On Contributing Commentary

MANN has a very liberal policy regarding users' posted comments. There is very little one can say to get some kind of warning from a MANN admin, typically myself (Matt). During the past 10 years I have been doing much of the site story and comment administration, and only two members have been banned from the site. On other sites, it's more like two per minute. Just say something the site management/editor doesn't like and you're banned.

Nonetheless, it's fair to know there are some things you cannot post in comments here on MANN. Most people I believe understand why.

  1. Threats against individuals, including non-members, even if it's probable the offending party does not know the target of their threat personally
    Overt, deliberate threats against others have never come up here on MANN, at least not since I started doing much of the editing tasks over 10 years ago. Depending on the severity and directness of the threatening language, one may receive a warning, temporary ban, permanent ban, or if it's bad enough, it will get referred to law enforcement. Again, this has never happened. But tangential or "accidental" threatening language can exist if someone suggests a hypothetical situation. As innocuous and harmless as it may have been meant (for example, just to point out a double-standard at play), doing so can land one in a lot of trouble, especially since such behavior from females is as most MRAs know given a pass nearly every time, but with men, it's "silver bracelets time" no matter how innocuous the comment may have been. So in such a case I would be inclined to contact the member by email and make him/her aware of the issue, and remove the text that seems to cross the line. Anything more than such a seemingly rhetorical line-crossing would be handled based on the degree that it appeared to be deliberate or serious. Again, that has never happened, but it's better late than never to mention it.
  2. Personal attacks on other members
    Far and away, this is the most likely thing to land one in the penalty box, since it is the most typical kind of thing that causes web sites to become toxic places instead of ones where people can argue things out in a civil fashion. "Personal attack" is rather narrowly-defined in this case. If you find yourself calling someone an unpleasant name of some kind, such as "jerk", "idiot", "sh*thead", "troll", and yes, even "feminist", you have crossed the line. However, the attack must be direct. Indirect attacks fall into the category of mere criticism of another's stated ideas, and that's fair game. But be assured, MANN regulars are by and large a civil bunch, tending to avoid this kind of behavior anyway. If you choose to "go there" by posting things like "That's something a troll would say," you may think you're being clever, but believe me, you will get no badges of honor from others here. This rule exists to encourage people to focus on the ideas being expressed by others, not on the individuals expressing them. Ad hominem attacks are the stuff of schoolyards and your average political campaign, neither things being bastions of adult maturity. Besides, if you start in with the sideways name-calling, you'll only invite it back, and don't cry foul to me if you're the one who went there first.
  3. Advertising goods and services
    If you add a link to a product such as a book that is germane to MRM-related issues, you won't get into hot (or even tepid) water here, even if you are the book's author. Indeed, MANN supports and encourages anything that gets the word out. However, as in all things, moderation. If you take to posting the link to your book, movie, YouTube video, etc., too frequently, you'll probably get an "enough already" reaction from MANN regulars (i.e., I may not even have to say anything to you!). But if it goes on for too long, I'll contact you by email and let you know I think you're overdoing it. This has never been necessary, by the way. As for what I (and probably most MANN regulars) imagine is acceptable frequency, once every two weeks is fine. While that may be enough to get some people in trouble on other sites, not here. However if it becomes a problem generally in that suddenly half the posted comments are now about the same 15 books/movies/etc. over and over, then we'll have a problem and stricter moderation would be needed. But I don't anticipate that.

    Oh, and things like book/movie reviews penned personally by MANN members are good as story submissions as well as comments. But really, you can add anything to a story item's comment thread you want. I don't even insist it be relevant to the item itself, but only ask (as others would appreciate it, I'm sure), that it be at least germane to MRA-related issues. But again, posting comments that are non-sequiturs in relation to a given thread is less likely to result in me giving you grief than a MANN regular doing so. We're a good bunch here on MANN, but we take this cause seriously and like it when others do the same (or at least try to stay on topic).

  4. Direct links to anything a reasonable person would deem pornographic or illegal by definition to view
    This is true for submitted stories as well as anything in comments. The item you submit a link to either for a story or in a comment must not directly link to anything that would be considered pornographic by a reasonable person's assessment or illegal to view (and by "illegal", I mean quite obviously illegal, not merely likely-to-be-unpopular). Nudity is not counted when the story is directly a propos to the MRM and is also not pornographic. E.g.: Links to articles about Femen, the feminist organization that stages topless protests mostly in Europe and Russia, are fine. In that case, such links should be qualified as "NSFW" ("Not Safe For Work") and why they are so explained. As for pornography, it can be identified simply by pictures, text, and/or videos that show people engaged in sexual/erotic activity regardless of how or why it may be germane to a story of topical rather than prurient interest to others, MRAs or not. For example, a small group of female undergraduates at Columbia University decided not long ago to make a film in the library supposedly expressing the patriarchal wickedness of the place because all the dedication plaques in it featured men (and white ones, at that). They did this by stripping naked and covering one another with food, deep kissing each other and writhing around on the ground. If I didn't know better, I'd say they had all just plain gone nuts. In any case, it was nothing more than an excuse to make a pornographic film with each other in the college library, perhaps hoping to get away with it by claiming it was in the name of academic freedom or whatever. (Good luck getting your first job, girls.) Anyway, no link to the actual movie or a page with it embedded as a video would ever be deliberately allowed to appear on MANN. However the article describing it and reporting the story that itself may contain a link to another page with the video on it is fair game. This is a content link-over restriction policy meant not just to keep things that some readers may find patently offensive (and not in the realm of being merely a divergent opinion) from being sprung on them without warning, but also to make sure no one is suddenly in trouble from their employer because they surfed over to a page unwittingly that violated their employer's "acceptable use" policy. Remember: If you even suspect you may be including with your comment a link to a page that may not be "safe for work" viewing, be sure to add the acronym "NSFW" somewhere in your comment and explain why.

    And as for why that particular story made it to MANN? Simply as further evidence of what a total sham feminism on college campuses is and how it has become a vehicle for feminist bullying and bizarreness of the who-knows-what's-next kind. And yet, these junior-feminists-in-training felt so secure in their social positions, so certain they can bully and cow college administrators at least twice their ages, that they are confident and comfortable enough to make a lesbian porn movie in the library of one of America's oldest and most respected (well, formerly most respected) colleges *and* release it on the Internet without a moment's hesitation. THAT is how much power they possess in and over our so-called academic institutions, just in case anyone needed any further evidence of it.

  5. Doxing is prohibited
    "Doxing" refers to the publication of a person's personal information, in particular their private phone numbers, home/work addresses and personal email addresses, or linking to that information on another site. Address or email info. associated with a public figure wherein that info. is both published and the individual uses it for public contact are, however, fair game. This includes college administrators' and teachers' office phone/work email addresses since these are typically publicly accessible (and deliberately so) via on-line university directories. But at no time is the publication or linking to anyone's home address info., personal cell no., or home land-line no. permitted. Doxing, especially very overt/willful doxing, is a particularly prohibited behavior and doing so may get the doxer a more severe sanction than doing any of the other no-nos above, including an immediate ban from the site; this kind of decision is made on a case-by-case basis, but fortunately, so far MANN has remained remarkably doxing-free.

Now that these albeit limited rules/guidelines have been discussed, what happens to those who TRANSGRESS? =) It's not so bad, really. If it's the typical, run of the mill thing (e.g.: "You're a fool to say that!"), you get a simple warning. I'll point it out to you as a reply to your post and send you an email after looking it up in our 'Users' database. A second such instance within a close period of time to the first will not just result in a warning but a suspension from posting comments or submitting stories/items for some number of days. It'd typically be between 3 days to a week (in one particularly egregious case, I felt it had to be two) based on the severity and willfulness of the behavior presented even after being warned. A third such instance, again in relative close proximity to the second, will get the offending party banned from the site.

All that said, there is forgiveness. If you get into the penalty box and come out and play nice with the other kids, after awhile, the clock re-sets. How long is "awhile"? Depends on the nature of the incident(s). MANN readers, including myself, tend not to be the vindictive sort. So while I hesitate to put an exact time on it, I'd say if you can play nice for at least a month or two after the last fight in the playground, you'll get a start-over-at-strike-one. But repeat offenders? Hmmm, never had trouble like that. But if we here in MANN Gulch had a drifter come in and kick around from farm to farm some, and strangely, chickens started mysteriously turning up dead and plucked in the middle of fields every few weeks or so, don't think folks 'round these parts'd abide such a feller as that. ;)

So it's pretty much a three-strikes policy and you now know how it works. Again, as noted in item 1, if one posts something specifically and seemingly very seriously threatening toward another person, ethically I'd be bound to call it to the authorities' attention. But as I said, that has never happened and frankly, doubt it will.

If one feels that he or she has been unfairly dealt with by me, you may not just state so in a comment but can submit a news item saying so (and why) and I guarantee I will approve it and allow MANN readers to weigh in on the topic. And if you are in the penalty box and I have suspended your ability to post comments or submit news items, send me what you want posted by email (admin-at-mensactivism.org) and I will post it on your behalf.

I strongly feel my role is to make sure the site stays a productive place for MRM members and those interested in the topics discussed to learn things, try out their ideas, gain insights where they can, and most especially, inform others of activism opportunities that will further our cause. It is *not* to make others see things my way, behave just the way I want them to and no more, nor to stifle others' expression of ideas.

In that light, if you submit a news item and it does not get approved by me but still want people to see it, by all means, put it in a comment under another story item with something like "Looks like Matt didn't OK this one but I still want you all to see it, so here's the link..." I won't take it personally, honest, nor will you be on my "S*it List" (Honest, I don't even keep one!). Just be aware that I have a day job and other commitments in life, so sometimes I do not get to doing MANN-related things until late in the day (US East Coast time), or early in the AM as the case may be; just take a look at the timestamps on some of the things that get posted by me, including the one for this page. At times, I have not been able to get to handling items in the submission queue for a couple days, and at others, there are so many items in the queue that I feel are good to go that I don't have time to prep them all and post them in one sitting, so they may get delayed another day. So I do ask for some patience in this regard.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and feel free to send an email to admin-at-mensactivism.org if you have feedback. Or, just post it in a comment; after all, I did say practically anything's fair game in comments, right? If you do, just make sure the subject includes something like "Matt, read this re the 'Contributing Comments' page" so I know to make sure to read it.

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