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This post was last updated on July 23, 2013.

Copyright Notice

I own the copyright to all of my writing. Guest bloggers retain their own copyright. Quote all of us freely! Do not reproduce entire posts!  Link & attribute always!

Questions

Please submit your questions at the email address at this link. If you get an error message there, it’s because I’ve temporarily suspended questions until I clear out a backlog.

By sending me questions or posting your comments to the blog you are granting me the right, in perpetuity, to use, quote, alter, and/or display those questions and comments however I see fit both for commercial and non-commercial distribution. If this concerns you, use a pseudonym and remove identifying details before you send.

I do not share your personal email address or identity, with one exception: People who threaten or harass me or other posters will have their names, emails, and IP addresses shared with their internet service providers and, if necessary, law enforcement.

I don’t answer even close to all questions I get, and I don’t answer them in any particular order.

Please keep your questions brief, around 400 words.

Also, we’ve been at this a while. Consider doing a search or clicking around in the list of categories to see if we’ve answered similar questions before you send!

Comments Policy

Without exaggerating or bragging, this is one of the best commentspaces on the internet. That’s because we moderate things. Not every point of view deserves to be heard. Unmoderated spaces tend to be full of assholes.

Anonymous posting is allowed. Using a consistent identity is encouraged.

The first time you comment, it will automatically go to moderation.

After that, your comments will theoretically show up immediately, though the spam filter frequently eats legitimate comments, even by regular posters. Comments that contain multiple links or comments posted in quick succession by the same poster will almost always go to spam. I clean out the spam trap as often as I can, usually at least once or twice/day, but please be patient and realize that I am not glued to the computer.

Of course, sometimes comments don’t show up because I delete them. This is a dictatorship, and I can delete any comment at any time for any reason, and I have no time for rules lawyers. There may not be a warning or explanation of why your comment was deleted.

If your comments are getting deleted a lot, you should probably read this great post by Harriet J. at Fugitivus about how not to participate in discussions on feminist blogs.

A non-comprehensive list of some common reasons comments are deleted:

  • Misognyny, slurs, racism, homophobia, transphobia, gender essentialism (“Well, how can you expect men to do x?”), ableism, harassing to other posters, mansplaining.
  • Full of code-words like “misandry” and “beta-male” that indicate that you are a Men’s Rights Activist. Go visit Manboobz.com and troll to your little troll-heart’s content, MRAs! Here you will find only derision. You’ll find derision there, of course, but you also might find people willing to try to engage with your bizarre rants.
  • You’re correcting another poster’s spelling or language without actually contributing anything to the discussion, which tells me you are tiresome and pedantic and don’t belong here.
  • You asked for advice but tediously explain to every single commenter at length why that advice won’t work for you.
  • You’re derailing a thread, either by making everything about you or by using one of these tactics. People are REALLY friendly here and will try their best to explain things to you, but you’re not owed an endless personal tutoring session.
  • The discussion has become uncivil and has devolved into personal insults, threats, advocating violence, or turned into a pile-on.
  • You are trying to diagnose a stranger’s mental illness through the internet. Even if that were possible, usually knowing a diagnosis doesn’t equip the letter writers to DO anything about it. It’s far more constructive to focus on behaviors and what you can say and do about those.
  • Body shaming, body snarking, diet talk, mentioning specific weights or sizes, positing what constitutes “healthy” or “unhealthy” eating. We’re like the son of the bride of Shapely Prose over here about that stuff.
  • Your comment is way too long. We don’t need your whole life story! Also, learn to love the line break. Don’t make us parse an undifferentiated wall of text.
  • Your comment is just a link to your own blog without adding anything to the discussion (that’s called spam!).
  • There are no points for class participation, so if both sides of an argument are well-covered by previous comments, we don’t need to read endless variations of the same opinions.
  • This is not an exhaustive list. We are one of the most heavily trafficked blogs on WordPress, and I’ve had to make a lot of snap judgments about whether this comment is really adding something to the discussion. If it makes me feel a dull ache behind my eyes, out it goes.

Sarcasm, curse words, gentle mocking, criticism and vehement disagreement are generally allowed, as long as the overall spirit is constructive and in good faith.

Having your comment deleted or being asked to stop commenting in a particular thread or to move on from a topic of discussion is IN NO WAY an invitation for you to send me lengthy emails detailing your thoughts. If I wanted to read Your Thoughts I would have let you keep posting them.

I’ve recently changed the settings to close comments on posts after 30 10 days.

Trigger Warnings/Content Notes

People write in about some really serious stuff here – for every fluffy question about internet dating there are many more about abuse, mental health issues, sexual assault. The whole site should probably have a giant flashing warning sign around it, so I don’t put a trigger warning on individual posts. Instead I do try to use post titles and categories (that you can see right underneath the posts) that tell you exactly what you’re in for and put the harder stuff behind a jump.

Finally, all advice is caveat emptor. You’re getting Some Lady’s opinion. Sometimes it will be what you wanted to hear, and useful to you. Sometimes it won’t. Sometimes it will be funny and entertainingly written. Sometimes it will not be. We all have off days. I have my own issues and biases that definitely affect how I approach questions. I own that completely, because it’s my opinion about what might work. I never claimed to be in some position of impartiality and calm acceptance. You’re the expert on your own life. Take what’s useful and use it. Give us alternate ideas and perspectives. My hope is that even if you don’t like what I have to say, someone in the comments will get you and get your problem in the way that you need.

Some actual frequently asked questions:

1. We all like talking to each other so much. Can you have open threads or a forum the way other bloggers do?

Periodically, yes, they are a good way for like-minded people to have a topical discussion. I’ve come around on these. :)

2.  “I don’t understand the inside jokes or reference someone made. Shouldn’t you make  a glossary for things like ‘Jedi Hugs’ and ‘African Violet’?”

Someone did! It’s here.

3. Can I do a guest-post? 

Are you a regular commenter and participant in the community? I might invite you to post, and you are also free to pitch things you think would be relevant and interesting to the community. For example, see An Introvert Went To A Speed-dating Event.

Are you someone who just stumbled across this blog because it ranks high in the WordPress stats and want a new outlet for whatever stuff you write or some cool infographic you created?  A WORLD OF NO.

4. What does LW mean?

Letter Writer

5. I saw an inappropriate or offensive ad on the site, can you take it down?

Not really – I don’t control what ads come up on the site. Take a screencap if you can and report it to support@wordpress.com. More on that here.

I’m not in love with the ads themselves, but they just about pay for my health insurance, so here they stay. I won’t get mad if you use ad-blocking software, do whatever you need to do to have a good experience here.

6. Do you have a Facebook page?

Nope. Don’t wanna.

You can always reach me at welcometoawkwardtownATgmail or on Twitter at @CAwkward, though I ask that questions be submitted through site here. I greatly appreciate donations to keep the lights on and the internet connection running. Thanks for reading!

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50 comments
  1. Cheerful Dancer said:

    Yes, Cary Tennis does like you, and therefore I like you, too! Glad to have found your site and associated rules, and look forward to reading and contributing, too

  2. I wish there was a way to subscribe to reader comments in RSS. I like to follow the discussions here, but it’s hard to find the new comments, and I end up having way too many tabs in my browser just to go back and do a visual scan to try to find what’s new since I last checked. Of course, if I comment, I get the option to get notified of new comments to that post, but I would really like a way to get all comments on all posts!

    • liyyspoon said:

      +1 me too!

    • JenniferP said:

      I will look into this. Do you currently use the option to be notified of follow-up comments in a thread via email? You can choose that when you comment in a discussion by clicking the little box below the commentspace.

      • I do – but that only gives me the threads where I actually comment, and if I have nothing to add to the discussion I don’t clutter the thread up just to make my own life easier… Apparently some WordPress themes show the comments feed, and others don’t. There’s some info at http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Feeds on how to turn it on in other themes.

        • LClayr said:

          I managed to set it to e-mail me every comment/new post by going to my wordpress.com settings, looking at blogs I follow, Edit List and then clicking on the get comments by e-mail ticky box. This has the possible disadvantage of subscribing to comments on every post (though it filters the e-mails by post it comes from in my Gmail account so not too bad for me)

        • If you click the RSS icon in your address bar or similar (depending on your browser – I use Chrome) then it should give you the option of Captain Awkward.com > Comments Feed (or something to that effect) so you should be able to subscribe that way. :)

    • Apart from the URL being misspelled above (it should be http://captainawkward.com/comments/feed) , the comments RSS feed gives only 10 articles per day, so it’s not enough to use to actually follow conversations. I really wish there were a better way, whether by RSS or by email, that doesn’t require you to post a comment in order to follow a discussion.

      • JenniferP said:

        Me too, but I’m ok with people posting very short comments so that they can get the emails – I mean, obviously that person is invested in what’s going on!

      • tigtog said:

        As you discovered, for *any* site running WordPress, you can get the all-comments feed by using
        http://blogURL/comments/feed
        I find that Google Reader updates several times a day, so I don’t seem to have problems with a 10-comment limit per day using that.

        For following the comments on any individual post (and conveniently avoiding the horrors of the evil Threaded Comments), you can use
        http://blogURL/post-name/feed
        For example, the recent post “My friend’s wife has forbidden us to communicate”
        http://captainawkward.com/2012/08/13/327-my-friends-wife-has-forbidden-us-to-communicate/feed

    • JenniferP said:

      Letter Writer

  3. Vionolo said:

    What is/was DFTA?

    • Vionolo said:

      Sorry – DFA?

      • JenniferP said:

        Are you referring to DTMFA? It’s a Dan Savage-ism that stands for Dump The Motherfucker Already.

          • Simone Lovelace said:

            I thought it was “Dump that mothefucker’s ass.” XD

          • NessieMonster said:

            ha, me too!

          • JenniferP said:

            Nope, it’s “Already.”

            I find that I would like to retire that on this site. An uphill battle, I’m afraid.

        • alphakitty said:

          Don’t we also have RTPA (Return the Pants Already)?

    • If you’re thinking of DTMFA, it’s Dump the Motherfucker Already, a phrase that originated with Dan Savage.

      • Max said:

        There’s also, confusingly, DFTBA (don’t forget to be awesome) from the Nerdfighterverse. I hope I’m not the only one who always has to double-check for context.

  4. Bad Caregiver said:

    I notice that the word limit is now 400 words. Does that mean those of us who submitted longer letters prior to the new rule should resubmit? Mine was *exactly* 500 words — I was so proud of myself for whittling it down to that extent — but I can whittle further if need be.

    • Bad Caregiver said:

      Er, please infer a smiley face around the “proud of myself part.” I was poking fun at myself for finding it hard to reign myself in, but it reads a lot more petulant than I intended.

      • JenniferP said:

        No worries. We’re all wordy motherfuckers here.

    • JenniferP said:

      I’m waiting to make an official announcement until later this week when I’m “back” to blogging, but basically this:

      I have about 700-1,000 unanswered questions in my inbox. If I wrote an answer every single day for the next two years that would maybe dig me out of the past, but then 10 new questions would come in every day. There is no way to decide what to keep and what to delete without emailing every single person and asking ‘Is this still important?’ So, in a hard decision, I deleted them all this weekend and am starting over later this week.

      I highly encourage people to resubmit questions. I’m sorry about yours- I’m sure you worked hard on it, as did everyone, but I could not afford to hold any one question as precious. Just as soon as I can I am going to find a way to edit the textbox for submitting questions so it forces people to max out at 400 words.

      • goldenpeanut said:

        Kudos on the site redesign. It’s obvious you put a lot of work into this (meaning both the site and the advice).

        I was just wondering if something like Carolyn Hax’s Haxfiles, where she provides questions to her readers for them to answer, would work on your blog. I did see the faq on open threads and how it is still time consuming to moderate them, and I am sure moderating reader answers to questions would also be work. It’s just a thought.

        Thanks for keeping the blog going. I like reading your advice.

        • JenniferP said:

          I may do that from time to time! We’ve had good luck in the past. Thanks for the suggestions.

  5. The Grouchybeast said:

    Since the Sexy Typewriter site isn’t up any more, would it be possible for you to repost ‘Captain Awkward and The Man Who Would Not Break Eye Contact’ here? It gets referenced in a few places and I clicked the link and *poof*, no post.

    • JenniferP said:

      Fixing links in year-old posts is not a priority. Such is the emphemeral nature of the Internet!

      However, here is the nutshell: I went out with a guy on a blind date. He would not break eye contact. I asked him to stop. He did not, and in fact, relished that he was making me uncomfortable. It was super-creepy and awful, so I excused myself to go to the bathroom and bribed the waitress to rescue my coat from where he’d hung it behind him so I could sneak out the back door. Then he sent me a several thousand word email about my “betrayal” and how I would be “punished.”

      I think the original piece had something about the “lidless roving Eye of Sauron eye-fucking me from across the table.”

      And yet? Not my worst date.

      • The Grouchybeast said:

        Yikes! How horrible :-(

        Thank you for the summary.

    • JenniferP said:

      So useful! Thank you.

  6. MHM said:

    Any plans to add an “Updates” section to the blog? I’d love to know what happened to the LWs after they implemented the advice, if any would be willing to share their experiences.

    PS- I totally love the CA Glossary!

  7. Charsi said:

    I can’t comment anywhere these days. Have I violated something?

  8. LadyCass said:

    Can you make a “random article” button, please?

    • JenniferP said:

      I don’t see that widget available with this theme, so until I figure out how, no.

  9. Heather said:

    I was wondering if you might consider having an open thread suggestion/request function that is separate from the question-asking-page. I’ve quite liked having a topic thrown out to the commenters when you don’t have the time for a full question (such as the anxiety or heartbreak open threads), and I admit I do have a topic that I think would be excellent for the awkward hivemind.

  10. Mihawna said:

    Is there any way to turn off the infinite scrolling thing your blog does? I want different pages, not scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. It drives me up the wall to be honest.

    • JenniferP said:

      Short answer: I don’t know. I am using a free WordPress template with almost zero customization.

      • Mihawna said:

        Okay, thank you! :)

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