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no trolls allowed open thread

Do I need to crack down harder on trolls? A no-troll, no-MRA discussion thread

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This blog has been getting a lot more traffic lately. The downside is that we’ve had a lot more trolls here lately as well.

Because of this, and because of a shitty situation in one of the comment threads earlier tonight involving an abusive troll who I wish I had banned sooner, I want to open up a discussion to everyone here (that is, everyone here who is not a troll or an MRA).

The question is: Do I need to crack down harder on trolls?

Generally my approach has been to let trolls post unless and until they’re abusive. I know a lot of people here like engaging with trolls and taking them down.

The problem, of course, is that these trolls can quickly become abusive. And this can trigger people.

Should I be quicker to ban people — banning trolls at the first sign that they might become abusive rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt (which, unfortunately a lot of them don’t deserve)? Should I be stricter about who I let post in the first place?

There are actually a lot of people I don’t let post here at all; if their first comment is too aggressive or hostile or (obviously) contains a slur I don’t let their comments through. I’m especially strict when it comes to people posting in threads about women who’ve been harassed.

But I could be stricter, and I could ban more quickly if that’s what you think I should do.

Frankly, I gave up a long time ago on the idea that it’s possible to have any kind of “open debate” with these people. Too many of them are abusive assholes for that to work.

So my priority here is the regular feminist and feminist-friendly commenters on this blog, and coming up with a comment policy and procedures that work better for you all. There are people who enjoy and in many cases feel empowered by being able to confront the trolls here. But I don’t want, and I don’t think  any of us want, more situations like the one that happened tonight.

To be honest, I do think I need to crack down harder. I just want to hear what you all think on the issue, and to hear your suggestions as to how to do this most effectively.

The other aspect of this: I think I need to put up more no troll, no MRA open threads. And so I will be doing that.

Thoughts?

(I may not be able to get back to this thread for a little while, but I’ll definitely be back later in the evening.)

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Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

*sigh* we’re not talking about dissent here, or people who say something dumb, listen to why it was dumb, and apologize. We’re talking about shit like what started this thread — an asshole blaming someone here for not stopping the person molesting them. After making generally rape apologist comments. When David wasn’t around to drop the banhammer on him.

contrapangloss
8 years ago

Yep, Doug, let it go.

No one here objects to a good debate, with citations.

We object to abuse and rape apologia (which is what prompted this thread), to redundant trolls who bring no new arguments and spam with links to their own blogs, and to people who try to tell us women are a hive mind who all really want an alpha bloke.

Well, not all of us object to equal degrees to all of those. But, that’s the main three insufferables to me. The first one is the worst.

Although, there is a special level for the falsely clueless types who demand relationship advice and whine about creep shaming. Troll reading this, you know who you are.

Susanka
Susanka
8 years ago

really funny and interesting site, but it is too hard to read/follow comments. I only see a few at a time, so if there are 100’s of comments I have to hit “older comments” many times to get to beginning of thread- I have never encountered this before, and I see no other choices such as “show all” or “oldest first” or whatever. What is the purpose of this format?

Shane Waters
8 years ago

My feelings have always leaned towards benefit of the doubt. I once engaged in a healthy debate with someone who at first glance appeared to be trolling. The truth was, English was not their first language, and he came to agreement with me on many issues. For that one success story, there have been a thousand failures, but That one success story has made the thousand trolls worth it. If just one person is banned that could have been swayed the other way, we have lost somebody who might just have that extra crux. Just my opinion, if its worth anything. : P

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
8 years ago

Doug, you’re really kinda mansplaining here. We know the danger of groupthink, we know the danger of abuse, some of us who volunteered have even modded before. You’re objecting to things that no one has suggested, and using some pretty common troll logic (“feminist circlejerk”, “you never venture outside your bubbles”, etc) to do it.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Anyone who thinks we don’t debate stuff hasn’t been reading the comments section for very long…

So, I spent the last week “glamping” (not really, but we did have indoor plumbing) on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. It was gorgeous. They have this stuff called “water” there (we don’t have that in S. CA at the moment), and it’s very green. I took lots of pictures of flowers and ferns and moss, and if any trolls come around I may just spam the hell out of them with those. We also saw all kinds of cool birds, a young mountain lion, and a cute little mouse that shared our cabin for the whole week. Man oh man was it a glorious vacation.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Also, fuck abusive trolls. What asshats. I’m sure everyone already had great ideas for David.

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Aw, a wee wittle mousey! They’re so cute with their “oh shit, I’ve been spotted, FREEZE IN PLACE”. Like inverse weeping angels — won’t move when being watched, but you want to look away so they can carry on with their mousey business.

Anenome
Anenome
8 years ago

Hi David, occasional commenter here.

How about a code of conduct for commenters, that can include (alongside slurs, TW stuff etc) warnings about pasting too much, huge generalisations about feminism/women and possibly some other things. If a troll comes in, they could be refers to it, second offence, ban.

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

Hi David (and everyone else! It’s been a while, I really should be here more!).

So pretty sure the regulars all remember me. I still read the blog every single day!

On abusive pieces of shit – honestly, I’m okay with banning them if it’s clear that they’re not going to be talking in good faith. First sign of outright abuse = gone. I don’t really want a repeat of the incident where a troll chose to use ableist slurs and called users here “welfare queens” for I believe two days straight.

strivingally
8 years ago

Do we need some kind of explicit “yellow card/red card” system? (or if you prefer a roller derby analogy, minor/major penalties?)

Like, some things that just are outright not on and immediately bannable (like rape apology/explicit victim blaming/singling out a commenter for abuse) and others that will put you on notice (e.g. creepy precursors to rape apologia, disproportionate hostility to disagreement, bad faith arguments against strawfeminist talking points)?

I’m new, so if this is similar to the policy that already exists, please excuse my ignorance. But making it explicit and clearly linked alongside the FAQ might prevent some of the trolling of late (not much, but some!). 🙂

cloudiah
8 years ago

Argenti, the mouse had chewed its own little entrance into the door frame of the A-frame, and came and went like it was hir house and we were hir guests. SO not afraid of us, and not prone to freezing. Also, I rode home on the plane next to a woman escorting a therapy dog (a chubby little brown cocker spaniel) to her retirement home on the French Riviera. She had her chin on my foot for nearly the entire flight. The dog, not her human escort, just to be clear.

On trolls, it’s always going to be a judgment call. I love the fact that there are now more troll-free threads, and maybe one compromise would be to add more mods for those threads who are authorized to be a little ban-happy, since it wouldn’t be a complete ban.You know, so David can sleep every once and a while, without worrying that things are going to hell over here. Perhaps the mods who aren’t David — heh heh, let’s face it, we’re all David — wouldn’t be able to perma-ban anyone, just put them on moderation.

cloudiah
8 years ago

p.s. Last thought, which probably someone has come up with earlier, is to put people on moderation sooner if a bunch of peoples’ trolldar is pinging.

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

cloudiah – is there even a way to add moderators? I know you can add editors, but I’m pretty sure David wouldn’t want to give us the ability to edit posts.

WordPress software is WEIRD.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

I’m not in favor of the red card/yellow card, code-of-conduct handholding of trollish individuals. They can cool out in moderation and think about their intentions, mods shouldn’t have to waste time educating them. Besides, 95% of our trolls are totally transparent as to what they’re up to.

cloudiah
8 years ago

I have no idea, Alice. I’m hoping there is. Otherwise it would have to be people who swear on their honor to only use their awesome WP powers for good and not evil (i.e. to only mod people, never to ban or edit posts or whatever rules David could live with).

kittehserf
8 years ago

Anemone – there’s already a code of conduct: there’s a comments policy page, right under the heading.

Hi Alice! ::waves::

strivingally – I don’t know that an even more explicit policy would work, because crossing boundaries is the trolls’ schtick. They’re already here in bad faith and going from the premise that women don’t get to say NO about anything.

Doug – the “dissenters” you’re talking about are misogynists. They’re PUAs, MRAs, MGTOW: rape apologists, men who want to deny women’s human rights, some of whom don’t even think women are human at all. What you’re calling “allowing dissent” means us sitting around while misogynists deny our humanity. Fuck that.

There’s plenty of difference of opinion about other things on this blog. We’re of different political opinions, religious beliefs, and general tastes. Yes, you really do need to lurk more.

kittehserf
8 years ago

Alice, I think moderators can be added – David’s already asked for volunteers.

The all-important question of snazzy uniforms has also come up. Lace and velvet have been mentioned.

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

cloudiah – yeah, that’s basically my primary concern, since I don’t actually recall the software being able to add moderators who only have permissions to take care of the comments. It’s possible that the software allows you to do that, but not 100% sure.

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

kittehs – Lace and velvet? Niceeeeee. 😀

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

RE: Kootiepatra

I mean, even if we shrugged off every offensive thing he said, you’d think he’d at least grok why repeated cycles of “Dude, stop linking your blog” –> *posts multiple links to said blog* would lead to being shown the door.

He deserves infinite chances, because he’s a good guy! If he weren’t a good guy, we could show him the door, but he KNOWS he’s a good guy, and WHY WON’T WE ACCEPT THIS TRUTH.

RE: Doug

The more you err on the side of excluding abuse, the more danger there will be of creating a group think bubble.

Hmm… people who think like me… or keeping people who tell me I deserve to be raped. People who think like me… or keeping people who tell me I deserve to be raped.

GUYS THIS CHOICE IS SO HARD. What if that guy telling me I should get raped is actually just a conscious dissenter and being unfairly persecuted for his opinion.

I don’t have a strong interest in the subject,

Then you should shut the fuck up and not pontificate. You don’t have a dog in the fight? Then why are you even talking?

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

LBT –

You don’t have a dog in the fight? Then why are you even talking?

Because MISANDRY and FREEZE PEACHES. DUHHHH. *eye roll*

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

Seriously, it’s like if I just walked into a random church meeting and started going, “Well, I don’t know a thing about you or how you work, but I really worry about [insert random thing I know nothing about].” What do you THINK they’d say to me? “Why yes, this opinion of yours is very valuable and important, let’s cater to it!”

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

It’s just entitlement I think. Lots and lots of entitlement.

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