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Old 05-20-2020, 04:33 PM
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Will some viewpoints be eventually banned, regardless of how polite/civil?


Now that the debate over Shodan's banning (for insults and provoking) has died down, I wanted to discuss something:

A year or two ago, a Doper started a thread in ATMB (I did some searching but can't find it) in which he/she argued that there are some viewpoints that are simply so abhorrent that they should not be permitted on the Dope, regardless of how civil or polite the poster expressing those views may be. (The example used in that thread was scientific racism, or any view that one race is inferior to another.)

As we are often told by Dope mods/admins, the guiding principle of the Dope message board is: "Don't be a jerk." The vast majority of people who have been banned were banned because they were either trolls, spammers, or regular Dopers who couldn't stop flaming or insulting others. I am not aware of anyone who has been banned simply for expressing a controversial view, as long as they kept things polite and civil - it was the attacking or insulting behavior that got them banned, not their viewpoints. We have several conservative Dopers who have amassed years of longevity and many thousands of posts here without getting banned (or perhaps even warned or suspended,) which helps debunk the notion that conservatives can't get a fair shake here.

What I wanted to ask, though, was: Is the Dope ever likely to head in the direction of banning certain viewpoints entirely, regardless of how well-behaved a poster may be?

I don't mean viewpoints such as Holocaust denial, Flat-Eartherism or 9/11 Trutherism - which are factually wrong - but viewpoints that are subjective but often regarded as offensive - views like "There are only two genders" or "A man who undergoes transition surgery hasn't become a true woman, he just resembles one," or "Trump is a great president," - etc.

The Dope is influenced by outside culture as much as any other board, and with the direction that society is going in, it's not hard to imagine, for instance, a few years from now a Doper making a comment that there are only two genders, but then receiving a warning from a moderator, saying, "This sort of viewpoint is dehumanizing and invalidating of someone's gender identity. Don't be a jerk."

(My point isn't to focus on LGBT - that's just one example - one could name dozens and dozens of other political or social viewpoints that are subjective but offensive - but which could be expressed in perfectly civil, polite, non-flaming ways.)

If so, this would represent a major change in forum philosophy. Up to this point, Dopers have generally been safe from receiving warnings or other disciplinary action, as long as they kept things polite, civil and tame. But if we do head down that road, then we would be saying that it's not just enough to conform in terms of behavior, one must conform to certain viewpoints and opinions as well.

Again, we haven't had such instances (as far as I know of,) but the time to discuss or prevent something is in advance.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:02 PM
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Will some viewpoints be eventually banned, regardless of how polite/civil?


I say no. The stated purpose here is to fight ignorance.

Flat earthers, young earth Christians, anti-vaxxers, moon landing deniers, birthers, etc. etc. are some of the many topics that are regularly brought up by new posters and they are not banned.

As I said in another thread, as long as you try to abide by the rules here, anything goes.

Yes, there seems to be a tighter rein being held, but it appears to be more against insulting sarcasm whether it’s targeted against other posters or the public in general.

Last edited by Omar Little; 05-20-2020 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:17 PM
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I'm not sure politely you can tell me that I have inferior intelligence based on the color of my skin or sex.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:12 PM
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Velocity is drawing a distinction that I don't think Omar Little quite caught, which is the distinction between views that are only stupid and/or ignorant, versus views that are both stupid/ignorant and offensive.

So birtherism, moon landing denial, flat earth, and so on, are patently anti-reality views, but they don't seem to be offensive except to one's love of truth.

But racism ("scientific" or otherwise) and misogyny, to pick two possible topics, are examples of the other category, the one that Velocity is, I believe, asking about.

I can't answer his question, but I hope the rules don't change in that direction, because I think it is not a healthy approach -- it makes us look as if we are afraid of encountering those ideas.

And anyway we don't get so much of that stuff here that we are in danger of being overwhelmed by it.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
Velocity is drawing a distinction that I don't think Omar Little quite caught, which is the distinction between views that are only stupid and/or ignorant, versus views that are both stupid/ignorant and offensive.

So birtherism, moon landing denial, flat earth, and so on, are patently anti-reality views, but they don't seem to be offensive except to one's love of truth.

But racism ("scientific" or otherwise) and misogyny, to pick two possible topics, are examples of the other category, the one that Velocity is, I believe, asking about.

I can't answer his question, but I hope the rules don't change in that direction, because I think it is not a healthy approach -- it makes us look as if we are afraid of encountering those ideas.

And anyway we don't get so much of that stuff here that we are in danger of being overwhelmed by it.

Right! Part of the problem is determining what IS offensive. I mean, to use the example above, you'll get a VERY different answer if you asked the SDMB user base the question of whether saying there are only 2 genders is offensive or not, versus asking a representative segment society at large. Do we want to ban people or warn them if they don't conform to our specific version of groupthink?
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:14 AM
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I'm not sure politely you can tell me that I have inferior intelligence based on the color of my skin or sex.
You don't believe that you or another poster could successfully refute the argument that your intelligence is not inherently inferior because of your gender or race?
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:15 AM
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You don't believe that you or another poster could successfully refute the argument that your intelligence is not inherently inferior because of your gender or race?
I don't think that is the point. The point is that believing the moon landing was staged is not inherently insulting to a class or group. Unlike your question.

There are thousands of "just innocently asking a question" posts which have the disguised (perhaps also to the poster) intention of proving that a class or group is inferior in some way.

The question is whether it is important to engage --in a reasoned, calm manner -- with people who want to prove they are superior to the usual denigrated groups, or whether this is such a waste of time the latter should be warned then dumped if they can't make the jump into the 21st century. Is ignorance going to be fought, or just catered to?
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:30 AM
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I don't think that is the point. The point is that believing the moon landing was staged is not inherently insulting to a class or group. Unlike your question.

There are thousands of "just innocently asking a question" posts which have the disguised (perhaps also to the poster) intention of proving that a class or group is inferior in some way.

The question is whether it is important to engage --in a reasoned, calm manner -- with people who want to prove they are superior to the usual denigrated groups, or whether this is such a waste of time the latter should be warned then dumped if they can't make the jump into the 21st century. Is ignorance going to be fought, or just catered to?
How is it being catered to? If the subject of the thread is that women are just innocent little cupcakes who have no mental capacity to be a doctor, why can't there be boom: Study X that shows no difference in mental capacity between genders, Survey Y that shows that female doctors have an equal success rate in treatment of patients to male doctors, Study Z that shows medical students at universities across the country with no appreciable difference among GPAs between gender?

That's how you fight ignorance. You aren't catering to it at all.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:56 AM
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How is it being catered to? If the subject of the thread is that women are just innocent little cupcakes who have no mental capacity to be a doctor, why can't there be boom: Study X that shows no difference in mental capacity between genders, Survey Y that shows that female doctors have an equal success rate in treatment of patients to male doctors, Study Z that shows medical students at universities across the country with no appreciable difference among GPAs between gender?

That's how you fight ignorance. You aren't catering to it at all.
OK, but what do you do with a poster that presents that point of view and then ignores the many studies presented to him or her? It's a fact that there's more than one gender, for example -- at a minimum, there are people with XXY chromosomes or androgen insensitivity who will present differently than their genes -- what do you do with people who still insist there are only two genders? What do you do with people pushing scientific racism after being shown that races are nonsensical from a biology standpoint?

Those gender threads don't last four posts, with an ignorant OP devastated by actual scientific studies, biology, etc., and then slinking away. They last multiple pages before a moderator steps in and shuts it down. Scientific racism is no more valid than the moon landing hoax CT, but people pushing the moon landing hoax aren't telling other posters here that they are factually inferior to another set of humans.

So, OP, what do you do with a poster that presents an ignorant and offensive viewpoint and then refuses to acknowledge all the evidence against them?
  #10  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:12 AM
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You don't believe that you or another poster could successfully refute the argument that your intelligence is not inherently inferior because of your gender or race?
"Refute" in the sense that the person making the initial argument will say something like "Y'know, you're right, I never thought about it. I guess I should treat people as individuals and not make sweeping generalizations about gender or race" ?

Refute it in that sense?

Not a fucking chance.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:25 AM
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So, OP, what do you do with a poster that presents an ignorant and offensive viewpoint and then refuses to acknowledge all the evidence against them?
You do what is always done. You rest on your arguments confident in the knowledge that the poster has not made his case. You cannot change the whole world.

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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Here's a view: a certain poster's family should be tortured to death. That's subjective, not objective. A poster could state the case for their view in civil language.

If we stifle that view (as, of course, I believe we should), are we garrotting free speech? Are we condemning ourselves to an echo chamber? Are we being snowflakes?

I'm pretty sure we aren't, and I'm pretty sure any expression of that belief, or similar beliefs, is already forbidden from the boards, no matter how "politely" it's expressed. So let's figure out why we're willing to ban the expression of that view, and work backwards from there.
That's a strawman. The example is so far outside the bounds of reasonable debate to make it silly. Even if the outcome is that "Yeah, he's got a good point, we should torture the poster and his family" it is illegal and unconstitutional. I suppose you could say that my comments would allow this because, after all, we could amend the Constitution to allow such torture, but it is so extreme that I would suggest so improbable that we should put a pin in this and revisit it if it becomes a real issue and not just a hypo.

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"Refute" in the sense that the person making the initial argument will say something like "Y'know, you're right, I never thought about it. I guess I should treat people as individuals and not make sweeping generalizations about gender or race" ?

Refute it in that sense?

Not a fucking chance.
But you've won the argument. Who says that people who make incorrect arguments have to go away cowering in shame? I've not seen in once in any GD thread.
  #12  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:36 AM
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That's a strawman. The example is so far outside the bounds of reasonable debate to make it silly. Even if the outcome is that "Yeah, he's got a good point, we should torture the poster and his family" it is illegal and unconstitutional. I suppose you could say that my comments would allow this because, after all, we could amend the Constitution to allow such torture, but it is so extreme that I would suggest so improbable that we should put a pin in this and revisit it if it becomes a real issue and not just a hypo.
If I'm understanding you, are you saying that things that are "far outside the bounds of reasonable debate" need not be protected? Because this isn't a strawman: people have been warned here before for wishing death on someone, or for expressing happiness in the suffering of someone's family. You may not even say that the world would be a better place if I died from Coronavirus, no matter how politely you express that belief.

But if your standard really is that things "far outside the bounds of reasonable debate" need not be protected, that's a starting point. If you'll confirm that's your position, we can move forward.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 05-21-2020 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:43 AM
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But you've won the argument.
No, you haven't. You've just built an ornate hammer with which to whack a single mole. You'd have to build it all over again for the next mole, and moles are legion. There comes a time when the board can reasonably determine that some moles should be kept out because hammers, no matter how nicely-built, are of limited utility.

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Who says that people who make incorrect arguments have to go away cowering in shame? I've not seen in once in any GD thread.
Shamed or not, a lot of them can just go away. They're not going to change their views regardless of the counter-arguments, and they're repeat those views no matter what, contributing nothing, learning nothing.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:22 AM
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I'm not sure politely you can tell me that I have inferior intelligence based on the color of my skin or sex.
Well, what is the color of your sex?
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:31 PM
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I greatly appreciate SDMB for outstanding advice in Computer Science.

I will discuss other issues on several other forums.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:00 PM
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Arguments on "Men's Rights Activism" seem like a topic that is politically and culturally sensitive, and not always a case of being factually wrong like Holocaust Denial or Young Earth Creationism. Yet it is also widely felt to be offensive and in particular, misogynist, to modern liberal minds. This topic has also been banned here.
  #17  
Old 05-20-2020, 07:52 PM
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A year or two ago, a Doper started a thread in ATMB (I did some searching but can't find it) in which he/she argued that there are some viewpoints that are simply so abhorrent that they should not be permitted on the Dope, regardless of how civil or polite the poster expressing those views may be. (The example used in that thread was scientific racism, or any view that one race is inferior to another.)
Was it the handsomeharry has been banned thread, perhaps?
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:11 AM
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Sorry guys, it's been a busy morning. Thanks for all the responses. I'll get to them here:

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Originally Posted by Blank Slate View Post
Was it the handsomeharry has been banned thread, perhaps?
No, it was a different thread, one I can't find, but thanks for this cite, I had not seen this before.

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Originally Posted by Chingon View Post
I'm not sure politely you can tell me that I have inferior intelligence based on the color of my skin or sex.
Well, I'll give it a shot. If I'm not mistaken, you're a man, from your posts (like most Dopers are.) Live Science reports that women now have higher average IQ than men. (I'm not trying to open up a gender debate in ATMB, just saying that it can be politely done.)


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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
Hey, OP, do you think supply side economics is a viewpoint that will eventually be banned?
I don't think this would be banned, because supply-side economics isn't an issue that most people take personally or have any visceral response to. When it comes to more sensitive topics, though, there are a significant number of other views that I think could be banned under the mantra of "We cannot tolerate intolerance" or "We cannot debate or talk if you are oppressing my humanity and denying my right to exist" (a paraphrase of an oft-quoted quote) or "Hate speech should not be permitted."

My point isn't that hate speech is good - it obviously isn't - my point is that things like "hate speech," "oppression," "denying my right to exist" often stretch wider and wider in scope until they are defined as "whatever I don't want to hear." You say there are only two genders? Denying my humanity. You say there is a correlation between race and academic attainment? Hate speech. etc. etc.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:50 AM
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My point isn't that hate speech is good - it obviously isn't - my point is that things like "hate speech," "oppression," "denying my right to exist" often stretch wider and wider in scope until they are defined as "whatever I don't want to hear." You say there are only two genders? Denying my humanity. You say there is a correlation between race and academic attainment? Hate speech. etc. etc.
Explicitly a slippery slope argument. Are you therefore arguing that all hate speech should be permitted?

If not, all you're stating is the obvious point that there's never a bright line, it's always going to be judgment call about what should be excluded as hate speech. It's always going be a question of the probative value of allowing a bigot to advocate his bad ideas and countering them with good ideas, vs the fact that merely hosting such a debate within this community contributes to making this forum a hostile environment to the targets of that bigotry.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-21-2020 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:51 AM
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....


I don't think this would be banned, because supply-side economics isn't an issue that most people take personally or have any visceral response to. When it comes to more sensitive topics, though, there are a significant number of other views that I think could be banned under the mantra of "We cannot tolerate intolerance" or "We cannot debate or talk if you are oppressing my humanity and denying my right to exist" (a paraphrase of an oft-quoted quote) or "Hate speech should not be permitted."

My point isn't that hate speech is good - it obviously isn't - my point is that things like "hate speech," "oppression," "denying my right to exist" often stretch wider and wider in scope until they are defined as "whatever I don't want to hear." You say there are only two genders? Denying my humanity. You say there is a correlation between race and academic attainment? Hate speech. etc. etc.
You should take up the supply side thing with UltraVires, since he thinks that's at risk.

The fact is there are more than two genders, so denying that is actually denying the right to exist for people on this very message board who are not cis-male or cis-female.

As for your other example, it's a fact that there's a correlation between race and academic attainment in the US. You could start a thread on that subject right now and we could debate whether it's higher poverty rates, systemic racism, or some other factor that's causing it. What would be out of bounds, in my non-moderator opinion, would be using scientific racism to try and show that blacks, for example, are genetically inferior, since that has been roundly debunked already. So, sure, start a thread on that -- I'll argue that it's racism and you can argue that it's poverty and we'll gather our cites. But, if you're going to argue that Asians are genetically superior than Mediterranean people, I'm not going to engage.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:56 PM
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You should take up the supply side thing with UltraVires, since he thinks that's at risk.

The fact is there are more than two genders, so denying that is actually denying the right to exist for people on this very message board who are not cis-male or cis-female.

As for your other example, it's a fact that there's a correlation between race and academic attainment in the US. You could start a thread on that subject right now and we could debate whether it's higher poverty rates, systemic racism, or some other factor that's causing it. What would be out of bounds, in my non-moderator opinion, would be using scientific racism to try and show that blacks, for example, are genetically inferior, since that has been roundly debunked already. So, sure, start a thread on that -- I'll argue that it's racism and you can argue that it's poverty and we'll gather our cites. But, if you're going to argue that Asians are genetically superior than Mediterranean people, I'm not going to engage.
Isn't it more factual that there are more than two sexes (ie. intersex people), but that gender is a social construct so it could be reasonable to argue that there are only two genders? I'd say it would be a difficult argument, like trying to argue that there are only two races, but on the face of it is unclear to me how it is denying the right to exist, anymore than someone arguing that there is no such thing as "straight" or "gay" and that everyone is pansexual, and if you disagree you are just in denial.

Regarding "scientific racism" - it seems to me to be one of those topics where theoretically good discussion could occur, but rarely does. I don't believe that there is any currently any evidence that intelligence (which is itself a very nebulous concept) is correlated with race. Undoubtedly that is because there are probably hundreds of not thousands of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to someone's intelligence. Yet, it is pretty uncontroversial that distribution of genes between (though also within) racial groups is uneven, and there are populations where some sort of genes are more prevalent than others. I feel like we should be open to discussing these differences without inferring that it results in some sort of judgement for or against people of a particular race. Looking at someone's skin colour won't let you know whether someone has sickle-cell anemia, how tall they will be when they grow up, or whether they will be lactose intolerant, so nor would it let you know whether someone is genetically gifted in intelligence. Yet it is recognized that genetic factors influence all of these, and genes are unevenly distributed among the population.

It seems plausible to me that genetic factors could be a factor in explaining racial differences in test scores, in the same way that carbon dioxide emissions are a factor in climate change (note I am not saying that genetic factors ARE a factor, just that they could be, and that it is likely that the science is not at a level where we can discern this). Dismissing this possibility because there is currently no evidence for it seems similar to dismissing the possibility that CO2 emissions could lead to global warming 50 years ago because there was no evidence of that.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:00 PM
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Delayed Reflex, I think there's so way to reply to your post without arguing the issues, which is not what ATMB is for, so I'll just say that I disagree with your points on gender and race. If you want to start up a thread in GD on either issue, you'd probably get a better response.
  #23  
Old 05-21-2020, 11:16 PM
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Isn't it more factual that there are more than two sexes (ie. intersex people), but that gender is a social construct so it could be reasonable to argue that there are only two genders?
The argument could be advanced that the existence of definite lines between "Baby Boomers" and Gen-Xers is also a social construct, and therefore perhaps subject to change over time.

So it would be hypothetically reasonable to argue that there are only two genders RIGHT NOW.*


*RIGHT NOW being defined as some time PRIOR to the emergence of multiple genders as a concept.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:58 PM
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Do a board search on Cesario and get back to me.

I think it's addressed on a case by case basis but yeah, I think there are viewpoints that are so far afield that as a community we regard anyone who expresses them to be trolling.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:30 AM
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Do a board search on Cesario and get back to me.

I think it's addressed on a case by case basis but yeah, I think there are viewpoints that are so far afield that as a community we regard anyone who expresses them to be trolling.
200 years ago, an argument for women's suffrage would have then been ban-worthy trollery. Even what seem like self-evident truths ain't necessarily so, and viewpoints far afield remain to enlighten us.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:17 AM
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200 years ago, an argument for women's suffrage would have then been ban-worthy trollery. Even what seem like self-evident truths ain't necessarily so, and viewpoints far afield remain to enlighten us.
Bingo. Challenge basic assumptions. If these basic assumptions are so clearly correct, then any challenge to them should be swatted away with ease.

Groupthink is dangerous and in the political field there are landmine issues. There shouldn't be on this board.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:43 PM
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200 years ago, an argument for women's suffrage would have then been ban-worthy trollery.
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Originally Posted by UltraVires
Bingo.
Wrong-o. Women's rights and equality were arguably making more progress in the 18th century than they did in much of the 19th, and some 18th-century US state constitutions did allow women to vote.

Even in the 19th century, the notion of women's suffrage was never considered so ridiculously beyond the pale as to be unworthy of serious discussion, except perhaps in entrenched male-only bastions of sexism. How do you think women's suffrage would ever have happened if it weren't for women (and some men) making serious arguments for it, and getting those arguments taken seriously, for decades and centuries before it happened?

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Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps
It's not common for people to say things like "blacks are subhumans". What's far more common is for people to say other things, which their opponents argue amount to effectively saying "blacks are subhumans" (or are "dog whistles" for such positions) and argue for their banning on that basis, even though the holders of those positions never explicitly express the offensive sentiments and may indeed vigorously deny holding such views.
The two aren't mutually exclusive. It is quite possible, and indeed very common, for people to sincerely reject and disavow explicitly racist beliefs while not recognizing the ways in which other actions and beliefs are implicitly racist.

In other words, a lot of people are constantly and thoughtlessly blowing dogwhistles that they don't even know they're holding. If, for example, you hold the conscious opinion that people ought not to discriminate on the basis of race, but you reflexively think that a black jogger in your neighborhood looks "suspicious" while you wouldn't even notice a white jogger, then you may be unconsciously engaging in the very discrimination you claim to be opposed to.

And that's an occupational hazard of living in a historically and persistently racist society, where white people have the privilege of not even noticing the existence of racism most of the time. That's not in itself an automatic indicator of bad faith. It's when people refuse to check themselves for overlooked dogwhistles, and stubbornly insist that if they don't deliberately endorse racist views that they can't possibly be engaging in racism, that it becomes reasonable to question their bona fides and/or intelligence.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:17 PM
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The two aren't mutually exclusive. It is quite possible, and indeed very common, for people to sincerely reject and disavow explicitly racist beliefs while not recognizing the ways in which other actions and beliefs are implicitly racist.

In other words, a lot of people are constantly and thoughtlessly blowing dogwhistles that they don't even know they're holding. If, for example, you hold the conscious opinion that people ought not to discriminate on the basis of race, but you reflexively think that a black jogger in your neighborhood looks "suspicious" while you wouldn't even notice a white jogger, then you may be unconsciously engaging in the very discrimination you claim to be opposed to.
Well all sorts of things are possible. What's relevant here is whether you can insist that not only is it possible that your debate opponent has some belief that he's expressly denying but that he definitely does, and further, that you demand action based on the assumption that he does.

Quote:
That's not in itself an automatic indicator of bad faith. It's when people refuse to check themselves for overlooked dogwhistles, and stubbornly insist that if they don't deliberately endorse racist views that they can't possibly be engaging in racism, that it becomes reasonable to question their bona fides and/or intelligence.
Conversely, thinking someone might possibly have other beliefs which underlay the positions they're expressing is not an automatic indicator of bad faith. It's when people refuse to accept the possibility that their opponents might simply mean exactly what they're saying, no more and no less, that it becomes reasonable to question their bona fides and/or intelligence. Especially if - as is so frequently the case - this attribution of beliefs very much serves the interests of the ones doing the attributing.
  #29  
Old 05-21-2020, 05:01 PM
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It's when people refuse to accept the possibility that their opponents might simply mean exactly what they're saying, no more and no less
This seems to imply that you've somehow discovered a mysteriously purified form of linguistic communication, in which the statements expressed by the communicator carry absolutely no meaning outside of what the communicator consciously and explicitly intended them to carry.

But real-life communication doesn't work that way. If you refuse to acknowledge that your statements and ideas naturally and inevitably can have implications that you didn't deliberately mean them to have, that in itself suggests a bad-faith approach to communication.
  #30  
Old 05-21-2020, 11:19 PM
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Well all sorts of things are possible. What's relevant here is whether you can insist that not only is it possible that your debate opponent has some belief that he's expressly denying but that he definitely does, and further, that you demand action based on the assumption that he does.

Conversely, thinking someone might possibly have other beliefs which underlay the positions they're expressing is not an automatic indicator of bad faith. It's when people refuse to accept the possibility that their opponents might simply mean exactly what they're saying, no more and no less, that it becomes reasonable to question their bona fides and/or intelligence. Especially if - as is so frequently the case - this attribution of beliefs very much serves the interests of the ones doing the attributing.

UnderLIE.

Your argument is invalid.
  #31  
Old 05-22-2020, 09:13 PM
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Well all sorts of things are possible. What's relevant here is whether you can insist that not only is it possible that your debate opponent has some belief that he's expressly denying but that he definitely does, and further, that you demand action based on the assumption that he does.

Conversely, thinking someone might possibly have other beliefs which underlay the positions they're expressing is not an automatic indicator of bad faith. It's when people refuse to accept the possibility that their opponents might simply mean exactly what they're saying, no more and no less, that it becomes reasonable to question their bona fides and/or intelligence. Especially if - as is so frequently the case - this attribution of beliefs very much serves the interests of the ones doing the attributing.
You can see that at work right on this thread with posts #59 and #60.

There's talk about dehumanizing in this thread too, cogito ergo sum, what is more dehumanizing than denying the thoughts of someone else and substituting them for your negative, self serving interpretation?
"You are not you, you are this thing I created to justify my thoughts and my actions against you", that form of dehumanization is rampant in the SDMB.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:22 PM
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Last edited by Ale; 05-22-2020 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Forum hiccup
  #33  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:03 AM
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Here's a view: a certain poster's family should be tortured to death. That's subjective, not objective. A poster could state the case for their view in civil language.

If we stifle that view (as, of course, I believe we should), are we garrotting free speech? Are we condemning ourselves to an echo chamber? Are we being snowflakes?

I'm pretty sure we aren't, and I'm pretty sure any expression of that belief, or similar beliefs, is already forbidden from the boards, no matter how "politely" it's expressed. So let's figure out why we're willing to ban the expression of that view, and work backwards from there.
  #34  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:38 AM
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It's really just a question of where we draw the line. Does anyone have a problem with restricting advocacy for legalizing child molestation on this board? I seriously doubt it. Our society has rightly decided that this is beyond the pale. How about restricting advocacy for bring re-enslaving black people? Hopefully everyone would agree that also falls into the same category. What about advocacy for an apartheid system due to the supposed inferiority of other races? Or just advocating that it be taught in schools that other races are inferior?

I imagine we all have a line we draw, and it's reasonable to discuss where that line ought to be for the board. It's not some broad philosophical disagreement -- it's where specifically we think this line ought to be, since I imagine we all agree there should be a line.
  #35  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:46 AM
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If I'm understanding you, are you saying that things that are "far outside the bounds of reasonable debate" need not be protected? Because this isn't a strawman: people have been warned here before for wishing death on someone, or for expressing happiness in the suffering of someone's family. You may not even say that the world would be a better place if I died from Coronavirus, no matter how politely you express that belief.

But if your standard really is that things "far outside the bounds of reasonable debate" need not be protected, that's a starting point. If you'll confirm that's your position, we can move forward.
Yes, so long as it is very far outside those bounds and not an excuse to enact reasonably debatable policies as "truth" and done.

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It's really just a question of where we draw the line. Does anyone have a problem with restricting advocacy for legalizing child molestation on this board? I seriously doubt it. Our society has rightly decided that this is beyond the pale. How about restricting advocacy for bring re-enslaving black people? Hopefully everyone would agree that also falls into the same category. What about advocacy for an apartheid system due to the supposed inferiority of other races? Or just advocating that it be taught in schools that other races are inferior?

I imagine we all have a line we draw, and it's reasonable to discuss where that line ought to be for the board. It's not some broad philosophical disagreement -- it's where specifically we think this line ought to be, since I imagine we all agree there should be a line.
I'll say it again. Are you or other posters unable to articulate why child molestation should be illegal? Or why black slavery or Jim Crow is not a good thing?

I understand if you got some jackwad who is a troll and trying to yank everyone's chain. But the OP was talking about someone who is seriously advocating. You aren't up to the task? I am.
  #36  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:48 AM
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I'll say it again. Are you or other posters unable to articulate why child molestation should be illegal? Or why black slavery or Jim Crow is not a good thing?
Are you advocating that the rules be changed, and this kind of advocacy should be allowed? I feel like expending this effort would be a total waste of time, since anyone advocating for such awful crap is necessarily a troll.

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I understand if you got some jackwad who is a troll and trying to yank everyone's chain. But the OP was talking about someone who is seriously advocating. You aren't up to the task? I am.
Seriously or not, anyone advocating for legalizing child molestation or enslaving black people is a troll. I'm glad the board doesn't allow this kind of trolling. Are you arguing it should be allowed?
  #37  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:52 AM
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Are you advocating that the rules be changed, and this kind of advocacy should be allowed? I feel like expending this effort would be a total waste of time, since anyone advocating for such awful crap is necessarily a troll.



Seriously or not, anyone advocating for legalizing child molestation or enslaving black people is a troll. I'm glad the board doesn't allow this kind of trolling. Are you arguing it should be allowed?
Definitely not a hill I'm willing to die on, but if you could discern that the person was not a troll, then let's have the argument. You and I will be on the same side for once.
  #38  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:58 AM
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Definitely not a hill I'm willing to die on, but if you could discern that the person was not a troll, then let's have the argument.
Let's not. It's not the kind of community I want to be involved with.
  #39  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:10 AM
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Definitely not a hill I'm willing to die on, but if you could discern that the person was not a troll, then let's have the argument. You and I will be on the same side for once.
There's no non-trolling way to advocate for child molestation or enslaving black people. Even if they sincerely believe it, it's still trolling.
  #40  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:19 PM
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Seriously or not, anyone advocating for legalizing child molestation or enslaving black people is a troll. I'm glad the board doesn't allow this kind of trolling. Are you arguing it should be allowed?
Since that "three racist peas in a pod" thread I've been thinking about researching the subject just to see if we could have a civil debate. I think I could probably make some sort of argument about relaxing some sort of law. I remember just a couple years ago that I was a teenager and I thought it was stupid to make an some kid register as a sex offender because she was caught having sex with her boyfriend. And who in their right mind charges a kid with distribution of child pornography if the picture is of themselves? Sexting was common when I was in school, I'm sure it's even more common now. I'm sure there's stupid laws about child molestation that I could argue against.

Perhaps in my better judgement, I repeatedly decide this isn't a debate worth having because it will make people too angry. You have told me in no uncertain terms that you consider anyone who presents such a view to be arguing in bad faith. I don't want to be called a troll, but I do have opinions. You would get mad at me and probably call me a troll, nobody would want to debate me in good faith, and so all I take away is the research I did for the pro-molestation side. Why would I want that?

So instead I haven't researched anything about child molestation and carry on as I was before.

This isn't the only topic I have backed down from, either. As recently as today, I was weighing whether to create a debate thread concerning whether using the n-word as an insult is always hate speech. I don't think it is. I would have participated in such a debate with the intention of changing my mind. But, you know, I don't want to bring that down on myself. I'll just get virtually yelled at. I don't actually use that word, not in real life and not in my inner monologues. No skin in the game. I already regret expressing what I have in ATMB. On the other hand, Riemann telling me I'm objectively wrong doesn't change my mind one iota.

So instead, I haven't researched anything about hate speech or the n-word, I haven't had my arguments fleshed out and criticized, and I carry on as I was before.

There was some furor a few months ago about misogyny. nate or someone had made a thread about how he was so distracted by female streetwalkers that he had trouble focusing on the road, but the furor was over him saying he would think, "I'd f--- that". I knew a little about feminism but it was truly perplexing to see posters I was coming to respect come down on the use of a single word like that and saying this is what's wrong with the boards. I decided this is something I simply must understand, and decided to ask. I probably gave Broomstick and others a huge headache, I probably came across as a troll, but I came out with my own understanding, possibly the wrong one, but better than blind acceptance.

I came out of that debate feeling like I was unworthy to have an opinion about how women feel on the issue of sexual objectification. Like, if the issue of misogyny on these boards were put to a vote, I had best abstain since apparently I don't have a clue. The onus is on me to make an effort to research the topic first. So I did some further research into sexual objectification. I made a thread to discuss, which you may remember. Not a single woman replied, and I think I ended up agreeing with octopus and Shodan before the thread died out. Not... the debate I was looking for, although I value their contributions.

There was a thread about the Trump impeachment. You may remember that I picked my hill and died on it. I learned a lot by researching my position and reading replies, probably more about constitutional law than I ever learned in school. I also got this strong vibe of, "get out of our thread" from some which sucks the fun out of it and makes me think twice before posting in political threads.

Then there was that thread, similar to this one, "Discourse on the Dope" or something like that. I had an unpopular opinion, or rather, I failed to understand the rationale behind the popular opinions. Several people who I respect quit the debate, some twice, try as I may to stay civil and keep an open mind. I hate the feeling I got then, it's the most undesirable outcome of a debate when the other side just says this isn't worth it any more and walks away. I was stressing them out by having my opinion and not understanding theirs. I don't like stressing people out. Even worse, they had skin in the game, and I don't. Who am I to try and make sense of someone else's cause celebre? By probing, am I doing more harm than good? Every day I considered whether it is in the spirit of this board to just stand down. That stresses me out. Conveniently vacation time came around and forced me to retire anyways.

I suppose this is only tangentially related to whether certain viewpoints will be de jure banned, but I occasionally ask myself whether I am de facto banning myself from expressing certain opinions out of politeness. More importantly, I ask myself whether that is a good thing in the long run.

~Max
  #41  
Old 05-21-2020, 11:10 PM
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On the other hand, Riemann telling me I'm objectively wrong doesn't change my mind one iota.
I wouldn't expect you to take my word for it. But you do realize that the semantic content of words is an objective empirical question, right? You don't just get to choose your own meanings for words. Meaning is defined by consensus usage in our society. As you would discover if you actually went around using racial slurs against people who do bad things, and found that your assertion that this is a perfectly reasonable non-racist thing to do didn't hold water.
  #42  
Old 05-22-2020, 05:35 AM
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Since that "three racist peas in a pod" thread I've been thinking about researching the subject just to see if we could have a civil debate. I think I could probably make some sort of argument about relaxing some sort of law. I remember just a couple years ago that I was a teenager and I thought it was stupid to make an some kid register as a sex offender because she was caught having sex with her boyfriend. And who in their right mind charges a kid with distribution of child pornography if the picture is of themselves? Sexting was common when I was in school, I'm sure it's even more common now. I'm sure there's stupid laws about child molestation that I could argue against.
But that's not child molestation -- you could make a perfectly good and non-trolling argument that teens who engage sexually with other teens (in person or with their phones) are not necessarily being predatory and shouldn't necessarily be treated as criminals. And I might agree with that argument!

Quote:
This isn't the only topic I have backed down from, either. As recently as today, I was weighing whether to create a debate thread concerning whether using the n-word as an insult is always hate speech. I don't think it is. I would have participated in such a debate with the intention of changing my mind. But, you know, I don't want to bring that down on myself. I'll just get virtually yelled at. I don't actually use that word, not in real life and not in my inner monologues. No skin in the game. I already regret expressing what I have in ATMB.
I can't recall a single racist or hateful post from you. I've seen many posts from you that I think are wrong on the facts or opinions, maybe even wrong on what counts as racist or hateful... but I haven't seen you make a racist or hateful post.

I lay out my beliefs in a straight forward manner sometimes, but there are very few posters I've actually called hateful or racist, IIRC.

If you argued that a slur isn't necessarily hate speech, I'd probably disagree and make an argument similar to this one. But I don't plan to call you racist or hateful unless I see you make an actual racist or hateful post (and even then, you may have just made a mistake, and I might characterize the post and not the poster).

Quote:
So instead, I haven't researched anything about hate speech or the n-word, I haven't had my arguments fleshed out and criticized, and I carry on as I was before.
Are you sure you're not just making an easy rationalization to avoid a difficult topic?

Quote:
There was some furor a few months ago about misogyny. nate or someone had made a thread about how he was so distracted by female streetwalkers that he had trouble focusing on the road, but the furor was over him saying he would think, "I'd f--- that". I knew a little about feminism but it was truly perplexing to see posters I was coming to respect come down on the use of a single word like that and saying this is what's wrong with the boards. I decided this is something I simply must understand, and decided to ask. I probably gave Broomstick and others a huge headache, I probably came across as a troll, but I came out with my own understanding, possibly the wrong one, but better than blind acceptance.

I came out of that debate feeling like I was unworthy to have an opinion about how women feel on the issue of sexual objectification. Like, if the issue of misogyny on these boards were put to a vote, I had best abstain since apparently I don't have a clue. The onus is on me to make an effort to research the topic first. So I did some further research into sexual objectification. I made a thread to discuss, which you may remember. Not a single woman replied, and I think I ended up agreeing with octopus and Shodan before the thread died out. Not... the debate I was looking for, although I value their contributions.
I can't characterize threads I can't see -- if you have a link, maybe we could discuss those threads.

Quote:
There was a thread about the Trump impeachment. You may remember that I picked my hill and died on it. I learned a lot by researching my position and reading replies, probably more about constitutional law than I ever learned in school. I also got this strong vibe of, "get out of our thread" from some which sucks the fun out of it and makes me think twice before posting in political threads.
When passions get hot sometimes that can be sensed through the screen. Even though you often take positions I find wrong (sometimes very wrong!), I think you're a good poster and definitely not a troll. I always appreciate effort, and you put effort into laying out your thoughts. Even the wrong ones!

Quote:
Then there was that thread, similar to this one, "Discourse on the Dope" or something like that. I had an unpopular opinion, or rather, I failed to understand the rationale behind the popular opinions. Several people who I respect quit the debate, some twice, try as I may to stay civil and keep an open mind. I hate the feeling I got then, it's the most undesirable outcome of a debate when the other side just says this isn't worth it any more and walks away. I was stressing them out by having my opinion and not understanding theirs. I don't like stressing people out. Even worse, they had skin in the game, and I don't. Who am I to try and make sense of someone else's cause celebre? By probing, am I doing more harm than good? Every day I considered whether it is in the spirit of this board to just stand down. That stresses me out. Conveniently vacation time came around and forced me to retire anyways.

I suppose this is only tangentially related to whether certain viewpoints will be de jure banned, but I occasionally ask myself whether I am de facto banning myself from expressing certain opinions out of politeness. More importantly, I ask myself whether that is a good thing in the long run.
Maybe posts like this can help posters who disagree with your position be a little more likely to respond in a helpful way, if they so desire. But you have to also understand that you might have some biases and ignorances about certain issues that can be very profound and significant in other people's lives, and dealing with these kinds of ignorances and biases can be exhausting for some folks who have to deal with it constantly every day. I think you're pretty good at approaching the issues with humility, but also continue to have compassion for folks with very different experiences who have suffered due to these sorts of biases and unfairness in society. I think if you lay things out similar to the way you did in this post, you'll be more likely to get positive engagement.
  #43  
Old 05-22-2020, 10:28 AM
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I made a thread to discuss, which you may remember. Not a single woman replied
How do you know?
  #44  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:53 AM
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Yes, so long as it is very far outside those bounds and not an excuse to enact reasonably debatable policies as "truth" and done.
I agree! So the question is, how do we determine what's very far outside those bounds?
  #45  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:08 AM
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LHD has hit the nail on the head. I can promote a very civil and logical debate as to why it would be beneficial to exterminate all the humans in China and Asia because it would reduce the world population by about 25%, alleviate the strain on resources and ease social/political tensions and problems. It doesn't change the fact that I'd be promoting genocide. You can "hate speech" without the hateful rhetoric.
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  #46  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:11 AM
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LHD has hit the nail on the head. I can promote a very civil and logical debate as to why it would be beneficial to exterminate all the humans in China and Asia because it would reduce the world population by about 25%, alleviate the strain on resources and ease social/political tensions and problems. It doesn't change the fact that I'd be promoting genocide. You can "hate speech" without the hateful rhetoric.
You refuted that argument in one sentence. Other posters are incapable?
  #47  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:16 AM
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There's no non-trolling way to advocate for child molestation or enslaving black people. Even if they sincerely believe it, it's still trolling.
That's a bullshit board doublenewspeak. If you sincerely believe it, by definition you are not trolling. It is a backhanded way to stifle debate.


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Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
I think we can discern pretty readily that some ideas are indeed irrefutably bad, and people who insist on advancing them are indeed bad people for doing so. They'd be free to exercise their Free Speech in places that are not privately controlled, such as message boards like this one.
Sure, but I think the OP is concerned (and I share his concern) that this board is rapidly going toward the idea that, for example, supply side economics is so "irrefutably bad" and that "people who insist on advancing" that idea are "bad people for doing so" and turning this whole place into an echo chamber, which I wholeheartedly agree is happening.

It's just a bad argument that because we should ban debates about legal child molestation that it means that current issues involving transgender rights should be exactly the same, no matter the latest talking points and politically correct doctrine handed down from the left.
  #48  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:20 AM
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Sure, but I think the OP is concerned (and I share his concern) that this board is rapidly going toward the idea that, for example, supply side economics is so "irrefutably bad" and that "people who insist on advancing" that idea are "bad people for doing so" and turning this whole place into an echo chamber, which I wholeheartedly agree is happening.
And your pocket is picked or your nose skinned how, exactly?

Quote:
It's just a bad argument that because we should ban debates about legal child molestation that it means that current issues involving transgender rights should be exactly the same, no matter the latest talking points and politically correct doctrine handed down from the left.
If you're seriously equating child molestation and transgender rights, I think the problem is fairly obvious, and it's not based on some arbitrary "I like this one better" determination.
  #49  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:52 PM
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It's just a bad argument that because we should ban debates about legal child molestation that it means that current issues involving transgender rights should be exactly the same, no matter the latest talking points and politically correct doctrine handed down from the left.
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Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
If you're seriously equating child molestation and transgender rights, I think the problem is fairly obvious, and it's not based on some arbitrary "I like this one better" determination.
Apropos of nothing in particular, I'd be kind of happy to see fewer examples of people implying that when two different things are mentioned in the context of an analogy, it means that they're being equated. One can find an analogy regrettably flawed without accusing the analogy-crafter of equating monstrous behavior with innocuous behavior.
  #50  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:23 AM
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That's a bullshit board doublenewspeak. If you sincerely believe it, by definition you are not trolling. It is a backhanded way to stifle debate.
I'm sorry, but your points are somewhat valid up to this. If a person sincerely believes that there is nothing wrong with child molestation or enslaving black people, then they have a severe cognitive dysfunction that needs to be looked at, and not be given voice on this message board.
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