I am writing to you based on my understanding is that the Reader’s Editor can look into complaints about the Guardian’s online services
I have a complaint about my treatment by the comment moderation team which I increasingly suspect may amount to discrimination on grounds of political opinion and sex.
I have attempted to raise my equal opportunity complaint directly with the team but they wouldn’t consider it.
My complaint is this:
· After contributing a grand total of 4 comments my account was flagged and identified as a risk, based on a pattern of behaviour (e.g. spam, trolling, repeated/frequent borderline abuse).
· As a consequence I am now one of less that 1% of community members to experience the indignity of being placed in ‘temporary’ moderation. One community member I’ve talked to indicates they have been in ‘temporary moderation’ for over 18 months.
· I consider all comments to have been compatible with the community standards I signed up to when I joined but at a stretch I’ll accept the Moderator’s explanation that one of them was mistaken for spam.
· Allowing for this, it seems a bit heavy handed to have me branded as ‘a risk’ based on one ‘spam mistake’ and one other innocuous comment which was censored for reasons I’m still unclear about.
· Other members of the community who describe similar treatment have suggested that my profile was targeted by radical feminists because I have been perceived (incorrectly) to be a Men’s Rights Activist, or more broadly simply because they didn’t agree with my comment which criticised a Laura Bates article.
· I had initially considered this possibility but it seemed a bit extreme. Increasingly though this does appear to be the most likely explanation and why I would ask you to take my complaint seriously.
· Since being placed in moderation I have submitted a comment a day and kept track of the questionable and inconsistent manner in which my contributions are treated.
· A fairly obvious example of unreasonable censorship is the fact that the moderators screened out my comment on another recent Laura Bates article: you-can-trace-a-lifetime-of-gender-inequality-through-everyday-sexism
· My comment was: Happy birthday #EverydaySexism – is it time to come of age and start acknowledging inequalities experienced during the lifetime of men & boys also?
I would appreciate if you would take my complaint more seriously than the Moderation team were prepared to. Based on my ridiculous treatment to date, I’m not entirely convinced that you will but I think it’s only fair that I give you the opportunity to do so. I’ve reviewed the editorial code and believe my complaint falls under area 12 (discrimination).
For background info, I blog on the theme of glass blindspotism which is the term I use to describe the phenomenon of consciously or unconsciously ignoring information clearly relevant to a discussion about equality because it would undermine or distract from that person’s preferred narrative.
The purpose of the blog is to hold a mirror up to some of the more extreme examples of hypocrisy, inaccurate reporting and blatant bias by people publicly presenting themselves as equality champions.
I think that the way I have been treated by the Guardian is a classic example of the phenomenon I describe and I suspect that I’ve been singled out for ‘special treatment’ specifically because EYEisBloke.
I look forward to your decision.
Be seeing you,
Thank you for your email. The readers’ editor primarily deals with complaints about Guardian articles, and is not involved in moderation. You should get in touch with the moderators directly, however I will pass your email on to them for you in this instance.
I have also copied some information about commenting, that we send out to people asking this office about moderation.
Readers’ editor’s office
If you are wondering why your post has been deleted or has not been published you should first consult the Community standards and participation guidelines to see whether your comment has breached its provisions:
You may also find these FAQs about posting comments and moderation helpful:
Any complaints about the removal of comments or the suspension of posting rights should be sent to the moderators at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (as appropriate). The moderators operate a two-stage procedure for such complaints. If you are unhappy with the moderator’s response to your complaint you may use the same email address to ask for the decision to be reviewed by a second moderator.
General comments about moderation should be sent to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately the moderators cannot respond to every email but they say that all emails are reviewed.
Thanks for the quick response. I have already attempted to raise my complaint with the moderation team but they simply ignored the equal opportunity aspect of my complaint. I will forward a copy of the correspondence confirming this.
The justification the team provided for continuing to screen my comments was also extremely questionable and appears to very much support my suspicion that there is a relatively transparent bias at play.
If you are unable to or not prepared to consider my complaint then I would appreciate if you would at least clarify who within the Guardian is responsible for considering discrimination complaints?
Be seeing you,