10 Days of Top 10s: Winning the Internet + Putting out Flame Wars

by Laneia & Riese

Welcome to “Ten Days of Top Tens,” in which we say goodbye to 2010 by reviewing the year that was. Because we spent this year in front of our computers typing words for you, many of these top tens will be a tad self-indulgent. Resist the urge to recognize it as such.


Hey let’s talk about us! Not just us the-team-us, but us you-and-us-us. We’ve had a year, haven’t we? I mean, we’ve had our ups and downs. We yelled, we cuddled, we laughed, we threw tables. I think we’re a lot closer now. Feels like we really understand each other now, doesn’t it?

We can’t resist the urge to look back on a year’s worth of feelings, both awesome and terrible.

When We Won the Internet

Sometimes, if we don’t pat ourselves on the back, no one will. We keep track of when we won the internet and now we’re going to tell you about those times and also explain why we won. You’ll enjoy this.

1. Top Ten Nickelodeon Shows We Remember Things About

Why this worked

This post combined nostalgia, talking about yourself and group thinking. When you combine these three things, you are guaranteed to win. Kelsey, Taylor and Riese came up with the idea of this post while drunkenly eating crackers w/butter.


2. Top 10 Cookies You Can Buy at the Drugstore

Why this worked

I feel like this was the first time we really let our guard down and just did a thing, without worrying about SEO or ‘world events.’ In fact, this post was completely unplanned and singularly inspired by a conversation Riese had with her high-as-a-kite neighbor about the merits of Oreos vs. Nutter Butters after walking from Harlem to the Upper East Side and back. It’s probably the fastest she’s ever written a thing. When this post worked – and I’m still not entirely sure why it did, other than the fact that most people really enjoy cookies – we knew we could trust you. Like, you really got us.


3. Laneia’s Team Pick: These Cashews

Why this worked

No one knows, but I think we can all agree that this won.


4. Top Ten Terrible Things That Probably Won’t Happen to You Today

Why this worked

In a world as overrun with despair and debt as this, people enjoy being reminded of how good they actually have it. Also there was mention of Oregon Trail, which cinched the bonus point for nostalgia.


5. 20 Album Reviews. 300 Words. Includes Girl Talk, Cee-Lo, T-Swift, Nicki Minaj etc.

Why this worked

Everyone loves haikus because they can comment on the haikus in haiku form, therefore making the comments an extension of the post itself. Also Crystal is very clever and we told you there would be 20 and there weren’t 20.


6. Everything Prop 8

Why this worked

Prop 8 sucked forever, and the ensuing trial both sucked (the life out of us) and was epically confusing. The silver lining to that cloud of hell was definitely Rachel, Sarah and Jessica making sense of the world for you in a funny, approachable and INTELLIGENT way. This was maybe the one legit time we won the internet for real.


7. Lesbian Safe Sex 101: The Doctor Is In (Also, the Cartoonist)

Why this worked

Generally speaking, no one wants to talk about safe sex. Thanks to Taylor’s original doodles involving Tegan Quin, we made safe sex both sexy and funny. Try that at your next party — SHIT IS HARDER THAN IT LOOKS.


8. Top Ten People Who Can Do No Wrong

Why this worked

Everybody loves a list because you’re being told what to think while simultaneously feeling like you can / should argue with the listmaker. From an editorial standpoint, we wrote this post in 15 minutes and when we write posts in 15 minutes, we feel like winners. When you comment on those posts, we know we’re winners.


9. The Anonymous Sex Document Series

Why this worked

People enjoy talking about themselves, especially after other people have kicked things off by anonymously sharing personal things about their lives. The more personal, the better. Can’t get much more personal than female ejaculation.


10. Look at That F*cking Stuff Lesbian Kittens Like

alternative lifestyle haircut

Why this worked

This post combined THREE memes, which is nearly impossible to pull off: Look at That Fucking Hipster; Stuff White People Like; kittens. This was Riese’s best idea of the year, and consequently Laneia’s best execution of the year. This is when the stars aligned.


11. Lesbian Fight Club: How to Fight Properly With Your Girlfriend

Why this worked

This piece was not only something we thought you could use, but something that sprouted from our everyday conversations about our own ‘relationships’ and our judgments of one another. Follow these rules and all your arguments will be productive. Also the kitten photos.

You Had Feelings and We Had Feelings and Sometimes Our Feelings Weren’t the Same

On other websites, flame wars and dissenting comments are met with a collective eye-roll from the editorial staff. But not here! Autostraddle is really, really serious about discourse, sometimes to our own detriment. In fact we’re almost violently defensive at times and are working that out in therapy.

But sometimes we all learn something! And that’s when we’re really proud of us and you and muppets the world over.

Let’s take a look back at this year’s most inflammatory and upsetting articles! This should be fun, right? HAHAHA HOW COULD THIS POSSIBLY GO WRONG.

9. Kathy Griffin’s Lesbian Law & Order SVU Episode: As Good As it Gets

Lessons learned

Riese is not without reason – quite the opposite, in fact. She really wants to be proven wrong whenever possible, it validates her low self esteem. This time you guys told her how wrong she was and in the end, she agreed. She likes it when you’re right.


8. Gay Friendly Universities That Are Actually Friendly to Lesbians

Lessons learned

As much as everyone loves a list, publishing one is also a sure-fire way to start several arguments. People forget that we’re all just people, and that our list is not the definitive list of anything because we’re just girls in yoga pants eating string cheese and listening to Radiohead and no one died and made us queen of anything, other than this website.

Students attending universities not mentioned on this list felt slighted and overlooked, and they’re still letting us know about it. It’s actually quite informative once you get past the aggressive punctuation, the comments basically wrote their own lesbian college guide.


7. Google Instant Debuts, Instantly Excludes Lesbians

Lessons learned

This is when we decided to stop apologizing to combative, ignorant commenters who don’t follow our commenting policy. Specifically, people who do this or any of these things. Also, it scared / irritated the shit out of Riese and she decided to never write another tech post again, including the one she announced she was going to make in the body of this post.

6. The Lawless Netherworlds of Gay Relationships in The Ballad of Tila Tequila

Lessons learned

You can’t talk about Tila Tequila without pissing people off, even if you’re using her story to illustrate a larger, more important story. People also feel very free to say all kinds of terrible things about famous people, as if they’re not actually people. We had to erase comments here for pretty much the first time since launching because people said things about rape, murder, and hitting other humans with vehicles. It’s sad and weird.


5. Why We Have an Open Relationship: A Dialogue on Queer Polyamory for Lesbians

by ellen von unwerth

Lessons learned

The one important thing to point out here is that we’re not a unified body of like-minded sheep! This thread includes not only readers yelling at each other, but team members yelling at each other and readers yelling at team members and everything! It’s such a big giant pile of ladies, like a big poly party or whatever it is you weirdos do.


4. Bisexual Open Thread: I Took the Road Best Straddled

Lessons learned

We didn’t want to do a bisexuality thread because we didn’t want everyone to yell at each other. But then you kept asking for one so we did it and everybody yelled at each other. Good learning experience, though. Basically, nobody agrees on bisexuals or bisexuality or labels or identities or ANYTHING. You guys will argue about the color of the sky.

3. Romi Tells Us What It’s Like to Be in Real L Word’s Lesbian Strap-On Sex Scene

Even after we gave you a breakdown of how editing works and how reality shows are pieced together; even with the assumption that you, the reader, are an open-minded feminist; even with all of these things and more, some of you still felt the need to call Romi [NAMES I WILL NOT REPEAT HERE] because she chose to have sex on teevee and later expressed regret re: that decision.

Lessons learned

Y’all can really be some judgey assholes with an inability to move forward! When a scene in a TV show rubs you the wrong way (no pun intended!) you decide to slut-shame and criticize and judge the woman in the show, rather than the show itself and if you’re going to attack anything at all, it should be the show, because the show created the characters. So f-ck you all! Off-camera.

[p.s. Also, let me know when you want to bitch about Natalie Portman being a slutwhore because of her nude scene in Hotel Chevalier, which she later expressed regret for. JUST LET ME KNOW, WORLD.]

2. Calendar Girls: Sarah is Miss April

Even though a woman was taking off her clothes for you, some of you failed to remember that it’s your duty as women (or even just humans, really) to celebrate her, and take your concerns about the diversity of the calendar directly to the editing staff via the contact form which is linked at the bottom of ever page instead of hijacking the comments!

Lessons learned

Honestly, we’re just so used to the mainstream media that we thought when we launched this project — in which we explicitly stated we’d not be using models who were severely underweight, like 100% of the models you see in fashion magazines and other calendars — that we were being radical and inclusive. We learned that we were wrong. We needed to do better than just showing girls who did not appear to be starving to death, we needed to show an actual diverse group of women that reflected what actual women actually look like. Also, Sarah Croce is smokin’ hot.

1. Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists and Weirdos

chat from about 10 minutes after the Taylor Swift article was published:
Riese: oh man! the “pathetic” comment is so irritating
i kinda just wanna delete it
can we just delete stuff?
i won’t delete it.
Laneia: ha
no don’t delete it
they are teenagers riese!
Riese: i also always want to edit other people’s comments
like i want to edit her comment to say “this was amazing!”
Laneia: wow it even made emchoo say ‘go fuck yourself’
Riese: OMG
all of these comments
are coming from the same IP address
Laneia: what
oh that’s precious
Riese: ALL OF THEM!!!
oh, let’s block her i think we can do that right?
Laneia: yes
she’s clearly spamming

Wow this was a special post. At first, we tried to reason with each dissenting comment, because we felt like maybe reason and debate was the way to a better world (we still feel this way, for the most part); like we were the United Nations hosting peace talks with representatives of a far away land. And then we were linked on Buzzfeed, which resulted in a flood of visitors who simply could not be reasoned with. So instead we ate some cookies.

Lessons learned

Sometimes you have to ignore people. Some articles will never die.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


lnj has written 310 articles for us.


  1. So this post was pretty epic…or at least showed how intense this year was! AS is great at bringing out feelings.

    Sooo I don’t have much to say that’s insightful but this post made me want to say 2 things:

    1.) I heard this the other day that reminds me of #5-
    “I see you driving
    ’round town with the girl I love
    And I’m like, haiku.”

    2.) Have you guys seen College Humor’s “We didn’t start the flame war”? It’s pretty funny.

  2. Why The Internet Is A Terrible Person: I just opened a bunch of tabs with some of the flame war posts and none of the awesome posts (although I do remember the awesome ones from the first time round). I feel guilty though, like reading ONTD or F_W makes me feel.

    • yes we did! maybe it wasn’t included b/c we felt like riese won the internet all by herself that day. hm, yeah that sounds like a good reason, right?

      • well riese IS brilliant … but i think it’s fairly obvious to anyone who actually reads AS that your entire staff of writers/magicians/stuffed animals make a real effort to approach everything from queer politics to taylor swift with a certain level of decorum and sensitivity. cheeky, perhaps. but y’all are rarely malicious, excepting comments towards flag-waving bigots. plus you care about how your words impact others. AS wins for comment follow-through and open communication (even though you probably every-so-often mildly/savagely resent the never-ending formspring questions & e-mails… as others have pointed out, many of us are a needy bunch). it’s an impressive feat considering the finite time/resources “battle” that many media outlets fight and lose.

        annnnnyway….. a direct link to lesbian fight club holds a spot in my bookmarks and will remain there throughout 2011 to make me smile. going to find some whiskey and a warm body for midnight.

  3. I love these retrospective top tens! I do after this one have a strong desire to listen to Matt & Kim.

    Also, the bisexuality open thread will hold a special place in my heart because that is when I first registered on this site(aka began my obsession) and also has the most in depth/longest comment I have ever written anywhere in my history on the internets. You’re welcome/I’m sorry.

    Also, just to be clear re:our previous convo — I appreciate this and all of your hard work. Thank you very much. If I could I would send each of you a cheap bottle of champagne for bubbly New Year Eve’s shenanigans.

  4. Can we talk about the fact that Natalie Portman recently said that the lesbian sex scene in Black Swan was the only way to get me to see the movie and make it a success? Can we do that please? Because I saw Black Swan and I liked it and I thought the sex scene was well done/weird/awesome but now her comments make me feel dirty and used.

      • Some people are better to just look at. I have loved Natalie Portman as long as I can remember, but I still don’t know anything about her. I read one interview and decided that her face was too perfect to be tarnished by our conflicting thoughts on the conflict in the middle east.

      • dude, you don’t even know. i want to like her for some/most of the roles she’s in, but it’s like really?

  5. The TRANSMEN, GENDERQUEERS AND STUDS: HOT HUMAN GALLERY is one of my most favourite anythings. The photos get inside of my heart and touch it, they like cuddle my heart.

    • I like it too, and being a – what are they calling us now? Masculine of center? Anyway, one of those people, I just think people get too crazy about it sometimes. Maybe the only way to do one of those lists and not have people go apeshit is to open source it by letting anybody post anyone in an unmoderated way, and then they could use tags to help people find people via searches. I have no clue, and since I don’t plan on acting on any of these ideas, I think I’ll just leave it at that, hehe.

  6. My grandma fed my mom saltine crackers with butter, so my mom fed them to me, and whenever I mention this people stare at me like I’m a food-pyramid violating freak. Also matzo with butter is very delicious. Or with nutella. And nutella is good on graham crackers. So is leftover buttercream frosting. Sometimes I make extra on purpose. Anyway. Hearing that Riese and Taylor and Kelsey also eat crackers with butter makes me very happy. The internet, helping us realize there are other people like us out there, since whenever Al Gore invented it.

    Also I love love love autostraddle SO MUCH!!!

    and happy new year everybody.

    • saltine crackers and butter is what my mum used to feed to me when i was sick. not soup. i had my first soup 3 months ago. so, you know, i get weird looks too.

    • I was sick over Jan. 1 and still groggy today (Jan. 2). probably from excessive drinking last week. I was force fed Chinese medicine from my mother’s quack doctor friend. If i don’t comment within the week, I may not have survived.

    • Saladas or Jatz with vegemite and butter are delicious.
      I feel like this is only an Aussie thing?

      • We (NZ) do it too, so maybe it’s an antipodean thing, although to be honest vegemite eaters are pretty much just us anyway. On WeetBix too.

        • I looked up Vegemite because I’m always on the lookout for things to put on crackers and bread. It’s made from yeast extract acc to wikipedia. Is it delicious? What does it taste like? I saw this Vegemite when I went to NZ a couple of years ago but assumed it was margarine.

        • I have eaten this Weet Bix! It’s too fiber-y for my taste. I think my favorite crackers are thin square saltine crackers and Wang Wang Taiwanese rice crackers. Very delicious. Put cream cheese for extra calories and enjoyment. Ah, and Ritz.

          I looked up this Jatz. They look like biscuits. I’m on Safari mobile so can’t see clearly. Are they like digestives?

  7. I absolutely love the atmosphere that AS creates. By actively participating in the comment sections, yelling at us when we don’t comment enough, being jokey in your articles, shamelessly congratulating yourselves when something goes well and not being afraid to complain/yell at us when something doesn’t go well b/c we’re bitches, AS has retained the intimacy of a personal blog. But then it still has the power to make Perez Hilton a better person and the resources to get awesome interviews and publish calendars and shit. AS is the perfect mix of personal and professional. Every website should strive to be as BAMF as AS.

  8. That Taylor Swift post was AMAZING. Someone else took the time to actually think through and write down everything everyone was thinking but not saying. All you do is win, Autostraddle. All you do is win.

  9. Also, can we have more posts telling me what movies to watch? I’ve finished all the recommends you gave me, and don’t know what to do with my netflix account now. :( #puppyeyes

    • dude today i saw ‘wal mart: the high cost of low prices’ and i cannot stop thinking about wal-mart. i seriously might not be able to ever talk about anything ever again besides wal-mart.

      did you look at the 28 documentaries post, or are you talking about the queer movie posts?

      • I looked at both, actually. I liked some of the documentaries, but every single one of the queer movies you guys suggested was A+ for Awesome, so preferably more of that.

    • Begin the John Waters oeuvre, starting with Female Trouble and then moving on to Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, and Pecker.

  10. I love the Taylor Swift article, but I didn’t comment ’cause I was too late to the game. I will say though that that one girl is a huuuuuge dick. I would’ve been all over that.

  11. So, I just spent like 7 hours reading that whole thread about the google instant thing and it made me feel about 10 different things per second – I thought about the people at work who say awkward things about race, I thought the time I had that girlfriend who was manipulative and it took me a while to figure it out, I thought about the time I was around when someone made fun of this nice translady and I didn’t say anything because I was afraid of being confrontational even though the person who said the thing was the one who was being confrontational in the first place. . . there were a lot of things and I can’t remember them all.

    My point is that you guys are really interesting and you make me think a lot. I don’t know how else to say it. This is just one example.

    Aaaaand, that tiny cat with the lionish mane reminds me of the fact that I went to the theater the other day to see Black Swan and there was a preview for a movie called African Cats.

    African. Cats. It’s just that. It’s about two families of african cats, just doin what they do, bein big giant cats in Africa. On a big screen.

    Is there anybody else who knows anything about this? I died.

  12. Seeing as how I was (mostly) absent from the internet in 2010, I am so thankful for this post. I think Autostraddle was what I missed the most about the web. But, I am back and will be catching up on these posts shortly. :D

  13. but. what about the Autostraddle guide to meeting girls/bois/other AS people? i can’t imagine winning the internet in a bigger way than when you also won the REAL WORLD.

    Chicagostraddlers, back me up?

  14. Just so you know I loved this: Transmen, Genderqueers and Studs: Hot Human Gallery. I Want to thank/encourage you to make like a billion more things like this. Also the label thing is super hard/annoying to deal with.

    • “Also the label thing is super hard/annoying to deal with.”

      You’re not kidding. Not to mention completely unreasonable. A basic level of respect is reasonable, but people go apeshit over that stuff. Silly.

  15. I LOVED THE TAYLOR SWIFT ARTICLE. I think it was one of the first Autostraddle articles I ever read. Also, I’m a teenager and have linked several fellow teenagers to that article.
    ALSO, I absolutely love AS and I’m so glad you guys exist. I just felt like you should know that.

    • I forgot to say that I also loved the article about colleges! I’m currently in the process of choosing colleges to visit and eventually apply to, so I’ve been using that article plus the more useful comments to help me figure stuff out.

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