Bygones for the new year

One thing that differentiates A Voice for Men from a lot of publications is that while we allow comments, and moderate them only lightly, but, we are an activism-oriented organization. So we want comments to be conducive to activism and supportive of activists in their efforts, whether that’s online advocacy or boots-on-the-ground work or anywhere in between. And, as our commenting policy clearly states,

The comment policy is simple. Threats, advocacy and ideations of violence are strictly verboten. All other manner of speech is allowed unless it becomes disruptive to the continuity of discussions.

Of course, there will be those from time to time that post comments bashing men, women, gays, transgender, racial slurs, anti-Semitic or other similarly ignorant and misguided ideas. If you are one of those people, you will be treated like to moron that you are, and you will get booted when your painfully stupid ideas become a distraction. More simply put, you will be used as the community piñata till we get tired of you and then you will be shown the door for derailing. That’s how we roll.

The editorial policy does not apply as rigorously to comments. Readers are free post any and all ideas in dissent of published articles or the comments of other readers. The main exception to this will be the “redundancy” exception. For instance, if you want to assert that “real” men do not support LC4M, fine, post away. But if your posts become a repeated diatribe, incessantly repeating your objections after they have been vetted by other readers, then an intervention from management could occur. The same goes for mainstream politics, chivalry, religion and other matters. Also, personal attacks on front-page contributors and regular commenters will not be tolerated, and the response will be anything from a warning to a banning. While we strive hard not to, we may also occasionally declare some conversations too far off topic to be allowed to continue.

You have a right to be heard here, but not a right to derail every discussion with your agenda.

Management will strive to use as much constraint as possible in enforcing these policies. It is unavoidable that a certain amount of subjectivity will play into decisions. This cannot be avoided. But it will be AVfM policy to support the unrestricted speech of its readers wherever possible.

Of late we have been working harder in the “ad hominem” department, which we’ve sometimes gotten a little loosey-goosey with. Seriously, if you’re going to be making personal attacks on the authors who contribute their work here, and activists who come to our site offering and soliciting support, you’re probably not working in the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish: actually, y’know, change in the world in ways large and small. And yes, regulars to this establishment will tend to get cut more slack than newbies who’ve never contributed much to discussions, but no one’s immune to being chided that they’re derailing or letting things get too personal.

There is an addendum to the officially policy, which, really, is somewhat redundant, but may serve as clarification for some:

At AVFM we encourage healthy and robust debate and invite thoughtful and respectful dissent, both from the opinions expressed by our article contributors and from fellow commenters on the site.

We also insist that debate and disagreement does not include ad hominem, personal attacks or the intent to derail threads with either an agenda not germane to the organization or with “badgering” a point to the degree that it undermines the quality of the environment or the unity of the activist community. If you want to argue about things like why we all need to smoke weed or lowering the legal age of consent or child porn or why abortion is bad or good or about how we should bomb North Korea, do it somewhere else.

Obviously, measuring standards along these lines is a subjective affair and not everyone will be pleased with management decisions, but so that readers know, our great tendency will be to err on the side of decorum. Derailing and overt disrespect, particularly of activists that are doing the hard work on the behalf of our cause, will not be tolerated.

Also, if a member of management asks you to not belabor your point or otherwise beat a dead horse, please heed their request. Ignoring that request won’t be allowed.

If you have received a warning from a member of the management team, and have been referred to this page as a result of one or more of your comments, please be advised that this has happened to encourage you to understand these policies and avoid banning from the site.

So. There have been some individuals banned from this site in the last year or two. For a site with tens of thousands of registered comment accounts and daily visits, that it’s such a small number is actually pretty impressive. Nevertheless, because these policies do always involve a degree of subjectivity, and management is no more immune to occasional losses of temper or composure or impulsive moves than anyone else, we have decided that we would like to offer anyone who wants one a “let’s let bygones be bygones” pass. The past shall be the past, and come on back if you want and you think you can abide by the policies, and no more need be said. The new year comes with a new clean slate.

So if you want back on in, you should find your old account is working now, or if it’s not, shoot me a note at and I’ll look into it.

There are a tiny handful individuals who have been so egregiously hateful to the community or advocating such outrageous things they will not be welcomed back. That is a very short list indeed. If you are worried that it might be you, let me just say that it probably isn’t, and if your account still isn’t working just go ahead and shoot me a note. Like I said, it’s a very short list of people who will be refused and they likely know exactly who they are. And even if you are on that (very) short list, if you email me you will get a polite response declining you and nothing more. Nothing will be published. In any case, for anyone, no apologies will be asked for, no explanations are required, no discussion is required, just, come on back and try to help us make 2014 an even bigger year than 2013 was.


Dean Esmay, Managing Editor

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