Dear Faithlife, please do not compromise the public perception of your integrity

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 7:28 AM

The decision specifically regarding the news feed, I do not see as an integrity issue. It is simply good business. Why would FL do anything that detracts from the software, especially if it has nothing to do with the software. Having a news feed that they cannot control the content of was a bad business decision to begin with. Removing it is a good decision, because the news is available without the feed. If someone wants to read it they can. The fact that there are two threads and lots of energy as a result of the news feed is proof enough. It has nothing to do with integrity or censorship. It has to do with FL making good business decisions.

Posts 2938
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 7:51 AM

MJ. Smith:

Mike Pettit:

There is no such thing as being theologically neutral.

Not in the absolute ... but there is nearer or farther from it on the continuum ...

 I tend to agree with Mike on this one. the only way to be theologically neutral is to be theologically vacuous. No one (here) wants that.

I think FL's approach all along has been about the best possible: be theologically sensitive (not neutral!) while asking for some measure of grace from its customers because of the nature of the marketplace. I can't come up with a better approach without excluding some segment of the current market.

I'm not known for agreeing with FL on a lot of things, but I think they got this one right, for the most part.

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 1307
Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 8:33 AM

MJ. Smith:

Faithlife, you have several reasons to be concerned about the public perception of your integrity at the moment. Note that I say "public perception" specifically to insure that you understand I do not actually question your integrity but rather I question your actions that put integrity into question.

While you are really good at giving advice in the forums (and its usually very valuable advice), I hope you are equally good at taking advice. 

You might want to consider adding this caveat to the subject line. You have done a good job articulating the fact that you are not actually calling into question their actual integrity, but rather trying to protect "public perception" of the same. That is to be commended and I hope FL appreciates that. 

Yet your subject line seems quite the opposite..that you are challneging the integrity of the company. I would suggest adding "public perception" to the subject, as well. This takes the subject from a potential attack to a concerned attempt to project the image of the FL brand. 

Take it for what it's worth, and respond as you may. But I hope you'll at least take a moment to consider that I might be right before abruptly firing back with an articulate reply. 

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College

Posts 1307
Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 8:45 AM

John Fidel:

The decision specifically regarding the news feed, I do not see as an integrity issue. It is simply good business. Why would FL do anything that detracts from the software, especially if it has nothing to do with the software. Having a news feed that they cannot control the content of was a bad business decision to begin with. Removing it is a good decision, because the news is available without the feed. If someone wants to read it they can. The fact that there are two threads and lots of energy as a result of the news feed is proof enough. It has nothing to do with integrity or censorship. It has to do with FL making good business decisions.

I really don't know how anyone could have said it any better than this!! That you for articulating this so well! 

And the fact that FL basically admitted that adding the feeds to the home page in the first place was a poor decision speaks volumes of their abundance of integrity, not their lack thereof! 

And since when did ensuring that a company uses their resources and energy to fulfill, enhance, or remain faithful to their business model have anything to do with "integrity"? While I might get upset with some of FL's decision at times, and wish they would make decision that cater to my desires, I would never challenge their integrity, or even bring the insinuation of a potential deteriorated public perception of the same, simply because I did not agree with the decisions that are being made. Last time I checked, FL was Bob's company, not mine. 

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College

Posts 7525
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 8:48 AM

I think MJ is right. Why didn't FL do or say anything about it until someone whined about it? She's right on point, the feature should be fixed not removed, though in my opinion having the option of turning it off is the actual fix to it. Again, if some don't like the channel, turn it off, but don't whine about it. People, always drowning with a glass of water! Next thing you know the radical whiner will start another thread giving FL "kuddos" for addressing his  petty and pityful concern 😒🙄

DAL

Posts 258
Aaron Sauer | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 9:19 AM

John Fidel:

The decision specifically regarding the news feed, I do not see as an integrity issue. It is simply good business. Why would FL do anything that detracts from the software, especially if it has nothing to do with the software. Having a news feed that they cannot control the content of was a bad business decision to begin with. Removing it is a good decision, because the news is available without the feed. If someone wants to read it they can. The fact that there are two threads and lots of energy as a result of the news feed is proof enough. It has nothing to do with integrity or censorship. It has to do with FL making good business decisions.

Nailed it!

Great decision Faithlife. I don't need a news feed with random content mixed in with my bible study software. Your integrity is not at all compromised and I support you 100%. I rely on other sources for my news.

Posts 2845
Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 9:35 AM

Personally, I am not concerned about Faithlife's integrity.  I expect them to get things wrong at times.  Lord knows, I do.  In fact, I often worry about my own integrity.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 184
Al Het | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 9:38 AM

MJ. Smith:
This radical not only wanted the news censored for themselves but for everyone, essentially denying freedom of the press. In this country that is a radical position.

Honestly, I find myself doubting that you used the word "radical" because this poster was "denying freedom of the press."  You have regularly replied in such ways to many posts on this forum. It is often when someone posts comments from an Evangelical perspective, particularly if they are assuming that the majority of Logos users are, in fact, coming from a generally similar theological perspective.  I would guess that in this post similarly, you used the term "radical" because you think many perspectives of conservative Evangelicals are "radical."

However, in case you really were thinking this person was "radical" for "denying freedom of the press," then I think that position is both silly and ridiculous.  The phrase "denying freedom of the press" in this country refers to something a government does, not something an individual or a company does.  I suppose that if the poster was saying that Logos should search the internet, and find every place this news feed is posted, and try to get them removed, you might be able to make a case that he wants Logos to "deny freedom of the press."  However, asking Faithlife to not include certain news feeds is absolutely not "denying freedom of the press."

It is not "radical" for a company to find out/realize that something they have been including in their software could be offensive to a major portion of their customer base, and therefore decide quit including that particular thing.  It is a common business decision.

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with you letting Faithlife know that you and potentially many other customers would prefer that this be kept in their software, particularly because if people don't like it, they can just choose to turn it off.  However, characterizing this as "radical" is not more likely to persuade Faithlife to your position, especially when I believe that the majority (or perhaps all) of the Executives there hold similar beliefs.

For what it's worth.

Posts 1705
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 10:42 AM

MJ. Smith:
All of these and many more require that we trust you to provide theologically neutral, accurate and complete tagging. This is especially true as we have little opportunity to attach visible corrections when we disagree with your classification.

It is very hard to see our own blindness, and as useful as the Logos/Faithlife materials have been, there have been issues. Just for yucks, I went back to a complaint I made about the Faithlife Study Bible in the FSB users group four years ago. As a Lutheran I objected to the note on Titus 3:5 for, at best, attacking a caricature of those who understand this as a reference to Baptism. In the four years since, there have been periodic updates of the resource, and recently I guess a significant rewrite that will be published in a dead tree edition. So I went back to this passage.

And it is better. Still bad, IMHO. I don't mind so much that it disagrees with me and my fellow Lutherans (and actually many others too). But it seems to dismiss so many of us as not worthy of even respect or notice. And the exegetical evidence they gave seemed hardly convincing to me. It is a further reminder of what Luther found at Marburg back in 1528. In talking about God the Holy Spirit using external things, we appear to have different spirits...

I must admit that when I see so little improvement four years after I used the forum they provided for feedback, that I am disappointed. Not that I am in the position to do so, but I still would not be able to give my wholehearted recommendation to a Lutheran congregation to use the FSB in any Confirmation instruction - at least without an organized response to things like this. FSB is a useful resource. But it certainly is not "core" for me. For those of us with the theological training to understand this, it is hardly new or unexpected, even if disappointing.

As much as Faithlife has reached out beyond it - and they have - Faithlife comes from, broadly, Anglo-American Evangelicalism. I myself am a user because they have been reaching out for decades. But at the core they still seem to be what they are. But I am a Christian that from a Church that has been saying "Yes and No" to American Evangelicalism for over a century.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

L8 Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox Silver, Reformed Basic, Academic Essentials

L7 Lutheran Gold, Anglican Bronze

Posts 809
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 11:39 AM

Ken McGuire:

And it is better. Still bad, IMHO. I don't mind so much that it disagrees with me and my fellow Lutherans (and actually many others too). But it seems to dismiss so many of us as not worthy of even respect or notice. And the exegetical evidence they gave seemed hardly convincing to me....

I must admit that when I see so little improvement four years after I used the forum they provided for feedback, that I am disappointed.

I think my question is...are you saying that there has been so little improvement and are using the example of they didn't change their comment on THEIR OWN study Bible?  Wouldn't that be like asking MacArthur to change a comment in his study Bible, or asking Adrian Rogers to change a comment in his own study Bible?

It just seems to me that THAT is their call!  It's THEIR study Bible.  You know how many study Bibles I own that I don't agree with?  Doesn't mean I have the right to tell them to change it.

I'm at a loss here...  I really am!

Aside from that, I would disagree wholeheartedly that there is little improvement as a result of the forum.  I think they are constantly improving from four years ago as their products get better and better and they work at communicating better and better to and with their client base.

Speaking more to the general reader, I think where I am SO dumbfounded is the sense of entitlement some customers display that seems to come because Faith Life chooses to interact with their customers.  Honestly, at times, its almost abusive.

I'm sure to receive flack about this, but honestly, I'm absolutely shocked at how entitled some users seem to think they are!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 11214
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 11:57 AM

As I understand, the FSB was an attempt at a broader audience, and indeed invited input. And indeed made changes. So, user desires are expected.

I suspect FSB is to the far-left of me, and to the right of Ken ... likely about where they wanted to be.

Regarding entitlement, customers are always entitled ... and businesses as well. Win-win.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 5432
DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 11:58 AM

I didn't care for the news feed, it had no link to bible study. But at the same time I did not see this having any bearing on the integrity of FL. I'd rather see them invest their resources in other things. And I do believe they try to be theologically sensitive as another poster has put it, but I don't expect individual writers of Lexham Press materials to put aside their theological beliefs. They are like any other resources sold by FL. 

Posts 932
Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 12:22 PM

Re: LSB. I read somewhere that Logos will sell almost any resource, but Lexham products do have a broadly evangelical stance (a commitment to inerrancy, at least). I can't find that section on the website, though. EDIT: Here it is  http://www.lexhampress.com/manuscript-submission/

Their mission statement explains why the newsfeed was off point (although their Cadillac pricing makes the second sentence shaky): "We use technology to equip the church to grow in the light of the Bible. Our team is committed to increasing biblical literacy and accessibility for every Christian around the world."

Posts 1705
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 12:37 PM

Denise:
I suspect FSB is to the far-left of me, and to the right of Ken ... likely about where they wanted to be.

Usually when the terms "right" and "left" are used, they are used with regard to the merits of "historical criticism". My comments have nothing to do with this at all. I am pretty firmly in the middle of the road, being run over all kinds of people on both sides on that issue. Smile

Instead my complaint is their far left wing reformation reading of Titus 3 - which separates the common biblical way of speaking which links "internal" changes with "external" happenings, so passages like this can obviously not inform our understanding of, in this case, Baptism. I view the presentation as quite unbalanced, and gave examples from exegetical works with a wide variety of theological leanings that have much more balanced presentations.

Doing a quick Logos search of Titus 3.5, I find this statement quite telling...

In particular, is baptism in view in v. 5? Of the commentators who have written on these Epistles, I can find but one who denies it.

Beasley-Murray, G. R. (1962). Baptism in the New Testament (p. 209). Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster.

It seems to me that on this FSB is promoting, at best, a minority position. I don't have a problem with that exactly, but a reference work, even when promoting a minority position, should at least make the reader aware of the majority view.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

L8 Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox Silver, Reformed Basic, Academic Essentials

L7 Lutheran Gold, Anglican Bronze

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 12:48 PM

Doc B:

MJ. Smith:

Mike Pettit:

There is no such thing as being theologically neutral.

Not in the absolute ... but there is nearer or farther from it on the continuum ...

 I tend to agree with Mike on this one. the only way to be theologically neutral is to be theologically vacuous.

Much of the tagging that Logos supplies is linguistic or text alignment. While there are a few situations of ambiguity with theological consequences, I view the tagging as generally theologically neutral. However, you are correct that when you move into their publications they are not theologically neutral but precisely what they claim to be "broadly Evangelical".

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 1:02 PM

Al Het:
I would guess that in this post similarly, you used the term "radical" because you think many perspectives of conservative Evangelicals are "radical."

You have guessed incorrectly. Few Evangelicals are radical just as few Catholics are radical. If you watch my posts carefully, I do not respond to theological position but to puts downs of others' theological positions, name-calling, and other statements that put others on the forums. Elsewhere I have explained why I have little tolerance for bad-mouthing others.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1463
Wild Eagle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 1:10 PM

Oh no, Faithlife you should not only keep the news feeds but implemt it to my library somehow and tag it. I just want to see from my timeline all the news what happened today, and on every topic recent news about it. Stick out tongue

Aaron Sauer:

John Fidel:

The decision specifically regarding the news feed, I do not see as an integrity issue. It is simply good business. Why would FL do anything that detracts from the software, especially if it has nothing to do with the software. Having a news feed that they cannot control the content of was a bad business decision to begin with. Removing it is a good decision, because the news is available without the feed. If someone wants to read it they can. The fact that there are two threads and lots of energy as a result of the news feed is proof enough. It has nothing to do with integrity or censorship. It has to do with FL making good business decisions.

Nailed it!

Great decision Faithlife. I don't need a news feed with random content mixed in with my bible study software. Your integrity is not at all compromised and I support you 100%. I rely on other sources for my news.

Yes Thank you Faithlife for doing right decision. 

"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying." Leonard Ravenhill 

Posts 171
Nick Highland | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 1:46 PM

Denise:
The software is unbelievably liberal ... but throws a few evangelical bones out now and then (with Zondervan helping out as much as it can).

Really?  That's definitely not my perception.  As someone who is a part of a tradition that some would describe as progressive (though few would describe as liberal), I find that Logos tends to cater to a more conservative crowd than me.  For example, I appreciate the monthly freebies (truly!), but they're almost always Calvinist-leaning, sometimes bordering on American Fundamentalism. If anything, I would have described Logos' theological bent as pseudo-Calvinistic.

Posts 11214
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 3:02 PM

Nick, my statement wasn't an absolute, but relative to the opinionator (me). Similarly, you would look at the 'tendenz'  from a differing angle.

Since we're both away from the apparent target, the freebies (for me) are a waste. I think there might have been one on Stone-Campbell; it was interesting.

The easy way in customer research to evaluate a perception, is who would you recommend the Logos Study Bible to? And here in our small burg, Logos SB fits best to the left of our evangelicals. I certainly would not recommend it anywhere to the right of evangelicals. Goodness.  Now, maybe they'd like the freebies.

Matthew (Oklahoma) probably has a better take on Logos to the right of evangelicals. (A complement).

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 1083
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 20 2016 3:08 PM

MJ. Smith:

Instead, you chose to tell us that the feature is not relevant to Bible study - a statement that very strongly reeks of a particular theological hermeneutic - and therefore you will remove it. (In addition, news is very relevant to sermon writing so the statement also reeks of illogical self-justification.)

M.J., this strikes me as bit unfair. While certain churches place more emphasis than others do on consciously interpreting scripture as part of a community of faith, very few encourage individuals to study and grow in complete isolation from other Christians.  I may have helped stoke this, because I commented that I thought:

  1. The complaints showing up on the Forums were a predictable result of including the newsfeeds; and
  2. In my judgment, the feature was peripheral to the core functions of the software.

To be clear, I did not intend to imply that news - Christian or otherwise - is irrelevant to sermon preparation, Christian growth, or any other part of the Christian life.

Just to explain my perspective, I use Logos essentially as a tool to read, search and otherwise work with electronic books, journals and other reference materials - a research library, rather than a news repository. Given the nature of the resources FaithLife sells, I suspect that's how most Logos customers use it most of the time. Of course, I could well be very wrong about that.  But it's from that perspective that a newsfeed seems to me peripheral.  It's just not what I use the program for, and it's not what most of the "how to" questions and feature requests on the Forums seem to be oriented around.

I do check the current religion news pretty much every day, just not with Logos. Of course, I may not be typical, and this may be an essential feature for many Logos users.  If so, I apologize.  But my comments were certainly not intended to minimize the importance of Christian community - they were purely around what features seem to me to be in FaithLife's sweet-spot, and the disproportionate amount of grief that the business decision to include this feature has created for the company.

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