This section has recently erupted in a series of shameful displays and the moderation team has been bombarded with not only reported posts but private messages from a variety of posters, the vast majority being Orthodox, not Roman Catholic. These members have expressed their deep concern over the content that appeared lately in the Orthodox-Roman Catholic section, as well as in certain other sections. These members are Greeks, Russians, Americans, converts, cradle Orthodox, etc. and they have all said that they find that not only do such posts hurt the reputation of this site, but that of Orthodoxy as a whole. This section is meant for civil debate and discussion concerning the similarities and differences within Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. That means this section also functions as a second “convert” forum, in which members from a Roman Catholic background (whether Latin or Eastern rite) will read through to find answers to their questions. We are supposed to be welcoming to these people, whether they are members, lurkers or guests. You will not lead people to the Truth of Orthodoxy through malice filled posts, through the consistent use of straw-men nor through petty squabbles. The internet is a powerful tool to introduce people to Orthodoxy, and though nothing will substitute the personal relationship between an inquirer and his/her Priest, too often do we have to remind people that Netodox does not equal Orthodox due to the nature of various posts. Discussions get heated and people get passionate; this is natural, but we often have to step back and remember the audience we are playing to. If a Roman Catholic, or Protestant, or Atheist friend were to approach you with questions, how would choose to address them and their concerns? It is through love that you will lead these people to Christ’s Church, though an understanding of their beliefs, and often, through a gentle hand in “correcting” and guiding them.
Now, to more specific concerns...
Firstly, this forum is not becoming ‘politically correct’ to the point of censorship like certain members like to openly. We try our best to maintain a welcoming environment at this forum for members of different faiths and Churches; it is no different than making this forum welcoming to all genders and all races. The moderators prefer to take a light touch when it comes to moderation, to allow the freedom of speech and expression, but basic tact and freedom of expression do not have to be mutually exclusive! We have been receiving countless complaints about the language and tone of certain posts. The moderating team as a whole share the concerns with the forum members filing these reports and, as a team, we choose the best course of action. Warnings, Post Moderations, Mutings, etc. occur after a period of discussion, unless the situation warrants a speedy correction. There are Private, unmoderated forums in addition to the moderated forums. If you believe your point of view is being so squelched due to the moderated nature of these forums, take them to the unmoderated forums.
Secondly, please provide proper sources and citations when formulating a response. Gossip and hearsay do little for a discussion and create a situation in which no one can really respond, since it can be difficult to research pure speculation. If something is solely your opinion and you have absolutely no academic grounds for it, just state so. It will prevent drawn out exchanges between posters requesting sources and will prevent other misunderstandings.
Finally, do not air your dirty laundry over the public forum. If you have a concern, go through the proper channels. If you have a comment or complaint about a post or poster in this section, contact me privately. If you have a complaint about my posts or decisions as a moderator, then ozgeorge is the global moderator overseeing this section too. If you have a problem with a global mod, then take it one of the two administrators that focus on the forum content (both of them being ordained Priests). Too much of this has happened lately and it needs to stop! There is an unhealthy martyr complex appearing from some posters, and other posters appear to be wrapped up in a cult of personality of sorts. We have a great moderator staff on this site, which I am proud and honoured to be a member of, and a great administrative staff... contact them when you have a problem.
This turned out to be somewhat lengthy, but it applies universally to this forum, and not just this section which I look after. The moderators are proud of their sections and we are proud of our members, but unfortunately, sometimes we do shake our heads at the behaviour we witness. Therefore I am making this appeal, especially in light of the time we are entering on the Liturgical calendar, to all members, the Church has always been communal and welcoming, try not to do anything that will harm your soul, avoid situations where you will harm the soul of another, and lastly, provide an atmosphere to those who are not Orthodox that will enrich and enlighten their souls. The moderating staff has and will continue to intervene in such situations where we believe more harm is being done, then good.
Thank you all.
Yours in Christ,
P.S.: Now let us try and steer this thread back on track, and enter into a healthy discussion/debate. Otherwise, it will likely end up locked within the next few days as it continues to spiral.