Online discussion policy
This page outlines our standard operating procedure for responding to comments and feedback online. Its purpose is to prevent FUD and correctly set expectations around how we moderate our discussions.
This is a project by and for men who are interested in representing God’s father-rule into the world as accurately as they can, and being useful tools in his hands to the best of their ability. Our mission, therefore, is men who are seeking to understand and undertake the work of dominion God made them for. Men who are not interested in hearing what we have to say about this—about rightly ordering ourselves and our world, about developing the virtues and skills necessary to this task, about building God’s house by building our own—are not our mission.
Our policy is to speak only to people who are our mission: as much as possible to cultivate this discussion while eliminating any that competes with it.
In this policy we follow the example of Jesus himself, who was resolutely mission-minded. For example, when approached by a Canaanite woman who sought help for her demon-possessed daughter, he had three initial responses:
- As far as he could, he ghosted her;
- When his disciples begged him, he still refused to speak to her—even to send her away—because her people were not his mission;
- When directly confronted by her, he called her an undeserving dog.
Only when she proved that she was indeed one of his people, by showing her faith, did he respond as we expect (Matthew 15:21–28).
How we respond to people who are not our mission
It would be foolish to waste energy diverting ourselves from our mission. This is not an apologetics or evangelistic ministry; if we spent time engaging everyone who challenged us, we could easily do nothing else—ever. Thus:
- We don’t reply to women (see Who do we think we are?)
- We don’t reply to supportive comments, unless liking them seems insufficient or is impossible (e.g., in the case of email).
- We don’t reply to critical comments, except from known supporters, unless there’s a genuinely insightful point to address.
- We don’t reply to negative comments that detract or distract from our mission (e.g., feminists, white knights, trolls, spammers).
- If possible, we hide critical or negative comments that we don’t reply to, and ban repeat offenders, in order to avoid creating a venue for contention.
There are all kinds of natural exceptions to this policy. We may, for instance, respond to women if their husbands ask us to. We may respond to trite criticism for the sake of an existing relationship. We may even respond to feminists if they have enough influence to get us in front of new men we can help. This policy describes our general rules for interacting with comments and feedback.
Piety & perception
Though we are not shepherds in a congregation, we are something close enough that in all our responses, we seek to remain above reproach, and have a good reputation with those outside the church, as Paul requires (1 Timothy 3:2, 7; Titus 1:6). However, we define this requirement by Scripture, rather than by modern intuitions which would condemn Jesus’ above response as unacceptable, and much of Paul’s own behavior as contradictory to it. To be above reproach and have a good reputation, as defined by Scripture, is compatible with behavior that is considered insufficiently winsome, a bad witness, insulting or offensive, and which may result in receiving innumerable public beatings or frequent death threats (2 Corinthians 11:23). Paul himself five times received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes, three times was beaten with rods, and once was stoned almost to death (vv. 24–25). Jesus was crucified.
Because of the long-term feminizing influence on our culture, niceness has replaced love in the second greatest commandment (cf. Matthew 22:39). Thus, the kind of men who provoke anger and upset, as Jesus and Paul did, seem incompatible with the kind of men who are above reproach and have good reputations with outsiders. Yet Paul and the Spirit of Jesus were not hypocrites when they penned 1 Timothy 3:2–7 and Titus 1:6. There is a road, which we try to walk, between the ditches of being jerks for Jesus, and being emotionally manipulated by hand-wringing Christian cry-babies and secular Tone Police.
Last updated Tuesday, August 27, 2019.