This comment policy is a work in progress. I tweak it as I go/consume more wine/become a progressively more irritable person.
I love that blogging allows for a relationship to build between writer and reader. I have learned all sorts of things from some of the amazing commenters who share this space with me online. I am super happy and grateful that folks are reading and participating. Thank you! I think you are the best.
That said, as a result of both the anonymous nature of the internet and the topics and issues that come up within feminist discourse and debate, comments are sometimes communicated on blogs in a way that is not necessarily respectful or productive.
In an effort to protect my sanity, the sanity of my readers, create a space where productive discussion can happen, Feminist Current, like many other sites, has a comment policy.
The policy is not all that strict and is actually more just about providing a reference for you if, alas, your comment is deleted.
The most important thing to know is this: this is not a public forum.
You may not simply post whatever you like. You have the entire internet and many other spaces within which you can spout off about whatever you like. This space is for us — women and men who wish to have intelligent conversations about actual feminism — not Playboy Feminism, not your run-of-the-mill “everything-is-feminist-and-feminism-is-for-everybody-something-something-equality!” faux-feminism that is supported by the mainstream. We have a higher standard here.
Also! Decisions about whether or not comments are published happen at the discretion of moderators. Comment moderation is not up for debate and, in fact, trying to debate the comment policy is likely to result in your comment not being published. I spend a lot of time in this comment section (and have for years, day in and day out) and I will decide what is and is not productive in terms of the discussion at hand. Comments that are nasty, repetitive, antagonistic, unintelligent, or full of empty words that mean nothing (see: various words that end in “phobia” or other newfangled terms invented in your queer studies classes). We are very advanced here, in terms of understanding feminist theory, history, and debates and aren’t fooled by academic jargon or Twitter mantras — which is not the same as being anti-academia or anti-internet, but is to say that you must actually say something relevant and of substance if you must employ jargon. Simply screaming “Problematic!” and inserting a link to Everyday Feminism will get you nowhere. Calling names will get you nowhere, nor will insulting or attacking the authors of posts. You have the entire internet upon which you may scream “whorephobe!” at feminists who criticize the global sex industry and men who think women exist for their sexual use/pleasure. You may not do it here.
All that said, if you do your best to say something relevant, rational, thoughtful, semi-respectful, and if you don’t spam the comment section, you will be ok.
Without further ado, I present THE COMMENT POLICY:
1) Stay on topic. Address the post at hand.
2) Be respectful. If you insult bloggers or fellow commenters your comment may be deleted. JUST KIDDING. We all act like a bunch of jerks here. It’s mostly just if you insult me (or other writers) and I don’t have time to make fun of you that day, your comment becomes susceptible to deletion.
3) The moderator is the one and only person who decides which comments are published and which are not. These decisions may be with reason or not. As mentioned above, you don’t have a say in comment moderation. It is not up for discussion.
4) If your comments are deemed unpublishable, please do not make arguments such as “BUT FREE SPEECH!” or “CENSORSHIP!” As explanation, I direct you to this quote:
[Free speech] does not mean you have the right to say your stuff on my blog. It means you have the right to start your own blog. Just because I have commenting functionality on my site, does not mean you have the right to post whatever you want on it. Every host of every site has the right to delete, edit, or modify any comment in any way, to ban users, and to implement whatever moderation norms and techniques one wants…Commenting is a privilege, not a right. You have to earn it. (via The Scientific American)
5) Please say things that are true. It is impossible to have any kind of conversation that is either sane or productive if we don’t stick to this rule. If you argue that something was said in the post at hand or by other commenters that was not actually said, your comment may be deleted. If you make an argument based on internet/twitter mythology but that has no basis in reality (i.e. “ANDREA DWORKIN THINKS ALL SEX IS RAPE” or “SECOND WAVE FEMINISTS ARE ALL BIGOTS.” “MEGHAN MURPHY IS RICH AND DRINKS BABY-BLOOD FOR BREAKFAST”), it is unlikely I will publish your comment unless I feel our commenters will provide you with a useful education in terms of reality.
6) No death threats/threats of violence/hate speech please.
7) No trolling. Trolling is defined as: “posting comments in order to derail the discussion’ [or] to take it away from the topic of the original article and onto a topic the commenter wants to discuss.”
9) No mansplaining.
10) If you demand answers, you will likely be banned or, at very least, your comments will be deleted. People are busy and are not employed by you. Therefore they do not owe you a response. Demanding answers assumes that comment moderation is a full time job. It isn’t. Sometimes I don’t have time to respond to all comments, though I will do my best to engage as much as possible and as much as necessary. Demanding a response makes me not want to respond. Because you aren’t the boss of me.
11) Please be aware of the space you are taking up in the comment section. If you start spamming the comments (leaving ten comments at one time, etc.), I’m likely to moderate you and even ban you if you this behaviour persists. Leave space for other people and do your best to leave comments that are productive. Leaving one thoughtful comment is more useful than twenty.
12) No comparing feminists to Hitler and/or fascists. If you say that feminists a) Just need to get laid, b) Are all a bunch of angry lesbians (not that there’s anything wrong with angry lesbians — they are the best.), or c) Are PMS’ing/too radical/extremist/crazy/screechy/ugly/hairy/blahblahblahboringtown, I’ll probably delete your comment. If you’re going to be insulting, at least be original.
13) Please don’t just post a link without some kind of comment attached to the link. It’s just bad form.
14) As mentioned above, no knee-jerk liberal mantras about “phobias” or “sex work is work!” Mostly because these kinds of comments are extremely boring and void of any real thought or meaning. Consider your audience. Consider critical thought. Consider a feminist analysis (and not the kind that comes in hashtag form). Use real words that really mean things in real life.
In conclusion, comment moderating is not an easy job. I’m doing my best, but it can be trying. Some days the internet makes me grouchy. As such, it’s possible that you may have written a comment that you feel fits the requirements of above mentioned guidelines and I deleted your comment anyway. Maybe I just don’t like you, maybe I didn’t think your comment was relevant or productive or interesting. Maybe you appear to be trolling. Maybe whatever. Moderation the best way to avoid making me and readers feel crazy and that’s why I do it. The less crazy we feel, the better.
Thanks for coming by and happy commenting!