New comment policy is coming

I’m losing the battle against Con Crud, so this will be a very brief post.

Month over month I have continued to set new traffic records to the blog. As time has passed, comment volume has increased and trolls have started to take over the conversation here – to the point where I get semi-regular emails from people who want to add to the conversation but who no longer feel that the comments here are a safe space to do so.

I want this to be a place where people feel they can have a productive conversation without worrying about being dogpiled or insulted by people whose only interest is to derail the conversation. I want this to be a place where people who have honest disagreements with what I write can come and discuss those disagreements in a civil manner, because I’ve never claimed that everything I post here is right. Nor will I claim that anyone who disagrees with me must be wrong. But most of all, I want this to be MY PLACE, which it hasn’t been for quite some time.

It’s not my place when I feel constantly challenged to assert my expertise on the matters I’m discussing, when I feel that I must always re-affirm my credentials.

It’s not my place when people come here to tell me that I’m crazy, ugly, irrational, stupid, ignorant, or a fascist.

It’s not my place when they tell me that harassment against women doesn’t matter.

It’s not my place when they tell me to lie down in front of a train rather than continue to speak out.

I can’t handle the volume of negative comments that I get anymore – it drains my energy, wastes my time, and sucks air out of the conversation. This was never intended to be a forum for other people to vent their hatred, and I’m tired letting toxic comments stifle real conversation in the name of welcoming free speech. Fuck free speech. This is not a democracy, and I am not obligated to give you a soapbox.

Starting now, you’re going to start seeing comments being deleted. If you insult me or another commenter, your comment will be deleted. If your comment reads straight from Anti-Feminist Bingo, your comment will be deleted. If your comment is intended to intentionally derail the conversation (and believe me, after 8 months I can spot ’em a mile away), your comment will be deleted. If any of this makes me a man-hating feminazi, here’s me not giving a shit.

I promise that next week I’ll set out some consistent guidelines about what will get a comment deleted; for right now I’m making this declaration so that I can enjoy my weekend and not think about the bullshit that’s been happening here this past week.

I tried to make this an open space where people who didn’t identify as feminists could have conversations with people who do identify as feminists. This being the internet, that didn’t work out so well. They say that insanity is repeating your actions and expecting a different result, so clearly it’s time to make a change.

There’s only so much time I’m willing to devote to this blog, so I don’t think I can turn this blog into a completely safe space. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to continue to tolerate the kind of bile that I’ve received in the last week. Anyone who wants to discuss things in a civil manner is welcome to stay. The rest of you can either clean up your act or get the fuck out.

138 thoughts on “New comment policy is coming

  1. I fully support this. All the trolls who will cry “free speech” and “stifling dialogue” know they’re full of S. Shouting down opponents and resorting to name-calling isn’t engaging in a dialogue.

    There are plenty of places for people to spout antifeminist rhetoric, and there are plenty of conversations feminists can have amongst each other to challenge each other and shape each other.

      • ”Full of S?” Are you two years old?

        Is this really necessary, Sam? What’s it to you if someone prefers not to use vulgar language? There’s no reason to assume they don’t have their own reasons for it, and there’s certainly no reason to attack them for it.

          • Or, maybe they’re used to posting in places where that kind of language is filtered, and just write that way when they post through force of habit. You can’t read their mind, so you don’t know why their doing it.

            It’s certainly no reason to call them an idiot and a coward, especially in the comments to a post regarding a new comment policy which is, at least in part, intended to moderate personal attacks. -_-

            • In conversations with many of my friends, we say, “What the eff?” or “effing.” It’s not because the word “fuck” is scary and offensive, but because the censored version is more light-hearted. It’s essentially a different word. “What the eff is wrong with you?” sounds like friendly ribbing, whereas, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” comes across as hostile. This kind of flexibility is what makes English awesome.

          • Haven’t posted a comment on here in a while, but just had to note how hilarious and appropriate it is that someone foolishly insulted another commenter – after being told in the post itself that any comments attacking other commenters would be deleted – and then did it again. Incredible.

            As for this bloggers decision to finally do what so many others have done (actually police the comments section), I don’t think there is a single thing wrong with this. Plus, you can remind all of those people that the 1st Amendment Free Speech provision is only applicable to government entities and the inability of the State to restrict political speech. Hateful and bigoted language on a private blog is not protected… at all. (and yeah, I’m a lawyer, so sue me… really, bring it ;)…)

            In reality, this is your blog and is supposed to be about your message, whatever that may be. And while philosophical debate is almost certainly a part of your overall message, that is a far cry from the garbage that you most often find on comment trees. Hopefully your policy will help to ferret out the bullshit and keep the worthwhile commentary.

            • Frankly, the entire point of this blog seems to be mocking people for stupid and childish attitudes, so I’m not exactly sure of what’s the difference between what I got modded for and what you post on a regular basis.

              The difference is, sexist attitudes towards women deserve mocking due to their capacity for causing harm.

              Mocking other commenters for something that hurts absolutely nobody is just petty. It’s also a great way of derailing, since whether or not it’s on-topic, virtually no one can ignore a personal attack.

              • It hurts the level of discussion, which is more important than your, my, or his feelings. Bad language facilitates bad thinking, and above all it is terrible writing. Honestly, can’t we have some standards?

                And honestly now, Wundergeek, I didn’t insult anyone in my latest comments. I merely argued that you should not be creating a hugbox. If you’re going to delete comments then give the right reason: “debating comment policy” Hell, make it “arguing comment policy” or even “trolling” if you must. Both would be more accurate than that. (especially given how we’re apparently posting on Channel Awesome right now going by the mod policy)

              • It hurts the level of discussion, which is more important than your, my, or his feelings. Bad language facilitates bad thinking, and above all it is terrible writing. Honestly, can’t we have some standards?

                Mocking sexist attitudes in an entertaining fashion is the point of this blog. If you think that’s hurting the level of discussion, why are you even here in the first place?

                Also: if you admit that it’s lowering the standard of discourse, why are you doing it? What do you get out of dragging the standard of discourse even lower?

                And honestly now, Wundergeek, I didn’t insult anyone in my latest comments.

                I didn’t quote the insulting part of your comments, so I don’t have it to reference anymore, but I was not at all surprised when it was deleted. You tend to patronize and insult people without even realizing you’re doing it. =/ I don’t think you’re doing it on purpose in a lot of cases, but it’s still worth taking stock of your own attitude when asking others to do the same.

  2. Such is the problem with becoming popular, you attract assholes like…an asshole attracting thing….with great attracting powers..

    Which really would be one of the worst super powers to have…

    Now if only you had the powers to attract assholes and then cause them permanently de-assholed🙂

    Enjoy your weekend WG.

  3. Thanks for writing your blog. I may be a mostly silent lurker but I’ve found it really insightful. Your decision’s definitely understandable I’m only surprised that you’ve not been doing it before. I don’t get why people come here just to insult you. If they don’t like what you’re saying they don’t have to read it.

      • “Jaclyn Frazier Oh holy hell that was Badger in that pic? I didn’t even notice that was her. Probably because I didn’t see brightly coloured hair and a clothes like she normally has.😄

        For those who haven’t seen, she’s locked the old post and posted a new blog with her responses. Still the same old ignorance, though not as harsh as it seems like she’s trying to act innocent about the whole thing.”

        Of course the fact that certain persons seem to keep going back to try and stir up and misrepresent whats going on, thats kosher. riiiiight.

        • Misrepresent? She’s acting like a rabid feminist rather than a civil, self-respecting woman trying to uphold the belief that women are strong individuals. I don’t see how that’s misrepresenting anything at all.

          If her blog gave off a powerful message about strength and being able to get up and dust yourself off when the big mean boy on the playground pushes you over, I’d have more respect for her blog, but instead she opts to sit in the mud and cry about everything everyone is doing wrong, even if that’s not even their intention.

          • What exactly are you looking for? I don’t think this blog has what it is, this isn’t feminist literature, it’s media criticism from a feminist perspective. I’m sure there are other places where you can find inspiration if that’s what you’re looking for.

            • Since I can’t expend the comment string any longer below those posts:

              First of all, did I ever claim my own comments weren’t harsh? Nope. I’m making harsh commentary, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Judging from your comments on other posts, it looks like you are, too. (On that note, you seem to be misusing the verb “Godwin” in most of your posts)

              Secondly, I’m aware no one has attacked me directly, but in case you didn’t notice, many of the Gencon rants attack artists or in the case of the first one, the D20 girls (Though WG didn’t know those were girls from D20 when she posted it). Just because I’m not attacked personally, doesn’t mean I should fight for the other groups being attacked.

            • Nothing out of you has been “commentary.”  Just flames.

              There was no “misuse.”  This comment is a Godwin—or, more accurately, two of them—full stop.

              And Wundergeek may have snarkily critiqued art and marketing tactics…but the only one here who’s attacked people is you.

          • The purpose of this blog is twofold: 1) to raise awareness about things that often just go “in one eyeball and out the other” 2) catharsis.

            and

            A (mostly) humorous look at how to (not) sell games to women.

            Gosh it seems like she is in fact representing exactly what it says on the fucking blog info.

          • I’m not a troll…you rabid feminist!!!

            Jeez lady, why don’t you sit back, stop trying to be as offensive as humanly possible and stop being a fucking troll.

            Personally I don’t think it’s sitting in the mud and crying when you take a stand against people who only want to come in to your private space shove their opinions down your throat, personally insult them and don’t even bother to act like a rational adult human being.

            Frankly if it were me I’d have banned your ass a long time ago and mocked you mercilessly for being a terrible troll.

            • “I’m not a troll…you rabid feminist!!!
              Jeez lady, why don’t you sit back, stop trying to be as offensive as humanly possible and stop being a fucking troll.
              Personally I don’t think it’s sitting in the mud and crying when you take a stand against people who only want to come in to your private space shove their opinions down your throat, personally insult them and don’t even bother to act like a rational adult human being.
              Frankly if it were me I’d have banned your ass a long time ago and mocked you mercilessly for being a terrible troll.”

              A troll is -not- someone who expresses their opinion harshly, a troll is someone who fakes it in an effort to get a reaction. Unfortunately, the original definition has lost it’s meaning long ago and now seems to get tossed around as a name for anyone who uses harsh, biting criticism (or, as I’ve seen it, mistaken as a synonym for lurking a forum). So, by definition, if I was trolling, I wouldn’t be terrible, it would be successful since it got reactions, but alas… :3

              Also, I’d like to point out that a blog isn’t really “private space” if it’s on the internet.😛 Usually, Blogs are intended to be sort of like a public journal on a myriad of issues open to commentary from all different perspectives.

              • “Wundergeek appears to be a very, very angry woman, who has no regards for rationality. I don’t argue with people to make them change their minds because I know that’s not possible, I argue to hopefully learn new things and new views even if I don’t agree with them. Wundergeek and some of her followers, however, are too full of blind rage to provide any sort of learning experience.”

                So you cant learn anything from us and you dont think we can learn from you…that kind of leaves trolling left, doesnt it?

          • “opts to sit in the mud and cry about everything everyone is doing wrong, even if that’s not even their intention.”

            That seems like what you’re doing…irony win?

          • “even if that’s not even their intention?”

            So unless someone already believes they are being sexist, you can’t complain that what they did is sexist? That would certainly make for much shorter posts.

      • Okay.  What “attacks” of hers came anywhere near justifying “I don’t believe you have proper authority on telling people how to not sell games to women, because I think the mast majority thinks you and other feminsts of your caliber are full of shit“? or the presumption that a mention of d20 would send her (or feminists in general) on a “gigantic rampage”?  Much less talking about her “slow brain” and expressing hopes that she’d “fall asleep on some train tracks somewhere”?  Or “Aderp Titler, Furor of the feminazi’s“?

        No, really: link me the similar personal attacks that Wundergeek has made against you.  Snarky critiques of marketing tactics don’t count. 

        And even if you were responding in kind to something that she’d said, you’d have lost the moral high ground.  As it is, it really seems like all of the “blind rage” of which you’ve been accusing Wundergeek is on your end.

        • You continue to use “you” as if I was ever personally insulted by WG. I wasn’t. I may have been harsh in my first response to her as I came here from the link on the D20 girls page and she really, REALLY set me off with bother her acting as though the D20 girls were unwilling slaves, and her consistent nitpicking and acting as though everything the gaming industry ever does is an affront to women, when really, most of it is purely based on opinion.

          Though, I’m not saying I don’t strongly disagree with how she judges things or how she carries herself, I’m just not nearly as furious as I once was.

          In my honest opinion, your consistently cocky comments aren’t much worse than my own. You -too- should exercise some self control.

        • Also, it looks like some comments aren’t being posted in strings anymore, for reference, that was in response to your comment with the links to my former responses, which was also apparently posted before something else I had already responded to, when this comment session was still part of a linked thread? WordPress, I do not understand you.

  4. I was wondering the other day how you can still handle all this and kudos to you for trying to keep a good faith for so long. You were certainly more patient than I’d be in your place.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. Don’t let those trolls, anti-feminists and clueless dudebros drag you down!🙂

  5. Another whine about the idea of media criticism, and, what? We have to stick up for sexist imagery from starving artists like Wayne Reynolds?

    And, most of the time, a lack of clothing is sexualization. There’s nothing wrong with sexualization per se. The problem is when women are sexually depicted in situations where it just doesn’t seem appropriate. If a character is fighting evil and kicking ass, they should be posed and dressed in that sort of way, rather than in revealing dresses with convenient windows to see the cleavage and some leg. One, or a few pictures like this, well, might be an interesting change, but to see most fantasy depictions of women in this way, it just seems to miss the point, especially when compared to depictions of men in fantasy.

    Once again, there’s nothing wrong with erotic imagery, or sexual images. It’s when it bleeds into every other kind of image, that it shows something about the artists’ and society’s belief about women, and who is welcome in this place. It’s about context.

    • Ehh, I’m not gonna complain about Reynolds that much.  He also gave us Seelah and Reiko, after all.  (Hell, I’m more or less willing to give Imrijka a pass, because orc.)

      Fan service is all right in its place.  But as it is, you’ll see a helluva lot more Seonis than Hennets.  And I, for one, wouldn’t mind a bit more of a balance in that regard.

      • Fan service is all right in its place. But as it is, you’ll see a helluva lot more Seonis than Hennets.

        That Hennets art is… wow. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was trying to mock the Final Fantasy style by adding an absurdly-high amount of belts everywhere. It certainly doesn’t give me the impression of Seoni-level fanservice, though. =/

          • Yeah, Hennet does look a bit like Lulu’s brother, doesn’t he?

            As for whether or not he’s fanservice: hard to say. He had a lot of fangirls back in early-3e days.

            I think he actually wears more belts than she does, honestly. 😄

            And I certainly wouldn’t call him unattractive — I can see why he’d attract a following, particularly considering the dearth of attractive men in this sort of art (…going by what I’ve seen from this blog, anyway). But I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he was designed at least in part as an appealing avatar, while I definitely would for the fanservice girls.

            • You’d be surprised at who women identify with. The huge number of women that absolutely worship Bettie Page comes to mind.

    • I draw, I don’t consider myself an artist because I like designing things more than actually drawing them.

      Looking through my art, I have one picture which depicts a male and female character both with battle damaged clothes. The female, yep, is wearing less than the male. Why? Because the female character is an assassin. The less clothing she wears, the less confined she is in her clothing and the less she has to rattle around or weigh her down.

      I’ve been creating stories and characters since age 13, and even then my male characters used to be wearing baggy t shirts and jeans, while my females had skirts and bellyshirts. I… don’t think I was intentionally doing that under the premise of “sex sells” at that age.

      Unlike many of the things linked in this blog, though, my males often have shorts or exposed chests. But…. I’m pretty sure if you looked at one of my male characters who has knee-length pants and nothing but straps over his chest, alongside a female character who wears shorts and a low-cut top, more people would pass by the male character and scream “objectification!” at the female.

      It brings to question just why the female body is immediately sexual as soon as some skin is exposed, and why exposed cleavage is sexual but a shirtless man isn’t.

      • Seriously? that justification for your assassin is just silly. If you’re argument is based on pop culture’s interpretation of “assassin”, then what you have is fully-clothed-so-that-not-even-their-face-is-visible ninja-type. If you’re talking about real-world assassin types, then you’re talking about the likes of Hassan-i Sabbah, John Wilkes Booth, and Seal Team 6…all of whom are typically depicted fully-clothed.

        And while you may not have been aware of the idea that “sex sells” at age 13 (although you very well may have been), there’s no doubt that some kind of broken messaging had impressed upon you the idea that women should be more scantily-clad in your artwork than men. Maybe you were just imitating what you’d seen elsewhere, but regardless, you were caught up in the sexism machine that runs full tilt 24/7 in our culture. And that’s the very reason we need blogs like GMMAS.

        • “Maybe you were just imitating what you’d seen elsewhere, but regardless, you were caught up in the sexism machine that runs full tilt 24/7 in our culture. And that’s the very reason we need blogs like GMMAS.”
          This. I remember all the screwed up messages I absorbed by the time I was 13. At 38 I feel like I’m still battling the programming from those years.
          Also I agree with you regarding an assassin, I would have thought that exposed skin would shine and make someone easier to detect.

          @wundergeek – I’ve been a lurker here since seeing some of your articles posted at The Border House and I want to thank you for doing this blog and making the decision to change the comment policy. I’ve almost posted so many times recently but been put off by the trolling and derailing. It’s exhausting to sift through the comments to find the pertinent discussion.

          • Thanks for speaking up, KIrving. I’m hoping that the new policy will make a difference over time. I also imagine that comment volume (and troll volume) will decrease a little once I’m done “bashing” GenCon.

            • Hm, I just left a comment that seemed to end up published halfway up the page. how very odd.

              Anyway, good luck with the new moderation policy. Your blog, your rules.

          • “Also I agree with you regarding an assassin, I would have thought that exposed skin would shine and make someone easier to detect. ”

            I’m confused. Skin is shiny? O.o

            Actually, going over what I know of stretchy fabrics that could be form fitting, most aren’t breathable (PVC, vinyl, latex) while the last one often used in gymnast clothing, spandex, if far shinier than most skin.

            Maybe really oily skin is shiny, but certainly not all skin.

            Anyway, I think I’m done spamming this page. :p

      • Seriously? that justification for your assassin is just silly. If you’re argument is based on pop culture’s interpretation of “assassin”, then what you have is fully-clothed-so-that-not-even-their-face-is-visible ninja-type. If you’re talking about real-world assassin types, then you’re talking about the likes of Hassan-i Sabbah, John Wilkes Booth, and Seal Team 6…all of whom are typically depicted fully-clothed.

        And while you may not have been aware of the idea that “sex sells” at age 13 (although you very well may have been), there’s no doubt that some kind of broken messaging had impressed upon you the idea that women should be more scantily-clad in your artwork than men. Maybe you were just imitating what you’d seen elsewhere, but regardless, you were caught up in the sexism machine that runs full tilt 24/7 in our culture. And that’s the very reason we need blogs like GMMAS.

        • “Seriously? that justification for your assassin is just silly. If you’re argument is based on pop culture’s interpretation of “assassin”, then what you have is fully-clothed-so-that-not-even-their-face-is-visible ninja-type. If you’re talking about real-world assassin types, then you’re talking about the likes of Hassan-i Sabbah, John Wilkes Booth, and Seal Team 6…all of whom are typically depicted fully-clothed.

          And while you may not have been aware of the idea that “sex sells” at age 13 (although you very well may have been), there’s no doubt that some kind of broken messaging had impressed upon you the idea that women should be more scantily-clad in your artwork than men. Maybe you were just imitating what you’d seen elsewhere, but regardless, you were caught up in the sexism machine that runs full tilt 24/7 in our culture. And that’s the very reason we need blogs like GMMAS.”

          Ah, once again the “fantasy is so not realistic!”. No, I don’t mean a realistic assassin like you mentioned there, I mean a fantasy assassin, who does fantasy assassiny things. Such as jumping and moving higher/quicker than a normal human being. The assassins you mentioned weren’t the type that needs to almost unrealistically move and bend. My girl is wearing shorts, chaps, a top that reveals a bit of midriff but isn’t something she’s going to fall out of if she turns upside down. Aside from that she’s also got a scarf and some sleeves belted onto her shoulders.

          The picture you displayed is far beyond even what I had. My girl has combat boots, that girl has high heals. Chunk-healed boots are doable, thin heals are something I agree is a little odd in a combat setting, but again, fantasy is not reality, and by criticising fantasy for being unrealistic, we’re not really making much sense…

          As for broken messaging? I really, really doubt that. My mother was also a feminist. Back at that age I was rather sheltered from most of the media’s sexualization. It didn’t really get to me for another 2 years, and even then it was still moderated. When my mom found out I had some of the Chobits manga, she swiftly threw it out. When I was younger, I took martial arts classes very briefly, but when practicing alone in my room, I found it far easier to do high kicks and to remain cool without having to wear an outfit that felt like it was made out of a burlap sack. So that’s most likely where that idea came from.

          Also,
          “women should be more scantily-clad in your artwork than men”
          I do believe I stated that my men also aren’t dressed head to toe like most fantasy men, and are often completely or just about shirtless, with knee length shorts or kilts.

      • One of the aspects I like about Wundergeek’s articles is that she highlights how prevalent the sexualisation of female characters in game artwork is. There is so much of it that it worms its way into our subconsciousness and we take it as normal. I don’t always agree with everything that she’s writing but I appreciate that she writes it.

        My first page of results, searching for images of assassins brought up this page. http://games.bbgsite.com/games/dragonscall/classes.shtml If you scroll down to the images of the two assassins I believe it’s a pretty accurate illustation of the usual differences between male and female assassins. Note how the man’s wearing light clothing, but he’s still fully dressed. He’s wearing bracers and some sort of armoured shoulderpads and a coat which he isn’t going to get tangled in. Compare him to the woman, who is wearing very little clothing, and what she is wearing is extremely impractical. She doesn’t even have a sheathe for the dagger on her leg, so we can assume either it’s purely there for decorative purposes and isn’t sharp enough to cut anything, or she’s stupid.

        You find it over and over again in games. The men are dressed practically, fit for fighting, the women are dressed sexily and in the process of making them sexy it also makes their outfits impractical. The impracticality is so frustrating because it makes them come across as incompetent.

        It would be far less of an issue if there was actually variety. But there isn’t. It’s everywhere and we’ve come to believe that that’s just what women look like in games.

        • I love the warrior pair on that page, too. He’s in armor; she’s in a metal bikini. I don’t care if it’s fantasy, that’s just silly. Now, I wouldn’t mind if games truly went the “it’s fantasy” route and everyone dressed purely for looks – as long as that gave us a mixture of fan service and non fan service outfits for both sexes. But when a game can’t even make up it’s mind what it’s doing, it just screams “we put the women here for teh hotness!”

          (Yes, I realize his armor is missing the upper leg parts, but it still looks a hell of a lot more like armor.)

      • Humans evolved that way. This is pretty rare thing, considering most other animals evolved the other way around and one could say that from the perspective of their species, male body is inherenty sexual. See:

        The male fish, aside from being larger that female is also brightly coloured which is pretty large disadvatage considering it makes him easier for predators to spot. Now there are even more extreme examples of this kind of sexual dimorphism among birds (chicken, peacock etc.)

  6. WG, this is a bit off topic, but I’m curious what your views towards Burlesque are.

    You seem to be very gung-ho about the sexual depiction of women, accusing just about every artist who draws cleavage of objectification. However, Burlesque is sexual no matter what. It’s about strip tease and looking sexy on stage. But even with it’s sexuality, it’s not only for Barbies like stripping is. Burlesque is for women of all shapes and sizes, and it’s supposed to be about having fun, not necessarily attracting or satisfying men.

    I’ve been noticing that Burlesque has been gaining in popularity amongst nerdlings everywhere. From star Wars burlesque, to burlesque cosplay at cons.

    • I have no problem with burlesque. It’s for adults, is generally fun, and there’s a buy-in with burlesque. It’s reasonable to expect women in sexy outfits at a burlesque show, even one with a nerd theme, because it’s – yannow – a burlesque show.

      What I’m trying to maintain is that it is NOT reasonable to accept that OF COURSE there would be mostly naked porn women in every game ever. Because games =/ burlesque.

      • You know what’s sad? That this has to be said. The casual gamers don’t like fanservice, and even the grognards hate it. (Two quick citations for the sceptical: RPGCodex: “Any relationship/sexytime in games is always lame and contrived” Alex Kierkegaard: “The hobags do not merely pander to the lowest common denominator, this is what must be emphasized — they lower it even further. They drag it down to them. This is the key point — the IGN, 1UP, Eurogamer, etc. retards are merely pandering, they are merely serving the rabble’s needs, whilst the hobags grab the rabble and drag it further down.“)

        With both the casauls and hardcore written off, the only people that like this stuff are the people that post on Destructoid, the wretches that spend twelve hours on /v/, the men and women that spend mor time drawing and writing fanworks for Mass Effect than actually playing it (not that I blame them), the people that spend more time discussing (to use Kierkegaard’s example) the “psychological metaphor” of inputting a 236P fireball than how Street Fighter hasn’t improved sicne 3rd Strike. The people that, in short, find more fun being part of the “gaming community” than actually playing games.

        Those people are the ones that want tits everywhere, and corporate listens because they’re much easier to manage than actual players/i>.

  7. Very understandable. I’d say more, but I’m afraid of further stirring the hornet’s nest, and you don’t need that.

  8. Another lurker here. I just wanted to make sure to say that I’ve been keeping up with your blog and I really enjoy it, to add to the supporting voices here. I’ve learned a lot about anatomy, to the point that I can more easily identify issues with game/comic art that would’ve previously only given me the nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. So, you’re doing great, and thank you for what you’ve done so far here!

  9. *delurks*
    Thank you. I absolutely love your blog and the dialogue you are creating with women gamers/comic fans/etc. I am a woman who sells comic books for a living, and for all the bitching about how out of touch you are from the nay-sayers, you actually have an amazing amount of insight into some profoundly fucked up social-gender-norms that are just taken for canon.

    I definitely have not taken the task to comment because of the amount of sludge that gets raked up by the trolls. That being said, I know there are probably a lot of people who don’t want to feed the trolls, and the silence could read as apathy. However: For every person that shits on you for attempting to deconstruct the current ‘tradition’ of the gaming institution, there are 3 more people quietly cheering you on from the sidelines. Don’t let the entitled blowhards of the world bring you down.
    */delurk*

  10. Oh hell. It seems like deleting comments screws up threads that come after them. My bad, folks! I’ll make sure to just edit them in the future to something like “[deleted]”. That won’t turn the comment threads into confusing trainwrecks.

    Sorry, folks!

  11. I’ve peeked in the first time your blog was linked from the Paizo message boards, and I admit, I’ve lurked maybe once every couple months when some strangely inflated controversy would spread links through the usual channels.

    I’m not sure your uptick in traffic is based on anything other than controversy. Having GenCon in the title of your last couple of blogs bubbled this blog to the surface. It’s a charged place, so the responses are typical for that environment. That’s really where you’re at. It’s not *just* a sexist response, but rather a human response. When people act aggressively, people respond aggressively. That’s a truth as old as consciousness.

    The comments to your blog posts, however hateful, and the way you respond to them are as much a draw to this blog as the material in the blog. I think you’ll short yourself traffic if you restrict the comments in any way. However, I admit, not being a blogger, I’m ignorant in the various ways comments can be allowed. I just know, the few sites/blogs I visit where a comment must be approved, seem very one-sided and not really in the full spirit of what we’ve all come to see as a collective community. At that point, you’re preaching to the choir, to use a tired phrase.

    As a new-ish freelancer breaking into the admittedly tiny market of games, I spent a fair amount of time considering my approach. It’s sometimes hard to find a voice in this circle, but it turns out being nice and fun is perfect for pretty much anything except the military, government jobs, or major corporations, but goddamned if it isn’t crucial to game design. Being aggressive and critical is perfect for blogs and forum posts, however, and we all know how well those pay. There’s a line. Art directors also read forums, so consider that line even if you never plan on writing or designing. You’ve got some talent and have done some work, so you don’t have much to worry about there, but at some point, some companies just don’t want to deal with someone who has a lot of negative exposure.

    Maybe that’s what you’re trying to do with your new comment policy, but at that point consider what you want more…providing illustrations for this media or providing commentary for the media. I do a fair amount of freelancing, and since I started getting my material out there, I slowed down on my social commentary in public venues. Some of that is based on the self-marketing a freelancer does, but some of it is based on other personal choices I’ve made in the intervening years. I have to say that choice has worked out for the better on both fronts.

    I’d like to conclude this longer-than-I-wanted-to post by saying I like that you charge folks up on this topic though I don’t ever 100% agree with you. How could anyone 100% agree with anyone. Your blog post is asking for folks to somewhat agree with you or be blocked, and for something that is attempting to stretch typical perception and spread views, this seems like a weak restriction. (Either stand up, or sit down, ya know?)

    • Hi, there. Thanks for voicing your reservations in a civil manner!

      For what it’s worth, I’m not about to require everyone to agree with me ever. Hell, sometimes people put out some good arguments and I realize I disagree with myself. I’m just going to require people to disagree with me CIVILLY. If you want to put forth reasoned and civil arguments about why you think I’m wrong? Cool. If you want to tell me to lie in front of a train? Been there, done that, have the t-shirt, buh-bye. Similarly, I’m done turning a blind eye to people intentionally derailing the conversation. There’s a difference between having genuine disagreements and flailing at strawmen.

      • You know, that makes sense, obviously, but one of the points I was making was that you don’t particularly post civilly some of the time (it happens, we all do it), so how could you expect the general traffic to do so? Good in/good out, and all of that, ya know?

        While I have strongly charged opinions, I understand it is far more difficult to lead a stressful life stressing about things I cannot (or am not willing to) actively fight in an effective manner. So I don’t do that anymore. It just makes shit worse. I’ve spent my whole life understanding that I am 1%, and for most of that time, I’ve banged my head against the wall and it only hurt myself. Is that a reason to stop banging my head against the wall? Fuck no! I just need to find the weak spots and stop hitting my brainpan against the (to use a strangely construction-and-gender-based metaphor) studs in the wall and go for the soft, hollow spots.

        The thing is…the only way to make the world perfect is to start within, and this goes for every conscious creature in the world. Aggression, no matter the source, is a poison. No pure fun (which is what games are, at the core) can come from aggression (despite the conflict and combat in games).

        • I’m really trying to get back to a place where I can be civil to everyone as well. “Don’t feed the trolls” is a very sensible policy to live by, but VERY HARD to implement in practice.

        • The difference, though, as so often with progressivist issues, is that it’s not a power-neutral situation.
          When people on the side of privilege say “Let’s just be ‘rational’ about this now,” it means that those who are on the down side of that equation don’t have any room for quite reasonable anger at being on the down side (and for the 101, remember that people can be privileged with respect to one another in different ways, depending on the context of the immediate situation).
          It’s an easy step to take for someone on the privileged side of a given issue, because they’re not personally affected by it, so they’re not giving anything away. The person on the not-privileged side is personally affected, and to be forced to be “calm” and ‘rational” in order to be heard is to further reinforce the privilege of not having to worry about it personally.
          Note that “privileged” vs. “not-privileged” can shift even within a conversation, depending on the topic, and that “having privilege” does not equate strictly and reciprocally with “is a terrible awful person”. When I go to an airport to fly somewhere in the US as a White woman, nothing I do can make the security guard treat me like my brown-skinned Muslim friend is, with suspicion, extra unpleasant attention, and racial profiling.
          That’s my privilege as a White woman: I don’t have to fear that kind of suspicion in this culture. I can’t change it, I can’t cede it, I can’t force them to suspect me the way they do her, not even if I wore an “I❤ Osama" t-shirt. What I can do is choose how to respond when I see it happening: do I accept my privilege, breathe a sigh of relief and try to pretend I didn't see it, or do I speak up? That's where your character shows: when you're faced with your privilege, will you lash out at the person showing it to you, and defend that privilege as strongly as possible? Or will you listen to the less-heard narrative/voice, and try to learn what it's like to be someone other than you?

          Excellent choice on the policy, WG. Hope it makes life easier. Love your work.🙂

          • I think you make a really good point about privilege. A lot of the language on this blog sort of positions the role of troll onto the male commentators, from the definition of troll on the right side of the page using male pronouns in the descriptions to wundergeek’s post that highlights things like anti-feminism as grounds for deleted comments. It’s all very valid of course, but at the same time I worry that there’s female derailing happening here (And there definitely is.) all the time as well that runs the risk of being ignored because all the focus is on men ruining the fun for everyone.

            This whole idea of privilege is so much larger than men and women. In fact one would argue that on the internet, privilege has significantly less power due to the anonymity of it. But this whole idea of male privilege seems to forget that if you’re a white person (male or female) in a first world country, you’re generally considered as privileged to most of the world. And like you said, nobody can change certain aspects of privilege that they possess, they shouldn’t be judged or ignored for it, because it’s not their fault, and more to the point, on Go Make Me A Sandwich, the power generally rests more with the women, not the men.

            I didn’t read the comments about Gencon, I’m not even sure what that is to be honest, but I don’t doubt that there was a an influx of morons treating wundergeek and the commentators here like rubbish. But I hope that you can chalk this unpleasantness up to people being horrible, rather than just men.

            Keep on keeping on.

              • I’m currently in the process of reading Feminism 101 and commenting advice for men when dealing with feminist issues on unfogged. As well as the works of Christina Hoff Sommers. I’m very interested in these issues, increasingly so during my time on Go Make Me A Sandwich. I am striving to put myself in a position where I can comment on these topics with certainty that I’m coming from an educated and informed position but it’s a process, one I, nor yourself, nor anyone, have completed. I hope you’ll bear with me while I do so, and I’ll do the same for you if you, or anyone else, makes any comments that may not be entirely learned. Especially when discussing the principles of game design and marketing theory (the latter of which is a massive facet of my chosen career).

                The relevance of your race or status, while not seemingly apparent, becomes clear when you consider the countries certain games come from. Wundergeek covers games from all over the world. Values and meanings change depending on culture and ethnicity, and should certainly not be discounted simply because the focus is feminism. Feminism is part of a much larger social concern that encompasses humanism, egalitarianism and all points in between and extending from. I think we’re opening a dangerous can of worms when we can say something in particular doesn’t count so readily.

                As for the power and women comment, I was not referring to the topic of the posts but the forum of discussion, that being the comments section. It is mostly women and as such they are the majority of commentators and enjoy all the privileges that come with that status. The (often, but not always true) assumption that as a women you are more informed on the subject matter can lead to some displays of outright aggression towards male commentators here. As you rightly said to me, don’t make assumptions about the rest of your gender when commenting. Don’t assume because you believe you practice feminism accurately and fairly that the rest of the people here do also. There’s always room for hate and misinterpretation, whatever you espouse.

                Also, I feel like you have detected a lot of subtext in my comment that was incorrectly assumed. I never told you what to be angry about, I was commenting purely on the climate of the comments section as per the topic of the post. Nothing in my comment has derailed the conversation, it’s all relevant. Furthermore I never told you to silence yourselves “if our discourse doesn’t meet your particular standards”, the aim of my comment was a request for fair and just deletion regardless of gender and or stance. Trolling and attacks under the guise of feminism is just as destructive as malicious comments coming from anti-feminists and morons.

                Feminism 101 states:

                “It’s easy to confuse an exploitive philosophy like sexism
                with those who benefit from it. But while hostility toward
                all forms of bigotry, and contempt for those who espouse
                prejudice is totally feminist, hostility toward any individual
                or group because of what someone “like them” has done
                is not. In fact, that’s exactly the kind of stereotyping and
                “collective guilt” that defines the kind of prejudice we’ve
                been fighting against since 1848.”

            • I want to clarify here. The trolls I get are almost evenly split along gender lines (at least when one is counting pseudonyms that are obviously gendered). There are slightly more men than women, true. But sometimes the women can be a lot more aggressive. Certainly the female trolls I get who proclaim themselves as female seem to use the most hateful language – as if they’re trying to differentiate themselves as much as possible. Most male trolls leave comments along the lines of “feminists are ugly/dumb/stupid”. The “you make me sick/I hope you die/go get fucked” comments tend to come from women.

              I’m going to keep repeating myself here, but women don’t get a free pass when it comes to sexism. I certainly don’t pre-judge whether I think someone will be a troll based on their gender. That’s just a huge waste of time, not to mention unfair since many of my staunchest advocates and allies are male.

  12. Oops, sorry about the double-post…I didn’t realize threading was a problem right now. Anyway, the above comments were directed at Jaclyn, in response to their assertion that clothes hamper assassins, and that 13 year olds are somehow shielded from the impact of sexist messaging.

  13. I agree with you Wundergeek. It’s amazing how long you managed to put up with the shit that’s been coming your way.

  14. Wundergeek, if I may be so bold as to suggest things, I would recommend that you don’t take things as personally as you do; you’ve become rather bitter, and I don’t think it’s doing you any favours. The advertised ‘humorous look’ would be a mirror through which everyone could evaluate his or her own position on the subject, but I’m not seeing much of that. A bitter preach will only reach the proverbial choir, it won’t make conversions.
    Also keep in mind: the more you say, the more you can say wrong.

    • That’s a good point Jonathan. It’s not so much a mostly humorous look anymore as it is Wundergeek imitating and mocking those who she believes would appreciate or create T&A in each circumstance with internet lingo and spelling to make her point. But any writer or journalist will tell you that humour is indispensable for creating a connection to the reader, whether they agree with you or, more importantly, they don’t.

      Using humour doesn’t make light of the situation, it creates a way in. With a witty observation, rather than a negative one, you can keep somebody reading that may have stopped as soon as they realised you didn’t share their point of view. Even if I disagree… especially if I disagree, a funny article will stick with me and I’ll come back for more.

      Janet, how you say something is just as important as the subject of the words. She’s not writing for herself, if she was she’d keep a diary not a public blog. Look up from your derailing bingo cards for a minute and make a connection, have a conversation, talk and listen. The fact that with that sentence I’m ticking at least two of those bingo boxes speaks volumes about the system, not myself.

      People don’t ask you to explain because they want to shut you up. People don’t offer advice because they want you to fail. And you don’t know all the answers, nobody does. Life doesn’t have answers, it has choices. If we choose to come into a situation expecting a fight, we’re going to get one. If we choose to converse and learn and teach, then we all win.

      • Let me try to understand this then: The original comment asks WG to be less ‘bitter’ and to take it less personally (which is rather, IMO, is not his prerogative to ask WG, a FEMALE GAMER to do), because moderating her tone would possibly get her point to more people, nevermind the strength of the arguments already there or not. You’ve piled on now to add the same thing AND ask the blogging to be funny, which actually may be a subjective thing, because I still found some of the comments on the Gen Con photos funny, even if some of the photos themselves really made me want to cry.

        I don’t know you, so I can’t tell how sincerely you are being with your advice, or if you’re just concern-trolling, something I’ve seen too many times in race/feminism discussions. You come from a position (I’m assuming you and Jonathan are both male, but could wrong) where these discussions are little more than pure entertainment or distraction, not a rare place where it’s OK (or should be OK) for WG and like-minded women/gamers/feminists who want to scoff/laugh-so-we-don’t-cry at sexist and insulting depictions of women in gaming art. Apparently you and Jonathan are OK telling the WG that she must/should do it in a way to please YOU, otherwise the blog fails or fails to connect; not that I can see how you have special insight about what WG to do to make her blog not “fail”. I’d go as far as to say it’s already connected with many people.

        “If we choose to converse and learn and teach, then we all win.”

        Thanks (again) for that example of how it’s almost always a guy coming in to tell the poor women what counts as a conversation and what doesn’t. See how deep this thing goes?

        • I’m being completely sincere in my intentions and comments Janet, it’s a horrible thing that you have to ask people whether they are being sincere or not on the internet, I really hate that.

          The issue isn’t so much that we want her to change the tone to fit our preferences, it’s that she’s touting this as “A (Mostly) Humorous Look At How Not To Sell Games To Women”, but lately there’s been a distinctive shift in her writing style from genuinely interesting to read (and arguably funny) to her just writing things like “MOAR CORPSE BEWBS” or just being generally aggressive and antagonistic towards the subjects of her posts. Humour is obviously subjective but it seems more and more she’s letting her experiences with a minority of loud, sexist pigs interfere with her entire worldview of the gaming population. And what once was witty is now lazy writing and tired worn out “jokes”.

          Everyone takes things personally always. Anything that happens around you is immediately related back to how it affects you as an individual. A good writer can use this to strengthen and inform their arguments, a less adept writer lets it affect and damage their arguments. When wundergeek loses sight of the message by making crude jokes, letting (at times justified) rage invade her writing and using words like “tits” it becomes very difficult to read, let alone sympathise with; her writing and position.

          Also the fact that you assume that as a man I and or Jonathan see these sorts of issues as “entertainment or distraction” informs my comments on the way discourse and conversation works.

          You, as you said, know nothing about me, but as a man, my position must automatically be a casual and uninformed one? This is what I am talking about when I say things that teach you to look for specific signs of “derailing” (I put it in quotation marks because I feel that it is a fictional construct in the way it is used so often here) actually harm the potential for discourse. At times what is now perceived as derailing is really the most simple explanation of the comment; discussion.

          I was very specific in my use of gender neutral pronouns when I wrote about “what counts as a conversation” because it’s got nothing to do with “poor women” or poor men. Don’t project gender notions onto everything that is said. It’s something everyone must learn to do and it doesn’t come naturally and sometimes we forget, but it is important for society to function effectively. I’m guilty discounting what people say at times and I’m sure you are too. Everyone does it. Just be aware of it and strive to do it less.

          One’s status as a woman gives her little more knowledge in the field of feminism than a man if neither have studied the theory at a tertiary level. Just because something happens to you does not mean you understand it. I pay taxes but will readily admit I know little about how the system works. Gravity keeps me in place but to say I could discuss its properties intelligently would be a gross overestimation.

          That comes across as a harsh thing to say but please don’t confuse hard to hear with aggressiveness, It’s just the most fitting way to make my point.

          • Alex, again, I’ve seen so many of these discussions in different places that derailing is not something I’m inclined, as you are, to put into quotations marks–it’s real, it happens way too often, and seldom contributes to the original topic of discussion. It’s always picking at the writer’s tone, character, or writing/speaking skills, or goes into assuming ignorance of one’s dissenters (frequently when it’s NOT their ignorance that led to disagreement but the opposite) and frequently comes from a position of privilege. The Bingo Card, BTW, started as a HUMOROUS response because the same derailments keep on popping their heads up, and it’s not WG or any feminists’ job to educate you on why they’re almost always besides the discussion at hand. And quite frankly, this being WG’s blog, it’s all down to what WG will tolerate in the comments now, and if she wants to go by the Bingo card (an option that has my full support), it’ll be a relief for the blog readers who just want to get back to the original point of the blog without having to go through Feminism101 in the comments continually.

            And FWIW, you may have been trying to keep your comments gender-neutral but even your latest reads as condescending and assumes a lot about me and what I don’t understand even when “something happens” to me (??!). (God forbid you ever meet a female astrophysicist and feminist-at-tertiary-level who understands the tax system–you’d have to accept her word on taxes, gravity, and feminism.) I have no desire to quote and pick apart all your lines, in your most recent comment or the previous, but I would suggest you practise yourself what you preach: Just be aware of it and strive to do it less.

            • What is “the original point of the blog” then, Janet? To post and agree and post and agree and post and agree? Where does that leave us? I’ve been on here long enough to be familiar with the topics and theories being discussed, I’m actively studying feminism in my free time (Not at a tertiary level, unfortunately) in the hopes that I can be deemed “worthy” to not have to be “educated” constantly, and yet still whenever a man comments he invariably is cast aside as not entitled (note the irony) to pass judgement or comment or even agree on the proceedings of the blog.

              What exactly has Wundergeek done to achieve this untouchable status? You apparently can’t critique her writing style, her choice of subjects (and targets) or her comment moderation, but why not? She’s not an expert in the field, she’s a social commentator who’s making her thoughts and views public, a rather commendable and brave thing to do. But as such, the public has a right to respond, as long as it’s constructive and appropriate (something I strive to be at all times). This can include advice (which nobody should be above accepting) or praise (which she certainly deserves), or criticism (which everybody has to deal with in any field).

              And this stuck out for me as well:

              “or goes into assuming ignorance of one’s dissenters (frequently when it’s NOT their ignorance that led to disagreement but the opposite)”.

              So much of the derailing and trolling from female readers here occurs because they are assuming the male readers have some ulterior motive or lack the education to contribute. It goes both ways.

              Furthermore, If you believe I’m assuming things about you, you are mistaken, I certainly haven’t made any blanket statements like:

              “You come from a position (I’m assuming you and Jonathan are both male, but could wrong) where these discussions are little more than pure entertainment or distraction”

              All my comments have been responses to your initial statements, I have assumed nothing about you and only spoken from my own perspective and experience. As for being condescending, chalk it up to a misinterpretation owing to the absence of tone of voice. You haven’t given me any reason to look down on you whatsoever, I don’t know you.

              I do apologise however, for the weird phrasing of that last point though, what I mean is, sexism and feminism are things that many women (and men) deal with in their life, but to assume one has an extensive understanding of these things simply through being affected by their existence is to assume too much.

              And I don’t really understand why you would write:

              “(God forbid you ever meet a female astrophysicist and feminist-at-tertiary-level who understands the tax system–you’d have to accept her word on taxes, gravity, and feminism.)”

              it seems like an insult hurled purely to incite an argument, the actions you’d generally associate with a “troll”. And for the record, show me somebody with those credentials and I’ll show you somebody far more qualified than myself to comment. We could certainly do with some more people with that knowledge around here.

              • I don’t what to unpack first. Maybe where I’ll start with the God forbids comment, for which I’ll just apologise. You should know though that your paragraph that inspired it was basically three examples of how being a woman doesn’t mean she understands feminism. I can comprehend that point without needing it repeated citing taxes and physics. Followed by another paragraph making sure I don’t confuse harsh points with aggression. This was preceded, one paragraph up, with a lesson on how society functions effectively (by people not reading gender notions upon everything), and before that, by a paragraph discounting derailing on this blog (and in previous comments by dismissing the Bingo Card altogether–we may need a meta-bingo card now). Before that, I was taught how a good writer is different from a bad writer, given an exposition on humour, learned that LOLtext and the words ‘tits’ is crude, and right from your first comment told to look up from the Bingo card and converse. I’ve now, I think, conversed. The problem perhaps, is just that I just keep disagreeing with you, no matter how long these comments you keep making to explain things to me. If the condescension I’ve been reading doesn’t come through to you by this point, I don’t know what else to say. It’s possible that your style of conversation is ladled on in this fashion regardless of the gender of the person you’re addressing. I can only express that this is unfortunate, and that I’m done.

                WG has said not everyone needs to agree in comments (I don’t know why I have to repeat her point, or her option to moderate according to the bingo card). Her “untouchable” status (a word that only shows how you missed the point) actually doesn’t stop your feedback/advice from being expressed–it’s just open to question if it stays on the site by her decision, and if you’ll find others are always still disagreeing with you anyway.

              • It’s unfortunate that we can’t find a common ground Janet. My predilection for stating the obvious (repeatedly) comes from an extended period of my comments here being barely read and their meaning assumed from collections of words in them rather than the meaning those words create when strung together in sentences and paragraphs. I apologise that you were on the receiving end of my over-cautiousness but please believe me when I say it was not because I thought you were ill-educated, it was merely stemming from a (realised) fear of being misunderstood.

                Thanks for explaining your stance clearly for me though, I hope you don’t think me to be part of the problem, I am striving to study feminism wherever I can so I can better become part of the solution.

          • Alex,

            Humor, like many things, can be many things to many people. Personally, I think Will Ferrell is the unfunniest human being to ever walk the planet. His metric shit-piles of money point to the fact that many, many people disagree with me. Similarly, Louis Black calls himself a comedian – despite that all he does is yell about stuff that makes him angry. If Louis Black gets to be a comedian, then I think I get to call what I do here humor. The fact that you don’t find it funny doesn’t really mean anything as long as someone other than me finds it funny. (And really, even if it is me, it’s still humor. It’s just bad humor.)

            I have always, always, ALWAYS been upfront about the fact that this is an emotional subject for me. When I have anger, that anger works its way into my blogging. If that makes my blog less “useful”, less “adept”, less “well written”, guess what? I don’t give a shit. This is my blog, and I write in a way that pleases me. I know the “correct” way to write – often I just choose to ignore those rules. I know what I’m doing here and am making very conscious decisions about the language and tone that I use. So while I appreciate that you are disagreeing with me in a civil manner (thank you for refraining from hurling insults, btw), I will agree that your comments are skirting very close to the “tone” argument, which isn’t helpful since I have zero intention of changing how I write to either be less angry, more objective, or more light-heartedly humorous.

            So while I respect your civility, I will ask that you engage on points that aren’t writing style, since this is getting close to derailing. Derailing of a good-faith, non-malicious sort, but derailing none the less.

            • You do realize, of course, that not every comment about the tone of a written piece is referenced for the purpose of derailing the conversation or turning the issue back on the writer in a ‘blame the victim’ sort of way, right? As someone who has also noticed that the tone has shifted a bit (at least in the past few months), it is recognized not because it is necessarily “wrong” or “unhelpful”, but rather that it takes the conversation about gender in gaming in a different direction. When the tone of the articles becomes more antagonistic, angry, bitter, upset, etc., the tone of the entire narrative changes into something that wasn’t there when the tone was more playfully exasperated and ironic. This doesn’t necessarily mean ‘bad’ or ‘good’ or anything in between, but if one of the reasons for this blog is to not only advance the conversation in the digital space, but also to hopefully push people to self-examine their own possible prejudices and the covert sexism that exists in many, if not all, people (and I’m pretty sure I’ve read that it is in the past)… then this tonal change can cause those people who may have made those self-examinations to instead put up a wall and become defensive. Take that for what you will, but it is much easier to say “see, another person using the tone argument to derail the conversation, I will tell them to, effectively, read what I write or leave” than it is to perhaps make the same self-examination, discover why the tone of the writing has perhaps changed, and make sure that your message and narrative has not been compromised.

        • Wundergeek: By now I’ve spent an hour reading, thinking, writing, re-writing for a reply, but nothing works. I guess, then, this is where I leave and don’t come back. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your more light-hearted moments in which you did make me a better person, and I hope you’ll find the strength of character to become less angry in the future.

          • And after having given you the benefit of the doubt once, I hope you’ll find the strength of character to stop using the tone argument to try to invalidate people’s arguments.

            • You do realize, of course, that not every comment about the tone of a written piece is referenced for the purpose of derailing the conversation or turning the issue back on the writer in a ‘blame the victim’ sort of way, right? As someone who has also noticed that the tone has shifted a bit (at least in the past few months), it is recognized not because it is necessarily “wrong” or “unhelpful”, but rather that it takes the conversation about gender in gaming in a different direction. When the tone of the articles becomes more antagonistic, angry, bitter, upset, etc., the tone of the entire narrative changes into something that wasn’t there when the tone was more playfully exasperated and ironic. This doesn’t necessarily mean ‘bad’ or ‘good’ or anything in between, but if one of the reasons for this blog is to not only advance the conversation in the digital space, but also to hopefully push people to self-examine their own possible prejudices and the covert sexism that exists in many, if not all, people (and I’m pretty sure I’ve read that it is in the past)… then this tonal change can cause those people who may have made those self-examinations to instead put up a wall and become defensive. Take that for what you will, but it is much easier to say “see, another person using the tone argument to derail the conversation, I will tell them to, effectively, read what I write or leave” than it is to perhaps make the same self-examination, discover why the tone of the writing has perhaps changed, and make sure that your message and narrative has not been compromised.

              • True enough, but that doesn’t change the circumstances of this case.

                Again: Wundergeek has done a remarkable job of keeping her cool, considering. That guy was derailing—especially considering his little parting shot about her “strength of character” or alleged lack thereof.

              • oh, don’t misunderstand, I agree with you completely that Wundergeek has done an admirable job of keeping her cool… and as I noted in my earlier comment, the “trolls” and other people who do nothing to further the conversation are certainly not worthy of being given carte blanche to make whatever comments they want. I just wanted to point out that there is more to a comment about the tone of a writing than necessarily channeling a conversation in a different direction or using straw men in argument, and that one has to be cognizant of their tone if they are intending to get a certain message across or create a particular narrative. That all being said, you are right, taking shots at one’s “strength of character” is an unnecessary shot at the writer that not only does nothing to further any constructive conversation, but in fact is intended to close off the avenue to productive discourse….. in other words, I think we’re saying the same thing in different ways🙂

        • “If you don’t think I’m funny, don’t read my blog. Simple.”

          Now I know I’ve heard that argument somewhere before, if only I could put my finger on it…

          • @Pollack:

            “Don’t like, don’t read” only fails when negative consequences exist to the piece regardless of whether you actually read it.

            Given that the existence of this blog harms no one, it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to say.

  15. This blog is awesome and author is doing tremendous job to show how sexist are depictions of women in games. I also love author’s sarcastic approach to these matters. I think I don’t share the same point of view as her and disagree with many of her statements pretty often but no matter I say it again: This blog is awesome. Keep up good work and don’t let negative comments discourage you.

  16. Long-time lurker (seldom poster), though I do post often to your guest spots on Border House Blog. Anyway, I do find that this new policy is a great move. I’m happy to contribute to the discussion and have an open dialogue about these very REAL and important issues in gaming and media portrayals of women; however, I have been reticent to do so here due to the general asshattery in the comments and floodgate of trolls. How exhausting it must be for you to deal with on a daily basis! So, I say big kudos and commend this comment policy. 🙂

  17. Free speech is fine until people start getting angry, there is no reason to go around trying to jab people in the eye for no good reason. You must run your blog like it is a bar. I say bar instead of other establishment because a lot of idiots show up at bars alongside the decent people and those idiots, fueled by alcohol and false bravado, start a lot of problems. Bars have rules, some of which are unspoken and when the idiot starts spouting off it is time for them to go. If not nicely after being asked then with a not so gentle shove.

  18. All credit to you for having the courage to do this. It isn’t ofte nthat you see a website owner who cares this much about constructive dialogue and the general well being for everyone involved. Thumbs up!

  19. Long time lurker – you are beyond justified in this. Jaclyn should be banned, and the d20girls should frankly be ashamed for coming out to support a troll who’s wishing death on people. I love how he’s trying to bring in some false equivalency here about how he was “insulted first”, which lets him go on about he wishes other people would gruesomely die.

  20. Massively approve of this policy change.

    One of my other fave blogs is The Hathor Legacy, which I believe I first came across thanks to your link up there in your links list. They have a highly effective, zero tolerance anti-troll policy over there, based on Derailing for Dummies. I’ve almost never come across a detestable or insulting post on that site. And you know what the effect is? It improves things. Massively.

    You see, one of the great myths of freedom of speech is that all speech improves discourse. It doesn’t. It really, really, fucking REALLY doesn’t. These trolls and buffoons descend in their swarms and so much time is wasted responding to and debunking their ridiculous arguments and attempts at derailing (repeated time and time again), and they think this is supposed to make us all wiser? Bullshit.

    Commenting on a recent story on The Hathor Legacy, I claimed that freedom of (completely unmoderated and unchallenged) speech is essentially become “freedom of douchebaggery”, and that, more than anything, it is the mantra of the self-centred privileged. And you can see that with these trolls. They think their opinions are *so* important, that they can’t conceive that their derailing is actually completely detrimental to intelligent discourse.

    And with these disruptive elements removed, we’re not just left with a bunch of nodding heads. These privileged narcissists want us to think that, without them, there is no discussion. ‘Fraid not, trolls. It’s like being in a classroom with disruptive bullies. Once they’re removed, the rest of the class is free from disruption and is able to concentrate on the curriculum and really excel. We learn from each other and discuss and disagree and debate ’til the cows come home, and we grow and learn from it, and it’s thanks to the complete absence of self-important trolls.

    I know you’re probably not going to be quite as “aggressive” as THL, nor can one person hope to be as pro-active as a whole team, but any stand against trolls is a victory for intelligent debate. I’m wondering if you’re going to ban persistent offenders, too? Maybe give them a cool-off period, if perma-bans aren’t your style? Either way, good luck!

  21. My (completely unsolicited) advice on writing the comments policy: don’t bother putting too much time into it. The more detail you put in, the more ammunition you give rules lawyers to say why a certain post shouldn’t be deleted because it technically didn’t break the rules of X, Y and Z.

    Instead, just make the policy: Comments will be deleted and posters blocked purely at the discretion of the blogger. No ifs, ands or buts.

  22. Hi, another lurker here, just wanted to say that I really appreciate your blog and I support your new comment policy. You say things that need to be said, and when I get tired of people (usually men, but not always) in gaming or related circles Just Not Getting It I come here for a much needed dose of ‘I’m not the only one who sees the problems’. So thanks.

  23. Would you consider perhaps moderating your followers’ comments too? I’ve often been rudely attacked because I happen to be a woman that likes boobs. I mean a healthy debate is good and all but I really don’t appreciate it when people say “You! You’re the problem! Traitor!” And profanities and so on. Just a thought.

    Also, I just noticed the smiley face at the bottom of the page. It’s quite darling ^_^

    • In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve deleted several comments just now from people that were arguing in support of my posts. Insulting other commenters is not allowed, period.

  24. I support your policy entirely. In fact, I wouldn’t even go so far as to be specific about your rules. Something like this would do just fine:

    “If you post something sufficiently idiotic, it’s gone. Either you knew it was idiotic and posted it anyway, making you an asshole, or you didn’t know it was idiotic, making you an idiot. In either case, I don’t want it in my house.”

  25. I also want to pop out to say I wholly understand your decision. If I ran a blog I’d probably have to do the same. Most online spaces unchecked can all too easily end up toxic, and unfortunately can net you in permanent 101 if not freshman seminar status in terms of social justice conversation. For anything more in depth I don’t know how well an unmoderated commenting section could really work out. In those places I typically just read the articles only.

  26. Wundergeek can you edit the text in every comment on your blog?

    Because if you can I would like to point out that if a comment has an insult or two towards other commentators on your blog and is a coherent piece of communication in the remainder of the text: do you have to delete it or can you just remove the insult parts and leave the note: this part of the comment was deleted because it does not fit into the rules of my blog, or something like that in your own words?

    • Ivan – yes I can edit everyone’s comments. And yes, I could edit comments to remove insults and leave the meat of the comment, but I’m not going to. I want to train people to be responsible for their speech, not to expect me to moderate their speech for them. No one likes having their comments removed, and with hope it will serve as a reminder for people to choose their words with care.

  27. Ironically, the maker of the Anti-Feminist bingo card edited the page to say they wouldn’t want it to be used as a troll bingo card. I’m sure you saw it and have still decided to use it that way, but it’s still amusing.

    I find it interesting how passionate people are about these comment discussions. Most people have given up on internet comments having value. The fact people on both sides of the censorship argument are so involved shows they value this space on your blog. It’s not often you see this many comments under a rule change entry.

  28. While your views are a little more extreme than I’m used to seeing they make me think about the larger issue.
    Thanks for your thought provoking topics.
    I am a male and it embasseses me to see what is perpetrated in our name sometimes/much of the time.
    Free speech – speech in this context should mean something that is well thought through and polished. Not vomited into the world through a keyboard without the aid of any filters.
    Remember you started this blog to reduce your stress not pile more fuel on the “fire”.
    Don’t let the bastards get you down.

  29. Your blog, your rules, I don’t see how anyone can have a problem with that. I am interested to see how this works out because I find that derailing happens from both sides of the debate pretty equally.

  30. The vitriol you’ve received for trying to highlight ways that gaming culture is sexist makes me ashamed to identify myself as a gamer. I’m behind you, 100%.

  31. Hi, wundergeek – wandered over because I saw a fair bit of traffic coming our way from here (to the Anti-Feminist Bingo Card). Nice blog!

    Don’t know if you’ve had a chance to check out our Hoyden About Town comments policy, which is fairly detailed (we even have a ‘fine print’ page), because we go in to the philosophy of why we decline to publish certain things. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you go in for that much detail on your own policy, but it might give you some clearer ideas of exactly what you personally want to put on which side of the Acceptable Content/Unacceptable Content divide for this blog.

    The bottom line is that people who try to force you to publish any old vexatious/obnoxious crap they write are just using “what about free speech?” as a metaphorical club, and are nothing but bullies. You are not obliged to publish anything written by other people on your blog at all, especially not anything you find to be unedifying content, and should never have to apologise for that.

  32. Free speech stops, in my opinion, when it HINDERS other people’s free speech. You are right. This is your blog and you have every right to delete comments, censor them, or require that every damn comment be approved before it is posted.

    I may not fully agree with your views, but I actually am enjoying reading the intelligent discussion your views brings about.

  33. Thank you for doing this, I stopped reading so many blog comments because of these hardcore anti-feminists bordering on anti-females. We’ve heard and read it so many times, these trolls who enjoy dismissing any concerns about sexism in the video game industry, who simply tell us to GTFO because we mean absolutely nothing.
    This blog is supported to be different, and due to the nature of the internet, it needs to be regulated.

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