Feministing’s Commenting Policy & Community Standards

Over the years, Feministing’s commenting policy and the way we moderate comments and posts has changed – in fact, when we first launched the site over six years ago there was no moderation at all.  (As you can probably imagine, this ceased to be amusing after our traffic hit a certain point.)  We’ve constantly tried new models to see what works best for our readers – we’ve had light moderation, heavy moderation and everything in between. We’ve rewritten our commenting policy a million times over.

But as time went on and our traffic continued to grow, we realized that moderation and the way we handle our community was not meant to be a part-time endeavor split between already-overworked bloggers.  So most recently, we brought on our brilliant Community Moderator Anna so that one person would be dedicated to the very tough job of facilitating conversations on the site.  And it was really Anna – who at this point, has the best knowledge about the way in which the community operates – who drafted our new commenting policy and worked with us on Community standards.  So thank you, Anna, for all of your incredible work!  You will always be able to find our policies here (and a shortened version before every comment thread) but we’ve also pasted them below the jump.

Community Standards

Feministing is an online community for feminists and their allies. The community aspect of Feministing – our community blog, campus blog, comment threads, and related social networking sites – exist to better connect feminists online and off, and to encourage activism. We hope that the Feministing community will provide a forum for a variety of feminist voices and organizations.

In order to maintain a progressive and safe discourse on the site, anti-feminist comments, posts, and profiles are not permitted; the Feministing editors believe that racism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and hate speech constitute anti-feminism and have no place on the site. If you have a concern about a commenter or blogger, please use let us know using the “report” button.

Comments Policy

Feministing comment threads are a spaces to further feminist conversations and ideas. Please read our comments policy carefully before contributing to the site.

All comments from new users are held. Once users have commented on several posts in a productive matter, they may be “trusted” by the Community Moderator to have their comments post automatically. This privilege is solely given out at the discretion of the Community Moderator.

There is enough hate and oppression out there in the real world – we don’t need any extra of it here! While we can’t guarantee a completely safe space on Feministing, we can strive for an accountable space.  And though we love differences of opinion, there’s a way to disagree respectfully and thoughtfully. We expect civility, respect, and patience for your fellow readers and for this space – please remember that we are all here to grow and learn from each other.

What isn’t tolerated (and if you’re unsure, err on the side of caution):

- Blaming the victim

- Fat-shaming

- Racist, sexist, ageist, transphobic, sizeist, ableist, homophobic commentary

- Plain malice (i.e.: comments that don’t further the dialogue, but instead just harshly imply to writer that they need to educate themselves or that they are stupid) and personal attacks. Even if most of your comment is constructive, if the last line is “so thanks for that, asshole” we will probably not post it.

- Dismissal, silencing (ie: anything along lines of “Ehh, i don’t think that matters too much” or “This isn’t an issue”)

- Questioning the feminist validity of a topic or post (ie: Why do you care about this? You should really care about x, y, z because its more important)

- Derailing: Anything way off topic or leads the discussion in a completely different and unproductive from the original post

Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, and that any of these issues can manifest in different – and sometimes, subtle – ways. Ultimately, it is up to the Feministing team whether a comment gets posted or not.

If you see a comment that violates our policy, please let us know by clicking on the “report” button.

If you have any questions about the comment policy, please email our Community Moderator.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    While the need for a comment policy is obvious to keep out the trolls, one has to wonder: with how subjective the terms “constructive”, “acceptable”, etc., are, and with all the varying different types of feminists there are out there with very different opinions and feminist theory, who becomes the deciding authority on what is the “right” kind of feminism that is “allowed” in the comments? I worry such a policy may be abused to prevent discussion and debate of topics by hiding and silencing feminist opinions that do not follow the post’s specific theory and offer another explanation or view. Obviously there are blatant anti-feminist comments that need to be kept off the site, but what if a comment is considered anti-feminist because it doesn’t agree with the idea of the “correct” feminism or whoever is moderating, or the poster? One thing I love about politics is the debate, both showing their sides of the argument and explaining why they feel that way. It doesn’t always have to be bitter. I’m always saddened when discussion and debate are discouraged. Especially when one side of an argument doesn’t even get a voice at all. Maybe you should have a “I disliked this post” button on comments, and if certain posts get enough “dislikes”, it is taken down, instead of just not allowing the person to have their say at all because they have a different opinion? Bottom line is, silencing those who don’t share ones opinion is scary and dangerous. It’s unfortunately a fine line to walk between protecting the community from trolls and not allowing a space for discussion.

    • Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      We actually state pretty clearly what we believe constitutes anti-feminism in the Community Standards. And if you’ve spent any time on Feministing’s threads, you know that there is always debate happening!

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