One complaint about LDS blog portals is that the criteria for how the administrators choose which blogs to include or exclude are rarely enumerated and as a result their decisions can appear inconsistent or arbitrary.

Of course, the process of blog selection will always be subjective to some degree.  However, in the interest of being transparent and open with Nothing Wavering readers, as well as setting expectations for those who apply to have their blogs included, I am posting the following explanation of the guidelines I employ when selecting blogs to include on the portal.

Blog Selection Guidelines

Nothing Wavering desires to promote high-quality, interesting content by mainstream, orthodox LDS Bloggers.  President Boyd K. Packer of the Twelve Apostles of the Church once used a memorable analogy of hiring coach drivers in a discourse about The Word of Wisdom.  Applying his analogy to blogging, we want to feature blogs that steer far from the cliff’s edge rather than try to see how close they can come without crossing the line.

Obviously, the number of Mormon Bloggers is increasing every day and we cannot include everyone.  Exclusion from Nothing Wavering does not necessarily mean that a blog does not contain worthwhile content or that it is not faithful by official standards.

There is an intangible aspect to evaluation, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us that we may discern those blogs and bloggers that we should promote and that we may have the gift of Charity while making decisions. We use the following guidelines to help us in our selection process.

1. Blogs should not include open criticism of or opposition to the authorities of the Church by any of the regular or guest contributors or by a significant number of commentators.  Complaining and murmuring about the church in blog posts or comments should be strongly discouraged.  We want bloggers and commentators of whom there is little doubt that they actively support the Brethren and the Church.

2. Blogs that discuss complicated topics are welcome, but the tone in which such topics are discussed should be decidedly orthodox.  The use of inflammatory or ambiguous language to stir up controversy and debate, to satisfy intellectual gratification, to challenge or question church doctrine or policy, to promote the sensational, or to emphasize supposed weaknesses and mistakes by the church or its leaders are not welcome.

3. Blogs that recommend blogs or other websites by disaffected LDS members or ex-Mormons are not welcome, regardless of their own content.

4. Blog content should be more than just personal testimony or stream of consciousness.  Blogs that consist predominantly of personal trivia, family photos, or content that only those who already know the blogger would care to read should seek promotion on social networking websites where such content is more applicable.

5. Blog content should not contain excessive in-group references, inside jokes, obscure slang, or unexplained acronyms that will be unintelligible to new visitors. You shouldn’t have to be a part of an “in crowd” to make sense of the content.

6. LDS blog content should be mostly about LDS topics or from an clear LDS perspective.

7. Blogs on non-LDS topics by LDS bloggers should mostly consist of thoughtful and edifying content.

8. Within reason, blog posts should strive to be well formed, grammatically correct, and formatted to be easy to read.

9. Swear words and profanity, even words that are often considered mild, should be avoided as should internet short-hand acronyms that stand for profanity.  Likewise a light-minded attitude toward sexual content, including sexual references and jokes is not acceptable.  Sarcasm and other language intended to belittle should also be discouraged.

10. Blogs should not contain excessive advertising and the blog layout should be relatively clean and easy to navigate.

11. Blogs whose primary purpose is the commercial promotion of a certain product, company, or service will not be included.  For instance, if the blog is the effort of an author or agent to market a specific book or series of books, it will not likely be included in the portal.

12. Many blogs are too new to evaluate effectively. Blogs less than 60 days old or with fewer than 15 posts should be placed in a waiting queue until they are old enough and have enough content to be properly evaluated.  Blogs that have more than 30 posts, however, may be evaluated even if they have not reached the 60 day limit.

Please feel free to give your feedback on these guidelines in the comments.