Guidelines for Participation on the BT Library

Participation in the BiblicalTraining Library ("BTL") requires that you abide by our standards of behavior. These standards lay out the theological assumptions of BTL, as well as our basic rules for editing content and interacting with other users.

WE ARE NOT YET READY TO HAVE PEOPLE EDIT THE ARTICLES. WHEN WE ARE, WE WILL NOTIFY PEOPLE THROUGH OUR NEWSLETTER. IF YOU DO NOT YET HAVE AN ACCOUNT, BE SURE TO [[contact|SIGN UP FOR A FREE ACCOUNT]].

Who can edit

We are still formulating our policies as to who can edit these articles. We want the community to be involved and feel at home, but we must insure that the article stay authoritative.

Application process for the different roles (not yet functional)

  • Authors. People who give us chapters from their books. Only the author can edit.
  • Specialists. Formally trained people with specialized knowledge.
  • Trusted editors. Access to all articles except Author pages.
  • Professor. Access to all members of a class who have updated a major article.
  • Editor. People who have updated a single article and control further edits.

Statement of Faith

All BTL users must adhere to our [[Statement of Faith]] in all of their activities on the site. We do not (and cannot) require that every user personally agree with every aspect of the Statement of Faith, but '''no content may be published on BTL that contradicts anything in the Statement of Faith.'''

Please familiarize yourself with the Statement of Faith before you begin participating at BTL.

Interaction with Other Users

All BTL users are expected to behave in a civil, Christlike manner when interacting with other users or with site adminstrators. When disagreements occur, we expect users to maintain themselves with politeness and grace. Obscene, profane, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate language will result in warnings, restrictions, or even banning from the site.

All BTL users are also expected to respect the decisions of higher-ranked users on the site, and to abide by their moderation choices and rulings. If you feel that a higher-ranked user made an inappropriate decision, you can follow the [[appeal process]] to request a review of the decision. However, it is important to respect moderation decisions even when you don't agree with them, and to abide by those decisions rather than trying to work around them.

Editing Guidelines

The following guidelines pertain to issues or problems that can arise during the editing of articles on BTL.

Formatting Articles

Articles on BTL should present information in a clear and consistent manner. See our [[Format of Articles|article formatting guidelines]] for information on how articles should be organized.

Theological Differences within the Statement of Faith

There will be times when there are multiple theological interpretations of a particular topic, all of which fall within the Statement of Faith. For example, Catholics and Protestants have different understandings of [[communion]], yet both of their understandings fit within the Statement of Faith.

When this happens, each of the major interpretations of the topic should be explained. Generally this is done by creating subsections within the article explaining each perspective; but in the case of a major article, sub-articles (such as [[Communion (Catholic)]] and [[Communion (Protestant)]]) can be created and linked to from the main article.

Note that to merit its own subsection or sub-article, a theological interpretation must differ significantly from the other accepted perspectives. If the difference would be considered minor by most Christians, it probably does not merit its own article.

The exact format for doing this will be explained in the [[Format of Articles]] page.

Resolving "Edit Wars"

"Edit wars" occur when two or more users make contradictory edits to an article, resulting in a "back and forth" as each user repeatedly deletes the other's edits. This might happen when two users disagree about an important element of an article and want to make sure that their own version is preserved and others deleted.

When this or other edit-related issues occur, users should follow the following process:

  • Document your concerns on the article's [[discussion page]]. Post your specific concerns and describe the course of action you think should be taken, being as clear and specific as possible.
  • Respectfully allow other users to weigh in with their opinions on the disagreement; if other users seem to hold a consensus about the issue in question, consider stepping down in favor of the majority opinion. There will be times when you'll need to "agree to disagree" with other users, and your opinion may not always be the one that "wins out."
  • Let a higher-ranking user know about the issue or disagreement. Each page should have a way to contact the higher-level user responsible for that page (often a [[Teacher Role|Teacher]]). That user may have already noticed the disagreement, but it doesn't hurt to actively alert them to issues.
  • Respect the moderator's decision. The higher-ranked user will review the information on the discussion page and make a decision, often after consulting with other users. Once that decision is made, please abide by it, even if you think it was in error.
  • You can [[Appeal process|appeal]] a moderator decision if you feel it was seriously problematic, but be aware that abuse of the appeal process is grounds for disciplinary action by the site administrators.

Writing for your audience

When editing and writing articles on BTL it's important to keep the audience and tone in mind. It's our hope that this page will serve as an appropriate introduction to the non-technical aspects of writing for BTL.

Please see [[Format of Articles]] for specific information on putting together a BTL article.

Audience

BTL appeals to an extremely broad audience. All articles on BTL should be considered a valuable resource by academics while still being approachable by serious Christians. When writing for BTL, one must never assume that the reader holds a certain degree or has committed time to studying the resource being discussed.

Practically speaking, this means that a serious layperson in the Church who is interested in learning more about a subject shouldn't need to reference any other work or take a class in order to understand the concepts in your article.

Tone

We attempt to use an informal academic tone on BTL. Think of something a step or two above Christianity Today. Additionally, all articles should strive to be as objective as possible. It's our goal that a reader with no prior knowledge about your subject should leave feeling as if they understand the intricacies of all sides better than when they came in.

Language

For the time being, all articles must be primarily written in English. While our administrative staff is excellent, we're unfortunately not in a position to moderate in additional languages.