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Wow, Dave, what an awesome post. I would never have guessed that there would be a lack of self-critical bloggers in other religions. I've stumbled across a few feminist Muslim sites, I wonder how they would qualify.

Anway, I still have no idea about commas, but then I'm not so educated as the rest of you, so I still refuse to care.

Dave, I really enjoyed this post. I've been thinking a lot lately about things I could do to make my blog better and more interesting, which has led to noticing more what other blogs do and to mulling over the things one learns while blogging. Your summary puts into words some of my vague thoughts. Thanks!

Very nice. I've learned much the same myself, and been grateful for the tutelage from folks around here.

I'll add a little something, based my perception that the LDS community is nothing if not helpful:

a) Admit that others have contributed a new idea or two. I love new ideas and I love to think I have expanded someone else's horizons.

b) Post an entry or two based around a question.

c) Try to end posts with a "questioning" note of one sort or another so that the movement into a comment doesn't require rejection of your premise or open conflict.

d) When you get done with commas, start working on apostrophes... ;)

Anyway, that's just the Mogget-$0.02.

I, think, commas, are, probably, over,-rated, but, I did, like, your, post, Dave, and, DMI !, ;-),.

Very interesting, Dave. I don't know about other religions in general, but what you say in #5 is true of Protestant evangelicalism. (My family of origin is evangelical Protestant, so I have a strong interest there.) There are sites where evangelicals question the traditional alliance between evangelicalism and conservative politics, but you're right that in the it's hard to find theological discussions of the sort we have here.

Perhaps that's because evangelicals can find a congregation that suits them; unless we're single and have a choice between a singles ward and a family ward, we basically have no choice about the congregation we join. So if we want to find people who think like we do (or have the same questions we do), we have to look on the Internet

It doesn't seem, though, that evangelicals are afraid of such discussions. You do find them in print, such as in Christianity Today magazine, for example, which has a really interesting article here about Mormons. (I see fodder for Bloggernacle discussion there, by the way.) But look for an intelligent blog discussion about issues such as those raised in that article and you'll probably hit a dead end.

There must be dump celibacy, purge gay priests, retirement for popes and similar comments on Catholic blogs. They already have retirement for Cardinals at 80, although some might want to lower that age.

The root cause of most LDS problems is no retirement tradition for apostles. So we just have more to gripe about.

I had a period of time where I was examining other religious blogging communities. I discovered Catholic, Jewish, Evangelical and Muslim blogging communities. It was interesting also to note that there were not (as far as I could tell) Jehovah's Witness bloggers or Seventh-day Adventist bloggers (I found one Adventist blog that had a post or two and was defunct). It was hard for me to find clearly defined Hindu and Buddhist blogging communities, though there were individual bloggers who definitely identified themselves as such.

I know that I need to review comma rules. I don't have a clue what the rules are to commas -- a deliberate and inexcusable point of ignorance on my part.

Nice post. I should probably contemplate more of what you said as you touch on so many interesting points.

Very nicely done. I especially liked the small and simple - or is that short and simple? Should I have used a comma?

#5 Interesting. I hadn't thought of it before, but you're mostly right. Though in looking into the recent Episcopalian dust-up I have found lots of blogs on both sides. But I think that's the point. None of them are critical but faithful (adopting the position that either what the Episcopalians are doing or the Anglican Communion is doing is wrong but they're part of it anyway). I'm not even sure what it would mean for most Protestants to be critical but faithful, and for Catholics it's not a stance I've discovered too much, perhaps simply because they're farther along than we in their fights and the positions have hardened and become less interesting. The unique element in the bloggernacle is the presence of those who think various elements of our history or doctrine are problematic but who still think the Church is the Church, the prophet the prophet, and are therefore torn.

#6 Amen.

#7 "There are a few insanely interesting people out there in the blogosphere who can consistently write long and interesting blog posts"-- thanks, but I don't think I'm that unique.

This may sound like a petty response, but I felt like you should have saved up more profanity points before spending them on something as humdrum as a grammar tirade, especially for an oath as carefully guarded amongst Mormons as that one.

[Ed. note: I have recouped my profanity points to save for another day.]

I've violated the "three paragraph rule" on numerous occasions. I think it's due to my tendency to explain the same concept in 2 or 3 different variations before moving on to the next one.

I never heard about the "Mormon self-criticism" thing in #5. Interesting. But I wholeheartedly agree with #4. Better to learn about Joseph Smith's quirks (and other uncomfortable tidbits) here than on some snarky and bitter-spirited post on "Exmormon.org"

So Dave, how's your adherence to #7 coming? (LOL)

#3 was the hardest lesson for me to learn. It was a point of pride for me that I made it almost five years without deleting a non-spam comment (no counting the hundreds I lost when migrating the blog). After dousing a couple of flame-wars, I've learned that trolls censor an enlightened conversation more effectively than comment moderation.

#7 - I need to work on this one. Parsimony does not come easily.

Dave,

Nice NINE paragraph post. ;-)

Do put a comma [...] before coordinating conjunctions such as but, for, and, or, nor, yet, and so.

ADD: ... when the conjunction separates independent clauses (eg, when the subject of the second clause isn't the same as the subject of the first.)

So:
Dave learned a lot from blogging and told us all about it. (No comma needed before the and, since Dave is the subject of both clauses).

but:
Dave learned a lot from blogging and told us all about it, and we completely agreed. (Comma necessary because the last clause is independent, with a different subject--"we".)

Clark and Jeff: yes, I plead guilty to violating my own three-paragraph rule of late. Too much time on my hands.

Pedantic, you are lord of the comma. I hesitated about the little comma rant, but it does bring out indirectly something I've never seen expressly stated before, that every blogger becomes an editor, if only a self-editor. And I didn't even mention the comma splice! Or the parenthetical comma. Or appositives set off by commas.

"4. Strengthening Your Weak Left Flank."

Good stuff.

Hey, I can't complain Dave. I have precious few posts that are three paragraphs or less. Unless one counts the sidebar.

Someone aught to publish a grammar rules for bloggers as grammar isn't taught in school. I know that I massacre the comma rules (I don't even want to talk about spelling). But there are others: apostrophe rules, subjunctive mood and italicizing rules, among others.

What we need are some good posts on the AP Stylebook.

Dave, I have a four-odd-paragraph response on my blog, if you're interested.

BTW, I appreciate the link, but I'm not sure if I belong in your "Newer LDS Blogs" category. Do you have to be LDS to have a newer LDS blog?

Brad, that's why I put "newer" rather than "new." I just wanted to list some of LDS or LDS-themed blogs that weren't on my regular list. Plus your blog has a cool name.

Dave regarding commas, I tend to see blogging (like email) as in the halfway position between speaking and proper writing. No one gets upset at hmms and hahs when we speak. Nor do we expect perfect grammar. So I tend to cut folks some slack when writing. (Otherwise I'd be filled with self-loathing)

Totally #4. Before I knew about the bloggernacle, I was feeling alone and afraid because I had gone theologically "left." I dared not to say what I thought about anything to anyone. Then... Enter the 'nacle! Enter new friends! Enter people who think the left is a great place to hang out!

Enter DMI! ENTER SALVATION!

DMI -- possibly the coolest Mormon blog or spawn of the devil??? ;)

Well, if that's my choice, David, I'll go with "coolest Mormon blog."

#5. I'm going to have to disagree with you somewhat on this. I've found many people from other religious traditions who are both faithful and self-critical (though maybe those kinds of blogs don't exist).

I'm wondering if the lack of blogs from other religious perspectives (i.e. that function like the Bloggernacle) is because of how these relgious communities function. In my opinion, many of these religions have more space in their RL communities for the kind of thing that happens on the bloggernacle. They have thriving intellectual communities that consist of faithful church members, theology schools where people engage in crticial yet faithful religious discussions and scholarship, etc.

Maybe other religions (though I'm sure not all) already have spaces where they can be simultaneously critical and faithful, so there isn't as great a need for something like the bloggernacle.

Speaking of commas, the absolute worst offenders are those who place a "however" between two of them, and then presume to connect two totally indepenedent sentences as if they were one. Disgraceful. And even otherwise decent writers do it, from time to time.

Great post, all around.

Aaron B

Excellent post. I moderate a certain LDS e-mail list and have had pretty much the same experiences.

Thanks for this post, Dave. You've learned a lot as a Mormon blogger. (No surprise). I doubt I've learned half as much myself -- but I have learned to (try to) (sometimes) follow the example of my betters, so I'll file this one away in the mental notes box.

Aaron (#24). I catch your point, however I wonder if there isn't a time and a place for it at times.

Clark: funny, but not an example of the need. A period after "point" would be better.

I just thought it was funny as I'm pretty guilty of using words like "however" and "but" a lot more than I should. They are in my blog posts but wouldn't be in any paper I'd write. They'd be rewritten in probably my first rewrite. However my first versions are always much close in rhetorical style to speech. Thus my comment in #21. I'm not sure we should aim for a blog post being equivalent to a written paper. More like a dialog.

Actually, Clark, that comma would better served if it was moved after 'however' and replaced before it with a semi-colon.

Great, post. I like your point about good conversation requiring just the right amount of diversity. Hard to achieve.

P.S. Given the response on commas, I'd think twice before bringing up the em dash.

Does a P.S. count as a paragraph?

I agree with what you've written. I think I'm a lot more careful what I say now that I'm a blogger. And I realized that it would bother me if somebody came on my blog and cussed. It is sort of like having a guest in your home.

I'm a changed woman.

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