Over the past couple of weeks I and a couple other Tumblr users have shared some examples of the misogynist, racist, and homophobic comments being posted on the official StarTrek.com Facebook page
Here’s a sampling of some of what’s happening on the page just today, with comments on yet another “Describe (character) in one word” post. In this case, my all-time favourite character, Kira:
You get the picture.
Many of you shared that you have felt alienated from the page because of the way the page refuses to moderate these kinds of comments, and could even be seen to encourage them through crafting questions that invite less thoughtful discussion. Several of you suggested a coordinated campaign for change.
We are working on it. Other Trek fans from Tumblr and I have been spending a lot of time screen capturing the most egregious comments from the past two weeks and drafting a letter calling on CBS and StarTrek.com to implement and enforce a comments policy.
But one thing that would also really help is having you share your testimonials, saying in 1-2 short paragraphs why the current environment on the page makes you not want to visit or engage in discussion there.
For example, mine would be something like:
“I’m a huge Star Trek fan who initially “liked” the Star Trek Facebook page because I wanted to geek out with other fans about my favourite characters and get the latest news and announcements of new products.
But it was quickly obvious that sexist, homophobic, and racist fans were being given free rein to make really appalling comments. In particular, seeing their disrespect for the women on the show made me feel that if I spoke up, those commenters would also disrespect me as a female fan. So I unliked the page and left. I would only consider engaging there again if I knew there were moderators looking out for the majority of us fans who do value diversity and respect for everyone regardless of gender identity, race, or sexual orientation.”
We can show the bad examples as much as we’d like but we need that other piece: to show that letting these comments stand has a negative effect, that it hurts fan engagement and ultimately respect for their brand.
If you’re willing to share your thoughts as part of this campaign, please email me at jarrahhodge[at]gmail.com, or comment below. I promise to keep your name confidential unless you explicitly ask us to include it, but it would be great if you could let us know your age and country so we can show there are a range of fans who are concerned.
Thanks for your help and stay tuned for more news about how you can get involved.