Reading blog comments is like walking through a barn. It can be fun to explore every now and then; there may be some food to chew on; once in awhile you can find a thing of beauty; and along the way you step in a lot of manure.

Blogs–especially the comment threads–are not known for bringing out the better angels of our natures. So let me make a few points (again).

1. Read my Ten Commandments for Commenting on Blogs.

2. Debate ideas. State your convictions strongly. But don’t be nasty. Don’t get personal. Develop a strong inclination to avoid sarcasm and sweeping generalizations.

3. Remember that with most people, you have no idea who is really behind the comments. Don’t jump to conclusions about “what Christians or non-Christians are like” or “what men or women are like” or “what Calvinists or Arminians are like” from a few blog comments. Anyone out there can say they are something or someone they are not.

4. I think comments are still an important part of blogs. They provide for feedback and public discourse. But yes, they are often obnoxious, discouraging, and unedifying. If the comments make you mad or sad, don’t read them. Stay away. Just read the post. That’s what most of you probably do already.

5. Keeping watch over blog comments can be very time consuming. I don’t read all the comments, or even most of the comments when a thread goes on and on. I have an assistant who tries to monitor the comments too, but she can’t follow blog traffic all day either. Having said that, for the foreseeable future we will be quicker to remove nasty, long, hyper-linked, and irrelevant comments and quicker to shut down the thread. If your comment gets deleted for whatever reason, don’t write another comment complaining about censorship. That will be deleted too. If you want to say something to the world, start your own blog and get people to come there.

Not trying to be a big meanie, just trying to make the blog a better experience for the vast majority of folks who are looking for good, edifying, thoughtful commentary.