Blog Comments ~ by FML and Servalbear

Ever wonder why your comment doesn’t always post right away? We have a closed system for comments. We try to get to them quickly, but every comment is reviewed before appearing on our site.

We have a Comment Policy in order to have a safe space for readers to interact with our authors. This safe space is important because feelings are strong and tempers flare easily when we write about abortion and other reproductive justice issues.

We’re not alone in this problem. Most blogs about reproductive justice, political and human rights eventually post something about the comments their articles generate. It may be like Shakesville’s “Short Rules: Be nice. Be thoughtful.”  The policies may be long and detailed so there isn’t any doubt as to why a comment is rejected.

In any case, no matter how general or detailed the rules, there are usually people who feel entitled to make comments against the stated policies. Called Internet Trolls, they “…post inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

They may be offensive, abusive and threatening. They all come packaged with a sense of entitlement. Their comment is an exception to the rules because they want a voice ~ their voice ~ to be heard, no matter how unwelcome it is.

Trolls can be exhausting.  One of our favorite blogs about violence toward women and rape no longer exists.  The stress of reading these comments was overwhelming for the author. So even if those troll comments aren’t posted, there is a human being who reads them; someone who internalizes the whole venomous scope.

We attract our own trolls. Depending on the article, there can be a lot of them or just a few. Every week ~ just about every single week ~ we get five or six comments from a particular anti.  Every comment from this person gets deleted.

A Huffington Post article April 1st by Colleen Glenney Boggs asks:

  • Must trolls — those posters of negativity and vitriol — be part of the Internet public sphere? Must we accept them, or can we do something to improve Internet culture? How do we banish the trolls without closing off the dialogue that is so vital to our democracy?

No, we don’t have to accept posters of negativity and vitriol. We screen comments and bar the trolls. We do not have to allow them to derail our conversations. We can foster courteous, safe conversations with our readers.

On our blog, comments that go straight to the Trash may be:

  • Anti-abortion, derogatory to groups you don’t derive your personal identity from, personally attacking an author and/or other commenter, or ~

  • If it includes arguments invoking the words Hitler, Holocaust, slavery, eugenics, genocide, Margaret Sanger, abortion mill, murder, deathscort, God, Jesus, sin or Bible.  We are not going to get into the same argument we have had a thousand times before.

Several of us discuss any comments that may be in question. We will make a group decision to publish or delete a comment. We may go back to the commenter and ask them to clarify their comment if we are in doubt.

To sum up:  this is a clinic escort blog.  It is a collective effort with many authors contributing. Sometimes we get things wrong and we encourage conversation and input from our readers to set us straight on facts. We encourage personal stories and interaction between authors and readers.

Trolls are not welcome here.  We are not tired of deleting the comments of our persistent troll, and we’ll continue to delete them ~ well, forever, I guess. It is time well spent.

This blog is written for the readers. This blog is written to raise awareness of the continuing struggle to make reproductive choices accessible to everyone.

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REMINDER: Our annual  fund drive Pledge-A-Picketer is NOW!

The Saturday before Mother’s Day is the biggest protester day of the year.  It also is the date  where we count protesters for donations to support the pro-choice effort and the escorts.  You can pledge a certain amount for each protester showing up that morning. If you prefer, you can also make a straight monetary donation.

Use this form to make your pledge:

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Blog Comments ~ by FML and Servalbear

  1. I love what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

  2. I knew when I found this blog that it was a place not to debate but a place for a pure pro-choice dialogue, that antis wouldn’t be allowed to spew their typical diatribes and I would be safe issuing my pro-choice opinions and expereinces. I don’t think I’ve ever stepped over the line here and I am very careful to not offend or be too boisterous.

    I think of this as a safe place for abortion care facilitators (escorts and the like). I left Yahoo Answers (being an active member, my email is always open to those who need help!!!) because I couldn’t take deal with the hateful anti attitude I found in some of the other participants any longer, not long after I left I found this blog (and others but I ♥ this community the most) and it was a blessed sigh of relief. I love that I could come here and recharge, be emotionally supportive to others who cared for women who get abortions and be cared for in return without fear of the seemingly hateful anti attitudes.

    Thank you guys for doing the work you do and chronicling it in this blog!!!

    Oubli aka Divine Oubliette (I can be Googled therefore I am )

    • Oubli,

      This is so nice to hear. You describe the forum we were exactly aiming to create. We appreciate your comments and feel you are part of our community as well. I chuckled at the “I can be Googled therefore I am.” It seems my existence is confirmed as well since I can be Googled too.

      Thanks as always,
      Servalbear

  3. I like the way you moderate the comments (not that you need my approval!). There are a million and one blogs, new sites and message boards where the issue of abortion can be debated. There are a million and two blogs where anti’s can repeat the “dead baby” crap over and over again. It was pretty clear to me from the first time I visited your blog what the rules were about posting and this was not a place to debate abortion. Anti’s who troll will always scream that they are being censored and that freedom of speech is being taken away. I like the analogy of this being your house and you can have what rules you choose. I wouldn’t let somebody stand in my living room and spew the hateful garbage the anti’s spew so why would you want to let them stand in your internet home?

    • KY Born,

      I love the analogy of a home! It is really like that in many ways. Free speech doesn’t mean people can’t be offended or not want to engage in arguments. As you say there are lots of other places for debates, but not here.

      Thanks as always,

      Servalbear

  4. Seems perfectly fair to me. I think I’ve only ever had one post that wasn’t approved, and I probably stepped over a line with that. So it doesn’t bother me.

    Your blog, your house, your rules. I think you guys are fair in how you conduct the comments. Allowing flame wars in the comments would detract badly from your blog, so I think you’re on the right track.

    • Longtail,

      This does seem to work well for our blog. We try to be careful to not stifle anyone, or only post those comments that agree with us, because we value yours and other commenters viewpoints a great deal. It came as a surprise to us that many of our regular readers and some escorts were not aware we were an approval-basis only forum. We wanted to explain any delays in approvals, etc.

      Thanks as always,
      Servalbear

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