@kiwinerd's rules for twitter engagement with strangers

See also: my about page.


It is easy to come across as a jerk on twitter when we get sufficiently exercised about an individual tweet to comment on it. This risk is especially high when we @ someone for the first time. Strangers @-ing me often forget that I do not necessarily use social media in exactly the same way that they do. For me, twitter is not so much about popularity of discrete individual tweets in the aether in the moment as it is about relationships between human beings built over space and time. ✨

Over the years, I have been on the receiving end of quite a lot of harassment in a variety of communications channels. For example: one dogged arsehole used hundreds of twitter sockpuppet accounts to spew invective over multiple years; a major league bigot sicced his hundreds of thousands of followers on me; others acutely creeped me out, stalked me, and made death threats. To keep toxic people out of my twitter life, I have had to block thousands of accounts. If you sound like one of them, you will be added to the list. Conversely, if you sound like a decent person, I will probably be glad to interact with you.

Want to @ me?

Should I?
Being a public intellectual does not make me public property. Nor does my trans human rights activism.
The quickest way to alienate me is to assume that my time is yours to spend. Be thoughtful.
How should I?
Before @-ing me for the first time, read my bio, and skim my feed/about me page for context. Can't be bothered? Move along.
I am an introvert. Please begin with a gentle, restrained approach if you would like to chat with me more often.
A polite first step is to introduce yourself a little, to provide a bit of context before remarking upon particular tweets.
If you have a genuine question or comment, please indicate your motivations, to help avoid misinterpretation.
Delivery of a legit SJ critique is probably best achieved via DM. I tend to be more responsive to critique when there is no audience.
My DMs are not automatically open to everyone. If you would like to begin DMing back and forth, please @ me asking for a follow.
What not to do
If you annoy me too much or transgress one of the following boundaries, I will block you.
You will get at most two warnings before a block. Three strikes and you're out.


  1. Avoid replying to all (the default) when responding to a tweet containing several usernames. Instead, reply only to the originator by default.
  2. Avoid tagging me in a conversation with third parties that I never consented to joining. Untag me before arguing with those who disagree with my opinions or my existence.
  3. Avoid asking me a question if you couldn't be bothered researching it on Google first. I'm not your free on-demand teacher.
  4. Avoid rephrasing my tweet and pretending that it's your original content -- RT me instead. Have some citation hygiene self-respect.
  5. Avoid using my tweet(s) in your text/audio/video piece without first asking explicit permission. That could trigger a wave of harassment.
  6. Avoid discussing my tweets with non-followers if my account is locked. Respect my choice to keep myself safer that way.


  1. Don't try armchair diagnosing me with mental illness(es). Only people in my closest circle of trust may discuss my mental health with me - privately.
  2. Don't try 'splaining femininity or misogyny to me. I was perceived as a girl/woman for four and a half decades; I get it.
  3. Don't try 'splaining the gender binary or transphobia to me. I am nonbinary trans and know what medical transition feels like.
  4. Don't try 'splaining chronic pain/PTSD or ableism to me, and don't try recommending treatments. You don't know my medical history or my regimen history.
  5. Don't try injecting yourself into my personal life. Intrusiveness will not be tolerated, ever.
  6. Don't try emotionally abusing me, e.g. gaslighting or tone policing. I know how to recognize that shit.
  7. Don't try siccing your followers on me. You and they will repeatedly fail to unhinge me.
  8. Don't try doxxing or blackmailing me. I take security seriously and my private life is boring.
  9. Don't try complaining about my tweets to my employer. They have no interest in controlling what I tweet as a private citizen.
  10. Don't try emailing/calling me if you want to continue being argumentative after I blocked you. I will continue royally ignoring your opinions.


If I blocked you, then you earned it -- for transphobia, ableism, misogyny, fascism, masquerading as me, using content I created without permission or citation, twisting my words to serve your own agendas, spamming me, repeatedly wasting my time despite requests to stop, or being a general arsehole. If you wish to get un-blocked, you might like to know that I tend to respond best to genuine grownup apologies that express remorse and take responsibility for actions, signed by name or nom de plume. Obviously, an apology would need to be delivered through some other communication channel than twitter. If I find your case compelling, I will remove the block.