Okay, so a recap of what has been going on in /r/feminism.

First off, this recent "incident" in r/feminism, where the moderator~~s~~ demmian linked to /r/antiSRS in the sidebar is really only another drop in the bucket that is now overflowing with shit.

Before we go into this, I'd like for us to take a journey back in time . . .

The year is 2012. The month is February. Ah, to be young again.

About six months ago, [this thread](http://www.reddit.com/r/Feminism/comments/ozc2e/how_rfeminism_makes_me_feel/) sprung up in /r/feminism - with hundreds of upvotes and comments, it is the most upvoted thread in the entire subreddit. Six months ago, a comic was made documenting the already ongoing hostile environment that feminists in /r/feminism were working with.  The comic illustrated how MRAs and antifeminists dominated discussions and were incredibly hostile to feminists, and how the moderators weren't adequately taking care of the problems being voiced; the comic ended with the feminist Redditor departing from the subreddit.

Six months later, and the comic would need only minor alterations - perhaps a panel with a moderator valiantly defending the MRAs and whacking a feminist on the head with a mallet reading "BANNED."
(to be continue...) (continue)

There has long since been a problem in r/feminism with MRAs, antifeminists, and nonfeminists overpowering discussions in threads. Some of the first comments in threads - some of the most upvoted comments - are often made by people who are negative of feminism or negative of the thread. Threads are commonly derailed (click [here](http://derailingfordummies.com/) and [here](http://www.reddit.com/r/SRSDiscussion/comments/qf33g/effort_derailing_101/) (SRS) for explanations of common derailing tactics), points are dismissed, and peoples' posts are often broken down and dissected with the most asinine arguments by people who are not simply critical of feminism, but are hostile and antagonistic toward it.

Let's be clear about what the problem is: The issue is not that r/feminism isn't some echo-chamber for everybody to agree in. The problem isn't that there's dissent or disagreement. The problem is that a *very large portion* of comments in r/feminism are antagonistic towards feminism or dismissive of threads. Basic principles of feminism aren't simply debated - they're openly rejected by people who think feminism is little more than a joke. The subreddit /r/WhereAreTheFeminists has been documenting instances of antifeminist comments in r/feminism, many of which are the first comments in the thread or some of the most upvoted.

Imagine what a subreddit like /r/Democrats would be if a significant percentage of the users posting in it were Republicans. Imagine what kind of discussion would take place if the majority of the threads began with comments about how the article was mean to Republicans, or that the issue presented isn't an important one. Imagine what /r/evolution would be like if the majority of posters were creationists who think basic principles like natural selection are ridiculous.

Feminists cannot engage in feminist discussion in r/feminism because so much of the discourse is antifeminist in nature.

This is perhaps the biggest issue with the subreddit, but hostility toward feminism in r/feminism has manifested itself in different ways.  Over the course of several weeks, r/feminism had developed a downvoting problem, where as many as half the threads on the first page (and almost always, at least 8-9 threads) either had a score of zero or less than zero.

The moderators have made some efforts to clean up the subreddit, but their attempts have been inadequate, and it has been extremely difficult to get them to take action. It took three threads ([1](http://www.reddit.com/r/Feminism/comments/vtox9/psa_take_a_look_at_the_new_queue_if_you_havent/), [2](http://www.reddit.com/r/Feminism/comments/wjhpf/meta_more_than_half_the_threads_on_the_new_page/), [3](http://www.reddit.com/r/Feminism/comments/x39rw/what_the_hell_is_going_on_here/)) before the moderators dealt with the downvoting problem (solution: remove downvote arrow!)  Some of the worst trolls in the subreddit, after months of trolling and months of complaining about the trolls, were banned, although some remained, and new ones have not. Where MRAs and antifeminists have been excused and forgiven repeatedly, many feminist users have received messages, ban threats, and even bans for language and tone, largely built out of frustration about the state of the subreddit.

In recent months, there has been a change with the moderators: those who have not become inactive have become increasingly hostile to feminism and the feminist userbase.

r/feminism has 5 moderators, down from 7: scurvy_wench and the_quietness were removed as moderators within the past few weeks. The userbase was not informed of this.


impotent_rage - apart from yesterday, has not posted in r/feminism in three weeks.

s00ngtype - hasn't posted in a month

Reizu - about four posts in the past month

wabi-sabi - hasn't posted in I don't know how long. This may be a good thing, though, as he's a shitlord ([no](http://www.reddit.com/r/Meta_Feminism/comments/y9151/why_is_wabisabi_a_moderator_of_rmeta_feminism_but/c5tg8uq), [seriously](http://www.reddit.com/r/Meta_Feminism/comments/y9151/why_is_wabisabi_a_moderator_of_rmeta_feminism_but/c5tki5s)).

That brings us to demmian, basically the only moderator who posts in r/feminism and who is the primary catalyst behind the current and recent instances of abuse of the userbase.


First, a history:

Although r/feminism was created about three years ago, the original founder and sole moderator abandoned the subreddit. People found the subreddit and turned it into a shithole of spam and other garbage. A year or so ago, a user by the name of Cliffor made a thread in /r/redditrequest asking for transfer of the subreddit to his account. Cliffor was a very well known MRA troll at the time; sodypop (r/2XChromosomes) and kloo2yoo (r/mensrights) saw this request at about the same time, and asked the site administrators not to give Cliffor the subreddit. The admin gave them both access to the subreddit.

Shortly after, users became outraged that kloo2yoo was made a moderator of the subreddit, as he is passionately antifeminist (going so far as to compare feminism to brainwashing). He left and sodypop made impotent_rage and several others (who have left) moderators.

Fast forward a few months, and you get to the comic I posted earlier. Fast forward a few months further, and you get a thread like this, with more sentiments regarding the hostility toward feminists in a feminist subreddit.

Getting the moderators to moderate has proven to be very difficult, and every feature the moderators have implemented has also been used by them to abuse and mistreat their users.

For the purposes of understanding the situation with r/feminism, it’s helpful to think of r/feminism and r/AskFeminists as the same unit. Both overlap in their moderators, and r/AskFeminists was made *for* r/feminism, in order to reduce the amount of discussion by nonfeminists in r/feminism.

However, in the same way that women-related subreddits have become overrun with men and MRAs (some people joke about how r/AskWomen might as well be r/TellWomen), so to did r/AskFeminists become overrun with nonfeminists and antifeminists.

This became such a problem that the moderators decided to implement a flair system in r/AskFeminists to distinguish between casual users and people who were well versed in feminism – “Feminist Contributors” as well as “Feminist Expert.” Nobody was ever given the “Feminist Expert” flair – except for me, and that was only for a few hours.  Nonfeminists and antifeminists were asked not to make top-level replies. You didn’t need the flair to post top-replies, but you did need show that you were a feminist.

Now, as you’ll notice in [this thread]( http://www.reddit.com/r/AskFeminists/comments/tmnpd/we_have_a_new_system_of_flairs_to_identify_our/), nobody is flaired. There’s a story for this.

A few weeks ago, a user, Aerik, made a [thread]( http://www.reddit.com/r/Feminism/comments/wlmfn/this_subreddit_is_only_modded_by_mras_who_condone/) in r/feminism complaining about the state of the subreddit, stating that the moderators were not doing their job, and calling for the moderators to step down or for the users to boycott.

Aerik cited [this thread]( http://www.reddit.com/r/ShitRedditSays/comments/wksar/meta_an_%C3%A9xp%C3%B3s%C3%A9_rfeminism_is_run_by_mras/) posted in SRS, where a SRSer collected a series of posts by the r/feminism moderators reflecting their endorsement of MRAs and their general lack of understanding of basic principles of feminism.

Now, someone who isn’t very familiar with this whole situation probably has only a vague understanding of what an “MRA” is and why it’s a problem that the moderators so proudly support and defend it.

An MRA is a “Men’s Rights Activist.” In the same way that “No Child Left Behind” has a powerful name, but is harmful in practice, so to is “Men’s Rights Activist” a misleading term tied to a harmful and hateful ideology.

An “MRA” isn’t the male equivalent of feminism (nor is “masculism, for that matter”). People who believe that men suffer from the effects of patriarchy (a system that sort of shuffles men into certain roles and positions and women into other roles and positions) are called feminists. Organizations like NOMAS or the academic field of Men’s Studies are feminist/profeminist in nature. MRAs do not associate with NOMAS or Men’s Studies – they associate with NOMAAM and Male Studies.

r/mensrights is said to be the most moderate site in the “manosphere” or MRA circle. Look at the sidebar and identify all the antifeminist links and comments, then reflect again on the fact that it’s considered the most moderate site.

r/mensrights was also featured in an [intelligence report](http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/misogyny-the-sites) on misogynistic websites by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that tracks various hate groups and has worked with the ACLU and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

About a month ago, I made a fairly detailed post on the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM), which you can find [here]( http://www.reddit.com/r/Feminism/comments/vtvy3/because_i_prefer_conversation_to_confrontation/c57lsxi). The post is limited, in that examples of hatred by MRAs focus largely on just two sites (r/mensrights) and A Voice For Men, as AVFM is the most frequently linked site on r/mr. It is not intended to be a comprehensive collection of everything in the manosphere, or even everything in the two sites; it merely provides a snapshot of the MRM’s hatred for feminism.

Two other sites to check out are /r/againstmensrights, which primarily documents hateful things on r/mensrights, and [Manboobz](http://www.manboobz.com), a hilarious blog (SCENTED CANDLES ARE MISANDRY) that documents hateful things in the MRA sphere as a whole.

Take a few minutes to read the comment and check out the sites. When you come back, reread the SRS [thread]( http://www.reddit.com/r/ShitRedditSays/comments/wksar/meta_an_%C3%A9xp%C3%B3s%C3%A9_rfeminism_is_run_by_mras/), and reflect on the point made earlier about how antifeminists and MRAs dominate discourse and derail discussions (amazing alliteration, amirite?)

A subreddit that is constantly derailed, where threads are dismissed, feminist principles are brushed off, and the general environment is hostile to feminists and unproductive for feminist discussion is moderated by people who identify as and unabashedly defend people who hate feminism.

It is so disheartening and frustrating when, in a subreddit where feminists are in *constant battle* with people who hold pure *contempt* for feminism and have zero respect for the basic principles of feminism, the people in power over the subreddit have nothing but positive things to say about the people causing the problems.

Now, to go back to Aerik’s thread complaining about the state of the subreddit and a call for the removal of the moderators or a boycott of the subreddit and how this plays into the flair/posting privilege system of r/AskFeminists.

A few days after Aerik’s thread, I received a private message by demmian asking me not to make top-level replies (reserved for feminists) in r/askfeminists anymore; I also had my Feminist Contributor flair stripped.  The reason was baffling:

I am going to have to ask you to stop offering direct replies in /r/AskFeminists, since we deem that you can no longer properly represent the egalitarian aspect of feminism. You are free to comment on other direct replies of course.

Now . . . people who know me or have read what I write know that this is absurd. Prior to this, I was one of the first people to receive the Feminist Contributor flair. Demmian gave me the Feminist Expert flair for awhile. He contacted me and sought out my opinion *numerous* times, including my opinions about users in the subreddit and arguments against statements about feminists as man-haters and things of that nature. I have spend a huge amount of time in the feminist subreddits, writing very lengthy posts citing feminist theory and studies in psychology. I’ve done offline activism and psychological research that addresses issues of both women and men. So when someone says I’m not egalitarian, I request evidence or further explanation.

I didn’t get any. I asked him repeatedly, in multiple different ways, for explanation. I learned that several other wonderful feminist contributors had also had their flair removed ([see here]( http://www.reddit.com/r/AskFeminists/comments/wmnev/a_clarification_on_privilege/c5et07v)). At least one was NOT informed about why he had his flair removed, and instead had to infer the reason from others’ posts.

After going rounds with demmian in PM, I got to the root of the matter: It wasn’t about anything I actually said. It wasn’t about my behavior or comments in r/feminism or r/askfeminists, it wasn’t about any perspectives I had.

The sole thing I did that demmian used to justify removing my flair and giving me as much posting privileges as MRAs, and saying I was not egalitarian, was that I posted in Aerik’s thread. I didn’t even post saying that the moderators should be removed, or that there should be a boycott – my sole offense was that I posted acknowledging the hostile environment in r/feminism and not criticizing Aerik or the thread.

The flair/posting system had been created to distinguish feminists from the antifeminists and nonfeminists who were dominating the threads. It was now being used to shut down people who did not defend or “side with” the moderators in how they dealt with the subreddit.

Weeks later, the flair system is now gone, although no explanation was given why.

This is not the first time that a feature implemented to help the subreddit has been used against the userbase.

For over a month, r/feminism experienced massive downvoting; on average, 8-11+ threads on the “new” page would have a net vote score of zero or less than zero, preventing them from reaching the “hot” page and discouraging  users from contributing. Sometimes, this number would rise to 13 or 14, or *more than half* of the threads on the front page. Multiple threads were made on this, but it wasn’t until the third one that the moderators finally disabled the downvote arrow on the subreddit. No explanation was given, and instead the users were left to defend themselves.

Now, in the new subreddit r/Meta_Feminism (more on that in a moment), the downvote arrow was disabled in both threads *and comments* just about a day after it was made – and not because of thread abuse, but because demmian’s comments were being downvoted by feminists so much.

To clarify: All of the thread in r/feminism were, for a month, being constantly downvoted before any action was taken. It took a day in order for demmian to remove the downvote arrow from a subreddit where only his posts were being downvoted with due, not to mindless hatred, but strong disagreement with what he was doing and saying.

/r/Meta_Feminism is a very new subreddit, made by demmian at the same time that he added the subreddit /r/antiSRS to the sidebar. Given everything about the situation at hand, it’s evident that this subreddit was made in order to reduce visibility of dissent and disagreement about the moderators’ actions. The only purpose of the subreddit is to make sure that feminists’ voices about the actions in r/feminism are **not** seen or heard.

This isn’t the only tactic that the moderators/demmian are using to keep being silent. /r/Meta_Meta_Feminism is documenting instances where threads and comments critical of the subreddit and its moderators are swiftly being deleted. They aren’t *just* being deleted, though: No, the moderators are using a very sneaky practice.

A moderator can delete a post in one of two days: If they use the “remove” button, then when the user who made the post goes and looks at the thread, they’ll see that their post has been deleted. When the moderators use the “spam” button, the post still appears to the user, but not to anybody else. Only by logging out does a person realize that their posts are missing. This is the tactic that the moderators are using, and they are not informing their users when they delete posts or threads.

Although the act of deleting anything negative of r/feminism (not feminism, of course: posts negative of feminism are fine because the subreddit isn’t a safe space, folks!) or the moderators has been ramped up in recent days, deletion of things that the moderators (read: demmian) don’t approve of isn’t new. This will lead into the point about r/antiSRS being added to the sidebar.

Demmian **hates** SRS, to the extent that he will PM or post to people and ask them to remove mentions of SRS from their posts – and will go so far as to delete them if they do not comply. A sentence from a post of mine – “Even SRS has /r/SRSPonies,” reflecting on the point that many feminists like My Little Pony and have no qualms with bronies, was subject to a PM from demmian requesting removal. Even posts that add significantly to discussion are subject for removal.

In a thread by demmian requesting Feminism 101 material, a post linking to [this thread]( http://www.reddit.com/r/SRSDiscussion/comments/p4cyb/effortpost_and_101_post_compilation/) with a compilation of effortposts on basic feminist principles was deleted. Demmian turned away well researched, well written posts that are basically *exactly* what he is requesting because he doesn’t like SRS.

Of course, that doesn’t mean demmian won’t use SRS when it benefits *him* or his point of view. In [this post]( http://www.reddit.com/r/Meta_Feminism/comments/y8jpf/regarding_sidebar_links/c5tbe4k), demmian explains why r/feminisms is not linked in the sidebar. If the screenshot looks familiar, that’s because he’s citing posts in [SRSDiscussion]( http://www.reddit.com/r/SRSDiscussion/comments/xqydq/why_is_rfeminist_not_feminist_and_how_did_it_get/c5p57yu?context=3).

Yes, that’s correct: demmian used something by a SRSer from a SRS subreddit to defend his decision about another subreddit on the same day that he linked r/feminism to antiSRS.

Demmian’s hatred of SRS goes so far that he his using his position as the moderator of one subreddit in order to trash another subreddit, despite the fact that many, many of the posters in r/feminism are SRSers themselves, despite the immense amount of knowledge and information generated by SRSers. His hatred of SRS means more to him than the opinions of feminists in that subreddit.

Feminists’ opinions about r/feminism have had little meaning to the moderators for a long time, as demonstrated by the difficulty in getting them to take action over derails and downvotes, and their defense of people who show pure contempt from the movement. But the moderators’ disinterest in the feminists of r/feminism goes beyond that.

The sidebar of r/feminism is littered with nonfeminist and even *antifeminist* subreddits. /r/GenderEgalitarian is a moderate example of the latter, but /r/masculism is even more so.

A quick glance at r/masculism demonstrates that the tone of the subreddit is indeed antifeminist. Like r/mensrights, instead of talking about men’s rights, discussion often centers around women and feminism. On the front page of r/masculism right now, seven threads (almost a third) are about feminism - and negatively so.

This subreddit is linked on r/feminism’s sidebar. Twice. And is moderated by the r/feminism moderator  wabi-sabi.

Date: 2012-08-20 12:04:10 and last modified: 2012-08-20 12:04:10

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