I think there is a very positive culture in the community that gathers around this site. People hold strong positions on spirituality, worship, liturgy – here those positions, including differences and disagreements, are shared with respect. And humour. People follow the comments policy. I recently was pointed to these 10 rules for online engagement:
- Pray. Bring Christ into the relationship at the very beginning, and let your prayer have more of the ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’ than ‘Lord, open my lips that I may declare your praise . . .’
- Listen. Engage with others, don’t preach at them. Know when to be quiet. It’s O.K. to have nothing to say!
- Respect. Don’t abuse anyone or vent your anger online. It will scare off some people and make others feel uncomfortable in your presence.
- Encourage. Give help when you can; affirm, compliment, if appropriate.
- Spend time: you can’t build good relationships in just a few minutes. You have to be serious about wanting to build a relationship and prepared to commit yourself.
- Share: not only what you are doing, but also what others are doing. This particularly applies to Twitter — don’t use it just for self-advertisement!
- Be welcoming: you need people who disagree with you.
- Be grateful: whingers are not very attractive, nor are those who take things for granted.
- Be yourself: truthfulness is essential. ‘You’ online should be the same person as ‘you’ offline.
- Love. Like prayer, it’s obvious, but unless you pray, unless you love those with whom you come into contact online, you’re wasting your time as well as theirs.
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