Sunday, January 18, 2009

Moderation back on

Because I do not have the time nor the energy nor the inclination to deal with people who start to act like trolls, I have turned comment moderation back on. This is my blog. This is the environment in which I choose to post. I encourage and like to foster open discussion among people.

But when people start accusing me of censorship, just because I objected to an article that objectified women... not happening anymore, folks.

Yes, comment moderation is a form of censorship. You may accuse me of censoring my blog comments as much as you damn well please.

But let me say it here, publicly, one more time.

I had nothing to do with the article about the sexy book covers being removed from Bookspot Central. I am happy it is gone, because I found it offensive. That said, if the article had remained up, I wouldn't have cared. I did not advocate for the article to be removed.

I did not complain to the owners of the blog, Jay or Damon. I did not comment on their blog. I did not comment in their forums. I did not ask for the article to be taken down. I made a blog post where I stated my opinion that I did not like the article because I thought it was sexist due to objectifying women. I continued to discuss this opinion in the comments of that blog post, explaining that I personally dislike covers that objectify MEN or WOMEN because I disagree with the policy that sex should be used to sell books.


Adam Heine said...

I didn't read the offending comments, but the complaints seem to be misconstructions of the US constitution. The deal is that the government can't censor the people or the news. If you want to censor your blog, that's your business. Actually, it's your right as an American.

Likewise, if you want to complain about an article somebody else published. Again, that's your constitutional right. By their own argument, the people who wanted you to stop would then also be supporting censorship.

I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know, Ms. Rappaport. I guess I'm saying it more for the folks who drove you to moderate your comments.

P. Bradley Robb said...

I'm sorry that you had to turn moderation on. And more so that people are misconstruing criticism for censorship.

I'm hoping the moderation doesn't slow down the BSG threads.

Jenny Rappaport said...

I'm going to try to figure out if there's a specific way to turn moderation off for certain threads. I really like the BSG thread idea. =)

Deborah said...

I saw your Twitter and then found your blog to see what had happened. Yep, it is sad that some people can be so rude online. I was recently attacked by someone because I posted a note on a bulletin board explaining plagiarism and asking that people NOT copy information from someone else's website without permission. She went on for several paragraphs about how nuts I was and that it's not a problem and I should not have gotten my panties in a wad about it. That's why I just stay on my own blog and don't post on groups anymore.

BTW, I was excited to see that you knit and dye yarn. I have my own Shetlands and am currently working on an afghan with the wool from two boys, creating a gradient of medium brown to light brown/fawn.

Jenny Rappaport said...

Deborah, I may know how to dye yarn, but you own actual sheep! That is incredibly cool. =)

I don't think I could fit a sheep in the townhouse along with the cat... =)

J.M. said...

Did any of the... um, 'trolls' bother to contact the writers of the post in question? We have no idea why it came down... for all we know it could have been due to how badly it was written.

This whole situation, the accusing and lashing out, has solved nothing and only makes us all look ridiculous.

Might I add, there are ways of saying things without being rude...

Ms. Rappaport, I don't blame you for deciding to moderate your comments.

Karen C said...

I have really enjoyed stopping by your blog for a daily pick me up.
It's a great blog. A bit of everything, but never dull.
And never unkind.

I am sorry that anyone should have been unkind to you. Particularly without cause.

This is your blog and I completely support anything you want to do with your corner of cyberspace.
I can't imagine anyone calling that censorship. Seems more like creative license to me.

Deborah said...

Hmm, the sheep would probably fit, but might drive you crazy. I had a lamb in the house a couple summers ago, but I finally had to put her outside since she did not take to housetraining as well as the goat kids have in the past.

Just noticed you're a baker and thought you might like this recipe:

BJ said...

I did read the offending comments. And I agree with others here -- if people can't criticize without being accused of censorship, then you might as well get rid of book reviews and critique groups. Get rid of all opinion-based newspaper columns or blogs. Heck, let's just get rid of opinion altogether. After all, why should anyone have an opinion different from everyone else?

Some people really have no idea of how society works. Stifle opinion, and you lose any amount of democracy that may exist.

Tochi said...

Hi Jenny,

Trolling is unfortunately/fortunately (depending on how you look at it) a staple part of what makes up the internet.

What you're saying about sexism and book covers makes total sense, but you're always going to get someone who doesn't quite 'get it', and goes out of their way to fire heated comments. Or maybe they're just being trollish for the hell of it.

I usually find trolls to be pretty funny. Under every bridge they lurk, waiting for the right moment to say stupid sh*t...

ryan field said...


Elissa M said...

Unfortunately, now matter how carefully you word something or explain yourself, someone is bound to take it wrong. It's ironic the trolls seem to think they're accomplishing something when they adopt the methods they excoriate others for using.

There is nothing wrong with censorship in many cases. Legitimate criticism also has a place in civilized discourse. Flaming rants should always be discouraged.

Moderation, in every sense, is not a bad thing.

Rebecca said...

I'm so sorry that your blog post on that article got so seriously misconstrued and so ridiculously attacked that you had to censor comments as a result. It's one thing to calmly disagree and back up your opinion with solid reasoning - it's quite another to make unfounded and aggressive accusations.

This, by the way, is Rebecca Coffindaffer - I found your and Jodi's blogs and have started following them. :) I am super-excited to see you are a BSG fan. I just watched the premiere last night and was in a state of emotional flail for the entirety of the episode.

emeraldcite said...

john scalzi has some good stuff on his blog about "censorship" issues. i wish i had a link handy.

basically, some people get confused on the first amendment thing and how it really only applies to gov't censorship, not how blogs, boards, etc. are handled.

Sue said...

People don't have a constitutional right to stir up drama in your blog comments. I have a large blog and comment moderation is just sadly necessary sometimes, so that a few angry people don't derail the entire conversation.

I dream about turning comments off completely, a la Dooce. Someday I'll LIVE THE DREAM.

Jenny Rappaport said...

Thank you all for the support; it means a tremendous amount to me. =)

Hi Rebecca! *waves at new client who rocks*

And Deborah, those muffins look so good. I'm not sure how I'd be about drinking actual goat's milk... I'm a bit of a coward in that regard, since I don't tend to like most goat's milk cheeses. But I discovered this summer that I adore goat's milk ice cream, so I'm thinking it'd be good in the muffins.

I'm pretty sure it's against my municipal regulations to keep either a sheep or a goat, alas... =)

Jenny Rappaport said...

Sue, I've experimented several times with turning comment moderation on and off. And the end result is that something like this past thread always happens, and I get annoyed to no end, and I turn it back on.

But maybe, if I went the Dooce route, I could just turn comments off entirely, for some of the posts... that's a possibility to think about.

Jarucia said...

You're totally justified in moderating. It's your blog after all.

There's a weather blog I follow. And while it's authored by a UW meteorologist, he posts his opinions on things too. People slam him for his editorials and crib that he should only post weather stuff.

People, he's doing it for Free!

That's why they say people don't value what they don't 'pay' for. Trolls don't actually put much effort (i.e. pay with time) into what they do, so they don't care how it affects others. They're just out there for the thrill of the 'strike'.

I enjoy your blog and am glad you're going strong in spite of web-idiots.

Jodi Meadows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodi Meadows said...

I seriously doubt these people would come into your home and start calling you names and accusing you of things. There's no reason they should do it on your blog. And if they did it at your home, you'd be perfectly within your rights to tell them to leave.

My Vancouver said...

Dear Jenny,

The troll comments made me sad. Some days I wonder where feminism has gone.

And then I find it in unexpected places. I was recently at a community-building forum where a male police lieutenant stated that if violence against women were to end, they'd have to cut the police force in half.

Of course you're perfectly right to moderate. The unfortunate thing is, you still have to read the comments before refusing them.

I did enjoy the post where the troll said, "I won't be querying YOU." Does this keep you up at night, wondering what you might be missing? :-D

I appreciate that you posted your opinion, and glad it had an effect.

Reisa Stone

Anonymous said...

You're completely in the right, Jenny. Censorship is when the government makes some form of expression illegal. Expressing a counterpoint-opinion ("I don't like Damon's post") is freedom of expression. I can't believe people don't understand this!