It's Got Electrolytes! (RemnantNewspaper.com’s New Year’s Resolution)Written by Michael J. Matt | Editor
The numbers speak for themselves, and though the lion’s share of the credit goes to our regular columnists, it must be said that the astute visitors to this site who post so many insightful comments have also played a vital role in making The Remnant a go-to site for tens of thousands of people around the world.
But—and you knew there was going to be one—successful websites also mean the rise of trolls and plenty of nutters, which means time-consuming moderating is essential if the whole website isn’t to devolve into something straight out of Idiocracy.
So before things get out of control, I wanted to make a few policies official. For the majority of visitors this will mean no changes at all; for an unpleasant minority it will likely mean sayonara. But for everyone, The Remnant's comments sections will either help bring us all closer to Christ or we'll close them down.
Over Christmas we’d given serious thought to doing just that, due to the added work they require and also to the fact that trolls are good at what they do—destroying stimulating debate and wrecking the spirit of lively exchange. We’ve been persuaded not to take this step by some friends who’ve been running commboxes for a lot longer than we have,and who were good enough to share the benefit of their experience with us. That experience is the basis of the following policy points:
1) The Remnant uses Disqus, which means that every comment must be manually approved by one of our moderators. You may see your comment seem to post successfully only to see it disappear five minutes later. This does NOT mean it has been deleted, but rather that it has not yet been approved. So please don’t pepper us with nasty emails about how terrified we are of the hard truth you’ve presented in your comment. We will have had no idea what you’re talking about.
Also, every Remnant article is linked from Facebook, where there's practically no Remnant moderating. Here on our site and in order to encourage thoughtful and constructive exchanges, we pledge to approve comments only three times per day: Morning, Noon, and Evening. More frequent approval is possible, but NOT promised. So please don't expect your comment to be approved right away.
2) The Remnant is blessed with several volunteer moderators. Though on occasion I will personally make a reply, please understand that only those signed MJM (Michael J. Matt) are from your editor. Everything else under “The Remnant Newspaper” is the work of one of our trusted moderators.
3) Comments that blaspheme or intentionally insult others will not be approved.
4) Trolling and picking fights will more or less guarantee that a given comment will not be approved.
5) Comments that are racist, anti-Semitic, or just plain hateful will result in blacklisting.
6) It’s counterintuitive to use our commboxes to send visitors away from The Remnant’s site. Therefore, please be advised that unless it is really pertinent to our post, including a link to other sites may be enough to ensure that your comment is not approved.
7) Comments which express disagreement with Remnant articles are encouraged, as they stimulate good debate and make for interesting commboxes in general. But if they include personal vitriol spewed against our writers who may or may not have signed on to babysit our commboxes, they will likely not be approved since it places our writers in the ridiculous position of having to defend themselves against an endless volley of personal attacks. Our writers are paid for their services, but this does not mean that we require them to spend their days in our commboxes sparring with every nitwit that comes along. Once a given writer is engaged in a serious exchange, however, even a heated one, our moderators have been instructed not to interfere but rather to let the thing take its course.
Be respectful, observe the norms of Christian charity, and try to be constructive (even if you disagree with our editorial positions) and your comments will not only be approved but encouraged. After all, who wants to read fan mail in an echo chamber all day long? Opposing points of view are foundational to lively debate, expanded horizons, greater understanding and an interesting website. Keep ‘em comin’—but, please, keep ‘em civil.
Again, our thanks and appreciation to the vast majority of visitors for your many excellent and stimulating comments and discussions. Our site depends on your input. That I felt the need to clarify these rules is unfortunate, since most already have a personal code of Christian conduct that renders my post almost insulting. My apologies. But I’m sure most will understand that it only takes a few bad apples, which is why many great websites have decided to close their commboxes altogether.
I haven’t given up yet, and maybe that’s because though our site is one of the oldest (launched in 1995), we’re still fairly new to the commbox scene. I’m convinced we can keep and maintain the commboxes and, with your help, continue to use this website in able defense of the old faith, the confirmation of the brethren and the greater honor and glory of Almighty God. I hope I can count on your continued help to make that happen.
Many thanks, and please don’t hesitate to leave further suggestions for how we might improve our site and thus make it more useful and serviceable to everyone.
God bless you, and Happy New Year.
Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000. Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.