NOTE: This post is now outdated. Click here to read the current policy.
(MRA, anti-feminist and right-wing guests, after reading this page read this post as well, please!)
I have a goal for the comments on “Alas.” A bunch of goals, actually.
- I’d like the discussions here to be respectful. By that, I mean not merely refraining from swearing at each other all the time, but actual respect for other posters, which means treating everyone you deal with as if they were as wonderful and important a person as you yourself are.
- I’d like “Alas” to not become a space where there’s nothing to be found but feminist-bashing and responses to the feminist-bashing. That doesn’t mean that posters here must agree with feminism or feminists; nor does it mean that feminists are exempt from having to respect others. It does mean that posters who in my judgement are dripping with contempt for feminists and feminism will be shown the door – even if they’re being polite on the surface. (And yes, this does create a bit of a double-standard. I can live with that.)
- I’d like the right-wing, anti-feminist and non-feminist critics who post on “Alas” to be treated with respect, rather than being bullied or shouted down.
- I’d like it if posters who choose to debate, attacked arguments, rather than attacking other posters. In general, following the principles of argumentation described here is a good idea.
- I’d like posters here to use good formatting (remember to put in paragraph breaks every now and then!) and clean, readable prose.
- I’d like it if the discussions on “Alas” were not as stupid as the discussions I’ve seen on many other internet forums.
- (Added April 7th 2006). I don’t want the discussions on “Alas” dominated by anti-feminists or MRAs. Although I like have a small number of well-written opposing views on “Alas” for spice, it’s my intention that most of the discussions here be dominated by feminist and lefty views. For that reason, brand-new MRA and anti-feminist posters might not be approved to post even if as individuals they are perfectly reasonable and polite.
In other words, when I decide whether or not to let a new poster through, I decide that based not only on the quality of the individual poster but also on a desire to maintain a certain balance to the comments on “Alas” as a whole.
Please note that beginning today, nearly all of my (Ampersand’s) posts will be cross-posted on the blog “Creative Destruction”. The comments at “Creative Destruction” are open to anyone who remains civil. So right-wing, anti-feminist, and MRA folks may be better off posting comments over there.
Those are my goals for comments on “Alas.” Posters whose presence, in my opinion, push discussions on “Alas” further away from these goals may be banned at any time. Posters who in my opinion help move “Alas” closer to those goals will be given slack.
Please note that these are not “rules,” so please don’t attempt to play “rules-lawyer.” People aren’t banned based on breaking rules; they’re banned based on my perception that they’re moving “Alas” discussions away from what I’d like “Alas” discussions to be.
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So that’s it – that’s the “Alas” moderation policy. I don’t claim to have consistently followed it in the past, but I’ll be trying to follow them from now on.
Here’s a few additional notes:
On moderation: I will sometimes try to moderate by asking posters to cool down. However, due to limits on my time and energy, moderation is only done in a “random spot-check” fashion. This system will of course lead to unjust outcomes, in which I criticize post A but fail to criticize post B which was ever so much more offensive. Such is life.
A note to right-wing, men’s rights activist (MRA), and anti-feminist guests: Please understand that although I encourage debate, “Alas” is not intended to be a forum for relentless feminist-bashing. As well as avoiding obvious personal attacks and insults, anti-feminists who want to post on “Alas” would be well advised to avoid snide side comments like “I know that everyone here thinks it’s okay for men to be attacked,” and other such faux-polite comments that actually indicate contempt.
Is my moderation patriarchal? Some feminists may criticize me for moderating feminists (and, specifically, female feminists) at all. I am male, with male privilege; who am I to tell women what they can say and how they can say it? Isn’t that an expression of male privilege?
It’s a point that I’ve thought hard about (and which has made me very hesitant to ban even the rudest female feminist posters). But in the end, I’m not persuaded that setting goals for civility on one small blog, is the same as limiting women’s speech generally. Any woman (or man, for that matter) who doesn’t like my approach to discussion can easily find dozens of other feminist blogs and forums.
If your post is put into moderation: Probably you shouldn’t take it personally. The anti-spam program uses a big list of words that automatically get a comment put into the “needs approval” pile. (The words or bits of words that trigger auto-moderation can be totally unexpected and hard to predict. For a while, every time someone wrote a comment using the word “socialist” it was automatically put into moderation, because the word “cialist” was on the list!)
Anyhow, once a comment is in moderation, it stays there until I approve it. And if I happen to be busy or asleep, that can unfortunately take a while . Sorry about that – but it really IS necessary. Blame the free market for creating spam.
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That’s it! None of this is written in stone, however, so if you have critiques or suggestions please feel free to pipe up.