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Musings on moderation

Since I moved this blog to FTB, I’ve received about 50 comments every day on average. Over the past few weeks it has been closer to 100 per day. Many of these comments are long and intricate, thoughtful and carefully expressed. Others not so much, but I welcome them all. As a general rule, I like comments.

What do I want to provide with this blog? As well as a platform for my own self-important warblings, I want to provide a place where people can debate gender issues from any starting position, relatively neutral territory, or no-(wo)man’s land between the trenches, if you prefer. As I say in my guidelines, this is not an ideological safe space for anyone.

As you’ve probably worked out by now, I am not averse to a full-blooded internet argument. People feel passionately about the topics I raise, and part of my role is to raise those passions.  I offer strong opinions, and expect strong and rumbustious responses. If someone thinks I’m being a fucking idiot, I have no problem with them telling me that they think I am a fucking idiot. Occasionally I might even agree. If someone thinks my arguments are laughable, they are welcome to mock them. I expect people below the line to be subject to the same conditions.

The benefit of this policy is that my comment threads are full of passionate people arguing with each other, often at great length, exchanging opinions, examining the beliefs and opinions of others and, I hope, being forced to examine their own at times. That is what I want to happen here.

The downside of this policy is that my comment threads are full of passionate people calling each other fucking idiots, being otherwise rude and abrasive with each other each other and, inevitably, being hurt or offended at times. That is an inevitable consequence of the arrangement and is, within reason, a necessary price to pay.

Every so often I have someone requesting more heavy moderation on this site. Roughly half of those requests have come from people who don’t like hearing so much from MRAs, anti-feminists and fellow travellers, and want me to step in “with the aim of keeping out lies, insanity, childish behavior, spamming, trolling, threadjacking, harassment, threats, and other noxious actions that make it much harder to have a healthy grownup dialogue.”

The other half come from people broadly on the MRA side, who want me to step in to prevent ‘horrible bullying’ from pro-feminist posters and believe I “turn a blind eye to and excuse abusive behaviour when its targeting a politically incorrect person”

I take such requests seriously. I want people using the comments threads here to find this blog as interesting and engaging as I do. If people are being deterred from commenting by the atmosphere on the threads then that would concern me. On the other hand, I have deliberately created this beast, and I have to accept that it won’t be to everyone’s taste. No blog is.

If people think my moderation is unfair or biased, that concerns me too. Hand on heart, I have thought hard about these points and my conscience is clear. I don’t think I can be moderating unfairly, because with very, very few exceptions, I don’t moderate at all.

But while the space above the line here is mine, I think the space below is very largely yours. If there is a consensus that there should be a specific change of policy, I’m willing to oblige. However the only way we could reach some consensus would be if we had some agreed community standards that everyone is prepared to apply both to themselves and others.

One of the reasons I was reluctant to assent to recent moderation requests is that the people making the requests looked, to me, to be equally guilty of the very same offences they were complaining about.

I don’t think one can make sweeping generalisations about feminists or use ‘feminist’ as an insult, and then complain when people make sweeping generalisations about MRAs and use MRA as an insult. You cannot be disrespectful, contemptuous and accusatory to other commenters then complain about the lack of a friendly atmosphere. That seems to me the essence of fairness.

So, your turn. Would you like to see tighter moderation, bearing in mind that you will be held to those same standards yourself? What changes, if any, would you like me to introduce? If you’re a lurker but not a regular commenter, what would tempt you into participation?

The only absolute at my end is that I will not start deleting or banning on ideological grounds. This will not become an echo chamber.

Once this blog moves on, I will pin this thread somewhere prominent and leave it running as a place to bring across complaints, concerns or further discussion as the weeks and months go by. And of course, if you wish to raise an issue or make a complaint in confidence, you can email me any time. 

Comments

  1. B-Lar says

    As you have plans to continue assessing the rules and responding to feedback, you cannot be faulted.

  2. smhll says

    I don’t think one can make sweeping generalisations about feminists or use ‘feminist’ as an insult, and then complain when people make sweeping generalisations about MRAs and use MRA as an insult.

    I’m afraid this is going to sound too cute or too contrived, but it would be interesting if instead of stating loudly “You’re just an MRA!”, I’d like to see people instead holler “You advocate for men’s rights!” And, symmetrically, instead of stating loudly “You’re just a feminist!”, it would be interesting if what people hollered was “You advocate for women’s rights!” And the final scathing comment could be “You care more about your own gender!”

    To me, this would be more factually and less inflammatory. Dull, but truthful.

  3. says

    I’d like a general rule again blaming someone you perceive as an MRA for things other MRAs said unless they are specifically defending them and the same for feminists. I got really sick of the “some person who I decided is in the same ideological box as you said a bad thing” bullshit because it’s meaningless.

  4. carnation says

    @ small

    Of course, to an MRA the term feminist IS an insult, and vase versa.

    It’s safe to say that I have been prominent in the comments sections lately. Someon called me “a fucking idiot”, I didn’t complain. I suggested that commenters ignored a prominent commenter because, in my opinion, the comments were diversionary and didn’t enrich the ddiscussion, quite the opposite. Ally rightly pointed out that I was free to ignore him and I respected his views.

    What generally happens is that several,discussions occur at once, with varying levels of politesse. And, people being people,,and this being a battlefield or the online gender war, offence is taken and meant often. The level of offence perhaps deadens outside the heat of the online battle.

    And folks, MRA, anti-MRA, and the (infrequent) unaligned, for the most part the spats are enjoyable.

    If I had a suggestion, Ally, it would be this,

    A personal attack, that is an attack on the commenter, not the comment, a yellow card, as you’ve done before. Second offence, temporary ban. Third or more… Well, up to you.

    I’d include calling someone a troll as a personal attack, and believe that as blog operator, only you have that privilege. And if someone is egregiously trolling, then a warning etc.

    In essence… A controlled free for all with some consequences.

  5. Jebedee says

    I’ve been an occasional presence here at most, so don’t speak from vast experience, but I’d be generally opposed to stricter moderation standards. From what I’ve seen you’ve done a good job of allowing strident disagreement whilst occasionally cracking down on outright nastiness.

    One thing which has made me less likely to comment is what seems like a general drift of threads away from the specific topic of posts and towards generic gender arguments. Feels like every comment section starts looking more or less the same (and dominated by views and posters that I’ve seen umpteen times before and am not particularly interested in going over again) after the 100th comment or so. Not sure that there’s any good solution to this though; heavy-handed “offtopic” post deletions seem like a bad one. It’s possible closing comments after a shorter period of time might help.

  6. maudell says

    In my opinion, there are real comment issues here, but I think any enforced banning or deleting rule would go against the spirit of the blog.

    If I may add my personal deterrent to participate, I’d say it’s the same couple of commenters who write 50 comments in a thread, mostly unrelated to anything else than themselves. It makes the conversation difficult to follow.

    But honestly, I have no solution to this.

    It would also be nice if certain commenters kept their psychic readings of people’s personality from a single comment to themselves.

  7. Paul says

    A while back i flounced from here for all of 24 hours before deciding to give it another go. And the reason i flounced was because the same handful of people seemed to be dominating every thread by having variations of the same ongoing argument .So it began to get extremely tedious.

    I doubt there’ll ever be a consensus reached on certain issues between some strands of the feminist movement on the one hand and some strands of the mens rights movement on the other. So there’s plenty of potential for robust debate as well as no-holds barred spats. However provided any moderation is fair and even -handed there really shouldn’t be any problem..Problems tend to arise if people perceive moderation to be either unfair or inconsistent.

  8. johngreg says

    I think Ally is doing the right thing.

    The only way to actually move ahead with socio-political issues that contain some controversy or difference of opinion, and to actually learn something, and to provide an environment for potential change and growth is to allow for real freedom of speech and freedom of thought. And real freedom of speech and thought includes disagreement, debate, differences of opinion and experience, and sometimes anger.

    Contrary to the dogmatic ideologues found all over the ‘net, issues like feminism, mens’ rights, and so on and so forth do indeed require constant discussion and debate, simply because nothing in the socio-political realm is static. And clearly, approaches such as skepticism and the practice of critical thought also require ongoing discussion and debate. Almost nothing in real-world experience is black and white, nor is it static. And that means that ongoing discussion and debate are essential. Dogmatic ideology, and the ideologues that promote it, are ultimately self-defeating.

    As far as I can tell, the comment section on Ally’s blog, while sometimes boring (with Schala, Sid, carnation, and a couple of others who seem more interested in furthering their personal disagreements than actual debate and discussion … but then, that’s part of the parcel, I guess) does precisely what an open minded and free-thinking oriented blog should do: allow actual freethought and free speech. And it is a real refresher to see one of the FTB blogs actually practice what the title implies: freethought.

    Controversy and disagreement feed thought and discussion; toadyish agreement is just a narcotic.

    I do not comment a lot on this blog, mainly because I too often agree with almost everything Ally says, and posting comments like “I agree with that completely” becomes a snooze. Disagreement and debate, even when contentious, fuel mental processes and learning — cowtowing the herd and echo-chamber style sycophancy and agreement never does.

    Ally said:

    One of the reasons I was reluctant to assent to recent moderation requests is that the people making the requests looked, to me, to be equally guilty of the very same offences they were complaining about.

    Indeed.

  9. Steersman says

    As I’ve mentioned before, I quite agree, largely in any case, with your moderation policy and commend you for “sticking to your guns”. I think, to coin a phrase, that the proof is in the pudding – the 50 to 100 posts a day – that that policy tends to be far more productive than the echo-chambers that seem more the rule than the exception on FTB and related sites.

    About the only case I might quibble with you on is your recent banning of, I think, “YouthRightsActivist”. While I can readily sympathize with you about making your blog a “safe space” for odious philosophical positions, one might also suggest that open discussions, and pointed expressions of opprobrium might be more useful in the long run. In addition, it seems, at least hypothetically, that while informed consent seems to be the Rubicon in that issue, one might reasonably suggest that there are probably some people – some children – below the current age of consent who might be more capable of providing that than many people above that age. While there is maybe some necessity in a great many cases to judge on the basis of stereotypes – judging an individual or the group by some segment of it, it also seems manifestly clear that it has its downsides as well. Cases in point being “driving while black”, and “single-parenting while male”.

    But I tend to think that your policy is much more productive than either the echo-chambers promoted by many FTBs, or those blogs working under some generally misguided and utopian “civility pledge” simply because of the psychology inherent in the geopolitics of “mutual assured destruction”. As Steven Pinker put it in his commendable and seminal The Blank Slate:

    A readiness to inflict a preemptive strike is a double-edged sword, because it makes one an inviting target for a premptive strike. So people have invented, or perhaps evolved, an alternative defense: the advertised deterence policy known as lex talionis, the law of retaliation, familiar from the biblical injunction, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. If you can credibly say to potential adversaries, “We won’t attack first, but if we are attacked, we will survive and strike back”, you remove Hobbes’ first two incentives for quarrel, gain and mistrust”. [pgs 324-325]

    Or, as you more succinctly put it, more or less, “if you don’t wish to be gratuitously insulted then don’t do so to others”. And, not to put too fine a point on it, one might suggest that those blogs which condone if not promote some insults while anathematizing others – and on some pretty thin and self-serving pretexts – well deserve the hash-tag “#FTBullies”.

  10. Steersman says

    You probably should have said instead “proposed new rule” as I very much doubt you’re in any position, here at least, to promulgate it as law. But, as the punch-line for the old joke goes, “If the foo shits then wear it”. And, as far as I and many others are concerned, it fits many FT Blogs to a T. And the more people who know that the better. Which justifies as many people as possible pointing that out, particularly where relevant to the conversation.

    However, in passing though of some relevance, I might suggest that you could include that rule on the next FTB agenda along with one that one “Jennifer Phillips” proposed sometime ago on Ed Brayton’s blog, to wit:

    I think there needs to be some internet law, á lá Godwin and Scopie, whereby invoking a dictionary definition as part of your argument results in forfeit.

    Maybe not surprising considering how many in various FTB echo-chambers tend to be so reluctant to permit recourse to that, arguably, keystone of civilization, if not panic-stricken at the prospect, particularly relative to discussions on crucial issues such as misogyny, racism, and sexism. Echo-chambers, indeed.

  11. wtfwhatever says

    Institute a policy where everyone gets 4 comments per post. (Pick a number). At the bottom of each post, it’s up to them (if you are too much a loser to write a wp plugin to do it for them) to number their post.

    4 comments is enough to make your statement. Clarify or rebut the most salient two counter statements. Conclude and leave. Or enough to make 4 substantial statements in an argument.

    When everyone knows it’s 4 statements and you’re gone, there is no calling after them as is so prevalent on fascist liberal feminist blogs that love to ban and then open fire on the person they banned, and if there is, it is seen as idiotic.

    With only 4 statements you don’t get the mindless harassment and idiotic arguments from Johs the spoikesgay or idiot dumbass of the redhead.

    And it’s fair.

    4

  12. johngreg says

    wtfwhatever (http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/07/20/musings-on-moderation/#comment-6570) said:

    With only 4 statements you don’t get the mindless harassment and idiotic arguments from Johs the spoikesgay or idiot dumbass of the redhead. [sic]

    Well, that may be true, but it limits the argument and closes the window to progressive change. Also, just for the record, I do not think those avatars of freethought, deep intellect, and the wisdom of the Pharoah have posted on Ally’s blog.

    And it’s fair.

    No, it’s not (see above).

  13. wtfwhatever says

    @johngreg

    “t it limits the argument”

    It does limit the argument in theory, but not in reality.

    How many times have you ever gone back to a flamewar or any argument you participated in and thought, damn, I really needed that 5th post because I didn’t explain myself in my first four posts?

    “and closes the window to progressive change.””

    Only if you believe that the end result of a 1000 comment thread is changed minds.

    And of course it’s fair. It’s setting a ground rule that everyone knows ahead of time.

    3

  14. wtfwhatever says

    Limiting commenters to 4 posts helps focus comments. Sure some people will kitchen sink it, but most people will value each comment that much more and make sure it covers the essentials of their arguments and what they want people to focus on.

    It also recognizes that any one particular voice is not critical to the conversation and helps draw attention away from the big names in the commenters and gives the smaller voices more encouragement to speak up.

    In most of these cases there are so many people on either side, that the “loss” of a voice because they have had their 4th comment, is really no loss at all. Plenty of people will jump in to complete the argument, probably in new and interesting ways.

    2.

  15. hoary puccoon says

    Just personally, one of the most irritating derails is switching to Person B’s supposedly wrong emotions when Person A is caught being wrong on the facts. As in– (imaginary example):

    Person A: “When the French stormed the Bastille in 1798….”
    Person B: “I believe it was actually 1789.”
    Person A: “Why are you [feminists/MRAs/Harry Potter fans] so ANGRY all the TIME??!?”

    Debate the facts, assert the facts, challenge the facts, but let people feel whatever they’re feeling. It’s nothing but an exercise in frustration to try to rearrange other people’s emotions, and it bogs down every discussion where it occurs.

  16. says

    Since I moved this blog to FTB, I’ve received about 50 comments every day on average. Over the past few weeks it has been closer to 100 per day. Many of these comments are long and intricate, thoughtful and carefully expressed. Others not so much, but I welcome them all.

    For me it’s not really the type of comments, it’s the quantity. How you decide to moderate “stupid” comments soon becomes irrelevant. After reaching a certain critical mass, the maxim “never read the comments” applies here as anywhere.

  17. Pen says

    Since you bring it up, I’m someone who’s made an active decision to stay away from your comment threads*. Not that I’ve personally been involved in any aggro, but life’s just too short to plough through the abundant swamp of “lies, insanity, childish behavior, spamming, trolling, threadjacking, harassment, threats, and other noxious actions” they do seem to generate (independent of who the target is). I still read through your posts, but I’m not even lurking on the comment threads. I feel the risk for you is that if you eliminate the more measured ‘adult’ commentators, the comment threads spirals into this polarised and non-productive atmosphere and I would think that could have some impact on you as a writer and thinker about current issues? On some level, I imagine, you respond to what your readers say they’re thinking and form an idea of where the debate is at? Except you’ve accidentally created an atmosphere that makes your readers look more polarised than people in genera really are. Does that make sense?

    * There’s always a last time of course. I’m afraid I didn’t bother to read what everyone else thinks though.

  18. John Morales says

    I’m not fussed about moderation of actual comments either way, but spam such as #18 above has no utility other than to the spammer.

  19. freja says

    I think your moderation policy is generally OK for what you’re trying to do. I see the comment sections on your articles mostly as a dump. It’s less accessible than most other places, and filled with trash, but in the midst of it all, you sometimes find something of value which might not have been there if the place had been less filthy. Not to mention that it can be fun to get dirty once in a while.

    I disagree with most of the commenters who support your policy that it’s the only way of doing things, and that everything else just results in an echo chamber. Personally, I’ve seen more echoing in your comment sections than anywhere else on FTB, such as when “feminism isn’t about equality anymore, it’s become about female supremacy, and I don’t need to provide any examples because I already proved it I just don’t want to say in which comment I actually proved it and you’re bullies” repeated 50 times in a row. That’s not debate, that’s just spam.

    And yet, banning it would require a subjective judgement which could result in something of actual value being lost. Of course, not banning it also results in something of value being lost, as potentially intelligent and thoughtful posters get frustrated with the spam and the 500+ posts of repetition and stay away, or people who’ve suffered various forms of trauma decide that life is too short to spend time in a place where commenters will link to sites promoting rape and torture as if they were making valid contributions (and will then complain about persecution if other people want to actually discuss what’s on those sites).

    In short, you get some contributions that you wouldn’t get if you had more of a moderation policy. You also miss out on some contributions that you would get if you had more of a moderation policy. Overall, I don’t think what you get is necessarily worth what you miss out on by itself, but that’s OK, because there are other places on FTB for different types of debates. I don’t think anything like the ultimate moderation policy exists, its all about pros and cons. Yours has different pros and cons than most places here, and in the context of this site, that’s a good thing.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    Hi everyone,

    thanks for all the comments. Reading with interest.

    Will resist the temptation to argue for or against particular posts, would rather leave you to discuss it among yourselves for now, but need point out that JohnMorales (19) was referring to an actual spam post, now deleted, and wasn’t referring to Pen’s post which is now numbered 18!

  21. carnation says

    @ Ally Fogg 21

    I’ll kick off by saying that you don’t need from me a suggestion on what to write (or how to police) your blog, but something just occurred to me.

    I studied the MRM in some detail, probably about two years ago, for about six months. I delve occasionally, but not often.

    So it’s struck me… Is my definition of an MRA up to date? Is my hostility to them outdated? Have they changed?

    What do MRAs understand about feminists/feminism?

    Could consensus around these terms vastly reduce the number of accusational “you’re an MRA misogynist halfwit”, “you’re a feminist nazi eugenics proponent” comments?

    And yes, I’m guilty of a fair few of them. Some very recent. It’s hard to detach the theory from the theorists, so to speak.

    Getting back to the OP… A warning for constant or repetitive taunts about ideology?

  22. smhll says

    I agree with 18 and 20, in that I also read your posts (and largely agree) but I try to limit the amount of time I spend reading the comments. Generally, the more people focus of what you actually wrote and the less they talk about what some feminist said to some MRA (or vice versa) on some other blog, and the comment is paraphrased to hell and back, the more I’m interested in the comments. Focus, people!

  23. karmakin says

    @Carnation 22: The problem is that in order to maintain this as a tribalistic conflict, what often happens is that we end up maximizing the group designations in order to fit everybody in them. Not saying something that agrees with my feminist thinking? Must be an MRA! And vice versa. And that goes both ways, not just negative statements about the other side, but overly positive statements about one’s own side. (The best example I can think of is the whole “feminism is the radical notion that women are people” thing).

    On the MRA side the TradCon side is quite a bit different from progressive MRAs, and on the feminist side neofeminism is different than equity feminism, and then you have a whole mash of egalitarianism in the middle.

    The point being is that trying to pigeonhole people into specific belief systems instead of talking about what they’re saying is not conductive to good discussion.

  24. karmakin says

    I should add that it doesn’t happen much on this forum, but it happens ALL THE BLOODY TIME in a lot of other places, and I do think that behavior should be soundly condemned.

  25. Gjenganger says

    I will not argue for more moderation, in case I might end up on the receiving end after all. It would sure be great if we had less discussion on who is and is not a moron, and who did not say what where and how, but it is hard to see how moderation could get us there.

  26. carnation says

    @ Karmakin

    I disagree with some of your points, but have vowed to stick to the OP here, but I’m sure we will manage to discuss them elsewhere :)

    Your last paragraph, spot on.

    In terms of moderation, I’ve been thinking about this. Perhaps a code of conduct?

    Commenters, by commenting, agree to conduct themselves in a certain way, decided upon by Ally, with or without input from us?

    I should add, I’m aware that I’m a protagonist (antagonist?) in all,of this, and do feel that my conduct has left a bit to be desired.

  27. carnation says

    @ Ally Fogg and others

    Forgot to add:

    “Many of these comments are long and intricate, thoughtful and carefully expressed. ”

    Personally, I find some long, long messages preachy and dull, and interrupt the flow of discussion. Others are excellent, particularly the point by point rebuttals given to people.

    Succinctness is a virtue in a comments section.

    And I think that copy and pasting paragraphs from other blogs/articles should be dissuaded, possibly even banned.

  28. johngreg says

    carnation (http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/07/20/musings-on-moderation/#comment-6616) said:

    … I think that copy and pasting paragraphs from other blogs/articles should be dissuaded, possibly even banned.

    Well, dissuaded, perhaps, but not outright banned. Sometimes quotes are pretty important to provide clarification or even proof of a point; links do not always work.

    What I do when I want to refer to or cross reference a really long paragraph, or set of paragraphs, is just quote the first few words, throw in an end ellipsis, then quote the last few words (and include a link). That seems to help provide relevance and context without overfilling the comment section.

  29. Steersman says

    John Greg said (#30):

    Sometimes quotes are pretty important to provide clarification or even proof of a point; links do not always work.

    Yes, I quite agree with you about the clarification and “proof of point”. Maybe not “proof” in the sense of a mathematical theorem, but at least some evidence that the claim wasn’t pulled out of someone’s nether regions, that there is at least one case to support the contention. Seems to me to be far too many empty generalizations, and from those people, skeptics in particular, who should have some higher standards. And it seems that many atheists aren’t particularly skeptical which is maybe not surprising since “strong atheism” at least appears to have a substantial element of faith if not dogmatism to it.

    However, that is something that more people are beginning to support, and which might actually improve the quality of various comment sections. A case in point being this comment from one “Chas” in a Pharyngula thread:

    It’s very difficult to know what to do with these serial vague and general assertions tossed back and forth forever without a single example or specific verifiable claim that could be discussed meaningfully. I have not shied away from arguing with and expressing vagaries and generalizations myself in the past, but it’s all been wasted time afaict and I think in the future I’m going to be willing to talk about specifics only.

    Maybe “specifics only” is going a little far as it is presumably the conclusions that motivate and justify subsequent actions, but the latter without the former look like little more than idle speculations. Or like the “philosophick romances” of those 18th century “philosophers” who:

    … only cultivated their own wild imaginations, which seldom produce any thing but what is extravagant and unaccountable

  30. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    I mentioned your blog on another fairly well-read political blog where there are alot of feminist commenters. I did that because I think your posts and the issues you are exploring are very interesting and it’s nice to read about men’s issues outside of the toxic MRA environment, and as written by someone who is not just screaming about feminism in the manner that is often seen at MRA sites. In short, I think you are making a real effort to explore the issues in a more professional, skeptical, yet empathetic and honest manner. The responses I got from the feminists that I sent over here, however, replied that they liked your posts but couldn’t stand the comments section. They have spent far too much time in places reading sexist/misogynistic comments aimed at women and feminism over the years, and are just not interested in that sort of environment anymore. I can’t say that I blame them. So while I can respect you wanting to have a largely hands-off approach to comments (it’s your house after all), and there are certainly benefits to that approach, there is also the downside that some people who probably have alot to offer to the discussions are being turned off by the results that come from that policy.

  31. Steersman says

    Sally Strange said (#33):

    I rather enjoy having a place where we can observe idiots being idiots without interference.

    You must be referring to Pharyngula. Particularly since that seems to be the place where you hang out most often. That the only “safe place” you feel comfortable at, where one can make free with all sorts of insults without fear of them coming back at you in spades? (With a notable exception or two.)

    However, in passing, been meaning to ask you, considering that you yourself have conceded (1) that “the few isolated good points that MRAs have are indeed good points”, how is it that you haven’t, that I’ve seen in any case, actually risen in defense of those points? No one has broached them in the last year since you made that statement? Which I would find hard to believe. Or maybe the cat has your tongue? Or you fear that the Sisterhood of the Oppressed would rescind your membership?

    —-
    1) “_http://skepchick.org/2012/07/speaking-out-against-hate-directed-at-women-ronald-a-lindsay/#comment-155337”;

  32. Steersman says

    Uncle Ebeneezer said (#35):

    … it’s nice to read about men’s issues outside of the toxic MRA environment, and as written by someone who is not just screaming about feminism in the manner that is often seen at MRA sites.

    Indeed. Ally’s blog does seem – ideally or potentially, at least – to be somewhat of a no-man’s/no-woman’s land, a neutral corner, a potential negotiating table. Not of surrender as I think each side has some very credible arguments, but one where we might broker some compromises, or find some common ground.

    The responses I got from the feminists that I sent over here, however, replied that they liked your posts but couldn’t stand the comments section. They have spent far too much time in places reading sexist/misogynistic comments aimed at women and feminism over the years, and are just not interested in that sort of environment anymore. I can’t say that I blame them.

    I can sympathize, and I’m quite sure they have some justification for some of their complaints – many MRAs are, in fact, outright dickheads. However, I could do more so if it weren’t for the brute fact that there are more than a few flies in the ointment that many so-called “feminists” are peddling, the point being illustrated by the blog post (1) I’ve served radical feminism the divorce papers by Jadehawk who has been no stranger on Pharyngula, and on the barricades in defence of feminism. However, I think a more damning indictment comes from this review (2) of the book Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies, the book by two women, and the review on a feminist site:

    The book is a critique on Women Studies departments in the United States. The authors interviewed dozens of women, from staff to professors to students, all quite supportive of feminism, but all still sharing the same criticism of infighting, indoctrination, political correctness and a near total lack of objective discussion.
    ….
    The authors, however, demonstrate that these problems have existed since their ideology’s inception, and were particularly common within Women Studies programs. The authors wrote of the isolationist attitude that dominates many of the programs, along with a virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment driving many of the professors, staff and students. [my emphasis]

    One might think that “indoctrination” and “virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment” would be enough to raise some warning flags, to raise some questions about the brand of “feminism” that many were promoting. But, no; many seem to blithely insist that “feminism is the radical notion that women are people” (3) while conveniently ignoring the warts if not fatal flaws within the corpus of “feminism” as it is practiced on the ground outside of the Ivory Tower where that concept seems to have been hatched. Which I think has to be considered remarkably fucking obtuse, or disingenuous to the point of outright stupidity, or engaging in some egregious demagoguery.

    Which is maybe why, to some extent in any case, at least some of those feminists you referred to have received a bit of a rough ride outside of their echo-chambers. One might suggest they reflect on both “Professing Feminism”, and on the Biblical injunction (4):

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    Or maybe they were a little too hasty in throwing the baby out with the bathwater to have ready access to that latter concept.

    —–
    1) “_http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/ive-served-radical-feminism-the-divorce-papers/”;
    2) “_http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2009/07/27/professing-feminism-noh/”;
    3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/01/the-company-you-keep/comment-page-1/#comment-525121”;
    4) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mote_and_the_Beam”;

  33. Klangos says

    I can sympathize, and I’m quite sure they have some justification for some of their complaints – many MRAs are, in fact, outright dickheads. However, I could do more so if it weren’t for the brute fact that there are more than a few flies in the ointment that many so-called “feminists” are peddling

    So you recognise that MRAs can be actively harmful but you won’t fully oppose them because you disagree with some things that some feminists have said.

    Do you realise how petty this is?

  34. Steersman says

    Klangos said (#38):

    So you recognise that MRAs can be actively harmful but you won’t fully oppose them because you disagree with some things that some feminists have said.

    Do you realise how petty this is?

    How do you manage to infer that I “won’t fully oppose [MRAs]”? What evidence do you have that I don’t? Saying some of them are dickheads isn’t sufficient for you?

    While I’m certainly not about to say that all of the positions of all of the MRAs are without merit – something that even Sally Strange concedes is not tenable so you can take it up with her if you disagree, I have also been quite vocal about criticizing some of their more egregious positions and arguments – even to the extent of having been banned on A Voice for Men for defending “feminism”. For instance, you might take a look at these two posts there (1, 2), and do a search on “Steersman” which gives a count of “more than 100” in one case, and 34 in the other. Which probably translates into some combination of 100 or 34 comments and responses in each case.

    Maybe when you can point to as many comments by you opposing those positions by various “feminists” – radfems and TERFs, for examples – that “can be actively harmful” then maybe you’ll have some cause to describe my positions as “petty”.

    —-
    1) “_http://www.avoiceformen.com/a-voice-for-men/avfm-radio/avfm-radio-if-youre-sick-of-the-princess-kill-the-prince/”;
    2) “_http://www.avoiceformen.com/a-voice-for-men/an-open-letter-to-richard-cohen-of-the-splc/”;

  35. Adiabat says

    Ally:

    So, your turn. Would you like to see tighter moderation

    No moderation, except for extreme cases like your only ban.

    Since my post is probably what kickstarted this comment I’d best explain: I wasn’t arguing that you should moderate anyone. Just that you seemed to be treating Sid much more harshly for an angry content-less comment than you were the people who were prodding and poking him into making that comment for that last 100 or so comments. You also seemed oblivious that they were doing this, hence why I pointed it out. While I don’t think they should be banned you should at least take this into account before you issue “yellow cards”.

    If you are going to allow passive-aggressive belittling and bullying (which most victims of bullying often say is worse that the overt stuff) than you need to let the overt angry insults pass as well. Otherwise you create an environment where the worse bullies do their thing until people angrily lash out and get banned. Just recognise that some people are fucking annoying to talk to (I include myself here, among others) and may cause some angry content-less insults.

    So basically I’m arguing for less moderation.

  36. carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    “prodding and poking”

    Ally dealt with your earlier concerns about this in a very even-handed manner. I respectfully suggest you voice any further concerns in the appropriate thread.

    A code of conduct would capture exactly what is meant by bullying and what is meant by robustly challenging statements devoid of substance and evidence.

    For what it’s worth, Ally has demonstrated keen patience in dealing with a lot of the anguished cries for intervention from commenters, usually, shall we say, the more hysterical commenters, claiming that they’re being victimised.

    Like I’ve said previously, I felt I was “carded” unjustly, but you know what? No-one invited me here, I asked to be judged and I was.

    For my part, I’ve changed my mind about certain things. No longer will I adopt a hostile commentary position based on whether or not they are (IMHO), instead I will concentrate on their words.

    Now and then, especially when dealing with ridiculous ripostes and comments, I’ll allow myself a little humour. I think that’s alright. I’m open to challenge on this,

  37. Adiabat says

    carnation (41): This is the appropriate thread, as Ally started this open thread to discuss moderation and to stop such discussions from clogging other threads. If Ally wants me to post in a different thread he can say so himself; it’s not your place to do so, “respectfully” or not.

    And my post above is a response to Ally’s post “dealing with my concerns”. He took my post in the other thread to be arguing for moderation when it wasn’t and I’ve corrected him. I’ve also highlighted the issue he didn’t address about only moderating a certain type of post; that of overt content-less name calling. I’m arguing that he should either moderate that and the more pernicious and underhand insults and poking, which you are much better at than Sid (who seems to prefer the more direct method), in a given conversation or neither. I think neither is better.

    I’m glad that you’ve had your change of heart wrt to your posts, I’ll remain skeptical for now but hope to be pleasantly surprised.

  38. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Ally

    I would suggest a written Code of Conduct, with clearly laid out rules and clear explanations of what punishment can be expected for breaching particular rules.

    I enjoy your hands off approach, and think it fosters good debate, but I think more effort needs to be made to keep the comments more relevant. The other day, for example, a thread which began with a discussion about Domestic Violence was quickly sidetracked into an argument about rape and then into a generalised and over-simplified slanging match about whether MRAs or Feminists are worse. And it completely obscured an interesting and important topic. Perhaps the creation of a topic-less thread (akin to Thunderdome at Pharyngula) could help, with the expectation that any discussions which arise which are tangential to the OP are continued there rather than derailing the whole thread.

    Other than that, I would suggest a three-post rule (i.e. commenters get three posts to explain themselves before insults start flying), but I’m not sure how such a thing would be enforced since it is essentially a courtesy.

  39. carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    I directed a different tone to you and Schala than I did with Sid, for the simple reason that you both understand and engage (for the most part) in accepted discussion practises. Sid seemed unable or unwilling to grasp this. Constant and robust repetition did result in him responding to points, he then claimed he was being bullied.

    And I said, I indulged in some pop references and purple prose. If only I’d been an MRA (JOKE!!)

    For the record, I have no animosity whatsoever towards Sid, or any other MRA on this blog. A HetPat meet-up would surely be an interesting affair :)

  40. says

    Some people seem to suck the life out of a thread and never give up. Posting long screeds when everyone has moved on or not actually getting the point at all. Or just out and out trolling. So rather than a ban on the blog or a time based ban why not a thread ban? Not seen anyone do that and it seems reasonable given the person involved can come back and and they can contribute something interesting next time. Everyone has off days or topics that they cannot think clearly on so it never seems that fair to ban in perpetuity. (Although I doubt many would disagree on your one and only ban)

  41. Adiabat says

    carnatiom (44): You were winding him up, which is no different from what I’d do the other way round. :)

    My only contention was Ally denying you were doing this, and then coming down hard on him when he got angry, which is unfair.

    Like I said Ally needs to mod both behaviours or none. His reply saying I do what you do too wasn’t really addressing the point.

    P.S If a meetup is anything like what we get online I don’t think it’s the healthiest thing to do for any of us. I predict black eyes and lost teeth. :)

  42. Jacob Schmidt says

    My only contention was Ally denying you were doing this, and then coming down hard on him when he got angry, which is unfair.

    Ally came down hard on Sid? Where? As far as I could tell, Ally let Sid yell his heart out as much as he wanted with very little interference.

  43. Ally Fogg says

    Adiabat & Carnation

    Just want to agree that this is the appropriate thread! I’d rather we discussed it here than there.

    Adiabat, I’m going to continue to try to stay out of this for now, most of what I said on the specific instance I did explain as well as I could on the previous thread. I do think our disagreement on this specific instance is largely because I don’t think you’re appreciating just what a prolific and persistent prodder and poker Sid can be!

  44. Adiabat says

    Ally(48):

    I do think our disagreement on this specific instance is largely because I don’t think you’re appreciating just what a prolific and persistent prodder and poker Sid can be!

    Maybe. I’ve never really read that many levels into Sid’s posts tbh.

    While he writes things to have an impact it’s always used as a bit of a blunt weapon, such as the“feminists and catholic church have both taken steps to hide the acknowledgment of rape victims, so feminism is as bad as the catholic church!” (ignoring any degrees of crime completely).

    Maybe I’m not giving Sid enough credit and I’ll look out for it in future.

    Other times I think he does make good points, if people give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn’t the spawn of satan wanting to subjugate all women. Some of the replies to him in the last thread were getting ridiculous and were just people wanting nothing more than to find a handle where they could just declare “misogynist!” and move on. How many times did he have to state that he didn’t want to give men control over whether a woman has an abortion?!

    I can see why Sid ends up behaving the way he does tbh.

  45. picklefactory says

    Too much agreement among commenters is boring. The occasional person who will come along and provide links or expand on a point may liven things up, but it’s hardly worth checking after a while.

    Too much disagreement is also boring. Every conversation turns into raw, emotional conflict; the only quality that matters is tenacity.

    Ally, if your intention is to provide a place where people on “both sides” can hash things out until they exhaust themselves, that seems to be working. This is not sarcasm, perhaps such a place is valuable.

    If your intention is to have a comment section that mostly-lurkers like me would find interesting or enlightening, you should perhaps find a middle ground.

    I don’t intend to read comments if Sid makes an appearance. It’s not give and take or spirited argument, it’s logorrhea.

    I enjoyed the way Steersman’s agreement above inevitably morphed into his standard pompous tone argument.

  46. carnation says

    @ Adiabat 49

    I never called Sid a misogynist. His is an odd commenting style, he projects frequently,,often insulting himself by proxy, assuming the other commenter is the straw feminist in his head.

    It’s easy dealing with Sid. Ridicule his ridiculous metaphors, ask for evidence, confront him with theories he endorses, watch him recite more of the same. It’s easy, but comment heavy and possibly counterproductive.

    His style is consistent, there was no reaching a crescendo with him, read his posts, the paranoia and self imposed victim hoof was obvious the first time I read something from him.

  47. Jacob Schmidt says

    Other times I think he does make good points, if people give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn’t the spawn of satan wanting to subjugate all women.

    Literally no one argued this.

  48. carnation says

    And any good points he does make,are drowned out in the maelstrom of cliche, metaphor and Elamisms that account for his compositions.

  49. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @picklefactory

    Too much disagreement is also boring. Every conversation turns into raw, emotional conflict; the only quality that matters is tenacity.

    leading on from this; I think a “Reset Rule” is much needed here. i.e; no quoting commenters from other threads as a means to justify dismissing said commenter on this one.

    Example:

    A: blah blah blah

    B: You’re a misogynist/feminazi and therefore I do not have to listen to anything you say.

  50. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    [cont'd]

    A: Huh?

    B; [link] Look what you said! You are a misogynist/feminazi! Therefore nothing you say has any value!

    Obviously this does not mean you can’t reference things they’ve said in the past or use past interactions to try and gauge meaning, but you don’t get to ignore content in order to attack what you percieve to be their ideology due to a comment on an earlier thread.

  51. says

    But while the space above the line here is mine, I think the space below is very largely yours.

    That’s kind of a silly thing to say, unless you plan on giving us actual control of “the space below.” That’s pretty much all of what ownership is about: control and responsibility. If you’re not going to be giving us the admin password, than no part of this blog is “ours” in any meaningful sense. It’s still YOURS, and just because you choose not to act like an owner, doesn’t make you less of one.

  52. says

    I think a “Reset Rule” is much needed here. i.e; no quoting commenters from other threads as a means to justify dismissing said commenter on this one.

    I disagree. Quoting a commenter’s words from elsewhere is often a good quick way of letting readers know that said commenter is either a liar, a hypocrite, or repeating an argument that was already debunked elsewhere.

  53. Schala says

    Raging Bee seems to think quoting is a good way to show that someone is either a liar or a hypocrite.

    Neither me nor Adiabat identify as MRA. <- me

    …for the same reasons most racists don’t call themselves racists. <- Raging Bee

    I’ll add “a sophist”. And this is just from the other thread, not last week, anyways.

  54. Jacob Schmidt says

    Quoting a commenter’s words from elsewhere is often a good quick way of letting readers know that said commenter is either a liar[1], a hypocrite[2], or repeating an argument that was already debunked elsewhere.[3]

    1) You and Ray Comfort agree on something (e.g. once a liar, always a liar)
    2) See 1
    3) Point.

  55. Ally Fogg says

    OK folks, this has been a useful conversation for me, at least.

    I won’t go through every comment that I agree with or don’t agree with for one reason or another. I’ve been reading through this looking for comments and suggestions that don’t get any real disagreement, as they are where the consensus might lie.

    So I think what I’m taking away from this thread so far is a couple of things:

    People seem to prefer things to stay on topic. I’ve said before that I’m not really fussy about that myself, because one person’s off topic is another person’s highly pertinent point. But I can totally see people’s point about how tedious it is, particularly when it is a debate that’s dragged across from another thread and others may not have been following the soap opera. So I will force myself to be a bit more assertive, and will amend my guidelines to request people to stay on topic.

    Secondly, this one is probably quite unique to this blog, but I’m getting the impression that the one thing that winds people up across the debate and leads to things getting messy is generalisations about gender ideologies and accusation by association. Examples of this would be:

    “Feminists believe XYZ, you are a feminist, so you must believe XYZ”

    “MRAs are just a bunch of ABCs”

    …or any variations on those.

    I have never once seen a post like that which leads to any kind of constructive discussion. It is always toxic to debate. And of course it is not the same as saying “some feminists believe XYZ and I think that’s outrageous.”

    If we could all agree to stifle that habit across the board, I think it would remove a lot of the more tedious exchanges at a stroke.

    We could call it the HetPat First Directive: Thou shalt not generalise about gender activist movements or judge people by association.

    Any thoughts?

  56. Steersman says

    Raging Bee said (#61):

    Okay, Schala, you’ve quoted me from another thread to show…that you’re incoherent?

    No, I think she has a point as “sophist” in the sense of “one skilled in elaborate and devious argumentation” seems to be entirely applicable, at least as far as the “devious” goes. But, more particularly, I would say that your “for the same reasons most racists don’t call themselves racists”, apparently suggesting that all MRAs are misogynists, certainly qualifies as “devious” if not demagogic, although if one were charitable one might suggest that you only have a rather poor handle on analogies which that one fails rather badly at. While all racists are certainly racists, it is a decidedly moot point whether all MRAs qualify as misogynists. Which Sally Strange’s concession (above) would seem to reject.

    However, apropos of both of those points as well as relative to your “quoting a commenter’s words” which I obviously tend to agree with, Sally also argued (1) with me that:

    Here you are repeating the misogynist trope that feminists brand people as misogynists merely for “disagreeing” rather than for blatantly sexist and misogynist behavior.
    ….
    There can be no rapprochement with misogynists. People (women can be misogynists too) can either drop the misogyny or get the fuck out. This applies to you too.

    Considering that she – who, being charitable, might also deserve the term “sophist” – gave no evidence that I can see that my “disagreeing” qualified as misogyny in any way, shape or form, I would have to say that her subsequent “this applies to you too” might reasonably be construed as a case in point if not proof-positive of the “trope” that at least some “feminists brand people as misogynists merely for disagreeing”. And I would say that your own apparent characterizing of all MRAs as misogynists would be another case in point lending some credibility to that “trope”.

    However, one might charitably suggest that that rather erroneous view is predicated on an equally erroneous understanding of the term “misogyny” which is, in turn, predicated on a rather pig-headed, not to say “anti-intellectual”, refusal to look in the fucking dictionary. Something which seems remarkably though distressingly common within the benighted environs of FfTB-land, a case in point being this comment (2) by Jason Thibeault:

    Meanwhile, Steersman calls me a “class-A dickhead” in moderation. He also thinks Socratic Gadfly’s comment was not misogynist because it isn’t about hatred of women. Seriously, he went the dictionary route. *sigh*

    Oh woe is us: someone having the temerity to refer to a dictionary to guide a discussion. If you and Jason and Sally and company wish to come up with a new word – complete with a Greek root – for “speaking harsh words in disagreeing with some women or feminists” as that seems to be most frequently what you’re talking about then you are entirely entitled to do so. But whichever one you select, “misogyny” (3) ain’t it.

    —–
    1) “_http://skepchick.org/2012/07/speaking-out-against-hate-directed-at-women-ronald-a-lindsay/#comment-155337”;
    2) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2013/06/29/pattern-recognition/#comment-114300”;
    3) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/misogyny”;

  57. Steersman says

    Ally said (#62):

    We could call it the HetPat First Directive: Thou shalt not generalise about gender activist movements or judge people by association.

    Got my vote.

    That “generalizing” – really a case of stereotyping which lies at the heart of sexism and racism – seems to cause no end of problems. Some member of party A – say a1 – looks at some members of party B – say b12, b72, and b539 – and asserts all other members of party B possess the same egregious qualities as b12, b72, and b539. But some other member of party B – say b59 – looks at all of the other members of party B and insists that no members of party B posses said egregious qualities. Not a very good basis for civilized discussions, much less resolving any problems related to those qualities.

  58. gemcutter says

    Steersman, you’re the biggest sophist on this thread. By a longshot. You use a lot of words, but you never say much, and every argument you make relies on some fundamental misrepresentation of your opponent’s position. It’s also disgusting how you try to claim some kind of moral high-ground, but then use grade-school type repeated name-calling (Ex: ‘FfTB’) to tar your ideological opponents. What’s next? Are we going to see other Slymepit ‘barbs’, like “Oafie” Benson and “Stefunny” Zvan and “PZ Lyers”? What a wonderful way to show everyone you’re arguing in good faith.

    Your insistence that others have labeled you as a ‘misogynist’ for disagreeing with them is prime example of your misrepresentation. You know full well that people do not say this for just disagreeing with you. People label your actions as ‘misogynist’ because they believe that your attitudes and your mode of argumentation has the effect of harming women in a gendered fashion. People have explained over and over to you in every thread I have ever seen you in exactly WHY your arguments constitute misogyny, but you always simply dismiss them. It’s IMPOSSIBLE for you to be misogynistic, in your eyes, because you think that you have no bias. But it’s definitely possible to take misogynistic actions without having ill intentions, in the same way that it’s possible to take racist actions without having ill intentions as well. This always seems your fundamental problem. You claim that you are NOT ‘a misogynist’ (Whatever that means) because you are not explicitly setting out to harm women. But that’s not the bar you have to clear.

    Your framing of the dictionary argument is similarly dishonest. It’s not that the dictionary doesn’t have a legitimate use. Everyone agrees that it does. However, the dictionary is woefully incomplete, and it is NOT the authoritative source on every meaning of a term, and every nuance and connotation, and dictionaries frequently do a very bad job with technical terms (and that includes sociological terms). They do better with the ‘common’ meaning of various terms used by lay people, but again, this does not make the dictionary term authoritative. People dismiss argumentum ad dictionary because it’s a clear case of equivocation; if you and I are talking about different things when we speak of a word, we can’t have a discussion. And when people try to deflect charges of misogyny by appealing to the dictionary, they do so by claiming “Well that’s not REALLY misogyny because the dictionary definition says it’s not, so YOUR meaning of misogyny is WRONG!”, and that’s the end of the argument. Now THAT’s sophistry. A real argument would engage with the sociological meaning of the word ‘misogyny’, the same one that the other side is using, rather than trying to insist that the meaning is somehow invalid by appealing to the authority of the dictionary.

  59. gemcutter says

    However, one thing I DO agree with Steersman on is my support for Ally’s proposed HetPat First Directive.

    Now it’ll be very difficult to actually enforce that; whenever you have these kinds of discussions, someone always pops up trying to tar various groups with their most extreme elements with no real evidence of association.

  60. johngreg says

    Ally said:

    We could call it the HetPat First Directive: Thou shalt not generalise about gender activist movements or judge people by association.

    Any thoughts?

    I think that’s pretty good, especially the judge by association part.

    In the comment sections of blogs, the commenters should be judged only on what they say (or do, wherever that may be relevant). Anything else is little more than assumption, and is far more often wrong than right. A lot of the dogmatic fanatical feminist bloggers and commenters on FTB and Skepchick have now gotten to the point where if some commenter disagrees with but one out of twenty points of feminist argument, they are labelled misogynistic sexist anti-feminists. It has become ridiculous.

  61. Steersman says

    gemcutter said (#66):

    … but you never say much, and every argument you make relies on some fundamental misrepresentation of your opponent’s position.

    Every argument I make? Oh really? You wouldn’t have even one case in point to even suggest that you’re not just relying on inuendo, that you’re not just blowing smoke, would you? Otherwise that looks like a rather questionable generalization which seems contrary to if not the letter of Ally’s “law” then at least to the spirit of it.

    It’s also disgusting how you try to claim some kind of moral high-ground, but then use grade-school type repeated name-calling (Ex: ‘FfTB’) to tar your ideological opponents.

    I might concede that that was a bit of a cheap shot, although it seems common enough to be almost a rule, the exceptions to which I have noted in the Pit and elsewhere, and which I would be happy to provide evidence of should you be so inclined. However, there seems to be a virtual “embarrassment of riches” of egregious cases where various FT Bloggers – and commenters whose sins in many cases can be laid at the doorsteps of those bloggers since they can and do select which comments see the light of day – haven’t manifested or promoted any of that freethought (1). For instance, consider the recent post by Greta Christina (2) and a subsequent criticism by “Debunking Denialism” (3) where Christina banned someone for questioning her “hunted down and shot” characterization in the Martin-Zimmerman case. While it is of course her blog – she has the gold so she gets to make the rules – it seems that, even apart from the apparent demagoguery of the phrase, banning someone for questioning the language and related phrasing of her post looks more like pig-headed dogmatism than anything even remotely resembling “freethought”.

    Your insistence that others have labeled you as a ‘misogynist’ for disagreeing with them is prime example of your misrepresentation. …. People label your actions as ‘misogynist’ because they believe that your attitudes and your mode of argumentation has the effect of harming women in a gendered fashion.

    People – the religious and the secular – can believe whatever they want. But absent credible evidence we are all entitled to reject the charges or claims. And I have yet to see any evidence that my “attitudes and mode of argumentation” qualify as “harming women in a gendered fashion” – which I assume means harming all women, regardless of “race, creed, colour, or sexual orientation”. But maybe you would care to provide some – you might want to start with that response to me from Sally Strange.

    This always seems your fundamental problem. You claim that you are NOT ‘a misogynist’ (Whatever that means) because you are not explicitly setting out to harm women. But that’s not the bar you have to clear.

    Apart from wondering how and when the goal posts were moved from “hatred or hostility toward women” – the dictionary definition of misogyny which is the one I’ve been using rather consistently – to “explicitly setting out to harm women”, one might also wonder how you can prove a guilty charge if you don’t know what it means, or what its criteria are. In addition, the definition doesn’t make any sense unless the “toward women” means “toward all women simply for being women”, or “toward all women who are members of that class”. Unless you want to try arguing that any anger, hatred or hostility towards any group of two or more women for reasons other than being women qualifies as misogyny. Which is, I think, a completely untenable position.

    People dismiss argumentum ad dictionary because it’s a clear case of equivocation; if you and I are talking about different things when we speak of a word, we can’t have a discussion.

    Well, we at least agree that we can’t have a discussion if we mean different things by the same word. And dictionaries seem to be the most commonly available, and most accessible method for determining what a word means. So until all of the sociology departments in all of the universities throughout the Western world get their heads out of their asses, and agree on a meaning other than the common one found in virtually all dictionaries, AND convince those dictionaries to change them, I would say they’re SOL and are obliged to accept what is found there.

    However, I do have to wonder exactly what you and your fellow travelers – Strange, Thibeault, Myers and their ilk – think should be the applicable definition – and citations are definitely required. However, as mentioned above, it seems the only plausible alternative is simply any hostility or hatred directed at two or more women regardless of the reasons – which might be entirely justified – other than simply for being women. But if that is the case then you can’t very well turn around and insist that that hostility or hatred is then magically distributed to all other women which would then qualify as misogyny by the standard defintion. You can’t change horses in midstream – which certainly looks like what you and many others are trying to do. Anti-intellectualism, indeed.

    —-
    1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_thought”;
    2) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/07/15/trayon-martin-george-zimmerman-freethought”;
    3) “_http://debunkingdenialism.com/2013/07/20/the-anechoic-chamber-of-greta-christina/”;

  62. Ally Fogg says

    I’m going to let this thread run its course, but for future reference my heavier policing of off-topic will most certainly include people using this thread to take swipes at other bloggers from FTB or Skepchick, or the Slymepit or whatever.

    Speaking purely personally, I’m not interested in the history of such squabbles and it is exceptionally tedious for me, so I would presume for most other readers too. It also derails like a bastard.

  63. Adiabat says

    Ally (62):

    We could call it the HetPat First Directive: Thou shalt not generalise about gender activist movements or judge people by association.

    Any thoughts?

    Would this cover my argument in earlier threads that it is the influential groups and individuals in a movement or voluntary group identity that matter when making judgments about that movement? This argument allows for the fact that minor, insignificant members may disagree and so doesn’t attribute any particular view to them.

    Does “judge people by association” mean ‘decide what their particular and specific beliefs are on any given issue based on their identity’ or ‘point out the problems with voluntarily identifying with mad/bad individuals and groups even if they disagree’?

    P.S I like OT discussions, they can often be interesting. How about a “no OT for the first 50/100 comments rule instead?

  64. Gjenganger says

    @63 Steersman
    Dictionaries are no good, unfortuately. A ‘misogynist;’ used to be someone with a deep or irrational hatred of women as such, but in the way people use it, it just means an anti-feminist, nowadays. Personally I would prefer it if people left the meaning of words alone, but it is not going to happen. There is no point in being offended or arguing the toss.

    Why not do as I do? Accept that by feminist standards I am a ‘misogynist’, wear it proudly (those are prople I am happy to disaagree with), and try to reclaim the word, as others have reclaimed ‘queer’. After all there is nothing shameful about being anti-feminist, is there?

  65. Ally Fogg says

    Adiabat

    Would this cover my argument in earlier threads that it is the influential groups and individuals in a movement or voluntary group identity that matter when making judgments about that movement? This argument allows for the fact that minor, insignificant members may disagree and so doesn’t attribute any particular view to them.

    No, I don’t think so. Not if it is expressed in those terms at least. Although I’d point out that this is the type of discussion that only usually arises in response to someone making a sweeping generalisation!

    does “judge people by association” mean ‘decide what their particular and specific beliefs are on any given issue based on their identity’ or ‘point out the problems with voluntarily identifying with mad/bad individuals and groups even if they disagree’?

    The former. Although the latter could be seen as off-topic, depending on context of course.

    P.S I like OT discussions, they can often be interesting. How about a “no OT for the first 50/100 comments rule instead?

    I like that. Good compromise.

  66. Steersman says

    Ally said (#70):

    … but for future reference my heavier policing of off-topic will most certainly include people using this thread to take swipes at other bloggers from FTB or Skepchick, or the Slymepit or whatever. … I’m not interested in the history of such squabbles ….

    Sorry about that Chief.

    However while I will certainly endeavor to “pull in my horns” on that modus operandi, I might also suggest that there is in fact some utility in the old saw about those not learning from the mistakes of the past. As some historian suggested, to read or to use history for guidance is to be blind in one eye, but to not do so is to be blind in both.

    And my perspective – not as heavily biased as some as I’ve gotten flack from both sides for being on the fence, at least on some questions – is that there are more than a few important issues that are significant “bones of contention” in that fracas which have more than passing relevance to what is apparently your primary focus – i.e., “the online gender wars”. And which, in turn, have some significant influence on a number of larger issues such as atheism and sexism. But, more particularly, I think the question of generalization, of stereotyping, is one of those issues that I and others here have commented on which has, I think, bedeviled many of these conversations, and which apparently led to your quite welcome “Prime Directive”.

    And another issue, although one that is intricately related to or influenced by the first one, is the question on the use of dictionary definitions which more than a few want to anathematize with phrases such as argumentum ad dictionary, or through various “Internet laws”. For instance, many seem to be unclear on the nature of stereotypes, and on the fact that they can be a quite accurate sketch of at least some segment of the population. Which has more than passing relevance to the use and abuse of terms such as “sexism”, “racism”, and “misogyny” – the rather problematic consequences of which I would be quite prepared to describe in some detail.

    But not quite sure how you expect that those “online gender wars” can be resolved if many people are unclear on what it is that they are fighting over.

  67. carnation says

    @ Gjenganger 72

    Nope, a misogynist still means, to the overwhelming majority off people, someone who harbours hateful feelings towards women. Quite different from anti feminists, and indeed quite different from a sexist.

    @ Adiabat @ Schala

    Might I ask why you don’t identify as MRAs? Genuine question, asked in good faith. I assumed you were MRAs because the theories you espouse emanate from the MRM, as do rebuttals and many sources.

  68. Steersman says

    Gjenganger said (#72):

    Dictionaries are no good, unfortuately. A ‘misogynist;’ used to be someone with a deep or irrational hatred of women as such, but in the way people use it, it just means an anti-feminist, nowadays. …. There is no point in being offended or arguing the toss.

    Yes, there certainly seems to be some justification for thinking that that is the way many interpret the word. Although I very much reject the idea of not “arguing the toss” as the result can be – and, arguably, “is” in the case under discussion – going down the rabbit hole into a Looking-Glass world. As Alice said, “The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things”. Particularly in cases where there is diddly squat in the way of evidence to justify rather idiosyncratic and self-serving denotations and connotations.

    Why not do as I do? Accept that by feminist standards I am a ‘misogynist’, wear it proudly … and try to reclaim the word, as others have reclaimed ‘queer’. After all there is nothing shameful about being anti-feminist, is there?

    I really don’t think that “misogynist” and “queer” are at all analogous as “misogynist” – “one who hates or is hostile towards all women simply because they are women” – is simply an intrinsically discreditable and untenable position, not least for being a categorical statement, an egregious generalization. Whereas “queer” is largely a subjective valuation that depends very substantially on context. Entirely different kettles of fish.

    As for “nothing shameful about being an anti-feminist”, I think that that, apart from suggesting a questionable generalization that comes in under Ally’s “First Directive”, is highly dependent on precisely what you mean by “feminist” which seems to cover a lot of ground depending on who you’re talking to or with – according to Wikipedia there are 17 different ideologies that can be described as “feminist”, and I expect that is only scratching the surface. If the principle in play or under discussion is equal civil rights for women then I’ll quite readily agree that that is an entirely creditable and tenable position. But if we’re talking of “trans exclusionary radical feminism” then I would say that principle doesn’t seem to hold a lot of water, although it seems also to be a bit of a can-of-worms for any number of reasons.

    But that problem of a spectrum of ideologies under a common term is, I think, a fairly common one as suggested by the 38,000-odd different Christian sects, each of whom insists that their brand is the “one and only true, divine, inspired, fundamental, literal, real, one-dollar-the-bottle elixir of sweet-and-bleeding Jesus Christ [and none genuine without this signature]”. While all others are handmaidens of Satan himself. Something which is manifested in this fairly common joke which might reasonably be modified to refer to feminists or atheists – or any other ideology for that matter. Why I think it more appropriate to be looking under the hood of all of those ideologies rather than being taken in by some flashy and cheap chrome trimmings.

  69. Schala says

    Might I ask why you don’t identify as MRAs? Genuine question, asked in good faith. I assumed you were MRAs because the theories you espouse emanate from the MRM, as do rebuttals and many sources.

    I disavow the more extreme and sometimes hateful members of the MRM. So while I agree with many of their “theories”, rebuttals and sources, I don’t necessarily agree with their authors, their tone, their rhetoric or their commentators.

    It’s much simpler to me to say I identify as neither feminist nor MRA, and am just in the middle, being an egalitarian, theory-free, dogma-free, hateful-free. Mostly, I want to be baggage free, and not have to defend, or condemn, people I don’t agree with simply because they have vaguely similar ideas to mine.

    This does mean I can’t claim any of the justice and virtue of the movements. But I also can’t claim any of the hatred and taint of the movements.

  70. carnation says

    @ Schala 77

    Have you considered a career in politics :)

    Yes, the hatred taints the “movement”, as does the total lack of practical activism and the incredible levls of grandiosity.

  71. Schala says

    Yes, the hatred taints the “movement”, as does the total lack of practical activism and the incredible levls of grandiosity.

    I said movements, I include feminism there.

  72. Gjenganger says

    @Carnation 75

    Nope, a misogynist still means, to the overwhelming majority off people, someone who harbours hateful feelings towards women. Quite different from anti feminists, and indeed quite different from a sexist.
    OK, true enough. And I would not call myself a misogynist in neutral company either. The thing is, to someone close to feminism anyone who disagrees strongly enough with the movement is a misogynist. This is not just bullying – his opinions are genuinely seen as unjustifiable and hateful, and labelling him a misogynist shows everybody in the movement that he is beyond the pale. The left in the seventies used ‘reactionary’ and ‘fascist’ in the same way. ‘Misogynist’, in that sense, is a kind of group-speak for the feminist movement, and there is nothing wrong with that. But outside the movement people have a different interpretation of ‘misogynist’, so when you are discussing outside the closed space of the movement (on CiF or Ally’s blog) ‘misogynist; is an unjustified libel. It is just that is is a silly waste of time to discuss whether you are really a misogynist or not (‘No I am not!’. ‘Yes you are!’, ‘But the dictionary!’, ‘You are still nasty’ …), instead of discussing what you are actually saying. The best way out I can see is to accept up front that by movement standards I am indeed a misogynist, and I do not care what you call me. Then maybe we can get on with discussing gender politics instead of name calling.

  73. Lucy says

    I think everyone should be able to say anything they like so long as it’s legal.

    In my opinion, moderation shouldn’t be used against people involved in unorganised behaviour such as conversations, arguments or insults, but against people involved in organised behaviour such as operating cliques or groups, propaganda, spam, stalking, harassment. The objective of moderation should be to create a level playing field, not to determine the game played on it.

  74. freja says

    @211, Ally Fogg

    Since you insisted I should shut up or continue the discussion here, that’s what I’ll do. You can move it or delete it if it violates anything. Also, it’s going to be long.

    This whole rant is based on a grotesque (and pretty fucking insulting) misrepresentation of what I wrote and meant in the OP, and what’s worse I’m pretty sure you know that.

    Just in case you still need it spelled out when you sober up, my point in the OP was that had any objective observer witnessed what happened, or any good faith arbiter known all the facts, they would have considered it to be attempted rape.

    How big a part of the population can be anything close to “objective observers” when it comes to rape? 1%?….. 2%?…. 10%?…. In my experience, certainly not the majority. There’s a huge difference between saying that an objective observer who knew all the facts and acted in good faith would have categorised what happened as rape, and that, to quote you, “Nobody would have questioned that it was an attempted rape”. The latter is blatantly false because I’ve been in similar situations where a man forcefully grabbed me and initiated genital contact until I tore away from him and fled, and I didn’t even consider it attempted rape, I considered it me being stupid and careless. I also didn’t consider it attempted rape when a bloke flat-out threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t have sex with him, because I didn’t think he would go through with it and I figured I could call for help if he did.

    It’s not that people would doubt what had happened (that she grabbed you, held you, forced her hand down your pants), but rather that many people wont categorise it as attempted rape no matter the sex of the victim, because that would require at least a firm “NO!” and a pristine sexual history. Not to mention that a lot of people are very clear in theory what they would and wouldn’t consider rape and sexual assault, but often resort to rape-apologia when the situation calls for them to confront an actual rapist.

    In the Haidl gang-rape case, the rapists apparently managed to convince large parts of the local community that the unconscious girl they fucked and stuck a pool cue, a snapple bottle, and a lit cigarette into had asked them to do it so that she could be a porn star. The sheer physical trauma involved makes that case a lot more clear-cut than anything that ever happened to me (and I’m guessing, you), and because there is a video of it, no one denies that it really happened – they just think she asked for it.

    This has, for the most part, been an incredibly intelligent and important discussion about extremely difficult and sensitive issues. One thing we’ve been trying to discuss is whether we can or should attempt to compare and contrast male and female experiences as victims of assault by the opposite gender. The overwhelming majority of commenters have managed to make their case, one way or the other, without dismissing, diminishing or denigrating the experiences of abuse victims of either gender. I’m sorry to say the only two regular commenters who have failed badly on that score are you and Raging Bee

    I disagree with that assertion. I honestly think your matter-of-fact statement that nobody would have questioned that your experience was attempted rape if you’d been a woman is diminishing to women who have been in similar situations and been told it wasn’t rape because they were asking for it and didn’t say no. As one of those women, I find your continued assertion that this kind of behaviour from a man towards a woman would be considered assault by anyone looking at it, as well as your insinuation that your experience must be different and much more violent than the experiences of women who’re told (or believe) that what happened to them wasn’t rape, to be pretty diminishing of my experiences, which have included hair-pulling, painful grabbing, and being held in a position I couldn’t get out of without hurting myself.

    I’m also not keen on “it’s at least twice as bad for men”, nor knowing about male pedophiles getting reduced sentences from male judges because their female victims were “predatory” only to be told here that the whole thing is controlled by females (and also not keen on the use of “females” in contrast with “men” – a turn of phrase I have almost exclusively seen used by misogynists and male supremacists, and which is every bit as loaded as words like “slut”, which I bet you wouldn’t look as kindly on).

    And I find it disturbing that, in a thread dealing with sensitive issue of rape, people link approvingly to a site with a long history of engaging in victim-blaming of women, imo to a much greater extent than the groups/people who’re being accused of engaging in victim-blaming against men ever did. AVfM isn’t just denying the prevalence of male-on-female rape, it’s downright pro-rape (as long as it’s male-on-female). Being willing to support it because it also tends to offer unconditional sympathy (and condemnation of the perpetrator) to any man claiming victimisation by a woman is, imo, throwing female victims of sexual assault under the bus.

    You may not see it as a big deal. You have certainly made it clear that others have no idea of how serious your experience with the drunk woman is (while you apparently have a very clear about the seriousness of the experiences women are told are not rape), and as moderator, you’re certainly capable of declaring that to be the objective truth that can in no way be diminishing of anyone’s experiences.

    I also doubt you care about quantity. That’s a big issue for me, the sheer number of posts with matter-of-fact statements about the guilt of women or the alleged easiness with which they’re believed. It’s not that any one post (including your OP, which was why I didn’t say anything earlier) is terribly offensive, but the sheer uncontested volume of it eventually got to me. Reading some of the blogs from people here who’d been systematically harassed should make it very clear that frequently, the most mentally frustrating and aggravating part of it is the number of (often rather individually harmless) microaggressions.

    You obviously don’t agree that any microaggressions have taken place here, but that doesn’t really change anything for me because I’m the one writing this while shaking and crying, reminded of the times I had my experiences diminished by being made to think I deserved it, and now diminished by having it insinuated that they couldn’t have been as violent or obviously predatory as I make them out to be (like yours apparently was), because if they were, people would have thought they were rape attempts because I’m a woman and women get taken more seriously. If women who get burning cigarettes showed into their crotch while they’re unconscious on camera are still said to have been up for it, I seriously doubt most women can reliably expect sympathy just because a guy gets a little rough and overeager with us.

    I freely admit that I was out of line and should have kept a civil tone. I also still think that, between unfounded assumptions about everything from people’s gender to the alleged political agenda of unspecified women, combined with the dehumanising use of “females”, Shawn Ferrie was being an asshole, and I don’t think him being a victim of sexual assault excuses his insensitivity anymore than you think me being a victim of sexual assault excuses mine. But I should have kept my cool about it, instead of letting my frustration get the better of me, and for that I apologise.

    I wont apologise for my sarcasm about your experience with the violent woman, because you don’t seem to have any idea about the level of sexual violence that can be inflicted on women and still have people claiming they asked for it, and that makes the certainty of your previous statement aggravating enough that I find your assertions about the only people dismissing, diminishing or denigrating abuse victims being me and RB to be worthless. There is a very real conflict of interests when it comes to this issue, not just between perpetrators and victims, but also among victims themselves. It doesn’t always have to be a zero-sum game, but it easily can be if people don’t actively work agianst it.

    For instance, support for AVfM can help raise awareness and offer support to male victims, but in regards to femlale victims, AVfM has promoted victim blaming, downplayed the significance of sexual violence, encouraging persecution of rape victims, and even posted an article downright stating that women enjoy being raped (Elam claimed it was “satire”, but many readers took it seriously, with the first comments congratulating him for exposing this scientific truth, making it as damaging as if he’d been serious). Not to mention Elam’s infamous statement that he would always vote not-guilty in a rape trial against a man even if he was sure the man had done it. People lending legitimacy to a site like that work against my interests as a female victim of sexual assault.

    In the same way, many men have stated that feminists/women try to drum up sympathy for female victims by promoting old stereotypes about the predatory male and the helpless female, and that this harms male victims of sexual assault. And yet, those women/feminists obviously still see it as benefiting female victims. The question is how much we’re willing to allow the experiences of others to be downplayed in order to lend legitimacy to our own.

    FWIW, Raging Bee crosses the line for me with his insistence that it must be categorically worse for women (I’m just not terribly concerned about it because everyone’s dogpiling on him already), but I think the same about people who link approvingly to AVfM. And I think you’re starting to cross into this territory too, since your “nobody would have questioned that it was an attempted rape” comes across to me (and doubtlessly other women) as denying that women still have problems getting even violent rapes categorised as rapes, though that’s obviously not something you agree on. All in all, I think you’re being biased by refusing to acknowledge any legitimate conflict and defaulting to accusing those on “the other side” of creating the conflict to begin with and being the only ones denigrating abuse victims.

  75. Ally Fogg says

    Freja,

    Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this. I missed it initially until I remembered I’d pointed you this way.

    You are picking an argument against a position I do not hold.

    In practice, in the real world, when victims of sexual abuse of all sorts (rape and sexual assault against adults, sexual abuse of children, attacks on women by men, attacks on men by men, attacks on men or women by women) report or describe their attacks, they face the most appalling and unwarranted doubt, disbelief, victim blaming and all the rest of it – from the police, from the media and the broad (self-appointed) court of public opinion.

    Since most of the people who report attacks are women and girls, it is most commonly women and girls who face that problem. Nothing in my OP was intended to suggest that women and girls are routinely and easily believed when they report any kind of sexual attack, even the most severe and egregious attacks. That would be patently untrue.

    Perhaps you think my choice of words “nobody would doubt that…” are misleading and imply something else. It might have been clearer if I had said something like “Had the genders been reversed, it would have been as obvious and blatant a case of attempted rape as anyone could imagine.” Is that better?

    But my anger at your post is based on the fact that I sufficiently trust your intelligence and sense, and I thought you had read enough of my writing to assume you knew full well what I was saying and you were attempting to deliberately twist my words to suggest I was making a point that I really was not making.

    I’m also not keen on “it’s at least twice as bad for men”

    Nor am I. That was a stupid and ignorant line in a stupid and ignorant post from someone who I’m pretty sure was just trolling. it makes the exact mistake I’m discussing of attempting to quantify and compare different experiences.

    You obviously don’t agree that any microaggressions have taken place here

    Actually I do. I noticed a lot of the microaggressions you describe and I completely sympathise with where you are coming from on that. However I also saw the most systematic and repeated microaggressions coming from Raging Bee against male victims and against those who speak up for male victims.

    As we both know, the biggest problem with microaggressions is that they are very difficult to challenge or dispute as in isolation, any particular statement looks innocuous. That’s why I let most of them pass on both sides at the time until your post brought everything to a head in a way that I judged to be unfair to me and others, but much more importantly, in a way that actively demeaned, diminished and denied the experience of male victims who – just on this occasion – were the primary focus of the thread. However I also recognise that what happened is that microaggressions on both sides built up like a pressure cooker, leading to an angry reaction from Shawn Ferrie which led to an angrier reaction from you, which led to an even angrier reaction from me.

    I do sincerely apologise for the hostility with which I responded to you on the other thread. It was excessive. I – will say – and this may be a bit of a double-edged sword – the intensity of my reaction to you was largely a product of my respect for you and your opinions. Of all the regular commenters on this blog, you are one of those from whom I generally expect nothing but compassion, insight and intelligence. Had the comments come from someone I respect less, I’d probably have been a lot less bothered.

    I have (I hope) learned a fair bit from this exchange. I will try to be more sensitive to build-up of microaggressions in future if I can, but I don’t regret stamping down on the direction that thread was going, because it was taking an ugly turn. That said, I am sorry that it turned out to be you who caught both barrels, and very much hope it won’t deter you from commenting here in the future, because your contributions are genuinely appreciated.

    A
    x

  76. freja says

    Ally

    Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it, and I can see where you’re coming from. A few minor points, and hopefully we can put this behind us.

    Perhaps you think my choice of words “nobody would doubt that…” are misleading and imply something else. It might have been clearer if I had said something like “Had the genders been reversed, it would have been as obvious and blatant a case of attempted rape as anyone could imagine.” Is that better?

    The thing is, I just don’t agree. I’ve seen a lot of cases where people will agree that a man forced a woman to have sex with him against her will, but they don’t think it’s rape. Sometimes it’s because the victim didn’t fight hard enough or said didn’t no in the right way (many women who talk about their experiences specify whether or not they did something objectionable beforehand, but I have no idea what you did) even in cases where she was incapable of it, other times it’s because she was friendly with the rapist before, and other times again it’s because she went somewhere (like a party with drunken guys) where “She should have known what could happen”.

    But my anger at your post is based on the fact that I sufficiently trust your intelligence and sense, and I thought you had read enough of my writing to assume you knew full well what I was saying and you were attempting to deliberately twist my words to suggest I was making a point that I really was not making.

    I didn’t think you were making a point, but I’m not sure whether your perception of reality is accurate (and I know it’s not in line with mine). Take a case like Steubenville, where a large part of the population was shocked to discover that anyone can seriously doubt that penetrating an unconscious girl is rape, and an equally large part of the population was equally shocked to discover that something as common as fooling around with a drunken whore can send good boys to jail. It’s like neither side was aware of the other’s existence before.

    It’s very easy to assume that your perception of a situation is the common perception (as I’m sure you know, that’s the human baseline), but every instance of rape I’ve heard of short of a strange man attacking a woman on the street, a good part of the people commenting both on the web and in real life will suggest that she wanted it, did something to deserve it, or could have prevented it, all of which makes it not quite rape. I don’t think that would change much if they could observe it. To be clear, I’m not angry that/if you disagree, I just got a little triggered because you stated it as a fact more than a theory, which seemed dismissive.

    Actually I do. I noticed a lot of the microaggressions you describe and I completely sympathise with where you are coming from on that. However I also saw the most systematic and repeated microaggressions coming from Raging Bee against male victims and against those who speak up for male victims.

    I usually react stronger to many people with few aggressive comments than one person with many. If the latter was the measuring stick, I’d be forced to conclude that Manboobz comment threads were friendlier to MRAs than feminists, because there’s frequently an MRA or two posting a slew of misogyny, and a lot of regulars debunking it and snarking. Dogpiling can be surprisingly effective at making hatred ineffective. But again, different strokes. And I can see why it’s harder to blame lots of commenters making few hostile/diminishing comments each than few commenters making lots. Anyway, I’m happy that my apology was accepted and appreciate yours in return. I think I’ll take a break from commenting here for a little while, but I’m glad we managed to clear the air.

  77. says

    Ally,

    Please, please don’t ever moderate your comments. Your blog is one of the last bastions on FTB where one can expect to be able to have a decent conversation.

    Other than spam or threats, is there any reason not to let people have their voices heard? You are right-on with your determination not to let this place become an echo chamber.

    Please don’t become like these other bloggers. – it is nice to have one blog where these issues can be discussed without worrying about being banned or flamed out simply for expressing an unpopular opinion. And the degree of your personal interaction with commenters is appreciated.

  78. carnation says

    Ally,

    Wasn’t sure where to post this, here seemed least worst but I will understand if you delete as it has diddly squat to.do with moderation.

    Great CIF article on benefits/attitudes. Not typical HetPat fare, but will it be posted here? I for one would be very interesred to see if the gender divide translated to that topic.

  79. says

    Ally,

    would you consider increasing the number of links to allow before a comment is being put into auto-moderation? And could you reveal the threshold (apologies if you already have done that somewhere else) so that I can consider splitting up my comments into several parts if/when necessary. I am loath to resort to not link to the references I cite in my comments as that is in my humble view a large factor in their quality.

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