Comments on: Sex, race, and authority: Shirley not! History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 19:32:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: Knitting Clio Tue, 27 Jul 2010 19:40:43 +0000 Ms Magazine blog has picked up on this issue:

By: Indyanna Mon, 26 Jul 2010 21:34:08 +0000 “Uninterested in being corrected…” !?!? That one has to go into a hall of fame somewhere, at least worth a t-shirt. Dumb. Founded. What can you say? Must walk home… You’d have to worry about what they would *do* with a fork.

By: Janice Mon, 26 Jul 2010 21:18:06 +0000 Definitely there are different expectations in terms of deep-reading, courtesy and discourse when you move from one community to another online. Those who can see these differences easily and adapt do very well whereas those who think the first way they really learned (or the customs they prefer) ought to be universal? Really mess the internet up for the rest of us.

What I get from that Breitbart dude and the others of his ilk is that they really don’t have an ounce of empathy or even a sense that those who disagree with them qualify as human. Therefore, anything they object to in the others’ speeches, posts and comments is sufficient evidence because, they know deep down inside, that the other guys are just plain bad and wrong. To them, it isn’t cherry-picking and twisting whereas to those of us who try to see context, it very much is.

Can’t wait for that issue of JWH!

By: Historiann Mon, 26 Jul 2010 20:48:09 +0000 Yeah–pseudonymity is no longer an option for me! So I have to play it more on the square.

I did think it was pretty funny that Walt really didn’t get why he had been banned. (And now I wish I had left up his original comment calling my post “dumba$$,” just so you could all see how shallow and content-free it was.)

I chalk it up to Walt being socialized in another kind of online forum, and not knowing that he needs to put on a shirt and shoes and use a fork at my place.

By: Comrade PhysioProf Mon, 26 Jul 2010 20:38:34 +0000

So this is what I’m struggling with: how do you encourage debate or disagreement or challenges to ideas without encouraging this kind of “dumba$$” exchange of insults?

I’m probably the wrong person to ask, because my own blog comments section contains a garden of fuckwitted dumbasses that I have carefully cultivated over time. But yeah, that Walt dude was a hilarious fucken clueless dumbass.

I think when you ban dumbasses, you get them all riled up and shooting for bear. If you mock, revile, and then ignore them, you defuse their dumbassery and also instructively make it clear what fucken dumbasses they are. When the fucken dumbasses on my blog act up, plenty of smart people hilariously smack them down.

The pseudonymity of my blog certainly contributes to this being a workable approach.

By: Historiann Mon, 26 Jul 2010 20:13:30 +0000 CPP–well, I’m sure there are instances I could point to in which my authority as moderator could be interpreted as going “totally f’n $h!tnuts” because my assumptions and authority were challenged.

I find that people who actually want to have a conversation and get me to listen to them read the comments policy, try to folow the discussion threads, and refrain from name-calling. People who just want to call me an idiot and tell me I don’t have any authority don’t really want to have serious conversations.

Example: A few months ago, “Walt” came over here to inform me that I wrote a “dumbass” post (this one here) because he imagined that it insulted Paul Krugman. That was the entirety of his “critique” of my work. The post wasn’t even really about Krugman, but rather about disciplinary differences between history and economics, and the different assumptions and habits of mind we all have. It wasn’t all sunshine for the historians in that post, either, although I admit to telling a few economist jokes.

Now, Walt’s entitled to his opinion–but he needs to step it up if he wants to play here, so I banned him and I deleted the comment. I followed him back to another blog that had linked to that post, and he wrote, “Huh, I just got banned from Historiann’s blog for defending my man Krugman. Other comments she’s made here seemed okay, but her post about Krugman is pretty wrong on the merits, and she seems uninterested in being corrected.” (Another commenter over there pointed out that his approach to his correction was pretty dumba$$, but I didn’t see a reply from him on that.)

Walt would probably put me in the category of fascistic blogmeisters who just want to be agreed with (or as he said, “uninterested in being corrected,” as if I know who the hell he is or that he has any authority to speak of. But I find that there are few netizens who are capable of expressing disagreement with an idea without getting into ad hominem insults. So this is what I’m struggling with: how do you encourage debate or disagreement or challenges to ideas without encouraging this kind of “dumba$$” exchange of insults? (CPP–I’m thinking of the trolls over at Zuska’s place and at Isis’s place who can’t refrain from mansplanations, attacks on feminism or feminists, or outright misogyny. They’re everywhere over there.)

By: Comrade PhysioProf Mon, 26 Jul 2010 19:35:09 +0000 For me, the best thing about blogging is that it provides a way to interact substantially with a much wider circle of people than would otherwise be possible. Also, it allows me to learn shit about shit that I would otherwise never come into contact with, like history and literary shit.

As far as limits, I think the main limitations on blog conversations are self-imposed by bloggers and commenters who go totally fucken shitnuts when their assumptions and authority are challenged.

By: Emma Mon, 26 Jul 2010 19:10:35 +0000 Actually, by authority I more meant your expertise in your field and expertise in rhetoric and argument. I like that you, and your commenters, don’t go with the internet presumption of “everything everybody says is valid”. Because if everything is valid, the only way to address a comment you disagree with is to shout down the commenter. Expertise and knowledge being so passe and all.

But, yeah, the moderation helps, too.

By: Shirley we’re (not) beyond race and gender « Knitting Clio Mon, 26 Jul 2010 17:43:50 +0000 [...] Posted on July 26, 2010. Filed under: Women's Studies,politics,racism | via Historiann [...]

By: Indyanna Mon, 26 Jul 2010 15:42:05 +0000 The Sherrod thing had to be mal-edited even to make it a case of “shooting her mouth off,” much less a bad thing. The tone of the talk she gave in its entirety, as I understand it, was reflective and in some positive measure self-critical. All I could think of when I first heard about it was, god, I wonder if I can remember what I was doing in 1986, or whenever I was a very junior level federal employee, with few public contact opportunities or direct taxpayer service decisions to make or withhold. (And as a historian, I at least keep an archive and could try to find out). If I now tried to be wry, rueful, ironic, hortatory, or whatever about that, who in addition to me could I possibly get fired?

On the tone of electronic commentary–and on essentially meaningless subject matters at that–look at the mainstream sports journalism media’s electronic pages, and the wacko stuff that seems to dominate there. It’s almost beyond comprehension what “BobinBaltimore227″ feels compelled to emote on a nightly basis, and he wouldn’t even have the grace to say A$$hole!