Now that the The Spearhead is getting a lot of attention online, some people are getting pretty upset. Most people, as usual, are fairly neutral. But there is a substantial minority of people deeply emotionally and financially invested in the status quo. Many of those who work in universities, some sectors of media and perhaps some in family law really, really care. These are the noisy SWPL types, and they are essentially an ideologically fascist crowd of folks. They despise dissent from their rigid, politically correct worldview.
In attacking The Spearhead, they’ve taken the easiest and cheapest angle they could find, which happens to be attacking the site for user-generated content, i.e. comments. I’ve ignored this for some time, because I thought it was such a cheap shot as not to be worth bothering with. The truth about comments on The Spearhead is that they are essentially a gratuitous service provided to readers. They are not the site itself by either law or design. In fact, if someone were to break the law in some manner in a comment, I wouldn’t be responsible unless I specifically encouraged it. All commenters own what they write. They have sole responsibility for the comments.
Nevertheless, people say things that are apparently upsetting to outside readers. This should hardly be surprising. I sometimes read comments in the online versions of local papers and see extraordinarily offensive comments. A few examples include bigotry against Christians, Jews, Muslims, Chinese, blacks, whites, Mexicans, the French, teachers, lawyers, Republicans, liberals, etc. Some are so outrageously offensive – here in Seattle particularly those denouncing Christians and Republicans – that they are actually funny. So, given that this is such a common phenomenon across the internet, why would anyone judge this particular site almost solely by its comments?
I’d venture to guess that there are a few reasons:
1. It’s easy and cheap
Cherry picking comments is a cinch. All you need to do is open your browser, go to the site and cut and paste comments to a text editor, then add snarky little replies. It’s such an easy guilt-by-association trick that even a fat, intellectually lazy slob can do it on a regular basis.
2. The people doing the denouncing are personally affronted by the comment[er]s.
Some of the people going after The Spearhead recently are those who have been personally taken to task on their own blogs by MRAs. Some, it seems, get really upset about this. Typically, these are pompous windbags with rigidly held personal beliefs about “sexism,” etc. Some of the most easily offended are über betas who worship women with a burning passion.
3. It’s the site’s weak spot.
I don’t really have time to manage comments, so a lot of stinkers get through. Also, I’ve found that the more time I put into moderating, the more it becomes necessary. Personally, I’d rather loosely enforce the comment policy and otherwise take a hands-off approach, and let people know that they are essentially reading a free-for-all rather than hand-picked comments. Recently, a number of publications have hired people full-time to deal with comments, but we simply do not have those resources. As such, it’s an easy place for those with an agenda to go in an attempt to discredit the site.
So, now that that’s out of the way, I’ll let you all in on my plan for dealing with it:
Unless the readers of the site write me en-masse to demand that I disable commenting, I’m not going to change how they are managed. The logistics dictate that it’s either all or nothing — I don’t have a paid staff to manage this stuff, and anyone with any sense should be able to figure out how the comments are dealt with. In fact, the comment policy is pretty explicit on that count.
Here’s how the comment policy starts out:
Comments will be largely unrestricted and unmoderated…
And here’s how it ends:
…comments are solely the opinion of the commenter, and therefore do not have anything to do with the editorial policy of The Spearhead.
You’d think that would be enough, but our opponents, as usual will never give us an inch, and never cease demanding that we shut up. That’s fine. I’m not going to give them an inch either. That’s why I’m writing this explanation solely for the benefit of concerned readers — I really could give a damn what the feminists are saying.
So, if any readers are disturbed by various insults being flung around by “prominent” bloggers, don’t worry. The Spearhead has enough readers to call itself prominent in its own right, and that’s what counts. In fact, that’s probably what is bothering these guys. If they bothered to respond to an article that I personally wrote and challenged it on its own merits, I would consider that fair game, and be perfectly ready to concede any points made if I was clearly in error, but for some reason they prefer to resort to cheap shots. We can only assume that this is because their own positions are intellectually and morally indefensible.