‘Mormon Matters’ Looking for New Collaborators/Writers/Podcasters

Arianna Huffington John Dehlin Mormon Matters Outer Blogness

John Dehlin posted this announcement at Mormon Matters, which I’m copying-and-pasting below (and adding my encouragement that you consider contacting John … if you’re already blogging, participating could be as simple as cross-posting your work to Mormon Matters).

Mormon Matters

Mormon Matters is looking for a few new collaborators to re-work the design and purpose/mission of the blog. We are basically considering 2 things:

* Bringing back the weekly panel podcast format, adding in live calls from listeners to the mix (like weve done a few times on Mormon Stories), and
* Looking to turn Mormon Matters into more of a Huffington Post-like blog for Mormon issues

If any of you are interested in helping to manage or support Mormon Matters in this way, please email me at: mormonstories@gmail.com

We remain the 2nd or 3rd most highly trafficked Mormon blog in the Internet.so if any of you are interested in being part of the broader Internet discussion, wed love to talk.

Qualifications:

* Really, really good writing skills or conversational ability (for the podcast)
* A constructive approach towards the LDS church and Mormonism

Thanks!

P.S. I see that Flatlander has mentioned Cleese v. M. Python in comments, and I happen to have a clip of some courtroom video from that trial:

62 thoughts on “‘Mormon Matters’ Looking for New Collaborators/Writers/Podcasters

  1. Before anyone agrees to work with Mormon Matters, I think they should know that John Dehlin has basically taken it over and kicked out most of the people who were posting there. Although I think Mormon Stories is a worthwhile project, I think what John has done at Mormon Matters is very, very not cool. I would not work with that site because of what he has done. YMMV.

  2. Kuri, there’s been an abundance of uncool behavior. And I tend to take the sort of musings on offer at the link in your comment with a big grain of salt. For good reason, I think. We all have our various and often predictable online M.O.s … I’ve got mine (I can be very annoying with my spamming of the interwebz with links to material that I find noteworthy), John’s got his (anyone who’s followed John knows that he’s got the amusing/frustrating habit of posting something and then regretting it five minutes later and deleting it, inevitably to everyone’s chagrin), and Andrew S. has a tendency to analyze other people’s online behavior to such a fine degree that I eventually stop seeing words in his posts and a picture of a snake eating its tail begins to float in front of my eyes. None of which means I’m going to stop reading Faith Promoting Rumor, or hoping that Chris H. continues to guest post here at MSP, or following John’s work, or enjoying Andrew’s insights. We’ve all got our strange tics and they’re what make us human.

    That said, to the extent that the squabbling has been over how John Dehlin wanted to handle comments under his own post on a blog that he controls, the reaction of his (former) co-bloggers at Mormon Matters has struck me as quite emotionally unhinged.

  3. Chino,
    You know I love you, but your suggestion that some of the folks in the DAMU are kinda quirky seems COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry, that’s a quirk of mine that I’m working on, using caps and exclamation points. I know it still needs work, but I’m applying for a government grant to help me develop it. An important legal precedent was made in Cleese v. M. Python (1970s) (Min. Silly Walks), that gives me reason for optimism.

  4. Like I said, I think Mormon Stories is a worthwhile project. I’ll add that I think that John’s project is a net positive for the church, and that the haters in the Bloggernacle are pretty much dead wrong about what he’s doing.

    But I like Mormon Matters. I haven’t really participated there for a few months, but I’ve been reading it for a couple of years.

    And my problem is that during all that time, I had no idea that John had anything to do with the site. I guess he started it, so technically he owns it, but he has pretty much zero to do with what it is today. The (ex-)permas (and the commenters, of course) made it what it is today. They, not John, are the creators of the Mormon Matters community. Sure, he owns the site, but they are the site. (Or were.)

    So for him to waltz back in after years away and say, “I want my site back now” and kick them out is, in my book, an act of douche baggery. I don’t know John well enough to say if what he did was cold and ruthless or simply completely self-centered, but I do know it shows a complete lack of respect for — if he was even aware of the existence of — everything that those people have put into the site, and everything that it’s meant to them.

    So, although I have nothing against his other projects, I’m drawing a line at Mormon Matters. I’m not going to support his actions there in any way. I won’t have anything more to do with the site, and I’ll recommend other people do the same. Like I said, your mileage may vary. But that’s what I’m going to do.

  5. Kuri, are you sure your fourth graf is an accurate characterization of what happened?

    I’ve read John’s version of events and his explanation makes a lot more sense to me than the other versions I’ve seen making the rounds.

    If one of the admins here at MSP decided they no longer liked the place, the only prudent course of action would be to pull their admin privileges asap. Because a single pissed off admin could take the entire site down in short order.

    As you’ll notice at MM, the only content that has been taken down is John’s own post and the attached comments. That’s it. If people want to get pissed that John made the kind of executive decision that had to be made in order to safeguard “everything that those people have put into the site” … so be it, but I don’t think they’re relying on accurate characterizations to achieve their state of righteous indignation.

  6. Yeah, I think it’s accurate. The permas built a community with its own rules and values. John came back and said, “I don’t care about your rules. It’s my site and I’ll do what I want.” The permas objected, and he “excommunicated” them. (Ironic, isn’t it?)

    If one of the admins here at MSP decided they no longer liked the place, the only prudent course of action would be to pull their admin privileges asap. Because a single pissed off admin could take the entire site down in short order.

    That sounds pretty much backwards to me. Wasn’t John the one who came in, disrupted the site, claimed to be above the community’s rules, and then “took down” the permas who objected to his high-handed unilateral actions?

  7. Flat Lander – I’d forgotten about Cleese v. M. Python. Thanks for the tip, I’ve updated the post accordingly. As Kuri alludes to, that trial bears a striking resemblance to the Bloggernacle response to John’s post about Marlin Jensen.

  8. Kuri – When you write “disrupted the site, claimed to be above the community’s rules” … are you talking about how John decided to handle his own post?

    Let’s just be clear here: John wasn’t telling anyone at Mormon Matters how to handle comments on their own posts, right? John wasn’t removing anyone else’s content, right?

    Is it fair to say that the disagreements then and the discussions now are all about what John did with John’s post?

  9. AFAIK, regarding content we’re only talking about that one post, yes. But my point is that the community of permas had developed rules about how to handle things. John ignored the rules (because he didn’t know them, or didn’t care, or both), and when the permas said, “Hey, we don’t do that here,” he said “My blog, my post, I’ll do what I want.”I see that as disrupting the site and claiming to be above the community’s rules.

    I guess my view has a lot to do with the way I see sites like MM, BCC, MSP, and FMH. I see them as communities, not just as websites. One person can own a URL, like John owns mormonmatters.org, but who owns a community? I think communities are owned by the people who form them, not by whoever happens to own the space where they interact.

    John owns the space, but the community owned itself. In that very important way, they, not the URL, were Mormon Matters. John acted as if the permas didn’t matter because he owns the URL. Unfortunately, he was right. Technically. But only technically.

    In the ways that matter most, I think he was dead wrong.

  10. Chino,

    Comment 2 should win an award for something. You have singlehandedly psychoanalyzed the neuroses of three people in a way I would describe as totally accurate for all three.

    But anyway, I really wish John great success in his endeavor. I know that he’s wanted to do something more multimedia-centric and “glossier” (a la HuffPo) for a while, and I think that many of us weren’t really optimized for that. So, I think that’s a niche that he can now develop further with a fresh slate of personalities. And of course, the diaspora of MM permas will be finding our way too.

  11. Andrew S.,

    I’ll echo your well-wishing for the new Mormon Matters and extend that to whatever new sites emerge as a result of this dust-up. Heck, I’d love it if some of that diaspora could find their way to MSP and if this means you end up having more time to post here, it’s a win-win.

    That said, I think your characterization over at FLAK is inaccurate and unfair:

    This kind of unpredictability and irrationality wasn’t worth the hassle.

    John Dehlin deleting his own posts is as “unpredictable” as the sunrise. I would’ve expected his co-bloggers to have understood at least that much about John.

    As you noted over on that FLAK thread, John has now provided you with a rational explanation for his revoking of posting privileges. Disagreeing with John’s rationale is one thing, but calling his actions “irrational” strikes me as either pique or a penchant for stirring the pot.

  12. Chino,

    John’s closing off comments is not the issue. John’s taking down of the post is not the issue. So, your attack is off-target.

    As you note (and even acknowledged that I noted it as well), John has now provided us with a rational explanation for his revoking of posting privileges. But as I wrote there, at the time, he provided us with nothing. So, at the time when decisions were being made, there was nothing with which to disagree, much less any rational explanation.

    The irrationality is in making these sweeping and dramatic efforts *without saying a word* and then expecting that people will be OK with it in the morning (or, “next week” or whenever) whenever he gets around to providing an explanation (where that explanation, of course, is not up for clarification, discussion, or challenge.)

  13. @10:

    You have singlehandedly psychoanalyzed the neuroses of three people

    I’ve noticed that Chino makes random tags, so that the category list on the side is getting ridiculously long. For example, this post is tagged “Ariana Huffington.” Someone will eventually have to clean up. =p

    It looks to me that Dehlin deleted a thread and said that the “bloggernacle does this routinely,” so therefore it’s excusable. But if Mormon Matters does not have a history of doing that, then it’s too much of a concentration of power, IMO. What was the point of deleting the thread, anyway? It’s not like the Jensen story is that important. Dehlin framed the story in an naive way — making the “apology” seem like it’s more than the usual condolences the organization offers to people on this issue, when it’s the same ol’ organizational apologies on the issue of homosexuality. Jeffrey Holland’s apology to the Matises comes to mind after their son committed suicide during Prop 22 (and what’s the use of an apology when someone is dead?). Basically, Dehlin’s issue is that of self-aggrandizement that is always fine to an extent, but is problematic when it becomes censorship of other voices.

  14. People have offline lives, Andrew S. Did anyone consult John before scheduling the mutiny? Of course not.

    That John was apparently tasked with meeting his co-bloggers’ emotional need for immediate answers suggests to me that their departures were inevitable.

    Y’all apparently didn’t trust John enough to wait. Instead, you set up camp at FPR and started popping the popcorn.

    Sharing admin and posting privileges requires a high level of trust. Better to revoke privileges sooner and restore them later than risk the worse outcome of an admin going off the reservation and wrecking the place (for the whole community).

  15. Alan – After you get done expunging my Arianna Huffington tag you can get busy handling my resignation 😉 That said, I think I can live with it if you want to remove “Asshat” from the list 😛

    Also, Alan, John deleted his own thread. Does that really count as censorship? Crikey.

  16. …What are you talking about, Chino? What do you mean, did anyone consult John before scheduling the mutiny? What mutiny?

    As far as I’m aware, we DID consult John about our feelings regarding 1) the post, 2) the way he handled the post (with the bumping up of the post after it was mentioned by Holly in the Huffington Post, with the deleting of certain comments, the closing of comments, with the take-down of the post, etc.,) 3) the way we wish things were handled (as you can imagine, every time something like this happens with any of the writers, then BiV will have a position.)

    I don’t know when, but John at some point determined that it would be best to de-admin BiV. His reason (revealed after the fact): he was not interested in BiV having a *conversation* with the other permas about opening the comments again.

    In other words, we were consulting at every juncture…and what we were fed back were unexpected surprises.

    Only AFTER that first move was when things went “behind the behind the scenes,” which I admit, that ended up going over poorly, what with the FPR comments and Welker Watcher. And that led to loss of privileges for everyone.

    If John has an offline life (which I fully accept that reality), then I just don’t think the best use of his limited online life is to make sweeping administrative changes without saying anything.

  17. This mutiny.

    Folks can go read John’s explanation at the link. I already provided it before in my #5.

    You continue to characterize this episode in such a way as to cast John in the least favorable light. At this point, John has provided a public explanation of his actions. If he’s not telling the truth, let us know. Otherwise, for the record, I would have responded in similar fashion (in terms of revoking privileges) if I’d been faced with what has been properly described as a mutiny:

    – Cheryl then initiated a conversation w/ the other permas about opening comments again on my post against my will which I was not interested in. This is when I pulled Cheryls admin rights. As the owner of the site, Im not going to allow someone else to open up comments after Ive decided to close them . and I didnt have time to argue w/ Cheryl about it.

    If I’m having a busy day, the last thing I need is to be worrying about a co-blogger resurrecting a post of mine that I’d deleted or re-opening comments on a post of mine that I’d already closed. Scratch that first bit. On any day, I wouldn’t want the hassle. And if it was my blog, I’d eliminate the hassle and the worry by revoking that co-blogger’s privileges and wouldn’t feel an ounce of regret for doing so.

  18. By the way, for writers who write in order to be read, here are some traffic numbers from August (total visits for the month) for your consideration:

    MormonMatters.org: 65,344

    LatterDayMainStreet.com: 51,808

    ByCommonConsent.com: 36,783

    There’s a reason the Bloggernacle is keen to take potshots at John. There are also good reasons for the writers of Outer Blogness to consider joining the new Mormon Matters. Tens of thousands of good reasons.

  19. Chino, I don’t know if you aren’t already aware of the irony that all you are doing is characterizing this episode in such a way as to cast the entire rest of the Mormon Matters cast in the least favorable light. But I’d rather make more aware that I don’t even think I am casting John in the least favorable light. I have conceded that he has since provided a rationale (one that can either be agreed with, disagreed with, or qualified, in whole or in parts), but that does not change the fact that as things were happening in real-time, he acted without transparency. Action stops after the halt; further action not considered, counterattack is out of time.

    Let’s take your description of what you would do: “On any day, I wouldn’t want the hassle. And if it was my blog, I’d eliminate the hassle and the worry by revoking that blogger’s privileges and wouldn’t feel an ounce of regret for doing so.”

    Here’s what I’m saying in light of that kind of attitude: where was the mutiny? there was none. There *was* a preemptive first strike to “eliminate the hassle and the worry”. There was a preemptive first strike so effective that no one saw it and there was no discussion.

    There weren’t “people deciding to leave.” There were “people being ousted out” because of their alleged support of the “mutiny.”

    …or, let’s state it another way, if you would like to talk about mutiny.

    Where was the mutiny? The active day-to-day participants of the site had an established system for things like scheduling, for taking down posts, for moderating comments. The site’s success (to which you allude) is disproportionately due to the actions of these active day-to-day members and their efforts in setting up such a system and building such a community. But once in a blue moon, a passive member of the site oversteps everything else that was once established, and declares that any attempt to make him fit the active rules is a “mutiny.” To quell the mutiny, he must effectively shut down the entire enterprise because the established norms, procedures, and institution is almost entirely promulgated by the actions of those active day-to-day members.

    Now, I just really don’t get it.

    I don’t know how it is that the permabloggers were mutinying when it was John who went against established order and when the permabloggers didn’t even defy John. I don’t know how it was the permabloggers deciding to leave en masse when the permabloggers weren’t the ones who abdicated their posting and admin privileges, when the permabloggers weren’t the ones insisting that this was “bound to happen at some point,” and when the permabloggers weren’t the ones who wanted to separate.

  20. Mutiny is it? Shiver me timbers!

    It comes back to the question of ownership again. The permas (naively) thought that their investment of time, energy, and emotion in the site meant that they had rights there, that they were equal to the (largely absentee) owner of the URL.

    They were wrong, of course. URL owners are God. The permas only had what rights John gave them, and what John gave, John could take away. (Blessed be the name of John.)

    But what I really find hilarious about the whole situation (and I am sorry to be laughing at something that’s hurt some of my friends), is how closely John’s behavior mirrors that of the church when faced with open dissent.

    It’s all there in parallel: the leadership’s belief that they, not the members, constitute the church; the intolerance of challenge; the belief that people who don’t follow the leadership’s program have no right to try to change it but should simply leave; and finally the excommunications for dissent.

    That John effing Dehlin would act that way is one of the most delightfully ironic things I’ve seen in a long time.

  21. Andrew S.,

    No irony here. After watching you guys in action on that FPR thread, I admittedly hold a dim view of any of the old MM crew who thought that would be a cool way to sort out ‘community’ concerns. It’s the kind of trainwreck that leaves me wondering how MM avoided going off the rails sooner.

    Junior: Hey, Dad, me and my friends are talking about taking your car out for a spin.
    Dad: I told you it needs an oil change first. You’re gonna have to wait.
    Junior: No, we want to go right now.
    Dad: So, why don’t you drive your own car?
    Junior: Because it’s more fun running yours into the ditch.
    Dad: In that case, in addition to not giving you the keys to my car, you’ll need to give me the keys to yours, until we’ve had a chance to talk and come to an agreement on the acceptable uses of the family vehicles.
    Junior: Oooh, you’re such a big meanie, Dad!!

  22. Chino,

    Seeing as my only contribution to that thread was 1) to note the high school drama ridiculousness of it and 2) to suggest that not following FPR (which is a great blog) is a grave faux pas, I take it that I am not included in “you guys.”

    And seeing as the “old MM crew” is in agreement that that was not a cool way to sort out ‘community’ concerns (and it wasn’t like the “old MM crew,” in any collective sense, ever deemed that to be a cool way to sort out ‘community’ concerns in the first place), I take it that that’s another off-target attack from you. In fact, the “old MM crew” is seething at “Welker Watcher.”

    So it appears that your last message doesn’t quite intersect with reality at any point on the plane.

  23. Chino: Yes, the other bloggers could have waited until Dehlin had the time to “sort out community concerns” but if the topic is important, and the permabloggers are more in tune with the community than Dehlin is, then it’s very obvious that he is acting in self-interest and not the interest of the community. Because the topic continued to be discussed the very next day, it’s makes Dehlin look that much more self-interested. Fine, it’s his URL, but a lot of people can’t stomach an online community that censors. You say, it’s his thread, but it had 50+ comments.

    the last thing I need is to be worrying about a co-blogger resurrecting a post of mine that Id deleted or re-opening comments on a post of mine that Id already closed

    If he is anything like me, what he is most mad about is that he framed the issue badly and was attacked for that, or that the conversation centered on his bad framing rather than the “real” issues, and so he’s primarily mad at himself. And then he took it out on everyone else by deleting the thread. The intent to open up the thread by the co-blogger is not about going against him, but for the sake of the community.

    Kuri@21:

    That John effing Dehlin would act that way is one of the most delightfully ironic things Ive seen in a long time.

    He might be liberal, but he’s a Mormon man, which goes a long way to explain his behavior. =D

  24. Andrew S.,

    As far as that FPR thread is concerned, of course you’re not included in “you guys” … which I thought the second half of that sentence made clear, but if not, thanks for permitting the clarification.

    In any case, y’all might be ‘seething’ at “Welker Watcher” but all you’re blogging about is John Dehlin. Weird how that works.

  25. Alan,

    I have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of many progressives to closely mirror behavior that they hate in conservatives.

    I don’t know if it’s opposing that behavior in others that makes them that way, or if they oppose in others what they hate in themselves, or what the whole psychological deal is, but it’s not rare, ime.

    Anyway, I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused.

  26. Alan: If the other bloggers at MM were so concerned, why didn’t they simply pen a response to John’s post? And post it at MM? Talk about your Mormon behavior. What’s up with the fixation on John’s actions regarding his own post? It’s no doubt fine to discuss those, but to then instead fixate on some rule that says ‘John must keep comments open when the collective so orders’ is plainly juvenile and very, very Mormon. Let me guess, he probably prays wrong, too. And takes the sacrament with his left hand.

    Meanwhile, censorship rears its ugly head all over the place … /sarcasm

    Joanna Brooks: Mormon Leader: Im Sorry For Hurtful Legacy of Prop. 8

    Jana Riess: On Elder Marlin Jensen, Proposition 8 Apologies, and the Future of Mormonism

    Never mind that John is probably the reason these folks are even covering the story. In other words, if you’re going to argue that this is about making sure this important topic gets covered, we’ve all got John Dehlin to thank for the ample coverage it’s so far received.

  27. Just to be clear on my personal motivation in all of this: I enjoy the mix of writers we’ve got here at Main Street Plaza. And I love Sunday in Outer Blogness. And I really dig the blogroll. Everything about the place screams “Welcome!” and “Yay, Community!”

    For no other reason than that it would warm my heart, I think it’d be neat if some of that MSP vibe could be exported to the new Mormon Matters. What could be easier than mirroring some Outer Blogness and MSP content at MM? And for those who share the objective to promote ‘progressive’ views online, what better way than bringing more attention to the work of the OB bloggers, who far and away, in my view, represent the most progressive bunch of mo/exmo writers to be found. Am I wrong? Naive? Misguided?

  28. Just to be clear on my personal motivation in all of this: I enjoy the mix of writers weve got here at Main Street Plaza. And I love Sunday in Outer Blogness. And I really dig the blogroll. Everything about the place screams Welcome! and Yay, Community!

    I agree. But that’s exactly what my problem is. I think communities are great. And Mormon Matters has a community too, a community facilitated and nurtured by the permas, who formed their own sub-community. I wasn’t really a part of the MM community anymore, since I shifted all the way into OB, and MM shifted a bit towards the ‘naccle, but there’s a real community there.

    What right do we have to export OB and MSP to MM at the expense of its existing community? It’s not like we’re doing it organically through the market of ideas. John simply asserted his URL ownership rights and kicked out anyone who might oppose whatever it is he wants to do with the site.

    I won’t support, much less applaud, the destruction of that community. Nor will I help take advantage of it, even if this — my own — community would benefit. I’ve been in one of these situations myself. I’ve seen a community I belonged to destroyed by a URL owner who turned a site over to her own people and damn the people who’d spent years building it, and it sucked. It sucked badly. I’m sure as hell not going to participate in doing the same thing to someone else’s community, even if it’s already a fait accompli.

  29. Your points are well taken, Kuri. And I’ll just throw this out there: If tomorrow (or whenever), a post were to go up at MM announcing that matters had been sorted out to the satisfaction of the old crew, and it was back to business as usual, I’d cheer that, too. This post and my comments are me being a total Lone Ranger. Nothing I’m expressing here is the product of ‘back-channel’ communications with anyone. Just me thinking out loud. If I’m off-base in anything I’ve said or say, it’s all on me, and if I wind up disagreeing with just about everybody on this, that’s fine. I can see where you’re coming from, particularly in your final graf, but what you’re describing doesn’t strike me as an exact parallel to what apparently has happened at MM, or to what I’m suggesting might be an interesting way forward if this is indeed a fait accompli.

    By the way, I just popped over to Andrew S.’s blog to make sure I’d read closely, and I gotta say, I’m right back where I started in terms of my objections to his post (below is a cut-and-paste of the comment I left over there:

    Andrew S.: Honestly, if Welker Watcher had not commented, then things probably couldve come out quite differently.

    If thats true, its a real shame, because it means youve allowed Welker Watcher a role in determining the outcome. What more could an anonymous troll/mole hope for?

    Andrew S.: I can understand, if John assumed that Cheryl was responsible for Welker Watcher (and, to be honest, there are some extremely unfortunate comments from Cheryl, as John posts), that he would then be wary of who is on whose side.

    If you can understand Johns wariness, you ought to be able to appreciate the practical reasons for revoking privileges until the dust settles. To have proceeded otherwise wouldve been risking leaving the site vulnerable to an angry person with admin privileges. Is that really so difficult to understand?

  30. Personally, I like the folks on both sides of this dispute. It looks like a case where it started as a misunderstanding and then exploded totally out of control (partially because of how difficult interpersonal communication can be over the Internet). And now that the flames are floating all across the Internet, it’s hard for them to go back and calmly renegotiate.

    That said, my own (just me) preferred outcome would be if they could patch things up. As John says:

    We remain the 2nd or 3rd most highly trafficked Mormon blog in the Internet

    They earned that ranking. They got that way by providing lots of great content and conversation. It’s unfortunate to see a winning team breaking up. Last I heard, Cheryl and John were friends (though I admit I’m a bit out of the loop 😉 ).

    If they can’t work it out, though, I’m happy to support both new sites: John’s re-vamped Mormon Matters and Hawkgrrl’s new former-MM-writers’ blog. (BTW, does anyone have the URL for that one?)

  31. As someone who missed most of what happened, and is now still not “really” on-line (my cable is cut and I’m using almost smart devices for the most part until tonight), this has been interesting.

    One wrinkle I’ve gotten in reading e-mail is how positive most of the back channel discussions have been about John. That really does not come through in the various discussions about it all.

    The other thing that does not come through is the fact that John has had a change in mind for eight to twelve months, wanting to migrate things towards what he just announced.

    As a result, this event seems to have crystallized the migration in a way that might not have otherwise occurred, which is why there isn’t any real ill will that I’ve been privy too.

    Of course I’ve been pretty much out of the loop, and had some intense personal distractions in my own life, but the story has a lot less storm and drama than it looks like from reading threads about it.

    I’d discuss more, but I’d need to know more first.

  32. I’m repeating myself here, but IMO JD has rather poor impulse control, and drama inevitably flows from his big, brave, grand gestures/statements/posts/podcasts unfailingly followed by wiggy editing/deleting/hand-wringing/finger-pointing/explainingexplainingexplaining/defending/lovingly rebuking his enemies/mote-and-beaming-one-upsmanship/etc.–and, well, just general emotional splatter the likes of which could employ an entire virtual CSI team.

    I can’t think of anyone else who’s taken so many people along for the crazy roller-coaster ride of veeeerrrrrrryyyyyy sloooooooowwwwwwwwly exiting the church–oh wait, staying in the church–oh wait, LOVING the church–oh wait, holding the church’s big fat feet to the fire–oh wait, being the spokesperson for the church in his head–oh wait, what is it now?

    To be fair, I would be remiss if I didn’t stand and say, as a proper apostate anti-mormon follower of stan, that I obviously also blame the church for being such a monolithic prick against which to kick and kick and kick.

    FWIW, I totally agree that a community belongs to the contributors and that grabbing the keys and shoving people around is bullshit, but just like in the church and any other business, ownership of the means of production ist ber alles. And again, I don’t think some of his MM fellow bloggers handled things well either.

    The popcorn just ain’t what it used to be. =/

  33. (Oh crap, I just noticed that someone has really spiffed up the place here. Is there a comment policy now, and/or did I just violate it?)

  34. Also, the blog post “Mormon Matters Massacre” made me giggle. (Just the title, I didn’t actually read the post or comments.)

  35. re 25:

    There are a few distinctions between Welker Watcher and JD. 1) John Dehlin is the one who has written publicly in the way that has adversely affected MM. 2) Naturally, we would be talking about John Dehlin. He writes a post explaining his rationale (with closed comments), and in the spirit of communication, we write posts back. His post wasn’t private, wasn’t an email, so our posts need not be either.

    On the other hand, Welker Watcher is still an unknown quantity. We don’t know who he or she is, or who his or her “in” with the group is. Welker Watcher isn’t public enough.

    re 30:

    For some of what I wrote on Irresistible:

    Whats difficult to understand is why John believes he has to protect the site from the people who operate it on a day-to-day basis. Why, for example, is it that the permabloggers are the angry p[eople] with admin privileges? Can the site be vulnerable to the people who operate it on a day-to-day basis, who have nurtured the community, who have nurtured the informal and formal rules of the site, etc.,? Or is it more likely that the site will be vulnerable to people who have at best a nominal interest (e.g., owning a URL) who want to overstep those informal and formal rules and who will render the site *writer-less* and *content-less* by administrative action? One of those sounds more damaging to the site.

    Chinothe entire issue, IMO, is that you are believing it would be the permas actions that would have been an attack on the site, rather than Johns actions. Our contention as permas is that we are NOT and were NOT outsiders threatening the site. Our ways and means are NOT and were NOT outsider policies that would be rejected by the host body. Decisions made in common among us are NOT rogue or mutinous actions.

    re 31: chanson, the address should be forthcoming in the next day or so. We still have to set up stuff so that it doesn’t look so…empty.

  36. I meant to add earlier, I am in general highly suspect of posts about “what happened” that are utterly one-sided and have comments disallowed. If there’s a story, then duke it out, people; everyone has something to say and I imagine the permas there are feeling totally angry and hurt and frustrated…you know, like JD maybe does. WTF is up with making your big stand and then not allowing anyone else to say anything. I’m disgruntled just on principle.

    My goodness I’m talky today.

  37. I understand how things can get out of control quickly and how things can be misunderstood over the internet/e-mail. I also understand how it can be difficult to think through a post thoroughly before posting it. Finally – I understand being busy – I spend time on the internet, but I still (somehow) think of it as a hobby.

    I personally believe that is the 3000 lb. elephant in the room that no one is talking about. Why are there consequences to posting or talking about what one person (Jensen) said on the internet? Why would that need to be removed? Why is that offensive to anyone?

    To give a corporate model – what happens when a senior manager (but not the CEO) comes out and makes a statement (an semi-apology)? And someone in the audience posts about it on the internet? Everything can be recorded, everything quickly goes viral. Perhaps it is poor judgment, but that’s also the nature of the world we live in. I believe it is all about appearance, how the LDS church appears to itself and to outsiders. Not surprisingly, the same as a corporate culture.

    I’m not excusing anyone’s behavior here. I’m just saying that people aren’t able to have open and honest conversations about these topics (posting controversial stuff about the LDS church and remain actively LDS). Whether or not a topic or comment is posted, whether or not something could be taken differently than what one originally intended. And I have to admit, things (from a mormon system) seem incredibly arbitrary. Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps I’m off base. I think it’s a flawed dysfunctional system.

    I don’t understand exactly what happened and I’m not directly involved. I simply think the context here is also important. But I also understand why the MM permas would be calling shenanigans.

  38. I think I’ve said enough. I like the tone of chanson’s #31 and I’m gonna second her sentiments in that comment and let it go for now.

    My advice to everyone at Mormon Matters is to give it up and realize that it Doesn’t Matter.” (insert Zen emoticon)

  39. I think the big deal at the core of this—Jensen apologizing—was significant, and John blogging about it was a good thing. John came under intense criticism that I think mostly amounted to “Yes, we agree that you should have blogged about this, and shared it with the world, but we think you did it with impure motives.” Then John reacted to criticism.

    What I hope doesn’t get lost in the entire matter is that a GA apologized. I think we should be discussing / debating /questioning the meaning and ramifications of that apology. And, without John Dehlin blogging about it, and sharing it on Facebook, this issue would almost certainly not have gotten the wide distribution as quickly as it did.

    Like many other people, I have a history of being critical of John Dehlin, but I give John tremendous credit for putting this out there. John must know at some level that people will criticize almost everything he does on the Internet, yet he continues to do some pretty significant things. I give him credit for that.

    Regarding all of the other stuff about MM and who acted appropriately and who did not, I remind everyone to reread comment #2. Many of us have quirky behavior, and regular readers or followers know who has what quirks. None of us are perfect, some of us are hot-headed, some are flamboyant, some are detail-oriented, some are big picture, some have thin skins, etc. I hope this is but a little “dust up” that blows over quickly, and we can get back to what passes for “normal” in our world. (In my case that will involve a video of me playing a banjo while wearing a low-cut wedding dress and hanging off the back of a moving train.)

  40. I’ve said everything I had to say too. (Well, almost; I’ll have a blog post up about some related stuff later today.) Really I just intended to give the new MM a thumbs-down and leave it at that. But it’s been an interesting conversation.

  41. Wry — glad you like the new look!

    Yes, we have a comment policy, but it’s the same as always, and you haven’t violated it. Your criticism of JD is kinda sharp, but it seems to fall essentially within the bounds of civil and constructive.

    Also, good point @39 and 41 — the main event (surrounding a certain GA) seems to have been drowned out by the meta-event discussion drama…

  42. #2: “None of which means Im going to stop reading Faith Promoting Rumor, or hoping that Chris H. continues to guest post here at MSP, or following Johns work, or enjoying Andrews insights. Weve all got our strange tics and theyre what make us human.”

    🙂

  43. There was no mutiny. There was no desire to have a mutiny. Had there been a desire to have a mutiny, there was no time to organize a mutiny. John posted on Saturday and closed comments before many of us even had opportunity to read the thread, let alone see the comments deleted. On Monday, he informed the permas that he had bumped the Saturday post to the top of the blog over the day’s scheduled post in light of a HuffPo article (which I STILL haven’t seen) without reopening comments anyway because he had no time to moderate. He “hoped everyone was ok with that”. Several people replied to him privately on THE PROCEDURAL WISDOM of doing this, and John, while citing lack of time until the following week, apparently saw the request for dialogue as the first stage of a mutiny — which he then prempted with a constantly escalating purge throughout the day. While, of course actually being as busy as a bee all week putting out his side of the story.

    The irony would have been hilarious if I hadn’t been involved in it.

    FireTag

  44. OMG. I got all distracted by the drama and completely missed #19.

    Seriously?

    Little ol’ MSP gets that many hits?? I remember when there were cobwebs and spambots and tumbleweeds.

    You guys (I am guessing mostly Chanson and Chino? I don’t know, though, so kudos to all [except not me, the so-called “administrator” who has to request a new password every year or so when I log in here…] who’ve done the place up so nicely.

    Is it wrong that I am happy to beat BCC, even if it was just a one-time thing? I’m a dork, I know.

  45. Wry — the fab new look is mostly thanks to our tech admin ProfXM! 😀

    Little ol MSP gets that many hits??

    Surprising, isn’t it? Especially considering that we hardly ever succeed in having a full week with >= one post per day. But we’ve been slowly but surely plugging along for a long time.

    I have a couple of posts in mind that I’m planning to write up myself, but I keep (somehow?) signing myself up for distracting side-projects. For example, this past week I spent all of my supposed-to-be-blogging free-time on tech-reviewing a new Java book…

  46. Been busy setting up a new blog and all, but I did want to say a few quick things. John & I are square with each other. He’s been wanting to do some things that differ from the direction I wanted, and this allows us to do what we as a team wanted to do. I hope the retooled MM is a big success, and that our new site is too. We aren’t well suited to support a podcast panel format, and we weren’t successful at changing to a HuffPo format. We’ve been successful with what works.

    Things escalated quickly, and once we decided to do our own blog, we became much more interested in what we could create there. But our team never saw it as a mutiny, and at least on my part, it wasn’t a heated decision so much as a desire to move forward.

  47. Well, it looks like all the rest of the “old MM Crew” is here, I’ll join the party!

    I totally agree with Kuri, esp his #21, lol.

    Andrew is right, no mutiny, I agree with his assessment of the issue, even though he is a teeny bit annoyed with me, and suspects I am “Welker Watcher.” (I am not.)

    Chanson, I love you. We need to get together and go to another polygamist church service soon.

    Chino, you scare me. Be gentle.

    Stephen, honey, be glad you were away. You don’t want to jump into the fray now.

    Hawkgrrrl is a master of moving forward. I’m glad to be a part of it.

    I have fallen head over heels in love with Wry. Wry, I have a crush on you. Friend me on facebook: Cheryl L. Bruno (since John has now broadcast my name far and wide.)

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