Sunday, September 12, 2010

Comments Policy

Since there are new readers joining this website all the time, I wanted to reiterate (and expand upon) my policies in moderating and posting comments. First, let me explain the factors behind my policies:

1. I dislike the entire blog format. I much prefer journals, where only letters meeting certain requirements and standards are printed. It makes for a much more focused and high quality publication.

2. We live in a free society. There are plenty of websites and publications expounding views that are very different from rationalist Judaism. I'm not especially interested in this being a forum for such people.

3. I am used to people disputing my views, but if their challenges are posted here, I feel obligated to respond. And I just don't have the time. There are countless people out there who want to have endless arguments with me. But at any given time, aside from all the projects in which I am involved, I have around 200 emails waiting for my attention. I just can't spend time engaged in blog comments.

Those are the factors involved in my formulating my policies. The resultant policies are not clear-cut, but if you want to increase your chances of your comment being posted, here are the factors that will help (none are critical, but all help):

1. Use your real name. I don't want to make this a critical requirement - some of the best comments come from those who do not use their real name - but certainly if you are challenging me, I am not likely to give you a forum to do so if you are not willing to post your real name, just as I do. And even a pseudonym is better than "Anonymous."

2. Do not include links without a clear explanation of what the link is to (otherwise you are potentially wasting time for many people).

3. Use good English and full sentences.

4. Stick to the point of the post!

5. This website is intended to supplement my books. I feel that if someone is genuinely and seriously interested in my take on Rationalist Judaism, he/she should read my books The Challenge of Creation and Sacred Monsters. So I don't like to post comments on topics that I have already addressed in the books. For example, in my post about Stephen Hawking, a number of people submitted challenges that I already addressed at length in The Challenge Of Creation.

6. Finally, preference will be given to comments that are in the spirit of the Rationalist Judaism enterprise, as I understand it. That doesn't mean that you have to agree with me. But I think that I am usually able to gauge the difference between someone who disagrees with me and yet is operating within the same overall worldview and epistemology, and someone who disagrees with me because they are using an entirely different worldview and epistemology.

If, after all this, you are still wondering why your comment was not posted, feel free to email me and ask why, and I will try to respond. And in general, if you want to ask me a question, it's always better to email me (or call me) rather than to submit it in the comments section. The comments section is for insights that contribute to the post.


  1. A well formulated and eminently reasonable guideline!

  2. Blogger's comment system is not very good. Switch to Disqus.

  3. Whoa, is this SOOO appropriate:

  4. Rabbi Slifkin you may benefit from the book The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs


Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.