Culture Intelligent Design

CARM apologetics forum: A thoughtful response from a commenter and a followup reply

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Recently, I observed a thread at a Christian apologetics site, CARM, “Francis *******g Beckwith”/”most snaky Christian theologian,” which really did not reflect well on the site’s goals.

jpark320, a thoughtful CARM volunteer, wrote to point out that

First the link to the “trolled’ CARM site is on their forums, not an official article that was posted from the staff.Second there is not enough manpower to keep watch over every single forum people can make. It is the double of sword of allowing people to freely express their thoughts (the side of the sword that hurts…)

So it should be easy to monitor “flame wars” and “trolling” here given the limited number of post and that only official UD people can make those posts.

I replied at 5:

jpark320, thanks for clarification. However, I am not sure that the service CARM is providing in hosting “FB/snaky” needs doing.

Anyone can start a blog at Blogger for free in five minutes and start trashing just about anyone from there, and get all their friends to do it too.

So why facilitate – and in some measure, take responsibility for – what happens anyway with no intervention?

Incidentally, one needn’t be “official UD people” to post here, just someone who has signed in and is the kind of person who would be welcome at the summer block party. = any civilized planetary neighbour

For the record, I am a (minor) free speech journalist in my own country, and I like the freedom of the Internet. But that freedom changes a lot of things.

For one thing, as above, it is no longer necessary to make special arrangements for people who have free access to the Internet to express their views. If their self-expression is a problem, one can export the moral responsibility back to them by cutting them loose, without actually stifling them.

Many persons “banninated” by a troll monitor or site owner simply go off and start a blog to carry on about it for a while. And if they feel good about that, so do the rest of us.

Only a big and ambitious government could wreck a system like that, which is how I became a free speech journalist.

3 Replies to “CARM apologetics forum: A thoughtful response from a commenter and a followup reply

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Mrs O’Leary:

    this is the key issue and it is why it is reasonable to apply judicious moderation at sites like UD which are a particular target for trolls:

    it is no longer necessary to make special arrangements for people who have free access to the Internet to express their views. If their self-expression is a problem, one can export the moral responsibility back to them by cutting them loose, without actually stifling them.

    Many persons “banninated” by a troll monitor or site owner simply go off and start a blog to carry on about it for a while. And if they feel good about that, so do the rest of us.

    Only a big and ambitious government could wreck a system like that, which is how I became a free speech journalist.

    That said, it is important that justice be done and be seen to be done, on rules that are transparent and fairly enforced.

    And, we should all seek to abide by the do no harm civility principle, noting that words can kill.

    Hence my sharp retort to MG’s decline into unfounded insinuations of dishonesty.

    GEM of TKI

  2. 2
    bevets says:

    Im pretty libertarian about these things. I appreciate the enforcement of civility, however censoring comments leaves a site open to charges protecting fragile arguments. A compromise might be to reassign bad comments to a section for haters — they would still be on record for anyone who wanted to see the bad and the ugly, but they would not be hogging the spotlight in the normal comment area. Several forums allow voting which causes bad comments to be hidden after a threshold of negative votes.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Thank you for taking me out of moderation. I’ve been posting here for years and I think it would be exceptionally difficult to classify me as a troll.

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