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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.


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I disagree with UNP. If you lack the capacity to be empathetic to other human beings you don't belong here. That is a prerequesite for following the rules and being a decent person.

Edited by cdmrtbeok
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Should age really be included in this?

 

I see a lot of "damn kids get off my lawn" and "old man" jokes, sometimes directed at me, but I don't think that's hurtful or inappropriate.

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roastnewt, if you had asked me that a few years ago I would have felt similarly. However back a little while after I was added as a moderator I was browsing old ban appeals to learn how they were handled, to get a better feel for how to moderate different situations, and I came across two appeals for two different players involved in harassment of another player, both of which were handled by Tharine. She phrased her position well, and I realized that on several occasions I had indeed observed players discriminating against younger players, and that it was not fair to them.

 

https://nerd.nu/forums/topic/558-abiuv-tharine

https://nerd.nu/forums/topic/562-n00ble-6-tharine

 

I mean no disrespect to abiuv or n00ble by linking these here, and I am sure that nobody will hold these acts against them given how long ago they happened, I only link to them as they are public record and they contain the arguments which changed my perspective on the subject of ageism.

 

edit: grammar

Edited by Mumberthrax
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I have to say I'm quite pleased at all of the ideas and suggestions that you all have put forth in this discussion. I'll try and aggregate them here into a list - please forgive me if I've butchered anything or missed the point or overlooked any of the ideas mentioned, I hope that if I have someone will point out my error.

 

1. Enforce rules/moderate more consistently, fairly, effectively, intelligently
2. A direct ban on certain words/topics likely to produce inflammatory discussions (slurs, sexual orientation, etc.) is simpler and more likely to be universally enforced
3. Enabling discussion of these subjects will encourage abuse by bigoted players or trolls
4. Making the rule broader is not good, will make it more likely people will break it, will encourage abuse of powers by moderators
5. "etc." is ambiguous - who decides what fills that space? potential for an expansion of rules power-hungry abusing mods will use to ban players they don't like
6. the proposed revision is still a zero-tolerance rule, and should not be in place
7. Use more common words - eg. not pejorative - make it accessible and easy for young players to understand
8. Make use of the community interaction policy. Perhaps revise it. perhaps combine with the rules
9. More specificity is useful, less ambiguity, less potential for misuse
10. "Don't use the name for a group of people as an insult, and don't direct insults towards groups of people."
11. A plugin that notifies players when they use flagged words to be mindful not to use them for hate-speech
12. "No sexism, racism or any type of hate speech towards age, sexual orientation or religion."
13. It just needs to be simple and to the point, 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.
14. Simple, straightforward, succinct rules are less likely to be twisted or abused by dishonorable staff
15. "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."
16. Having a formula that aims to pre-empt all possible situations will not work as every conversation is different
17. 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.
18. Creating a detailed list of circumstances, example scenarios, and how they are moderated, would provide a reference for staff and illustrate the intent behind the rule.

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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?

 

I chose to set the poll up so that names were visible so that I would be able to ask those who voted no to the proposed revision of the rule if they had any suggestions for improvement, in case they did not feel comfortable posting a comment in this thread. I am not sure that I understand the concept of discovering dissenters, I had not considered this from a confrontational perspective and more as a collaborative one.

Edited by Mumberthrax
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I disagree with UNP. If you lack the capacity to be empathetic to other human beings you don't belong here. That is a prerequesite for following the rules and being a decent person.

Jesus fuck, enough with the "if you don't like it you can GIT OUT!" attitude. Fucking tired of being told to gtfo just because my opinion doesn't match someone else's.

I never said anything about lacking empathy, I said it shouldn't be a mod-enforced aspect of any rule and it shouldn't be a requirement. Some people just naturally empathise less - just like those who naturally empathise more. How the fuck do you determine where the baseline is?

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Dude chill with profanity if you want to have an actual conversation.

 

We don't need assholes sticking around. If you seriously lack empathy for other people and can't consider how other people feel because of your actions then you, by definition, can't participate in a community

 

I stick by that, if you can't be understanding of where other people are coming from you probably should leave. I do think this should be mod enforced. If you have a constant chip on your shoulders and you can't be nice then maybe you should get banned. 

 

I'm tired of all of us bending over backwards to accommodate douchebags. Enough is enough.

Edited by cdmrtbeok

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So because I disagree with you I'm a douchebag, is that it?

 

Seriously, answer my fucking question: who decides what the baseline of empathy for the server is, below which you get banned?

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UNP, please attempt to be more civil.  Nobody is going to pay attention to what you're saying if you're frothing at the mouth, and honestly I'm getting a little tired of your openly hostile replies to anything you don't agree with spread across the 3 threads you've seen fit to comment on.

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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.

A rules overhaul in general would be quite welcome - I got started on one but got stalled and set it aside for some time. I especially agree with the short-form / long-form rules concept. To address your three issues, 'hate speech' was intended to cover everything not listed, the subject of homophobia labeled as a misnomer is an etymological fallacy (the word has widespread acceptance in this conventional usage - the greek roots matter less than the word's actual usage in a living language), and the third is absolutely an issue that I think requires robust moderator training in handling of less clear-cut chat content. This is something that can be rolled into the standard training package and incorporated into mod reference materials, to get everyone on the same page and reduce variation in application.

 

I am also in favor of only moderating pejorative language / hate speech, not a blanket ban.

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Schererererer, I'm happy to read most of what you wrote, though I disagree with the characterization of the "homophobia" issue as a fallacy. It unfortunately is not quite so simple as that. I suppose if we will use informal fallacy terminology we can also throw out argumentum ad populum, or moral high ground fallacy. I believe that when we start relying on informal fallacy labels which are commonly used to dismiss arguments out of hand then things can devolve rapidly.

 

I am afraid that I could write an essay's length list of arguments as to why it is wrong to *willfully* choose to define homophobia as any bigotry against gay people. As someone who cares about truth, who cares about sincerity, who cares about equality and respect, who cares about history, and who cares about effective and proper precepts in a governing document such as nerd.nu/rules, it bothers me deeply to hear this dismissed casually.

 

A word does not lose its meaning just because a loud group says it does. It is not linguistically prescriptivist to say this. To call English a "living" language in an attempt to prescribe a single meaning to a term in the same breath is ironic and... irritating. If we are to assume that a word can mean whatever people agree that it means, then let us agree that it means what it originally meant when it was coined just 50 years ago - that is, an irrational fear of homosexuality and homosexual people. In fact, of the dictionaries online that I found in a quick internet search, most seem to be themselves a bit confused about the word, some saying that it means both an irrational fear and a hatred, some saying it means just a fear, some saying it means a fear and prejudice. What do all agree upon?

 

I discovered a nice article, and a paper published in a scholarly journal, outlining the history of the term and its place in the gay rights movement. Anyone who is interested in this subject may find these stimulating reading material.

http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/faculty_sites/rainbow/html/prej_defn.html
http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/faculty_sites/rainbow/html/Herek_2004_SRSP.pdf

 

Do we want to choose to officially support a bad definition? Do we wish to consent to that as a community? Laugh if you must, but the meaning of words such as this one have wide-ranging social and political implications. Given the level of seriousness with which we treat violations of this rule, I would expect this to be something not taken lightly or dismissed casually.

 

It is not just about being precise. It is about the implications of conflating things which ought not be conflated. An irrational fear of homosexuality or fear of gay people is not the same as bigotry against them. Bigotry against homosexuality or gay people has not been demonstrated to originate from the psychological ailment of irrational fear. Further, homophobia can be and has been used in our culture as a stigmatizing label for those critical not of gay individuals or the nature of homosexuality, but critical of organizations claiming to represent gay people or critical of political actions related to gay people. Now what of people who have a discomfort around gay people? Maybe they are mentally ill, and maybe they have *societal* influences, but regardless just because they feel uncomfortable does not mean that they should be shamed. We should not promote a culture that pigeonholes such people in with the likes of the kkk or hitler.

 

I apologize if this comes across as heated. I mean no disrespect to you personally schererererer. I also apologize for this having turned into a rant, though I know of no other way to express my thoughts on this matter.

 

I think the best thing to do would be to rephrase the rule to use language that encompasses all forms of pejorative language and hate speech, and if examples must be used then to use something like "sexual prejudice" or to list "sexual orientation" as a topic not to be bigoted about.

 

Other than that, again, happy to hear your stance on these things, particularly the support for standardizing mod training materials.

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Mumber - I actually wrote the rule we are discussing. It is supposed to read no homophobic language. It had been shortened for brevity and Minecraft signs. I understand what you are saying about that it isn't a fear of gays but this is the common accepted colloquial usage of the term even if it isn't razor sharp precise. Someone who uses a racial epithet isn't necessarily a racist but they are using racist language. 

 

Further this server started in partnership with r/gaymers at a time when reddit was far more politically correct and less openly horrible. A few of our original members back in Infdev/alpha felt very strongly about the usage of these terms and it was an easy rule to make people we liked happy and quickly filter people out who couldn't or wouldn't read the rules. It served as a lingual whitelist of a sort. At the time where we were the only large server in existence this was helpful in maintaining community standards while not requiring people post in a forum for membership or as allnaturalx would put it "prejoin bullshit." I'm unopinionated about the moral implications of the policy however I do not think it should be changed. If anything we should be far stricter in how we moderate behavior in general here. 

 

This is the entire reason I started the thread about ditching the reddit affiliation. Since this time reddit became a place or r/coontown and r/4chan as regular front page material. It is disgusting. But it is also evidence that the pool of people we are drawing from "redditors" are now culturally incompatable with the initial ideals of this server and what we wanted in the community. It seems that this is not disagreed upon when you read the replies in that thread.

 

Finally, UNP I wasn't calling you a douchebag I was saying we bend over backwards for douchebags in general. This is a true statement and is a change that needs to happen far more than retooling minor wording on homophobic language in the rule book.

Edited by cdmrtbeok
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Actually not finally. People who legislate against sexual orientation or perpetuate any sort homosexual oppression are necessarily homophobic. If they weren't afraid of homosexual people or how they love other people they would have no problem with them or be understanding when someone asks them not to use homosexual stigmatic language. There is no explanation for the fact that people really care about homosexuals it is irrational. People who perpetuate usage of these terms despite the fact of being asked not to are participating, perhaps unintentionally, in systemic marginalization of the desires of a community. This is why language is so important to the politically correct movement and this is exactly what George Weinberg was writing about in the 1960s.

 

If it is not fear what is it? It is our only guess to that irrationality. 

 

I don't know if I agree with your premise about language. HR departments use the word in the way this server does. Large groups of people DO get to dictate language. From the links you posted:

 

The American Heritage Dictionary (1992 edition) defines homophobia as "aversion to gay or homosexual people or their lifestyle or culture" and "behavior or an act based on this aversion." Other definitions identify homophobia as anirrational fear of homosexuality. 

 

From the first line

 

George Weinberg’s introduction of the term homophobia in the late 1960s challenged traditional thinking about homosexuality and helped focus society’s attention on the problem of antigay prejudice and stigma.

 

[emphasis mine]

 

Look calling something "gay" in place of "bad" is literally stigmatic. This is homophobic by Weinberg's definition. A definition that has been evolving since the 1960s where people actually began to consider that homosexuality was not a disease. If you think politically correct society "chose a bad definition" I don't think I could possibly disagree with you any more but it is also not a fight worth having.

 

Change the wording back to "no dicks." UNP, mods and admins have the do authority to make that judgement call and should. That was the only rule until we drafted these.

Edited by cdmrtbeok
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Apologies mumber, I was trying to be concise, not flippant. I'd characterize the word homophobia in a similar manner as 'decimate' - the original (root and coined) meaning reducing by one-tenth, but has adopted a colloquial definition over time. This comparison is not without disparities in coining, timing, and usage, but imo this is all primarily an academic argument that is avoided with your original language. I am not quite so well-read in academic background on the subject, so thank you for the journal article. 'Sexual prejudice' as promoted therein would work fine too, if only to preempt the wandering arguments about the -phobia suffix's applicability in ban appeals, but I like best a tweaked version of the original - "No bigotry or intolerance of others, including that based on ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or religion."

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Once again a worthwhile debate is reduced to quibbling over semantics.

 

Whatever. I'm sure the eventual overhauled rule will be just as ill-fitting, abused, lacking in intelligence and inconsistently applied as the existing one.

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I have to agree with UNP here. You're over-complicating the issue.

 

'Don't be homophobic'. The end.

 

And "Don't use any words pertaining to homosexuality in a negative context"

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I agreed with the rule change as I didn't think it would harm anything and could work out better, but when thinking about it a little more, there's no reason for it. The rules are all perfectly clear. No matter how many times we change the rules there'll be some way around them. The one thing that needs to change is how these rules are enforced - this goes for all staff members.

 

We shouldn't be looking to ban anyone, in my eyes the worst case scenario is banning someone. If speaking to them stops them from breaking the rules and does equal to or better than a ban then why not just speak to them? We enforce things so inconsistently from mods right up to head admins and the standard of the staff team really has gone downhill in comparison to a few years ago. We should not be promoting players and teaching them to follow a strict set of rules where "if someone says 'gay' that's a ban, no warning". We should be selecting people who are smart enough to look at the situation and then act appropriately. It doesn't take 2 minutes just to explain to someone why we don't allow homophobia here or why what they said was wrong. If everyone took a little more care and attention with what they were doing instead of letting the power go to their heads then this would be a far better place.

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I agreed with the rule change as I didn't think it would harm anything and could work out better, but when thinking about it a little more, there's no reason for it. The rules are all perfectly clear. No matter how many times we change the rules there'll be some way around them. The one thing that needs to change is how these rules are enforced - this goes for all staff members.

 

We shouldn't be looking to ban anyone, in my eyes the worst case scenario is banning someone. If speaking to them stops them from breaking the rules and does equal to or better than a ban then why not just speak to them? We enforce things so inconsistently from mods right up to head admins and the standard of the staff team really has gone downhill in comparison to a few years ago. We should not be promoting players and teaching them to follow a strict set of rules where "if someone says 'gay' that's a ban, no warning". We should be selecting people who are smart enough to look at the situation and then act appropriately. It doesn't take 2 minutes just to explain to someone why we don't allow homophobia here or why what they said was wrong. If everyone took a little more care and attention with what they were doing instead of letting the power go to their heads then this would be a far better place.

 

On that note, I'd be very much in support of temp bans that automatically unban after a set point like a couple of hours. It seems like the escalation from warning to kick to ban is a bit too sudden, and having an option like a temp ban would be useful for situations like harassment and chatspamming and possibly even hate speech. This way there isn't need for an appeal and a punishment is hopefully rightfully doled out. 

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The topic of temp bans has been brought up before, but there's never been a definitive course of action about them.
I for one think that temp bans need to start being used; banning a brand new player for minor crop grief really isn't going to make them want to come back. 
Going onto some forum to make an account to create a post about why you're innocent or why you aren't isn't necessary at all, if all you did was break of a couple blocks of Glowstone from some dude's house or something of the like.
Temp bans could also be quite useful for shutting up disruptive players. I for one, if kicked for being a disturbance, will likely come back and argue with whoever kicked me, that's just who I am. However, a temp ban would allow me to take a step back to prevent myself from actually getting a proper ban. Let me note that this doesn't just apply to me, either.

Also, we have temp bans on the forums, why not in-game?

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Going onto some forum to make an account to create a post about why you're innocent or why you aren't isn't necessary at all,

 

The more I think about it, the more this tactic strikes me as a subtle way of publicly shaming the person. Especially since the ban appeals are visible to everyone.

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The more I think about it, the more this tactic strikes me as a subtle way of publicly shaming the person. Especially since the ban appeals are visible to everyone.

It's not. It's transparency for the banning moderator/admin, so they're not accused of banning unjustly.

The current ban appeal system is in place so the person who broke the rules have to acknowledge what rule they broke, proving they have read the rules and understand them.

If you follow the rules you won't be seen in the ban appeal section. It's quite simple.

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(Sorry, can't quote from the device I'm using)

>If you follow the rules you won't be seen in the ban appeals section. It's quite simple.

I kinda have to disagree with you here; there's absolutely no way that staff justly ban people 100% of the time. People have been banned for doing nothing in particular, for example; Segadude20000 was once banned simply for being present in a particular incident where a few people were breaking a rule that only came into existence after said incident. Sega was actually AFK when he got banned, might I add. There were about 6 people in the area and the only people banned were myself and Sega, (the ban on me was justified) however two other people were doing the thing I was banned for.

Edited by EeHee2000

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(Sorry, can't quote from the device I'm using)

>If you follow the rules you won't be seen in the ban appeals section. It's quite simple.

I kinda have to disagree with you here; there's absolutely no way that staff justly ban people 100% of the time. People have been banned for doing nothing in particular, for example; Segadude20000 was once banned simply for being present in a particular incident where a few people were breaking a rule that only came into existence after said incident. Sega was actually AFK when he got banned, might I add. There were about 6 people in the area and the only people banned were myself and Sega, (the ban on me was justified) however two other people were doing the thing I was banned for.

This is an example of why the ban appeal system should stay as it is. I remember what you're talking about, and if the bans weren't made public then it wouldn't have come to light and could have been swept under the rug.

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I agree with you on that, but temp bans would be more conventional for smaller issues, such as crop grief or isolated incidents of PvP logging.

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