Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition


Evan, who is a good guy and someone I've had some interesting conversations with in the past, continues to press his case for allowing comments on the Fellowship Church Blog [here and here]. It's a perfectly reasonable request, but one that one that different organizations and blogs will approach differently. Here's my personal take:

1. Anyone who has been around Fellowship for more than three weeks knows that we're all about change. The sets, the music, the order of service, welcome, service times, website, staff organization - all of these change constantly. Sometimes because something isn't working, sometimes because a better idea has come along, sometimes just to keep things fresh.

The blog has been live for just over a week. We will constantly evaluate and tweak it as we learn. Evan's feedback, as well as others', will definitely be taken into account. No matter what, don't be surprised if the blog is substantially different a few months from now.

2. If TypePad supports moderated comments, I would love to know how. I see no evidence of this after multiple searches of their knowledge base and Google. That support would definitely impact our approach and will be a factor in any future tools we use. But as far as I can tell, this is not an option in our current setup.

3. A blog does not require comments to be either helpful or successful. There are many people who believe, in fact, that a blog is much better off without comments, including Mark Bernstein. Scripting News, of course, is the most famous example of a blog that does not have comments. A blog is a place for the unedited voice of a person or organization. The level playing field of blogs and easy, often free, entry point is designed to encourage everyone to add their own voice to the conversation. You don't need comments to do this. See also this great post, Conversation Does Not Need Comments: "The basis of conversation is linking."

Of course, a major factor is: What is the purpose of the blog? There a hundreds of possibilities. Our initial focus on the FC Blog is simply sharing information and stories. We literally had no easy outlet for things like baptism stories and interviews with staff. Could the blog be serving other purposes? Of course. Could some of them be better or have more of an impact? Possibly. We're just getting started. We saw an immediate need and we are addressing it and so far the site has made quite a difference. I'm sure it, and possibly other FC blogs, will serve other purposes in the future.

And never forget, Evan, that even the greatest blog with hundreds of comments can't replace the real thing! Stop by sometime :)