Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Two Rules For Blog Critique that Would Help Online Discussions

What are the top 5 blogs that you read? Now ask yourself about the length of each post. I’m guessing that your favorite blogs typically post articles that are about 800-1200 words in length.

Lengthy articles only get read by your most loyal of readers. Therefore, most bloggers will post articles with one simple point that can be made in under 1200 words. If it takes more than 1200 words to make your point then bloggers are advised to turn their idea into a series of posts.

Here is my point. Bloggers can’t shouldn’t fit everything they have to say about a particular topic into one post.

Therefore, I propose these two rules for blog critique that would help online discussions:

  1. Only critique what the author is saying. One of the rules to reviewing books is to deal with what the author actually wrote instead of what you thought he/she was going to write about. Perhaps you can offer a small critique and say, “I wish you would have written a chapter about ____”, but the thrust of your critique needs to be about what is actually there and not about what the author left out. The same applies to blogging—if not more so. There is always more that could be said. Don’t critique all of the things that the author could have said, just deal with what he/she did say.
  2. Don’t fault for a point the author does not make. Consider this post by Tim Challies on the issues surrounding Sovereign Grace Ministires. Tim’s point in this article is that those of us on the outside of a situation ought to withhold judgment until all of the facts come forth. In the meantime we ought to hope and pray for the best. At the same time we should be careful not to dig too deeply into matters that we are not directly involved in. Tim’s article caused an uproar. Some even accused him of “implying that Christians’ shouldn’t care if kids get molested in other churches”. His post is not dealing with how a church or a Christian should respond to child molestation. His post is about how Christians ought to think about controversies that they only see from the outside. Critique that if you will, but don’t accuse the author of paving the way for child molesters simply because he wasn’t making a point about abuse within the church.

There are exceptions to every rule. Occasionally a post is off base simply because of what is not being said. These ought to be exceptions and not the norm. Keep in mind that writers cannot fit everything into one particular piece. I close with these words from Lore Ferguson

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