This comment policy is a reflection of two things: between them the philosophy, values and mission of AVfM, and the fact that this site is an instrument designed to advance the welfare of men and boys and, therefore, this site (as opposed to, for example, our Forums) is not a platform for general-purpose discussion.
With that in mind, please recognise that you are a guest at AVfM and are welcome to contribute to any discussion you like, but you do not have an absolute right to be here nor to behave in any way you please. Participation in AVfM comment threads is contingent on your compliance with the policies set out on this page, and neither violations by others nor our failure to enforce the rules are licence to ignore them.
We value free speech and therefore AVfM aims to moderate with the lightest possible touch and to provide as unrestricted a space as possible, but there are certain standards that are required to maintain a useful and stimulating environment. Per the Terms of Service, neither individual comments nor whole threads may be interpreted as representative of AVfM’s own position on a given subject.
In a nutshell: stay on topic and argue the point, not the person.
Every comment must be on topic, meaning directly or indirectly relevant to the article to which they’re attached. Dissent is welcome, including feminist and pro-feminist ideas, provided it complies with the conduct policy described below.
Comments involving the following are always off-topic, and are subject to the escalating sanctions as described below:
- Violence, including threats, advocacy, ideation and even insinuation of violence is strictly forbidden. This is the fastest way to get a permanent ban, potentially without warning.
- “Doxing”. Everybody is entitled to their privacy, and those who violate the privacy of others in our comment sections will swiftly have their comments deleted or edited.
- Libel. Your opinion of somebody else is fine, but you had better be prepared to back up anything you state as fact to a high standard of evidence. By extension, those who level specific accusations against AVfM itself, its staff, its contributors or its commentators will be invited to substantiate or retract their claim. Those that will not do either will be banned.
- Bigotry. All humans deserve an equal opportunity to succeed and to be treated with dignity, therefore bigoted statements will not be tolerated.
Moderators have the right to declare a specific subject, aspects of a subject or thread off-topic at their own discretion, at which point the rules described here apply.
Discuss the following topics at your peril: while not actually banned subjects, context and focus are everything. It is okay to express your personal beliefs, but it is not okay to assert them as pre-eminent in any sense. Note that expressions of belief are not amenable to debate because nothing you say is going to change somebody else’s values or considered position.
- Politics and religion. It is AVfM’s official position that men’s issues are neither a matter of partisan alignment nor aided by religious doctrine, so do not expect special protection from other commentators when you introduce these subjects.
- PUA culture, social conservatism and other forms of traditionalism are antithetical to AVfM’s values and mission, so likewise don’t expect special protection from the scorn of others.
Rather than outright ban discussions revolving around these subjects, we discourage them and instead leave matters to moderator discretion. If things get out of hand, a moderator will declare the subject a ‘dead horse’ at which point the rules described below apply.
Disruption and derailment will not be tolerated, and what exactly constitutes disruption or derailment is left to the discretion of individual moderators. Badgering of other commentators and/or excess repetition (particularly after a moderator has declared a subject a ‘dead horse’) is likely to be considered derailment, where debate over the issue at hand that is constructive (in some way advances understanding of all perspectives concerned), even from perspective in opposition to AVfM’s (or the author’s) view, is likely to be okay.
Ad hominem and personal attack are forbidden, particularly in respect to authors, mods and AVfM Staff. Insults between commentators are a grey area and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis at the complete discretion of the moderators though, who will err on the side of preventing the derailing of threads with personal flame wars. Profanity itself is generally okay provided the rest of the comment complies with the rest of the policies described on this page.
Challenge the message, not the messenger
You are not your ideas, and the same is true of your opponents. Though personal attack is forbidden, any proposition you offer is fair game and you must expect to be challenged on it by others who feel strongly but differently from you. Do not interpret this as an attack on you personally, and likewise you must make every effort to tackle your opposition’s ideas rather than your opponent him (or her) self.
Free speech and “anything goes” are not the same things
To be clear: this minimum standard of decorum is not tone or language policing. We welcome robust and forthright debate for as long as it remains constructive, on-topic and revelant to the subject of the debate, but we will not tolerate the degeneration of comment threads into pettiness.
We value free speech (including speech we disagree with) and we want comment threads to be as unrestricted as possible. The limitations we impose are pragmatic measures designed to maintain the usefulness and relevance of AVfM comment threads as a platform for debate. In other words, there is an important difference between what you say, and how you say it.
Moderator and management decisions are final and there is no right of appeal however, if you feel we have seriously erred, then you can and make your case.
Serious infractions, particularly in respect of violence will usually get you banned immediately. Minor infractions will result in anything from a warning to a temporary period in comment moderation during which you are still welcome to post, but expect a delay until a moderator can check the mod queue. Repeated infractions will eventually result in a ban.
Please take the warning seriously. We welcome your contributions, but we will not permit individual commentators to degenerate the conversation until it becomes all about you.
What to do if banned, especially if for no apparent reason
We routinely ban the entire domain of disposable email address providers (such as drdrb.net) because these have been (ab)used to circumvent prior bans and for throw-away accounts used for drive-by commenting.
If you inexplicably find yourself unable to comment (particularly if you’ve never commented here before, or if you’ve suddenly found yourself banned when you’ve not so much as skirted this comment policy), check that the email address in your Disqus profile editor is valid and is not a disposable address.
If that appears to be in order, then and ask us to investigate.
Copyright and indemnity
For the sake of clarity: Per clauses 9 and 10 of our Terms of Service, you retain all intellectual property interests in comments you post to our site but you irrevocably license us to reproduce, edit or delete your comments and you indemnify us against damages arising from anything you say on our site. The Terms of Service, not this paragraph, set out the full agreement in these respects.