Yes. You hit the nail right on the head.
OK then, we now have a working document!
Unfortunately, I'm so sure that the OCnet measure's up.
I presume you meant to say "I'm not
Let's look at each one:1) That an Orthodox Christian Forum presumes the Truth of the Orthodox Christian Faith.
I think this one is difficult to measure. The "forum" is not really an entity separate from the posts it contains. On a practical level, it either means that no post should be tolerated which does not reflect Orthodoxy, or that posts which state that the Orthodox Christian Faith is false should not be tolerated. I personally think it's the latter.
2) That an Orthodox Christian Forum is a place where Orthodox Christians and inquirers into Orthodox Christianity can discuss the Orthodox Christian Faith.
Hopefully this is true about OCnet, and I don't see any evidence to the contrary, but I could be missing it. People do seem to be able to come here and ask questions.
3) That an Orthodox Christian forum is not the place to question the fundamental Truth of the Christian Faith.
I think this one is another difficult onel. What say a non-Christian inquirer into Orthodoxy comes and asks a question about the Incarnation because they genuinely
don't know that God became Man? Technically, they are "questioning a fundamental Truth of the Christian Faith". But this is vastly different to, say, coming on the forum and claiming that Orthodox Christianity is wrong in holding that Christ is the God-Man. I think this latter case would be covered by No. (1).4) That an Orthodox Christian forum is not a place for people to practice rhetoric, but a place to discuss as well as debate issues, rather than debating techniques. In other words, to try and win a debate by evoking an emotional/irrational response out of your opponent by deliberately flaming them rather than discussing the actual issue at hand is distracting on an Orthodox Christian Forum.
In speaking privately and online with a few posters, I think this is the most common issue they have with OCnet. The fact is, we have a few excellent debaters and rhetoricians here. But the other fact is that not all
threads are debates in which rhetorical techniques are employed. I actually think there is room for both. I also think that there are some clear "no go" areas for debating (such as the Prayer Forum). While I agree that some posters are merely deliberately trying to flame others with no interest in debating the issue (and are soon weeded out), I also think that others are using rhetoric as a way of calling on people to defend their dogmatic statements. I don't think that someone who says "I think that...."
or "In my opinion...."
should be called to defend their opinion, because they haven't imposed it on anyone. But when someone makes dogmatic statements along the lines of "This is how things are...."
or "Orthodoxy believes this...."
, then, they should
be called on to defend their statement.
The posters skilled in rhetorical techniques have, in the past, actually shared
their rhetorical skills with others. Some of the most interesting threads on the forum have been where posters (and one in particular) have shared the secrets of their debating and rhetoric techniques.
So while I think flaming for the sake of flaming is stupid, and the act of a troll, flaming as a response to someone making sweeping claims as a means of calling on them to defend their claims and offering intelligent responses to their attempts to defend their claims is very different. This, of course, presumes that point No. (1) is kept in mind.