For the last few months an anonymous person has been leaving an excessive amount of comments on this blog. More often than not, the comments are tangential to what was originally blogged. Then comes the typical, "Why aren't you responding to my comments, James?" question. Here's why: online interactions with anonymous people do not take priority. When I do take the time to interact with anonymous comments, they should at least be directly and meaningfully related to the content of the blog entry. I typically abhor rabbit trails.
With this in mind, here are some quick guidelines to help anonymous people read blog entries and post comments. For detailed instructions, see this link and this link.
1. Read the entire entry.
2. Ask these critical questions:
A. What is the overall point of the blog entry? Be prepared to possibly make a short outline if the blog post is lengthy. do not make criticisms until you understand the major points of the entry. Be prepared to prove you understand what the major point of the entry is before criticizing the entry.
B. Do you disagree with the major point, or are there supporting points that are not agreeable? Be prepared to understand the points of agreement before attacking the points of disagreement. If it's a supporting fact that is disagreeable, consider that an in-depth discussion may be tangential.
C. Do the facts presented support the basic point? Are there unstated presuppositions that determine the meaning of the facts? Do your presuppositions direct the facts to a different conclusion?
3. Be prepared to actually look at the sources being utilized in the blog entry and determine if the sources are being used in context or out of context.
4. Try not to respond line by line. Often it's possible to miss the major points of the blog entry, or it's possible to quibble over something that's later explained in the entry.
5. If you respond with factual data, be prepared to back up your claims with references.
6. Do not expect someone to do the work for you. If you make a counter-claim, it's up to you to present evidence to support the claim.
7. Always ask yourself if the criticism you're making refutes your own position as well.
8. If you just want to add an insulting or mocking comment, please find another blog to post on.
9. If you put forth a standard by which you say you abide by (like say, Hebrews 12:14), be prepared to be held to that standard.
10. If you say that you will no longer post on this blog, and then you continue to post on this blog, do not be surprised if your comments are deleted.
Comments on older blog entries will not appear immediately, or they may not appear at all.