About Hateful Comments

I lost count on how many times someone from the blog staff as well as regular readers of the blog had to ask people here to tone down their comments which are way too often personal attacks, sexist or even racist. It doesn’t matter if it’s people saying someone “destroyed his face” because he has piercings or if it’s a ridiculously stupid comment that someone is “past his expiration date”; not to mention the just horrible comments some people leave about everyone who is different from them regarding their race, gender identity or, as absurd as it is on a site like this, sexual preference.

The vast majority of these nasty comments are deleted before they get published or shortly thereafter but we can’t babysit the site 24/7 so the bad stuff you see slipping through every now and then should give you an idea about the unseen amount of hateful remarks not getting through.

I can’t stress the fact enough that more often than you might think the people we feature here actually happen to read the comments left by the readers of this blog. The dad of diving talent Jordan Pisey Windle being just the latest example.

And the same way you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger on the street to tell them how you hate their haircut/body shape/skin colour etc. we ask you to be respectful around here. That you can be somewhat anonymous on the internet doesn’t mean you can be an asshat to everyone.

You would think that people who are part of a minority that is often disrespected and discriminated against would be careful not to repeat the injustice they have to endure. So please be aware that we have rules about leaving comments. This place could be a lot more helpful and supportive for many people if everyone would acknowledge them.


43 thoughts on “About Hateful Comments”

  1. Well, said! I am always struck by some of the comments that do escape into the threads. I think sometimes we as gay people are some of the worst when it comes to “evaluating” people. When I see a post that is not to my taste, I just recognize that it is not my cup of tea, but it rings somebody’s bell, so more power to them. I think we call that beautiful diversity!

    Thanks Josh for all of the work you do for us to give us a little smile or some info everyday that broadens our horizons.

  2. I’ll second that. And it’s comforting to know the moderators are on top of it all. :)

  3. I never even realized there were hateful comments being made on the blog, until I read this. Wow, just wow. If you don’t have anything nice to say, ass-holes, then go back to posting on 4chan.

  4. And the same way you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger on the street to tell them how you hate their haircut/body shape/skin colour etc.

    1. You hit the nail on the head. The internet’s ability to preserve anonymity causes some to feel protected from everything they say. This brings out the mean little creature in some of us, and this is then preserved by clicking the “send” button.

      All we can do is continue to ask those who post to be decent human beings and hope for the best.

      A big thank you to the moderators for their amazing job of keeping this blog as clean as it is.

      1. The anonymity does make people feel protected and able to say whatever they wish. And many also feel that they are protected by free speech laws. Neither is truly the case. Commenting rarely completely anonymous and free speech laws do not apply to privately owned websites.

        In addition to this, it would be a good idea to implement a system where the readers can award fellow readers who comment for quality posts (not just through the reply feature) using a commenting system like intense debate or disqus. This path should be considered if it hasn’t already.

        Anyways, thanks to those who follow the rules and make positive and quality contributions on both the blog and community. I encourage everyone to strive to do so as well.

        1. Some system to reward quality posts? Has anyone else found themselves looking for “up” and “down” arrows?

          1. OMG yes! and maybe the downvotes can help the moderators track down the negative comments that manage to slip by them!

            1. Yeah, I have. The first time I looked at the comments on a milkboys post I was rather disappointed when I could not upvote a certain post that I liked. In fact, there are a few on this page as well that I wish I could upvote so they could be seen easier.

          2. Yeah, the first time I looked at the comments on this site I looked for them, and was disappointed to find that I wasn’t able to upvote a certain comment.

  5. people need to understand that saying something in the internet is not like thinking to oneself, nor saying something to family/friends: it is like saying something on a magical microphone that reaches the entire world.

  6. Even though one might expect a minority group to be more diligent about not repeating the transgressions against them, history has shown time and again that this is rarely the case. Who among us hasn’t spoken, or worse, written something they have come to regret?

    I applaud your work, Josh and your moderators; may the task not wear you down or jade you too much that you grow weary of it. By working to maintain a tenor of dignified and worthy discussion, you raise the bar for all concerned.

  7. Josh, you probably realize that this post will affect people’s comments for 3 days, a week at most.
    Then it will be back to business as usual.

    I’m sure you’ve discussed this with the moderators but here are some viable (I think) options:

    1. turn off comments completely.

    2. Moderate ALL comments (will make discussion difficult as I’m sure your moderators have actual lives)

    3. Disable comments here and start a forum on the Board with topics for each post, so all comments will be through the board (xkcd does this)

    4. Force people to go through a screen where they have to scroll down the posting rules before they can post.

    5. Add poster’s IP address to their posts.

    Personally I think option #3 is best, it would give you more control while hiding the comments from Google’s pesky web crawling.

    1. Adding people’s IPs would probably be the easiest way but I don’t really want to do that since I *do* think people should be able to leave comments anonymously if they want to.

      Otherwise it would be a matter of 2 minutes to install a plugin that forces people to log-in with their Facebook or Twitter accounts to comment. That would make it easy to ban trolls and people would probably behave better if their comment is connected to their online identity.

      But it would probably also mean that a lot less people would comment in the first place because 1. they can’t be bothered to log in, 2. they don’t want their real-life accounts to be connected to a site like this and 3. they don’t want sites like Facebook to know even more about them by leaving a comment here.

      The idea with forum comments sounds like something that could work but it would also be the most complicated because we would need a plugin that connects our board software with the blog software. I don’t think that such a plugin exists but I’ll look into it and if it’s not too expensive I’ll see if I can find someone to write such a plugin.

      1. I don’t think you need a plugin.

        Just disable comments here, manually start a topic for your blog post on the board and put a link for comments at the end of the post.

        With 2 browser windows open and bit of copy and paste, the whole process shouldn’t add more that 180-200 seconds per blog entry.

      2. If you really wnat to get rid of “h8″-comments, you just have to make adding the e-mailadress compulsory.
        I would strongly suggest that.

        Anybody can have a second e-mailaccout just for the purpose of commenting nowadays.


  8. “You would think that people who are part of a minority that is often disrespected and discriminated against would be careful not to repeat the injustice they have to endure. ”

    Oh really ? I’m sorry to say, people who have been the subject of persecution, and who have low self-esteem are the likeliest to make hateful comments toward other people’s (supposed) weaknesses. And gay people aren’t smarter than other people, in fact, gay people are exactly like other people in the matter of being human beings with their qualities and horrible sides.

  9. It is amazing to me that we as a GLBT community SCREAM for respect and acceptance but have the hardest time giving these to our “own kind”. This si why i rarely comment and when not on my job pretty much am a loner.
    I much prefer animals over 99% of people i come in contact with as they NEVER judge based on stupid things that most people have not control over.
    Thanks to all who do moderate and control the majority of comments that are hurtful and hateful.

  10. A timely reminder that “milkboys is a community for & about queer boys. Hang out & connect with other LGBT teens without worrying about prejudices or bullies. Here you’re home :) ”

    There have been too many bullies here, and I hope that the supportive comments to your post indicate that at least some fully understand just what they’ve been doing.

    Good to know that the majority of disrespectful and insulting comments are intercepted before reaching this board. Good job by Josh and all the mods!

  11. Remember how you feel when someone is hateful to you. So, why than treat others that way? Life is short, so spread some happiness !

  12. If we can’t get away from these nasty kind of comments here then there’s no hope eh? Well done Josh :)

  13. Well spoken, there are too many bullies here (there should be none) and I think that they should be banned from the site if they’re caught posting negative, hurtful, or racist comments. We as gays suffer enough pain and stress. Like the message reads, “Here we are home”
    Here we are free, with no need for a closet. here, we can talk about our problems with our sexuality and all the problems we face daily. Life is already hard, and it isn’t made any easier with a world of people who don’t understand us, and won’t accept us, and think we made a choice to be what we are. No more! Remove bullies! Thanks to Josh and all the moderators who help keep the posts clean, and shame on those who post and get their hateful message through!

  14. I agree and i am ashamed to say i have risen to the bait a few times. Not going to feed the trolls anymore but it is a shame that little boy’s dad had to read nasty stuff about his son. That is horrible. I am going to enjoy the posts and not bother with the comments anymore :(

    1. I am guilty of the same and have essentially come to the same solution as you. I don’t post here much anymore, but I still enjoy looking. :)

  15. I saw a comment about getting rid of hate comments. Here’s my suggestion. Shut down Milkboys. WHAT??? My point is that no matter how carefully someone will word his post there will probably be someone seeing it as hateful or hurtful or what ever. That’s human nature I guess.

    Take my stance on religion. Some see me as being anti christians. In fact I’m anti religion BUT I still believe that anyone has the right to believe in what ever god he wants to and to belong to what ever church, sect, what ever he wants to. Still some simply can’t go to the next step of trying to understand what I’m talking about. So I get to see funny anger posts toward me. I don’t care. Be angry. It’s your right and I don’t want to see it taken away from you. Meanwhile I hope that one day they will get it, get what I’m saying about “roots”.

    So, how to deal with hate? Well Josh took the first step. He kindly asks all of us to remember who we are and how ironic that a group so hated should use the same kinds of hurtful comments upon each other. It just isn’t productive. So I guess it’s for us to take the other step and follow Josh’s wishes. Also a thicker skin would be a plus!

    As for having some kind of facebook account or what ever? Nope, not for me.

  16. I have found many a nasty comment on this site lately and I have even considered leaving Milkboys forever…maybe it is possible to ban any trolls, bullies or assorted idiots?

  17. Mozilla:

    I have found many a nasty comment on this site lately and I have even considered leaving Milkboys forever…maybe it is possible to ban any trolls, bullies or assorted idiots?

    Leaving is never an answer. You have a voice? Use it, no matter how pissed off others could be. It is your right to express what you think.

    Now about trolls. Define them for me? Is it someone who doesn’t agree with you? Or with someone you feel is right? Take me for example. I openly go for the jugular of christians that are crying about a gay kid having committed suicide but get mighty angry when I ask them when will they take back their religion from those bigoted preachers or priests. Take the 4-year-old singing about homos going to hell. His church should be closed down by the people who go sit in that church every Sunday but look at them cheer! So how could I even start to tolerate such a church and its members? Is my saying this an attack on christians? I honestly don’t believe it is. I’m only attacking the scum that teach hatred and bigotry.

    Just so you know, I didn’t take your comments personally.

  18. Mozilla:

    I have found many a nasty comment on this site lately and I have even considered leaving Milkboys forever…maybe it is possible to ban any trolls, bullies or assorted idiots?

    yeah leaving won’t help, then they win!

  19. I think the problem is that the internet gives us the illusion of a ‘community’ under terms of anonymity.
    There was a time when people lived in geographically stable communities, and where you could count on meeting your neighbours again and again every week. In such a community you think twice before hurling brainless, irresponsible and hurtful insults – because you will meet your victims face to face tomorrow.
    Technology has changed this. Consider the social effects of even such a simple thing as a car: drivers are far more likely to hurl abuse at other road users than if they were themselves pedestrians, because they can immediately drive away from the scene and escape the consequences. The internet multiplies the anonymity effect. On the internet you can count on never meeting your victim face to face.
    The internet achieves a new degree of anonymity, and it allows ‘free speech’ to everyone – even to those who actually have nothing to say that is worth saying. I applaud Josh’s efforts to filter out hurtful comments, but you will never be able to filter out stupidity, insensitivity and prejudice, because the stupid and the insensitive and the prejudiced cannot see themselves for what they are, so you have to live with those things – in the hope that the ‘trolls’ will eventually become a bit less troll-like.
    Meanwhile the best we can do is to meet it with the dignity and maturity and humanity with which the dad of Jordan Pisey Windle met the abuse that was spewed at him. Can’t do better than that. I congratulate.

  20. IP addresses, facebook or twitter accounts and possibly disabling comments all sound like steps being taken by governments and agencies to police the internet, which I thought that this group would have been very opposed to. When you see one hundred comments on this or any other blog where 99 are fine and 1 is negative or abusive, its allways the 1 that hurts so much that you forget the others. The same thing happens when links are posted of people featured on this site and the vast majority of those who comment or ask questions on these other sites are supportive or at least kind, but you will allways get the one or two who choose to ask an inapropiate question or leave an unkind comment. I agree with “Old Dan” that thick skins are required and while I deplore some of the comments that manage to slip through the mods, I dont think that censorship in any form is the answer. Perhaps instead of an occaisional reminder there should be just an interim screen everytime you click the comment button that points out that you are commenting on or about a person, a real person with feelings?

  21. Hi boys sorry to hear about you taking abusive comments,
    may I suggest that more boys love you than hate you, I
    for one love you boys, but am too old to share my love with you. a steady boyfriend is worth the world,
    love you all.

  22. Josh, I’d delete those comments under the post about Jordan and ban the people who made them. Let me explain…

    Your post here and the responses that follow are wonderful. They are a testament to the respect and love that should be shown when we communicate with each other on this site. I was afraid the haters would come out in force. Fortunately, that has not been the case.

    I moderated a Facebook page earlier this year that had thousands of “Likes” (never sure what that really meant). Unfortunately, there were a number of regular posters who immediately kicked into attack mode whenever they commented on a post. Instead of discussing the issue, they attacked the person. It was relentless. I tried responding to them politely and I was attacked because they said I was trying to “censor” them. Then I gave them a time out for a period after deleting their posts. This then infuriated a number of others who claimed, yup, I was engaging in censorship and was no better than the government we were trying to change. After several months I decided it wasn’t worth my time and passed on the job of moderation to someone else. They let everything go… including addresses of people posted by people attacking them and defaming comments that are only intended to hurt others. The page is now the poster child for hate. It’s really quite unbelievable because the participants on the page claim to be seeking a positive change in society, yet are engaging in the very thing they want to eliminate – discrimination, intolerance, labels.

    Yes, freedom of speech is a fundamental right. However, there are times in private settings (like your home, your blog, etc.) when it is OK to tell someone who is being hateful to please leave, and to escort them out the door. That’s what needs to happen here.

    From my perspective, in this place of beauty and caring, there is no room for hate speech or ridicule. Freedom of speech is not hate speech. Fighting against hate speech is not censorship.

  23. I opened a discussion on the Boards in the News and Opinions” section about this topic:
    “Dealing with hate speech on Milkboys”

  24. I truly admire the way you are always trying to stress the postive and minimize to the best extent possilbe the negative….

    Well done!

  25. Hi, Thanks phil, montana.
    It is very difficult for me to get a positive point across to
    boys, because many of these adorable milk boys will be very young, Iam, 66 years (young) so, I mean I have a wealth of knowledge, but, young boys, find it difficult to imagine
    how an old coot like me can understand what the fuck young boys are going through. what I do know for fact, is that the only source of homo-phobia, is the church, (theology)
    victimisation is the only means the church has of defending itself, because the church as an organisation is illigitimate,and exists outside of law, no church can defend itself in law,so the pre-tarring black of anyone who the church cannot brainwash is their only way.
    I had a bad young life myself, with a debilitating stammer.
    that was a bastard. I have been unable to decide my orientation, to this day. for young boys, a steady boy friend, is the only security. (girls, can be devisive for boys)
    getting old is as big a bastard. I warn you. Loll++

  26. My grandmother had a prayer hanging on her fridge from as far back as I can remember until she died: “Lord, Grant me the courage to change the things I can change, the patience to accept the things I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.”

    Unless you’re prepared to disable comments completely (not something I’d like to see, btw), you’ll always have some jackass or another leaving inappropriate comments. Even forcing someone to log into the site via Facebook or youTube wouldn’t help… I see a LOT more hateful comments left on those sites and people can see exactly who’s leaving the comments.

    My grandmother also had another saying she was rather fond of: “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”…. or, in this case I suppose it would be, “If you can’t take the idiots, keep it off the internet”.

    I’m not saying it’s ok for folk to be making hurtful or idiotic comments, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for people that put their lives in a public forum then whine about negative comments that they should KNOW are coming… it’s not like this is the early 90’s when we still had to explain to most people what AOL and Prodigy were when talking about them.

    1. Hi Sixle
      may I comment on your grand mothers “Prayers”
      have you noticed that what we are told are “Prayers”
      are all, (ME) never (WE) such as; god I want this, god I want that, god do this for me, god do that for me, god forgive me. the old religions, pagan, wicca, shama. are all based upon (WE) THEOLOGY is based upon (ME)
      Iam a devils advocate
      I try to help people come to see the wood, through the propaganda. do you think it wise for people to live out of books ? if so, who says which book, and why ?
      I wish you well

      1. I’m an atheist myself, however, unlike many atheists, I’m able to recognize that there is wisdom to be found in religious sources. Just because someone believes in a god or gods doesn’t mean they’re a moron or have no understanding of the way the world works.

        And to answer your question, yes I do think it is wise to study the ideas of others in all areas of life (and I have studied more beliefs and beliefs systems then most people are even aware exist). It’s part of what it means to have an open mind and it’s also an excellent way to further explore and develop your own ideas about life.

        The hypocrisy of other nonchristians (atheists or otherwise) often amuses me when they decry christians for forcing their beliefs on others while doing exactly the same thing in the very next breath.

  27. May I expose a complete myth, the myth being that bibles
    have some sort of value, bibles only have one purpose, and that crudely is to set people up, by brainwashing, under the sinister guise of it being (education) the object of religious education is to try to use children from infancy as guarantors, pre-brainwashed, and supbordinated, to guarantee that particular belief system into the next generation, together with its cold blooded murderous monarchy. dont forget that hoare in buckingham palace is using the power of god, to legitimise the fascist protestant occupation of northern ireland, the malvinas, and gibraltar, over our heads and behind our backs, let me put this common sense to you. IF GOD WERE TO LITERALLY EXIST, THERE WOULD BE NO CHURCH. AND NO MONARCHY. NO RACISM, SEXISM, NO HOMOPHOBIA. CAN YOU WORK OUT WHY ?

    1. It would be easier to take you seriously if you used spell-check and proper capitalization. Avoiding run-on sentences wouldn’t hurt either.

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