Comments Policy: Be nice, everyone

Here’s my favorite from the correspondence I’ve gotten in the early days of this blog:

Dear Father Ruff,
Your blog is testament to your forty years of failure and the destruction which your ilk has sown upon the liturgy.

Wow. 40 years of destruction? I guess I started when I was six. After a comment like that, I had to go sing a few Latin chants from my Antiphonale, just to regain my spiritual balance.

Our comments policy, which will no doubt be refined as we go forward, is this (and then see my comments further below).

We invite reader comments that contribute to civil, thoughtful discussion.  In that spirit readers who post comments are required to use their real name and location.

PrayTell does not permit personal attacks, libelous statements, or the use of vulgar, hateful, or harassing language.

PrayTell Comments Procedures:Readers posting comments for the first time are required to register.  Their comment will be posted on the blog after their registration is approved by the moderator.

1. After registration approval subsequent comments will post immediately without moderator review.

2. Readers who post comments are required to use their real name and location.

3. Readers who post personal attacks, or libelous statements, or use vulgar, hateful, or harassing language will be blocked by the moderator from further posts.

4. Readers with a bona fide need for anonymity may submit posts along with their real name and location, and an explanation of the need for anonymity to the moderator via email.

As much as possible, comments will be reviewed and posted within 48 hours. The decision is made by an editorial committee of five individuals. Because of the sometimes heavy volume of blog comments, it will not always be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are rejected or removed.

If you don’t use your full name, we won’t post your comment.

An editorial committee advises and decides about what to post and what to delete. But I understand that I get to be the lightning rod as the most visible target, and I accept that. I much appreciated a supportive email from my friend Jeffrey Tucker from over at CMAA and NLM advising thick skin and a sense of humor.

We delete comments not because of their opinions, but because of their lack of civility. You can be as ultraconservative or radically progressive as you want, but you can’t be mean or disrespectful.

We can’t send emails to individual commenters explaining our decisions. The reason? Time. I don’t want to be married to a computer 24/7. I’m a celibate.



  1. To be fair, Father, if you want civil responses. perhaps you should have a firmer editorial hand with the blog itself. Fr Giles’ article, for example, makes terrible assumptions about people who do not agree with him about what “proper” liturgical reform looks like: it accuses them of seeking out opportunities to shirk their responsibilities as members of the Body of Christ, and of having an undeveloped sense of the Church and its rites. It assumes bad will on the part of those who think otherwise than the author. If you want comments that “make nice,” you need postings that do the same.

  2. Some of us were taking bets on how long it would take for the comment policy to come out…:-)

    Good luck!

  3. I have to agree with Bill and Gideon regarding the tone of Fr. Giles’ piece on Rite One. One need not be a Traditionalist liturgically, conservative moral theologically, or over thirty to appreciate Rite One. Indeed, if one is committed to Prayer Book practice in this Province, The Episcopal Church, one is committed to the whole of the Prayer Book, not just Rite One or Rite Two. The suggestion that Rite One is antiquated (and soon to be scrapped) and those who use it avoiding Christian responsibility is to underestimate the appeal to younger persons and to overestimate one’s own ability to peer into others’ souls.

  4. These are excellent rules of discussion. Sometime there’s a fine line between reasonable criticism and discourtesy, so it’s good to be reminded of the need to consider what we write in the light of basic principles of courtesy and reason. Indeed, the author of the blog’s opening manifesto might have benefited from them when he wrote that “young Catholics who are interested in religion often enough go for the really central things like indulgences and cappa magnas”, and followed this up by opining: “Some zealots on the Right have an unmistakable focus on the musical and archeological and ceremonial externals: east not west, propers not hymns, kneeling not standing, and so forth… This blog arose from our sense that the conversation needs to broadened, deepened, redirected.”

    This dismissal of liturgically conservative Catholics as immature, spiritually shallow zealots is good knock-about stuff, but its patronising tone and insulting nature are difficult to reconcile with the comments policy. Where they really written by the same person?

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