Okay, so we’re making a few changes around here.
First of all, as many folks have noticed, there’s now a “report this comment to the moderators” link at the bottom of every comment. The link leads to this form; complaints put into that form are emailed to all the moderators. Hopefully, this will allow all of the moderators to be more aware of and quicker to respond to problems.
Second, we’re increasing the number of moderators. We now have five moderators: Rachel, Maia, and myself, and also two reader-moderators, Mandolin (welcome, Mandolin!) and Charles. If you’d like to be a moderator as well, please let me know; being a moderator is limited to feminists only, and only to those who aren’t opposed to enforcing moderately polite behavior on “Alas.”
Third, we’re adding a “progressive anti-racist commenters only” checkbox for some posts about racism. The goal of this is to prevent almost every discussion of racism from being turned into endless repeats of the same discussion (to paraphrase what someone said, “Rachel posts that something is racist, Brandon argues that it isn’t racist, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.”)1
Fourth, we’re resolving to do a better job moderating out the Chrises and the Stevens and so on.
Let’s give it a couple of months and see how things go.
I still haven’t decided whether I want an alternate blog in which I can crosspost my posts and allow more conservative responses in the comments. I think that policy actually did help a bit when I was crossposting to “Creative Destruction,” if only because it made me feel freer to do more “Feminist only” posts here on “Alas.” But starting a second blog would mean more work for me, so I’m hesitant to do so.
Speaking of reporting things to the moderators, let me say again that Akismet (the spamblocker “Alas” uses) sometimes mistakes real comments for spam. Due to a technical upgrade, I can now search the Akismet filter for the past two weeks, so it’s now easier than ever to “rescue” posts from Akismet — but we can’t do that unless you tell us that your comments have gone missing. So if you post a comment and it never appears and you never get a “in moderation” message, that probably means Akismet got it. Please get in touch with us when that happens.
Regarding comments on this post: Please don’t use comments here to continue the discussion that was going on earlier today in the “Moderation Policy” thread; I so need a break from that conversation. Instead, please use this thread to comment narrowly on these new changes (if you want to), and also to make other concrete, practical suggestions for improving “Alas.”
For instance, would people like seeing the sidebar in a different order? Or more information on the sidebar, such as a list of the most frequent comment-writers? Any features you’ve seen on other blogs you’d like to see on “Alas”?
UPDATE: Welcome also another new moderator: Myca!
- I actually think it’s important to have that discussion over and over again — in my opinion, if we want to change society we have to be willing to repeat these and similar arguments a thousand times over — but that doesn’t mean everyone has to do it, and it doesn’t mean we have to do it in almost every racism-related thread. [↩]