A couple of things have come to my attention in terms of the day-to-day operation of the site that need to be dealt with. I’ll list them briefly here.
We have advertisers here at 1P5. Good people who pay good money to link to their products and services. These are not ads served up by Google, or some click exchange software. These are real people who pay to have access to your clicks – people whose ads I only approve of only after I become familiar with what they’re selling.
I’ve turned down advertisers in just the last couple of weeks because I didn’t think they merited your attention. I’ve also brought some new people on board. Please, if you would be so kind, turn off your ad blocker on this domain so you can see the ads of our sponsors. Click on them. Check out what they have to offer. These people are helping to support this website, and that’s important. I also plan to offer some advertiser spotlights to those who have ads up as we head into prime holiday season. I want them to tell you about their products and why they believe they’re right for our audience. We’ll give each of them who wants it a post. It’s my way of saying thank you to them for having the confidence to purchase ad space with us, and of introducing you to things you might want to buy your loved ones for Christmas.
I also want to talk about the ads that are not so great. I use Disqus to manage comments for various reasons, not least of which is the ease of sign-in from various other accounts and social media platforms. But Disqus keeps upgrading their platform, and they have implemented ads on at least one occasion that I didn’t approve of. I received emails from some of you letting me know that there were ads on our posts that didn’t fit the beliefs we espouse. For that, I apologize. Disqus pays us for the ads they include that you click on, but I’d rather forego the money than let them put whatever they want at the bottom of our posts. I’ve removed their latest addition as of today, and I want to encourage you to contact me if you see anything on the site that looks like it doesn’t belong there.
I’ve made the mistake of not creating a comment policy. It was my hope that it wouldn’t be necessary, but then again, I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know better. I’ve had to write such policies for professional organizations I’ve worked for, so why not here?
Until I get one finished up, let’s make it simple: I will not tolerate abusive or insulting language toward myself or our guests. I understand that conversations sometimes get heated; I’ve certainly been guilty of this as well. But let civility rule the day. Try to see the perspective of your sparring partner. When possible, give the benefit of the doubt. If necessary, flag comments that are abusive (I do not see them all, but I will review those that have been flagged.)
Finally, we talk about some controversial topics here, not least of which are those relating to the actions of this papacy not in accord with Traditional Catholic thought and teaching. BUT WE ARE NOT SEDEVACANTISTS HERE. If you come into a comment thread saying that “Bergoglio is not Catholic” or “Francis is not the pope” in a way that gives me any reason to believe you think you have the authority to pronounce such, I’m going to take your commenting privileges. Full stop. I’m tired of issuing warnings.
I’m also seeing a lot more aggression and frustration in the comment boxes lately. This is to be expected. People are upset. But comment observation and moderation is beginning to take up too much of my time, which takes away from the production of other content. COMMENTING IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT. It’s silly to have to say that, but if removing a commenter or two cuts down on my admin time by 20 or 30%, guess what I’m going to do?
Please, keep things civil.
Donations DO NOT Purchase Extortion Rights
We are a small non-profit. The money we raise through donations currently goes to two things: paying our technical and office-related overhead (equipment, etc.) and paying me to sit here and work on the site content all day. As our budget grows, so will the areas the money goes to. For now, though, the budget is small and what it goes to is relatively simple. And we couldn’t be more grateful for those of you supporting this cause.
But here’s the “but”: what donations DO NOT go to is the purchase of special treatment for donors. A particular donor contacted me on two occasions this year over grievances pertaining to our interactions in the comment boxes. They didn’t like how I dealt with them. They made sure to remind me of their contribution each time. The second time, they wound up having their commenting privileges removed because they couldn’t seem to handle them with civility, and that was when they told me I should refund their money – money from a single contribution a month and a half before the disagreement.
I love our donors. I pray for our donors. I have masses said for our donors. But what I will not do — NOT EVER — is dance to the tune of a donor just because they are a donor. Contributions entitle donors to a tax deduction and masses said for them and their intentions, NOT the ability to extort the behavior from me that they deem appropriate. I’ve seen what this kind of thing has done to certain other apostolates, and it is very much not in the interest of serving the truth.
We need donors. We need twice as many as we have now. But we don’t need donations with strings on them. Please, if that’s how you view this, just don’t send us money. It’s easier for everyone.
This is a very rare problem. In fact, it’s only happened once. I hate to even address it. But I need to make very clear that I won’t tolerate these kinds of demands. I do my level best to run this site the way I believe it should best be run, to create content that I believe serves God and His Church and the Catholic Faithful. This involves a lot of work and a lot of prayer and a lot of intuition and connections and skills that I’ve accumulated over the years in various professional positions and as a writer of untold thousands of articles and posts. If you don’t like the way I’m doing it, you might be better off taking your donation and starting your own website.
Comments? Questions? Concerns?
There are some other things on various burners that I could mention, but I’ll wait until they’re further along. I would like to take this opportunity to ask:
What are the things you’d like to see more of here? Topics? Articles? Writers? Podcasts? What are we doing that’s good? What do you want less of? What do you want more of?
Feel free to leave your comments below. I probably won’t respond to all of them, but I will read them. We’re rapidly coming up on the end of the year, and I want to begin plotting out our plans for 2016.