Deliberate (and deliberately offensive) racism should be moderatable. It is Being a Jerk

Safely finished, no. But these days, when someone makes a racist joke, they are more likely to be met with scorn than with a polite chuckle, indicating that they were, in fact, being a jerk.

That’s true of any group I care to hang around with, certainly. I think, considering what I see in the news and what I hear of other peoples’ experiences and what I see occasionally in posts here and elsewhere, that it would be naive of me to claim that it’s true in all social circles.

This is not something Prichester argued. I wrote the OP, and in it in I included the argument for why this isn’t true. Princhester at no point argued that I was wrong with this claim. He never argued that people people of color would see racists posts and not think the board was racist. (If he had, I would have made the argument I made in my previous reply to you. Or just asked posters of color how they saw it. I find it odd that you keep discounting MrDibble’s arguments so much, when he’s probably the closest person we have to an expert on racism on this board.)

The whole point of my reply to Princhester is that he needs to actually argue against the positions I have stated. You coming in and arguing against them does not fix the problem, as the problem was that he was avoiding arguments. The presumption is that someone who refuses to counter an argument either agrees with said argument or lacks any good argument against it.

He claims to disagree with my points, but he has not made an argument for why they are wrong. If he is arguing something completely different than what I am arguing, then that’s just one more argument he has not refuted.

That said, even indicating that is up to him, not you. One of the worst things you can do in a discussion is to make counterarguments on behalf of someone else. It not only puts words in their mouths they may not agree with, but also lets them outsource the argument. They can always just come back and agree with you, and we have no idea if that was really what they believed or not.

Plus, well, I’ve been arguing that racist posts are being a jerk since before you became a poster on this board. I know the argument Princhester is making because I’ve seen it over and over and over. It can be refuted by, again, pointing out that being racist is being a jerk, and being a jerk is against the rules.

Even if we give the hypothetical town the legal authority to jail racists, they wouldn’t be racist for not wanting to exercise that power, and opting to stick with heckling.

That’s ridiculous. Just because a website allows users to post their opinions does not mean they support all viewpoints expressed. Do you think letters to the editor reflect the opinion of the newspaper? Of course they don’t, despite the fact that the newspaper has the absolute right to arbitrarily decline to publish any given letter.

I strongly disagree, and we shouldn’t go into why here since that’s a whole debate in and of itself.


There are a number of political debates where accusations of racism on both sides are inevitable. For example how to handle minority majority districts, affirmative action, etc. In my experience if you go at it long enough every single political disagreement boils down to a disagreement on a premise which one party rejects as bigoted. Voting rights, social services, immigration, tax law, health care, even local issues like bus routes and school board politics. You can rule one way or the other but then you wouldn’t have the debate.


Accusations of racism are against the rules. Being racist is not.

Yes, well here those accusations would manifest as reports.

See this thread.


Thanks. I’ve already read the thread. Is there something specific you want me to look at?

Here’s a selection of specific posts,

With this as background you opined that it is not actually against the rules to be racist, but that’s quite irrelevant to the discussion we were having. Unless I am mistaken we were operating under the assumption that the rules should prohibit racism - at least in Café Society.


Well, I’m a Cafe society mod, and i was commenting on a question about Cafe society. But you make a good point. I’d like to get rid of racism across this message board. (Heck, that’s also pretty small beans, but about as broad as fits this discussion.)

I moderate two message boards. On the spectrum between “you can talk about anything” and “we don’t allow bigotry here”, the other board is much more anti-bigotry, and this one tries harder to, um, balance those goals. As i suggested above, i think there’s room to improve the rules under which we moderate. But it’s mostly good to have rules, and not just have mods shooting from the hip.

I would love to see the rules on racism beefed up and cleared up. I think it would be better for the board and easier for the mods.

So that’s two mods we’ve heard from who want the rules on racism improved.

Are we to assume by their silence that the rest (and Ed) are fine with things as they are?

Then the “Don’t be a jerk” rule should be removed from the rules, I think. That’s nothing but a judgement call, and to wait until a circle of mods has debated it, rather than leaving it up to the first relevant mod, makes it less than useless given the immediacy of jerkishness and its affect on threads.

I totally agree. The amount of racialism and scientific racism that was allowed on this board was appalling. And it had nothing to do with Stormfront. Stormfront was a short-lived episode from 20 years ago. The scientific racism was allowed to go on for years and years after Stormfront was gone.

@Chen019 was the poster boy for this and he posted until 2017. That’s not including the oh so subtle usernames88 that showed up. You don’t have to be a member of a racist group to be a racist, you can do that all on your own.

Thing is, until Ed does something solid, all mods could be in favor of changing the rule and it won’t matter.

My god! Is that a mod arguing for a bright line rule? That’s quite the turnaround from the usual no bright line rules wanted stance.

I agree. The don’t be a jerk rule sounds good, but is totally ineffectual in the way it’s used/not used here.

I would have said Chief Pedant, and he was here until 2020, but otherwise, yes, good recap.

If one or two mods step up and mods racists based on the current rules, and none of the other mods object, I don’t see why Ed has to get involved.

And if any of the other mods did object, I would prefer they did it in an ATMB thread like this or one like it, rather than a private mod discussion. So we, the posters, can see what crap arguments they’re making in favour of perpetuating the current tolerance of racism, and argue against them. We can’t do that if it’s a Star Chamber-type deal.

Which is why I’m happy two have stepped up, and why I’m calling out the ones who haven’t.

Yes. As the freedom to be racist further erodes, I have no doubt that we’ll see an uptick in complaints from people who consider that freedom super duper important. But it’ll be worth it. And totally within the existing rules.

Yep, or [another poster] an infamously racist internet troll who, despite his utterly detestable compulsion towards preaching “race realism” and conspiracy theories (right here in the SDMB or in insane screeds on his advertised blog), went on to gain favour with prominent and influential people in American society (a US federal secretary, Joe Rogan)… who then had to disavow him to save their own images.

I never understood it. It feels like those who fixatedly preach the worst, most divisively hateful, repressive, and historically violent ideology are rewarded by being so outrageously fringe.

On this board they were certainly condoned (as a group, although I’d see some mods act as individuals and participate in threads counter arguing with the racists) just by presenting their ideology under the guise of “its a debate” or cheekily with “I’m being persecuted”. No matter how repeatedly, rote, unquestionably fixed their threads and arguments were they were always allowed to post…then ignore replies, rephrase, and repost just weeks/days/hours later.

I swear there was even a set conversion strategy employed. Every week pretend that you’ve just discovered well-known/widely-accepted irrefutable evidence (employing vague scientifically related terms, concepts, and crazy personal interpretations of new primary research) that confirms all the worst racialist ideas of yesteryear which must be immediately introduced and adopted by policymakers and the public, else unspoken/unpredictable mass doom will befall our society through chaos/crime/immigration/social services.

Can’t the mods just mod it as being a jerk? Is Ed likely to actively stop them from doing it?

The vast majority of modding is judgement calls, but judgement calls within an agreed-upon framework of expectations and norms.

I happen to love “don’t be a jerk” as a rule, but I agree that the framework seems wobbly at times. There’s no such thing as pure objectivity, especially since norms can shift over time.

I’ll point out that even in the Pit, you can’t be a racist. Or a homophobe, or transphobe, or attack people for their ethnicity, gender, and so on. That falls under the “hate speech” bubble. I’ve seen threads where people will sling all kinds of really reprehensible insults at each other (that’s one of the reasons that place exists, it’s fine) until someone slips in a racially-based attack. And it gets a warning. That includes an attack against someone for being white. So that should give an indication of how this board wants to handle this sort of thing; even in the “anything goes” forum that dispenses with civility. Even there we don’t put up with it.

Of course, when things are more subtle, that’s when it gets complicated. It’s one thing when someone flings a racial slur, or says something like, “You would think that, you are [insert race here].” That is blatant and I think the mods are good about that. It’s when we have a situation such as the OP here, where it’s not so blatant. Let’s say there’s a thread discussing a robbery where there is no information about the suspects involved, and a person says, “Don’t be surprised if the description includes a Kangol cap.”

Nothing blatantly racist, but Kangol hats are frequently associated with hip hop culture, and inner-city youths, specifically people of color. It’s a way to be racist but have plausible deniability. “Oh, I just meant that hat is popular in that area.” With a wink-wink to people who might agree with that racism.

I don’t want the moderators to be thought police and try to guess what a person meant. But there has to be a middle ground, where a person can’t get away with the racism version of, “I’m not touching you, does this bother you?”

I just can’t agree that it wasn’t blatant. Sure, he doesn’t directly say that he believes the person acted because they were black, but saying he would be banned if he did leaves no room for debate. The mods don’t usually allow such game-playing

Plus not only did he not contradict posters who interpreted it that way he admitted here in this thread that this is what he meant.

I would not have been so gobsmacked by the actions here if I didn’t think this was obvious racism, of the deliberate and deliberately offensive kind.