Author Topic: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs  (Read 3076 times)

Offline Pthalocy

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Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« on: July 06, 2015, 06:56:45 PM »
So I'm pretty okay with us censoring sexist, racist, bigoted slurs (generic swearing being totally fine). Problem is, what to do with fiction.

Frankly, I would prefer not to censor people's fiction, as it was the biggest source of drama last time this issue came up. The exception would be if someone were using fiction to shit out all the slurs they could in a 'sanctioned' safe place as a means of rules dodging, but those cases are pretty easy to spot.

I feel a no-slur rule in the rest of the forums should suffice in encouraging people not to type that way to begin with, without resorting to stepping on creative toes. We would, of course, encourage people to avoid such use in fiction as well, but we wouldn't toss out warnings unless they got blatantly excessive in using it.


Purpose of topic: Do you other mods agree, and if yes, may I add this to the official rules post I've made?
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Offline Rivet

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2015, 09:11:07 PM »
I'm for this.

Roleplaying and creative fiction are the place for such things, general discussion is not.
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Offline Kevin Granade

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 03:55:27 AM »
The three main reasons I can think of to ban certain terms:
1. You think the terms are inherently offensive and any use of them is bad.
2. The terms offend/upset certain people, and you want those people to have a place where they are welcomed, which means adopting their intolerance of the terms.
3. An arbitrary rule aimed at maintaining control.

For my part, my reason for supporting a ban on slurs has always been #2, and as such it doesn't make any difference whether it occurs in conversation or fiction.
In balancing "people who are upset by seeing slurs being used" versus "people who want to use slurs", there's simply no contest, one group has a rational reason to be upset, the other one does not.

Side issue, I don't find "creative freedom on a particular forum" to be a compelling need, there are innumerable other places you can post fiction that has whatever you want in it, there's no pressing reason for the DDA forums to be that place.
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Offline Pthalocy

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 08:39:53 AM »
My reasons are most like your #2. I feel there is a notable difference between using these terms where you're directing them at real people, versus using them to convey something about a fictional character. The former addresses a real party, present or not. The latter is directed toward someone fictional who is written to be a member of said party.

My feeling on this stems from how we handle other things we don't like. If this were about other forms of harassment, threats/violence, we would likely handle it the same way: We don't allow users to do that to other people, because that's hurtful and inappropriate. But we write fiction about imperfect people in imperfect settings all the time, and readers accept that the violence is not directed at anybody real.

My logic is potentially flawed. Yes, fiction can inform us of what is appropriate or acceptable to do/say to others, and it can potentially upset people if the subject matter is close to a real experience. Fiction can also be a safe outlet to explore and get over these taboo things without causing direct harm. Ideally, fiction should be tagged with a trigger notice at the top of their posts to let users know what they're wading into in advance. This might dissuade readers from some fiction, it might persuade writers to skip the language so they don't have to put warning labels on.

My apologies if this post is scattered in its wording, I'm trying very fast to get important things written and done before my afk day tomorrow.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 08:52:06 AM by Pthalocy »
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Offline Kevin Granade

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 09:11:34 AM »
If we word the rule like so:
"Slurs directed at people or groups of people are not tolerated.", which is just a more specific wording of, "Insults and hostility to other users will not be tolerated. Insults and hostility against segments of the fanbase will not be tolerated."
The problem is, slurs are intrinsically targeting a group of people when used, the person using them is both implying that the target of the slur (who may be fictional) has something wrong with them, and that everyone labelled by the slur (at least some of who are not fictional) also has something wrong with them.  Guilt by association works both ways.

The opposite is some neutral term like "asshole", which isn't ok to use to describe other forumites, but would be fine in fiction as it doesn't disparage a group of people by using a name for them as an insult.

Another example, say there was some user named Benjamin, if people started insulting this user by using their name as an epithet, "Obama really Benjamined that up!", this would be an insult against another user, even if the "target" of the insult is not a user or a fan, or possibly not even a real person.
Its like a fun family cookout, except your family is burning in flames while trying to eat you. -secretfire
I'm more excited than a survivor on meth and toast'ems. -Nighthawk
The the giant wasp is slammed through the zombie brute!

Offline Pthalocy

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2015, 06:28:48 PM »
Yeah, I agree with your ideas regarding neutral insult words. I also feel for Benjamin, and I would file the use of their name in such a way under conventional harassment.

So if I am to take away anything from this in constructing a clearer rule: Rivet is pro slur-censoring, but not against their use in fictional works. Kevin is pro slur-censoring, provided we follow through and apply the rule everywhere?
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Offline Rivet

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2015, 06:17:26 AM »
Yeah, that covers where I stand.
“No! I must kill the demons” she shouted
The radio said “No, Rivet. You are the demons”
And then Rivet was a zombie.

Offline Pthalocy

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2015, 05:16:12 PM »
Any chance Glyphgryph might post? I haven't seen him in forever. Do we have any other moderators? I am under the impression KA101 has left entirely.

I don't really want to add in a rule for the forums over a simple 2 versus 1 ruling if I can get another opinion on this.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 05:19:48 PM by Pthalocy »
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We accept him, we accept him. One of us, one of us. Gooble gobble, gooble gobble.

Offline Kevin Granade

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2015, 11:05:36 AM »
There's almost 0 chance that GlyphGryph will weigh in.

The rules are about setting expectations for what kind of behaviors are not tolerated, not telling moderators what they are not allowed to take action on, each of us should be using their own judgement on what is a big enough problem to do something about, officially or unofficially.
Personally I don't have time to read the rec room or library forums, so it's mostly moot, but I'm not going to agree to not taking action in order to make people feel better about pushing the boundaries of the rules, no matter how many people vote on it.  If you want me to do something, you need to convince me it's a good idea.
Its like a fun family cookout, except your family is burning in flames while trying to eat you. -secretfire
I'm more excited than a survivor on meth and toast'ems. -Nighthawk
The the giant wasp is slammed through the zombie brute!

Offline Pthalocy

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2015, 05:05:17 PM »
Quote
The rules are about setting expectations for what kind of behaviors are not tolerated, not telling moderators what they are not allowed to take action on

Well, alright. I thought I was doing the former. Didn't mean to imply otherwise.

I'm trying to avoid telling users one thing and then having one of the moderators behave as if otherwise were true. That makes uncertainty in what rules are enforced, which defeats the whole point of posting rules publicly.

I can't tell users it's okay to use slurs in fiction if you will not tolerate it and potentially do something about it (though unlikely, as stated). It'd be shitty of me to make you comply with something you don't agree with. No better to me than the situation where we burn users for doing something, after implying differently.

I also don't want to tell them it's against the rules forum-wide and then fail to enforce that 80% of the time because 2 out of 3 mods aren't actually bothered by it and the one who is, isn't present. Slack moderating just gives users the idea they can get away with shit.

I'll have to think on this. This is a stupid fucking rule to ever have to worry about. I don't want to make things strict for users, just clear. I want to avoid stupid issues leading to losing chunks of the forum base. I'd rather the undesirables be removed due to clear rules than weird drama.




Actually, there's a lot of forums that simply auto-censor words. Do we have that option? It'd be a lot less personal when a user discovers words changed by the forum itself. Last time's problem was less about freedom of speech and more about being mad at individuals for having opinions about what was okay to post anyway.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 05:24:05 PM by Pthalocy »
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Offline Kevin Granade

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2015, 08:54:01 PM »
smf does have that feature, at Admin->Forum->Posts and Topics->Censored Words
It works for accidental slips, but if people develop an attitude about it, it quickly turns into bullshit whack-a-mole where people start using obfuscated references to the word and images to get around it.
Its like a fun family cookout, except your family is burning in flames while trying to eat you. -secretfire
I'm more excited than a survivor on meth and toast'ems. -Nighthawk
The the giant wasp is slammed through the zombie brute!

Offline Pthalocy

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 05:32:22 AM »
smf does have that feature, at Admin->Forum->Posts and Topics->Censored Words
It works for accidental slips, but if people develop an attitude about it, it quickly turns into bullshit whack-a-mole where people start using obfuscated references to the word and images to get around it.

That would constitute rule-dodging, which I would penalize. Else, it would result in a lot more "fudge shucky-darn" alternatives being used, which is more hilarious than anything.

So we've both got a PM from a relatively new user, I was curious as to your thoughts on that, Kevin?

At this point I'm more likely to bend to your ruling on the matter despite my disagreeing with it, because I know damn well from past debates I witness that you're about as hard to budge as granite once you've made your case. And I don't mean that in a bad way. Compromise is something I'm willing to consider if it means mod cohesion and getting this done and written up. I'm not done yet though, need to think on this more. Need more feedback.

Would much prefer thread content warnings in creative endeavors over straightup censoring things out. Failure to warn would still get you dinged.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 05:37:36 AM by Pthalocy »
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We accept him, we accept him. One of us, one of us. Gooble gobble, gooble gobble.

Offline Kevin Granade

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2015, 08:10:34 AM »
Total side issue, during the "hoopla" earlier, people made a case for editing their posts being upsetting.  I'm not going to do that, my options for moderation are unofficial warnings, official warnings, silencing, banning, and post deletion.

Further derail: The whole "red text" thing was *intended* as a less invasive form of moderation, but people strongly objected to it.  Given subsequent events, I suspect some of the objections to "red texting" were in bad faith and were actually objections to any form of moderation.  Failing any direct evidence to the contrary however, I'm going to keep assuming that people just don't like having their posts edited and refrain from doing so.
Its like a fun family cookout, except your family is burning in flames while trying to eat you. -secretfire
I'm more excited than a survivor on meth and toast'ems. -Nighthawk
The the giant wasp is slammed through the zombie brute!

Offline Pthalocy

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2015, 04:15:08 PM »
Hmm. It is a good aside. Realizing that users can edit their own posts back, it makes far more sense to issue a warning or just post our own reply with visible red text as a marker of moderation.

For now, time I go to work on a Sunday! Booo.
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Offline Pthalocy

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Re: Fine tuning the rule regarding slurs
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2015, 01:48:00 AM »
Double posting because I made an addition to my rules post: http://smf.cataclysmdda.com/index.php?topic=4850.msg237931#msg237931


Yes, I realize we are not all in agreement yet. I was intending to open a discussion with users with something simple like a poll, just to help an open discussion from turning into a big fiery downhill snowball, but frankly, waiting for step two to resolve is slow as heck.

Forrest asked if he could partially censor slurs for the purpose of being able to safely write fiction while this rule is in flux. It's far from perfect, but it's more than saying no completely to either party.


Frankly, I agree we need something (if temporary) in place so fiction writers don't just give up entirely and leave (again). I also don't want to discourage newcomers who made accounts halfway through this mess. Both are good contributors in many ways, and I can't make promises about how long they might have to wait for a better-clarified rule. If this doesn't work out or new concerns crop up, there is always revision.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 01:49:47 AM by Pthalocy »
Quote from: Rivet
We accept him, we accept him. One of us, one of us. Gooble gobble, gooble gobble.