Housekeeping the Chatner

Just a brief note today on a few changes you can expect from the Chatner in 2021! When stay-at-home orders went out last March, I made all posts available without a paid subscription, ditto for the commenting system, and had hoped to do so for the reminder of the pandemic. Almost a year later, I find myself in the position of needing to modify that system, although I hope to do so with as few “The pizza party is canceled; there was never any pizza party” vibes as possible. While online harassment in general, and transphobic harassment in particular, are not new to me, the frequency, scale, and scope of such harassment has been ticking up in the last few months, including attempts from my harassers to subscribe conversion therapists and anti-trans Christian to my newsletter, increasingly detailed and personal threats, and lurid sexual fantasies about my estranged relatives.

That last one, as you might imagine, is particularly unwelcome, and so it’s time to restructure the Shatner Chatner to minimize the opportunity for such messages from bad-faith actors, while also hopefully minimizing the inconvenience to you, the gentle readers, who really do deserve a pizza party on the most opulent scale. Such restructuring includes the following:

  • I’m turning off the email-reply function to the chat; readers will no longer be able to directly/privately respond to any given Shatner Chatner issue.

  • Commenting will be restricted to paid subscribers. I realize this is not a perfect solution (and am sorry for it, as I’ve always enjoyed the wide-ranging nature of the comments here!), but at least there’s a $5/month buy-in if someone wants to hurl transphobic abuse my way, and I can use the money to buy myself something nice.

  • With occasional vacations, I’ll aim for a thrice-weekly publishing schedule. Two of those posts will be free, and the other will be paywalled, although I don’t have any editorial criteria for deciding which is which – that is to say, paid subscription will not entitle readers to more personal access or information.

That’s all! You do not have to do anything different, and most things about the newsletter will remain unchanged, including the price for paid subscriptions and the fact that most issues will remain unpaywalled. Let’s get that pizza party on the books one of these days —