I made a couple of comments (in clear and direct response to other commenters) that I thought were respectful, insightful, well written and well thought out. For this I was accused of bad faith, and twice chastised--the second without time to respond to the first-- for derailing the thread. I left a last post apologizing, stating that my intentions were good, that I'd read the comment policy and hadn't intended to violate it, and that I did not feel welcome and would not be troubling them further with my presence. This post was replaced by a moderator post which said that new readers were welcome, mentioned the "required reading*" and (again) that my post was off topic.
I get--I truly get--the need to have sheltered discussion spaces for groups whose ideas are so poorly mishandled in mainstream discourse. I'm just not used to thinking of myself as the flaming bastion of patriarchy who needs to be excluded. Perhaps even more than this, it was a shock to realize that a blog I tend to think of as particularly reasonable has a de-facto censorship policy that doesn't make sense. I don't mean "doesn't make sense" like "we will delete your shit if we feel like it and that's how it is," which can work out beautifully. I mean "doesn't make sense" like "lacks any internal coherency." What would be so off topic about an apology post that it would need to be removed, while another post clearly in response to it and the two preceding accusations of off-topic-ness--surely no more on topic--would stay?***
None of this matters very much, except that I am by my own standard very oversensitive about some things. Being excluded from groups of people I like, respect, and was trying to be nice to is definitely one of them. I went to the bathroom and cried for awhile before making the apology/leaving post. When I got back I happened across a page that was extremely critical of Shakesville and their censorship practices. I read that for an hour or two, which made me feel a lot better and gave me an education about the stupid drama goes down between factions of the moderate left, both historically and now.**
I still feel unsettled because it would have been a fantastic time to step it up, to practice some qualities I want to develop--resilience, adaptability, independence, healthy emotional coping, and the ability to bridge communication between groups. . . but I didn't. At least, not as well as I'd have liked. And I'm not sure how I could have done better.
*I confess, I only skimmed their "feminism 101" document, which was pretty good but not what I felt like reading at the moment. I guess I assumed my college course on and longtime obsession with the topic would fill in somehow?
** I suspect the radical left is even worse, when there's a radical left to speak of. . .
***On further reflection, this is clearly emotional defensiveness; it does make sense in that context. Which is a valid context, though it is nicer when people are clear about what they're doing. Now I just need to learn how to deal with it. . .