Comment Policy

This space is a personal blog dedicated to (among other things) performing media analysis of Stuff That Catches My Interest from a feminist perspective that seeks to be inclusive of multiple axes of marginalization. Posts go up on a When I Can Manage basis due to my having a severe physical disability that limits my ability to access the blog on a regularly-scheduled basis.

After blogging for several years, I've come to the conclusion that attempts to legislate morality are futile; trolls are gonna troll and pretty much everyone else is gonna be a decent person. So here are streamlined guidelines for commenting in my personal space:

Please try to be polite. I and the moderators who volunteer in this space have to be able to tell the difference between dedicated harassers, angry fanboys, and genuinely new people who may not know all the ropes. I also have to make those judgment calls while being constantly in severe pain, heavily-medicated for that pain, and while dealing with mental illness. With that in mind, something like "Why did you say that about my favorite character?" is easier to parse and respond to than "Fuck you, this movie is awesome and you're just jealous that Tauriel is prettier than you."

Please try to answer your own questions. I hate to have to ask this, but I have limited spoons and am only able to respond to a fraction of the comments on the blog. The posts here are trying to do media analysis and do expect a baseline understanding of common feminist concepts. Asking me directly "Ana, what was the name of the dog in Chapter 4?" or "What do you mean by 'rape culture'?" means that I have to either ignore you and feel rude or spend limited resources on education. Please try to utilize Google first; there are also Open Threads on the blog for general questions.

Please do not use harmful language. I don't want sexist, transphobic, racist, ableist, fat-phobic, or other hateful language in this space. Ableist language requires a special mention because is so heavily entwined in our culture. Please do not use the following words in this space: Blind (as a metaphor), Crazy, Cretin, Cripple, Crutch (as a metaphor), Deaf (as a metaphor, Dumb, Hysterical, Lame, Idiot, Moron, Retarded (and "-tard" variations, including fucktard), Spastic, Vegetable (as a reference to comatose people). Please be aware that there is swearing on this blog and that swearing does not indicate emotion/anger on my part. I just enjoy saying fuck.

Please be aware of what media analysis is. All art is imperfect. Critical examination of a book, movie, etc. does not mean that you are bad for liking it, nor does it mean that the work should be suppressed or avoided. The point of the analysis here is to help people understand and identify trends so that we can move forward and make better art and hopefully avoid those issues. Please do not be defensive if I don't like your favorite book or character; similarly please do not paint fans of a specific work with an insulting generalized brush.

Please do not use the Disqus Reply function. I have a visual processing disorder that makes it very difficult for me to read and moderate "nested" threads, and I need to be able read the comments on my blog in order to moderate the space effectively. I realize that this "no nested replies" policy is a huge pain for everyone and we've tried to make compromises for short replies (see below), and I appreciate everyone's cooperation on this. Please be aware that moderators do not have the capability to "unhook" nested replies and re-post them as flat comments; Disqus does not provide the capability to move comments.

I retain a standard Scalzi disclaimer. This is a personal blog. I reserve the right to delete comments and ban people from this space for reasons that may not be meticulously outlined in this comment policy (see previous statement about attempting to legislate morality).

Further reading below is optional "frequently asked questions" stuff.

What do you mean by Doyleist vs. Watsonian?

This blog frequently examines literature and media with regards to authorial choice: we examine what the author or creator did do within the work under discussion and what they did not do. This approach to deconstructing art is referred to here as a Doylist approach (named after the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), and allows us to examine a piece of literature in terms of the finite choices made from an infinite selection. The flip-side to Doylist interpretation is in-universe or a Watsonian approach (named after the character John Watson), which allows readers to find explanations for things within the framework given by the author.

So, for example, a Watsonian answer for why there are no identified QUILTBAG characters within a setting would be to speculate that the world-setting is so profoundly unsafe that characters who self-identify as QUILTBAG cannot do so openly. But a Doylist approach would point out that the author could have chosen to either include QUILTBAG characters or explicitly define and address the issues surrounding an unsafe culture, but chose not to -- and that the end result of this authorial choice is the invisibling of QUILTBAG people within their work. It is important to note that this conclusion does not necessarily mean the author or work is "bad", but that the choice does contribute to a larger phenomena in our society.

Most of the posts on this blog approach the art under discussion from a Doylist perspective, and commenters need to be aware that Watsonian "rebuttals" to Doylist questions don't actually work: the two approaches can be used in parallel with each other, but not orthogonally. And while Watsonian analysis of art is not explicitly off-topic in this space, those discussion do tend to spin off of the activism focus very quickly -- for this reason, moderators will occasionally ask commenters to take some facets of a Watsonian conversation to the nearest Open Thread.

[Helpful Link] Watsonian vs. Doylist Analyses of Willow Rosenberg's Sexuality by Will Wildman
[Helpful Link] Watsonian Versus Doylist at TV Tropes

What do you mean by "Disqus Reply Function" and why can't I use it?

Comments on this blog are powered by Disqus, which is not visible on all platforms. If you are having difficulty accessing the comments, please contact Ana Mardoll.

The 2013 iteration of the Disqus system removed the option for "flat" threads and made all previous replies "nested", i.e., idented over laterally across the page. I have a visual processing disorder that has difficulty tracking across the indented white space and makes it very hard for me to read and moderate nested threads. We therefore ask that members of this community not use the Reply function to keep threads "flat" and readable/moderatable.

You may be asked to delete and repost replies as non-replies; please note that moderators do not have the ability to do this programmatically for you, otherwise we would. We're not lazy; Disqus simply does not give us the tools to "unhook" replies.

Vote Up, Not Down.
Upvotes are encouraged so that community members can see their comments were valuable to others. But we ask that commenters not downvote comments here, due to several community members and contributers having anxiety disabilities exacerbated by anonymous downvoting. Thank you.

Sort by Oldest.
The comment threads here should be read in chronological order. The best way to do this is to set Disqus to Sort by Oldest, using the sorting drop-box under the Disqus response box.

Don't Use The Reply Function...
The new Disqus "nests" comment replies rather than sending replies down to the bottom of the page. Several community members and contributers have trouble processing information in nested threads. Additionally, moderation of nested threads is extremely difficult as moderators cannot easily check for new comments at the bottom. We therefore ask that commenters not use the Reply function, and instead type all comments in the main "Leave a message..." Disqus box that appears between the bottom of the post and the top of the comment thread. Note that this blog template has a Link to Disqus Comments hyperlink at the bottom of every thread page to make it easier to "jump" back up to the comment box.

...Except For Short Replies.
The exception to the "no Reply" rule above is for extremely short comments of agreement or appreciation or acknowledgment, which may be desirable in special cases and is a compromise to the nested rule. In these cases, please do not nest more than one level deep (i.e., don't reply to replies) and keep the reply-comment under a dozen words. If this becomes a moderator impediment in the future, we may have to revoke this exception, so please reply responsibly. Thank you!

This comment policy was last updated 08/22/2014.