merricatk: (no safe places)
[personal profile] merricatk
So! A couple of weeks ago I posted my first in what will be an intermittent series of why I write slash. One comment I got was from [community profile] linkspam, which, if you've never heard of them, is an "Anti-Oppression Linkspam Community." Their policy is to link to any posts they find-- Well, here, I'll let them speak for themselves.

[From the mini bio on the profile page]

Linkspam's goal is to serve as a resource for anti-oppression efforts. We do not subscribe to the belief that there is an objective perspective on any oppression. We believe attempting to be "objective" often results in contributing to the oppression. We will not try to present "two" sides equally. We hope to present resources for people to follow multiple perspectives expressed in anti-oppression discussions relating to fandom online, but we do not pretend to present resources in a neutral context. The organizing principles for Linkspam posts will be roughly chronological. [http://linkspam.dreamwidth.org/profile to read the full description.]

The comment told me that my post had been included in linkspam. Cool, I thought, and went over to take a look.

What I found was that [Warning: derailing] had been affixed to the front of my the excerpt to my post. Somehow, by minding my own business, writing in my own LJ, I was derailing the debate they were archiving.

Derailing is a serious thing. It refocuses people's attention from the important discussion at hand. So the question of why linkspam would want to include my post arose, particularly since their stated goal is not to present "two" sides equally. And what I was saying wasn't even a side, it was a sideroad that led someplace entirely different. Very strange.

(Personally, I think my post is relevant. But if the people who chose to link to it don't--I'm still baffled as to why they chose it. It felt like the whole reason for linking to my post was to tell people not to listen to me. Honestly, I like fandom_wank better. At least they're upfront about their purpose.)

I went to linkspam's site and read everything I could find about their policies, and what I discovered was, they will only remove links under extraordinary circumstances. Since this seemed to be pretty much SOP, I didn't see anything extraordinary about it, so I didn't ask to be removed. (I mean, my God, you know what it's like if you ask for anything above and beyond online--you're immediately designated a speshul snowflake, and held up for ridicule. I have no idea what's done to extraordinary snowflakes [or how the misspelling of extraordinary would go], but I wasn't interesed in finding out.) Instead, I locked my post.

Then I got pissed off and removed the text of the post and replaced it with an explanation of why the post people thought they were getting wasn't there, and reposted the original text in a locked post. If I'm forced to hide, I want people to know why. And I wrote to the mods to let them know that I was not happy with this policy. (To date I still haven't heard back, though last night I did hear that I will be hearing back. And I know that they're busy. But when the reply you get is silence, you don't know anything else is coming. I figured they were blowing me off.)

And that was the end of it, until one of the mods posted this:

http://hl.dreamwidth.org/58528.html?format=light

Since I hadn't heard back through official channels, I commented. You can read the whole thing. What I find interesting is how all of the policy questions get the response of, redirect these to the proper channels--even though included in the proper channels are private messages to individual mods. I'm confused as to why asking the question in a comment is different from asking it in a private post, and having the individual mod pass it along. (Although she does exactly that with regards to the official-channeled comment I sent.) And all the comment threads with questions are now frozen.

Linkspam

Date: 2010-01-28 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] broomstyx.livejournal.com
Holy crap. What a strange discussion. I've never heard of linkspam. Or fandom-wank or whatever.

As for the warning part of the discussion, it's so overboard/overwhelming. Maybe people should say they are writing adult/slash, maybe even put a little note to say (gruesome violence like rape or death) but I'm barely on that page. Barely. Because even TV doesn't give warnings like that. They may say "adult content" viewer discretion advised" if Oprah is going to talk about vaginas or something, but stuff slips in all the time on TV both in reality stuff (like reality shows, news, live TV) and fiction. Main characters are killed off in shows I've been recently watching all at once on DVD like "24" and "Lost" and there are no warnings. There is torture on both shows and there are no warnings. Sonny Steelgrave electrocuted himself and there was no warning (and it broke my wittle heart.) But I'm not harmed and I'm free to go away, change the channel, face the world.

Oppression comes in many forms. People do get hurt. But when people appear to go out of their way to search for ways to BE hurt by something someone says privately, that's bizarre. That's like a kind of weird masochism, imho.

I can't help but think of Monty Python. "Help, help, I'm being oppressed!" I'll probably get in trouble just for saying that even if it is a free speech type of country...supposedly.

Re: Linkspam

Date: 2010-01-29 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
The bizarre thing is, it's not warnings on stories, it's warnings on meta topics.

And one thing I find very interesting about this mod's post: since she wasn't speaking for the community, there wasn't any way she was going to answer any criticism. It makes me wonder if she posted just so people could praise her (not that there's anything wrong with that, unless you happen to have a built-in I can't answer criticism).

And I know I owe you some replies! The weekend is coming, and I hope to get caught up. *g*

Date: 2010-02-01 05:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dinpik.livejournal.com
Even one of their supporters said the editorializing titles wasn't cool. (Friended you, btw.)

Date: 2010-02-03 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
Friended you right back! (Also friended you on my "personal" LJ, carose59

Date: 2010-02-03 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dharma-slut.livejournal.com
Yeah, I started protesting the warnings system, via comments in the linkspam posts, and then an open letter in my lj. http://dharma-slut.dreamwidth.org/89322.html
The mods, in fact, have taken the request seriously enough to start re-thinking their policies;
http://linkspam.dreamwidth.org/21259.html
http://linkspam.dreamwidth.org/21556.html

I would like to read what you had to say, merricat. Do you have an access list for your meta posts?

Date: 2010-02-03 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I'm glad I'm not the only one!

And I've unlocked the post in question. It can be found at http://merricatk.livejournal.com/255294.html. Now all my meta is unlocked. *g*

Date: 2010-02-03 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swordygardener.livejournal.com
even though included in the proper channels are private messages to individual mods. I'm confused as to why asking the question in a comment is different from asking it in a private post,

The difference is that a comment is visible to everyone, while a private post is not.

Linkspam has a history to hide facts they find inconvenient, and the answer to your question would fall under that, because I do not think people would have liked it.

In one case, the Lambda debate, they outright lied because "the truth was biased", according to their poster. Get that. They pretend to be all anti oppression, but they only do it if it is oppression that affects them. Any other kind even gets defended by lies.

And as seen in your case, sometimes the power they think they have by maintaining their community is something they misuse to slam a point they dislike. YOur posting probably was something the linkspam person disliked, so they slammed it with derailing.

For no reason whatsoever. That's Linkspam for you.

Date: 2010-02-03 07:26 pm (UTC)
tree: a figure clothed in or emerging from bark (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree
the "they" in the Lambda debate was a single individual, who is no longer involved in linkspam. linkspam is now maintained by a group of -- i think five? or six? people, who make decisions based on consensus through discussion.

Date: 2010-02-04 10:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
Thank you for clarifying that; it's good to know the facts.

Date: 2010-02-03 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
The truth was biased.

George Orwell would steal that, if he were still alive.

And I'm thinking Linkspam's motto is, "The best defense is a good offense."

Thank you for commenting. It really helps.

Date: 2010-02-04 03:08 pm (UTC)
elf: Rainbow sparkly fairy (Default)
From: [personal profile] elf
I don't recall lying. If I said something inaccurate, it was by mistake; I don't recall being accused of lying, only of "supporting straight privilege." I'm certain I never said the truth was biased. (Although that's a lovely concept and I think I'm going to adopt it for use in my Discordian ministry work.)

I do remember quoting selectively (as LS does now, as metafandom has always done, as most people making links do) to highlight what I thought were the relevant issues; after feedback, I changed the quote.

In any case, I'm no longer directly involved in Linkspam.

Date: 2010-02-03 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] boogieshoes.livejournal.com
i'm here via metafandom, and although this has never come up for me, i can see where it is highly irritating to have this double-standard re the importance of what you're writing being applied. and other things.

you have my sympathy, here.

-bs

Date: 2010-02-03 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
Thank you so much. That really means a lot. And welcome!

Date: 2010-02-03 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anarchicq.livejournal.com
*Nod*
One of my posts was labelled as Privileged, and I was all "What the hell? You don't know anything about me!", of course I didn't say anything. It's their comm, they can interpret things however they want.

But it never occurred to me that their intent is to present parts of conversation impartially, when their "warnings" easily sway people to perceive things a certain way.

I didn't ask for it to be removed because I've always had the stance of "If it's online, not on lock, or password protected, it's out there for discussion and linking, ect." To want the link removed would make me a hypocrite. Never mind Linkspam and Metafandom linked to it in 2010 when the actual post was from before X-mas....

I don't like linkspam, it's...always turned me off, somehow. I now think maybe it's the claim of "impartial" vs "pssst...think like us", which I hadn't been able to put my finger on until now.

Date: 2010-02-03 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dharma-slut.livejournal.com
Well one thing to remember, linkspam has never even pretended to be completely impartial. They do try to be semi-impartial, and are being pressured (by myself, for one) to become more so.

Date: 2010-02-04 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dinpik.livejournal.com
It's funny to see how the new mods are doing exactly what they accused elf of doing -- editorializing. But it's them that's editorializing, so that's okay then.

Date: 2010-02-04 11:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
All fans are equal, but some fans are more equal than others. *g*

Date: 2010-02-03 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I think my reaction would have been calmer if I'd ever even heard of linkspam before. But this is not a good introduction. *g*

So I can't say for sure their warnings have been a *deliberate* attempt to sway people. but that's one of the effects they have. At least now they seem aware of it, so we'll see what happens.

from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-03 07:44 pm (UTC)
tree: a figure clothed in or emerging from bark (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree
i think the reason private messages are preferred is because NOTE: Any message sent to individual mods will be circulated to the entire group for discussion. (that's from the Suggestions/Feedback/Critique post.) a comment on an individual's post assumes the individual does or can act for the collective.

i think the excerpt that you posted, We hope to present resources for people to follow multiple perspectives expressed in anti-oppression discussions relating to fandom online answers your question about why linkspam would want to include my post [...] particularly since their stated goal is not to present "two" sides equally. the implication would be that your post was a particular perspective that related to the discussion.

is it just linkspam you object to, or anyone referencing something you post negatively? would you feel the same way if someone in their personal journal linked to your post and similarly warned that it was derailing?

it seems to me that posting something publicly on the internet is to make yourself open to both praise and criticism, and everything in between. if you object to responses that identify what you've said as something other than you'd like, it seems like it would be wisest not to post publicly at all.

or, alternatively, you do what you've already done, which is write about it and make your opinion known in the general discussion. if you want to ascribe motives to the linkspam roundups, you can say someone at linkspam doesn't like you or your post -- so they link it. you, in turn, don't like their behaviour, so you post about it. i'm not sure how that equates with you being "forced to hide".

Re: from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-03 09:07 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
(also from metafandom) In my own mind, at least, I draw a distinction, and I try to make it evident in my entries, between "this is me nattering on what is currently going on in my brain" and "this is me on my soapbox and I am soliciting readers", even if both entries are public; I do not particularly compartmentalize my life.

I didn't read the original, so I don't know if this even applies to this particular situation, but I would not be best pleased if something I had thought I had presented as nattering that could/should be skipped by members of my friends list if they were not interested in hearing about how my brain is working today, wound up getting linked to as if I had presented it as a soapbox entry.

Re: from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-04 06:13 am (UTC)
tree: a figure clothed in or emerging from bark (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree
but I would not be best pleased if something I had thought I had presented as nattering that could/should be skipped by members of my friends list if they were not interested in hearing about how my brain is working today, wound up getting linked to as if I had presented it as a soapbox entry.

i don't think anyone would ever be best pleased to find that someone had taken something they wrote/said and pointed to it with a negative qualifier. i know i haven't, when it's happened to me. but if someone wanders by your journal, and doesn't know you or your distinctions, and has a reaction to what you've said in public, are you suggesting they shouldn't have the opportunity to remark upon that reaction somewhere else? do you feel differently if the remarks are positive versus if they're negative?

i don't want to put words in your mouth (as it were), but it seems like you're saying that people are only supposed to react based on authorial intent.

Re: from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-04 09:32 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
If I am on my soapbox and I know I am saying something about which there is an ongoing heated discussion, I am somewhat more braced for impact.

I guess what I'm saying is, from the various descriptions of linkspam, I had thought that it was mostly chartered to link to people when in soapbox mode, and also that if something mentioned the discussion in passing, but was clearly otherwise irrelevant to the discussion, then it would be passed up, and not linked to as part of the discussion.


Typo.
Edited Date: 2010-02-04 09:34 am (UTC)

Re: from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-04 11:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I've unlocked the post, if you're interested in reading it. It's here: http://merricatk.livejournal.com/255294.html

Re: from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-03 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I'd be interested in knowing how you define derailing in the context linkspam uses it.

Re: from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-04 06:28 am (UTC)
tree: a figure clothed in or emerging from bark (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree
i'm... perplexed by this comment. are you simply uninterested in having a discussion? are you being rhetorical.

assuming you're not, i'm not even sure i can satisfy your interest because i'm not sure i'm clear on what it is you want to know. i don't know how i can define something in a context that isn't my own. what i mean is, if i had linked to a post and said it was derailing, i could then define what i meant by that in whatever context it happened. but i can't see a way to define something based on someone else's context when i don't know the whatever their context was.

Re: from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-04 11:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I asked because I *am* interested in having a discussion, and since the word derail is the salient one for me, I wanted to be sure we were using it the same way. I didn't want to write this, then find out that that wasn't what you meant by derailing.

But in your original comment you asked if I objected to anyone referencing to what I post negatively, so I think we can agree that derailing is a negative term.

i think the reason private messages are preferred is because NOTE: Any message sent to individual mods will be circulated to the entire group for discussion. (that's from the Suggestions/Feedback/Critique post.) a comment on an individual's post assumes the individual does or can act for the collective.

This is what doesn't make sense to me. A mod circulates a PM to the collective--why couldn't she a comment? In fact, when I commented that I had received no reply from the mods, I received a reply that this mod would do exactly that! So it can be done. Instead of responding with, I'm here speaking on my own, please submit your question through proper channels, why not just say, I'll take that up with the other mods?

the implication would be that your post was a particular perspective that related to the discussion.

And yet also derailed it.

And that's where I have problems. Derailing means (among other things) "to cause to fail or become deflected from a purpose." In the context of writing something for the people who read my LJ, my purpose was to present my POV. I knew it didn't fit in with the general discussion going on on LJ/DW; that's why I wasn't commenting on other people's posts.

In the context of including it with those other posts, it was, by the standards of linkspam, deflecting from their purpose. I don't understand the purpose of linking to the post--making it more public--while at the same time trying to be sure no-one would listen to me.

is it just linkspam you object to, or anyone referencing something you post negatively? would you feel the same way if someone in their personal journal linked to your post and similarly warned that it was derailing?

My issue isn't negativity, you can say plenty of negative things about my meta writing--I take things too personally, my language is too strong, whatever. And I wouldn't care if that was affixed to the front of a piece of my writing.

But the implicit message in derail as used by linkspam is, Don't listen to this person, she'll lead you astray. In its own way, it's a silencing technique.

it seems to me that posting something publicly on the internet is to make yourself open to both praise and criticism, and everything in between. if you object to responses that identify what you've said as something other than you'd like, it seems like it would be wisest not to post publicly at all.

Another silencing technique.

or, alternatively, you do what you've already done, which is write about it and make your opinion known in the general discussion. if you want to ascribe motives to the linkspam roundups, you can say someone at linkspam doesn't like you or your post -- so they link it. you, in turn, don't like their behaviour, so you post about it. i'm not sure how that equates with you being "forced to hide".

Writing about linkspam does make it difficult for them to link to this particular post, at least with any commentary appended to it.

I don't know anyone at linkspam, and don't know if they know me. I doubt they did this for personal reasons, but I ascribe to Yossarian's view of the world--when people are shooting at you, it's not unreasonable to take it personally, even if they're shooting at everybody else, too.

What I was forced to hide was the post they linked to, because they'd altered it by adding their commentary to it. Far more people were going to read it from the link--and therefore with the warning attached--than were going to read it some other way.

Individually, I don't care about either the warnings or the policy of not removing links at the author's request. But together they create what I see as a chilling effect on writers. I wonder how many writers have asked to have links removed from linkspam and been refused. That's something the reader should know, too.

Re: from metafandom

Date: 2010-02-05 07:03 am (UTC)
tree: a figure clothed in or emerging from bark (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree
ah, i see. thank you for the explanation. though, i confess that i don't really think that my connotation of the word derailing is terribly pertinent to this particular comment thread as (a) i have no idea what post(s) you're referencing so i can't say whether or not i agree or disagree, and (b) my original comment was in regards to the impression i got from your post that you objected to not only the context in which you were linked, but the fact that you had no ability to alter either the context or the status of that link. perhaps i misinterpreted it. i did go back and read it again, and i still read it the same way. so i'm not sure.

But the implicit message in derail as used by linkspam is, Don't listen to this person, she'll lead you astray. In its own way, it's a silencing technique.

that's your interpretation. many other people have commented to the request for input about warnings to say that they view warnings as useful sign-posts so that they know what to expect when clicking on a link. but even if you argue that someone is 'primed' to view a post in a particular way, does that negate any critical thinking on their own behalf? i'd hazard a guess that the current 500 readers of the linkspam community have at least some ability to form their own opinions -- hence the dissent in the views on warnings, for one.

i confess that i don't understand your position that it's silencing to assume people ought to be aware that what they write in public may very well be exposed to other people's commentary. and that they may not like it. that seems more like internet 101 to me.

My issue isn't negativity, you can say plenty of negative things about my meta writing--I take things too personally, my language is too strong, whatever. And I wouldn't care if that was affixed to the front of a piece of my writing.

But the implicit message in derail as used by linkspam is, Don't listen to this person, she'll lead you astray. In its own way, it's a silencing technique.


maybe i'm just obtuse, but i don't quite see the difference you're claiming here. is it because you attribute some sort of power to the linkspam community that you wouldn't to another journal with 500+ readers? i guess this is the crux of my question, and what i was trying to ask in my original comment. is it what happened that you object to? or is it that it was linkspam? because if it's linkspam, then what i've quoted above makes sense. but if it's the incident itself, then there's a disconnect. that's what i'm trying to understand. some of what you say makes it seem like the former and some the latter.

I wonder how many writers have asked to have links removed from linkspam and been refused.

why don't you ask? you could make a poll and submit it to metafandom for dissemination. that will ensure the widest range of readership, as i imagine that the number of people who read both metafandom and linkspam is fairly high.

Date: 2010-02-03 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dipenates.livejournal.com
[Here via metafandom.]

I think that Kafka himself might have given a disbelieving scoff to the moderating policies of linkspam.

Date: 2010-02-03 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
No kidding!

Date: 2010-02-04 10:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penguineggs.livejournal.com
Indeed: "Someone must have been linkspamming Josef K...."

Date: 2010-02-04 10:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
"...for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he found a warning label afixed to his latest blog entry."

Date: 2010-02-03 08:52 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
Here via metafandom. I've been aware of linkspam pretty much since its inception, though I didn't go follow it when it was created because I had seriously burned out on the discussions that some of the former collectors of the linkspam before there was a linkspam were linking to.

Seems like while they have the linking stuff down, they are much newer at communication/etc. It's amazing how many skills at management one builds just attempting to wrangle fannish stuff on the internet, and how invisible such skills are when they're working and being used masterfully, and how incredibly obvious it is when they are absent.

Date: 2010-02-03 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] troubleinchina.livejournal.com
Any group that attempts to run things through consensus - which means that everyone involved must agree on what they say - will respond to things much slower than a smaller group, or one that runs on majority or just "everyone who wants a say has 12 hours to get in on it". It means that responses take a lot longer.

I think this is why there's problems with communication at the moment.

Date: 2010-02-04 12:39 am (UTC)
msilverstar: catherine tate looking skeptical (skeptical)
From: [personal profile] msilverstar
That doesn't preclude the recipient having the courtesy to say that they have the message and are discussing it. When emotions get involved little things hurt. Polite generic respect is by far the best advice. And I've lived through my very own fandom wank, so I know how it feels.

Date: 2010-02-04 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] troubleinchina.livejournal.com
No, I understand that completely.

Date: 2010-02-04 02:59 pm (UTC)
sheenaghpugh: (Bad news)
From: [personal profile] sheenaghpugh
It just seems so totally wrong, and misleading, that you can in effect be accused of "derailing" a discussion you never consciously joined in the first place!
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