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32 Responses

  1. SkyTracer
    SkyTracer October 31, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

    It looks like this thread needs some content:

    I know “disemvoweling” sounds cool and intimidating, but I find “consonants only” perfectly readable. “Vowels only” is not. May I ask why website moderators universally prefer removing vowels instead of consonants?

    1. tigtog
      tigtog October 31, 2013 at 6:16 pm | *

      Disemvoweling is intended to still be decipherable, for those who want to. This makes it more transparent for the readership as to why the disemvoweleled text has been redacted by the mod team, if they care to take the time to decipher it.

      Without vowels, the content can be scrolled past without it inadvertently being read, which means that those who prefer not to bother with troll turds can easily do so.

      1. SkyTracer
        SkyTracer October 31, 2013 at 6:37 pm |

        That makes sense. Thank you.

      2. TimmyTwinkles
        TimmyTwinkles November 1, 2013 at 1:28 am |

        Tigtog, can i just say you’re a hell of a mod? It’s a thankless job i’m sure, but seriously feministe has some pretty solid moderation in my extremely humble Twinkles opinion.

        1. theLaplaceDemon
          theLaplaceDemon November 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm |

          Agreed.

  2. EG
    EG November 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm |

    I’m curious about why the comment threads have started posting responses out of order. A later response will post above an earlier one (you can tell by the time stamp), making it seem to somebody reading down the thread that the later one came first. Is it possible to make it stop?

    Here’s an example: if you check the time stamp, you’ll see that I posted before tinkdnuos.

    Here’s another. If you check the time stamp, you see that tigtog posted her request to take it to spill over after a whole bunch of comments below it, but her request posted above them, making it look like people were ignoring it, when they weren’t.

    I guess it’s not a huge deal, but it kind of disrupts the reading for me.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog November 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm | *

      It’s what happens at the limits of nesting comments – replies to comments at different levels of the subthread are nested according to whom they are replying to rather than according to what time the reply is made. So tinkdnuos’ comment was replying to someone’s higher-displayed comment in the subthread than yours the comment to which you were replying, so it was displayed higher in the subthread than yours even though it was posted later.

      Also, I tend to reply from the blog’s backend admin interface, which means I can reply directly to a comment that doesn’t display a “Reply” link for normal readers.

      It is a mark in the minus column for threaded comments, but to my mind it doesn’t outweigh the pluses for a blog with as many commentors as Feministe.

      1. EG
        EG November 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm |

        Ah, my old enemy, threaded comments–we meet again! And they triumph again–this time…but someday, threaded commeents, someday…the tables will turn, and then, then you shall feel my wrath!

        Thanks for explaining, tigtog!

    2. SkyTracer
      SkyTracer November 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |

      If it helps the techies narrow down the issue:

      I get comments through the RSS feed, and none of those comments appeared out of order for me. It’s only when I actually visit the website that I see they’ve been misplaced.

      1. SkyTracer
        SkyTracer November 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |

        Cross-posted. Never mind me.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog November 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm | *

          Thanks for the attempt to provide useful data, SkyTracer. On another occasion it might be exactly what’s needed.

        2. SkyTracer
          SkyTracer November 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm |

          No problem!

  3. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines November 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm |

    There has been a lot of discussion about comment moderation and policy around these parts of late, as well as people (including some regular commenters) saying that they find the comment section so hostile that they feel dissuaded from commenting regularly.

    One of the best blog commenting policy, I’ve encountered is over at Slugger O’Toole, which is a blog discussing society and politics in Northern Ireland. As you can imagine things can get very heated, but their comment moderation manages to keep things civil.

    It’s here:
    http://sluggerotoole.com/re/comments-policy/

    The key part is the “Playing the ball, not the man/woman”, so in other words, engaging with what the comment says, rather then the person who has made it, because I think we see too much of the latter at Feministe and that’s what makes things so hostile.

    I also think something like the carding system they have, yellow is a warning, red a two week ban, black spot a permanent ban, would also be very valuable.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L November 3, 2013 at 8:38 pm |

      I’m not disputing that something like what you suggest might be useful. But that site is apparently premised on content neutrality, which wouldn’t and shouldn’t be acceptable here:

      Slugger is a political[ly] heterogeneous site. There is no presumed political consensus on any subject. We expect and indeed encourage disagreement on all subjects. We may even wade in to protect those who hold minority views from unreasonable majoritarian pressure to conform.

      A good portion of the anger here is directed against people who say clearly misogynist, racist, homophobic, and/or transphobic things. And it’s admittedly difficult to “play the ball, not the person,” when people say such things. I used to belong to another site where people would make the most horribly insulting transphobic comments, and if I reacted angrily, I would be the one subjected to discipline. Because of course they were just expressing an opinion, right? They didn’t mention me by name or anything when they vilified trans people in general. And, of course, accusations of racism were considered far more horrible than expressions of it.

      Which doesn’t mean I think personal insults are necessary in displaying anger, by the way. I can think of only a few occasions when I’ve felt compelled to engage in them, despite some pretty serious provocation. And I’m hardly the most calm and reasonable person in the world.

      1. Safiya Outlines
        Safiya Outlines November 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm |

        I definitely hear you on that, but I would say that in the case of someone posting -ist/-ic comments, the best tactic is to get it giraffed and get the comment removed – not just disemvowelled, but gone. People can have the rest of the internet to be bigots in.

        I hope you don’t mind me bringing this up as an example, but thinking of one time in particular, someone put a vile transphobic link on Self Promotion Sunday – report, delete, ban would have been infinitely preferable to what happened, which was the comment and the commenter being left to stand and hurt people.

        However, round here it’s hard because often it’s not as easy as someone being straight out offensive, we have comments which I would call “waveringly clueless” – they are saying things which are Not Ok, but it’s possible the person doesn’t realise that (I know intent isn’t magic), people try to educate the commenter, commenter dives headlong into offensiveness, horror ensures. I think in those circumstances, some sort of carding system would help here.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 3, 2013 at 11:22 pm |

          No. Because lurkers and others will never learn WHY a post was horrible and I’m sorry, but people need to be faced with the anger and offense their post causes. People need to feel that anger directed at them. They earned it. If someone says something racist or phobic or any other bigoted thing, they should face the consequences, and that includes anger and hostility. They don’t have to deal with it offline, they need to at least face it online.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 3, 2013 at 11:45 pm |

          Seconding pheeno, and adding: there have been many, many times when someone said something horrible here and if others hadn’t pointed it out, I would never have realised it was even wrong, let along horribly so. Sometimes the someone was me. Sometimes the someone who was being horrible was also me. When we push back (or are pushed back against), it’s not just education of the people in the conversation, it’s educational to lurkers, or other commenters who didn’t get it but who weren’t being offensive either.

        3. Safiya Outlines
          Safiya Outlines November 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm |

          Pheeno – I see your point, but then, I can also understand people not wanting to see comments more suited to YouTube here, or expend energy pointing out why they are so offensive.

          Also, there are comments that never get past mod already, because they are so hideous, I don’t see the problem with expanding that.

        4. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm |

          No. Because lurkers and others will never learn WHY a post was horrible and I’m sorry, but people need to be faced with the anger and offense their post causes. People need to feel that anger directed at them. They earned it. If someone says something racist or phobic or any other bigoted thing, they should face the consequences, and that includes anger and hostility. They don’t have to deal with it offline, they need to at least face it online.

          See, I think this is a totally valid perspective, but it’s somewhat in opposition to the idea that we want to create a safe space where people aren’t confronted by -isms, which I think is also a totally valid goal.

          My point is that there are two worthwhile goals here, somewhat in opposition, and it’s worth acknowledging that the people on the other side of things aren’t wrong.

        5. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 4, 2013 at 1:11 am |

          Unless you have mods from every conceivable background, that’s impossible. Things have been said here, by mods and writers, that were colonizing and they didn’t know. So great, some people with more common impressions are protected, but the rest of us are screwed. At the very least we should be able to correct it, even with anger. Otherwise, we will just get slapped with it after assuming this is a safe place. That might work for you, but it doesn’t work for me.

        6. theLaplaceDemon
          theLaplaceDemon November 4, 2013 at 7:56 am |

          Because lurkers and others will never learn WHY a post was horrible and I’m sorry, but people need to be faced with the anger and offense their post causes. People need to feel that anger directed at them. They earned it. If someone says something racist or phobic or any other bigoted thing, they should face the consequences, and that includes anger and hostility.

          Yes. Feministe is not, by and large, a 101 space where people can blunder around and be gently corrected. If it were a 101 space, this site would be very different.

          That said: Would it be useful to have a collection to “required reading” resources, similar to the way Shakesville does? I know that this would run into the problem of “you can’t preemptively catch every -ism/phobia/bigoted idea”, but I wonder if it would be useful to be able to say “This is the level of introspection about your own -isms and the level of understanding about how privilege operates to participate in this space”?

          Though now that I think about it, I doubt the people who are problems would bother to read it, and then we’re back to square 1.

        7. Safiya Outlines
          Safiya Outlines November 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm |

          The thing is, IMHO, some of the biggest dust downs, hostility and nastiness isn’t over someone being corrected for the offensive comment they’ve made, it’s often just over simple disagreements that get way out of hand.

          People wouldn’t be saying they find the comment section here a hostile place if the only anger being shown was when bigots or bigoted comments were put in their place.

          The problem is deeper than that.

          I will give an example.

          On a thread I recently said “I think X”

          Someone could have countered with “Actually I think Y is the case because…”

          But instead they said “You have obviously never read Y!”

          To which, I had to tell them to back off, because they do not know me and thus unaware of everything I have read ever.

          It may seem a subtle difference, but it’s the bad faith and assumptions against people, rather then engaging with what the comment has actually said, that can make this place feel so hostile.

          I think you can make your point, including massively disagreeing with what people have said without feeling like you have to grind people into the ground.

        8. Donna L
          Donna L November 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm |

          It may seem a subtle difference, but it’s the bad faith and assumptions against people, rather then engaging with what the comment has actually said, that can make this place feel so hostile.

          I think you can make your point, including massively disagreeing with what people have said without feeling like you have to grind people into the ground.

          Agreed. I know that Shakesville’s culture is not for a lot of people, but I do like the requirement that good faith should be assumed, and that unless it’s really obvious, people should be asked to clarify what they mean before one jumps to the conclusion that they’re being an asshole.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm |

          @Donna with all due respect, that has really not been my experience of Shakesville. If they’ve changed in the last year or so, I’m glad, but what drove me away from the site, and eventually led to my banning when I protested (which was a good eight months after my last comment), was exactly that the mods assumed bad faith on everyone’s part and jumped down everyone’s throats for the slightest error. I’d stop commenting on Feministe in a second if anything approaching Shakesville’s creepy-ass moderating technique was instituted here.

        10. Donna L
          Donna L November 6, 2013 at 12:28 am |

          Mac, I was thinking more of what’s required of the commenters there. I didn’t mention the moderators.

        11. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 6, 2013 at 11:52 am |

          Macavity-

          Shakesville has always felt like a cult to me, so I’m on the same page. I’m sure they have some good commentators their, but overall, I think it’s a pretty horrifying thing.

        12. Morven
          Morven November 23, 2013 at 12:08 am |

          Mac, I was thinking more of what’s required of the commenters there. I didn’t mention the moderators.

          Would that the moderators held themselves to the same standards. There are lots and lots of examples of Melissa, or her moderators, assuming bad faith in any comment that rubs them the wrong way.

          And there is simply no safe way to express any disagreement with anything Melissa says, or even making any kind of suggestion how something might be done better. That blog is not a safe space, not at all.

    2. TimmyTwinkles
      TimmyTwinkles November 3, 2013 at 10:41 pm |

      To me, it totally makes sense to simply delete straight-up vile post. But here’s where i think it gets trickier. It seems to me that what some in the commentariat want is a strictly support space (everyone’s on the same agenda, lots of back-patting and affirmations, dissension not tolerated). And there’s nothing wrong with wanting a space like that. On the other hand, there seem to be a fair number of commenters who like engaging the dissenters and mixing it up in the debates; i suspect they would say they like the opportunity for a healthy dialogue and to address most things on the merits. For the record, i consider myself more of a guest here, so my opinion on the comment policy isnt relevant. But i am curious what your (Safiya and Donna) take is on this.

  4. tigtog
    tigtog November 4, 2013 at 6:35 am | *

    Responding to Safiya and others here so that it doesn’t get lost in the nesting above:

    I find the blanket concept of a “safe space” problematic – I don’t think it’s possible to guarantee one, so it seems irresponsible to promise one. What we can offer is a moderation team willing to enforce a supportive space, where we act upon alerts from the commentariat to ensure that contrarian/bigoted/oppressive/colonising views do not get to threadjack or otherwise dominate the discussion, while allowing commentors to express pushback against such viewpoints for the benefit of the readers/lurkers.

    Of course, that means that the commentariat has to be willing to meet us halfway, in terms of monitoring threads for problematic content and alerting the giraffe as needed while they pushback on their own as well.

    1. Safiya Outlines
      Safiya Outlines November 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm |

      Thanks for the response to Tigtog and FWIW, I think you do an excellent job.

      I am not after a safe space, just one that is less hostile, with fewer assumptions of bad faith.

      We (generally) discuss serious and sensitive matters here, that are deeply important to the readership, but I think people sometimes use the seriousness of the subject matter as an excuse to really attack people, rather then merely disagree.

      Again, I will reiterate as I’ve said above, most of the biggest arguments I have seen and insults thrown have not been against the bigoted or trollish, if it were people wouldn’t see that as hostility and it wouldn’t make them feel so uncomfortable – particularly when some of those saying that they find Feministe to be too hostile are semi-regular and valuable commenters.

      I used Slugger O’Toole as an example, not just because of the mechanics of their commenting policy, but as an example of a space where people can have a huge amount of often negative emotion and life experience with what is being discussed and with who is discussing it, but they still have to engage each other with good faith.

      1. trees
        trees November 5, 2013 at 9:26 pm |

        Just wanna second this sentiment.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 6, 2013 at 11:53 am |

          Yeah. I do think occasionally this space becomes a bit of an arena where people attempt to win. That doesn’t combine well with talking about things that deeply impact the commentariat.

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