Comment Policy

This blog has been from the beginning a male space. At the same time, I have welcomed female commenters from the beginning. There is an obvious contradiction here, and I have managed this to the best of my ability. However:

  1. We live in a world where male spaces are vanishingly rare. This means protecting the few we have is especially important.
  2. When women enter a male space, they inevitably change that space by their presence.

Cane Caldo has limited comments on his blog to male commenters (see also here and here), and Scott has defined a policy of generally separating the commenting of women and men on his blog. Both Cane and Scott make strong arguments for their changes, and after considering the issue I have decided to modify my own comment policy regarding women.

While this is a male space, one of my objectives is to help ease the suffering of both women and men by helping people make better choices. I also have found that while women always change a male space by entering it, there are some women who are able to greatly reduce their footprint in this respect. With this in mind, I’ve decided to continue to allow women to comment, but to have a bias towards removing women who tend to be more disruptive by their presence. This way the discussion isn’t repeatedly derailed by emotional reactions, endless rounds of reframing, etc. And of course, even if you aren’t able to comment you will still be able to read.

I would offer advice to women who wish to comment here on how to minimize the amount that they change the space by participating, but my observation is the women who know how to do this know it in their gut, and the women who struggle with this aren’t likely to either understand or follow the advice I would offer.

I’ll also note that this is just one small place on the internet. If you feel your voice isn’t being heard, I would encourage you to start your own blog for free.

Lastly, I’ll define some general rules for commenting on the blog which apply to men and women. The first three rules below have always been in place, and the fourth is new:

  1. Don’t violate copyright law. If there is a question, I’m inclined to err on the side of caution. A link and a paraphrase is ideal.
  2. Don’t advocate violence.
  3. Avoid changing the topic from the original post, especially early in the comment thread (the first few days or 100 comments after a post is published). After a few days and or 100 comments I’m fairly lenient here so long as the topic change isn’t egregious.
  4. Don’t brag about or advocate adultery.

In addition to the above, avoid the following topics unless I specifically make an exception in a post:

  1. Age of consent laws. This is a guaranteed thread derailer. It is ok to reference the existence of these laws provided it is on topic, but don’t do this in such a way that would invite a discussion on what should be the proper age of legal consent.
  2. Marital corporal punishment.

I’ll place a link to this post on the top of the blog and update the comment policy as required.

12 Responses to Comment Policy

  1. Terri says:

    Very interesting. I’m 57 and ready for all the love to be given and received appropriately. Thought I’ve been only been married for 8 years outa 47. I’m ready. Now that’s a dinger… AR

  2. R says:

    Dear Dalrock and commenters,

    I’m not sure where else to leave this – I can’t seem to find an email address on this site, or I’d send it to Dalrock that way – and I’m sure it represents an intrusion. (Please feel free to delete it without response or move it to somewhere more appropriate.) But I imagine you and the readers on your blog have some definite ideas about this, and I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

    I’ve heard it said for many years – and on this blog – that on a psychological level, men want the respect of their wives more than just about anything else. I don’t doubt that, but I’ve never heard anyone explain how to show it. What does respecting and honoring and admiring a man *look* like in a marriage – and I mean beyond just conceding to his leadership, because while I’m sure that’s part of it, respect must surely go beyond obedience in the same way that a husband honoring his wife may include but surely goes beyond just paying bills.

    Is it something she does in the way she looks at him? Is it an action (e.g., is this part of why sex is important, or is that really just about the physical from a male perspective)? Or is it something you need to put into words? If so, what are those words? Because, frankly, I can write some awesome things on paper and send them in an email or a note or a letter, but saying things aloud like “You’re so brave” makes me feel like a three-year-old. (I’d totally say it if it’s true and what he needs to hear, but I’m more inclined to write something like, ‘Your openness, your honesty, your patience with and your heart for people, and your ability to acknowledge potential mistakes are rare and precious qualities to have in a leader, and I cannot tell you how much I value those characteristics in you.’ The occasions I have had to say such things are rare, but it is a joy to be able to affirm someone in that way.)

    What I am wondering is if there needs to be a difference in the way the genders communicate admiration for each other – and if so, how my expression of admiration for a man is going to have to differ in wording and content from a man’s admiration for me. Part of the reason I’m asking is because I cannot imagine applying many of the lyrics of love songs penned by men for women to my relationships with guys; they just don’t seem to fit the dynamic. But it’s hard to think of any good love songs penned by women for men, partly because the traditional female perspective on romantic attraction in Western culture never got to be publicly expressed (because of, you know, tradition) before it was already changing. So men: what sort of things would you most want to hear from your wife, or a prospective wife, that would build you up? Or what could she do, beyond just obeying you, to show her love and respect for you?

    The second half of this question is, what kind of respect are we talking about? Are we talking about a kind of respect that you have to earn through accomplishments and can therefore lose through failure? Or are we talking about respect for a man’s previously proven character/potential, whether or not he is living up to it at any given moment? Or are we talking about the kind of respect that is granted simply by virtue of someone’s status as a human being? If it’s a respect that is earned, does that mean that love in a marriage is also contingent and conditional? (And is that harmful, if so? Would a wife who compliments her husband on his achievements be helpful, or would she be setting him up to fear losing her respect if he ever failed? I want a man I can respect, in what I imagine is the same way men want to be respected; but I do not want my husband to be afraid of losing my love and respect if he messes up or if he is less than perfect, just as I don’t want to fear losing his.) But if it’s a respect that is unconditional after you say your vows, then how do you express that besides through deference? (Taking deference as a given at the moment.) I understand this may be a bit like asking women how men could make them feel loved, so I hope no one says “make me a sammich!” or “more sex!” in the same way women sometimes say “leave me kind notes and flowers!” or “do the dishes!” I don’t think either set of responses does justice to the underlying psychology. Since this circle seems very much invested in understanding the underlying psychology, I am hoping you all may have some deeper insights.

  3. Joseph Riani says:

    @R I’m new here and just stumbled across this site, but I can answer your question.

    1) For starters, please do not equate “ego stroking” with respect. A man doesn’t need you to gush about his muscles or manliness especially if its patronizing and not genuine. Respect means going an extra mile and standing up for someone especially when they are not around to defend themselves. For instance, when a group of gaggling women are engaging in the ever growing in popularity husband bashing you should stand up to them and shut them down as best you can. A simple “ladies this is vicious to be airing our dirty laundry about husbands to each other and cutting them down. It is ungodly and uncharitable. Knock it off or I am leaving!”

    2) When men are attacked by feminist legislation that proclaims to be for women you have the duty and responsibility to fight it! For example, the recent college policies handed down from the Obama administration dealing with sexual harassment that deny men of due process should be protested at every opportunity especially by women. It is in the name of women that these policies were enacted so it can only be in the name of women that they are removed. Think about your sons getting accused, humiliated, and/or thrown out of college without due process because some entitled girl got her poor ego hurt.

    3) Take a lesson from the “Women Against Feminism” movement. They call out feminist hypocrisy and are brave enough to even show their faces! That’s what respect looks like! A woman not afraid to call out injustice perpetrated by women in the name of women. Men want women that will stand by them and have our backs. We don’t want to have to worry about finding a dagger in our backs when we are facing the world and its many issues.

    4) We would like to come to home to a place of rest from the every day whipping we get. A day doesn’t go by these days where a man doesn’t hear one false convoluted statistic after another telling us how bad we are. It’s like holding our heads underwater and it gets exhausting after awhile. We would like to come home to a judgment free zone where we can simply be reminded why we subject ourselves to such stupidity day in and day out (i.e. to raise a loving family). The “rest” I speak of isn’t a physical one, but a psychological one.

  4. R says:

    Hi Joseph,

    Thanks for your response! I certainly understand the points you raised, but except for #4, there’s not much there that would apply to a husband as an individual, rather than to men overall. I’m sure that my husband would appreciate my activism in #1-3, but those are things that I can do just as well as an unmarried woman; I’m interested in what else should go into demonstrating my respect for my husband in particular.

    So for instance, I can see that #4 means refraining from negativity – i.e., not criticizing my husband in particular or men in general (as if such generalizations about either gender were ever appropriate). And that had occurred to me as an obvious starting point. There’s nothing more common and, I imagine, more dispiriting than the wife who continually complains about the things her husband gets wrong. But refraining from negativity seems to me a bit like saying a man should show his love for his wife by not beating her. I mean, sure – but is that it? I would love examples of what respect looks like as a positive action, above and beyond just not doing or saying hurtful things.

    And, may I say, it suggests something about the state of things if men’s expectations for respect in a marriage are so low that only “don’t keep hurting me” comes to mind on a list of things that could be done. (Big hugs to all you gentlemen, and my apologies on behalf of my gender.)

  5. Joseph Riani says:

    @R: Well the truth of the matter is your husband IS a man so what you do for men does benefit your husband. Your husband was a man before he was your husband so the title of “man” is his foundation. Shore up his foundation and you shore him up. The fact of the matter is guys really don’t have a laundry list of expectations from women. Maybe that is a fundamental difference between men and women. We don’t need a lot from you other than knowing you have our backs. It counts for a lot more than you know and clearly seems to be more than most women these days can handle. Why would we dump more on women’s shoulders than they can handle?

  6. R says:

    @Joseph: In a general sense, sure, in the same way that a husband working to prevent physical harm to women in general would help me. It would add another level of trust/confidence to the relationship, since if he took steps to protect total strangers, surely he’d do even more for his wife.

    But what is that “more” when it’s coming from me to him, in terms of a gesture of respect?

  7. Joseph Riani says:

    @R: Well, you take care of the home he provides (i.e. don’t waste or misuse the fruits of his labor) right? You take care of his children right? I’m pretty sure your average woman could give a darn about those things. In the Christian sense, men are on a mission to get their families into heaven. If you do things that support that mission, you honor your husband. If you make that mission harder for him, you dishonor him.

    If you are looking for a general “todo list” I cannot give you one. That is something for each husband / wife to negotiate depending on their circumstances and of coarse in accordance with God’s moral law. Perhaps a husband would prefer for his wife to write out the monthly bills so he can focus on other tasks. You could gripe, complain, and watch TV all day without doing the bills like a rebellious wife or you could have a sense of duty and help your husband out. You could also cook his favorite meal without being asked to do so just like many women expect flowers to appear without being asked. Like I said though, this is going to look different for each couple. Why not just ask your husband what he wants from you? I think just the asking would be 60% of the battle.

  8. R says:

    @Joseph: Well, not having a husband makes it hard to ask.😛 I’m blatantly taking advantage of you guys, here, to try to figure some of these things out in advance.

    All couples work out between the two of them what things make the other person feel loved and appreciated. But is that all we’re talking about when we talk about a wife’s “respect”? The contrast I’ve read here makes it seem like men see a wife’s “love” and her “respect” as two different things, with commenters expressing a preference for respect over love, if they had to pick one. I found that really striking. If it’s that different, and that important, I’d like to have some ideas about what sorts of things I could do to let a husband know I respect him as well as love him. Not a laundry list of requirements – just, what would say “I respect you” that I might not think to do if I’m only thinking about demonstrating “love”?

  9. Joseph Riani says:

    @R A woman that shows initiative! Nice! The issue is how one defines “love.” These days “love” seems to be a whimsical feeling that only motivates when it is felt. In the Greek language there are actually 4 words for love (i.e. agape – pure charity, eros – sexual love, philia – friendship, storge – love of dependence as of child/parent). Eros is not just hopping into bed, but also includes romantic acts. Most women thus expect love in the form of eros. Men however are more interested in the feeling-free form of agape. Agape is not driven by feeling, rather it is just simply willing the good of another. It is an emotionless act of will. When I gave the example of women fighting feminism, there is no better showing of an act of will than that. A women technically speaking has nothing to gain by fighting feminism. In fact it is counter-intuitive because it is a rejection of pride, and shows concern for larger principles of justice, sincerity, and truth. None of these are inspired by emotion. As Obi Won Kenobi says to Luke in Star Wars, “your feelings do you credit, but they could be made to serve the dark side of the force.” You say “I respect you” to a man when you reinforce him instead of tearing him down. Guys don’t really care so much for the materialistic nonsense and flighty feelings b/c we know they don’t last. We want something that lasts and endures like an act of the will. It really is that simple.😛

  10. R says:

    @Joseph: *nods* Believe it or not, but I’m inclined to prefer the ‘act of will’ interpretation, too. Love isn’t a feeling; it’s a verb. (I’ll see your C.S. Lewis, and raise(?) you some dc Talk.😛 ) But if we’re talking about a marriage, I’d hope there’d be some Eros in the mix as well. Otherwise, there is only the satisfaction of physical needs to motivate it (since our desire for companionship on the road of life might as well be satisfied by having a good friend for a roommate, and our desire for children by adopting some). And as the men here opting out of marriage have demonstrated, sex may be a necessary condition for a happy marriage, but it’s not a sufficient reason for entering it.

    As I’ve been reading more here in the last couple of days, I found this comment and the discussion following it: . Some of the conversation gets at the concern in part two of my original post: that depending on how you define it, “respect” is merely an achievement/works-based and mercenary phenomenon. That would lead to a rather pessimistic view about a woman’s respect for her husband in marriage, where respect is, most directly, a measure of how well she believes she has chosen a man to serve her own selfish interests, and how well the man is meeting those at any given moment. (Just for the record, I am inclined to agree with Suz on the question of women’s capacity for love, however defined. I think denying it would deny moral agency, and let us off the hook for that “love one another” command. And once you’ve done that, you’ve basically destroyed the idea that the imago Dei – since God is love – is the inheritance of both sexes; women become not just the weaker sex, but in fact subhuman. I think this is an untenable position in light of Scripture.)

    What I found *very* suggestive was DC’s alternative idea that respect is what love looks like when it flows upwards from a subordinate. And if so, then such upward-flowing respect/love must be inseparable from obedience. In fact, don’t we see this in the Trinity itself – in Christ’s submission to the Father’s will? And it’s stated outright for us in John 14:15.

    In other words, love takes on a different character depending on the relative authority of the persons involved. Both persons are called to selflessness, because this is agape or caritas: God’s love working in and through us. For the one under authority, this selflessness means obedience: offering up one’s own will in submission to another. It is Christ in prayer to the Father in Gethsemane. But for the one in authority over another, selflessness cannot mean submission to or obedience of the other person, because that would simply be a transfer of authority from one person to the other. Instead, for one in authority this selflessness means death: offering up one’s own life, if need be, to protect or redeem another. It is Christ taking our burdens on himself at Calvary. And that maps precisely onto Paul’s advice in Ephesians 5. (And, for what it’s worth, it’s also the way that the princes at Troy in the Iliad, in a much more limited and literal sense, describe their responsibilities towards their people: the leaders enjoy privilege in exchange for their willingness to risk death.)

    If this is the case, then it would seem respect stands in the same relationship to love, for a man, that protection does for a woman. At least, that is the only aspect of a marriage that I could imagine saying “mattered more” to me than the question of whether my husband loved me: whether or not he was willing to protect me from danger or harm. Both could be seen as the products of a kind of social contract between the sexes: the man agrees to risk when he takes on leadership in order to protect her; the woman agrees to obey when she accepts his lead in order to respect him. And from what you’re saying (specifically, the phrase “knowing that you have our backs”), both protection and respect may serve similar psychological functions: helping the other person feel secure in areas where they may feel vulnerable or open to attack.

    Sorry, just musing aloud here, now. Am I at all on the right track? Because I could understand why it’s hard to point to specific things for a woman to do to demonstrate respect, if respect is her equivalent of protecting her husband.

  11. Joseph Riani says:

    @R: You have some nice insight and I’m inclined to agree with you. Great to see you got the CS Lewis ref. Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head in the last paragraph….

    “Because I could understand why it’s hard to point to specific things for a woman to do to demonstrate respect, if respect is her equivalent of protecting her husband.”

    In a marriage if we are to reveal our inner self to the other we need to sense that our dignity is going to be honored. If we sense the other is going to cause us harm then we wall up and that makes marriage impossible. Feminists only care about power and is as far from humility as it gets. That’s why Christ comes to us in a humble form. He came to adopt us and the last thing that would put us at ease to accept that is a big booming voice with legions of angels with swords.

  12. Please check out this link if you have a moment. I am “gratefulbride” and stirred up a hornets nest by a comment I made almost two months ago. Someone posted this blog on facebook about how Ephesians 5 isn’t literal and I commented short and to the point that it was. They never published my comment and I moved on. Apparently they didn’t….I tried to find an email to send you this link but wasn’t able to.

    My husband and I have had a good laugh over this but it sure shows the sad state of our culture.

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