[This thread is now closed. A new spillover thread is available]
Welcome to our latest moderation innovation. This thread is set aside as a constructive space for tangential discussions which are off-topic on other threads, especially for those which are lengthily discursive, philosophically challenging or downright combative.
How we expect it to work
Moving such side-discussions to a spillover thread will allow the original posts to remain focussed on the big picture of the author’s commentary/criticism e.g. when a post is focussed on feminist activism, the discussion should be focussed on that as well. Spillover threads explicitly exist to redirect arguments which retread well-worn paths to derailment of topical discussions (e.g. persistent 101-ing, old grievances, very familiar talking-points), so that contributors have room to move an on-topic discussion forward while off-topic responses will also have room to breathe without taking over active on-topic threads.
- Off-topic responses are often valuable viewpoints on issues of shared interest; being asked to move to #spillover is not necessarily a rebuke, it’s simply traffic direction. Of course, sometimes #spillover will be just where we shall decide to quarantine the chewtoys, but at other times interesting discussions on #spillover may well lead to a dedicated post from a Feministe author on that topic, or perhaps a guest-post invitation.
- While this innovation is inspired by the use of dedicated side-threads on various other blogs, do not assume that the exact same rules apply here as may apply in those other spaces: the Feministe community has its own particular zeitgeist. These threads will not be unmoderated zones, for instance; indeed the whole moderation team will be jointly notified of comments on these threads, and unacceptable content will be declined publication and/or redacted as appropriate.
- If a post reminds you of something you’ve been wanting to discuss for ages but haven’t found the time/place yet, take that side-discussion here, not there (unless it’s generally diverting enough to add some value on the more socially focussed Weekend Open Thread). If your tangent is going to be long and sociopolitically complex, or asking introductory-level questions, then it definitely belongs on a spillover thread and not on the Open Thread.
- If you want to critique style over substance in a post’s content or in another commentor’s contributions to a thread, take that side-discussion here, not there.
- If a highly controversial/combative thread has just been closed, that is a sign for a cooling-off period, not for just transferring the arguments to a spillover thread. A specific author/moderator invitation to take such discussions to #spillover is needed before any such shifting should happen.
Commentary and criticism which directly engages with a post’s substance should thrive, including dissenting views, without derailment of the discussion by runaway tangents or obstructionist thread-jacks.
To further that goal, commentors are encouraged to respect the topic of each post and be proactive regarding inevitable thread-drift in long threads: we hope that commentors will cheerfully volunteer to take off-topic responses into spillover threads so that each post’s discussion gets room to breathe. When that doesn’t happen, we ask others to refuse to engage with off-topic tangents unless they’re taken to a spillover thread (and be ready to alert The Giraffe if things get nasty).