Moderating Mormons Online – Thoughts from Sunstone

August 11, 2014

Two weeks ago, I was at Sunstone in Salt Lake City. I was invited to speak as part of a panel entitled “Moderating Mormons in Cyberspace” as part of my role as a moderator for the Mormon Hub Facebook group (which is Sunstone’s official Facebook group, so that makes sense.) Hopefully, many of you are part of the Mormon Hub (and, as another promotional note while I’m at it, hopefully, all of you have liked Wheat & Tares’ Facebook page), but even if not, I wanted to share a modified version of some of my prepared comments here, especially since in the panel, I briefly contrasted Wheat & Tares from Mormon Hub.

* * *

If you keep up with blogs, many of you may recognize me as Andrew S. My relevant online Mormon bona fides with respect to “moderating Mormons in cyberspace” would probably be as follows:

  • I run the blog Irresistible (Dis)Grace, a blog with so few comments as to require virtually no moderation.
  • I am a (now scarcely) seen permablogger at the group blog Wheat & Tares, a blog where historically, it has been more likely that the permabloggers would sooner offer guest posting slots than actually moderate people.
  • Most recently and relevantly, I am now one of approximately 20 moderators for the Facebook group The Mormon Hub, where I moderate with Diplomacy and Tact, (which are of course the names of my dual-wielded ban warhammers.)
Dual-wielded warhammer

An artist rendition of Andrew S. moderating with “Diplomacy” and “Tact”.

One could say that I am a bit obsessed with the question of how Mormons divide and subdivide online, as the first time I went to Sunstone two years ago, I was part of a panel discussing whether good online fences make good LDS neighbors – or, more specifically, how the different blogging communities such as Nothing Wavering, the Bloggernacle, and Outer Blogness define boundaries and whether such boundary maintenance is valuable…and here I am now, talking about moderation in Mormon communities.

But one thing I would like to talk about is the difference in moderation styles between two of the online efforts of which I’m a part — Wheat & Tares and the Mormon Hub. Both Wheat & Tares and the Mormon Hub “began” soon after dramatic events surrounding former efforts of John Dehlin, with Wheat & Tares being the blog successor to Mormon Matters (which was a blog before it was a podcast [...and, for that matter, it was a podcast before it was a blog before it was a podcast, but that's just history]), and with the Mormon Hub being created by Sunstone soon after John had decided to limit the scope of Mormon Stories Podcast Community to being solely for discussions about podcast content (a decision which was quickly reversed), but the way the two communities have approached moderation is very different.

I certainly won’t say that Wheat & Tares is the least moderated blog, and I certainly won’t say that the Mormon Hub is the most moderated Facebook group, but the two groups have very different philosophies to moderation, with W&T wanting to avoid moderation as much as possible, and the Mormon Hub not being afraid of it.

I think that Wheat & Tares is (generally) averse to moderation for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, many of the permabloggers have experienced moderation at other sites. We know what it’s like to be banned at sites like By Common Consent, or if we are not banned, to just be ignored. We know how unfair it can feel. So, we didn’t want to do that.

But secondly, and more interestingly, moderation seems eerily similar to church disciplinary action, which also leaves a bad taste in many of our mouths.

In fact, this panel — Moderating Mormons in Cyberspace — could easily have been a panel about the how the institutional church confronts Mormons whose audiences and influences have primarily been formed online. Would folks like Rock Waterman, John Dehlin, or Kate Kelly have ever attracted as much interest as they have (or hit the radar of the institutional church) if it weren’t for blogging, podcasting, and the ability of the internet to allow people from all over the world to express their shared struggles together?

Moderating Mormons in Cyberspace Sunstone Panel

In this sense, becoming a moderator at the Mormon Hub has been quite interesting, because when I first became a moderator there, I found myself using euphemistic terms that we now see the church (or Public Affairs) use in discussion of church discipline.

Firstly, moderation is not punishment.

I really did (and do!) see moderation (mostly) as about some sense of care for the other person. The way I approach it, I want to reach out to the other person, ask them about where they are coming from, try to talk to them about where I’m coming from, what we’re trying to do at the Hub, and so on…I want us to reach an accord.

Maybe that accord is that the person changes their behavior.

Maybe that accord is that I understand what the person is trying to do or say, and maybe I provide some feedback on alternative ways to express themselves.

Maybe that accord is that the person understands what I’m saying, and decides they do not feel their behavior needs to be changed.

Even if someone decides they don’t value what we are trying to do at the Hub, I don’t want to punish them. I don’t want to ban them. So instead, to use an unfortunate concept enshrined in our cultural vocabulary by fellow Mormon W. Mitt Romney, I try to get them to self-deport. And this technique has been wildly successful, although it has led to the rise of the “YAGE”, or “yet another grand exit,” where people leave the group only after writing some manner of hyperbolic post dusting their feet off at the blind TBMS/evil apostates of the Hub (because the Hub is both full of the mental gymnastics of apologists AND utterly devoid of any faith, apparently.) And YAGEs have raised another moderation issue, but still.

I do see some distinctions between the setup between church and Facebook group, of course. The Mormon Hub doesn’t pretend to be the one true Facebook group and doesn’t take any tithes, and you don’t potentially lose contact with friends and family from leaving a Facebook group. I think a diversity of Facebook groups and blogs is therefore helpful so people can go to the groups or blogs they like.

Still, I think that there is a case for moderation…and also a case for blogs and groups that don’t want a lot of moderation. In particular, many blogs and Facebook groups are trying to cultivate something specific — whether it is a safe space for conservative, orthodox Mormons to talk without being derailed by constant snipes from disaffected comments (which I think is something of what many of the Nothing Wavering blogs are going for), or maybe something more like a mostly-truth-agnostic space for folks who just want to talk about Mormonism because we find it fascinating, but don’t want to be constantly badgered into dismissals because someone thinks that it’s a fraud or that this is all mental gymnastics or whatever. And moderation can be essential to reach those ends.

(I doubt many people at the moderation session were at my session on online fences, but at this point, it might seem like I’ve completely turned around from my previous position. Although, firstly, if you read my after-action report from my previous session, you’ll see that since I played devil’s advocate in favor of boundary maintenance [and the moderation required to maintain that], I’m technically not switching positions at all…but secondly, I had some critiques even back then that I think that I still have. As I said then:

Orthodox, faithful bloggers are discussing their faith and making a case for their faith “under controlled circumstances.” They can defeat critics and ex-members “under controlled circumstances,” and answer the questions of doubting and questioning members “under controlled circumstances.” But the problem is they aren’t going to find those here.

It’s not that doubters or questioners or even wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing do not exist. Vampires (or in J. Max’s lingo, “wolves and spiritual terrorists”) exist. But the ability to somehow find a way to control the engagement with those groups…that’s going to be increasingly difficult to do, and for the sake of J Max, his faith, and his church, I’m suggesting that he should deal with it. It’s a word of advice, not a threat.

I still believe in this critique. To say that an orthodox, faithful space like that of the many Nothing Wavering blogs requires moderation to artificially shelter it from its own fragility doesn’t change (and maybe it doesn’t even acknowledge) the fact of that fragility. But as a moderator of the Mormon Hub, where we are trying to create what increasingly seems to be a similarly fragile space [although it's more difficult to describe. I don't want to describe it as "liberal Mormon" although I think many liberal Mormons will enjoy it...I don't want to describe it as being "against" conservative Mormons or "against" disaffected Mormons, although we strongly oppose proselytizing from either of these camps...so that's why earlier I tried to use the term "truth-agnostic discussion of the fascinating"], it seems to me that just because things are fragile doesn’t mean that they may not be worth it.)

At the same time, because of the potential pitfalls of moderation, it’s also good to have spaces that are closer to free-for-alls. (Although I don’t know if any site can be a complete free-for-all…even in a group entitled Uncensored Mormon/LDS Discussions, informal social moderation techniques developed, and now, they too have an official moderation team.) Because I still do think there are marginalized voices. (I don’t necessarily think the same voices that are typically marginalized offline in LDS spaces are the same ones that are marginalized online, though. And that, I think, is what complicates the fundamental narrative about moderation in Mormon spaces. It’s great that those who are disaffected and marginalized in offline contexts can gain a space for their voice…but the internet by and large absolutely doesn’t marginalize the disaffected.) There are still people who might not express themselves in the most typical way — so our inclination is to reject them and to shun them — but who still have something worthwhile to say. There are still people who might seem to express themselves in provocative ways — because they disagree and we might not be used to that — but who are not trolls.

What do you think?

  1. Do you think that moderation even conceptually has value?
  2. And if not, do you think that there is any merit to the concept of fragile spaces? 
  3. What sites, groups, and blogs do you visit and participate in? What places do you think have a good balance of allowing people to freely express themselves without getting mired down? What places have a good balance of moderating without seeming tyrannical?

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44 Responses to Moderating Mormons Online – Thoughts from Sunstone

  1. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    I think the concept of fragile space is itself a very fragile idea. I strongly doubt Jesus thought of his gospel as fragile with regard to discussion, at a young age he was found in the temple teaching the learned and when approached by mal-intended Pharisees he handled the situation with aplomb. I don’t recall such discussions requiring “controlled circumstances” do you? What is fragile is the “faithful” attempting to defend the pharisaical practices of the church rather than the robust gospel itself and apology’s intellectually dishonest conformation bias. These are the things that the faithful run from in open forums because they are intellectually indefensible. If they want to creditably present a faith based concept in a reason based forum they can bare testimony, or share their conversion story or explain the journey that brought them to such gnosis. But to argue foot-in-the-door plausibility in the face of obviously low probability is just a waste of time and erodes their creditability.

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  2. Andrew S on August 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Howard,

    To push back…If the gospel itself is so robust, then how come it is so easily overrun/taken over by Pharisaical practices?

    To the contrary, it seemed that Jesus understood that the gospel was fragile. That many people would not get it — even those who claimed to be close followers.

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  3. Hedgehog on August 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Well, obviously I like W&T. And, I much prefer the discussions on T&S to those on BCC. There seems to be greater consistency in tone, though I don’t know how much they moderate I haven’t noticed too many comments disappearing, and discussions can be robust. BCC comes across as altogether more capricious.
    fMh have a tendency to start flinging feminist terminology, and sometimes react as though on a hair trigger to badly phrased though well intentioned remarks which can be wearing at times.

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  4. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Andrew S,
    Your entire #2 push back seems disingenuous to me, they are out of context diversions which would be out of character for you unless you are mimicking a typical TBM response which feels remarkably similar. But I will attempt to answer your questions at face value.

    If the gospel itself is so robust, then how come it is so easily overrun/taken over by Pharisaical practices? So to rephrase: Why does the gospel allow itself be be abused? Probably to preserve agency.

    To the contrary, it seemed that Jesus understood that the gospel was fragile. That many people would not get it — even those who claimed to be close followers. Sure it’s fragile in that way but it’s also easily deafened by someone who knows what they are talking about.

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  5. Andrew S on August 11, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Hedgehog,

    One thing I noticed at T&S was that Dave recently had a post summarizing some sessions from the FairMormon conference. Some people took exception to what was said about religious liberty, and the comments were closed after 11 comments (which really is only 10, since the 11th comment is the Dave thanking everyone for their comments.)

    I don’t blame him. But it struck me that that was *very* quick.

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  6. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    defended

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  7. Hedgehog on August 11, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Comments were all over the place, not just religious liberty. To be honest I didn’t see that post as a discussion post anyway, being as it was a report on the conference sessions, albeit with a brief personal response. Each of those topics would really need their own post to get the discussion going properly. That being the case, I think closing the discussion was fair enough, if the other option was unanticipated juggling of at least three separate comment threads – who gets to speak at conference, religious freedom, and male sexuality. Possibly he’d have been better advised to keep his own opinion out of the report on that case. But the comments themselves still stand and haven’t been moderated so far as I can recall.

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  8. Andrew S on August 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    re 4

    Howard,

    I don’t get the claim of disingenuousness here. I absolutely don’t get the claim that such a pushback is out of character for me unless I’m mimicking a typical TBM response…to the contrary, i don’t feel a TBM would make that sort of critique.

    I don’t think you can rephrase the question as: “why does the gospel allow itself to be abused.” Rather, the question is, “Why is the gospel so abusable?” The former rephrasing begs the question as to the robustness. You can make the argument that the gospel is so abusable because it allows itself to be so, but that can’t just be assumed from the get-go.

    At the end of your comment, you say,

    Sure it’s fragile in that way but it’s also easily defended by someone who knows what they are talking about.

    But since “that way” is the way that it is easily misunderstood, this is not a really good response. Because *it is unlikely that someone knows what they are talking about, even if they think they do.*

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  9. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I don’t get your argument Andrew. In #1 I’m arguing the gospel is more robust and and much more defensible than the pharisaical practices of the church are. It’s a comparison so why are we attempting to probe and provethe robustness of the gospel in other areas? Please tie your argument to my #1 comment.

    …it is unlikely that someone knows what they are talking about, even if they think they do. I think you will find there are people who can defend the gospel and others who cannot regardless of what they may think about themselves.

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  10. Andrew S on August 11, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    7,

    Hedgehog,

    I can see your point — I focused on the religious freedom aspect because Dave had a followup comment for that one with a links, so it seemed that was the issue he was more personally invested in emotionally…but I still think it does show the difference in site cultures. Here, posts can also get derailed (or just simply go in a different direction than intended), but I don’t think I have ever seen comments shut down manually. (We have an auto-shutdown after like…a year? but that’s different.)

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel overwhelmed by the possibility of juggling, because I wouldn’t feel the pressure to do so.

    I guess another question might be: what constitutes moderation? Is moderation just removing comments (or editing them)?

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  11. Andrew S on August 11, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    re 9,

    You say the gospel is more robust and defensible than the pharisaical practices of the church.

    I ask why is the gospel overrun/overtaken by pharisaical practices. The question is: if the gospel is more robust and defensible than the pharisaical practices, then why do pharisaical practices *win out historically*?

    In other words, how can you even say your comment in #1 is correct, given the facts.

    We might say that secularism is more robust than both the pharisaical practices and the gospel (since your #1 also talks about a “reason based forum” and ideas of intellectual dishonesty, etc.,) but the fact that pharisaical practices have already beaten out the gospel as you understand it, as it were, does not mean then that the gospel is more robust.

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  12. Hedgehog on August 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Well yes, T&S exerts more control on discussion length than W&T, I’ve noticed, and do tend to shut it down when judged to have rub it’s course on the OP topic. And they don’t like the discussion to be derailed. Nut you don’t tend to see the capricious and apparently unprovoked attacks on an unsuspecting commenter I’ve observed on BCC. Additionally BCC seem to need a certain amount of ego stroking.
    I did notice Chris Henrichsen didnt last long as a guest poster at T&S, responding very badly to disagreement, and he comments were deleted from his posts. He didn’t really suit the T&S culture. So I do agree that the different blogs have different cultures. W&T and T&S are the ones I feel most comfortable with.

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  13. Hedgehog on August 11, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Make that run it’s course, and But you. Mobile device… Sorry.

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  14. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Given what facts?

    It’s an observation, I regularly witness the defense of the church’s pharisaical practices fall apart in blog discussions, I have never seen them prevail except “under controlled circumstances” which typically means censoring the opposition. Did Jesus’ defense of the gospel fall apart in his discussions? Obviously not and the Bible’s account should be accepted as a given in LDS discussions, so I don’t see the need for an epistemology proof here.

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  15. Jeff Spector on August 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    It’s always amusing to me how when someone doesn’t like a church practice, they just dismiss it as “Pharisaical” without a clear knowledge of who the Pharisees were and what they believed. They generally accept the slanted view of all the Jews from the New Testament.

    The Pharisees, like most of the people who believed in God were interested in following His commandments and pleasing Him. Any effort to over-extend the commandments and practices were in a desire of being faithful. The over-worship was because they loved God. and while over-worship and extending the Gospel is not right, it is not because people are being hateful.

    Now, in speaking of moderation, I expect people to control themselves and be respectful of each others. Strong disagreement is OK with me.

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  16. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    pharisaical – practicing or advocating strict observance of external forms and ceremonies of religion or conduct without regard to the spirit; self-righteous; hypocritical.

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  17. Jeff Spector on August 11, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Pharisaical – A term used by slightly anti-Semitic Christians who buy into a skewed view of the Pharisees and other Jews from the New Testament.

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  18. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 2:54 PM
  19. Jeff Spector on August 11, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Yeah, I saw it. doesn’t make it right.

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  20. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Yeah sure, the dictionary must be wrong since it disagrees with you!

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  21. Jeff Spector on August 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    It’s not wrong considering it is wholly biased and prejudiced view and slightly anti-Semitic given that modern Judaism is directly descended from the Pharisees.

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  22. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    It sounds like you’d enjoy being a dictionary editor.

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  23. Andrew S on August 11, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    re 14

    Howard,

    It doesn’t seem like the defenses are “falling apart”, so much that the two sides are seeing past each other. Just being able to out-comment someone doesn’t really equate to successfully defending.

    I’m not even particularly saying this in defense of what you’re calling pharisaical practices (although I *do* think that Jeff’s comments are more likely a better description of the process, motivation, and reality). It just seems like you’re mixing two things: the weakness that traditional apologetics or traditional LDS religiosity has in a secular debating space, and an association to institutional loyalty that you find from those (that you associate with pharisaical practices.)

    I’m saying that the former weakness doesn’t mean that your view of the gospel is any more robust.

    But, regardless of all this, I can appreciate that some bloggers and some spaces would see this sort of discussion as a derail, and they would see this sort of discussion *repeatedly happening on their sites* as being a derail, and so they would take action to stop such derails.

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  24. Howard on August 11, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    It doesn’t seem like the defenses are “falling apart”, so much that the two sides are seeing past each other…It just seems like you’re mixing two things: the weakness that traditional apologetics or traditional LDS religiosity has in a secular debating space, and an association to institutional loyalty that you find from those (that you associate with pharisaical practices.)

    Well I’m aware of both of these issues and a third which is how cognitive dissonance is reduced through rationalization and conformation bias (or lying to ourselves). It sounds like you choose to balance these things somewhat equally against reason.

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  25. Stephen R Marsh (Ethesis) on August 12, 2014 at 6:12 AM

    Not sure I would have called a single person out by name.

    Appreciate the patience shown in this thread vis a vis insults otherwise.

    I think that shouting and swarming don’t really “win” a discussion.

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  26. EOR on August 12, 2014 at 6:18 AM

    Whether one can agree with the moderation practices (which I generally do minus a few exceptions) at BCC, the content and consistency is by far the best in the Bloggernacle.

    Moderation is important because Mormonism tends to breed some shrinking violets who would never speak up unless a path is cleared for them first. I reject this emerging idea in online Mormon spaces that saying whatever comes into your brain is somehow heroic or authentic. Knowing when/how to keep your peace is a valuable skill normally learned in adulthood. Some people need to be taught it though and that is where moderation becomes essential.

    Can moderation be abused? Sure. But it is a given that non-moderated spaces will be abused. I was invited to the Mormon Hub pretty early on, and it was an obnoxious mess so I simply left. Every place is not the right place for everyone and while being moderated can sting, sometimes a sharp hand slap can make us think hard about our behavior toward others.

    Also, being moderated in an online space is zero amounts like Church discipline, and fankly I am surprised by such a flippant comparison. Maybe it feels that way to people who don’t actually care about their membership in The Church, but to those who do the two events are so separated by time and space of difference to make their comparison laughable if it wasn’t so painful.

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  27. Chris Henrichsen on August 12, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    I got mentioned in the comments at W&T. Sweet! Does this mean that I am famous?

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  28. Andrew S on August 12, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    EOR,

    I think that part of this is a Mormon issue (well, not specifically Mormon, but more conducive to how the current LDS church is run). Saying whatever comes into your brain is perceived as somehow heroic or authentic precisely because church is a place where most people will encounter having to keep their peace — whether they also internalize the value of that or not. I imagine that Howard would put “keeping your peace” in along with pharisaical practices (LOL).

    I don’t think moderation actually teaches it. It just pisses people off, and the moderated go off to complain about how unfair their moderation was.

    That being said, I totally agree that nonmoderated spaces will be abused.

    Maybe it’s because I am too often surrounded by people who care too much about their participation in online forums and blogs (see reference to complaints about how unfair someone’s moderation is above), so I’m not seeing the flippancy there.

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  29. Andrew S on August 12, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    Chris,

    You’re famous without being mentioned in W&T comments

    but

    Being mentioned in W&T comments absolutely would not be sufficient to make anyone famous.

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  30. Howard on August 12, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    I’d like to support the concept of fragile space being itself a very fragile idea from a different direction than I did in comment #1. I have a very strong testimony of the restoration and of what many might call supernatural and to me these are intertwined. While I would prefer to defend these topics in a forum that has some basic understanding of them in order to save time and effort it’s fine with me if that discussion isn’t under the type of “controlled circumstances” that seems to be implied above, it would be a plus if moderation kept the discussion somewhat polite. I think the reason I’m comfortable defending them is they are my personal testimony and I have given them a lot of thought along with the aid of the spirit.

    On the other hand I’m not comfortable acting as a apologist by attempting to defend Elder Packer or Elder Oaks position on SSA or Elder Packer’s position on little factories or the church’s position of holding YW responsible for YW’s “unclean” thoughts as a result of their fashion choices or turning off my mind to follow LDS (fallible) authority even as it seem to lack power. These are the kinds of defenses that seem to require protected space so that “faithful” belief in the unbelievable can be reenforced via echos.

    Testimonies are not really found in the bearing, rather one’s uncertainties are overrun as they experience themselves committing to that which they are actually unsure of and since their peers appear to be sure (just as they appear to their peers) it becomes a self reenforcing echo chamber that they seem to feel the need to return to for sustenance and I believe this is what the “faithful” are trying to create for a blogging atmosphere, basically a testimony meeting in blog form or at least Sunday school safety in blogging format. I think if they actually had their own testimony instead of a wannabe borrowed one they wouldn’t feel the same need for protected space and they would feel more confident defending it.

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  31. Hedgehog on August 12, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Perhaps I should add that I read and enjoy Chris Henrichsen’s posts over on Approaching Justice. I simply meant it seemed an unusual experiment over on T&S, and didn’t run for long, due to poor fit with the culture there.

    Apologies for any offense.

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  32. Hedgehog on August 12, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    EOR, I was referring to consistency in tone not so much of the OPs on T&S, rather the comments and the way they are handled. BCC is less predictable in the way they respond to comments, and so I find it less comfortable, if that clarifies things.

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  33. Chris Henrichsen on August 12, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    I am very good friends with many of the T&S permas and I have been on the bloggernacle since 2005. I write for a living. It really did not make sense for me to blog for another blog. I was honored the Dave Bannack invited me (I consider Dave a dear friend). That said, I do not get along with most people. I loathe the Mormon Hub as much as I do Millennial Star (and I have been banned at M* for almost a decade).

    The comments that were removed on my T&S post were removed by me. I cut my stint short at T&S because I personally hate Nathaniel Givens. We are citizens of the same nation-state and members of the same church. But I will not associate with him. Heck, I would have lunch with Dan Peterson, but I would never voluntary be in the same room or group at Nathaniel Givens.

    My most recent post in relevant to this:

    http://approachingjustice.net/2014/08/12/obnoxiousand-disliked/

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  34. Chris Henrichsen on August 12, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    *is relevant to this

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  35. Howard on August 12, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    I loathe the Mormon Hub as much as I do Millennial Star…I personally hate Nathaniel Givens Hmm, you’ve written that you loathe me as well but I now see that it’s a distinction you frequently award.

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  36. Chris Henrichsen on August 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Yeah, it is a diverse group.

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  37. Andrew S on August 12, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Wow,

    I would have lunch with Dan Peterson, but I would never voluntary be in the same room or group at Nathaniel Givens.

    I feel like there are juicy details underlying this that I do not yet know.

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  38. Hedgehog on August 12, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    With those sentiments Chris, your friendship with Dave Bannack aside, I find it curious you accepted the T&S invite, as Nathaniel Givens was a fairly regular guest blogger at the time.

    Andrew, I realise I didn’t respond to your general point about acceptable styles of moderation. What I personally prefer is for comments to be left in tact, or if deleted, then a note to the effect that a comment has been deleted. In general I like changes to be annotated as such rather than for things to disappear or to morph over time into something different. I don’t mind comments being closed. I think editing comments other than your own is not on unless requested by the commenter, and then annotated as such. I’d give a pass to correction of spelling on ones own comments without annotation done immediately after posting, but beyond that, I’d favour annotation. But my position might be viewed as slightly over the top.

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  39. Chris Henrichsen on August 12, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    He is perma there. We were cordial when I started my guest stint. His attacks on my post there about my daughter changed everything. I am on good terms with the rest of the permas there. As a long time Mormon blogger, it is enticing to get an invite from one of the big two. I guest posted at BCC for a while back in 2010.

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  40. Hedgehog on August 12, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    So he is. I guess it’s the sporadic bursts of posting that made me think otherwise. Along with some comment about him having been persuaded to do a series of posts. I’ve only been a regular reader of T&S for the last year or so.

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  41. Jettboy on August 13, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    A non-Mormon moderating two Mormon spaces. If that isn’t telling . . .

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  42. Andrew S on August 13, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Jettboy,

    You should definitely read the PMs I get from people complaining that I am an overzealous TBM tyrant who hates freedom of speech and is mired in my mental gymnastics.

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  43. […] your own key-finding miracle — no God required! Kind of like modern medicine. Then there was an analysis of discussion-moderation techniques and an analysis of the use of “so-called” in LDS […]

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  44. Kristine A on August 18, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Interesting – my favorite places are BCC and W&T. Occasional FMH, maybe when I’m feeling ranty (well i’ve been ranty at BCC, too). I like T&S but am with Chris H that NG drives me batty. And I call M* the blog who shall not be named . . . soooo……..

    moderating is necessary, when I guested at BCC with dear bishop they copied me on a few emails from people who eviscerated me in comments that didn’t even make it to the internet in the first place, the comments were along the lines of, “go ahead and take it down, mine were much worse than so-and-so’s comments”

    I like W&T because you get the whole roundtable here, but by in large it’s respectful (mostly) and I love being challenged in a whole different way than BCC challenges me

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