There are, I think, three basic ways to set up comments at a public blog. The first is the way we have set it up here: anyone may post at any time, whether anonymously or not. The second is for the blogger to monitor comments and determine whether or not to let them through his 'filter' before they are published. The third is to allow no public comments at all, leaving only the bloggers who own the blog the freedom to comment to one another.
Bloggers choose among these options for a variety of reasons, which in themselves are generally neither good nor bad reasons. At Gottesdienst, we have taken the first option, because we want to encourage the free flow of ideas and discussion of matters liturgical and theological, in the interest of promoting and preserving the liturgy of the Church, and, ultimately, in service to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The downside of our choice is that sometimes matters get a bit side-tracked, sometimes heated and argumentative, sometimes unnecessarily so. We put up with that because we don't wish to stifle the exchange, which, on the bright side, can often be as edifying and helpful as the posts themselves are meant to be.
We trust our readers understand and appreciate this for what it is.
For my part--and I expect I am not alone in this observation--it seems rather stunningly ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the manner in which we have chosen set up comments at this site somehow makes us personally culpable for the opinions of those making the comments, as happened in our most recent thread of comments. Is it not self evident that we should no more be personally attacked for what one commenter says than for what another says? So self evident, I might add, that it should also be patently clear that anyone who notwithstanding this chooses to paint us with a condemnatory brush because of the comments others have made here must be so jaded with an agenda against us that he cannot begin to be objective.
So let the reader understand: one must look beyond, even ignore, such things as sneering broadsides against "the Gottesdienst crowd," or wildly bogus accusations, not only because they are pitifully petty, but because they might otherwise derail the proper purpose for this blog.
We welcome discussion and honest debate here; we really do. We encourage readers simply to set aside the unhelpful remarks which will inevitably arise.