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Feb 25 2009

Inner workings of moderation process exposed at last

One of the things that happened when I bagged my blog for several months was that some old readers moved on, and some new ones turned up.

Sayonara, old readers! You have broken the Twisty heart, and I hate you for it.

Welcome, new readers! If you ever leave, I will hate you, too.

It is for the benefit of the latter (to hell with the former, since I hate them now) that I re-state some stuff about emailing and commenting and the like. Because lately more than the usual number of communiqués along the lines of the following have been turning up here and there:

Twisty, question for you? How do you moderate your discussion on these comments. A few of these peoples are suggesting that you have removed some of their posts. I guess I am curious as to why. I have read what your blog is about, and I understand if these comments aren’t helpful, why put them on there. But isn’t airing out some of these comments the best way to deal with possibly inconsistencies in our thinking, or explain why we agree or disagree with something?

There seems to be a growing suspicion that I am “censoring” comments or am singling out blamers for the heave-ho treatment. No, no, no. At least, mostly no.

Educational information about commenting and comment moderation at I Blame the Patriarchy can be found here, here, and here. Naturally, since I personally wrote all the stuff in those links, it’s pretty wordy, so, in a nutshell:

The moderation process is largely automated. For a list of criteria that enmoderationalize comments, click here (and scroll down past all the wordiness).

From the moderation queue I generally only prune out comments that

– do not exhibit advanced patriarchy-blaming chops
– do not express philosophic value
– are wildly off-topic
– are unintelligible
– are spam
– are antifeminist
– are “what about the men?”
– annoy me in some way that I can’t quite put my finger on
– suck

So if yours cannot be described by any of the above, just sit tight, and I’ll get to it sooner or later. Say, within a day or two.

Furthermore, lately I am messing around with the blog software. If you try to post when the blog is temporarily offline, I suspect your comment will float away into the aether.

I implore you not to take it personally if your comment doesn’t show up. Unless of course I have deleted it because it sucked. There’s really no way to not take that personally. Even though I don’t know you from Chet Blodzinsky.

There, you see, there is no need to email me about your lost comment!

Carry on!

43 comments

  1. PhysioProf

    But isn’t airing out some of these comments the best way to deal with possibly inconsistencies in our thinking, or explain why we agree or disagree with something?

    For some reason I am ZLOLZing at this “airing out” metaphor.

  2. Shae

    I’m guessing that if my recent much-disliked comments showed up, and they did, that Twisty isn’t censoring anyone for mere dissent or other non-troll like behavior.

  3. el

    I am your relatively old reader, Twisty.
    Hoping to ease your pain I give you a link to 2 old ladies’ blog, which I’ve recently found:
    Margaret and Helen: Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting…
    http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com/
    May be you’ll enjoy Helen’s review of Ann Coulter’s last book and other posts.

  4. Pinko Punko

    What about the Mens [pregnant pause non-ellipsical in nature] pocky?

    I kill myself. It is to laugh!

  5. BMS

    Sayonara, old readers! You have broken the Twisty heart, and I hate you for it.

    I don’t believe you.

  6. CLD

    @el,

    The header image on Margaret and Helen’s blog was enough to make me subscribe to their RSS feed. Thanks for the link!

    Twisty, the surprising fact that you have never dumped any of my awkward comments is testament to your comment-screening fairness.

  7. thebewilderness

    Criminy! I’ve been blaming Phil.

  8. kristin

    Not that Twisty cares whether her blog meets my specifications for approval, but I hafta say that the bloggers most unapologetic about ruling the comment section are always the bloggers who seem to have a comment section most worth reading.

    By saying “that’s right, bub, I WILL delete your comment if it sucks, or you annoy me, no there is no process of appeal, this is my $#@! blog” they weed out the whiny, pointlessly contentious, disingenuous and illiterate and allow space for … gasp .. interesting discussion.

    IBTP is a sterling example of this. Thanks, Twisty.

  9. liberality

    I find myself thinking long and hard about your blog posts. I like that!

  10. PilgrimSoul

    The internet sometimes feels like an endless civics class, in which one has to explain far too many times a day that one’s right to express oneself does not translate into anyone’s obligation to listen to you, and furthermore that the whole “marketplace of ideas” nonsense will work about as well as it just did in the financial markets.

    If only I had the humour skills of Ms. Twisty Faster to express my displeasure on a daily basis. I would even settle for a once-a-month allotment of said skills.

  11. slythwolf

    When I am afraid that my comment might disappear into the aether, I copy it to my clipboard so I can later paste it into the Blame window if necessary. If it seems like it’s gonna be a while, I paste the comment into a blank document and save it under a silly name.

  12. Lovepug

    Well, comments are nice, but the Spinster Aunt is the real star of the show. Shoot, it’s your dang blog. You can do as you please. I think I’ve only had one or two comments go into the aethers, but it’s not like the world missed out on some brilliant magnum opus or something.

    Does it make me a non-blamer that I kinda like Mens Pocky? Although my favorite is a hard to find one that is mysteriously named Fran. Fortunately, I’m within reasonable driving distance of several Japanese supermarkets.

  13. Kathleen

    I second what Kristin said! Thanks Twisty!

  14. TP

    If any of my comments were ever to be lost, I would only feel a certain grim satisfaction at the justice of it all.

    Reading my oldest comments way back in the archives will make any advanced blamer wonder how I ever made it this far.

  15. Oaktown Girl

    After the “Eradicates Male Viewpoint” post, I admit to being a little disappointed in seeing certain male commenters remain. Specifically, the male commenter(s) who attempt “Brain Drippings” with neither the talent nor wit of Geroge Carlin, and who freely and with impunity violate the ellipsis rule that is so clearly stated in the commenter guildelines.

  16. Orange

    What about the mens…truation?

  17. Yatima

    ENOUGH BLAMING! MOAR STANLEY!!eleventy

    My new barn is such a feminist separatist cult that even the horses are mares. I LOFF EET.

  18. lawbitch

    LOL @ Orange!

  19. Oaktown Girl

    What about the mens…truation?

    Well, I’d probably be fine with that. But before I can be sure, I’ll have seek counsel on whether the topic of mens…truation violates gender essentialism.

  20. Joanna

    Came for the tacos, stayed for the blaming.

  21. admirerofemily

    Dear Twisty,

    I’d love you even if you hated me.

    So much so that I have decided to set myself a project of creating a personal ‘best of twisty blog’. Partly cos I find feminism101 impenetrable (which is a damn shame).

    So, I have decided to begin at the beginning of your blog way back on 28 February 2005 (HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY TWISTY BLOG!!!!1!!!!) and cut and paste every single pithy, pertinent blog and comment, stick ‘em under headings and voila – ‘best of’.

    Then, when someone says or does something patriarchal, I’ll have a handy response at my fingertips (attributed, linked, natch).

    hmm, how long will that take? Given that 4 years worth of blogging and commenting have flowed through this lovely blog – say 250 posts a year. Well, who knows?

  22. Volvatrack 7

    I’ve been around awhile and I don’t comment a lot, but when I do, it’s crap like this, and it still seems to show up. Twisty Forever!

  23. mir

    I was hoping you were busy disappearing all those comments which don’t utilize the shift key. And hand to god if I never see another post starting “Umm,” up in here it will be too soon. Bring the mighty comments hammer down, Twisty, I’m begging you.

  24. admirerofemily

    Hi Mir,

    Re the shift key and the “Umm” – are you reacting to my sentence that began ‘hmmm’?

    Having not gone through all the archives (yet) and being not as advanced a blamer as others (though aspiring), maybe there is something about that that particularly annoys. If so, could you enlighten me, as I’m genuinely interested to know. Is it that we are not allowed to ponder for a minute? Or that we are being too uncertain because that is what nice girls do so they aren’t too scary?

    I do have to say though, that I did notice the ‘h’ and decide to leave it in. Because I thought my ‘hmm’ was more a lower case ‘hmm’ than an upper case one. In art school they told us ‘first learn the rules – then you know why you are breaking them later’. And it does seem to me that, what with all the blogulation and empowerfulating that there is a little bit of play with language here that can be fun.

  25. speedbudget

    Margaret and Helen. I could spend a week hanging with them and Twisty. What an awesome vacation that would be.

  26. Twisty

    Oaktown Girl: “After the “Eradicates Male Viewpoint” post, I admit to being a little disappointed in seeing certain male commenters remain. Specifically, the male commenter(s) who attempt “Brain Drippings” with neither the talent nor wit of Geroge Carlin, and who freely and with impunity violate the ellipsis rule that is so clearly stated in the commenter guildelines.”

    Fortunately I can make exceptions to my own rules. I hope that my decision not to disinclude the harmless culprit(s) to whom you allude is outweighed by the glaring paucity of actual trolls.

    Do you know that I sometimes approve women-authored substandard commentary just because the writers seem nice? I fight the urge to edit with every fiber of my auntly being.

    The truth is, my standards are impossible. I don’t even live up to them myself.

  27. Amalthea

    Is it wrong that the idea of a radical feminist censorship committee overjoys me? Hmm. Maybe I need to re-evaluate my priorities. I guess what I would say to myself is that feminist voices are consistently quieted/overpowered/criminalized/marginalized so it’s not as if there isn’t already a patriarchal sound barrier in place. I shouldn’t feel guilty about finding the power of censorship in the hands of radical feminists attractive.

    For the record, I think the comment moderation here at IBTP is more than reasonable, done in good faith, tasteful etc.

  28. gare

    Fortune Cookie

    Moderating controversial blog must be like choosing career between Proctologist and Joint Therapist .. must sort out assholes from elboes….

  29. Twisty

    gare: “Moderating controversial blog must be like choosing career between Proctologist and Joint Therapist .. must sort out assholes from elboes….”

    OK, why? Why the ellipses? Do you see that one has 2 dots and one has 4? Why the inconsistency? Why use them at all? Why?

  30. mir

    admirerofemily: Nope, I wasn’t referring to your ‘hmmm’ but specifically to “Um, hello? Have you ever even considered” or “Um, you’re an idiot and here’s why” type of umms. Hmm away! Or don’t, or etcetera- this ain’t my blog and only Twisty’s preferences matter when it comes to comment moderation.

  31. Ron Sullivan

    Has anyone here ever seen an actual fortune cookie with ellipses? I just got to wondering, is all. I speak as one who lives in an area with several fortune-cookie factories, one of which makes ‘em in chocolate.

    Not sure what fiddling you’ve been doing with the blogware, Twisty, but it’s made some mild but appreciated differences in how it works for me. Thanks!

  32. Jodie

    Since you didn’t specifically mention ellipses…does that mean I can use ‘em now? (I think it must be some sort of addiction)

    (or maybe they just fall under the umbrella of “suck”)

  33. Oaktown Girl

    I hope that my decision not to disinclude the harmless culprit(s) to whom you allude is outweighed by the glaring paucity of actual trolls.

    Absolutely it is.

  34. B

    I’m an old blamer. I just never comment because I do not meet the spelling or punctuation requirements. I just wanted to to say “hi” from an old timer – I read your blog just about everyday – have been since the beginning.

    PS – St. Louis misses your Rock and Roll. And your restaurant reviews.

  35. norbizness

    I hope that my 98 comments that include the doubleplusungood word “cilantroless” are eventually released from captivity.

  36. thebewilderness

    admirerofemily,

    Over the years many blamers have cried out for the very project you are volunteering for. I have great hope that you will carry through, and even greater hope that an agreement to publish such an admirable effort will be the result.
    As you hoot, stomp, and scream your way through the archives, you will find a few words on um, as well as emoticons. I do not think there is any mention of humm. I think it a perfectly suitable indication of the mind given pause by the enormity of the task. Others may disagree.
    Please, if you can, do this thing. WE NEEDS IT.

  37. Hedgepig

    admirerofemily, I second thebewilderness. It is a worthy endeavour you undertake.

    One of the great things about this blog is that Twisty doesn’t mind us disagreeing with her, as long as we do it reasonably grammatically and with some effort at punctuation.

  38. PatriarchySlayer

    Hi Twisty. Was I ever surprised when I glanced at your blog tonight and saw my own words staring back at me. (Damn, I should have worded my thoughts better.) As a new reader, I am quite thrilled to have been quoted so early on in blaming career. But I thank you for it. I also thank you for answering my question so promptly and efficiently. I appreciate your comment section, and always enjoy reading it. So, keep up the good work, and again thanks for the quote (it made my day).

  39. angela

    I second the impenetrability of Feminism 101. I thought it was just me. I still link to it on my site, but heaven knows if anyone can make heads or tails of it.

  40. CoolAunt

    Do you know that I sometimes approve women-authored substandard commentary just because the writers seem nice?

    Now I no longer have to wonder why my bullshit gets posted.

  41. CoolAunt

    And hand to god if I never see another post starting “Umm,” up in here it will be too soon.

    Me, too! (And I don’t mean admirerofemily’s “hmms,” either.) If you’re trying to be a smartass and “Um, hello? Have you ever even considered” or “Um, you’re an idiot” is all you offer, either try harder or give up on smartassism altogether and give something else a try.

  42. pheeno

    *snorts*

  43. veganrampage

    Dear gare,

    Your brain called and it said nothing, absolutely nothing.

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