So a couple of new people have started following this blog (Hello! Welcome!) which means I’m no longer just writing for a handful of friends that I see on a regular basis, but other people who are (for now at least) complete strangers. So I figure now’s a good time to get out a first draft of this Putting Down Uprising’s comment policy.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty new to the blogging world. While I’ve lurked on many a blog for years, I’m an older man who isn’t nearly as internet-savvy as you young folks so be warned! I will probably have to revisit this comment policy every now and then to tweak it as things develop. I’ll give fair warning when changes have been made, but I do expect commenters to abide by these rules.
The idea behind this blog is (in addition to purging some inner demons) to criticize a terrible piece of very unsettling fiction, and hopefully use that critique as a springboard to talk about a number of other topics that interest me. Along the way, I’m hoping that this blog can provide a forum for a discussion about the Canadian Military, and First Nations issues in Canada. Thing is, if this works I’ll be bringing together a couple of communities that don’t always talk together and may not necessarily get along. Maybe this can be a venue for a [Re]conciliation, but at the very least I need to make sure that any conversations that happen stay courteous and respectful. So…
GOOD FAITH + PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY:
The two main principles I’m working off of here are those of good faith and personal responsibility. In writing this blog, I am trying to act in good faith and in managing it I’m trying to exercise personal responsibility. I genuinely want this blog to become a forum for a rational and productive conversation, and I feel that I have a personal obligation to make sure the comment section stays safe and civil. With this being the case, I’m expecting a similar degree of courtesy from anyone wanting to comment here. We’re all human and can make mistakes, but I’m looking for anyone posting here to come in a spirit of sincerity and honesty, and to take responsibility for any words they may type.
- Your first comment will automatically go into moderation pending my approval. You must have at least one approved comment before you can comment freely. Given my work situation, I may be away from my computer for extended periods of time, meaning that you may have to wait for a bit to have your first comment approved. Please be patient.
- General profanity is one thing, but avoid racist, sexist, ablist language in your comments. There are plenty of ways to insult or trash talk someone without crossing those lines.
- Threats to other commenters, whether of direct violence or through harassing behaviors such as doxing will not be tolerated. In cases of threats of violence that I feel are sincere, I WILL notify the appropriate law enforcement agencies. This is the only warning on this subject.
- In commenting on this blog, you are expected to be upfront about yourself. By all means, use a pseudonym if desired, but don’t misrepresent yourself with regards of your military experience, or Indigenous status, etc… This also applies to such practices as changing nyms and sock-puppeting.
- As a further point, please DO NOT make public accusations of ‘stolen valour’ (or any Indigenous equivalent). If you have concerns that another commenter is being dishonest about their background, please contact me directly!
WITH REGARDS TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
- The issue of Canada’s First Nations (and Indigenous peoples in general) is a complex and multi-faceted one. It is one where honest actors can disagree and it’s hard to settle upon one set of hard and fast rules. In general: Please try to use terms like Indigenous (Canada), Native American (America) and Aboriginal (Australia), or the proper names for nations/tribes such as Mohawk, Cree, or Ojibwe. Aboriginal is still a common term in a lot of Canadian documents and policies, and a lot of people in the military and civil service still use it. However the general trend seems to be shifting towards Indigenous across the board.
- For Non-Indigenous commenters, while it’s perfectly acceptable to comment on Indigenous affairs, keep in mind that many of these issues are deeply personal for Indigenous people and in many cases deal with issues or life and death. Please exercise sensitivity. For you this may be an academic debate, for them it may be their real lived experience. If you are discussing matters outside of your own personal experience, please qualify the sources you are referring to (books, documentaries, etc…) so that other commenters can engage your ideas on a common ground.
- It’s not uncommon to discover that a term or expression you regularly use is considered racist by many/all Indigenous Peoples. I’ve had this happen myself a couple of times over the years, and it’s…awkward. Instead of arguing the point, try to learn more from the person who calls you out.
- In some cases, quoting the novel (or other historical texts) directly will mean including terms which are now racial slurs. Please keep this to a minimum and, if it’s unavoidable, make it clear that your are quoting someone else.
- Terms like ‘Indian’ do have legal status in Canada (the Indian Act, Status Indians, etc…), so in some cases it is impossible to avoid completely. Please limit its use to legal references. Terms like ‘native’ are in regular usage and generally not considered racist, but try to keep it to a minimum.
- Should the discussion actually include a discussion about racist slurs, please *** out the bulk of the word. Eg: Re****ns as a way to refer to the Washington Football team.
- For Indigenous Commenters: A lot of the people commenting on this blog are probably going to be non-Indigenous and it is my overall hope that I can use this blog as a platform for dialogue between two very different groups. I’m doing my best here. If I’m screwing up, please tell me directly (either by e-mail or in the comments) so I can try to fix it. I honestly want this to work. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
- If another commenter is saying something racist, please make sure they’re genuine assholes (and not just ignorant) before flaming them. My intent for this blog is to educate and inform, and I would prefer to see the genuinely ignorant get educated rather than dog-piled.
- That having been said, this is a subject which I know could very well attract a lot of ugly characters (if it attracts anyone at all) and that the banhammer is going to have to be used A LOT. If someone’s being an asshole and it looks like I missed it, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll come in swinging.
WITH REGARDS TO CANADIAN ARMED FORCES
- The military (any military) is a complex institutions that changes drastically over time and from trade to trade and unit to unit. To this end:
- For Civilian commenters: Please understand that there are layers of complexity within the military (especially the Canadian military). Please do some research or ask other commenters if you’re not sure about a particular fact/opinion.
- Understand that you may be commenting on issues that are often deeply personal to many military members, and may in fact be a matter of life and death for some. What may be an academic debate to you, for someone else this may be their actual life. Exercise sensitivity.
- Please qualify the basis for your opinions (books, documentaries, news stories, etc…), so that other commenters can engage you on common ground.
- For military members: Your experiences are not universal, so just because someone disagrees doesn’t mean they are completely wrong. They may in fact have insights into parts of the military experience (or different time periods) outside of your own. Please engage, investigate and discuss before disagreeing.
- In the case of an honest misunderstanding, try to be understanding and use it as an opportunity to educate. Remember, this may be the first time this particular civilian has actually spoken with a member of the armed forces.
- That having been said, you are under no obligation to put up with deliberate Trolling, and in the face of genuine ignorance, contact me directly. I’ll bring the ban hammer.
***Do NOT use the “We fight and die for your freedom to speak so shut up!” argument. It will not be tolerated here.***