Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I've been thinking for quite some time about circulating a set of standards about what I could call provisionally "internet ettiquette standards for Christians". My vision of this project would be to have a document listing some
general and specific principles which all the signatories would agree to abide by in all their communication and use of the internet. In this way, we can all help to keep each other accountable in our discussions and debates and, I hope, promote a greater spirit of peaceableness. Jesus told his disciples that the world would know, or maybe we could say "recognize", them by their love. This does not mean we will always agree with each other, but I think it means that all our discussions should be done is a spirit of humility, of considering the other as above ourselves, of concern for the feelings and reputations of others, particularly, thinking of the global nature of the internet, all the strangers or aliens we bump into at every turn.

What I envision is having a document of standards which would be linked publically by all those who agree to abide by it. This way, in theory at least, people interacting with those who participate will all be able to be aware of these standards and help with accountability.

My problem is that while I have several ideas on the subject, I certainly have nothing comprehensive. I need as much help as possible in attempting to get this rolling. If you are reading this and have something to contribute in any way, please help me out. I think a rough outline would include the following:

I Intro
A Preamble explaining purpose of the standards

B General priciples of Christian communication (with proof texts?)

II Specifical principles

A Broadly applicable principles

1 e.g. dangers of anonymity

2 local church affilitation--making available contact info to your church in case of irresoluble conflicts

3 manner of seeking forgiveness

B Specific Internet formats with their own "rules"

1 Bulletin Boards
2 Email
3 Blogs
4 Instant Messaging etc

While I don't want to consider this "my" project, it would be good to make sure that any additions, clarifications, feedback or whatever do get collected and hopefully turned into something useful. To that end, at least for now, please send your communications to me, either as a comment or as an email. I'm frankly hoping that this will get taken over by someone wiser and more influential than me, but we have to start somewhere.

Please (!!!) feel free to link or copy this to everyone you think might help. I'll update my site with news when I have any.

Paul Baxter

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