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rbead
 Tuesday, September 16 2014 @ 11:57 PM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe

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You're gonna have to be much less vague, dude.



Okay. Sorry!

Condensed version of my post:
People might be afraid of speaking up, of asking mods about this or that, and by extension afraid of discussion what should and shouldn't count as 'dickish' because they might think they're not supposed to. They might think it would constitute arguing with a mod. However, recently things have gotten better, and people are becoming more willing to speak up, even if it takes major incidents for discussion to be held. That's awesome.



No, no - don't condense it, tell me what you're actually talking about. What incident or incidents are you referring to? Let's get ourselves on the same page.



The first one, the old one, was with a player called Kero. The more recent one was the video incident.


 
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Docenspiel
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 12:03 AM UTC  
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Several people were complaining about Kero and his actions. His banning certainly wasn't out of the blue or based solely on the final incident.


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rbead
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 12:05 AM UTC  
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Several people were complaining about Kero and his actions. His banning certainly wasn't out of the blue or based solely on the final incident.



Aaaaaand that would be an example of the information issue! D:


 
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rbead
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 12:50 AM UTC  
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Sorry about that.

That being said, the worry is still there, and valid-- and the progress, too, is awesome. I know there are plenty of people who are just fine with talking to mods, but I also know of plenty of people who aren't. It's my hope that they'll come to learn just how much better the Island is.


 
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Raine Bofirn
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 01:18 AM UTC  
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Trowa does raise a good point: I hear all sorts of reasons why a player gets banned, muted, etc. etc. I know it probably shouldn't be broadcast why that happens, but at the same time, if it's stated(from one example) that the player was, say, talking about rape in Banter...well, that's actually something that might be good to say "this is why we pulled them away".

At the same time, yeah, the Mods also have to have their judgements protected, and the "brick wall of silence" isn't a bad way to go. Telling us personally would just feed the curious gTalk pokes of "WHY DID MY FRIEND GET BANNED WEEEEEH", and telling us publicly would be like burning someone at the stake. Kind of a Kobiyashi Maru type of scenario, in where you can't win if you reveal it.

That said, would it be better to publicize reasoning, or no? It seems a difference of making someone disappear quietly as opposed to an announcement.


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Hairy Mary
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 01:35 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Docenspiel

Several people were complaining about Kero and his actions. His banning certainly wasn't out of the blue or based solely on the final incident.



True enough, but that's not directly relevant. What's relevant isn't what happened, but what is perceived to have happened. These two things are not the same. As has been noted above, people only hearing one side of the story, Chinese Whispers, and the rumour mill in general can make them quite different. Publishing full details of why somebody has been banned would be a bad idea for several reasons, and probably wouldn't do much to help correct perceptions either. It would just add grist to the rumour mill really.

Also, people arrive here with a whole load of baggage based on experiences on other sites and all sorts of other things. If they start off with an idea of mods as a bunch of scary ogres who shit all over people from a great height if they step out of line in the slightest way, then they're not likely to poke their head over the parapet far enough to find out they're wrong, and they're likely to give greater credence to, and misconstrue, any stories they hear. Us human beings are fantastic at deciding what is happening and then seeing that, rather than what is actually out there.

I think that this is the point that rbead is trying to make (correct me if I'm wrong.) Even if it's not what he's trying to say, then I think that it's both true and relevant.


 
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rbead
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 01:43 AM UTC  
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Several people were complaining about Kero and his actions. His banning certainly wasn't out of the blue or based solely on the final incident.



True enough, but that's not directly relevant. What's relevant isn't what happened, but what is perceived to have happened. These two things are not the same. As has been noted above, people only hearing one side of the story, Chinese Whispers, and the rumour mill in general can make them quite different. Publishing full details of why somebody has been banned would be a bad idea for several reasons, and probably wouldn't do much to help correct perceptions either. It would just add grist to the rumour mill really.

Also, people arrive here with a whole load of baggage based on experiences on other sites and all sorts of other things. If they start off with an idea of mods as a bunch of scary ogres who shit all over people from a great height if they step out of line in the slightest way, then they're not likely to poke their head over the parapet far enough to find out they're wrong, and they're likely to give greater credence to, and misconstrue, any stories they hear. Us human beings are fantastic at deciding what is happening and then seeing that, rather than what is actually out there.

I think that this is the point that rbead is trying to make (correct me if I'm wrong.) Even if it's not what he's trying to say, then I think that it's both true and relevant.



No, that's exactly right! Thank you for saying my point so much better, I'm having trouble with words of lately.

I also agree, incidentally, with Raine. This is definitely a Catch-22 situation, helped only by trust.

(PS: I'm female, I play Fish. Smile)


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 02:56 AM UTC  
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The hardest part of a mod's job is not talking about bans.

It'd be cathartic to tell everyone why we banned a troll or a pedo - but it really, really wouldn't do the Island any good. It's bad enough, for those left behind, hearing that we banned their friend - we really don't wanna post a bunch of logs of their friend being total dicks to others, or saying shitty things about the friend behind their backs. That'd just make everyone feel worse, feel cheated, feel dumb for having fallen for a load of lies, and feel paranoid about who's an alt of who. What's more, it's none of your business. A ban is between me and the player who's been banned. Sometimes they'll tell people why they were banned - more often, they'll lie, and say they were banned for something really minor.

We don't ban for minor things. Ever. And players always get many, many opportunities to not get banned, suggestions followed by warnings followed by "Dude, next time you're banned, seriously, I don't know how to make this any clearer, please don't make me ban you." The only time we don't warn first is if it's either a) a brand-new player who's signed up and posted "POOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP LOL FAGETS" (because dude, if that's your first impression, I don't wanna take the time to teach you how to not be an awful waste of an internet connection) or b) a Rule 4 violation.

We updated the rules fairly recently to spell out, so that nobody has any doubt, what we mean when we talk about a Rule 4 violation. Since we're talking about rules, here's an extra-emphatic version, since about half our bans are for Rule 4:

"Just like with Rule 1, if you have to ask (or even wonder) "Am I breaking rule four?" then the answer is YES. Except that while breaking rule 1 will get you a slap on the wrist, breaking rule 4 will get you banned forever without warning. Don't play underage characters with a sex life. Don't play underage characters who don't have a sex life, but who do have graphically-described tits that you just can't help dropping into conversation here and there. Don't play underage characters in adult bodies. Don't play adult characters in children's bodies. Don't claim to be eighteen in your bio and then upload an avatar that looks twelve years old. Don't be a creepy motherfucker. If you don't know what a creepy motherfucker is, then you're probably a creepy motherfucker. Don't go into a grey area. Don't go near a grey area. Don't go into the grey area of the grey area. Don't do things that you think are technically okay because xyz. Don't do things that are legal in a lot of countries. Don't do anything that would make people think twice about letting you babysit their kids. I see you taking a breath to ask "is it okay if I -" no. No, however that sentence ends. This is the one thing we'll outright ban you for without even stopping to talk first. We're not kidding. This is our only hard line, and if you're worried that you might be skirting it, you're already past it and we just haven't noticed yet. Quit making us ban you."

(the creepiest bans are the ones where we ban some creepy-ass mouthbreathing neckbeard, and then a friend of theirs shows up and asks us "Why did you ban my friend? She was so nice! We had a real connection!" and we can only shrug our shoulders and say "Because he was a creepy pervert who pissed everyone off and we actually got fan mail from people when they found out we banned him." and the friend replies with "What do you mean, him?" and we reply with "He was also these five other people, three of whom hated your guts. Sorry, your life is a lie." That's one of the reasons why we stopped discussing bans.)

(the most depressing bans are the ones where we ban someone, and then they use proxies to sneak back in, and start contacting their old friends to say "Psst - it's me, BannedGuy!" And then the friends - who never liked the guy to begin with, but were polite about it - quietly Distract me to say "Hey, um. Just to let you know, SuspiciouslyKnowledgeableNewbie is actually BannedGuy. Please don't tell him I told you. But, uh... do please ban him again." This happens with nearly all bans, and always, the people who were banned were dicks - and either didn't know it, or did, and thought that being a dick was fun.)


 
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Raine Bofirn
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 03:02 AM UTC  
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...and on that note...with personal experience, I see what you mean.


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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 03:13 AM UTC  
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Also that guy, Kero, was so much of a dick that Ebenezer banned him.

EBENEZER. Who is famous for his gentleness. Whose lip trembles when kittens look at him. Who never, ever gets angry. Ebenezer took him under his wing, pointed out every time he was a dick to someone, told him what he was doing wrong, begged him to stop doing it, muted him to try to knock some sense into him, muted him again, muted him for longer, and then finally came to me asking my permission to issue a ban (yes, although my mods have a lot of autonomy, bans are still my final decision). To which I said "For the sake of your own mental wellbeing, ban that douchecanoe." This was like three months after I'd chatted with Ebenezer over gChat and he'd told me about this guy, and I'd said "Why don't you just ban him," and Eben said "I wanna try some things. He's my project."

Which is actually how most bans play out. In a long, careful, draining, emotionally-exhausting way that causes loss of sleep and awfulness, and the situation where my mods are trying their damned hardest to help people who they don't like, and in most cases, who nobody likes, or who nobody would like if they know what other shit they were up to.

In short - we only ban dicks, and we warn first, so if you're not a dick, then you don't have anything to worry about.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 03:36 AM UTC  
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Oh, and the snuff film didn't get anyone banned. That got the player in question a slap-on-the-wrist short-term mute. The moderator did kick up a stink about it in Banter, but he was pretty new to the job, and has since left.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 04:57 AM UTC  
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And yeah, I'll quite happily talk about a ban from 2011 in terms of "Because he was a colossal twonkeroonie," but again, no details. The details, if you wanna know, you can try to get them from him - but if we ban someone, you can safely assume that they lie.

Since the "No more talking about bans" policy came into place a few years ago, I've only broken it once - and that was when a player was thinking of going to visit a previously-banned player who was actually dangerous. Safety of my players trumps policy or legal concerns, so I told the thinking-about-visiting player to stay the fuck away.

So, yeah. We won't be giving any juicy details, I'm afraid - but if anyone can think of any other times we might've abused our power, please let me know. This whole "Being scared of the big bad mods who'll ban you for blinking too fast" thing is poisonous, and I want it to stop.


 
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Denealus
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 06:16 AM UTC  
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Uh...okay. So this thread has exploded since I've been gone...

I'll skip over most of the things that I kind of skimmed over anyway and focus on two specific areas. One, the "If you think you might be breaking rule 1, you probably are..." or "We shouldn't need to tell you what it means to be a dick..." Sigh...

I'm sorry to be cynical, but if this were true, we wouldn't need moderation. There are a percentage of very obvious trolls. These people know they're getting peoples goats. They know that they're pulling on strings. They know that they're bothering people. These are the easy decisions.

But really, there's plenty of a subset that have really poor interpersonal intelligence. They don't know how their actions affect other people. They don't see what they're doing is wrong. Other people are too sensitive, they're just trying to make their point, people keep shutting them down. They just thought something was interesting and had to share. People who "know what it means to be a dick" generally don't tend to be dicks. Not exclusively, but there's a very limited subset of people who are actively dickish knowing they're being dickish. If you're frustrated, it's also hard to recognize that you're being a dick and you're crossing the line and hey maybe you need an Island break because now you're breaking Rule 2.

Guidelines may be a bit taboo and should be kept short but what a dick means means different things to different people. It likely means different things to different moderators (it's like there's a post here about that or something...) And not everyone might agree with the moderation policy. Which is why it's important to be able to speak up.

As for not talking about bans...

I'm fully up for moderators not talking about bans. Public censuring of any player, regardless of what they did, is not the type of community that I feel we're trying to create here. Witch hunts are never helpful for anyone. I do think people might want to know, for example, "Sorry, they had multiple complaints against them." And things should be able to be left at that. Beyond that puts everyone in an awkward spot, moderator and player. And as soon as a moderator feels they have to defend their actions, they've already lost. Moderators aren't going to be perfect, but we should definitely support their ability to moderate. And that trust is lost as soon as you have to define in minutiae ever decision you ever made. Just my two cents.

P.S. If you do want some good general real-life guidelines to not being a dick, well here you go.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Thursday, September 18 2014 @ 05:07 PM UTC  
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One, the "If you think you might be breaking rule 1, you probably are..."

But really, there's plenty of a subset that have really poor interpersonal intelligence. They don't know how their actions affect other people. They don't see what they're doing is wrong. Other people are too sensitive, they're just trying to make their point, people keep shutting them down. They just thought something was interesting and had to share. People who "know what it means to be a dick" generally don't tend to be dicks. Not exclusively, but there's a very limited subset of people who are actively dickish knowing they're being dickish.



Yeah. Ok, you're right. I'll retract that comment.

Quote by: Denealus

If you're frustrated, it's also hard to recognize that you're being a dick and you're crossing the line and hey maybe you need an Island break because now you're breaking Rule 2.



Now that's definitely true, and I should know, for you see, I was that ignorant arsehole

So, trying to return to where this thread started out, we currently have fighting and ERP listed. Are there any other specific things that anybody can think of which are frowned upon?


 
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Count Sessine
 Thursday, September 18 2014 @ 05:49 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Hairy+Mary

So, trying to return to where this thread started out, we currently have fighting and ERP listed. Are there any other specific things that anybody can think of which are frowned upon?

Mean remarks about other players.

If we see that, especially in Banter or the Noticeboard, we'll delete the comment, and maybe/maybe-not (depending on how mean it sounded) send a distraction to the poster to point out that even if it's just all a running joke between them and their friend, new players won't know that, and they'll think the Island is a place where mean things get said, which is so not the impression we want them to have!

But this isn't frowning, really. More like explaining, especially if it's only the first time someone does it.

If someone keeps on, and we have to keep telling them not to say mean things to other players, then yes, it starts to enter into frowning territory. There are a couple of players who've had to be told, "The next time any mod sees you being rude to another player in Banter, you're getting a permamute in Banter, and it will only be lifted if you can convince the mod who applies it that you won't ever do it again."

I'm happy to report that in both cases, the player in question seems to have finally understood that we really were serious about requiring them to change, and we have not had to follow through.


 
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Trowa
 Thursday, September 18 2014 @ 07:00 PM UTC  
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I know this is generally covered in the Rules already, but I'm going to toss in my two cents anyway: Banter discussions of hot-button, divisive issues can lead to Dickish behavior or comments. I won't go so far as to say "don't talk about x," but I think it should be emphasized that this community is extensively diverse with players from all over the world who carry innumerably differing viewpoints and ideals, and it can be very easy to upset someone with a crass comment or off-color joke without meaning to. Always be respectful of other people's opinions. (Personally, I even think just saying "I respectfully disagree" doesn't cut it because I feel it can come off patronizing.)

Some topics I've personally witnessed go from polite discussion to rude/ranting behavior in Banter:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Men's/Women's Rights
  • LGBT Issues
  • Canon vs. Non-canon Story
  • Artistic Quality
And probably many more, but these were the ones I could think of off the top of my head. In fact, it's because of some of these discussion spiraling out of control we even have the "don't discuss the 'r' word" policy.

Usually when these sort of issues crop up in Banter, I'll see two things happen: several players stop responding in Banter, either ignoring the channel or closing it, and several players will jump into Banter who weren't active there a moment ago to try to change the subject (or sometimes even take sides, which is really counter-productive). I tend to do the former, myself, because I'd rather just keep my blood pressure down than get involved.

Most important of all: this community is about having fun, not for anyone's political or personal opinion sounding board.


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endarr
 Sunday, September 21 2014 @ 02:31 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Trowa

I know this is generally covered in the Rules already, but I'm going to toss in my two cents anyway: Banter discussions of hot-button, divisive issues can lead to Dickish behavior or comments. I won't go so far as to say "don't talk about x," but I think it should be emphasized that this community is extensively diverse with players from all over the world who carry innumerably differing viewpoints and ideals, and it can be very easy to upset someone with a crass comment or off-color joke without meaning to. Always be respectful of other people's opinions. (Personally, I even think just saying "I respectfully disagree" doesn't cut it because I feel it can come off patronizing.)

Some topics I've personally witnessed go from polite discussion to rude/ranting behavior in Banter:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Men's/Women's Rights
  • LGBT Issues
  • Canon vs. Non-canon Story
  • Artistic Quality
And probably many more, but these were the ones I could think of off the top of my head. In fact, it's because of some of these discussion spiraling out of control we even have the "don't discuss the 'r' word" policy.

Usually when these sort of issues crop up in Banter, I'll see two things happen: several players stop responding in Banter, either ignoring the channel or closing it, and several players will jump into Banter who weren't active there a moment ago to try to change the subject (or sometimes even take sides, which is really counter-productive). I tend to do the former, myself, because I'd rather just keep my blood pressure down than get involved.

Most important of all: this community is about having fun, not for anyone's political or personal opinion sounding board.



While I agree that it's often true that a discussion about politics or religion or what have you can devolve into dickishness, it's not a given. And if it does start to devolve into said dickishness, someone needs to say "Hey, guys, it's getting bad. Time to pull back." Or multiple people. Because, as someone pointed out earlier (I forget who and am too lazy to scroll back) sometimes people don't realize they're being dickish in the heat of the moment.

And sometimes it comes down to people being uncomfortable with seeing it or hearing it or whatever. That goes back to what i was posting a few pages back. Sometimes everyone is okay with something going on, and sometimes not everyone is. But no one can know when someone is uncomfortable without being told that that is so.

It all really comes down to respect. Respect enough for others so that you will step back when you're told you've gone too far or gotten too heated, and respect enough for yourself to speak up or to realize you're getting heated. Hell, I know I get upset about things, and I try (try, mind you, I'm not perfect about it. though, I suppose if i was perfect, I wouldn't need to xD) to step back and calm down. So we have to respect each other and ourselves. I think that's honestly what this thread should boil down to. Not a "don't do this, but do this" list. Respect.

And not talking about certain things, in my opinion, isn't going to help that, as it assumes that people aren't mature enough to handle an adult conversation without devolving into mud slinging. Plus, we could all use some practice in respecting other people's opinions. It's a huge world out there and we have access to all of it at our fingertips, but humans as a species are still getting used to it. It's gonna take a while to fully remove the xenophobia that's been bred into us by millennia of distance and rough terrain. We are pioneers on a new frontier! We are all kinda awesome. I mean, sure we're not exploring space or anything, but cyberspace has space in it! So let's all be awesome together!

(Not talking about certain things should likely be a rule. Certain really bad and probably already agreed upon things. But not huge, broad topics. I mean, I love learning about other people's religions, personally, so discussing them is fun for me. But I dislike politics, so stay away from those conversations. Not that i mind that they happen. And it is rather nice to see people talk about things they're passionate about, even if I don't like said things.)


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Harris
 Sunday, September 21 2014 @ 02:40 PM UTC  
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It all really comes down to respect. Respect enough for others so that you will step back when you're told you've gone too far or gotten too heated, and respect enough for yourself to speak up or to realize you're getting heated. Hell, I know I get upset about things, and I try (try, mind you, I'm not perfect about it. though, I suppose if i was perfect, I wouldn't need to xD) to step back and calm down. So we have to respect each other and ourselves. I think that's honestly what this thread should boil down to. Not a "don't do this, but do this" list. Respect.

And not talking about certain things, in my opinion, isn't going to help that, as it assumes that people aren't mature enough to handle an adult conversation without devolving into mud slinging. Plus, we could all use some practice in respecting other people's opinions. It's a huge world out there and we have access to all of it at our fingertips, but humans as a species are still getting used to it. It's gonna take a while to fully remove the xenophobia that's been bred into us by millennia of distance and rough terrain. We are pioneers on a new frontier! We are all kinda awesome. I mean, sure we're not exploring space or anything, but cyberspace has space in it! So let's all be awesome together!



/me applauds wildly

YES.


"Ain't nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile." -The Grateful Dead
 
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Count Sessine
 Sunday, September 21 2014 @ 05:26 PM UTC  
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I see it as a combination of two things. As you have so eloquently said, Endarr, respect for others is essential. People are different. You can't always know what's going to bother someone. If a player comes right out and says a discussion is making them uncomfortable, then yes, of course: always respect them, always believe them, always change the subject.

There are certain topics (I think they've all been listed in this thread already) that mods have asked people to stay away from in Banter no matter what, mainly because Banter is a very public space, one of the first things new players are going to see on the Island. New players aren't going to say anything. They'll judge the Island by what they see. It's very very easy at that early stage... when there's no commitment, no knowledge of how much is here, no shared friendships and memories... to click away to something else and never come back. Many new signups do that anyway; we just want to make sure that if they're going to decide the Island's not for them, it's based on what the Island really is.

If a subject is a trigger for bad-memory flashbacks, some established players may not feel able to say anything, either. About all we can do about that is... well, stay away from the most obvious trigger topics, and try to be as friendly and receptive as possible, to make it easier for them to say something.

As for politics and religion: they're both minefields. I don't know that maturity has anything to do with it. If anything, I'd say older folks (like me) have spent more time working our way to the ideas we think are true, which makes it considerably harder to talk about them without implying that other ideas we've maybe already thought about and rejected are just false.

* Case in point: when I was young, I started out religious. I'm not, any more. I'm still interested in religions, but in an anthropological sense. How can I have a frank discussion with a true believer without revealing that I am very sure humans created gods, not the other way around? And if I do say that, one of two things is going to happen: either I'll convince them I'm right, or I won't. In the latter (far more likely!) eventuality they'll have every right to feel offended because I'll be suggesting that I think the very foundation of their life is false. But suppose I do plant doubts. Am I doing them a good turn? I don't think so. People invent religions for a reason. They serve a purpose. They help a lot of people. Do I have any right to try to take that away from anyone? Well... sometimes. If they're already struggling. But if they're depending on the help religion provides them, it'd be a jerk move for me to undermine that, wouldn't it?*

Anyway. Minefields. Tread carefully. Remember that what one person thinks is so true it should be obvious to everyone is someone else's pernicious lie that needs to be stamped out wherever it appears. Also, people come with different levels of tolerance for disagreement. What may seem to one to be a pleasing vigorous debate will (I guarantee it, based on my years as a mod) register to some others as a nasty argument.

So that's one reason CMJ has said all along that he doesn't want people to talk about politics or religion on the Island.

Though, y'know... it has just occurred to me that if enough of you want to have debates on controversial topics, we do have Places, which we didn't when that policy was first established. Someone could set up a House of Controversy -- or even an Argument Clinic, like the Monty Python sketch!

--
* Geeklog doesn't seem to have a spoiler tag. (Copy/paste to read.)


 
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endarr
 Sunday, September 21 2014 @ 06:38 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Count+Sessine
Though, y'know... it has just occurred to me that if enough of you want to have debates on controversial topics, we do have Places, which we didn't when that policy was first established. Someone could set up a House of Controversy -- or even an Argument Clinic, like the Monty Python sketch!


Ooo, I like that idea! Now to start surveying the land to find the perfect spot!


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