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Old 05-20-2020, 04:33 PM
Velocity is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 17,493

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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