Unmoderated or too-loosely moderated internet forums quickly become shitheaps, so we have a few rules here.
One thing to remember right off the bat: this is a feminist blog, designed (mostly) for a feminist audience. You don’t have to be a feminist to post here, but if you don’t think the world would be a better place without so much fascism and misogyny, you’re not going to fit in. You have a right to your opinions, but you don’t have a right to our attention.
First comments from new commenters – or old commenters changing their name – automatically go to moderation. Regardless of your politics, if you start off here with a jerky or tediously argumentative comment, or if you trigger some other red flag for me, your first comment will never see the light of day.
So what are the big no-nos?
You’re NOT welcome if you’re: a racist, a misogynist, an antisemite, a homophobe, a transphobe or TERF, a MAGA-hat-wearing Trump fan, a fat-phobe, an edgelord, an asshole, a bad-faith comment policy tester, or just a blathering dingus that no one wants to have to listen to. This list is not all-inclusive; I can ban you for being offensive and/or annoying in ways not specified here. Sending me long whiny emails afterwards won’t help your chances of being reinstated.
Some things to avoid: slurs (c*nt, tr*nny, etc; keep in mind that TERF is not a slur); piling on; blaming someone’s bad ideas and/or behavior on mental illness or other medical conditions (though it’s ok to mention mental illness if it’s relevant); disrespect towards working-class or poor people, old people, young people, disabled people, people with mental illnesses, people literally or figuratively living in their mom’s basement. Don’t attack people based on their physical appearance.
No threats or violent comments. That includes telling someone to “die in a fire” or remarking that so-and-so would probably be better off dead. No calls for violent revolution or political assassination or any of that bullshit.
No gratuitously nasty personal attacks. Yes, discussions can sometimes get a bit contentious. You’re not required to be perfectly nice all the time. Just don’t be a total asshole.
No doxxing or posting of personal identifying information. Don’t spread rumors or speculate without evidence on the possible criminal activity of anyone else. Don’t use this site to organize harassment of anyone.
No rape apologism, pedo apologism, victim blaming, and so forth. No slut-shaming; no virgin-shaming. (Suggesting that people with terrible ideas about women might have trouble getting dates is fine, however; it’s also true.)
Don’t misgender anyone. If you do it accidentally, apologize and get it right the next time. If you do it deliberately, you’re out.
Don’t attack anyone for their sexual preferences or kinks, so long as they involve consenting adults. Refrain from weird or creepy sexual oversharing. Whatever your opinion of sex work, don’t disparage sex workers, or use words like “whore” as a pejorative. (Feel free to talk about MRAs who are using the word pejoratively.)
Don’t attack people for their religion or their lack of religion.
Don’t be a mansplainer or indeed any kind of ‘splainer. That is, don’t lecture anyone on something they know better than you, particularly if that thing is their lived experience.
Don’t post too much or try to make threads all about you. Try to avoid drama.
Avoid giving unsolicited advice, particularly on medical or weight issues.
No sockpuppeting. No lying. No misrepresentation of yourself or other people. No posting in bad faith – e.g. posting friendly comments here while trashing the site and/or the people on it elsewhere.
Sometimes I do let trolls and MAGA-heads and MRAs through, but only if I think they might be kind of fun for the regular commenters to bat around for a while. I will ban them if they become more offensive/annoying than entertaining.
If someone is violating these rules or being a huge asshole in ways I haven’t specified, don’t just drop a note in the comments, SEND ME AN EMAIL at dfutrelle at gmail dot com.
That’s basically it. If you’re concerned that the rules seem too strict, please read on:
Regardless of all the rules, you don’t have to be perfect to comment here. As sociologist Katherine Cross (@Quinnae_Moon) has noted, very few people arrive “fully formed to the world of activism, the perfect agents of change, somehow entirely cognizant of the ever shifting morass of rules and prescribed or proscribed words, phrases, argot, and thought.”
I want this blog to be open to all those who genuinely oppose misogyny and bigotry more generally, even those who may slip up from time to time.
Still, if you’re new here, or new to feminism, and the regulars here are telling you to avoid certain words, or pointing out something that you’re doing that’s problematic, don’t take it as a personal attack (unless it is couched as a personal attack, in which case email me). If they tell you to avoid particular language, uh, avoid using that language, and don’t explain that in your country calling a person a something-or-other is perfectly fine.
You don’t have to agree with all the rules and/or cultural norms here; but while you’re commenting here you are expected to respect them. If you think a rule is really, really wrong or ridiculous, don’t argue about it in the comments; send me an email about it.
And this brings us to the issue of ableism, which has been a contentious one here.
NOTES ON “CRAZY”
Avoid “crazy” talk. That is, using words like “crazy,” “psycho” and the like to describe the terrible ideas and actions of people you don’t like. It’s stigmatizing to those dealing with mental illness, who really don’t need the extra indignity of being compared to MRAs. Try using words like “ridiculous” or “absurd” or “terrible” instead. Call someone an “asshole” instead of a “psycho.” Try to avoid internet diagnoses of mental illness, and don’t use autism or Aspergers as an excuse for someone’s shitty behavior.
Saying someone is “paranoid,” “delusional,” or “narcissistic” is fine, if you don’t mean it as a diagnosis; these are useful descriptive terms.
If there is evidence that someone you are discussing does indeed have a mental illness, and this is relevant to the discussion, it can be appropriate to bring this up, though you should keep in mind that a hunch is not evidence.
All this said, words like “crazy,” “psycho,” and the like are extremely common, and plenty of people (including feminists, progressives, and people dealing with mental illness themselves) use them casually without intending to stigmatize those with mental illnesses. There’s a difference between saying “crazy people should all be locked up” and “boy, Eraserhead sure was a crazy movie!”
If you’re someone who uses these terms casually, and doesn’t actually want all “crazy” people locked up, it doesn’t make you an evil person, but you need to refrain from doing it here. (Again, if you disagree with this policy, and feel a need to make this disagreement known, DO NOT ARGUE ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS, send me an email instead.)
If you are a regular commenter here, and someone uses a problematic term like “crazy” or “psycho,” remind them gently that this is not how we do things here, and send them a link to this comment policy (and possibly the Welcome Package as well). Unless what they have said is particularly egregious, do not insult them or question their motives.
If they argue, remind them that arguing about this rule is also not allowed. If they continue,do not argue back; send me or the mods a note and they will be banned. (This may take a little while, so be patient and please do not give in to the impulse to argue with them.)
If others have already reminded them of the rules, move on.
Again, if someone is acting really shitty in the comments, whether a troll or a regular, SEND ME AN EMAIL.
One other thing to keep in mind:
MRAs read this blog. So I would strongly urge you to comment here using an anonymous handle that cannot be traced to your real identity. And to be very careful about revealing any sort of personal information on this blog. If you inadvertently post something using the wrong account, or that otherwise reveals personal information, let the mods know so we can remove those comments.
Oh, wait, one other other thought: