Everything in moderation?

I have been sorely tempted, of late, to moderate some stuff on here. Tempted but, with two very specific exceptions, i haven’t succumbed. My hope is we can keep it that way – though i strongly suspect that the very fact of my posting this post might just lead one or two folk to tweak my nose…to see how far they can go before i hit the roof.

Because, of course, the prob is that this blog has metamorphosed over the last year or so. It began with a very personal journey and, while personal stuff will still go up here, it is going to be much more removed from the day-to-day experience.

How could it not?

Early days of transition are always a bit of an Alice in Wonderland experience – and if the blog once read a bit like “Jane does nail polish”, then no apologies. Because every new experience was a new experience and i am sufficiently in awe of life in general to sit back and write about my amazement at each stage.

But we’ve moved on. I am still in awe. But the things i am in awe of are more complex. I have friends asking much harder, more intimate questions like: “will you?” (Meaning, of course, am i sufficiently fascinated by the process of heterosex to drop my customary reluctance to get close to men and sample the delights of the hairier gender).

Quite personal stuff, too, about feminine hygiene, body shape and the like.

Yes: it will all still go up here, no doubt causing intense puzzlement to the more exalted types (MP’s and the like) who now read me for the serious political content.

And because the audience is wider, bigger and also motivated by the politics of it all as well as the personal (which i have always seen as intimately entwined anyway), there are people posting here who i’ve never met in my life. No longer can i text someone who asks an odd thing and say: “what are you going on about?” or “have i offended you?”

Because people read this from everywhere and nowhere.

Which is probably good in one sense: for in its origins, this blog was always about communicating a very particular experience and where possible helping others to understand.

That said, one or two comments have been getting a little iffy. Tart (in the acid sense of the word).

Anyway. I’d rather not censor, so i’ll try and set out a few guidelines here.

I don’t mind acid. I won’t even object to personal attacks on me – though i may occasionally defend. Mostly i won’t, though. I see little point in getting caught up in that sort of silliness.

I won’t tolerate direct personal attacks on other people, though, and so far, that’s the main limit that i can imagine my applying (apart from the obvious: i have been rejecting spam for ages…all those comments which are barely disguised links to sex sites or similar).

I would rather people weren’t cruel about others (see above).

Also, i won’t get involved in endless essentialist debate about what it constitutes to be a “real” anything – whether we’re talking woman, lesbian or trans person. Life’s too short – though i will object to the practice where it becomes cause for discrimination.

Otherwise, i’ve chopped two comments (out of nearly 2,500) which have caused distress to people already in the media and/or which could have led to further press intrusion. And i chopped two comments which were later subject to police inquiry.

Oh, yes: i’ve had the odd stalker over the last couple of years, as well as a few threats.

And that’s about it.

Moderation. For me, that is more a way of life than a technique. I hope others will appreciate and abide by same.

Jane xx

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Sophie said,

    You have to moderate stuff just to keep things on the rails. A website I’m on regularly tore itself apart because people there were loath to moderate, resulting in a continual trollfest. You don’t need the hassle, quite honestly, so moderate away.

    • 2

      janefae said,

      we-ell, we’ll see. I appreciate forthrightness – your’s too, even when i don’t agree with the basic point you are making – so i would feel very sad to end up moderating on grounds of language.

      The main thing i would rather not attract is these endless navel-gazing debates about definitions that seem to be par for the course on some US boards. Mostly, because they bore me!

      A hang-over from a previous work incarnation: i am by nature someone who inquires. That works for journalism. It also works for consultancy, which i have done loads of over the years.

      In the latter respect, because i have little time for fads and cliches. When some business tells me how they have instituted such-and-such amazing new process, my instant response is NOT to look at the label, but to ask what it does. If its doing something valuable, geat: if its not, then its a waste.

      All the best,

      jane xx

  2. 3

    pollik said,

    Over the years, I have run 4 forums and 3 Yahoo groups, I have managed not to delete a single post and have suspended only one member, who was owner/admin with me and, in a bad turn, was literally wrecking the site and the suspension had to do with damage limitation

    Different formats demand different solution. On a discussion board, my solution was to move offending posts to a Sin Bin, which is still visible/usable to members…I just let them slug it out and say to the others don’t go there…it is a nasty place with nasty people.

    On here, it is a bit different. On my own blogs, I haven’t had the flaming, but I have thought about what I would if it happened. What I decided, was that,so long as I am not legally liable for the posts, then I would leave them. They only make the poster look bad.

    Censorship (other than for the protection of the vulnerable) is a real bugbear of mine and, broadly, I won’t do it. The world is quite often a crappy place and I don’t want my worldview sanitised by or for someone else’s sensibilities. If I can see it is a crappy place, I can and do try to do things about it. If the crap is hidden, then it continues unabated. Moderation that involves removal of offending posts, for me, eventually leads to loss of trust and confidence and, arguably, is no different in principle from a government controlling the media, except in the matter of degree. (For me, it is different if someone deletes their own post.)

    I understand and accept that there are different perspectives from mine, but I rapidly tire of those who quick to criticise those who moderate (as on the Tesco FB page where critical posts mysteriously disappear) but support moderation when it works to their personal benefit. The right or wrong of it disappears to be replaced by a “who cares as long as it helps me”.

    I have left more than one group over censorship and I have lost more than one friend over conversations about moderation/censorship. Living by what is for me an important moral principle can be painful or destructive at times. :


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