An hour or two ago I posted a comment on Dave Futile’s latest blog post, the title of which made it perfectly clear MRAs or ‘trolls’ (by which I think he means ‘people who aren’t brainwashed feminists’) were not to comment. I’m a truly bad person. Quite rightly, he’s banned me permanently from posting comments, and explained his decision for his happy band of followers (details below). He criticises my use of the expression, ‘The cold steel – they don’t like it up ’em!’ used by Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army, saying it’s a ‘rape metaphor’. You couldn’t make it up, could you? I’ve sent him an email politely correcting him on this point, we’ll see if he has the integrity to correct it. He at least had the decency to write that I have no connection with the BNP (an ill-informed commenter had claimed I did, and wouldn’t withdraw the assertion). Towards the end of his piece he writes:
…at this point I’m much more inclined to moderate anyone who seems to have the potential to turn abusive.
The potential? We assume he means anyone suspected of being guilty of thought crime. Or as followers of this blog would say, people capable of thinking for themselves, rather than being told what to think by Dave Futile and his like.
His comments take up the remainder of this blog post.
“Thanks, everyone. Well everyone except one person.
Mike, Poodle, can you not read? This thread, not for you. In fact, this blog, not for you, not any more. You were already close to being banned for spamming. Then you posted in a thread that’s clearly stated to be not for trolls or MRAs. Those two things, already enough for a ban.
But then you went back to your own blog and put up a post noting that I wouldn’t be checking comments for a little while, and encouraging MRA/trolls to come here and post while I was away. And you did so using a rape metaphor. So you are DONE.
And you’re also a good example of why I need to ban more quickly. Because commenters had already picked up your creepy vibe, which I hadn’t fully realized until now because I was behind on comments.
Ok, so here’s what I’m going to do about comments right off the bat:
1) Put people on moderation at the first sign of creepiness. If they behave, I’ll let their comments through; when I’m away their comments won’t go through, and maybe that’ll be a bit annoying for them but I don’t really care if it is and we won’t have to worry about abusive meltdown.
2) To deal with new commenters who seem basically aligned with the purpose of the blog but who get off on the wrong foot (say something ableist, etc), I’ll put them on moderation and send them an email basically explaining what the general rules and assumptions are for good faith commenters; if they’re willing to follow those rules and, you know, not argue about it I’ll let them comment again. I want to give people a second chance but not if they’re going to abuse it.
3) I’ll definitely put up more non-troll, non-mra open threads. And when it’s appropriate, as it was with the initial Elliot Roger thread, I can restrict threads for posts as well.
4) If there are people here who are willing to volunteer to help moderate it looks like wordpress enables that. So if you would like to help I would greatly appreciate it! But I would like to keep the number of mods pretty low. And you would need to be someone who’s been commenting here for a while. If you’re interested, email me.
The other thing is:
If someone is acting creepy or inappropriate, email me! It really helps to get notifications.
And this is especially important now because increased traffic has meant a lot more comments are being posted and it’s harder for me to keep up with all of them, so I can get behind on reading comments and/or miss comments that have creepy or abusive stuff in them.
In the past when regular commenters here have emailed me I’ve sometimes been reluctant to ban or mod trolls and possible trolls/socks based on gut feelings about them when the troll/MRA in question hasn’t clearly or overtly broken the rules or behaved in an overtly creepy or abusive way, but at this point I’m much more inclined to moderate anyone who seems to have the potential to turn abusive.
On the sockpuppet question, we seem to be getting fewer socks lately (though we did recently have a visit from one old favorite, though I’m blanking on which one it was). But we’re getting a lot more new trolls who are just as bad.
So that’s what I’m thinking. I’ll do a rewrite of the comments policy when I have time.
I do want to keep the comments open to MRAs/trolls because they can be entertaining and, obviously, they often provide more evidence of the misogyny that I write about in my posts. But I really don’t want repeats of what we saw earlier tonight.”