Saturday, May 17, 2008


Trolls have been a HUGE problem on this blog lately. Instead of writting my own policy about it, i want to second what Amelia said. (is there something in the water?)

"First of all, I would like to remind all commenters that anonymous commenting is a privilege. I started this blog for the purpose of generating productive discussion... The use of the word 'troll' for me means a person who leaves comments (usually, but not always, anonymously) that are meant to provoke a negative reaction among those who support the authors/ideas of this blog. General tactics used on this blog include: generalizing about all feminists ('feminists hate men!'), assumptions about particular authors ('you wrote about x so you must be like this'), name calling ('conceited,' and 'vain' were alluded to in a recent thread), and others.

Many of the people that I would consider to be trolls on this blog come here, make intentionally aggravating statements, and then try to use the human reactions of other commenters to make a bad name for feminism. It is interesting that they claim to just be presenting an opposing viewpoint. Problem is that there intent obviously does not fit with this. They want to make feminists look bad."

Well said Amelia, and i whole heartedly agree.

Here's the least vitriolic and most toned down example of one that [Anon] has sent me that i moderated:

"Many women do gold dig. And women are manipulative.


It's life. Rather than getting people to shut up about it, why not work to change women for the better?

*gasp* Change women for the better?

I forgot, you're all perfect and never do anything wrong."

At first, i thought it would be educational to start a discourse with my fav trolls (maybe they'd learn something?) but that didn't work out too well... I quickly realized there is no changing these troll's minds and it's better not to engage at all. So although i will still allow anonymous comments because i do value everyone's opinion and encourage discussion, i will continue to carefully monitor comments and refuse to display those that are obviously written by a troll or with a sole purpose of disrespecting or ridiculing others, especially those marginalized.


Anonymous said...

I quickly realized there is no changing these troll's minds

By this, are you meaning to say that women are NOT ever manipulative or gold-digging, and that the minds of people who think otherwise need to be changed?

All I'm saying, is if you put it to men to convince others of our gender to stop behaving in certain ways that are bad for women, that would make it up to women to convince others of their gender to stop behaving in ways that are bad for men.

Is that somehow unfair, or incorrect?

It's obviously not up to men to change the behaviour of women (that would be sexist, controlling, etcetera, no?), so it has to be up to someone.

Thus, why I said what I did, how I did.

I don't think I said it in an inflammatory way, (though, considering my comment is still up, you apparently didn't find it presented badly, either.).

Amelia said...

I am decently sure that there is a group of the same trolls that is plaguing a number of our blogs.

It's interesting. One of them, CyoteSkinhead (I believe) has his own anti-feminism blog! It's cute that he devotes so much time to something he hates.

Thanks for the support, though. It's nice to know it's there when we have to deal with all the bull. :)

D said...

Dear anonymous,

Levels of cognitive growth start in the simple and dichotomous. You really need to expand your horizons, because what you have written doesn't really say much beyond an opinion. Also, opinion and fact are not related. So, here's the deal: no one is telling anyone else to do anything.

This blog, and others like it, opens a discourse to bring to light things that need to be discussed. There is no recipe book for human behavior or instructions for how everyone should behave, so it comes off as disengenuous when you claim that people need to learn how to control each other.

Part of growing up is moving beyond the questioning phase to including other systems of thought (check out Robert Kegan's work if you're bored for further illumination).

My issue with trolling is that these people seek to avoid learning from each other, which is the purpose of blogs like this. If you're purposefully writing on these blogs to incite a reaction, then save your energy. No one wins when you come on the blog and claim to have all the answers by using double talk and mistaking fact for opinion.

Trolling can be fun to read at first, but after a while it becomes boring and meaningless like static.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. A group of trolls that I think might somehow be related to yours and Female Impersonator's hae been bothering me as well. Maybe it's national troll week and we missed it?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the increasing voices of dissent should tell you something.

"At first, i thought it would be educational to start a discourse with my fav trolls (maybe they'd learn something?) but that didn't work out too well"

At any rate I accept your offer.

You can either take me up on it, or, follow the safe course and just dismiss me as a "troll".

Anonymous said...

I love your blog as well!!

*feminist love all around*

Sarah J said...


You guys figured us out.

"Feminism" is just a cover to get awesome guys like you to come here and talk to us so we can marry you for your money.

Now we have to come up with something new! Curses, foiled again!

Smirking Cat said...

Trolls and stalkers are such sad, needy, whiny little creatures. "Pay attention to me! Look at me! I hate you, yet I can't tear myself away from you!"

Anonymous said...

So, discourse? Hmm?

FeministGal said...

Coyote, not sure i follow: would you like to talk about something in particular? If so, feel free to post a question and i am sure that my readers and i would be more than glad to help answer any question you may have.

Anonymous said...

Yes here is my question.
Once the army started offering money for college, and scholarship programs and all that, women began to protest how the army was "men only". Well, women are allowed to join the army now.
Of the 4,000 deaths in Iraq, less than 10% are female.
And only half of the female casualties resulting from "hostile action" are the result of actual combat- the rest were roadside bombs.
How come I have yet to find a single feminist talking about how women are being denied their right to fight and die in combat?
I'm not being patronizing nor inflammatory.
I'm really curious.
I see plenty of blogs about "weighism" and "trolling" and "peta sexualized women in their ad, oh no!" but what about an issue of actual equality?

Mark said...

Coyote SH - Fair enough question (for me anyway, and I certainly consider myself a feminist). Women make up about 14.5% of active duty personnel and about 20% of the reserve. The number varies across branch but you would expect slightly higher than 10% killed on average. You'd expect statistically around 12-14%.There is a debate among feminists about women in the military, with feminists on both sides. Feminism is simply pro-social activism for women. Commonly, though not always, it is associated with the "empowerment" of women. Whether serving in the military "empowers" someone is hotly debated. Thus, feminists very well can and do look at the role of women in the military. Why aren't more in combat could very well be benevolent sexism or sexist thoughts on the amount of endurance/weight women could carry. Or it could reflect socialized desire for combat roles on the part of men. Rather than attack feminists for attempting to empower women, I suggest you take the masculinist approach toward the pro-social and ask "why do people consider it okay for 90% fatalities among men?" Why do military recruiting centers court men and attempt to prey on sexists socialized pressures on men to act violent, to follow orders, and to be protectors? Why do military commercials show men fighting dragons, and peacefully mountain climbing? Why is it okay to court mostly men in poor centers with the carrot of free college education? I think you're not a bad guy CSH I just think you need to realize that what you might be angry at is not feminism, but the lack of masculinism. Traditional roles may cause "male privilege" but they certainly aren't ideal or even beneficial for men. Feminists will happily stand by masculinist in creating equality.

Anonymous said...

Okay. Women make up 14.5% of active duty personel. You would expect there to be between 12-14% casaulties then. But in reality there are 4,075 casualties (when I looked it up the other day) 98 of which female casualties. And only half of those casualties are actually the result of actual combat. And looking at the statistics I noticed a trend: Most of the combat-casualties appeared to be the result of ambush-style attacks. I was only able to determine 3 women who did not die as a result of an "ambush style" attack.

That's a *lot* less than 10%. That's less than 5%. And of all the casualties it's a paltry few that possibly died by being sent *into* combat. The rest died from ambush.

My conclusion?

Women are not being sent into combat. But they're still reaping the rewards of being in the army (pay, college tuition, etc, whatever else the army is baiting people with).

You can tell me "it's not feminism, it's lack of masculinism" or "recruiters are sexist" but none of that is the point I want to discuss. The point I'm discussing is that women are not being sent into combat and I have yet to find a single feminist, feminists being about "equality", stand up and say "Hey! That's a very bad and very sexist situation and men are losing their lives over it!"

Nope. Rather talk about a commercial that pissed them off. *shrugs*

FeministGal said...

Coyote, i DO think feminists are talking about some of the issues you brought up, but i will also agree with Mark, the system itself is sexist so sometimes we have to change the way we examine it. I also have to agree with Mark on that this is an issue in which there are feminists on both sides (similar to sex work).

An example of feminists talking about women in combat is the story of a female EMT who was awarded the Silver Star (the second woman to ever be awarded this honor) and later had the medal revoked because she "wasn't supposed to be in the front lines." They told her that if a male EMT was on staff that day she would have not been there and she shouldn't have been allowed to go in general so she didn't deserve the medal... something along those lines (so sorry i can't find the article to link, i've been looking for half an hour but forgot where i saw it originally)

Also, check out this segment from NPR about Army policies that don't keep women off the front lines:

These are just some examples of the conversations going on re: women in the military.

Commenters, feel free to throw more out there

Anonymous said...

The article says that the army actually has policies that keep women off the front lines (sexist) and then goes on to elaborate how it's only circumstantial that Iraq doesn't have a clearly defined "front line".

FeministGal said...

all i'm trying to do is introduce you to the different conversations going on about women in the military because you mentioned it doesn't get talked about :)

Anonymous said...

And I appreciate that.

Are there any discussions amongst feminists for inclusion of women on the front lines? Actual inclusion on front lines, changing of the policy, etc?

Also, one begs the question:

If women aren't actually even allowed to fight, why are they even in the army? Seems like a waste of tax dollars to me.

Anonymous said...

I for one am for women being able to be on the front lines in combat. Most def!!! I think its sexist in two ways: one, it denies women full participation in the military and two, it puts men at a disadvantage. Bad for everyone. And I'm not buying that old argument "well...women get their period and its unsanitary." Bullshit, I say.

Furthermore, if there was a draft (which I am against) then both men AND women should be drafted.

Of course, I am for mandatory national service for everyone, whether that be in the military or elsewhere.

Not that really has anything to do with anything.
I think, Coyote Skinhead, that different blogs have a lot of different focuses. For example, I talk alot about rape and such--its a very near and dear subject to me.

I think it depends on who you read.

Amelia said...

I agree with dirtyrottenfeminists last statement. Different blogs definitely have different focuses. Does that mean that if they don't blog about it regularly that they don't care? Not at all.

Lynn said...

Ah, trolls. I think that we should be clear that trolls are not people who simply disagree, motivated by sincere interest...but people who are not really interested in discussion as evidenced by the fact that they often refuse to yield a point, acknowledge a link to a fact or statistic, and so on... plus they tend to dictate the parameters to their comfort levels.

A troll is not a dissenter, dissent to me is fine. A troll is somebody who thinks it is a sport to try to poke holes in arguments because they often see themselves as superior, or they use faulty reasoning that simply cannot be effectively argued with.
They often use absolutes...NO women write about the military, ALL feminist hate men, ALL feminists love abortions, and so on... without realizing that stereotypes are stupid and that feminists come in all stripes.

I returned to blogging but with reluctance because trolls are time consuming, and often require a lot of back stepping. The comments are often based on layers and layers of flawed or unsubstantiated conclusions that are messy to unravel.

Now if somebody just has a different opinion, that is discussion and I think most feminists want that and need that and welcome that.

But nobody is obligated to indulge some juvenile game.

Lynn said...

And on the military question, the military is voluntary and as long as it is, there should be equal eligibility for all aspects.

If carrying a hundred pounds is a requirement, then select as a commander- people who can carry it.

The ability to select people for missions based on a right fit between mission and candidate is A LEADERSHIP skill which can be taught in Officer training. When people get into positions of management, they can sit through some training on how to choose personnel.

This is more appropriate I think versus saying "women probably can't lug a rucksack" or some generalization.

I won't even get into the other stuff, national service or the draft, because that brings in a million other issues not central to the equality of circumstance question.

I am a feminist and I talk about the military all the time. It DOES happen.

Increase the sample of your study about what "we" all do.

FeministGal said...

thanks, Lynn - i can't wait to check out your blog.

Lynn said...

Sorry I went on a bit of a rant.

Nice to meet you. :) said...

Hello there! {waves}

I am new to your blog and I host a blog that augments the voices of black women and it's called Black Women Blow The Trumpet. While I am a minister, I do not focus the blog discussions on theological issues. We discuss social and political dynamics that impact black women. We focus on race issues a lot.

I agree with you about examining the motives of commenters. I tried to have discussions with some who were clearly attempting to provoke a reaction but eventually, I began to just delete comments. I don't allow any anonymous commenters.

I understand what you mean about people trying to veer the discussion off course. As the blog hosts, we can control that.

Occasionally, we have some non-black people who visit who post comments that essentially reveal that they want to turn the discussion into a "Why Do Black People Think...?" workshop for themselves so they can comprehend black people. Frankly, THAT is not the purpose of my blog. There are Feminism 101 blogs and maybe there are Black People 101 blogs. My blog isn't one of them.

I wrote a post in which I outlined that my blog was not a town hall meeting and I would decide who could be part of the panel discussion. Some people didn't like that...but it's MY blog...I can set the rules.

It's perfectly fine for you to do so!

Thanks for letting me blow my trumpet!

Dee said...

I found you through the Feminist Underground. I made my own discovery about changing the troll's mind after I had engaged him (read challenged him to a bout) which cracked me up but after two posts I realized it was just nonsense. He sought to repost his earlier post so that was the end of him. He won't be back on my blog.

Any feminist related topic just has them coming out in droves with plain nonsense.