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.