A Pepper Grinder Post


Were you expecting some witty and insightful posting on how comments on websites differ from the Old Testament wisdom literature? If so, you will be disappointed. The point of this post is to tell you about a new comment system being inaugurated on The Pepper Grinder.

As you may or may not know, the old comment system was nothing fancy. If you posted a comment, I received an email with the comment enclosed, and I would then post it on the site. Comments about a post didn't show up at the end of the post. Instead, if a post had comments, there would be a button to click at the end of the post that would take you to a page where you could read the comments.

I wanted to change to a system that was more like what you see on other sites, where comments would be visible at the end of each post, and where a user who posts a comment would see it right away. On the other hand, I didn't want a system that could be abused by people who had no interest in making a comment, but just want to post a link to their site selling drugs to cure erectile disfunction. (MANY of the "comments" I get now are pushing Viagra or other drugs.) I wanted to make my comment system simple, clean, and intuitive. What I'm inaugurating today is my first attempt at this.

In a way, it seems silly to spend many hours developing something to facilitate comments, when I don't get that many. I have two excuses.

First, I'm a geek. I like messing around with computers and tricking them into doing what I want them to do. The intermediate stages where things are not working can be quite frustrating, but I do get quite the rush when things finally work the way I want them to.

penguinsSecond, I'd like to have The Pepper Grinder be more than it is now. I was listening to a book lately by Walter Isaacson called The Innovators. He was talking a lot about how the modern digital world came to be, and I was struck by his description of how some early proponents of the Internet viewed it. Some of them saw it as a way to make money, but many saw it as a way for people who wouldn't normally know each other to make connections. They saw it as a way for many different people to work together on things and accomplish much more than they could individually.

When I look at the online world now, I don't see a lot of community. Sure, there are little pockets here and there, but mostly, it seems like you have billions of people who are either just absorbing shallow content passively, or who are "socializing" in a way that involves the shallowest of communication, or who are trying to use the Internet and the people who use it to make money.

I would love to have The Pepper Grinder be one place where people who are thoughtful and who care about God and the Bible could talk to each other. My site has primarily been dedicated so far to me saying what I want to say. I'm not planning to shut up, but I'd love it if other people would join in. I am sure we won't always agree, but that's what can make it interesting!

With this in mind, I'd like to set out a few basic rules:

  1. Don't be a jerk. You can disagree with someone, even violently disagree with them, without acting sneering. Please don't act like other people are stupid because they don't see things the same way you do. Treat other people the way you would want to be treated.
  2. Don't use this site to try to sell stuff. Ever wondered why the Pepper Grinder has NO ADS, EVER? There's a reason for this, chaps.* I've chosen to pay out of my pocket for the Internet hosting costs of this site and to donate my own time, without trying to make money from ads. Please follow suit and don't post things that are designed to get people to buy something or to click a link that will earn you a fraction of a penny.
  3. Try not to be offensive. I'm not super pious in the sense of being scandalized by all cursing or thinking people should never talk about sex. However, I would ask posters to keep in mind people who might be offended by some of these things and avoid being too in-your-face with language or content.

user pageGetting down to brass tacks (as my late mother used to say), how does it work? If you're someone who has posted before, you have probably already gotten an email saying that you are signed up for the site as an unmoderated user. If you haven't ever posted, it isn't hard. Just click the Reply button at the end of any comment thread or the Add a new comment to this post button at the end of a post. You can even go to the and post an Apropos of nothing comment. This will take you to a sign-in page. If you have already signed up, you can enter your username and password (I'm hoping your browser will have the good sense to stick them in for you), and away you go. If you're new, all you need to do is fill in the New User section, where you'll need to enter a username, email, and password. If you're a regular user, your comment will appear on the site immediately. If you're a new user, you won't see the comment right away. It will make its way to me. Once I've determined that you are a real person rather than a robot, and that you aren't a spamming devil, I'll post your comment and make you an unmoderated user.

If you're worried about privacy, I will say two things:

  1. I will NEVER EVER share or sell your email address.
  2. I couldn't see your password even if I wanted to. This is why, if you forget your password, you can get it reset with a computer-generated password that I never see, but I can't tell you what your password was.

Finally, I'd like to ask for your help. For one thing, if you see something that doesn't work right or that could be made better, please let me know. The best way to do this, ironically, is not to make a comment but just to use the old . This will email me, and I will really try to fix the problem as soon as possible. And the other thing you can do is, make a comment! Comment on this post, comment on an older post, reply to another comment thread. If you have any ideas for how this site could be made better, please let me know. I would love to hear from you, and I think other readers would too.


*A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle--page 40. (also page 138)

**Photo credits: Penguins from

Comments on this post:

Well, I think it's cheating when your wife comments, but I thought I'd try... Seriously, though, I think you should give my prize, assuming I win, :-) to one of the children. I like your blog. I read the posts first, right?
-Susan   December 26, 2016

Maybe it's nepotism, but it doesn't bother me! (For those of you who don't know, Susan does double duty as wife AND editor. She does both very well.)
-Pepper   December 27, 2016

So apparently all your comments are going to come from family, but I wanted to suggest that I would love to see a post looking at the genealogy of Genesis 5. The argument is often made (and I tend to agree) that the genealogies shouldn't be understood too literally since they may leave out (multiple) generations. But how are we to understand one where we are told how long each party lived? Is Moses trying to tell us the time span between Adam and Noah?
-Joshua   December 31, 2016

Hmm. That's an interesting idea. I'll think about it, but as of right now, it isn't something I've given thought to. Let me cogitate on that one. Thanks for the suggestion! (Note: Joshua is one of my sons and is currently a seminary student.)
-Pepper   January 1, 2017

Seems to me that I got what I said I wanted. One of my children got it. :-)
-Susan   January 2, 2017