This post was last updated July 2018.
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!
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 in any medium. 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!
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. Due to comment volume, I do not have time to explain each moderation decision.
If your comments are getting deleted a lot, maybe they are they doing something from this list:
- 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 We Hunted The Mammoth 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. Especially so with pile-ons – when a problematic thing has been addressed, we don’t need every single person to address it.
- 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.
A common misunderstanding: I do not read and approve every word of every single comment before (or even after) it posts. It’s impossible. The volume is just too high. So sometimes problematic stuff makes it through. Please don’t assume that if it showed up it cleared some kind of Captain Awkward Approves Of This Filter. If there’s something I should definitely see, email me, send a Tweet, and I will try to deal with it ASAP. I’m saying this because I get a lot of “HOW could you LET THIS happen?” flak and it’s like “’cause I was asleep or at work and this poster followed the rules up ’til now.”
I’ve recently changed the settings to automatically close comments on posts after
30 10 days. I frequently close comments sooner, for example, when an influx of MRAs or other Internet Assholes show up (you won’t necessarily see these, since I delete the posts from the mod queue before they show up, but I do and they wear on me), a thread has become particularly contentious and/or when I run out of time and steam to moderate a particular discussion. The forums staffed by a group of volunteer mods are there for continued discussion.
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?
5. I saw an inappropriate or offensive ad on the site, can you take it down?
6. Do you have a Facebook page?
Nope. Don’t wanna.
7. Why do you ask people to spell out polyamory & polyamorous in questions and comments?
Some Polynesian readers asked me to, as “Poly” is a pre-existing prefix/tag for that community. It’s not a slur to use the shorthand to mean polyamory (or polymath or polycarbons for that matter), and whether or not you want to keep using the shorthand in conversation or inside communities and forums dedicated to polyamory (where there is no chance of confusion) is up to you, but on the site I’d like to keep it simple and spell it out. It seems like an easy request to honor.
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!