Jump to content
Mumberthrax

Proposed Revision to Universal Rule Regarding Hate Speech

Proposed Revision to Hate Speech Rule  

46 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you believe the current rule deserves to be revised?

  2. 2. Have you ever experienced or observed issues with enforcement of rules regarding bigotry at nerd.nu?

  3. 3. Do you support the proposed rule change?

  4. 4. If you answered "No" or "I don't know / Maybe" to the previous question, why?

    • I think the proposed rule is a step in the right direction, but it could be better
    • I think the current rule is fine as it is
    • I really don't know
    • I voted yes for the proposed rule, so I'm choosing this option.
    • None of the other options apply to me, so I'm choosing this one.


Recommended Posts

I would like to propose a change to one of the rules in the Universal section of nerd.nu/rules. The rule as it exists currently is:

 

No sexism, racism, homophobia or any type of hate speech.

 

My proposed change is the following:

 

No bigotry or intolerance of others based on ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, etc. No pejoratives or hate speech. It's ok to say the phrases "gay" or "white" or "10 year old" etc. in most contexts - but their use in a persecutory or pejorative manner is not allowed.

 

I originally wrote this as part of an overhaul of nerd.nu/rules that I attempted, in which I created two forms of the rules, a simplified succinct version for the casual player, and a more verbose and precise version to be used in cases of ambiguous violations or in moderator training. The above version of my proposed rule is essentially from the latter, whereas the simplified version includes only the first sentence:

 

 No bigotry or intolerance of others based on ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, etc.

 

I rewrote this rule because I perceived there to be three issues with the current rule and its enforcement. These are not monstrous issues threatening the stability of the server or the community, but I feel they are appropriate nonetheless to address rationally.

 

1. Sexism, Racism, and "homophobia" are not the only forms of bigotry. Maybe the "or any type of hate speech" bit is supposed to be a superset of those, but the way it reads is as though hate speech is a specialized and extreme kind of bigotry separate from the other three. Maybe just rearranging it to "No hate speech, including but not limited to racism, sexism, homophobia", following the pattern of the other lists in the rules, could work.

 

2. "homophobia" is a crappy word for bigotry against gay people, since someone can have a fear of a thing and not be bigoted to people about it, someone can be bigoted without having some fear, and calling bigotry a fear just confuses everyone and kills brain cells. Also, it puts the focus of the issue of gender identity and sexual preference all on the gay/straight dichotomy, leaving transgender people for instance out in the rain. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophobia#Criticism_of_meaning_and_purpose)

 

3. Lazy-Hypervigilance born out of a fear of appearing bigoted leads to occasional heavy/nervous moderation of otherwise civil discussions, speedy moderation of specific offensive terms but hesitant moderation of situations not conforming to a watson-highlighted signal. This is less about the rule's contents as it is, and more about what has filled the void that it leaves open.

 

HOWEVER, this is all meaningful only if the rule is there to deter bigotry and intolerance on principle. If the rule is there just to cut down on the most common crap like people trolling and spamming terms that watson highlights then it's probably fine as it is. Again, the situations that these changes are intended to help with are not common, and nerd's defacto moderator discretion policy on these things *usually* takes care of things well enough. I'd just feel more comfortable with the rule written better.

 

Anyone have opinions or suggestions for modification of this proposed change? Does anyone here on the forums support or object to this proposal?

 

I'd like to request the comments here remain civil and respectful. Thanks.

 

Edit: I'd like to clarify regarding the third issue I noted with the current state of moderation of bigotry/intolerance, that I do not believe that all or most moderators moderate these matters in the way I described, but I have observed it happening on a few occasions, and I myself when I was on staff have even been perhaps too zealous or quick to /ban on a few occasions for homophobia that may not have been warranted so soon.

Edited by Mumberthrax
  • Upvote 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to mention that in cases where a discussion on one of these subjects begins to become heated or start to get out of hand or upset people, then the rule regarding discussion of inflammatory subjects would apply and the participants would then be requested to move it to private messages or clanchat. The intention is not to promote flame wars, but rather to treat people as though they are responsible while still retaining the means to stop bad situations from occurring.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be content with the current rule if the Mods would enforce it properly.

 

What would you see as ideal enforcement of the current rule? Perhaps we can effect a change in moderator training instead of modifying the rule itself in order to ensure a healthy balance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometime last rev, I vaguely remember the origin of this rule explained to me. During the birth of Nerd.nu, there was a subgroup of LGBT players that were part of the initial playerbase, and the rule was created after people began annoying them constantly with racist/homophobia jokes. It was so excessive that they had no choice but to take a zero-tolerance stance, which persists to this day. It was the only way to stop the trolling at the time.

 

For the record, I don't condone racism or homophobia; it's clearly not right. However, racists and homophobes have had immense kneejerk power over this server's administration for as long as I remember, and this stance is a relic of our era as Reddit Public Server. WIth the rebranding into a more broad Nerd.nu Gaming Community, I agree that this proposal revises our rule appropriately to match modern times. For a server that openly allows conversation about sex, drugs, violence, sprinkled with profanity here and there, it would seem rational to me not to hold racism/homophobia to a double standard and that we should treat all unsightly behaviour with equal vigilance, especially if we're expanding to other games.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Changing this rule just makes it harder for the mods to discern when someone is using hate speech vs. when they are using it as a descriptor. As well, typing removes all sort of cues that can be placed around it when speaking to someone.

 

The change of this rule would just give license to use it, and it would be abused.

 

I would give examples, but I dont want to be banned.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So your solution toward an ill-fitting rule that is inconsistently enforced is to... make the rule even BROADER, make it more likely that someone will break it, and do nothing about the obviously EXTREMELY biased enforcement of the existing rule, allowing the new, broader rule to be as abused as the current one is?

 

Yeah, no. I can't get behind that. I'm also less than amused by the fact that the questions are written in a fashion that limits the choices to "old rule" and "new rule". It's especially implicit in the wording of the fourth one.

 

Also, in the wording of the rule - what the hell is "etc" supposed to mean? Who interprets what "etc" covers? Who draws the line at where "etc" gets ridiculous? The same people that inconsistently apply the existing rule?

 

Am I really the only one who sees a problem with this proposal, and the fact that it's either missing or dodging the REAL issue?

 

Finally, both of the options (old and new) are essentially "zero tolerance" options. Zero tolerance DOES NOT FUCKING WORK. Anybody who's interested in looking will see reams of evidence of this every single time it's applied as a philosophy in ANY kind of enforcement. 

 

Instead of trying to ban everything and threaten players with expulsion from the group for stepping out of line, why don't you just MODERATE MORE INTELLIGENTLY.

Edited by UNP
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UNP, I'm very sympathetic to concerns about misleading polls or poll data being used inappropriately, because I've seen it happen plenty of times. What changes would you recommend happen to this poll that would expand options without overwhelming the person filling it out and without creating a false dichotomy? I still have the ability to edit it as far as I am aware, and anyone can also create a new poll if this one is deemed to be misleading.

 

Do I understand correctly that your concern is not so much with the existing rule, but the manner in which it is enforced? Are there any specific changes you would like to see happen in the way that bigotry or intolerance is moderated on the servers?

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Changing this rule just makes it harder for the mods to discern when someone is using hate speech vs. when they are using it as a descriptor. As well, typing removes all sort of cues that can be placed around it when speaking to someone.

 

The change of this rule would just give license to use it, and it would be abused.

 

It is true that the part which clarifies that players are allowed to say words like "gay" or "black" or "muslim" means that it is more challenging than a strict ban on those words. However this is really only a clarification of the current policy as it is usually enforced. These words have never been explicitly banned, and indeed there have been discussions involving them which did not devolve into bigotry nor result in instabans.

 

I am not saying that we currently have an explicit zero-tolerance policy. We have a situation where some staff have the ability to adopt a de facto zero-tolerance policy on certain words as is their right under the de facto discretionary abilities under current staff training. The last sentence in the proposal would seek to limit the inconsistent enforcement, provide a more uniform and hopefully more fair and rational experience for players.

 

I would like to quote a section from the wikipedia article on zero-tolerance.

 

 

Opponents of zero tolerance believe that such a policy neglects investigation on a case-by-case basis and may lead to unreasonably harsh penalties for crimes that may not warrant such penalties in reality. Another criticism of zero-tolerance policies is that it gives officers and the legal system little discretion in dealing with offenders. Zero-tolerance policies may prohibit their enforcers from making the punishment fit the crime.

It also may cause offenders to go all out, knowing if the punishment is the same for a little or a lot. This phenomenon of human nature is described in an adage that dates back to at least the 17th century, "might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb": until 1820, the English law prescribed hanging for stealing anything worth more than one shilling, whether that was a low-value lamb or a whole flock of sheep.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_tolerance#Criticism

 

I am not saying that we have fascist mods going around doing irrational things. Most mods are pretty sensible. I just think a rule change to reflect the general policy as it currently exists would be appropriate.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mostly like the proposition for the long version of the rules. Fits with that idea we discussed about covering the bases on behalf of people who don't have/don't display common sense, or those that try to skirt the rules just because they can. Gives people a better idea of what they should avoid, and staff a clearer picture of what's permissible, what isn't, and what the intent of the ruleset is.
The only change I'd suggest is using more common words. I think words like pejorative might be beyond some people's understanding, and would slightly defeat the purpose of making the rules more clear and straightforward.

 

Enforcement's a bit of a seperate matter.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if anything the community interaction policy needs some acknowledgement and possibly some critique and revision. Most of the problems you guys have identified aren't in that rule, but within this "policy" of sorts that attempts to outline examples of hate speech.

 

https://nerd.nu/forums/topic/2908-community-interaction-policy/?hl=%2Bcommunity+%2Bpolicy

 

For example,

 

This category includes both clear and masked language which:

  • Is an inappropriate reference to human anatomy or bodily functions.
  • Is pornographic in nature.
 

So calling someone a cunt or dick or some combination of curse words in that line of reasoning could be a bannable offense under this policy. I understand the intent of the rule, but it seems a bit overreaching for my taste. 

 

The policy in question clarifies with 

 

This category includes both clear and masked language and images / memes which:

  • Insultingly refers to any aspect of sexual orientation pertaining to themselves or other players.
 

There is no ambiguity. Talking about sexual orientation is A-okay, but using it as an insult or using slurs is clearly against the rules. 

 

With all these rules discussions, it'd be nice to centralize these interpretations. Maybe get to some wiki-editing?

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You quoted J's post to me xD
Anyway, yea, that's why I was hoping the rewritten rules would be more about specific cases. So many interpretations currently, so many blanks to fill, and so many things that have to be ignored to keep from going overboard.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I am not saying that we currently have an explicit zero-tolerance policy.

 

Even though we pretty much do. At least on P, players are warned and if they say it again they are kicked or banned depending on how much theyve said it,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On that...

 

As for the rules, Aypop, slide, and I were discussing this in mod broadcast the the other day and I was explaining that the reason that we have such a black and white rule on this is because if you offer ANY grey area at all, people will take advantage of it.  It's unfortunate, but it's the case.  I kick if I see it come up or privately message the person that we use other language on these servers; only under very rare specific instances do I end up banning right away.  If a person does persist, I do eventually end up banning.  This is a rule we've always had and it's to provide the best coverage for all parties involved.  The staff is trying its best to keep a safe supportive environment for everyone and sometimes that means having a clear cut line in the rules such as not using certain words like gay.

 

There's been discussion about how it 'should' be, but that seems to be the current state of things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On that...

 

 

There's been discussion about how it 'should' be, but that seems to be the current state of things.

 

Just because one staff member says something is true does not necessarily mean it is so. We have never had a rule that bans the use of the word gay, no matter how much that may be implied. We have never had a policy de facto or otherwise that states that players who use the word gay are told not to say that word. I have the utmost respect for ladyravenowl, and I understand the perspective of keeping things simple and easy by just shutting down discussion whenever sensitive topics come up. Nobody wants drama on a game server (or at least not excessive drama :P ). But I think it's dangerous to have that attitude, no matter how appealing it may be, in terms of policing what a community may discuss. Ok, if it were something like shutting down discussions about something really vile or disturbing, then I agree that there's not much benefit from that and warning people and whatnot is appropriate. And if someone is using the word "gay" as a pejorative or an insult, then that shouldn't be permitted either. But I don't think gender identity or sexual orientation should be banned topics.

 

Sometimes people make mistakes. There's no shame in that, nor in admitting it. It is a mistake to pretend a mistake was not a mistake, and to attempt to justify it with reasoning which is unjust or irrational.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like how we're able to see who voted which way ("View voters".)

 

Polls don't work that way.

 

If you wanna adjust the rules in a more player-friendly way then you might start by not dropping the ball that badly in the poll set up to gauge who thinks what. I mean, the "who" isn't really important - so why include it? You don't want people to think you're trying to suss out dissenters, do you?

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be content with the current rule if the Mods would enforce it properly.

 

Ten thousand times this. Not just for this rule, but for all of them.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recognize that it is of course human nature to feel this way, but I feel as though the clearest way to state our intent is the way I've paraphrased it in the past: "Don't use the name for a group of people as an insult, and don't direct insults towards groups of people." There is of course a secondary need to deter Watson trolling ("Your mom is a Player not found." and the like) but I dare say that's subordinate in importance to hate speech deterence.

 

Also, how about a plugin? Not for censorship or automoderation, but maybe it could cancel your chat message the first time you use a word like "gay" and give you a friendly reminder that if you meant it as an insult that that's not allowed, followed by instructions to retry your chat message if insult wasn't your intent. And maybe something to suggest and/or enforce abstinence from the use of racial slurs.

 

Also, as much as I don't think it's appropriate to ban them outright, maybe something to let people know that "parsimonious" and "bundle of sticks" are strongly preferred terms for what they are than, well, other archaic terms that I myself have been banned for using.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, how about a plugin? Not for censorship or automoderation, but maybe it could cancel your chat message the first time you use a word like "gay" and give you a friendly reminder that if you meant it as an insult that that's not allowed, followed by instructions to retry your chat message if insult wasn't your intent. And maybe something to suggest and/or enforce abstinence from the use of racial slurs.

 

If we had a plugin like that, that would just be annoying as hell. People should be allowed to have a discussion without that popping up constantly everytime you logged out and back in.

 

As for the rule, why not just make it:

 

"No sexism, racism or any type of hate speech towards age, sexual orientation or religion."

 

It just needs to be simple and to the point, we do have 10 year olds playing here so even the youngest players need to understand. Plus your just making it difficult, people hate reading rules and if they see long rules like that they aren't going to bother reading them. They need to be succinct and easy to understand.

Edited by Heysofia
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 They need to be succinct and easy to understand.

 

Not least of all because the more simple, straightforward and concise they are, the less likely they are to get twisted or abused.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Keep talk on differences between people to a level that everyone finds comfortable, whether or not they know you or sense the seriousness of your conversation."

 

There's a lot of ways to word it. But sometimes you just find people who don't see the logic one millimetre past the written word. You could say Do not to others as you would have done to you, but some people have a thick skin that shuts out empathy. Maybe the rules for 99% of the players can be simpler if the 1% are removed entirely. Slippery slope and all, which I think could apply to nearly every player-wanted change to administration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Former Staff

What would you see as ideal enforcement of the current rule? Perhaps we can effect a change in moderator training instead of modifying the rule itself in order to ensure a healthy balance.

 

Thanks for putting this topic up, it's certainly become a more discussed subject recently but it is good to see that it is now being addressed.

In regards to the moderation of an update to this rule, I don't believe that a defined structure to follow for each and every discussion will allow for there be followed as every conversation is different. My suggestion would be to share expectations of how this rule may be enforced in future so that people can understand why certain actions are taken, regardless of who is moderating.

Should a conversation seem like there needs to be moderation, due to the broadcast of it into public chat and the specific tone of what is being discussed then I feel that having a member of staff ask for the conversation to move into private messages or a clanchat would be a good first step. This way, if those participating in the conversation are the kind of people who wish to have a constructive conversation then they do not have to stop their discussion.

This does leave a grey area for each individual discussion on how they are moderated after this first step with the exception of those that are being extremely derogatory where the line in the sand should be much more clear to act upon but having a consistent first step request approach would be fair for everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like how this is going, for the most part~

Heh...I used to be empathetic toward absolutely everyone, but now I'm more on the spectrum of thick-skinned. That doesn't affect too much how I behave in conversation, but I still think that listing off any specific situations that the staff decide an absolute stance toward would be helpful, while keeping the rules just open enough to cover other bases; each specific example makes it that much clearer what the intent of a rule is, and eliminates another loophole that people may try to skirt. It'd also act as a guide for newer, lower ranked or future staff.
I do understand that there's a high liklihood of people not reading it, but that was the reason for suggesting 2 sets of rules; a short set that gives the general feeling, and a long set that gets into the details for those who are in need of those details. (I'm sure there're people won't even read the short set, but oh well.)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×