Welcome to my new home on the Internet!
Here, I will be reading and reviewing various literature series (and a few one-offs), experiencing them with my own unique take things and seeing how they relate to the world at large.
You may be familiar with the two series that brought me here:Â Mark Reads Twilight andÂ Mark Reads Harry Potter. If not, then join in on the party. (You’ve got a lot of reading ahead of you, for the record.)
This space will serve to clear up some rules about conduct in the community. I welcome a rich, engaging comment experience for everyone who wants to participate. I want people to feel like they can be a nerd, a geek, and a concerned activist all at the same time. Let’s talk about a few rules and then we’ll get to our spoiler guide for this site.
In order to contact me for problems or concerns, please email me! This is answered by me ONLY, so it’s the best way to get ahold of me.
markreadsandwatches [at] gmail [dot] com
These rules have been updated as ofJune 22, 2012.
RULES FOR COMMENTING
1) Don’t spam. The end. You’ll be instantly banned.
2) No egregious name-calling or bullying. If you feel like an argument is getting out of hand, report it by clicking the “Report” button on the bottom right below the comment. Please do not escalate any argument to personal,Â ad hominemÂ attacks.
3) No use of any pejorative slurs allowed in any context EXCEPT when you are quoting something or explaining about its usage in culture. You are allowed to use them to talk ABOUT them, but are not allowed to USE them to talk. Deal? Deal.
Quite a few people have still managed to use slurs on this site, despite that I have even addressed said slurs in my reviews! So, can we all PLEASE strip “crazy” and “lame” from our vocabularies immediately? And if you are called on it, please stop and MOVE ON. No defending your use of those words.
Edit from December 11, 2011: It seems peopleÂ stillÂ do not understand this rule and are set on fighting me, calling me “politically correct,” which is a horrific term that’s virtually lost all meaning forever because no one uses it right, a “tyrant,” someone who “gets off on controlling others,” and many other wonderful terms.
If this rule makes no sense to you, I highly suggest you readÂ this comment of mineÂ from aBattlestar GalacticaÂ review that explains why I have this rule about pejorative slurs. I am not judging you, I’m not censoring you, I’m not stunting your growth: I am trying to make this community open forÂ everyoneÂ who posts in it.
4) No bigotry, racist, sexist, cissexist, transmisogynistic, ableist bullshit will be allowed. I can’t list every form of oppression that exists, but think about your words: are they at the expense of a minority group or a vulnerable community of people? Are you being mean for the sake of it or to make an ill-formed joke? Have some courtesy to those around you; you have no idea who else is reading the comments and can be potentially harmed or triggered by your words.
(On this same note: If I’ve said something shitty, feel free to publicly or privately call me out. I am not exempt in any way.)
If someone calls you out: Take a moment to breathe and think aboutÂ whyÂ someone would say that to you before reacting. Most of the time, you’ve used oppressive language or said something that, regardless of intent, is pretty shitty. Do NOT turn it into a personal attack about how people are too “sensitive” or “politically correct.” YOU WILL BE BANNED.
Given what happened in a recent Doctor Who review over on Mark Watches, I’d like to expand both numbers 3 and 4 to make sure that this does not happen again. I’m going to send each of you to Derailing For Dummies and suggest you read it. Yes, that very name is tragically ironic, given that “dumb” and “dummy” is recognized as an ableist slur, but it is still a wonderfully complete site to explain exactly why some of the things privileged people say are inherently (or blatantly) fucked up.
I wanted to create a list like I did below for spoilers, but I felt that there was no way I could do it as comprehensively as that site. If you are called out, please do not engage in any of the privilege-denying garbage located at that link. Sometimes I’ll warn you. Your comment will probably get deleted by the moderation team. And some days, I’ll just get tired and you’ll be banned. Whatever happens, please know that this shit WILL NOT BE TOLERATED on Mark Reads.
I’ve said it before and it stands bearing repeating now: If I have to make the majority feel uncomfortable to make the minority feel welcome, I will.
Edit: January 2012: Okay, a lot of youÂ stillÂ want to fight me on this. If you are at all confused about the use of a lot of -isms and whatnot, I am going to direct you to this wonderful resource that might explain a lot of what I talk about or is brought up in the comments:
I do not expect everyone ever to read that whole page before you comment, but I wanted to provide a more comprehensive resource for anti-oppression terminology and history. I would advise everyone spend some time on this page, and to specifically look at the section that might pertain to you. I am not trying to be annoying or irritating by asking people not to use slurs, to not derail conversations, or to not ignore any power dynamics in a conversation. I am trying to create a community whereÂ everyoneÂ can feel comfortable and welcome with discussing and engaging fiction in an entertaining way.
5) I am not the government. The First Amendment doesn’t apply here. This is my site and you post by my rules. If you invoke any free speech bullshit and claim that I’m infringing your right to say what you want on my blog, that is an instant, permanent ban. Not only are you wrong, but I won’t waste my time dealing with you.
Because I am going to be reading series/books that I have had no experience with (as well as other members of the community, we have an ongoing and VERY STRICT spoiler policy in place. Please read this before you post a comment. (FYI, this is the same one that was on MRHP, but I just removed all the HP spoilers.)
WHAT COUNTS AS A SPOILER
1) Stating something that happens in the future.
EX: “Mark, that one character dies in book two!”
Effect: You git, you just ruined everything and I hope you never have another happy moment for the rest of your life.
2) Hinting that something happens in the future.
EX: “Mark, I can’t wait until you get to that part in the desert with the unicorn. It’s so exciting!”
EX: “Oh man, Mark, there is a scene in your mom’s house is awesome! Just wait!”
EX: “They’ll explain why that person is named that in the future.”
Effect: You’ve just removed the element of surprise. May all of your future relationships end with spontaneous combustion.
3) Telling me a specific moment is important.
EX: (And this actually happened) “Oh Mark, I can’t wait until you get to chapter 5 inÂ That One Book You Are Reading. Shit gets so real!”
Effect: Again, ruined the element of surprise. I hope you get nothing but coal for Christmas this year. Oh, and Santa Claus ended up to be real, so tough luck, asshole.
4) Defending your favorite character because they were redeemed in the end. (The inverse is true, as well as defending moments or arguing about specific scenes.)
EX: “Mark, please don’t be so hard on your sister. She gets better!”
EX: “I wish you weren’t so harsh on that one guy. I swear, he doesn’t end up being an asshole.”
EX: “I didn’t likeÂ That One Book You Are ReadingÂ because the end was so depressing.”
Effect: You’ve both biased my opinions on a certain character/moment/book AND removed the element of surprise. You will have a major relationship end on Christmas AND get nothing but coal.
5) Telling me the “answer” is in a past book.
EX: “Mark, GO LOOK WHAT SO-AND-SO SAID ON PAGE 87 IN BOOK 4!!!!!!”
Effect: Half the experience of reading/watching anything that is this dense is seeing what I pick up on and which details I pass over. You are essentially taking away a moment of epiphany/surprise. THIS INCLUDES TELLING ME TO GO BACK AND LOOK AT FORESHADOWING.
I hope your underpants turn into bedbugs.
6) Saying, hinting at, discussing, referring to, or ambiguously cluing me in to anything I have not read yet.
Here’s a great guide to determine if what you’re about to say is a spoiler. Have I read about it yet?Â THEN SHUT YOUR TRAP AND DON’T POST ABOUT IT.Â THE. END.
7)Â Telling me I interpreted a scene wrong or that I made a wrong prediction.
Just don’t. There’s a whole separate issue that you’ll see me bring up about how things can be read any number of ways, but this addresses the fact thatÂ you have the full knowledge of this game or story and I do not. What seems obvious to you will not be for me. Allow me to be wrong and enjoy my embarrassment.
YOU MAY USE ROT13 TO DISCUSS ANY AND ALL SPOILERS. If you see gibberish in the comments, it’s rot13. Go to rot13.com, paste in the gibberish, and then cypher it back to NORMAL WORDS. You may use this in reverse to post any spoilers. ALWAYS WARN THAT YOU ARE GOING TO SPOIL SOMETHING. Say, “Spoilers for season 6” or “spoilers for the episode “Name of Episode.”
Let us now discuss the ~consequences~ of such a travesty if you do decide to post a spoiler here on my blog.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SPOIL
1) Public humiliation.
It’s really my favorite thing. And it will happen and you will get buttmad by people calling you out. So the theme of this section: Deal with it.
Deal with it. You were rude enough to post a spoiler because you didn’t have the entire rest of the Internet to talk about something I hadn’t read yetÂ OH WAITÂ YOU HAVE THE ENTIRE FUCKING INTERNET TO TALK ABOUT CHARACTER DEATHS.
Deal with it.
2) Warning/scolding from me.
I don’t mean to suggest that my opinion is more important than yours, that my views trump anyone else, or that I’m some sort of monarch around here. I am not and that’s not how I work. But it will not be in your best interest to piss me off or spoil me because my MANGER is a very special kind of manger and I like to reserve it for shitty authors and Dolores Umbridge.
Deal with it.
3) Comment suspension
That’s right. I’ll flat-out prevent you from even leaving a comment if you do this more than once or your spoiler is particularly bad.
Deal with it.
4) I swing the banhammer.
Surprisingly, I’ve only had to do this ONCE.Â I don’t like to resort to banning, but I’ll do it if you’re that pervasive. And look…I’ve made a career out of banning people, so don’t think I might be reluctant to do so or that I’ll get sad that I lost a reader. Because I won’t! In fact, I’ll probably sleep like a baby knowing I ruined your day. I AM EVIL.
Deal with it.
If I’ve missed a form of spoilering, please let me know so I can amend this.