Home > blogosphere > Soliciting thoughts on policy decisions?

Soliciting thoughts on policy decisions?

So, I guess I asked for it. I wrote about why I’m against abstinence-only education and one person took umbrage with my point. I rebutted her points. In her reply, she pasted a scree against birth control in the middle of her comment.

I started to shoot back a post, comment, whatnot about how much more dangerous pregnancy, birth, and motherhood are than birth control, to really sink my teeth into the issue when I realized…. it’s pointless. She’s not going to change her mind. I’m not going to change mine.

I really don’t want this pleasant little corner of the net where I ruminate turn into a screaming match between two irreconcilable views of sex, sexuality, and feminism. Honest debate I could stomach but we’re just hollering past each other here. So I want to cut it off…. this isn’t a ethics class, an op-ed page, or a modern issues workshop. It’s my blog.

Now, I’m in a position that is, for me at least, a little uncomfortable. I am a past journalist, with very strong feelings on censorship and freedom of speech. So I should, from that point of view, let her post stand and just move on.

On the other hand, this isn’t a paper, an official website, or any public organ of communication. It’s a private mommy blog about the difficulties of being a mother in modern America. One bare step above a diary. I’d rather not have her scree on my site for a variety of reasons.

First, the language she uses is more likely to attract trolls who are Googling for a fight. I don’t want trolls on my little mommy blog. (For instance, the single-most commonly read post on my blog is one about p**ing in my Spanx. It gets hit about ten or twelve times a day. I am a little squicked out at the idea that there are folks out there j*cking off to my funny little Spanx story.)

Also, the original author of the scree did include footnotes to the statistics, but she didn’t bother to include the actual footnotes so they are probably misleading as hell, and I dont’ like the idea of bad information being attached to anything with my name (even a semi-anonymous name) on my site. I know that the antidote to bad information is more information, but do I want to take the time to write out all those stats? Educating the ignorant is long, hard, and fruitless work. And again, that language is a magnet for trolls cruising for a fight.

Now, should I pull her last comment down and continue on my merry way, commenting on potty training, mommy cliques, and preschool? Or should I leave it to stand? This is my first serious policy decision and I’d like to craft one that will hold up as my blog progresses. Does anyone have thoughts about this? (Besides the young lady, not a teen, in question.)

Categories: blogosphere
  1. paulmcneil
    September 5, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I should’ve read this post before putting my own comments…

    ‘Always read all your mail before you start replying’

  2. TC
    September 5, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I’ve spent the past year teaching in an online master’s degree program. So I knew a plagiarized post when I saw one. Most (if not all) of Stella’s text is actually from http://womens-sexual-health.suite101.com/article.cfm/death_lawsuits_and_the_pill .

    The references are not to scientific studies, but to other websites regarding lawsuits. The original text was not written by a doctor or scientist of any kind.

    In a nutshell, the information is suspect. At best.

    As to whether to pull it… that depends. You could wait to see if you actually have a problem with trolls before pulling the post. If this is an issue that you care about – and it apparently is – I’d post a quick comment about the offending post in that thread, then close the thread for future comments.

  3. Juliet Bravo
    September 5, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    You have a blog on the internet that is open to the public. On the one hand, this means that you accept that people are going to post stuff you don’t like. On the other hand, those people accept the fact that you can delete their posts and/or ban them from your site. You’re the managing editor or benevolent dictator here. You can do whatever you want. Personally, I’ve just stopped posting non-“friends only” stuff on the internet about anything I particularly care about. Too much drama for me 🙂

  4. elcynae
    September 6, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Yeah, I responded in the wrong order too. If that drew trolls, would they stay if it were removed? If not, sure, you could wait and see. My sense of fairness says that if you pull a post that isn’t _trying_ to troll (I don’t think this one was) you probably shouldn’t let the discussion continue on without it. So I think my opinion is, if you do get rid of it, close that thread, and probably get rid of the replies to it too. But yeah, it’s very much your decision. 🙂

  5. September 9, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    I vote for taking down anything that makes you uncomfortable. Your point about this blog being unlike a newspaper site particularly resonates with me in terms of how to consider free speech issues. A blog like this seems more like a “home” on the internet–I’m fine with respectful disagreement and argument with friends/acquaintances in my home, but not with people I find really rude or offensive…or who I think might attract trolls to my living room.

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