One of the juicy morsels I et yesterday while not reading the blog comments: a multi-cultivar tomato salad with fried goat cheese and about 36 different herbs, made by my sibling Tidy, who, to the undiluted satisfaction of the Faster family palates, has been watching that smarmy Napa dude on The Food Channel.
i have a question for you. But first, a slight digression.
I have entered a phase in my short and unimpressive career as the moderator of an internet discussion group. This phase is characterized by my viewing the enterprise with curled lip and narrowed eye. This morning, for example, after a weekend spent traipsing merrily about the hill country and cramming down the Twisty craw several juicy morsels that didn’t suck, I returned to my desk to perceive that about 76,932 new comments had sprouted on the blog. A sense of foreboding began to engulf my recently de-harshed mellow. Yet how could this be, I asked myself. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the buttcracky plumbers who were supposed to dig up my yard this morning have put it off for another couple of days, and I found a live gecko in my desk drawer. Life is a bowl of Cool Whip. Why should I feel foreboded upon?
That’s when I realized that being a blogular moderator is bumming me out.
My distaste has nothing to do, obviously, with the usually brilliant commentary. It has nothing to do with drive-by teen boy-holes who misspell a few sexist epithets before biffing back home to Fark; those little dudes are like Ford F-150s with It’s A Baby Not A Choice bumper stickers; you just flip’em off and move on. It doesn’t even have to do with the antifeminists who got here Googling “Asian Pee Porn.” 
No, my burgeoning moderatorial angst has to do with this: I never know when (it’s not an “if”, it’s definitely a “when”) I’m going to come across something like “Twisty has not ‘moderated’ your incredibly racist/disablist/fatist/looksist remark; clearly she is in complete agreement with and wholeheartedly supports your bigoted position and is therefore herself a stinking bigot who, fatuously and from a position of priveledge [sic] insults me and my oppressed group’s legitimate but egregiously marginalized pain.”
That’s bad, but this is worse: I never know, when perusing the comments section, whether I’m going to encounter something vile like the following recent bit of rhetoric, the big kiss-off from one long-time commenter to another during an unendurably tedious squabble:
[I am] what you better live in fear of, X, if we ever meet in flesh I’ll rip yours. I have no intellect. Do not no how to argue you. So I will strike out physically. I will cut you if I ever meet you because I’ve got nothing to lose. 
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am one lazy mug. I like to take pictures of bugs, eat tacos, lounge around with a marg, and strike the occasional (and, until recently, unheeded) rhetorical blow on behalf of the revolution . Also, I am middle-aged and have cancer and as a result have been forced to admit that life is short. Thus I now abide happily by a policy that entails excising from my personal sphere anything that impedes my enjoyment of these deeply fulfilling pursuits.
Reading shit like what I’ve alluded to above, this sorely impedes my enjoyment of my deeply fulfilling pursuits.
Something’s gotta give.
I know a lot of you have come to rely on this blog as a feminist-friendly haven. It has not escaped my notice that many of you have even expressed that the support you find in the discussions has helped you sort things out, or broadened your horizons, or given you a new appreciation for gifted transgender redheaded bonobos with Tourette’s, or what have you. Yet it may surprise you to learn that the phenomenon of the commentariat is a totally unexpected development; when I first started this blog a couple of years ago, it never entered my mind that in a million years anybody would ever actually read it, much less use it. But here we all are.
I am delighted that an IBTP ‘culture’ of sorts has been a generally happy consequence of the blogular manifestation of my loudmouth opinions. Yet I find, having mulled it over in the wake of recent discussions, that I am not cut out to moderate a forum that has grown to the point at which each post accumulates a couple of hundred comments and spans countless internecine disputes. I just can’t read’em all, much less remain sufficiently up-to-the-minute with the finer points of each individual sub-debate that I can intervene with intelligence.
And horribly, the more FAQs I write, the less people read’em.
Lest I go mad, I toyed with the idea of shutting down the blog altogether, or at least turning off the comments. Ultimately, however, this seemed unnecessarily baby-with-the-bathwaterish, since I enjoy writing the essays, and since generally the level of discourse is superior, illuminating, and hilarious, and since some readers seem actually to get something out of it all. In fact, it’s really only a few authors who spoil it for me, and even these only offend intermittently. They are blamers who often have provocative perspectives to add, but who, to the detriment of my enjoyment of my deeply fulfilling pursuits, occasionally get so hot under the collar that they can’t put a sock in the ad feminam attacks and idiot bickering.
In dealing with this in the past I have allowed myself to go through an absurdly exhausting, time-consuming process, wherein I go back and read the thread, and go back and re-read the thread, and weigh the effect of the bickering against the value of the commenter’s overall contributions, and wonder which comments I can delete without making all subsequent responses seem like drunken non-sequiturs, and worry about trying to be fair without hurting anyone’s feelings, and feel anxious and guilty for not intervening quickly enough to suit the wronged party, blah blah blah.
Well, no more.
The comments section will remain open, and the much-ignored and tragically unenforceable Comments Guidelines will remain in effect, and blamers will, as always, be encouraged to let fly with the first brilliant thing that comes into their heads, and I will continue to look in on the proceedings from time to time. I’m afraid, however, that the level of service you can expect will be exactly what you pay for. This means it’s inevitable that I will not catch every little slight, every instance of bigotry, every perfectly innocent comment that for some reason or other got hung up in the totally automated moderation queue.
It also means that when individual blamers get huffy or become tedious, I may or may not delete their comments. I may or may not delete whole conversations. I may or may not delete comments just because they don’t have paragraph breaks. I may or may not delete comments wherein privilege is spelled priveledge. I might not delete any offensive comments at all. Hell, I might make an offensive comment. I might not feel like messing with the blog for a few days, thus prolonging the length of time someone’s trenchant remarks are stuck in spamulational purgatory. I may resent implications. I might bandy words. I may be inconsistent. I might miss the point. I may be in a bad mood, the way certain blamers always seem to be. I might use the word “motherfucker” even though it may be considered insulting to mothers and fuckers. I may never read the comments again. Who can tell what the heck I’ll do? Life is uncertain!
In short, for my own happiness, I am taking back my blog. The following has been added to the Twistifesto:
Your comments appear on my blog at my pleasure. I have not solicited your views. You do not have a ‘right’ to be heard on this or any other blog. Neither do I owe you the slightest respect or courtesy. I may delete any of your comments I choose, for whatever reason I choose. This includes any responses to those comments, if only for the sake of clearing out the stink. I do not care how you think I should maintain this blog. I do not care if you ‘de-link’ me. I do not care if this bums you out.
But I digress. Here’s the topic of today’s post: I found this remark mouldering in the moderation queue:
“Gender is a social construct, sex is real. Removing a woman’s womb doesn’t make her not a woman, any more than removing a man’s penis and testes makes him not a man.”
This struck me as hilarious. Sex is real? That’s a hot one.
So I put it to the Blamer Brain Trust. Define “woman.”
1. Although sometimes antifeminist trolls are funny. Recently I was accused, by someone posing as a feminist, of fabricating reader emails “in the attempt to get you all foaming at the mouth and attacking an enemy thatâ€™s not there.” The author of this comic interlude did not suggest what motive I might have for engaging in elaborate mind-control tactics designed to thwart non-existent enemies.
2. I have left this comment up because the next time somebody, in the heat of some future argument, demands to know “Why did you ban XYZ, who always spake the truth?” I can point to the time when she actually threatened to kill another blamer.
3. I also enjoy movies, sunsets, and long walks on the beach. My turnoffs include phonies, mean people, and those who argue against the dialectic of recursive transition networks from a Marxian perspective, or one which supports a Lacanian model of the neocapitalist paradigm of context used not to deconstruct society, but rather to install in the post-sexual narrative the meaninglessness of the consensus of a collective, but parallel, unconscious.