A whiny, unprofessional, and arguably unauthorized rundown of the current status of Feministe

I want to jump in to clarify the situation here at Feministe, and it is at the risk of sounding whiny and defensive, but so it goes. I also want to make it clear that I speak only for myself, and EG and tigtog and Echo Zen might be grinding their teeth and locking me out of the system as they read this (which would be their right):

Up until a recent while ago, Feministe was helmed largely by Jill, a Professional Feminist. She was able to approach Being A Feminist as a full-time job, assisted by other bloggers, many of whom could only approach it as a part-time job, but it was generally okay because there was enough work to go around and enough workers for the work to go around to. When Jill was offered (what I assume was) a more prestigious and better paid full-time job as a Professional Feminist, she took it, which was great and cool, and that it left Feministe without any remaining Professional Feminists is not her fault. Regardless, the blog is currently driven by an assortment of people who are professional in other fields, and although you might think that several part-time bloggers should be able to add up to the content level and engagement of at least one full-time blogger, that’s (sadly) not the way the math works. (And that’s not even mentioning when one or more of those bloggers has to drop back for whatever reason and “several” turns into “one.”)

And yes, we do solicit guest posts, and yes, we have approached other bloggers to join as staff bloggers and/or contributors. Our guest post contributions generally run 1:2 people with actual contributions and people who would love to contribute a quality and researched post about email automation software that would pertain to the readers of our blog/website. We’ve discussed in the past problems associated with finding bloggers who want to join the staff. Trust me that we aren’t sitting here dog-paddling because our brand is so teddibly exclyusive that we can’t let just any old riff-raff post their applesauce on our hallowed blog*.

As a result, posting has been down. As a result of that, commenting has been down. Moderation has been spotty. So has guest-post-sifting. Sometimes, it comes down to posting a quick link dump twice in a week because a half-finished post of substance had to be set aside in favor of activities that will actually pay the bills. Sometimes, it comes down to forgetting to post a Shameless Self-Promotion Sunday and then not bothering to do it at all because we only get a handful of links, and they’re almost all by people who never otherwise engage anyway. (Sometimes, it comes down to everybody being legitimately overwhelmed except for one blogger, who had a really long day and has half a season of “Castle” to catch up on and feels really guilty for not doing her part, but not enough to put down the remote and the Chardonnay.)

Again, I can’t speak for any past or present Feministe associates, but I personally would love to have the time to follow the up-to-the-minute news and do primary research and deluge our cherished readers and commenters with hot and cold running content and original insights. There are a lot of things I would love to have in life. (I would love to have not bought a salt-belt car. I would love to drink beer and, like, play darts or something with Anna Kendrick.)

So in the future, when conversations run to “why has posting been down?” and “why are there fewer comments?” and “why is my comment still in moderation?” and “what should we get Caperton for Christmas?” and “you know, Feministe used to be so awesome. I miss awesome Feministe,” feel free to link to this post. The answer is, “Yeah, I miss Awesome Feministe, too.” I remember writing for Awesome Feministe, and it was a genuine thrill. I think Feministe is still pretty good, particularly for what we’re working with. And believe me that writing for Doing What We Can Feministe is still good, or else I would stop doing it. But the blog has changed in the way things sometimes change, and while I really, really, really hope that we can bring it back to its former glory, for now, this is the new normal. And I am sincerely sorry that we are currently unable to provide otherwise. And I hope you’re willing to stick around for what we are able to provide, and I hope we’ll be able to provide more in the future. Thank you for being a friend.

*Re-reading this, I cannot ignore the fact that “posting one’s applesauce” sounds like it should be an inappropriate euphemism for something.

21 comments for “A whiny, unprofessional, and arguably unauthorized rundown of the current status of Feministe

  1. Schmorgluck
    September 28, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    If I may risk an observation, blogging in general is slowing down. Micro-blogging platforms like, mostly, Twitter, may have something to do with that.

    • Tom Sims
      September 30, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      I think you nailed it. I joined Twitter in 2008 but only began logging on on a daily basis the last 6 months or so. I guess many like the rapid fire 140 or less style. And on Twitter you do get instant gratification , with no waiting for moderation. And I guess we’re all in a hurry, even an old fart like me.

      But I have to say that over the last 2 or more years, I’ve learned a lot and gained a perspective I had never seen before. I just think many of us are just constantly the move and need everything a lightening pace. I know I often feel like a dog chasing his tail.

  2. September 28, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I figure that anything posted here is a gift, from the writers to the readers. It’s no big deal if it’s not as frequent as you’d like in some kind of ideal world. Each post pops up in my RSS feed reader, and I read and enjoy them. Thank you for the writing that each of you does manage to do.

  3. September 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    You don’t have to apologize! I started my own blog to be all Feminist and Awesome and There Will Be Crochet Projects but, mostly, I come home from work and it’s been a shitty day and all I want to do is pour a glass of wine and NOT be around a computer. At. All. Totally get it. We’re here to do what we do, when we can do it and in a way that makes us feel good about ourselves. :) I appreciate everything you do!

  4. September 28, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I echo what Schmorgluck and Deborah said. And I think your post is a perfect opportunity for everyone to bounce ideas around how Feministe’s future should look. It’s something I’ve always wanted to bring up with tigtog et al but never felt I was in a position to, since I don’t comment much myself. Good thing you broke the ice, eh?

    A question I keep asking myself is if we *should* return to our former glory days of daily posts and an active commentariat, or if transitioning to a new model would help more. I don’t love invoking corporate examples, but Microsoft faces the same issue — it’s a software company facing a future dominated by services like Google, and so their new Indian CEO is trying to transition the company from software to services. Nobody wants to end up like Blockbuster, obsoleted by Netflix.

    Heck, look at the troubled newspaper industry. They’re being forced to experiment with new and different models, due to the rise of Facebook and Twitter. How will we evolve… or should we?

  5. pheenobarbidoll
    September 28, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    That was part of my issue with the self promotion Sunday’s. The majority were just dumping links and not even bothering to check that thread, or engage in any other thread. You could post ” hey cool link I dig your stuff” and…..nothing. You could post “hey your post is racist” and…nothing. And the non participation of the authors made me leery of clicking links. The fact they asked, received no response and took that as go right on ahead and post in a thread not meant for self.promotion tells me an awful lot about their feelings of entitlement. Who doesn’t know, on a feminist blog, that absence of a no is not a yes??

    I’m not particularly bothered by the slow down. Unfortunately, when lots of people were .posting, lots of problems were arising. The people who have stuck around don’t usually require a racism 101 course.

    At any rate, drink your wine, unwind and do what you need to do. This is a blog, not your life.

  6. EG
    September 28, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I second everything you’ve said, Caperton, with the added element of extra guilt for having dropped out of sight on and off over the course of the past year. And for every post I do write, there are three or four ideas that I don’t get to write because I bookmarked the story and had to do ten other things and now it’s a week old already. But, you know, feminine self-blame stuff, blah blah blah.

    But I think you’re right.

    • PrettyAmiable
      September 28, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Diiiiiiid you just express guilt for taking some time to bake a small human? I wish you wouldn’t feel guilty. You have really cool posts, and while I’d like to see more, we’re lucky we get your time at all.

    • September 28, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Yeah, not to tell you how to define your lived experience or something, but I opened with “sorry not sorry I was watching TV,” and you followed with “sorry I took time off to gestate a high-risk pregnancy into a tiny human being, my b.” I think we’ll give you a pass just this once.

    • September 28, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      But DON’T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN, MISSY.

      • EG
        September 29, 2015 at 4:13 pm

        No worries! Seriously, I am super-glad that I did it, I adore my son and I always wanted to experience pregnancy, but NO NEED to do it again. I seriously salute those who go through that more than once!

    • EG
      September 29, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      Thank you both so much; I am very grateful. I just have perpetual guilt complex…probably related to the fantasy that if I just organized myself correctly, I could do ALL THE THINGS.

  7. Denise Winters
    September 28, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I’ve liked the content and discussion, but been mostly lurking due to being hesitant to comment here anymore. That said, I actually find the comments more welcoming now. And blogging regularly is hard as a side effort, especially when doing the kind of nuanced and involved articles this site does produce.

  8. September 28, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Could we please have some explicit guidance from the mods on the self-promotion guidelines? I think there are people who do want to be involved in the community and don’t want to step on toes, but I think people are expecting different things.

    For instance, I don’t necessarily feel like taking up space on a promotion thread answering someone who says “great post” is really helpful, and to me seems like it would run afoul of the “don’t keep discussing individual links here,” but it seems others feel differently.

    I’ll also differ somewhat with pheenobarbidoll in that while I didn’t get an explicit answer re the question about promotion, I did get a comment of positive feedback on the link I asked about, and my blogging stats have always indicated a pretty high number of visits coming from Feministe, so it seemed to me I was creating content that the community liked, and that they kept visiting. I’ll also point out that I at least do keep checking back for feedback, but with a less-active commentariat, we see less feedback and we can’t tell if that’s because it’s not the norm here to comment on links (and VERY few of the self-promotion links got comments, even when the SSPS was a weekly and encouraged feature) or because no one liked them.

    So, I suggest that we establish some standards for being involved with the community in order to “qualify” for self-promotion. For all reddit’s many, MANY faults, it does have one good idea in the 9:1 rule, in that you should be posting at least 9 other things for every 1 of your own that you post. Other guidelines may include things like self-promotion can only go in self-promotion threads (if those are still going to be a thing here), or telling promoters they must provide feedback on at least 2 other people’s self-promotion (so promoters would be expected to give back and interact with each other, rather than just taking). Maybe something like this might help prevent misunderstandings and encourage more activity from people (like me) who are currently reading everything, but might need to get out of our shells a little more.

    I don’t know if it’s also been discussed here (or how much work it would be), but a comment system that enabled voting might also be a good idea, if only for the self-promotion threads. That way people could get more feedback if their posts were appreciated by the community, and readers could use that as a recommendation of sorts to know what to check out.

    • September 29, 2015 at 3:13 am

      Firstly, co-signing Caperton entirely.

      Secondly, when we did the self-promotion threads, we explicitly asked people to click through and comment on the posts that people were self-promoting rather than on the Feministe thread, because that was the point. But it did seem like many/most self-promoters posted there and only there, and we never saw any input from them on any other threads. That exercise in piggybacking off Feministe just for themselves and not contributing to the community here, after our generosity in encouraging our readers to contribute to their discussion threads instead of only sticking to ours, was perceived by many regular commentors/bloggers to be rather rude/selfish, and generally an unrewarding exercise for Feministe as a whole.

      However, generally, we’d love to know what members of the community are writing elsewhere, or anything they’ve really enjoyed reading elsewhere, that they feel would interest other Feministe readers.

      So what does it take to be considered to be considered part of the community here? I reckon a history of engaging with posts/comments here substantively* at least a few times a month or at least every other month for a while is a bare minimum. A ratio of something like 5 responsive comments to one self-promoting comment doesn’t seem too much to ask.

      * Be at least one of: feminist, friendly, amusing, or perspicacious. Two is even better!

  9. Will
    September 29, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I really appreciate that you communicated this, Caperton. Vintage Feministe has a special place in my heart: it was one of the places I “grew up” as a feminist, and it’s made me sad to see things slow down here. It helps to understand that’s a known structural change rather than an oversight.

  10. September 30, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I second everything you’ve said, Caperton

    Firstly, co-signing Caperton entirely.

    I had no idea so many people were anti-salt belt cars and pro-TV Chardonnay and darts with Anna Kendrick. We need to get something together.

    • PrettyAmiable
      September 30, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Seriously though, I am pro-TV Chardonnary and darts with Anna Kendrick.

    • khw
      October 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      It took me a while to get what a ‘salt belt car’.

      I’m meh about TV Chardonnay, any TV wine will do; and that darts-with-Anna-Kendrick sounds pretty grand.

      Thanks for all of your posts throughout the years.

      • khw
        October 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

        *”…what a ‘salt belt car’ ACTUALLY is”

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