The Smurfette Principle and Sexism in PvPonline

As the feminist frequency brilliantly explains the smurfetter principle, Scott Kurtz apparently decides to remind us how sexist he is.

She says it much better than I could really.

And since I’m on the subject of feminism, can someone explain to me what is going on with all these old school webcomics starting to show more and more sexism? I was going through my PvPonline backlog of the last week and I came upon these two “gems”

Men who are afraid of scary movies are like women while screaming in fear is stereotypical of a married female in “hysterics”

“Women are competitive and catty and generally unkind to each other” (Said by the only main female character – i.e. the “smurfette” of PvPonline)

What the fuck is this shit people?

Quote of the Day: Men's Rights "Activists"

man boobz exposes the truth about MRAs.

Quoth David Futrelle

At its heart, men’s rights activism doesn’t really seem to be about activism at all. What the movement has turned into is a strange parody of “victim feminism,” an endless search for proof that men (despite earning more than women, heading up the overwhelming majority of companies and governments in the world, getting all the best movie roles, never having to wear heels, and so on and so on and so on) are in fact second-class citizens.

A brilliant piece on a group of people who have recently become a significantly annoying experience online. It doesn’t help matters that their members all too often intersect with right libertarians and Randroids and White Rights Activists (you can imagine what the latter are about)

Unfortunately MRA, much like libertarians are far too numerous online and can easily focus their attention into succesful entryist attempts. MRA entryism is the primary reason why most feminists have abandoned /r/feminism in reddit and have instead migrated to /r/feminisms which has a far more strict moderation policy allowing for deeper feminist discussion without endlessly devolving into What About Teh Mens! arguments.

PS: man boobz has become an instant favourite of mine. If only he would move out of Blogger’s crappy platform…

Don't diss Che or vile Maoists may get upset.

The Angry Marxists are a group of ex-self-proclaimed-anarchists who turned Marxist-Leninist almost immediately after they were repelled from an anarchist space.

Broadsnark has recently written an excellent article on Che Guevara, and like clockwork, the vile Maoist “uber radicals” are striking back because Che was “one of the most successful and inspiring revolutionaries of the last century”. All that Mel did was to “twist the language of anti-colonialism to write up an a-historical and factually incorrect hit-piece”.

By Kropotkin’s beard, it’s like reading the Barefoot Bum all over again.

I am so glad that /r/anarchism resisted the sectarianism of their particularly toxic brand of “anarchism”. Their blatant authoritarianism and rhetoric of violence was warning enough and as soon as they were repelled, they turned into “Angry Marxists”. It’s a bit funny really, I’ve been following their blog since it started out of something like a morbid fascination to see just how rabid they can become. For example:

Lemme make something clear: we like firing squads. We are down with internment camps. We think working class and oppressed people have every right to shoot their class enemies in the neck and leave them in a ditch.

Given how they have labeled almost everyone who disagrees with them as a “class oppressor” this should send shivers down your spine if they ever come even close to grabbing any sort of revolutionary power. It would be the Kronstadt Massacre all over again ((inb4 the Angry Marxists come here to tell me how it was all individualist anarchists and thus deserved to be killed)).

I also find it quite fascinating of just how quick self-proclaimed anarchists who used to agitate quite a lot in an anarchist space for a very specific moderation policy (take a guess what it would look like), would almost overnight become completely anti-anarchist, and even espouse the same old tired strawmen against anarchism. This only reinforces my concerns that this group was part of yet another entryist attempt from Marxist-Leninists. And when it failed due to its inherent authoritarianism being anathema to an anarchist community, the masks fell off and those who were just masquerading assumed their actual beliefs and displayed proudly their ignorance of what Anarchism actually is.

This is only too humorous given just how often everyone else was dismissed as “Anarchyists” because we recoiled in horror at their violent rhetoric and suggested tactics.

Look at all the wonderful victim blaming (Also: MRAs disgust me)

Ah Reddit, how expectedly misogynistic of you…

So, a woman get raped and the judge gives us this brilliant quote

Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Dewar called Rhodes a “clumsy Don Juan” who may have misunderstood what the victim wanted when he forced intercourse along a darkened highway outside Thompson in 2006.

I don’t think a simple “WTF” can even express my reaction at this. But anyway, I’m not here to talk about that. People who read this blog probably know already that “Blind Justice” is notoriously privileged.

However I do want to point out the Shit Reddit Said when this story was posted around.

From /r/women:

Am I the only one thinking that “Hey, Maybe if she would’ve taken responsbility for her actions, by saying ‘no’ and leaving this would have never happened” ?

Yes, because yes first “No” when he tried to kiss her didn’t count and anytime a woman is alone with a male, is an obvious consent to sex. What is this? Saudi Arabia?

First she says no, then she returns his kisses. She’s dressed like a whore and drunk. Flirts with him, leads him on, continues to go into the woods with him for some skinny dipping, then gives in. Maybe the next day she regrets her drunken actions, and doesn’t want to be associated with this dope, and cries rape to save face with her friends/family.

Poor guy, he was led on by her whory flirting. FALSE RAPE ACCUSATION!

Terrible ruling. However, what was this woman thinking? There is a big difference between blame and using responsibility- and while I’m not suggesting she is at fault (blame), I have to seriously question her sense of personal responsibility for getting drunk and driving into the woods with strangers. Unfortunately, she learned the hard way that a man’s hormones aren’t something to fuck with.

Men can’t control themselves you know? That’s why the best method to avoid rape is for women to wear burkas and stay next to a male eunuch at all times. What was that woman thinking? Everyone knows that single women are consenting to sex. I tried to educate this particular rape apologist but I just couldn’t take more than 2 replies.

I’m starting to think there is an automated response for some women in a rape situation, and it doesn’t involve a lot of struggling. After all, if the woman would be fighting tooth and nail and screaming bloody murder, most guys would actually stop.[…]

But in most of the world this is not the case anymore. So I ask you, an obvious Feminist, shouldn’t we educate women to do more in this kinds of situations? To yell, at least, if not fight?

Because if women don’t struggle, it’s an implicit consent. Nevermind that some might be too terrified, stressed or shocked or just shamed to react violently. No, we, as males should educate all those foolish women on the best way to prevent rape.

Unfortunately I also did the mistake of trying to argue with this fool, but something tells me I didn’t get through:

I’d rather prevent rape by any practical means, whether it fits a feminist agenda or not. Plus, if a woman would tell women to fight and scream in a rape attempt, would you still find it offensive?

Moving on to /r/2x, perhaps there will be less disgusting shit there:

I don’t know about this case since I wasn’t there, but guys are dumb and sometimes don’t catch signals that are sent. I have also known girls who cried rape when it really wasn’t.

You can’t honestly expect guys to control themselves ((Hey, isn’t it a common trope to call males as “logical” and females as “emotional”? I wonder what happened to this concept here. Hmmm….)) , plus don’t forget how common false rape accusations are!

There are other shitty sentiments expressed in there but they’re usually spread out within Walls of Text so I wouldn’t do them justice.

In /r/canada:

The judge here doesn’t seem to be saying “She was dressed slutty, so she was asking for it” but rather that given the circumstances (they had been partying, the guys were invited to go skinny dipping, he had kissed her and she reciprocated etc.) the man may have reasonably thought he had consent.

If she said no, resisted physically, was passed out etc., then by all means, send the guy to jail. But isn’t it possible that at the time things were a little more ambiguous?

Because what the man thinks is enough of course. Any time you reasonably think that the woman might have implicitly consented, go for it! If she doesn’t resist physically, you know she wants it.

I had a girlfriend break up with me, come back to my apartment to have sex with me and then proceeded to tell me that she would call the police and claim rape.

To this day, I didn’t understand why.

Crazy-ass bitch.

Wait wat?

And the best piece of blatant misogyny

I see nothing wrong with this. Let it be a lesson to the girl… The next time you dress like a slut, get drunk with a stranger, and then suggest that you go off alone, into the woods to go skinny dipping, odds are the guy is going to assume he is getting laid.

Fortunately the poster was downvoted to -10, but still. Still…

And finally, my favourite, the comment on the /r/mensrights repost:

Heavy make-up . . . no bra . . . high heels and tube tops??!! WTF? Did he pick up some drag queens?

What is this, I don’t even.

She kissed him back, she went in the woods with him, it sounds like she skinny dipped with him, it sounds like she accepted his advances and the judge wasn’t convinced that she said no.

In fact, it sounds like she never said no. It just sounds like he misunderstood her body language and was non-threatening. It sounds more like regret than anything.

This comment is of course not surprising coming from the Goddamn Batman of the MRAs, but it is archetypical of the lot.

Um, they wandered into the woods? Who the hell follows a stranger into the woods?!

Not sure if the alleged victim was actually raped, but she was pretty clearly an idiot.

And idiots clearly deserve to be raped…

The point is “Innocent until proven guilty.” What differentiates this particular allegation from another case, where the man was honest-to-god innocent, but due to extenuating circumstances the woman falsely accused him?

You can bet your ass that in a thread about women being raped, any present MRA will bring up the awful epidemic of False Rape Accusations. Like fucking clockwork!

This is yet another shining example of how the Men’s Rights movement attracts the worst kind of males (much like the White Rights movements attracts the worst kind of White skinned people).

That’s all folks. Your weekly dose of misanthropy has been delivered. Enjoy!

Privilege Denying Dude is down once more

Fuck Yeah, Privilege Denying Dude, is down 🙁

It seems like the PDD is generating quite an amount of hate, enough to be pulled from Tumblr not once, but twice. Or at least this is what I assume is the reason behind the second incarnation of PDD being at status “Not Found” at the moment.

I’m going to give Tumblr the benefit of doubt here and not immediately jump on the accusation bandwagon, although given their previous willingness to hastily accept a half-arsed copyright claim, I don’t hold much hope. I only hope that if the site was indeed taken down by tumblr, the next PDD site learns from all this use something they can control more.

Privilege…so thick…can't breathe…

Oh Privilege Denying Dude, you so funny!

Just look at this goddamn shit of a thread. The whole thing just reeks of unchecked privilege and rampart douchebaggery. I think this PDD I just cooked up summarizes it nicely.

Picture: Background: 8 piece pie style color split with red and teal alternating. Foreground: White guy with glasses and light shadow wearing a sweat shirt over a button down and short black hair. Has a smug, arrogant facial expression and crossed arms. Top text: “Using "tranny" as an insult doesn't mean that you're "transphobic"” Bottom text: “I don't hate them. I just don't care about their feelings”

Even a large number of transgendered people pointing out how wrong and hurtful he is to transgendered people was not enough to make this PDD rethink his perspective.

I think this brilliant post explains things best (h/t FuchsiaGauge)

A treasure trove of Privilege Denying Dudes

Concentrated privilege denial. It burnssss

Holy shit, I think I’ve hit the motherlode!

Here’s some necessary background.

Of course, one doesn’t expect much from a community of primarily male teenagers with serious behaviour issues but almost every other post seems to be a PDD waiting to happen. I couldn’t resist making a few and posting them to the privielege denying dude website. And these are just from this 1 post!  I could easily cook up another or two from it as well.

You can see the second one below (click for large image)

Now go forth and mine this thread for glorious PDDs!

The /r/anarchism ShitStorm flares up again: Round Three

More Drama in /r/anarchism.

The Sacred Chao
Image via Wikipedia

A few days ago, I wrote about the drama that was transpiring in /r/anarchism. Back then I wrote that we had reached a unsteady compromise and I expressed cautious optimist for the future. Well, I’m sad to say that things didn’t turn out the way I planned and the third wave of the shitstorm was soon upon us. I will attempt to explain how we reached this point.

QueerCoup and Db0 bash heads.

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that we had reached a more cooperative attitude with QueerCoup (QC from now on) but this was quite a premature statement. Just one day later, they made a very aggressive post about me, which was quite a surprise to tell you the truth. Soon after, they stepped down as a mod as well and took a less active part in the subreddit.

While QueerCoup was mostly inactive, other people started becoming more active, such as mapthon and thepinkmask who had very strong feminist tendencies. At some point QC returned and made a post praising them, while condemning what they perceived as a majoritarian push by me. However the wording of the post was such that it insulted a female mod that was before, which led to a heated argument between myself and QC again, and finally a call out. While the argument in the end was put down to a bad wording and a misunderstanding, the bad blood between us seems to have been cemented for now and snipes against each other would continue to this day.

Why are they here?

A very common occurance while the above was happening, was people requesting mods to be demodded, or people to be removed from /r/metanarchism. Usually the mods were asked to be removed for not being modded according to the process. People were particularly asking for mods ptimb and enkiam to be removed, which eventually led the former to delete their account altogether. On the other hand, many requested that humanerror and ASDFOKJOI3123 to be removed from the /r/metanarchism approved submitters list, which due to its private nature, would block them from seeing and participating in it.

Tensions flared when enkiam removed around 5 people unilateraly from /r/metanarchism’s approved submitter list and then posted about it. They were quickly restored by other mods, and only two ended up being removed after discussion, but it added to the distrust of enkiam’s power, leading to yet another post calling for him to be demodded. In fact, the curious fact was how the top mods of /r/anarchism (i.e. those who cannot be demodded by others easily), skobrin and dbzer0, were being “pulled” by both sides to act. On one side we were asked to act to demod mods like enkiam while on the other we were asked to start being more active with our mod powers. Skobrin remained largely inactive except removing the most egregious comments, while I tried to receive a clear democratic decision behind my actions.

On the other hand, the process for calling out abusive and oppressive behaviour on the main sub went better, and various elements such as unrepentant MRA derailers and known fascists were banned through a democratic process. A lot of other meta posts were being discussed, such as the header icon and the sidebar policies. Things seemed to be calming down again, but this wouldn’t last.

Welcome to Operation Mindfuck

After someone fraudulently accused the redditor R_A_W of being a stormfront entryist, the pinkmask suggested that this might all be an elaborate trolling attempt in order to see FUD and set anarchists against each other. Given the username of R_A_W as well as some others who used words like “Fnord” in their names taking part in these discussions, a Discordian Operation Mindfuck was suspected and an unconventional solution suggested. However, soon after a discordian was outright banned for their offensive username, an insidious subversion attempt came to the spotlight.

It became obvious that we were being targetted, and it’s not at all a big jump to assume that this further aggravated what followed.

The mother of all ShitStorms

There wasn’t one event that sparked the biggest one of all, but rather a lot of small things coincided to prepare the ground for a lot of lulz at /r/anarchism’s expense all over reddit. I’ll try to present them as accurately and objectively  as I can.

One vital catalyst to the whole issue, was the implementation of the suggestion to make our spam filter public (which includes the deleted posts). I eventually hacked around borrowed code and made our mod actions transparent.

At around the same time, littlepinklies, posted in /r/mensrights to show her support, which drew a lot of visitors from that subreddit, which didn’t go unnoticed by anarchists and happened to coincide with this post by keteht, which sparked a lot of discussion on the actions of the mods in the main reddit and due to the MRA crowd being there, the discussion was skewed heavily towards unmoderation. Further aggravating the issue was the attempted privcheck from keteht which drew a hostile reaction from QC and another call-out for them in /r/metanarchism. Keteht requested to be allowed to see what was being said about his family, but was refused entry by enkiam (eventually overriden by others mods).

Because of the post by keteht which was surprisingly active for /r/anarchism’s standards, a new post was raised calling for a  “referendum”. Unfortunately, it was formed in entirely the wrong way ((In reddit, when one wants to call a vote, they shoudn’t ask people to upvote the topic itself as a form of vote. Doing it this way means that a lot of quick downvotes will hide the topic altogether, stopping the discussion, while a lot of people upvote such topics just to preserve the discussion)). This post was quickly followed by two crossposts in /r/mensrights, the biggest of which was this.

These actions made the moderator enkiam believe that there was an organized reactionary attempt and he made the unfortunate decision to delete the referendum post, as well as the satelite metathreads that spawned around it. However, due to the newly implemented transparency of the spam filter, these actions were now painfully visible and reddit at large picked up on that, and descended on /r/anarchism to call everyone a hypocrite. The referendum post is upvoted to the stratosphere and any opposing comment, especially from radical feminists and mods is quickly downvoted to oblivion.

The cross-posts from reddit at large come in rapid succession. We’re linked from /r/funny, /r/bestof, /r/ and others, which are some of the most populated places, quickly overwhelming the actual anarchists the frequent /r/anarchism. At the end of the day, /r/anarchism achieves 10 times the number of normal unique visitors, primarily at the referendum post and the next day 5 times as many.

The external visitors heavily upvote the referendum and this is then used as stepping stone from other regulars to ask how a complete unmoderation might happen. Others point how the results is not an accurate repressentation of /r/anarchism’s crowd given how many people arrived from outside and what kind of people they are.

A lot of mods are harassed to step down while this goes on, while a few others leave in disgust or despair when they notice the actions of enkiam. defectedyouth in particular, re-approves the referendum and other mods quickly approve the rest. Reaction against enkiam reaches a fever pitch which eventually makes him declare his resolution. Dbzer0 in the end, requests that he step down which further draws the ire of QC and the /r/anarchocommunism crowd, which declare this an act of cowardice and treason. Other mods voice their their agreement for enkiam stepping down.

Enkiam in the end is gone, as the visitors start dispersing, and so the anarchists voices can once again be heard. For example, a gloating thread for enkiam’s departure is quickly posted but doesn’t draw nearly as much support as one would expect and the OP is quickly reminded that gloating is not at all appropriate in this situation.

As the dust settles, the mods who are left take an unofficial stance to wait and see what the actual community wants, before taking anything more than a janitorial action. A lot of valuable regulars have already left, griffjam, voltairine, zhouligong, ptimb and others, while many who remain become more inactive or take a break. A lot are worrying about how much the reactionary elements will stick around and continue pushing for anti-feminist agendas and how that will affect a community that is split between trying to be inclusive and trying to retain its libertarian character.

Do we need more direct action than debate on inclusive spaces?

Does oppressive speech merit censorship? We explore this question on reddit.

The 1932 Soviet poster dedicated to the 8th of...
Image via Wikipedia

As the recent /r/anarchism drama slowly dies down, we keep having discussions on the merits of the various courses of action we’re considering. I just wrote a lengthy reply on the issue of “aggressive censorship” on the subreddit that I thought was interesting enough to share ((I think I’ll start doing this more. My blog remains silent while I write essays over in reddit. Perhaps I can hit two birds with one stone)).

The background here is the ban of a Men’s Rights Advocate (MRA) who started hanging out in /r/anarchism making civil but strictly anti-feminist comments. He continued doing this for a while and many people expressed how annoyed they were by his presence, especially since it coincided with the subreddit being linked from others ones, and thus waves of the classic redditor (which takes casual sexism to new heights) started coming in and upvoting this MRA’s comments. His multiple derailments led me to give him a warning and after discussion among the regular members of the reddit once he outright refused to stop this behaviour, we decided to ban him.

The following is one of the discussions that followed

db0: The problem is not that he’s wrong, but that he’s derailing discussions left and right and is unwilling to stop. I had no problem with him being wrong. I have a problem with him being disruptive. And even though it doesn’t bother me especially, I’m a privileged person in this situation so this doesn’t mean much. His attitude is still creating an atmosphere which is alienating to the people we’re trying to attract, such as women.

humanerror: Personally, I’m highly distrustful of aggressive censorship in the name of attracting alienated persons. I recognize that the intentions behind it are good, but I think it’s essentially wrongheaded and counterproductive. I don’t think making this place into a walled garden where everyone has to walk around on tippy toes for fear of giving offense will succeed in attracting anyone. If an alienated person comes and encounters alienating speech, I trust they will also find that speech downvoted to hell, and probably a dozen other users calling the speaker an asshole. If anything, I expect that that’s the kind of display that would make an alienated person feel welcome. Because they really are welcome, and we don’t need moderator action to make that true.

db0: I was on the same boat, but by reading more about it and talking to such oppressed classes, I can now understand their view better. While it’s OK for us to ignore such comments until they are downvoted, or to rationally argue against them; for such oppressed classes, every instance of casual misogyny hurts and every instance of a privileged comrade treating it as if it’s worthy of a rational response, is giving it credence, and hurts.

We don’t rationally debate things such as holocaust denial (unless we’re just looking to waste time) for example, because to do so would assume that they are not ridiculous to begin with. Of course, we don’t feel the need to ban holocaust denialists (anymore) because everyone knows they are ridiculous and laughs or insults them out of the room. Same with monarchists or pro-slavery people. But sexism, racism and others like them, are still very much accepted and preserved by a large number of people, who are actively maintaining oppression through them to this day. This sheer amount of conscious or casual support means that those ideologies get some serious backup always, and unless we act to marginalize them, this place will not be an inclusive space. The oppressed classes will feel as oppressed here as they do elsewhere. Perhaps marginally less so because there’s more outspoken critics of oppression here, but as we get more and more lurkers who skew votes and swamp us with comments, this organic anti-oppression cannot keep up.

humanerror: I think as a general rule we should be extremely tolerant of sincere dumbasses. Participation in this community is an ongoing learning experience for all of us, and some of us are always going to be further along than others.

db0: Again, I agree, but only as long as those dumbasses are not stubborn. People should understand that this is an inclusive space and act accordingly, by accepting some of the same premises we all do. To give you an extreme example to signify what this means: An accepted premise is equal voting rights for all. If one were to come here, being a sincere dumbass, and ask, “but why do women deserve to vote?” and keep asking this on every democratic decision we’re making and refusing to drop it, then this is derailment.

You may think that they would obviously be ignored which is true in this example, because those premises are now widely accepted. But there’s other premises, such as those of modern feminism, that aren’t, and for feminists, challenging them is as frustrating as the above question. And yet non-feminists do no see this because of their privilege. The extreme question I posted above was considered a “valid” one a 150 years ago or so and this is what made it frustrating to first-wave feminists of that time.

This discussion is still ongoing along with many others like it. What is your perspective on this issue?

I Survived /r/anarchism's ShitStorm of 2010 and I Didn't Even Get a Lousy T-Shirt.

A lot of drama is going on in the anarchism section of reddit. This is the history of it, as seen through my eyes.

the calm before the shit storm.
Image by dearsomeone via Flickr

Anyone looking in on the subreddit of anarchism, would think that all-out-war is breaking out. Call-outs from people against the mods and call-out from mods against each other. Reactionary downvote brigades and sarcastic trolls. Posts about rules and posts against rules. And all the sideline, statists, Men’s Rights Activists and (right-)libertarians having the schadenfreude of their life.

Obviously anarchism can’t work right?

Well yes it can, but before we go into that, let me present the history of these events in as much an objective way I can (I will try to put in some links later).

The origins.

Until one point, we had the unwritten policy of simply modding anyone who is a contributing member of the community. This had been setup by one of the early mods, joeldavis, and it was an interesting alternative to the classic oligarchical mod structures of most other subreddits. It wasn’t perfect but it was good. At this point, there was a general agreement that mod’s only rule was to prevent the spam filter from catching legitimate posts and to check each other’s power.

The Failsafe mod

Given the way that moderation was implemented, any mod could de-mod any other mod, which presented the threat that a malicious person might masquerade themselves as a contributing member long enough to get modded up, and then quickly de-mod everyone else and destroy the reddit. To avoid this, we decided to elect a failsafe moderator who would be the owner of the subreddit and could not be demodded in this way. The candidate was chosen to be Veganbikepunk, the original creator of the subreddit.

Then reddit changed the code so that latter mods could not de-mod their seniors. This made things safer but ultimately more hierarchical unfortunately. This is isn’t so much related but a reason to understand why things progressed the way they did.

Showing our feminist colours.

I don’t remember exactly how it started, but at one point we started modifying the header icon of the reddit to point out our solidarity with other movements, such as radical feminism or queer anarchism. This was opposed by very few mods (particularly a few who were leaning more towards the propertarian values) and quite a few subscribers of the subreddit. Discussions heated up on this issue but most of the regulars agreed that pointing out this solidarity is important.

Unwelcome elements

A few misogynistic and white-supremacy  advocates started appearing in the reddit and posting, well, misogynistic and white-supremacy shit. Many correlated this to the recent change of the header icon, particularly since many of those elements were posting especially against this change. As one mod put it (paraphrase), “feminism made the reactionaries come out of the woodwork.”

This led to outrage from many members of the reddit, who felt that this community should not tolerate such speech which was reinforcing oppression of marginalized classes. This was usually called the “No Platform” position. Many of the old school mods (including myself) suggested that the organic moderation of the community via voting on the comments and their posts was enough to counter such elements and no further action was needed.

Others posted that the organic moderation was subverted via external reactionary brigades ((We do have proof that white-supremacy groups like stormfront have had organized plans to make their position heard, by collectively voting on their positions. People from other subreddits such as /r/mensrights also often request help from their group when they are downvoted and confronted)) and thus, stronger action was required to combat this phenomena and preserve /r/anarchism as an anarchist community.

The Banhammer falls.

As this dicussion was raging, a mod called bmoseley07 (who has since deleted his account) went ahead and banned one of the most egregious scum. A person called Zamato Elite. This is pretty much the point where all shit hit the fan. The ban was quickly reversed by other mods, only to be redone and undone again and again.

The mod discussion pretty much exploded, and two sides quickly formed an polarized in the debate. On one side was the argument that banning is not inherently authoritarian when it combats oppressive actions and speech and that /r/anarchism should be a safe space for oppressed classes. The other side was arguing that free speech is not inherently oppressive, and especially not when it can be countered with other means such as downvoting, and that the problem with those reactionary elements is transient and they will leave discouraged when their comments are consistently downvoted.

Disclaimer: I was on the latter group. At that point, I didn’t believe that the issue was as big as it was made out to be, and certainly not requiring a banhammer.

Things went pretty much downhill from here. Quickly other people were nominated for banning and some did it with very little input from others, further aggravating the other side, who then undid any changes. Insults from both sides were common with one side being labeled “vanguardists” and other being the “manarchists”. Meta discussions on mod abuses raged and many people started posting articles explain why moderation is not inherently authoritarian.

It’s important to note that while this was happening, no mod actually de-modded another one who opposed them. Many people who look in from the outside, think that this actually happened, but this is not true. Even the most radical elements of each camp avoided this.


As things seemed to be devolving into an all out mod-edit-wars, a few people tried to come up with some common ground solutions. The first such attempt was QueerCoup’s Banning Procedure, which was a draft that was continuously updated with input from the community. It didn’t treat banning as taboo, but it also stipulated that it must be the last course of action after all other options have been exhausted. It also required a lot of agreement from the mods and gave a chance to people being targeted to avoid it.

Unfortunately, since many still felt that banning was bad in all cases, this procedure didn’t gain much traction. Some opposed it out of principle. The mod wars continued.

Seeing this, dbzer0 (that is me, in case you forgot) drafted a different policy which basically took the events that were already happening and used them as a basis for a policy. This would allow people who could compromise just a little to work with each other in a more organic way and make mod actions resemble a more direct action.This was met with more support and with the unsaid consent of most mods, since hey, this policy just allowed them to do what they were doing anyway.

Speaking for myself, I had started to accept than banning might be acceptable in some circumstances, in order to preserve the inclusive space of /r/anarchism. I was still very much for free speech and (perma)banning only as a last resort, and against making /r/anarchism a safe space (i.e. a place where no opposing views are requested).

The Purge

As dbzer0’s guidelines started to get traction, the unthinkable happened. Someone de-modded everyone (we had upwards of 50 mods at that point), including themselves, and left veganbikepunk as the only moderator of /r/anarchism. This was quickly identified to be the user idonthack who used to be the most senior after VBP. idonthack was a vocal proponent of the no-banning policies and I assume he did it because the accepted rules seemed to be moving in the opposite direction. He never did account for himself on this (quite authoritarian) act, so I can’t really say much more about that.

This was since known as the Great Mod Purge of 2010. It frustrated both sides, including the only mod left, VBP, who quickly found himself to be the centre of attention.

At this point, I used this release from my “duties” to take a break from the drama in /r/anarchism and go do something relaxing. As such, my knowledge of the events following this, until the last week are a bit sketchy, so If I’m getting something wrong, please correct me.

The Bro-Trolls come, a Monarch Falls.

Even though VBP had stated that he was not going to take any action until a community decision on moderation was reached, he was the de-facto monarch of the sub. He also quickly banned two of the most egregious scum, Zamato Elite and Godspiral.

Around this time, a new reddit was created, pretty much by the pro-ban group of /r/anarchism. This was /r/anarchocommunism and from what I know, it was used as a launch group for a coordinated trolling assault on /r/anarchism. It wasn’t created for this reason, but this happened because of VBP “fatal” mistake.

He banned longtime.

Longtime was one of the most outspoken radical feminists of /r/anarchism. She routinely called out the casual sexism of many members and was particularly fond of using irony and sarcasm as weapons and turning the words of people against them. This had the effect of making her both receive a lot of flak by the people she assaulted in this way, and to also make her a sort of an icon for people fighting against accepted sexism in /r/anarchism. A favourite tactic of longtime was to write a comment in ALL CAPS and exaggerating the sexism or derailment in the comment she was replying to and thus shaming them into submission (imho good) or angering them enough to lash out (imho bad). This will become important in a sec.

After the mod purge, the efforts of the radical feminists were effectively countered. They could no do anything else except use the voting mechanism of reddit and their comments. For longtime, this further drove her to intensify her campaign of ALL CAPS (at this point she was making practically only ALL CAPS comments) as it was one of the few weapons left to their side, until more mods were added.

Unfortunately, VBP who had never been the most active redditor, was not aware of longtime’s style, so he saw one such ironically sexist comment and did a knee-jerk reaction, banning longtime. He was quickly explained the situation and reversed the ban within one hour, but the damage was already done. Longtime left in disgust and soon after deleted her account. This was the catalyst for the Bro-Troll brigade.

The Bro-Trolls were ironic names of historical male anarchists, where part of their name was replaced by “Bro” (“Bropotkin”, “Brahkunin” and so on) , thus signifying the “manarchism” in the politics of /r/anarchism. These people, apart from continuing in the proud tradition of longtime’s ALL CAP sarcastic sexism, started a systematic campaign against VBP. Unfortunately VBP reaction badly to it, quickly making some comments that were uncalled for (such as calling a member of the forum by their real name) and getting defensive.

While this was happening, QueerCoup  started drafting a modding policy, so we can get more mods on the reddit again and then start building the policies of the subreddit. Many others were at the same time requesting that no mods would be added and that we go completely unmoderated, but the rampart sexism that was rising up on the sub convinced many of us that such an option would be unacceptable for an inclusive space.

It was at this point that I started becoming more active again in the sub.

After about a week of harassment, and as the campaign against VBP escalated, he was asked to step down and so he did, leaving skobrin in his place. Frustratingly for many, skobrin wasn’t really active at that time so no further action was taken in the next few days, until he came back and modded dbzer0 and griffjam, who were some of the most supported mods in the new modding suggestions thread.

The meta is diverted.

As you can imagine, the meta discussions in the reddit were intense and drowning all other submissions. As my first act as a mod, I decided to try and work with this by creating a dedicated area for meta discussion which would both facilitate more of it and allow the main reddit to concentrate on actual posts and news about anarchism. This was not a mandatory move however, so anyone who wished could still post their meta topics in the main sub. Many people did find the idea good enough and started using it voluntarily.

At the start, /r/metanarchism was set to restricted mode, which meant that anyone could see, vote and comment on articles, but only the approved members could submit new ones. Soon however, the Bro-Trolls (which had reduced their posting by then) along with a few new accounts started trolling this area as well, so in an attempt to maintain discussion, I switched the security to private, which meant that one approved members could see it. Of course, since it is very easy to be approved, I didn’t consider this an issue, but apparently some did.

The same afternoon, QueerCoup denounced this action and the subreddit and called dbzer0, skobrin and VBP out for de-modding. And this pretty much started the second round of shit-flinging.

Everybody points and laughs

dbzer0, skobring and VBP are called out by QueerCoup, QueerCoup and enkiam is called out by hummanerror and anarchoal, chromalux and reqem is called out by VBP, the classic reactionaries from MRA and whatnot are called out by QueerCoup. Mod and ban guidelines are challenged. And as if on queue, everyone else chimes in to informs us how this is proof that anarchism can’t work,

At this moment, the debate is still raging but at a less intense level. QueerCoup and myself have achieved more cooperative attitude (I’d like to think). We seem to be cautiously moving towards an commonly accepted modding policy that will be very similar to my “Direct Action” proposal. We’ve had a vote and a compromise and those seem to have been well received.

Most of the current drama revolves around QueerCoup being a mod after his position was blocked by other members of the reddit. There’s also some bad blood between the regulars of the subreddit which will take a long time to heal (if ever). The also the issue of the visibility of /r/metanarchism. Mods, as of now, are treading very carefully to avoid being seen as abusing their power or supporting sexism and I’m fairly certain that we will soon reach an understanding and a new balance. Of course, I could be wrong, and things will explode yet again in a third round of drama. Time will tell.

So now you know what’s been going on. I hope I gave you a perspective that shows how the drama is not at all illegitimate and that this is a discussion that needs to happen to allow the subreddit to grow beyond the casual sexism that permeates reddit as a whole. In a future post, I will expand more on why dissent is not necessarily a sign of an unhealthy community.