Reply turned post, blogging civility style

This is a comment on a post on Civility and Blogging at Dispatches from the Culture Wars. (Well, it’s in moderation. I post there occasionally, but there are a lot of links in this comment, so I can see why it may have been flagged as spam.)

It’s a great post and great conversation.

Much to my amazement I am criticized very sharply for expressing what I thought (and still think) to be a perfectly reasonable view. The counter-argument is that the enforcement of ground rules is an act of white male patriarchy and acts to exclude certain subsets of society from taking part. I think this is tosh, actually, but some otherwise intelligent and articulate people seem to believe it. Are such ground rules inherently discriminatory, or are they fair?

Here is my reply:

I think the key thing here is the difference between squashing hostility and squashing any dissenting or non majority voice.

I rarely delete comments on my blog, (I filter spam, of course) and have yet to ban a commenter. I have let arguments continue, even if the commenter is clearly coming from an opposing point of view. I am not, however, squashing voices that are arguing with the white male patriarchy. I am doing quite the opposite.

What I don’t allow is for someone to use my space to be disrespectful or offensive to me or to spout views that are disrespectful and offensive to me. I have asked someone to stop posting without banning them, because I feel like the discussion is not productive, and they are not debating, but randomly spouting nonsense.

Even after deleting their comments, I let dissenting voices post again.

I am one of those cynical of unbridled science and technology folks (thus the tinfoil hat reference in my blog title). I am just as willing to look critically at antidepressants as St. John’s Wort. And, I’m a research fellow at my medical school, so I don’t take to kindly to condescension from more-sciencey-than-thou types. And I take less kindly to “what about the white cis able bodied menz???” types.


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6 responses to “Reply turned post, blogging civility style

  1. Yes, exactly that.

    I am entirely too familiar with the “you won’t let anyone disagree with you, this is censorship!!1!” reaction to the above guidelines (since they’re basically the same as I use at my blog, and are quite similar to the rules at the forum I used to mod), but I have no problem with disagreement, only disrespect; and yes, I choose not to waste my time or my commenters’ with debate from such wildly disparate stances that there is rarely civility, and never agreement. And that’s not censorship, that’s just the way I want my playground to be.

    (My favorite comment policy is at Shapely Prose. I want to be dictatorial bitches like them when I grow up.)

    • MomTFH

      I love Shapely Prose! And yes, they have a wonderful comments policy explanation.

      Yeah, I talked about the whole freedom of speech thing with my uncle once over email. I am not the government. Rude commenters can exercise their freedom of speech and enjoy their civil rights elsewhere, please. Thanks!

      I am hearing that argument left and right in regards to the Tebow Focus on the Family ad. The huge swelling of criticism of the ad has NOTHING to do with whether or not the Tebows or Focus on the Family can practice their freedom of speech. There is no freedom from criticism.

      I think someone who cries “censorship!” or “my first amendment!” when crticized should automatically lose an argument, sort of like a Godwin clause. Maybe we can call it a Palin. I silenced my ultraconservative brother, who had a Facebook fan page to Palin BEFORE she was selected to be the VP candidate, when I criticized her understanding of the first amendment. The entire POINT of the first amendment is to allow journalist to criticize politicians, not to prevent it.

      • “I think someone who cries “censorship!” or “my first amendment!” when crticized should automatically lose an argument, sort of like a Godwin clause”

        YES PLZ. It’s the new Nazi reference and it’s such an easy copout.

  2. Pingback: Apology accepted…I guess? | Mom's Tinfoil Hat

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