October’s comments on features & reviews… finally up!

// 28 November 2010

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megaphone.jpgComments on features and reviews from October are posted and waiting for you to read.

As you will see from the first comment and response, I’m thinking about a switch away from our letters to the editor style comment system for features and reviews, and towards a more blog-style live-ish system. If you have thoughts about this, please let me know via comments or the feedback form.

This month saw lots of responses to Justine’s cautionary tale, about her experiences in an abusive relationship.

Amity’s piece on birth rape continued to provoke strong reactions as well.

From the archives: Heather’s thoughts about the legacy of riot grrrl.

Once again, a round of applause for Helen G, who coded and pulled together this month’s comments.

Photo of a megaphone by altemark, shared on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

earwicga // Posted 29 November 2010 at 3:53 pm

I think a change would be very welcome. I never comment on these pieces if I do have a question as I know there will be no response for a couple of months. Plus it would be good to read other people’s responses at the time of reading the piece.

Jess McCabe // Posted 29 November 2010 at 4:18 pm

@earwicga Comments are forwarded immediately(ish) to the author of the piece, so if you have a particular question it may be answered well before the comment is actually published.

The difficulty is in balancing the different needs of contributors: comments can be a bit aggressive and offputting to writers, and the gap before publication of comments can leave more room for a thoughtful response. And can be less intimidating for less confident writers: remembering that one of The F-Word’s key values is to encourage new writers who don’t have a platform elsewhere.

Meanwhile, there is the question of who will actually moderate the comments on features and reviews if they are opened up. The likelihood is when the switch is made, comments will have to close after a short period, to make it doable.

earwicga // Posted 29 November 2010 at 5:26 pm

Ok, thanks Jess.

sianushka // Posted 30 November 2010 at 12:22 pm

just to support what jess said, i would have to stop writing reviews for the f word if the comments were instant and moderated by the piece’s author as i simply wouldn’t have time to commit to that around my job and life. moderation takes a lot of time, energy and can be emotionally draining! as jess says, especially for new writers, this level of work and commitment could be off putting.

Jess McCabe // Posted 30 November 2010 at 12:33 pm

@sianushka Sorry, I should have clarified: I have already ruled out a situation where contributors would moderate comments on their own features/reviews- the solution would have to be for me (or more likely another willing and trained volunteer/team of volunteers) to moderate comments.

It just wouldn’t be practical for contributors to mod their own comments. We have already moved away from this on the blog, in fact, so guest bloggers’ comments are now moderated by a member of the blog collective. It didn’t prove practical to expect contributors to grapple with the comment situation, and/or learn and apply the comment policy.

Really, there is no obvious solution to the situation, but the negatives of the current set-up do mean that a transition will happen, most likely in the New Year.

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