Update (2015): The aboutlife.com domain has been taken over by someone else, so I have removed all links.
I was pleased to discover that I have been made ‘blog of the week’ on this blog (link removed) on the AboutLife blogging system. AboutLife, if you have not come across it before, is connected to the Alpha Course originally devised by Holy Trinity Church Brompton and now used by churches worldwide to introduce people to Christianity via talks and tasty suppers.
I was very pleased to be called a ‘blog of the week’, so I thought I would leave a comment to show my appreciation. I tried to do so, but was dismayed to discover that commenting is not allowed unless you login as a member. ‘Oh well’, I thought to myself, ‘perhaps I’ll send the author an e-mail instead’. Once again, I tried, but discovered that one needs to be a member to send an e-mail to a member.
In desparation I decided that I would register as a member. Unfortunately one of the fields in the registration page is one saying ‘church’, with a dropdown menu. I do not belong to one of the churches on the list, and I don’t really want to pretend to be a member of Eltham Park Baptist Church when I am quite clearly not a member and in fact have never, to my knowledge, been to Eltham Park, pleasant as I am sure it is.
So I have a problem. I decided to go and look at the Frequently Asked Questions page, where I discovered:
How do I become a member?
You have to be invited by an existing member.
Ah. Another problem as I do not know any existing members. And I cannot get to know any existing members as I cannot e-mail them. Then, further down the page, advice to existing members:
Who should I invite?
Anyone who supports the aims of Alpha is welcome. The value of the network depends on everyone knowing and vouching for the other members they invite. So please never ever invite someone you do not know.
Oh dear. Leaving aside the supporting Alpha aspect as I do not know any members and no members know me I am in a bit of a pickle. I am destined to continue my life not knowing and not being known.
I can understand that the Alpha organisation want to have a forum for discussion where random idiots from the internet (like me) will not cause disruption. But I struggle to see why an evangelistic organisation, whose aim is surely to make contact with people from outside their community and evangelise them via the Alpha course, have made themselves into this gated commune where contact with the outside world is forbidden. Surely making it impossible for your neighbour to contact you goes against every principle of blogging and in fact Christianity.
I am going to send this post to the site and see what they say.
[5 minutes later] I can find no way to send an e-mail to the site except to go on a membership waiting list which is not what I am trying to do. Or to ‘report a page’, which is also not what I am trying to do, unless by ‘a page’ you include reporting the whole site. I shall give it a try.
Update: Christian, the author of the blog which made me ‘blog of the week’ contacted me:
Dear Dave, I’ve just seen your posting about the post I made with you as “Blog of the Week”. I’m so sorry about all of the not-being-able-to-comments stuff. I agree with you and have forwarded your comments to the developers.
For the record I’d view aboutlife.com as being still in Beta. I think some of the who can access stuff will get better over the next few months.