On Commenting


We deeply appreciate the members of the RH Reality Check community who take time to comment on the many reproductive health and rights issues covered here. Since the inception of this publication several years ago we have always permitted and indeed encouraged a vigorous and open debate from any and all perspectives in the comments sections of our published articles. Until now we have allowed almost complete freedom for readers to comment. With the exception of the most inflammatory comments we have rarely intervened, believing that, for many reasons, it is important for all voices to be heard on these issues and that those who spread misinformation should be made known to and fully vetted by the public. We have, however, reached a point where we believe some commenters are repeatedly abusing commenting privileges to the detriment of the quality of conversation and debate. With the urging of many dedicated readers we have decided to become more proactive and have, therefore, updated our commenting policy:

RH Reality Check is an unapologetically pro-choice publication, and the majority of our readers supports the struggle for sexual and reproductive rights, health, and justice.  We realize that some of our readers and commenters do not support these goals.  We embrace and encourage vigorous debate and civil discourse on the site and welcome comments representing diverse points of view that are evidence-based and reasonably engage the debate.  We reserve the right to delete, without further explanation, comments that misrepresent evidence or promote misinformation, that threaten or demean others, undermine the civility of discussion or seek to divert conversation from the topic of the original article .  We reserve the right to ban users who repeatedly abuse commenting privileges.

We will more concertedly remove comments that we find violate this policy and notify the offending commenters by email that their comment has been removed and commenters who are repeatedly in violation will be banned from commenting.

We are working on adding improved community moderation tools to the comment sections that will give you, our readers, the ability to rate comments and more control over what comments are shown to you. For now you can help us by clicking the “report” link at the bottom of comments that you deem violate our commenting policy.

Please share any thoughts on commenting in the comments below!

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

  • kirsten-sherk

    This is refreshing, and an interesting model policy. Thanks for a policy that will continue to foster genuine debate without enabling those who deliberately misrepresent or mislead.

  • crowepps

    I have been taking a break from commenting here recently because I got really tired of trying to maintain civility.  Many of the ProLife commenters are able to discuss things in a civil manner even if the difference in viewpoints is extreme; the few who choose instead to be consistently sarcastic and snotty and who insist on their ‘right’ to attack people personally tend to ruin the discussion for everyone.

  • rebellious-grrl

    Right on!

    Thank you for upgrading the commenting policy. I am unapologetically pro-choice and really appreciate RHRC. For me this is a “safe space” from places like Fox News and conservative media.

    I’m with you in the struggle for for sexual and reproductive rights, health, and justice,

  • rebellious-grrl

    crowepps, I missed your posts. Glad your back.

  • crowepps

    I think it’s important to discuss this issue with reasonable people but I can only stand to spend so much time doing so with people whose argument sums up as ‘I’m entitled to my own opinion because willful ignorance is just as good as talking about actual facts.”

  • ahunt

    Yah…I’ve had my moments…just recently, in fact.

     

    I made a commitment awhile back to do better, and unfortunately, had to withdraw from the field for awhile…because I couldn’t keep the commitment. With the new guidelines, I am obliged to “behave.”

  • colleen

    Thanks to Brady and the other folks who made this decision. The comments section here has been increasingly abusive towards the very people this blog is supposed to speak to and for.  I hope that this will be remedied now.

  • grayduck

    Translation: “The pro-lifers were winning too many debates, so we decided to disallow debates.” One of my comments was deleted even though it did not, in any way, violate the new policy.

     

    From exactly where does RH Reality Check receive its funding? Now that it makes no pretense to be “guided by the issues and recommendations identified in the Program of Action agreed on at the International Conference on Population and Development at Cairo in 1994,” it should not be receiving funding from governments- at least not the United States.

  • arekushieru

    Uh, NONE of you were winning debates, except perhaps in your own… …minds.  Misogyny, just as racism and classism, should (as RHRealityCheck has done correctly, now) NEVer be tolerated.  Denial of rights to one group of humans based on a visible distinction between it and another, more privileged, group should never be alLOWed, either, but discussion about doing so in a rational, calm and accepting manner, should be.  Since, I see, you, Kevin and arex are still allowed to do so, you, especially, in order to MAKE that above  comment, it seems they agree.  So, I don’t understand what all that ‘whining’ you were doing, was about, GrayDuck?

     

    Oh, and where is your indignant response to CHURCHES that receive funding despite their ACTual disregard for laws and rules?  Hmmm…?  Oh, right, we go back to that ‘little minds’ theory, again, don’t we?

  • mechashiva

    I appreciate the new level of moderation, but (and I hate to say this) it’s coming a bit late. I stopped commenting for a good two or three months just because of all the beligerent pro-lifers who seemed to flood the site. The worst offenders seem to have gone away, I suspect because they weren’t getting enough attention.

     

    Saying this might get me some flak, but some of the worst offenders I’ve seen lately have been pro-choicers. I really want to see a crack-down on both sides of the debate, because unless everyone is civil, no one will be. I understand this is a pro-choice site, and the antis are generally outsiders (read ”trolls”) who are incapable of sticking to the actual topic of the articles posted. This is incredibly aggravating… however, if we choose to engage them, let’s not add fuel to the fire. It just makes the situation worse.

  • squirrely-girl

    I can only take so much of that myself too. 

  • squirrely-girl

    Saying this might get me some flak, but some of the worst offenders I’ve seen lately have been pro-choicers.

     

    No flak from me – I agree. Unfortunately I think some of it’s in response to feeling threatened and some people respond more positively to that than others. 

  • saltyc

    Hell no the worst was not from us pro-choicers, the worst was from them, and it’s high time we stop this self-flagellation.

    And it’s high time we had a commenting policy, I think maybe the reason we didn’t was the need to prove we’re “better than them.”

    There’s no way we could ever be as bad as they are, look at what they do, what their movement does, compared to ours, we need to be more confident in the good that we do and less defensive.

    So I want to see a safe space for people like, I don’t know who MechaShiva is complaining about, but I’ll assume (yes risking making an ass out of you and me) that you’re talking about ****** (I chickened out), I appreciate her posting, and since this is a pro-choice blog, I want to see more slack on the side of the angels and less slack for the ones on the side of the devil.

    A level playing field is a fantasy, we’re the ones working hard to help lives, they’re the ones working hard to ruin them and they really are, so let’s stop acting like we’re all equal here, we’re not. The common ground movement was the precursor to the greatest loss of reproductive rights in US history.

    That’s my $.02.

  • beenthere72

    I figured there’s no commenting policy because we have nothing to hide.    I haven’t been here very long and I got annoyed with the merry-go-round arguments in many postings (and I was happy to see – and if you knew me, this is big – that my drinking game ended with Bei being GONE).    I’d love to meet each one of you in support of this site – you seem like awesome chicks that I’d love to share a bottle – or many – of wine with – and the one that I think you ****** – I just want to give a hug to.   She needs it. 

     

  • arekushieru

    I’ll agree and disagree with MechaShiva (no worries, there, I’ve done it, before.  >>…) - which, technically, means that I am in full agreement with SG - while pointing out that I don’t *think* she was referring to any one specific person, but probably did include me, as one of those (but, now, I really want to know who you two think she was talking about, especially if it was me.  I kid, I kid!).  Yes, the worst of it did come from ProChoicers, to which I am certain I contributed… a lot… but, I also agree, and understand, that it is difficult to take an attack on one’s rights, lying down, esPECially if, like SaltyC pointed out, doing so just lands us in a *worse* place. 

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~I assume Mechashiva is talking about me, I have been reading this website for months, and until this web site I did not know there were people in America who think raped ten year-old-girls should give birth, I did lose it.

    I was raised in a southern Baptist evangelical hard-core republican.

    When I say pro-lifers have a pornographic obsession with pregnancy and birth I sincerely believe pregnancy and birth is porn for a lot of these people. I believe forced birth is sadomasochistic rape.

    I sincerely believe there is something pornographic and sadomasochistic about forced birth, I do not want to be controversial. I think controversy is embarrassing.

    I am very scared of pro lifers, the very thought that any time a woman in America becomes pregnant custody of her body leaves her self, and is then in the custody of someone else until she gives birth, and their goal is to make sure she has vaginal pain against her will. Pro life people have decided they have every right to terrorize of all people, pregnant women, pregnant little girls, and pregnant rape victims. I look at forced birth from a sexually abused person perspective, you always want custody of your own body, and you never want to have to anticipate vaginal pain, much less extreme vaginal pain. Every human should be able to say “NO” to genital pain. I think the pro-choice side needs to talk about dictating, and arranging vaginal pain against women’s will more. No ones genitals should be dictated or arranged to do something they do not want them to do, boys/men’s included.~

  • mechashiva

     For those worried I might have had them in mind, my concern is general rather than specific (but if you think the shoe fits, by all means wear it). The problem I see is a trend toward escalation of hostility in response to some of the more loathesome pro-life commenters here. It’s perfectly understandable for all of us to get royally pissed off by outsiders who come in guns-a-blazin’, but the problem in this site’s comment threads won’t be solved through retaliation… even when it is so damn tempting for all the reasons various people have given.

     

    That’s why I love the Livejournal “Sluts 4 Choice” community. It’s a fabulous place to vent, and that’s exactly what it is for. Back in the early days, we were so mean we made antis who read our posts cry… and I’m not joking. Believe me, I can appreciate cathartic explosions of rage. However, I think this site is a place meant to foster more moderate discussion.

     

  • bj-survivor

    I have been reading this website for months, and until this web site I did not know there were people in America who think raped ten year-old-girls should give birth, I did lose it.

     

    I lost it, too, sister, and for the exact same reason. That anyone could think such a thing to be reasonable and not indicative of the most extreme misogyny is more than I am willing to put up with. That disgusting tripe deserves nothing but the most vigorous condemnation, which I was only too happy to provide. I would rather not look at any more thread-jacking, panty-sniffing, and misogynist, rape- and pedophile-apologizing screed from that particular individual and think he should have been banned a long, long time ago. But I guess his insulting diatribes are okay, because he merely implies rather than outright states that fertile females are primary useful as breeding livestock and are murderers if they are unwilling to endure pain, disfigurement, debility, or death for their zbef.

     

    But I do respect the pro-choicers who regularly comment on this board and will stop posting if they consider my doing so to be offensive. Especially given that I am really hot-headed and don’t take at all kindly to the willful ignorance and downright stupidity exhibited by the forced-birthers who post here and I have shown to have a short fuse with them.

  • princess-rot

    But I guess his insulting diatribes are okay, because he merely implies rather than outright states that fertile females are primary useful as breeding livestock and are murderers if they are unwilling to endure pain, disfigurement, debility, or death for their zbef.

    I think I know who you are talking about, but I must have missed that particular thread, care to point me toward it? I don’t want to comment, I want to know what caused the dust-up. I’ve been known to lose it with some of the more obnoxious commenters, in fact I’m sure I’ve had at least one comment removed even when we had a liberal policy XD, I guess I just get sick of going over the same shit with different entitled douchebags. I’ve been working two jobs as well as going to school since being laid off in July so I don’t really have time to devote to commenting, but I like the community here, it’s one of the few mainstream sites that will tolerate radfem views… we tend to be very unpopular.

  • jodi-jacobson

    I want to assure our readers and commenters in this thread that we are not seeking to dampen controversy or provocative conversations, nor limit challenges to anti-choice rhetoric by our readers. Indeed we encourage it. We have a very clear, strong, and unapologetic view of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice — for ALL people. We seek to represent those views here and are committed to continued evolution toward increasingly more representative of theory, practice, and evidence on our issues, with increasing diversity of viewpoints and authors.

     

    There is a line we are seeking to draw between freedom of speech and the regular misuse of RHRC by anti-choicers who post inaccurate and misleading information and then engage in increasingly circular debates about that information.  We are also seeking to limit personal attacks and attacks on persons.  There is a very fine line between a comment that says, for example, “I do not support the rights of same-sex couples to marry,” (a comment that obviously does not reflect a sexual and reproductive justice perspective but one that is quite obviously out in the world identified) and presents an argument about that statement, and one that attacks a person individually.  The former is a statement of ideology that needs to be public and debated and hopefully diminished; the latter is a personal attack.  We understand that there is going to be some back and forth between persons on this site, and that this will/may/can be heated.  I personally believe that is healthy and will indeed sometimes include heated debate.  I also personally believe that a degree of “uncovering” these views for exactly the degree of misogyny and patriarchal attitudes they represent is also healthy.  And yes, it is going to engender passionate response.

     

    We will intervene at the point that these discussions appear to get out of hand, a subjective line for sure. We will also intervene with persons who consistently use this site to spread misinformation.  We do not want to censor speech outright nor pretend that such views don’t exist.  We believe the new tools soon to be installed on the site will help with these issues.  We also believe that the best strategy for addressing some of the commentors here who are regular “baiters” is simply to ignore them.  Your call on that one.  I personally believe that someone who professes to represent a religious point of view and, using that point of view for example, justifies the rape of a child and her forced birth should be publicly known for what/who they represent.

     

    A provocative discussion about controversial topics is encouraged. 

     

    As an extremely small staff with a commitment to quality, and to expanding the site in many ways in the coming year, we are doing our best and take into consideration all feedback we receive.

     

     

    Jodi Jacobson

  • bj-survivor

    It started here. Then continued here on a discussion regarding provision of EC to rape victims, in which he bloviated about having to respect non-existent zbef. Then it continued on in the vein of fertile females (again, even including raped, school-aged children) as breeding livestock when he threadjacked this discussion.

  • princess-rot

    …my guess was right. Thanks. I’ll read those later.

  • rebellious-grrl

    FBIR, I really appreciate your perspective and am thankful you are posting here.

  • rebellious-grrl

    Totally agree with you. I’m hot-headed too and get annoyed at the antis misogynist crap.

    But I do respect the pro-choicers who regularly comment on this board and will stop posting if they consider my doing so to be offensive. Especially given that I am really hot-headed and don’t take at all kindly to the willful ignorance and downright stupidity exhibited by the forced-birthers who post here and I have shown to have a short fuse with them.