Bil Browning

More internal Bilerico changes: Editorial Advisory Board

Filed By Bil Browning | April 15, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: Editorial Advisory Board, site changes

When I announced Dr. Jillian Weiss' promotion to the Bilerico Project Editorial Team last week, I also hinted that there were more upcoming changes in the works. Today I'm proud to announce the latest tweak to our operations.

changes.jpgAfter the Ron Gold controversy, we realized that we needed a better way to evaluate new contributor applications. At the time, it was the Ed Team that decided who got to join based almost exclusively on their writing capabilities. Because it takes so much time to run a large site like TBP, we often let that task suffer and didn't do any real vetting.

I'm proud to announce today that we're establishing the Editorial Advisory Board. Father Tony, Waymon Hudson, and Michael Crawford will be stepping down from the Ed Team to join the EAB when the group formally begins on May 1. Alex, Jill, Jerame and I will remain in charge of editing, formatting, proofreading, and scheduling all content.

So who are the 13 contributors we've chosen for our inaugural board and what will their duties be? Find out after the jump.

The contributors chosen to join the initial board include (in alphabetical order):

*Editorial Team members are automatically included as part of the Editorial Advisory Board.

The EAB will be in charge of the following:

  • Vetting, soliciting, and voting on new contributors
  • Comment moderation
  • Soliciting guest posts
  • Providing feedback every quarter on how the site can improve - what areas need more coverage, editorial policies, etc.

EAB members will serve 6 month terms and after this inaugural group, contributors will have the option of volunteering to serve on the board and current members can drop off if they need/want to. Bilerico Project co-owner, Jerame Davis, will lead the board.

We invite your comments on this update to our internal organization. Do you like the idea? Think it will be helpful? Do you see any flaws or ways we could improve the EAB? Tell us what you think in the comments section.


Recent Entries Filed under Site News:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Terrific idea, Bil! One thing I would like to see is a process where all TBP users can nominate new contributor candidates for the EAB to consider. The more eyes we have looking the better the choices will be.

There's not really a nomination process needed, Becky. If you think that someone should be considered as a contributor, you just tell them to apply. We look at all applications - and (unless the app is just patently unacceptable) all applications will get an up or down vote.

See what I mean? I'm not sure that I explained that the best I could. You don't need to "nominate" anyone because they can simply apply themselves.

Still, readers write in to say, "You should invite so-and-so to blog at TBP." Since we seek out the occasional contributor, maybe we can think of a way to create some sort of nomination "box" where those sorts of suggestions can go.

Thanks for the feedback, Becky!

Great idea, and congrats everyone!

This sounds so open and honest and public and democratic.

I can't stand it.

Thank you for letting us all in.

What a relief to feel like there is a chance to participate and observe.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | April 15, 2010 2:48 PM

Sounds good. What about a rotating reader position on the board? Just to get the perspective of the audience as well.

That's a great idea, Margaret. We'll see about incorporating that into the next "term of duty."

This will be interesting, to say the least.

Hmmm.

Strikes me as a pretty serious group of people all of whom are known for introspective attention to minor details.

Scary.

If you have a problem with the outlook of the board, Toni, you could always decline.

Personally, knowing you are going to be having a hand in the actual shaping of Bilerico, I'm likely to amend my blog reading habits by striking Bilerico's inclusion in that list.

I dislike you, immensely. I think it's a mistake to include you in the decision making process for new contributors.

Holy unsolicited personal attack, Batgirl! Crude, Eric, so very crude...not to mention just plain nasty.

I'm certain my feelings on the matter come as no surprise to Ms D'Orsay.

That's irrelevant, Eric. Personal attacks are a violation of the TBP Terms of Service. If you've got an issue with Dyss on something she's written then challenge her on that. Play nice.

"Personal attack"? I don't know where you get that. I was responding to Ms D'Orsay's comment of:

"Strikes me as a pretty serious group of people all of whom are known for introspective attention to minor details.

Scary.

If she's frightened of the group of people who will be serving in the capacity of choosing what opinions are published on Bilerico, and she herself is one of those persons, then she could lessen her fear by declining the invitation/position.

But, if you want a comment about "personal attacks"...

I would ask that, for those persons serving in this "new" capacity, to take something "off board" and send blistering, venomous personal e-mails to someone, as Toni has done to me on two occasions, despite being asked, politely, not to e-mail me (in reply to her first attack) who has made public commentary, is grounds for immediate dismissal, not just as (for lack of a better term) an "editor", but as a "columnist" as well.

Normally, Eric, I'd just TOS your comment as a personal attack. Since others have already replied though, I'd like to offer my two cents - not just to you but to all the Projectors.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the nasty, personal attacks and snide bitching at each other in the comments section. (And I don't want to just point a finger at Eric on this topic; lots of folks are falling prey to it.)

But to directly address Eric on this section:

Personally, knowing you are going to be having a hand in the actual shaping of Bilerico, I'm likely to amend my blog reading habits by striking Bilerico's inclusion in that list.

If one person's 1/13th of a decision upsets you that much - don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Seriously. I'm over it. Entirely.

If you don't like someone, why spend your time bitching about them in the comments section of a blog? Do you not have anything better to do? Something more positive? Perhaps finding a contributor you do like and moving the discussion on their posts forward? Or does this passive aggressive nit picking and snotty bitching fulfill you?

Because it sure as fuck doesn't do anything for me and you're in my online home. If that's how you'd talk to other guests in my home, then, yes, perhaps, it's time you left.

A-a-a-men! A-a-a-men! A-amen! Amen! Amen! (all the 'tributors!) A-a-a-men! A-a-a-men! A-amen! Amen! Amen! (folks who hate trolls) A-a-a-men! A-a-a-men! A-amen! Amen! Amen! (sense of humors!) A-a-a-men! A-a-a-men! A-amen! Amen! Amen!

Eric Payne | April 16, 2010 2:03 PM

Bil, I'd like to respond to your comment, piece by piece. If, after reading this, you deem my April 30th dropping of this site from my "many times a day" reading is simply not soon enough, so be it.

Normally, Eric, I'd just TOS your comment as a personal attack. Since others have already replied though, I'd like to offer my two cents - not just to you but to all the Projectors.

A violation of TOS? And, again, "personal attack"?? Wow, what a peaceful life those who view my reply as a "personal attack" must be living.

That semi-snarky comment aside, I stand by my reply to Ms D'Orsay.

This may be the electronic age, but for all intents and purposes, Bilerico is the equivalent of an "opinions section" of a newspaper. Ms D'Orsay is, thus, a contributor to that section. Bilerico has, in its Terms of Service, the common disclaimer of print and video production of opinions: that the opinion represented is that of the contributor and does not, necessarily, represent the opinion of the publisher/broadcaster of that opinion.

Ms D'Orsay has frequently "published" columns in which her opinion is questioned. In columns where she "bolsters" her opinions with science and surveys, the methodology she's employed to justify the assertions the science/survey she cites are also questioned.

Her replies to those comments have been consistent: Her opinion is right, period. And anyone who doesn't see that is afraid their "privilege" is being encroached upon.

She continually uses the shorthand of "cis" (cissexual) to describe non-transgendered persons, despite being asked by some commenters to her opinions to cease using the term. For those unassociated with the creation of the term "cissexual, it was created by Carl Buijs... just because he wanted a word to use to describe persons who were not transgendered as something other than "non-transgendered." It was created in a Usenet posting and, in its original use, was used by Mr. Buijs as a deragatory term... in fact, in one of its first usages, Buijs used the word cissie to respond to persons who used the term tranny in a Usenet posting.

If Ms D'Orsay were a writer for the far-right, with her stance of "I'm right, period. You're an idiot," and her continuous usage of a deragatory term, we would not even be having this discussion... as she would never have been invited to be a columnist on this site.

But then, with me, she took it one step farther: She responded to a posting on a public site via private communication with me. Though I do have my e-mail in my public profile at Bilerico, I would never have expected such a blistering, scathing e-mail from the contributor of an opinion in response to a public comment on that contributor's opinion. To carry the "newspaper" analogy further: No one who writes a "letter to the editor" of a newspaper concerning a news story/column would ever expect to get a letter back from the writer/columnist of the piece being commented upon, outside of a perfunctory "thank you for your response" form letter. Had that reporter/columnist sent the commenter a hard-copy equivalent of the e-mails I received from Ms D'Orsay, the editor(s)/publisher(s) response would have been swift: suspension of that contributor pending an investigation and, ultimately, dismissal of that writer/columnist.

Not to mention the fact that, in a public posting replying to a comment I made concerning one of her columns, Ms D'Orsay stated she "knew all" about me, then conjectured about my income, home enivornment and weight. In every instance - except those I had previously revealed about myself - she was completely incorrect. When taken in toto, however, her "guesses" were, obviously, an attempt to paint me as an obese welfare queen.

Bilerico's response to the actions of Ms D'Orsay? To paraphrase: "Eh, big deal."

Ms D'Orsay's writings reflect, as she has publicly admitted when questioned, a true sense of "privilege." Ultimately, "privilege" is nothing more than a manifestation of a sense of power/control over others; to reward that with even more power, no matter how that extra power is apportioned, is condoning and supporting that perception of entitlement.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the nasty, personal attacks and snide bitching at each other in the comments section. (And I don't want to just point a finger at Eric on this topic; lots of folks are falling prey to it.)

I'll take you at your word on that statement, as I've no reason to distrust you. I'll simply assume you only use my name since I'm the only person to respond negatively to your posting concerning the formation of this "board." I'd like to be absolutely clear here: I am not negative toward such a body being formed, but to Ms D'Orsay's inclusion on that board.

But to directly address Eric on this section:
Personally, knowing you are going to be having a hand in the actual shaping of Bilerico, I'm likely to amend my blog reading habits by striking Bilerico's inclusion in that list.

If one person's 1/13th of a decision upsets you that much - don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

I won't. It will be a simple matter of deleting the bookmark for this site and "unsubscribing" from e-mail notifications concerning this site - or simply building a filter to send them to the trash in my Firefox, unread and to be automatically deleted when exiting Firfox.

My degree is in business, from the NY Institute of Finance. It is a small school, with students gaining enrollment in that school via invitation, only. Each students' tuition is fully paid by that "Wall Street" institution which sponsored their enrollment, in exchange for two years of employement in that institution upon graduation. Mine was Banker's Trust, Inc. Upon matriculation, I dealt in commercial paper.

Yet, when it was announced Rupert Murdoch had purchased The Wall Street Journal, I made sure my subscription to the WSJ ended with the day prior to Murdoch's ownership.

If my comments concerning Ms D'Orsay - and specifically Ms D'Orsay's behavior/writings regarding me, personally - are seen as a "personal attack" against Ms D'Orsay, and that label of "personal attack" is considered valid then, in my opinion, the Glenn Beck(s) and Ann Coulter(s) of the publishing/broadcast world are entitled to the same justification - and one of the checks and balances of the publishing/broadcasting world dies - that of criticism.

Seriously. I'm over it. Entirely.

If you don't like someone, why spend your time bitching about them in the comments section of a blog? Do you not have anything better to do? Something more positive? Perhaps finding a contributor you do like and moving the discussion on their posts forward? Or does this passive aggressive nit picking and snotty bitching fulfill you?

I have "moved the discussion" forward on other posts - including those of Dr. Weiss, thus killing Ms D'Orsay's claim, again made publicly, that I am "anti" transsexual. Go ahead, Bil... as an editor/webmaster, pull up all the comments I've made. You'll see there's only one columnist with whom I have a difference of opinion on a regular basis. I'd also urge you to read those; you'll see that nowhere do those comments wander into the realm of "personal attack," but, instead, put forth where I disagree with the columnist(s), along with an explanation of the rationale behind my disagreement.

Because it sure as fuck doesn't do anything for me and you're in my online home. If that's how you'd talk to other guests in my home, then, yes, perhaps, it's time you left.

If you had, say, twenty guests for dinner at your home (including myself), and all twenty of us were having a discussion - which is what the "comment" section boils down to: a discussion between self, columnist, and those other posters who wish to comment - and one of those twenty expressed a viewpoint which, in that expression of viewpoint, ventured into private personal attacks with other participants in that conversation... yes, I would - in the current parlance - "call that person out," immediately.

If that would solicit an invitation by you to leave your home; so be it. It is your home. If you would prefer to remain in the company of someone with such a sense of entitlement, it is entirely your prerogative to do so. I would caution, though, that left unchecked, such a sense of entitlement can only grow and expand. At some point, that person is going to become envious of something you possess... and that sense of entitlement is going to kick in; at that point, they may make a demand of you to relinquish whatever it is they're coveting but, most likely, they'll simply attempt to take it.

re: "cis"

Like "queer," however--which also began as a derogatory term--"cis" has been embraced by many in the "non-trans" community as their preferred term. I do choose to refer to myself as "cis." This is my right. I am not transgender, nor genderqueer (though I do call myself "queer" too), this term has not been thrust upon me, it is a term I willingly adopted when I put myself into the shoes of someone else. I've been "othered" a lot in my life. I've been the "there's normal, and then there's you" in conversation before. I know that when you place a "non-" in front of something, the message you're sending is "There's this category (the norm), and there's everything else (icky!)." I like cisgender because its like homosexual v heterosexual--noone gets othered. There is no "norm vs everything that doesn't quite fit..."

Heterosexual, by the way, started out as a term invented by the LGBT community similarly that has pretty much whole-heartedly been embraced by that community. I don't know any heterosexual folks who cringe or feign outrage when referred to as such, but the pattern is the same. There was "homosexual" and then there was "normal." In order to help the medical community understand the toll this takes on us emotionally, the smart leaders in our community with ties to the medical field began educating on language. As part of that, they began encouraging the use of "heterosexual." This took on wider use in the media. 40 years later, its worked. Not only do we rarely see authoritative discussions using the "homosexual" v "normal" binary, but we see that straight people are fine with the term.

That said, you're free to self-identify as you please. If Toni PERSONALLY calls you "cis" after this point, well, that's not so cool. However, if she chooses to use the word "cis" to describe the cisgender community, well, that really doesn't affect you. And don't speak for all of us. I won't call you cis--you can be "non-trans"--but please don't call me "non-trans." I have as much right to self-identify as you do, and I've made a very conscious decision to be "cis," thank you.

And, bottom line, this is Bil's site. If you start paying his bills, maybe you can call the shots. Otherwise he can call whatever he wants TOS. That's how it works. That's how it should work. Bil doesn't go to my site and tell me how to run things, and I appreciate that. If this site doesn't fit your needs... well there are many websites you could go comment at. Its important that you feel comfortable with your commenting experience, and we certainly wouldn't want to force you to stay if you need to leave.

Well, strictly speaking, I wouldn't ever call him non trans unless it was to illustrate a point where they were not cis but not trans either.

"Non-Trans" is, when applied as the opposite of trans, an insulting term that reinforces the concept of trans people as abnormal.

The purpose of Cis (which is cognate to Trans, but not to cissexual nor to cisgender, which have transsexual and transgender as their reflective points) is to center the term.

If we were to go back to the coinage of a particular term, then we would also find similar issue with many other terms people don't think about (youth, for example, was originally a word meaning a young girl), and then, of course there is the entirety of the negative aspects regarding Transgender within the T community.

Thus, the use of original coinage as opposed to its wide and accepted usage today (which is not pejorative) is merely an attempt to slander trans people as a whole and sidestep the very real issues of their own transphobia.

So I would, in fact, call him cis, specifically and as an individual, but I wouldn't call him a sissy. That's because a sissy is a person who is Trans, and he is decidedly not trans according to his own statements, nor is being trans an insult to anyone (since, of course, trans is not better or worse, but equal).

I'll take the bait, one more time.

Some points:

My name is not D'Orsay. It is D'orsay.

I do not use cis as shorthand for cissexual. That you read it as such is an issue you have, not I.

Those who ask not to be referred to as Cis are usually cis people who have and use transphobic reasons or privilege to essentially reinforce the concept that Trans folk are lesser than they are.

As a note, I have been a writer for the far right -- not something unknown nor something that I have denied. And there have been people from the far right invited to post here.

I did not say I knew all about you. That's a strawman. I used statistical modeling -- and I was more accurate than you are willing to admit.

Your description of privilege -- in specific, dominant privilege -- is incorrect and faulty on multiple levels.

THe rest of your diatribe filled with lies and strawmen, well, eh. There is only so much one can do against your wilfull ignorance.

Thusly, in as polite a manner as I can muster, I leave you with this:

Piss off.

Eric Payne | April 17, 2010 9:09 AM

My apologies for capitalizing the "O" following the apostrophe, Ms D'orsay.

How telling you've waited until this thread falls (to continue the newspaper analogy) to the electronic equivalent of Metro, Page 4, under the fold before responding... odds are, the only persons who see your response are those who've subscribed to e-mail notifications of this thread; it's unlikely there will be new readers of the thread.

I will simply point out, I've not been anything but polite in my responses/comments to and with you, with one exception: the period of time directly following a medical diagnosis with which I had some emotional difficulty. My response to you, then, was curt and somewhat brusque... but, even then, I believe I had the fortitude to not descend into rudeness, and used the more polite term "bugger off" than the term you utilize, here.

And, no, Ms D'orsay, in using your "statistical modeling," you were not "accurate." Outside of the information I had freely provided, in my comments, about myself you were completely wrong. That's 100%.

Good luck with your political campaing, Ms D'orsay. You won't win; you'll probably not be able to raise enough in funding to qualify for even the primary ballot. I wish you luck as I believe alternative voices are necessary to good governance of all the people, everywhere... and especially in such conservative strongholds as Maricopa County, Arizona.

I understand you, Ms D'orsay; I really do. I won't go so far as to say I "know all about you," as I don't. Each and every person is an individual, and deviates from the overall "mold" into which it is too easy to place persons.

However, I recognize the attitude I believe you exhibit. I've seen it exhibited by a person who joined Queer Nation/Santa Cruz... and, within weeks, that organization no longer existed.

I've seen it exhibited by the same person, plus a friend of that person, when the two joined the board of Gay Pride San Jose... that year's festival almost didn't get produced, there was no parade nor was there live entertainment the second day of the celebration.

I've seen it exhibited by a next door neighbor, when I was a child, in Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania.

That "I am always right; everyone will fall before my intellect and do exactly what I say" attitude made the other members of QN and Pride simply not want to be around the person with that attitude (and that person's friend). The next door neighbor was avoided by everyone which was, then (and remains to this day), a "lets get all the families together and go have a picnic at the park" community.

That neighbor became the Shiremanstown equivalent of Springfield's "The Cat Lady," ultimately dying, alone and shunned, alienated even from her grown children who, literally, lived a few blocks down the street. When Mrs. Hess dropped from her stroke, she lay on her living room floor, dead, for a week before she was found. From what my father (life insurance agent to every neighbor he's ever had) told us, her funeral was attended by two of her four children and him.

Even as an 8 year old child, I remember myself thinking: "That's sad and all she had to do was quit doing the stuff she was doing to people."

It would never have been my "place" to offer that advice to Mrs. Hess all those decades ago; we weren't peers, and children simply do not offer advice to their elders.

But, Ms D'orsay, I freely offer that advice to you.

I won't accept that apology. Like many other things regarding me, it's just a way for you to continue to lie about me.

As noted before: Piss off.

Eric Payne | April 17, 2010 3:49 PM

Whoa there.

I have never lied about you. I do not lie... and that is easily verifiable.

Good-bye, Ms D'orsay. You've definitely crossed a line with me. Our next communication, on my side, will be through different channels, with the probably use of an intermediary.

Yes, you did, in fact, lie. Which means that you just lied again.

Piss off.

I've seen allusions to Bilerico's growth these past few months, and this looks like a smart response to maintain order. Just out of curiosity, what does our readership look like these days? (That might make a post of its own.)

Good idea for a post, Betty. We're up to about a half million visitors each month now, but it's been a while since we've done a "About Projectors" post.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | April 15, 2010 4:51 PM

As Peter Parker's Uncle Ben would say "with great power, comes great responsibility."

In other words, do I get a Spider Man costume to go with the new position?

Well that would be a nice addition to the maid's outfits I'm hearing about...

so you're saying you want to be covered in blue and red latex and wear a mask...

There's clubs for that.

Good for you for taking a serious pro-active approach after all that happened. It's unfortunate that there was no sign of this sooner, it looked like you really didn't understand how hurtful that was.

We wanted to make sure we did things right instead of just a knee-jerk reaction. ;) We've still got more to go!

Looks like a great move, Bil. I hope that, in time of controversy, like that surrounding the Ron Gold incident, there will be some transparency about the decision making process, at least, after the fact. In other words, while there may be a few, limited reasons why certain matters need to be kept confidential, I hope that members of the EAB will be allowed to post about the considerations and process that led to a particular contributor decision, and how that process might be improved. Allowing that kind of transparency will go a long way toward restoring the trust and good will toward Bilerico, even when we disagree with your decisions.

Well, um, err, there's about three things I don't talk about. Maybe five.

Each of those people listed is known for considering everything, including stuff not immediately visible, and I know at least one or two have some pretty amazing powers of google-fu, and all of them have a sense of humor, even if they are often seen as not having such.

Bilerico Contributors are an interesting lot that don't always agree with each other, but are able to converse with an understanding that they are all friends.

The groups looks short on the L, and heavy on the T.

You know, Peter, I think that many of us would agree with you.

Indeed, I know a few conversations (both public and private) have dealt in particular with bringing more L voices to Bilerico.

That said, I note that some of the voices you note as T up there are also L voices, so be sure to count appropriately :D

Lynn Miller | April 16, 2010 1:37 AM

I think Peter and Toni both make good points.

If I could have made any suggestion to improve an already excellent site, it would have been to include more lesbian writers. Of course, many transwomen are also lesbian. However, I am happy to read that the editorial advisors are already discussing the matter.

Lynn,
I noticed that the "B" and "Poly" are represented here. That, to me, is a good thing. Also, some of the "Ts" are also "Ls."

I think it's an excellent idea, Bil. My thought is that perhaps there can be an application process to be a member of the advisory board. Like with most things, if people feel that they have a shot to be on it, they might be more invested in its success. And if people have something to shoot for, they might be more temperate in their comments.

Well done, Bil! A terrific team, with a great diversity of views. Congratulations to all!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 16, 2010 9:18 AM

Good luck on May Day!

Okay, there comes a point where there's not going to be any kind of satisfying resolution for either and the only thing to do is walk away. I'd say it's gone well past that and still hasn't given reason to expect otherwise.

Amy Hunter Amy Hunter | April 18, 2010 6:49 AM

Great move Bil and congratulations to everyone who has contributed to TBP's growth!
Perhaps the EAB will be able to approach comment moderation in a consistent, constructive manner. Peronally, I find the ping-pong sniping that ocurrs between some contributors and readers distasteful. Frankly, one of the reasons I haven't posted in a while is that I find it disturbing to have my opinions ripped apart for no reason other than to bolster another's ego.