A few guidelines for discussion (this page gets updated from time to time, so check back):
This blog is all about discussion. I invite and encourage discussion on anything and everything I write about, and the comments of my other readers. Feel free to make a comment at any time, even if it’s your first time here, even if you have never made a comment here before, or even if you don’t think you know what the heck I or others are talking about. Innocent questions can sometimes tip the boat over on a discussion.
That being said, there are rules of engagement. Unfortunately, experience has forced my hand in creating an explicit comment policy. I’ve been accused of being “heavy-handed,” but do bear in mind that all of these issues are ones that I have actually had to deal with during the course of keeping this blog. Please keep the following in mind before you comment:
1. This is my blog. It’s kind of like my home, my own little corner of the cyberworld. I’m throwing this great big party, and you are (mostly) all invited. However, you are expected to conduct yourself with a modicum of decorum toward myself, your lovely and generous hostess, and my other guests. If you do not, you will likely be put in your place by myself or another of my guests. If you persist, you will be asked to leave.
2. This is a feminist blog. That means this is a space of solidarity for women, feminists, and feminist allies to discuss important issues relating to the power structures that inform gender politics and gender oppression, as well as a place of solidarity for those subjected to power structures that inform race, sexuality, (dis)ability, class, and queer politics and oppressions, because I am deeply concerned with intersectionality. If you do not fall into this group, please show some respect for the marginalized voices represented here. Sometimes it’s nice to have a space free from privileged/dominant voices; there are plenty of places where privileged voices are given priority, but this is not one of them. If you have something to add to the discussion, please do so after carefully considering your language and tone. Be respectful.
3. This is NOT a Feminism 101 blog. This is a Feminism Intermediate-Advanced blog. If you don’t know the basics of feminist theory, you can participate, but it would be easier on everyone if you did some reading on your own first. Don’t expect or demand that feminists in this space do your educational leg-work for you. This is actually REALLY impolite and if you’re male, reeks of privilege. It may sound condescending, but sometimes you actually do have to catch up to the rest of the class. If someone tells you to do this, try not to take it personally. It really isn’t feminists’ job or responsibility to do your work for you. Sometimes, however, if you ask nicely and out of genuine desire to learn, someone here (likely me) will feel inclined to take the time to help you out, or at least guide you in the right direction. But, if you have questions and are tempted to begin with something like “this may be obvious” or “maybe this is really basic,” you ARE already on the internet… so try Google or Wikipedia. Learning some basics can go a long way toward earning a little bit of respect within a community of anti-oppression theorists, activists, and advocates. For more specific details about MY feminism, please read the section on Feminism on this blog.
4. Please read the comments. Yes, all of them. I know, sometimes threads get really long. But here’s the thing: sometimes issues raised in the posts get further clarified through discussion that ensues. And sometimes, the most important points are made not in the post, but in the comments, and sometimes not by me, but by a reader. Furthermore, the longer the thread, the greater the chances that someone else has addressed your point. If you choose not to follow this rule, at least be up front about it at the beginning of your comment, and don’t get your knickers in a twist if someone points out to you that 10 comments above, your exact point was raised and dealt with.
5. If you are a first-time commenter, your comment will be moderated. How quickly/whether it appears depends on how busy I am that day, and its compliance with this policy. If you have been approved once, you can post comments freely. If you have posted here before but are now commenting under a different name or using a different email address, the comment will be held in moderation. If you have posted here before and are including links in your comment, the comment will be held in moderation. Also, comments with any one of a certain list of words and common slurs will be held in moderation, as well as comments by specific guests who have behaved badly and are no longer welcome, or who have been particularly argumentative or offensive or inflammatory, so I can more easily moderate their part in discussions and respond to them quickly. These may or may not be approved. I dislike spam intensely, so the spamulator is in effect. It’s normally quite brilliant, but sometimes, it catches non-spam by mistake. Comments that get trapped there are automatically deleted; if you think this may have happened to your comment, then send me an email. The moral is, if your comment doesn’t appear right away, don’t freak out. I pretty much approve all moderated comments that adhere to this discussion policy. But, that said, my blog, my rules. And I reserve the right to turn on universal comment moderation at any time.
6. Please do not comment anonymously. Now, I don’t mean that you have to give me your full name and social security number; what I mean is don’t use the screen name “Anonymous” to comment. Why? Because if there are more than one of you, it confuses me. Just make up a moniker.
7. If you disagree with something I or someone else has written, please join in the discussion. However, the rule of philosophical debate is: attack the argument, not the person. It helps when engaging in a discussion to keep an open mind; if someone presents a counter-argument, consider it. If your view isn’t being adequately represented, or is completely absent from the discussion, then jump in and contribute.
8. Discussions about identity will undoubtedly arise; problems of identity are chief among my concerns. I want to give voice to everyone here, but I absolutely will not tolerate comments that are misogynistic, racist, homophobic, or slurs against the (dis)abled, religious or ethnic groups, or the underprivileged. If I feel the discussion is devolving into this sort of BS, I will ask you to leave and not return.
9. If you have been asked to leave, do not take this lightly; this means you are on my reserve nerves and that is not a pretty place to be. Leave quietly. Any parting remarks you may choose to leave will not make it onto your computer screen. When you are no longer welcome, I ban you. I promise, this will be made quite clear to you. Not everyone who gets put in moderation is banned; if you’ve been banned, you will be told that you have been banned. That means whatever comments you continue to make will be held in moderation, and more than likely deleted. Don’t try to get around this, or continue to try to post comments “for me only.” Don’t make up another screen name, or submit another email address. Don’t send me vicious emails. Don’t try to disguise your IP address (yep, I do keep track of those). Just fuck off. I absolutely reserve the right to turn on universal comment moderation; this is a pain in the ass for everyone who comments here, and most of all for me, and is a last resort. I will take it if I need to.
10. Freedom of speech is not the be-all, end-all of “rights” – RESPECT IS. I do not believe in absolute free speech Freedom of speech is a privilege, not a right, not on this blog. Governments owe people freedom of speech – not private bloggers. I believe in respect and equality, particularly for marginalized and oppressed groups. Don’t like it? Get your own blog.
11. Try to stay on topic. Sometimes it doesn’t happen this way, and that’s generally OK. Mostly, what I mean by this is don’t try to derail a thread by making it all about you. That is, like, the utmost in bad commenting etiquette.
12. Please note that this blog is heavily critical of the dominant western culture of white hetero male supremacy; if you fall into the group of the hegemonic white male, don’t take it personally, but please do check your privilege and examine your reasons for holding the views you do, and consider that the viewpoint of the hegemonic white male is enshrined in cultural discourses, so sometimes it’s nice for others to have a space in discussion that is free from that dominant voice (see point 2). While critical of the western white world, this blog is situated within that framework and carries an imperfect view that is always under (de/re)construction.
13. How to tell if you’re a troll: further to the point that this is a feminist blog, if you disagree with the basic premises of feminism, and are tempted to argue with myself and other feminists about the basic premises of feminism and how wrong they are, that pretty much makes you a troll. Also, if you get paid to, or simply get off on, leaving antagonistic comments on blogs that hold very different values than you (or your bosses) do, that also makes you a troll. Also, if you’ve been banned and try to get around it, or if you leave multiple comments under different names saying the same thing, you’re a troll.
I don’t like trolls. They suck me dry of valuable energy that could better be used building solidarity with other feminists, collaborating on issues of feminist theory or practice to better organize to take down the white supremacist patriarchy (which yes, does exist). 🙂 Also, trolls are ridiculous. The obvious goal is to derail the discussion because of a perceived threat to your (or your bosses’) power structure(s). Which, quite simply, is really childish – but also goes to show that feminism is a powerful discourse. Trolls are never going to get me to “see the error of my ways” and stop being a feminist.
Note that this does not mean you can never disagree with something a feminist says here; it simply means that if you disagree with the basics of feminism, you don’t belong here. As the inimitable Twisty says here:
Allow me to remind the reader that this is a feminist blog. It discusses feminism from the point of view that the value of the liberation of women is not itself a matter of debate. Therefore, while opposing viewpoints are encouraged and welcomed, in order to be considered suitable for posting here, these views must proceed from within a framework of feminist theory.
There are lots of sites out there authored by people who don’t agree with feminism – so go there. Or, if you prefer, start your own blog. And guess what? You’ll never see me there. Why? Because I don’t go trolling at anti-feminist/MRA sites looking to stir them up into a frenzy. Why? Because it’s a waste of my fucking time, it’s childish, and it’s just plain fucking stupid. So stop doing it here.
14. Finally, sometimes I am not perfect. Sometimes I break my own rules. Sometimes I get frustrated with a line of discussion, especially one that I have reiterated over and over again. Sometimes I get snippy and sarcastic. Sometimes I get frustrated with commenters who refuse to acknowledge the seamlessness of my ironclad logic. 😛 If this happens, I apologize in advance.
Further blog commenting etiquette can be found here.
I hope everyone who reads will continue to engage with me and one another on the various topics I write about here!
Want to discuss something with me off the board? Email me at [askthinkinggirl] (at) [google’s web-based electronic mail service] (dot) [com]– sorry that looks so ugly, but you know why!