About the IRC chan

I founded and now run an progressive, safe-space IRC chan inspired by the community on Shakesville, but no longer affiliated with Shakesville.

The chan is at #teaspoons on irc.synirc.net. Our birthday is October 9th, 2009. Calandra, aka Megatriorchis, aka Mega, is my Executive Assistant Moderator.

Here is my practical introduction to IRC for newbies.

If you are new to the channel, please read all of these links in their entirety. Remember that choosing to be in the channel signifies that you consent to the principles/guidelines/rules. (Mistakes are natural, and easily forgiven.)

Here are the principles we’re trying to use to guide our chan activity.

Here is the first addendum, added December 13th after some trouble with creepiness.

Principles for dealing with unwanted flirting, come-ons, or harassment in #teaspoons

-All of the principles are best guesses of what will work. We have to play it by ear. Every situation is different.

-Two strikes and you’re out. […]

-Strikes have a six-month expiration date.

-In order to keep track of who’s used up their strikes–in order for this to work–we really encourage anyone who’s been creeped at to come to Calandra or myself. […]

-If someone creeps at you in a way based on a marginalization that neither me nor Mega share with you, (like transmisogyny), and you seem to be interpreting it more seriously than we are, we pledge to tread extra-carefully and be open about how we need to think about it for a little more time from your perspective.

-People are not owed privacy for their creepy actions. […]

-Being banned isn’t the end of the world. It just means you can’t hang out in this chan anymore. Therefore, we will not tolerate any complaints about how you’ve been labelled a creeper for an insignificant offense, or any such.

Here is the second addendum, clarifying my decision to call out violations of the safe space in public, added January 24th.

Mild-to-moderate violations of the channel rules will continue to be handled publicly, at the time they occur or at the time they come to my notice. (Or to the notice of another member of the channel (MotC) who feels comfortable issuing a reminder of the rules, particularly Calandra.)

I believe, as do several MsotC, that this serves several good ends. From most to least important:

-Addressing rules infractions as soon as possible and where others can see will reassure MsotC that a given behavior was inappropriate, that I have seen it, and that the safe space is being enforced.

-Witnesses to these reminders or confrontations keep checks on everyone. […]

-Public airing of issues helps cement the channel’s atmosphere of community. […]

-Discussion of policy and procedure becomes easier when people have seen several examples of it in action. […]

-Private messages are not safe spaces. […]


I ask chan members to keep in mind that almost all of the safe space enforcing I do is on minor to moderate matters. When I tell you that something you have done is inappropriate, it doesn’t have to be a big deal unless you make it one. These are reminders. (Sometimes, they are even new cases that have never come up before, and that I have just made a judgment call on, in which case they are not even reminders–they are FYIs.) The correct response is to acknowledge that you hear me and acquiesce, if you acquiese; ask questions, if you have questions; or contest my judgment, if you contest it. Mild reprimands should be met with mild responses–I’m telling you to be polite here. I expect you not to get defensive.

Note also that all MsotC are welcome to speak up when they see something they think is a violation of the safe space or otherwise inappropriate. I certainly don’t need to be involved for every little thing. It’s possible that bigger problems may also be addressed in my absence; however, it’s good to keep me informed of those. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t feel like you’re issuing a friendly reminder, I should know about whatever happened.


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