"We degrade Providence too much by attributing our ideas to it out of annoyance at being unable to understand it."

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
These Are the People in Your Blogohood

I've been blogging eight years, beginning with the launch of the Thinklings. In that time, I have come to identify certain blog community types. Gone is the heyday of scintillating conversation and good ol' fashioned scrums in blog comment threads, but these folks are still around in some forms and fashions. Here are the people you meet when you're walking down the street of the Christian blogosphere:

The Ironic Policeman
This is the guy who tells you you should have been out street evangelizing or working the food shelf instead of pontificating in your blog post. It is somehow lost on him that he could be doing those things instead of commenting on it.

The Yes-Man
This dude loves everything you write. He loves you. He's probably watching you through the window right now.

The Debbie Downer
This guy or gal sees the world through poop-covered glasses. Sure, Jesus is risen, but everything's going to hell in a handbasket anyway. And have you seen the price of handbaskets lately? How can a decent man cut it in this terrible economy? One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy, of course, but this person is overfertilizing to grow it. There's no blog post you can write for which they cannot devise a "yes, but" and thereafter vomit their angst upon you.

The Loyal Opposition
The opposite of the yes-man, and closely related to a Debbie Downer also, this person lives to critique, challenge, yes-but, and contradict. You're wrong about everything, and he's going to let you know. He starts comments with the world "actually" a lot.

The Drive-By Bible Shooter
He's got a lot of verses. Now you do too in your comment thread.

The Tail-Eating Snake
This is the guy who strongly criticizes you for strongly criticizing someone. Because strongly criticizing is wrong. Unless you're strongly criticizing strong criticism. Wait. What?

The Hipster Hypocrite
This person is very offended by John Piper, Pat Robertson, Mark Driscoll, and anybody that could be construed as fundamentalist or conservative, but loves all the disrespectful, crude Christian satire blogs. It is not Christlike to criticize Rob Bell or Don Miller, but it's awesome to make fun of unhip Christians like Jerry Falwell and Southern Gospel singers.

Heart-on-the-Shirtsleeves Guy
There is nothing you can say to this person that will not offend or hurt them. Alternately sad and angry, they are at the center of their own universe, and you mustn't poke them. They don't like that. They will hate you forever.

The Anonymous Character Assassin
This guy writes under an assumed name so he can smear you and all kinds of other people. Also known as the Cowardly Lyin'.

The Human Spammer
This dude or dudette finds a way in every comment to point back to something he's posted. "This reminds me," he'll get around to saying. "I wrote something just like this..." He doesn't understand that a good track record of insightful comments will get people to click over to his blog of their own interest and that consistently linking to his own stuff is a great way to kill that interest. He's not so much interested in contributing to a conversation as he is in treating the conversation like a progressive dinner, with his house being the next stop. Except nobody wants to go there.

The Bleeding Heart
This person cannot stand to see any kind of disagreement or debate. "Can't we all just get along," they think. They would love to say that conflict isn't Christlike but there's all those mean things Jesus said to people in the Bible.

The Zealous Fanboy

Not to be confused with the yes-man, this is a commenter who is obsessed with someone else and wants to always quote, recommend, and refer to that person. The Johns MacArthur or Piper are typical objects of obsession. He won't tell you what he thinks, but he will tell you what John MacArthur thinks. And so that's what he thinks too. It will blow this guy's mind when you disagree with something his idol says.

Who am I missing?


Trackback URL: http://thinklings.org/bloo.trackback.php/6424.

Comments on "These Are the People in Your Blogohood":
1. Jason Anspach - 04/28/2011 6:02 pm CDT

Actually, you wouldn't meet any of these people. You should stop criticizing your blog readers.

2. Bobby - 04/28/2011 6:05 pm CDT

This is hilarious ... and that comment probably makes me the yes man :)

3. RazorsKiss - 04/28/2011 6:05 pm CDT

Hilarious, dude :)

Actually, it's Green, btw.

4. Jared - 04/28/2011 6:09 pm CDT

Jason - Loyal Opposition
Bobby - Yes-Man
RazorsKiss - Anonymous Yes-Man ;-)

5. Mark - 04/28/2011 6:12 pm CDT

Funny! Are you going to tackle types of Watchbloggers next? :)

6. RazorsKiss - 04/28/2011 6:13 pm CDT

I'm as anonymous as you are :) *cough*

How's it been, dude?

7. Matt - 04/28/2011 6:26 pm CDT


8. Bobbi - 04/28/2011 9:20 pm CDT

How about the 60 something grandma who digs 30 something pastors blogs who are theologically simpatico? Does that make me a groupie? I skip right over women's blogs.

9. Bill - 04/28/2011 9:49 pm CDT

You left off Socio McPatherson, who starts out kind of engaging, but next thing you know is saying offensive, unhinged and downright scary things about you on his own blog.

There's also the Reverse Evangelist, who starts out posing as a "seeker", engages you in conversation, and then ends up hijacking your blog as his own smirky forum for atheism, generally with cogent and unassailable "gotchas" such as "If God is all-powerful, can He make a rock so big that He Himself can't lift it?"

And, it must be said, you'll also run into tons of lovely people who become good friends :-)

10. Brandi - 04/28/2011 11:13 pm CDT

This is funny! I admit I am a yes-woman...which are you, Jared? :-)

11. Alex Costa - 04/28/2011 11:37 pm CDT

I love all of your blogs and I love you Jared and the turkey sandwich you had today looked delicious, but you're such a jerk for making this post. This reminds me about something I said at MY blog (check it out) about dudes like you who just like to rip on people for no real reason at all. Can't we all just get along and stop hating? Shouldn't you be helping the homeless in your area instead of spending so much time puffing yourself up?

Actually, the Bible says something about not judging people. Look it up for yourself. Romans 2. "Thou shalt not judge" So Jared, I'm sorry for my strong words, but you shouldn't be so strong in your critique of others. I love Brian McLaren (can't stand Piper and Driscoll by the way), and he says "listen to your critics no matter how crazy they are.

I love you... jerk.

12. Bill - 04/29/2011 8:33 am CDT

A sub-species of the Loyal Opposition is the Sanctified Bazooka. This is the person who disagrees vehemently with you, to the point of ad-hominem attacks upon your person, but then softens the blow at the end with a blessing.


"Actually, Jared, not only are you wrong, what you have written here, my brother, may be the stupidest thing ever penned since Creation. And not only is it stupid, but it is also dangerous. Who knows how many souls you are leading to perdition!

And not only is it dangerous, but you are perhaps the most disgusting example of everything that's wrong with the Christian blogosphere!"

[wait for it . . . wait for it . . . here comes the part that sanctifies the bazooka shot you just took. I call it the "sanctified sign-off"]


(other examples of the final to soften the bazooka include "In Him", "Peace", etc.)

13. Bill - 04/29/2011 8:40 am CDT

Oh, one more. I call this person Why Can't I Quit You!.

Here's the scenario. You're going hammer and tongs with someone in a comments thread, and at one point they do the blogospheric equivalent of throwing up their hands.

"It's obvious you're not listening to me. I'm done with this thread. Goodbye!"

You read the comment with a mixture of relief and frustration, but you move on.

Then, maybe ten comments later, they're back! You go back and forth a few times, then they salute and retreat again, shaking the dust of your awful blog from their sandles.

"It's obvious that we'll never agree. I'm out and I'm never coming back. Good bye!"

[repeat the aforementioned scenario about 10 more times.]

14. Jared - 04/29/2011 8:41 am CDT

I got a comment from that guy at GDC yesterday! (I didn't approve it.)
He said that I was obviously part of the conference machine and he would have thought he could count on me to expose the arrogance and money-grubbing of [famous pastors] but he obviously guessed wrong because I count on conferences to "greatly improve my book sales" (which isn't true, btw). He basically called me a soulless shyster.

Then he thanked me for the opportunity to comment and apologized if anything he said (in a previous comment that I deleted of his) was offensive.

15. Jared - 04/29/2011 8:43 am CDT

Oh, my last comment referred to Sanctified Bazooka mentioned in comment #12. Bill was leaving another comment while I was typing mine.

16. Jared - 04/29/2011 8:50 am CDT

Heck, I'll just share it. Bill, is this a Sanctified Bazooka comment?

I know that you are part of the conference machine and your book sales benefit greatly by your attending conferences and doing self promoting. I was just foolishly hoping that someone would have the courage to speak up against a harmful celebrity culture that hurts all the Church, pastors and laymen alike.

But I do thank you for your explanation for deleting my post. It was gracious of you to do so. I think that a distinction needs to be made. I didnt attack Platt's character. I just questioned his actions in light of his Radical book. I do apologize if it came off as a character attack. Not my intention.

I wish you all the best.

17. jen - 04/29/2011 9:07 am CDT

Too funny. Bill's additions are spot-on, too.

Call me a yes-man, I guess.


18. Karl - 04/29/2011 10:17 am CDT

How about the "I've got it all worked out" commenter? Or blogger?

This person's theological belief system is so comprehensive and interconnected that while in theory they believe in "negotiables" and "non-negotiables" of the faith, they end up speaking with the same degree of dogmatic certitude about their own doctrinal particulars - questions that Bible-believing, God-fearing Christians have disagreed over for centuries - as they do on the "Mere Christianyty-esque" issues that all Christians hold in common. Their positions on disputable matters lack humility, and they tend to sniff heresy or apostasy, or the slippery slope that may lead eventually to heresy or apostasy, in every position that doesn't line up with their grid. Even if they're going to share heaven with a lot of people who hold that position. They seem to it as their mission in life to bring the entire blogosphere to their particular "room" off of the "hallway" of Mere Christianity; or at least to convince everyone that their room is the best one to be in.

19. Bobbi - 04/29/2011 11:14 am CDT

Just finished reading the biographies of Watchman Nee, Martin Luther, and David Livingston. They were beaten up pretty badly by their brothers and sisters in the faith as well as by the ungodly. Knowing what happened to Jesus makes us aware that the same will happen to us.

20. KenLeonard - 04/29/2011 1:23 pm CDT

I have this fear of where I'd be categorized ...

21. Nick - 04/29/2011 1:47 pm CDT

Close relatives of the Yes-men are the Tape Recorders. They quote something interesting you posted with 5 or less words confirming the awesomeness of that quote.

22. sam - 04/29/2011 1:50 pm CDT

I know its easier to try to demonize, caricature, marginalize, and label people than it is to deal with the content of their concern/criticism. Its easy to be dismissive of another's view in order to try and justify and rationalize one's own viewpoints. Too often in the blogosphere as is being done here, you see people never dealing with the content of a concern and rather trying to minimialize a person.

And I would have hoped that you would have not ripped my comment out of the proper context of the larger comment that I previously sent you. AND NEVER did I call SPECIFICALLY on you to address the issues that I raised. Neither did I call you or imply that you were a "soulless shyster". And since you mentioned it, I think you find your readership naive if they believe that you being a part of conferences do not help your book sales.

But congrats on making to the big leagues of church conferences. Feed the machine.

23. Jared - 04/29/2011 2:09 pm CDT

Sam, not only are you saying I'm insulting my readers by making that claim, you're calling me a liar.

And doing it anonymously.

Leave your real name and email address, and I would be happy to take up this conversation offline.

24. Jared - 04/29/2011 2:20 pm CDT

On a side note, it's astonishing to me the way people assume having a book published is a great moneymaker. Unless your last name is Lucado or Warren (or Osteen), given the time put into a book and the return on that investment, it's more profitable working an assembly line.

With the money I've made on Your Jesus is Too Safe, I could buy a really nice TV maybe. With the advance for Gospel Wakefulness I could get really crazy and, like, pay off debt accrued from moving expenses to a far away exotic land, like Vermont for instance.
The last royalty statement I received was a whopping zero dollars and zero cents.
And none of my books have ever been sold at a big conference. The little conference I led in Houston a few weeks ago was free.

So, as you can see, Sam knows exactly what he's talking about and I am clearly in this business for the oodles and oodles of moolah.

25. Bill - 04/29/2011 3:12 pm CDT

This kind of feels like old times . . .

26. Jared - 04/29/2011 3:17 pm CDT

It was always my fault back then too. :-)

We're getting the mojo back, baby!

27. nhe - 04/29/2011 4:41 pm CDT

I think you left off the "Thread Terminator" - the person who makes the definitive, final word comment......it usually starts with "to summarize" or "to fully clarify"......and then you won't ever see another comment on the thread.......I think that's me!........time will tell......

28. Cara - 04/29/2011 5:28 pm CDT

I just read here and don't usually say anything.


29. Eddie Eddings - 04/30/2011 12:39 pm CDT

This was a pleasure to read. You nailed it.
There is a type I have run into on my blog that likes you, but irritates the fire out of you with their comments. I do a humor blog and this brother will sabotage the direction or story line that I am trying to develop.
If I have a character who reads a secret code, for instance, and discovers that "the Christmas Islands were originally called the Hanukkah Islands" he will comment, "Your character got it all wrong! The Christmas Islands is where Santa Claus lives! And that wasn't a secret code...it was a crossword puzzle his brother was working on."

30. Nathan W. Bingham - 04/30/2011 3:47 pm CDT

LOL. Good read.

I think there's a cousin to "The Loyal Opposition'. The commenter who may not disagree with everything you write, but they'll only ever comment when they disagree.

I can't imagine how a relationship in the offline world would go if people did this. Imagine sitting with a group of friends having a group conversation, but there was one person who only ever contributed by yelling out, "You're wrong...!", sporadically throughout. Somehow, this is appropriate online?

Thanks again for giving me a good laugh!

31. Milly - 04/30/2011 10:07 pm CDT

Wow look at all the comments. Now I can't stop reading this blog. I'm back and with more sass. Respectful and still sassy.

32. Bill - 04/30/2011 11:09 pm CDT

Another type, which is somewhat rare but that we have experienced at times: Blogger Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. This is the commenter who you know in real life. It works in two ways: either the real-life person is gentle, humble, and soft-spoken but takes on an aggressive, argumentative, and snarky persona on the blog, or visa-versa (the person is kind of abrasive in real life but the very picture of grace on the blog).

33. Gareth - 05/01/2011 9:24 am CDT

Maybe blogs should just disable the comments sections. It isn't a requirement after all.
It's ironic that a blogger writes a post essentially calling his readership a bunch of losers. Would he be brave enough to do this in person to a congregation of 'readers' who show up for a talk or a sermon by him?

34. Dan Phillips - 05/01/2011 10:07 am CDT

I just have one question: did you personally sit down and have coffee with each and every representative of each and every category you just laid out, before posting?

Because, you know, if you didn't 3 bad on you, dude. Baaaad!

35. Jared - 05/01/2011 12:28 pm CDT

Gareth, yes "he" would.

Dan, no. :-)

36. That Person - 05/01/2011 12:39 pm CDT

Wow. Just wow.

You need to repent!

37. AJ Mathew - 05/01/2011 12:45 pm CDT

Wow! This is scary! Whatever comment I leave will classify me into one of the many categories!! I guess it's good I generally just read and rarely comment!!

38. Jared - 05/01/2011 12:51 pm CDT

AJ Matthew, you are Positive Lurker Person.


I don't want to rule out that those offended by this post are Heart on the Shirtsleeves Guys, but for those honestly offended, I would just say that this post is meant in humor and I trust that long-time readers of Thinklings or my other blog know that I don't hate my readers.

One thing I should've put in the intro is that these are the people you occasionally meet in the blogosphere, not the only people you meet. I want to affirm what Bill said early on, which is that the majority of Thinklings commenters are awesome, friendly, encouraging people.

But can't we be honest to admit that not everybody online is like that and that it's okay to send them up?

39. Bill - 05/01/2011 1:40 pm CDT

Maybe it's my turn to be offended, or just to curse the imperfect medium of the printed word for conveying information (or our inability as readers to perceive meaning and intent). With that said:

It's ironic that a blogger writes a post essentially calling his readership a bunch of losers.

That would be very ironic, but obviously that's not what this blogger was doing.

Is that really what this post was meant to convey, in your opinion?

40. Karl - 05/01/2011 2:28 pm CDT

Absent Jared's clarification in #38, the original post does make it sound like every blog commenter falls into one of the categories outlined ("here are the people you meet..."). And I'm not sure that any of them is particularly flattering, if one feels like it is being applied to them. For those of us who read regularly and comment from time to time it does make you wonder "gee, I wonder which of those they think I am?" Still, I thought it was more funny than insulting. Just like Jon Acuff's "Stuff Christians Like" is funny even if there's an element of "ouch, I've done that" to his send-up of Christian quirkiness. My guess is that depending on the blog, or the view being expressed, or even the day and our mood, we all have come across as several of those types of posters at different times.

41. KenLeonard - 05/01/2011 5:26 pm CDT

Well, I certainly disagree that anything in the post implied that EVERYONE is one of these arch-types. In much the same way that not every "Sesame Street" segment of the "People in Your Neighborhood" song profiled every single person that you see when you're walking down the street.

THough I still fear where I might be placed ...

42. Bill - 05/01/2011 6:16 pm CDT


First off, thank you so much for being a voice of reason!

Secondly - I know how you feel. I've been nearly all of these at one time or the other :-)

43. Aaron Armstrong - 05/01/2011 9:14 pm CDT

Funny thing—I read this yesterday and said, "Man, I'm glad I don't have too many of those stereotypes lurking." Then Drive-By Bible-Shooter showed up.

Thanks for the laugh, Jared.

44. scott mckenzie - 05/01/2011 11:18 pm CDT

hahahaha - this stuff is hilarious - oh btw,
the human spammer commenter reminds me of a blog I posted about two months ago...

45. Jared Moore - 05/02/2011 3:29 am CDT

I'm a first time visitor; scared to write something... I thought this was an outstanding post... and if I ever meet you face to face, I want you to sign my Bible. BTW: Move your curtains so I can see what tv show you're watching...

P.S. Nice Bono poster.

46. Justin - 05/02/2011 9:31 am CDT

Bill, #13 is one of my favorites. I used to help monitor a music forum, and we called them "I'm leaving!" posts. People would leave, come back a day or two later, use a new pseudonym, concede thanks to all of the PMs they got. Whatever it took to drum up the drama.

The one I also see a bit is The Grass Is Greener person. If you post about a frustration of yours in evangelicalism (or whatever your circle is), expect to hear how much better it is in the Catholic/Calvinist/Charismatic/Orthodox/Anglican/Emergent/House church movement someone is going to. Links can easily be provided to this oasis of sanity that is free from trappings.

47. AStev - 05/02/2011 2:10 pm CDT

Heh, this is amusing.

There's a subcategory of Heart-on-the-Shirtsleeves people, who do it ON PURPOSE, presumably because they think that styling themselves as a victim gives them more legitimacy in some way.

48. AStev - 05/02/2011 2:20 pm CDT

...and perusing the comments, I think #32 by Bill is actually spot-on, mostly because it describes how I used to be (and sadly, probably still am to a certain extent). Pray for us Jekyll & Hyde types.

49. Bobbi - 05/02/2011 3:06 pm CDT

How about a blog on the funny personalities of bloggers?!

50. Bill - 05/02/2011 3:27 pm CDT

Bobbi - excellent idea! We'll get Jared right on that :-)

(seriously, that would be a good blog post topic)

AStev - heh

51. Bird - 05/03/2011 7:08 am CDT

Dang. An old fashioned Thinklings comment thread has been going on and I've been snoozing.

So, as you can see, Sam knows exactly what he's talking about and I am clearly in this business for the oodles and oodles of moolah.

Well, I did see you schmoozing with Cadillac-drivers at the GWC. ;-) And you did buy me and my lovely wife some coffee, flashing cash like it's 1999.

I guess sam the Loyal Opposition dude has a point.


52. Tony - 05/04/2011 9:56 am CDT

I thought about getting this coffee mug after reading this blog entry and all the comments :)


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