Are there rules about what I can say and what I can't say?

Elizabeth's picture

The short answer is "yes."

This is a community and as a community it needs to have some of what we sociologists call "norms" -- basic expectations about behavior that help the whole community run smoothly.

We won't tell you what you can and can't talk about. (As long as it's at least somehow, even marginally, connected to issues of sexuality. And really, what isn't?) If you have questions ask them. If you have ideas share them. Don't be shy.

We also won't tell you how you have to think. We encourage debate, disagreement, and dissent. We want a free exchange of ideas and we want that exchange of include lots of people. In order to make that possible, though, there are some basic rules of etiquette that we expect people to follow:

  1. No flaming: That means no personal insults, no harrassing comments, no name calling. Not only is it a bad way to talk to people, it doesn't make you look good. Much better to say "I don't understand how anybody can believe X when Y is so clearly true" than to say "Anybody who thinks X is true is a stupidhead."
  2. Keep comments on topic: If someone started a forum thread, or wrote a blog entry, she did so for a reason. If you want to start a new forum thread, please do! The more there is to talk about, the better. But don't take over another person's thread. Contribute but don't overrun.
  3. Remember that this is a diverse community: Try to avoid assumptions about people's experience, and be prepared to be corrected if you assume something incorrectly. We welcome people here with a wide range of gender and sexual identities, and from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. 

That's it, really. Just basic politeness. It's very important given how difficult these issues can be for people to talk about, and when the topics raised are often personal and emotional as well as political and cultural.