Some Things That Will Get Your Comment Trashed

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I’m being more of a hard-ass lately about comment moderation, and am trashing comments that I once might have let go and started an argument about. If you want your comment to be posted here, do not:

Start a sentence with, “I personally think women are entirely equal to men except for…”

Say that it’s racist to recognize the realities of race and racism, or to point out that not all media is made with white people in mind.

Say that expressing an opinion in your own blog about troubling language is “issuing orders about what words other people may use,” and that it’s “arrogance,” similar to “going around correcting other people’s grammar and pronunciation.”

Argue for continuing to use certain forms of ableist language, in the post where I specifically explained why I didn’t want that kind of language in my blog anymore.

Write a long, wildly off-topic comment about how you want to make friends and engage in debate in this blog, in which you question the very existence of trans people, deny the reality of systemic sexism, and make it all about you.

For more information, read my comment policy, or read my perspective on blocking, muting, unfriending, and banning. Thank you.

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Some Things That Will Get Your Comment Trashed
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11 thoughts on “Some Things That Will Get Your Comment Trashed

  1. 2

    And before anybody calls your moderation “censorship”, let me quote Randall Munroe’s PSA about freedom of spech:

    The Right to Free Speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say. It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, or host you while you share it.
    The 1st amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences. If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an Internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated. It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole, and they’re showing you the door.

    P.S.: I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.

  2. 3

    I totally understand and support the use of the ban hammer and appreciate that it doesn’t actually matter if I do anyway because this is not my blog.
    I’m not sure if it matters at all or what to do about it or if this is a place that needs to or should even want to, but I was just thinking yesterday how hostile commenting on anything in social justice spaces has felt for a while now.
    There are the trolls and they are awful, but then also It feels like most/all comments get one of three responses
    1)nothing
    2)immediate assumption that you’re trying to be or simply are a jerk based on misreading your comment (which you spent 20 minutes trying to, impossibly, write as both airtight and concise) combined with snarky put-down.
    3)worse, asserting you are a jerk based on accurately reading your comment with snarky put-down.

    I think I understand why, but it’s frustrating/alienating when you spend the other half of your time being told what a reactionary/shrill feminist/liberal you are for sharing the kind of articles you’re commenting on.

    I was thinking about this because of the bit about wildly off topic comments about wanting to make friends (with the qualifier about doing so while making sexist, racist comments of course). Because that kind of feels like me (I try really, really hard not to make sexist or racist comments and to listen to criticism in good faith, etc.).

    Anyway, some open questions for the commentariat that hopefully make this not wildly off-topic and not about me.
    1. Is this a feeling shared by others? If so, are other interactions like conventions, etc. in the community the same or is it just comments?
    2.What do you see as the purpose of the comment section?
    3. Obviously I’m don’t think I’m generally improving the comment section. What sort of comments/discussions make authors/other commentors really feel good about the comment section and the conversations they’re having?

  3. 4

    I really get tired of comments that start with “I’m not an Xist, but…” (for any value of X). I’ve started mentally replacing that phrase with “I’m an Xist butt.” (I wish there were a funny way I could think of to change it that didn’t imply butts are bad – they’re quite lovely in general. Any ideas are appreciated.)

  4. 5

    @3 theoneandonlymike:

    The way I look it, a comment thread can either be a perfectly safe space to be wrong and learn to be better, or it can be a safe space to get away from triggers and microaggressions. A lot of places seem to be going for the other, as the former can be quite draining on the regulars (especially when you have people deliberately trying to wear them out by JAQing off). I’ve also heard of some places that deliberately tried to create safe-to-be-wrong spaces, but they went underused because few people had the self-awareness needed to know that they needed it.

    That being said, I’ve occasionally had questions myself that I’d like to be able to ask, knowing that it’s probably dumb in some way, but refrained due to this type of worry. Perhaps I’m being overly worried, or maybe I just don’t know of a good enough space.

  5. 6

    That being said, I’ve occasionally had questions myself that I’d like to be able to ask, knowing that it’s probably dumb in some way, but refrained due to this type of worry. Perhaps I’m being overly worried, or maybe I just don’t know of a good enough space.

    Infophile @ #5: What I do in those situations, rather than further exhaust what you’ve aptly described as an already-exhausted online community, is to go to friends and ask them about it privately — while making it clear that “I don’t have it in me to educate you right now” is a perfectly acceptable answer. IMO, one of the most important tools in an SJWs toolbox is friends who will tell you uncomfortable truths.

    Also, please don’t use the word “dumb” in my blog or my social media. Here’s an explanation from Ania Bula about why.

  6. 7

    Infophile @ #5: Adding to my previous comment: An already-exhausted online community may not know that you’re sincerely trying to figure things out. Unless you’re a regular, they may just assume that you’re JAQing off or cluelessly demanding on-demand education.

  7. 9

    Infofile/Greta Christina. Yea that’s a legitimate distinction. I try not to show up and ask for people to educate me on basics or deeply personal topics or things they’ve already written about.
    On the other hand maybe me writing that post is me doing exactly that (to me there is a distinction, but self-awareness is hard).

    With regard to being a safe environment, I always feel a little silly just writing “yup. I agree.” which is generally not something anyone gets upset about (although I’ve misspoken before and managed to mess even that up).
    It isn’t really a conversation (which maybe isn’t the point). On the other hand it’s hard to disagree without (at times) getting caught up in a lot of assumptions about who I am, what I’m saying, and why I think that.
    Maybe there isn’t really anything else of value that I have to add to the conversation and I should suck it up.

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