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The Rules of Engagement serves as my official comment policy. If you don’t like the policy, don’t comment on this site. Simple, easy.
The ABW blog is where I discuss race, gender, politics, and other extremely volatile subjects. Therefore, it is inevitable that conflicts will arise, tensions will mount, and sooner or later someone will hurl the term “Nazi” at someone else. While I accept these things as a given, I have always intended my blog to be a safe space to discuss race, gender, politics, etc. This means that we can have discussion and debate, disagreements and differences, but we should not have nasty fights and absolute craziness. So I’m setting down these Rules of Engagement to inform all visitors how I expect them to act in my virtual house.
Moderated Comments: Due to recent problems of comment flooding from racist and sexist troll types, I’ve had to change the Open Comments to Moderated Comments. However, the moderation only applies to new/drive-by commeters. The first time you comment here, it will immediately go to the moderation queue. I check this every day (or every few days, depending) and fish out what I consider legitimate comments. Legitimate does NOT mean comments I agree with. it means comments that are not abusive, blatantly racist/sexist/prejudiced, posted by trolls who are looking to start a flamewar, and not spam. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me or my other bloggers and commenters, but you cannot come in merely to abuse.
Once I make it so your comments can show up without moderation, you are still bound by those guidelines. Break them, and you’ll be put on moderation once more.
That said, anyone is free to comment here. You don’t need to sign up or sign in or anything like that.
Anonymous Commenting: Because you don’t need to sign up or sign in, folks all have the ability to comment anonymously here. I define Anonymous as someone who doesn’t leave a real name or a handle they use elsewhere/are known by in addition to not leaving a real email address or a URL of their own web page/blog/whatever. In my experience, people who come to this blog and don’t give any of the aforementioned information are more likely to post offensive opinions or become outright abusive. I fully understand that it’s hard to be the only person in the room willing to express a different view from everyone else, but if you aren’t willing to stand by that opinion by even providing your name, then you’re probably full of shit to begin with. I’ve rarely come across a situation in which this is not true.*
So, anonymous commenters, be aware that I will monitor and moderate you more aggressively than others. You may get one warning, you may get none. If you really, really annoy me, I’ll de-vowel you Nielsen Hayden style and laugh while I do it.
General Moderation Policy: Excepting trolls and anonymous fools, I don’t generally delete/disallow comments. Anyone is free to disagree with me or anyone else, to argue and debate, to yell and complain. But if your comments turn abusive, or if you attempt to derail conversations and make them all about you and all about “What’s Wrong With Black People”, then I will shut you down. If you’re a non-anonymous type, you’ll get one or two warnings depending on how prolific you are. Ignore those warnings, and I’ll put you on moderation and evaluate your posts individually. If you amend your ways, you can come out of the naughty corner.
How to Get Banned Forever: If you engage in hate language, racially offensive remarks, gender-based offensive remarks, or abuse the posters and commenters, you earn an instant banning. This space on the web is for discussion, not your bullshit.
You’re censoring me/suppressing my right to free speech!: Um, no. For an excellent explanation of why this is a stupid argument, please see this post on Making Light and this post on the Whatever. See also ABW posts here and here for more discussion. In summary: No, you don’t have the right to come to my blog, take over my discussion, and abuse my guests. This isn’t a free-for-all and it isn’t a privilege park. It’s my space on the Internet and I have every right to set the atmosphere. There are plenty of other places on the ‘net for you to express yourself. Go to those other places and stay away from here. If you won’t do so voluntarily, I’ll do it for you.
My Comment Disappeared But I Didn’t Get a Warning!: Sometimes the spam filter catches stuff that isn’t spam. Usually this is because you’ve added links to your comment. Never fear, I check the spam filter often. I’ll find you and fish you out.
The Gist: We try to do more discussing here than arguing. So, when you comment, make an attempt at civility, at intelligence, and at cool-headedness. If you do that, there should be no problems.
* This may sound quite hypocritical coming from a person who blogs as “The Angry Black Woman”. The answer to that is simple: it doesn’t take much ‘investigation’ to figure out who I am. There are several posts that point to my other efforts (LJ, my personal website, etc.) and, with very little searching, you can find posts by me elsewhere claiming this blog as my own. I don’t make it overly blatant because I usually keep my various online identities separate so that folks who don’t care that I’m angry and black can ignore this and folks who don’t care that I sold a story to a magazine can ignore that.