The discussion has already started on one of the two panels I’m organizing at the Sunstone Symposium!! Have a look at the description and see if you can guess the problem:
Do Good Online Fences Make Good LDS Neighbors?
LDS-interest blogspace is divided into a number of different communities: the Mormon feminists, the Mormon mommies, the Borderlanders (or New Order Mormons), the interfaith discussion blogs, Nothing Wavering, Outer Blogness, the core of the Bloggernacle, and probably others. All of these communities overlap and communicate with one another, but they also do various types of boundary-maintenance to decide who’s in and who’s out.
Some of the division is simply a question of people wanting to spend their limited Internet time with people they can relate to, but some of it is a genuine power struggle over who gets to represent Mormonism. Should different LDS-interest groups strive for better communication and cooperation, or are we happier staying out of each other’s hair? Representatives of various communities discuss!
Did you guess?
The problem is that the people who think the Bloggernacle is too risqu for believers won’t touch Sunstone with a ten foot pole. So it’s hard to get them to come and discuss their perspectives with us. However, Bruce Nielson was kind enough to have a friendly discussion about it via email, and even post about it on the Millennial Star, sparking a very interesting discussion.
Andrew S, who is co-organizing the panel, has already posted his response on his blog.
Many people made the point that every community has boundaries, no matter how open it strives to be. And I totally agree with that. And yet, it seems like as far as explicit, deliberate boundary maintenance is concerned, the filter goes in one direction. That is, it appears to go without saying that the more faithful need a safe space to be protected from the less-faithful, whereas the idea that there might be a need for protection in the other direction is controversial at best.
Why is that? Am I oversimplifying or missing something? It would be great to be able to have that discussion at Sunstone, but maybe we can start it in the safety of the Internet…?