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So Tell Me More About That Hate Speech Policy

Discussion in 'Addressed Letters' started by Travelling Brain, Feb 24, 2012.

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    Travelling Brain scourge of the interbutts

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    i am like a small child who received a christmas present and decided to write a thesis on it
    I LOVE THIS, BUT TELL ME MORE

    to all my readers out there, my points are in reference to
    1. the new hate speech / discrimination policy
    2. the "kill it with kindness" code of conduct

    DEAR STAFF,

    i'll start off with saying i love the new hate speech policy, and it honestly did make my day to read it! i think it is so valuable to have that kind of document present and visible in the community, and i think it's a great leap in the right direction!

    and then i will add that i have personal fondness for the staff and their marvelous sense of humor with me, and i personally believe i can be more helpful now that bigotry is against the rules. time to hit that "report" button!

    this being said! i am curious on some things.

    1. a lot of bigotry and hate speech is stated civilly. seriously, one of the worst things is how calmly and seriously people will say callous, cruel, hateful things. they don't think there's anything wrong with what they're saying! they probably even think they're a good person! but in a single fell swoop, they go and make a bunch of people really upset -- sad *and* mad. they are at ease while plenty of other people are now really disturbed.

    inflammatory responses come about *because* people are hurt. this code of conduct totally disables people's ability to respond on their own to something that has hurt them.

    alright, so it should be taken to the staff! got it. but when this post gets dragged up, and this bigot turns out to have stated their "point" in a "grown-up manner", will the post still be unapproved? i am honestly afraid that things like this will be let go if only the words are "nice enough."

    2. people try to cover their butts. we have all met a person who is just full of excuses! they have some line every time about why their behavior should be pardoned. the go-to excuse is usually "the thing i did wasn't that bad." failing this, the runner-up is "i was just joking / i was just playing devil's advocate / i was just trying to engage in debate." if all else fails, number three is, "you just want to shut down anyone who doesn't agree with you."

    counter to point 1: yeah it was, you broke official rules.
    counter to point 2: when we are discussing real pain in the lives of real people, it is not some sort of abstract hypothetical; we cannot "debate" how much real pain these real people feel, especially when they are explaining this pain in a thread. it is not "debate" to go "NU-UH YOU DON'T REALLY FEEL THAT WAY, BECAUSE I DON'T FEEL THAT WAY."
    counter to point 3: in these sorts of contentious topic, we are not debating what the best color is. or what we should have for lunch tomorrow. i do want to see all bigots shut down. they can agree not to discriminate or be hateful, or they can go.

    well, that's my opinion on the matter anyways. i'm sure this policy will get broken in like a nice pair of new shoes, and the lines will become clearer over time. i just want to troubleshoot some of this stuff ahead of time, so i can report situations in the best way.

    THANX STAFF LUV U

    XOXO,

    mondfong
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    xexes Fancifying the unmentionables since 1866

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    I respect what you have to say, but I feel that it doesn't quite match up with the process.

    When "something bad" happens, the community is pretty good about catching and reporting it. We have hundreds of members on RPG-D reading posts, so the odds are that someone will catch it. From that point, a mod steps in, removes the badness, and tells the offender what's wrong, and what's needed to continue forwards (for example, rewording their post). So, the initial badness that happens is all removed and taken care of, and all subsequent posts that contain follow-up badness. I understand what it's like to be upset at a badness, but if you think about it, as soon as you click 'Report', that badness begins a process to be gone away. At least, in my mind, it makes much more sense to hit 'Report' than to bother replying or defending or attacking the badness.

    I recently did something bad myself, and that's exactly what happened. There's no excuses, no defenses, no apologies, just a mod telling you very nicely and politely, "Hey, this is bad so I removed it, if you can re-look at your post and make sure it's okay, that's great". There's no dialog on whether or not you did bad, the questionable content is removed, period. (At least, in my experience)

    TLDR; It's better to hit 'report' so the badness goes away rather than responding to it at all. Why bother messing with badness when a mod will gladly remove it in the first place?
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    Travelling Brain scourge of the interbutts

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    ah, you might be missing my points!

    will the mods remove "politely"-worded badness?

    will they cut slack when bigots claim "it was an accident" or "i didn't mean it" or "it was just debate"?

    of course i'm going to report people, but will it matter?
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    Ruffian Beast of All Saints

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    I would think that given the general civility of the boards (on the surface, anyway, who knows what people might be secretly raging at everyone out there), there would be little point in distinguishing "polite" hate speech from "impolite" hate speech, because the latter is so seldom even seen that I doubt it would last three seconds on the boards. Because of that, I presume that people will (in general) be much more critical of and sensitive to hate speech and that yes, hate speech that is politely worded will be taken down. I can't really think of a nice way to phrase a racist sentiment, for instance. Unless it was one of those weird backwards compliment things -- is that what you meant? Saying something awkward like mentioning how a certain group is good or bad at a certain activity, or generally bringing up stereotypes?

    As far as the whole "I was just engaging in debate" thing goes, I'm always much more offended by the fact that someone tried to pretty up their ill-formed blathering as a proper "debate" than I am about anything they actually said. Oh, you're just trying to debate? No, you're just talking. Loudly. With no purpose or form. And you should really stop. Or at least call it what it is, which is not debate. /digression
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    Travelling Brain scourge of the interbutts

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    i uh
    *monocle adjustment*

    welp ruffian i could go through a few threads right now, past and present, and quote some examples, but i have personally discovered that quoting people's own words at them can count as flaming :') so as much as i would like to substantiate my claims, i am sort of stuck being abstract due to the code of conduct!

    here are some general examples of what i've seen

    1. the concern troll - this person isn't a REAL racist or a REAL fat hater, they are just "concerned" with this issue and want to "discuss" it. concern trolls generally refuse to read the threads and anything that has come before them. they do not digest any of the actual discussion. they simply repeat moot points and go on about how much they "care". if you get mad at them, they will claim they are "picked on".

    2. the backhanded compliment - "oh, i'm not a racist! i love asians! they're so smart!" people will shamelessly stereotype and pretend there is nothing wrong with it. they think it is okay to erase a spectrum of unique groups and people if they are using the word "like" or "love".

    3. "but my friend--" / "but i really respect--" - have caught someone saying something awful? too bad! their friend is _____! black, fat, queer, a woman, poor -- they could never say anything bad, because of this friend, who would supposedly claim it is okay! another good example is the native american headdress, where white people will blast on about how they 'really respect' or 'really admire' or 'really want to honor' a culture (that they can neither name nor describe), as if this sentiment undoes the awful significance of their actions.

    4. my intent -- "but i didn't MEAN it like that!" well too bad you dingdong, you said something hurtful. if you stepped on my foot, you'd apologize, wouldn't you? or would you give me a laundry list of the reasons why I SHOULDN'T BE IN PAIN OR MAD, because in your heart of hearts your soul foot did not step on my soul foot???

    tl;dr i totally agree with you but you would be amaaaazed what people will pull. my biggest fear is probably the "magical intent" card, since that's a real fan favorite when it comes to "i messed up and i know it but i will avoid being sorry by talking about my true inner spirit." i do not care about your inner spirit!!! i care about the thing you just said!!!
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    Ruffian Beast of All Saints

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    Ahhh that is much clearer, thank you. I do agree, though I wish this was the kind of universe where we didn't have to explain how all those things are horrible things to say. :(
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    xexes Fancifying the unmentionables since 1866

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    As far as I understand : if there is some "badness" which you find, and you report it, the badness is removed by a mod, period, yes?

    Is there an actual dialog going on with the mod and the badness author? In my experience, there isn't and because it was reported, the badness is instantly removed, and there is no room for arguments, defense, or justification.
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    Travelling Brain scourge of the interbutts

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    if i knew that for a fact, xexes, i would not be asking this question. ;)

    what i do know for a fact is that a bigoted posts stated "civilly" have stuck around, but anti-bigoted posts will get shot down for "stirring drama" and "flaming" and "harsh wording" and whatever else have you. do you see how i'm questioning how 'badness' is defined?
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    Sunreon brain overload, reboot

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    This thread x a million. It is highly relevant to my interests. Having clearly stated lines of what will and won't be dealt with allows me to feel like I can trust that this policy will be implemented in a way that actually does attempt to address and counter much of the discrimination that I have seen casually (and even downright blatantly sometimes) exist. And then I will be so many times happy to make full use of this feature and code.
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    Haymitch's Flask Lets go explore

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    Mindfang,

    I’ve been mulling over a proper reply to your question for the last couple of days. And in reality, this is the only answer I have for you is this – we can’t say right now.

    It’s not because we want to keep our policy completely opaque and surprise everyone. Rather, it’s because we can’t say at this point in time. Every situation we are presented with is uniquely and utterly different. In one instance someone may be wholeheartedly trying to cover their bigotry up with arguments you mentioned previously. Other times, someone may be doing it out of complete ignorance. Thus we can’t apply one action to the other or any other situation. For example, I never realized that “gypsy” was an offensive term until the discussion that came up showed me it was. Does that make me a bigot? I would hope not. Rather, my “bigotry” was the result of ignorance. And if it hadn’t been for that thread and the levelheaded replies of Sephula, I would probably have continued referring to the Romani as gypsies.

    Understand that the fight against bigotry must be done in a manner that benefits all, this is something not only myself, but the rest of the staff firmly believes. Firing back at such bigots with vaguely worded rants and insults in the name of justice and education is not the manner that is most beneficial to everyone. That is why many of the anti-bigotry posts are removed. Not because they were anti-bigoted but because they were not worded in a way that is beneficial to all and came off as highly offensive. The anger is rightly placed yes, but firing at bigots in anger does not help anyone and only serves to make them defensive. This I’m positive you can understand because I believe your intentions are only for the best and always have been.

    We believe that there will never ever be a place for bigots on the D. Actually, hateful speech has no place on the D. Period. Even if it is in reply to bigots with a noble intention. Either way, posts that offend and are bigoted, must be reported and depending on the context of the thread at hand we will take action against the poster in line with our warning policy. Our hate speech policy falls under the general umbrella of our Kill it with Kindness policy and as such every member is obligated to report and ignore posts that are offensive to them. No matter how offensive or vaguely worded it is. From the report, the staff will take action.

    Before a post is removed there is a discussion amongst the staff. Only after the fact is someone allowed to defend their post, but typically our decision will stand. The intention is often perfectly clear and therefore, debate is often not needed about it. If they believe our decision was incorrect then they are welcome to open a dialogue with us about it, and are welcome to repost their contribution to the discussion or debate. Typically though, what is most needed is a rephrasing of their content to be less aggressive.

    TL;DR: The only true answer to your original question is that we can’t give you an exact definition of what is and isn’t allowed. But rather it’s based solely on the context of the thread. Hateful speech, has absolutely no place on the D, regardless of its intention. However, an effort must be made to determine if its out of ignorance or if it’s truly bigoted hidden under layers of civility. This is done through an investigation by the staff in the context of the threads and past warnings against the poster.

    Understand, that our policies can never ever be specified for every single situation because we simply can't anticipate everything. Rather, we will be using the spirit behind our policies to determine the proper application of them.
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    xexes Fancifying the unmentionables since 1866

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    I think I have the winning question, here. You said:



    If the staff decide to leave a reported post as-is, but there are multiple people reporting the same post, in this way can the community overrule the staff's decision?

    There's really no way to quantify how many people is "enough" as it varies from case to case. But, It makes sense to me that if the staff decide to leave it, but the community appears to be avid in wanting a "badness" removed, will the community prevail, or is the staff's decision the absolute final one?

    The issue at hand has many aspects - it's really not about the staff's judgement, but rather a system of checks and balances, and a question of how much say the community has in its own community.


    *edit "it's" changed to "its", revoked my own contraction license.
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    Xalcen I'm Teemo and I know it!

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    The problem I see with that is then you get into a potential mob judgment mentality. Let's play a game real quick in my scenario editer:

    Person A: *starts thread asking about gay marraige*
    Person B: *is all for it, lists reasons why*
    Person C: *is not, lists reasons why*
    Person A, B, D, E, and F, who happen to be for gay marraige, all report it on grounds of it is discriminatory against homosexuals. Staff look, say it is ok.

    Under what you just suggested, if enough people go against it, it would be deleted anyway. There is no real protection for the person with the unpopular/dissenting opinion. In which case it is essentially mob mentality to silence opposition and a slash at free speech. And last I checked, free speech is good.
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    Travelling Brain scourge of the interbutts

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    see, i'm not quite out to tackle people from the bushes for ignorance! i mean, sometimes i pop a spit bubble or go through my gifs folder, but lawd knows i have been quite the doofus in my lifetime and i did not dig up the One True Treasure of Perfect Edumacations one fine afternoon. sometimes we do not know better! i think we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves, but that's another story.

    my real point is, what about the people who keep arguing after things are explained?

    like, the majority of that thread is people explaining things in a manner that benefits all! in fact, 95% of the time, everyone is above board on this "let's listen and learn as a community" thing. but some people aren't! they clearly totally aren't and they will keep up with their "polite" rhetoric even after someone has explained that their speech is hateful. additionally, some speech is clearly hateful without anyone posting a lecture or a screed or a giant explanation of why it is, and it only takes a teeny bit of intuition to know not to post such things in the first place. do otherwise nice members sometimes say thoughtless things? you betcha! do i want to eat their hearts from their chests? probably not! but at some point intent just isn't a defense anymore.

    so i'll spin this another way: how much ignorance is a user allowed?

    i totally get that each situation has to be examined, and it's about keeping the spirit of the policy, but think of the hate speech policy as an umbrella. before it rains, i want to figure out how sturdy and how big this umbrella is, because i really won't have time to gauge it when the storm comes pouring. i can master a wicked amount of patience and nice words when it comes to defeating accidental ignorance, but some people are willfully ignorant, and by extension, willfully hateful.

    and then
    and then
    and then xexes just blew everything out of the water and i was like

    [IMG]

    holy crap this is genius
    i'm serious it is

    i ramble a lot about community and community building and what it means and this is so, so relevant -- the idea that the staff and the community are interacting to build on one another and grow. the staff policy is that the community cannot 'self-regulate', if you will -- that is, when we see something amongst us that makes us REALLY REALLY MAD, we are supposed to bring it to the staff instead of dealing with it internally. and i get that, but what is prevailing in bringing things to the staff in the first place are the feelings of the community. we are speaking up against things we find toxic and hurtful. we are drawing lines. we are sittin' around and talkin' and thinkin' and sometimes arguin', and we are makin' this all happen, almost all of the time without any moderating or intervention. that is pretty cool, if you ask me.

    but here we have the slippery slope argument:
    i will kibosh this one right off the bat with i don't think free speech should excuse hate speech, ever. within the context of this thread, i'm reading xexes's post as something like, "if the community speaks out against a post as hate speech, broadly and firmly, should the community's wishes be honored?" and i think the answer should be, "yes."

    bigots loooove to cry that their free speech is being stomped on, that we are just 'haters', that they are 'martyrs' for voicing an 'unpopular opinion'. but this is not some sort of open forum for people say whatever they want, whenever they feel like it, however they feel like it, regardless of who it hurts and how. it's not! the end!

    there is an ENORMOUS difference between the following situations:

    if we have any faith in the staff at all, i am pretty sure they can pick out between when someone's dissenting opinion is bigoted, and when it is just a different opinion.
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    stainsofpeach One Day at a Time

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    I have been following this thread with interest mostly because I just wasn't sure where I stand on it - and the very phrasing of "we remove the badness" conjured up all kinds up distopian novels and made me shudder.

    For me, free speech is the much much higher value than the protection against reading something hateful about others or yourself. And not just because pretty much every bigoted law is actually defended by the fact that it "protects someone from something". Like gay marriage isn't allowed to protect the sanctity of marriage. Women wear special clothing or have special codes of conduct to protect them. Or the children... oh the protection of children has to take the cake in supporting restrictive laws. Why would a nipple harm children? They have seen them before - I would hope! (anyway, can of worms).

    Bigots love free speech?

    I bet you, i love it more. Much much more.

    And I know this isn't a free speech kind of board (the censors make that loud and clear) but even if that means siding with the bigots, I would always, always come down on the side of free speech. If just because when they say it ("the badness"), people can respond and try - and even if they change nothing in their heads, they know where they are coming from. If they white-wash all their opinions, you can't argue with them and they are still fuelled by the bigoted feelings.

    Situation:
    A "nice" old lady would never dream of exposing her bigotry by actually saying anything because she isn't an idiot and knows what hate speech is and how people would judge her for it. However, when her grand-son comes out as gay, she writes him out of her will and won't see him anymore and when her grand-daughter comes home with a black boyfriend, she tries her very best to break them up.

    Bigots don't need free speech. We do!
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    Walkietalk I have a real flair with excuses.

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    I don't really have much else to say on this topic; because I'm still trying to wrap my head around it...

    but Domo... I do have a question...



    Does this mean you guys are deleting responses to offensive remarks but not the offensive remarks themselves?

    And if that's the case....how is that not backward? Delete the posts that are rightfully angered but leave the posts that, most probably, offended a lot of people?

    EDIT (because I finally had a chance to wrap part of my head around it)

    Monitoring something like this is going to be very difficult on you guys. Especially since "hate speech" is such a subjective term. People who are using hate speech don't really see that they are - or don't think they are because that's what they believe. They aren't wrong in their own eyes. So who is allowed to be the judge of whether or not it's hate speech or just plain old offensive? Are you guys going to monitor every post that someone finds offensive? And then...are you willing to take the hit when you don't do anything because you don't find it offensive and the person who did find it offensive gets upset about it?

    I think that's your biggest problem with the report it mantra that's going around lately... because people are going to report a lot of things. Heck, if I had realize we had a new hate speech code of conduct, I would have reported a post recently that I felt was offensive/hateful toward me and a group of people.

    There's going to be an influx of reports and that's gonna be super hard on all of you. And that goes back to the question of: who are you guys to make a decision on what's hateful and what's not?

    It just.. it seems alright in theory, it really does, but will it work in the long run or will it just breed hostility amongst the members and...from members toward staff? Especially if the members who are offended don't feel like they're getting any..justice?
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    Travelling Brain scourge of the interbutts

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    if it seems like i'm repeating myself it's prolly cause i am

    this is not an either/or situation.

    it is not, "side with bigots, or free speech goes away."

    it is not, "if someone can't be a racist, i can't claim r pattz is a bad actor!"

    that is an argument that is disingenuous on its face, and the same slippery slope fallacy that i addressed above. if you are not a bigot, you have nothing to be concerned over. because your posts are going to be free as birds! you can keep on keepin' on! you might make a mistake once in a while, but if you are mature and apologetic, everyone is pretty okay! your free speech is safe, because you are not using free speech to hurt other people.

    otherwise, you are basically saying to me, "well mindfang, we can't put people in jail! i mean, if you put someone in jail for stealing a car, you could put me in jail for calling you a stinkbug! so the solution is not to put anyone in jail for anything." gonna vote for 'no' on that one!

    ohai walker gets what i'm sayin'!



    if you are pulling up problems by their roots -- well, the roots are the original offensive remarks! as said, this forum ain't some free for all, and it's mighty contradictory to go, "mindfang, your posts of righteous anger are inflammatory and offensive, and we're taking them down," and then turn around and go, "bigot XYZ, your posts have seriously upset the community, but we're leaving them up."
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    stainsofpeach One Day at a Time

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    Thank you! This!
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    Xalcen I'm Teemo and I know it!

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    Thirding. I had not thought of Bradbury. Orwell on the other hand I had.
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    xexes Fancifying the unmentionables since 1866

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    I wanted to write out this point to help me (and perhaps others) understand exactly where we're at.
    I may have missed some things, I tried to write out all the main points and issues as concisely as possible. I don't mean to exclude anyone, if I did, I apologize, feel free to correct me (but this thread isn't about a mere bulleted list but the greater issues they speak of )


    Why is this happening!
    It's not that we hate RPG-D but rather that we love it enough to try to make it better. It's kind of a "growing pain", we've gotten bigger, we're successful, but we've got some problems we didn't have when we were in the 2-digit member counts. The recent policy changes brought up some continued concerns we've had, along with some new ones.

    Wtf is happening!
    A multitude of feelings and questions have come out of the woodwork with the new "kill it with kindness" and policy changes. There are multiple facets and aspects to each issue.
    - what about nicely worded "badness" ?
    - what about people do use "badness" but not in a way to hurt others
    - what about people who defend their "badness" ?
    - relative definitions and views of "badness" are different to each person
    - we do not know how well reports of "badness" are being handled, but there is still "badness" in old threads
    - can't the community help to moderate itself ?
    - what about when the community disagrees with staff ruling ?
    - community feelings vs staff decisions on what to do about reported "badness"
    - will disagreements (on the above) be a wedge of dissension and unhappiness?
    - on principle, because each situation is different, seemingly inconsistent decisions seem unfair
    - community moderation has mob mentality problems
    - what about "badness" that continues even after being dealt with?
    - how will you monitor reported posts?
    - can you be more specific about what is "badness" and what is not
    - what about free speech?





    As I'm typing all this, I personally recognize an issue.

    But what I don't know is exactly how much of the community feels this is an issue. Is it only the 20 or so members who have spoken or like'd something, out of RPG-D's 23,000 some total members? I just don't know. I almost want to request a member poll, but it might be flying dirty laundry a little too publically, not to mention that polls can be extremely subjective and inaccurate merely based on their wording, or even their execution. There's so many facets here to this thread, I don't know if it's even humanly possible to get an accurate idea of how concerning this is to the community.

    (edit: typo)
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    Ruffian Beast of All Saints

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    I think both sides of this debate are so firmly camped on their side that they're not able to glance across the fence. I feel as though Mindfang is purposefully overstating his/her case (as many of us do when locked in any sort of debate) in order to get their point across more fully -- or perhaps hoping that if they make enough noise about it, the forum will at least take a baby step in what they consider to be the right direction. That one sentence that was quoted is just one sentence in an entire paragraph that fully explained the entire thought behind it. Was it badly worded? Yeah. But reading on makes the fuller meaning of that sentence clear.

    It looks like most of us agree on a few points -- while free speech is a good thing, it is not carte blanche to be a douche. It looks like most of the back and forth is hinged on this main thread of thought and it seems (as a reader) that nobody has yet noticed it, so we're just sitting here getting into a full-on semantics battle and freaking ourselves out over nothing.

    Feel free to tell me if I have a slippery handle on the situation. It's just how it seems to me.
    4 people like this.
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