…And we want to fix it.
This weekend has been eye-opening for a lot of GTers, especially the Mod Squad. I, Sorcia, just very recently took over as Head Mod, and I feel like this weekend was designed by the universe to test what kind of space I can help make Groupthink into. Like Slay, I want this to be an open, friendly space where we can talk about anything from lentils to Ferguson, MO. Unfortunately, this weekend I also learned that there are far too many GTers who don't feel like this is possible for them, due to derailing and a disregard of racial issues.
In previous Mod Talks, rules, and in multiple conversations occurring in and around this space, the mod team had felt that they had addressed what they felt was a pretty obvious truism; racist language and racist ideology do not have a place here on GT. It was brought to our attention through this past weekend's conversation that the community had wished us to be more direct in stating this as part of the forum's rules. I, Slay Belle, apologize for not codifying this previously or dedicating a specific Mod Talk to addressing these issues.
Many have seen this, and many have not. There have been burner accounts posting to Groupthink. Before the changes of a couple of weeks ago, everyone had to see them, at least until they could be zapped by the moderators. However that doesn't mean it's no longer a problem, or that it isn't real. Some of the burners post animated gifs of rape porn, some of them post dead cats, and none of that is okay. However there's a particularly odious group of burners that are going after GT's people of color directly and explicitly. We cannot prevent this from happening from the technology side. We can, however, continue to dismiss them and/or alert the mod team to dismiss and block them. This isn't perfect, but at this point there is no proactive way to stop this, only reactive. The mods and the community must work together to deal with this issue. If you see a problem, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a community email box and goes to all the mods.
RACIST COMMENTERS/PILE ONS
As has been discussed recently:
We've seen the following happen a few times in the last few weeks: Person A posts something, and then 10 people reply, disagreeing with them, or taking issue with something said. We need to ask ourselves: Is 10 (or more) people disagreeing with person A a "pile on?" Because it may be that what person A said was wrong, out of line, off base, or insensitive. Some of our best commenters here are the ones who can take the criticism of others and grow from it, not defend themselves by hiding behind their intentions, or doubling down on what they asserted previously. We all need to take the time and try and hear and internalize what's being said.
GT needs to be a place where PoC do not feel their voices are drowned out. We don't want "being civil" to be perceived as more important than PoC having the ability to express their opinions about race. Make no mistake – still BE CIVIL with one another, as much as possible! Being a dick is still never a good idea. But instead of calling someone an "ignorant toilet horse who should die in a fire," consider coming to the Mods and having us step in, if you really feel someone is being dismissive or outright racist. We want to allow space for people to be angry and express that anger, but we do need to provide some boundaries for what is and is not permissible on the forum in accordance with our own rules and Kinja TOS, so please utilize us to help you in the comment section if you notice a problem. Our goal is that this remains a civil space, but one that is also taking greater steps to ensuring ALL voices are heard. Part of having a progressive community means that difficult issues are tackled and people's viewpoints are challenged; this can lead to combative conversations, but we don't have to be afraid of that.
The mods are currently reviewing some additions and modifications to our commenting guidelines. We will post a link to the revised rules in the next day or so.
As we move forward, we ask that all of the community remembers that being challenged is not the end of the world. Being uncomfortable is not going to kill you. Growth can be uncomfortable. If you find yourself reacting defensively to a conversation, do yourself a favor and step away for as long as you need to. Examine why you're feeling that way. Live with it a little before you react or respond.
Finally, an announcement: Chritter has decided to step down from mod duties. We thank him for his hard work and devotion to the forum and to Jezebel, and look forward to his continued participation in GT/Jez conversations. Please note: we will not tolerate gloating or anything similar in these comments. Inappropriate comments will be dismissed automatically. Seriously, that's not what this post is about.
Talk to us, GTers. Help us understand how we can continue to make this a great space for everyone.
— Slay Belle, Sorcia MacNasty, and the Mod Squad