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:
- We live in a world where male spaces are vanishingly rare. This means protecting the few we have is especially important.
- 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:
- 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.
- Don’t advocate violence.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Marital corporal punishment.
I’ll place a link to this post on the top of the blog and update the comment policy as required.
See also: Basic tags for wordpress comments.