Alas, a Moderation Policy

NOTE: This post is now outdated.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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I’d like posters here to use good formatting (remember to put in paragraph breaks every now and then!) and clean, readable prose.
  6. I’d like it if the discussions on “Alas” were not as stupid as the discussions I’ve seen on many other internet forums.
  7. (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.

* * *

IMPORTANT: If you might be described as an anti-feminist, a right-winger, or a men’s rights activist, then please read this link before posting.

* * *

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.

* * *

That’s it! None of this is written in stone, however, so if you have critiques or suggestions please feel free to pipe up.

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356 Responses to Alas, a Moderation Policy

  1. 201
    Lu says:

    I should have written “it sounds to me like,” not “you sound like.” My apologies.

  2. 202
    Amanda says:

    I read Alas, A Blog specifically for the originally-posted content. As a woman who considers myself to be a feminist, it’s important to me to remain aware of, and learn more about, issues pertaining to feminism.

    However, although I’ve read this blog for several years, I rarely comment. I’m fairly moderate and not particularly angry; I’ve found that the “not feminist enough” situation raised by a few in this thread is very accurate. Attacks come quickly and viciously, as well as the equally stifling “How on earth can you not know XYZ” (i.e.: Ron F, Seriously … where have you been for rounds 1 … 9,856,581 of “where are the women bloggers” debate???) approach. (Bean, your comment is the example that caught my attention in this particular thread, but not an indication that I believe this is your usual approach by any means.)

    Feminist-related discourse is educational, and I believe that if a non-feminist liberal becomes a somewhat-feminist liberal as a result of these discussions, that’s a step in the right direction. If a moderate feminist begins to take specific action based on learnings from discussion with “more-feminist” feminists, that’s another step.

    Stifling opposing opinions or less-educated opinions isn’t useful if we want to see a global shift.

    I want to see the debate, including the posts that challenge what I believe.

    This blog, in my view, is a valuable tool and it would be a shame to see it go away. I hope that the moderation process and rules of engagement smooth the path to thought-provoking discussion relating to already-excellent posts.

  3. 203
    Mendy says:

    Amanda, you sum up my own thoughts exceptionally well. I am a feminist, but I am more moderate in my thoughts. I find that it is through debate and discussion that I expand and hone my own ideas, beliefs, and thoughts about feminism and other subjects. The dissenting opionions are a part of that process for me, personally.

  4. 204
    Tom Nolan says:

    Robert is not a Men’s Rights Activist and has not, to the best of my knowledge, advanced the arguments which Amp says are to be “off-limits” in the normal threads. He is, and has never made any bones about being, a free-market libertarian. The idea of men claiming a special victim-status of their own is unlikely to appeal to him, and, to judge by those comments of his that I’ve read, doesn’t in fact appeal to him. The real reason for his being excoriated on this thread is not that he is an anti-feminist or anti-woman troll (the evident low-intelligence of these latter makes them easy to dismiss or ignore) but that he asks hard questions and won’t accept evasive answers. I think such “Socratic” figures are vital to the well being of any political movement, and I also think that a mere “devil’s advocate” ““ someone, that is, who merely pretends to be sceptical ““ can never do the job as well. The complaints about civility in his regard are hypocritical. If Robert were to answer Ginmar in the same tone and with the same vocabulary that she addresses him, it is easy enough to imagine what the response from many radical feminists would be: “Ampersand is happy to allow the verbal abuse of feminists on a blog which is supposedly feminist-friendly”.

  5. 205
    alsis39 says:

    Tom Nolan writes:

    he asks hard questions and won’t accept evasive answers.

    I disagree. More often than that, I find that civil questions from women do indeed lead to evasions from Robert. Which is his privilege, of course. But I wasn’t aware that pretending to be interested in dialogue and then playing dumb when a questioner got a tad too close to home was “Socratic.”

    At any rate, it’s an interesting term, as Socrates, like nearly every male philosopher out there, was no friend and respecter of women, however highfalutin his prose.

    While the argument that libertarianism and feminism are compatible has come up here before, I will (as before) go on record as disagreeing with that notion. Libertarianism is a system based upon the worship of the individual as the center of the universe. Individualism in any situation is prized above collective action or thought of any kind. Feminism, as I understand it, is about obtaining collective rights for a group, not about merely clearing some space so some fortunate woman can more easily clamber to the top of the heap to get her best shot at supreme individualism.

    So while Robert may not (overtly, at least in your eyes) demonstrate hostility to feminism, he espouses a philosophy that is by definition hostile to it.

  6. 206
    Tom Nolan says:

    I did not say that Robert was friendly towards Feminism. Rather, I said that he was unlikely, as a free-market libertarian, to see much merit in the Men’s Rights Movement. And for the very same reason that he would probably consider himself no friend to Feminism: i.e. both of these movements are devoted to obtaining collective rights (or privileges, perhaps) for a group. My point is not that Robert is a friend to Feminism, but that he is a good *opponent* for Feminism: one who asks questions that some people in the movement naturally fight shy of confronting.

    As for Socrates: I suppose I was thinking of the role he adopted of insistent philosophical trouble-maker; that, and the fact that he was done away with for asking difficult questions. And didn’t his wife, Xanthippe, once get so tired of him that she emptied a bucket-full of water over his head? More or less, come to think of it, what Ginmar did to Robert during their last exchange: though in that case it wasn’t water.

  7. 207
    Aegis says:

    Jesurgislac said:
    The strategies adopted by the anti-feminists whom Ampersand welcomes here are in fact (consciously or not) intended to prevent feminists discussing facts – like the fact that one in 20 men commit rape by their mid-twenties – that make men look bad and men feel shitty.

    How do you know what the anti-feminists intend? They may certainly be intending to argue with feminists, but that is not the same thing as “preventing” feminists from discussing facts, unless those feminists choose to let themselves be distracted. Also, it’s a contradiction to say that people can “intend” something unconsciously.

    It’s a symptom of male privilege that men, deep down, know they have the right to demand, as you put it, that they never have to deal with ideas that they don’t like: that by reason of being men, they can dictate “we can make claims that reflect badly on you, but you can’t do the same to us!” That is precisely what anti-feminists do when they post on a blog like this: they don’t want feminist discussion, because it makes men look shitty and it makes men feel bad.

    I don’t think anyone needs “male privilege” to want to avoid to ideas that make them look bad! Such pettiness seems part of human nature.

    And this is a primary example of an anti-feminist who thinks that anti-feminist attacks ought to be given the same weight as feminism. That feminists who object to having discussion trolled by anti-feminists who want to drag everything down to “women are just as bad as men!” or “Women do lie about rape – you can’t prove they don’t!” or “Men are raped too!” when feminists want to discuss male privilege, or why so many rapists escape conviction, or how rape culture works, are “reinforcing the stereotype that women are hysterical and can’t deal with hard facts”.

    More accurately: I think claims ought to be given weight according to their factual basis, not according to what political or social group the person making the claim is a member of. The examples you give I agree are not productive because they are vague or trivial, and may even be used as attacks. Yet I don’t think pointing out studies finding high false rape allegation rates is vague or trivial, although such a study may not be representative. I agree with pdf23ds that such claims may be unproductive or trite because they are dead horses that have already been beaten, but I disagree with Q Grrl that those claims are “slams” on women that reduce them to second class citizens or portray them as mentally inferior to men.

    If Q Grrl’s interpretation was made binding, then it would follow that no factual claim can be made that implies anything bad about women; indeed, disagreeing with women would be impossible because it could be construed as portraying women as mentally inferior to men. The idea I saw behind Q Grrl’s post (though she is free to correct me if I’ve misinterpreted her) is that “nobody should say anything that makes women look bad.” As I said, I don’t think any group is justified in making such a demand, even if they are or have been oppressed.

    (Minor point: I don’t consider myself to be an “anti-feminist.” I don’t claim to understand feminism well enough to know whether I should support it or condemn it as a whole, although I am taking Feminist Studies and Sociology of Gender courses at school so that I can see some of the actual arguments behind feminism. Until I can make up my mind about it, I am defaulting to neither support nor condemn it, although I do support some specific feminist positions and condemn others. You just don’t see which feminist positions I agree with, because I don’t talk about them so much. Most of those positions I consider old hat, or feminists state them better than I can, or I find them obvious, or they are on a subject that hasn’t come up.)

    A feminist-friendly blog is one in which feminists can have that kind of discussion without it consistently being derailed by anti-feminist trolls. Ampersand claims that’s the kind of blog he wants: but his actions demonstrate that what he actually wants is the kind of blog where anti-feminist trolls, including his friend Robert, feel free to derail feminist discussions and freely insult women, feminists, and feminism.

    What you leave out is that this is blog is more friendly to feminists that to anyone else. Non-feminists get banned or reprimanded much more easily, and feminists can be abusive or inflammatory without getting banned. Relative to how friendly it is to non-feminists, this *is* is a feminist-friendly blog, although in an absolute sense, Alas might not feminist-friendly.

    As for derailment of feminist discussions: as I said, you don’t have to reply to Robert, or to me, or to anyone else. I don’t know why you act as if you, and other feminists, lack agency and are somehow *forced* to respond to posters you disagree with. Someone has the power to “derail” feminist discussions ONLY IF the feminists *give* that person the power to do so! If you don’t like certain posters, is it so hard to simply avoid replying to them and encourage others to do the same?

  8. 208
    ginmar says:

    Christ, Aegis, on hte rape threads you tell feminists what we mean and think and feel and yet you resent it when you get a taste of your own medicine. You don’t think you’re an anti-feminist? Then start listening when yet another feminist tells you for the umpteenth time that there IS such a thing as a rape culture, even though you as a guy hasn’t noticed it. You’ve spent your time on this blog telling us that our experiences and observations and feelings don’t matter if we can’t prove to your satisfaction that there’s proof for them. PA banned you from her threads for it. You’re being dishonest with the new meat.

    Tom, the reason I’m so damned impatient with Robert is that every time he’s cornerned, he takes off. I’ve encoutnered him on other blogs and he’s the master of the cheap shot designed to chagne the subject. Furthermore, rather than listen and learn he just resorts to the same crap over and over again. I could be civil to someone who treats feminists, women, and feminism with contempt, but that would be as dishonest as Robert’s pose of civility. When a guy doesn’t listen, doesn’t listen, and doesn’t listen, and furhtermore debates just for the sake of debating, focuses on irrelevancies just for the sake of winning, and in short aptly demonstrates that he has no interest in what’s being said then he’s a troll. Of course neither Robert nor Aegis want to be labelled as such, but they have a history. I’m sorry you think I have to act like a lady when confronted by snide littel shits, but I’ m not dishonest. I don’t prize dishonesty. I don’t think it’s cute to be coy as they do about their dislike and contempt for feminism. You don’t see it? Well, we do, and if you gave a shit what we were about, you would, too.

    And fuck only knows how fucking sick I am of guys coming in here and whining about the unladylike language. That’s what it amounts to. If you don’t see what we see, then it doesn’t exist, and you don’t trust us, our perceptions, and our opinions enough to so much as give us the benefit of the doubt. Instead, new guy you side wiht the poor beleagured guy and make excuses. You could have some respect for stuff that’s gone on long before you’ve gotten here, but you just don’t see it.

    Thats’ something else, too, something at the bottom of all this. Robert’s contempt is very clear. But unless it’s really fucking obvious and offensive, his coy charade isn’t enough for lots of male trolls. We evidently as feminists are supposed to accept contempt as our due as long as it’s not really fucking offensive. Contempt for women is so common that when a guy’s sneaky about it, other guys just don’t see it. What’s a matter, lady, can’t you take a joke?

    Robert always operates under that threshhold of contempt that other guys think is acceptable. And that’s what makes him so comtemptible.

  9. 209
    Ampersand says:

    I VERY much agree with Bean’s point here. The claim that “Alas,” or any blog that discusses feminism, faces a choice between allowing anti-feminists to post, or having nothing but monolithic agreement, is a false dichotomy.

    The truth is, I could easily do nothing but argue with other feminists for years on end. To use an obvious example, try walking into a room full of feminists and say the word “prostitution” aloud, if you want to start hours of endless argument. Or even the word “essentialist.” Or “transsexual.”

    I don’t want “Alas” to be a purely-feminist forum, for several reasons (one of which is, I think there’s a weird and negative dynamic created when a male feminist chooses to devote his energy primarily to arguing against other feminists’ positions). But just because that’s not what I want “Alas” to be doesn’t mean that I think such forums aren’t important.

    It’s not only valid for feminists to have intra-feminist debate and/or discussion, it’s essential that feminists do so. Feminist theory and thought cannot develop if there are no environments in which feminists can debate among themselves.

  10. 210
    Lu says:

    Very good point, Bean (she said, rethinking wildly). I said both things almost in the same breath there — that echo chambers aren’t educational and that I know not all feminists hold the same opinions — a sure sign of muddle.

    What I’ve observed, though, is that there are certain principles and precepts that virtually all of the feminists here agree on, and the assumption tends to get made that any dissenter must be an MRA, a troll, a patriarchal oppressor, a dupe or a fool (or some combination of those).

    There are some feminist ideas that I agree with, some that I don’t, and some that I haven’t decided on either way. In that last category it’s useful for me to read those very basic arguments, repeatedly even (sorry, I’m slow).

    Does not accepting the whole feminist platform, as articulated by some of the folks here, make me anti-feminist? I wouldn’t have thought so, but I would be genuinely curious to know what the feminists here think. I would also like to ask Bean specifically: in your opinion, is it OK for a conflicted, middle-of-the-road-liberal, feminist-in-spots suburban soccer mom to comment on this blog, or on any feminist blog?

  11. 211
    Kristjan Wager says:

    I don’t learn anything from debates with non-feminist liberals or anti-feminist.

    Bean, while I know that it is probably not the intend of you debating, hopefully the non-feminist liberals learn something by debating with you. The anti-feminists are probably beyond reach.

    Btw I was going to comment on the principle that you can’t really be liberal without being at least somewhat a feminist, but then I realized that in the US political spectrum, it is probably quite possible (Markos of Daily Kos would be one such person).

    I must admit I find the gender debate/roles in the US rather puzzling, and also quite sad. How can you have a leader of one of the major universities in the world, that actually can stand up and claim that women can’t do science, and not get fired? (before anyone protests, I am aware of that I made a simplistic description of what he said – he did put in a lot of qualifiers, and cite unspecified science, that doesn’t exist, but I am just refering to his core message).

  12. 212
    alsis39 says:

    Does not accepting the whole feminist platform, as articulated by some of the folks here, make me anti-feminist?

    I dunno’, Lu. Does being one of the only feminist far-Left hardcore 3rd-Party advocates in this space –even in an election year– make ME anti-feminist ? Most feminists in the U.S. seem to think that “Democrat” is a de facto plank in the platform of any real feminist. Personally, I loathe the Democratic Party and would rather eat glass then ever check off a box for anyone in it ever again. Unless a miracle happens in the next few months and someone like Barbara Lee takes over the leadership in a bloodless coup, I don’t expect that to ever change.

    I’m not mocking you. I’m just trying to make a point that we all feel like outsiders sometimes. That’s part of being human, especially part of being human in a room full of activists with big mouths. Like bean. :p

  13. 213
    Lu says:

    Bean, it’s not really a matter of research. I’ll give you an example: rape culture. Many if not most feminists here maintain that it oppresses every woman and girl everywhere, all the time. I still haven’t made up my mind, and I find it useful to read the arguments and counterarguments. Granted, whenever someone says some variation of “any woman who doesn’t want to be raped should just dress like a nun and stay in at night” I start gnashing my teeth. There are gradations. (And, going just a little deeper, I could cite lots of evidence and counterevidence, but, as you point out, it’s been cited before.)

    This leads me to questioning the legitimacy of feminism. If I say “I’m not sure that a rape culture exists everywhere at all times” does that count as questioning the legitimacy of feminism? I have seen people here get flamed to a crisp and even banned from threads for citing their experience, when that experience didn’t jibe with feminist doctrine.

    As you also point out, this is all fairly academic, since this is Amp’s blog, he gets to make the rules, and I will abide by them or go elsewhere.

  14. 214
    Lu says:

    :), Alsis. I guess I can stand the heat.

  15. 215
    Kristjan Wager says:

    Perhaps so … but I don’t think that all feminists should be required or expected to be in that position all the time. For those who want to, more power to them. Myself, I’ll willingly be in that position at times … but most of the time, I figure it’s not my obligation or responsibility to do this. I have better things to do with my time and energy.

    I hope it didn’t seem like I think it should be required. I appreciate when people with knowledge debate people that lack it, however I don’t expect them to, and I find it as interesting when people share their knowledge without having to deal with people lacking it.

    Hmmm…. I have a hard time expressing myself, but I hope I am more or less coherent and understandable.

  16. 216
    Tom Nolan says:

    Ginmar:

    Requiring “civility” is not the same thing as asking women posters to be “ladylike”. The usual accusations levelled against civility on these threads is that it constitutes a kind of secret-weapon in the dialectic arsenal of privileged men: a secret weapon which allows them to put on a show of even-handedness as they get on with undermining Feminism and all it stands for. If a Feminist, using a few honest-to-goodness four-letter words, “calls them out” when this underhand civility comes into play, then it is the Feminist in question who risks looking unreasonable and aggressive. My response would be that civility is a powerful weapon in the hands of *anyone* who uses it, and that the men and anti-feminists who are obliged to fall back on it in discussions here (because if they addressed you in the way you address them, they’d be banned in short order) actually benefit from the constraint. In other words, I think you should consider using civility, this “tool of the Patriarchy”, against its current masters.

    As for being a “new guy” siding with “poor beleaguered Robert” and making excuses for him, that’s true to an extent. I’ve never posted here before (though I’ve lurked for about a year), and I think Robert’s presence on Alas is well worth defending. As I understand it, Amp’s problem is that the M.R.A.s and their fellow travellers keep derailing threads ““ threads intended to deal with the problems of womankind ““ with “what about us poor men” distractions. That was and is a genuine problem, but it has nothing to do with Robert; and I was concerned it was being used as a pretext, by various posters who have come off worst against him in the past, to bundle out a persistent asker of pertinent questions.

  17. 217
    Ampersand says:

    Really good post, Bean.

    So, I may, possibly, have missed a banning here or there. But Amp usually mentions to me when he has to ban someone … because, frankly, it is so rare. But I know for a fact that Amp would never ban someone for simply “citing their experience, when that experience didn’t jib with feminist doctrine.”

    I thought that was strange, too. I don’t recall ever banning anyone for that reason.

    It’s possible that Lu misunderstood why I did ban someone. Or that she’s misremembering a ban from some other blog as having taken place here.

  18. 218
    Lu says:

    It is possible that I misunderstood something else as banning; the event I’m thinking of involved (IIRC) one of P-A’s threads, and it was she who was banning or threatening to ban. To the best of my observation, it is true that Amp has almost limitless patience.

    As for rape culture — the statement that I asked about “I’m not sure that a rape culture exists everywhere at all times” is in my mind very different from the statement “there’s no such thing as rape culture.” In effect what I am proposing to debate (not on this thread!) is the extent and universality of rape culture, not its existence. Certainly when most anti-rape advice still seems to amount to “dress like a nun and stay in at night” and some appallingly large percentage of people in survey after survey agree that if x, y or z happens on a date or even in another social situation a man has a right to expect sex, no sane person would argue that it didn’t exist.

    Certainly also I agree that sexism and patriarchy exist and hurt women (and some men). Here again I could debate extent and universality.

  19. 219
    Lu says:

    I can’t believe I forgot to say: to all who celebrate it, Merry Christmas!

  20. 220
    Kristjan Wager says:

    By the way, Kristjan … where in Denmark are you from? I ask because I have a brother (and a sister-in-law, niece, and nephew) who live in Gilleleje

    Bean, I am from Copenhagen. Actually, if you speak with a Danish person, there is a better than a one-on-fifth chance that they are from Copenhagen.
    Gilleleje is a little north of Copenhagen (in case you are not aware of this), and is a bit of an usual spot for a foreigner to settle (here I am asuming that your brother is American), as it is mostly summer houses, with little activity during winter.

  21. 221
    wookie says:

    This is kinda funny… on a post about civility and debate over slashing, we immediately inflame the over-the-top, rude (IMO) posters. And I’m only reading the top 10 comments before getting back to my Christmas cleaning!

    Whee!

    Me, I tend to read with a bag of salt. I wont deny that there are posters that I skip reading because quite frankly, I don’t have time for their particularly pungent brand of BS, but hey, that’s my right as a reader. You can scream as loud as you want, it is my perogative to ignore you or respond. It’s my screen, I can shut you out of my life :-)

    To be honest, I think the internet would be a much more productive place if everyone followed that policy. Especially when it comes to the BBS style of interaction. You don’t like how people respond to this argument or your post? Go somewhere else for awhile. It’s the internet, you can walk away. You have the power to make that choice.

    If you really must stand your ground on absolutely everything, and wade into every fray despite how much it drains you, might I respectfully suggest you get your own blog?

    However, I respect Amp’s attempt at some ground rules and will do my best to follow. I think they are overly complex for the average mind but hey, it’s his blog :-)

  22. 222
    mousehounde says:

    Bean said way back up in #166:
    I adamently disagree. Because the fact is, not all feminists agree with each other ­ and it’s amazing the discussions one can have and what one can learn from having a good feminist discussion without the diversions “what about men,” PHMT, and the constant battle to defend feminism, in general.

    That sounds great. Which blogs do you read regularly, or which ones would you recommend for good discussions?

  23. 223
    Susan says:

    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.

    A noble goal. If we could keep this one rule the rest would take care of itself.

  24. 224
    mousehounde says:

    Bean said:

    Actually, I don’t read all that many blogs at all … I primarily read boards. And the boards I read are generally private.

    So, which boards do you read? :) Does “Private” mean one has to apply to read, or just to post? Or does it mean one has to be invited to join?

    I did not mean only “blogs” with my question, I was curious as to where to find the types of discussion you described. I am sorry if my question wasn’t complete enough.

  25. 225
    Jesurgislac says:

    Aegis: s for derailment of feminist discussions: as I said, you don’t have to reply to Robert, or to me, or to anyone else. I don’t know why you act as if you, and other feminists, lack agency and are somehow *forced* to respond to posters you disagree with. Someone has the power to “derail” feminist discussions ONLY IF the feminists *give* that person the power to do so! If you don’t like certain posters, is it so hard to simply avoid replying to them and encourage others to do the same?

    This is a “solution” to trolls that is frequently proposed: just ignore them. It’s superficially attractive, because it means the blog owner doesn’t have to worry about being accused of censorship, or indeed have to do anything. But in terms of having good debates, it simply doesn’t work. (It might work if you could get 100% of the non-trolls on board with the idea that when a troll posts, no matter how temptingly frosted the comment, everyone just doesn’t bite: but that really would require censorship.)

    No, the only way to get rid of trolls once they discover a blog and find they can post there freely, is to ban them.

    Tom Nolan: The usual accusations levelled against civility on these threads is that it constitutes a kind of secret-weapon in the dialectic arsenal of privileged men: a secret weapon which allows them to put on a show of even-handedness as they get on with undermining Feminism and all it stands for.

    Precisely. Anti-feminists – who are, largely, the men who do not like seeing their privilege eroded or ignored – post attacks about all women. Ampersand does not ban them for insulting half the regular posters here (presuming that the commenters here are 50% female) because, in his view, an attack on all women isn’t a “personal attack” and therefore no woman should be personally offended. When a woman who is personally offended at being insulted responds in kind, Amp gets snippy.

    Male privilege evidently makes it hard for Amp to see why any woman should be personally offended at an insulting comment made about all women, however “civilly phrased”. I wonder if he would find it easier to understand if he thought of it as black people getting personally offended at insulting comments made about all black people?

  26. 226
    Ampersand says:

    …in his view, an attack on all women isn’t a “personal attack” and therefore no woman should be personally offended….

    Male privilege evidently makes it hard for Amp to see why any woman should be personally offended at an insulting comment made about all women, however “civilly phrased”. I wonder if he would find it easier to understand if he thought of it as black people getting personally offended at insulting comments made about all black people?

    Actually, I have no problem understanding why some women are personally offended at some of the comments here, civily phrased or not. And I’ve never said, and don’t hold, the views you attribute to me here.

    As I’ve pointed out several times, I do ban posters even if they’re civil if in my opinion the “civility” is nonetheless dripping with contempt. It’s a bit odd for me to read you implying that I don’t ban civil anti-feminist posters, when I know for a fact I do so routinely.

    What you can’t seem to understand is that two readers might, in good faith, disagree about if a particular comment is dripping with contempt.

  27. 227
    Ampersand says:

    Regarding the “just ignore them” idea, I think it only works if you assume that all feminists have a groupmind. Since we know that’s not the case, though, “just ignore them” is not a workable policy. If posters A B and C just ignore the MRAs, but posters D and E engage the MRAs, then the thread is still ruined for A B and C. And telling A B and C to “just ignore them” is ridiculous advice, at that point.

  28. 228
    NancyP says:

    This may well be the best policy to prevent the blog degenerating to the level of an usenet .alt group. It’s your blog – go for it, and observe the results for a while.

  29. 229
    Rebecca E says:

    The argument of “just ignore the trolls” is troublesome to me, because it puts the burden on the “victims” of the trolling, rather than saying “don’t troll.” “See, let’s face it, trolling is going to happen, and the best you can do is just not let it affect you, don’t tempt trolls by responding to them, because then it’s your fault that other people troll, because you’re baiting them.” Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.

    Some posters have touched on this before, but I don’t see why there can’t be places for both feminists to debate issues among other feminists (and I know this means real, vigorous debate, rather than a chiming in of “me toos”), and for feminists and non-feminists to engage in debate. I think both sorts of forums are useful, and not mutually-exclusive. At the very least, if some of the MRAs/anti-feminists who have read/posted here come away with the knowledge that feminists are not a bloc of raging bitches determined to destroy all they hold dear, but people with ideas that make sense and hold merit, that counts for something.

    Going into circles over the same issues with no ground being gained on either side, however, isn’t useful. Heck if I know where to draw the line; I have only started reading this blog in the last few months, and there are others here with way more experience and knowledge than I have. Perhaps the reason I’m able to hold these views is that I haven’t had to put up with the circle of derailment and the same nauseating arguments “civilly” posed by the usual suspects.

  30. 230
    Q Grrl says:

    Aegis: you have misinterpreted me — mightily. I’m not arguing that women don’t do wrong; I’m arguing the relevance of stating that women do wrong when talking about the social and political ramifications of the harm that men play out on women’s boides and psyches. I view these as two very separate ideas and actions. I do not see where you have ever understood the significance of gender in society, and therefore I do dismiss your comments of “but women do it too” because you fail to account for the difference that gender makes — and why gender exists in the first place. It is not my job to reinvent the wheel — or 40 years of feminist theory. *If* you want to argue so shallowly that you interpret me as saying that women do no wrong, then that’s on you and you can have the discussion with yourself. I however, would like to stay focused on the implications of male violence towards women and how it is used as a social tool to gender women.

  31. 231
    Q Grrl says:

    Lu: What’s frustrating for me when reading your posts is what comes across as a rather naive assumption/starting point: that the feminists here are the one’s pulling the concept of a rape culture out of their assess just to see if it will float. Google “rape culture” and see how many people, not just feminists, define the concept and use it as a tool of social critique. It crosses theoretical lines, political lines, gender lines, nationality lines, etc. The concept isn’t rare or unsupportable — but to believe so leads to erroneous assumptions such as yours. We aren’t trying to create a new definition; we’re using an already existing tool to critique current social norms and practices. We are also tending to use it in a cross-theoretical way, combined with other concepts such as Marxian class, capitalism, liberalism, anarchism, etc., etc.

  32. 232
    Lu says:

    Bean, I did say “banned from threads,” not banned from the blog.

    Q Grrl, I don’t know where you get that. I was using rape culture as one example of feminist doctrine that I’m not sure I fully buy into — once again, not that I think it doesn’t exist or is a figment of someone’s imagination, but that I’m not sure of its extent or universality. If I said I wasn’t fully convinced of the theory of evolution, that would in no way commit me to the notion that someone dreamed it up ten minutes ago.

    Rebecca E:

    Going into circles over the same issues with no ground being gained on either side, however, isn’t useful. Heck if I know where to draw the line

    I don’t know either, but imho (again speaking from my experience of far-right blogs) this blog is a long way from that. I got distracted from work (OK, granted, it’s not hard) this afternoon, for example, reading the very interesting comments on this thread. Here and there quite heated, but nonetheless interesting.

  33. 233
    NancyP says:

    Hey Amp, if it amuses you, post all the dumb-ass goofs your auto-spam-filter does with common words, like the “socialist” one. I find that pretty funny.

    Or use your time to better effect for more cartoons!

  34. 234
    Doris says:

    Please take down all my comments!

  35. 235
    anon says:

    I am concerned. Please remove all comments made by me under anon and Doris

    Thanks

  36. 236
    A. J. Luxton says:

    This is my first visit to the blog, but I’ve been at your house and you’ve been at mine. (Need more clues? My female husband gave your household a bunch of homemade pickles recently. I am non-or-dual-gender-identified but regard gender as a performance. I think you’ve probably got it by now: do avoid outing me further, if you will.)

    I’m curious about something and it comes up as a subject of puzzlement. A friend of mine pointed out recently that “left” and “right” used as referents become unintentionally a drag on the liberals and a boon to the conservatives, because even when we speak without intentionally implying a word’s roots and secondary meanings, we are conscious of them. I don’t scream vitriol at anyone who uses those words, but I sure as hell think about it every time I see them, and this comment is meant in a similar light.

    When you refer to “men’s rights activists”, it’s pretty clear in context that you’re referring to a particular breed of anti-feminist. But the part of me that will never, never, never feel at home in a “(gender)-only” space balks at the terminology. I believe my male-bodied wife should be allowed to wear a skirt whenever and wherever he pleases, without suffering harrassment, although I’m unlikely to launch into a discussion of this at an inappropriate time or place. So I am apparently included by the category term taken literally — but I don’t think the words mean, exactly, the category you are describing — any more than I think the “right” are right, if you see what I mean.

    I understand it’s a sticky problem and I’m not so much objecting to the terminologies as bringing up the question (which is what a lot of feminist discourse entails, I’m finding: quick answers and propagandist one-liners never do justice to such a complicated dialogue!) There’s a fine line between avoiding negatively charged words, and using positively charged words to reference a negative set of people and actions.

    On the other hand, I can see that if you called the misogynists misogynists, they might just think they weren’t, and ignore the policy.

    Tricky tricky Internet, this is. Anyway, good day to you all.

  37. 237
    latinamerican says:

    What you expose it is a truth in every country in the world with the inmigrants (illegal and legals) and expats.
    In Latin America recently there had been a huge emigration of american,
    canadian and european expats. Althought our governments are the ones
    who invited them..we do not see with good eyes such sudden invitation.

    I lost my job as an english teacher in my own country in Central America because of the school decided to hire an english speaking expat that actually is not
    even naturalized panamanian,not even speak spanish.
    I have heard other cases involving illegal colombians that take over jobs
    to panamanian citizens.
    Does it sounds familiar to you?
    Although I have never being racist in my whole life….what I am supposed to
    feel about this expat taking my $350 dollars a month job?
    Now,I work as a independent cook/seller of my empanadas in the streets.
    Who knows…maybe I can succeed with this…..

    I mean this problem of massive inmigration is serious…and never think it is
    not only affecting your country…it is EVERYWHERE in the planet.

  38. 238
    nobody.really says:

    Should an author criticize someone and then refuse to let the object of the criticism respond?

    A new post quotes and then criticizes a specific commentor who does not self-identify as feminist. The discussion is then limited to feminist-only comments. Perhaps this was an unintentional dynamic, but it sure seems unfair.

    To provide a figleaf of fairness, I suggest that authors refrain from attributing quotes to people who are not permitted to comment. Compare two posts: Post A begins “What do you think about Joe’s statement: X.” Post B begins “What do you think about the following statement: X.” I would expect each post would produce a similar discussion, but the second post does not scream out for Joe to respond.

    For what it’s worth, this might be a good practice whether or not Joe is allowed to respond. If the goal is to discuss ideas, not people, then the attribution to Joe may well be irrelevant in any event.

  39. 239
    Robert says:

    Eh. As Ampersand has noted, people get talked about in forums where they can’t respond all the time. The person in question has their own blog; there are open forums here; too bad for them, no big.

    On the other hand, I think it does say something about the fence-builders and their willingness or ability to engage in challenging discourse, rather than echo-chamber chitchat.

  40. 240
    plunky says:

    I believe Sailorman DOES self identify as a feminist. Whether others agree or not, is a whole other issue. Remember his “how can I raise feminist daughters” deal? I can’t imagine that he would care about that as an issue and not be a feminist himself.

    Ampersand said:

    I’ve certainly been criticized multiple times in forums I’m not welcome to post on, and I’ve never seen anything wrong with that.

    I think this is comparing apples to oranges. Sailorman posts here normally and participates in feminist-only threads. Maia has singled Sailorman out as not welcome in her threads only. Which I suppose is fine normally, but I think it is crossing a line when she directs an entire angry rant at Sailorman, but prevents him from defending himself.

    Sure, he can go to some random place as Ampersand suggested and defend himself there, but no one will see it, no one will know to look there etc. IOW, it will be completely ineffective.

    He is a member of this community, and y’all are stomping on him.

  41. 241
    Ampersand says:

    On the other hand, I think it does say something about the fence-builders and their willingness or ability to engage in challenging discourse, rather than echo-chamber chitchat.

    With all due respect, I think that’s a load of hooey, Robert.

    Can you honestly expect me – me of all people – to take seriously the idea that feminist-only discourse leads to a lack of challenges and echo-chamber chitchat?

    Every limitation on discourse simultaneously fosters some other sort of discourse. A “feminists only” discussion is going to be different than a “anti-feminists and feminists allowed” discussion, but different doesn’t mean without challenges or disagreement.

    Sure, he can go to some random place as Ampersand suggested and defend himself there, but no one will see it, no one will know to look there etc. IOW, it will be completely ineffective.

    There have been many “open thread” threads which have had significantly long discussions – discussions just as long as any of the other recent threads here. It therefore seems mistaken to claim that the open threads are any less seen than any other threads here.

    He is a member of this community, and y’all are stomping on him.

    I’m sorry you feel that way, and I’m sorry if Sailorman feels that way. As it happens, I think the thread in question has had too many personal attacks on Sailorman by folks in the comments, and that makes me unhappy.

    But the bottom line is, although this is a community, this isn’t a community of equals. Sailorman is a comment-writer and he’s welcome to remain here on that basis. Maia is a co-poster and moderator; she has to be free to design her threads in whatever way suits her. In Maia’s threads, Maia’s preferences are more important than anyone else’s preferences. That’s the way it’s run here.

  42. 242
    Robert says:

    Can you honestly expect me – me of all people – to take seriously the idea that feminist-only discourse leads to a lack of challenges and echo-chamber chitchat?

    Nope, and I wouldn’t ask you to. We’re not talking about a feminist-only discourse.

    Every limitation on discourse simultaneously fosters some other sort of discourse. A “feminists only” discussion is going to be different than a “anti-feminists and feminists allowed” discussion, but different doesn’t mean without challenges or disagreement.

    Of course. But this isn’t a feminist-only discourse; it’s a feminist-only discourse centered around an attack on someone’s writing, with that person being specifically disinvited to participate.

    Is Maia out of bounds? No, people do this in the blogosphere all the time. Is she wrong? No, she wants what she wants for her conversation, and that’s totally cool. Is she breaking the rules of your forum? No, she’s following them to a T.

    But it is cowardly to do what she’s doing, and it’s not going to create a positive conversation; as you yourself have noted, it’s just going to lead to a litany of personal attacks from people who know they won’t have to answer the person they’re attacking. It’s fostering a different kind of discourse – a kaffeeklatsch let’s-shit-on-sailorman discourse.

    She has every right to do what she’s doing; I defend that vociferously. The rest of us have every right to hold her actions in contempt, and to draw what conclusions we will about her intellectual integrity.

  43. 243
    Jake Squid says:

    … it’s just going to lead to a litany of personal attacks from people who know they won’t have to answer the person they’re attacking. It’s fostering a different kind of discourse – a kaffeeklatsch let’s-shit-on-sailorman discourse.

    That is part of the thread but, at this point, far from the dominant theme of the thread. I think you are overstating the number of attacks on Sailorman and minimizing the rest of the discussion which seems to be centered around SmartBlkWoman’s assertions.

    And, hey! if you want to do that I guess we’re free to hold your comments in contempt, and to draw what conclusions we will about your intellectual integrity. But that’s just the fun, deserty-like part!

  44. 244
    RonF says:

    But the bottom line is, although this is a community, this isn’t a community of equals. Sailorman is a comment-writer and he’s welcome to remain here on that basis. Maia is a co-poster and moderator; she has to be free to design her threads in whatever way suits her. In Maia’s threads, Maia’s preferences are more important than anyone else’s preferences. That’s the way it’s run here.

    Hear, hear. If you don’t like it, leave.

    However:

    As Ampersand has noted, people get talked about in forums where they can’t respond all the time.

    … people do this in the blogosphere all the time.

    Really? I wonder why I’ve not run across this anywhere but here? Personally, I think such a practice is bogus. If someone is specifically mentioned in a thread, they ought to be able to respond in that thread. It’s only fair, not to mention the polite thing to do. But, as you say, the owner of the blog/thread gets to make the rules.

    However, I’ve not run into any blog but this one where people are talked about but are banned from responding in the same thread. Is it a coincidence that this is the only left-wing/feminist blog I get into with any regularity? Is this a phenomenon that people have seen in conservative blogs? My sample size is not large enough for me to make a judgement on my own.

  45. 245
    Tuomas says:

    I suppose I should say something about your choice to ask me not to post here.

    I’m actually quite ok with that, not just on principle that it ought to be your right.

    I’m not sure if I agree with this:

    And it’s my impression that you’ve had a similar effect on other discussions here – usually operating from similarly belligerent and misguided premises. As I wrote in the “moderation policies” post:

    At least on the “misguided” part, but I have to admit, now that you’ve mentioned it, altough it has –now that I’m rather disillusioned with modern liberalism — been my habit to be rather contentious and indeed belligerent (some personal stuff may play a part too), but what’s more, I have more than once (almost regularly, in fact) treated the comments section as a battleground. Not only of ideas, but of a vain need to feel temporary intellectual superiority. Thus, even when I have tried to tell myself that it’s good-natured, looking back some of the comments amount to nothing else but verbal bullying. Not even particularly clever one at that, either.

    I’m personally disgusted by that too (I thought I hated bullying…), because there isn’t really an excuse to that kind of behaviour toward people whose only ‘crime’ is not thinking like I do. :(

    Apologies.

    Anyway, Alas remains a decent blog and an interesting read.

    C’ya in Creative Destruction. :)

  46. 246
    Tuomas says:

    (temporarily intellectually, typo)

  47. 247
    Brandon Berg says:

    You too? Is this a Finnish thing?

  48. 248
    SmartBlkWoman says:

    1) Wow, this is a long thread.

    2) Ampersand Writes:

    December 20th, 2006 at 10:20 am
    RonF and SmsrtBlkWoman: With all due respect, Marcella marked this thread as “feminist, pro-feminist and feminist-friendly only.” As I understand the terms, neither of you fit into that category. Please do not post in this thread again.

    I have always called myself a feminist, so why do you believe I don’t qualify?

  49. 249
    Ampersand says:

    Huh. I may have just misunderstood your position; somehow I thought you weren’t a feminist.

    If you don’t mind my asking, what current-day feminists have views you agree with?

  50. 250
    SmartBlkWoman says:

    Which ones don’t I agree with?! I think that my feminist views are often tempered with my libertarianism and it turns out seeming as if I’m not a good libertarian or a good feminist either.

    If I had to name to my fav fems it would be bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins ( I’m currently reading Black Feminist Thought, and particularly Wendy McElroy ( who is a libertarian and a feminist).

  51. 251
    Ampersand says:

    Like Bean, I don’t really think of Wendy McElroy as a feminist; she has absolutely nothing positive to say about the current-day feminist movement, and has a weekly column devoted almost exclusively to anti-feminist arguments.

    If Wendy McElroy is a feminist, then I don’t think the word “feminist” has much meaning. There’s more on why I think that some folks are anti-feminists in this post.

    But certainly, bell hooks and Patricia Hill Collins are both feminists by anyone’s lights. (Although McElroy would refer to them scornfully as “gender feminists.”)

    My personal definition is as follows:

    A feminist:

    1) Believes that there is current, significant, society-wide inequality and sexism, and doesn’t view men as the primary victims of sexism.

    2) Advocates for the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

    If you’re a feminist under this definition, then you can keep posting on the “feminist-only” threads. I just don’t want those threads to end up being dominated by anti-feminist arguments of the sort that McElroy spouts. (I’m not saying those arguments can’t be posted on “Alas” at all; just that they don’t belong in feminist-only threads.)

  52. 252
    Daran says:

    Well, Amp, by that definition I am a feminist, because I don’t view either sex as the primary victims in so far as that formulation implies that the other sex are secondary victims.

    As for SBW, on my blog, I blogrolled her under “Miscellaneous Blogs” rather than “Cool Feminist Blogs”, because I was uncertain whether she self-identified as feminist. (She certainly meets the “Cool” criterion.)

  53. 253
    Abyss2hope says:

    If someone self-identifies as a feminist but isn’t feminist-friendly when it comes to the topic at hand, then that person shouldn’t comment on the restricted post.

  54. 254
    Ampersand says:

    Abyss2Hope, with all respect, I think I disagree with you on that. If someone is a no-doubt-about-it feminist poster – you, say, or Q Grrl – and that person has a view on an issue that is counter to what most feminists think, then I’m especially eager to hear their view.

    The “feminist only” threads are mainly intended by me to prevent every thread about rape and intimate violence from turning into yet another rehashing of the neverending feminist vs. MRA debates. I don’t think the “feminists only” rule should be used to discourage intra-feminist debate.

    That said, there’s nothing wrong with saying “I don’t want to use the comments here to rehash the argument about _______, so if you want to debate on that question, please take it to a different thread,” or something like that.

  55. 255
    Ampersand says:

    Daran, what would you consider a phrasing that encompasses your view that the male side of the mountain of shit looks bigger?

  56. 256
    Abyss2hope says:

    Amp, I think we’re talking about different things. What I was trying to say is that if a person posts like an MRA, that is IMO going to have greater weight than the label they give themselves.

  57. 257
    Daran says:

    I don’t think it is important which side is bigger. (The information that one side looks bigger was offered in rebuttal of the alternative claim, that the female side is bigger, rather than being offered as a positive article of docrine.) Whichever side is bigger does not make that side “primary”.

    The appropriate response to a mountain of shit is not to worry about which side is bigger, but to grab a shovel and start tackling whatever part of the mountain is within your reach, while not denying, dismissing, etc., the other side, or actively frustrating those working on it.

  58. 258
    Ampersand says:

    Abyss2Hope wrote:

    Amp, I think we’re talking about different things. What I was trying to say is that if a person posts like an MRA, that is IMO going to have greater weight than the label they give themselves.

    Oh, you’re right, I did misunderstand you. I agree with this.

  59. 259
    ms_xeno says:

    This will be my final post on Alas. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Daran’s behavior is unique on this board, it is pretty sadly representative of all the things on this board that have come to completely outweigh any good it still does my soul.

    Daran, on your very own link above, you make some ridiculous claims about what I said regarding the funding of men’s shelters. In your own quote, you make it clear that the funders of the women’s shelter in question felt that they were already serving the community adequately by funding the women’s shelter. In your customary zeal to mock feminism, play fatuous word games, and continue your idiotic use of words like “apartheid,” not once do I see any of the following acknowledgements:

    Perhaps it might take some time and repeated effort to overcome stereotypes about abused men, much as feminists have had to do when putting together shelters. It doesn’t serve the men you are trying to help at all for you to throw up your hands as if the Mighty Feminist Conspiracy will now and forever render your attempts impossible.

    Women’s shelters are by and large not equipped at present to care for all the women that need help and perhaps this might be a factor in their not wanting to take on the complications of housing male survivors. Which begs the question, again, of your insistence on an oppositional relationship. Abusive households tend to produce more abusive households, and it seems to me that if you were sincere in your desire to stop DV, you would applaud what feminists have done instead of constantly running them down.

    The way that funding is allocated ought to be looked at in terms of the discrepancy between social funding and other categories of funding, as opposed to your continual technique of looking only at the discrepancy between funding for women’s shelters and funding for men’s shelters. Again, do you have any interest at all in doing this ? Doesn’t seem like it to me. You have yourself a handy excuse to never accomplish anything and you just can’t seem to let it go.

    Now you can hurry back to your own site and make up some more shit about me, with no sense of irony at all over the fact that a week or so ago, you were crying for poor old jaketik who was not here to defend himself from my comments about how he is/was wont to behave around feminists. Hell, you can photoshop pictures of my head to Godzilla’s body and drive virtual tanks over it for all I care.

    Anyone else who wants to speak with me can certainly find my contact info easily enough. If you’re in Daran’s posse, don’t bother. Your posts or emails will be thrown out unanswered.

    Richard Jeffrey Newman, if you’re reading this, please post as to where I might send you an email with some links you might find helpful. I looked around your site and was unable to find any contact info. Thanks.

  60. 260
    Radfem says:

    It would be nice to see threads involving violence against women not always become “what about the men” threads, but the fact that they almost always do just is part and parcel of living in a patriarchal society and provides more evidence of that, because apparently as far as women are concerned, we are still required to put the needs and wants of men first. Even when discussing topics that are personal to us, and affect us as a gender, we are required to use language that men want us to use the way they want us to use it, because that’s apparently the only legitimate means of discussing issues.

    Often it seems that it is getting more and more difficult for feminists to have discourse with other feminists without MRAs coming along and using those discussions for their own pissing contests. Not all feminist discussions or discussions about feminist issues are about winning arguments, putting notches in our belts that we silenced that feminist or even comparing caliber size. I’ve found other sites where those discussions take place and it’s great, and much more rewarding than going another round with smug MRAs here and other places. And if you don’t play their way under their rules(even on some of the feminist friendly threads) or you don’t feel like plowing through another army of strawmen, the threads get derailed quite quickly and you end up getting treated like Ms_Xeno.

  61. Pingback: ms_xeno’s Last Post? « DaRain Man

  62. 261
    SmartBlkWoman says:

    bean Writes:

    IMO, in order to be a feminist, you can’t hate women. Ergo, Wendy McElroy is NOT a feminist.

    Wendy doesn’t hate women. ( I’m a regular reader of her website by the way). She’s a die hard libertarian and I think that libertarianism-which essentially says that the government needs to but the hell out of most of the stuff that it gets into-contradicts what many of my fellow feminists believe (that the government should be a tool for social change/manipulation).

    Many feminists are liberals ( or socialists or Marxists) and those are economic policies that I cannot get behind because I think they are wrong.

    From now on I’ll think a lot harder before I post so that I can make sure that my contribution to the thread won’t be seen as abusive or anti-feminist.

  63. 262
    SmartBlkWoman says:

    Daran Writes: As for SBW, on my blog, I blogrolled her under “Miscellaneous Blogs” rather than “Cool Feminist Blogs”, because I was uncertain whether she self-identified as feminist. (She certainly meets the “Cool” criterion.)

    Aw shucks. I’m blushing.

  64. 263
    Ann says:

    “Sorry about that – but it really IS necessary. Blame the free market for creating spam. ”

    No.

    Don’t blame the creation of spam-detectors for the use of putting comments into moderation.

    Blame the un-civil, rude, disrespectful commentors who cause blog owners to resort to the use of spam filters and comment moderation.

    Challenge the person’s argument or position on a topic.

    Under NO circumstances call them names or degrading insulting pejorative terms.

    Once you do that (i.e., calling a person a “bitch”, “asshole”, etc.,) you have lost all credibility, not to mention you have lost the argument/debate.

    If you do not like a person’s position on a specific topic, fine.

    But, attacking the person only shows that you don’t have the knowledge, facts OR integrity to back up what you say.

  65. 264
    Susan says:

    One of the blogs I frequent – a very right-wing blog – has an owner who says, as a moderation policy, “Don’t say anything here to anyone that you wouldn’t say in my living room, and bear in mind that I will throw jerks OUT of my living room.”

    This works reasonably well.

    Hey, we all learned it as children, yes? Don’t insult people, don’t attack the arguer instead of the argument, behave in a civil fashion, right? What is it about the internet (and, cars) that makes people forget the simplest rules of civilized discourse?

  66. 265
    Joe says:

    Check box for the moderation policy is new. Think it’ll help?

  67. 266
    Ampersand says:

    Once I get it working properly, it’ll only appear on the “feminist-only” threads. And I think it will help, if only by preventing people from accidently posting on those threads because they missed the “feminist only” part.

  68. 267
    Joe says:

    That’s a good idea.

  69. 268
    Daran says:

    Mandolin:

    May I submit that it’s dishonest for Feminist Critics to copy/paste the sections of their posts that appear to support a feminist position — with the purpose, I assume, of luring the Alas audience?

    You are mistaken. There is no attempt to suggest that our posts support a feminist position, which clearly they don’t. Nor are we posting to that thread. Ampersand has applied a ‘feminist only’ rule, which prohibits us from commenting.

    What you are seeing is a trackback. ((Also known as a pingback. There is some technical difference between the two, which escapes me.)) Whenever we link to another blog, a section of text close to the link itself is automatically sent to the linked-to blog. We have no control (other than link placement) over which part of the text is sent.

    The linked-to blog’s admin, Ampersand in this case, can configure his blog to block these trackbacks on either a sitewide, or a per-thread basis. He has not chosen to do so. To the contrary, he recently installed a plugin intended to improve what is frequently a fairly unreliable process. Therefore, if you think the appearance of our trackbacks in a feminist-only thread is inappropriate, then I suggest you direct your complaints to Ampersand.

  70. 269
    nobody.really says:

    [S]nide implications that feminists are man-hating bigots — even when delivered in “civil” language — will not be tolerated.

    Point of order: Does quoting self-identified feminists saying “Feminism isn’t here to cure the harm that the patriarchy does to men” violate this policy?

    I can’t help but wonder that the quoted perspective would pose strategic challenges. I understand feminism to involve opposition to patriarchy. But I don’t know how we’d get rid of patriarchy without also getting rid of the harm that patriarchy does to men. I fear some compromise may be unavoidable. Inevitably, the fall of patriarchy may bestow some benefits to men, even if inadvertently; I just don’t see any way around it….

  71. 270
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t think it does violate the policy, N.R. Saying that feminism isn’t about men isn’t an admission of anti-male bigotry any more than saying the Portland Vetranarian’s Organization isn’t about cartoonists is an admission of anti-cartoonist bigotry.

    Now, as it happens, I disagree with the quoted statement; I think that all the harms of patriarchy, including but definitely not limited to the harms patriarchy does men, is something that feminism should address.[*] However, I don’t think the only possible reason that a feminist might disagree with me about that is anti-male bigotry, so I don’t think the conclusion that anyone who thinks feminism ought to be all about women’s rights is an anti-male bigot is justifiable.

    [* Within an understanding that time and resources are not unlimited, and therefore prioritizing is unavoidable.]

  72. 271
    mandolin says:

    I know this has been said before, but I guess I feel the need to add my voice to the din. For whatever reason, Alas, which theoretically has an emphasis on civil discourse, seems to host more vile sentiments than any other blog I read regularly (note: I dropped Hugo from my reading list for similar reasons*).

    I like being here, and I like reading the posts, but the way Ann and Pheeno have just been attacked — really, dramatically attacked — is kind of galling.

    Why does the emphasis on civil discourse create this feedback loop? Is it because the posters on Pandagon, for instance, are more comfortable mocking the creeps before they get so creepy? Is it just a different bannination policy? Is it an illusion caused by the way comments thread here? Do the comments get as vile in other places, but the reaction of the population is just different, so the scary stuff isn’t as clearly deliniated?

    If no one else is interested in opening up this can of worms, it’s cool. And I appreciate that Chris has been asked to leave. But, it still happened.

    (*Leading me to be curious about why it is that the feminist blogs hosted by men have such an infestation, but with a group of 2, it’s hardly a real pattern.)

  73. 272
    Ampersand says:

    Damned if I know. I’m worried about it too, though, for what that’s worth.

    Part of the reason, I think, is that I’m much more hesitant to ban people who disagree with me; they have to really, really prove themselves to be disgusting and/or a drag on discussion. And, some of the time, I think I’m right not to ban people (Rob Hayes, for instance). Other times, though, I should clearly be quicker on the trigger.

    Part of what went on with Chris today is that I was at work all day, followed by being on a long shopping and dinner expedition, so I wasn’t keeping any eye at all on what was going on.

  74. 273
    Rachel S. says:

    It’s not just a gender issue. The same is true with race/racism.

    I think part of the dynamic is that for some trolls it is easy for racist/sexist trolls to attack whites or men because they think it is somehow going not make them look sexist/racist. Plus, they don’t much care about women or people of color anyways, so why even both with someone who you have no respect for.

    Another problem we have here at Alas (and I think both Amp and I are guilty of this), is that we both have the tendency to act like people will change through reasonable debate, and in that vein we give people chances. Probably too many chances.

    But you can be sure that something is going to happen. I already emailed Amp earlier this weekend, and now two different women have emailed me/posted about how pissed they were at some of the commenters over here this weekend.

    One problem is the Duke thread…You put anything up about Duke, it brings out the worst bigots. That is part of the reason I am loathed to comment on it because I’m going to have to deal with some real bigots.

  75. 274
    Rachel S. says:

    OMG, are you talking about Michael’s bullshit?

  76. 275
    joe says:

    I haven’t been commenting here for that long and I’m obviously not a member. I just want to say that I really like the civility of alas. I like reading and discussing what’s said here, and I like the fact that there aren’t a lot of flame wars, pile on’s or long digression into whether so and so is or is not a feminist/anti-racist/bigot/complete waste of oxygen. Debate and disagreement are allowed and I’ve even seen people apparently change their minds on an issue.

    The downside is that mean, cruel things can be slipped through under the guise of disagreement. They just have to be worded politely.

    I don’t know what the answer is, I just wanted to say that I’m getting a lot out of the current set up.

    also
    Chris is a troll that needs to exiled to the bottom of a bridge IRL for what he said to pheeno.

  77. 276
    mandolin says:

    I was talking about Michael’s bullshit, obviously.

    …I really do respect you and Amp a lot, but I do have to agree with what bean says here:

    posters on Pandagon, for instance, aren’t necessarily more “comfortable” mocking the creeps before they get so creepy — but they are allowed to do so. And the creeps know it. The feminist women aren’t going to be berated, asked to leave, or feel as though they have to leave for calling a misogynist a misogynist. The creeps here, and at other male pro-feminist blogs (and yeah, I could give you a number of other examples where the same sort of thing happens) know that they have an ally in the blog moderator (despite disagreeing with much of what said blog mod writes). The misogyny level has to get to beyond creepy level before anything is said to them (and if anything is said before that regarding said increasing misogyny level, that person will be castigated).

    I know Bean’s points are something else that has been said on this blog before, but they have a ring of truth. I’m going to ramble now:

    I’m not sure that I, personally, feel like the issue is maleness — whereas, on Hugo’s blog, I know where I stand. Directly below chinchillas in Universal Importance. And certainly several rungs below the pleasantly self-righteous sensation of Evangelizing (about feminism) to MRAs. (That’s probably not totally fair, but it’s how I feel when I’m there, and it’s one part of the trifecta of annoyances that make his blog unreadable, IMO.)

    But there is a dynamic here, where the moderators are not part of the groups they primarily write about. Rachel is white; Amp is male. Maia is female and writing primarily about sexism, of course, but she moderates pretty heavily.

    (I’m going to focus on the sexism/Amp side of the discussion now, partially because while Rachel doesn’t moderate very heavily, she will occasionally make it very clear what she thinks and who she supports, and that bluntness often takes the edge off her threads for me — except for persistent trolls like Michael.)

    Unlike at Hugo’s blog, I wonder if it’s just that some of the misogyny at Alas doesn’t cut Amp as deeply to the bone as it cuts some of the women posters. I do feel like he sees the creepy-but-not-yet-bannable misogyny and disagrees with it, but it also seems like he can intellectualize that and push it away from himself. It often seems as though he expects the other posters to do so, also.

    At some level, I guess it comes down to the purpose of the blog. If this blog is evangelical — meant to persuade people who are actively hostile — then disallowing the term “misogyny” while allowing that misogyny to simmer as long as it doesn’t boil, seems logical. At the same time, though, it’s going to manufacture an environment that’s hostile to feminists. And some number of them are going to leave — have already left.

    Which seems, to me, to injure the goal of evangelism, because Amp can’t convert every poster by hand. He needs other people to argue with the commenters. Maybe if he had an army of people like Myca who can acheive that distance that would work, but I think the cloning machine is out of order for the nonce.

    It seems like feminists often, in other places, ask for men to talk to other men, and I guess Hugo (and to a lesser extent Amp) are doing that. It’s sort of unfortunate that the men they get stuck talking to aren’t the sort of sane ones who just need a few scales-falling-from-their-eyes type revelations, but instead are the entrenched misogynists who spend their time lambasting feminism. (Off-topic grumble: Oh, but don’t worry, they have feminist perspectives! WTF was that about?)

    Is it worth it to cosset the MRAs and anti-feminists, rehashing the same arguments over and over? If the goal is evangelism, then it still seems worth it to re-examine the audience.

    I don’t think Amp is an ally of the misogynists. I get the impression that he’s doing his best to appear impartial to them, so that he can increase his credibility and, thus, his chance of persuading them. That puts him in an awkward position.

    I also know Amp has said he favors civil discourse because uncivil discourse makes him uncomfortable, but there are a lot of shades in between civil and uncivil.

    In summary, I guess I would ask, does the current moderation policy suit the blog’s goals?

    Amp:

    I spent a lot of time here trying to imagine your feelings, which I know is a distancing manuever. I hope there’s something to be gained by hearing what it is that I see, even where I’m getting things dead wrong. If it’s offensive, I apologize.

    And of course, I also know that you’ve thought about most of these things, so to the extent this is rehashing old ground that you’re just sick of hearing other people speculate about, I apologize for that too.

  78. 277
    Sailorman says:

    It’s hard to walk the line between preaching to the choir and allowing the mob to form. Amp, i think you’re doing an excellent job–which is why Alas has become one of my favorite blogs to read, though it wasn’t when I started reading this type of blog.

    Power dynamics, like anything else, can have isolated “pockets” where things are different from the societal norm. So while there’s a general tendency for men to shout down women in society, I don’t think anyone would claim that tendency exists on Twisty’s blog. there’s it’s the reverse.

    So the argument seems to be between those folks who say “hey, society sucks, discourse is difficult, let’s have a place where power dynamics are reversed!” versus those who say “…let’s have a place where power dynamics are equalized!.”

    Who is right? The answer comes from the followup: What’s the lesson? Is it a “blue eyes brown eyes” experiment, where the goal is to make people realize that they possess privilege* by putting them in an unprivileged situation? Or is the goal to discuss things as equals?

    I think there are a lot of blogs out there that lean heavily towards the first view. I call them “That’ll teach you!” blogs. I used to call them “a priori” blogs, because they always assumed their point. We know what they are like. And they serve a useful role, I think.

    Still their appeal is limited. Alas has established a rare–and incredibly helpful–niche AWAY from that ‘privilege reversal’ situation. It’s one of the few blogs (on either side of the political spectrum) to acknowledge that there are really two sides to the vast majority of situations; that there are few (if any) true absolute statements.

    Basically, Alas is not an “a priori blog”, where only the converted are welcome. Daran’s posts, for example? I disagree with them, but they keep things honest. It’s too easy for ANY group that lacks cohesive challenge to get lazy in its presentation, philosophy. and politics.

    When mandolin says

    Which seems, to me, to injure the goal of evangelism, because Amp can’t convert every poster by hand. He needs other people to argue with the commenters. Maybe if he had an army of people like Myca who can acheive that distance that would work, but I think the cloning machine is out of order for the nonce.

    I disagree. Since when are we lacking in folks to argue with? With the exception of some ultrafrequent posters who get away with things before they’re shot down, essentially every major argument gets a lot of well thought out, detailed, replies. And pretty much always, feminists come out on top.

    Sure–you could change the blog so those arguments get moderated out, and never get addressed. Or you could establish a blog where there’s a simple chorus of “check your privilege!” to most disagreement.

    But then you wouldn’t be “Alas,” you’d be Bitch PhD or Twisty or Feministe or… and that would be a pity.

    * Used here as a catch-all phrase for most -ism stuff, etc.

  79. 278
    mandolin says:

    “Since when are we lacking in folks to argue with?”

    I don’t know who you’re referring to as we. I don’t usually see you and I as being on the same side.

    Also… way to be dismissive. I mean, I don’t mind that you support Amp. Yay, Amp. But when there are women saying that they *do* feel shouted down on this blog, and you say, “eh, it’s in your head,” that’s … well, why I rarely think we’re on the same side.

  80. 279
    Sailorman says:

    Mandolin sed:
    But when there are women saying that they *do* feel shouted down on this blog, and you say,you say, “eh, it’s in your head,”

    I didn’t say that. At all. (if you think i did, can you show me where?)

    Are you responding to my post, or to someone else? You seem to be quoting me at first, but the rest of your response suggests otherwise.

  81. 280
    mandolin says:

    Well, your post is about how the problems I described in my post aren’t actually problems, so.

  82. 281
    mandolin says:

    “And, do they really respect Amp and this blog because he is civil? Or is it because they are allowed to spread their hate here (albeit cloaked in civility)? Or is it because Amp is a man? ”

    Yeah, I question that, too.

    I guess I thought your initial assertion was suggesting that Amp fosters that deliberately. (As someone just said to me on ginmar’s livejournal: that he doesn’t want to convince anti-feminists, he wants them to like him.) And I’m unwilling to take that leap.

  83. 282
    Sailorman says:

    Mandolin,

    That’s not what my post is about at all (and that’s why I asked you to quote me–I don’t think you’ll find what you suggest anywhere in my post). Can you a be a bit more specific? I feel like you’re vastly misrepresenting what I said, and I don’t understand why.

  84. 283
    mandolin says:

    OK. Perhaps I misread you.

    Is your post a response to mine at all?

    I say that there’s a mildly hostile atmosphere here, because for whatever reason, there’s a tendency for some really nasty shit to go down here — e.g. Chris, and Michael. I don’t find those to be isolated incidents.

    You reply with an answer talking about how it’s important to listen to all points of view, and Alas acheives that. You also rant about other blogs where women are favored “a priori.”

    If your reply was intended to respond to me in any way, then it sounds an awful lot like you’re saying that it’s invalid for me to note that the atmosphere here feels hostile, and that nasty shit goes down here.

  85. 284
    Ampersand says:

    I feel bad that I haven’t commented here yet; I’ve been reading every comment and I am thinking seriously about what you’re saying. I’ve spent most of my “Alas” time today fixing the layout (it was broken in IE), and now I’ve run out of time and have to go to work.

    (Plus, aside from time constraints, I’m still thinking.)

    So I hope folks will trust that I’m not ignoring this discussion at all; but it’s going to be hours before I can seriously comment on anything here.

  86. 285
    joe says:

    Bean/Mandolin, I can see your point about how you feel about things that are written here and I think it’s valid, I hope that Amp and the others come up with a solution that keeps Alas basically the same, except that what happened to Pheeno doesn’t happen again. (I don’t know who michel is.) I’d hate to see alas dramatically changed.

    I’m not sure where you categorize me on the feminist scale, or if you do at all. But Here’s why I like Amp.
    1. usually has good points.
    2. appears to develop his points based on an understanding of the data.
    3. writes in a way that I find interesting.
    4. seems to acknowledge tradeoff and that sometimes things are only mostly true.
    5. draws some really funny cartoons.
    6. forces a civil debate on alas.

    In addition I like Alas because I think some of the other writers and commentors write interesting or thought provoking things.

    As far as purpose goes, what’s wrong with having a place for the blog owner(s) to talk about things that interest them and let other people comment?

  87. 286
    Myca says:

    I just wanted to post and say that the conversation/moderation style here has convinced me to change my mind on a few different issues.

    Whether that’s worth the downside or not, I don’t know, just providing one more data point.

  88. 287
    mandolin says:

    “As far as purpose goes, what’s wrong with having a place for the blog owner(s) to talk about things that interest them and let other people comment? ”

    There’s no problem with that.

    I like what Amp chooses to post about.

    The issue comes with the “letting other people comment” — in doing so, Amp is creating a discussion area which he has control over. He could choose not to moderate, and thus to say, “there is no goal here, post what you want to post,” although I would say that this is definitely taking a position through non-action.

    Once moderation commences, then there’s a definite, positive action toward creating a certain kind of discourse. What kind of discourse Amp wants to create will influence how he wants to moderate.

    For instance, allowing women to say “you’re a misogynist shithead” to men who had showed up and discussed the weather, would drive a certain number of men away. On the contrary, eradicating the feminist-only threads would drive a certain number of feminists away.

    My … question/concern/argument type thing… is: why does the emphasis on civil argumentation here create an atmosphere in which the kinds of things that Chris and Micheal said seem so much more shocking, and untenable?

    As a corrolary, is it possible to catch the Chrises and Michaels before they go crazy-go-nuts? I would argue that it was clear that Chris was an unacceptably misogynist asshole a while before he accused a rape victim of making up the details of her assault in order to create an emotional bludgeon. I think that cutting him off before he had a chance to say that would have been a good thing. However, it runs the risk of cutting off other people who would not have gone that far. But really, if they’d gone as far as Chris had before he did that, isn’t that far enough? (Obviously, it is for me.)

    This raises some other questions for me too, most of which I think I’ve brought up.

    This blog seems very community-driven to me, though perhaps I mistake that purpose too. Amp has choices about how to shape that community, even though they arent’ always direct, because the choices have unintended consequences.

  89. 288
    Q Grrl says:

    I just wanted to post and say that the conversation/moderation style here has convinced me to change my mind on a few different issues.

    I think the more pertinent issue is whether the feminists (read: women) who post here ever change their mind on the issues posted here? Is there ever a chance for the women posters here to increase their own feminist learning curve? Advancing feminism isn’t just about “converting” the unbelievers. Advancing feminism is also providing the resources to individual feminists to test the already proven grounds of feminist theory (and practice) to enhance and build upon our understanding of sexism and the social practices that shore up that sexism.

    If feminists spend more than say 25% of their time rehashing Feminism 101, I would say that the feminists are not benefited by the civil “discourse” that is (primarily) promoted by the men who post and read this blog. Feminism, at its core, should not be the wild card on this blog. But to many feminists who post here, it is.

  90. 289
    Mandolin says:

    “Advancing feminism isn’t just about “converting” the unbelievers.”

    Right. But it’s nice if there are some blogs that do that, so that Twisty’s place can not focus on that, and there will still be a balance.

    So, is this a teaching blog? Are the feminists participating in the community doing so to be evangelical? Should we pat the nonbelievers on the head with our civility?

    Or are we here as ourselves, not as teachers?

    Currently, it seems to be some combination, which causes some confusion – for me at least.

    “If feminists spend more than say 25% of their time rehashing Feminism 101, I would say that the feminists are not benefited by the civil “discourse” that is (primarily) promoted by the men who post and read this blog.”

    Right.

    “Feminism, at its core, should not be the wild card on this blog. But to many feminists who post here, it is.”

    Do you feel like this in the posts as well as the comments?

    I do feel I’ve learned a lot from the posts here. I like the academic tone and discussion.

  91. 290
    Q Grrl says:

    Oh, my criticism was aimed solely at the comments sections of the blog. I like the posts.

  92. 291
    Jake Squid says:

    I think the more pertinent issue is whether the feminists (read: women) who post here ever change their mind on the issues posted here? Is there ever a chance for the women posters here to increase their own feminist learning curve?

    Those are good questions. I think an additional question is, is this a primary purpose of Alas? I would hazard a guess that that is actually a secondary purpose. Mostly, it seems to be a place where Amp can hone his arguments on points of interest and where, hopefully, interesting debate can take place.

    I’m not sure that this can ever be precisely the space that you want since, by design, it invites those with no, or next to no, knowledge of feminism to a debate with feminism at its core. This means that Feminism 101 has to take place again and again and again. Perhaps it would behoove Alas to have an archived space (allowing for further comments) w/ the best posts and comments laying out basic Feminism that people can be directed to without going through the same conversation over and over.

    One of the fringe benefits of Alas is that it is a place for the less knowledgeable to learn a hell of a lot about feminism and get some direction on where to find out more. Does this make it the kind of space that you would like to see? Probably not. I honestly never thought that was Amp’s goal in starting this blog. Have I been wrong?

    Feminism, at its core, should not be the wild card on this blog. But to many feminists who post here, it is.

    Can you rephrase this? I’m just not getting what you mean by “wild card”.

  93. 292
    Sailorman says:

    mandolin Writes:
    April 16th, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    OK. Perhaps I misread you.

    Is your post a response to mine at all?

    No, more to the thread than to you. I think this is a misunderstanding.

    First of all, I don’t dislike other blogs which favor a certain point of view. That’s why I said “And they serve a useful role, I think.”

    But just like I think there exist different points of views, i think there should also exist different blog levels. So while I read Twisty (I don’t comment there, though!) I also like Alas.

    And IMO in order to create a blog atmosphere where NOBODY who is a feminist is EVER going to feel shut up, put upon, etc–you need an atmosphere like Twisty et al. I think that changing Alas to fit that model would be a loss.

    More clear?

  94. 293
    Mandolin says:

    Sorry I misunderstood you, Sailorman.

    “I think that changing Alas to fit that model would be a loss.”

    Yes. Me, too.

    What is it about civility that includes, as an unintended consequence, really evil stuff happening (or a perception of really evil stuff happening) on a regular basis?

    Can those unintented consequences be altered (by changing the way the civility moderation is handled, for instance) so that evil stuff happens less frequently and Myca, for instance, is still comfortable in the threads?

  95. 294
    Mandolin says:

    “it raises a number of interesting things (and red flags) for me.”

    It certainly seems to favor people who can take an intellectualized view of the discourse.

    Are there women defenders of the model? (sorry if I’m missing someone who’s already spoken)

  96. 295
    Q Grrl says:

    Mandolin:

    You should do a search for “civility” on this blog. We’ve hashed and rehased the concept a lot.

    This is an excellent thread which shows the evolution of Alas:

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/02/14/feminist-and-feminist-friendly-only-thread-civility-alas-and-feminism/

    (sorry for the non-formatting. Amp, can you fix that?)

    Strangely enough it was being argued at the time that Alas was a priori feminist and that Amp’s intent did *not* matter. Is this what they mean by devolution?

  97. 296
    Jake Squid says:

    … the more I notice exactly who it is that is in favor of the “civility” discourse…

    Hey, leave me out of it. I don’t particularly like the civility policy, but I’m not sure that Amp’s moderation isn’t what makes this a space that I like to read. I see the flaws in the policy as it currently exists, but I feel that I have no real say in how Amp chooses to moderate.

    One of the inherent flaws in Amp’s moderation policies is that obscenity is much more noticeable when skimming through a thread. This functions to censure some quickly, while allowing other, equally uncivil or more uncivil, commenters to slip through. It depends on their style. It’s the whole faux civility problem. Short of finding more mods or Amp spending a lot more time moderating, I’m not sure what the fix for this is – other than to give up on the attempt at having civil debate in the manner that Amp prefers.

    At the same time, I’m unsure of what is being asked here. Do we (and I mean the general, collective “we”) expect, or even want, Amp to turn this into an IBTP or Margins type of blog? I suspect that is not what Amp wants.

    I feel that Amp has been very willing to listen to complaints and suggestions and to make changes. Of course any changes are within the limits of his goals, but what more can be expected?

    From my perspective, I like Alas, both for the posts and for the comments, because it’s got a unique feel that I haven’t found anywhere else. It isn’t the most feminist friendly place I’ve seen, but it is one of the few places where feminists and non- or anti-feminists can occasionally have an actual debate. I like Alas because I learn things about specific subjects and about feminism in general. The former from posts and the latter, usually, from comments.

  98. 297
    Mandolin says:

    I’ve already read the old arguments, but thank you for the link. It’s been a while, and obviously I wasn’t involved.

    I wondered if there were any women standing up for it now.

  99. 298
    Q Grrl says:

    er, I just looked devolution up. Never mind.

  100. 299
    Rachel S. says:

    I love how I am suddenly a non-issue in this debate.

    I moderate and put up posts, too.

    I know Amp owns the blog, but I just had to say that.