Farewell Trolls and Haters

Preston Sprinkle

I’ve always battled with the tension between the American value of free speech and the Christian value of speaking in a way that builds up others rather than tearing them down. On my blog (and Facebook), I generally let people say what they want and how they want, but a few months ago I tightened the reigns on my Facebook. I started deleting “Friends” that used dehumanizing and childish language toward others (or myself). Unfortunately, I ended up deleting a lot of friends. Since I didn’t know any of them in person, it was rather easy to do.
And I’m going to do the same on my blog. Over the years, I’ve come to see that the American value of free speech and the Christian value of humanizing speech often conflict with each other. Christians are not free to say whatever they want however they want. And while you don’t have to be a Christian to comment on my blog—many of my readers are not Christians—you do need to abide by basic principles of Christian speech that dignify and respect others. I used to think this was common sense. But then I started blogging…

One of the reasons behind my new policy is that I need to weed out the unprofitable comments in order to interact with the ones that are constructive. I’ve found myself having to hack my way through a jungle of childish comments to find the ones that are helpful and my machete is getting dull. Please note: I will not delete any comment that disagrees with my post or ones that completely dismantle my argument leaving me standing naked. I’m not always right; I’m often wrong. And I encourage all my readers to show me where and why. But this must be done in a humble, gracious, respectful way. If you don’t know how to disagree in a humanizing manner, then for the good of humanity, please stay off the internet.

Anyway, here is my new comment policy on my blog, which is now on my comment policy page above.

Comments that are snarky, angry, or lack argumentation will be deleted. Quick comments that express gratitude for, or agreement with, the post will be kept. But rude drive-by comments fired off from your smart phone while you are walking to the bathroom will be deleted. If you disagree with the post, you must show why in a humble, constructive manner. Any comment that feels dehumanizing, belittling, or childish will be deleted. All comments that give me flashbacks of my 4th grade playground will get nixed. If you’re actually in the 4th grade, please let me know and I’ll make an exception.

Other comments that will get deleted include: ones that feel self-promoting, are unrelated to the topic, or contain unnecessary links to your own blog or book. Comments that are awkwardly long will be kept but probably won’t be read. If you’re unaware that super long comments are awkward, then it might get axed. Trolls, haters, or those whose keyboards are locked on ALL CAPS will be deleted and/or blocked. Questions that aren’t real questions but veiled, passive-aggressive jabs will be cut. Or maybe mocked. (I’ll repent later.) If you’re still angry that your Christian girlfriend or boyfriend broke up with you in 9th grade, and you can’t help but lash out at every Christian blog you read, then your comment will be kept. These are actually entertaining.

The sole discretion of monitoring the comments is left up to me. And maybe my kids.

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