You are welcome to disagree, but if you are rude, I will DELETE

7 04 2009

A recent post on Feministing called “Feminism Online, Feminism Offline” basically laid out all the reasons why blogging is so friggin exhausting!  I do not believe in censoring free speech, but this IS a feminist blog, and as of now, we are going to have to impose a few rules about comments.  Here are the types of comments that bother me most:

  1. My number one dislike are comments that are rude, mean, and downright disrespectful, but somewhere deep down have some valid points.  If you disagree with our posts, please say so respectfully.  You have the right to your opinion, but you have no right to attack the blog’s authors.  From now on, if your post is rude, I will delete it.  And that would be a pity if your comment actually could have contributed something valuable to the discussion.  So be careful how you word things, please.
  2. Rude and stuck-up self-proclaimed “feminists” who attack our opinions, use words like “Feminazi,” and suggest that our chosen topics are irrelevant or ridiculous are my number two pet-peeve.  You are welcome to continue to call yourselves “feminists” while spreading hate and attacking our opinions, but DO NOT DO SO ON THIS BLOG.
  3. Trolls, obviously, are not welcome here.  Offensive comments that are posted purposely to derail the conversation and upset people will also be deleted.  These comments create a hostile environment for our readers and for us.
  4. Advertisements.  Will.  Be.  Deleted.  Don’t use this blog to advertise your crap.  I don’t care if your comment is fan-diddly-tastic.  I will not post your comment, and I will not buy your penis-enlarger.
  5. This isn’t really something I hate, but it’s something that I think I need to make clear to readers of the blog.  It is really difficult for us when commenters expect us to continue debates indefinitely on circular topics and to respond to comments almost immediately.  Really, we do enjoy interacting with the readers, but we are also college students and may not have the time to answer all of your comments.  Please don’t think that we are rude if we don’t respond.  We really do appreciate your comments, but sometimes, we really just don’t have time to respond or simply don’t think that the debate will be constructive.  We try our best to answer comments that ask for our input, but don’t place ridiculous demands on us to answer every comment.  Thanks.

As Jessica’s Feministing post states:

The vast majority of our commenters and community members are incredible, but it can be really difficult and frustrating to continually get comments criticizing what we choose to write on, personally attacking us or our feminist and political cred, or just folks being plain jerkie/sexist/racist/transphobic/fat-hating.

I completely agree with Jessica.  I really appreciate when people disagree with us on the blog.  Most of our readers have been great with debating respectfully and even correcting errors that we may have made in our posts.  So many of our readers have provided great opinions in their comments and have really been constructive in debating.  But please, disagree respectfully.  We are people, too.  Don’t abuse us.  This also goes for your fellow commenters.  We love when you debate;  we hate when you insult each other.  Nobody wants to be afraid to post on a blog because their opinions may be attacked.  

I want to let you know that we won’t delete any posts that we have already approved, but from now on we are going to be a little stricter about our approval policy.  Consider yourselves warned, and adjust your commenting styles accordingly.

As Jessica wrote:

Doing online feminism, I feel like it’s easy to get caught up in threads and user names and forget that there are people behind those computer screens – whether you’re talking about bloggers or commenters. So I guess I’m just wondering how we can take the humanizing interaction of real life activism to create better communities online: feminist communities that support each other; comments sections that are critical and contain progressive debate, but that do so without attacks and with accessibility; blogs that are informed by offline activism and visa versa.

I think…no scratch that…I know we can make this blog a great place to respectfully discuss feminism and activism.  So, readers, please watch the way you comment, and help us make this blog a better place for all of us to constructively share our opinions.


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2 responses

9 04 2009
Lorraine E.

I don’t think I’m particularly stuck up (I like big words and logical consistency, but I don’t mean to be a snob), I don’t call myself a feminist, I think calling anyone a Nazi who’s not an actual Nazi is silly, and I think that if someone believes a topic is irrelevant, they should be able to call it irrelevant. (“Ridiculous” might be a little too strong, and I apologize if I said that.)

“You are welcome to continue to call yourselves “feminists” while spreading hate and attacking our opinions, but DO NOT DO SO ON THIS BLOG.”

This seems to imply that all true feminists have the same opinions, and they never “attack” each others’. Scary. (And I don’t know who was “spreading hate”, but the term seems rather too strong, not unlike, say, “feminazi.”)

It’s your blog, and you can control it however you want. However, I don’t think requiring commenters to be overly cautious about questioning people’s opinions is a good policy to encourage debate. There’s a difference between being aggressive about proving your point and resorting to personal insults. If a comment focuses just on the issue at hand, I think it should be acceptable; if it says something like “You’re stupid for thinking X” it should be deleted.

9 04 2009
feminist1

Hey Lorraine,

This post wasn’t directed at you. I do appreciate that you share your opinions on the blog. I didn’t have your comments in mind when I wrote this.

There are people that comment, call themselves “feminists,” and then seem to use this as an excuse to say hateful or rude things. That is who this particular point is directed at. By no means do all feminists have to share the same opinions, but there are certainly some opinions that I don’t think are feminist (racist, homophobic, etc.)

Commenters don’t have to be overly cautious, and being aggressive is fine. But personal insults are definitely something I’m getting quite fed up with. Once comments get mean, the atmosphere of discourse is kind of shot, both for readers and for us.

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