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August 09, 2009

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This is great news, I completely support this new evolved blog, but why do you allow tAo and $$$ and others to post threatening, rude and insulting posts? Surely these are just as damaging to other posters, although not targeted at you yourself. Is it only when Brian gets his name copied that you get angry, but not when $$$ threatens to hurt another poster? Do please explain.

I would like full moderation, get rid of tAo's bad language and childish comments and let his more sensible responses come through
Please, full moderator approval!

I liked walker and tAo
Broght some real life to this place !!

Brian
You are utterly powerless to stop walker posting whenever he wants, but using another IP and another name. The only way is moderator approval, even then, you wont know if she is posting an acceptable opinion, this person has the upper hand, even on your own blog, and seems to have been successful in upsetting you ZEN induced state of calm getting you angry and giving you extra work - impressive really!!

Commenters above: I singled out Walker because his conduct was the most egregious recently. Lying, appropriating a blogger's identity, and all that.

Other people went over the top in responding to Walker's actions. That isn't good, either. But when I discussed this yesterday with my sensitive friend, she said "Sounds like Walker got what he deserved."

Well, yes, crappy commenting often gets crap in return. That's human nature --people don't like to be treated like crap, and throw crap back when they are.

So I want to cut off the crap generation engine. Basically my policy at present is in between full comment moderation and allowing all comments to be posted.

I'm just moderating comments after they've been posted, rather than before. My main goal is to keep this blog focused on interesting conversations, not on boring back-and-forth flame wars aimed at disrupting interesting conversations.

This is my blog. If someone doesn't like this blog, they should start their own blog. I can't understand all the time and effort people put into leaving comments that insult me, this blog, and churchlessness in general.

Why the hell are these people here? Read the banner: Church of the Churchless. This should give them a clue about what they'll find when they start reading.

Brian
Sounds good, but, I have to tell you and others that this is NOT what you are doing. You make it sound as if you are accepting comments based upon their merits and relevance to the subject, but you are not. I can prove this because you have deleted ALL of walkers comments, even though you were offended by just a couple of them and even though the others were relevant to the subject matter. you deleted them because you did not like Walker, or feel you must punish him, even if he has something of value to say. But let me tell you something, Walker = JAP = Lolita = Carmen = Rob = quite a few more as well. You accept these comments from the same person only because you did not know it was the same person, proving it is the person you dislike, not the content of the comment.

Brian,

Pray tell, in your crusade to spread the message of enlightened churchlessness, who decides on who has the agenda or not, especially if any dissenting opinions are merely banned?

Who exactly are the trolls and flamers where we have interesting philsosophicals posers like: "Is the satguru queer"? or your latest uncontroversial poser "imagine what its like to be god in human form"?

I mean what are you trying to accomplish. You seem to wish to provoke, but are unable to stand the heat in the kitchen.

Come on now, show a bit of genuinely enlightened thinking.
Either have respect for the views of others OR let other challenge your own views with the some provocation you mete out.

The blog is Brian's and his comment policy is his. He is the only one forced to read the comments that go off topic or become insulting anyway. I skip what doesn't seem meaningful but totally support his choice to delete those that are off point and damaging to the discussion. I do the same thing on my blog.

Many have comment moderation in place to avoid that problem. He wants to keep this forum more open. I respect that decision. It's always a hard call for me.

In my opinion, 'walker' was not trying to contribute but just to disrupt and earned the title Brian gave him of being a troll. He indicated he was older but he seemed pretty young and immature to me whatever his actual biological age might have been. I have seen people like that before on the blogs and they don't help anybody including themselves. In a way Brian does him a favor as I think there was a maliciousness in 'walker' that wasn't serving his own interests either-- even if he felt it was. If he has a good spirit, someday he will see that.

In the end, for those who don't like Brian's policy, getting their own blog is the answer. They will find it's not as easy as they think.

Wrong.

If Brian want to have a soapbox fine, but then he must not have an open commentary forum where only aggreable comments are allowed.

Since this is not open-thinking, it is censorship and closed-thinking.

It is the very thing, which any libertarian knows is fundamental to fairness.

If ppl wish to give the odd comment against brian's good personal, why is that dissallowed, while brian can act as judge and jury again any personage he desires.

Its a bit like a stalinistic state where we're all told the leader is working tirelessly for us and how superior his ideology is, yet his goons and policies are totally repressive.

This is a very difficult issue to deal with and one that most bloggers must face at some point. There is not a universal solution; each blog host must decide the issue for themselves.

On my blog, I allow ALL comments (with the sole exception being those that seek to physically threaten another person). When trolls stop by to try to disrupt things, I simply ignore them by not responding. Most of the time, that works sufficiently.

However, I have not had to deal with someone trying to impersonate me for awhile. The last time it happened, just like Brian, I took great umbrage with it and found a method or two to retaliate.

He just said he doesn't have an open policy, George; and it's obvious didn't come to that conclusion lightly. He said the issues must relate and that's his right. What he doesn't have is comment moderation, something I go back and forth on having for my own blog. Sometimes comments are not only way off subject but threatening. If you like to read such blogs, then you can easily find them.

All comments are privileges not rights. A blog is someone's writing, their ideas, and the comments often add a great deal to the experience but commenters are experiencing a privilege as some blogs allow none. If thecomments interfere with what the author intends for the spirit of their space, they have every right to delete them.

Free speech means you can get your own blog and if you wish to let it be filled with ugliness, it's your privilege. Believe me, having seen a lot of very nasty comments in my time, there are plenty of places you can find them. With your own blog, you can do whatever pleases you at least unless the company running it decides it doesn't meet its editorial goals.

The Rambling Taoist,

You are correct imo, those are the only times when free speech should be curbed.

Rain,

If its not open why is the forum open for all to post and read? Rather have it closed for comment OR only allow comment by his registered mates who agree with him.

But its infinitely worse, Brian has a very clear churchless agenda, which is heavily set against selected churches and other he deems to be churches even tho they are not. Now these views are fine and his provocatory comments and headlines are fine too imo, BUT then he must be consistent and allow the response he intends provoking.

If he does not want a blog full of ugliness, why is he being ugly to ppl who have done nothing to him or others?

You guys all make these blogs out to be some sort of priviledge that you put on for us. Get serious, the internet is an open forum, and like any social situation there are norms of respect, of give and take, that are mutual.

Brian often has differing opinions here and hasn't said anything about those. I sometimes am one of them. What he is talking about is someone who was filling up the comments and not really saying anything, but the kicker was posting as Brian and trying to perpetrate a fraud. That would end it with most writers. Did you read Walker's posts? It appeared to me that he just wanted to argue without often even a point. That kind of thing doesn't add to discourse.

I am always happy to get reasonable dissent at my blog which is sometimes political. I think it adds to the topic but not all dissent is of that order. I have seen threats by those who only want to insult others. What does that accomplish to leave there? Comments are usually moderated one way or another. Brian is just being upfront about it. I know some blogs that only allow comments of a couple of sentences. Very few get the kind of lengthy debate that Brian has here. He must be doing something right.

What I would suggest is you start a blog. Then, for instance here when you comment, it will bring like-minded folks (or even un-like-minded to your soapbox for more of your thinking. Incidentally, all blogs are soapboxes. What else could they be?

I did not read much of walker's posts, since he seemed to be taking the mickey out of Brian's ego mostly, but whats wrong with that?

If the entire comment section was just covered by his posts to the point of hijacking the thread OR if he made threats like $$$; fair enough ban hime, but i did not see that. Instead what i've seen is threatening posts allowed from favoured posters, while others are banned for 'preaching dogma'.

There've been a few ppl who've been banned often on the back of a thread, which has been particularly provocatively writted and directed at a particular group, namely RS.

There is a very big difference between a soapbox or monologue and a blog or dialogue. The former is characterstic of tyrannical and narrow-minded, the latter to democracy and open-minded discussion.

You will find no-one is actually really that interested in the mad bloke on the soapbox once the novelty has worn off, rather its the comments and interplay between the different characters that holds interest.

If that proved to be true, George, he'd lose readers and that would be the price he pay. It might be worth it as I have never felt popularity was my main reason for writing a blog.

If you do write one, let me know. I have often been curious to know more about some of the commenters here, like tAo where you get a bit of their philosophy but nothing like you'd find out with a blog of their own.

My feeling is blogging is tougher than many people realize and it requires a lot of hard choices which never pleases everyone-- so in the end, you have to please yourself, which is what I believe Brian is trying to do with his comment policy.

Also comments are only valuable to the blog if they go along with the topic, deal with whatever the blog writer is discussing and don't go on forever-- like mine just did :)

i agree with brian's policy on comments, there are some that are just plain spam, some do open discussion but it must, let me reiterate, it must stay with the topic, not leading to how "christianity is the only religion" or how we're all going to hell because of a stupid idiotic flamer who has an ego complex.i mean get a clue and read the article. take care all.

Personally, I believe that Brian can do whatever he does with his blog. And I do not approve of Walker's actions--to the contrary. And that Brian came to undergo practices and adopt principles of the same institutions the spirit of churchlessness rejects should be food for thoughts for some.

Brian was given a choice -- he made it.
>> Other people went over the top in responding to Walker's actions. That isn't good, either. But when I discussed this yesterday with my sensitive friend, she said "Sounds like Walker got what he deserved."
Well, yes, crappy commenting often gets crap in return. That's human nature --people don't like to be treated like crap, and throw crap back when they are.

It is up to any of us whether we are the kind of people who believe in "repaying wrong with the wrong". Brian has all the rights to do whatever he wants own his blog. But with rights comes also responsabilities ... Actions (or inactions in this case) have spoken louder than any bs and sad excuses we may read on this blog ...

The last episode will probably succeed in doing something Tao has hoped for a while. The dimension that Brian revealed about his nature lately can only lead me to move away from this place for good. I find valuable an another kind of company:

"Hate can never be good" Part 4 proposition 45
"He who lives according to the guidance of reason strives, as far as he can, to repay the other's hate, anger, and disdain toward him, with love, or nobility." Part 4 proposition 46
Spinoza, The Ethics

George wrote:

"If Brian want to have a soapbox fine, but then he must not have an open commentary forum where only aggreable comments are allowed."

--Brian "must not" do anything. The bottom line is he can run this blog any way he likes. Can anyone blame him for reacting as he has to someone impersonating him on his own blog? I feel he does a very good job and is generally fair and tolerant of divergent behavior and views. No one is forced to participate here.

Walker must be very pleased with himself much like the sicko cowards who start fires and then jack off behind a bush while they watch people run around in reaction to what they have started.

Rain, you get it -- in large part because you're an active blogger and have to deal with the same issues I'm facing. Like you said, I'm more open than many blogs and web sites. Newspapers, for example, often review comments for appropriateness before they are published.

Other commenters don't get it. I'm not talking about censoring opposing views, even religious ones. What I'm doing is being more assertive about deleting comments that obviously are aimed at disrupting the purpose of this blog -- which is open discussion of churchless subjects.

If people want to preach, they can start their own blog, or go to a web site frequented by true believers.

Anyway, thank you Rain and The Rambling Taoist for understanding the balancing act we bloggers face in regard to comments. Like you said, commenting is a privilege. This is my personal blog, not a soapbox in Hyde Park.

WHen people visit someone's blog, they should act much as if they were in that person's living room. Play by the homeowner's rules. If they ask you to take your shoes off before you go into the living room, do it.

Tucson,

You are right about one thing Brian can do what he wants for all i care, so did Stalin, but so long as this is a free forum where ppl can offer their viewpoints, i will give mine.

What set me off, was the threatening tone of $$$ post on one of the other threads, which was absolutely ridiculous stuff.

Brian,

I'm afraid the homeowner analogy breaks down a bit when you leave your door wide open by launching your views, often very provocative ones, upon the general public presumably in the interests of discussion and comment.

Make no mistake, you have picked on certain topics such as christianity and RS, but seem to get all precious when the folk who actually cherish these beliefs fire back.

Answer one thing, what exactly where you hoping to achieve out of the topic "Is God Gay?".

Would you classify that as meaningful enquiry? We have not even started on your comments towards RS. Its fine to slag RS off, that is free speech, but how can you get all upset when ppl attack you back? I mean its natural, you are attacking their most cherished beliefs.

In effect you are going into their house, unzipping your trousers and depositing a large steaming shit on their coffee table.

Free speech must be different out there in Oregon.

Brian
Have you read my comment posted at 0827 on this topic? How about a thoughtful answer, its very relevant to the type of blog you intend to operate?

Brian,

IMO, boundaries are needed to preserve the purpose of this blog. And, if that means deleting posts from posters whose intentions are to create chaos and disruption - then so be it.

Now, I'm all for varying arguments and opinions on the topics presented. It would be a real bore if no one ever came along and challenged the "churchless" line. However, what upsets me is when any sort of mature discussion is thrown to the wind and disruptions and ad hominems prevail. I feel really upset when this occurs. It negates the quality of this blog and the hard work you've done to keep it going.

Bob

JAP, I've been working on a construction project all day, so only have had time to check my blogs during brief breaks. I did notice your comment earlier, but didn't have time to respond.

It isn't true that I deleted all of Walker's comments (including those that almost certainly came from him under different names). His extensive series of comments on the child death case (Ava Worthington) are still up.

My rule is, if a comment is substantive, directed toward facilitating discussion of some subject, that's great -- doesn't matter if I agree or disagree with the commenter's position.

What isn't acceptable are comments attacking the very purpose of this blog, or me, as in "Brian, you're full of shit; you're as fundamentalist as the fundamentalists, etc. etc." Ad hominem, or ad bloginem (my Latin isn't good) attacks are boring and meaningless.

That said, I''m more understanding of attacks in response to an attack, because that's largely self-defense. Watch a basketball or football game. If someone takes the first swing, that usually gets a bigger penalty than the swing in response.

So when a commenter acts like a jerk, to me people who act like jerks in response to his jerkiosity are less jerkful -- if you get what I mean.

Hope this answers your question.

George, your reasoning is flawed. If I make fun of religion, then people who don't agree with me should argue why religion should be taken seriously.

Now, if I was attacking a person, then that person would be justified in attacking me in self-defense. But if I make fun of God or Christianity, then only God or Christianity are justified in making fun of me personally.

Otherwise, defenders of the faith should defend their faith, not attack me or my blog. This is what bothers me and other thoughtful people: when commenters respond with "you're full of shit" rather than describing why I'm full of shit.

Sure, occasionally I'll make a personal reference to somebody. But almost always it is in reference to a substantive issue, as in "XYZ, you just don't understand what you're talking about."

Now that the Council of Walker has concluded.Who of us should lead the Reformation stand upon the Churchless steps throw a stone and build anew where ever the stone may land ?

Brian, you are a difficult person to understand! Previously you stated you are more understanding of an attack in response to an attack, and so can tolerate such posts, yet a few moments later, you state that you cannot understand people responding to you making fun of religion, God or Christianity, it should be God who should be upset, no-one else. Brian, you of all people should know that beliefs are held dear, are defended, so if you make fun of God, then you are making fun of those who believe in God, and you should expect and understand the responses you receive.
Your childish comment is akin to scratching someones car, then being surprised that the owner is upset because only the car should be upset, not the owner.
Your posts about God being gay are offensive, and the tolerance of those who believe in God and read your blog is to be admired, its certainly greater than your tolerance when someone makes a comment or acts in a way you do not approve. Wake up Brian, and start taking some responsibility for your actions

JAP, first off, I note from your IP address that you are from Germany. Welcome. It's amazing how many people have been commenting from Germany lately. (Of course, I don't know how many different individuals these "people" are.)

You obviously didn't read my words very clearly. I said that if I don't attack someone religious personally, then obviously they can't consider this a personal attack.

I'm a vegetarian. If you say, "all vegetarians are deluded," I'll want to argue with you about the truth of that statement. But I'm not going to take it personally, because you didn't single me out as a person who is deluded. That is, even though I'm included in that group (of vegetarians), you weren't thinking of me specifically.

However, when some commenters on this blog get upset with my criticism of a religion, they take it very personally and start attacking me, when I didn't attack them. What they should do is attack my arguments, rather than me and my blog.

It's really an individual's problem if they identify so strongly with a certain aspect of themselves -- like religion -- that a criticism of that aspect is taken to be an attack on them. Like I said, I've been a vegetarian for forty years. But I just smile when people make fun of vegetarians because (1) it isn't a huge part of my identity, and (2) I'm convinced vegetarianism is the right thing to do.

Your second paragraph is as nonsensical as your first. What I do when I criticize a religion is akin to criticizing General Motors. If someone thinks this means I just scratched their personal car, that's crazy.

Also, if I say "There is no demonstrable evidence that Jesus was born of a virgin," do you really consider that every Christian who believes this should take my statement as a personal attack?

Finally, God could well be gay. What evidence do you have that God is not gay? Please produce it. I keep being told by true believers, "there is no evidence that God doesn't exist." OK, so there also is no evidence that God is not gay.

Are you aware of this country's First Amendment? We call it "freedom of speech." You see, in the United States I don't have to worry that religious believers won't be able to tolerate my blog. If they don't like what I say, tough. If it makes them unhappy, they can stop reading my blog.

Brian, you apparently do not read my comments, if you did you would have no surprise that my IP appears in Germany, I use this one simply because it cannot be blocked, although you can of course take down my comments. (if you do, I simply post in a couple of hours so at least its up all your night long)
You strike me as a reasonably intelligent, if but argumentative chap! So why you misunderstanding my simple words? My comment is made around observation, if you attack GM about their cars, you are likely to observe a significant percentage of owners of GM cars become upset. They identify with their possessions, consider themselves part of the GM clan. Take football, or almost any area of human activity, country, state, type of computer, operating system (Linux for example) the list goes on. It may not be rational, but hey, Brian, this is the world in which you live and share with others.
So you attack a religion, in some areas, you may be given a death sentence in response, that is how extreme (if illogical) the real world is!

dear Brian sir,
It will be the best reform if we contribute our personal searches, researches and conclusions drawn and put them forward for reviews and discussions without hitting any idiology, philosophy or belief system. what's the harm in getting some benefits from some belief systems. What's wrong if a persson whose mental balance has been disrupted badly due to stress, anxiety, anger and worrying is told ot relax becacause God is in control and he comes to peace with himself.He looks around himself and finds that the world and its people are not as bad as he used to think. He feels relaxed and starts enjoying life slowly and slowly. His relaxed attitude inspires others and the surroundings start getting calmer and light.
What's wrong there if some beliefs add meaning to life and makes the world a better place to live?
We are very practical when it comes to our family life. To sustain a healthy, loving,smooth, fulfilling family life we ignore the shortcomings in our spouse or atleast don't criticize so as to hurt because we know there is a better way to cope and achieve our goal. We don't lament him/her as fool and laugh at him/her and call him/her a total jerk. We don't tell him/her that his/her parents are idiots and abnormal. We are sensible and don't do that for the sake of greater gains.
We are very perticular and cautious while making a criticizm. We say like this "I didn't like this thing in your father's behavior. It hurt me. He could be more generous. Please communicate my displeasure to him."
Then, we follow the principle of "forgive and forget".
-----continewed in next comment-------

----continewed from previous comment-----
Dear Brian sir,
Is it necessary to hurt someone's sentiments to show one the the right path, which is at the most a relative issue? We need to take a class in psychology and motivation before we start preaching others. We need to take lessons from volunteers who are engaged in criminal rehabilitation works or the child psychologists. We talk of science in big terms but ignore Psychology which is a proven science( rather a branch of scince).
What the abuse, hurt, rejection, violence, sex, blame, lamenation creates an effect on a juvenile mind we all know.
Do all these things lead a child to a healthy and fullfilling life ahead? We are not children, but we cannot blame the mother Nature for not the creating the laws of psycholgy in our personal favour. They are what they are and they are same for everyone.
We all know a little bit about animal traning. How wonderfuly those animals perform. We all know that's achieved through positive motivation.
We are ignoring the general laws of what we call life. And still we call ourselves humans.




JAP, like I said, if people are so sensitive they take criticism of their car model, or religion, to be criticism of themselves, that's their problem. They have no right to expect that other people will refrain from assessing the worth of their choices. If that was the case, Consumer Reports magazine would have no readers.

Driving home today I heard a conservative talk show guy, Glenn Beck, ridicule owners of hybrid cars. We own two of them. Why, I should consider that Beck is attacking me personally! Damn the bastard! Except, I didn't feel that way at all. Mainly I felt that Beck is a fool for not understanding the benefits of driving a hybrid.

Yogendra, above comment also applies to your views. I never intend to hurt anyone's sentiments. All I'm doing is sharing my perspective on religion, philosophy, or whatever.

Sure, false beliefs make some people feel better. So does heroin. And tobacco. People have a right to believe whatever they want to. By the same token, others have a right to say things like, "smoking cigarettes is dangerous" and "religion poses a threat to your ability to recognize reality."

Again, those aren't personal attacks. If you smoke cigarettes and are offended when someone points out the risks of tobacco, that's your problem. Truth is truth. It can't be sacrificed to not offend a belief system.

If this happened, humanity wouldn't progress. We'd still believe the sun goes around the earth because learning the truth would make Earth Centered folks uncomfortable.

Brian
I am responding to your apparent surprise and misunderstanding that people find your posts insulting. It is not a question of whether people should or should not react, it is not a question of whether you are or are not insulted, it is not a question of whether you have a right to comment or not, it is simply a bald statement of fact, some people DO react if you insult what they believe in. As Yogendra so aptly comments, its your choice whether you use language that inflames some readers, if it is the only way you know how to communicate, then admit this to us, we can then make allowances for you, but it seems to me that you are reasonably intelligent, and are well aware that some of your post titles and comments are worded not just to make a point, but to inflame others

JAP,

You continue to fail to realize the all-important and crucial factor here.

You seem to think that because this site is on the internet and available to be read by the public, that that means that Brian should not write or express any opinions that may possibly offend or insult other people's sensitivity about their beliefs or their religion or spirituality.

But this is Brian's blog. He created it, he owns it, he writes all the articles, he pays the cost of keeping it online, it belongs to him... and so he has a perfect right to express his opinions about whatever... about religion and spirituality or anything associated with that, or any other subject (like science) for that matter.

You seem to think that Brian should tip-toe around merely because other people have beliefs, and some of them are sensitive about their beliefs.

Wrong. Brian has no obligation to suppress his thoughts, his opinions, or his views about anything. He does not attack or criticise anyone personally. He (and I and others) have the freedom and the right to express our thoughts and opinions, and to criticise any religion, any path, any belief, any dogma... no matter how cherished those may be for some other people.

Those people do not have to come here and read Brian's opinions. No one is forcing them to come here, or to read here, or to agree with Brian, or to get offended.

If they react and feel offended or insulted merely because Brian or I or others have opinions and views that they don't agree with, that may be critical of some religion or some spiritual path etc, then that is their own responsiblity.

So the "misunderstanding" here is entirely yours JAP. This is not your blog. And it doesn't matter if the door is open here. You are a guest here. You have no authority here. Your ability to share your views by posting comments is a priviledge. You have no right to demand or expect anything. You have no right to tell Brian how he should conduct his blog. It is not Brian's problem or fault if some people feel insulted when other people criticise things that they believe in. It is their fault if they are bothered by other people who do not share their beliefs, who do not see value in their beliefs.

Brian is not "using language that inflames some readers". Brian is simply expressing his views. If people get inflamed, then that is their responsiblity, not Brian's.
Brian does not do or say anything "to inflame others", but rather only to express his own views, another's views, or to make a point.

So its time that YOU wake-up and accept that this is Brian's site and he has every right to express his views and criticisms. And the people who feel insulted by those views and criticisms, should simply not come here, or go somewhere else. So you have no business telling Brian how he should conduct his blog, or expecting him to suppress his opinions merely because someone else, some visitor who comes here, might get offended or insulted.

Brian can do whatever he wants, as did Stalin, but it does not make it right.

The concept of 'freedom of speech' should apply to both Brian's publically-aired proclamations and the public who wish to comment on them. So not only does Brian have a right to run his public blog however he wants, but we the public have every right to tell him what we think of it.

That is how freedom of speech works.

On the question of playing the issue, rather than the person - this must surely be hypocracy of the highest order when Stalin's main goon does little else except for playing the man, by literally threatening and intimdating them - the one area where public speech should be curbed, and yet is not.

One wonders if this is in fact encouraged offline?

tAo
You have again misunderstood the reason for my comment, I was answering Brians expression of surprise or inability to understand responses to his posts. I am not, have not and do not intend to tell Brian what to write on his blog, nor would I attempt to stop you making such a fool of yourself, you do it well, and it seems, quite naturally.
In respect to being able to do whatever he likes, I suggest that if he starts writing about how to build bombs, encouraging people to be suicide bombers, inciting hatred against the state, then I am almost certain the freedom you claim he has to write whatever the hell he likes on his blog, even though it is publicly accessible, will be restricted.

Brian, your reasoning is flawed. If I make fun of your churchless cult, then people who don't agree with me should argue why churchlessness should be taken seriously.

Now, if I was attacking you personally and not your churchless cult, then you perhaps would be justified in attacking me in self-defense. But if I make fun of churchlessness or science, then only churchlessness or science are justified in making fun of me in return personally.

Otherwise, defenders of these faiths, (churchlessness and science), should defend their faiths, and not have you banish such criticism because you are unable to deal with it at face value or in the open.

What bothers me and other thoughtful people when commenters respond with "you're full of shit" rather than simply banning them because you are incapable of accepting criticism where it is due, you may rather give them some ample opportunity to explain to you exactly in describing why you are in fact so full of shit.

Perhaps from allowing this amount of equal and open fair play here you could possible gain the most out of everyone by actually eventually discovering the crux of precisely why you and some of your henchmen are so blatantly full of shit.

"Brian can do whatever he wants, as did Stalin, but it does not make it right."

-- You can say whatever you want, but it doesn't make it right either. This is Brian's blog, and he is not forcing anyone to be here. So your comparing Brian to Stalin is absurd.

"The concept of 'freedom of speech' should apply to both Brian's publically-aired proclamations and the public who wish to comment on them."

-- Brian has not curtailed anyone's free speech here, as long as it does not nterfere with the purpose of this blog. But free speech does not give someone, who btw is a guest here, the right to personally insult and abuse the host or cause disruption.

"So not only does Brian have a right to run his public blog however he wants, but we the public have every right to tell him what we think of it."

-- You can tell him anything you want, but if your intentions are bad or you wish to insult him or others, then you may find that your priviledge to comment is revoked. The door is open here, but this is not the public street. Your ability to 'speak' here is a gift and a priviledge. Apparently you don't understand and respect that.

"That is how freedom of speech works."

-- I don't think you really know what that means. It is not how you seem to interpret.

"this must surely be hypocracy of the highest order when Stalin's main goon does little else"

-- This is an example of your personal insult and abusive name-calling towards me, and it also shows you to be the hypocrite.

"One wonders if this is in fact encouraged offline?"

-- Your veiled, but nonetheless derogatory implication against Brian shows where you are at, and it also shows the extent of your underlying disrespect and malice which is precisely why you don't belong here.

I think Brian's patience with this kind of derisive crap and deliberate personal undermining (against both Brian and myself)that you have been attempting to slip in whenever you can, is wearing very thin. Your less than good intentions are becoming quite obvious. And I am only responding to this antagonsitic comment of yours because of Brian's present topic. Otherwise, I am not interested in interaction with shills like you.

Coming from you, this is a peach, everyone on here knows you posted the comment from $$$
We are not such fools as you may think, so tAo, I think you know what you can do with this last comment!!!!!

Another example of JAP/Walker's continued posting of personal insults and name-calling:

"nor would I attempt to stop you [tAo] making such a fool of yourself, you do it well, and it seems, quite naturally."

Brian invites responses and then picks and choses which responses he magnanimously accepts or rejects, like an idiot despot looking for appreciation and happy clappy backslapping, as long as its all kosher and pro churchlessness well and good, otherwise he is basically too yellow bellied to take the consequences of his own derogatory statements and expose's, this is why he has this goon tAo to try clean up with his big deal bravado henchman tactics, in fact tAo the goon is rather toothless by design, its simply the 'Brian and tAo show' over here.

They look for responses and then chicken out when any of these responses carry any substance or direct consequence to their derision, such puny self serving bull crap bravado is fraught with empty values because they have not even begun to face the crux of the very inadequacy they have skirted and tried to absolve in themselves.

I noticed Brian telling Robert the other day to front up and get tough if he wants to handle the flak that comes with blogging on this site, now I'm putting out the self same challenge to Brian and tAo his henchman bouncer here, stand and deliver your tough guy bravado blogging tenacity, lets see exactly who has the balls for being a tough guy out here, and who in fact is the double standard second grade hypocrite chicken.

Another obvious example of personal insult and derision, and name-calling in this comment posted by Jarendra:

"precisely why you and some of your henchmen are so blatantly full of shit"

Posted by: jarendra | August 10, 2009 at 03:12 AM

More evidence of personal insults, derision, and name-calling in comments posted by Jarendra / JAP / Walker:

"Brian [...] like an idiot despot"

"he is basically too yellow bellied"

"he has this goon tAo"

"tAo the goon is rather toothless"

"such puny self serving bull crap bravado is fraught with empty values because they"

"now I'm putting out the self same challenge to Brian and tAo his henchman bouncer here"

"who [...] is the double standard second grade hypocrite chicken"

Posted by: jarendra | August 10, 2009 at 03:49 AM

Dear Jarendra,

Your responses are thought provoking. I am sure even Brian will not mind it.

Kindly provide a lull.

with regards,

Am out here now Rakesh, let us witness and see just how 'true' to himself this Brian Hines self proclaimed 'free thinker' is.

rakesh
This is a blog that invites, nay, even encouraging people to make comment, free comment. Please do not fall into the same trap and Brian and tAo, ie, "make comment, but only the ones I want to hear."

tAo does not get it, he acts a total idiot on here, then bitterly complains should anyone say so, branding such comments as insults.
tAo, please do not consider my comments as insulting, they are simple statements of fact, facts you seem unable to comprehend

More personal insult and derogatory name-calling posted by JAP / Walker / Jarendra / Ashy:

"tAo [...] a total idiot"

"tAo [...] you seem unable to comprehend"

Posted by: JAP | August 10, 2009 at 04:08 AM

Rakesh,

Don't be so naive.

Jarendra is none other than Walker, who is also JAP and others.

These are all one and the same person... an extremely antagonistic blog troll who is here only to cause disruption and interference and personal insults.

Brian,

Although you decided a while ago not reply to my observation anymore here another one
You claim that
"I'm just going to crack down harder on comments that are clearly intended to disrupt open discussion, not engage in it."
Have you ever noticed that Tao is almost contsantly involved in these exchanges that drown the discussions into pity personal characterizations, meaningless battles, and other directions that are disruptives to open discussions? We have evidence in this post for christ sake ... Can you argue that is not most often a common denominator in these meaningless fights? Is it a an accident or coincidence? The short answer is No. And you know it .. Unless, you think, as you have alluded recently, that is everybody's else fault! And they deserve it ... More seriously, You may think and try to rationalize/excuse it by the judgment that his occasional positive insights way overweight his constant involvement into the disruptions but, as responsable for this blog and your claim about policy, I would say the burden of the proof is on your side for him to continue posting ...
Moreover, in light of a recent post, which for some would be a big no-no, you only cleaned up the evidence and left the culprit active. This post, even when not serious, was still illustrative of a deranged individual; what walker did, as wrong as may be, should never leave someone to go to the extremes that were described in the email in question. That you removed the message indicates that something wrong was none, that you did nothing except that indicates that everything is just fine with you ...

If you would really and truly abide by the stated policy, Tao would not more be posting on this blog -- but I understand why you bend any rule or common sense in this case ... but until then all your policies can only be perceived as contingent. The idea of putting ourselves constantly above principles to satisfy the contingencies of our own selfishness undermines the whole idea of a principle or policy. Your policy is vague and so can be arbitrarily enforced -- no wonder people have sense of inconsistencies about your claims and actions ...

To recent posters on this message: regarding the recent exchanges associated with this post, while I am far from agreeing with the commenters and tend towards agreeing with Brian on several issues, to those defending another position, you need to realize that it looks like Brian's approach to the great Tao has intentionally or unintentionally compelled him to evacuate any notion of responsability from his view of himself and the world ... or at least made it arbitrarily contingent ...

Brian,

I can understand that you are worked up because Walker impersonated you. This is not done. However, you must draw the line a bit or may be substantially higher.

You present a point of view - and a strong one at that. The line separating censorship from keeping the blog focused is a very thin line. Do not be judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one it will only lead to erosion of credibility. I would suggest do not worry about the content too much. Just keep the impostors out. Trolls will come and go.

Those who look for a discussion will find relevant comments and respond to them.

We all have views on things around us. When we put them out in the public domain we invite critical comments. Those who agree with you do it not just in an impersonal sense but because you give voice to (and support) their choice. You also give them a shared experience when you trash RS ideology.
Similarly those opposed to you take it as a personal insult to their choice and their cherished beliefs. I am sure you have not emotionally invested in your hybrid car as heavily as you have done in the Churchless ideology. The car does not define Brian, the ideology - to a certain extent - does.

The issue here is not of open doors, guests, my blog my choice, choice is a click away etc. It is of credibility.


The funnies part of this discussion has been tAo accusing others of calling him names and threatening him.

tAo, you are the undisputed champion of rude comments and foul language on this blog. One of the surprising things is that Brian has never been able to control you and to a certain extent has indulged you. I haven't read too much on this blog but I do remember the Dec 08 post on Jyotish ideology affirms RS gurus (or something similar) where Catherine from SA presented her analysis. What Jarendra/JAP/Walker are doing is kid stuff compared to the way you treated her and the kind of language you used against her.

Relax.

"Your ability to speak here is a gift and a priviledge. Apparently you don't understand and respect that."

what utter rubbish. My ability to speak here is a result of a connection to the world wide web, which is freely availably to anyone with access to it.

It is you who totally misses the point.

If you want to have your own backslapping blog by invite only, then Brian's homeowner analogy does make more sense. But this is not the case, instead this blog professes to engage in open debate by providing open access, which means no censorship unless it entails physical threat or intimidation, something you evidently know all about.

You simply do not understand the underlying concept behind freedom of speech or the world wide web - and as a result your blog is the poorer off for it. If I don't like it, I will go somewhere else, in fact I do, but I also choose to post here to give you my view on matters, which you too are welcome to disregard and scroll past.

Hi elephant
Your comments are sensible and wise, and, to you and the many patient others, I deeply apologize for any offense I have caused by posting under different names and from different IP's. Also to Brian, I did overstep the mark when posing as Brian. For what its worth, I came to this blog several months ago, hoping to find some intelligent and open minded debate, which I did from some, but the experience was totally ruined by tAo and by Brian. Despite posting interesting and thought provoking posts, even though titled in a volatile manner, Brian and his sidekick tAo (who is clearly tolerated and therefore supported by Brian) managed to disrupt the start of intelligent debate by their ridiculous off track and sometimes aggressive comments. Its more than a distraction, it defeats the purpose. Brain does nothing to sort this out which either means he enjoys the aggression or is unable to detect the traces of intelligent debate and nurture the discussion into something meaningful

There's nothing more complicated about all this that can't be explained by posting to a higher authority

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taking_the_piss#Alternate_theories_of_origin

This blog is called Church of the Churchless. It doesn't come under false colors trying to lure believers here to take away their faith. If someone comes, they should be open to reading the insights that are found here. Brian has said it's fine to present a churched perspective but when that happens over and over and without just letting it go, then it becomes a rant.

If believers come with the intent to turn churchless people into the churched, then it is hoping to proselytize, and it seems to me no different than the churches that show up at my door to try and convert me to their thinking. If such a believer merely knocks and quickly only desires to state their belief, then that's their privilege, I will be polite; but if they hope to come into my house, stay whether I have said okay I heard you and now go, then they are unwelcome and will be treated so.

Converting is what some seek to do with unbelievers because it threatens their faith to know not all agree with them. They can't just say it's how they feel and let it go but they have to argue and finally get angry.

I don't see Brian going around to believing sites and trying to convert them. This is about his space and his openly expressed concept. So it's rude and crude to come here not to learn other ways of thinking but instead to try to convince by intimidation or insults. From experience, I do know that many believers feel it's their duty to witness but what is happening here now is a demand that the unbeliever listen and listen and listen. It just destroys a blog to have its whole purpose subverted into someone else's purpose.

There is only one answer to such invasions-- cut the person off and put them out the door. Fortunately with a blog that is pretty easy. I respect that Brian has not done that here because it has been a worthwhile discussion, but freedom of speech is not total anywhere.

Recently in our country a professor said some angry things to a police officer and got arrested for it. You cannot shout fire in a crowded building. Freedom of speech has responsibilities attached to keep it.

In this case, a blog is not an open forum. It's someone's property and it is up to that person to decide how far they want to allow that freedom of speech to go. It can, in comments, totally ruin the value of the comment section by filling it up with trivia and nastiness. It is more a threat to the other commenters than Brian as Brian can still be read, but it ends up blocking comments to anybody who really wants to read other ideas that are politely, cogently and with connection presented.

If you subvert the principles of freedom of speech under any justification (except for the threats on others with the intention of halting free speech), you are doing what every tyrant and dictator and their henchman have done in history.

People that let power corrupt themselves too easily, and god knows there's nothing worse than another little controlling fascist with controlling power over his/her own little virtual world or blog.

If you want to have a blog where real learning and probing discussion is fostered, you need to be very careful and consistent with your banning policy - as soon as you extend liberties to your pals - the whole thing just descends into a backslapping kangaroo court with the owner becoming a biased judge, jury and executioner.

Excellent comment response to my post. This post is the place to complain about me and my blog policies (along with the "I Hate Church of the Churchless" blog, of course).

Loved the comparisons of me to Stalin. Nice creativity. So many people nowadays use Hitler as the archetype of authoritarian evil. It's good to see Stalin get some Interent rant time also.

Complainers, please remember that comments on other blog topics should be related to the post topic and further the goal of open, reasonable, respectful discussion.

As I said in this post, I'm less willing to tolerate "off-topic" comments, especially when they are aimed at undermining the churchless purpose of this blog.

Some blogs have a regular "Open Thread" post, which I've experimented with in the past, but nobody used much. This is a Church of the Churchless possibility.

That would give blog visitors a place to say whatever they wanted about whatever, pretty much (spam still would be prohibited) without clogging up the comment sections of other posts with irrelevancies.

to begin with, the webmaster, brian, signs himself as brian, posts his picture and his identity, and has a blog on his social identity.
All the rests are just typography, blogger this blogger that, george, e-le-p-h-a nt. just letters on a screen who represent a person, inside any of his/hers masks. So Brian has an identity which is less im-personated, and is tangible. This gives him some authority, because of his authenticity.

Now,I do not agree with deleting comments. i believe you should bin them, placing thim in an akashic net records.Instead of deleting them, copy paste them somewhere else. Leave them in their posted position, with a link to them. But deleting them is wrong.

Second Brian said that "So when a commenter acts like a jerk, to me people who act like jerks in response to his jerkiosity are less jerkful -- if you get what I mean."
No. they are both jerks, in jerk discourse

This is really whats happening here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn4msgVYijk&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.boobenboo.com%2F&feature=player_embedded

Thanks dogrib, great video, exactly what is happening here: tAo, please stop the disruption, and Brian, please stop supporting him; let those with a message speak!

In the interests of politeness, I will therefore leave all of my comments on the 'open thread' and the matter discussed therein, since I do not want to be told what or how I should comment.

In the interests of politeness, I too will leave ALL my comments on the 'open thread; since I too do not wish to be told what or how I should comment.

Brian
Your new policy seems to be lacking something, you have forgotten to inform people that you will delete their messages if it threatens your little world of so called Churchlessness.
You have one thing right about your blog, the word Church, yes, this is just like a church, with you the high priest, who must be commanded.
If not, then you will excommunicate, digitally of course!!!

Neut er all, you're wrong again. Read this post, dude. It ends with:
----------------
Bottom line: if you support the churchless purpose of this blog and want to take part in a comment conversation on some topic, great. Comment away.

But if your main goal is to disrupt, insult, disparage, and otherwise try to throw wrenches into the machinery of open discussion, please go away. And realize that any comments you do leave are going to disappear in fairly short order.
----------------
You hate this blog. You should be leaving comments on "I Hate Church of the Churchless" (link in right sidebar), not here.

I'll keep deleting your comments, per my blog's policy, until you show a willingness to participate respectfully and courteously in comment conversations.

You're like a guy who goes into a restaurant and starts saying loudly, "I hate the food in this place! I can't stand the decor! The manager sucks!"

Well, the manager would be justified in saying, "Sir, you need to leave. You're disturbing the other customers who do want to visit and enjoy our establishment."

I can tell the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. I welcome suggestions about how to make my blog "food" better. But I won't tolerate rants. Or personal attacks. Or meaningless "you suck!" comments.

Yes, I do excommunicate commenters who aren't willing to comply with the few reasonable comment rules on this blog. As I've said before, I don't moderate (approve) comments before they're published because I believe in comment conversations that are as free and open as possible.

People like you, who abuse this policy, are the reason many bloggers and web sites screen comments before they appear. I don't want to do this, so having your comments show up for a while before I'm able to delete them (I have a life away the Internet, unlike you apparently) is the price I'm pleased to pay for allowing responsible commenters more openness and freedom to communicate.

Lastly, you recently left a comment that said:

"Brian I would like to know why you delete my last messages, why is it that your only response to anyone who truly questions your posts is deletion. At the moment, I am only a little but frustrated by you, but I sense that this could increase to greater levels of frustration. I have only bypassed your bans and deletiings at the moment, but I can do so much more"

Threats like that don't make me eager to leave your comments up. Like someone else said, you need to get a life -- other than playing "troll" on my blog.

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