I started posting at Comicboards, a website with a huge range of superhero message boards, way back in 1997, when I was still pretty new to the internet. I started moderating a message board about a year and a half later, and I did that pretty consistently for about a decade. (Though, really, my heart was hardly into it for the last few years.) And since I quit eight or so months ago, I can probably count the number of days I've gone back to visit on one hand.
The problem with Comicboards - and it's been a problem since nearly the very beginning - is one that reminds me of one of the problems noted in Wendy Brown's critique of the liberal state: namely, that the liberal state privileges the juridical protection of the individual over that of the community. And that, in fact, it completely elides the recognition of a group identity that isn't specifically embodied in particular persons. (ie. A marginalized group of people is protected only insofar as the individuals that lay claim to that identity can't be discriminated against for comprising it. The group itself is considered to be nothing more than the sum of its parts.)
An example: The time before the most recent stop I made there, I got into an argument with an admittedly embittered poster who asked a question that amounted to 'which is kind of woman is worse - a lying slut or a cheating whore?' Now Comicboards has a system of rules that protect against "blatantly insulting" behaviour. The problem is, this community is 95% male and his obviously misogynistic question was a 'hypothetical' one and not addressed to anyone in particular - a key requirement of the "insult" rule being that there needs to be an individual who is the injured party. On the other hand, my response - in which I called him a misogynist and insisted that he was "crazy-wrong" - was personal and direct. And so the original post was left intact and my responses were branded a personal attack - evidently no one was familiar with my cutting-edge usage of the word "crazy", since it was deemed insulting to his mental state - and deleted.
And what was worse than the utterly twisted logic of determining injury, I think, was that the deletion of the only critical response to the post also, unfortunately, served as a tacit endorsement of misogyny. After all, if insults are against the rules and one post in the thread is deleted for containing insults while another is left untouched, then it follows that the untouched post is not insulting, right?
Another example: More recently, a poster admitted to confusion over the vague intimation of racial solidarity expressed by the Redskins' Jason Campbell over the death of Steve McNair, both of whom are/were two of only a small handful of black NFL quarterbacks. He wondered why the verbalization of black solidarity was socially permissable when he was certain that white solidarity would be met with charges of racism. My response was to point out that the two were historically overdetermined in very different ways - like feminism, black American solidarity is usually an expression of equality, while white solidarity, like masculinism, has tended to be an expression of superiority - and that there was no reason to assume, much less any evidence that would prove, that Campbell's grief was expressive of racial superiority. (Among other points as to the incomparability of white and black racial solidarity and the NFL that, you'll have to forgive me, are too numerous and long to list here. And probably too boring.)
And that response prompted one of Comicboards' managers to sincerely liken Campbell's words of mourning to those shouted by a gang of ostensibly black supremacist teens that attacked a white family, an analogy that was admittedly "outrageous" but which he asserted was "no joke". That such an ostentatiously racist comparison can be made by one of the site's administrators speaks powerfully, I think, to the pervasiveness of the technology of liberal individuation described above. Given that both Campbell and the teens are asserting some affinity for a community and belonging beyond that of liberal individuals relating to other liberal individuals, they're equally suspicious and problematized by the system's logic, one that's premised on an idea of equality that's ahistorical and can't register the historical overdetermination of race.
Just as a sexist attack on women is not an actual attack for lack of an individual woman who is its victim, "racism" is measurable only within a singularity - the decontextualized events and individuals who have been stripped of the historical and social specifics that actually make racism a meaningful concept in the first place. (And we were told that the internet was going to change everything.)