This one’s for the masochists

You all know that we get a lot of trolls here; usually they are discouraged by our despotic comments policy and give up after one or two bits of low-grade trolling. Of course, when Dude Nation descended upon us to wave their liberty sticks, the frequency and stupidity of the trolling went sky-high.

Here’s the thing about getting really stupid trolls: they suck and we don’t want them here, but sometimes the things they say are hilarious. I mean, we’re talking perhaps-you-are-speaking-moon-language territory. We can’t douchehound them all, but we often have the impulse to let you know just how inane the people who want to fuck with us (with all of us) are.

To that end, I’ve started a side project: the Helpful Comments blog. I’ve anonymized the comments so as not to feed the trolls’ little egos while still providing maximum amusement for you. I intend to keep this updated as often as men feel the need to come here and tell us how wrong we are because we’re ladies and shit. Think of it as a safe way to use up your leftover Sanity Watchers points on any given day. Enjoy!

301 thoughts on “This one’s for the masochists

  1. Oh wow. I think I used up my SW points for the whole week. Thank you for your never-ending work as moderator. I knew it was bad; I didn’t know the full extent.

  2. Kirstente, maybe it’s because so many people seem to think sexist IS sexiest. Weird world.

    Shapely prose bloggers, thanks for these (parseltongue in particular made me smile.) I do have a (masochistic?) streak that kind of wants to see what the douchehounds are really sssssaying, to check my own wisssshful thinking about people not being as dumb as Fox News thinks. Fox wins this one hands down, alasssss.

  3. This isn’t entirely related to trolls, but…well, maybe it is. I was shopping for groceries this morning with my husband and happened to see the cover of the most recent Details magazine. I don’t read the magazine myself – maybe now I know why. On the cover, along with a picture of cinema icon Clive Owen was the headline “WHY IT’S OKAY TO STARE AT FAT PEOPLE”

    http://men.style.com/details/features/landing?id=content_11060

    Turns out the article has to do with the recent plethora of so-called ‘reality’ shows on American TV (I don’t watch TV) but the tone is more of the same fatty-hating b.s. that we’ve become accustomed to in the wake of the “obesity epidemic” (I use the quotation marks advisedly.)

    As far as ‘trolls’ go, this is trolling on an epic scale; as soon as I read it, I thought of you guys.

    Keep up the good work – your site helps me stay sane in a world increasingly preoccupied with the size of my ass rather than the quality of my personhood.

  4. Some of these read like they’re trolling the trolls. Or trying to make my English teachers spin in their graves.

  5. Oh, I feel so bad for you guys. I think my brain would explode, going to that site is like opening the ark of the covenant. My fucking face melted. The fact that those are the ‘funny’ ones is depressing as fuck.

  6. I love those, I don’t find that reading the things obviously stupid people say uses up my sanity points very much. I tend to use 3x more sanity points when arguing with non trolls.

    Oh points, that reminds me that a friend of my generosly gave me one of her weight watcher dessert cookies the other day because it was red velvet and I love red velvet cake. She was all “This is so tasty! You will love it! I am being so nice sharing this with you!”

    I think that food has permanently damaged her taste buds. It was like a bar of congealed red artificial sweetner.

    In short, thank you Shapely Prose for saving me from the world of terrible dessert imitations.

  7. If you’ve lost too many SW points after reading those, try watching “The Last Supper,” it’s on want instant on Netflix. Basically they kill trolls! But there’s a nice moral message at the end.

  8. Some of these read like they’re trolling the trolls.

    Yeah, by the time we all got to the jellied eels mindset in the monster threads, all the trolls read like self-parody to me.

    What is really burning my cookies at the moment is all the “A Guy’s Response to Schrodinger’s Rapist” type posts that are showing up out there, in which guys helpfully opine that Ladiez Is Crazy!

  9. A question: I have heard much tell of these Red Velvet cakes. We do not (as far as I know) have these in the UK… What are they? I wanna try! It might help a little with the afore-mentioned face-melting from having read some of those comments…

    Oh and is anyone else silly enough, as I am, to post links to epic threads on Facebook and then get into massive slanging matches with people previously thought to be friends?! Just from that very upsetting small taste of having to deal with comments on what is kind of my space in cyberspace was bad enough and really made me think about how you guys must have been dealing with about a shazillion of them all at once!

  10. zenoodle, that phenomenon right there would almost be enough to keep me pseudonymous even if I didn’t need to be so for professional reasons. It is actually why not all my colleagues (even the ones I totally trust to keep it on the downlow) know that I’m SM.

  11. I particularly like the Parseltongue remark that “girls that frequent the streets at night, attract ‘JACK THE RIPPER.’”

    Because
    A. having to get home from a night at work or school or socializing makes me a Victorian-era prostitute, and;
    B) of course, those Victorian-era prostitutes deserved a gruesome butchering — after all, they were on the streets at night.

  12. *Presents fruit baskets to moderators*

    I don’t know how you all do it, but I’m very glad you do. Thank you!

  13. Wow, that’s a nifty idea, co-opting their asshattery (and asstrousery and assgaloshery–they have glorious coordinating ensembles of ass!) for our amusement. Subvert away!

    I don’t think I can actually read it, though. I have a delicate lady psyche. I get the vapors from looking directly at The Stupid. *goes to lie down with lavender-scented hankie* But go you for providing the lols for those of us made of sturdier stuff!

  14. SM-

    This is super-awesome, and I’m going to link to it. I see that you have sifted out the most icky, threatening, and scary in favor of the most amusing- and it’s hilarious. But.

    I am linking to it to “spread awareness,” since even though it’s the funny shit, it still gives you a glimpse into that whole “I’m anonymous on the information super highwayz so I can wave my dick around like a man-truth-lightsaber” effect that goes on in blogworld.

    I will be checking it out frequently. :D

  15. I experienced my very first troll this week, who insulted me and my children all in one go. To be fair, he did compliment my double chin in an additional comment.

    Thanks to the excellent examples set by Shapely Prose’s moderators, I was able to laugh it off and ban his ass without looking back. Thank you for all you do.

  16. Brilliant. You are all much stronger people than I, voluntarily sifting through that day after day, week after week.

    I think my favorite one, actually, was from the woman who said she “hates feminists” and that we should “take the tampon out of [our] vaginas.”

    All right, I’ll take the tampon out of my vagina, but her favorite pants are going to be the first thing I sit on when I do, Superbad-style.

    Seriously, what?!

  17. All right, I’ll take the tampon out of my vagina, but her favorite pants are going to be the first thing I sit on when I do, Superbad-style.

    I know, right? My first thought: “And ruin my tights?”

  18. I understand your BURNING COOKIES about men writing replies to “Schrodinger’s Rapist”. Because, C’mon.

    At the most basic level, SR is written to “guys who might want a better understanding of why women act the way they do in public.” By disputing SR, men are essentially saying, “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA” and holding their fingers in their ears. They are missing THE ENTIRE POINT of the piece.

    Not to mention, how desperate and clueless ARE you, that you seek a date by soliciting strangers. The more I think about it, I don’t even think any men (except those with mental health problems) really ARE seeking a date; what they are objecting SO STRENUOUSLY to is being robbed of their daily ration of Dominance Display. (I apologize for using a race/American South metaphor, but it is the most accurate one I can think of) : Like White Folks of Old, they just feel better when the Darkies bob and grin and greet them warmly in the street- it adds to their sense of safety and their egos (Why, all the black folks in town just adore me!). They did not want the black folks to be Regular People who do not HAVE TO display fake liking and approval. White racists seriously did NOT LIKE IT (and possibly STILL don’t) when blacks began to behave “uppity”, which is to say, like normal everyday citizens going about their business.

    The Doods don’t want to give up that delicious Dominance either. They really don’t CARE if, like the submission blacks used to show to Whites, it is based on Fear, and disingenuous. Cause it is just so TASTY! THEY JUST DON’T CARE THEY MUST HAVE IT

    Of COURSE most everyone would like it better if everybody felt genuinely friendly about everyone else. But as long as the friendliness is COERCED and backed up by real or imagined violence, it can’t even BE genuine. It is just forcing women to act submissive and “smile” and “be polite” to shore up your sense of social dominance.

    Ugh.

  19. The “quarter-pervert’s” comment made me lol. Especially his use of the word “at”…(“any stranger who speaks AT her”, “feel flattered for being addressed AT”). His whole comment focused on how he knows many women who basically drool at the prospect of receiving attention from da menz……Because THAT’S ALL THAT WOMEN EVER NEED IN LIFE!!!!!
    Nevermind that being “AT” anyone completely obliterates their humanity and value as a human being deserving of respect for boundaries, autonomy, and the ability to make choices that are right for them.

    Then there’s “Liberate Yourselfs” who beats the tired drum that all men want sex and we need to just get over it already! Way to crawl out of the sludge there dude! Your penis rules your behavior….yea…we get it already….how very evolved you’ve become! And your assertion that most women have secret rape fantasies? Umm….NO! Rape violates, degrades, dehumanizes and destroys the inner sense of security women need to live without fear. How nice of you to make yourself feel better by believing in that old chestnut. Wanna cookie?

    Last but not least…there’s “Parseltongue” who blames every single woman on the planet for wearing tight jeans, low cut shirts, flirt, go to bars, and walk around at night. These women are just ASKING for it ya know! Once again, we see how evolved this man’s brain is as he places the onus for MAN’S behavior entirely on the woman…..because..yea….women rule everything.

    Comment Mods….you rock! Thanks for making a clearinghouse for me to go to when I need a fresh supply of laugh out loud moments. This stuff is priceless!!

  20. Not only is this eye-rollingly funny, but it’s something I can point to when well-meaning friends try to claim that feminism isn’t necessary. This stuff is for real — and that makes it scary.

  21. At the most basic level, SR is written to “guys who might want a better understanding of why women act the way they do in public.” By disputing SR, men are essentially saying, “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA” and holding their fingers in their ears. They are missing THE ENTIRE POINT of the piece.

    RIGHT? It’s not like the piece is UNCLEAR about the fact that it’s being written to DECENT GUYS WHO DON’T WANT TO THREATEN WOMEN. If you aren’t or do, you’re not really the intended audience, which makes your spirited defense of your right to demand women’s time and attention kind of beside the point.

    And SM, I’m glad you posted this before “sexiest” scrolled off the front page. That one’s a gem.

  22. Oh my dear sweet lord. Any man that uses the word “PUSS”, really does need to kneel down on all fours while being kicked reperatedly up the rear with the most pointy show in christendom. For that man to then use it as follows “So buck up ladies! its time to liberate yourselfs and give that puss away freely!” really needs to be rowed out to sea and left to float until he finds land inhabited only by PMT struck women on the day the island’s annual chocolate rations ran out.
    What is it about this kind of man? Do they actively want to make women recoil, or are they truly so blind to themselves?
    These are the men that have to say something – however stupid, rather than go silent. I saw a perfect example of this recently. I was in a very high end chocolate shop buying a gift, and the staff were handing out treats to try. A man and a woman in front of me reached forwards to taste them and the man said loudly “Ooh, don’t let her anywhere near these, for god’s sake”, meaning don’t feed the woman by his side. Anyhoo – he then left the shop and wandered off….he wasnt even with the woman he had said it about – they were complete strangers!!! I was so annoyed, the heat flying off my forehead virtually melted the chocolate display, but the woman it had been said about merely looked humiliated and deflated. GGGRRRRRRR!!!!!!! What a total arsebiscuit.

  23. …damn. This is a great idea, and also reinforces how awesome the mods here at SP are.

    …it’s not like there is some kind of social ‘pressure’ to respond nicely to unwanted come-ons.”

    Ahahahahaha. I’ll tell you, this is comedy gold.

  24. Well, hey: on the positive, at least Schrodinger’s Rapist got to a wide audience, right? Uh…

    If I should ever meet y’all, I’m buying you a night’s worth of booze, babydonuts, and song.

  25. The one with “femanistic” cracked me up. I initially read it as “feminastic” which would be a combination of “feminist” and “fantastic” which would be awesome.

  26. You’ve probably heard about this already, but Dooce did a similar thing. Even better, she crammed every inch of white space with ads, and is now making money off her trolls. Don’t know if you want to deal with ads b/c of their content, but otherwise I think it’s a pretty cool idea. Just sayin

    http://dooce.com/hate/

  27. LOLZ!

    Some of those were just unbelievable, and the rest were just downright hilarious.

    The one with “femanistic” cracked me up. I initially read it as “feminastic” which would be a combination of “feminist” and “fantastic” which would be awesome.

    That one is one of my favorites!

  28. I experienced my very first troll this week, who insulted me and my children all in one go. To be fair, he did compliment my double chin in an additional comment.

    I was actually kind of proud when I got my first troll. Like, “Hey, I’m a real blogger now.”

  29. I don’t think any woman would actually say “get your tampon out of your vagina”, because it makes no fucking sense, even metaphorically. It sounds more like a sockpuppeting dude who was looking for a female version of “get that stick out of your ass” because he doesn’t know that women have butts.

  30. Oh man, these are just the funny ones!

    Yeah, SM, and that’s even more disturbing. I am now even more in awe of the SP bloggers; y’all manage to keep your sanity while dealing with this bullshit and I think that’s amazing and wonderful.

  31. All right, I’ll take the tampon out of my vagina, but her favorite pants are going to be the first thing I sit on when I do, Superbad-style.

    *love*

  32. Wow, I bow down to our wonderful MODs here, because really, this is some crazy shit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take out my tampon…(wtf?)

  33. Wow. This is too good not to share.

    A while ago I wrote a screed about Marcus Buckingham and his articles on huffpo about “women’s declining happiness” –

    …. anyway just now I go look and I have a comment on that post (I get like a comment a week) and the comment is: Bitter Much?

    Why is this funny? The name of my blog is Happily Bitter.

    Yeah, he sure got me. Ouch. Now I’ll have to spend the day in bed crying.

  34. Wow. I mean, wow.

    This sadly reminds me of the troll/stalker who used to frequent my blog. What made him not a troll was that I knew who he was – an ex-boyfriend and ex-friend. And he would say the most absurd crap, thinking he was anonymous! Little did he know I could look up his IP address from his posts… and block it. But, the stuff was sad in its delusions. I had a hard enough time dealing with him, I honestly don’t know how the moderators here do it. I’m thinking a steady diet of babydonuts?

    What I always think is how sad it is that the trolls feel the need to go FIND websites they disagree with and post on them. I mean, isn’t that an exercise in futility?

    Also, I’m delurking. Let me just say that I love this blog, so, so much. I first heard Kate on CBC’s “Q” and was hooked. I bought the book and started frequenting this blog. It’s so awesome! Thank you for all the work you do, Shapelings.

  35. Zenoodle,
    It’s a very moist cake made with lots of red food coloring some cocoa and cream cheese icing. Here is a Food Network recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sara-moulton/southern-red-velvet-cake-recipe/index.html

    My mom used to make them for my Dad’s birthday. Except the first time she tried it ended up looking like a big red volcano that had just exploded (my mom is not a cook), so in my house we actually call them “Mount Vesuvius Cake.”

  36. *I get the vapors from looking directly at The Stupid.*
    tee hee!
    and the tampon comment as well
    I had a no-longer missed beloved write me an email containing the phrase “it’s time to take off the training bra”

    I just found y’all right before the 1200 comment entry and really wanna go steady w/you.

  37. I linked to the dooce/ hate website. My gods – people really have the time to devote their own blogs to hating another blogger?

    Props to our mods. Teh Stoopid really does burn, doesn’t it? Troll comments are often the best. A whole site with troll comments makes afternoon baby donuts that much sweeter.

  38. Ooh thanks Shinobi — I’m going to have a go tomorrow! I don’t get why we wouldn’t have such delicious looking things here!!

  39. Good call on that recipe, Shinobi. I made it, and it was good, if a little hard to store in that layered shape.

    Re: the comments, I think I’ve got an irony deficiency after all these years, because that much stupid just makes me want to cringe and move to a tiny cabin in the woods, far, far away from people. I can’t even laugh at it anymore, because these people are out there. Breeding. Just…wow.

  40. Zenoodle, Red Velvet cake is a regional food in the US and is usually associated with the south. The red color originally came from a reaction between the unprocessed cocoa and buttermilk in the recipe, but most recipes now also use food coloring (or sometimes beet juice).

    So, I’m now wondering exactly where I’m supposed to put tampons if not in my vagina. Did I learn wrong?

  41. What I want to know is, how do they KNOW we all have secret rape fantasies? Did they make a survey? Has some evo-psych professor releaseda “study” about the prevalence of rape fantasies amongst women and the evolutionary advantage they present? Did they hear it from some guy down the pub? Or do they think the women in rape porn choose the career because they really want the rape, not the paying career, and that they are representative of women as a whole?

    Or is this just what they want to believe, because it allows them to justify the shit they pull?

  42. Bunny, they probably read it in their sisters’ copy of Cosmo.

    The thing about rape fantasies is that they’re just that – fantasies. It doesn’t mean anyone actually wants it to happen. Jesus fucking Christ!

  43. Meems, right! Having a rape fantasy is very different from actually wanting to be raped. But that is WAAAAY too nuanced to expect these sexiest guys to understand.

  44. Zenoodle: I think because food colouring is sold in much smaller bottles over here. Though apparently it used to be made with beetroot for colour. Allegedly.

    I’d like to make it but the quantity of food colouring alarms me.

  45. KMTBERRY:

    The more I think about it, I don’t even think any men (except those with mental health problems) really ARE seeking a date

    that’s quite an ableist statement. what “mental health problems” are you referring to here? depression? anxiety disorders? perhaps body dysmorphism or OCD? mental health problems are as diverse as body health problems.

    even when you make these kinds of statements about men, it hurts women who are also subsumed by the standard “people with mental health problems are gibbering crazies” assumption. (perhaps even more so.) it’s an assertion of privilege by those who don’t suffer from some sort of psychiatric disorder, and a slap in the face by those who do.

    we don’t know each other and you really have no reason to do so, but i’d take it as a kindness if you’d reevaluate your use of that sort of qualifier. my fellow crazies and i would appreciate it.

  46. Some of us don’t have rape fantasies at all but display physical signs of arousal when thinking of rape, such as getting wetter, heartrate, etc. It’s protective, not sexy. Then the common thing about rape fantasies comes in and persuades people otherwise and since rape is always one’s own fault, it all seems true. Three cheers for trauma.

  47. Good point Meems. Most fantasies are fun BECAUSE they are removed from reality. That godsforsaken blog Cassandrasays linked to is proof enough of that.

  48. Kristie, I’m so with you. I’m glad the site is there because the buttwipes need to be mocked, but I can’t go there. I’m sure I would literally throw up. I am glad there are people who can deal with the scum of the universe. Thank you!

  49. Gawds.

    SM: I’m avoiding the “Guy’s Response” posts, because, dude, I don’t want to know why they think they’re really decent guys who should be given a chance. We covered that. I even believe them, mostly. All but 3.4 to 6.7% of them, depending on my level of pessimism on any given day.

    *headdesk*

    On the other hand, the Google hits are only growing! Bwahaha! We coined a phrase!

    FJ: Actually, the audience was Decent Guys With Reading Comprehensions Skills Who Don’t Want To Threaten Women. The ones without reading comprehension skills–well, you know, it’s one way to weed them out, amirite? Literacy in a man = dead sexy.

  50. SM: I’m avoiding the “Guy’s Response” posts, because, dude, I don’t want to know why they think they’re really decent guys who should be given a chance.

    I know! My response to guy’s responses: don’t care.

  51. Red Velvet cake is made with food coloring now, but it used to have something to do with how cocoa was processed (Alkali-something or other? Dutch-processed cocoa? I just can’t remember), and some chemical process from that made it red.

    Still, I love red velvet cake :)

  52. And now I am so tempted to change the subtitle on my Livejournal to “Here Is A Superb Blog By A Lesbian”.

    We should start a series. It could be the new way of saying “my women friends tell me I’m not sexist!” (Or sexiest. Whatever.) Because lesbians, as we all know, *really* understand women and how much they love to be accosted by men. What, you don’t believe me? Haven’t you watched all those porn flicks where the lesbians are *thrilled* to see a cock show up? It’s proof.

    I haven’t bothered to seek out any of the men’s responses because I seriously burned out on the last six-eight threads and their 2,000+ comments. It’s interesting, and I’d be happy to continue the discussion in a safe space, but I’m not going to seek out hostile territory to be told what I don’t understand. I have enough of that in my life, thanks much.

  53. BTW, I’m not allowing comments on the new blog because I don’t want to risk *it* getting trolled. But if you ever feel like commenting on a specific one, you can either start a thread on Ning or email me to ask for an open thread here.

  54. The red velvet chemistry thing is cool – it’s a reaction between the cocoa and the buttermilk. Cocoa has a significant amount of anthocyanin, which is the red pigment in flowers and leaves. In order to “look red”, the anthocyanin has to be activated by a significant acid. Buttermilk works.
    Supposedly, Dutched cocoa has less anthocyanin, but I’m not sure about that part. It’s a pretty mild cake; it’s not CHOCOLATE tasting, but tasty, and excellent with cream cheese frosting. (I basically think all cakes are excellent with cream cheese frosting.)

  55. @zenoodle
    Cannot speak to the unspeakable Weight Watchers cakes, but a real scratch-made Red Velvet Cake is quite delicious. It is a southern American tradition– What you would call a chocolate sponge cake, dyed red (it comes out a lovely maroon) with food coloring– baked in round layers, and iced with cream cheese frosting–you take cream cheese, like Philadelphia brand cream cheese that you would spread on bagels–neufchatel cheese may be what you know it as, and use it in lieu of some of the butter in a butter-cream style frosting. Top with chopped pecans. Inhale.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sara-moulton/southern-red-velvet-cake-recipe/index.html

  56. Considering I got my very first troll (possibly even more than one) on my FA blog this week, this is pretty good timing. I didn’t let the trolls on my blog bother me because they’re obviously idiots with no imaginations. I mean, if you can’t come with something as witty as “take the tampon out of your vagina”, why even get into the trolling business? XD The current one did reference Sherlocke Holmes, but that’s not witty (and only slightly above the slime mold intelligence level).

  57. Anita, Brussels sprouts are excellent with cream cheese frosting. (Well, I like the sprouts anyway. But you see what I mean.)

    Other things tasty with cream cheese frosting:

    cardboard
    roof tiles
    baby donuts
    pork BBQ

    The list, it could go on.

  58. AnthroK8: You’re right! I need to edit the SR post: “If she doesn’t want to talk to you, use the following approach: ‘Wassup, pretty laydee, ur hott stuf!’ But only after coating yourself with cream cheese frosting.”

    Might not improve the reader’s chances, but would make public transit oh so much more fun.

  59. @ Starling – That sort of reminds me of that Axe body spray commercial a while back with the guy who was made of chocolate, and all the women kept breaking pieces of him off to eat. It was a horrifically sexist commercial, but I imagine that’s the general effect covering oneself with cream cheese icing would have on women. Except, once the icing was gone, we’d be disappointed that there was just asshole underneath instead of cake. XD

  60. So, I’m now wondering exactly where I’m supposed to put tampons if not in my vagina. Did I learn wrong?
    Well, you could hang one from your rearview mirror…with googly eyes stuck to it.

  61. Many a dish in my house has been saved with the judicious addition of dairy products. Slathering with cream cheese frosting is rarely a bad move. (Butter and triple cream brie are other excellent options.)
    But when you revise, don’t forget to advise men that every woman they approach this way is Schrodinger’s Vegan.

  62. Ha! When I read the tampon one I immediately thought, “But then I’d bleed on my pants.” I was genuinely perplexed for a bit at my inability to parse that sentence, until I realized that it wasn’t meant to make sense.

    I get the sense that the trolling in the feminist blogosphere is entering its Dada phase.

  63. @Anita – triple cream brie, you say? Do you mean in frosting form? Because that is freaking genius and I am making a mental note.

  64. I think I’ve been on the internet too long when I can read the funny troll posts and say ‘These aren’t that horrible’. Because in comparison.. at least they have semblances of words, and sometimes almost make sense, and occasionally use punctuation. Although, gotta say.. ‘take that tampon out of your vagina’ is pretty great. I’ll keep mine in, thanks – I think pads feel like diapers and I still bleed all over anyway.

  65. Man, I don’t know about my Sanity Watcher’s points, but my Grammar Watcher’s points are all used up for, um, a while.

  66. I am tempted to learn coding so I can make one of those snarky “make your own fat-hating sexist troll post!” Ah, cgi-bin, how DO you do what you do?

    Or maybe just Mad Libs.

  67. ““To live is to war against the trolls.” -Henrik Ibsen

    Thanks to all the mods for being our front line.”

    Henchminion, hear hear.

  68. “…it’s not like there is some kind of social ‘pressure’ to respond nicely to unwanted come-ons.””

    Yeah.

    I want to live on that planet.

    (Plus? This guy could teach a 2nd year PhD level in Missing the Point.)

  69. Love it!

    I’m wondering – there’s a label called ‘stet,’ what does that mean?

    I also just read through the fiasco with ‘thegnu’ – I find it really hilarious/pathetic that he chalks up all the comments jumping on him as “vitriolic anger at anyone who disagrees on minor points like makeup.” Uh, that’s SO not what it’s about. Try not telling women what to do and acting like you know everything for once.

  70. Red velvet cake? Mmmmm. I make some (cupcakes usually) during the holiday season. Buttercream frosting instead of cream cheese, though. And “red velvet cake” sweetened artificially?! Ptooie! If I had to quit eating refined sugar, give me a damn bowl of mixed berries any day.

    It always amuses me when sexist and sexiest get confused.

    Nigel Tufnel (oh, not MY Nigel Tufnel) is trolling the boards! Remember, ladeez, it’s a fine line between stupid and clever!

  71. This makes me tempted to go counter-troll the guy’s responses to SR but I’m afraid I might lose all remaining faith in humanity. OTOH, are any of them as funny as the dude who thinks that wearing tight jeans causes a time machine to appear and take you back to the Victorian era to meet ye olde serial killer?

  72. Actually, red velvet cake is really best made, IMHO, with a boiled frosting. Try it! It’s really good. Just look for a frosting recipe that sort of starts like a roux. Flour and fat, add milk and powdered sugar, let cool, then whip to a frosting consistency. And…the food coloring adds NOTHING to the taste of the cake, in my opinion. So, just make it without it and it still tastes delish! Imagine all that Red 40 you don’t have to eat.

    All this to avoid the pain of it all. People can be real jerks.

  73. Also red velvet cupcakes, which someone mentioned upthread, are a thing of beauty. Adorable AND tasty! Plus more easy to store and carry around than a whole layer cake.

  74. Rebecca, “stet” is a printing/proofreading term meaning “let this stand as written” indicating grammatical errors or typos should be left in the finished material.

  75. I’m wondering – there’s a label called ’stet,’ what does that mean?

    It’s an editor’s and proofreader’s term, for ‘let it stand’ – that is, ignore any previously marked edits. How SM is using it, I’m not sure; I assumed, ‘let this garbage stand by itself.’

  76. Anybody want to take a bet the “Even the babies” guy works for that health insurance company in Grand Junction, CO?

    Since his creed seems to be that even the babies have a “responsibility to reduce their weight”, I’m guessing he’s in senior management.

  77. Literacy in a man = dead sexy.

    *sigh* this is a problem I am having in my life right now.

    The appropriate bit of this video starts at 2:36:

    man, you can find anything on the internet.

  78. How SM is using it, I’m not sure; I assumed, ‘let this garbage stand by itself.’

    Oh, that’s much deeper than my use of it! I’m actually just being a grammar and spelling snob and using it ironically on trolls with flagrantly bad grammar. You can take the blogger out of copyediting, but you can’t, er, take the copyeditor out of the blogger.

  79. Hmm. Is “stet” kind of like “sic”, in that it let folks know you are merely quoting the boneheaded errors rather than committing them yourself? I’m a little torn about this, SM- on the one hand, I am a bit of a masochist and a devoted MST3ker who loves to spork the stupid and thinks this would be hilarious. On the other hand, I get my daily dose of RAAAGGGEEE at the world already by visiting Unfunny Business on Journalfen, and I’m afraid that reading trolly comments on one of my fave blogs in addition to that might raise my blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

    Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll be getting trolls on my blog for a while now, since I just started it in August and I usually get 1-2 replies per post. I would say I’m not worried about getting trolls on a sewing blog, but Erin at Dressaday.com has had a couple, and they were doozies. You would think that there isn’t anything controversial about running a sewing blog, but apparently there is. My favorite was the one who decided that the sewing bloggers and vintage clothing and pattern sellers Erin linked to/had advertisements for (many of whom commented on her blog, because, hey, common interests!) were all part of a Vast Sewing Conspiracy who were planning to take over the world. Or something. Needless to say, we were all quite amused and began making up Sewing Cabal Secret Code Names for ourselves.

  80. and I’m afraid that reading trolly comments on one of my fave blogs in addition to that might raise my blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

    That’s why I’ve kept it totally separate from SP. It’s all up to you if you want to read it.

    “Stet” means “let it stand,” and is a little like “sic” except that it comes up in different contexts. So, to give you an example, let’s say you were editing an essay for an American journal and you saw that “favourite” had been spelled with a “u” in a quotation. You mark the “u” for deletion, but then later you realize the author of that quote was British, so it wasn’t a misspelling but quoting from a British text instead. You would then go back to what you marked, underline it (or whatever) and write “stet” in the margin, to let the next person (esp. the typesetter/compositor) know that your correction should be disregarded. Basically, it means “Don’t fix this after all.” So I’m using “stet” as a tag to let you know that I’m keeping the comments verbatim, punctuation and all, so we can all bask in their glory.

  81. I often wonder why trolling and a certain inability to effectively use language so often go hand in hand. I understand if people aren’t so great at spelling, or occasionally forget their verb tenses or some such thing, but some of those read like random words thrown together in no particular order other than some form of stream of consciousness anger. It’s really bizarre.

    Also, pro red velvet cake. Actually, pro anything which features cream cheese frosting.

  82. “Literacy in a man = dead sexy.”

    Nice to know.

    Pity about the lack of comments on there — I am finding that without them, I can’t comprehend the troll posts. Or perhaps not a pity. I am not sure I want to.

  83. Wow. I fully expect this comment to land up on your new blog. but the “troll department” post on there is actually quite right. I’m really surprised at how intolerant you ladies have suddenly become, and how primary schoolish it is to start a blog to mock those who disagree with you. This has gone beyond the point of simply putting down trolls, and is starting to look awfully like slamming anyone who presents an alternative point of view, albeit beset by poor grammar.

    Two weeks ago, I loved this blog, and recommended people to read it. Now, i’m not so sure. I kind of feel like a safehaven has been destroyed. I really feel like a lot of potential allies in the size acceptance movement have been alienated by the intolerance and aggressive tone that has emerged – I know i certainly have been.

  84. Emmy–People who can’t listen to a reasoned argument and respond reasonably probably don’t have much in the way of verbal logic skills. I don’t know if there’s a way to reach them, but blogging is obviously not it. (Possibly touching Hallmark-like short films? Interpretive dances? I don’t know.) So I kind of expect inchoate sputterings with questionable grammar and spelling.

    On a slightly related topic, I went out on a date tonight with a man who used the adjective “catholic” (little c) correctly.

    *swoon*

  85. “On a slightly related topic, I went out on a date tonight with a man who used the adjective “catholic” (little c) correctly.

    *swoon*”

    That works? I do it, people say something that means I’m pedantic or laugh.

  86. Er, Amy, did you actually look at what we’re making fun of? The trolls who suggest women really want to be raped, or that holding women underwater is a great plan? The ones who are textbook illustrations of Derailing for Dummies?

    There’s nothing wrong with looking at the tone of SP’s comments and deciding that it’s not your style. We play rugby-style comments here, while you may prefer something a little less hands-on. (Soccer? Badminton? Choose your own apposite sports analogy.) There are tons of high-quality size acceptance blogs out there, or you can start your own.

    But the idea that if we were just nicer to people who disagreed with us–Derailing for Dummies. Again. People who care will find a home or make a home on the internet. People who want an excuse not to act will find it in the demeanor of the commenters (see Dingo, of “Now I’ll let women get raped because the feminists were mean to me” fame.)

    Grafton: I promise, it works. On me, anyway. And I am the Czar of Dating, although if I keep giving out this sort of dating advice, I will soon be deposed and replaced by the General Secretary of the Dating Politburo.

  87. Not sure why, re: deposed.

    No matter re: the rest, as I am married and do not particularly mind that my vocabulary (or whatever it is about my speech) makes people either think I’m being arrogant or comedic. It’s just one of of those puzzles of life.

  88. Grafton–Deposed because it kind of sucks as Imperial Dating Law, except for people who are dating me or other word junkies. Presumably, your wife is one of us, so I am handing over a virtual Word Junkie membership for her, signed by the Czar. You also get one. (Earned by your epic poem, but I’d forgotten to mention it.)

    Pedantic v. eloquent: sometimes the only difference is the audience, right?

  89. Hehe. I don’t think you get to be ‘eloquent’ when you frequently suffer speech-fail mid-sentence and have to reboot verbal processes by rotating one arm in the air in a paroxysmal sort of way.

    It’s a pity people aren’t using the chat on the ning community at times that correspond to my insomnia.

  90. I’ve been so busy with work lately that I haven’t had time to comment, just read the posts, but the SP mods have been doing some amazing work on those epic threads. I can’t believe how much bile you have to wade through if these are just the funny ones, but am so glad you manage to keep your snark on – your work is very much appreciated. And I’m so pleased to see Rebecca Solnit’s article as the guiding light for the Helpful Comments blog!

  91. Amy, SP doesn’t have to allow people who don’t agree with them in. I can see no reason why they should do that. If they wanted to ban me, well yeah I’d be pissed, but it would be totally within their rights to do so, and the fat acceptance movement and feminism would not lose me, just this website. I don’t make friends with people who think feminism is ridiculous, or that would call me fat or tell me to lose weight, would you? Commenters are kind of like friends and SP is very selective. If you want to start a blog for trolls to post on telling you to “take the tampon out of your vagina,” then do so. You might get some great readers, great friends, you might gain allies, but you still wouldn’t be in control of the comments policy at SP.

    That said, the comments that blog is about have basically nothing to do with the commenting policy, they’re people that any blog in the world would delete, and their sometimes slightly disturbing, as evidenced by the reactions on here. I’m really grateful that they’re not on here. The moderators here rock my world, I’m sure you’ll find mods that do the same for you on another blog. One of the hundreds in the fatosphere.

  92. Hi wriggles -
    Thanks for fighting the good fight at WAtRD. (I think I am posting under my real name, Lori, over there.) That conversation would be a real bummer if it weren’t for you and Nikki.

  93. Two weeks ago, I loved this blog, and recommended people to read it. Now, i’m not so sure. I kind of feel like a safehaven has been destroyed.

    Well, I’m delighted that you think we moderators have done this, rather than the waves of trolls.

    Seriously, Amy, the only thing that has changed here in the last two weeks is that we had some posts explode and we had more trolls than usual. I don’t know what your definition of “safe haven” is, but if we’re not it now, then we never were. If the scales have fallen from your eyes, so be it. Maybe this isn’t the blog for you. We’re okay with that. If you’re really feeling sorry for people with such diverse and eloquent contributions as “You can ban me now you fat cunt,” feel free to start your own blog and let them all in.

  94. Um, Starling did you actually READ the helpful comments blog? Yes… when I phrase it like that is annoying, isn’t it? It is snarky and it implies that the commenter is so stupid that they didn’t get your point, not just that they have a dissenting opinion.

    yes, most of the comments on that blog are ridiculous trolls. but a couple actually had good points to make: “our troll department works overtime”, and “i’m a quarter-pervert on my mother’s side”. Different viewpoints, not evil trolls.

    I’m not going to try to convince anyone here of my viewpoint, as its clear that you’re all very much a group who agree with most everything that is written here. What I do think is problematic is the fact that there appears to be the illusion of a safe haven for all women, when it fact it is only for women who agree with your specific brand of feminism. Yes, its your blog, and you can publish or not publish whatever you like. But the posts over the last couple of weeks have been extremely disappointing to me and many others out there. The post “expecting crickets” and the follow up after that were really insulting – the idea that all women share your experiences and feel the same way about them that you did is clearly not true. And yet those who gave dissenting opinions in a polite way were snarked/shot down or had it “explained” and “explained” over again until they “got it”.

    I think that what you write about fat/size acceptance is amazing, and brilliant. but the rest of it has put me waaaay off, and i don’t think i’ll be reading it again in future. Which is a real pity, as I’m sure i’m not the only one.

  95. What I do think is problematic is the fact that there appears to be the illusion of a safe haven for all women,

    This is not and has never been our goal, which you would know if you read the comments policy. Our “specific brand of feminism” does not involve thinking that everything every woman says is helpful or right.

  96. Also, Amy, those people whose comments you find so valuable? Were commenting on posts that already had hundreds — or thousands — of comments. Even if they said those dissenting points in clear prose without insulting us along the way, I assure you, the points were already covered. If we were really not letting in anyone who disagrees with us, we wouldn’t even have 1200-comment threads in the first place.

    But I don’t know why I’m arguing with you; if you want to leave, please do.

  97. I will, thank you. I just thought you might like to know that there are disappointed former fans who now feel like they no longer belong in what was previously a place they enjoyed coming. Its a little like losing a friend, only you realise they never actually were what you thought they were.

  98. I want to quote something from the post I linked above (which is, I might add, over a year old) for the benefit of the legions of disappointed people that Amy claims to represent:

    We think about our responses, and we own them. But they’re not up for negotiation. We only get bitchy after we’ve perceived a consistent pattern of disrespect for the comments policy and/or the spirit of the blog. If you don’t perceive the same pattern, then one of two things is happening: you haven’t read all the same comments we have, or you have different standards than we do.

    The Helpful Comments entries, for the most part, are excerpts. I’ve quoted the parts that I think are funniest; most of the comments featured are quite a bit longer. In other words, what you’re seeing is for your own amusement or edification, but it’s not a backstage pass. If you think we’re being unfair to the poor little commenters who just disagree with us so hard, that’s your right — but you should be aware that you don’t have all the information at hand.

  99. I really feel like a lot of potential allies in the size acceptance movement have been alienated by the intolerance and aggressive tone that has emerged – I know i certainly have been.

    A couple of things.

    1. I have been hearing this since about 5 minutes after I started the blog in 2007. If we just weren’t so hostile/didn’t swear so much/quieted down about our liberal views/etc., we would get SO MANY MORE READERS AND ALLIES! Don’t we want more readers and allies?!? But the thing is, we keep getting more readers and allies. Traffic continues to climb. Comments are already overwhelming to mod, even when they’re not full of trolls. Perhaps we could get even more if we didn’t delete comments that give us the stabby pain or alienate conservatives or swear like sailors or stubbornly insist that ignoring a woman’s boundaries is unacceptable, but A) I’m not seeing a whole lot of examples of feminist/fat acceptance blogs with more lenient comments policies and more robust, thoughtful, committed communities built up around those subjects, and B) if we never get any more traffic than this, we’re doing just fine, thanks! Really, no need to worry about us!

    2. This is Shapely Prose, not The Size Acceptance Community. And if one blog can move you from the “potential ally” column to the “not an ally” column, then I don’t think you would have made much of an ally anyway. Do you not see how that’s only a more benign version of, “I don’t like feminists, so if I see a woman being raped, I won’t do anything about it?” Becoming an ally is about believing that fat people deserve equal rights, believing in size acceptance as a social justice movement. It’s about right and wrong, not whether you like one fucking blog. And if disliking one fucking blog can convince you that right is actually wrong, you can feel free to piss off, because nobody needs an “ally” like that.

  100. Becoming an ally is about believing that fat people deserve equal rights, believing in size acceptance as a social justice movement. It’s about right and wrong, not whether you like one fucking blog. And if disliking one fucking blog can convince you that right is actually wrong, you can feel free to piss off, because nobody needs an “ally” like that.

    Cosigned!

  101. I keep cracking up over all the doodz out there saying “Starling says all cats in boxes are presumed dead until proven alive!!!!!!!”

    I never knew the web was so awash in dead-cat fetishists. These guys need hobbies.

  102. Please continue swearing like sailors, making fun of trolls, eating baby donuts, and alienating idiots. I don’t care if that makes me a sheep-like follower of Kate Harding and her crew of witty women. Just don’t stop. Reading SP gives me the blissed-out face like my cat gets when she’s getting rubbed just right under the chin.

  103. Ummmm, Amy, you do realize, “You’re not fulfilling the fantasy I projected onto you,” is hardly feminist or allied thinking?

  104. Reading SP gives me the blissed-out face like my cat gets when she’s getting rubbed just right under the chin.

    This is the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about us.

  105. a little like losing a friend, only you realise they never actually were what you thought they were.

    All right, first, let me say that Amy, even though I’m sure it feels like we’re piling on you — and I suppose we are, to an extent — our responses here are not just about your comments today. They’re about the hundreds and hundreds of comments we have gotten saying similar things over the life of the blog. You’re providing good opportunities to talk about these issues in a thread where it’s actually on topic, but please don’t think this is all about piling on the lone dissenter. It’s about correcting common misconceptions you happen to be the one expressing right now.

    With that out of the way, you’re absolutely right that the problem is we were never what you thought we were, not that you’ve lost “a friend” for inexplicable reasons. All along, we have been pretty damn transparent about our beliefs, our standards for discourse, our low tolerance for nonsense, our unwillingness to do 101 hand-holding on demand, and our refusal to apologize for setting and enforcing our own boundaries. And all along, we have gotten complaints from people saying, “But wait, I didn’t think that applied to meeee! And if you won’t make an exception for meeee, you’re obviously only interested in cultivating an army of sycophants!”

    Every blogger with any moderation policy at all gets those complaints. If we took them seriously, we’d end up with a bunch of threads full of people derailing conversations and undermining the core messages — which again, we believe are fundamentally about right and wrong — instead of a blog where people can have nuanced, in-depth discussions with little fear of taking abuse simply for believing in feminism and fat acceptance in the first place. The point is to create a space where feminist and size-friendly beliefs are consistently foregrounded, and those who seek to sabotage such beliefs are tossed out on their asses. There will always be people who see that as encouraging groupthink, or eliminating reasonable disagreement for petty reasons. But when the premise of the blog is that being feminist and size-friendly is right, and seeking to undermine the rights of women and fat people to live safely and free of discrimination is wrong, it follows that we don’t actually believe reasonable people can disagree about those things.

    We’re not kicking out and/or mocking people who don’t like the same kind of music we do, or have different favorite colors. We’re kicking out and/or mocking people who believe women don’t deserve the same safety and opportunities as men, and fat people deserve to be shamed and denied adequate healthcare, equal employment and housing, etc., unless they are at all times apologizing for their bodies and trying to lose weight. If you think that creates an “echo chamber” that damages the free exchange of ideas, then ignoring this blog’s existence is probably the right choice for you. But telling us we should change our policies, which would amount to being more tolerant of abuse, is really not going to fly.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: There are blogs out there on feminism, fat acceptance, and numerous other causes I support that I don’t read because I don’t dig the particular bloggers, or the approach to the material, or the comments policy, for that matter. There are even a handful of blogs I once liked, before realizing that no, I am really not on the same page as the blogger(s) here. That’s okay! It happens! It’s part of hanging out on the internet! If some people never warm to Shapely Prose in the first place, or like it for a while and then realize that they’re more frequently annoyed than enlightened/amused, that’s okay, too! It’s to be expected, even. But I will never understand the attitude that reading a blog — even regularly over time — gives you some sort of proprietary stake in it, and thus the right to demand that it be changed to suit your tastes. I mean, it’s one thing to say, “Hey, blogger I respect, I think you had a serious privilege/logic/empathy/humor fail in this one post, and I’m pointing it out because, based on my knowledge of your past work, I think you’d want to know.” But it’s quite another to complain about tones, attitudes, and moderation policies that have existed over the life of a blog (or at least been present long enough for it to be clear that yeah, that’s the direction this blog is going in now). If you want a blog where you’ll always be comfortable with the writing, and at which you are in no danger of ever being banned, you start your own. Just like I did! And then you only bring on co-bloggers and co-mods you trust completely to maintain the blog’s high standards, just like I did!

    But if you want to participate at blogs you don’t run — just like I often do! — you need to accept that there might occasionally be subjects you don’t like and decisions you disagree with, on account of how you’re not in charge. Sometimes you say to yourself, “Wow, I really didn’t like that post/how those comments were handled,” but you still like the blog overall. And sometimes, even a blog you once loved will take a sharp turn in a direction you can’t bring yourself to follow. That can be sad! Unfortunately, being disappointed — on occasion or even consistently enough that you’re moved to give up on a writer — is the natural consequence of reading other people’s work instead of talking to yourself all day.

    Final point (though there might be a big meta-post coming about this): I’d just like to note that I’ve left thousands of comments at various blogs over the years, and I’ve managed never to be banned from any of them — because I respect other bloggers’ standards for discourse and recognize that I don’t make the rules anywhere but here. If I am so pissed off by what’s going on at a blog or in comments that I can’t offer a constructive comment, I don’t comment. And, as necessary, I quit reading. What I don’t do is tell other people how to run their fucking blogs. Nobody has to adhere to the Shapely Prose comments policy anywhere except Shapely Prose. And there is a very large internet out there for people who can’t stomach any particular blog, so I just cannot remotely relate to the impulse to ask (let alone demand, which happens often enough) that someone else’s blog be changed to suit my own tastes and standards.

  106. During the last presidential election, a number of blogs that I’d thought were progressive and feminist said some things about women because Hillary Clinton was a candidate that really shocked and appalled me. I felt slapped right upside the head because I thought we were all on the same side. The side that respected people, even female people. What I did about it was stop reading.

    Now, once in a while I stop by and see how things are going. As long as women’s rights aren’t the topic, I can read a post or two. What I don’t do is spend time there the way I used to because I just don’t need any more of those “little surprises” that faux allies can spring on me.

    Since Shapely Prose and Shakesville are on a VERY short list of blogs I read as often as possible, I obviously feel very safe from that kind of “who let the woman talk” kind of attitude. But if I didn’t feel safe, I’d go away. The internet is HUGE and filled with places you can hear the message that women are the sex class and need to shut up. The number of places that you don’t get that message is pretty damn small.

  107. “Yonah, I don’t have very much control over the template; what if I put it in the “about” section?”

    SM, (just in case you haven’t already thought of this and tried it) you should be able to make it sticky by giving it a future date – like several years in the future date. (If it lets you adjust the posted date, of course.)

  108. I just realized that what I said made it look like I was saying that Amy’s unhappiness was because she wasn’t happy with feminism. That may not have been her objection, of course. I was just using my experience with fauxgressives as an example. The specific post she mentioned was the one where we were being asked to think about our experiences in a new light. I find that a useful exercise even when I end up being confirmed in my first opinion, but not everyone enjoys that experience. Oddly enough, it’s something that my dearest and best friend in “real life” asks of me quite often, just as I ask it of her. It’s one of the reasons I am the luckiest woman in the universe to have her. We’re safe exploring and challenging each other because we have such mutual love and respect.

  109. And another thing…

    Nah, I’m just kidding, I have nothing to add to what Kate said.

    Though I would say this:

    “Its a little like losing an imaginary friend, only you realise they never actually were what you thought they were.”

    Fixed that for you.

  110. Looks to me like a little wider scope for this blog might vastly increase (already has) your participant base, between the polanski thing to the schrodeingers now to the troll-roast, you have developed an instantly huger community? Is this the editorial intention, or merely circumstances? Either way congrats on the success and turnout!

  111. But when the premise of the blog is that being feminist and size-friendly is right, and seeking to undermine the rights of women and fat people to live safely and free of discrimination is wrong, it follows that we don’t actually believe reasonable people can disagree about those things.

    Yes. This. Thank you.

  112. The argument ” my enormous (imaginary) group, army, etc. and I don’t like you anymore and you’ll be sorry” is totally grade school and reeks of privilege; that Amy and the trolls truly believe people can be controlled and punished by clique-ish social pressures. And the hideous consequences: we won’t like you, invite you to our parties, you won’t get laid, you’ll become a cat lady. They bought into the lie and we really must too or…

  113. SM, thank you for harnessing the otherwise wasted power of trollage for our amusement. If only we could find an easier refinement process for crude trollage, so you didn’t have to distill it by hand from sludge to usable humor.

  114. I love the notion that “becoming a cat lady” is some kind of doom to be avoided. What’s next? “Do what I say, bitchez, or you might own a beach house in Hawaii”? “If you don’t bow to my demands, you might wind up with a all the free computers you want for life”?

    I’m waiting for one to threaten me with my own fully-staffed research library. That’ll scare me. Really, it will. Doom me to one and find out, I double-dog dare ya.

  115. Is it self-serving and sycophantic for me to applaud Kate right now? [ponders] Eh, what the hell. ::applause::

  116. I’m waiting for one to threaten me with my own fully-staffed research library.

    JUST YOU WAIT, Helen Huntington. I am ordering titles from your favorite publishers and subject areas AS WE SPEAK!

    Now who’s going to threaten to finish my dissertation or take my children to the zoo?

  117. Love the tags.

    Was a tiny bit sad to come to the comments section here and find reference to abhorrent, woman-hating movie “Superbad.” To each her own, but–good lord, that movie offended me.

  118. Oh no Amy didn’t pull out the tone argument.

    “And if disliking one fucking blog can convince you that right is actually wrong, you can feel free to piss off, because nobody needs an “ally” like that.”
    Two snaps up and a vodka-dunked baby doughnut, yo.

  119. Re: the flounce upthread —

    I’ve been reading SP for right about two years now. Some days I love the posts, some days I think they’re problematic. Some days I find them interesting, some days I find them boring. When I don’t like any given post, I shrug and come back another day. When I do like a given post, I hang around reading the comments and laughing my ass off. I don’t find it interesting to limit my reading to people who agree with me; I value disagreement, particularly reasoned disagreement, because it damned well makes me have to think. SP rocks that, thankyewverymuch.

    Shorter me: you-all don’t have to always be on the same page as me, because, yanno, MY PAGE IS NOT THE WHOLE BOOK.

  120. Amy, I’m sure you’ve decamped long ago, but I have to say, my withers remain unwrung. You see, I like rugby-style comments. I grew up in a household that does rugby-style debate. Many of my SP comments in the last week came out of the e-mail conversation I was having with my own father debating the SR idea, and somehow my dad and I are still on the best of good terms.

    Yes, I actually did mean to imply that defending the Trollies is either stupid or wicked. You can choose which of those actually applies, but there is nothing helpful or redeeming about comments that challenge my base-level assumptions such as “Women are people, too.” Either you’re defending the ideas, or suggesting that somehow we ought to have these debates because other people want to. Um, wha–? If I want to get into a slugging match about women being real people, I’ll trot over to one of the charming Men’s Rights Activism blogs, or perhaps Salon on a day they run an article on the obesity epidemic oooga booga.

    Hey, SM, I found my personal favorite antagonistic response to the SR post: “Phaedra Starling is feminism’s Glenn Beck.” I don’t know why, but I laughed until I nearly cried.

  121. Well said, Kate. Your last “meta-comment” drives home, once again, that SP doesn’t have to be everything for everybody AND THAT’S OK!

    I love how this blog and the whole internet is often viewed as somewhere one can go to say “I don’t like this!” as if a.) that changes anything, b.) one was forced to go there, and c.) every word I read has to be ALL TRUTH FOR EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING!…especially blogs!

    This is not a corporation selling products for profit to keep investors happy. There is no annual shareholders meeting to discuss the corporate plan.

    I come here to drool over the uber-genius extollings of super smart writers to learn a thing or two about the state of the union in regards to fat acceptance, feminism, and how others respond to those issues that are significant to me. Target practice with trolls is a way for me to formulate non-violent responses for real world situations…besides…it’s fun too!

  122. Hey, SM, I found my personal favorite antagonistic response to the SR post: “Phaedra Starling is feminism’s Glenn Beck.” I don’t know why, but I laughed until I nearly cried.

    Oh my god, so perfect. That is priceless.

    Of course, you’re not Glenn Beck unless you cry for real.

  123. “And there is a very large internet out there for people who can’t stomach any particular blog, so I just cannot remotely relate to the impulse to ask (let alone demand, which happens often enough) that someone else’s blog be changed to suit my own tastes and standards.”

    Y’know this really rubs me when I see others doing it. I visit a lot of blogs and any one of them that has any more than a handful of regular commenters, regularly has comments of this nature. People think they get to pick and choose what a blogger writes about on their own website. Sweet Jesus, internet get a grip. If you don’t like what is being written about on a blog, there’s a handy little “x” in the upper right hand corner… click on it and then you’ll find that miraculously, you’re not reading any more!

    I admire the strict commenting policy at this blog. I know that when I open up my browser to this page I’m going to read a blog that is intelligent, well thought out and often witty and that those posts will be followed by intelligent, well thought out and often witty comments. It’s very refreshing for the internet. As for the “group think”, who gives a flying rat’s ass? So we agree on many things, ya think?!? And I’m saying this as someone who has accidentally stepped in a pile of turd myself on this blog, opening my mouth without thinking and when I got told about myself, I listened and learned from it. Now I feel like a part of this community which is a lot more than I can say about a lot of blogs, even some much smaller than this one.

    So my point? Shut up and listen. Or close the page. It’s up to you.

  124. I just realized that I’d be nothing but a troll on the MRA blogs. I can’t engage their arguments on any level whatsoever, since my gut response is, “What the fuckity fuck are you talking about you morons?”

    Which probably means that’s a piece of teh internetz that I don’t need to visit or comment about. While I may think that they ought to shut up and agree with me, I can live with knowing that the stupid is out there.

    There was a particularly virulent response to SR on one of these MRA blogs. I started looking at it, and my eyes began to glaze, so I clicked up. The guy’s next post was a video montage comparing Obama to Hitler (“chilling similarities!” says the blogger.) I cannot tell you how honored I was, in a twisted sort of way. Probably because the enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? So Barack is going to invite me over for a beer any day now!

  125. JUST YOU WAIT, Helen Huntington. I am ordering titles from your favorite publishers and subject areas AS WE SPEAK!

    AAAAAAAAAAAoooooreally?

  126. *sneaksneaksneak…type on A Sarah’s dissertation…sneaksneaksneak*

    Erm, your thesis was on quantum teleportation, right? ‘Cause it is now. ^_^

  127. The “obesity epidemic oooga booga” sounded so much like a new dance to me that I cranked up the tunes and did it. It turned out kind of a cross between bollywood hip-hop and the Time Warp.

  128. Urgh, I feel like I opened the can of worms that was Amy’s imaginary friend comment with my earlier comments. Sorry guys bad analogy.

    To make up for it, I have purchased 2 books to threaten Helen Huntington with.

  129. Late to the Party, don’t mean to pile on Amy, but HOT DAMN, really?

    I guess I’m just a raging sycophant. Or maybe I’m just a grown up who realizes I can like a blog without having to agree with it all the flippin’ time. Imagine that concept, Amy. Please don’t get your boa caught in the door on your way out.

  130. Kate, your comment just absolutely nailed a wide variety of thoughts I’ve been having since SM’s post about the cartoon went up. Right on *and* fuckin’ A to boot.

  131. I love the Helpful Comments and would like to see them in book form. Kate mentioned all blogs get comments like this and I’m sure to some extent they do; however, I have no doubt that Shapely Prose gets more than their share of abusive posts. I think it is useful to archive and publish these responses. Yes, the people who wrote these comments sometimes look foolish, but they are the ones who chose to publish in the first place. They *wanted* people to read their bon mots. Here’s their big chance to be heard.

  132. “If we just weren’t so hostile/didn’t swear so much/quieted down about our liberal views/etc., we would get SO MANY MORE READERS AND ALLIES!”

    Word. This perception likely emerges from internalized sexism, as well as the socialization that women need to encourage peace and quiet and minimize conflict. Speaking out blatantly contradicts what a lot of our faith organizations, our schools, our businesses, our parents/guardians, and our peers taught us. My mother used to tell me to act in a quiet and mysterious way in order to attract men. My church told me that I couldn’t lead prayers or speak up when men were present. My female friends told me when I was engaged that I needed to be submissive to my future husband so that out marriage would work out “in the way things were supposed to be” (said husband snorted at that one). So when I hear that we need to be quieter and less assertive in order not to offend other people, I want to scream, “FUCK YOU. I’M A LOUD FAT FEMINIST AND I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!”

  133. I heart you Shapely prose. And my blog wants to have your blogs baybeez.

    And I lerv the Helpful Comments site. Makes me laugh out loud and my dog looks up, wondering what the hell I’ve got going on.

  134. “even though I’m sure it feels like we’re piling on you — and I suppose we are, to an extent — our responses here are not just about your comments today”

    Er… I think that the mods have just summed up the situation. Amy objects to the piling on to of women who consider themselves feminists but say they don’t share the same interpretations of feminism or whatever. Basically, the Shapely Prose blog (mods & commentators and the basic rules) says that if you object to that sort of piling on, this is probably not the place for you. That’s their right. In fact, it’s a time honored conciousness raising technique (described vividly in Bradley’s _Thendara House_).

    Amy, and I, and other people considering themselves feminists who read through the other 600 comments and might’nt like the group dynamics, are free to go elsewhere.

  135. We play rugby-style comments here, while you may prefer something a little less hands-on. (Soccer? Badminton? Choose your own apposite sports analogy.

    Starling – I love that analogy. This is rugby, not wimpy American football. (Soccer, however, can be brutal and also requires an endurance level matched by few other sports. Pro soccer players are usually in amazingly good physical condition to survive the games. A friend of mine is a big footie fan and pointed this out to my ignorant American mind a while back so now I associate soccer with endurance sports like marathons, etc. Badminton, however, is so lacking in requirements for heavy physical exertion *I* play it. ;)

    And now I have a vision of the mods standing on a wall around SP going “THIS! IS! RUGBY COMMENTS!” ala “The 300.”

    I think I need to go to bed.

    DRST

  136. “Amy objects to the piling on to of women who consider themselves feminists but say they don’t share the same interpretations of feminism or whatever.”

    Yes, and there are myriad flavors of feminism. I personally adhere to the feminastic blueberry cheesecake.

  137. Wait, so “feminism” now means “not making fun of men when they say stupid things and/or imply that women who wear tight jeans deserve to be murdered by historical serial killers, because if you make fun of them you’re silencing legitmate dissent”?

    Wow, the things you learn on the Internet.

  138. Amy, and I, and other people considering themselves feminists who read through the other 600 comments and might’nt like the group dynamics, are free to go elsewhere.

    Yep! Thanks for understanding!

  139. Sweet Machine, the topics here aren’t always scratch-under-the-chin-like, but I do feel that way when coming here after a hard day. Whatever crappy news I’ve already heard in the media, one of the four of you has probably written a thread skewering, and the comments will be full of snark and silly monsters.

  140. I’m still confused about what brand of “feminism” says that we should allow ourselves to be abused by trolls.

    Oh, well, whatever. Seeya, Amy.

  141. Oh dear lord the trolling comments are…
    wow.

    I stand amazed and in awe of the moderators. I had to stop reading comments on my own blog and facebook because of the instant derails. (Although the people arguing no one has the right to be left alone because all boundaries are negotiable all the time at least have some consistency in their view.)

    The amount of effort going into debunking the statistics Starling used has also been impressive, because you know, if it turns out that any of the numbers are wrong and 1 in 60 isn’t the rapist population then that means women are being crazy. Because the problem is the STATS might not be up to proper standards.

    Huh. I’m still really angry at the number of my friends whose immediate reaction to that post was to argue with it.

    Anyways, I bow again to the moderators, revel in some of the more inane comments, and should probably be going to sleep.

  142. I particularly enjoyed this bit of comment-fail:

    “It’s not like men are going around out there willy-nilly accosting women and engaging them in conversation. it’s not like there is some kind of social ‘pressure’ to respond nicely to unwanted come-ons.”

    I think this one’s my favorite partly because the commenter said willy-nilly but mostly because they proved the whole point of SR so well. And here they thought they were objecting to it! The social ‘pressure’ is what (among other things, obviously) was being addressed! *facepalm*

    That said, I mostly just lurk around anymore and soak up the doses of sanity provided here. So while I’m commenting, I have to add that I really appreciate and admire the SP blog team for the strict enforcement of the comment policy on top of the fact that you all write really thoughtful, sensible good posts often with a dash of well aimed sarcasm. If these comments are just the tip of the iceberg, I don’t even want to imagine the rest of the hateful bile you ladies must sift through. *shudders* So, thanks SP team.

  143. As a newcomer to this blog, I’d just like to say that I *like* your style – I grew up in a household where “rugby-style” was the *only* style of debate. If you weren’t hands-on you just didn’t care enough!

    I’m glad this kind of blog exists – it is a bit of antidote to the rest of the world! This is the world in which my uncle told my (20 months old) daughter that she is “a fatso” (fortunately she doesn’t know what this means yet) and in which I have recently experienced what it is to be on the receiving end of fat comments. I am 8 months pregnant, but due to some weird quirk of my anatomy I put the weight on *everywhere* when I’m pregnant, not just in the belly region, so I look fat rather than pregnant. I was having a late lunch at McD’s and got the large size meal at 3pm in the afternoon. I could see people rolling their eyes at the “fat lady having a huge snack in the middle of the afternoon”. The really funny part is that due to my working hours, I *often* have lunch at this very same McD’s at this very same time – but usually I don’t look “fat” so nobody feels the need to comment!

    Ah, it is places like this that I come to for a sense of sanity in a world gone mad…

  144. Sorry, just to add, you can have a pic of my “fatso” daughter and my fat/pregnant self for the BMI slideshow, if you want more pics. Just another example of how the BMI leads people astray – I’m right on target for my pregnancy weight gain but if you do the BMI I’m well into the “overweight” range, and by the end of my pregnancy I might even get to “obese”…

  145. Now who’s going to threaten to finish my dissertation or take my children to the zoo?

    You better just stop being so witty, lady. (The zoo in town just got a cougar, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to go. Unfortunately, my godson is a little too young to really enjoy it.) So, yeah, you just stop, or I’m taking your kids to the zoo, and buying them cotton candy, too.

  146. Thanks for fighting the good fight at WAtRD.

    Thanks Lori aka Aurora Erratic, I’ve noticed you’re doing some sweating too!

  147. Yeah, adding my voice to the sycophantic comments. Kate has been extremely consistent with her modding and comment-sporking policies for years, as have the newer modders as they have come on board. So reading a couple of posts and deciding what a blog is about, but then complaining when sporkage occurs the same way it has for years confounds me. Seriously.

    As for the “rugby-style” comments, erm, I dunno, I grew up with rugby and I kinda disagree. Sure, there’s room here for a robust exchange of views, but there is an underlying level of respect, and expectation of respect, even then people are disagreeing strenuously. When the respect goes, the snarkage and bannation start (as they ought).

    Well, I suppose rugby played-as-it-ought looks like a free-for-all, but has a fairly stringent set of rules, so maybe the analogy is fine. But I haven’t seen any gratuitous punch-ups in here, either, which all to the good; the analogy isn’t being taken too far. :-)

  148. Chiming in with another thanks for all you do, from writing insightful posts to keeping the comment threads on track and troll-free.

    I like the ‘rough’ discussion style here–it’s honest and blunt, and I know I’m not going to be on the receiving end of the rough just for existing or for disagreeing unless I disrespect others in the process. I like that swearing isn’t seen as some Big Horrible Thing because mature, thinking people don’t need to be protected from strong language, and we’re treated as mature, thinking people until we prove ourselves otherwise. I like that mocking ridiculous, nonsensical, and cruel opinions is allowed, but mocking things inherent to people is absolutely not. I like that other people will call me on my bullshit, even as embarrassing is it is to realize I might have written something that should be called out.

    I find all of that very safe and comforting, for all the strong dose of honesty can be uncomfortable. :)

  149. I was disgusted and amused at the same time. It is like a bad joke, sort of like you know you should not laugh but it just bubbles out anyway.

    Kind of like a giggle-puke.

    I will dub it the guke.

    Yeah so the horrid comments in moon language made me guke all over my computer.

    Other than that, I love you guys. Since reading here and BFD I have found a sense of peace with myself, my sex and my body (which is not teensy and that is OK).

    My life is still chaotic, I still have crap self esteem from time to time but I am learning to live with me as myself, and at times I kind of like me too. <3

    Thank you for everything. I mean it from the bottom of my slightly bruised but still good heart.

  150. @Helen Huntingdon Erm, your thesis was on quantum teleportation, right?

    Well, it’s on place and space, so… sure! Let me know when you need my committee members’ email addresses. :) Plus emmy says that she’ll take my kids to the zoo if you need more quiet to write. Woo! <3

    @queen of nuffink… Well, shoot, that made me get misty-eyed.

    This part, in particular: "My life is still chaotic, I still have crap self esteem from time to time but I am learning to live with me as myself, and at times I kind of like me too. <3

    You… you put words to it! The process of accepting oneself after having initially learned not to! How’d you DO that? I’ve tried to do that before and all I came up with was some convoluted metaphor about a house and not trusting the floor and rigging up a pulley system to get from room to room but then the pulleys chafe… Um. Well, you see why I’m so impressed.

  151. RE WAtRD and the thin privilege post…is Mama V trolling or is she just a bit dim? That post honestly reads like Ann Coulter to me, ie. pretending to be serious but clearly designed to provoke, and not even trying to be rational.

  152. After Amy’s comments, I am adding my voice to the bunch of sycophants posting above :) – I love the way SP is modded. It’s clear, consistent and means that the fantastic community of clever and witty Shapelings don’t spend half their time explaining basic concepts and issues to trolls. I sometimes comment at the Guardian’s Comment Is Free website, and find any feminism thread inevitably deteriorates into explaining basic feminism to people. Personally I very much appreciate the chance to talk about issues without having to go over old ground all the time – it allows a much more nuanced and interesting debate, leavened with homecooked snark!

    I also love the idea of rugby comments – I am choosing to imagine the very best threads taking down the trolls as rolling mauls.

    If anyone would like to talk about WAtRD, I posted something on the Ning about it to avoid thread derail:

    http://shapelyprose.ning.com/forum/topics/we-are-the-real-deal-are-you

  153. due to some weird quirk of my anatomy I put the weight on *everywhere* when I’m pregnant, not just in the belly region

    Most people fill out when they’re pregnant! The fact that we think this is weird is (I would guess) because a) pregnant women in entertainment media are just thin women with strap-on bellies b) pregnant stars are naturally very thin to begin with and so are more likely to rock a look that’s similar to a thin woman with a strap-on belly. Plus I imagine there’s pressure on them to gain as little weight as possible. (There are exceptions even there — Catherine Zeta Jones springs to mind, and Rebecca Romijn was pregnant on Project Runway this season looking beautifully plump.)

    Trix, your description of the commenting here analogizes well to rugby as I saw it played at women’s college, so maybe we should be more specific and say women’s college rugby. :)

  154. Wait, place and space? A Sarah, are you in my field?? *boggle*

    (FYI:I mean that as a rhetorical question; not expecting an actual answer because that might compromise your pseudonymity.)

    *mental note never to threaten to write A Sarah’s dissertation for her as I might actually be considered halfway-qualified to do so*

  155. Fillyjonk– no, sorry, not what feminism ‘has been reduced to’ but ‘oh, this is the same stuff’ as Andrea Dworkin et al. You have a right to say “Yes, we know the comments are piling on people whose experiences don’t match ours (or they don’t think they match ours), or who have a different perspective on *neutral* greetings in public spaces, and we don’t care. Go complain to someone who cares.” Expecting the commenters (or the mods) to care would be like going onto an Andrea Dworkin blog and saying ‘But I don’t experience pornography as rape!’ and expecting anything but being piled onto!

  156. Some people are lucky enough to have arguments over moderation policies. I’m not even popular enough to get trolls. Then again, I’m not exactly espousing a fat-friendly feminism either. I just write to blow off steam.

    As a helpful and entirely unrelated suggestion, I think after so many days, Shapely Prose should lock the comments of a post and Wordle the page. It would be amusing to see… for me anyway, and it would give a quick glance in case there were any keywords I scrolled too quickly over.

    Bloggers like anyone else do best being themselves. I think Shapely Prose does what it does well. When the topic doesn’t suit me, I just mark the post as read in google Reader. No harm no foul.

    There’s my two cents. (I love comment sections!)

  157. Jenne, I’m confused. You seem to be saying that you have one perspective and SP has another, and that’s the bloggers’/mods’ right; and the proper thing to do in that case, if you’re the commenter on the outs, is just to disengage or selectively engage and not try to remake the blog in your own image… but then, um, you keep commenting to that effect. I don’t know how not to make that sound snotty, so all I can say is that it’s not intended snottily. Are you trying to demonstrate by example how someone with a serious ideological reservations about SP should consider hir participation?

    It’s just that I’m just not sure what conversation we’re having. Because it seems like you agree with Kate’s meta-comment… but then the way your comments come up in the conversation, it also seems like they’re intended as something of a rebuttal. I’m just not sure to what.

  158. Add me to the chorus of people who have no idea what Jenne’s talking about. Jenne, just to unpack my last comment: the only person recently who I’ve seen telling commenters or mods that their feminism is inferior is YOU.

  159. When I was pregnant especially towards the end I started putting on weight in places I’d never had it before! I was appalled of course. And that new shape never really went away, no matter how many times I dieted or how much I exercised afterward. Sorry for minor thread derail but – the hate of even pregnant women gaining weight, and the immense pressure to go back to looking like you never had a baby as soon as you possibly can manage it after giving birth is one of the nasty, toxic side effects of the ever-growing fat hatred in our culture, IMO. When I was pregnant, random acquaintances would scold me for having snacks if they deemed them “unhealthy”. Because having a brownie while pregnant is tantamount to child abuse now, apparently.

  160. Amananta, didn’t you know that pregnant women aren’t people? They’re just incubating machines. How dare you function as anything but the ideal machine.

  161. here’s Schrodinger’s Rapist in Wordle form…

    My interpretation of that, reading the biggest words:

    “Men, just think. Women really think like people.”

  162. fillyjonk, that really sums up my complaints on that thread about stranger approaches. The minute a guy goes into “uh, well maybe a woman would like to hear X”, he becomes so staggeringly boring that he could be replaced by a very short shell script.

  163. Which reminds me, a few days after that thread closed, I realized that most of my advice to guys in general about trying to converse with a woman they’re attracted to, stranger or not, boils down to “Try to pass the Turing test; you’re failing much more than you realize.”

  164. Boy, good thing you all respect polite disagreement! There were, what, only about 15 comments stomping on Amy for saying the tone here is getting a bit hostile to people who disagree. And your arguments are always so respectfully put — the obligatory “did you even look at” what was said, several “please leaves” from SM, and a whole bunch of “flounce” comments and, essentially “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

    You guys have turned into the mean girls at school. It really didn’t use to be like this. Thank you for introducing me to fat acceptance. I won’t let the door hit me either.

  165. Oh noes, a dude is unhappy with snark. That changes everything! All hail the Penis of Disapproval!

  166. That Wordle is a thing of wonder. I’m currently loving the small “Sorry” at very bottom center, as well as the concatenation of “mean Sweet article” along the bottom edge, which is in itself surrounded by the phrase “get something guy”

  167. Personally I rather like “lot Starling fuck thread” on the left, and “bus fear Machine” underneath it.

  168. You guys have turned into the mean girls at school. It really didn’t use to be like this.

    No, it did, actually, as I explained above. I know you’ve been around for a while, Trabb’s Boy, but if you think something’s changed here, then you weren’t paying close enough attention before. You might want to reread the stabby pain post that’s been linked to repeatedly in this thread already, or even just the part SM quoted above. I wrote that in the summer of 2008, and it explains everything that’s happened on this thread, so… not new.

    I also explained pretty clearly upthread why Amy’s comment gave me the stabby pain (though I’d like to note she’s not banned — she just hasn’t come back). “You’re acting like children” is really not “polite disagreement” and “you’re turning off potential allies!” is classic Concern Troll. Maybe you don’t immediately recognize that because, unlike the bloggers here, you haven’t moderated 87,714 comments in the last two and a half years. Those of us who HAVE moderated 87, 714 comments have developed rather good shit-stirrer detectors, and for reasons that have been explained ad nauseam both in comments and posts, we don’t consult the commentariat before responding when the detectors go off.

    Speaking of which, I’m gonna go ban Jenne now. Seriously, Dworkin? Again? Still? Stabby. Pain.

  169. Man, in addition to learning all the new taxonomic mnemonics from the Friday Fluff thread, now I ALSO have to learn the new taxonomy of penii? Authority, Liberation, Disapproval….. however shall I tell one Penis-type from the other?

  170. MezzoSherri, my theory is that they seekritly make little hats for them, and swap them out as desired.

  171. Just to put my two penneth’ worth in… I am actually a super-sensitive snowflake type, and yet I find this site to be the safest space evaaahhh on the net (someone described it recently as a great bowl of reality trifle/goodness trifle — don’t remember exactly, but yeah, that! Also: NOM TRIFLE!!!!). It actually took me a wee while to get used to the style of the blog, and I wasn’t always sure if I liked it or not, but something kept bringing me back and I realised I didn’t like it, I in fact ADORED AND LOVED IT OMIGOD IT’S GREAT!!! (Etc.) I think I was unused to the blunt honesty and the ownership of the posts and, well, just all the brilliantness really. I’ve seen plenty of times when there has been a disagreement — this applies to deep disagreements as well as not-so-deep ones — and it has been handled by all in a respectful way. In fact I see that all the time here. I don’t always enjoy every single post/comment, but then why would I? I love talking to my friends too, but we disagree often without (necessarily*) needing to end the friendship!

    I think too that it’s natural for there to be snark and sarcasm for when people disregard the comments policy and/or basic respect for people. This has got to be even more so when you’re dealing with the iceberg that the new ‘Helpful Comments’ site is evidently just the tippiest tip of! Plus, I imagine that it is super-hard to not feel snarky when not only might you (as a mod or commenter) have explained something a zillion times, begun by politely suggesting a former thread which ought to clarify whatever the issue/position might be, only to get *several* more ‘no but…’ comments back. From where I’m sitting, I don’t think that there was really a ‘pile on’ to Amy exactly, more a resounding chorus of people challenging what she said because they all disagree. Also, while I appreciate that the written word of the interwebz isn’t always easy to judge the tone from, there were other ways of saying what she said without sounding quite so attacky-moany. If she so chose, she could read the follow up comments, including Kate’s meta-comment (which I found to be calm, considered and un-pile-on-y), think about it, and maybe pop back on the odd occasion to see how the land was laying — I kind of hope that’s what she’s done, but I have to say at present it *seems* that there has been more of a flouncing. However, I have personally flounced off many a time in RL, only to end up thinking about the flounce and then returning to see if the flounce was really called for (hey, I’m also a flouncy sensitive snowflake!), so I kind of hope that’s what Amy does, because hopefully then she would see the beautiful Trifle Of Wonder that is the SP I see!

    *I have however started to end friendships with people I have discovered hold deeply entrenched, horribly bigoted views. Linking to some SP posts on my FB page has recently smoked several of them out. Like Lightcastle, I am also “still really angry at the number of my friends whose immediate reaction to that post was to argue with it“, and have found that the argument process helped me figure out which friends I have a disagreement with that it’s ok to disagree about, and which ‘friends’ have turned out to be Schrodinger’s Shitstains on All Humanity (of those there have been 2 — sad).

    Ooh, also, Queen of Nuffink, I lol’d so much at ‘guke’! I am now entering it into my official vocabulary!

  172. As a COMPLETE newbie to everything (seriously, sub-101 level newbie thanks to a strenuously conservative upbringing), I love the moderation here. I don’t comment often because I don’t feel well-versed enough to add to the discussion besides “YALL SO SMART I LURV IT!” but I still really enjoy reading and going through the comments because you DO encourage polite disagreement and allow people to dig into the nooks-n-crannies of the subject matter…this is so helpful to us little infant feminists because it clarifies your beliefs even further and helps me learn so much more. So thank you, and I hope that soon I’ll have read enough of this and 101 and the other blogs in this vein to be able to participate in discussions. Until then, I’m happy to silently bask in the intelligence :)

    Except on Friday Fluffs. ‘Cause, ya know, I TOTALLY get those!

  173. Oops — Zenoodle two penneth = twenty penneth!

    … *fidget fidget * … And yet I want to write more because I forgot to naughtily derail with an idea about Red Velvet cake without artificial colourings! There is a company in the UK (maybe several) which sells unprocessed cocoa — if I manage to also get hold of proper buttermilk as well (not sure where yet although I live near some dairy farms and a farm shop?!) that might mean it will have the super-funky chemical reaction thingy with anthocyanins that Anita mentioned?!?! I will report back (maybe on Ning that time!).

  174. Also (!), rugby totally works… especially now that they have the sin bin thingies for players who foul to cool off in if it’s not quite bad enough to be sent off — that’s what the warnings are for, right? I think it also applies to the pick yourself up and dust down, think about what gameplay led you to be dump tackled in the first place kind of thing that happens here too. And just to extend it even further, I reckon that new commenters are (unless spouting hideous troll-i-ness) usually given the benefit of the doubt, kind of like touch rugby when you first start playing, before you learn about the tackles!? (I like analogies!)

  175. “SM, you’re clearly failing to see that the Penis of Authority trumps reality.”

    …I don’t really see how Trabb’s Boy, whoever zie is, invoked the Penis of Authority, or what that has to do with the argument.

  176. Huh. This is only my gut reaction, and as such is subjective and contingent and so forth and so on… but I’m just noticing that I didn’t read Trabb’s Boy as, um, whipping it out as much as some of y’all did. Which is not to say I agree that the tone has changed or that we should take more seriously the “You’re alienating potential allies!” criticism. I don’t. But to me his comment didn’t come off as mansplaining. It’s possible that the line for me is when male-identified commenters find ways to speak “as a man.” You know, “as a MAN, let me lecture you about how women should act.” Trabb’s boy’s comment just seemed to me to be along the same lines as Amanda’s. If there weren’t a male-identified user name attached to the comment, I don’t think I’d have thought to consider that it might be a man with a sense of entitlement taking up space and explaining things.

    (Now, having said that, I realize that privileged folks carry their privilege with them, and speak from a position of privilege, whether or not they intend to. So it’s not an out if you didn’t MEAN it, because the important thing is the effects. I get that. I suppose I’m sharing this partly out of regret at seeing Trabb’s boy go, and partly out of a desire to check my own reactions against those of other smart folks like Helen Huntingdon and mezzosherri. Particularly when my reactions don’t track; I mean, it might be just that we’re all different people and we all get to react to things differently, but it may be that my assumptions could use some correction too.)

    (Or it may be that this is not all about me. That’s a live possibility too. [blush])

  177. I agree, AS. TB snarked, but not in a “Listen to me, I’m a man” way. I have no idea if TB actually is a boy or that’s just a moniker. In a general way, I’m sorry to see a regular go — but not sorry to see someone who doesn’t understand our moderation policy, regular commenter or not, ‘fess up and leave.

  178. You know, the first time I ever saw someone lamenting “this place isn’t what it was when I first got here, I don’t like it anymore, why can’t it be the way it was then, I’m leaving I’m going you’ll never see me again waaaaah!” was in 1997.

    For reals. 199-fucking-7. It’s always the same argument. Whatever the space is, the shine comes off for some reason and people feel butthurt that it isn’t the exact way it was when they got there. Some people shrug philosophically and adapt, some quietly fold their tents and move to their next shiny space. Some people whine publicly as if that’s going to change a damn thing.

    I’d respectfully disagree with the mods on one point – this place probably has changed a bit over time. It’s the inevitable ebb and flow of social groups. The policies haven’t changed, the threshold of behavior that’ll get you booted (which solidified over time) also hasn’t changed. However, the experience of the commenters may be different than it was in 2007 or 2008.

    And that’s okay. It can be a little sad when your favorite place changes in a way you personally don’t like, but there’s very little you can do about it. The accumulation of experience affects people. I’d wager that none of us who’ve lived through the last couple of weeks here and are still around have not been affected on some level, in some way, by the recent monster posts.

    Also there’s very little Kate could do about it if she felt that the tone and style of the comments was no longer her ideal either, because, surprise surprise: You can’t control other people. And when groups of people interact, short of laying some basic ground rules and keeping out intentional troublemakers, there’s not much you can do but hang on and watch.

    That this place is still around and still a hub for so many people is because 1) the mods recognize this, I believe and b) what rules there are governing behavior are strict, strictly enforced and not democratic. That may sound counterintuitive, but my experience in online spaces leads me to believe the ones that last the longest and “best” eschew populist decision making for autocracy as the most effective means of building a sense of boundaries. (To translate that into English: if every transgression required a consensus before it was censured, everything would fall apart in a matter of hours after the first incident because someone always has to be the contrarian and argue why it wasn’t all that bad, etc. Under a authoritarian regime, what the mods say is law and there’s no debate.)

    DRST

  179. @Zenoodle: To be fair, some of the disagreement has been ok, even when I’ve been all hopped up and angry. For instance, in trying to get through to people who kept insisting, I asked the general question whether people believed they had the right to be left alone in public and define their own boundaries. At that point, it is a general discussion and while I may find some responses frustrating (“There are no such things as rights except those which society decides. When you are among other people, your rights change.”) it’s not quite the same anger as the “let me immediately attack the SR post”. (And the whole “all boundaries are negotiations” was actually a legitimately interesting tack and I think I over-sniped at amadea for suggesting it.)

    For me, it is the ones who said something like, “There’s something wrong with those stats, so I don’t think she’s right at all.” that drove me nuts. Or the endless, endless derail into “I don’t see that, and I don’t act that way, so you are being ridiculous.” Or refusing to read the comments.

    But, also, my LJ and Facebook are more ways to keep in touch with people I know. If I had a blog that was its own space, I’d probably be more up to being combative in the comments. I just don’t like my friends making me angry about this kind of thing.

  180. “You guys have turned into the mean girls at school. It really didn’t use to be like this.”

    Wasn’t there a post recently about how being nice could get you killed? I am having a search-fail trying to find that post on here. Help!

  181. Agree with Annalyn, SM and A Sarah about Trabb’s Boy. After the last couple of weeks, I can appreciate the temptation to assume anyone with a male handle is mainsplaining, but I don’t see it there.

    Also agree with DRST about, like, everything.

  182. not sorry to see someone who doesn’t understand our moderation policy, regular commenter or not, ‘fess up and leave.

    Yep, I agree. If that’s the case it’s best for everyone, including the commenter.

    And wild applause for DRST! You nailed it. The last paragraph reminded me of an email list I belonged to for years, where the moderator had a very very very soft touch… to the point that it took MONTHS of protracted discussion to ban someone who — whether out of conscious malice or well-meaning ignorance or emotional unreachability — could not stop peppering the list with religious evangelizing. (It was not a list about a religious subject at all.) That was her policy, and she was the one donating her time to moderate the list for free, the people who stayed decided it worked for them, and it really worked for me too (I left for other reasons)… but the “light touch” approach also lost people who didn’t want to deal with that. There’s really not a way of moderating a public forum like SP that will please everyone with a genuine interest in the topic while also keeping out the people who want to derail and/or argue against your basic principles.

  183. Some of the trolls on the Helpful Comments site just make me want to either laugh or cry. I’ll go with laugh; it’s better for my mental health.

    Re: grumpy/flouncing commenters – I’ve been reading SP for over a year, but I avoided commenting much for a long time because, honestly, I was terrified of sticking my foot in my mouth and getting called out by the bloggers and commenters whose opinions I’ve come to respect. I want people who I like to like me, y’know? But I kept reading because SP seriously blows my mind on a regular basis, and that fear of commenting led to something miraculous: I SHUT UP AND LISTENED. I ended up learning a hell of a lot, not just from reading the posts but from reading the comments, especially the ones from FA/feminism newbs who sometimes echoed my own newbish thoughts and promptly got themselves schooled. (I also learned not to take snark personally all the time, because usually it’s an idea or attitude that’s being snarked, not the person. Unless they’ve earned it.)

    That’s a long way of saying I sort of know where some of these commenters with their delicate sensitivities are coming from, but I would also recommend that they get over themselves, take a deep breath, and either shut up and listen or find someplace they feel more comfortable. Thank you, Kate, SM, FJ & AS for keeping this place safe, intellectually stimulating, and just scary enough to encourage some of us to think before we comment. ;)

  184. AS: as a semi-aside, I think following along with (what are around here occasional) “hm what is going on here and why do I think what I think about your argument, and do I really think that?” comments is very useful.

    It’s a pedagogy of comments, maybe. Learning how to have a good discussion on-line and in RL is hard. Anyone who ever had to run a 300-level seminar knows this to their own pain, I suspect. One of the hardest things is to work out how to backtrack and reevaluate productively. Examples help.

    In a specific way, the comments policy is crystal clear. You are under zero obligation to explain to anyone why you make the moderator decisions you make. But if you happen to be in the mood to articulate a reason for responding the way you respond…

    Short version: Rugby has lots of rules and the referees are important. Figuring out strategy is part of learning to play well.

  185. @Lightcastle — I had a mix of reactions too. Most were either ‘I don’t get it, that’s not how I think’ and then we maybe discussed it and then we maybe did or maybe didn’t each see the other’s point of view, but it was all ok because there was still peace and love. But quite a few were ‘oh aren’t you being a bit over the top I mean I know you said you’re a feminist but isn’t this tantamount to suggesting we cull all men from the world’ which made me really mad (and the discussion was either not had because it was pointless or it was had and tended to be more frustrating), and a couple were just plain ‘this is bollocks women are stupid and should be grateful when we talk to them rah rah rah trolly rah misogynistic rah’. So the process which was meant to be me just going ‘ooh look interesting link!’ turned into an interesting, but maddening experience. I found that the discussion/arguing the post led to acted as a kind of litmus test for the wankers I no longer want to associate with — I should also mention that I have reposted quite a few feminastical articles recently and been dealing with shitty FB comments on all of them, so this was also in part a cumulative process!

    I think the worst was a couple of months ago when I called a friend out on fat-hate-speak and was told “yeah but you just didn’t know how to eat properly and that’s why you had a disorder see you got better when you got told how, and that’s the same as teh fatz radahradah-raaah” over and over again by a previously-thought-respectful friend, despite my dogged attempts to be generous and not judge him instantly as a wanker, and to calmly and non-insultingly and also rationally explain to him how what we were saying differed, that he was misrepresenting my position and therefor not engaging with it, etc etc. I wasted two whole days on that email exchange and was reduced to tears several times, and had to conclude it wasn’t worth it. So, we’re not ‘not friends’, but I haven’t actually contacted him since, nor him me. It’s a bit different in that I know this person I guess, but it felt like a little bit of an insight into how TIRING and derailing it would be if this was allowed to happen all the time in comments here at SP Trifle Central.

    That’s not to say that any/all of the disagree-ers on this thread today necessarily made me feel any of these ways; I’m more just adding to the pile of ‘thank fuck for the comments policy and the way things tend to roll around here” comments! Also, I don’t think this site/comments policy is exactly authoritarian, just simply because the mods are actually reflexive and will listen if someone asks them to clarify on something they’ve said or maybe calls them on something that might have been problematic with it.

    *Makes many red velvet cake prototypes and hands them all round for testing*

  186. So I came here because of Schrodinger’s Rapist, and this is one of two or three blogs that I EVER open outside of Google Reader and actively read and engage in commenting because you wonderful people are delightful and whip-smart and make me laugh and make me think and I love it.

    It’s like I found my people, the ones who won’t let me be lazy and take the easy way out, who will tell me when I’m being a total jerk, and who won’t let my racism / sexism / ableism / sizeism slide. And what more could I ask for?

  187. @zennoodle – Yeah. Something like that. (Getting the “Wow! Why are you getting mad? We’re just debating.” thing really got me irked.)

    Anyway, enough derail about whiny me. :)

    I have no redvelvet recipes, but do have a pretty good fig crisp recipe to donate.

  188. “Try to pass the Turing test; you’re failing much more than you realize.”

    That is, from my autistic point of view, too hilariously ironic at this hour of the morning. My ‘small talk’ routine does not, in my own assessment, pass the Turing test, but I am much less socially off-putting when I do it.

  189. Cool, discussion of the mansplain, what it is and isn’t.

    Here’s why I read Trabb’s Boy’s comment as just that:

    “It really didn’t use to be like this.” — Repeating an argument that has already been made by a woman and debunked by women, when done by a man on a feminist blog and correcting the owners of said blog, sounds exactly like a textbook illustration of mansplaining to me.

    “You guys have turned into the mean girls at school.” — when from a man to the women on a feminist blog, it never would have occurred to me this could be anything but a mansplain.

    I also don’t have any history with Trabb’s boy to think he’s earned some benefit of the doubt.

    It’s entirely possible I’m running on a slightly different definition of mansplain than is usual here, however, in which case it’s for me to adapt.

  190. Oh wow. These comments are patently ridiculous. You really do have to wonder how many self parodies are in there. Because seriously, Poe’s Law (http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Poe) applies entirely to offense trolls that play the sexist game vs. sexist satirists vs. chauvinist wire chewers, not just real fundamentalists vs. trolls and satirists.

    Also I seriously lol’d at the Parseltongue and “sexiest”. Like for realz, out loud as in the guys at work were like, “what the hell is she giggling at?” out loud. XD

  191. Grafton, your sense of humor and mine match up to some degree — I’ve found a lot of your humor incredibly funny.

  192. You really do have to wonder how many self parodies are in there.

    Yeah, I’m trying not to include anything that was *clearly* angling for it, but it is hard to tell.

  193. My ’small talk’ routine does not, in my own assessment, pass the Turing test, but I am much less socially off-putting when I do it.

    This is still cracking me up, because a lot of small talk really doesn’t pass the Turing test, does it?

  194. “my theory is that they seekritly make little hats for them, and swap them out as desired.”

    This is true.

    We swear by our pretty floral bonnets we will end you.

  195. “It really didn’t use to be like this.” — Repeating an argument that has already been made by a woman and debunked by women, when done by a man on a feminist blog and correcting the owners of said blog, sounds exactly like a textbook illustration of mansplaining to me.

    I agree that this is a problematic response, and more problematic when a man does it. I’m not sure, though, that it qualifies as penis-waving. If I were 100% sure that TB were actually male, I might feel differently, I’m not sure — certainly I don’t have a lot of patience for Men Who Explain Things. But I think we can say that responding to Kate’s long and detailed post about why this is and always has been consistent with explicit blog policy with “nuh-uh” is problematic, without having to malign people’s hypothetical genitals in the process.

    But again, I think I mainly don’t see it as mansplaining per se because I’m not sure TB is in fact a boy. I do agree that it’s not kosher to come in and tell a blog owner that her understanding of her own policies about her own blog is wrong. “It really didn’t used to be like this” — well yeah, it did. When you’re responding to facts and expert testimony by just reasserting your opinion, that’s dismissive and disrespectful.

  196. Thank you, fillyjonk — that means the operative definition of the mansplain here is definitely a bit different from what I’m used to, so I will adapt.

  197. Helen Huntingdon, re: small talk and the Turing test.

    In that case I wasn’t trying to be funny at all. Merely good-humoured. I’m funny but I very often don’t know why, but that’s fine and certainly better than the times when I’m a complete prick and don’t know why.

    Indeed no, small talk doesn’t pass the Turing test. I could write my bits out as LISP routines. Probably most of the reason it was so damn hard to learn is that one nobody will just tell you that it’s a predictable little program, and there are too many little variations on it to bother memorizing when, Hey, shiny stuff!

    Anyway, maybe you want to tell these guys to fail the Turing test for two minutes and then start to pass it. Which will work, given/unless (something magical happens here, probably involving the person you’re talking to giving an unspoken and undetectable-to-me signal that they want small-talk to move on to a conversation.)

  198. that means the operative definition of the mansplain here is definitely a bit different from what I’m used to

    Mainly in that I think it’s important that the mansplainer be demonstrably a man. :) I just don’t remember having hard evidence that TB is male (or represents hirself as male), vs. having a username with a male noun in it.

  199. Excellent point, fj, and I stand corrected.

    Grafton, small talk of the sort that can be scripted works for some things and it doesn’t for others. In my experience, if a guy trying to show romantic interest / make a romantic approach fails the Turing test from the start, the likelihood that he will be an appalling excuse for a conversationalist and yet insist on trying to converse with me quite a lot anyway is extremely high. I find the latter tiresome enough and happening frequently enough that any method of sorting against it is something to be glad of.

  200. Ok, I clicked on the wordle link, and what popped out in BIG WORDS to me was “woman know women, men just tell.”

  201. I sympathize with you there, HH. I am quite miserable in the company of those who can do small talk forever, in spite of the fact that I’ve learned how to say something completely devoid of content at semi-random intervals, leading them to believe I am listening enough that I avoid giving obvious offense while I’m actually amusing myself thinking about turbines or something. And it really is amazing how many people appear able to make small talk until the end of time.

    I am now off to put a pretty floral bonnet on my wing-wang in the hopes of appeasing lightcastle.

  202. I am now off to put a pretty floral bonnet on my wing-wang in the hopes of appeasing lightcastle.

    It was worth waking up this morning just to read that sentence.

  203. (coming back to this after some errand-running and homework-struggling)

    I read Trabb’s Boy’s comment in much the same way Helen Huntingdon did, and now after reading the follow-up discussion I see the ways that I made this huge HONKING assumptive leap about TB’s gender in my response. Thanks for the redirect.

    I do still maintain my amusement in the concept of differently-taxonomied penii with their swappable hats. Especially since that bit of the thread netted us @lightcastle’s Firefly shoutout. :)

  204. Hmmm… I don’t really see this place as rugby-style to anyone who isn’t in some way hostile to the basic ideals SP espouses. SP is a safe space to me, where I can engage and even just lurk without needed my shit filters on high.

    I don’t get the whole “hive mind” accusation for this place. I mean, if your friend lived in an area where they were constantly bombarded by offensive noise, like 90 decibelwhite noise plus regular bouts of nails-on-chalkboard or high-pitched screeching or whatever, you wouldn’t object to them putting up soundproofing in the basement so they could have just one small, safe place where they – and a few similarly suffering companions – could let the ringing in their ears subside. And if someone came in and opened up the door of their little basement to loudly sing their new favourite song at your friend, you wouldn’t go “oh how could you be so mean, telling that person to go away and not being polite and accomodating. Couldn’t you just listen to their song? They really wanted to share “who let the dogs out” with you!”.

  205. I am now off to put a pretty floral bonnet on my wing-wang

    is now my gchat status message.

    Great analogy, Bunny Mazonas.

  206. Bunny Mazonas, that’s brilliant! I don’t want to listen to the Who Let the Douchehounds Out either, and here I don’t have to :-).

    Also, on rugby analogies, maybe it depends on how you have played / understood / been taught the game. I know a lot of dirty tackling might go on in some games, but the *idea* of a fair sport, and skill, and what have yous kind of works for me.

  207. Grafton, my labmates want to know why I keep laughing so hard.

    As for the small talk versus turbines thing, I’ve had the following conversation more times than I can count:

    guy: smalltalksmalltalksmalltalk
    me: smalltalk So what do you do?
    guy: I do X.
    me: *instantly perk up because X involves a branch of math I don’t work with much* Oh, so which type of X?
    guy: Z X. But X is boring, so smalltalksmalltalksmalltalk.

    Then the guy will refuse to talk about something interesting, like how he works with math widget Y, but will instead bore me to tears with blather I’ve already heard a few hundred times.

    Argh.

  208. Take that tampon out of your vagina! –what the hell?

    Somehow I don’t think the troll meant “…and get yourself a Divacup!”, but I can’t fathom what she DID mean. Or, indeed, possibly he.

    I am a fan of the stupid. It’s like the SP version of “Fundies Say the Darndest Things”.

  209. A Sarah and Bald Soprano – Wait, are you both in MY field??? Have you spent endless hours analyzing the univocality of your place attachment scales?

  210. @Helen: Thanks! I love snickerdoodles!

    @octopod: “Somehow I don’t think the troll meant “…and get yourself a Divacup!””

    But how funny would that be!?

  211. Also, on rugby analogies, maybe it depends on how you have played / understood / been taught the game

    zenoodle – to me it’s the difference between American football, which is played with pads and so many rules and commercial breaks it takes 5 minutes to run a single play, versus rugby which is without pads and while yes has breaks and rules never feels quite so tedious or fragmented. YMMV, of course.

    DRST

  212. @octopod: “Somehow I don’t think the troll meant “…and get yourself a Divacup!””

    But how funny would that be!?

    I think “get yourself a Divacup!” might need to become the new “get the stick out of your ass.”

  213. I really wish I was more of (read “anything like”) a cartoonist, because the adventures of Diva cup and the Liberty stick (in his pretty floral bonnet) has GOT to be money.

  214. Oops — for the record (and for the moderators), I just accidentally posted a comment under my partner’s log-in; it’s being held in moderation for the moment.

    I’ll reproduce my comment here; it was originally posted under the Videoport Jones log-in. Mods, I’m sure you’ll delete or alter as you see fit, or leave it as it stands — your choice.
    ___________________________________

    As a frequent reader here and an infrequent commenter, I admit that at times the vigorous and unflinchingly raucous debate in the comments has kept me from contributing… but I understand that that reluctance is my choice and that the tone and tenor of the conversation here is not designed to keep me quiet when I disagree.

    Indeed, I love it when a contributor here writes something with which I disagree, because that is when I learn the most: either I disagree and find it necessary to articulate (if only to myself) why I disagree, or I start out disagreeing and find that your points persuade me to change my mind. The recent xkcd critique is a great example of this; when I started reading, I didn’t have a big problem with the comic in question, but before I was halfway through the comments, I was nodding and seeing aspects and layers of unstated context that I simply had not noticed at first.

    It’s incredibly valuable for me to read intelligent commentary that takes a different stance than my own; I’m always surprised when people resist the advantages of hearing thoughtful people speaking (even if in snarky tones) from a different perspective.

  215. Oh my… Is the one about “and so on down the animal kingdom” is the Great Chain of Sexual Assault Being… lovely. By which I mean “yeuch.”

  216. TBS, I guess studies of place (which I do, too!) apply in many settings. I am just so used to reading about them in the context of natural resources and community development that for a second there I thought I was the center of the universe, or to grab someone’s comment from way upthread: I thought mine was the only page in the book :)

  217. Exactly what Bunny Mazonas just said. All of it. Exactly. And especially this:

    Hmmm… I don’t really see this place as rugby-style to anyone who isn’t in some way hostile to the basic ideals SP espouses. SP is a safe space to me, where I can engage and even just lurk without needed my shit filters on high.

    Shapely Prose is the only safe space than in the entire world where I don’t have to value the thoughts and feelings of assholes over my own, and where I can set my own boundaries and take no shit from anyone about them. It’s invaluable. I don’t understand why people would want to see it change. Exactly which thoughtful points of view are missing by refusing to play nice with people who don’t like fat people or women? We can get them everyfuckingwhere else.

    Tara and Emily WK and videoportjones, I’m so glad you find stuff of value here.

    DRST, there are times when your Bronzerness just shines through :).

    Regina T, it was “She Didn’t Fight Back Because You Told Her Not To”. Which everyone should read. Everyone! *evangelises* *hands out pamphlets on the street*

  218. A Sarah, I am not qualified to write your dissertation, but I did just teach a book about Apache place names and places, and the moral ordering of the Apache world. It is a good book.

    I would also like to be threatened with the horrible fate of someone else finishing my dissertation. Or grading my quizzes, commenting on papers, or sweeping up the dog hair that plagues my floor.

    My life would be markedly different if someone did.

  219. I think my dissertation has colic. If someone will take it for long rides in the car, I’ll be happy to write 10 pages on the unknown impact of large-scale wind power penetration into their dissertation, and there won’t even be any overlap, because mine doesn’t cover that.

    Alternatively, I could offer 15 pages on historical theories of King Arthur.

  220. Shapely Prose is the only safe space than in the entire world where I don’t have to value the thoughts and feelings of assholes over my own, and where I can set my own boundaries and take no shit from anyone about them.

    Oh, Caitlin, that made me all misty.

  221. I would also like to be threatened with the horrible fate of someone else finishing my dissertation.

    Who wants to threaten me with doing 2 years of coursework and teaching for me, so I can just write the dissertation and get a PhD? Because I would totally love hate that.

  222. Which reminds me, a few days after that thread closed, I realized that most of my advice to guys in general about trying to converse with a woman they’re attracted to, stranger or not, boils down to “Try to pass the Turing test; you’re failing much more than you realize.”

    Helen, thank you! I am shaking with laughter right now :)

    Re: comment policies: it’s something I’ve been feeling out myself. A big thread on my blog is 20 or so comments, but even so, I get people whose responses are basically: “OMG! We’re almost the same size! I’m so thrilled to find your blog! I [enthusiastic weight-loss history] and I’m losing again because [blah blah blah] and I love your posts on exercise and OMG I’m not the only person my size who works out how do you manage [chub rub | find workout bras | deal with dirty looks at the gym]?”

    And then I get to decide whether to let it through, mark it spam, email privately, or edit it down. My blog, so I have to decide, but there are days when I really want more options.

  223. Isn’t there some Universal Rule about how the thing you’re supposed to be working is *exactly* the thing you’re not all that interested in focusing on?

    I kind of feel like that about my dissertation. Anything else… I’m totally into that, too.

  224. Caitlin – Bwah! But I mean, really. People were saying that like a month after I got to the Bronze. Hell that fall was the Color Wars and the Topic Wars! It gets old after a while. ;)

    Folks, I wrote my dissertation in about a month. I don’t mean the classes, reading and research, but the actual writing. I punted away most of my fall semester that year not getting a lot done, and then January came and I spent about three weeks plowing through the first draft like a maniac because we had to set the date for my defense (2/27/06 – a date that will live in my memory forever) and I had to complete a draft for comment before that could happen, so suddenly I had no choice. Also I had to graduate by May ’cause I was out of money.

    There are times I look back and wonder how in fuck I finished that degree in 4 years. I spent most of my third year after recovering from comps reading, reading and reading, through that summer where I did basically nothing, and then adrenalin kicked in, I guess.

    I guess what I’m saying is: It can be done! *waves pom poms of encouragement*

    DRST

  225. Helen Huntingdon: “Then the guy will refuse to talk about something interesting,”

    Sounds familiar. I’m certainly at a loss to explain it. I’ll refuse to talk about things because talking is hard, but clearly that is a very different matter. Why would anybody do graduate work in maths if they don’t think it’s interesting? I’d suggest you offer thumbscrews, but they’d probably take it the wrong way.

  226. PS – I also wrote a GINORMOUS amount of fanfic during the 4 years I was in my doctoral program, so believe me, I’ve been there with the “I can’t believing I’m writing this stuff instead of my actual work, what is wrong with my brain, why did I suddenly need to clean the house at 10pm rather than write?” And yet, here I am on tenure-track and everything. If I can manage that? Anyone can.

  227. *rethinks sporting analogies*

    Hmmm. DRST, my main sources of information about American Football to date have been random episodes of Friends and an ill-fated attempt to try to be polite, when someone whose house I was in thought playing that Varsity Blues film with Dawson from Dawson’s Creek in would be a good idea. Also, in my head, rugby is played sort of like a cross between how the girls games class played it when I was between the ages of 9-13, reports from an ex who was a winger (thus not in the scrum) and the sort of idealised sportspersonship ideas I have in my head (from which I haven’t been properly detached having not really played in team sports since the age of 16ish!). So maybe my rugby analogy works a bit differently… I did hear though that it was easier to get injured in AF than rugby *because* of the pads and how the tackles work — I understood from an American friend who was studying here that there are more back injuries in AF? The main risks in rugby appear to be getting wonky noses and cauliflower ears… Loving the idea of dump tackling persistent trolls still, though!

  228. Okay DRST… I am going to have to give up SP for a few weeks, since I don’t write fanfic, I read FA. But it can be done, and I should really try and do it.

    When I turn a draft in, I am so totally sitting in bed wrapped in a bath towel, drinking alternating red wine and coffee, and reading the back entries I will have missed of Shapely Prose.

  229. @Caitlin—A thousand thank yous for pointing to the post that was a bonafide epiphany for me! This one exactly http://kateharding.net/2009/08/04/she-didn%e2%80%99t-fight-back-because-you-told-her-not-to/

    This post by Sweet Machine, and in particular, this quote she posted from Fugitivus–

    -”These rules for social interactions that women are taught to obey are more than grease for the patriarchy wheel. Women are taught both that these rules will protect them, and that disobeying these rules results in punishment.”-

    –were the LAST words I needed to finally give permission to that voice inside me that has told me all my life that no matter what my gender, size, or rating on the beauty scale was, I WAS EQUAL, WORTHY, and SIGNIFICANT enough to stand up for myself, hold my own in all kinds of circumstances, and demand equal time/rules/outcomes. I don’t have to play by the rules handed down by patriarchy that I be nice, polite, quiet, submissive, feminine, forgiving, or apologetic in public or in private. Not just because I could be raped, but because complying with these rules perpetuates the subversive undertones that keep the world’s boot firmly in place at my neck.

    As Kate was quoted in that same post–
    -”Subtle sexism gives them that. Keeping your mouth shut about overt sexism gives them that. Not really listening to the women you love, let alone women you don’t even know–thereby being one more guy sending a message to women that we’re only worth listening to on men’s terms–gives them that. Telling yourself and anyone who will listen that that’s just the way it is, and people need to quit whining gives them that.”

    Staying silent, following the rules of politeness, not challenging the words and behaviors of those that wish to “keep women in their place” is a very real danger to the well being of half the population. SMs “Helpful Comments” blog serves as a clearinghouse, if you will, to showcase the very dangerous line that is being tread by many who believe we should just shut up and lie there.

    Thank you Kate, Sweet Machine, Fillyjonk and A Sarah times infinity for what you do. I don’t think you all really know just how much of a positive impact your words have on me. I cannot express in words how grateful I am that this blog exists.

  230. Well see, now I’m thinking about – “mean girls”, and the whole trope I hear over and over again about how “girls are more verbally abusive than boys” and “girls are meaner than boys” and “girls are worse than boys” which I hear all the time. This in no way reflects my life experience and I’ve always been puzzled by it, and by the examples people give to back up their points. In short, the claim seems to be that while boys and men rape and abuse, women say snarky things and somehow that’s so much worse – and of course, men never say mean things like girls do (also not true). So I’m wondering how much of the hand-wringing about “mean girls” is distress over feminism having created a space where some girls are now free to display their natural human assertiveness (and some overdo it at times and become aggressive, just like all humans do) but its seen as somehow worse because they are female? Because we’re supposed to be nice, not strident, not taking up too much room, not inconveniencing anyone, always giving, always gracious, always denying ourselves, etc. And meanwhile boys will be boys, what else can you expect?
    Food for thought.

  231. JenRave – I never thought of the “mean girls” trope as a response to “distress over feminism”, although I may have to re-think that.

    To me, it seemed the “mean girls” thing started more as a response to the classic essentialist argument that women were always nice and supportive and kind, when the reality is that women – like men- can be nice or can be mean because they are, you know, human.

    Also, I’ve mostly seen it used as a counter to the common “women aren’t aggressive/as aggressive as men” line. Basically a, “sure they are, it just has been channeled differently” thing.

    But since most tropes can have more than one use once they get out into the wild, it wouldn’t surprise me at all that it has also been taken up as a banner of “see how feminism has made girls mean” argument.

  232. It’s certainly how it was brought into this discussion – to shame us all here into being nicer. Oh noes, the blog owners are mean girls if they won’t allow concern trolls to dominate the boards. No, not mean girls, anything but that!
    It’s just another way to say “b****” now.

  233. I think there are women that aren’t sure whether to own feminism or a form of autonomy or to buy into a traditional role. These women seem to have all the wonderful qualities women can have but they get extra twitchy and inconsistent because “girls can do anything men can do” but then nothing really is expected of them.

    I know a few women that seem to have trouble managing their social friends and their romantic partnerings and it really seems like they are sitting on a fence where if they moved in one direction or the other, people would know how it is those women want to be supported. And these particular women do a good job of staying busy so it’s easy for them to overlook this paradoxical position.

    Certainly, it’s not an either/or scenario here, but when you pave your own way, you have to be prepared to either use expectations or good communication with self-reflection or both. Because it’s easy for any of us to say what we think we are while it is quite obvious to other people when there is a blatant discrepancy.

  234. I think the confuse-your-own-adventure people are much more distracting from the social movements. That’s where I was going with that… sort of a tangent on the mean girls trope.

  235. JenRave – You’re absolutely right. (I had forgotten the earlier discussion about how “this is just a mean girl place now”.) Interesting, I hadn’t noticed the general shift, but wracking my brain for recent usage, I can’t find one that isn’t that.

    Well that sucks.

  236. “You guys have turned into the mean girls at school.”
    Ding-ding-ding- we have a winnah! Thank you for violating Snacky’s Law (http://wiki.fandomwank.com/index.php/Snacky's_Law); have a baby doughnut! Interesting paradox for y’all to ponder:
    Number of groups I’m in/involved with/read online where I have been compared with “One of those meeeeeaaan girls who picks on everybody in high school”:
    Pottersues
    Deleterius
    Fandom_Wank
    The_HMS_STFU
    and now SP!
    Number of times I acted in any way that could remotely be construed as Mean Girl-ish in high school:
    3
    Number of times I was the victim of the Mean Girls( actually, in 90% of cases, Mean Boys) in high school:
    Too many to count
    So what does that make me? Apparently I am an Internet Mean Girl and a real-life victim. Does one cancel out the other? Or am I a Horrendous Bitch forever because I dare to *le gasp* say things online that every person in the universe might conceivably not agree with?
    *is curious*
    No, really. All we need is for someone to compare the lovely ladies of SP to the Nazis a la Godwin’s Law (YOU KNOW HITLER WOULD HAVE A MODERATION POLICY JUST LIKE YOURS!!!!) and the circle will be complete!

  237. Hi all, first-time commenter here; I was linked to the SR post and have since read much of the recent content, and added the site to my Google Reader. Apologies for the late reply but I just *had* to comment on these two posts:

    Jenne Just Here for the Fat, please
    In fact, it’s a time honored conciousness raising technique (described vividly in Bradley’s _Thendara House_).

    Oh my god! I love MZB’s Darkover books. The heroine of Hawkmistress! (Romilly, I think?) was so cool. I devoured MZB as a teenager; time for a re-read, I think…

    DRST
    [...] my experience in online spaces leads me to believe the ones that last the longest and “best” eschew populist decision making for autocracy as the most effective means of building a sense of boundaries.

    Benevolent dictatorship is the most efficient form of government. I think this also holds true online. The message board I spend the most time on charges a sign-up fee, and bans/probates (for 100,000 years, if necessary) posters who troll persistently, or break the rules; it works very well, as there’s a financial incentive to keep hold of your account, and to lurk/learn the rules before posting. The strict moderation and pre-approval of comments here works in the same way and is perfectly fair enough, to my mind – a case of my house, my rules. Well, not “mine”, but you know what I mean.

  238. I just came over to say “Please never ever ever stop with the Helpful Comments posts.” Then I find all this hullabaloo, and, day-um, people. Just . . . day-um.

    You see people talking about how women want to be raped, and how “girls” shouldn’t wear revealing clothes without ponying up the eternal vag-pass, and how even fat babies have a responsibility not to be fat at innocent normal folks, and think we are all crazy . . . and it’s somehow the SP crew that’s “mean?” For what? For making fun of these people? You know, the ones who think rape is funny and that women should STFU and just take some deep breaths through our vaginas?

    Welcome to some mighty fucked up priorities. Damn.

    I love your comments policy, personally. Never change.

Comments are closed.