In her post, Cheryl points out two different ways in which such internet debates progress. The first one goes as follows:
Privileged person posts something clueless → Less privileged people disagree, sometimes loudly or snarkily → Friends of the original poster and bystanders complain about the toxic atmosphere on the internet.
The second one goes as follows:
Marginalized posts about asking for more representation of themselves → More privileged people have a fit and feel that their freedom of speech is endangered → Marginalized person receives rape and death threats for their trouble → There are comparatively few complaints about the toxic atmosphere on the internet.
Of the debates raging currently in the SFF community, the debate about “masculine” writing and the debate about awards eligibility lists are examples of No. 1, while the debate about post-binary gender in SFF is an example of No. 2.
Though I found it striking that the most vehement objections to the Alex Dally McFarlane’s post about post-binary gender all seemed to originate with members of the same religious community, which suggests that a certain religious denomination really seems to have issues with the idea of post-binary gender. Meanwhile, debates about the irrelevance of genre awards and the fact that the wrong works and artists tend to get nominated usually originate with male British writers, critics and fans (quite often the same people, too, year after year), which suggests that a certain group of male British writers and critics is really at odds with the rest of the genre.
Though the two different modes of internet debates aren’t just confined to the online SFF community and related geek communities either. For example, I hang out quite a bit in the online community for self-published writers and we get the same type of debates with the same dynamics there, including complaints from the privileged (i.e. big sellers and some trad-published authors) about the toxic atmosphere on the internet, when they’re just trying to be helpful by telling everybody else how they are just hobbyists and will never be successful, because they are doing it wrong, i.e. not the way the successful person offering advice is doing things.
So this seems to be a universal thing.