A question of insults

I have a question about insults. In this thread, Marley23 makes the following statement:

It’s a good call. ‘libtard’ is most certainly both an insult AND obvious trolling. No issues with that here. However, in that very same thread there seems, to me, to be a double standard at work. In the OP, the term ‘teabagger’ is used with relish (and no mustard). Yeah, yeah…I get it. The stupid rubes pasted the label on themselves, not knowing what it really meant. However, come on…we all know that this term is being used in a derogatory way to coast in under the insult rules. That’s a bunch of sophistry though and we all know it. But ok…wink wink, nudge nudge and all that. However, this seems to be about on par with the ‘libtard’ bit:

Yeah, it’s a big word and all, and most likely the ‘teabaggers’ don’t really know what an ‘oxymoron’ actually is (it’s a really stupid laundry soap I think)…and, granted, Marley23 DOES address this with:

No warnings were issued in either case, afaict, but, well, it just seems like there is a bit of a dual standard going on here concerning Gore’s and oxes. To me it revolves around how you can seemingly ox away if you are talking about conservatives, but that the hammers come down if you Gore something concerning liberals.

And we ALL do it. Hell, I use the term ‘teabagger’ myself…and not just when I’m with the wife. It’s so ubiquitous on this board that you don’t even see the casual insults tossed at anything ‘conservative’ until you really start paying attention…or until someone makes a seemingly equivalent insult at anything liberal. I don’t think this is about the mods being slanted or biased, though there don’t seem to be a lot of even what this board would consider ‘conservative’ mods around anymore. I think that we ALL are guilty, even those of us who are considered arch board ‘conservatives’ in the tone of the discussion lately.

Anyway, rants over…just wanted to get that off my chest and this seemed the appropriate place. And remember kids to be careful out there…many decaffeinated beverages today are just as tasty as the real thing!


Since both statements resulted in identical moderator action (mod note), where is the dual standard you are getting off your chest?

I didn’t moderate Der Trihs’ post because it was insulting. The comment was GD-appropriate, I think. I moderated it because it was off-topic. It was a slam on conservatives in a thread about right wingers and gold. So I didn’t treat the statements as equivalent because I was moderating them for different reasons.

As for “teabagger:” after two-plus years, I think it’s here to stay. As you said, xtisme, they self-applied it (cluelessly), which is what makes it funny. Even though it’s a term of derision now, it probably has to be considered in bounds because of the source and because it’s been in currency for a while now. It would be a losing battle to try to ban it at this point. Disparaging comments about political groups and figures are expressly allowed in GD and we’re not going to change that. But we can set some modest limits for civility’s sake. I think “libtards” is a bridge too far. You see…
*Wait for it, conservatives…

keep waiting…

It’s offensive to liberals and the mentally retarded.

However I’m happy to treat “rightard” the same way going forward. I think that’s fair.

Isn’t teabaggers offensive to right wingers and closet homo frat boys?

It could have been construed as offensive, however. In fact, I read it as Der trying, again, to get a rise out of the few board conservatives still bumping about.

Fair enough, though again I think it’s just a way to toss and insult in GD and skate over the rules. You simply label someone (indirectly, to be sure) with ‘teabagger’ and it comes with all the insulting baggage attached at no extra charge. Still, it WAS self applied…which would take some pretty impressive gymnastics, normally. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s fair, as neither should have a place in GD. Perhaps the sense that there is a subtle dual standard is misplaced, but that’s how it sometimes feels to me, especially in a thread like the one I linked too.

If you guys want some unsolicited advice, the next time you are searching for mods, think about trying to get one of the board ‘conservatives’ (perhaps someone like Sam Stone or Bricker…or maybe John Mace) to step up, and make them a mod in GD. Assuming they would even be interested. It might alleviate the sense (even if it’s false) that there is a subtle dual standard happening.

I hasten to add that I’m not saying that you or any of the other mods are doing a bad job, or even that you are intentionally biased. I don’t think that’s the case, nor do I think that any of the warnings you’ve handed out to ME have been misplaced…in fact, I think that you guys have gone easy on me sometimes.


Isn’t this (not so) subtly provocative in exactly the way I’m talking about in the OP? Was it necessary, outside of the Pit?


Perhaps an analogue to teabagger would be “Commie” as label for those who believe in state control of the means of production. If anything “Commie” is worse, since it is wholly derogatory and has never been used in a self-identifying context.

FTR: I try to use TeaPartyer or Tea Partyer, to avoid the whole mess. I do think it’s reasonable to affix a label to followers of that particular modern conservative movement. And no, I’m not going to call them Patriots if I believe that to be inaccurate.

I’m not sure I understand you here. This seems to confirm that your problem is the double entendre - but the prior post distinguishes this from libtard in that that term is offesnive to another group. The point of my post was to make clear that distinction. I think, maybe, you’re saying that it’s the provocative double entendre that means the word should be censored, but if that’s the case I would suggest that you need to refine your original example.

My personal opinion is that the phrase is pretty worn out, and when posters use it, I don’t really take much they say seriously - but whatever, free country and all.

Reading your other post, I would say that pursuing its use as tantamount to trolling would make more sense - but that would only work if it was part of pattern of posting only with the intent of ‘getting a rise.’

Makes note to dial up the moderating on xtisme.


A lot of things can be construed as offensive. We generally don’t moderate everything that could offend someone, and as I said, the rules expressly allow derogatory comments about groups of people. People like to mix it up a little. But I don’t think it will hurt the forum if people aren’t allowed to call each other retards.

Well I won’t make that mistake again. :wink:

Nonsense. That wasn’t an insult; it’s my honest opinion of conservatives. An opinion I’ve consistently expressed for years, not something I made up for that thread. I was replying to his insult of liberals, and to his portrayal of conservatives as good people - with the strong implication that liberals aren’t good people. To quote the full exchange:

Underline added.

Precisely. And why you’ve been allowed to give the same insulting “opinion” in non-Pit threads over and over for years without being banned, or even warned, is one of the board’s great unsolved mysteries.

Because I call them things like “amoral”, “dishonest”, and “stupid”, not some insult like “Republitard”. I don’t get warned for calling Democrats spineless cowards, either.

And I don’t pick fights with the mods; if they say that I should stop, I stop. Just look at the “X is banned” posts in this forum; it’s almost always “X, after repeatedly violating the rules and being repeatedly warned has been banned.”

If my ‘honest opinion’ is that Jews and Niggers is stupid, and I honestly, really really pinky promise believe that, then that makes it ok for me to say that in GD? Yeah…you’ve been consistent over the years, there is no doubt about that. And you can even be an entertaining and engaging poster, when you aren’t going off on a rant. But just because you believe what you say to be the honest truth, doesn’t mean it’s not insulting.

And you guys decide what is or isn’t insulting or offensive, or deliberately (or even not deliberately) provocative. Yep. Unquestioned truth there. And I’m good with that. I’m pointing out here, in ATMB that I think that you all (and even WE all, as a community) have a blind spot where this is concerned. Obviously, most posters disagree, and I’m good with that too. I got it off my chest, so I’m happy.


:stuck_out_tongue: Just PM me when you seem me flying off the handle or going off the reservation and I will usually take my meds and up the voltage and be good as new the next day.


You can say Jews are stupid, but the latter is an ethnic slur and would get you in trouble I’m sure. In case you haven’t noticed, there are several racists on the board who do just that; they claim that this or that group is stupid, and get away with it as long as they don’t start throwing out “fighting words”.


I really like the absence of whining by the OP. Sincere kudos.

I thought of a possible double-standard that I’ll mention, at the risk of stirring up muck. “Repug” as a slur on Republican seems roughly analogous to Libtard, except that it doesn’t involve third parties such as the mentally disabled. But there might be a blind spot for Repug: its inanity is in the same ballpark as Libtard, even if it’s 100 yards separate.

Exactly. Being disliked won’t necessarily get you banned here: it may however increase the level of surveillance. Der has rock-solid discipline (ironically), but honestly just a modicum of decency and respect for the volunteer mods would prevent a lot of bannings.

There is no substantive difference between “repugnican” and “libtard.” Yet I’ve reported posts in GD several times where “repugnican” was used, and no action has ever been taken.

I’ve declined to pursue the issue in the past, if for no other reason than my opinion is not especially appreciated on the message board. But if “libtard” is unacceptable then I will assume that in the future “repugnican” will be equally unacceptable.

FWIW I’m not a Republican and haven’t voted Republican since Reagan. But I really hate even the appearance of one-sided partisanship. Especially on the Straight Dope message board.

I sometimes idly wonder what the reaction would be to someone saying something like “Moderators are evil child molesting people who also have sex with goats”, but ah well. All in all the rule that insults are allowed against groups if they’re sufficiently broad is, I suppose, serviceable. The only other options are difficult to implement but I admit I’d be comfortable with a ‘you know it when you see it’ type of system where, if someone is obviously trying to insult the people they’re talking to in a discussion even without using a phrase like “people like you who…”, that they’re taken to task.

But ah well, board moderation is a thankless, difficult task and it’s no big deal.

I do, however, find it amusing that you can say “black people are genetically inferior and prone to crime and drug use” or “Jews are clannish and perpetual aliens in whatever their host country is and they cannot be trusted to behave like real citizens of a nation would” but “black people are genetically inferior and prone to crime and drug use, and oh yeah, niggers” or Jews are clannish and perpetual aliens in whatever their host country is and they cannot be trusted to behave like real citizens of a nation would, and oh yeah, kykes" will get you warned.

What we need is a Straight Dope Taste and Vulgarity Advisory Board. Who’s with me?

Since the word “liberal” exists as a non-offensive descriptor for members of the liberal persuasion, libtard is unnecessary.

On the other hand, there is **no way **to describe teabaggers succinctly without using the word teabagger. We’d have to use awkward phrases like “member of the tea party.” And calling them “teas” or “Mister and Missus Tea” opens up a whole 'nother bag of worms entirely…