Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘tolerance

Follow-up on the previous entry/absurd censorship

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Earlier today, I wrote about the comment policy of what seemed like a less than clear-headed feminist (thoughtsunderconstruction). At the time, I had the nagging doubt that I was unjustly jumping to conclusions: Yes, the formulations, the lack of objectivity, whatnot, all gave the impression of yet another delete-everything-that-is-not-perfectly-PC feminist. No, I had not actually bothered to read more than two entries, and there was at least some possibility that I was unfairly generalizing based on previous experiences with others.

I need not have worried: As it rapidly turned out, I had not only been right, but rather understated the case. I had left the following comment on a poste:

Selbstverständlich soll jeder das Recht haben, sich so zu betrachten, wie es ihm gefällt. Jedoch darf das nicht mit einer Zweckentfremdung von bestehenden Wörtern mit einer klaren Bedeutung geschehen, sondern durch das einführen von neuen, passenden Wörtern.

“Geschlecht” bezieht sich auf eine biologische Klassifizierung, die tatsächlich auf XX oder XY hinausläuft. (Mit Vorbehalten für Spezialfällen, wie XXY oder Geschlechtswandlungen.)

Für Bedeutung wie z.B. “gender identity” ist “Geschlecht” schlechthin das falsche Wort. Die derzeit beste Alternative ist wohl einfach “gender”. Dasselbe gilt für entsprechend für Wörter wie “Mann” und “Frau”.

(In short: There is a semantic difference between “gender” and “sex”, and using the German word “Geschlecht”, equivalent of “sex”, in the meaning of “gender” is a bad idea.)

This was originally followed by an unremarkable reply by thoughtsunderconstruction (not one that I agreed with, but nothing that could not be considered a normal exchange of opinion). Hours later the following additional reply arrived:

[ERSTE VERWARNUNG AN MICHAELERKSSON: Bitte an die Nettiquette halten und Sexismus zu Hause lassen, danke! anderfalls fliegst du dich bzw. deine Kommentare selber raus.]
Ich verbitte mir aber weitere Diskussionen zu dem Thema, da ich keine Fachfrau bin. Ich denke es wäre sinnvoll, dich hierbei an eine/n antisexistische/n Liguisti/en zu wenden. {Underscores turned into slashes for technical reasons.}

([FIRST WARNING TO MICHAELERKSSON: Please stick to the Nettiquette {the presumptuous and misleading name she had given to her comment policy, cf. my previous entry} and leave the sexism at home, thank you! if not you throw yourself resp. your comments out. {Original sentence is even weirder.}]
I will not tolerate any further discussion on this subject, because I am not a specialist. I think it would be sensible for you to turn to a antisexist linguist. {Original contained stilted attempts to reflect the possibility of the linguist being either male or female. Due to grammatical differences between English and German, this aspect is not translatable; however, the underscores/slashes in the original are easily observable.})

As I returned to the page to make a rebuttal, I found that my original comment had been shortened to the first paragraph—for no valid reason. I note that:

  1. My comment contained nothing that a reasonable observer would have considered sexist, nor against the comment policy. (Indeed, I deliberate was somewhat more conservative in my formulations than really warranted—having seen a similar “warning” directed at another commenter for a harmless comment.)

  2. The formulation used to preclude a further discussion (“tolerate”, resp. “verbittene”) is extremely rude German in this context—despite an alternative formulation like “I lack the interest or knowledge for that discussion, so please save it for another forum.” would easily have been possible. Indeed, the word is normally only used if someone has done something offensive or insulting.

    To make matters worse, the implication was that a part of the discussion (of potential importance) was killed off (in particular, with my comment being two-thirds censored). More generally, if lack of specialist knowledge was an ipso facto reason for avoiding discussions, we would all be mostly ignorant on a majority of the issues around us, because the breadth of knowledge and holistic context would never be formed.

  3. Requiring an antisexist linguist (whatever that may be) automatically ensures that a certain point of view is given authority: Ask a linguist who will give you the answer I want you to hear. Notably, the demand for an “antisexist” expert is made elsewhere on the blog too—apparently “ordinary” experts are not good enough.

    (As an aside, while a layman, I have spent considerable time studying various aspects of languages and linguistic, and have a correspondingly considerable understanding in my own right.)

I left some of these points, together with the statement that she merely proved what I had already surmised, behind in a comment:

Mein Kommentar hat keinerlei Bestandteile von Sexismus beinhaltet—auch nicht die völlig beliebig gelöschten Teile, die nicht erkennbar gegen den Comment Policy verstoßen haben.

Hierdurch wird ledigleich die Eindrücke bestätigt, die ich schon sechs Stunden bevor diesem Eingriff geschildert habe. Vgl. [previous entry].

Es sei am Rande erwähnt, dass sich an eine „antisexistische“ Irgendetwas zu wenden (so es so etwas überhaupt gibt), eine automatische Bevorzugung einer gewissen Position bedeuten würde—und somit für kritische Denker inakzeptabel ist.

I three-quarters expected this comment to have been deleted outright. At the time of writing (knock on wood), however, it is still present. (Nevertheless and just in case, I publish it above.)

In her comment policy, she protests that feminism would be a force of good, but at the same time she provides practical examples of the opposite—including intolerance of non-orthodox opinions, irrational behaviour, and seeing sexism where none is present. (However, even by feminist standards, it must be admitted, this woman appears to be a bit extreme.)


Unsurprisingly, the comment has since been deleted—leaving visible her lying or stupendously ignorant claims of sexism, but neither the alleged sexism (which would have disproved her) nor my protests.

A last comment left, just to tell her my mind:

thoughtsunderconstruction, Ich halte normalerweise einen diplomatischen Ton, aber nach der Löschung meines letzten Kommentars sage ich gerade aus: Du bist nicht nur eine absolute Vollidiotin, sondern auch direkt bösartig—insbesondere, die Art von Vollidiotin, die im Name des Guten Böses tut, ohne selbst zu verstehen, dass sie selbst das Böse ist.


Written by michaeleriksson

June 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Comparison of the comment policies of a feminist and an evolutionist

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Visiting a few German blogs, I landed on two comment policies within minutes of one another. The extreme difference in philosophy is interesting:

The first, Alles Evolutione distances itself from censorship:

Ich hasse das Sperren von Leuten. Ganz einfach weil ich selbst in diversen feministischen Blogs gesperrt wurde oder meine Kommentare dort – obwohl durchaus sachlich gehalten – nicht veröffentlicht wurden. Das allein führt dazu, dass ich das Sperren und eigentlich auch das Löschen von Kommentaren als absolute Notlösung sehe, die ich ungern jemals einsetzen würde.

(I hate the blocking of people. Simply because I, myself, have been blocked on various feminist blogs or my comments there—even though factual—went unpublished. This alone leads to my considering blocking [of commenters] and really also the deletion of comments to be a stopgap measure, which I would be reluctant to ever use.)

Further, it goes on to request fair debating from the commenters:

Nichts desto trotz gilt aber nach wie vor, dass Kommentare sachlich bleiben sollen. Ich bitte alle Kommentatoren daran zu denken.

(Nevertheless, as previously, comments should remain factual. I ask all commenters to consider this.)

The second, Thoughts Under Constructione, makes statements like:

Respektlosigkeiten akzeptiere ich nicht. Dazu gehören individuelle Beleidigungen sowie gruppenbezogene Menschenfeindlichkeiten. Da sich die Anzahl der -ismen und -phobien dauernd vergrößert zähle ich sie nicht auf.

(I do not accept lack of respect. This includes individual insults and group based misanthropy. Because the number of -isms and -phobias are ever growing, I do not list them.)

While this may not seem bad at a first glance, it still is. Such policies almost invariable go together with extreme intolerance, including denouncing this-and-that as sexist or racist without a legitimate reason—and the application of specifically the author of that blog shows exactly this problem. Cf. e.g. the post I originally landed one. It is further noteworthy that the reason that number of “-phobias” is growing is not that people have changed there opinions, but that the politically correct are ever keen on inventing new labels to put on their opponents. In its core, this quote amounts to a censorship based on having the “wrong” opinion—not actually discussing in e.g. an ad hominem manner.

(Additionally, it is proof of hypocrisy, seeing that she is herself far from respectful towards commenters.)

Kommentare, die Feminismus als überflüssig, gefährlich, sexistisch, männerfeindlich etc. bezeichnen, sind überflüssig und werden gelöscht.

(Comments that refer to feminism as superfluous, dangerous, sexist, misandrist etc., are superfluous [odd choice of word in the original] and will be deleted.)

In effect, a number of common criticisms that are largely true are blacklisted. The worse, because so many of us have grown up with a naive image of feminism as peaceful and benign equality movement, and it is important to reveal the truth about (at least political, gender-, etc.) feminism. Irrespective of truth, this restriction would be highly dubious already because it censors opinion, not method.

An interesting factor is the threat of blocking for

dass ich bestimmtes Vokabular in dem Zusammenhang inakzeptabel finde

(that I find a particular terminology unacceptable in that context)

In her defense, this does not apply generally, but only where sexual violence is concerned. However, at the same time, enforcing or forbidding a particular terminology is highly dubious to begin with. Doing so without being explicit in advance as to what is allowed or not allowed, is worse. I note that some statements made by her in the linked-to page indicate a less than thorough grasp of terminology.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm