Hippoi Athanatoi

Selective Reading Comprehension

I continue to be amazed at the willful blindness and selective reading comprehension that plagues people that otherwise appear fairly capable of producing and interpreting texts. Take this LJ post that presents itself as oh so thoughtful and quotes the following piece from a post of mine:

“You can’t come from a largely female community into a community where the majority of posters are male and expect the same mode of expression to be welcome.”

Taken together with the fact that we decided to close down the so-called “SanSan” threads, the conclusion this poster makes is that female fans are not welcome at our forums. Oh, and of course she also complains about the moderation against misogynistic comments. Yawn. But still, lets look at each issue.

We’ll start with “SanSan”. It is absolutely true that we do not consider speculation as such to fall under fanfiction. However, the speculation in these threads continued to move past certain limits and into more and more elaborate scenarios. We would not mind being able to allow discussion of the “SanSan” subplot, but not when the threads have to continuously be moderated. For one thing, it takes away moderator time and attention from other things…

...such as curbing rude posters, for example. Since this person does not have access to our moderator section of the forum, she has no idea how much work goes into keeping a reasonable tone on such a large forum. There’s plenty of deleted posts every day, for all sorts of reasons. Plenty of people warned and banned, too. Attacking other posters is not allowed. Wishing explicit evils on characters is not allowed. However, it is wrong to single out misogyny. I see no difference between posting that you think such and such a male character should be tortured and posting that you think such and such a female character should be raped. Its equally bad. On the other hand, saying that you hope such and such a character will die or that they will pay for what they’ve done before the end of the series is generally reasonable. The books elicit strong opinions because they are good books. The characters elicit strong opinions because they are well-realized characters.

Finally, going back to the quote from my post that the person seems so offended by. That is a serious case of selective reading comprehension. How can you not see that different communities on the Internet have different “cultures”? And, yes, some cultures are predominantly male and some are predominantly female and that does affect the tone and content of the discourse. Lets say someone who is used to posting on Tumblr wants to start posting on our forum. They cannot post images as they are used to. That is a mode of expression that is not welcome. Is that wrong? No, of course not. We also discourage short posts and one-line responses. That is also a mode of expression that (for the most part) is not welcome. Other platforms are better suited to it, quite simply. To some degree, it can be the same with shipping. They’re not part of the forum culture and yes, this is probably in large parts due to the forum slanting towards more male than female posters.

That does not mean we do not want female posters. But some types of discussions simply do not fit in.

(I am, btw, quite sure that there are more than a few male fans out there who feel we do not want male posters based on their posts having been deleted and/or their accounts banned for some of the things this LJ posts complains about, such as wishing various unpleasant fates on certain characters. That does not mean I am comparing shipping threads with threads containing explicit misogony OR misandry, but ultimately they both fall outside of the desired forum culture, albeit for very different reasons.)

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