How feedback works around here.

by K.W. Leslie, 01 December

As you might’ve noticed, I have an email link on TXAB, and each article has a comments section. So if you wanna send me a note, ask a question, or comment on a post, feel free.


If you’ve ever bothered to read the comments on YouTube videos—and I really don’t recommend it—you’ll notice a lot of them are stupid and awful. Because as you already knew, people are awful. Let people post whatever they please with no moderation, with no accountability, and you’ll get the very worst of humanity.

Even among Christians. Christianity Today originated with a comments section, but finally got rid of it in 2014 because the commenters were consistently acting far, far less than Christian.

My previous blogs didn’t always allow me to moderate comments—nor moderate them easily. TXAB uses Disqus, so now I can easily moderate ’em, and do. When anyone comments in any way I consider less than Christian, I’ll edit or remove the comment. Do it twice and I’ll block the commenter.

You can repent and appeal, and I might relent. It’s happened in the past. Wish it happened in every case. But it doesn’t.

You can defend yourself by appealing to freedom of expression, which I of course believe in. Thing is, my deleting or blocking your expression doesn’t stop you from expressing yourself. You’re entirely free to do so. Just not here. TXAB is my blog about following Christ Jesus, and as such it’s gonna reflect my view—or Christ’s view, as best as I can figure him out. If I don’t feel your view contributes to that, I’m gonna tweak it or remove it.

That’s the primary rule about commenting here: Don’t be a dick! And there are other, more specific circumstances.

Writing too long.

Another frequent problem is when a comment is really long. Like really, really long. You wrote pages. In some cases you wrote more than I did. Learn to summarize!

Clearly some people need their own blogs. In some cases they have their own blogs, but they don’t have the readership they covet, and presume I have a bigger audience, or hope their views or the quality of their writing will get other people to visit their sites. They imagine they’re more likely to be read when they blog on this blog. They won’t, ’cause I’ll delete their big-ass comments.

Other people wanna comment on lots of things I’ve posted, but I only give posts a six-month window for comments. Because certain eager commenters like to post on dozens of old posts at once. On everything they read, whether it’s “Good article!” or a 10-page screed on why my expressed views make me some heretic. I used to open my mailbox some mornings and find somebody who’d gone off his meds had posted 60 non-sequitur comments on old posts. Or some spam ’bot had advertised penis pills all over the site, or some angry Oneness Pentecostal had attacked every reference to the trinity he could find. Anyway, some people get really frustrated they can’t comment on old posts… so they save up 20 comments and tack ’em to recent posts. And, again, nope.

First of all, learn to summarize! Omit unnecessary words, as William Strunk put it. Longer doesn’t always mean better, as people keep trying to inform Judd Apatow. Longer doesn’t mean you’ve done a better job proving your point, especially when I’m fairly sure your point is rubbish to begin with.

Second, if you went off on a tangent and never came back, I’m not encouraging such behavior. That’s gone too.

Third, if you wanna comment on old posts, you can’t. Not here. Window’s closed. Sorry. Now be adult about it and move along.

Fourth, if you wanna post a non-sequitur comment which has nothing to do with the article, whether it’s about a whole other article, a whole other topic, or you too are trying to advertise a product: Nope. “Products” can also include your blog. I usually don’t mind if people link to their own blogs if that’s where they explain their point of view in greater detail; I do that too. But I feel the entire point of your comment is self-promotion, delete delete delete.

Fifth, if you post a question, I may remove it if I think it warrants its own post. ’Cause I’ll write a post specifically answering that question, and quote the question.

Questions and requests.

Sometimes people request I write on a particular topic. That’s fine. Just throw me an email: “Could you write about [something Christ-related]?” and I may get to it eventually. Or I may not wanna. You never know.

More often people email me with questions. They want to understand a certain movement, or aren’t sure what their pastor is teaching is Christian, or have personal issues and want advice and Slate’s advice columns are too pagan. I get that, but I should warn you I’m not a psychologist, licensed counselor, nor therapist. I’ve studied classroom-related child psychology, but that’s a whole other ball of wax. My expertise is theology, biblical history, biblical languages… and western and American history, civics, economics, and other social sciences. Not that I ever get civics questions!

Here’s where I warn you: I’m a mandated reporter. That means there’s no confessor-confessee confidentiality, no doctor-patient nor attorney-client privilege. If I find criminal activity going on, I’m getting the police or FBI involved. People’s safety takes priority.

Likewise if you send me a question, sometimes I’m gonna turn the questions and my answers into TXAB articles. Not always. And my intention is to not at all embarrass anyone—even if I think you deserve it—so I’ll keep you anonymous. But I do reserve the right to talk about it. Especially when I think it’ll help others.

If questions have a short answer, as a lot of them do, I’ll just have to post a Mailbox article sometime and throw ’em all in there. But y’might notice I don’t do short answers very often.

Like the fine print on most websites, I reserve the right to change my policies whenever they’re no longer working. But so far, sounds good.

Email any questions or comments right here.