Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bad ideas need safety to survive

For some reason I'll never understand feminists seem to often have a strong need to provide sanctuary for bad ideas, to make sure bad ideas are protected from criticisms.

I give a cursory read to a handful of feminists blogs and I think I see this kind of behavior a lot. In most blogs I don't even read the comments, the only blog I read the comments regularly are my own. I don't want my own blogs cluttered with spam from gay porno or insurance sites (what is it that gay porno and insurance sales have in common?) Not because I think my few readers will be offended by them but because I think a comment thread full of that kind of trash will make it less likely that my
real readers will comment. Who wants their comment buried in a mound of ads for zoo sex, fisting, and naked young boys. If I want to fantasize about fisting I can just think about the feminist site Feministing, I can't think of any other reason they picked that name. I supposed they think it's an in your face, girl power kind of a name. I think most people think of it as more of a 14 year old boy kind of thing, but whatever makes them happy.

The moderation policy of some of the feminist blogs I look at from time to time

Feminist Law Professors

Comments from outsiders, however, are moderated.

That's a good idea just to keep the spam down, moderation of first time posters. But I find it interesting that they don't use that term, they use the term "outsiders". An interesting view of the world.

I'm not sure what the moderation policy is, but they give a hint when they say this -
I would note that the tagline here quotes Alice Walker for the proposition that “No person is your friend who demands your silence,” and if your comments are not getting posted, it’s probably because this blogger is not your friend. I’d also like to thank some folks for recent kindnesses. The blogosphere has a lot of very nice people, and they make everything worthwhile.

So they have a quote on their bloghead that says women should not be silenced, but their practice is to silence those other people, whoever that might be.


They don't say much about moderation policy either, just
(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Again the exact language is interesting. The post doesn't have to be approved, just the poster. If you aren't the right kind of person then you shouldn't be commenting. They illustrate that by a statement in the About Us section
Young women are rarely given the opportunity to speak on their own behalf on issues that affect their lives and futures. Feministing provides a platform for us to comment, analyze and influence.

Old women and men of any age should find another platform. That's not ageist or sexist, not at all. That's a feminist attitude at its finest.

Alas, a blog
This blog recently made a post about moderation, it's the one that put the thought into my head to make this post.
First of all, as many folks have noticed, there’s now a “report this comment to the moderators” link at the bottom of every comment. The link leads to this form; complaints put into that form are emailed to all the moderators. Hopefully, this will allow all of the moderators to be more aware of and quicker to respond to problems.

Second, we’re increasing the number of moderators. We now have five moderators: Rachel, Maia, and myself, and also two reader-moderators, Mandolin (welcome, Mandolin!) and Charles. If you’d like to be a moderator as well, please let me know; being a moderator is limited to feminists only, and only to those who aren’t opposed to enforcing moderately polite behavior on “Alas.”

Third, we’re adding a “progressive anti-racist commenters only” checkbox for some posts about racism. The goal of this is to prevent almost every discussion of racism from being turned into endless repeats of the same discussion (to paraphrase what someone said, “Rachel posts that something is racist, Brandon argues that it isn’t racist, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.”)1

Fourth, we’re resolving to do a better job moderating out the Chrises and the Stevens and so on.

They have long-winded moderation policy on the blog, which mostly talks about their moderation goals, not really the moderation policy. The goals are all nice sounding stuff about you can disagree, but be nice and disagreements should be well written. They even have a long footnote to the moderation policy.
To Anti-Feminist, Mens’ Right Activist, and Right-Wing Guests

Hello to “Alas’” MRA, anti-feminist, and right-wing guests! Please make sure you read and respect the moderation policy.

Please note that some posts are marked as “feminist, pro-feminist and feminist-friendly only,” or some variation on that theme.1 Please do not post comments on those posts without explicit permission to post there from the thread-starter. The purpose of this policy is to allow some intra-feminist conversations to take place on “Alas,” while still leaving other conversations open to non-feminist participation. Please respect the spirit of this policy, and not just the letter. Attempts to play “rules lawyer” will not be well taken by the moderator.

It's certainly not as exclusionary as the policy in other feminists blogs, but they still can't help themselves and create these "discussion free zones" for feminists to talk without any intellectual challange.
Reno and its Discontents
I'm not even sure this is a feminist blog. It appears to be a blog by a left-wing feminist, but only some of the posts are about feminists politics, it's more a blog about Reno than a blog about feminism. I see no discussion at all about comment or moderation policy.


I gotta love this blog. The sidebar has an Amazon ad for a bunch of game theory books (my other blog is math and poker.

I can't find a moderation policy written anywhere, but after looking through a couple of the comment threads I'd guess they don't exclude non-feminists and don't have a be nice policy.

Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog
This one is more an extened FAQ on feminism than a blog. But they do have comments and a comment policy.
On-topic, constructive suggestions and criticism welcome. Obnoxious comments will be deleted. Feuds/Flamewars etc will not be tolerated on this blog. Take it here instead, where all feminists and allies may flame freely.

At least they exclude posts based on content rather than origin. They don't ban you if you aren't one of them, they ban your post if they deem it lacking.

This post is getting long. There's a couple of other feminists blogs I look at sometimes, I hadn't realized my list was this long. But I'm going to skip them.

I've looked at enough to realize that the exclusionary policies of a couple of feminist blogs aren't shared by as many of them as I'd thought.

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