Metapost: Comment Policy Change

Oh, hey, look! There's a new comment policy!


I hope that nothing here is too surprising, and I think it should be pretty clear by now that 99.99% of you have nothing to be concerned about. If you think you do, please feel free to email me so that I can reassure you.

The new blog policy is kind of a "three strikes you're out" policy, except that (a) I'm calling it "three spoons you're out" because striking is very violent and at first I was thinking "sporks", but then I realized those are stabby, and I found a pretty picture of a spoon online, and (b) I can assign as many spoons as I feel are necessary for a post. This latter point is not because I want to insta-ban people so much as to deal with the one-time (I hope!) case where someone blusters in from the greater Internet out there and posts eighteen types of fail in one sweeping comment'o'fail. I didn't want to have to be all, "Well, here's your first spoon, please do that two more times now."

This blog has been up for... gosh... apparently my first post on Blogger was in February. So that's 9 months now. I'll be giving out a spoon today, and I hope that I don't have to give out any more spoons for another 9 months.

Please express concerns, suggestions, modifications below in thread.


Will Wildman said...

As a thought: I saw the handing-out of the first spoon before I saw this thread, and was pretty confused, because 'spoon' does not have a 3-and-you're-out connotation for me. ('Strike' doesn't seem violent in the context to me, any more than 'strikethrough' on a font.) The first abstract spoon that does come to mind is the famous Spoons analogy for limited capacity due to chronic pain (which of course has its own controversy over whether it should or should not be used to refer to mental distress). I was trying to figure out if the the Spoons of Warning were related to that or what.

I'm not looking to be all 'your system is not what I would do and therefore wrong', but I'm not clear on what advantages it has over a simple 'I will warn you until I decide warnings aren't good enough, then you're out' approach.

Kit Whitfield said...

I didn't want to have to be all, "Well, here's your first spoon, please do that two more times now."

I think that's a clever system. Personally I think spoons are a good choice because for those familiar with the lupus-spoons analogy, it implies an element of 'People may not have the spoons to deal with you', but people in chronic pain may wish to disagree with me...

Anyway, I think the points-on-your-license system is a very good idea, and one I'd like to see catch on in other places. :-)

Pthalo said...

i think the spoons are cute.

Also reminds me of that card game where everyone has to surreptitiously take a spoon and the one who's left without the spoon is out

Ana Mardoll said...

I've been sort of fixated on spoons lately, but I'm not sure why. They appear several times in my novel, and I definitely wasn't going for the Spoons analogy there; I just wanted something small and portable and sort of... weak. Non-weapon-y, I mean, which excludes knives and forks.

I wanted to do a points-on-your-license (good term, Kit!) system and also have pictures because I have a sneaking feeling that pictures make the faqs easier to read. (I mean, my goodness, I have like FIVE policy pages? I look so narcissistic and talkative. MUST CONDENSE... somehow.) I started with "bats" for strikes, and then thought, no, too violent, maybe "clue sticks" like at Pandagon. But that's sort of violent too. I had a brief flirtation with sporks before I decided that spoons would be the best.

And I did think then of the lupus thing and that seemed to sort of fit in that only I can decide how many spoons something is costing me. But that sort of came after I'd picked out the spoons and made the graphic...

But, yeah, I'm not sure why I'm obsessed with spoons lately. Paging Dr. Freud, I guess.

Mime_Paradox said...

Yeah, I thought about chronic pain spoons too, and then Shakesville's "fighting the tide with a teaspoon" motif--with this, spoons seem to be racking up quite the CV as a metaphorical construction. In any case, it all sounds sound, and I hope it works for the best.

Anthony Rosa said...

Use the phrase you want, no problem, but it seems a little silly to be concerned about the term "strike" in this context. The baseball reference is kind of the point of the "three x's and you're out" thing in the first place. Why not use four, then, or two? Seems like it loses its power for the sake of... well, personal preference, which is completely valid. But still, It spoons me (ha!) as a bit reminiscent of the old sort of "don't let kids have toy guns" sort of things.

Of course, considering this is your place, you can ban the kids from playing with toy guns in your online house if you want. :P

Anna said...

But, yeah, I'm not sure why I'm obsessed with spoons lately. Paging Dr. Freud, I guess.

Sometimes a spoon is just a spoon.

Anna said...

(Gah, formatting fail. Sorry for the excess of bold type)

Ana Mardoll said...

Hi Anna!

So far, when I've asked everyone about "how safe" this space should be for their needs, the consensus seemed pretty chill with giving benefits of the doubt and polite education and wiggle room for reclaiming as needed. So I would guess if you had a post where something seemed a little problematic, someone might say "Ooh, I'm not sure if you're aware, but that word has a bit of baggage" and then we could have a conversation, if you liked, about reclaiming and usage and fun stuff like that. :)

So I think you're safe. :)

Anna said...

Yay conversations! That seems an excellent way of doing things - thanks for the response.

AnnaLK said...

On a more serious note, the "don't use racist, sexist, ableist, or homophobic terms" rule is something I'm worried I may fall foul of, simply because I often don't consider where a word comes from when I use it. So occasionally I'll casually toss out a "that's so x" before I catch myself and realise that "x" is actually a slur against a particular group of people. I'm going to have to remember to watch myself a bit more closely around here - but that's a good thing, so thank you.

Where it gets a little more complicated is when you have terms which can be used as a slur, but are also being reclaimed by the group in question. I often use the term "queer" to describe my sexual orientation (because none of the more traditional labels seem to fit quite right), or as an umbrella term for non-straight people (because LGBTQQAlphabetSoup is something of a mouthful). The hurtfulness and homophobia of that word depend on the context. It's possible that you'll have situations where words like this are being used and the context is ambiguous - especially as tone of voice is so hard to convey over the internet (e.g. if I mention "all my queer friends", am I speaking in a friendly tone and using "queer" to indicate "all my non-straight and/or non-cis friends", or am I speaking in a dismissive tone and using "queers" to denigrate the group I'm talking about? In my case, it's going to be the first option, but someone may misunderstand me and think I'm using the second option). So what's Official Blog Policy on these situations? Do ambiguous instances automatically get the spoon, or automatically get the benefit of the doubt, or is it entirely up to how you feel on a particular day, or should people always refrain from using those words even in contexts where they make clear they don't intend the words as slurs*, or does something else I haven't thought of occur?

(Sorry if this comes across as nitpicking. I tend to get overly focused on minor details. I do respect that it's your blog, your rules, and if you don't want to be badgered about nitpicky-clarifications, please feel free to ignore this comment)

*If this is the case, I may have earned myself a spoon with this comment. Oops.

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