We want this to be a safe space for women, and indeed for those who are othered in an internet (and political) culture dominated by white heterosexual men of comfortable income and right-wing politics.

We acknowledge that in reality the Hand Mirror is not a safe space for many women and those who are more marginalised in society tend to be more marginalised on the blog. We are trying to improve the nature of our space, but we want to make our limitations clear, so that people know what to expect.

The only tools we have for moderation on blogger are making requests and deleting individual comments after they've been posted. This means we cannot prevent offensive material being posted only delete it.

To that end we have established the following ground rules, which we expect commenters to kindly respect:
  1. Comments that are abusive or link to abusive posts will be deleted.
  2. Disagreement should be written in a manner that does not demean either party. Although if you embarrass yourself we will probably just leave it there so everyone can laugh at you. 
  3. If you are unrelentingly obnoxious you may be banned. Sometimes we ask someone to stop commenting in a particular thread, which generally doesn't mean you are banned from the blog, just from that thread. 
  4. Discussions about moderation decisions should be sent to email, not continued on the comment thread.
  5. Please follow any comment directions that bloggers lay down at the end of their posts. This particularly applies to posts about abortion where morality discussion is directed to the specific page we've set up for that debate.
  6. Anonymous comments require a consistent handle, unless there is an obvious privacy reason that you are commenting anonymously.  You'll need to add something like an initial or a psuedonym, even an actual real name, at the beginning or end of your comment, and use the same signifier throughout.
Individual authors can set the rules for their own threads, in addition to these, and moderate those comments to meet their own rules.

Thanks for largely respecting these rules to date. We appreciate your help with making this a good space for discussion and look forward to your future contributions to The Hand Mirror.

You might also want to check out a post in April 2009 about the nature of this community and what we want this blog to be like.

Last updated June 2011, to acknowledge the gap between our policy and reality.