Elizabeth Bang, President, National Council of Women of NZ
Ph: 027 283 9813, Email: email@example.com
This site does not accept any comments that are derogatory to women. However, if I feel that your comment complies with the following (with thanks to Sady Doyle), I may post it.
1) You are free to disagree with the post. However, I ask that you read the post first and respond to points that are actually within the post when you disagree. Saying things like, “I just skimmed this post, but” or “I didn’t finish the whole post, but” will get you deleted. If you can’t pay attention to anyone else, why should we pay attention to you? GOOFUS writes, “why are you saying that George R.R. Martin shouldn’t ever depict rape? And why are you saying that the society of Westeros should be totally gender-egalitarian?” Since the original post said neither of these things, GOOFUS gets deleted. GALLANT writes, “I see what you’re saying about certain female characters like Brienne and Arya being desexualized, but I think that Asha Greyjoy is allowed to exercise the sort of martial competence you’re talking about while retaining sexual agency, for the following reasons.” Then GALLANT lists some reasons. GALLANT has added something new to the discussion, and gets published. This follows from
2) Good commenters add substance to the discussion. Because good commenters are interested in having a discussion. Bad commenters take substance away from the discussion. Bad commenters shut down the discussion, because they only want to hear their own voices. GOOFUS writes, “this is so stupid. You’re wrong.” GOOFUS has only acted to shut down someone else’s voice, and no real conversation can be built upon the basis of his comment. GOOFUS gets deleted. GALLANT writes, “Commenter #3, I’m interested in what you said about the male characters also being wounded in some ways. In my opinion, the male characters’ wounds tend to be less generic than the rape/beating motif with the women, and those wounds are allowed to play a crucial role in shaping their character. How do you see the rapes and attempted rapes as shaping the womens’ characters?” GALLANT has both addressed another person conversationally, and opened up a road for specific, productive discussion. GALLANT gets published. From which follows Rule #3
3) Don’t be a dick. GOOFUS writes, “you suck, you stupid cunt.” GOOFUS gets banned. GALLANT writes something that does not amount to, “you suck, you stupid cunt.” GALLANT has now achieved the bare minimum that is required to be a functional, non-douchey human being in a conversation. GALLANT may or may not get published, depending on the substance of GALLANT’s comment, but at least he’s not auto-banned.
4) Try not to dominate the discussion. This may be particularly hard for men or other privileged readers; men are enculturated to believe that they can assume a position of authority over nearly any subject, including other people’s personal experiences (thus leading to the “that woman doesn’t know what’s sexist/feminist; I, a man, will tell her what sexism/feminism REALLY is” phenomenon), and that they always deserve to be heard, which can lead to their seeking to dominate conversations, de-legitimize other people’s first-hand experiences, and drown out or talk over other people. But lots of people inadvertently dominate discussions, for all kinds of reasons, and it’s always obnoxious and bad. If you notice that you are commenting a lot more than other people, try not commenting for a while, so other people can have some room to speak. If your comment is as long as some blog posts, recognize that you’re leaving a big wall o’text that discourages other commenters from reading/commenting further, and post that wall of text on your personal blog instead. Read the definition of mansplaining, and refrain from doing that. Also refrain from whitesplaining, cissplaining, straightsplaining, or anything else along those lines.
5) Don’t post sexist/racist/homophobic shit. Don’t post rape-apologist shit. Don’t post anti-feminist shit. This blog is a place for feminists and pro-woman readers to talk and read, without having to be assailed by any of the previously mentioned varieties of shit. If you don’t have some experience with feminist theory, feminist practice, or basic etiquette within feminist discussion, you may inadvertently post some sexist or offensive shit that we have to delete. That’s fine. You’re not a bad person. We hope you come back. It’s just that now is the time for you to listen, not to talk.
6) Above all: Don’t take it personally. GOOFUS writes, “Why are you telling me I’m a bad person for liking these books??!!!? Why did you tell me — ME, PERSONALLY — that I was going to overreact and over-personalize this, and only hear that you didn’t like my toys, and complain about that, in a really petulant manner, instead of addressing your actual points?” GOOFUS is proving me correct, about how GOOFUS would react, and about the Nerd Rage generally. Much as I appreciate his demonstration of exactly what I was talking about in the intro to this post, he still gets deleted, because his comments are irrelevant. GALLANT writes, “well, I do like the books a lot, and here’s why.” GALLANT is not throwing a temper tantrum, and is meeting all of our previously-stated rules for discussion. He gets published.