Hey guys, I am home for the weekend (my sister is graduating from high school on Sunday), so that means that I won't be able to check here that often. I just wanted to leave some notes for all the readers/commenters/contributors.
First of all, I would like to remind all commenters that anonymous commenting is a privilege. I started this blog for the purpose of generating productive discussion. I understood that in order to do that, I would need to allow as many people as possible to participate in discussions here, and the best way to do that was to allow for anonymous commenting. But lately, there has been a lot of bullying by anonymous commenters which has provoked tangents in the comment threads that focus more on semantics than the actual issues.
We have been experiencing a lot of trolling on this blog lately. The use of the word "troll" for me means a person who leaves comments (usually, but not always, anonymously) that are meant to provoke a negative reaction among those who support the authors/ideas of this blog. General tactics used on this blog include: generalizing about all feminists ("feminists hate men!"), assumptions about particular authors ("you wrote about x so you must be like this"), name calling ("conceited," and"vain" were alluded to in a recent thread), and others.
Many of the people that I would consider to be trolls on this blog come here, make intentionally aggravating statements, and then try to use the human reactions of other commenters to make a bad name for feminism. It is interesting that they claim to just be presenting an opposing viewpoint. Problem is that there intent obviously does not fit with this. They want to make feminists look bad.
My policy for all commenters is to allow them to comment, and if they make a generalization about something, or say something mean, or just plain wrong, I correct them. If they continue that also makes them a troll in my eyes, I try to urge other commenters to not engage in debate with them, as it is often futile because the troll has not come here for debating purposes.
I have deleted comments in the past when they have been insulting to particular people, or so full of malice that they offered nothing to the discussion. I have been accused of doing this to silence those who do not agree. That is wrong. Very wrong. You can look through some of the more recent threads to see that I have allowed a diversity of comments to be displayed. But if a troll continuously makes generalizations and covers the authors of this blog with false blanket statements like "You think women are superior," and "You just want everyone to agree," and they continue to do so even after being told that they are incorrect, their comments become no longer appreciated.
I receive every comment that is submitted to this blog via e-mail. I read every comment that is submitted to this site. This is my responsibility as I started this blog and wanted to allow people to comment anonymously, and I have to say that I do not appreciate the disrespect that comes from many people who make it obvious that their point in coming here is to disagree. I could start a more strict deletion strategy, but that would only garner more cries of "She's silencing the opposition!"
So I will not, but I would like all the commenters on this site to realize that debating with a troll is futile. You may try for a while, but you need to know when to stop. You only give them more reason to post nonsense if you respond to them.
I do not want to silence discussion. If there are people productively participating in a comment thread, engage with them and ignore those who continue to be blind to their own argumentative weaknesses. Doing so will make this a better experience for all those involved.
And now I will wait for someone to comment, exclaiming, "I am not a troll!" and "You think you're psychic, don't you?"
EDIT 5/18/08: The purpose of this post was not necessarily to entertain any sort of debate. It was to point out why I allowed anonymous comments in the first place, and how I personally try to deal with those I find distasteful, along with a suggestion for how I felt that people on this blog should deal with them. But I am cutting off the comments now because it is distracting. Back to the other posts!