Yes, ldsblogs.org (Mormon Archipelago) de-listed me from their portal

John Dehlin Mormon Stories

I keep getting inquiries, so I thought I’d answer them once and for all from a single place.

  • Is it true that ldsblogs.org removed you from their portal? Yes.
  • Did they at least contact you before they de-listed you? No. I heard about it from someone randomly.
  • Why did they do it? They said it was because I referenced/provided links to the View From the Foyer web site, which they said is not the type of web site they want promoted from their portal.
  • Didn’t Dave’s Mormon Inquiry also post links to the Foyer? Yes, but they said he provided the appropriate context to make it appropriate for their taste.
  • Why did you reference “View from the Foyer”? Why not? I thought it was interesting that their site was being shut down with minimal notice by the owner (less than 24 hours notice). For many LDS folks on the Internet, this site (which I believe pre-dates the bloggernacle) has been a very important part of Internet Mormonism. I thought, at a minimum, that it was a newsworthy event for those who track Mormonism on the web. In addition, I have many close friends who post there, whom I admire and respect.
  • Are you angry at ldsblogs.org? No. I’m not angry. Philosophically, I totally believe that moderation is necessary and important on the Internet. But I am sad. I’m sad that I considered many of these guys friends, and none of them felt it important enough to contact me before they did this. I had to find out from someone randomly on the Internet. I’m also sad because I honestly believe that I am trying to do good on the Internet (reactivating many, etc.), and it feels unfortunate to me that people can’t be more comfortable with different approaches, and have more trust in the average LDS person to make decisions for themselves as to what sites they should visit, and what sites they shouldn’t. I guess I do respectfully disagree with their rationalization.
  • Who are the guys behind ldsblogs.org? I don’t know all of them for sure, but the ones I know about are: Geoff J, J. Stapley, Roasted Tomatoes, Rusty Clifton, Ronan, and John Fowles.
  • Who is responsible for de-listing your site? Apparently Geoff J was uncomfortable with my post and complained, and J. Stapley pulled the trigger.
  • Aren’t they just jealous that your blog is bigger than all of their original blogs? I have no idea if this is even true–let alone if it is a motivating factor. I find it hard to believe that they would be motivated by something as petty as jealousy. I have publicly criticized them 2 or 3 times, and I know that probably doesn’t help things. I also know that my approach is quite different than a few of them–I guess I tend to moderate a bit less than they do. I’m also less of a literalist than some (not all) of them in terms of my testimony. A few of them I consider to be friends–so who really knows for sure.
  • Do you think they’ll let you back in? Part of me hopes so, because frankly, it hurts my feelings to be excluded–especially in the way, and for the reasons they did it. Another part of me doesn’t like having an axe hanging over my head–waiting to fall if I post the wrong thing, or offend their sensitivities. I will say that stuff like this really does discourage me, and makes me reconsider my involvement on the LDS Internet at times. Sometimes it really does seem like high school all over again. Popularity contests. In crowds and out crowds. Cruelty. Egos. Etc.
  • Should we boycott ldsblogs.org? That’s your call, but personally, I think that’s a silly question. This isn’t the U.S. civil rights movement circa 1960, or India circa 1940. The bloggernacle isn’t CLOSE to being that important. Though if you want to let them know how you feel about it, feel free to do so. They claim that their actions were performed to protect you–so if you happen to agree or disagree with the decision, you ought to let them know so they can better know and serve their audience.
  • Is there anything we can do to help? At a minimum, if some of you who post on a blog included in ldsblogs.org would be kind enough to do a post about this post–that would at least let my readers (who look there to see my posts) know that until MA decides to re-list me, they won’t be able to find my posts there.
  • Do you see an alternative to ldsblogs.org? My hope is that those involved will learn to show a bit more professionalism and compassion when dealing with these types of situations. They could do some really cool things if they wanted to–and I have great hope for the possibilities. If not, there is always ldselect.org. Personally, my ultimate preference would be for someone to create a Mormon version of http://www.digg.com or http://www.slashdot.org, where people can democratically vote/rate their favorite Internet items–and not have it decided by a correlation committee. I also own http://www.mormonblogs.org if anyone decides that they want to provide yet another alternative to what’s out there. Please feel free to contact me if you have time to build up a complimentary blog aggregator. While the founders of the bloggernacle are historically significant, I don’t believe it would be hard to quickly grow a new site–that attempts to be more democratic, and inclusive (i.e. let people decide more for themselves what they want to view). If you have web development skills, and are interested, please do contact me.
  • Anyway, hopefully this post will make it so I won’t have to answer any more emails about this whole deal. Frankly, it’s just kinda depressing for me.

    Thanks to all of you who have expressed your care and concern. It really is moving to see how much support there is out there for what we’ve been trying to do. I still have hopes that we can mature as a community and move beyond such things. I believe we can.

    John Dehlin