Monday, March 10, 2008

Yep, Moderated Posts Are The Fate Of This Blog Too

It happens with a lot of blogs...especially, strangely, a number of blogs run by women.

After a rash over a period of months of being pelted by "overly relentless and negative commenters who occasionally cross the line," the owner of the blog decides to either

a) Take away comments completely


b) Moderate the comments.

At some point, comments might be unmoderated again, but right now this is what suits me. I sacrifice my ever-dwindling free time to write this blog. I get little-to-no compensation for it. To have the comments section resemble the decorum on the Newsarama forums on a bad day both disgusts and discourages me. At least Newsarama can ban or force out users -- and apparently, they do.

Actually, most social networking/media sites have some form of moderation. I used to think my blog would be immune to the need for it, but I was wrong.

And I do think some of it boils down to some men being set off by a woman with strong opinions. I think the very fact of it -- regardless of content -- really pisses some people off, on a primal level. Maybe that's a controversial thing to say, and maybe you don't agree with it. But that's what I feel in my heart is part of the problem.

I still like the majority of male comic fans, and hold no ill will towards them. But there is a small awful obsessive angry subset of them that really drain all joy out of discourse about comics.

What I post here: things about comics that interests me and illustrates my passion for the medium. It should be a fun process. If you feel the same way, come participate.


  1. That's pretty sad that people get so worked up over comic books so much that they ruin the enjoyment for other people. I find this site really funny & fun to read so I hope you continue.

    Even though I rarely read comics anymore, I still like to check online about what's going on with them and this blog helps out a lot!

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  3. It's a tough choice to make, and admittedly, in your situation I'd probably make the same one or just turn off the comments section myself.

    Some it may very well boil down to gender discomfort. Regardless, I worry about that logic. I agree with you one hundred percent that these issues definitely exist and certainly run rampant in this industry.

    However, I worry that you are interpreting something as gender-based when it has more to do with being insecure on a very basic level. Gender may very well play a part in it, but I've known people to argue like i've seen in the comments on your blog, with that kind of relentless "I'M JUST GOING TO KEEP TALKING UNTIL YOU RELENT TO ME" between men. Hate to say it, but that kind of discourse is kinda par for the course amongst the male geeks know (a perfect example being Newsarama), a competitive "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude. It's definitely fucked up and indicative of a greater character flaw.

    I know this may seem argumentative, and I apologize if it is. You may very well be seeing a different side of it. I'd only like to suggest that maybe it has less to do with gender specifically than it has to do with ANYONE, male, female, animal, vegetable, or mineral, having a strong opinion that challenges their whole "I HAVE EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT, I AM THE GREATEST, BOW BEFORE ME" attitude. I feel like it's more about just feeling better about... well, basically not having a life, thus leaving many hours to wheedle and whine about something they read on a blog somewhere.

    I hope this doesn't affect your desire to have open discourse on your blog. You have countless people, like myself, who support you, are devoted to your blog and read it regularly for your amazing insight even if I don't necessarily agree with you on a particular point.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. If the thing that finally crossed the line was the Invisible Woman Skrull post... I don't know, maybe I missed some subtext, but it didn't feel like it was escalating to the level of, say, the misogynistic comments from right before your vacation.

    On that note, great to have you back. I don't mind moderated comments in the slightest. ^_~

    ...Although I do wonder what's taking so long for me to appear on an Occasional Superheroine Reader spotlight. XD WHY WON'T YOU PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEEE?!

    Oh, and Val? Plenty of us do appreciate you for taking time out of what I'm sure is a hectic and busy schedule to post here, review, give opinions, and basically interact with other fans. ^^

  5. It's a shame people can't manage to be civil, but unfortunately that's the kind of thing the anonymity of the internet enables. Moderation is an absolutely appropriate response and the only sensible solution for comment sections that have got out of control. It's not something that needs to be justified, and I think the best summation of the whole issue is Teresa Nielsen Hayden's post on moderation.

  6. Hey Val, I hope my teasing about your dislike of Geoff Johns didn't contribute to you feeling this way. I certainly didn't intend to make you feel harassed.

  7. In the Invisible Woman thread, it was just exhaustion at seeing the same Newsarama types dragging with the same negativity and snark -- and inability of them to deal with the snark directed back at them. "Why are you being so mean to me?" they ask in all innocence.

    I mean, if they think my blog's opinions are so awful, why keep reading and complaining?

    They should just find another blog or forum where they can roughhouse.

  8. That's a real shame that it has come to this. But as one of the many who has enjoyed this blog since its beginning I think it's safe to say that we'd all prefer moderated comments if it keeps you here and blogging.

  9. Wait, I have been missing tons of drama apparently! Bummer-- I always like a good scrape.

  10. It's a shame that it's come to that, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Keep posting and I'll keep reading.

  11. Did you check out the new writer for Huntress interview on NRAMA? Seems like a step in the right direction based on your crazy idea that women should write female characters :)

  12. Yeah man, seemed like the Invisible Woman thread was getting a bit heated. Kinda weird because you've posted topics that are way more controversial and the discussions have never degraded like that.

  13. Smart decision, Val. I'm glad you're keeping comments up, and hope moderating them isn't too much of an additional burden.

  14. Hey, as long as you keep blogging, moderate away!

  15. Well, I wish you nothing but the best. Actually, I only bother to read the comments when I'm about to post one based on something you wrote, so your moderation decision... or even if you decide to close comments all together... don't really affect me. And I'm not so narcissistic to think anyone reads my comments either.

    As long as YOU'RE writing, I'll keep reading!

  16. I'm new to the comics blogs, & yours is consistently one of my faves. I'm sorry to hear that the discourse can get so savage & misogynist, but I wish I were also surprised. I hope you don't get too discouraged by them. Keep fighting the power, we stand beside you!

  17. "Why are you being so mean to me?" they ask in all innocence.

    Yeah I totally know what you mean.

    I mean, if I go and say Dan Slott sucks a big piece of doody, and he came on here and said, "fuck you asshole, if you hate it so much, dont read it!"

    Then I would actually like him better.

    But a lot of those newsarama people go off on how writers suck and should be fired and blah blah blah.

    Then the writers respond and they get all hurt and say Grant Morrison was mean to me :(

    What a bunch of trifling little children.

  18. First thing I want to say is that I really enjoy what you write.

    Since you still like the majority of male comic book fans, maybe you have a problem with people being jerks? And the internet is really weird for how comments sound, sometimes random jokes sound crazy mean. I've seen a few times when Chris Sims posted when I thought he was just kidding around randomly, but you seemed to take and respond to them as attacks, but, with fun. I don't think anyone who reads your blog should be surprised when you are snarky. It'part of the fun. Again, people dash off comments and sometimes it's difficult to figure out where they are going with them, maybe I just thought he was being random. I really like your site and enjoy your opinions. Certainly though, your Invisible Woman post didn't seem to have anything to do with gender issues, so it is very strange that people responded to it like it did. Sometimes, your posts are about gender discussion, although, now that I'm writing that, I certainly don't mean that it would be all right for people to be ignorant if the discussion was about gender. Anyway, I didn't read the comments made on it before they were deleted. And it's your blog, if you don't like what people are saying on it and want to edit it, I think that's great. I read your blog for the posts. But I think this is the second time in just a few weeks when people did seem to go after you enough for you to comment on it on a post. There's something about the internet that seems to make people speak in absolutes, this is the worst thing ever, this is the best thing ever, I have no idea why.

    While I'm commenting, your "Face it Tiger," thing was hilarious.

    And out of all these Skrull promos, Sue is the first one who really liked like not only a skrull, but a crazy, crazy skrull.

    Anyway, just thought I'd post some support.

  19. Sorry it came to this. If only we lived in a society where civility was deemed "cool."

  20. Shame that you had to do that - but I don't blame you in the slightest. If someone's getting out of line, of course you have the right to moderate.

    Its your blog.

    That said, sorry I missed out - I go away for a couple of days and I miss all kinds of drama. First Spitzer, now this!

  21. Can't say as I blame you.

  22. People like to hide behind their computers in order to let their mean flags fly. It's such a shame. Most people I know who run blogs - men and women, none of whom write about comics - end up making the decision you've just had to make. Perhaps oppenness and freedom in conversation are pipe dreams to those of us who can maintain our composure and put things in perspective?

    Anyhow, you have a fun blog, it's a shame there are people who do that sort of crap.

  23. People who comment just to complain are skrulls. There's something very skrully going on. There's a hint of skrulliness in the air.

  24. Your post sounds a lot like an apology, and I don't think one is necessary. Moderating the comments on a popular blog seems like a good idea even if the trolls don't show up in great numbers. Not only can you weed out the malcontents but you can direct the conversations in such a way as to be a true extension of your blog entry instead of opening it up and letting the chips fall where they may.

    There's no shortage of un[der]moderated fora all over the Internet. It's always seemed odd to me that there are people entertaining themselves by picking individual blogs as their places to get hostile. But, they do and I'm all for preserving both the integrity of one's home on the web and one's mental health by keeping the jerks out.

  25. The real injustice here was that yesterday I sat down for about 20 minutes composing what would easily have been the "War and Peace" of blog responses to the topic of Secret invasion only to have the topic shut down while I was spellchecking...

    Anyhoo, half the soccer blogs I go to are moderated so I don't really think this is that big of a deal (just more time consuming for you OC). I don't think it has to much to do with you being a woman, or the topic being comics and your point of view, people can be jerks no matter what. I've been on enough e-mailing lists, blogs and boards to have seen problems with really any topic and any cross section of people.

    95 percent of people out there are civil to each other, but it's that other 5 percent that's everywhere just looking to pick a fight.

  26. I enjoy reading your blog and though I can't remember if I ever left a comment before I wanted to tell you that and now seemed like a good time.

    I do not comment on many comic book related blogs because of the attacks that comes if in my view you simply like something and enjoy it. I comment if I have a view on something or like it.

    Places like Newsarama seem to me for the most part to be about a group of people gathered around to talk about what they have a hate on for on and on and on. Seems like a lot of wasted time and energy to me?

    It really is a shame that there seems to be very few places for fans to actually enjoy and discuss an art form that they love.

  27. Val, this is a great, GREAT blog and I often followed the comment discussion with great interest. It must be hard to let people into your virtual salon only to have them TALK IN LOUD ALL CAPS VOICES and, to paraphrase "War of the Roses," piss in/on the fish. So moderate away. it's a shame we can't do it for you vote-wise (I'm imagining an Amazon-style "Was this comment helpful?" button that could be used to nuke the rude, etc).

  28. Thumbs up for whatever you want to do, Val. Your blog is YOURS after all, and if it's no fun, then why do it?

  29. Hey Val! Amin here.

    I find this whole gender issue very discerning and at most childish. If some boys have a problem with what a woman has to say then they need to realize that they're still boys not men. True men listen, appreciate and take into heavy consideration what a woman has to say.

    From my experience the gender issue is rampant in many industries. I just don't get it.

    I support your blog!!

  30. Your blog, your rules ! Too bad it happened precisely on the thread I wanted to reply to!
    Keep the new posts coming, reading your blog is part of my morning routine.

  31. I always seem to be late to the party, as it were, but I have this link to a small video; I don't recall if I found the link here or somewhere else, and I apologise if it already appeared here.

    How To Behave On an Internet Forum

    I know it's not about blogs, but it contains good advice in general.

    Going off on a tangent, I like Matt's idea in Comment 23 about blaming things on the Secret Invasion and can't help wondering if all unusual/aberrant behavior this year can't be attributed to the Skrulls and their actions? Such as:

    Geraldine Ferraro & Eliot Spitzer? Skrulls.

    Album Of The Year Grammy going to Herbie Hancock? Skrull machinations.

    The Cubs cementing a century of futility, however, would not be a Skrull plot; remember that the key word here is *aberrant* behavior...

  32. Since some unfortunate nastiness has stopped you from allowing comments on the post I would have liked to publish this comment on, I'm going to publish it on this post. And I'm not accusing Marvel of borrowing ideas but...

    The Skrulls were created by Stan.
    They evolved.
    They became cows.
    There are many copies.
    And they have a plan...

  33. Mean comments and flames and stuff can be very stressful to deal with esp since you have such a popular blog :(

    *hugs* You need to do what you need to to deal for your own sanity :]

  34. Good site - good blog - keep the comments and moderate, moderate, moderate (that's my humble opinion). That allows those of us that like the blog and want to comment/contribute to take part whilst keeping out the trash - unfortunately for you, you still have to read the trash, but hey, I'm willing to let you suffer that for our benefit ;-)