As long as I’ve used StumbleUpon, I’ve spent the bulk of my time stumbling the Judaism section. For the first few months, all was fine, but then I started noticing Hebrew Christian (self-identified as Messianic Judaism) pages amid the legitimately Jewish sites. I flagged these pages as being in the wrong category, and when asked to label correctly, I usually chose Christianity, as there was no Messianic Judaism option. I didn’t get particularly bent out of shape, as the mechanism for alerting the good people at StumbleUpon was easy to access and use. However, lately I’ve seen this problem elsewhere, in more popular software with less transparent labeling systems – namely, iTunes.
Yesterday, as I was poking around for Jewish podcasts for my ride to visit my parents, I noticed that not only were there messianic podcasts in the Judaism section, but also that messianic podcasts were climbing the list of most popular Jewish podcasts. As soon as I realized this was happening, I began to examine podcasts a bit more carefully before I chose to download and listen – for instance, what other podcasts were popular with listeners of a particular podcast? In doing so I seem to have thus far avoided podcast evangelism. But I worry.
I worry that the teens whose Jewish experience I am charged with stewarding (and all the rest of them) will accidentally fall prey to these messianists, and as I’ve now noticed this disturbing labeling trend in two different online categorization systems, I wonder if there are specific actions to be taken in the web realm. As far as I can tell, this doesn’t seem to be a problem on Jews for Judaism‘s (the leading anti-missionary Jewish organization) radar. Do we think Hebrew Christianity should have its own category? Who gets to decide what the correct label for such a category would be (in my mind, one without the word Judaism)?  What do we do?