This is MY sofa!

Morning, trolls. I bet you think this is about you. Which, in a way, it is…though not, lest you be getting ideas above your ugly trollish station, any single individual troll. Nah. Its not about YOU. Its about all of you, with a dash of serendipity courtesy of a recent exchange with the brilliant blog from feminist (and delightful creative writer) Lorrie Hearts.

Similar issues, similar frustrations – and two posts bubbling up as a result. Here’s the first, which i guyess is mostly about manners.

In chatting, we both touched on issues of censorship and silencing. We both dislike censorship: but equally, we don’t like people turning up and trashing the joint. Because somewhere in there is the idea of blog as an extension of our respective living rooms.

They’re places to sit back and kick back. Draw up a sofa and LOUNGE! Its nice to have friends round: to chat, to potter, and to deliver a virtual cuppa to. Not so nice when, like refugees from late night chucking out, visitors turn up, won’t sit down, speak far too loudly (thereby waking any small and sleeping children), and then plop their muddy boots down in the middle of your favourite armchair. Ugh!

In fact, the more i think about it, the more apposite this metaphor seems to be. A couple of years back, i dabbled in Second Life. Perhaps it was the verisimiltude of the experience that made a difference: the fact that if you rented a “site”, you quickly put a house – or faerie grotto – on it: and when visitors arrived, they abided (abode?) by YOUR house rules or else they’d be ejected.

At which point, they’d be barred from further conversation. But is that censorship? Espesh as they would then almost certainly pop next door where they’d inflict their obnoxious views and character on whoever they found there.

At risk of being outed as a sometime old-fashioned liberal, its not always about the big stuff – like civil liberties or “smashing the patriarchy”. Sometimes – often – its about small stuff, like respect and politeness.

In taking on national newspapers, in place of talking big issues, i often prefer to focus on just how or why individual editors think it appropriate to talk so obnoxiously, so intrusively, so hurtfully about individuals they know next to nothing about.

In the end, its simple. What i publish AS a journalist, as a professional (sometimes on this blog) is out there, for public complaint, criticism, challenge, debate. The rest…my mutterings, dabblings, creative writing, personal musings, poetry, erotica, nit-pickery…is there. But its there to share: an invitation for others to share back.

There’s no call for everyone to agree with every last word: but if you do wish to pop round, play nice. Be polite. Don’t leap in with some imputation of motive or agenda: unlessyou know me, you’ll almost certainly be wrong. Don’t start out by accusing the holder of any particular idea of being an idiot. They almost certainly aren’t.

Don’t have a go at others: they are they, you are you. End of.

Above all, remember: you’re a guest. Be one.

jane xx


11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Reblogged this on Feminism, and other drugs and commented:
    An excellent post by the delightful Jane Fae, with whom I’ve been shooting the breeze recently.

    Say no to trolls in your living rooms!

  2. 2

    seventhvoice said,

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been wondering myself lately just where to draw the line with some of the comments I receive. Most are thoughtful and engaging but a few have been down right confrontational if not derogatory. Those ones I choose not to publish but I do question whether or not, if in doing so, I’m creating my own form of censorship. But then I think, well, this is a blog site. If they feel so strongly about their own opinions, then they can write their own blog about it. They don’t need to be promoted on mine. Is this wrong do you think?

    • 3

      Robyn said,

      Absolutely not, as you’ve already pointed out the freedom of speech is provided by the blogging service you use, as is the freedom to publish comment that you think is acceptable.

      With defamation laws as they currently are in this country (UK) and with bloggers being sued because of comments they have published we have to be careful about what appears on our blogs.

      And then you have commenters like number 6 who feel the need to extrapolate meaningless findings from two press reports – or am I just reading too much into the comment, and finding my “yooman” right not to be offended infringed 😉

      • 4

        Robyn said,

        Sorry, should have said a commenter like Just another tranny, and not number 6. We are, after all, not numbers.

  3. 5

    I think you make good points. Except for the use of the ‘troll’ word. It does not add clarity to your post rather it obfuscates.

    I get called a ‘troll’ (and much worse) often. I think the word is used as an insult and a ‘typology’ as other words have in the past, words that you would think it ‘impolite’ to use, to describe whole sections of society.

    On that Richard Bacon programme about ‘trolls’ he mainly focused on people who trawl facebook for tribute pages of recently deceased people, often young people. and they then throw abuse at the grieving family and friends, anonymously.

    and I and others who happen to be quite forthright in our opinions get lumped in with those ‘RIP trolls’ deliberately by our detractors.

    I don’t use the ‘t’ word myself. But maybe that is because I identify with it.

  4. 6

    Robyn said,

    One person’s troll is someone else’s holder of forthright opinion. There is the ability to express oneself forthrightly without having to resort to insult to get the message across.

    I disagree with Peter Tatchell on this point – not that he gives one jot about what I think. I don’t think it’s absolutely a freedom of speech issue not to be able to insult people, it has always been better (in my mind at least) to tackle the ideology expressed rather than the individual espousing them.

    I like trolls anyway, I think they’re cuddly creatures with masses of day-glo hair in need of some good old fashioned love 🙂

  5. 7

    debzmaher said,

    Hmm trolls, I have read far to much Pratchett to be able to understand the word to have any other meaning than large, rather slow but straightforward and polite creatures. However, i do understand what u mean by impolite and intrusive folk who hog ya virtual sofa and eat the last virtual biccy in the tin! i am a polite and respectful person, albeit I don’t suffer fools gladly, i am capable of disagreeing with an opinion without making it personal i hope!

    • 9

      eclectic chicken said,

      well…their pretty far apart distance wise but i guess as theres a week or more between the reports you could be the guilty party in both.

      But if what you are trying to say is look trannies do nasty things… then i just havn’t got enough hours in the day to post all the nasty things done by non trans people.

      ot is there another point you are trying to make?

    • 10

      those links look like spam to me.

  6. 11

    just another tranny said,

    Aaag…zir old chicken head attacks with the weak attempt at insult. Sorry, your bait is not up to snuff. The obvious point which you and *miss dennis* try to ignore is that in both cases you have societies’ lowest life forms not only taking refuge behind claims of transgenderism but in the one case being defended by the lgbt sponsored Lamda Legal which has done more than raise a few eyebrows among real life lesbian feminists.
    In neither case is this troll impressed with your weak attempts at dismissal. But I do appreciate your at least taking notice.

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