Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moderating comments for now

When I comment on sites like The Peking Duck and The China Law Blog -- or occasionally, when Roland Soong at EastSouthWestNorth links back to me -- I sometimes get a few nasty comments from those who troll China-related blogs. This is no criticism of those three sites. (I know that Richard at Peking Duck  struggles with containing his very popular comments page, while the ever-wise Roland doesn't allow any comments at all.)
Generally, trolls don't bother with Joyceyland, since it's mostly a personal blog, not a political one. As I work in the news media, I will sometimes write about current events, and not without humor. (I mean, come on. If an American official was accused of poisoning a millionaire with cat stew, we'd make fun of him, too).
Anyway, this morning, I wake up to find a lovely comment on my Happy New Year post about my "half-white child," which I deleted. Apparently, I shouldn't be "showing her off." (Though, I presume, a Chinese child can be shown? What is this? The Antebellum South?) This was followed by other  nonsense about whites, half-races, Hong Kongers, overseas Chinese and -- I guess -- anyone who isn't a "pure Chinese," plus a bunch of stuff I'm not repeating here. A while back, I got a similarly disparaging comment about my "white husband." It was, of all things, on an apolitical post about Marc running the Hong Kong Marathon.
The comment was as outdated as someone telling a black woman with a white husband that she shouldn't show photos of her "mulatto" child. Apparently, the comment was copied from another blog. Who knows? I don't have time to go policing the whole Internet. 
But, for now, I'm going to be moderating comments. There are political bloggers who spend all day arguing with these folk, policing the comment boards, and trying to figure out whom to block, whom not to block, which trolls come back via proxies, etc. I can't bother. As a new mom preparing to go back to full-time work, I don't  have tons of free time. And I don't want upset and negativity taking up any extra space in my brain. This is a mostly positive, personal blog. The rules are clearly stated on the right.
I do still encourage comments -- and they are still open to everyone, including anonymous posters, some of whom are as funny, sweet and clever as my regular readers. It will just take a little more time for me to get to them.  And I still encourage people to disagree with me. I'm not always right, and I like hearing the other side of arguments. Why most of the "pro-China" crowd can't make their arguments without personal attacks,  I'll never understand. Many more people would listen to them if they could.
 I could just keep the personal stuff on my Facebook page. But I like writing about the curiosity that is Hong Kong life, and Blogger allows me the length to do that. I'm particularly happy when I get visitors from overseas who may or may not know about Asian culture. And I think people enjoy the lighter parts of my blogs. Who doesn't want a cute baby or kitty photo?
On the other hand, I'm not going to self-censor my opinions on the news, or stop reposting the work I do for the I.H.T. or New York Times. There's no reason to do so. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, including moms!
But I also have to respect that I blog openly -- and that the child's loving father, grandparents, uncles and aunts come to this site. They don't deserve to read nastiness about someone in their family. I just can't believe that, in the 21st century, I still have to write a post like this.
Here is a Chinese New Year tradition my family follows: Before the New Year, you clean house. You do this physically -- you scrub the floors, you throw out the unused crap from your closet, you make sure everything is  nice and tidy. But you also do so in less physical ways. You clean up your financial books and pay off debts or dues. You make peace with friends or family you may have been arguing for feuding with.
In the West, the New Year comes with resolutions -- promises for the future. The Chinese New Year is about starting with a clean slate. Really, those two ideas are not so different.
So let's say that I'm throwing out the trash -- the small minority of comments that add nothing to this site. They are going out the door, along with my old cardigan with a hole in it, the overflowing recycling bin and (hopefully) those extra few inches that somehow found themselves on my waist.
Here's to what I hope is another happy year of living and blogging.


  1. Joyce,
    I like your blog just the way they are...DO NOT change it...

    however, Marc needs to respond to my comments more...


  2. Very well written. I also have strict rules about comments and if there's a troll, it will just be deleted, not talked with. They hate to be ignored and that's what I'm doing. Engaging them is waste of time.

    新年快樂! :)

  3. The half white comment cause me to have a giggle. My partner thinks that my half white self is pretty adorable and posts lots of pictures of me. I have to keep vigilant of his Facebook updates to untag the pictures that are not as adorable as he would think. Seriously, why are you posting pictures of me chewing food?!

  4. Hi again Nulle. Thanks for enjoying the blog. I definitely won't change it. But there's nothing I can do about Marc's unresponsiveness. He's not the dedicated blogger I am!

  5. Hi, My Kafkaesque Life -- Welcome to Joyceyland. I'm glad you dropped by, since I've now added you to my blogroll.

    I liked your post on the interracial Taiwanese ad. I promise, when my baby grows up, I will teach her not to "eat, drink and chew" on the MTR like those disobedient gweilos.

  6. Hi Architart -- Yeah, I used to be a shameless self-photo-censor also. (Though I've never sunken to the lows of Photoshopping fat off my body, as I know some people do).
    It's harder these days with Facebook, especially now that I have a baby and everyone wants to post pics of mom and child. A few very unflattering shots of me immediately after birth were put up!

    I didn't know you were Eurasian -- hard to tell online. But, of course, it's hard to tell in real life, too. I've lived in such multicultural circumstances. And it's not like I run around asking people their racial make-up.

    1. Those bigoted commenters are quite the dinosaurs; Eurasian children might have been an anomaly in the 1950's but we're a dime a dozen these days.

      I had a boyfriend many years ago who didn't want me disclosing my racial makeup to his father, as though it were some dirty secret. Ha! He would have done better to try to hide his father's bigotry as the dirty secret because there was no way that I was going to stay in a relationship with someone whose family had only recently evolved from knuckle draggers.

    2. Wow, that's crazy about your boyfriend's dad. What half of your racial make-up was he upset about?

      Re: the 1950s. I once interviewed Nancy Kwan, the actress who played the original Suzie Wong. I asked her how she dealt with the disadvantages of being Eurasian so long ago. And she said something like "What disadvantage? I used it totally to my ADVANTAGE."

    3. It was a white boyfriend. He thought it was okay because his grandfather, not even his father, served during WWII. For one, my mother is not Japanese and two, I didn't hear that people of German heritage were asked to hide their heritage.

      Although I am keeping my comments light this is not really a laughing matter. Ignorance is a dangerous thing and bigoted people are antisocial. We shouldn't have to tolerate them but that is what we must do as members of civilized society.

  7. the things some people have time for ... really. And there was my daughter really upset with us when we returned to HK for creating a blonde blue eyed child when she knew in her heart she was chinese and why oh why didn't her facial features reflect the fact!

    1. I remember your blogging about that. It's really sweet. Maybe, a few generations from now, as more and more children grow up with mixed cultures, we will not even have to have the discussion we're having now.

  8. It's very sad that you are receiving personal attacks on your beautiful baby. Unfortunately, there's people who just like to insult and verbally attack others without thinking of the consequences, nor giving any positive criticism.

    I agree with your posture of moderating comments, although it may take you some extra time, it will keep a healthy environment to your readers (especially when they are family).

    Keep posting! Happy Chinese New Year!

    1. Thanks, Arturosc -- Welcome to Joyceyland.
      I've added your site to my blog roll, even though I don't read Spanish. But some of my regular readers do (I think Ulaca and others). Plus, your photos are really gorgeous.

    2. And, actually, I find that moderating doesn't take that much more time, since I figured out how to do it remotely from my iPhone. I mean, if you comment in the middle of my night, it might not go up right away -- but I can more or less keep up with things during the day.

  9. Here is a maxim to remember: "Do not mud-wrestle with pigs! You get all muddied up while they enjoy themselves immensely."

    1. I did call you wise, Roland.
      Happy New Year! Maybe we'll see each other around some time.

  10. Yihetuan -- Please stop sending racist threats to me and my family.
    Doing so to the mother of a small child on the eve of the Chinese New Year is absolutely disgusting.
    Feel free to comment -- but until you take out the threats and racist remarks, none of your words will appear here.

    I have never written -- here or on any other forum -- anything about "Chinese men" and "Caucasian men", as I frankly don't divide the "men" into my life into such categories. (I don't think I've ever even used the word "Caucasian" on this blog!)

    I've written about different countries, cultures, people and places -- and maybe you don't agree with all that I say. But if you think it boils down to some weird racial preference for men, you are way off mark.

  11. Yihetuan -- Oh, I see what silly thing happened.
    Someone has been posting fake comments under my name at Peking Duck, and using my URL. God knows why -- maybe to make me look bad and point trolls here?
    It still makes your comment unacceptable. But dude -- don't believe everything you read on the Internet.
    I love Chinese guys -- they make up half my family!

    1. A mildly racist comment. Obviously Yihetuan was referring to sexual attraction, the type that wants to make you go and date someone.

      You have simply replied to the effect that you love your dad and your brothers or cousins or whoever you have in your family. Which is quite irrelevant to what it seems, Yihetuan was likely referring to.

      Your reply is along the lines of those Asian women who say they would never date an Asian guy because Asian guys remind them of their father or brothers. which of course is racist.

    2. Hi Anonymous -- No, your comment is not racist. I don't mind discussing race as a subject so long as you don't use slurs or threats.

      Your comment is a bit odd though.

      I've never said anything about anyone's dating preferences: Asian women marrying Asian men, white women marrying Asian men -- whatever the combination, it's up to the two people. My family is 99% Chinese, let's say, so I obviously have no problem with Chinese people marrying each other.

      I don't particularly want to go into my own dating history, since that's very private. I'm being more careful about discussing my own family, because of the awful comments I've gotten, and because I am not an anonymous blogger. But suffice it to say that I love my husband and I never chose him because of, or despite of, his nationality.

      As for the commenter you're referring to, he followed up with some scary stuff that I didn't let through.

    3. I don't particularly want to go into my own dating history, since that's very private

      Yeah....sure....your privacy is hardly impacted if you simply say you have or have never dated Asian guys.

      It is likely you have not. Because from your writings you obviously think the West rocks, and Chinese culture and civilization suck. Right?

    4. When I was young, I did have a boyfriend with an Asian background. But I don't think it matters. It's really nobody's business whom I've dated.

      As for my privacy -- well, it's my privacy. I'm already much more open about my life than most bloggers.

      I unfortunately saw this trend with the last guy whose comments I blocked. The questioning gets more aggressive, and then starts focusing a little scarily on race and women and attacks on my personal life.

      No, obviously I have nothing about Asian culture. Asian culture is, in fact, mostly what I write about professionally.

      So I'm going to stop this conversation now.

  12. Moderation rule no.1: Don't wrestle with pigs and never glorify their comments with a reply.

    1. Hi W -- You are as wise as Roland. That makes two wisemen of the blogosphere.
      But it's sometimes hard to tell.
      On one hand, I do want new visitors and people with different views to comment. There are readers who may have different opinions than I do, or the main readership of this blog, and I want to be open-minded. I try to respond to everyone equally.
      On the other hand, it's a bit hard to tell when people start veering towards being a bit disturbing.
      For some reason, the China-related posts bring out people who don't usually come here, and who seem quite fixated on race and my personal life.
      Do you think the above comments are inappropriate?
      Should I just let people comment and not respond to them?

  13. After study a few of the blog posts on your web site now, and I really like your method of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site checklist and will probably be checking again soon. Pls try my web page as well and let me know what you think.

  14. I don't know but I guess it all depends whether something is an opinion or amounts to personal attack. I can live with different opinions, including what appear to me to be totally unfounded and biased. For instance, myself a atheist, I don't mind people calling me bad names for my belief. And, knowing that China is big enough and has a history to house the best and the worst, I won't get mad if people choose to look at China from one of the extreme ends. Yet, if people come to my site and mount personal attacks against my wife and my daughter, delete delete. Two deletes because, delete from the cyber world and delete from my world.

  15. Glad to hear you'll continue writing here.

    Sad to hear people are attacking your family! There are times when I wonder if some of the paranoia on ChinaHush and other sites at times has to do with China's "Unnatural Selection":

    ...or is a vindictive provincialism.