Changing tone

To Suki and anon and anyone else who hasn't commented but feels a changing tone:

I'm sorry you feel sad and/or marginalized.

I've felt the same changing tone, too. In the beginning, I think people were just so happy to be at a site where they weren't being kicked in the gut for making little decisions that seemed huge at the time but are so minimal (the angst over pacifiers, for instance) that everyone was so nice to each other.

But over the past few years, I think Ask Moxie has gotten a reputation for being a place where anything goes. And, to some degree it is, in that I really do think people are trying to do the best thing for their own kids and it seems all the commenters do, too.

So when I step in, and make what sound like mean posts, or like everyone has to agree with what I say, I do it on two very specific occasions:

1) Advocating spanking and physical abuse as a valid disciplinary method. I do believe it's wrong, and my stance on that is not going to change. I do not look down on any person who spanks. But spanking itself as a valid choice I do not agree with, and I'd hope that people who use spanking specifically could look at other methods. This is never going to be a site that OKs violence against kids.

2) Comments that denigrate other people. And that's what the comment that started this yesterday did. The commenter basically said that moms who fed formula had no right to complain because they should have breastfed. A few months ago there was another comment that came out blazing against a huge segment of the moms who read this blog, and I responded the same way.

The very reason I started this site was so that people wouldn't be denigrated for making the decisions they do. And yet when I patrol the comments it's too mean.

I see a huge difference between being a safe space to confess weaknesses or talk through a process, and being a safe place to judge other people. Remember that this site gets around 40,000 hits a week. That's a lot of people coming to read and comment. Maybe it's just suffering the same fate as the rest of the internet–more posts = judgment.

I really wish we could get back to the days when no one dared to sayanything mean about someone else. They expressed opinions, but not in
an inflammatory or offensive way.

What's the solution? Should I just let commenters duke it out among themselves? Would that make things feel comfortable like they used to? I'm not sure it would. I feel like I need to step in when someone says something hurtful, or else I'm complicit in the hurt.


97 thoughts on “Changing tone”

  1. Moxie, you brought tears to my eyes, as you have done so many times before. I really, really, appreciate your response to my and others’ concerns that the tone of this place has changed. I felt over recent months that people were being shat on when it wasn’t deserved (remember the poster’s concern over serving alcohol at a baby shower anyone?) and the site was leaving me feeling icky instead of warm and supported like it used to. I just really appreciate your candor and the respect that you have shown by taking the time to respond so thoughtfully to that concern. Thank you.

  2. Some of this will probably come out sounding a bit pompous, but I can’t figure out how else to say it:One of the things that attracted me to this site was that most, if not all, of the comments were and are well written, intelligent, thought out (or as thought out as a sleep deprived mama can manage anyway), and even have good spelling. That last part especially sounds trivial, but in a world of yahoo! comment and advice boards filled with nonsense text message-like abbreviations and suggestions to just put whiskey on their teeth, Moxie is refreshingly smart. (I shit you not, I visited one health Q & A site that included a question asking how far into the uterus a man’s penis goes during intercourse…. it had about 50 “I don’t know, that’s a good question” answers.) I thought at first that maybe someone was patrolling to just keep the “smart” comments up. That sounds terrible, but there you go. The longer I hung around the more I realized that it was actually just a community of people who are in fact intelligent, and non-judgmental enough that even though I won’t always agree, I would never feel uncomfortable saying so.
    There are some other “mommy blog” sites that I can occasionally enjoy but are so full of themselves and there perfect parentness that it just makes me wanna yell, and I never feel that here.
    I’ve been hanging out here for a while, and I have not seen a change in tone. I do always love the q & a posts, because that really opens up a discussion with different ideas and suggestions for parenting, all of which I love to hear (even, again, if I don’t agree) and always wish for more.

  3. Some of this will probably come out sounding a bit pompous, but I can’t figure out how else to say it:One of the things that attracted me to this site was that most, if not all, of the comments were and are well written, intelligent, thought out (or as thought out as a sleep deprived mama can manage anyway), and even have good spelling. That last part especially sounds trivial, but in a world of yahoo! comment and advice boards filled with nonsense text message-like abbreviations and suggestions to just put whiskey on their teeth, Moxie is refreshingly smart. (I shit you not, I visited one health Q & A site that included a question asking how far into the uterus a man’s penis goes during intercourse…. it had about 50 “I don’t know, that’s a good question” answers.) I thought at first that maybe someone was patrolling to just keep the “smart” comments up. That sounds terrible, but there you go. The longer I hung around the more I realized that it was actually just a community of people who are in fact intelligent, and non-judgmental enough that even though I won’t always agree, I would never feel uncomfortable saying so.
    There are some other “mommy blog” sites that I can occasionally enjoy but are so full of themselves and there perfect parentness that it just makes me wanna yell, and I never feel that here.
    I’ve been hanging out here for a while, and I have not seen a change in tone. I do always love the q & a posts, because that really opens up a discussion with different ideas and suggestions for parenting, all of which I love to hear (even, again, if I don’t agree) and always wish for more.

  4. I think it is entirely appropriate for you to encourage (and even patrol) common courtesy. There is no excuse for anyone to ever be mean spirited, even on the internet, even when emotions are involved, even when you strongly disagree. There is nothing to be gained by being hurtful, demeaning or judgmental!! Thanks for stepping in, Moxie!

  5. Moxie, I personally felt that your response to the commenter in the “food safety” post was warranted because you specifically asked people *not* to turn the info into a nasty anti-formula position.As far as trying to keep so many readers and commenters playing nice in spite of different opinions and different methods, I think you (and the commenters!) do a really great job. The blogs where every nods and smiles and agrees on everything? Boring. And not really places to learn from.

  6. Please, please continue to step in when necessary. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw your response in yesterday’s comments. Had you not stepped in, this would not have felt like a safe space at all.Shutting down dissent and refereeing the tone of the conversation are two different things. In my mind, you were definitely doing the latter.

  7. I don’t doubt that this site has helped countless women. The info on sleep regressions, developmental spurts, and PPD prevention was invaluable to me when my kid was first born. However, the biggest shift that I have seen is definitely to “anything goes,” as you put it. I feel like you used to inject more of your personal parenting philosophy into things, and I liked that. Some of it I hadn’t even thought of yet, and it was refreshing, like “open your eyes, you don’t have to follow the Spock manual your mother did.” But you definitely leaned more toward AP parenting and listening to the needs of your child. If a poster had written in talking about wanting to CIO her 4 month old at the inception of this site, I feel like you would have sympathized, then helped her brainstorm ways not to do it. Then it became “Well, it works for some kids.” Then it became a gallery of commenters talking about how they Ferberized, and their kids are fine. I could get that at Babycenter. I don’t point friends here anymore due to the undermining nature of some of the comments. Suddenly listening to the needs of your child turns into “let them cry til they are purple, they must need that if you, the parent, think so.” No, some things are about parents’ needs and parents not knowing they have other options.And let’s say you get a breastfeeding issue post, you get a gallery of people chiming in about how it’s OK to quit, which totally invalidates the mother for wanting to fix her problem. I’d love to see more moderation on stuff like that, i.e. “Answer so and so’s question, otherwise leave it alone.” There is clearly so much guilt and regret among people who couldn’t or did not choose to breastfeed, and it seems like it’s now hard to discuss breastfeeding without worrying about offending the formula feeders. I do not give a crap about how someone feeds her kid, but I am a big fan of accurate, helpful information being shared, rather than people’s individual baggage and readiness to dismiss a mother who wants to work through something as being “too hard on herself.”
    I think it’s OK to have more obvious personal opinions and let them guide your discussions, basically. “Whatever works for you, as long as you aren’t hitting the kid” doesn’t ring true for me. I’d like to see a little more of an underlying philosophy, unless that really is where you netted out. Not dogma, but alternatives to the typical mainstream parenting methods that often don’t seem to solve the problem or let the people using them feel particularly at ease, judging from all the reactivity if alternatives get suggested. And whatever, really, this is your site, and I’ll click through if a post interests me, but it’s getting rarer and rarer, and I have a really tough time wading into the comments. I do wish you tons and tons of success, of course. A larger audience is definitely a challenge.

  8. I think the best sites/blogs are those where there is a shared notion of what is okay and what isn’t. I think back to the glory days of where they had a clear list of rules. People may have disagreed with some of the rules, they were clear, and if they violated the rules they got moderated.As the Moxie of AskMoxie, you certainly are entitled to setting guidelines as you did in the “Food Safety” post. When the guidelines you set were violated, you moderated. And, other readers did some moderating too. But you doing moderation is, I think, the most important thing because otherwise comment sections could become all-out flame wars, which just doesn’t jive with what I sense you want the site to be.
    It’s the equivalent of the “under my roof you follow my rules” cliche. It’s your site, and you should initiate smackdown mode when people
    don’t follow guidelines you’ve set.

  9. Since we’re sharing… what I miss about this site is the Q and A. This site saved me when my son was first born, because every day I opened it to a new discussion about a problem I was either currently dealing with, or knew I’d be dealing with really soon. Now I open it and I don’t see that info anymore, at least not nearly as often. Don’t get me wrong – the discussions about self discovery and divorce and personal issues are important. But it isn’t why I came. My son is 18 months and I’m pregnant with my second, and I miss the parenting help – sleep, tantrums, discipline, siblings, school, etc. I miss that. Still a great site, but I’m not here nearly as often now. Maybe its just a time of life thing, who knows.

  10. This is your blog. People are welcome to get their own blogs if they do not want to communicate on your terms of appropriateness. I think it is up to you to express limits and to enforce consequences for inappropriate posts.

  11. The women who live in the computer at this site have been amazingly helpful to me, before I was a mom and now that I am one. I will never be done being grateful for that.Still, I do see a change in this site. I do think that it is a maturation of a number of things, Moxie’s kids, Moxie’s relationship with herself, and Moxie’s vision/voice of being someone who can help others.
    I miss the question / answer but I love the occasional primal scream day. I think yesterday’s moderation was necessary but I have to admit that when I’m checking on comments I go from the bottom up so I didn’t realize that Moxie’s last line was a repeat of the commenter and when I first read it I thought “Wow! That was harsh”.
    Thank you Moxie, for everything you do.

  12. Man, I really debated whether or not to post a comment on this, but because I have such a great deal of respect for you (Moxie) and this site I’ll risk it.Basically, while I respect your beliefs on spanking, and I understand that this is your site and you can establish any rules/guidelines you see fit, I think it is a bad decision to shut down any respectful discussion regarding the merits of spanking. Just like formula use, cry-it-out and other more “controversial” parenting decisions, allowing an open and respectful discussion on all issues only enriches the wonderful forum you have fostered in your comments. I realize you have to draw a line somewhere, I just disagree that spanking is that line.* I think people can disagree, even on controversial issues, and still be respectful. However, I completely agree that you should step in and moderate disrespectful (or worse) comments.
    *I also wanted to note that I’m not interested in debating the merits of spanking in this particular comment thread. 1) I think that it’s beside the point of this post, and 2) I don’t feel the need to convince someone one way or the other, because I honestly don’t think spanking makes or breaks anyone’s parenting.

  13. Wait–you guys thought this was an AP site?The reason I started saying that fuss-it-out worked for some kids was that I saw very clearly that it was what my second kid needed. All of a sudden that came into clear focus. No way to preach any “no crying ever” message when a kid who could only fall asleep by crying was in my house.

  14. I am the aforementioned anon, who obviously lied when I said I wouldn’t be coming back. I am not a regular commenter (not sure if I ever have), or I’d “come out,” but I am a regular reader.I just wanted to clarify that I am not blaming Moxie’s comment in the formula post (or lack of comments to previous snarky posts) for the change in tone. I think it’s partly a product of having more readers, and partly of having different type posts of late. There seem to be fewer responding-to-deperate-mom posts and more what’s-up-in-general posts. Having only been around here for about a year and a half, I don’t know if that’s a natural cycle or what.
    Anyway, I maintain that this site has been a blessing in my life, due to Moxie as well as her dear readers, but just may no longer apply. And that is totally OK. As mom2.0 said so well, if I don’t like it, I can get my own blog. I just commented to support Suki’s post, because I agreed and because that’s what people around here do.

  15. I’m really glad you posted this topic, Moxie. I’m a first time commenter, but I’ve been reading for almost two years and have read through the archives back to about the one year anniversary of the site. I now have a 10 month old daughter and find much of the advice I’ve gathered here to be invaluable. I realize that I am probably out of line adding to this conversation, given that I have contributed zero content here, but perhaps I speak for some of my fellow lurkers.I’ve been mulling over an email to you for a few weeks now because I, too, have noticed a change and feel as though this site is at a crossroads.
    First off, I did think your response to badmom was appropriate and well timed. I attribute more of the “chastising/keeping in line” type comments to my fellow readers than to you, yourself. I think this might have come about in recent months because you’ve been “around” less often yourself (posting less frequently and juggling many responsibilities), and I have the sense that long time readers/frequent commenters have stepped into the void a bit. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to discussions in which there’s less room for dissent.
    I’ve noticed that you’ve posted an increasing number of topics that are outside the more universal aspects of parenting (sleep/infant feeding/developmental milestones/etc.). I have to believe this is partially because your boys are growing up and the umpteenth billion question about a 10 month old who WON’T EVER SLEEP (sorry– got off track…) is not all that relevant or interesting for you. Even though I almost always agree politically with you and most of the posters– and I am a city-dwelling, advanced degree-holding, 30-something, married WOHM– I do think that the less welcoming posts for me tend to be the posts that are less universal in focus (for example, posts about “cheap plastic crap”). I feel that these posts seem to bring less reasoned responses.
    Perhaps this is a good time for you to assess whether you want to revise the “Who is Moxie?” section in your sidebar. Does it make sense to define the community more explicitly? For instance, I appreciate your statement in today’s post that you won’t ever condone spanking because it sets a clear guideline about a value you expect this community to uphold. If someone violently disagrees with your position (no pun intended), he or she can stay away or keep silent on the point.
    Would a manifesto of sorts be exclusionary? Yes, absolutely. For many of the reasons anonforthisone (6:22) described, I don’t think that’s a horrible price to pay if you want to continue to discuss topics that are outside the more universal topics I described above. For instance, I feel as though every time you post anything that remotely seems like a middle-class/upper-class concern, you have to include a paragraph of disclaimer and commenters still jump all over each other pointing out how privileged we are to even face the issue. Perhaps a manifesto could address this point up front.
    Thanks to you and your frequent comments for all of your hard work building and maintaining this community!

  16. I didn’t think this was an AP site, which is why I feel comfortable here. I posted something to this effect way at the end of the baby-wearing thread, but I’ll say it again. Some aspects of the way my husband and I parent our kid fit in well with AP, and some don’t (being unable to breastfeed was a big one). That’s just how things have worked out.I’ve found support here for being pragmatic and clever and finding strategies that help individual families with different needs (and which are composed of people with different personalities). The ultimate goal for most people here seems to be having a secure, happy, well-loved child and parents who on balance enjoy their children. That’s my goal, anyway, and that’s why I come here.
    I read some mommy blogs for their entertainment value, but I never read the comments. So far, on AskMoxie, the comments are almost as valuable as the original post. The people who post here are so smart and (generally) kind that I would like to meet them in real life. Can’t say that for most of the internet. That said, I agree with the poster who likes it when you (Moxie) bring in more of your own opinion. It’s usually spot-on.
    Right now all is pretty quiet on the Western Front (although I do hear some mumbling from the crib). I fully intend to consult Moxie and the wise moms (and the occasional dad) of AskMoxie when the baby poop hits the fan again, because it definitely will.

  17. I thought I posted this but maybe not–apologies for duplicates.I don’t think this is an AP site, which is why I feel comfortable here. I was all for AP before I had an actual baby, and lo and behold, some of it didn’t end up fitting us or our actual child. Some of it did.
    Moxie and the posters on this site seem to share the goal of secure, happy, well-loved children and parents who on balance enjoy their children. How you get there could look very different in different families. That’s why the wealth of experience here is so helpful.
    I read a couple of mommy blogs for their entertainment value, but I never read the comments. Here, the comments are almost as valuable as Moxie’s reply. Most are empathetic and constructive, apparently written by people who I would like to meet in real life (and I’d like to add that I particularly enjoy the international perspective–sometimes helps us Americans calm down a little). That said, I really like hearing what you (Moxie) have to say, because it is well-reasoned and spot-on (and in itself helps set the tone for the ensuing conversation).
    I come here for help when things are rough, and when they’re not I enjoy posting my experiences to hopefully help others through a rough patch. It does feel like a community, and I hope that doesn’t change.

  18. I have only ever found this site to be an oasis (I mean that, truly) of support, humor, information and reality-checks. But I am a newcomer, relatively, as I have only been visiting this site for a year and a half.Perhaps I am part of the problem with the changing tone, however, because I tell all my friends about this site as soon as they have their first babies. I’m sure the increase in participants has changed the tone, and I’m sure something has been lost- though also gained? I take comfort in the sheer number of responses, the number of people struggling with the same things I am. (My issue, for example, is sleep, and as all the moms I know personally now have good sleepers while I am still struggling, this site is my recourse.)
    I think, Moxie, that you should respond to posts whose tone you don’t like. It’s the tone you set originally that makes this site what it is, and it’s your personal opinions that drew us here in the first place.
    Regarding badmom’s post, for what it’s worth I thought the kind of situations you and others mentioned- where someone can’t physically nurse, or where nursing leads to PPD – are precisely the “emergency” (not sure that’s the word badmom used, sorry if I misquote) situations badmom was talking about and so I didn’t find it as caustic or aggressive as you did. But nursing came easily for me, so I am probably insensitive on this issue.
    I can imagine how someone might feel, though- I have finally decided to try the Ferber method on my 18 month old after trying everything- co-sleeping, mattress on the floor, husband took over nights entirely, researched medical reasons, etc. etc.- and we are still in a totally unlivable and unsustainable place that is hurting both of us physically and leaves me struggling with depression. I am heartbroken and doing this only as a last resort, to survive. And so I can imagine how someone who really tried to breastfeed but couldn’t would feel. I believe deeply that letting my baby cry in her crib is not the best way to go (far from it) and I don’t need anyone to tell me that. What I need is for people to be very very gentle with me. If I were to write in that I was about to do Ferber and someone wrote something that sounded (to my sensitive ear) like I am taking the easy way out and will have only myself to blame if my child becomes withdrawn, loses trust, throws tantrums, etc., I would be crushed.
    So, yes, keep it a safe space.

  19. One, I haven’t noticed a change in tone. I have noticed a couple of zingers that have appeared from posters, and Moxie has swooped in to ensure that the site remains supportive of her philosophy. It is her site after all, and she has the right and responsibility to soften the extreme views that might be hurtful to others. Moxie is savvy in her ability to tease out the nuances of an issue, and if she senses that someone is ignoring the range of perspectives and doing so in an insulting way, then she should indeed try to get folks to play nice.Two, someone said that it isn’t worth reading a bunch of “I agree” comments. However, I come to this site for information from (mostly) women who are like-minded, who care about what I care about, who have experiences that I don’t have, and who have creative solutions to my problems. E.g., all the posters have agreed that there are problems with formula production in the US and China. Okay, not surprising. But I’ve learned so much about other environmental concerns, have spent my day following links, and have generally raised my awareness and have recommitted myself to organic whole foods. All in a short couple of hours. Where else can I get *THAT* on the internets?
    Third, I think Moxie has been clear about what she considers “safe”** and what isn’t — about what she’ll protect, and about what she’ll allow. I know that many anon posters have shared some things here that they never would IRL; in particular, I’m haunted by the post of the woman who wrote that she was about to give birth but would give up her baby if she could (and I think about her a lot). Everyone responded to that poster with kindness, compassion, and serious concern — not judgment, horror, or denigration. My point is that it isn’t “anything goes” here at Moxie. People are careful, discerning, ethical, and quick-witted. So if something does go awry, then Moxie has every right to step in.
    **I spend my academic life critiquing constructs such as “safe space” and “community” because I’m not convinced that those constructs exist in any pure form — thus I put “scare quotes” around them. Sorry. I can’t help myself.

  20. Moxie – Apologies in advance as I only have a few minutes to respond.I do believe that you have to step in a let readers/contributers know when their input violates the tone of this site…which I believe to be a safe place to ask questions and get advice without being judged.
    This is the only parenting site that I log into every day and the knowledge, support, advice and assurance I receive from your posts and readers is priceless.
    Those that want to judge should take their comments elsewhere, because I will not continue to read if this becomes another place that makes me (and others?) feel bad about the choices they are making. We get that from so many places…I never expected it to be an issue here.

  21. Although I’ve never commented here before, this site has been a real lifeline for me a several times–and the long and thoughtful comment threads are a big part of why. Honestly, from the high quality of most of the discussion here, I would have thought you did a lot more active moderation.The best stuff on comment moderation I’ve seen is from Teresa Nielsen Hayden who co-runs Making Light, and also is the “community manager” for BoingBoing.
    See for example, her list of basic principles for comment moderation:
    You do a lot of this already.
    The short version: at a certain point, you have to moderate in order to keep the conversation healthy and productive. You don’t need a manifesto. You’ve got your own sense, a great community, and a bunch of solid regulars that know the culture here and help explain it to others. You just need to weed out whatever you find offensive or upsetting. Politely explaining your rules is well within your rights as host. So is deleting comments, if that seems called for.

  22. I’d like a shift back to Q&A from readers, rather than generalized “how’s it going” posts. If that’s the shift that people are talking about, then I’ve noticed it too.BTW, I never thought this was an AP site — or any other dogmatic style. Moxie your advice to readers has always been eclectic and poetic.

  23. i’ve only been a reader for 8ish months, but read the archives extensively.yes, i think there are some tonal changes – you’re busier and more distracted and maybe were focusing extra energy here to avoid some relationship crap before. and the fact your kiddos are growing out of the baby phase and into older child dilemmas also means a shift, to school-age problems. deity willing, in 10 or so years we’ll be able to read about how to think through setting rules for dating or study hints.
    what i’m saying is, life changes. your blog reflects your life, and if it shifts some, that’s ok. the main things i get here are the ‘you are your child’s best parent’ thought, some concrete tidbits to try, and a glimpse of the skills i can emulate that you and some of your commenters have to really think through what i’m trying to produce in my child.
    thanks for being here, moxie & moxites.

  24. Moxie,As Mom2.0 put it plainly: this is your blog. If readers find that your netiquette is somehow inappropriate, then there are alternative mom-blogs aplenty (though, I’ll admit, yours reigns supreme).
    I also want to agree with someone above: I sometimes miss the reader Q & A type posts, which seem to appear with less frequency than before. I swear those got me through some tough times in the past.
    All in all, a great site with a wonderful online vibe, if you ask me.

  25. Another lurker here, to weigh in.I belong to several online communities, between BabyCenter, Hyperemesis Foundation, BabyCenter Canada, as well as my own blog/friends blogs, etc. I am a breast feeding laptop mom who believes in whatever the heck works for my baby works for me. One day we’re Ferber, five minutes later I’m the AP mom wearing my peace sign *bling* and the next I probably look like a form of the devil, I’m pretty sure anyway.
    I’m noticing in the BabyCenter community where it seems as though ANYTHING goes in certain areas (aka, the notorious birth club) women are ATTACKING each other. Heaven for bid you bring up topics like bumbo chairs in the bathtub, crying it out, starting solids at x-month/day/hour, formula versus breast versus whatever… there are trolls out there who make it their past time to shoot down other women.
    It’s horrific. I work as a Registered Nurse when I’m not a momma and it’s one of the reasons I will most likely leave the profession. Bullying ANYWHERE is horrible. I don’t care if you’re in the playground, coffee shop, sandbox, etc. It’s abusive and should not be tolerated.
    That being said, this is the internet and you can’t block people from coming to your site and leaving a message. You can moderate out spam and outward attacks, but especially when it’s hidden typed abuse OR someone just simply finds it a personal attack it can be really hard.
    My “motherly advice” to readers, commenters, etc would probably be that it’s entirely unfortunate if you find some internet comment to personally offend you. But you’re perfectly welcome to click off of the site and continue on until you find a place where you’re safe and comfortable. That being said, some people enjoy living in conflict and raising their view points and unfortunately it’s going to make other people squirm.
    I come here to read about whats new and exciting in child rearing. It’s been eight years since I’ve had a baby and it’s nice and refreshing to read what everyone else is trying. It’s benefited my baby and it’s kept me entertained while I’m cluster feeding and trying to escape the monotony of being the stay at home mom. My knowledge looks more like a patchwork quilt than it does a typed out textbook, which is so entirely awesome.
    In the words of my mom – fight nice. Turn off the computer and step away BEFORE you type that long winded attack to commenter12039.
    Moxie have you ever tried the Beer Goggles feature on gmail? I think it would be cool to have the same function on the comment section. Some “moxie” goggles, ha ha ha. I.e. – go change a diaper and put away a load of laundry before this comment will be posted.

  26. When I came here I felt it was a supportive place that encouraged positive parenting, and raising your children with respect. I loved all these things so it felt comfortable to me. But I also felt it respected the people who visited by accepting that these things were not always possible (or choices people made)and we are all fallible. And importantly, I felt Moxie treated us like intelligent people who were trying to the best we could, even if it didn’t always happen.When i see non-encouraging comments I guess I see the surrounding environment as being so positive I can move past them. This is probably the only place on the internet I can do that.

  27. I think Moxie is doing a great job at moderating. After all, she explicity stated that she didn’t want the topic to spark any guilt-inducing, anti-formula rants, which is exactly what badmom posted. I think this site is still a place for respectful, non-angry, discussion and possible disagreement.However, I do agree with the many that have said they miss the more frequent Q&A posts. Lately, it’s seemed more like Moxie Asks here than Ask Moxie. 🙂

  28. Moxie, this is your dinner party. If you had a guest becoming overbearing and insulting in tone to the others I would hope that you would step in and smooth things over. It’s totally cool. If you’re worried about offending, maybe consider addressing the tone/topic rather than the poster directly.

  29. Okay, I’m just going to come right out and admit that the attacks on me RE: the alcohol at the baby shower totally made me cry. Yes, cry. I mention this because when my husband asked why I was crying, I said it was because of something that happened on a blog. He said I was being ridiculous because blogs are full of commenters being rude to one another. I said he didn’t get it because nobody was EVER mean like that on Ask Moxie, so for anybody to breach that supportive culture to attack me, it must mean that I’m a really awful and hated person. I, too, considered leaving Ask Moxie, mostly because I didn’t want to be this object of hate who everybody would against and thus ruin the tone of Ask Moxie. I was going to leave because I had so much respect for Moxie and didn’t want to see her blog turn ugly. But several people stood up for me and made me realize that I shouldn’t let a few mean comments get me down, so that’s why I’m still here. (You all better not be groaning right now!)I think it’s okay to step in if people are attacking one another. It’s not okay to step in just because people disagree, and I don’t think Moxie has done that. The trouble is, when it comes to parenting, the line between differences of opinion and personal attacks is often pretty blurry.

  30. I’m among those who hadn’t noticed much of a change–Moxie has always called out posters who she felt stepped over the line, and I’ve felt her choices in such matters have been judicious. I comment fairly often and I feel like I “know” a lot of other folks here, so some mild argument just feels like family disagreeing–mostly people are respectful.I do think Moxie has been busier, but it seems understandable…and also more focused on the more diffuse and intellectual issues of older kids in her personal life. Me too, so that goes down OK–I’m feeling less qualified to comment on baby questions these days since it’s been 3 years since I had one. Maybe we should be writing in with intereting questions (succinctly explain the history of American race relations and therefore why it matters that a dark-skinned person has been elected president, to a 4-year-old; help said 4 avoid worrying about bad dreams; will the Princess stage ever pass?) I think about all this stuff but it’s not an emergency the way “I haven’t slept in months” is so I haven’t written to Moxie.
    Anyway, I support your right to manage your blog any way you like, Moxie–I remain a grateful fan.

  31. I have been reading this site and commenting infrequently since the beginning. I agree that this is Moxie’s blog and that she should moderate comments when appropriate. I think it was appropriate of her to jump in and moderate a bit after badmom’s comment yesterday.I also agreed yesterday with Suki (but didn’t comment) about the tone. A few people asked for specific examples… I think Moxie could have moderated badmom’s comment without calling it judgy and misogynistic. I also felt that the last line where she kind of threw badmom’s (rather insulting) words back at her was just stooping to badmom’s level instead of rising above it.
    I do feel like there has been a change over the past year or so… I would normally have expected Moxie’s response to be along the lines of “Badmom, I appreciate that you have very strong opinions about the importance of breastfeeding. However, many mothers must use formula and in this community we respect that choice. Please refrain from comments that are hurtful to these mothers.” Something that gives badmom some benefit of the doubt but firmly moderates her comment.
    Basically, Moxie, I think you can moderate and respond appropriately without getting adversarial with the commenter.
    I also miss the Q&A posts, and feel like the recent content has been more Moxie-driven than reader-driven. I figured that Moxie was either busy or hadn’t gotten a lot of new topics. With so much great info in the archives, maybe it’s hard to keep doing Q&A?
    Anyway, Moxie, I appreciate that you are so open to feedback. Even those of us with some criticisms love your site and want to see it continue to be so successful. Thank you for all the work you do here!

  32. i’m trying to think about if i think things here have changed or if it’s just been my own brain in baby bootcamp and barely being here enough to fully engage the way i like to. i would say that in many ways i have been proud of moxie these past few months, in the sense that what i have seen is her own voice coming out in a way i hadn’t previously seen in the past few years i’ve been blessed to be a part of this community. i’ve attributed it to what i imagine is typical for anyone who has had a major life change that has stimulated growth- and i think that it must be difficult for her to try and be objective (which i believe she does- we’ve all seen it and that’s why we’re here) when she feels strongly about something- i’m proud of her, give her the slack i imagine any working, newly-divorced single mama of two little guys deserves and i think most of us are being very aware of that.that said, i am as proud of anyone who speaks up when they feel differently- i have no problem with dissent and disagreement when it’s done in a respectful and constructive way (which is what i think moxie tries to enforce when she does pop in the comments), which is what makes this community so important to me, and so unique. i’ve definitely disagreed and spoken up (and chosen to stay silent) when i’ve decided it was appropriate, without fear of being slammed.
    that said, it’s deplorable to me that we don’t hold our food to the highest possible standards- on every level, for every person, regardless of age, location or class. the standards i hold myself and my family to w/r/t what we ingest- i want that for everyone, and i want it enforced by our new administration. i know it’s unlikely, and idealistic, but dammit, what we have done to our planet, it has to be obvious to more than just me how it is manifesting in our bodies in so many detrimental ways.
    so here is the ironic thing- i bf the bean, so much so that he will not take a bottle- it doesn’t bother me the way it did the pnut, but every so often i need to be away from him and it’s a bit of a pain. well, the past few days my husband was hospitalized for some cardiac issues- and i spent the whole weekend trying to get the bean to take formula from an old sippy cup with handles that was the pnuts- i imagine this ready-to-use chock-full-of-sugar organic formula has god knows what plastic in it- and probably the cup has bpa, and all i could do was try and get him to suck a little just so i could leave him with someone so i could be with my husband. i’m just sharing this since i really do agree with the commenters from yesterday that you just do the best you can- you demand excellence from those who are paid and elected to provide it, and know when to fold ’em personally.
    finally- it all turned out to be for nothing- never got anyone to hang with the bean anyway, so i just had him in the bjorn with me the whole time- i hoped the “no children allowed rule” could be wiggled and it was, thank god. he was with me all over the hospital, invasive surgery area, recovery room for 6 hours, upstairs, all over. the staff couldn’t have been sweeter and more supportive of me- it’s making me tear up (probably pent up stress/relief) and loved this little munchkin who had a blast smiling at every new friend he made there. not one person gave me a hard time- not one- everyone smiled at him and me and asked me if they could help us in any way- anyway it made me think of a comment from yesterday- if we could change how, as a society we approach mothers/babies (parents/children) and just be more supportive of them so many of these ‘issues’ would just go away.
    bah, it’s late and i’m emotional and always grateful for all of you, and you most of all, moxie, for sustaining this place, which grows and evolves as we all do. my husband is recovering well, thank god, and should be ok, thank god, and i just wish you all peace and deep deep trust that this will remain a good and welcoming place for everyone.

  33. A friend of mine pointed out today that unmoderated sites turn into real zoos. And after some thinking about it, I have to agree with her. You go ahead and moderate Moxie. It’s your boat and you steer it!

  34. Moderate as you feel fit — tis your blog!I agree that the “Ask Moxie” site has become a bit more “Moxie Asks,” and I do miss the Q & A’s. And maybe others above are correct in thinking that the reasons for this shift have to do with the age of your own children.
    I’d hate to see the Q & A’s go entirely. The archives are great, but sometimes a fresh round of comments are OK too!

  35. Moderate as you feel fit — tis your blog!I agree that the “Ask Moxie” site has become a bit more “Moxie Asks,” and I do miss the Q & A’s. And maybe others above are correct in thinking that the reasons for this shift have to do with the age of your own children.
    I’d hate to see the Q & A’s go entirely. The archives are great, but sometimes a fresh round of comments are OK too!

  36. @ anon, 6:59pm. I gotta say, your post made me *really* uncomfortable. I am as attached to my 5 mo old baby girl as anyone could possibly be to their baby (and she to me), yet I DO NOT and WILL NOT ever follow AP as it is extolled by Dr. Sears et al. To me, attachment parenting is loving your baby and demonstrating that love through attumnement to them and caring, respectful interaction. Co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, and being a SAHM are personal choices that are neither superior or inferior…and FWIT, CIO is also a personal choice.One of the reasons I loooove this site is that it is not typified by a style of parenting, but more so encourages every parent to be true to themselves, not to Sears, Weissbluth, Ferber, Gordon, or whoever. I’ve found the Moxie community on the whole to be compassionate and supportive. To that end, Moxie, I really ppreciated your response to badmom.
    Anon, reading your post I felt the same sting of judgement and superiority that has turned me off other blogs. My intent here is not to say that AP is bad, but more to say I’m every bit as warm, loving and attached as you are probably, even though I choose not to follow it (at this point i could really get into why, but I will not).
    Thanks Moxie, for providing a democratic, safe, and nurturing community that has enriched my experience of parenting.

  37. I thought your response yesterday to Badmom was appropriate, especially in light of the instruction in the original post to not take this situation as an opportunity to criticize parents who formula feed.And I say this as someone who has exclusively breast fed (#1 for 2 years and #2 for 13 months & counting).
    Regarding the tone of the site in general, I feel like the core tone remains the same, and I just skip over comments when things seem to get testy.
    At the end of the day, Moxie, it is your site and you should handle it as you feel appropriate.

  38. I have been a reader of AskMoxie since almost day 1. I used to read the comments religiously and comment frequently. I found the website a dynamic, supportive, fun community of moms who mostly seemed to want to help each other out. Moxie seemed to be “one of us,” for lack of a better expression. I referred people (online and in the real world) here right and left.But I have to agree with Charisse a few comments up. I find that the content of the website is what has changed and the tone has followed from that … I guess maybe the fact that Moxie has changed her life so dramatically and wholesale, and maybe doesn’t “need” this site to keep up her sanity (as she has mentioned on occasion it used to), has made it feel like she isn’t really paying attention anymore. And so the questions/answers aren’t as interesting or thorough, the comments get a little out of control.
    I see upon re-reading that I sound pretty “judgy,” but I have become disappointed in the quality of what I read when I click on AskMoxie. Moxie is a real person, with a job and kids and family stuff etc etc etc. She doesn’t exist to run this website for the nameless, faceless Interwebs. But if there is a change in tone here, it feels to me as if it stems from Moxie being a bit on autopilot. I’m not going to quit reading … but AskMoxie has become a “click and skim” rather than a “pour over and digest” website to me.

  39. My daughter is almost 2 and like many others, AskMoxie has been a life saver for me too. I’ve learned a lot of “methods” and gleaned tons of advice for sure, but the real gem is that AskMoxie has empowered me to be confident in my mothering. One who feels that experts and advice givers are valuable, but at the end of the day maybe I DO know what’s best for my baby and that I AM doing a good job.This has been especially key for me because I live overseas in a developing country where my family is far away and both my OB and pediatrician take a pretty hands off approach.
    You were right on to moderate that comment. Its tone was harsh and judgmental. We mothers are constantly questioning and judging and regretting and guilting all by ourselves, we don’t need anyone to help us do it more.

  40. My life has been kind of crazy lately; it seems like we’re reacting to various crises more than smoothly moving through our routines. So I haven’t been reading regularly enough to comment on any changes in tone.But I did think that Moxie’s response to badmom was along the lines of being assertive and protective (of both this site and formula-feeding moms), not mean. The first time I read I was just relieved that Moxie had said something. I went back and reread it after seeing this post just to be sure, and it still came across as more boundary-setting than attacking to me.
    I think that in some sites you wouldn’t see that kind of exchange (between poster and moderator) because the comment would just be deleted. Actually, I hadn’t realized before that Moxie’s policy is only to delete spam…I thought there was probably already some heavy moderating going on.
    Which honestly makes me think that AskMoxie is doing pretty well – that we have such a large community here, and that our conversations are pretty much respectful and intelligent…kudos to us! 🙂
    I so very much wish I had had this site back in the days of my own experience with PPD…but it helps to know that I can refer other moms here now. Moxie’s also let us know how we can take action on a legislative level with this issue and that advice alone has been invaluable to me.
    In short, I love this site. And I think it’s to Moxie’s credit that we’re having this conversation at all – the hard thing is to address the issue, to examine where things are going wrong, and the fact that Moxie’s willing to do that hopefully will help to correct the issue.

  41. pnuts mama…warm hugs to you.on the topic…i like a good discussion, and it’s Moxie’s site…she should come in with comments…and the commenter has the freedom to weigh in again. It’s how we learn and grow.

  42. Apparently I read the formula comment in question a different way, and I did not find it especially off-putting.To me the gist was that of course by using a non-natural feeding method there are risks and unknowns at play. In my mind, this opened up a larger question of balancing modern life with the biological norm which went with the general topic of food safety in our society.
    The way the commenter wrote it did suggest that she thinks formula use is just a matter of choice, an opinion I see so much of I just assume it’s naivete at this point about the problems many have with breastfeeding. Honestly I don’t know anybody who used formula (and nobody without agonizing about it) when breastfeeding was going fine, and that includes me, so the idea that people blithely choose formula is alien to me.
    While I did not have a problem with Moxie stepping in and saying what she had said, I would have appreciated her acknowledging the reasonable part of the comment as well, rather than wholesale dismissing it.

  43. You know, I have noticed a change. I attributed to a couple things–a growing readership and also as a sign of a transition period… for Moxie. And me. And maybe a lot of other people here, too. I’ve been coming here, oh my, so much for the last couple years and it’s the damndest thing but that also means my kids are 2 years older, I’m 2 years wiser… so the group shifts. The dynamic shifts.Moxie has a right to moderate. I think a PP who suggested that maybe the Who Is Moxie section could be re-visited to clearly articulate the mission and vision and perhaps spirit guiding this site.
    I also do not and have never considered this an AP site. It has clearly (to me anyway) been a site that does not adhere to one parenting method/dogma.
    Shannon, I am so so sorry to hear that you were hurt by this space. I hope you’re feeling better and that it was a good thing for you to come out and express how you felt when that happened.
    Moxie has done so much for us. She’s done so much for me! You all have! I’m a better person and a better mama because of this space.

  44. Oh, one other thing: our loss of Hedra… let’s not foget her role. Her writing style and insights were, I think, huge contributors to the tone and grace of this site. I miss her.

  45. pnuts mama- I wish you the very best on your husbands road to recovery. I have a hard enough time taking my kids to the grocery store let alone a hospital in a scary situation. I’m so glad your son brought you comfort and you were able to be there for your husband.I acknowledged that I felt a change in tone yesterday and just wanted to add that for me it wasn’t about Moxie’s response to badmom-I felt it was warranted. The shift I felt was in the loss of the Q and A’s. I feel this community is at it’s best when we are dealing with a specific poster. We treat them like the human being they are and are very gentle. Things get gray when we are asked to sound off on a topic and we lose the tone of gentleness. I don’t know if this is a conscious shift by Moxie or a natural progression but this is her site so I will let her guide it to the best of her ability- which has served us all very well in the past. Thank you again, Moxie for all you do for me personally and for mothering in gereneral.
    Where’s Hedra?

  46. I’ve noticed a subtle change too. For what it’s worth, here’s my opinion on what/why things appear to have changed. There have been (as pps have noted) fewer Q&A posts, and more Moxie musings, of recent. I think that in and of itself has contributed to the appearance of change, but I think it’s more than that. In Q&A posts, a reader would write in with a question; often the reader was in a crisis, or at least at their wits end about something. Moxie, in replying, would take apart the reader’s problem into smaller, more manageable, bite-sized bits, and then would attempt to address each of those bits. And the key part of addressing the problem or problems was that Moxie would offer multiple (often conflicting!) possible solutions, making it clear that there is no one right way to solve any parenting problem. That approach effectively set the tone for that post and readers who chimed in with their comments would take the same egalitarian tone, saying “Hey, this might not work for you, but we tried…”.With the more recent “What is with the state of the world, people?” type posts, Moxie tends to just state her opinion, and then ask the readers what they think — which she of course is allowed to do! This is her blog, after all. But, in putting up a post that, unlike most of the Q&A posts, is relatively more one-sided, readers are automatically put into a position of agreeing or disagreeing. And because Moxie isn’t afraid to talk about contentious issues, it is more than likely that people are *really* going to agree or disagree. This, I think, is the source of the recent tone of the site. In short, without Moxie telling us “Hey, it’s ok to have different ways of doing things, and look, here are three or four of them,” people fall into their old ways of thinking that their way is the only way. We Moxie readers may have lovely spelling and grammar, but we are occasionally, humanly, forgetful that “by any means possible” means just that: we as parents need support to do whatever it takes to parent our kids in the best, gentlest, kindest way possible, even if whatever it takes is different from whatever everyone else is doing.
    (And, I think that the reason that the primal screams *rarely* descended into chaos is that they were always posted in response to Moxie going through some crisis of her own. Everyone got behind her and shouted out support, and then asked for a little of their own. Again, no sense that you had to agree or disagree.)

  47. Hedra is fabulous.I love this site. I found it googling sleep deprivation when my son was seven months old. He’s 14 months now and it seems like lifetime ago. He and I have both grown so much. As much as this site is an expression of Moxie herself, it makes sense to me that the site will reflect her growth – and maybe experience some growing pains, too.
    I’m stressed lately and I try to avoid posting on blogs, websites, etc. because I am waaaay touchier than usual. But I have HUGE guilt issues (not regret yet, still guilt) about not breast feeding and not that my issue is BadMom’s issue but that post was like a kick in the gut. So I appreciated Moxie coming in and restating that this site isn’t a place to make anyone feel bad about their choices when we don’t know what lead them to their choices in the first place. I am not the model parent for this site. I formula fed, he wears disposable diapers, he’s in daycare, sleeps in a crib and my house is full of CPC but I still feel welcome here and that is in large part to the tone that Moxie sets and the majority of posters follow.

  48. nothing but thankful for this site; and the posters.yes i have observations.
    yes they could probably become critisms.
    but i feel like this is a ‘real’ relationship.
    some i watch,
    some i comment on,
    and some i am actively vested in.
    you guys kept me sane and laughing during a very desperate time in my life. a gift.
    so gracegracegrace to us all.
    and the biggest thank you to Moxie.
    where’s Hedra;
    is she okay?

  49. I am the original anon. from the previous discussion – the change of tone that I am referring to is not the change of content that others have discussed. The content is, of course, the province of Moxie, it is her blog, and if we want to read what she has to say we can, or not.It is more of a harshness to some of the comments, sometimes from commenters, but honestly, it is more noticable when it comes from a Moxie-moderating comment. Often, lately, when there are moderating comments, I have felt that they were very harsh, black-and-white responses. For the BadMom comment, I like the gentle reigning in style of the rewrite offereed earlier in this thread rather than the “judgy and misogynistic” language that was used.
    I absolutely agree that moderating is an essential part of keeping this blog the great community that it is, and it is certainly Moxie’s right to do that. But it can be done gently to address and diffuse a comment rather than adding to the tension.
    I was asked earlier for an example of the change in tone, and I offered one on the previous thread but just to get it in the right place I am going to paste it here:
    [paraphrasing myself]
    The only specific example I can think of right now is sort of a lame one, but it was the conversation about the motrin/baby wearing ad – maybe this reflects badly on me but I was a little amused by that ad. I pretty much felt like an imposter as a mother since I found out I was pregnant, like I was playing house, and I clearly remember wearing my daughter in her sling for the first time and thinking, “wow I look like a real mom”, like the line from the ad, which was roundly criticized by others. So I was thinking about writing a comment with something to that effect, but then the whole exchange happened about someone who actually admitted to having pain and being ok with it after trying everything possible to deal with it… The response to that poster was not understanding and not warm; it felt very condescending. And it just didn’t feel like an open discussion after that.
    Finally (sorry this is so long), regarding Hedra – I think she is ok. She has her own blog that I check up on every now and again – it is full of the same type of thoughtful, well-written, and insightful writing that we saw in her comments here. Not sure if this is appropriate to post (sorry if not!) but the address is

  50. Right. I think Hedra’s okay (probably shouldn’t have used the phrase “the loss of Hedra” as that seems like a prompt to pull out the sackcloth and ashes)–but I’m pretty sure her job situation changed and…well… things change.

  51. I fully support your right to moderate or choose what approach you take – as others have said, it’s your blog Moxie. My only comment with regard to yesterday was that I felt you reacted quickly, perhaps too quickly, to someone who was intentionally goading the commenters here. And maybe that’s an argument for moderating the blog so that those comments never make it to the light of day here. At this point in our lives rehashing the old “evils of formula” spiel just seemed like a blatant attempt to gain attention and create drama. And it worked, which is sad because it often seems to me that is what people who crave drama want the most.Just my .02

  52. Just a quick comment. I too really miss the Q&A. When I first started visiting the site, it was amazing. Such great questions, a lot of good information and amazing support. Now it seems more geared towards ruminations…things I would talk about with friends or my husband over coffee. That is fine, but not the site that I need right now I guess. I feel like I did when Buffy went to college. It is sort of the same, but not as good. At least for me. I would also like to comment about the comments. 🙂 It is just too much to wade through 84 comments..many of them saying the same thing. That seems to have changed too somehow, but I’m not sure why. I remember having time to read the comments, but not anymore. I’ve started only searching through the archives instead of participating on a daily basis. And I just rewatch those early seasons of Buffy. 🙂

  53. I think the tone has changed because the topics have changed.The Q&A format, which was the staple for a long time, gave commenters a chance to express their ideas as one possible solution. The emphasis on the idea that different things work for different families meant that (virtually) no suggestion was really out of line, especially if it was proven by the original commenter’s family.
    This new trend of posting more general — “discuss” — type of stuff, seems to lead more to pontificating. I suspect it’s because it allows us to be more removed from those we’re judging. If you know that a specific mom wrote in with a specific problem that’s really weighing on her, I think your human kindness stops you from landing nasty judgment on her. When it’s a more general “people” that we’re judging, it’s just more likely to happen.
    That’s my POV, anyway.
    And Moxie, I think you’d be better off deleting comments that you think are over the line than responding to them here. Yesterday, if you’d sent your exact same response in an email, then deleted the original comment, doesn’t it seem like that would have been better?

  54. a super quick thought- moxie, i remember the days where this was more q&a, and your personal site dealt with current events, personal thoughts and reactions, tv shows, etc. then when you were going through a lot of the edgy stuff i know you understandably cut back on posting there, and i stopped going over there. i know you post there again, and maybe you could link here when you post there if you are going to do less ‘ask moxie’ type posts and more ‘hey, this is what’s going on with me, how bout you’ posts? just an idea. feel free to do what’s best for you.i’ve never seen this as an AP site in the sense of what dr sears calls AP- b/c dr sears is in many ways full of sh*t- he has completely hijacked the concept of attachment parenting to suit his own marketing needs, and obviously it’s worked for him. don’t get me wrong, some of his stuff is great, but he condescends way to much and is way to close minded to other ways in which we can parent and still raise happy, content, attached children. i see this as an AP site in the sense that moxie is willing to let all theories come to the table and hash around what works for each individual family dynamic, which really is what the original attachment theory research showed- it showed (in a nutshell) that parents (mothers, really) who responded to their childrens needs had children who were more securely attached. period. ainsworth and bowlby et al never addressed babywearing or breastgeeding or cosleeping or any of that- they merely observed what happened when a baby cried, how the mom responded, and how the baby developed based on that. which doesn’t mean that sometimes those moms didn’t let the kid cry- it was more of how she responded and how the baby understood/experienced the response. i get so frustrated with the way current pop-pediatricians and pop-psychologists have used the term “attachment parenting” to basically sell books and continue the cycle of moms/parents feeling guilty and feeling like shit over their choices. boo to that. i love this community for saying “here’s what worked for me, maybe it could work for you, and i love my kid more than anything, or else why would i be here obsessing and analyzing and searching out how to be an even better parent” without reservation on how we’ll react to each other.
    w/r/t the q&a posts- i know you don’t like doing repeat posts when you’ve addressed the issue already and it can be found in the archives, *however* since we have so many new members who i’m sure have plenty of new experiences and datapoints, perhaps it’s not such a big deal to post a new question on a topic already covered. i certainly don’t mind hauling out my tried and true “what about letting your baby sleep in a swing til they’re 14” mantra…seriously. maybe you could link to an archived post, respond a bit, let the new folks contribute their datapoints as well.
    and hedra, i miss you too, even though i too have had a hard time coming here and commenting the way i like to- i.e., not rushed and crazy and unedited- but i know you and epeepunk and your job and the kids have you busy, and i too am thinking of you and wishing you all are doing well.

  55. The tone has changed. Less Q & As, and a great deal about divorce. But people change, including Moxie. Nobody HAS to read her blog and, obviously, many of us still find it interesting and helpful.And- you know – I might be the only one out here who just isn’t that concerned with hostility. The way I see it, the Internet may not be the best place to seek a 100% “safe” space. Yes, what is so great about AskMoxie is that it provides a supportive community. But, on the other hand, we comment-posters ought to realize that if you put your personal life and problems on the Internet for the world to read about…then some folks may have something critical or at least less flattering than what you might like to hear.
    Again, I do appreciate the caliber of thought and spirit of helpfulness behind most of the posts. But I like the honest responses.
    And — perhaps this is exactly the unsupportive tone people don’t like, BUT, @Shannon, what kind of comment on an AskMoxie page could make you cry? I remember your question about your baby shower, but I didn’t read all the comments. The most strident thing I remember is that some folks thought you should just be happy your friend wanted to throw you a shower. Did I miss something? Do we all have to be “hugs hugs” all the time?

  56. I essentially agree with Cassie about the shift in tone resulting from content. I miss the Q&As, and think the current format/content of questions is more prone to fostering controversy, less prone to nurturing supportiveness.Other things: I am sure the increasing readership makes a difference in commenting and moderation. An originally small community becomes harder to hold together, and there are more trolls.
    Most of all, I recognize that Moxie has been going through an enormous life shift and accompanying transformation. Something so big can’t really be controlled, it’s all-consuming, and so it’s no wonder that her presence/posts on the blog may have changed at the same time.
    I wish that the content could be more like it used to be, and the posts are not as much for me any more, but I recognize that a) it’s her blog and b) maybe that’s just the way it has to be.

  57. I agree with a lot of the PPs…the tone here has definitely changed. The change in content has been noticeable, with more generic postings. I think that once new moms get out of a crisis mode (as I was in when I first started visiting here), we like to stay on to possibly help another new mom. I mostly check in now to see if I can help someone else. But when the posts are non-specific ones, I don’t even read the comments.What I liked about this site was that it was a dynamic, changing thing. It breathed life. Now it feels a bit stagnant. I don’t really care what choices other people make when parenting their kids (as long as there’s no obvious abuse/neglect, etc). This community is a bit self-selected anyway…no one would take the time to read this blog if she/he didn’t care about becoming a better parent.
    I belong to a positive discipline email listserve, which is heavily moderated, but what I like about the mods is that they don’t offer judgement in their moderation. It’s more like a gentle steering back on track, or asking for an end to a discussion that’s just going in circles. So I’d like to see Moxie moderate, for sure, but I’d like it to be more of an objective moderation, if that makes sense. Moxie’s comments of late have felt a bit defensive to me. I’d like her to stay above the fray and address comments more generally, but firmly. Wow, I feel like I’m really rambling, sorry. Must be the terrible cold I have.
    Anyway, I’ll be forever grateful to this site and the people who troll it, even if it completely changes and I don’t visit anymore. It kept me from the edge of the cliff on many, many occasions!

  58. Also, what Jan said.I thought the response to badmom was not over the line, though in retrospect it could have been worded a little more neutrally. But what she said was really awful, and I think some element of condemnation was appropriate.

  59. Your site, your rules 🙂 I agree that it seems that common courtesy has left the internet. Thus I appreciate coming somewhere where people honestly try to help each other regardless of whether they get anything out of it themselves.

  60. This site is so much “safer” than the techie blogs I also frequent, that I can easily disregard any harsh comments. There have been a few times when exchanges got heated, but nothing like the flame wars or purposeful meanness I see on some other sites.That said- Moxie, its your site, and you can moderate how you see fit.
    Re: Hedra- I believe she posted that she wouldn’t be able to read/post from work at her new job, so would be a less frequent visitor for awhile.

  61. I do think the tone has changed in both the post content and the comments, but I kind of expect it and am not disappointed or anything.I think that the tone of the posts has changed due to what people have said above. I think Moxie has been busy with all that’s going on in her life and with her kids growing up. I guess I expect it will go back to more Q&A when Moxie has more time to devote to answering questions. I really appreciate that Moxie has been open about what is going on and how she’s been busy. I feel like she is letting us know that she knows things are different and she has told us she will devote more time to this site soon. I’ll be here through whatever she wants to post.
    As for the tone of the comments, I attribute that to the growing audience. I am always surprised to see a truly mean comment on this site, and I’m always glad when I see that Moxie steps in to moderate and when other commenters help moderate. I appreciate her policy of not deleting but responding. Overall though, I really feel the supportive community is still here for each other and I really feel that I’ve gotten to know a lot of you, which also why I like some of the general posts where the commenters all talk to each other too. I no longer visit message boards because this site often provides that function for me.
    About badmom’s post (I had to go back and read through yesterday because I was too busy at work to read then), I agree with what Kate said. If Moxie was harsher than some would like, I attribute it to the fact that she had specifically said that she didn’t want that news to contribute to anti-formula feeding and making mother’s feel bad. It was like that commenter didn’t even read what Moxie wrote!
    Finally, Moxie does have a manifesto. Click her link in the upper left where it says, “This is my philosophy.”
    Moxie, I always love your site. You do what you want on it. And thanks for this post.

  62. I was kind of glad that Moxie jumped in yesterday to let badmom know her comment was inappropriate. I usually like it when she does that, the same way maybe kids like it when an adult steps in to stand up for something that is clearly rude/mean/judgemental. Granted, she could have phrased it better……but badmom clearly ignored Moxie’s original request to refrain from making the thread about formula vs. bf-ing. I’ve been coming here for 2 years now BECAUSE of this type of response to “I’m better than you and you are a horrible parent” type of comments so common on other parenting sites. I don’t know how long badmom has been reading or commenting, but that kind of tone is uncommon here, and when it crops up either Moxie or other regular commenters usually address it. I also felt that way when Shannon felt so dumped on about the shower thing. But then again, I also feel like Shannon is a friend of mine, I know what she’s going through from reading her other comments, and I thought what was said to her about taking/not taking people’s advice was uncalled for. Especially for Shannon (virtual hugs to you Shannon.)I think this is just a product of more and more people coming here and commenting – when you start garnering a huge audience (like dooce, who I adore, but never read the comments because they are in the thousands and are usually just thoughtless rants) this is sometimes what happens. So I for one appreciate Moxie stepping in to keep this site from turning into a free-for-all. This is a place I come to visit with my friends, support them, and when someone comes along and makes judgemental comments that are mean or hurtful to my friends, I expect a response….if not from Moxie, then from one of us to say “Hey, that’s not really what is done here….” and usually those people either change their tone, or they go elsewhere. I thought Moxie’s response to badmom was appropriate and timely. To me, there is a clear line between disagreeing and attacking/judging on this site. And attacking/judging won’t be tolerated by Moxie. For which I am glad. And if that means that badmom won’t be coming back to comment, that’s fine with me. This site is meant to be a resource for parents struggling with parenthood. Badmom’s comment was not informative or helpful to me in any way. And if those kind of responses to comments like badmom’s keeps this site’s readership somewhat limited or small….I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.

  63. Wow.I missed the baby shower post I think. I don’t remember it anyway.
    I really value this site a lot for reasons people have said already but just to reiterate – it’s smart, people are generally respectful of “many paths to same destination” and I feel like kids and parents come before dogma. It’s actually the closest to my RL parenting guru friends to anything else on the ‘net that I have seen.
    For changes in tone – I agree that the format change may have impacted on comments a bit in that it is in some ways easier to be positive when problem solving (try this, try that) than it is when discussing (I like this, I don’t like that).
    But I think it’s also a function of audience and time – not just numbers, but I think as all of us get more confident and set in our ways as our kids age we may get a bit more judgy mc judgerson.
    I think this discussion is a good reminder to try not to do that.
    Moxie, thanks so much for your work and effort.
    I do not think there is any one answer to community moderation any more than there is in parenting – there will always be things you wish you had handled differently in retrospect and things you’re glad you addressed the way you did. I for one really appreciate your time in doing it.

  64. I’m another one who has seen a change here. Some good, some not so good. I put these changes down to a new sense of liberation, assertiveness, power, and that’s how I explained some of your interventions recently, which, IMHO,you have every right to.Unfortunately not all changes have been for the better. I miss the main parenting/child care angle and have noticed a bit of repetition in the Q&A(I guess after 3 years there is only so many new things to talk about.) I really do miss the reader calls and the variety of comments and hope to see these continue in future.

  65. #1 – I miss the q&a posts too. That is the ‘change in tone’ I’ve noticed. I feel as though the more general, philosophical posts garner the more heated responses. I started coming here for the practical parenting advice because I go elsewhere for the philosophical stuff.#2 – I have *always* felt this was an “anything goes” kind of place and that bothers me. Often I have refrained from commenting because I disagree and I don’t feel like my dissenting voice would be welcome. Mostly this happens when there is a moral or ethical issue at hand and I disagree with what I see as an attitude of moral relativism about an issue for which I feel there is a clear moral or ethical perspective. But morals and ethics are so fluid among people, so keeping my mouth shut is probably better.
    So FWIW, the Q&A posts avoid situations like that, which is why I like them better.

  66. This site is the only place that makes me feel okay about having an 11 month old who is a crappy sleeper. Everywhere else I go seems to want me to try to “fix” him, but here I feel like it’s okay to just say he is a crap sleeper, it’s okay and it will eventually get better. Everyplace else makes me feel like I’m not aloud to complain about it unless I’m willing to let him scream himself to sleep every night. So for that, I thank you!The tone here doesn’t bother me. That said, my experience having moderated an active message board for an organization I worked for (one that HAD to remain civil because it was associated with a well known nonprofit org so we really couldn’t let it get ugly)is that when you respond to comments like the one you criticized yesterday you are better off simply removing the comment and posting that you removed the comment because it was in violation of your posting rules and saying nothing more (and then emailing the commenter personally). Or, if you aren’t comfortable removing just post something like, “@rudecommenter – your comment is in violation of our commenting rules. Please be respectful in future comments or they will be moderated. Other commenters – Please refrain from posting anything in response to @rudecommenter. Comments referring to to @rudecommenter’s post may be moderated.” It keeps the ugly back and forth and “ganging up” that tends to happen where one poster is going against the grain under control. Put it also does kind of makes you feel like you are playing “mom” to the group which can get annoying.

  67. The one thing I really hate in the comments is when one commenter says something and tons of people jump on her. I think giving people the benefit of the doubt and/or just leaving it alone after a bit should happen more.Do we really need to pile on to someone whose circumstances we don’t know? Maybe she just worded something poorly, maybe her dog just died. Seriously, if you are going to respond to someone, READ THE REST OF THE COMMENTS FIRST. Maybe she came back and clarified or apologized. Let someone say, “hey we don’t work that way here” and then let it be.
    And yes to 40million commenters saying “don’t beat yourself up if you can’t breastfeed” when a woman is asking for help TO breastfeed being counterproductive.
    I do like that it having a husband isn’t the assumed default here.

  68. I miss Q&A, too. It was eerie how often I’d be dealing with something and the next morning I’d wake up to find a post on that very issue. Lately, I’d think, “Either I run away to Tijuana or I write to Moxie,” but I’d rethink, because I knew how mired in all her own stuff Moxie was — my problems could wait! Maybe that’s an issue, too. (Anyone want to give me any hints on the 3.5-year-old INCESSANT WHINING?)So these days, I skim and nod and rarely comment. But I’m still here.

  69. For those of you who miss the Q&A posts, is it because they offer you a chance to share your own opinions and experiences regardless of how Moxie has framed her response, or is it because you just want to read a cut-and-dried advice column (with an interactive feature) and not something more personal that might not be relevant to your current circumstances?

  70. I didnt have time to read everyone’s posts and I’m a regular lurker who has commented a small handful of times. But what I really like about Moxie is that there is no dogma. My friend turned me on to this site when we were both walking the halls late at night with sleepy but wide awake babies and Moxie was not just a great resource but a nonjudgmental, nondogmatic place where its not about philosophy or The Right Way or The Wrong Way but about finding solutions that work in every way for you and your kids. And she told us we were doing a good job when we really needed to hear it :-)I think Moxie shoudl moderate and keep this site as she sees fit. it is evolving as her children grow and thats great- change is good. I might not check in as often because mine is so tiny still but others will who are at the same place as Moxie.
    Thanks Moxie for a great site and keeping it safe for everyone. You are doing a great job.

  71. Like many many others this site has kept me sane for the last 10 months of my son’s life…and like others, I do miss the Q&A posts but also understand why things have changed – if indeed it is a permanent change! At least we always have the archives – its amazing how much good stuff is in there and how timely and relevant it is even if some of it was written a while ago. I will keep checking in now and then to see how things are going and to check the archives of course, and will remain ever thankful to Moxie + commenters for helping me keep it together on many, many occasions.

  72. Quick jump back in, again.I agree with the general opinion that we ALWAYS tended to get iffy on tone when it was a discuss topic. Q&A is more clear and directed, so we know where we’re going and where others are going and don’t get blindsided and react.

  73. I started reading your blog soon after my son was born, 14 months ago. My first dose of Moxie was a wonderfully unorthodox entry on sleep problems with an even more wonderfully unorthodox bedtime lullaby (go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep you little a**hole…). In my sleep-deprived haze, I burst out laughing, then crying, then laughing again. And boy did I need that laugh. (I also hummed the tune with a wry smile while rocking my son for an hour to eke out a 5 minute nap, during which I rapidly learned to pee, eat, and check your blog all at the same time!)The warmth and connection I find in your blog is the safety of a place to be human — not a supercrazydoitallmomwhodeniestheresanythingwrong, but a real woman struggling, succeeding, trying, failing, living, loving — all complemented by a lively edge.
    This blog is an extension of who you are, Moxie and some of who you are has changed significantly over the past few months (I’m thinking of your divorce, career switch, etc). But what hasn’t changed is the flavour, your personality. There is still that glorious edge, and there is still the nonjudgemental softness where we can relax and be. The content is a bit different (I too miss the Q & A), but I’m sure I’d be right on board if I were walking in a pair of shoes kind of like yours right now.
    (In fact, the first post I ever sent to Moxie, when I was pregnant, had me wondering if I was going to be a single mom in the near future. Go figure…)
    Moxie, you do what feels right for you. Like @J said, this is your dinner party. I think it’s great that you stepped in on Badmom and called her on it. Your position of power does give your words some extra weight which might leave some smarting, but that should not in turn silence you. You have every right to express your opinion on your blog, just as your posters have every right to get up from the dinner table, thank you for an interesting time, and dine elsewhere.

  74. I think you’re doing a great job – and a great service – here. Thank you so much for fostering this place which has become exactly what you hoped it would, for me at least. I have found so much support and guidance here. Thank you. Thank you.

  75. wix, I miss the Q&A because I’m a pragmatic person and it was about finding solutions to problems. But it was like brainstorming, and in fact I thought it was very individual and personal, with each person bringing their own judgment and experience to the table. And, with all sorts of different people asking questions, there was usually a very empathetic core to the subject: here was this person, whom you could sympathize with and offer help to, maybe just kind words but still something. The actual letter also focuses comments very well: detailed situation, detailed/specific response.With the philosophical/general question posts, I don’t mind them, but (to be brutally honest) I’m not necessarily as interested in reading all the comments and hearing what everyone thinks. I already know what I think and why. Sure, there are topics on which I want (and will seek out) additional information, but there are also others I’m not interested in visiting in great detail.
    In contrast, I am perfectly interested in reading Q&A about older children, even though my son isn’t two yet. One day he’ll be older and I like to be prepared.

  76. I like the Q&A b/c they helped me and I always learn something. Even though the girl is 18 mos. now, I still find useful infor and I’m sure others do too.BTW, several people have said that they find “don’t feel bad if you can’t BF” counter-productive if people are seeking help BF’ing. I don’t see it as that way AT ALL. Rather, as someone who did not, it makes them realize that there are alternatives if it doesn’t work out and that is it is FINE and that they are not bad moms if that is how it ends up. I don’t see that as a bad thing.
    Moxie- this is your site. I don’t always agree with you but it is your choice when and how to moderate. If people are unhappy, there are other forums that they can turn into. Don’t mean to be blunt . . . just typing fast as I’m in a hurry.

  77. I like the Q&A b/c they helped me and I always learn something. Even though the girl is 18 mos. now, I still find useful infor and I’m sure others do too.BTW, several people have said that they find “don’t feel bad if you can’t BF” counter-productive if people are seeking help BF’ing. I don’t see it as that way AT ALL. Rather, as someone who did not, it makes them realize that there are alternatives if it doesn’t work out and that is it is FINE and that they are not bad moms if that is how it ends up. I don’t see that as a bad thing.
    Moxie- this is your site. I don’t always agree with you but it is your choice when and how to moderate. If people are unhappy, there are other forums that they can turn into. Don’t mean to be blunt . . . just typing fast as I’m in a hurry.

  78. This post is why I read this blog. You do an excellent job of making it a safe place for moms to respond to things without being judged. I think it is amazing.

  79. I think Moxie is completely right to respond to an out-of-line commenter, but like everything else it’s all in how you do it. Someone who has always amazed me at her calm yet firm responses is Kate at Sweet and Salty (, for anyone who’s not already reading). See her posts on cloth diapering for some examples.Anyway, clearly it’s up to Moxie what kind of feel she wants — she may not want to be quite so diplomatic. I’ve always wondered how she has the commitment to keep up with this site day in and day out. I could not get enough of Ask Moxie when my son was born so I definitely hope it continues and doesn’t stray too far from the advice pieces that make it so great.

  80. This is the first time I’ve posted on your site, but I felt compelled to simply say thank you for being here. I’m sure you’ll be going through all these comments, weighing which direction you want to go, but I just wanted to say thank you for being here and offering us this forum to express ourselves. Your blog has been a great haven for me, even though I simply read and have never posted in the past. For myself, I take solace in that I’m not alone in these daily struggles as I currently live in a foreign country where I still can’t read most of the labels of what I buy (ahh the joys…) or understand the language, though I’m working on it as I manage my two adorable terrorists ;o), the copious amounts of people we’ve received and the simple pleasures of living in a different culture…I do believe that this is your site and you have every right to step in and arbitrate when need be. Your not forcing us to visit your site and your not trying to brainwash us, you simply offer us a medium in which we can share. If one of us gets out of hand, one should be informed, I know I’m not always very adept at getting my point across (as I confuse three languages in my head), and should I be rude, I should be told…I certainly wouldn’t let my kids or any of my friends at that, be rude. Sometimes, I think we have forgotten about being compassionate as opposed to quickly voicing our opinions…
    Living abroad has made me struggle with my values as opposed to this country’s values, but it has also made me take a step back in trying to understand where they are coming from as opposed to where I’m coming from…I don’t live in a third world country, but I do get a lot of pressure to do things differently with my kids, that in which I chose not to do it because it doesn’t feel right to me at this time and in this moment. I ultimately know that the people around me here are only doing what they think is right and mean no harm, but that, from time to time, I need to tell them that they are being slightly hurtful and to please respect my choices…And, darn it, I’m the mother, these kids are safe, well fed and tremendously loved, so leave me alone! Whew, I’ve actually vented!
    All this being said, I will continue to come here, as I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and as per usual, will continue to take what works for me and enjoy reading what others are doing when faced with their own struggles. I think, one of the wisest things you’ve pointed out to us is that every parent, every child and every circumstance is different and there is no blanket approach to making it all better and what works for one may not work for another. However, sharing the knowledge brings us one step closer to collective bliss within our own homes.
    Thank you for being here, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express how much this blog keeps me “connected” all the time, sane most of the time, and actually makes me laugh out loud when I need it the most.

  81. I miss the old tone. In fact, I had thought about emailing about it, but decided against it because it felt too selfish. However, since you posted, I will say I miss the questions. It’s started feeling like every other parenting blog and not ASK Moxie. If you aren’t getting questions anymore, perhaps you could ask for them? I miss the real people with real problems and your well-reasoned, amazing responses with your practical sense with a little research thrown in. I know it probably felt like Sleep? Really? More sleep questions? But I really enjoyed having each stage of parenting validated, and that’s been lost in recent months. However, it’s your site, and you get to take it in whatever direction you see fit, and my own selfish longings are just that. You go in the way your heart leads.

  82. Moxie, another feature I remember liking but haven’t seen in a while was your weekly book/product review. It got me thinking that maybe a loose weekly structure would help focus things for you and the readers again. Maybe you could see if there are general trends in the kinds of questions you’re getting and address them on different weekdays (i.e. Monday do pregnancy/childbirth, Tuesday do infant issues, Wednesday do toddlers/preschool, Thursday do school-age, and Friday do a review). Maybe it would be worth having periodic guest posters, especially on issues that you’re not dealing with on a daily basis anymore (pregnancy, infant care, etc.). Just a few thoughts… and thanks again for all the good work you do here.

  83. I **really** wish you’d address some of the stuff being said in this comment section. I agree that your blog has changed from “Ask Moxie” to “Moxie Wants to Know” (or “A Day in the Life of Moxie” with a question in the bag).Seriously!

  84. You know, I’ve noticed a change in tone, but mainly in the comments section. I’ve been reading the past nine months or so — DS is eleven months, and you saved my sanity with all the information about developmental spurts and sleep. In any case, my read was that AskMoxie readership had burgeoned, and the new comment-leavers (my “generation” and after) weren’t always fitting in with what had been. All of which is to say that I don’t think any tone problems are coming from you, Moxie — and beyond that, you’re a godsend.

  85. For what is worth, Moxie, I think you were absolutely right to step in. People make all sorts of choices for valid reasons and this site is and always has been a haven, and for someone to be that judgemental in general, in absolute terms, is incomprehensible and should never be acceptable.For what is worth, too, I don’t even think you were hostile. I found your reply quite restrained and clever. I think a lot of it is cultural; I just came back from Canada and my, I love Canadians, honestly I do, but bring a few to a Portuguese dinner party and they’ll think we’re all trying to kill each other. It boggled my mind how different we are, they – probably Americans as well – consider “fighting” abuse, i.e., if any shouting is involved – we just shout at each other at times and forget about it. But even from what I personally call an Anglo point of view I don’t think you were mean at all – your site, your boundaries, freedom of speech is fine when one respects those boundaries, anyone reading you should know how this site works and respect the rules, anyone not respecting them should get a slap on the wrist, yes. How are we to feel safe if this turns into yet another one of those everything-goes sites?
    In a nutshell: Moxie, muito obrigada!

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