The most salient difference between the old philosophy meta-blog (PMB) and the new philosophy meta-meta-blog (PMMB) is that named philosophers were willing to comment on PMB and they aren't on the new one.
I think this is for a few reasons. At the PMB Glaucon would start the threads by reacting to something else going on in the philosophical blogosphere, and his lead would generate conversations about things other than the supposed perfidy of academic feminism. Enough people found those topics interesting that there was a plurality of people not obsessed with feminism who would correct the angry young man ugliness whenever it cropped up. So, at least in its prime, the no moderation policy worked because there was a lot of self-policing. Some kid would give into deranged young man syndrome, saying that feminists had ruined philosophy, or write something disturbingly sexist, and five or six posters would patiently explain why that was wrong. I thought that it showed what was great about going back to the old non-moderated web. Genuinely free speech needs to allow for expression of disgusting ideas in part because: (1) seeing exactly what is wrong with disgusting ideas is part of getting closer to the truth, and (2) we will be more likley to see the various ways consensus views fail if we are maximally wide in allowing criticicm of them.
Of course PMB still imploded. A few people made a game of outing anonymous internet presences and also continued making vituperative personal attacks on mostly female philosophers. Glaucon faced the choice of actually moderating the blog or shutting it down. He moderated for a while, but then decided it wasn't worth it.
So then PMMB opens up, and 80% of the discussion involves criticism of the feministphilosophers blog. When anonymous posters try to disagree with the consensus they are insulted, usually called "femtrolls." I tried to explain in a sympathetic way why this is problematic here. This is what I said:
No disrespect meant, but I'm really wondering if the name callers who have to some extent taken over this blog are themselves trolls. On the assumption that you aren't, please consider this.
Every time someone here inveighs about "femtrolls" "feminidiots" and the like they are doing the work of the people they claim to disagree with. The vast majority of people of good will with open minds rightfully recoil from this kind of name calling. (1) You can't expect your interlocutors to be mind-readers. So even though you personally don't mean to come across as potentially violent, it doesn't matter. Enough violence against women is done by name callers that it sets up a very hostile, in fact threatening, dynamic. It's analogous to someone constantly using the n-word while going on about how they don't like some cultural form that African Americans excel at. This is exactly how this blog is being perceived by the profession now. And PMB wasn't viewed that way, for all it's other problems. (2) With name calling you are signalling that your interlocutor doesn't need to be treated as reasonable person of good will, and hence not as an interlocutor. This is not how philosophy is supposed to work. And saying, "but they did it first" doesn't even work in kindergarten.
Again, if the people/person here who goes on about feminists taking over everything and ruining philosophy and who constantly resorts to name calling is a radical, radical feminist troll, then I have to say well done ma'am. There hasn't been one post here at or at PMB or any blog that could possibly work better as trolling in a way to undermine serious critical discussion of academic feminism, feminist philosophy, and related professional issues. Not one.
If you're not trolling, please cut it out. You're becoming that which you hate. One same thread where people are pillorying Ed Kazarian for accusing commenters of being trolls people are unironically using the sobriquet "Femtroll."
One more thing- I can tell you from experience that one of the very worst ways to deal with a possible troll is to accuse them of being a troll (I've been in Ed and the femtroll guy's shoes many times). If you just stay calm and take them at their word one of three things ends up happening: (1) you'll find the person isn't a troll, (2) the person stops trolling, or (3) the person keeps trolling but the vast majority of people reading will side with you and not the troll. It's just a mug's game to descend into paranoia about it, even though that's a very natural response.
After some criticism, I posted this reply:
I'm sorry but I just don't think you are aware of how the femtroll/feminidiot/feminist-conspiracy tropes read to most people, especially those who might otherwise be sympathetic. You remind me a a lot here of a relative of mine who genuinely doesn't get it when I ask her to stop incessantly carrying on about the perfidious things that "the blacks" and "the gays" are up to. But black people are black. Right? It's just more brief to refer to black people as "the blacks." Clear?
You can't be unaware that "Femtroll" sounds like "Fembot" from the Austin Powers movies. In any case, as with "the gays" it's dehumanizing. Second, especially since it's indeterminate in many cases whether trolling as involved, it works as a smear against all feminists who might disagree with you. Not as much as "feminidiot" clearly, but it still works that way.
Finally, I have no idea if feminists have ever trolled this site. It doesn't matter. If you respond to a troll by getting angry and writing stupid things that shut down speech for everyone and offend people who wouldn't otherwise care one way or the other, then the troll has won.
(1) By conspiracy theory I just meant the person who has claimed dozens of times that feminists have ruined all of philosophy, which is at best an absurdly overstated claim.
(2) As far as mocking the beliefs and not the believers- Clearly there are women who are not feminists and feminists who are not women. But when you are perceived as mocking feminists for being feminists, you are overwhelmingly likely to be perceived as using mockery to shut up women for expressing political beliefs. Many of the comments here comes across as attempted bullying.
(3) As far as my experiences with newapps, yes I do know what it is to feel good about oneself simply because one has made a place so unpleasant for those who disagree with you that one only ever ends up preaching to the choir. Much of the usage of feminidiot/femphils/femtrolls has accomplished this here.
There was some discussion on that thread, but in the weeks after that the angry young men have gone into overdrive. It's a pretty unpleasant place, which is a shame. From about seven years ago to two years ago, there was a lot of interesting and free-wheeling discussion in the philosophic blogosphere. But I feel like we let the trolls win by banning them.
I'm convinced that some of this is because of a software glitch. My comments do not appear on most blogs that are not in the blogspot platform. This happened after one of my newapps cobloggers rejected one of my comments (she should have, it was misconsidered). I've talked with moderators at feministphilosophers and dailynous and the comments aren't even going into the spam folder. There certainly is no lefty conspiracy here, because since the rejected newapps comment my comments aren't going through to discussions in theamericanconservative blogs. I hypothesize that this is why discussion is so much less now at so many blogs. People who get one comment rejected somewhere are unable to comment on a wide variety of non-blogspot blogs.
During the best PMB discussions, it did possess the goodmaking feature of the internet of five years ago. But it ultimately didn't work, and PMMB is a lot worse in all of the ways that led Glaucon to shut down PMB. And so things move to facebook. Yuck.