Last month, a British Christian bloggers’ gathering produced the following commandments for bloggers:

1. You shall not put your blog before your integrity.

2. You shall not make an idol of your blog.

3. You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin.

4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog.

5. Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes.

6. You shall not murder someone else’ honour, reputation or feelings.

7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind.

8. You shall not steal another person’ content.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger.

10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s blog ranking. Be content with your own content.

The group invites feedback at their website.

My reactions:

1. Good principles overall — I wish ex-gay and religious-right bloggers, in particular, would follow them.

2. Item number 6 might be difficult for watchdogs to heed with certain ex-gay activists (not all) who have demonstrated little honor or reputation. Furthermore, some people’s “feelings” are hurt whenever they are corrected for obvious and serious wrongdoing. They then boast that they are the persecuted victims of… criticism and free speech.

3. It seems to me that the accompanying “blogging relationship commitment” encourages politically conservative Christians to conspire privately among one another to conceal or minimize wrongdoing in pursuit of a corrupt political agenda. That agenda is masked with self-flattering godtalk about peace, justice, holiness, and the Trinity. Here’s a snippet of that commitment:

We owe it to each other, in writing blog posts on the alleged statements of our fellow Christians, first to get directly in touch with them and to establish what they actually meant. Then to commend what we can, to weigh the proportional significance of what we think is wrong, and to be gracious about what is doubtful, expressing our thoughts with courtesy and humility.

We rejoice in the spread of the Gospel across the world and urge all Christians to commit themselves to this task, avoiding unnecessary competition and co-operating, wherever possible, in the completion of Christ’s kingdom of peace, justice and holiness, to the glory of the one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I also feel that these commandments and commitments are too exclusive of people who do not identify as Christian. In other words, they’re cliquish (perhaps elitist) in tone.

What are your thoughts?

Sojourners, a progressive Christian magazine, has added a “Comment Code of Conduct“:

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree—even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members’ ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others’ beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will participate in community accountability by rating posts up arrow2 up Ten Commandments of Blogging or down arrow2 down Ten Commandments of Blogging based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they’re expressed, and will flag posts that violate these rules of conduct. (Proverbs 12:18)

All too Bible- and Christian-centric for me, but are the underlying principles valid, or do they inhibit frank discussion?