Why not rename the website?

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  • #175 Reply

    It seems like calling the site something along the lines of the following would have a greater appeal to many, especially those who live in countries such as the United States:


    The above name would appeal to a greater number of people, do to the generally negative connotation of communism and communes in the U.S and other capitalist countries, so why not rename the website?

    #185 Reply

    Thanks for the feedback. That’s a good point and we also thought of the same alternative when naming the site. The problems are:

    1 “community” is not precise and direct. It has many other meanings than what the church of Acts or the Essene communes could be characterized as: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/community If we want to categorize something on the internet for the most people to easily find you use the most precise and direct language that isn’t confused with many other things.
    To quote David Bentley Hart: “If the communism of the apostolic church is a secret, it is a startlingly open one. Vaguer terms like “communalist” or “communitarian” might make the facts sound more palatable but cannot change them.”

    2 We aren’t looking to attract people who are adverse to ideas with a popular negative connotation. If we rename it “kingdomofgodcommunities” we might get some people to stay longer who don’t like the idea of “commune” and in the best case scenario they eventually get over that aversion when they realize that it is describing the same thing as a commune. However, people who automatically dismiss one thing because it sounds negative will likely do that with other ideas and this causes problems when living in close contact to people who have different ideas. (If they are unusual enough to join a commune then they probably have many other ideas with popular negative connotations) These are problems we are looking to avoid.

    3 It is possible to reappropriate negative language and there is nothing inherently negative associated with “commune.” There have just been many cults that are communes which are the origin of the label’s bad reputation. However, people also know (if they think about it) that monks live in communes i.e. that not all communes are cults. In the same way the label “socialist” was used for the U.S.S.R. but is also used for the Nordic countries which are not considered authoritarian. That is possibly why Bernie Sanders was able to use “socialist” and came close to winning the democratic nomination in the U.S. (If I recall he had a better chance of winning against Trump than Clinton according to polls) Most people do associate violent authoritarian regimes with “communism” because all states that have used that title (that I’m aware of) have been violent authoritarian regimes so we may edit that out of the paper. Oddly, I don’t think people connect “commune” and “communism” (the first is considered a group of people and the second is considered a political entity) This is similar to how people don’t connect “jew” and “Jewish” (in certain contexts) for example “Jewish” isn’t pejorative but “jew” used as an adjective or verb is offensive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew_(word)#Antisemitism
    To sum up the third point: “commune” like “socialist” (at least to many political persuasions) does not have an inherently negative connotation unlike “communism” and hence can be reappropriated more easily.

    4 There are advantages to using a controversial word. For the sake of brevity I’ll just quote Oscar Wilde: “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

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