Last night I went to a parent-teacher conference at my son’s school. The teacher, who has thirty years experience as a teacher at all grade levels and has taught students who have smashed through their testing (especially in math…Jesus Christ), went through the curriculum to educate us parents on our kids’ progress. Even at the kindergarten level, the kids learn math, science, Chinese poetry, physical education, and reading/writing. “But,” she said, “the most important subject we teach is social studies. In social studies, they learn about world history, accepting different cultures, being open-minded to knowledge, and getting along with others. Working together is something that they’ll keep forever. In social studies, they learn to treat each other with respect and to take care of one another. This is the most important lesson I can teach them.” It reminded me of the title of that famous book: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
As I’ve learned through 5+ years of blogging, however, not everyone in the blogosphere went to the same kind of kindergarten. Or maybe certain people went to kindergarten but just found the lessons too difficult to learn. There are anonymous guys on this blog who think that it’s cool to dig shit up on women members and to attack them with sexist remarks. There are guys who pull up unsubstantiated statements about people, and there are men who harass women. Even after being called on it, some of these guys continue to act like anonymous tough guys. Here’s an anonymous dude right here who, safely behind his anonymous user name, attacked one of our longtime members with a comment on her looks, totally unprovoked and (really, by most people’s eyes) wrong. His quote:
Second if you are public and make such claims you are open for scrutiny.
Well, dude, where I come from, we espouse the values that King so eloquently describes:
My general rule of thumb is that a poster who cannot point us to his own Facebook page photos should not comment on the attractiveness of people who are brave enough to display their photos. If you want to complain about a woman’s looks, then show your own face first.
It’s general fair play, rules of conduct that most of us learn in kindergarten. I want people to come public. I want people/commenters, if they feel comfortable, to stand up and take ownership of their words. I don’t complain if people don’t want to do that–stuff you post online stays there forever, and I don’t expect people to necessarily want to claim their participation. Some of the best commenters here are anonymous. But I won’t stand silent while the cowards try to malign and harass those who are brave enough to display their photos with their real identity. I won’t stand silent while anonymous sexists try to silence good, strong Asian women.
After blogging 5+ years under the most tolerant kind of policy, I’m changing course. I’m invoking the Anonymous Coward Rule. I’m tired of people who don’t hold themselves to the same rule of conduct and respect that general Universal Morality holds as a given. I’m tired of it, and the valuable and good longtime commenters here are tired of it too. The valued and good members here know who they are. For the rest of you, if you get on our shit list by being a dick or by conducting yourself in a manner unbecoming of a general commenter, you don’t belong here. I’m sorry for all the anonymous jerks who enjoy attacking people behind the internet, but this is still an activist site where we share ideas and try to build people up, not a site where we smear the courageous while hiding behind an anonymous screen name. We’re raising the bar, and if you don’t meet the new standard, then you shouldn’t be commenting here.