The Trouble with Posting

by Latoya Peterson

A response to some of the issues that have cropped up over the last two weeks:

1. Moderators approve every single comment by hand. If we let it through, normally we let it through for a reason. So, take for example, Caro’s comment on the Foo Fighters post. I could have deleted it – see point nine of our comments moderation policy. But I didn’t. Why? Because Caro made a good point. I expected people to focus in on the language used – but some of the things I select for “Quoted” only make it because they amuse me. (Hint: The ones I am amused by are normally the short ones.)

Second example, the comments thread on the President Apostate post. Some concerns were brought to me offline, and I addressed them offline. However, Racialicious exists to explore ideas and create dialogue. This means people will disagree. This means people will get angry. And our comments policy is designed to filter out things that distract from a discussion, not to filter out dissent.

So, generally, I am content to let you all duke out a disagreement in the comments section. And why wouldn’t I? If I deleted every inflammatory statement that was made on this board, 50% of our comments would be lost. In addition to that, the person whose comment I deleted never has to be challenged on that idea, and they are never called to defend that idea under scrutiny, and the other people who are reading and not commenting, who hold that same idea, never see how that point and counterpoint play out.

Celeste, Ms. Four, Abu Sinan, Aaminah, JDsg, F, and P, Sewere, and Joseph all did an excellent job arguing their points, providing examples (and links), pointing out racism used in lines of argument and perceived prejudice on the part of other posters. Were some people stomping really close to our moderating guidelines? Yes. But no more so than the arguments on mixed race identity or black dating. Remember the post on those Hanes ads? The initial disagreements led to people getting involved in the comments who normally don’t speak up. And they contributed to a part of the analysis that was sorely missing – an international perspective from the countries represented.

So, in sum, I am going to filter out bigots, trolls, racists, assholes, and idiots from posting on the site. I delete comments outright every single day and I’ve been banning people left and right from commenting. But in the case of a disagreement, I will leave it to you all to argue your opinions and back up your statements – as well as call people out when you disagree with what they say. After all, what are you worried about? Catching an e-smack?

2. If you have a request to see a certain subject covered here, please send us an email. Unless we host an open thread, please do not leave your requests in the comments for a different post. I will not remember to go back and check there. Also, please note – we generally do not post in accordance with other people’s schedules. We have too many time constraints for that. So while there are lots of great blog days and carnivals we would like to have participated in – I’m thinking of the Carnival of Allies, Blog Against Disabilism Day, Blog for Fair Pay, and Blog for Reproductive Justice – but we just did not have the time or manpower. It doesn’t mean that we will not cover whatever issue is on blogs all around the ‘sphere – we will just do it on our time schedule. You will also notice that aside from birthday tributes and the occasional link/video/cross-post, we don’t strictly follow the designated months for APIA/Black/Women’s/Whatever month. We prefer to cover these things all year, rather than stick them into a small window of time.

3. We are doing our best to present for you a wide range of perspectives on a multitude of subjects. However, I need you all to keep in mind that the site is currently run by two people – me and Carmen. And we both have day jobs. We do not blog full time, or write full time, so it takes a considerable amount of time to create this content that you all read in ten minutes. So, if you aren’t seeing a certain perspective, it is probably because we are still in the process of finding contributors that fit the Racialicious voice and are willing to allow us to cross-post (not just link to) their content.

Once we develop those relationships, you will see more posts on that subject. For example, take the discussion of Muslim issues on our site. Six months ago, we didn’t have much coverage at all – now we have something once or twice a week. That is because relationships were developed and we have many different sources we can go to for a Muslim/Muslimah perspective. We’ve had three or four posts about Jews – we are still developing those relationships. And we just started looking at who can cover issues like Palestine in a style that explains the conflict clearly and is engaging and accessible to all our readers. But these things take time. Hopefully, by next year, we’ll have ten or so special correspondents and relationships set up with bloggers from around the world. But it is going to take some time to get to that point.

4. Finally, please understand that you will not agree with every post. This may shock some of you, but I don’t agree with every post that goes up here. And I’m the editor! The point is not to have everyone agree with everything posted on this site. That is impossible. And in fact, posts serve different purposes: some seek to inform, some seek to persuade, some seek to promote awareness or action, and some are just gratuitous posts on Keanu Reeves. So, as long as an argument is made, and made well, I am content to post about it here. This means I will post perspectives that some will not agree with. You can feel free to express your opinion in the comments section. That’s what it is for.