Another thought on comment vaporization 3

A few posts last week referenced BCoop’s deletion of Tommy and Twit’s comments, and I wanted to return to the topic briefly to explain why the incident warranted the attention I gave it.

Simply, blog moderators shouldn’t delete comments without a good reason, which would include comments that are off topic, libel, spam, and ad hominem attacks. I’m not questioning BCoop’s right to delete a comment or remove a commentator’s posting privilege; I’ve removed a couple of comments from this blog myself.

The problem with the Tommy and Twit comments was that there was no good reason to delete them, and, I would argue, an affirmative obligation to keep them on the page once the discussion began. Cooper had asked for advice, which Tommy offered.

Cooper responded and refuted Tommy’s suggestion, inviting Tommy to explain or defend himself, which he did. If Cooper didn’t want Tommy playing in his sandbox, the time to shut him down was when he offered the first comment. Once Cooper disagreed and engaged Tommy’s idea, he really needed to let the discussion play out.

From what I recall, Tommy offered several detailed and substantive responses on the difference between us and the disciples, and on NewSpring’s apparent institutional contempt for seminary. Twit, as you know, joined in with a Spurgeon quote supporting book learning. Tommy’s responses took some fine thinking and time in writing, and Twit’s took some research to find. Deleting them was an act of bad faith.

If Cooper felt that the comments section was getting too long, he could have simply shut the post down to further comments and left it at that. That’s done fairly regularly, especially for old posts or for long discussions that have gradually veered far afield from the original point.

The value of seminary and formal learning was certainly appropriate to the advice that Cooper had asked for.

Instead, it seemed that Cooper was worried that Tommy was winning the argument.

That, my friends, should not be a sufficient reason for deleting entries.

3 thoughts on “Another thought on comment vaporization

  1. B. Rink May 4, 2009 12:15 am

    These are all valid points, but let’s not ignore that Tommy was going in for a fight. His original comment was either a dig at Cooper or Cooper’s boss or both. He certainly did not get off on the right foot with the blog’s author and therefore opened himself up to greater scrutiny. I don’t really see the use in deleting the comments later down the line when you keep the rest intact, but that’s how Cooper does it I guess.

  2. James Duncan May 4, 2009 12:21 am

    Sure, he was gunning for a fight, as the language in the first post made pretty obvious. Like I said, that was the time for BCoop to hit delete. Once BCoop engaged the fight, he needed to finish it.

    Instead, he just took his bat and ball and went home in the middle of the game.

    The way it has been left looks like Cooper has had the final word, which was so devastating that Tommy has been unable to think of a response. That’s both unfair and dishonest.

  3. James Duncan May 4, 2009 12:25 am

    Just to reiterate, it is significant that Cooper himself was the first to respond to Tommy. It’s not like this comment thread sprung up while he was busy elsewhere and then he had to come in and clean it up. Cooper knew the thread was there, and for a few hours was brave enough to engage it. Why did he change his mind?

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