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12:03 AM
Q: Was Tess raped?

Rand al'ThorThe first part of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles ends on an extremely dark and sinister note: Tess, having foolishly allowed Alec d'Urberville to get her on her own in the middle of nowhere, is ... persuaded? forced? ... into having sex with him. This event impacts her life far more tha...

12:18 AM
@Hamlet If different people have different opinions on what the site is about, then can't it be about ... all of those things?
As a wise user on Puzzling once said, "I'm not going to stop anyone else from eating sprouts just because I don't like them".
If some people want the site to be about X and others want it to be about Y and others want it to be about Z, my suggestion would be to allow questions about all of these topics, and let each individual focus just on the X questions or just on the Y questions or just on the Z questions, or all of them if they really want to.
@Bookworm Any idea why this was downvoted? I'm happy to improve it if possible.
@Randal'Thor you should delete that question ASAP
The one about Tess
@Hamlet Why?
There are several problems with it that are going to make it very hard to moderate
THe only thing I might see as hard to mod is perhaps the fact it leans kinda into discussion territory
Here's my answer to your question as it's currently written
> There was no answer. The obscurity was now so great that he could see absolutely nothing but a pale nebulousness at his feet, which represented the white muslin figure he had left upon the dead leaves. Everything else was blackness alike. D'Urberville stooped; and heard a gentle regular breathing. He knelt and bent lower, till her breath warmed his face, and in a moment his cheek was in contact with hers. She was sleeping soundly, and upon her eyelashes there lingered tears.

I'm sorry, but in what universe is consent possible in this situation? Tess literally falls asleep before the impl
12:24 AM
but I mean...we kinda want to be a lit crit site, so....
@Hamlet I think this answer is a little forceful in its language (perhaps due to the unpleasantness of rape/non consent) but I can see it as an answer
@Randal'Thor I'm asking you do do me a favor. The way you're talking about rape, consent, and sex is extremely problematic. I can help you rewrite that question in chat if you want.
@Hamlet I don't think it's that problematic. He's unsure about an interpretation of the text.
@Hamlet Sure, I'm happy to take advice and rewrite the question if necessary. But I don't really appreciate being told to delete an on-topic and non-offensive question, especially by a mod.
Given that entire academic papers have been written about this exact issue, I don't think it's an invalid question. It may well be, as you say, that the answer is obvious, but it's surely still interesting from a lit-crit point of view to examine why some people took a different interpretation.
@Randal'Thor I edited the question because I thought that some of the language you used could be interpreted as insensitive, particularly by survivors of sexual assault. Since this is a question about a difficult topic, I and the other moderators are going to be very proactive about the language used in this question.
I apologize, I shouldn't have told you to delete the question, I was just worried that I wouldn't be able to edit it in time before it started getting attention.
12:41 AM
@Hamlet I'm sorry, but your edit went too far. You made it less clear what I'm asking, and removed my discussion of the wider context which provided motivation for asking the question.
I think I see which bits you had issues with, so I've re-edited to remove those bits while preserving the original intent.
I still have issues with the way your question is worded. I'm going to try to edit the question again.
I should probably add some links to support the "long-running debate" claim, if I can do so without answering my own question.
If only I still had my annotated copy of Tess to hand ...
@Randal'Thor please don't edit the question. If you would like to make changes, ping me in chat
I'm saying this in my role as a moderator here.
@Hamlet ... whose question is it?
This is getting weirdly close to edit war territory.
12:45 AM
As a moderator, I have a responsibility to make sure that we can discuss sensitive topics productively.
@Hamlet That's all well and good, but Rand's not trying to be harmful.
@Hamlet I would like to recommend letting it happen, and carefully watching the discussion that emerges around it.
@Hamlet Have I discussed anything non-productively?
@Randal'Thor yes
My problem is with the assumptions about consent that are made in the question
I don't think that's fair.
12:47 AM
I think these assumptions hinder a productive discussion about the topic the question discusses
I mean, look. You've edited my question to say she falls asleep (which I don't recall being stated unambiguously, and if true makes the whole question a bit pointless), removed my statement that they have sex (which DOES definitely happen), and changed the main thrust of my question from the very clear "was it consensual?" to the vague and woolly "what happened that night?"
I think you're letting your personal views of the topic colour things - I think Rand's last edit made it clear what he was asking, and where he felt the text wasn't clear.
Rand wants to know if it was consensual, you're taking any discussion of consent off the table.
That's not fair.
If you don't think it was consensual, great, make an answer to that effect, back it up with references, done.
Saying she falls asleep would be something to do in an answer, not in the question.
(This also reminds me I've never gotten around to reading this book and I really should.)
@Hamlet And that's great, but it does mean letting these discussions actually happen, which you're not really doing here
Like I get it, rape and non-consent is a hard topic. Especially for those of us with real-world experiences with it. But part of literary criticism and all of that is being able to talk about those things, while understanding some topics might be super hard for some people.
It doesn't mean that we don't talk about them.
1:07 AM
Discussion has moved here:
1:39 AM
... gotta wonder how Literature would handle questions like this ...
(and no, I'm not referring to the "authorial intent" issue in that question)
@Randal'Thor the way that question is written looks fine to me
And so does the top voted answer
Interestingly, no flags on that question or any of its answers or comments.
I guess sometimes, just sometimes, people can discuss sensitive issues sensibly.
I think it's important to recognize, when it comes to sensitive topics, that it's easy to spot when everyone's just trying to do their best to handle it in a productive way, and that's intrinsically valuable.
We're none of us trolls here ;-)
1:58 AM
Q: Edits to the Tess question

Rand al'ThorI posted this question about Tess of the d'Urbervilles. My latest version read as follows: The first part of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles ends on an extremely dark and sinister note: Tess, having allowed Alec d'Urberville to get her on her own in the middle of nowhere, ends up hav...

@BESW That looks like one of the classical Asbjørnsen og Moe illustrations. I've seen it with a caption along the lines of "some trolls are so old that they spend years just trying to remember their age".
It's a Kittelsen troll.
Apparently Kittelsen was one of the illustrators for Asbjørnsen og Moe. Maybe what I think of as "classical A&M illustrations" are actually Kittelsen illustrations?
I wouldn't be surprised. His work is iconic.
2:43 AM
The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, "And then the murders began."
@BESW I can think of a few stories that would be improved this way
@UrsulaV I've been digging for a long time. And then the murders began. I'm not actually sure why I started, it seemed like a good idea. o_O
@BESW It hasn't shipped yet but I am so excited for it. (although I suspect it has less murders than this tweet suggests ;))
It's not entirely devoid of murder, I'll say that for it.
@marc_laidlaw @neilhimself Mr. & Mrs. Dursley of #4 Privet Dr. were proud 2 say that they were perfectly normal. And then the murders began.
3:00 AM
Maybe that would have made me like HP more, I don't know
And since we haven't actually gotten into the Authorship Question much yet, this will probably be less funny to you guys than it is to me:
(Stephen Greenblatt's "Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy" is... controversial, to say the least. I'd go so far as to call it unintelligible.)
@BESW This makes me giggle.
3:32 AM
@BESW hehehe
7 hours later…
10:36 AM
We just got the first late answer!
11:35 AM
Q: What is the significance of the portraits in Slade House?

Martin EnderThis question contains spoilers for David Mitchell's Slade House. In the first three chapters, the narrator will at some point ascend the stairs in Slade House and walk past a bunch of portraits. These seem to be very accurate portraits of the previous victims of the Grayer twins as they looked ...

1 hour later…
12:54 PM
A question to ponder: how many strings appear in the Library of Babel which point to their own location, in comparison to the number of books?
Alternate question to ponder: does the means by which that location is encoded matter?
3 hours later…
4:08 PM
Q: Is Simon epileptic?

Beastly GerbilFrom the moment Simon is introduced in Lord of the flies, we learn that he faints a lot. He has his own place which he retreats to when he feels he is about to faint or maybe have a fit, and when he sees the pig's head he hallucinates and has a conversation with the head. It is also mentioned th...

2 hours later…
5:42 PM
@Hamlet - please refrain from doing unpopular things in the 25 hours that I'm not here :P
(just kidding)
5:59 PM
@BESW The first line of Joanne Harris's Runemarks is hard to beat:
> Bright and early on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the End of the World, and goblins had been at the cellar again.
6:43 PM
Q: How to decide where to post questions that are on-topic for multiple sites

EJoshuaSI recently posted this question about the Harry Potter series on SciFi SE. It's clearly on-topic there and received a number of upvotes. However, I am curious - would that question have been considered on-topic here as well? There are certain books that are covered by both sites (Lord of the Ring...

6:54 PM
How is everyone doing today?
A new user on the site, Laura Cookson, just posted some really good answers to Lord of the Flies questions
Q: How far ahead did JK Rowling plan Harry Potter?

Matrim CauthonI recently reread the "Sorcerer's Stone" after a long time away from the series. I noticed that within in the first five pages, Sirius Black is mentioned. "Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sit," said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it ...

7:18 PM
Okay, what do people think about the ontopicality or this?
Q: What did George Orwell think of the USSR before travelling to Spain?

Ne MoWe all know he went to Spain and was horrified by the Barcelona May Days... but did he like the Soviet system beforehand?

I'm inclined to say it's not, but we haven't reached a consensus yet.
@Mithrandir Given the first sentence, I'd say the question is inspired by, and strongly related to, Homage to Catalonia.
You might suggest that the OP edit to make that connection clearer, which would make it more clearly on-topic.
Still, it hasn't had any VTCs yet.
@Randal'Thor good idea.
Is this question inspired by, or related to, Homage to Catalonia? If so, you might like to edit it slightly to make this clear. — Rand al'Thor 12 secs ago
@Mithrandir Beatcha to it :-)
BTW, @Rand, your answer here is outdated :P
@Mithrandir Why?
7:28 PM
@Randal'Thor because now 5 of the active users are chat mods :P
@Mithrandir I never said exactly four ;-)
I'm not really a fan of making constant edits and updates to meta posts to reflect minor changes in circumstances.
If I was, some of the older posts on SFF meta would drive me crazy!
Going on about "general reference" and "flag weight" and whatnot.
I know, I didn't really expect you to edit it. Just a bit of light... Whatever you call it :P
7:43 PM
The talk about tag badges in TL made me think about how I dislike that I can have a score of over 380 in HP and still be need another 33 answers for a silver...
@Mithrandir ... wrong room?
isn't eligible for tag badges here.
@Randal'Thor ...right.
No tags are eligible for tag badges here, which means I have nothing to aim for on the left-hand side of my profile.
Right. That thing went empty when I got my diamond, and I was like whaaa? :P
You can still hit rep thresholds even after getting all the privileges!
8:06 PM
Oof, it's impossible to post in mos from my phone. I mean this:
Q: Should we rename the [federation] tag to [star-trek-federation]?

MithrandirCurrently, the federation tag is for star-trek questions. However, this may be slightly confusing, as there are a lot of 'Federation's in Scifi[citation-needed]. As @Rand al'thor ♦ said: Also, should we rename it to star-trek-federation? There are plenty of other Federations in sci-fi. Sho...

@Mithrandir second answers disagrees (partially), and is very close score-wise.
8:30 PM
@Mithrandir I say on-topic; I concur with @Randal'Thor's possible connection. If that's the case, then I'd keep it open. If not . . . that's more difficult.
@Randal'Thor Eh, you still have meta tag badges to go for.
@HDE226868 Already got the bronze for , which is still the only eligible tag.
@Randal'Thor Oh, right, I forgot you had that.
@Randal'Thor How many have been awarded? Two?
@Randal'Thor (Also, eeek, you did , not :P)
Announcing plans to Kickstart the print edition of "Summer in Orcus" by @UrsulaV -- more details coming soon! https://www.facebook.com/sofawolfpress/posts/10155290496022150
@Mithrandir Yep, you and me.
@Mithrandir Fixed.
8:45 PM
Congrats, folks, we've started to receive late answers!
@Gallifreyan Yep :D
9:41 PM
I'm considering putting this question on hold as unclear, because it mentions a 'high quality' translation but doesn't specify what constitutes a 'high quality' translation.
Q: "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle": English vs. Russian translation?

ArchagonI recently started reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami in English and I'm quite enjoying it. However, I learned that the English version — although well-translated — omits several whole chapters from the original! I also happen to speak Russian, and I discovered that there's a...

Q: In what way is the poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker related to power / conflict?

Laura CooksonFor GCSE English in Britain, the language section involves 15 poems we have to write about in the exam. In 45 minutes, we get one of the poems, and we have to compare it to another of the 14 poems from memory based on a question related to power. One poem stands out as particularly challenging: T...

9:59 PM
Q: About Gilles Lipovetsky and his oeuvre.

Valeria KafkaI want to start reading this sociologist but I don't know with which book to start. I read that "The era of emptiness" is a good commencement, but what do you opine and why?

Q: 'They got me a long time ago'

Ne Mo The boots were approaching again. The door opened. O'Brien came in. Winston started to his feet. The shock of the sight had driven all caution out of him. For the first time in many years he forgot the presence of the telescreen. 'They've got you too!' he cried. 'They got me...

10:19 PM
@Bookworm Damn, I was just about to leave a comment on this when it was deleted.
> To correct @Matrim's comment, reading order questions are most definitely on-topic, but only when there's some reason to support one order over another. Questions which invite unsupported opinions are generally a bad fit for Stack Exchange. Is there likely to be any clear reason to read Lipovetsky's works in one order rather than another?
I'm thinking getting some good form comments for things like reading questions might be useful.
Agreed-on wordings, etc.
I wonder if any mod would be willing to post that comment for me? It's quite important not to give new users mistaken impressions of the site, and Matrim's comment kind of does that.
I'll do it.
Thanks! :-D
Also, the tour is pretty much useless at this point for showing anyone what's on or off topic.
@Emrakul Is anything good showing up here yet, for the example question on the tour page?
Not yet. I think there's some caching delay, though I'm not sure.
I'm keeping an eye on it, though. I'm also wondering about editing the site blurb, but maybe that's an issue for meta.
10:24 PM
Or it might just be that Q&A with any kind of formatting are automatically ineligible for the tour page. Which really sucks for sites like SFF or Literature where most of the good answers contain quote blocks.
@Randal'Thor the help center page is worse.
@Emrakul Sorry to bother you about that comment again, but could you possibly edit in the links too? Pointing people to meta is as important as telling them what the policies are, so that they can see how the policies are made and the reasoning behind them.
@Randal'Thor what are criteria for a question being eligible for display on the tour page?
@Mithrandir At least the help centre page doesn't talk about unicorns.
@Randal'Thor Yep, one sec.
10:27 PM
@Hamlet It's on main meta somewhere. Hold on, I'll go digging.
@Randal'Thor done
A: What determines the questions available for selection in the tour page?

ManishearthApparently the posts have to be short, with at least two short answers (<=400 chars). They also shouldn't have any crazy formatting. Relevant Data.SE query An interesting thing to note is that if the question satisfies the above criteria, but the accepted answer doesn't, the system pretends tha...

Woo, it's a modfest in here! :-P
@Randal'Thor I don't think we have any short questions/answers :P
Moderating until we're blue in the face is sort of the slogan of SE, isn't it?
@Emrakul I think you mean blue in the name :-P
10:30 PM
Oh, no, not the name :[
I should probably leave the modfest, as it's 12:30 AM ATM, so... Unfortunately, this site is worse than TVTropres.
@Hamlet We have quite a few short questions, and e.g. Mithrandir and Riker have written some short answers. In this question, for instance, everything was fairly short and without quote formatting until the newest answer today.
Q: Why does Dr Azad pay for Chanu's ticket to India?

Ne Mo "Dr. Azad," she said. "Why did you give my husband that money?" The end of his nose was pitted with age, his cheeks had given way to jowls, pockets of air puffed the skin around his eyes, when he smiled the corners of his mouth turned down, and it was a big, generous smile. "It's ve...

First pass at a form comment for reading order questions:
> While reading order questions are on topic, would it be possible for you to edit the question to indicate why you believe there's reason to support one order over another? Thanks!
Which is heavily inspired by Rand's comment there ;)
This was short until I added the quotes from the poem.
(and I keep getting random upvotes on it!)
@Emrakul looks good
10:37 PM
I'm voting to reopen this:
Q: What order should I read Thomas Pynchon's novels in?

RikerThomas Pynchon is a writer famous for having dense and hard to read books, but is acclaimed for those books. He wrote V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, and others. What order should I read his books? His books are often read in specific orders, because all of them are hard to unders...

because even though they're not directly related in a storyline, there are some big reasons to favor one order over another
No Mjolnir atm... :P
@Mithrandir You have Glamdring, not Mjolnir.
@Randal'Thor I just noticed the word 'ring' in there...
@Riker That edit is definitely a major improvement.
10:42 PM
Anyway, Narya and I are going to bed. Goodnight people.
(I think Narya)
TIL @Mithrandir has a girlfriend called Narya.
(sorry, couldn't resist)
Just a... Ring. O_o
But it's a sentient ring, and that's what counts.
10:47 PM
night mith!
Q: How to quote poetry and other multi-line texts?

HamletThis is just so there's something I can link to on the meta when this issue comes up. Is it possible to quote multi-line text on the Stack Exchange software?

@Hamlet faq-proposed maybe?
@Riker Maybe when we have some community guidelines on how we want to use our meta FAQ.
hm ok
@Riker IDK I don't know how anything works and I don't know what I'm doing
(don't tell anyone)
10:52 PM
seriously though, feedback on this?
I think it's ready to reopen
@Mithrandir Are you sure it's not a ... Rid Elf Ring?
@Emrakul Do we need per-site guidelines? I think of FAQ as something whose use is pretty much the same on all sites: to mark particularly useful, important, or frequently cited meta posts.
That's true, but it's not something I'd like to really touch until we have the spare focus to use it properly.
The site's still doing a lot of setting up of other basic things and resolving broader issues. I think we can approach the FAQ problem later without harm.
(While we're on the topic, any feedback on this?)
@Emrakul Sure. It's definitely not a high-priority thing.
I've read it, I've been thinking about it, may post about it soon.
@Riker I'm going to wait and see if other people vote to reopen it
11:03 PM
Q: Why is Rousseau saying that "[...] Russia was civilized too soon"?

TeddyIn the Social contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau says [...] Russia will never be really civilized, because it was civilized too soon What is he referring too, when saying it was civilized too soon, and why that would prevent Russia from being civilized later?

@Riker Sorry, but I don't. You still haven't really justified why some orders might be considered better than others; "easy to understand" is pretty subjective, and you could say about many collections of unrelated books that some of them are easier than others, but that doesn't mean a question about them would be any less opinion-based than a recommendation question.
@Randal'Thor Reading order questions are always going to have some significant degree of subjectivity.
@Emrakul Sure, but this is where Good Subjective, Bad Subjective comes into play.
@Randal'Thor Looking at the question again, I'm agree with Rand's comment
Good Subjective, Bad Subjective largely applies to answers and the way they respond to subjective questions.
Though there's some component of it that goes into the framing of the questions, it's mostly attitudinal on the part of answerers.
11:14 PM
@Randal'Thor @Emrakul my bad, I deleted my comment
Q: Why did Tolkien publish as J.R.R. Tolkien?

KimballQuite a number of authors of English literature around the early 20th century published with initialed pen names (EM Forster, JRR Tolkien, TS Eliot, ...) whereas others did not (Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad, ...), and I was curious as to what might lead an author to use initials f...


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