How to Use this Blog

If you were sent here in response to asking a question in a feminist forum, please read this page first.

The idea of FAQs is a response to the following phenomenon: when new users come into an established discussion group, such as the commenting community at feminist blogs, they often ask questions that have been frequently answered beforehand. This often leads to mutual frustration, as the established community doesn’t wish to go over old ground (especially when doing so derails an interesting discussion), and the new user doesn’t wish to be ignored. Thus ariseth flamewars.

So, long ago in a USENet far far away, the convention arose whereby discussion groups put together an FAQ, and when one of the oft-covered basic questions was raised, people could just say “Read the FAQ” or, if they were being more helpful [1], point to the specific answer in the FAQ. This was often known as handing the newbie a cluestick.

New users who accept the cluestick can follow the links and become more educated about the subject area pertaining to their question. New users who don’t follow the cluesticks to at least make their next question less ill-informed tend to be seen as arguing in bad faith, and will probably continue to be ignored as proven to be wilfully clueless.

Each FAQ post is a work in progress, subject to revision and in particular the addition of new links to appropriate articles. Feed the FAQ with link suggestions, please. If you can’t find a relevant FAQ, either suggest that it be added or if you’re not sure what sort of FAQ it needs then just ask your question on the Questions thread.

Also, please use the comments threads to link to articles/posts/books that cover the subject area addressed in that FAQ. That way the comments threads will become a user-generated “further reading” list, and a way for fellow feminists to find more great feminist blogs/forums/resources.

  1. People who are told to “read the FAQ” without a pointer to a given article that addresses the question they are asking are entitled to return to the originating discussion and request a more specific pointer, IMO. If people are asked to go do some homework those making the request should do theirs first. [back]

14 comments on “How to Use this Blog

  1. I am looking forward to my women’s studies class. Considering that we have women(and men of course) of all different ages and cultures should really amplify the class and make this an interesting, and diverse learning experience.

  2. I have surfed in looking for help on a paper – about women with disabilities, their differing and common problems (versus able women).

    Interesting stuff here but I couldn’t find anything written from the perspective of disabled feminists.

    Thanks anyway.

  3. Hi, Janey. This question would probably go over better on the Ask A Question thread, which I see I failed to link to on this page (will fix immediately). I’ll cut and paste your question there and answer it there, because that’s where most people will end up looking.

  4. Hi there, of course I was sent here by a feminists I must admit I have been avoiding this subject. However, now reading through this blog. I am actually glad I did come here.

    What I did want to comment on was in the second paragraph it says: “So, long ago in a USENet far far away, the convention arose whereby discussion groups put together an FAQ…”

    I don’t want come across anal however is that not a typographical error should it not read: “…togeather a FAQ…” not: “…an FAQ…” I am not an expert on the English language however I assume its a typographical error.

  5. No, it’s quite deliberate, and it’s because of how FAQ is pronounced. The a/an distinction is about how words are spoken, not how they are spelled (or at least, that is the only way that the distinction makes any sense).

    If FAQ were pronounced as “fak” it would be correct to preface it with “a”, but as it is pronounced “eff-ay-kyoo” then prefacing it with “an” is correct.

  6. This is for me! I’m fascinated with feminism, and I want to know and understand more, but everytime I try to join discussions on Heartless Bitches .com, I can tell that I’m so far behind them and they really can’t be bothered with me. All my feminist ideas are new and just forming, whereas they have all the answers already and have no interest in going into the basic ideas with a newbie. Maybe this is more my level.

  7. Hi! I am new to this whole experience. I was sent her for a feminist class that I am taking for my Masters. I am just starting out by exploring the ideas of feminism and how it has evolved over the years. I see there are no recent blogs on here so I didn’t know if this is still current or not and if it will be a good resource for me.

  8. Hi Sau,

    the main reason that there are no new blogs is that life has moved on for me in terms of available time to devote to this site, plus there is also only so much in feminism that is appropriate for a blog focussed on 101-level analysis. Questions are still being answered here and comments threads are still live, even if the pace has slowed somewhat. (Note also that it is the summer holidays here in Australia, which may not match with northern hemisphere academic schedules all that well.)

    If what you need is more advanced analysis, then perhaps one of the sites listed on the links page will be more appropriate.

  9. Why was my pen name, and email address listed before I even wrote it in?
    I am sorry that I do not know very much about computers or feminism.

    • Because you were already logged into wordpress.com, or have previously commented on another wordpress.com blog, therefore all wordpress.com blogs recognise that.

  10. I’m just so glad to have found this blog.
    I may not consider myself a full feminist but rather i believe i am a gender advocate. so i look forward for new post. this really helps. 🙂

  11. This blog was suggested by an instructor for a class I am taking on an Introduction to Women’s Studies. Looking forward to reading through the posts.

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