In our most recent Recommended Reading post, there was a link that really upset some of our readers. I’d like to extend a heartfelt apology to anyone who felt hurt or retraumatized by its inclusion. The fault is mine alone. I’m sorry.
I want to make this a better, safer place. In the interest of doing that, I’m going to explain how this happened, and consider some ways that we can avoid a situation like this in the future.
Here is what happened:
- There were 40 links in that linkspam post and at least 10 more I didn’t include. Sorting through all this is WAY more work than normal!
- We are generally pretty short-staffed, and most of us don’t have the time or energy to do this kind of work. Reading these things can take a lot out of you! It’s totally understandable that sometimes we have to avoid it.
- For the past couple of linkspams I’ve been the only person able to work on them. That means I was the only person who could have possibly vetted all those links.
- I have PTSD. As you might imagine, that sometimes interferes!
- Someone sent 3 links to me on the same topic. The first two were pretty good. By the time I got to the third one, PTSD had kicked in and I couldn’t engage with the topic anymore. I had to close the page and go do self-care.
- I saved the link anyway to evaluate later—but it got lost in the shuffle. I had scheduled the post and planned to make another pass at editing it before it went up, but life didn’t work out as planned that morning. So the post ended up going up before I’d had a chance to check it again.
So I apologize for including that link. I know I really shouldn’t have assumed that it would be good for the whole community without fully checking it out. I will certainly try to do better in the future.
Fellow writers, if you have the chance to help out (when your health allows), it would be really useful to get more eyes on the linkspam posts before they go up. If you are not on our team, but you’d like to help with this, please consider volunteering! We can work something out.
Readers, I’d like to respectfully ask you to also help us catch these mistakes. It’s best to let us know about problems like this by either commenting on the post (you can comment anonymously), or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you are a member of our forum and this is a better option for you, you can PM the writing team.*
Asks on tumblr are less effective than all of the above, because only Queenie manages the tumblr, so notifications sent to us that way will be subject to her (often more limited) availability.
While you can, of course, blog your reactions to the offending links—there is nothing wrong with that!—it’s not the most effective way to inform us that there’s a problem. There is no guarantee that we will notice your blog post, especially not right away. I happened to see Coyote’s post last night, but if I had not been looking, and if everyone else had also been really busy, it could have been days before we noticed.
It’s inevitable that sometimes things like this will happen. We are all survivors here, and every one of us is vulnerable to retraumatization and burnout while doing this sort of work. We are all doing our best, and even though we are imperfect, I hope that we can still provide valuable resources.
What I would like to know is this: was at least the structure of the latest recommended reading post helpful? Is it good to have these posts separated into categories like this—especially the heaviest, “you-might-not-want-to-engage-with-this” reads at the bottom? And, does anyone have any suggestions for how we can better handle these posts?
And to the person who sent those links in: you’re not wrong to send them. I hope that people will still feel free to send in more links, even if we don’t end up posting all of them. Part of the work of providing resources is sifting through links to find the ones most likely to be helpful. I think it would be more productive to strengthen our filter than to discourage people from linking things in the first place. (And btw, our team doesn’t have to be the only ones making linkspams. If you’re up for it, you can consider taking Queenie’s linkspam challenge!)
Let’s strive to make this a community where we have compassion for each other. Let’s try to make this the best community we can possibly be.
- Our forum software allows PM conversations to have multiple recipients. You can find the usernames of all of our writing team members listed on our team page.