The F-Word Blog Charter
Jess McCabe // 5 March 2010
The way we work over in the blog part of The F-Word has been changing. For some time now, we (the regular bloggers here) have behind the scenes been running the blog section of the site as a collective. Following on from this change, we’ve developed a charter for the blog, which I’ve posted below. We’ve worked on this collectively and collaboratively, and it’s taken a long time (as we’ve learnt, things do take longer if you’re a collective!) We’re now ready to share this with you – here goes!
The F-Word blog collective is made up of feminists with a wide range of identities, backgrounds and feminisms.
However, we recognise that to some extent the blogging collective does reflect and may reinstate power imbalances in society, through under-representation of some groups, and we are committed to working to change this through the measures outlined below. We also aim to actively address the impact of all types of oppression and power imbalance in a broader sense through the blog.
This goes beyond simply avoiding forms of discrimination (such as ageism, cissexism, classism, dis/ablism, heteronormativity, lookism, racism, sexism, transmisogyny, etc), and discriminatory attitudes, (such as biphobia, homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, etc). It means working to make this commitment a basis for the blog and actively welcoming contributions from as many different perspectives, histories and identities as possible within a broad interpretation of feminisms.
As such, The F-Word is and will remain committed to finding ways to engage with a multiplicity of voices and perspectives, ideas and identities, histories and beliefs, and accepts that not everyone will agree with the posts that arise from that engagement. We will try to engage with those disagreements too and include them, wherever possible, in comments and response threads, but would ask readers to bear in mind that we often walk a fine line between honouring different points of view and trying to keep the space friendly. Readers can also respond by submitting a guest blog post or feature.
2. What we try to do
2.1 Actively welcome, encourage, embrace, solicit and strive to include a broad range of feminisms and feminist identities on the blog.
2.2 Sensitively handle any conflicts this may create.
2.3 Seek first to understand what commenters mean, so as to engage with them constructively and edit comments appropriately.
2.4 Work towards, encourage and provoke a respectful exchange of views on issues of importance to women and feminisms. It is important varying viewpoints get heard within the boundaries of appropriate and acceptable conduct.
2.5 Take reasonable care to ensure what we publish is accurate. However, as this is a blog, we will often be linking to other journalists and bloggers and sometimes their sources will be incorrect or they will just be suggesting their opinions. There will be times when we will be proven wrong and, when that happens, we will do our best to handle that appropriately and sensitively.
2.6 Be open to constructive feedback and offers of help for the site and its development.
3. What we try not to do
3.1 Uncritically publish ageism, biphobia, classism, dis/ablism, heterosexism, homophobia, lesbophobia, racism, transphobia or any other form of discrimination/discriminatory speech.
3.2 Publish comments which engage in the “oppression Olympics”. (Drawing parallels, where oppressions might share certain similarities, can sometimes be helpful and illuminating. However, we would say that denying and trivialising one group’s suffering or implying it is somehow a thing of the past, in order to posit the oppression of another group, is not.)
3.3 Restrict contributions only to those who have academic qualifications or are widely read in feminism.
3.4 Provide a platform for trolls or for abusive, exclusionary or discriminatory comments. (Holding feminist views does not make a commenter exempt from this consideration.)
3.5 Get involved in personal disputes within feminist circles, including the blogosphere. We aim to bring news and analysis of relevance to women and feminisms and, in order to do so, may sometimes link to posts other people don’t agree with (or where they don’t agree with the author generally). This is not taking sides.
3.6 Claim to represent the ‘voice of feminism’.
4. What you can expect
4.1 Blog posts which inform, challenge, appraise, critique and sometimes amuse or infuriate.
4.2 Serious thought given to everything we publish, even when we make mistakes.
4.3 Similarly serious thought given to the moderation and publishing of comments on blog posts and a response, where appropriate or requested, when we think they need to be edited, rewritten or denied a platform. This may not always come from the original author of the blog post, but will always refer to our comments policy when making decisions on whether or not to publish a comment.
4.4 An openness to engage with and think about adaptations to the site based on constructive criticism from readers.
4.5 Occasional appeals to readers for ideas about content, layout, design and other aspects of the site.
5. How the Blog Works
The F-Word blog is run by volunteers working in our spare time
and around our other commitments. The blog operates as a collective in that we each write individually from our own perspectives and we each subscribe to collective decision making about the blog.
People are invited to blog on a guest basis at first and then sometimes as permanent bloggers. Potential guest bloggers could be people who have contributed to The F Word in the past, bloggers for other sites, people we meet at feminist events or online or people who approach us with ideas for posts.
All the bloggers (permanent and guest) write and post when they can on issues of interest to women and feminists, under the broad heading “feminist news and views”. We don’t have a set definition of “feminist news and views” because, frankly, that’d take a long time and be redundant as soon as we finish, and because we rely on the creativity of the blogging team to refresh content.
Blog posts are not subject to prior editorial approval and are the opinions of the writers themselves; they do not constitute a monolithic F-Word viewpoint. All bloggers agree to abide by the ethics and spirit of the site, including the aims and aspirations expressed above.