hearted, but I have difficulty with a grant of forgiveness to a thief, at the same time that the thief persists in the claim that the stolen property is his to keep. The worst argument in favor of the simple release is that the remaining clergy do not want to punish their former equals and colleagues. Apply that rationale to any other profession, and one realizes that it is equivalent to a statement that a good cop should never arrest a crooked cop. Thank you.

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  5. LD - applause for this!! I have always appreciated your analysis - I don't comment often, but appreciate the chance to do so. I'm in Dio. Bethlehem, but new to the state (3 yearrs ago) and enjoy hearing about what's happening 'out West.'

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Anonymous comments are not allowed. Gratuitous profanity or libelous statements will be removed. Comments will also be removed that include gratuitous links to commercial Web sites. Please stay on topic.