Saturday, July 30, 2005

Flame, Blame, Shame

Flame, Blame, Shame - lunch time panel - have edited to add links. Let me know if I mislinked or misspelled your name/blog.

Alisa Valdez, La Queen Suica (The Queen Dirty Girl)
Ellen Spurtus, Mills College, works at Google
Debi Jones, mobilejones, moblogging
Liza Sabater moderator

Liza: From wikipedia; flaming is the act of posting messages or deliberately hostile on message board. Blame is assignment of responsibility from one to another, basic to homonoid to behavior. Shame, a social condition and a form of social control. Consisting of an emotional state and a set of behaviors or awareness of having acted inappropriately. When I sent out emails about the panel, I read a lot of research. The question that kept popping up, “why don’t you shut the FU** up?” I sent the email out and the why the question kept popping in my head. A friend said, well that has to be qualified. With women it is “why don’t you shut the F*** up, bitch?” Do women get flamed differently than men?

Alisa: I’m not a man, so I have no idea, but men react differently with me than women. Women seem to be a little bit more polite. I tend to attract stalkers and neo Nazi’s.

Ellen: Indirectly, there are some great work by linguist Susan Herring, who studied about how women speak in group and how women are not heard in groups. When women start posting more than 30% of the discussion, the men started saying the women were talking over. This was the linguists professional mailing list. Using the masters tools and house.

Mobile: This is a sample size of one. I personally find it easier to get angry with men. The reason is the type of debate you are going to get back. They don’t mind going after you on the issues. With women more of an emotional exchange. (Elisa disagrees). Sometimes women will deal with the issues, I don’t mean to slander all women. Men aren’t going to take you personally.

Alisa: I came to blogging in a strange way, from the mainstream media (LA Times, Boston Globe). I wrote a 4000 word resignation about how a man with less education and experience was making $17,000 a year more than I was. I sent an email to three people. After three days 3000 emails. My editors mailed my email to other editors and eventually my email resignation letter was published without my permission in a paper in Florida. There are code words that are using in writing in general to describe women. Histrionics. Sassy. You never see these used with men. I was blacklisted in my industry. Romenesco posted about me. Got emails from people in the industry “In my day we would have spanked you and put you to bed.” I was the crazy journalist who broke down when she made less than men, when women of color were on B10 and white women on A1. The last line of letter was I was going to the mountains to write. Even if I had to wait tables. They said I hope you like waiting tables. Three years later I published my novel . I got a creepy blogger stalking me. Religious, covers porn industry. Got freaked out by me. I started my own blog, but I wanted to respond to these jackasses who were talking about me with their coded language. The more successful I’ve become, the less they are saying about me. Men and women, when they are talking about loud, opinionated women, they don’t directly tell you, they use subtle language to talk about you.

Audience: Mobile, you have an anonymous persona on line. DO people talk about you

Mobile: It depends if they subscribe to my feed, but my name is on my feed. I’m not anonymous at all. I’ve been accused of it in a funny way. Someone in the mobile industry was looking for information, when I provided, he was not happy because he could not tell who I was.

Liza: I signed LM Sabater for a number of years and people thought I was a guy.

Mobile: I had concerns that I would not be taken seriously if I blogged as Debi Jones rather than Mobile Jones. (Edited August 8: see Debi's expansion of this with some great points in the comments below.)

Liza: When I came out as a woman…

Mobile: Were you disowned?

Liza: Yeah, people who thought I was a guy were really upset. The flaming I get now is different. IN those code words, and bitch. And I own it. “Oh, you are being so dramatic. Oh, it’s just an emotional topic.” And this is from some of the top bloggers. “Oh, you are talking just from an interest group. You don’t have the big picture. “

Alisa: It’s also an ethnicity thing. It’s funny the conclusions make about you. It’s all about their own issues. They look at you and see their own reflection. They are talking to their ex girlfriend.

Liza: People don’t go to blogs that are of a different political bent than their owns because they worry about flaming. Engaging in controversial topics is going to hurt you in some way (fear of…)

Person with Red Hair (no name??): Not that having a debate is going to be hurtful, but the extrema personal disrespect that goes along with the political discussions. Some folks really like to yell and mix it up. But for me it has been an alienating factor on some of the top political bloggers. Even when they are using “community forming” software. How do we create a space where, encourage community and a more respectful dialog space.

Mobile: One of the things I’ve noticed, with the advent of the WWF of cable TV news, Fox (they are draining the pond and there is a fire somewhere), the conversation IS about the fight. Pick your subject. They set up pundits to battle it out. That is how political discourse is set up and fighting it out is more entertaining than Cspan.

Alisa: How can we start a different kind of community. Really horrific language.

Ellen: In 1995 I wrote software to automatically recognize offensive email and have also looked at social ways of looking of it. If life gives you lemonade, make lemonade. If life gives you shit, make fertilizer. I did that with my flame research. Instead of feeling bad when someone flamed me I thought of it as more data for my research. Been thinking of ways to deal with that with comments on blogs. Come up with a coding system. Lets say a man posts a flame. The next person comments LLW3 which categorizes it. Or we set up a hall of shame, here are examples of this kind of behavior, or sponsorship. If you are willing to write about what I think is an important subject, I’m willing to pledge $1 for each flame you receive. (applause).

Person: has there been research into the affect of anonymity in flaming. I was kicked out of the Well’s women’s conference and I think I was the only women of color.

Jory: Women also flame. It is a very different natured flame. A slow blow. Low, low, low and I’m boiling, men are more direct and in your face like a flame thrower. The paradigm of Deborah Tannen. Women bond. Women like to playfully one up. Perhaps we are misinterpreting.

Alisa: My MO is to avoid stereotyping. I’m very uncomfortable with statements you just made. As a mother of a son who is a poet at age four. A lot of it is socialization. There are women who are aggressive and one up and men who are gentle. I think we’d be a lot better off if we evaluating one on one.

Amy Gahran: I have attracted a fair amount of flame. There are various types of online vermin. I published a series of articles on online vermin ( Deborah Tannen, the book, The Argument Culture, on how argument has replaced discourse in the US. If this is a concern, check out that book.

Mobile: Hi, my name is Debbie Jones and I am a flamer. I use anger to get people’s attention. I recently posted on my blog about a company that took out an ad on a blog heavily subscribed by mobile phone users with a claim (didn’t catch the claim). Essentially they said, come and we’ll increase your mobile phone bill. This is not good for th industry. A really poor message. I wrote an email to the VP of Marketing. He commented back on a mailing list full of Japanese developers. I posted the conversation on my blog. He basically told me I did not know what I was talking about and that mobile subscribers didn’t read the blog. The owner of the site commented on my blog and is now no longer taking ads from that company. (Mobile Content)

Tish: I was flamed by a guy on site. When you duke it out with guys, you get used to it, but I could not believe the lack of intelligence in the debate. It was reduced and the blog owner didn’t do anything to moderate it.

Liza: Do any of you edit comments.

Alisa: I got rid of the anonymous comments. As an author, my book was a NYTimes best seller, 700,000, I live in Albuquerque, I have coyotes in my back yard. I forget that people think of me famous in a very limited sense. Like 7 of them. The weird part was going from being a regular person, to having this blog to do battle with these jackasses, then having a link with my readers. I don’t want them to forget about me and I want to know what they are thinking. Based my blog on Jennifer Winer, former journalist now novelist. She has no comments as all. Having a blog has taught me about boundaries. I don’t think I was very good at this. Got rid of anonymous comments. People look at you, the people who are reading you, and writing about you, they are really dealing with themselves and their own issues. With my second book, I’m a very liberal progressive. For my second book I’m going to pick the type of person I loathe by instinct and make them lovable. So right wing, Republican, born again Christian from Texas. Who had a dog (I love cats). My goal was to make her lovable. To me. That book has been very popular with that segment. They are coming to my blog. They love me. They think they are my friend. Then they read me bashing Bush and then they cry. ON one hand I want a blog, but also don’t want to lose my readers. They want me to be just like them. The more they learn about me, the more they hate me. Holy sh** I’m losing readers. The marketing aspect of the blog was diminishing. Reading books on productive conversation. Get your point across without eating crap and dying. It’s tricky, like ballet.

Ambra: When you don’t allow commenting somehow it puts your credibility in jeopardy. High profile bloggers get a lot of crap when they close comments. What Trish was saying, with the net you have a whole other aspect of idiocy of people, drive by anonymous zealots who feel they can say whatever they want with no accountability. You just have to have thick things. There are things they would never say to your face. A nerdy 14 year old boy posing as a 34 year old. I think that there needs to be some sort of respect for the author.

Mobile: It’s called a policy. Some bloggers, think of terms of use. When you get a lot of unruly and disrespectful commentors. A lot of bloggers are putting up rules and when comments will be deleted.

Heather Armstrong ( part of the problem is that there aren’t tools to deal with the flaming, 500-600 comments per day and as a stay at home mom there is no way I can moderate, delete, barely read the comments. Interested in technologies that can help. Can keep up with how popular blogs are becoming.

Liza: I’m going to move my site to Drupal (Scoop and Drupal are tools for community sites). You can add rating systems that can delete comments. Blogging software doesn’t come with that. You have to figure out all the plugins. It is hard to manage comments. I can’t imagine yours. You only open them like once in a while.

Heather: What happened was it was killing the website.

Mobile: We’re talking a lot about how we react when anger comes at us. Sometimes anger is a tool. It occurs to me that there was some discussion on the web. People got fed up. They decided to answer this recurring, nagging question by getting together and having a conference. That was their angry response. It is what we are doing here now. When do you not hold back your anger and share it.

Mir: Johanna Russ, How to Suppress Women’s Writing

Person next: I have had exactly one troll and almost never have comment spam. For the famous people, yeah it is a problem, but for us small community panel it is not a problem

Mir: Russ describes the strategies that people have used to put down women. Suzzett.. (Didn’t get names. Need to get this blogged)

Alisa: Fake battle between high literature and chick lit. If it is fun, then somehow that was easier to write, or something that is difficult is better. Be careful about demeaning titles.

Lilia: I blog about knowledge management, social software and weblog communities. I never have the issues you talk about. Harassing or exclusion. Is it characteristic of men and women, some subcultures, why it happens in some corners and not others.

Liza: When I write about ethnicity, sex or politics, I get flamed.

Alisa: I get called a self hating Chicano all the time and I am not a Chicano.

Person 3 (Tell me who you were!): as a mommy blogger, you try writing anything about how you raise your kid, you are going to get flamarama, even if you only have 10 readers. I’m sorry about generalization, mothers, mommy bloggers, have children and blog seem to be prolific at tearing down other women who have children and write blogs.

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Anonymous Debi Jones said...

Hi Nancy, this is one of the few live blogging resources that I've seen on the FBS session. That you could capture most of the discussion in real time is amazing to me.

There are 2 little corrections that I'd like to add to your post. The first and most personal is the spelling of my name. :-) It's Debi rather than Debbie.

The second is my response to the identity question put to me by Liza. I don't believe that I said, I was concered that people wouldn't take me seriously. What the audio recordings may verify is that I said being anonymous was a consideration. Cerainly, if I truly wanted to be anonymous I would never have used my name in the title of my blog, or used Debi Jones as the byline in my feed. Mobile Jones is gender neutral, but my choice of it was the multi-directional pun that mobile jones respresents. Playing on my name, the mobile industry, and the enthusiasm that "jonesing" for the mobile life style implies.

In summary, the choice was more about good branding than passing.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Nancy White said...

Debi, first, i'll fix the spellling asap. Thanks. (I'm a wretched speller). I'll insert a pointer to your comment to try and make sure the reference is correct until I can find time to listen to the audio. Still in post-Blogher recovery mode!

Second, I think your marketing piece is right on and something I did not hear during the presentation and worth surfacing.

11:21 AM  

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