The Failure of Times & Seasons or the Danger of the Daily Me

February 1, 2005 | 142 comments
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With the launching of Millennial Star, it now looks as though there are two group blogs that have more or less spun off from Times and Seasons, one of which tries to position itself to the “left” of T&S and one of which tries to position itself to the “right” of T&S. Or so it seems to me. Both blogs include bloggers who also blog at T&S (traitors!). Does any of this mean anything?

T&S originally started out with the vision that we could create a place that was faithfully Mormon, but in a way that allowed the competing intellectual camps of Mormonism to engage one another in a respectful and meaningful way. I wonder if the proliferation of Mormon group blogs aimed at providing a more ideologically homogeneous offering is a sign of the failure of this project. In his book Republic.com, Cass Sunstein argued that one of the great dangers of the internet is that it allows people to tailor with ever greater specificity the information that they will receive, making it easier for people to retreat into an ideological shell, a process that Sunstein calls the “Daily Me.” The virtue of the traditional media, according to Sunstein, is that it forces people to suffer through exposure to opposing points of view. In his earnest, good-government, left-of-center, law-professor style, Sunstein argues that to cure this danger on the internet, we need various forms of regulation to insure that people cannot limit their exposure to a single ideological position, because after all the internet is already regulated so a little more can’t hurt. When it first came out, I was extremely skeptical of Sunstein’s book. It seems to me that his argument rests on a rather romanticized vision of the traditional media, and content regulation of the internet seems impossible to me without destroying precisely the openness that makes the internet so vibrant. Also, I am really, really suspicious of the idea that the government can be trusted to properly regulate our intellectual hygiene. Still, I wonder if the evolution of the bloggernacle might suggest that there is something to Sunstein’s concerns with the “Daily Me.” Of course, T&S has its own limits. I suppose that we represent a certain ideological spectrum and to some extent we police the discussion here in order to avoid death by flame war.

T & S has enjoyed a first-mover advantage in the market for Mormon group blogs. Generally speaking I think that low barriers to entry and competition are good things, so I can hardly lament the rise of alternatives to T&S. (Although there are T&S bloggers who have a rosier vision of protectionism.) Personally, I have enjoyed reading T&S’s first knock off from time to time, and I look forward to reading Millennial Star. The mix of voices is fun. I simply hope that the bloggernacle doesn’t degenerate into the Daily Me (or Bi-Monthly Me) already available elsewhere.

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142 Responses to The Failure of Times & Seasons or the Danger of the Daily Me

  1. Kaimi on February 1, 2005 at 2:20 pm

    Nice post.

    One small factual quibble — both may have, at one time in their history, included “bloggers” who also blog at T & S. But for some time now, at least one of them has merely included a “blogger” who blogs at T & S. See http://www.bycommonconsent.com/abtbcc.html .

  2. Kaimi on February 1, 2005 at 2:20 pm

    By the way, Nate, it’s starting to sound like you’re coveting your neighbor’s blog.

  3. Kristine on February 1, 2005 at 2:36 pm

    I think I’ve said this before, but the only reason I blog at BCC too is not a matter of ideology (I think I’m consistently heretical both places), but style. BCC seems smaller and chummier–a more congenial place to write personal reflections, while at T&S I feel compelled to try to keep up with the intellekshuls, or at least to dress up my banal reflections on quotidian existence with a few faux-philosophical trappings :)

  4. Bryce I on February 1, 2005 at 2:47 pm

    Nate –

    As much as I wish for the success of M* (That’s Millennial Star — get used to it), when I signed on, I had some reservations when I saw Adam and Matt’s names on the list. I personally had no desire for Times and Seasons to lose two of its voices — the mix here is remarkable, and I didn’t want to have any part of contributing to the Balkanization of this community.

    Having received assurances that Matt and Adam had no intentions of abandoning T&S, and having seen Kristine somehow manage to clone herself and contribute regularly to both T&S and BCC, I’m hopeful that we can have a lot of good cross talk.

    Eventually, the biggest wars we will have over blogging platforms (b2evolution > wordpress > typepad).

  5. William Morris on February 1, 2005 at 3:26 pm

    Let the bidding war for my services begin!

    If you look at my body of work — both in terms of posts and comments — it would appear that I would be a good fit for any three. I’m one of those boring middle-of-the-road people.

    T&S would look to have the advantage here because of my recent guest stint — plus Greg can recruit me in person.

    On the other hand, BCC has an in because I have the affiliation with Kulturblog.

    And yet, M* has both Clark Goble and Grasshopper — and I go back further with both of them in terms of Internet relationships than anybody else in the Bloggernacle. Plus everyone knows that despite my liberal, lit-crit, multi-culti veneer, I’m just an Orthodox sagebrush saint at heart.

    All this means, of course, that the blog with the best pitch and package of perks wins.

    [I joke --- I like having my own little place. It might not be on the fanciest blogging platform, but it's uniquely mine].

  6. Kaimi on February 1, 2005 at 3:30 pm

    . . . ten days later, William Morris joined forces with Eric Stone, Rusty Clifton, Kim Seiver, Jeff Lindsay, and the Fowles’s, at the new blog NauvooExpositor.com . . .

  7. Bill on February 1, 2005 at 3:32 pm

    “Sunstein argued that one of the great dangers of the internet is that it allows people to tailor with ever greater specificity the information that they will receive, making it easier for people to retreat into an ideological shell, a process that Sunstein calls the “Daily Me.” ”

    This is evident on the Harry Reid thread, and other places where people cite obviously partisan sources, and since these are the only things they ever read, somehow consider them unbiased evidence.

    It’s also interesting to look at “Notes from all over” to notice what different contributors are reading.

  8. Christian Cardall on February 1, 2005 at 3:32 pm

    My knee-jerk, non-lawyer reaction is that the notion of a free press should be as much about freedom of the consumers to choose what to read and see as the freedom of the publishers to produce what they wish. Does First Amendment law say anything about this?

    Kristine, Matt, Adam: Good luck with your experiment in polyblogy (I mean that to be pronounced ‘p{umlaut}a-lE-”blow-jE, i.e. poly-blow-jee). Glad to hear Kristine’s experience is positive so far. Follow your bliss, but don’t neglect the ones you started out with!

  9. Matt Evans on February 1, 2005 at 3:38 pm

    I expect to do 90+% of my blogging at T&S. I helped start M* primarily because I love starting things. And because consolidation makes for more efficient blog surfing.

  10. Ryan Bell on February 1, 2005 at 3:43 pm

    Nate,

    Thank you for a gentle, but slightly authoritative (coming from the newly minted “best blogger in the land”) reminder of what we, as a nacle* ought to be about here. I think your reading of the positions of each of these blogs is roughly correct. But I hope you are wrong in your guess at their reasons for existence.

    The desire for ‘balance’ can lead one down two separate roads. The first, as you warn, takes us to a place where we seek only the portion of all information with which we agree. The second, however, seeks balance in the best sense– selection of diverse information from which it is expected that we will sample a bit of everything. In other words, some people celebrate the new balanced in the media because Fox News exists, and then they only watch Fox News. That’s not balance at all, it’s just another, new way to be parochial. Some of us can handle watching Fox News and listening to NPR at the same time.

    My hope is that rather than diverting readers from one source of information to another, M* will simply contribute a different voice. There may be some who restrict themselves only to BCC, or only to M*, but I would expect that most would find value in all three group blogs, based on the quality of their offerings. I know for a fact that I personally will disagree more often with things posted at BCC than at T&S, but that has had little to do with my own visits there.

    I think your warning of the daily me is wise, though, and I agree that that sort of self-ghettoization is ugly and unproductive. Those involved in all three of these blogs can do a lot to prevent such things, though, by making sure that the blogs stay well-connected with each other. BCC and M* have already had a bit of dialogue concerning such relationships. The incessant ribbing that goes on between BCC and T&S is another example. As long as each of the group blogs communicates to its readers the relevance of each of the others, there’s little reason to think that all of Mormon blog readership will be divided forever.

    *A unit of measurement, referring to one body of people blogging on a discrete web of interconnected and related blogs.

  11. William Morris on February 1, 2005 at 3:49 pm

    Kaimi:

    Toss in Justin B. and a re-converted to the scene Dallas Robbins and that sounds great to me. Although in keeping with the Orson F. Whitney thing I’ve got going, it’d have to be called The Contributor.

    By the way: When it comes to the blogwars my money is on the secrective guerilla collective known as The Mormon Archipelago.

  12. Kaimi on February 1, 2005 at 4:02 pm

    Ryan,

    Nice comment, but I have to question the propriety of using the abbreviation M* in a post where you also have a footnote, designated with an asterisk. The combination makes it look as though every occurence of the abbreviation M* is a footnote reference.

  13. Ronan on February 1, 2005 at 4:42 pm

    the secrective guerilla collective known as The Mormon Archipelago
    Mr. Morris, thank-you for that plug. Our idea is to try something different: not a group blog (two’s company, three’s, er…), but a loose Coalition of the Willing, a secret handshake for the small blogs who want to keep their independent voice but would like some company in the process. United Brethren, Splendid Sun, Nine Moons and counting….

  14. Jared Patch on February 1, 2005 at 4:53 pm

    I think that the ability to link within the internet provides antagonism to the problem you describe. It allows you to go and see for yourself, and introduces you to other views that you might find interesting, if not persuasive.

  15. Adam Greenwood on February 1, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    I think our blogs are modeling a larger dilemma that the Church has, indeed, that all believers have. On the one hand, our mission is to redeem the world, to get out in and get messy and preach, and along the way, to have some of your own conceptions overturned and changed as you interact with people who are different from you and resistant to what seems so clear.

    On the other hand, their is the command to the Church from time to time of Go ye out from Babylon, flee into Wilderness, be a people apart. It seems that lots of truths and ways of being Saints can’t be revealed except in separation, when the Saints turn inward and instead of trying to defend and/or critique what they know, try to live it and understand what follows consequentially from what they know.

    I’ve seen both in my own life. BYU–where everyone agreed with me about a great many things (many more things than here at T&S or , probably, over at the Star) was a revelatory experience for me. I grew immensely. On the other hand, I served a mission in which very few people could even understand my motives, let alone agree with my beliefs. I was alien. That was sometimes the case even with respect to the other missionaries. I grew immensely there too.

    We may see a similar phenomenom on the internet. Members of the Church meet together here and air their differences and try to persuade each other to their way of seeing things. We hope to help others grow that way, as we gradually bring them around to what we understand to be the truth, and we wend up growing ourselves. There’s value in that. But there is also value in reinforcing truths, in starting from a shared base and seeing where it takes us. There’s value in that too.

    Let’s not deplore Balkanization (T&S, after all, being a Balkan state itself) without remembering what is to be gained.

  16. The Only True and Living Nathan on February 1, 2005 at 4:57 pm

    FWIW, I still think of T&S as the hub of the Bloggernacle. I don’t think the experiment is a failure, any more than the fact that contributing bloggers here also have personal blogs is a failure. T&S is the great mixing-pot aggregator of the Bloggernacle; other blogs, be they individual or group, can render a specific focus to particular aspects of Mormon thought, doctrine, or culture.

    And the fact that nobody’s invited me to one yet means I really need to up the Mormon quotient of my own blog.

  17. Davis Bell on February 1, 2005 at 5:11 pm

    Has T&S failed? Hmm. Yes.

  18. Jack on February 1, 2005 at 5:45 pm

    “…content regulation of the internet seems impossible to me without destroying precisely the openness that makes the internet so vibrant”

    So, let DKL outa blogjail will ya! ;)

  19. Clark Goble on February 1, 2005 at 5:56 pm

    Nate, I put some thoughts on this over at M*. First off I think we all appreciate Matt’s help in getting it up. Having someone who’s dealt with a group blog before was a big help.

  20. Sheri Lynn on February 1, 2005 at 6:02 pm

    I haven’t seen a discussion here get out of hand or turn into a genuine flamewar, and I’m grateful to see that there is a wide variety of opinion here all within a context of respect for the Gospel and one another. It’s a big internet; one site won’t fit all. I think you’re doing beautifully. I have no need or time to seek out the “right of T&S” site. If I have to hang around people with whom I agree, my opinions must not be secure.

  21. Steve Evans on February 1, 2005 at 6:04 pm

    I agree with Ryan — no need for animosity between BCC and the newcomer. Two completely different worlds, IMHO.

    That being said, let’s make one thing clear, dorks — having your permabloggers use M* repeatedly WON’T make it some kind of trend. I propose Doppelblog or M&S.

  22. Geoff B on February 1, 2005 at 6:10 pm

    I would like to share once again the reaction of my wife when she saw some of the posts on T&S: “How can some of these people call themselves Mormons? They are directly contradicting what the prophets and the apostles have said.” I think this reaction is probably a lot more common than we in the bloggernacle tend to think. Does this mean T&S has failed in any way? No way. But there is room for a blog that people can read without having this reaction.

  23. Stephen M (ethesis) on February 1, 2005 at 6:15 pm

    I kept waiting for a comment on the “daily mini-me” …

  24. Ryan Bell on February 1, 2005 at 6:16 pm

    Steve, thanks for that enlightening advice. It seems, however, that you overestimate our coordination. There is no concerted effort to indoctrinate the wider public with the M* usage. Rather, we’ve been using it so much in our own discussions related to getting the site up and running that it’s become a subconscious shorthand for the site. Sorry if it offends you. :)

  25. Kaimi on February 1, 2005 at 6:29 pm

    Ryan and other abbreviators,

    T & S has a longstanding tradition of kindness and admiration for its spin-offs. Just as Steve Evans. In the spirit of that tradition, I’m going to advance a nickname of my own for the new group:

    Look at the letters. MStar. Doesn’t that suggest a name? Of course it does! Ms. Tar!!

    Yes, from now on I will happily direct traffic to your blog, using the link term Ms. Tar.

  26. Kristine on February 1, 2005 at 6:29 pm

    Geoff B., some of us are horrified at the false doctrine we hear coming out of our brothers’ and sisters’ mouths in Sunday School, too, but we don’t question their right to be there.

  27. john fowles on February 1, 2005 at 6:36 pm

    Steve and Ryan: MS is the best option. No need to hit shift + a number key (which is necessary for both M&S and M*).

  28. john fowles on February 1, 2005 at 6:37 pm

    Sheri wrote I haven’t seen a discussion here get out of hand or turn into a genuine flamewar

    There have indeed been many. But they’ve been educational and with very few exceptions, there seems to have been no hard feelings.

  29. HL on February 1, 2005 at 6:42 pm

    I don’t know why the new MS folks haven’t seen it sooner. Star backwards of course is Rats. As an homage to the Ken Jennings answers on this site I think the short hand should be Rat’s A**. It gives a nod to your roots and allows you to keep the * you love so much!

  30. Geoff B on February 1, 2005 at 6:46 pm

    Kristine, I certainly would not say people don’t have a “right” to be here or on Millennial star or BCC or anyplace else. We all have a “right” to free expression and movement (at least in free countries). The issue is a matter of what LDS readers would prefer to read. In my experience, most people who have joined the church have made an intellectual decision that they would prefer not to hear or read people contradicting the prophet and the apostles. If they want to hear or read that, the world is their forum. But I agree with other posters that the bloggernacle is not a zero-sum game. Another blog is more likely to increase total traffic and page reads to all LDS-themed blogs rather than take away readership from one or the other. I expect there will also be a lot of references back and forth and information sharing. I look forward to it.

  31. Kristine on February 1, 2005 at 6:49 pm

    Geoff, you didn’t question their right to be here, you questioned their right to be in the church, which is much more serious.

  32. Clark Goble on February 1, 2005 at 6:55 pm

    MS is too much like Microsoft.

  33. HL on February 1, 2005 at 6:57 pm

    Rat’s A**

  34. Geoff B on February 1, 2005 at 7:03 pm

    Kristine, with all due respect, you couldn’t be more wrong. Perhaps you have misunderstood the point of my post. Let me try it again. My wife doesn’t read blogs. One day I showed T&S to her. Her response was the one I mentioned above. My point is that many people probably have this reaction and stop reading blogs where people criticize or question Church authorities. That’s the point — they stop reading those types of blogs. I have in no way questioned anybody’s right to be a member of the Church, which would indeed be very serious considering I have no way to make such a judgement and would never pretend to. I’m sorry if you have misunderstood my comment.

  35. Greg on February 1, 2005 at 7:03 pm

    Clark,

    C’mon, it’s your first day. Don’t be so down on yourself.

  36. Ronan on February 1, 2005 at 7:19 pm

    Geoff,
    I’m with Kristine here, mate. The idea that T&S is or ever was anti-church is ridiculous. From what I can tell, the people who blog here are faithful Mormons. And her point about Sunday School is dead on: from the Bloggernacle I’ve been exposed to some things that are simply “true” however uncomfortable (one example from the top of my head would be the Brown/Benson feud over John Birch) whilst in Sunday School (my attendance in which is less of a choice than my ‘Nacle surfing) I have been exposed to some things which are patently “false” (like the idea that blacks were less-than-faithful in the First Estate).

    But it’s healthy to have a diversity of opinion in the ‘Nacle and I welcome Millennial Star (although, as an originally British periodical, where are your British bloggers…?). Let’s not start labelling the blogs, though, as Left or Right. There’s enough of that in real life.

  37. Grasshopper on February 1, 2005 at 7:20 pm

    Nate, a couple of observations:

    1. If you have people positioning themselves both to the “right” and to the “left” of you, you’re probably doing something right.

    2. If we take advantage of the potential of blogging, the addition of M* shouldn’t contribute to a “Daily Me” at all — rather, it should encourage a variety of takes on subjects discussed throughout the Bloggernacle, whether here or at BCC or on individual blogs. One of the strengths of blogs is the ability to easily reference each other.

    3. Surely the Bloggernacle audience isn’t so small as to “require” only one middle-of-the-road blog. Is it a concern that there are tons of political blogs of various flavors? Does this indicate that somebody has failed? It doesn’t seem that way to me at all. Let the Bloggernacle grow! After all, not all of us can aspire to be permabloggers at T&S. ;-)

  38. Dave on February 1, 2005 at 7:31 pm

    Blogging thrives on new ideas, new blogs, new bloggers, new platforms, new features . . . so it’s always good to have a new blog like M$t@r join the neighborhood. The established bloggers who signed up are obviously excited and think they can do something there that they couldn’t do through other blogs they run or are part of.

  39. Jack on February 1, 2005 at 7:38 pm

    Let’s see if we can turn this into a flame war…

    Geoff is not saying that he believes T&S is “anti-church”. He’s saying that there are some readers out there who do. Therefore, there *is* room for a more conservative/orthodox church blog. How well would it thrive? Dunno. Could get real boring…

  40. JF on February 1, 2005 at 7:48 pm

    Kristine, Geoff B.’s wife’s reactions are not unlike those of many I’ve talked to who’ve visited the site. Occasional T&S posts can come across as surprisingly critical of foundational church teachings and beliefs.

    There are days when reading T&S lets me participate in the discussions I long to have in Sunday School/Priesthood. There have been some fabulous threads. On the other hand, there have been days when reading T&S could leave me, frankly, with a dim and cynical outlook towards this church we all love. Instead of seeking after that which is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report”, I think topics can head in the opposite direction. “Here’s all the stuff that’s wrong with this church . . .”

    (For what it’s worth, Gordon Smith strikes the inspirational/critical balance better than any author here).

    Yes, life is complicated and the Sunday School answers don’t do the job for everyone. I think it was Richard Bushman, however, who asked the question, “How does one live a life?” He went on to explain that it’s a question that demands an answer today. You can’t wait until all the returns are in. Take a stance. Those who choose to stand firmly next to the Lord’s anointed need not apologize.

  41. danithew on February 1, 2005 at 7:49 pm

    T&S has always felt like a faithful LDS blog to me. Every now and then someone tries to come in and add comments that are in obvious opposition to basic accepted doctrines and they get reproved for it. At the same time discussions (sometimes heated) often arise over matters that haven’t been officially decided or agreed upon by the leadership of the Church. I also sometimes think I observe folks at T&S who take stricter positions on certain issues than even the Church does.

    Speaking of the Millenial Star … I think Bryce will help to keep that blog at least somewhat politically balanced. He’s one of the most centrist (maybe even occasionally a liberal) and reasonable folks I know. Of course I’m not biased at all having known him personally.

  42. Ben Huff on February 1, 2005 at 8:22 pm

    Kristine, I think you are reading a bit too much into Geoff’s wife’s remark (#22). What if she said, “That doesn’t sound like Mormonism to me!” ? That’s an emphatic way to express disagreement, but we shouldn’t feel insulted just because people disagree with us, even if the disagreement is about where the bounds of orthodoxy lie.

    Like Adam, I think for the church to continue growing in a healthy way, it will have to develop more chambers so to speak. You can’t enlarge a house just by making all the rooms six times as big, or it isn’t a house any more. Similarly with the bloggernacle, which I’m sure is growing and will continue to grow.

    From the way the conversation has gone, M* does seem to be premised on a disagreement over where the bounds of orthodoxy fall. I can see how that can and maybe should be a sensitive topic. But I wonder if the conversation doesn’t fully reflect what’s really happening.

  43. Davis Bell on February 1, 2005 at 8:27 pm

    Steve thinks M* should be called Doppelblog. I could sweat that name’s already in use . . . . . . Oh, yeah, that’s what most people call BCC behind his back.

  44. Ben Huff on February 1, 2005 at 8:29 pm

    Ah : )

    “Those who choose to stand firmly next to the Lord’s anointed need not apologize.”

    The implication apparently being that some of the T&S bloggers don’t? That’s the sort of thing that hurts Kristine’s feelings. Can’t say I blame her. Why doesn’t it bother me? I guess I’m not sure how we can avoid disagreeing on the bounds of orthodoxy, too. Somehow, when I hear sentiments like that, I think, “Well, at least that person is taking a stand on something!” I guess I’m glad when people are trying to be loyal to the church the best way they know how, even if I think they have some things to learn about how best to go about it.

  45. Ben H on February 1, 2005 at 8:33 pm

    I do have hope that we as a people, as a church, can move toward agreement on the bounds of orthodoxy, and that we can be a bit less quick than we often are to question each other’s faithfulness. I think we are being challenged to do this when the Lord says, “If ye are not one, ye are not mine.” But I think we should be patient with the fact that we haven’t totally arrived there yet.

  46. Bryce I on February 1, 2005 at 8:51 pm
  47. Adam Greenwood on February 1, 2005 at 9:00 pm

    I just don’t see that it’s useful to talk about feeling excluded or feeling hurt with these sorts of things. Everyone has some things that they think are orthodox. If other people’s definitions happen to exclude some of what I think or do, what does it matter if I find that painful? The real problem is that I think their definitions are wrong. I would hope that they would try to treat me as a brother still and give me some space for my beliefs, but then I have to extend them the same courtesy of allowing them to continue to think me heretical and in ‘danger of hellfire’ in some respects.

    Look at the sidebar. We have a comments policy that excludes certain types of comments and therefore certain types of commenters to make the site usable for the rest of us. Same with the Star. It excludes certain kinds of critical stances to make the site comfortable for people who don’t tolerate those stances very well.

  48. Adam Greenwood on February 1, 2005 at 9:01 pm

    And I’m watching Cheat Commandos!

  49. JF on February 1, 2005 at 9:36 pm

    Ben Huff, good points. When I write that those who stand next to the Lord’s anointed need not apologize, any implications are best understood within the context of this Hinckley quote:

    “How grateful, my brethren, I feel, how profoundly grateful for the tremendous faith of so many Latter-day Saints who, when facing a major decision on which the Church has taken a stand, align themselves with that position. And I am especially grateful to be able to say that among those who are loyal are men and women of achievement, of accomplishment, of education, of influence, of strength—highly intelligent and capable individuals.”

    “Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.”
    (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Loyalty,” Ensign, May 2003)

  50. Jack on February 1, 2005 at 9:36 pm

    Jim, thanks for correcting me on that. I misread a comment over at M. Star which caused me to believe that he was behind blog-bars (sheesh! only two posts and they’re already causing problems!) I think I can guess why he’s not posting here anymore, and sadly, I don’t think it’s a good enough reason to deprive of us of his genious.

    Come on Jim! Are you soooooo dead set against using smiley faces that you would use a sentence with twenty-four syllables in it instead of a little “:” followed by a mere “)”? ;)

  51. Nathan Mark Smith on February 1, 2005 at 9:38 pm

    Nate

    I think there might be a simpler explanation. I don’t know about the motivations for making M* but my first thought was that it is a good idea, simply because T&S is too crowded (with comments). If I were going to fill the extra demand by participating in a group blog, I wouldn’t position it as some sort of Junior Varsity T&S. I would give it a slightly different spin.

  52. Jack on February 1, 2005 at 9:41 pm

    …and I was sincere when I said “his genius”.

  53. The Only True and Living Nathan on February 1, 2005 at 9:54 pm

    Jack, in #39 you said,

    Therefore, there *is* room for a more conservative/orthodox church blog. How well would it thrive? Dunno. Could get real boring…

    That floors me. Why is it insulting to equate “liberal” with heresy and “conservative” with faithfulness, but it’s hunky-dory to imply that “conservative” equals “boring”? Please. The idea that liberals can lay claim to a monopoly on intellectual stimulation and diversity, if it ever was true, has long since been deflated.

    If you doubt, visit the messageboards at nauvoo.com, where all participants are bound by a compact to express themselves within the bounds of orthodoxy, but where discussion is every bit as stimulating as it is at the self-professedly “liberal” venues.

    (This all comes to you from a self-professed moderate, who sups frequently from both wells in the interests of proving opposites and making truth manifest.)

  54. Jack on February 1, 2005 at 9:57 pm

    “I don’t have a blog, since I don’t have anything terribly interesting to blog about”

    D., I have thoroughly enjoyed everyone of your posts over at the “other place”. Don’t sell yourself short…

  55. Jack on February 1, 2005 at 10:20 pm

    TOTALN,

    Let me clarify what was rattling around in my *conservative* head when I posted that comment. IMO T&S sports a healthy compliment of views both liberal and conservative. Therefore, since (imo)conservative/orthodox views are well represented here, anything more orthodox would amount to something, well, too orthodox and therefore beyond discourse. I fully agree that discussion…” within the bounds of orthodoxy… [is] every bit as stimulating as it is at the self-professedly “liberal” venues”. (though I don’t consider T&S a self-professed liberal venue per se)

  56. Melissa on February 1, 2005 at 10:34 pm

    Sheesh—and here I thought all this time that M* was a reference to me ;)

    And no, obviously T&S hasn’t failed. This very conversation seems proof enough of that.

  57. Melissa on February 1, 2005 at 10:40 pm

    By the way—-all you M-Starlites, who is Chelsea Grimmus? Out of twelve bloggers you only have one woman and she has no bio!

  58. Wilfried on February 1, 2005 at 11:47 pm

    There is some irony in the fact that, as Ronan mentioned, the Millennial Star was a British publication. Then there is, in some comments above, the reference to Balkanization. So Europe is present for inspiration and comparison. But the bloggernacle remains in many of its topics, when viewed from abroad, very American in focus. That’s understandable, and for obvious reasons, with so many local items to discuss. Therefore the few posts or comments that try to broaden the horizon to the international Church get little response. Our blog family may expand to left and right, but is not really crossing borders yet.

  59. Adam Greenwood on February 1, 2005 at 11:49 pm

    Melissa,
    She is Everywoman. Biographies cannot confine her.

  60. Jim F. on February 1, 2005 at 11:58 pm

    Jack (#51): no.

  61. JohnG on February 2, 2005 at 2:37 am

    Jack, of course DKL doesn’t post here any more. Half of the permanent bloggers treated him like dirt. Typical example: Kristine Hagland Harris kicking DKL with words from his own apology (I’m glad I’m not married to that one!) and then concluding, “everyone else see’s David’s wit for what it is.” When I read this, I think of one word: vile. One reason I don’t post here more often is so many of the permanent bloggers are so self-congratulatory and smug. No wonder people are breaking off to go elsewhere.

  62. Nate Oman on February 2, 2005 at 7:27 am

    JohnG: It seems a bit unfair to single out Kristine. I know that I am personally much more vile than she is…

  63. Ronan on February 2, 2005 at 7:57 am

    Wilfried,
    Perhaps there are Euro-Mo-Blogs and we just don’t know about them. Do you know of any?

  64. John Mansfield on February 2, 2005 at 8:56 am

    Brother Fletcher’s desire for a single blog brings to mind something that has interested me about the Mormon blogs. There are hundreds of thousands of potential participants for these forums, but they wouldn’t work in anything like their present form if even a few hundred different people wrote posts each day. There is more interest in the words of familiar commenters than those of passing strangers, and only so many names can be handled mentally.

    The notion of Times and Seasons as a Mormon centerplace is a bit myopic. You are very interesting writers, but you represent overwhelming a skewed group of lawyers and academics. Your grouping is founded on personal relationships that we strangers don’t share. I am glad to benefit from what you have created, but it is natural that most people would be uninterested in any particular forum.

  65. Sheri Lynn on February 2, 2005 at 8:56 am

    I don’t think this site purported to be a source of official doctrine. I never took it that way. I see people writing their own opinions, and accepting it when they are shown their errors. Some of the discussion is above this convert’s head, but I think the Spirit would prompt me if I shouldn’t be coming here. Is there some ark-steadying going on? Maybe a little but at least it’s self-conscious ark-steadying, not self-righteous ark-steadying.

    I lost a valued friendship when my friend declared that mixed-race and mixed-age couples should not be given TRs, ever. The racism bothered me, but far more frightening to me was the attitude of “I know better than the Lord what ought to go on in His kingdom.” I felt I should not stand too near to someone who sincerely believed that bishops churchwide err, letting couples with different melanin levels be sealed.

    I still say I haven’t seen a *real* flamewar here. But I haven’t been here long, and I come from Lucianne’s WRT days and FreeRepublic. Wanna have fun? –go to FR, pick an immigration thread, and express adamant agreement with the President’s immigration proposals. I bet you will still need a flame-proof suit. I have eyebrows again, but it HAS been months.

  66. Kristine on February 2, 2005 at 9:57 am

    John Mansfield, just one small quibble. You said “your grouping is founded on personal relationships that we strangers don’t share.” That’s not really true–most of us don’t know each other in the real world. The personal relationships we have were built right here. But no argument on the fact that we are a very weird, “skewed” subset of Mormons (some of us skewder than others!).

  67. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 9:58 am

    Yes, (to John Mansfield), I suppose it is a bit of a conundrum. Not everybody will fit in one room. There is a sense, however, that this new blog has been created for people who AGREE with its thesis statement, which is that it reflects the gospel of Jesus Christ, and by inference, the other blogs don’t. Frankly, it’s like the Four Corners in Palmyra. Whose blog is true?

  68. john fowles on February 2, 2005 at 9:59 am

    Kristine, you said that you all didn’t know each other in the real world. I am curious as to how you each came to be here if personal relationships weren’t at play. How exactly does one get to be a perma-blogger at a big LDS blog? Is it based on resume or personal relationships or perhaps amount of higher education (at least the latter seems to be the case with the “big three” of the Bloggernacle).

  69. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 10:05 am

    I’d like a blog to be more like the Home Theater Forum.

    Today is: February 2nd, 2005 | Established: July 4, 1997
    Registered Members: 53,558 | Registered Today: 11
    Total Threads: 205,773 | Total Posts: 2,410,523
    There are 833 Active Users Online

    I’m as free there as anybody else to post whatever I feel like posting. And even though it’s huge, there are several names that come up again and again — they’re as familiar as friends.

  70. Will on February 2, 2005 at 10:15 am

    You might also be interested in the emergency of http://www.timesandseason.com , the site with the strangest web-design yet seen by mankind.

  71. Will on February 2, 2005 at 10:15 am
  72. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 10:16 am

    The link doesn’t work Will.

  73. Kristine on February 2, 2005 at 10:23 am

    John, I happened by, made a few comments, got asked to guest-blog, and then got asked to stay; at that point I had never met any of the perma-bloggers, although two of them had met my brother Rich. I think they did not know much about my “resumé” until they asked for bio. info. to post when I guest-blogged. I suspect I was an Affirmative Action hire–they needed women and non-lawyers :)

    Since then, I’ve met Kaimi, and we’ve added Melissa and Ben, whom I did know before, but I still don’t know any of the other bloggers outside of the bloggernacle.

  74. annegb on February 2, 2005 at 10:29 am

    I don’t know about “skewed” but it does appear to be sort of a closed club. Many of you do know each other personally, or I should say, it APPEARS that way. You know how you feel when people start leaving you out of the conversation? At best, it’s kind of awkward. Since shyness has never been a problem for me, I can deal that. But perhaps it’s food for thought.

    I asked Bro. Falcouner if I’d inadvertantly stumbled on a group of friends who were a bunch of famous educated Mormons that I’d never heard of :). He says no.

    But it sounds like I’ve inadertantly stumbled on a group of famous, way-more-educated-than-me, bunch of old friends, quite a bit of the time.

    I’m hanging in there, though, even famous, way-more-educated-than-me people need that common touch once in awhile.

  75. Kristine on February 2, 2005 at 10:38 am

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I think the “old friends” feeling really is just from hanging around here and having conversations about things that matter to us over a period of a bit more than a year. So annebg, if you waste enough time with us, you’ll be in the club too!

  76. Bryce I on February 2, 2005 at 10:42 am

    annegb –

    You’re doing just fine here. I enjoy reading your comments a lot.

  77. Bryce I on February 2, 2005 at 10:57 am

    D. Fletcher said–

    There is a sense, however, that this new blog has been created for people who AGREE with its thesis statement, which is that it reflects the gospel of Jesus Christ, and by inference, the other blogs don’t. Frankly, it’s like the Four Corners in Palmyra. Whose blog is true?

    I would like to say that I hope that the readers at M* do not make the inference you suggest. As I’ve said previously in this thread, I’m very much committed to the continuing success of Times and Seasons, although I really don’t have much to do with it, aside from the occasional tech support. And I have really enjoyed reading the conversations over at BCC lately as well, although I don’t particpate there as much.

  78. Jack on February 2, 2005 at 11:23 am

    Ah, I know that I will always be very far from the hubbub of interaction at T&S. I simply don’t have the educational background to keep up with most of the commenters here. As I said on a different thread: “I feel like a guy thowing weak punches at a brawling mass of rugby players” sometimes. But even so, I take some satifaction in knowing that I help in defining the outer edge of the group. And, for that service rendered, I receive a wealth of information that would be hard to come by otherwise. I mean, think of Jim F’s weekly lessons, the theological discussions, the 12 questions tradition, etc.. I think it’s great that one has the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best of the best, even if it’s only when one is lurking about. For me, T&S, though it may have a wrench in the works here and there, is a success.

  79. Ryan Bell on February 2, 2005 at 11:32 am

    D, #69- I agree with Bryce. Millennial Star was certainly not set up with some kind of orthodoxy litmus test in mind “come here if you want to toe the line and you don’t think anyone else does.” Not at all. Just as I think BCC welcomes me, a more conservative type, M* welcomes any person of any stripe, liberal, lapsed, or whatever else there is out there.

    The motivation behind M* is two-fold. First “hey, let’s start a big group blog that will compete with the other ones and eventually smash them out of their tortured existences,” and second “while we’re at it, let’s see if we can have a slightly different take on things, that tries to reflect the viewpoint of the average member.” So yes, in a sense, M* tries to improve on the efforts of those that came before it, but only in the sense that every new endeavor does the same thing. It certainly does not set itself up in opposition to those other blogs, nor as something spiritually superior to them.

  80. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 11:49 am

    Ryan, and Bryce,

    Why start a new blog at all? unless you are somehow unfulfilled at your current ones, and want to say something new, and better. I just think everyone wants validation for their viewpoint. They don’t want debate, they want a daily ME.

    There are just too many blogs. Eventually, many will fold for want of readers. And everyone wants readers, it seems, and commenters. This whole blogging-as-life thing is making me… tired.

  81. A Soft Answer on February 2, 2005 at 11:50 am

    Times & Seasons hasn’t failed
    http://www.timesandseasons.org/index.php?p=1919

  82. Ryan Bell on February 2, 2005 at 12:01 pm

    D, there are a thousand reasons to start a new blog that don’t have to do with setting up an echo chamber for one’s own personal pet positions. If it were true that I am seeking a Daily Me, I would stop reading BCC, which often posts stuff I disagree with. But I love reading BCC. And I love reading Sunstone, when I do pick it up. Although I think the daily me is a real problem frequently present in the lives of even very intelligent people, I think the majority of the bloggers in the bloggernacle are here because they want a robust dialogue, not a one-sided sermon. But why would that robust dialogue necessarily preclude one adding one’s own voice to the fray? You act like merely speaking out is equal to trying to end the discussion.

  83. Wilfried on February 2, 2005 at 12:55 pm

    Ronan: “Wilfried, Perhaps there are Euro-Mo-Blogs and we just don’t know about them. Do you know of any?”
    Thanks for asking. As far as I know, we have a few Mormon sites as such, and some “announcements and making friends” sites, mainly of young adults. I am not aware of blogs for discussion.

  84. Clark Goble on February 2, 2005 at 12:56 pm

    Why set up a new blog? Perhaps the question might well be, why limit the voices to a few who are permanent bloggers?

    As I said I don’t have trouble with T&S or even more liberal blogs like BCC. I comment regularly at both, as everyone knows. I’ve even guest blogged here. I just find that since getting out is hard while being married and with young child that a lot of my social outlet is blogging. (Compare this to say 5 years ago when I was only on 2 slow mailing lists and never blogged – precisely because I had a hugely active social life.)

  85. Bryce I on February 2, 2005 at 1:02 pm

    D. said:

    Why start a new blog at all? unless you are somehow unfulfilled at your current ones, and want to say something new, and better. I just think everyone wants validation for their viewpoint. They don’t want debate, they want a daily ME.

    He also said:

    #

    I’d like a blog to be more like the Home Theater Forum.

    Today is: February 2nd, 2005 | Established: July 4, 1997
    Registered Members: 53,558 | Registered Today: 11
    Total Threads: 205,773 | Total Posts: 2,410,523
    There are 833 Active Users Online

    I’m as free there as anybody else to post whatever I feel like posting. And even though it’s huge, there are several names that come up again and again – they’re as familiar as friends.

    Which answers the question, somewhat, in my case. I don’t have a blog home (not counting my family and book blogs, which are mostly about my kids). While T&S and BCC are great fun, they don’t always talk about the things I want to talk about. You seem to have had similar thoughts, judging by your comment that I quoted second. I don’t want validation. I just want to talk about something other than law or philosophy or cheese occasionally (which are fine topics, just not my cup of tea). I think there are enough readers out there to support other venues without taking away from the existing ones — readership is growing across the board in the bloggernacle.

    Of course, in five years time, the bubble will have burst, and we will all be left shaking our heads when we realize that the bloggernacle was really just ourselves and one other manic, schizophrenic person impersonating all of the other people in the bloggernacle.

  86. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 1:10 pm

    I guess I think the “board” format is a more open one. People seem to start new blogs so they will be in charge — since it’s their blog. But at the Home Theater Forum, no one is in charge. There are some moderators, but there is no set group of people with some agenda. Anyone is free to begin a thread, with as voluminous and loquacious and contentious a post as they would like.

    A number of people have asked me to be a blog participant on their blog, but I have refused. I enjoy commenting, so I’ll stick to that. The only blog I agreed to help setup (albeit reluctantly) was the Kultureblog, because it isn’t inherently Mormon and therefore has a little more openness than these others. Something about the Church and the central politicizing of these blogs — I can’t put my finger on it, but it is unsettling.

  87. Kristine on February 2, 2005 at 1:17 pm

    “one other manic, schizophrenic person impersonating all of the other people in the bloggernacle.”

    Bryce, you promised not to tell!!

  88. Kaimi on February 2, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    I think that the perceived difference between T & S and Ms. Tar is vastly, vastly overdrawn.

    Let’s see, Ms. Tar consists of:

    2 T & S permabloggers;
    5 former T & S guests, including some of our most popular and interesting guests and some that best fit in here;
    5 other bloggernacle regulars.

    If someone suggested two weeks ago, without naming sites, a group blog including posts from Matt, Adam, Bryce, Clark, Ben S., Ryan, Grasshopper, and others, we would have all just assumed that they were talking about T & S.

    Whatever T & S is as a community, it is at least in part because of the contributions of those exact people. And I have to assume that Ms. Tar, being influenced by the same people, is likely to end up being pretty similar to T & S. Yes, it will be a little different, but it’s a difference in degree, not in kind.

  89. Kaimi on February 2, 2005 at 1:23 pm

    D,

    You’ll be happy to hear that we just set up a “committee on strengthening blog readership” and all such comments by you or anyone else will be monitored in the future for subversive content . . .

  90. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve actually had the experience of two boards/blogs literally self-destructing. Dan’s original post about this was essentially true.

    LOL, Kaimi, I’m not trying to foster competition. I’ve got more friends here at T&S (and some at BCC) that I know in person, which is the most meaningful thing for me. So, I’ll continue to comment here, from time to time. I’ll try to keep it civil.

  91. danithew on February 2, 2005 at 1:29 pm

    I see that D. Fletcher is trying to wrest away my Mr. Congeniality reward. Forget it bud. :)

  92. john fowles on February 2, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    Kristine, that is interesting to find out how you ended up on T&S. It sounds like the same pattern that happened to Rosalynde after I told her about T&S back in the summer.

    Kristine wrote I can’t speak for everyone, but I think the “old friends” feeling really is just from hanging around here and having conversations about things that matter to us over a period of a bit more than a year. So annebg, if you waste enough time with us, you’ll be in the club too!

    This is a curious phenomenon to me and I would like to hear more of your thoughts on this process. What role does timing play in this process? What constitutes being “in the club”? What role does education play in literally being in the club as in participating as a permanent blogger (i.e., can annebg really ever expect to be part of the club in that sense if the educational credentials aren’t there [this is hypothetical since I have no idea what annebg's educational background looks like])? For example, after commenting for a few weeks, Rosalynde was asked to guest blog and then became a permanent blogger. Ben S., on the other hand, did not become a permanent blogger after guest blogging back in the summer. What makes the difference? (Maybe he was invited but turned down.) Rosalynde has a Ph.D. already but Ben S. is only working on one. Maybe there was a male/female factor involved? Did ideology play a role? But maybe none of this is even what you meant with being part of the club–did you mean that more along the lines of just feeling comfortable around here?

  93. The Only True and Living Nathan on February 2, 2005 at 1:54 pm

    “Of course, in five years time, the bubble will have burst, and we will all be left shaking our heads when we realize that the bloggernacle was really just ourselves and one other manic, schizophrenic person impersonating all of the other people in the bloggernacle.”

    And won’t Bryce be surprised when he finds out they were all ME.

    (And I can tell him that, because I know he won’t believe me.)

  94. Bryce I on February 2, 2005 at 1:57 pm

    Comments #89 & 95 –

    Kristine = TOTAL Nathan ?!?!?

    /shudder

  95. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 2:01 pm

    I have been at 2 bloggernaculars, one of them at my house and the other at the very gracious Fowleses. So, I count myself among the … validated.

  96. Jack on February 2, 2005 at 2:17 pm

    Folks, lets be frank. John Fowles lives forty minutes away from me but there was no way I was going to show up at that get together. Now I don’t say this because I feel ostricized by T&S, but because, I simply don’t have enough in common with the average blogger. I would have been a lump of clay sitting on the couch (with occasional excursions to the bar or where ever the treats were). It’s only natural that folks with like back-grounds are going to gravitate toward one another. I don’t see anything immoral in that.

  97. Nate Oman on February 2, 2005 at 2:19 pm

    John: The primary criteria for the selection of perma bloggers is hair color. You have no doubt noticed that there are no bald permabloggers at T&S. I think that Bryce’s reference to “club” however was meant to refer to people who spend time commenting, not to permabloggers per se.

  98. Matt Evans on February 2, 2005 at 2:25 pm

    Jack, if you would have gone to the blogger party, you’d have realized that other bloggers are just like you. They all sit like clay on the couch until they run out of chips and have to walk back to the table.

  99. Bryce I on February 2, 2005 at 2:29 pm

    Nate –

    That was Kristine’s comment that used the phrase “in the club”, by the way.

    Although under my new theory of the bloggernacle, we’re actually the same person from your perspective.

  100. Jack on February 2, 2005 at 2:31 pm

    Matt,

    The problem is that I don’t possess the faculties to derive a deep theological discussion from the merits of going or not going for another handful of chips.

  101. Kristine on February 2, 2005 at 2:32 pm

    John, I did mean “in the club” as just being comfortable and known (cue the “Cheers” theme song).

  102. Kaimi on February 2, 2005 at 2:41 pm

    John,

    Since you ask how permabloggers are chosen, let me explain. The breakdown is very simple, as follows:

    $10 by paypal = a favorable comment by a permablogger (“John Fowles’s comment above is particularly insightful . . .”)
    $20 by paypal = a link to your blog on “Around the Blogs.”
    $50 by paypal = guest blogging stint.
    $100 by paypal = permablogger invitation.

    We have to pay our expenses somehow, don’t we? ;)

  103. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 2:52 pm

    $1,000 by paypal = Calling and Election made sure?

  104. Kaimi on February 2, 2005 at 2:54 pm

    D.,

    That sounds a little low — I think that C&EMS is at least $10,000 these days. It adjusts for inflation. And by the way, don’t forget that that goes to the Church Office Building.

  105. D. Fletcher on February 2, 2005 at 2:58 pm

    Jack, I went to the SLC one at John Fowles’s house. Wouldn’t you have liked to meet me? I may not be pretty, but I think I’m vaguely interesting to talk to.

  106. Kaimi on February 2, 2005 at 3:05 pm

    Re #63:

    I happen to know Kristine, and I wouldn’t say that she can be accurately characterized as vile.

    And “glad [you're] not married to [her]?” My goodness.

    1. That sounds awfully, unnecessarily, gratuitously mean.

    2. I suspect that, if you think she’s vile, she’s pretty glad she’s not married to you either.

    3. For what it’s worth, I’m not married to Kristine, and I’m perfectly happy in my own marriage, but I wouldn’t classify myself as “glad I’m not married to Kristine.” I think that if anything, I would be perfectly happy to be married to Kris in some counterfactual world — and I suspect that a number of readers and commenters on this blog probably feel the same.

    *

    I’m sorry that our attempts to enforce our stated comment policies make some readers feel unwelcome. But that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make, since the purpose of the policies is to prevent flame wars and problematic comments that make other readers feel unwelcome.

  107. john fowles on February 2, 2005 at 3:18 pm

    Jack, it was our loss as well as yours that you didn’t attend! I assure you that you would have been welcome and that you would not have felt out of place. We didn’t have any real substantive, T&S style discussions at the get-together. Just socializing! I had a really great time.

    Kristine: understood.

    Kaimi: very enlightening!

  108. Jack on February 2, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    D. & John,

    Please take my comments about not attending as *compliments* as well as anything else I was trying to convey. You guys intimidate me! Especially you D., in that we follow a similar creative avenue.

    My main point in all of this is that there’s going to be a natural “stratification” in the blogsphere because of the level of discourse that can happen between people of like backgrounds/preparations. I don’t have a problem with this. Moreover, I would caution those like myself, who have very little formal training, against the kind of pride that looks up which, according to E.T.Benson, is far more common than that which looks down.

    That said, yes I do feel a loss for not going. I’ll try to conjure up the guts to go next time.

  109. Sheri Lynn on February 2, 2005 at 11:26 pm

    Babelfish doesn’t have a “way more educated than me” to English setting! I checked.

    Annegb and Jack, we’ll just have to keep muddling through and learn what we can while we do.

  110. annegb on February 2, 2005 at 11:40 pm

    :)

    Kristine, I’d marry you. Ain’t nothing like a big mouth broad.

  111. David King Landrith on February 2, 2005 at 11:47 pm

    I appreciate that my name has appeared a few times in this thread, but it seems that there are some misconceptions. Just to clear things up:

    First, JohnG can speak for himself, but it doesn’t sound to me like he begrudges you any of your vileness, Nate.

    Second: I cannot tell whether I’m in blog jail. Apparently, neither can T&S: Kaimi seems to say that I am. Jim F. assures us that I am not. Although my first two posts here did get me banned, my privileges were magically restored (thanks, Jim F.). I was recently informed that my posts would be placed into a moderation queue—perhaps we should style this, “blog purgatory.” From all I can tell, everything’s cool as long as I don’t say “chick.”

    Third: There are probably a few reasons why I don’t post here any longer. The primary one is that my wife continues to assure me that people who can’t handle words like “chick” are ill-prepared to deal with the likes of me.

    Fourth: I never intended to make such a post as this one, because I don’t like temper-tantrums or I’m-taking-my-marbles-and-going-home episodes. But for the few people who may care in some form: I’m no victim of “censorship” or “content regulation.”

    That said, thanks for the kind words of defense, Jack and JohnG.

  112. Sheri Lynn on February 2, 2005 at 11:48 pm

    Annegb, stop that and be good. :-D

  113. danithew on February 2, 2005 at 11:56 pm

    Kaimi and Annegb,

    I had misunderstood that comment from JohnG entirely. For some reason I thought he was quoting Kristine with that “I’m glad I’m not married to that one” comment. I didn’t know what to say earlier because I didn’t want to take sides between DKL or Kristine (I like ‘em both and didn’t recall the flame-war being referred to) but I’m glad someone else (along with Nate) has jumped in to defend her from that little “I wouldn’t want to be married to her” slur. I keep wanting to suggest some kind of disproportionate retaliatory measure but justice requires otherwise.

    Therefore all I can say JohnG is that I’m glad I’m not married to you.

  114. marta on February 3, 2005 at 6:51 am

    No, T&S has not failed. It provides a delightful context for conversing and sharing, or just mostly lurking and learning. I feel that I know many of you even though none of you know me. As I have no social life to speak of, I have read more than 90% of this wonderful blog (I confess that sometimes I do not read the entire thread on law and philosophy posts) including the archives, as well as much of what linked to on the sidebar, and I appreciate that it is all available and that you folks put so much time and effort into this.

    While comment #63 was harsh, John G. may have a point. Kristine, you do sometimes seem to overreact to certain commenters – DKL, John Fowles – in a rather defensive way. Amusingly you also seem to be most likely to gently chide others for being defensive. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed every one of your posts here and at BCC, and your comments on many other blogs. You frequently say what I would and so much better than I could. You have mad writing skills. And you are my hero for answering Sheri Lynn’s cry for help in primary.

    DKL, Perhaps Kristine is not overreacting very much. One grows suspicious of your motives at times. You remind me of my two oldest 19 or so years ago when they were 2 and 3 – and I hope this will not be interpreted as accusing you of behaving like a 2-year-old. Their father asked the older one to stop goading the younger one. “What is goad?” he asked, and it was explained. Next time we saw them he was following his little brother around saying, “Goad. Goad. Goad.”

    Jack, I wish you had gone to the gathering at Brother Fowles’ home. I wish I could have gone, but like you I feel most comfortable listening in quietly from the edge of the group and that is so easy to do on a blog. I don’t comment often because I am inarticulate and tend to sound self righteous.

    D, I am hoping you stay in N.Y. so I can crash any future blog parties there when I move back to the east coast. I am sure my husband will not mind that I have a crush on you. Any one care to meet and eat in Tokyo?

    To those who suggest that bloggers are looking for validation, I can’t see anything wrong with wanting validation. We can all use some occasionally. So thank you annegb and lizzy for the validation, as you are the only ones to respond to me here, though I have probably “wasted” more time here than any 20 or 30 of you put together. I laughed hard when Kacy said on her blog that the folks at T&S were the nicest bunch of people ever to completely ignore her.
    Now I know that I just have to pay up. I tried (sincerely) flattering Kaimi, but that comment never posted. (I really did think the wings-fall-off comment was the funniest thing I had read in years.)

  115. annegb on February 3, 2005 at 10:51 am

    Marta, I am sitting here cracking up. The nicest bunch of people to completely ignore you is a good description.

    I mean, yell at me, cuss at me, smack me around a little, but do not ignore me.

    Hell, I’d marry anybody. I practically have. Bet I’m the most married person here.

    “Can’t we all just get along?” -That guy who got beat up by police in LA

    Hey, Tina Turner is singing on the Today show. THAT is a woman. Sorry, Kristine, but if I were so inclined, I’d have to marry Tina Turner first. Just for the dancing fun.

  116. Kristine on February 3, 2005 at 11:13 am

    annebg–we already talk about gay marriage around here way too much; let’s not start that again :)

    Kaimi knows I would never marry a lawyer, not even in an alternate universe. Fortunately, I’m already married and I feel reasonably certain that my husband does not find it as oppressive as John G. supposes.

    As for being ignored, it happens to everyone; I think it’s in the nature of the beast. Blog comment threads are unlike real life conversations in that they can contain two or three subconversations that people get wrapped up in. Still, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to write at least one post interesting enough to get Nate to comment on it!

  117. Ben S. on February 3, 2005 at 11:15 am

    “Ben S., on the other hand, did not become a permanent blogger after guest blogging back in the summer. What makes the difference? (Maybe he was invited but turned down.) Rosalynde has a Ph.D. already but Ben S. is only working on one.”

    More likely due to the fact that my guest posts were few and perfunctory due to time commitments.

    (I’m only committed to a post or two a week at M*. I’ve killed off all my other message board accounts/subscriptions so I can study for my comprehensive exams in September.)

  118. Sheri Lynn on February 3, 2005 at 11:33 am

    I have tears running down my cheeks, Marta, laughing so hard at your post. “Goad goad goad…” DEFINITELY ROTFLM “thou shalt not covet (my)…a**”O!!!!

    Kristine’s my hero too; I really was frightened by those kids my first day teaching primary!

  119. annegb on February 3, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    Bryce: I floated along on that “you rock” all day yesterday thinking “A big cheese on T&S thinks I rock.”

    Could you possibly send me your e-mail address? I have questions about the blog, and I think Brother Falcouner is ready to come through the computer and grab me by the throat. He’s the only one with e-mail. And Kaimi keeps “completely ignoring” my e-mails. I think I am committing unintentional faux paus because I don’t know the ettiquette. Did I spell that right?

    gardnera@netutah.com

    Well, anybody can write me, but I must warn you: I answer e-mails. I have to tell my friends: do not answer this. We need to rest. It seems common courtesy. Plus I am an older middle aged woman whose nest is empty for the first time in 23 years (eat your hearts out guys, the empty nest rocks), and I don’t have to work, and I have chronic insomnia and lots of time on my hands. So if you don’t want to feel stalked, don’t write to me.

  120. annegb on February 3, 2005 at 12:38 pm

    Bryce, I won’t stalk you, I just want to know how to do this.

  121. Kaimi on February 3, 2005 at 12:45 pm

    Anne,

    I don’t recall getting any e-mails from you. I may have missed them if they came in when I was busy on a project at work, but I don’t recall getting any.

    I try not to ignore people, but I can’t guarantee that I succeed — I typically have a few too many projects going at the same time, and occasionally drop a ball or two.

  122. annegb on February 3, 2005 at 12:47 pm

    Okay, this is what I’m saying: where are those rules? I posted something too soon (the 10 second rule?), and now I can’t remember what I said.

    I know I wrote to Bryce telling him how much his nice words meant, I mean, it’s sort of not dignified, but even people my age need that stuff.

    Then I asked him to write to me to explain this to me, this blog thing. Or anybody could write, but I will write back, so if you don’t want to start a long conversation, don’t write to me. It’s a stalking sort of thing, but not.

    gardnera@netutah.com

    The short term memory is the first to go.

  123. Bryce I on February 3, 2005 at 12:55 pm

    annegb–

    check your email

  124. Kaimi on February 3, 2005 at 1:05 pm

    Anne,

    The 10-second-no-comment rule is not intended to be a substantive rule. It’s in place to stop “comment spam” — i.e., web sites that will put ads in comments.

    We delete spam pretty quickly around here, and have a number of measures in place to try to stop it. You can’t say certain names of drugs or card games in comments without getting your comment flagged, since so much of the spam is advertisements for online gambling or drugstore sites. And you can’t comment more than once every 10 seconds — that’s to prevent a spammer from adding 100 or 200 comments in a second, using an automated script.

    I know it’s a bit of hassle, but the alternative is a comments section that becomes useless due to spam. (Take a look, for example, at the recent comments section at the now-defunct LDS blog Sons of Mosiah, http://www.bobandlogan.com , where the spammers continue to add spam comments regularly, and no one is cleaning it up anymore).

  125. annegb on February 3, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks, you guys, nothing like not being ignored! I feel a little stupid, like the little kid in primary jumping up and down yelling: “Teacher, teacher, look at my new Barbie panties!”

    I’ll be in touch.

  126. JohnG on February 3, 2005 at 3:02 pm

    Therefore all I can say JohnG is that I’m glad I’m not married to you.

    Comment by danithew — 2/2/2005 : 11:56 pm

    I know that this statement was intended to punish me for being “mean” to Kristine, but for this to have its intended effect, I would have to be pining for your affection, which, of course, I’m not. I can recall a particular boyhood crush I once had: Any sign of disapproval from the young lady who was the object of my affection would have been emotionally devastating. A sign of disapproval from the vile fat chick who sat next to her, on the other hand, would likely have had just the opposite effect. In other words, the assumption that I would be hurt by your not wanting to be married to someone like me pre-supposes that I care for your affection, which, of course, I do not.

    Speaking of younger days, comments like yours above have all the sophistication of this once seemingly clever grade-school retort: “I know you are, but what am I?” Come on now, danithew. You can do better than simply recycling my old commentary.

    Also, DKL has evidently broken his T&S silence by posting comment #113. This comment appears to have been belatedly inserted after annegb’s gay marriage joke and altogether omitted on the recent comments list, thereby ensuring that DKL’s efforts are for naught while preserving some level of deniability on the part of the editors. Apparently, this renders DKL a victim of “content regulation” despite his urgent protestations. Another reason why he shouldn’t post here any more: They control the microphone, thus they get the last laugh.

  127. danithew on February 3, 2005 at 3:17 pm

    JohnG, that comment was said somewhat jokingly. I suppose (as we’ve all seen over and over again on T&S) that same-sex marriage can be taken seriously but to me the concept that we might be married was rather absurd — and obviously you feel the same way.

    I was responding a little bit to the whole Kristine criticism that was going on. I like her so I want to stand up for her a bit. At the same time I don’t think you need to take the comment all that seriously. Thus the attempt at humor.

  128. danithew on February 3, 2005 at 3:24 pm

    I went back and read DKL’s comment and it seems he’s been placed in moderation because of his use of the word “chick”? I had no idea that word was SO offensive. It’s not the kind of word I’d use in a job-interview or a formal setting, but I thought it could be used when one is deliberately being irreverent or silly for some reason.

  129. annegb on February 3, 2005 at 3:26 pm

    Vile fat chick?? Dude you have serious issues.

    I am old school. My husband opens the door, he not only paid when we dated, he paid the babysitter, he does the heavy lifting, and he never calls names. If he called another woman a vile fat chick, he would be picking himself up off the ground in Mesquite.

    I didn’t want to take you on face to face because this is getting out of hand, but you revealed your true character, or lack thereof.

    I challenge you to a duel, for the honor of my future bride. Consider yourself smacked very hard up the side of the head.

  130. Kaimi on February 3, 2005 at 3:27 pm

    JohnG,

    DKL’s comment’s “belated insertion” is a function of the moderation queue, nothing more. Until it was approved, it sat in the mod queue. I approved it as soon as I saw it; I don’t however, sit and stare at the mod queue all day, so there is a lag between his posting time and its ultimate approval.

    Similarly, his comment didn’t show up on the main page’s Recent Comments because by the time it was approved, it was no longer in the most recent 20 comments. This is a function of our receiving as many comments as we do. I suppose that if I wanted to, I could try to write a script to allow me to single out comments for disinclusion in the Recent Comments list, but I don’t see any need to do that, and I certainly don’t have the capability to do that with our software right now. You can view it at any number of the expanded Recent Comments lists, such as http://www.timesandseasons.org/comments.php?number=200 (you’d better move fast for that particular list, as we get upwards of 200 comments a day).

    Please be courteous to other commenters in your comments.

    You don’t seem to like comment policing (control of the microphone, as you suggest) of any sort. Tough. Every online forum that isn’t moderated to some degree degenerates into a flame war fest in rapid succession. This applies to Mormon sites, anti-Mormon sites, sports boards, gaming boards, what have you. Even Slashdot has its comment rankings.

    We’re not going to do away with our comment policies. If that’s “content regulation” or “control of the microphone” or whatever you want to call it, so be it.

  131. Kaimi on February 3, 2005 at 3:30 pm

    (Sigh)

    I can attest that DKL did not get put on the moderation list for use of the word “chick,” Danithew.

    John, Anne, and everyone else, no fighting. And John, no (more) insults.

  132. Davis Bell on February 3, 2005 at 5:25 pm

    Regarding comment #17: I was joking. Just in case you were wondering.

  133. Sheri Lynn on February 3, 2005 at 8:54 pm

    I didn’t even realize there was really a flamewar going on until post 132. I thought it was all humor going over my head. I may not be the only one who thought so. I hope I wasn’t! So did you all do this just to mess with my head???

  134. A. Greenwood on February 3, 2005 at 10:45 pm

    John G.,

    This thread has gone on far too long for there not to have been an apology for your comment #63. It’s due and past due.

  135. Jeremiah J. on February 4, 2005 at 12:17 am

    Nate: My “Daily Me” includes three blogs and T&S is one of them. Sure it has its problems (in my experience, too much loitering outside the store front–I haven’t followed the “flame wars”), but with the Sunday School lesson, the 12 questions (LaBute, Givens, and the Jeopardy guy? Have you thought about requiring a subscription?), and the stuff like your ‘Mormonism and the law’ series, BCC isn’t even in the same league. I haven’t read Millennial Star, but you need to give these defectors a talking to.

    I am like you skeptical of Sunstein’s idea for regulating away the “Daily Me”, but unlike you I am quite sad about the decline in legitimacy of the traditional media. Perhaps some people think that we’ve had enough of the smug urban liberal view of things, so good riddance. But having recognized authorities with conventions and standards for truth and a lot at stake in getting things right is indispensible for decent public life. It was still possible for Dan Rather to be humiliated for getting things very wrong and refusing to admit it. For people like Daily Kos and Instapundit that’s practically in their job description.

    The solution may perhaps come from blogs and other online content which somehow managing to attain must-read status. Almost nothing online that I’ve seen is must-read at this point. There are almost no very worthy discussions, investigations, arguments, or people who are online but not offline (perhaps the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy and Nate Oman are exceptions). When there are, it will probably become more likely that in addition to tailor-made water-coolers that make up the Daily Me, any informed person will add an obligatory look at the Daily We.

  136. A. Greenwood on February 4, 2005 at 12:34 am

    “Sure it has its problems (in my experience, too much loitering outside the store front”

    Explain, as you would a child.

  137. Jeremiah J. on February 4, 2005 at 1:30 am

    loitering–idle talk, the harmless but banal white noise that you have to wade through when following a thread. People with serious business come and go while others stand outside the store front and shoot the breeze. The thread becomes a quasi-chat room. It happens with the most open ended posts e.g. “let’s talk about retention…” The problem is certainly not unique to T&S, in fact it’s the worst part of blogging in my opinion, and almost every other blog is worse. Of course if you read blogs for the wide open discussion, then you would inevitably disagree here. I don’t–in fact I generally browse T&S through the XML feed on ‘my yahoo’, so I only notice the commenters when I end up reading a whole post.

  138. Mike on February 4, 2005 at 8:05 pm

    “It seems a bit unfair to single out Kristine. I know that I am personally much more vile than she is…”
    Yeah, but Nate- everybody already knows you’re an ass.

    With John G’s comments I also thought that he was quoting Kristine with the wouldn’t want to marry comment.
    Joh- why is it so juvenile for some one to use the same comment towards you? You are right- it really shouldn’t offend you since you weren’t trying to win their affection. Why then would you have initially aimed it at Kristine? She obviously wasn’t trying to win yours- so the comment just seems out of place and juvenile for the same reasons you explained already- with the addition of seeming to be mean in a completely unrelated way for almost no reason.

  139. A. Greenwood on February 4, 2005 at 8:34 pm

    In other words, Jeremy, very much like my comment #138.

  140. Kim Siever on February 24, 2005 at 9:14 pm

    “…William Morris joined forces with Eric Stone, Rusty Clifton, Kim Seiver…”

    That would be Siever.