Comment policy

I am a trans woman, and a feminist. I want freedom for people to be who we are, our best selves. This means women safe from male violence, and space for trans people to flourish.

Some feminists are campaigning against trans recognition, encouraged by Rupert Murdoch and Liz Truss. If the campaign succeeds, it will entrench gender stereotypes and the demonisation of minorities, both right wing goals, and in the meantime it causes dissention on the left.

What value have comments, at their best?

They can be a dialogue between very different views. Sometimes this brings people together.

Or, they can add useful details at the end of a post.

Comments praising my writing are always welcome.

Sometimes, a person’s comments are merely repetitive. After this, I produced my comment rule, “Don’t bore me”. The rule is, if you are saying the same thing over and over again, eventually I will start deleting.

Comments can be damaging, as well. I permit anti-trans comments here. I worry that they will set off trans folks’ internalised transphobia, or make trans folk more afraid than they need be of the transphobia and violence of the wider community. But, there is a lot of transphobia on my blog: you have to discuss it to end it. I hope that my trans readers will not be too hurt by this blog, though I notice how trans people share transphobic content in trans groups. We are discussing it, but we are letting it poison us too.

I hope my discussion of transphobia serves a useful purpose- showing how it is transphobic, showing how to counter it. Also I want to foster a dialogue. I want the wonderful energy of the anti-trans campaigners to be directed to feminist causes, in the interests of cis women and giving a space to trans women; and I want them to see trans men as people capable of knowing themselves and making their own choices, not silly women who don’t know their own minds.

Sometimes, keeping anti-trans comments shows their pathology: this comment is disgusting. I edited it to point up how disgusting it is. I left Mark’s words as he had written, in the first comment, but added my introduction, clearly marked: when I edit comments, it is clear what are my words and what the commenter’s. When he replied, I deleted some of his protests. I have a right to do this, because this is my blog. He had shown how disgusting he is, and there was no point in more verbiage just showing the same thing.

Sometimes comments put an anti-trans point of view. Nicola has stated her suffering and what she blames. I allow that. There might be the possibility of dialogue, and growing trust.

If there is to be dialogue, there has to be trust. My editing or deleting comments might reduce trust. I have a feeling that courtesy may be of value, especially between opponents, but can’t put a rule into words. “Don’t be an arse,” perhaps. Wikipedia has a lot of wisdom about communicating well, but it also has the common purpose of producing an encyclopaedia, and anything which does not serve that purpose may be deleted. Commenters here may have all sorts of purposes.

I am not particularly interested in long arguments showing I am bad. Don’t call me an idiot, a hypocrite, discourteous or arrogant, not even if you quote me to prove this to your own satisfaction. Sometimes I leave it, sometimes I don’t.

I enforce rules more stringently on cis men than on others. Cis white males are privileged. Gender critical women commenting are disprivileged, and I feel their speaking up for themselves as they see it helps overcome that, even though they are speaking up against my rights as a trans woman. Their cis male allies are privileged. They seek to be allies of cis women, and that shows they are aware of their privilege and trying in some way to compensate for it, but they need to learn more about the way their privilege is oppressive. When they attempt to be allies, it’s all about them, and it makes them feel justified in bullying trans people- that is, enforcing their privilege on another disadvantaged group.

This blog is part of the liberation struggle of disadvantaged groups. Comments which would frustrate that aim may be edited and mocked. My decision is final.

I also share art. Now, I am sharing portraits of Elizabeth I.

27 thoughts on “Comment policy

  1. Her Majesty has a look as if she’d just watched Oprah’s interview with Meghan and Harry. 🙂 (Thanks for accepting my silly comments, too)

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    • She looks exhausted and fed up. It’s a fascinating series of portraits.

      Puns always welcome. I could simply delete the hostile comments, or keep the worst to show how revolting they are, but I am attempting something more difficult.

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  2. I thought about offering a comment , but then, if memory serves, ( I stand under correction) we have only ever ”discussed ” religion and you’d probably consider it boring so ….

    All the best with your new comment policy. Have fun. 🙂

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    • Oddly enough, I remember you commenting about Chester.

      The religion thing. For you, it’s the belief that matters, and in Britain we use religion and belief system as if they were synonyms. For me, beliefs don’t matter, I have little or none believing my experiences have value. I call them spiritual, they might be called psychological states. For me, religion is about experiences, values, and the way I live my life. Even the beliefs, treating them as stories gave them value, while I would agree they have none as scientific theories. So being told the beliefs were ridiculous did pall, I am afraid.

      You too. Have fun. It’s good to see you are still getting something from this hobby.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For me, religion is about experiences, values, and the way I live my life.

        Do you think you would be unable to live your life, or even have a life full of equal meaning and quality without religion?

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        • Ark, you really need to stop thinking that “religion is believing in things you know ain’t true”. I won’t speak for Clare – She is quite capable of doing so herself, but for myself, religion adds to life – gives it a little oomph, and I would miss it if it wasn’t there. If you want a materialistic analogy, while I could probably live quite well on military rations, it pales in comparison to the experience of creating and consuming meals with my wife.

          My understanding of religion is, and I’ll quote Sir Lloyd Geering: “Religion is a total mode of the interpreting and living of life“. As he explains:
          Everybody who takes life seriously, in my view, is taking the first steps in religion. And this definition of religion, fortunately, covers all the types of religions we’ve had or will have in the future, because it recognises that religion is a human product. Religion is what we humans have evolved in our culture to enable us to make meaning of life…”

          Belief in deities, the supernatural, or any superstition at all is not a necessary component of religion. And while you may consider religion serves no useful purpose, I feel the same about repeatedly whacking a tiny ball over a net.

          Liked by 2 people

          • My finger must have slipped. I “liked” his comment, and he noticed.

            Six years ago, I told him, “What I believe does not matter. What I practise, and what I value, is what matters. I tell you this again and again, and it just goes straight over your head.”

            And it still does.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Six years ago, I told him, “What I believe does not matter. What I practise, and what I value, is what matters.

              Yes, and I am sure the Cathars said something similar once upon a time as well.

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          • Hello Barry. We rarely converse on the internet so this might be interesting.
            I will try not to be boring as I know Clare will be monitoring me very closely. 😉

            In order to appreciate my views on religion let’s for a moment consider its origins, and I don’t just mean the Judeo/Christian religions, (though, as we are dealing primarily with Christianity, we can swing back and focus more on it, if you fancy?) but all of them.

            Humans have always assigned agency to the things they did/do not understand.
            The ‘gods’ were responsible for everything from rain, to thunder and lightening, volcanoes, babies, and toothache.

            When we became a tad sophisticated – developing the basics of language perhaps? – it seemed natural that the gods would choose some of the more sophisticated among us – shaman, spirit guides, voodoo doctors, prophets …. maybe a particular rabbi – to convey His / his /her /their wishes to the rest of the unwashed.

            And, umpteen years further down the road, what we now have are considerably more sophisticated humans and therefore, the gods or God, even, has naturally. required much more sophisticated intermediaries, with many many more sophisticated arguments.

            It is unfortunate that none of these arguments have ever demonstrated one iota of veracity pertaining to any religious/god claim. This strongly suggests that our willingness to believe is all down to two things: Indoctrination and credulity.
            If one needs a religion – in whatever form you choose – to validate one’s life, maybe it’s time for a serious rethink?

            I suppose some might say that table tennis is Hell, however, within the rules of the ITTF no one gets sent there for
            playing badly or deconverting and opting to play badminton.

            Regards

            Ark.

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            • @ Clare
              I feel confident Barry is capable of responding without your (well intentioned? ) guidance.
              After all, you have already praised him for such a brilliant comment.
              Are you not as confident all of a sudden he will be able to respond with a further comment that is equally as brilliant?
              Come now, where’s you faith? 😉

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            • I am sure Barry can respond brilliantly, but the result will be you, commenting again.

              So Ark commented again. And I trashed it. This thread illustrates his high ratio of insult to statement. Now he’s going back and agreeing with a creationist.

              This is the point of the “Don’t call me an idiot” rule. I make an assertion, I justify it with evidence, and he merely denies it, again, and again, and again. Violet thought he got drunk before commenting. I get to decide whether the conversation has value. I am very patient before I start trashing. There are 120 comments from him, mostly variations on a very simple theme.

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  3. So far I’ve avoided publishing a comments policy on my blog, primarily because I don’t want it to be prescriptive, and I’ve had a hard time thinking up a suitable descriptive statement. So far I have had little need to censor anyone, and from memory there’s only one contributor whose comments I have edited (with and explanation why). That person is the only one who I moderate at all, and in fact one of his comments made around four years ago remains in moderation as I’m conflicted over whether I should allow it to be published with or without edits or to be published at all.

    I can understand the rationale behind enforcing rule more stringently on those with privilege. It’s something I had never considered before, and may help me in formulating what I consider “reasonable” comment.

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  4. I want to encourage comments from people who disagree with me,

    I disagree with much of what you write ,and yet, it took no more than half dozen comments and you trashed me.
    And I haven’t even touched a wee dram (nod to Violet, bless her)

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  5. Your comments policy seems a good one.
    Also commenting to suggest that the abuser known as Mark is more likely a TERF masquerading as male online. The issue and the phrasing are so TERFY and so unlike the sort of preoccupations of men. Unless, of course, the subsequent comments you deleted show otherwise.
    Best wishes, Sue x

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  6. Pingback: A personal challenge | Another Spectrum

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