So You Think You Want to Comment.

The F Word’s comments policy is a work in progress. Strangely a much more complex endeavour than one might have imagined. Setting clear boundaries, protecting one’s self, AND having fair and challenging discourse online is something that is, perhaps, easier said than done.

We love the aspect of blogging that allows for a relationship to build between writer and reader that is unique to the blogosphere and enjoy exploring various perspectives. We are, in short, super happy that anyone is even reading, and participating. Thank you!

On a less positive note, as a result of the anonymous nature of the internet and because of the topics and issues that come up within feminist discourse and debate, comments and opinions are, sometimes, communicated in a less than respectful way.

We all, here at the F Word, have, not only day jobs, but, night jobs, afternoon jobs, online jobs, Master’s degrees-in-progress and volunteer-type jobs. Some of us even like to engage in extracurricular activities! Like ‘hockey’ and ‘wine’. Also! We are ever so lucky to have the privilege of producing a weekly radio show! Which is awesome. But extremely time-consuming.

In an effort to protect our sanity, the sanity of our readers, create a space where productive discussion can flourish, AND sleep and eat, we have, at long last, come up with a comments policy of sorts:

Here is the short version:

1) Stay on topic

2) Be respectful. If you insult collective members or fellow commenters we may delete your comment.

3) The author of any given post is the one and only person who decides which comments are published and which are not. These decisions may be with reason or not. Alas, you don’t have a say.

4) Please say things that are true. If you argue that something was said in the post that was not, actually, said, your comment may be deleted.

5) No death threats

6) No hate speech

7) You must leave a real email address. Because we are not anonymous, we do appreciate non-anonymous comments, but understand that, sometimes, it isn’t safe to comment publicly about certain issues. If you feel it is necessary, go ahead an use a fake-o name, but we do ask that you be accountable, on a certain level, to the moderators. Those who leave fake email addresses will be given a warning, after which, if the issue is not amended, your comment(s) will be deleted.

 

In conclusion, comment moderating is not an easy job. We are doing our best, but it can be trying. It is possible that you may have written a comment that you feel fits the requirements of above mentioned guidelines. It is also possible that we may disagree with your assessment. And it is possible that, while generally we will not do this, we may decide to delete your comment simply because we don’t think it encourages productive discussion or because you appear to be trolling. We make these decisions at our own discretion and it is not up for debate. This does not count has censorship. Here’s why.

Hokay. And now for the long [read: bitchass] version.

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So You Think You Want to Comment: The Director’s Cut

First things first. This is a blog about feminism(s). If you have no particular interest in feminism, you may want to go ahead and find yourself another blog.

Ok. So you’ve established an interest in feminism. Maybe you even want to talk about it! Welcome!

Second things second. Please read the post. We tend to get an awful lot of folks who are veeeeery interested in ranting about their pet project and not so interested in a) discussing it within the context of feminism and b) discussing what was actually written/argued in the post at hand.

For example. We all think it’s super that you love burlesque. But what does this have to do with feminism? Nothing? You may be at the wrong blog. Under such circumstances, we highly recommend you google ‘burlesque blog’ or ‘men’s rights’ or ‘porn addicts’ or ‘feminists stole my girlfriend, ate all my bacon and peed on my collection of vintage Playboys’, depending on your particular, non-feministy interest. You would be amazed by the amount of people on the internet who share your dislike for anything related to feminism.

You love boobs. Got it. Before writing a comment about how much you love boobs you might want to think about a couple of things: “Does my love of boobs relate to anything that was argued in the post that made me feel the desperate need to express my love of boobs via the comments section?” and “does my love of boobs have anything to do with feminism?”

If you do stray off topic we may just delete your comment. Or we might post it and then yell at you. It’s all up to the gods. And by gods, we mean us.

Moving right along. This blog is not a gage of democratic freedom/freedom of speech/censorship. You have no ‘right’ to post anything on this blog or to impose your opinions on anyone here. No one has glued your eyes open and forced you to read this blog. That said, you do have the ‘right’ to post it anywhere else the internet will allow. You will find the internet is surprisingly big and undiscriminating.

In terms of ye old YOU’RE CENSORING ME argument, I like to direct people towards The AV Club’s excellent explanation of why deleting your comment does not equate censorship:

“Past deletions have prompted charges of censorship. Let’s define some terms: If we attempted to pass a law preventing you from saying something terrible, that would be censorship. If you showed up in our living room attempting to say the same thing, we’d have the right to throw you out. The First Amendment forbids Congress from passing laws that abridge freedom of speech on a national level; it does not in any way apply to our right to delete posts on this site.”

In the end we do, honestly, post the vast majority of comments. Regardless of how idiotic they are. But if we don’t? Too freakin bad. Comment moderation is at the discretion of the post’s author. And we reserve the right to randomly follow or not follow whatever rules we like around comment moderation. To quote Melissa McEwan: This is not a public square. If you do, indeed, want to rail about freedom of speech, guess what? Anyone at all is permitted to start their own blog. On said blog you are free to rant and rave all you like. You could write an entire post about how the F Word is censoring you. There. On your blog.

Ok. So what are we on now, number 5? Sure.

5) If you are a dude who feels he’s so much more feminist than any other feminist because he knows how to google Andrea Dworkin/Laura Mulvey quotes and that he therefore must enlighten us all by informing us how feminism REALLY works, and what feminists REALLY (should) believe, don’t.

6) If you think that feminism is a ‘bias’, you are an idiot and should find another blog.

In conclusion, we are not against dissent. In fact, if you look through the comment section, you will find a myriad of angry dissenters. What we are against is wasting our time arguing with folks who refuse to actually read or think before they launch into their genius 700 word essay about how feminists are ruining feminism for everyone. We simply do not have the time or capacity to teach feminism 101 over and over again to people who may or may not have any actual interest in feminism. We will do our very best. Or we might send you here. This website is most excellent and will respond to all of your feministy queries, such as “Why do feminists oppress men so much? Are they not, simply, a bunch of angry nazis?

Mostly we are just trying to stay sane over here. And have intelligent, respectful, conversations. About FEMINISM. And not, in the process, also scare off potential commenters who may also desire sanity. And therefore if we feel like you are crazymaking we might decide not to post your comment. You think we are giant bitches? Really? Tell us more. Actually don’t. Because we don’t care. We do not exist to argue with you. We realize that you believe your 10 paragraph long ‘YOU’RE BIASED’ comment is super original and that we’ve never heard ‘SO YOU THINK WOMEN SHOULD WEAR BURQUAS ALL THE TIME THEN??’ but, guess what! We have. And we think you are an idiot. You offend us. And we’ve heard it all before. You are about as original as sidewalks.

While comments and readers are, generally, the awesomest, comments are also, at times, the source of our collective nightmares and make us feel depressed about the state of the world. Since it’s easy to feel depressed about the state of the world without reading your comment about how much radical feminism vilifies men and reverse sexism BLAHBLAHBLAH, we will actively work not to fall into a pit of dispair. In order to avoid said falling, we may have to pretend that you don’t exist. And we won’t apologize for this.

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The purpose of the blog is to create dialogue and debate around current issues related to women, feminism, and social justice.
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