Calling a lie a lie, and GD

I have a question about a moderator action in this thread:

To briefly summarize, in the thread, poster Sevastapol made the comment in this post

Justifiably, I think, taking offense at this, kidneyfailure responded thusly:

This led to a warningby Marley23, who said:

This leads me to two sort of related questions. First, it was my understanding that, while you can’t call someone a liar in GD, you can say that their statement is a lie. Am I incorrect in this assumption? If I’m not, then what do you do in a situation like this, when a poster is posting obvious anti-semitic lies?

This is dealt with in a sticky in GD. Post 2 addresses this situation:

So I felt the “lie lie lie” comment ran afoul of that rule, keeping the last two examples in mind. There’s no shortage of ways to say that a post contains errors without calling the poster a liar. I thought this situation was fairly straightforward, but if the other GD mods don’t agree I’m happy to reconsider.

Fair enough.

Would it be kosher to say to the poster in this instance, “you have been misled by the outright lies propagated by the enemies of …”? In other words, you are branding the statements as lies without calling the poster a liar.

Or would that be seen as circumvention of the rule?

The following is not at all strained:

Lies are like matter in Hoyle’s steady state universe, they just appear out of nowhere at all. :rolleyes:

That would be alright. “Misled” doesn’t impugn anybody’s motives, and “you are lying” does. Once that starts happening threads go off the rails.

I’m curious why Sevastpol isn’t falling under the “hate speech” rule. If I said “All Muslims were terrorists” I suspect I’d be smacked down. If I said “Black people are rapists who prey on white women”, I’d be smacked down, so why is Sevastapol’s constant harping on how “Judaism is polluted” and how secret cabals of Jews control the world permitted?

Probably because your first assumption is incorrect. I do not recall anyone being Warned in GD for any number of rants against Muslims, blacks, Christians, liberals or conservatives, etc.

It is a popular theme among a couple of posters that some remarks are prohibited while other remarks are excused, but that is not actually the reality of GD.

So, for the record, you’re saying I could start a thread about “Them damned dirty negros, always chasin’ after the white women”? Or “Those shiftless Mexicans, they’re so damned lazy”? or “Those ragheads! They’re all a bunch of terrorists?” or “Fags! Why do they keep trying to recruit our kids?” and while I would certainly be (rightly) piled-on by the Teeming Millions and pitted within an inch of my life (again, rightly so, should I post those), I would not fall afoul of the “Hate Speech” rule??

If that’s the case, apparently I’ve been misunderstanding the hate-speech rule for years. I appreciate in advance any clarification.

If you started the threads you have provided as examples, I would shut them down as trolling.

Frankly, I have no really clear notion of what constitutes hate speech, so I do not employ that particular rule when moderating GD. Pretty much anything that would qualify as hate speech in Great Debates is going to violate some other rule, such as trolling, anyway.

Fair enough. :slight_smile:

As an involved party, I should comment on this:

I admit that I didn’t read the forum rules beforehand, so it was at least partly my fault. As I said in the thread, I was reacting emotionally to a perceived slight towards something important to me (namely: Judaism) and rather than respond with a string of epithets I chose to call his utterances lies (which they were. Judaism does not require unwavering loyalty to Israel the political and international entity, nor is it “polluted” any more than any other religion). However, I know now that, despite how I may have been justified in my response, that is in contradiction with the rules of the forum, so I apologized and promised to respond more appropriately in the future. After that I considered the matter closed (and I believe the mods did as well).

Actually, I do agree with those forum rules. Far too many decent conversations (online and irl) so quickly descend into ad hominems and, frankly, “you’re a liar” doesn’t really advance the conversation as much as a nuanced response with cites and footnotes would. I admit that I certainly dropped the ball on this one and I will try to rectify that in the future. Can’t blame the mods for doing their duty and enforcing the rules!

So if I understand it correctly, no one will be warned in GD for “rants against Muslims, blacks, Christians, liberals or conservatives, etc.”, But the examples given of rants against blacks, Muslims, and Mexicans, are “trolling”.

The rants against Judaism and Jews did not trigger a Warning for falling afoul of the “hate speech” rule, because tomndebb does not enforce this rule in GD. Nor any warning for trolling, even though other “rants” are automatically included under that heading.

Some rants against some groups are de facto trolling; other rants against other groups are not. Go figure.


You can twist what was posted in whichever way you need in order to repeat your empty claims against me one more time.
However, my words are already posted a couple of posts up and you have changed my statement.

I did a quick review of moderator warnings and found only one warning in Great Debates for hate speech in the last five years. There were three or four other hate speech warnings in other forums. I think two were in the Pit, one was in GQ and one was in MPSIMS. It’s not a perfect methodology because I was searching for the word “hate” in our writeups, but I hope it’s a starting point. And the one warning was for comments about Israel and Judaism. So I don’t think there is much support for the notion that same groups are protected and others are not.

I’ll try to make a more thorough review, but I don’t think there are a lot of warnings for “trolling” insults about groups either. Most warnings in Great Debates (or anywhere else) are for personal insults, not negative comments about particular groups.

I have done nothing of the sort. Please stop making false accusations.

Why don’t you?

They were not necessarily lies; people can believe untrue things and repeat them as truthfully as things that are factually correct. You would have probably done better to prove him wrong than simply call him a liar (especially in Great Debates where you are expected to make an effort to prove your point or disprove someone else’s, rather than just giving an opinion).

Don’t be childish.

Look, tom, you made a specific accusation of a violation of the rules, and it was untrue. Since you can’t back it up, at least man up and admit it.


“Changing a statement” is not a rules violation, unless the statement is in quote tags. Is that what you meant,Shodan?

Generally speaking (you may recall there was a long thread about trying to define “hate speech”), there’s a difference between “Does Mexican culture foster a notion of time that’s different from US culture?” and “Those shiftless Mexicans, they’re so damned lazy.” Not only don’t we have a clear definition of hate speech, I suspect we don’t have a good definition of rant.

Personal aside: Most Jews, I feel sure, would prefer that accusations against Israel or Judaism be answered, rather than just shut down.