ALPB Forum Online

ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Richard Johnson on December 23, 2020, 07:36:20 PM

Title: Important announcement
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 23, 2020, 07:36:20 PM
I'm cross-posting this for those of you who only read "Your Turn."

Your moderators have been in conversation with the ALPB board about the nature and future of this Forum. We, and they, are concerned about the toxicity of much of the recent conversation. We have discussed various options for improving the quality of interactions. There may be more changes in the future, but for now the following changes will be made effective January 1:
(1) We will no longer permit anonymous posters. You may include your real name (first and last names, please) as your user name, or, if you prefer, you may include your real name as a signature. If the moderators suspect that the name you provide is a pseudonym, we will be contacting you directly to assure that you are who you say you are. If you are currently posting anonymously, please see that you correct that prior to January 1.
(2) We will ask that you restrict your posts to matters related in some way to the purpose and ministry of the church or the challenges of the Christian life. There are plenty of other places to discuss the world of politics. We will allow some latitude here; there are obviously areas where politics and faith intersect, and that intersection is not always entirely clear. But we will not allow political sniping.
(3) As a matter of fact, we will not allow sniping at all. We will be moderating more aggressively. Any post that makes personal attacks on others will be removed, or at least heavily edited; any post that is removed will also lead to the removal of all responses to that post. Persistent violations of this rule will lead to removal from the conversation. Robust discussion is good. Personal attacks are not.
That’s how things are going to go in the new year. With your help, we hope to get this train back on track.

And while I've said the effective date is January 1, in fact some of these things will be happening sooner. We need to practice a little before we go full bore into it.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Weedon on December 23, 2020, 07:43:49 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: mariemeyer on December 23, 2020, 07:57:24 PM
This is a wonderful Christmas present.

Marie  Meyer
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Commencement2020 on December 23, 2020, 07:58:49 PM
Would you be willing to noindex all the webforums to keep real names off Google?

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/crawling/block-indexing
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: SomeoneWrites on December 23, 2020, 08:09:39 PM
I hope the changes are successful.  Thank you to the people who took time to discuss things with me.  I wish you all well.

SW
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on December 23, 2020, 08:21:57 PM
Very fitting to inaugurate these needed changes on the Feast of the Circumcision

THE OLD YEAR NOW AWAY IS FLED


England, 17th Century
TUNE:  Greensleves


The old year now away is fled,
   The new year it is en-ter-ed;
Then let us all our sins down tread,
   And joy-ful-ly all appear.

Let's merry be this day,
   And let us run with sport and play,
Hang sorrow, cast care away
   God send us a merry new year!

Christ's cir-cum-ci-sion this day we keep,
   Who for our sins did often weep;
His hands and feet were wounded deep,
   His bless-ed side with a spear;
His head they crowned with thorn,
   And at him they did laugh and scorn,
Who saving our souls was born.
   God send us a merry new year!

And now with new year's gifts each friend
   Unto each other they do send;
God grant we may our lives amend,
   That truth may now appear.
Snake-like cast off your skin
   Of evil thoughts and wicked sin,
And pure this year begin --
   God send us a merry new year!
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 23, 2020, 09:34:25 PM
A word of thanks to the moderators and the ALPB board.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 23, 2020, 09:57:42 PM
Would you be willing to noindex all the webforums to keep real names off Google?

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/crawling/block-indexing

We'll look into this, thanks.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Charles Austin on December 23, 2020, 10:40:41 PM
As one who has been in this forum for many years, I welcome these changes.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Chuck on December 23, 2020, 11:16:29 PM
Good decision, Mods
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on December 23, 2020, 11:39:27 PM
This makes good sense for the quality of debate here on this forum
Thank you.

Peter (I. M. Anonymous Pfenffinfifer) Garrison
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: John_Hannah on December 24, 2020, 07:32:35 AM
I'm cross-posting this for those of you who only read "Your Turn."

Your moderators have been in conversation with the ALPB board about the nature and future of this Forum. We, and they, are concerned about the toxicity of much of the recent conversation. We have discussed various options for improving the quality of interactions. There may be more changes in the future, but for now the following changes will be made effective January 1:
(1) We will no longer permit anonymous posters. You may include your real name (first and last names, please) as your user name, or, if you prefer, you may include your real name as a signature. If the moderators suspect that the name you provide is a pseudonym, we will be contacting you directly to assure that you are who you say you are. If you are currently posting anonymously, please see that you correct that prior to January 1.
(2) We will ask that you restrict your posts to matters related in some way to the purpose and ministry of the church or the challenges of the Christian life. There are plenty of other places to discuss the world of politics. We will allow some latitude here; there are obviously areas where politics and faith intersect, and that intersection is not always entirely clear. But we will not allow political sniping.
(3) As a matter of fact, we will not allow sniping at all. We will be moderating more aggressively. Any post that makes personal attacks on others will be removed, or at least heavily edited; any post that is removed will also lead to the removal of all responses to that post. Persistent violations of this rule will lead to removal from the conversation. Robust discussion is good. Personal attacks are not.
That’s how things are going to go in the new year. With your help, we hope to get this train back on track.

And while I've said the effective date is January 1, in fact some of these things will be happening sooner. We need to practice a little before we go full bore into it.

Well done, Mr. Moderator. Clear, firm, and gentle.   ;D

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: D. Engebretson on December 24, 2020, 09:00:45 AM
Thank you.  The 'toxicity' has, indeed, been disconcerting at times. 

I understand the need to distance from anonymity, but know that some on the forum, who have done it for personal reasons of concern, did engage in reasonable conversation.  For those who did, my thanks as well. 
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Randy Bosch on December 24, 2020, 09:53:16 AM
Thank you Moderators, and Board!
I'm certain you agonized over those who used pseudonyms because of genuine concerns over safety - many directly related to Forum exchanges, and have not yet arrived at a resolution to that chimera.  I share in thanking those among that number who were truly "contributors" in the best sense of the mission of this Forum.

Christmas Blessings!

Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 24, 2020, 11:03:15 AM
Yes.  A nice surprise on Christmas Eve.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: James S. Rustad on December 24, 2020, 11:09:22 AM
I mourn for the possible loss of those pseudonymous posters who made positive contributions to our conversations.  Even at the height of the election discussions there were those using "real" names who behaved just as badly as the worst pseudonymous posters.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 24, 2020, 11:16:42 AM
I mourn for the possible loss of those pseudonymous posters who made positive contributions to our conversations.  Even at the height of the election discussions there were those using "real" names who behaved just as badly as the worst pseudonymous posters.
True, but I don't think we necessarily will lose all the anonymous posters. They can share their name or go into lurk mode. And yes, many of the people whose names are known have been just as guilty. But this is a comprehensive effort to save the forum from becoming a toxic place while still representing the full spectrum and not becoming an echo chamber like nearly all other theological forums. The anonymity thing is only part of it. Posters using their real names and posting lambast and rants (especially on politics) will also no longer be tolerated. 
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Rob Morris on December 24, 2020, 11:40:43 AM
I can't help but wonder - in these times of Twitter mobs and twitchy HR departments - whether there might be a third way in regards to anonymous posting.

I have shared multiple times - every time I have interacted with an anonymous/psuedonymous poster at any length, I have sent a private message asking if they would be willing to tell me anything about themselves so I could better know how to interact. Not once was that request denied, and in many cases they shared legitimate reasons for desiring to remain anonymous. The doxxing tendencies of at least one poster were mentioned more than once.

I know the decision is probably already sealed, and I know that maintaining a database of "legitimate" anonymous posters might be too taxing, but given how much boorish behavior has centered on named posters, well... it seems like a toothier enforcement policy would achieve the same effect without the collateral loss. And it seems reasonable to say: identify yourself reliably to the moderators or take your comments elsewhere.

Take a look at my user name and you know my personal decision on anonymity. But then, I am blessed with a position where trying to articulate and work through a confessional Lutheran worldview doesn't also bring a high risk of unemployment.

All that said, as the board became mostly fights about politics, I pretty much bowed out. I am heartened that there is a desire to at last curb that.

BTW - Dead horse and all that, but there is still an anonymous poster ("gan ainm") who was falsely accused in the pages and on the website of the ALPB of coordinating illegal mobbing activity and who, despite the allegation being quietly retracted, has yet to receive an apology from the author, editor, or board. I get that this person was anonymous in his/her postings here, but even anonymously, that poster was/is a person. If ALPB is pivoting on anonymous posting, isn't this a (long overdue) opportunity to make amends to that anonymous poster? ALPB allowed this person to post anonymously, allowed him/her to be falsely accused in print, and (as of last time I interacted with the individual) has made zero effort to apologize. Surely no one is okey-dokey with that, right?
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Steven W Bohler on December 24, 2020, 12:23:57 PM
I can't help but wonder - in these times of Twitter mobs and twitchy HR departments - whether there might be a third way in regards to anonymous posting.

I have shared multiple times - every time I have interacted with an anonymous/psuedonymous poster at any length, I have sent a private message asking if they would be willing to tell me anything about themselves so I could better know how to interact. Not once was that request denied, and in many cases they shared legitimate reasons for desiring to remain anonymous. The doxxing tendencies of at least one poster were mentioned more than once.

I know the decision is probably already sealed, and I know that maintaining a database of "legitimate" anonymous posters might be too taxing, but given how much boorish behavior has centered on named posters, well... it seems like a toothier enforcement policy would achieve the same effect without the collateral loss. And it seems reasonable to say: identify yourself reliably to the moderators or take your comments elsewhere.

Take a look at my user name and you know my personal decision on anonymity. But then, I am blessed with a position where trying to articulate and work through a confessional Lutheran worldview doesn't also bring a high risk of unemployment.

All that said, as the board became mostly fights about politics, I pretty much bowed out. I am heartened that there is a desire to at last curb that.

BTW - Dead horse and all that, but there is still an anonymous poster ("gan ainm") who was falsely accused in the pages and on the website of the ALPB of coordinating illegal mobbing activity and who, despite the allegation being quietly retracted, has yet to receive an apology from the author, editor, or board. I get that this person was anonymous in his/her postings here, but even anonymously, that poster was/is a person. If ALPB is pivoting on anonymous posting, isn't this a (long overdue) opportunity to make amends to that anonymous poster? ALPB allowed this person to post anonymously, allowed him/her to be falsely accused in print, and (as of last time I interacted with the individual) has made zero effort to apologize. Surely no one is okey-dokey with that, right?

I basically have checked out of this forum.  But I want to echo Rev. Morris' last paragraph.  That anonymous poster who was falsely accused and driven off this board contacted me several weeks ago privately (only such contact I have had with the individual) and informed me that, as of that date, he has received NO apologies.  From the author of the slur.  From the organization that published and printed it.  From those here who defended and amplified and repeated it.  That is very sad.  And kind of puts the lie to the high-sounding claims of the post that started this thread.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Charles Austin on December 24, 2020, 12:52:13 PM
With apologies, as with forgiveness, repentance and absolution, there must be full, honest and open admissions on all sides.
I think we let the past go and take the "new design" of the forum into the future.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 24, 2020, 01:17:08 PM
It is hard for me to understand what has been said about the value of the anonymous posters.   We are dealing with angry minds here.  In any public forum there is the need to balance personal privacy, freedom of speech, and defamation.  There are legal means to deal with defamation  beyond  the ALPB Forum.  I think that the anonymous posters are angry people who are too embarrassed to identify themselves.   Exaggeration and suspiciousness are the marks of these persons.  Reasonable Christian people will be willing to acknowledge their sin, admit that it. was wrong, ask for forgiveness, and resolve not to do it again. 
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: D. Engebretson on December 24, 2020, 01:24:41 PM
It is hard for me to understand what has been said about the value of the anonymous posters.   We are dealing with angry minds here.  In any public forum there is the need to balance personal privacy, freedom of speech, and defamation.  There are legal means to deal with defamation  beyond  the ALPB Forum.  I think that the anonymous posters are angry people who are too embarrassed to identify themselves.   Exaggeration and suspiciousness are the marks of these persons.  Reasonable Christian people will be willing to acknowledge their sin, admit that it. was wrong, ask for forgiveness, and resolve not to do it again.

There was one anonymous poster, in particular, who did not fit the above description.  He was courteous and respectful and engaged in productive and thoughtful discussion, even with those with whom he was obviously not of the same mind.  I think we should be careful not to label all anonymous posters with the same characteristics, even thought some may have displayed the things you describe.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: David Garner on December 24, 2020, 01:24:58 PM
It is hard for me to understand what has been said about the value of the anonymous posters.   We are dealing with angry minds here.  In any public forum there is the need to balance personal privacy, freedom of speech, and defamation.  There are legal means to deal with defamation  beyond  the ALPB Forum.  I think that the anonymous posters are angry people who are too embarrassed to identify themselves.   Exaggeration and suspiciousness are the marks of these persons.  Reasonable Christian people will be willing to acknowledge their sin, admit that it. was wrong, ask for forgiveness, and resolve not to do it again.

You said James was Paul McCain. James has posted since Pastor McCain died.

Maybe you should sit this one out.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 24, 2020, 01:30:36 PM
It is hard for me to understand what has been said about the value of the anonymous posters.   We are dealing with angry minds here.  In any public forum there is the need to balance personal privacy, freedom of speech, and defamation.  There are legal means to deal with defamation  beyond  the ALPB Forum.  I think that the anonymous posters are angry people who are too embarrassed to identify themselves.   Exaggeration and suspiciousness are the marks of these persons.  Reasonable Christian people will be willing to acknowledge their sin, admit that it. was wrong, ask for forgiveness, and resolve not to do it again.
This isn't really the place to rehash the whole discussion. For many years we welcomed anonymous posters. When we discovered the forum discussion degenerating we looked at several possible changes, among them that we try a new policy of insisting on knowing who is posting. Neither policy is likely foolproof. Yes, we might lose the valuable insights of someone like SomeoneWrites, who went to seminary in the LCMS but who is now an atheist and might have perfectly valid reasons for not wanting his spiritual explorations publicly known. But we'll hopefully gain a sense of accountability for what we post, which, admittedly, has not always kept the named posters from spouting off political vitriol. But that is another thing we're going to tighten up the policing of. Richard's opening post on this thread was vetted and endorsed by several members of the alpb board who had formed a committee to look at possible changes. Hopefully everyone makes the best of it rather than bemoaning any downsides of the old way or the new way. 
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: James S. Rustad on December 24, 2020, 06:35:17 PM
Enforcing firm limits is more likely to help.  'Course, that will take more time on the part of our moderators, who have already been overloaded for many months.  I hope that they are successful in addressing the problem.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Keith Falk on December 24, 2020, 07:21:55 PM
I am sorry that we will miss the postings of people like SomeoneWrites.


I look forward to more rigorous moderating; perhaps the Board should enlist another person or two to help with the task.


And something for us to keep in mind (a point Pastor Butler has raised) - it isn't our sandbox. We don't set the rules. While I know I disagree with the change on anonymous posters (the last... 15? 16? 17? years of lurking then posting on ALPB has shown me that long-term, named/known posters have consistently behaved worse than anonymous ones), it isn't my call to make. These aren't my rules to enforce. I'm just along for the ride, and will adjust as needed.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 24, 2020, 07:59:08 PM
The moderators will continue to be the umpires of this sandlot. Disagreeing with the ump's call is an honored American tradition but rarely does that change the call. We will need to respect the actions of our moderators.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Padre Emeritus on December 25, 2020, 12:21:11 PM
This irenic spirit gives praise and thanksgiving for this change.  The toxicity is very challenging to read and digest.  One positive result of the toxicity:  my prayer life has improved as I intercede on their behalf with prayers that we would live the Gospel reality, and suppress the sinful interactions.  I will gladly continue to offer such intercessions when reading The Epoch Times.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: FrPeters on December 25, 2020, 06:10:37 PM
I really do not have a horse in this game.  If people think that the elimination of anonymous posting will turn the tide on manners and ease the edge, I don't think that it is the case.  My face is on my posts.  But I do think it is ironic that anonymity protected the names of those who were charged with serious fault on the pages of the print journal a while ago and now on the online side of things everyone must identify themselves.  I think this forum would have been healthier if the same prejudice against anonymity applied here had first been applied to the print journal in its charge of mobbing.  Fair game is fair game.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on December 26, 2020, 11:20:48 PM
From, ironically, an anonymous poster on another forum:

May all our threads be merry and bright;
 and may all our posts be polite.


When it comes to "piggyback" lyrics I am a stickler for preserving the original's metre and phrasing.

So my version:

May our threads be merry and bright;
and may all our postings be polite.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Charles Austin on December 27, 2020, 04:57:04 AM
Only to note (to no one’s surprise, I am sure) that “polite” need not mean soft, gooey, sweet, and nicely “agreeable” (if nonetheless worrisome) to where serious matters are made the equivalent of a tea-time discussion ‘twist elderly Victorian grande dames who fret because cook has made the marmalade on the day’s scones a bit too tart.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: GalRevRedux on December 30, 2020, 03:58:12 PM
I have been on a break from the Forum but wish to join the chorus of grateful participants. Thank you.

Blessed 2021 to everyone!

Donna Smith
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: Commencement2020 on December 30, 2020, 09:56:04 PM
There is an explanation for the gan ainm / main nag issue. It vicissitude, or negative serendipity. Well in the past I was a culprit for negative serendipity:

1. I visited a Lutheran church I didn't really like and usually didn't attend due to a circumstance beyond my control. (Also I had not the most restful sleep the previous night.)
2. There was a substitute pastor there that I recognized, but I did not expect
3. I uttered one line to him after the service in a polite and private manner which was critical in nature, but not unfounded.
4. He invited me into his car, parked somewhere and berated me for an hour. I repeatedly assured him that I was not going to write to Christian News about it. That didn't seem to satisfy him, he went and sent emails about me to other clergy. (One which later told me about it.)

Nothing good happened. I had negative serendipity, and so did he. In retrospect he may have thought it was a co-ordinated mobbing (it wasn't). After all, why did I even show up there?

That said, Rev. Engelbrecht's description of mobbing as partly consisting of weird petty comments circulated between a group is spot on. It really happens like that--a group keeps track of comments and incidents from the past and then tries to bring them up in a coordinated manner which only appears serendipitous.

But there are also occasions where it is bad luck / negative serendipity / vicissitude etc. It comes from the devil or demons, who probably think mobbing is a hoot and are willing to tempt people into saying things that wouldn't ordinarily drive someone wild, but due to unusual and unintended circumstances, do just that. This seems to be an uncommon occurrence to me: for someone who is being actively mobbed, I would expect that the majority of the bothering comes not from negative serendipity / vicissitude but instead from planned pettiness.

And yes, it goes both ways: I shouldn't have said it, and he was not right to take my comment the wrong way.

There is more than one way to get rid of negative serendipity. it is useful to turn to the Michaelmas section of the hymnal and sing the hymns, or better yet, memorize them. When you feel a stinging sensation the negative serendipity will go away, especially if you don't touch the sensation and let it go away on its own. If singing doesn't work, try something else, like repenting or getting enough sleep.

Job had a large negative serendipity problem; when he acknowledged God's greatness and humbled himself, the devil quit bothering him. Several things (besides his blameless life) could have attracted Satan to Job, including his governmental participation at the gate (Job 29:7), his bad wife, his sacrificing for his children, and his bad friends. These things did not pertain to Job's own guilt--he did not do any specific sin which merited his trials. Even just association with unclean things or evil people can sometimes lead to negative serendipity. It is an unavoidable part of life; scrupulosity doesn't make it go away. Rather, like Job, accept God's sovereignty and do what you can to set things straight again.
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 06, 2021, 03:02:21 PM
Just a note to lurkers or those hoping to become members. Please register a username that is recognizable as a name. We no longer allow anonymous posting. I realize anyone could be registering with a fake name, in which case we'd have to clear that up retroactively. But it is easiest to begin with something that at least sounds like a real name. Something like "Peter_Speckhard," not something like "Lutheranguy," or "SMYTHE"
Title: Re: Important announcement
Post by: D. Engebretson on July 15, 2021, 11:58:27 AM
I'm cross-posting this for those of you who only read "Your Turn."

Your moderators have been in conversation with the ALPB board about the nature and future of this Forum. We, and they, are concerned about the toxicity of much of the recent conversation. We have discussed various options for improving the quality of interactions. There may be more changes in the future, but for now the following changes will be made effective January 1:
(1) We will no longer permit anonymous posters. You may include your real name (first and last names, please) as your user name, or, if you prefer, you may include your real name as a signature. If the moderators suspect that the name you provide is a pseudonym, we will be contacting you directly to assure that you are who you say you are. If you are currently posting anonymously, please see that you correct that prior to January 1.
(2) We will ask that you restrict your posts to matters related in some way to the purpose and ministry of the church or the challenges of the Christian life. There are plenty of other places to discuss the world of politics. We will allow some latitude here; there are obviously areas where politics and faith intersect, and that intersection is not always entirely clear. But we will not allow political sniping.
(3) As a matter of fact, we will not allow sniping at all. We will be moderating more aggressively. Any post that makes personal attacks on others will be removed, or at least heavily edited; any post that is removed will also lead to the removal of all responses to that post. Persistent violations of this rule will lead to removal from the conversation. Robust discussion is good. Personal attacks are not.
That’s how things are going to go in the new year. With your help, we hope to get this train back on track.

And while I've said the effective date is January 1, in fact some of these things will be happening sooner. We need to practice a little before we go full bore into it.

This thread goes back to the beginning of the year, but I wanted to respond to it so that it again appeared in the day's posts.  I especially wanted to highlight the second point above.  There is always a temptation to stray into discussions of politics.  But I wanted to remind us all, even myself, that this is a restriction implemented by the ALPB Board and moderators.