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cdmrtbeok

Public chat moderation is done poorly

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Talking about religion or politics isn't inherently offensive. I'm proud of being Jewish and I have studied the bible at a university level. I actively read and consume the news and know what actual debate and discussion means. I have no agenda. If I feel like talking about it on a server with someone and no one else is talking about anything I think it is really shitty to have a mod use his mod-voice to talk it down as if it is offensive. Frankly it is a ridiculous understanding of the rules and a great way to push down the discussion level of the community. So whats really good?

 

I'm not talking [removed] levels of no one has the right to be offended while I say offensive things. I'm talking about an actual discussion of culture, religion and light politics that was among willing and participating adults. This is the second time that my discussions have been moderated on PVE by the same mod who would prefer general chat to be dead I guess.

 

Frankly I don't disagree with the malcontents on these forums that the staff here, in general, is doing a bad job. This is the worst of it in my opinion though.

Edited by Mrloud15
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I have never seen any issues with healthy discussions on politics or religion. If the conversation has not degraded to the point where its getting offensive or multiple complaints have been made, there is no reason for a mod to step in.

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I asked chat two days ago to take a talk about politics to a clanchat on PvE. This was actually the first time I had done that and was probably on the stricter side about that, but since the politics clanchat is open and purpose-made, I figured that was appropriate. It had started to slip to a "this certain side can do no right" circlejerk-lite type conversation. I let it go on for about 12 minutes before I made a request, and after checking with more senior mods to see their thoughts.

 

I had thought that this was the incident you were referring to and thought I might give my perspective so this conversation may be more productive, but as this was my first time using the green modvoice feature since learning it and you say this was the second time by the same mod I guess there have actually been other occurrences.

 

Still I think I'll post this to give an idea of the decision to moderate the chat in a similar incident to the one mentioned.

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Guest Former Staff

While I wasn't there to witness your experiences Cmdrtebok, I thought that I would throw my few cents in on this topic.

 

My interpretation of asking people to move conversations to a more private area such as /msg or a clanchat channel derives from the first half of the first rule on the universal rules section. "Please be respectful and civil towards your fellow players." This would not strictly apply to just topics such as politics or religion as there may be other discussions that become heated or dominate the chat (which could then be seen as spammy to newer people and a turn-off).

 

For any conversations that may require moderation (from my interpretation above) I take into consideration the conversation in it's entirety that I can view and whether people seem to be participating in a negative way rather than a constructive one. Additionally I keep in mind who is online. If it's just two friends online and myself, then their conversation is not hurting anyone else whereas if there are others present, I try to consider how the conversation could be taken from different perspectives.

 

The bottom line is that I do not actively seek to moderate chat, I never sit there scrolling through lines to find reasons to participate in a fiefdom. Sometimes certain pieces of text catch my attention and that is when I take a further look with the interests of keeping everyone happy and still allowing for conversations to continue, even if they are not within the public chat.

 

If ever I ask you or anyone else to move a conversation elsewhere, I hope the above reasoning will shed light onto my own thought process and that you can respect my request. If you ever feel I am over-stepping myself then I am happy to be held accountable with a one on one conversation but it can also be worth raising concerns with head admins too as the actions of one moderator might be the accepted behaviour for many in which case all can be re-trained or made familiar with "the right way".

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If you know the intent of a conversation then in hindsight you can make a much more accurate judgement of what is going on and what needs to be stopped. If you don't have either of those, like anyone but you at the time then it's fuzzy. I believe that last time this was covered the outcome was it's acceptable when mods 'overreact' in a fuzzy area.

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zburdsal it was you but ghery or whatever that time and another.

 

You guys are being ridiculous. Who are you to judge the content of a discussion that is not offensive and not against the rules. No one used any pajoratives and people were hashing out ideas. Once you used the idiotic mod voice then it became about circlejerking you.

 

If this is your reasoning then so be it. This is why I added the bit about doing a bad job. Segregating the general chat into a million clanchats isn't going to foster community or get you active and happy members. Basically you can take you #politics and shove it. I would rather play somewhere else then to have a conversation by myself in a clanchat.

 

Speaking of that, where is the donation drive? Its been two days since that thread it should have been today. None of you have asked for help. I heard no words about anything. What happened to CS:GO? jchance is willing to pay the costs. As am I. I'll even build the box. Why is nothing getting done while you are having poor stewardship of the community? This isn't making me excited to donate.

 

Edit: After this I'm going to totally drop it but seriously the suggestion is to shape up. I'm not feeling confident here.

Edited by cdmrtbeok

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You guys are being ridiculous. Who are you to judge the content of a discussion that is not offensive and not against the rules. No one used any pajoratives and people were hashing out ideas. Once you used the idiotic mod voice then it became about circlejerking you.

 

I reject the premise of your question. You know that it's not offensive to you. What do the mods know rather than what could the mods guess that is favourable to you? They are doing a good job in ensuring a variety of people are not offended. 4chan is for the hard headed, go there if you want that kind of freedom.

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Tobylane, discussions about facts and politics is not offensive. No one was name calling, no one was assuming. Especially the first time this happened. We were literally just talking about the stories of the bible which are common knowledge to most people and interesting facets of our culture. I understand that some people are more sensitive than others but there are things that are squarely in the not offensive category. Discussing the world as adults on the internet or examples of the oldest literature known to man in a respectful way isn't in that category. Calling that offensive makes the meaning of the word offensive meaningless. There is no slippery slope here. This is actually pretty black and white.

 

Further if a player actually has a problem they should speak up and deal with it socialy. We don't have mods on this servers to be parents. Being a moderator is not a promotion. If someone goes over the line they get kicked/banned but otherwise this should have been handled in chat by adults. If somoene actually said "Hey lets talk about something else" we could have talked about tacos. Instead we had some inane bullshit server-mom garbage that isn't what the ruleset of this server is designed for.

 

Lastly I want you to know that I know you just respond to comments to incite people.

Edited by cdmrtbeok

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Guest Former Staff

Speaking of that, where is the donation drive? Its been two days since that thread it should have been today. None of you have asked for help. I heard no words about anything.

 

I feel like I may be missing a reference here to answer your questions. Might I ask where you're referring to that thread and where something should have been today?

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In much the same way that i believe it should be permitted to talk about gender identity and attraction, discussions about religion and politics should not be censored unless it is contributing to uncontrollable flame wars. For as long as I was a moderator and before, S never had a rule banning discussions of religion or politics - only PvE did. We never really had issues with it. I think I banned a few people for spamming pejoratives one time, and kicked someone for making a racist joke about jewish people despite claiming to be jewish himself. That's it. I've observed the chilling effect on global chat on P when a mod tells folks to stop talking about politics. Folks feel like they're walking on eggshells. Common sense is needed. Moderation means not too much, not too little, but a moderate management of things.

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 I understand that some people are more sensitive than others but there are things that are squarely in the not offensive category. 

 

Everything is offensive to somebody, even if you think it isn't/shouldn't be.

You could say something completely innocent but it could come across is majorly offensive to somebody else who's watching the chat.

However, I don't think that means it's okay to ban *all* talks of it in global chat.

As long as the people talking move it to a clanchat when someone asks, or they stop when it gets too heated, I think it'd be fine. 

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not talking [removed] levels of

way to shit on other players

Edited by Mrloud15
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I agree with everyone in this thread in one way or another. 
cdmrtbeok brings up the point that discussion political/religious facts is in no way offensive, but kittypuppet raises that someone is always bound to be offended. 
Personally I believe everything Mumber said here is spot-on; 

 

In much the same way that i believe it should be permitted to talk about gender identity and attraction, discussions about religion and politics should not be censored unless it is contributing to uncontrollable flame wars. For as long as I was a moderator and before, S never had a rule banning discussions of religion or politics - only PvE did. We never really had issues with it. I think I banned a few people for spamming pejoratives one time, and kicked someone for making a racist joke about jewish people despite claiming to be jewish himself. That's it. I've observed the chilling effect on global chat on P when a mod tells folks to stop talking about politics. Folks feel like they're walking on eggshells. Common sense is needed. Moderation means not too much, not too little, but a moderate management of things.

To directly quote the rules; 

Excessively negative comments or disruptive arguments/discussions in global chat are not tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, discussions concerning politics, religion, issues with staff/policy, issues with specific other players, or validity of bans. Any and all such conversations should be conducted in/moved to private channels, such as /msg, clanchat, or /mail.

It's as clear as day; if the discussion is actually "excessively negative", it should be moved to clanchat. Take note that "negative" doesn't mean the same thing as "excessively negative". 
I appreciate that zburdsal queried for the opinions of other staff when dealing with political discussion earlier, as this does a lot to remove the idea of someone being politically/religiously biased and silencing discussion for their own purposes. 

What it ought to come down to is a short, simple discussion amongst present staff when political/religious discussions take a turn for the negative in order to decide the best course of action. 
However, as the rules very clearly imply, discussion about politics/religion is not banned; only excessively negative forms of it are. 

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I think there's merit on both sides of this argument.

 

It's true that censorship of level-headed, rational discussion is not necessary.

 

But at the same time, religion and politics are hot-button issues that could potentially lead to less mature players involving themselves in the discussion and starting a shit-show.

 

A short conversation about such a topic doesn't seem like any sort of problem, but if you're going to talk about it for 10+ minutes, being asked to bring it into a clanchat seems reasonable.

 

This isn't censorship; it's for your benefit as much as anyone else's - the idea is that you'll be able to freely carry on the conversation, you won't have to worry about immature players jumping in with unwelcome commentary, and the rest of the server won't have to worry about the potential for drama to begin.

 

There are also people who are too polite to speak up but will nonetheless be uncomfortable when a discussion about religion or politics goes on and on before them.

 

My take on the situation, for what it's worth, is that starting up in public chat, and then moving to a clanchat if the discussion continues for long enough, is the best course of action for such a line of conversation. They shouldn't be censored when they're starting up, but once the topic has attracted all the participants that it will, clanchat is a more diplomatic place than public chat to carry on with it.

 

Nobody's telling you that you can't talk about politics or religion, cmdr. They're just saying that the best place to do so is in a clanchat.

 

 

And Eehee, regarding this bit:

 

Excessively negative comments or disruptive arguments/discussions in global chat are not tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, discussions concerning politics, religion, issues with staff/policy, issues with specific other players, or validity of bans. Any and all such conversations should be conducted in/moved to private channels, such as /msg, clanchat, or /mail.


It's as clear as day; if the discussion is actually "excessively negative", it should be moved to clanchat. Take note that "negative" doesn't mean the same thing as "excessively negative". 
I appreciate that zburdsal queried for the opinions of other staff when dealing with political discussion earlier, as this does a lot to remove the idea of someone being politically/religiously biased and silencing discussion for their own purposes.

 

You're misinterpreting this rule. The wording is "excessively negative comments or disruptive arguments/discussions", not "excessively negative and disruptive comments". Most of the things listed in there, including religious/political commentary, fall into the category of "disruptive discussions". Not because they're inherently bad, but because many people online have difficulty handling them with maturity (or are made uncomfortable by them). For this reason, it's best to talk about such topics in private.

 

Again, nobody's saying that religion and politics can't be discussed at all. No one's silencing these conversations. The mods are just directing them to an appropriate venue where they won't risk inviting drama into the chat.

Edited by Narissis
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Ever fired up a multiplayer game and thought "hey, I wish these people were less social"? Me neither.

Catering to the lowest-common denominator of people and "muh feelings" isn't exactly a recent trend. It's been going on ever since the rules expanded from the golden rule one of nerd.nu into the long, sprawling labyrinth of corner cases and "staff discretion" that you have now. Some of the rules were actually required because the golden rule, for whatever reason, wasn't cutting it.

Despite some proponents of the nu nerd order claiming that it's just staff abusing their right to kick / ban / mute without oversight, the apparently vexing problem of putting aside your unwarranted self-importance for a few moments to consider that maybe a comment about race / religion / sexual orientation wasn't actually a targeted backhand remark is pretty much the core cause of the entire issue. Sometimes people say something deliberately venomous (in the heat of the moment or not) and should most certainly be forced to take a time-out from the community, but discussing anything that isn't deliberately inciteful, targeted, or containing malicious undertones should not be censored. I could go on about some amendment or other that is potentially tangentially relevant, but the actual problem this causes is more directly related to the servers.

Generally, "multiplayer" indicates that you'll be playing the game with other people. Those people, like most other mammals, are social. They talk. They talk about a lot of things, from what they had for breakfast to their interpretation of Luke 24. You know what the biggest and best indicator of a game server's size is? How active it is. Ever since some genius discovered the previously considered-impossible fact that you could forge the player stats on just about any game server, it's come down to people jumping on to check it out. New players cannot even approach caring about "clan chat, whatever that is". They just want to see if the server is going to be right for them.

This just in: Nobody really plays multiplayer wanting silence. That's what singleplayer is for. If you want to play with people but without chat, here's an idea: Disable the chat. Alternatively, use the ignore list like a capable human being.

Segregating the life out of any and all chat doesn't just make the server look dead, it actually makes it really inconvenient for players in more than one channel. For the record, that's basically anyone who doesn't roleplay living in a city that has a clanchat. You can't just tab between channels like you can with some IRC clients or Facebook Messenger. You actually have to type some ridiculous slash-command in order to switch your "target", then talk into that channel. Many people have been around for years and even they still couldn't care less about clanchat. It was an average fix for the non-problem of groups of friends communicating out-of-band on the survival server. Last I checked, that's what Mumble, Skype, and every other communications software under the Sun was for. It's actually fewer keystrokes to alt-tab out of Minecraft and into Mumble, type a reply, and alt-tab back in than it is to switch clanchat channels, type your message, then (maybe) switch back. I'd rather just use general chat to be honest, or Mumble, because I like hearing the sound of my own voice. It's the best. You should hear it.

The lack of social awareness demonstrated by anyone suggesting that you should squirrel away individual chats into little pockets is palpable. If you want your server to look like it's a bunch of wannabe secret societies pretending not to play a video game on the same box, go right ahead. The staff shouldn't be making wild stabs in the dark about the future of a discussion, they should be watching it if they're worried it'll go off course. Yes, watching it. How revolutionary; the community janitors have to sometimes act as community janitors. Don't want to monitor trouble? Quit, play on another account, or disclaim liability for upset players because you're busy building a tower.

Edited by Aeyrix
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Aeyrix you could also say that mature people wouldn't discuss certain volatile topics in an open chatroom. If the mods ask for those topics to be moved to clanchats then we aren't missing anything in public that would be expected for mature people chatting.

 

Are you a P player?

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Ever fired up a multiplayer game and thought "hey, I wish these people were less social"? Me neither.

 

This just in: Nobody really plays multiplayer wanting silence. That's what singleplayer is for. If you want to play with people but without chat, here's an idea: Disable the chat. Alternatively, use the ignore list like a capable human being.

 

Yes, yes I have. With the amount of blabbing and info flashing by on the screen from WE on C, it's really hard to keep track of pms at times. I suppose I could /ignore, but it's rude if I do that and the person tries to start a conversation with me or asks me something in public chat. Personally, I prefer a quieter chat. It's better than having half a gazillion conversations going on at once, where you don't know who's talking to who and you're not sure if that last statement was for you or not. I don't want to disable chat because generally, I like to see what's going on with my WE processes, I'm in pms with someone, or the discussion going on is interesting. I don't want to play in singleplayer because I can't invite my friends over to see what I'm building or talk to them there.

Despite this, C is generally quiet because people are busy building. Occasionally we get a busy chat, but usually we're all quiet because we're building. 

 

 Many people have been around for years and even they still couldn't care less about clanchat. It was an average fix for the non-problem of groups of friends communicating out-of-band on the survival server. 

Actually, contrary to popular belief/what you may think, a lot of people don't want to add each other on skype/snapchat/facebook/twitter/whatever-social-media. A lot of people on C hang out in clanchats out of respect of not wanting to clutter chat/annoy people (see: Ted clanchat). Nobody's ever on Mumble (being in AFK doesn't count), so nobody wants to go on Mumble anymore (funny how that works huh?), or they just don't have a mic/are listening to music. Yeah I suppose I could talk and listen to music at the same time, but sometimes I don't want that interruption. On top of that, some people can't handle having Skype and Minecraft open at the same time- not everyone has fancy computers.

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Catering to the lowest-common denominator of people and "muh feelings" isn't exactly a recent trend. It's been going on ever since the rules expanded from the golden rule one of nerd.nu into the long, sprawling labyrinth of corner cases and "staff discretion" that you have now. Some of the rules were actually required because the golden rule, for whatever reason, wasn't cutting it.

Despite some proponents of the nu nerd order claiming that it's just staff abusing their right to kick / ban / mute without oversight, the apparently vexing problem of putting aside your unwarranted self-importance for a few moments to consider that maybe a comment about race / religion / sexual orientation wasn't actually a targeted backhand remark is pretty much the core cause of the entire issue. Sometimes people say something deliberately venomous (in the heat of the moment or not) and should most certainly be forced to take a time-out from the community, but discussing anything that isn't deliberately inciteful, targeted, or containing malicious undertones should not be censored. I could go on about some amendment or other that is potentially tangentially relevant, but the actual problem this causes is more directly related to the servers.

 

It's not about catering to the lowest common denominator. The reason for discouraging lengthy religious and political discussion in chat isn't to avoid offending anyone, it's about avoiding the drama that those topics inevitably cause.

 

There's not necessarily an assumption that these things are being discussed in a negative light, but that still doesn't make them productive topics of conversation. Even a mature and well-metered conversation about these kinds of issues risks inviting drama. That's why they're asked to bring it to clanchat. Not because it's offensive or even hostile, but because it's a drama magnet. Taking it to a clanchat allows the discussion to continue without this liability.

 

As to the rules... going by the "golden rule" requires the maximum amount of staff discretion, because the interpretation of that rule is up to the staff any time it's potentially infringed. The purpose of making more explicit rules is to assuage complaints of poor staff judgement by making things more clear-cut. So, I'm not sure what you're trying to say by bringing up the "golden rule"... that the solution to what you consider poor staff discretion is a less complex system that, by nature, has more staff discretion? This doesn't make sense.

 

 

Generally, "multiplayer" indicates that you'll be playing the game with other people. Those people, like most other mammals, are social. They talk. They talk about a lot of things, from what they had for breakfast to their interpretation of Luke 24. You know what the biggest and best indicator of a game server's size is? How active it is. Ever since some genius discovered the previously considered-impossible fact that you could forge the player stats on just about any game server, it's come down to people jumping on to check it out. New players cannot even approach caring about "clan chat, whatever that is". They just want to see if the server is going to be right for them.

This just in: Nobody really plays multiplayer wanting silence. That's what singleplayer is for. If you want to play with people but without chat, here's an idea: Disable the chat. Alternatively, use the ignore list like a capable human being.

 

Of course people will talk, and about a variety of topics. But that doesn't mean that every single potential topic belongs in the chat, just by virtue of being a topic that somebody might talk about. People could also discuss topics like murder, rape, and abortion... but they're obviously not appropriate. Religion, politics, and sexuality are more permissive in that there's no outright ban on such topics... it's simply asked that they move into clanchat so as to prevent drama from unfolding. There's nothing unreasonable about that.

 

Regarding the bolded text, that's just nonsense. You can't conflate the request for sensitive topics to be discussed privately with the idea that nobody should discuss anything at all, ever. No one's asking for silence, only a thoughtful approach as to what topics are and are not appropriate or tactful to carry on at-length in the public chat.

 

 

Segregating the life out of any and all chat doesn't just make the server look dead, it actually makes it really inconvenient for players in more than one channel. For the record, that's basically anyone who doesn't roleplay living in a city that has a clanchat. You can't just tab between channels like you can with some IRC clients or Facebook Messenger. You actually have to type some ridiculous slash-command in order to switch your "target", then talk into that channel. Many people have been around for years and even they still couldn't care less about clanchat. It was an average fix for the non-problem of groups of friends communicating out-of-band on the survival server. Last I checked, that's what Mumble, Skype, and every other communications software under the Sun was for. It's actually fewer keystrokes to alt-tab out of Minecraft and into Mumble, type a reply, and alt-tab back in than it is to switch clanchat channels, type your message, then (maybe) switch back. I'd rather just use general chat to be honest, or Mumble, because I like hearing the sound of my own voice. It's the best. You should hear it.

 

Segregating the life out of chat is what makes the chat on the server manageable. It would be next to impossible to communicate on P if all chat were in one common channel all the time. People in Argoth don't want to hear the intimate details of the next Rose City building being planned in the Rose clanchat. People working on their own builds halfway across the map don't want to be spammed relentlessly for three hours at a time with irrelevant messages during a Spleef tournament. Compartmentalizing chat allows people to customize which chat they see based on their own interests and activities. The chatbox in vanilla Minecraft is simply not designed for very high volumes of chat - even now, when the main chat gets busy, it becomes extremely difficult to keep up. If all clanchats were eliminated, that problem would be exponentially compounded.

 

And as annoying as the clanchat's UI can be, not everyone wants or is willing to use voice chat. An in-game chat management system is essential to ensure that everyone can manage and filter their communications at their own discretion, and clanchat is the tool we have for that, for better or for worse. While it's true that managing clanchat in vanilla can be a real pain, that's just a limitation of the game. If you'd like to make your clanchat more user-friendly, there's always Tabbychat. Certainly, installing a Minecraft addon is every bit as reasonable as installing a third-party voice chat client.

 

 

The lack of social awareness demonstrated by anyone suggesting that you should squirrel away individual chats into little pockets is palpable. If you want your server to look like it's a bunch of wannabe secret societies pretending not to play a video game on the same box, go right ahead. The staff shouldn't be making wild stabs in the dark about the future of a discussion, they should be watching it if they're worried it'll go off course. Yes, watching it. How revolutionary; the community janitors have to sometimes act as community janitors. Don't want to monitor trouble? Quit, play on another account, or disclaim liability for upset players because you're busy building a tower.

 

The lack of common sense demonstrated by anyone suggesting that a single unified chat is a good thing is palpable. The amount of cumulative chat messages generated across those "wannabe secret societies", if constricted to a single global channel, would completely overwhelm that channel and render it unusable. If the goal is to foster and improve communication, this would be a terrible way to go about it.

 

The intent of clanchat is not to create cliques. It's to provide channels of interest where topic-specific conversation can go on without disturbing the majority of players who have no stake or interest in that topic.

 

Regarding the staff and "wild stabs in the dark", that's not the point. It's not so much that they're worried the discussion might go off course - obviously, as you've pointed out, the solution if that were the sole concern would simply be to monitor it and step in if necessary. The problem is that the simple presence of a discussion on sensitive topics will be off-putting to many players. And while some players may speak up and ask the others to take the conversation to private chat, is there any reason to draw a distinction between whether or not those players are the individuals actually made uncomfortable, or the mods looking out for the community? Another problem is that carrying on a discussion like this, even when the participants are being mature and civil and not speaking negatively about the subject, is still a very tempting bait for other players to step in at any time and spark a drama shitstorm.

 

Anyway, I'm rambling now, so let's be succinct here.

 

No, the staff are not trying to say that you can't discuss sensitive topics.

No, the staff are not assuming that people will necessarily be offended.

No, the staff are not saying you can't talk at all. How ridiculous.

 

But sensitive topics of conversation can make players feel uncomfortable, they can invite third-party players to jump in and start shit, and they can make the atmosphere of the server very hostile, especially if the discussion becomes a strongly-spirited debate.

 

Such a controversial discussion or debate is completely fine - but most players simply don't want to see it. So take it to a clanchat, where you can discuss it all you like without the risk of stoking drama on the server. This is not about censorship or denial, it's about placing sensitive discussions in a venue that will allow them to continue without disrupting players who want no part in them.

 

It's not about censorship or silence, it's about respect for your fellow players.

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