While last week’s controversy in the YA community brought issues in our comments section to the forefront, it’s sadly not a new phenomenon. Because we endeavor to write about all the ways books and reading touch our lives, we often touch on difficult and controversial topics, which means we are no strangers to heated debate. As we’ve reflected on our goals for this community, we’ve concluded that we need to make some changes in the way we handle commenting.
We allow comments on our sites because we value community, and we aim to create inclusive communities where readers can express and explore diverse ideas and opinions. Passionate argument and productive debate are important to us. Our utmost concern, though, the thing we care about more than anything else, is that members of our communities, including readers, contributors, and Riot New Media Group employees, feel safe in this space.
We have always allowed commenters to disagree and argue with us, and we will continue to. We have only deleted comments that were explicitly abusive, and we have invited those commenters to repost their remarks without the name-calling, insults, or inappropriate language that resulted in their deletion. We will continue to do so. We have given borderline comments that contained implicitly threatening language but no explicit abuse the benefit of the doubt, and we have engaged those commenters with attempts to reframe or redirect the conversation. This, we will not continue to do.
This is a community that values social justice, feminism, and diversity. Readers are not required to agree with or share these values, but they are required to respect them. Readers who are unwilling to engage these ideas and this site’s writers and commenters respectfully are not welcome.
We have updated our community guidelines with language that reflects these values, and from this point forward, we will delete and/or ban comments that question or denigrate the value of marginalized voices, or which we interpret as intended to threaten or silence other community members.
We look forward to having more–and more productive–conversations going forward.
–The Riot New Media Group Editorial Staff