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  #51  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
Then you are free not to participate in the thread. I just don't know why you would want to ban others from doing so when you can easily wash your hands of the whole messy ordeal.
Your reasoning comes from a position of unexamined privilege, and you fail to recognize that debate can be stifled not only by excluding topics, but also by excluding people from the conversation.

Including or excluding topics.
The default starting point for productive debate is that we can talk about anything, and that the best response to bad ideas is to debunk them with reasoned argument. The best response to bad ideas is good ideas, of course.

But you just stop here.

Including or excluding people.
The most productive and informative debates will take place when a community is inclusive of diversity in people. And by inclusive, I don't mean made to feel comfortable about our ideas or opinions - quite the reverse, better that we are made to feel uncomfortable about our beliefs, better that we be challenged to justify those beliefs in debate. By inclusive, I mean that we all feel comfortable that we are welcome as people, treated with respect and dignity. [And, as an aside, I'll note that some people of the left are sloppy with making this distinction clear in the notion of a what a "safe space" should mean. Safe for people, not safe for ideas.]

So the problem that you're ignoring is where inclusivity of topics and inclusivity of people come into direct opposition. If a thread debating whether black people are subhuman pops up at the top of the "most recent" search 20 times a day, you can't just dismissively tell black people to ignore the thread, to ignore the fact that this issue is being actively debated in this community, as though it won't have any impact on how they feel as members of the community. Ultimately, they may just feel so uncomfortable that they simply leave, and their views are excluded from the debate on all issues.

There's no bright line or absolute standard here. To some degree there's a benefit in debating and challenging bad ideas. But I think any topic where the fundamental premise of one side of the debate is dehumanizing should come under the strictest scrutiny.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-21-2020 at 10:20 AM.
  #52  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:20 AM
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Starving Artist was banned for expressing a controversial view, i.e. that contemporary society magnifies the issue of sexual harassment out of proportion.
Nice try.

SA was banned for being the leading member of the SDMB He-Man Women Haters Club (i.e.: rampant misogyny).
  #53  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:34 AM
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Nice try.

SA was banned for being the leading member of the SDMB He-Man Women Haters Club (i.e.: rampant misogyny).
He'd been thinning his own ice pretty aggressively before then.
  #54  
Old 05-21-2020, 11:03 AM
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There's no bright line or absolute standard here. To some degree there's a benefit in debating and challenging bad ideas. But I think any topic where the fundamental premise of one side of the debate is dehumanizing should come under the strictest scrutiny.
One additional difficulty in making a bright line is that as a practical matter whether or not something meets the standard is frequently itself based on the assessments of opponents.

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.
  #55  
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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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.
  #56  
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.
  #57  
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.
  #58  
Old 05-21-2020, 12:39 PM
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I'm not your toy who needs to prove it's worth as a human.
This.

Fuck this shit where debating someone's equality/humanity is "polite" so long as you don't use the word "nigger". This is inherently uncivil.This board is way less tolerant with discussions whether gay people are equal. Having a mod for whom this is not theoretical really helps to moderate that crap. The mods don't want to acknowledge that topics like these clearly show to minorities and women that not only are they not equal here but they aren't welcome and they'll never be viewed as equal.

But it's a whole lot easier to allow this "discussion" when you don't belong to those groups. And that starts with allowing "scientific racism" as if it's anything other than good ol' racism but dressed up. There sure are a lot of white people for whom the desire to be superior to someone else is real important tho.

Last edited by Amara_; 05-21-2020 at 12:42 PM.
  #59  
Old 05-21-2020, 12:49 PM
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This.

Fuck this shit where debating someone's equality/humanity is "polite" so long as you don't use the word "nigger". This is inherently uncivil.This board is way less tolerant with discussions whether gay people are equal. Having a mod for whom this is not theoretical really helps to moderate that crap. The mods don't want to acknowledge that topics like these clearly show to minorities and women that not only are they not equal here but they aren't welcome and they'll never be viewed as equal.

But it's a whole lot easier to allow this "discussion" when you don't belong to those groups. And that starts with allowing "scientific racism" as if it's anything other than good ol' racism but dressed up. There sure are a lot of white people for whom the desire to be superior to someone else is real important tho.
But the problem lies with the concrete, not the abstract. One can say "Do not dehumanize anyone here" and that's a fine-sounding, general concept - but in practical terms, how is it to be enforced?

Take same-sex marriage, for instance. Although one may argue that that ship officially set sail in 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of SSM nationwide, there are still a great many Americans who oppose same-sex marriage, just like how Roe v Wade didn't put an end to the pro-life movement. If a Doper argues that same-sex marriage should not be legal, then is he/she "dehumanizing" gay and lesbian people? Many would argue, yes, this is dehumanizing.

Then should the Straight Dope take disciplinary action against any Doper who argues against same-sex marriage? That would be the logical course of action to take.
  #60  
Old 05-21-2020, 12:55 PM
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But the problem lies with the concrete, not the abstract. One can say "Do not dehumanize anyone here" and that's a fine-sounding, general concept - but in practical terms, how is it to be enforced?

Take same-sex marriage, for instance. Although one may argue that that ship officially set sail in 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of SSM nationwide, there are still a great many Americans who oppose same-sex marriage, just like how Roe v Wade didn't put an end to the pro-life movement. If a Doper argues that same-sex marriage should not be legal, then is he/she "dehumanizing" gay and lesbian people? Many would argue, yes, this is dehumanizing.

Then should the Straight Dope take disciplinary action against any Doper who argues against same-sex marriage? That would be the logical course of action to take.
Hey dude, FYI you're not fooling anyone just in case you weren't sure.
  #61  
Old 05-21-2020, 01:15 PM
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But the problem lies with the concrete, not the abstract. One can say "Do not dehumanize anyone here" and that's a fine-sounding, general concept - but in practical terms, how is it to be enforced?

Take same-sex marriage, for instance. Although one may argue that that ship officially set sail in 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of SSM nationwide, there are still a great many Americans who oppose same-sex marriage, just like how Roe v Wade didn't put an end to the pro-life movement. If a Doper argues that same-sex marriage should not be legal, then is he/she "dehumanizing" gay and lesbian people? Many would argue, yes, this is dehumanizing.

Then should the Straight Dope take disciplinary action against any Doper who argues against same-sex marriage? That would be the logical course of action to take.
Personally, I think it would be dehumanizing. However, I think you could still debate it, if you framed it properly -- "my church is opposed to same-sex marriage, and I agree with their teaching. However, I'm willing to entertain arguments to the contrary -- here's why I think my church should stay opposed..." I don't think it would be constructive to argue that it should stay illegal in the US, which is ostensibly a secular country, but you could make sincere, non-dehumanizing arguments about church teaching.

It's going to be an inherently touchy subject because there are many LGBTQ people on this board who are personally affected by this kind of bigotry, so you'd have to tread lightly in a way that you wouldn't if you wanted to argue for Trump's reelection or supply side economics.
  #62  
Old 05-21-2020, 01:38 PM
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So far, no mods or admins have spoken up. Would any be interested in coming to clarify/join the discussion?
  #63  
Old 05-21-2020, 01:39 PM
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I think that there are certain points of view that are vile and can only really be presented in the pit, no matter how polite the language used to present those arguments.

I'm sure that someone could point to their church being opposed to inter-racial couples. The only way to reasonably debate that position is to call out its inherent bigotry and I think the only place we're allowed to do that is in the pit. I think that opposition to gay marriage is similarly based in bigotry. Members of NAMBLA claim that adult-child sexual relationships can be positive for the child, how are we supposed to debate that position anywhere other than the pit?

Last edited by madmonk28; 05-21-2020 at 01:40 PM.
  #64  
Old 05-21-2020, 01:44 PM
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But the problem lies with the concrete, not the abstract. One can say "Do not dehumanize anyone here" and that's a fine-sounding, general concept - but in practical terms, how is it to be enforced?
By using our judgment. The perfect is not the enemy of the good.

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Take same-sex marriage, for instance.
Any such discussion will inevitably alienate some board members. But nobody is suggesting that we should adopt some lowest-common-denominator of offense, that if one or a few people say that something upsets them, we automatically ban the topic. With topics of debate such as this this one, that are inherently dehumanizing to a class of people, it will always be a judgment call about whether we should choose to host the debate. Does the benefit of exposing bad ideas to scrutiny and challenge outweigh the social cost to our community of hosting such debates at all?

Imo SSM is right on the cusp, for me it personally would be a difficult judgment call, since I've never heard any argument against SSM that is distinguishable from more general homophobic bigotry, so I'm not sure anyone would learn much from debating it. Still, for this board's moderation, I'm pretty sure they would lean toward allowing it.

If your concern is a slippery-slope argument that issues that you might want to debate could soon be considered beyond the pale within a civilized community, perhaps that should be motivation to examine whether those ideas are on the right site of ethical progress in our society's values.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-21-2020 at 01:49 PM.
  #65  
Old 05-21-2020, 01:54 PM
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Riemann, I agree with you that SSM is right on the cusp. It seems to be a topic where people can actually be swayed, though -- someone on this very board had a complete change of heart on the subject. However, with the passage of time, those still opposed will be increasingly dug in and arguing against SSM will be similar to arguing against the legality mixed-race or mixed-religion marriages.
  #66  
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.
  #67  
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.
  #68  
Old 05-21-2020, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Take same-sex marriage, for instance. Although one may argue that that ship officially set sail in 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of SSM nationwide, there are still a great many Americans who oppose same-sex marriage, just like how Roe v Wade didn't put an end to the pro-life movement. If a Doper argues that same-sex marriage should not be legal, then is he/she "dehumanizing" gay and lesbian people? Many would argue, yes, this is dehumanizing.

Then should the Straight Dope take disciplinary action against any Doper who argues against same-sex marriage? That would be the logical course of action to take.
It's not dehumanizing, it's an unequal application of law for no good reason. And we've asked for good reasons quite a few times on this board and the Dopers who argue against same-sex marriage have never provided one. Not one.

The answers they sometimes tried to give to rationalize their opinions were dehumanizing though, i.e. if there isn't even the possibility of reproduction, your marriage shouldn't "count", as if reproduction was all that mattered, like animals on a breeding cycle.
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  #69  
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.
  #70  
Old 05-21-2020, 04:03 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.

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?
  #71  
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.
  #72  
Old 05-21-2020, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
(The example used in that thread was scientific racism, or any view that one race is inferior to another.)
I think the kiddies these days are calling it being "racial realist" or some such nonsense (based upon, of course, FACTS and LOGIC, capital letters mandatory).

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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.
Well, ISTM the greater social culture itself itself changes what is "being a jerk", including certain viewpoints and their expression. Sometimes that is not uniform across different segments of society, but it does happen. And hey, I myself have often been less than pleased at how some thought or expression that was perfectly fine for me for the first half of my adult life now puts me in less than good standing. It is no injustice against me, just things changed.

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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
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.
One tricky part of it sometimes is about whether the threshold for crossing the line is going to be based on substance or form.

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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
The last 9/11 truther thread that I remember went many pages before it was shut down. Posters with views that are just factually wrong simply ignore counterarguments and valid cites. They gish gallop and move goalposts all the time -- it's like trying to pin down jello. They focus on some erroneous or silly counterpoint and ignore all the serious, well-cited, and intelligent ones. And, in the end, their minds aren't changed.

Do I think scientific racism discussions should be banned? Maybe, but probably not. However, the person pushing such bullshit should be on a short leash and if they are ignoring cites, moving goalposts, and not answering questions, the thread should be quickly shut down.
Or in the alternate, they don't return to that thread, only to surface in another one (or start another new one) some time later with their usual pet projection.

OTOH, in such a case if their recurring theme is deemed just not compatible with this venue, and they insist on it, after repeated notes and warnings to cut it out, they can be banished. It becomes a question of having a do you stop now or do we stop you later choice; or establishing that there will be no "later".

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You can "hate speech" without the hateful rhetoric.
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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.
Right. OTOH, at the same time, we need to be careful about how do we measure the threshold and establish the precedent for when "deplatforming" is or is not in order, and what is the risk of rendering ourselves "bubbled".


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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Yeah, "trolling" is at its core a delight in pissing people off and stirring shit up. If I go to a rightwing messageboard for the sole purpose of crowing that Trump is the worst president in the history of our nation, my sincere belief that it's true doesn't stop my action from being trolling.

At the same time, trolling definitely gets overdiagnosed. But deceit is not its core: delight in riling people up is.
I suppose at some point there should emerge refined terminology to distinguish between the "sincere" provocateur, the mere arbitrary chaotic shitflinger, and the person who "is not really a good fit for here".

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Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
The question wasn't whether we should (effectively) ban certain speech but whether we tend to. Or at least that's how I took it.

I don't think we need (or should) build a list of verboten topics.
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Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
By using our judgment. The perfect is not the enemy of the good.
What they said -- we exercise judgment based on values rather than create an "Index" that could just be an incentive to find imaginative ways to work around it. And generally speaking around here, in Justice Stewart's words, "we know it when we see it".


Quote:
Any such discussion will inevitably alienate some board members. But nobody is suggesting that we should adopt some lowest-common-denominator of offense, that if one or a few people say that something upsets them, we automatically ban the topic. With topics of debate such as this this one, that are inherently dehumanizing to a class of people, it will always be a judgment call about whether we should choose to host the debate.
Yes, I believe we should agree that there is a difference between making you feel unease (part of life) and wounding your human dignity (not cool), yet there would be an argument whether to take the offended party's say-so on that or if anyone who does not share their experience is fit to judge.

Quote:
If your concern is a slippery-slope argument that issues that you might want to debate could soon be considered beyond the pale within a civilized community, perhaps that should be motivation to examine whether those ideas are on the right site of ethical progress in our society's values.
I would not even value-qualify as "the right side of progress", I'd class it as I mentioned before, as being part of the evolution of the society's culture. It happens in everyday life, it can happen here. Now, sure, if we want to be ahead of the curve we risk calling it wrong, and if we wait for the direction to be clear we will get castigated for taking too long until it was safe to get with the program, but again that's how things are in general, isn't it?

Last edited by JRDelirious; 05-21-2020 at 04:44 PM.
  #73  
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.
  #74  
Old 05-21-2020, 05:04 PM
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umm, guys, the rules of GD already exclude certain topics, since January of this year, so why is this thread going on so long?

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Originally Posted by Rules of Great Debates
Thrice Told Tales are off limits.

Over the last 20 years, posters in Great Debates and Politics and Elections have debated pretty much everything. As such, there are some contentious issues about which we are tired of hearing. We just don't want to go around and around about these things any more. In general, we're just tired of these subjects. It may, however, be that there's something new under the sun. Posters may start threads on these subjects only with prior approval of a Great Debates or Politics and Elections moderator. If you think you've got a new angle on something we've discussed a million times and found unpleasant, please feel free to make your case. Getting one approved is a very heavy lift, however.

* Scientific racism or any particular argument about why any particular group of humans is inherently better than any other group
Holocaust Denial. Seriously, guys. If someone wants to seriously debate whether the holocaust occurred, we can safely say they're not someone we want here

* Encouraging discrimination against any minority groups. This can include race, gender, sexual orientation or any other group into which a person might belong. Such depresses debate and discussion and in contrary to the goals of Great Debates and Elections

* Men's Rights Advocacy. This can include threads about how men are somehow disadvantaged in society, women are somehow genetically inferior or have a predisposition toward specific gender roles and other threads about the ways in which men are somehow naturally entitled to be in charge

* 9/11 Truthers. This includes any information about how either 9/11 didn't happen, it was a false flag operation by the government or any other idea that denies the events of that day.

* Climate Change Denialism. We believe the science. While there is room to debate ways to deal with climate change, the existence of such is an observed fact.
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  #75  
Old 05-21-2020, 05:20 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.
I did try to start a thread in GD, but should have realized that scientific racism is a banned topic, so Jonathan Chance has closed the thread. I agree with you that ATMB is not the right venue to be discussing this though so we can just drop the subject. While I understand you personally don't think discussion on scientific racism should be banned, it seems like the moderators don't want to take the chance of the discussion taking an ugly turn so I respect that.
  #76  
Old 05-21-2020, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Delayed Reflex View Post
I did try to start a thread in GD, but should have realized that scientific racism is a banned topic, so Jonathan Chance has closed the thread. I agree with you that ATMB is not the right venue to be discussing this though so we can just drop the subject. While I understand you personally don't think discussion on scientific racism should be banned, it seems like the moderators don't want to take the chance of the discussion taking an ugly turn so I respect that.
Sorry about that! I didn't mean to lead you into a trap or anything, of course. I didn't realize the rules had changed.

OP, are there other hypothetical discussions we should discuss here, since many of your examples are already banned?
  #77  
Old 05-21-2020, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
OP, are there other hypothetical discussions we should discuss here, since many of your examples are already banned?
I think it's perfectly legit to discuss in ATMB as to whether those topics should be banned (I am all aboard with banning 9/11 Trutherism, Holocaust denial, etc. but I think there are legit men's rights issues to be discussed.) That would be for another thread.


As mentioned already abovethread, I think LGBT would be one of the likeliest candidates to appear on the next-to-be-banned list (not banning the whole topic, but rather, banning any or certain anti-LGBT viewpoints.) We've already had multiple posters claiming that certain anti-LGBT views amount to "denial of their humanity or right to exist." It's not that far a leap to imagine such views subsequently being censored in the future as "being a jerk."
  #78  
Old 05-21-2020, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
OP, are there other hypothetical discussions we should discuss here, since many of your examples are already banned?
ISTM that both you and the OP are somewhat overstating the scope of the current or potential restrictions here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by OP
Is the Dope ever likely to head in the direction of banning certain viewpoints entirely, regardless of how well-behaved a poster may be?
Is declaring certain topics off-limits in GD and P&E without moderator pre-approval really the same as "banning" all discussion of those topics, much less "banning certain viewpoints" about them? That seems to me a somewhat melodramatic interpretation of the forum rules.

AFAICT you can still discuss all those subjects to your heart's content in, e.g., IMHO or the Pit. GD and P&E have certain rules of discourse, just as GQ has the even more stringent rules about only seeking and supplying factual information. I don't see anything particularly oppressive about saying that advocating for sexist, racist, etc. bigotry does not meet the standards of discourse for debate in GD and P&E.
  #79  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
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
  #80  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
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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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
You refuted that argument in one sentence. Other posters are incapable?
How often are you willing to refute it? Daily? Multiple times per day?

There's a limit to how often we can reasonably be asked to re-invent the goddamned wheel.

ETA: IMHO*


*haha. j/k. The assertions I post are never mere OPINIONS

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 05-21-2020 at 10:42 PM.
  #81  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
(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.)

Would I be out of line for saying that I kinda wish you'd picked one of those?
  #82  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
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.
Quote:
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.
  #83  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
And here's the post announcing the ban.






That was a HORRIBLE announcement.

Honestly, using the term "free reign" where "free rein" is the acceptable one? C'mon, what are we, barbarians?
  #84  
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.
  #85  
Old 05-21-2020, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Delayed Reflex View Post
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.
  #86  
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.
  #87  
Old 05-21-2020, 11:20 PM
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Honestly, using the term "free reign" where "free rein" is the acceptable one?
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Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
UnderLIE.

Your argument is invalid.
Your on a role here, aren't you?
  #88  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:04 AM
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Your on a role here, aren't you?
There is a particular ROLE which I feel is being thrust upon me, yes, if that's your question.

Otherwise, my list just got a bit longer...

ETA: Belay my last. There's no otherwise.

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  #89  
Old 05-22-2020, 04:59 AM
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Your on a role here, aren't you?
ISWYDT!

Kimstu, it does seem like scientific racism is pretty much banned here. To be clear, I'm fine with that.

OP, kaylasdad99 makes a good point about reinventing the wheel -- how many times should we have to show that scientific racism is bunk or that there are more than two genders? How many times do we have to argue against 9/11 Truther videos?

I can come up with lots of examples of opinions that are obviously disfavored on this message board but are in no danger of being banned:

President Trump should be re-elected
Abortion should be banned
You must accept Jesus Christ as your savior or risk going to hell
Nuclear power should be banned
GMO foods should be banned
Public money should go to funding churches
The United States should follow Venezuela's example for governance

The "trick" is to stay away from hate and bigotry. That should be hard for anyone, regardless of their political background.
  #90  
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.
  #91  
Old 05-22-2020, 06:38 AM
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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.
I just wanted to clarify if they were being equated, not knee-jerkedly reacting to just their proximity in the same sentence. The point being it's not like we oppose child molestation and embrace trans-rights out of some purely arbitrary idea like picking a favorite color (or as a " politically correct doctrine handed down from the left", as Ultravires, the poster to whom I was responding, earlier put it). There are significant distinctions between the issues that make one acceptable and one not. "Whataboutism" seeks to ignore those distinctions whenever possible.
  #92  
Old 05-22-2020, 08:33 AM
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Max, is this the thread you refer to? I don't see any reference that the women the OP is referring to are prostitutes.


https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=880135
  #93  
Old 05-22-2020, 08:38 AM
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I can't characterize threads I can't see -- if you have a link, maybe we could discuss those threads.
He's talking about this thread.
  #94  
Old 05-22-2020, 10:27 AM
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If that's the thread, there was a lot of good discussion, AFAICT from skimming it (didn't read every post, but I did read several of Max's). Maybe Max found some of it tough... if so, then there are going to be tough discussions sometimes for tough topics. Maybe some folks were too harsh (though I didn't note any that jumped out as too harsh in my skimming), but that's also going to happen sometimes too, especially with topics that are potentially traumatic for some.
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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?
  #96  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raventhief View Post
Max, is this the thread you refer to? I don't see any reference that the women the OP is referring to are prostitutes.


https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=880135

By female streetwalkers, Max S. is referring to women walking down the street.
  #97  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:51 AM
Do Not Taunt is offline
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
How do you know?
I assume he's referring to this thread. I just scanned through it, and most posts are from people who have either claimed they're male or have male-sounding names. There are a couple posters in there for whom I don't know either way - maybe Max knows better. That said, I mean, even posters who have said they're male could be lying, so who really knows?

If I had written Max's sentence and prefaced it with, "as far as I know", it'd be true (for me.)
  #98  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:52 AM
Do Not Taunt is offline
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Originally Posted by Emiliana View Post
By female streetwalkers, Max S. is referring to women walking down the street.
Which would be a really weird use of the word. Perhaps he's just misremembering?
  #99  
Old 05-22-2020, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
Which would be a really weird use of the word. Perhaps he's just misremembering?
Claiming that words do not mean what they plainly do mean would be consistent with his other assertions that words do not carry the semantic content and cultural significance that everyone else understands them to have. He has claimed that using a racial slur against someone has done something bad is not a racist thing to do, apparently because it is directed at one specific individual rather than explicitly at all people in that group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
So, yes or no, if a black man punches your wife, calling him a nigger is not hate speech?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
It's a complicated question but I'm going to say no, calling a black man who punches your wife a nigger is not hate speech just because you called a black man a nigger. It could be hate speech if you show hatred towards a class of people, but I am of the opinion that the word "nigger" alone does not do so. Not even when used as an insult or ethnic slur.

I'm probably on my own with that opinion, but hey, I read replies with an open mind.
His last sentence makes explicit, I think, that he simply does not grasp that the meaning of language is not a matter of subjective opinion but an empirical objective question of cultural consensus.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-22-2020 at 01:19 PM.
  #100  
Old 05-22-2020, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
Which would be a really weird use of the word. Perhaps he's just misremembering?
It seems unlikely. The OP of the thread Max S. is referencing was clearly talking about being distracted by random women walking down the street. He either considers all women to be prostitutes or he feels no need to adhere to linguistic conventions.
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