Disputing my warning/suspension

On Tuesday I opened a topic titled Would you rape the only other person alive?

My original post and first reply (click to show/hide)

About three hours later engineer_comp_geek closed the topic pending review by a Great Debates moderator, who shortly issued not only a warning but also suspended me.

I have no issue with engineer_comp_geek’s closing of the topic - that is standard procedure when too many flags come in.

I understand that warnings and suspensions are grave matters, especially when a suspension is given out for the first offense - something I thought would probably not happen. Therefore I wish to dispute my warning/suspension.

By personal message What_Exit clarified that he issued sanctions because

  1. My thread was “misogynistic despite a few weasel words”
  2. My thread was excusing rape, and “[any] thread excusing rape is highly offensive”

My defense:

    a. my posts were not misogynistic; (details below)
    b. even if my posts were misogynistic, misogyny is not itself prohibited by the rules;
    a. the topic was about the morality of rape in a specific situation, and in my opinion it is not highly offensive to debate the morality of rape in that specific situation;
    b. I admit that a reasonable person (even myself) knows some people will take offense with my topic, but in this case there is no way to discuss the topic without offending some people;
    c. I did not start the topic for shock value, but as an academic debate (details below);
    d. my topic did not stray beyond the pale of civil debate (Split_p_j rule, details below); and
    e. offensiveness is not itself prohibited by the rules

My posts were not misogynistic

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Misogyny is the hatred of women. I do not hate women, and a reasonable reading of my posts does not indicate that I hate women.

My original post was not bashing on women specifically or generally. It is written to be gender-neutral because I was soliciting moral analysis for two related hypotheticals, one where a man decides whether to rape the last woman alive, and another where a woman decides whether to rape the last man alive.

you and one other person who is of the opposite sex

Do you rape him/her?

My response laying out my opinion was not misogynistic either. For one, I wrote that I would not rape her.

I would not [rape her].

I gave a number of reasons why it would be wrong to rape her. So it is not like I’m out there trying to argue in favor of raping women.

Before I posted the topic my personal opinion was that it would be less wrong for the woman to rape the man than vice versa, because pregnancy disproportionately burdens the woman. This is hinted at in my reply, where among other reasons for not raping her,

The pregnancy must be borne out, and as I am of the male sex, it would be a forced pregnancy. Furthermore I may have to prevent her from aborting the child.

It is true that I did not, in my posts, mention the woman’s right to withhold consent for sex. I must have thought that was too obvious of a point, but more importantly in this particular scenario her withholding consent literally spells the end of the human race* - debatably a powerful and compelling reason to overcome a single person’s bodily autonomy in any context, such as with vaccine mandates (recent debate on that topic). I did not explicitly write this out, perhaps a mistake on my part, because I thought it would be obvious that the one justification for rape was being weighed against the woman’s right not to be raped.

The only rationale in favor of rape in this instance is propagation of the human species. But […]

You don’t have to agree with me about my moral argument, but I think it is unreasonable to sanction me for misogyny due to this.

* Kimstu rather convincingly pointed out to me that the human race cannot repopulate from a single breeding pair, but this was after I had posted the topic and my opinion on it.

I did not start the topic for shock value, but as an academic debate

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The topic arose organically out of a linked discussion. From my original post,

Continuing the discussion from Do sexual preferences make one a bigot? :

And from that linked post,

I think, under no circumstance is it morally wrong to refuse sex. (I could imagine contrived situations like you are the last couple alive but for all intents and purposes…)

I thought this would make for an interesting debate, not often does one consider why rape is wrong, or how wrong.

This is not a case of me coming out of the blue and stirring up trouble, or being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk.

My topic did not stray beyond the pale of civil debate (Split_p_j rule)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I do not consider this kind of question to be beyond the pale of civil debate. The hypothetical is entirely academic - it posits a nuclear holocaust with only two human survivors. Arguing for the rape of one of those survivors does not directly or indirectly affect any actual living person today. Another poster indicated that a recent movie involved this situation.

This is unlike the Split_p_j incident, where a member was “suggesting that a person who becomes inebriated thereby consents to, or is deserving of, assault or other crime.”


Just going to comment: “Grave Matters” is silly. Must mean something different to you than to me.

A 1 day suspension doesn’t really mean all that much in the end. A multi-day suspension does mean your on thin ice, but this was a 1 day. As I put it, a day off.

Do you not understand how offensive your Title was? It wasn’t buried in the thread or spoilered but showed up to all? This was pretty awful.

For the rest, I’ll refer you to the discussion of your peers in the Pit and responses in your thread. It was really ill-considered and offensive.

Some topics are just beyond the pale. This was one of them. It trivialized rape, whether intentionally or not, and is incredibly highly insensitive to survivors of sexual violence. I think you’re a good poster and I hope you learn from this and stick around, but the moderation was appropriate IMO.

That opinion appears to be disagreed with by most of this board.

Me included.

Even if your scenario would have worked the way you seemed to think it would (and there are multiple reasons, not only Kimstu’s, why it wouldn’t), that would not have affected the immorality of the proposed action.

And if you want to debate under what circumstances committing an immoral act might be necessary, there are better ways to do that.

I for one don’t think you are a misogynist, I don’t think you were trolling, and I don’t think you were intending to cause trouble of any kind. But that was a really bad thread topic. I think you have a really good reputation on the board and I don’t think this will tarnish it much if at all, but I also hope you realize that forced sex is one of those subjects you have to be careful with, much as you would if the subject were about child molestation. There are far too many people who’ve experienced this in real life (in my opinion one person experiencing it is too much) and it’s so easy for discussions like that to either trigger people or drive them away.

You said yourself in the OP of the thread, “Here’s a sick hypothetical.” I know that you took a personal stance against your own hypothetical, but in essence you asked people if they thought forcing sexual intercourse on another person might ever be okay. In effect, you’re challenging people to justify rape.

So either one of two things is possible. Either there is no way to answer “yes” to your question, and there is no possible discussion. Or people might say “yes” and then you’ve gone into territory that should be unacceptable. Either way, how did you expect that thread to be productive?

I chose the title because I wanted it to describe the topic accurately and succinctly. That way people who aren’t into these kinds of conversations would know not to open it. I actually spent a bit of time trying to pick out a title that was descriptive but short…


I don’t think you’re a troll. I don’t think you’re a misogynist. And I dunno if it deserved a suspension. But your post was very poorly thought out, so take your warning for what it was–a warning to think twice next time.

Your debate was, “here’s this horrific thing which I’ll never have to experience but some of you might (and some of you already have), so let’s talk about situations in which it’s OK.”

Rape is not some academic topic that can be discussed with nothing more than logic. These are real people reading and participating in the thread, not Vulcans.

I recommend you spend more time trying to understand the reasons people are telling you this was a bad title and bad thread, and less time trying to justify it.

Also thank you for pointing this out, it’s been stressing me out a bit.


Cool, I don’t think you’re a bad poster. I think you’re normally thoughtful. You seem to listen to both sides. Those are great traits.

I do think that title is was extra bad. I chalked it up to a mistake though and not much else. I gave the one day as I was emphasizing it was a really bad thread and title combo. I may of over-reacted even, though I don’t think by much if I’m honest.

I’m going to side with Max S. on this one. Although his thread was distasteful, we’ve entertained plenty of unpleasant ethical-dilemma questions before that were arguably worse, and they led to no discipline.

I can’t find them at the moment, but we’ve had threads before that asked, “Parents, how many other kids would you be willing to kill, or let die, to save your own kid?” Compared to either murder or letting-someone-die, is rape that comparatively worse?

Furthermore, Max S was, IMHO, in no way trivializing rape. He was comparing rape to another dire thing - namely, human extinction - and asking which of the two was worse. He certainly was not asking something like, “If you could rape for sadistic fun and get away with it, would you?” His thread was more akin to the Trolley Question or Lifeboat Question, in terms of debating ethics.

There’s actually a bright spot in this fact.

Although I can’t speak for TPTB, I suspect that this only being a one-day vacation is a sign that your continued presence and participation is desired. I have seen many accounts here justifiably receiving the permaban hammer with less provocation.

My concern is that I don’t understand how I trivialized rape. Rape does not (from what I can see) somehow become a smaller concern because of my hypothetical or the opinions I expressed therein. If I did trivialize rape, I need to understand how so I have a guideline going forward to avoid this in the future, both on this topic and on others.

Of immediate concerns, in the ongoing discussion that spawned the topic I was warned for, I am about to argue with MrDibble & others that it is sometimes wrong to refuse a date. I certainly don’t want to trivialize date rape!


It trivialized rape by imagining that it was a topic that one can discuss purely academically, without concern for the feelings and opinions of survivors of sexual violence.

This topic can’t be treated like others. I’m not sure if I can imagine anything that can be compared to or treated like sexual violence when it comes to discussion. It’s just a deeply and inherently fraught topic, and there’s no way to soften it such that it would be appropriate for casual discussions with strangers.

What value do you think your thread could have had as a “academic” exercise? It’s a very unlikely scenario and, as far as I can tell, doesn’t lend it self to produce thought that is applicable in any other, more likely situations.
Unless I’m missing some weighty arguments that means you weighed this thread with its obvious potential to offend and trigger bad emotional reactions in people who have had to deal with rape or fear of rape whether personally or in near relations, against the, to my mind, minuscule value it had in and of itself and landed on “posting my thread is too important to avoid causing that offense and those emotional responses”.
That’s one way in which you trivialized rape.

In addition to what @iiandyiiii and @naita just said, which I agree with: you trivialized it by implying that it would be reasonable to reply that in those circumstances it would be a morally correct action.

Max_S is still busy trying to figure out what these ‘emotions’ and ‘feelings’ are, that everybody keeps talking about, and why they matter. :slightly_smiling_face:

You may be right, but it is - even now - not apparent to me why that isn’t debatable. I don’t know how to explain why this doesn’t make sense without inviting debate on the topic in ATMB.


Considering that we allow hypothetical debates about whether it’s okay to commit murder, and murder is certainly something that evokes strong emotions and feelings in the families and others affected by murder, his confusion is certainly understandable.

The subject is very iffy to start with but the Title was (I understand unintentionally) very troll-like, provocative and triggering.

I more reasonable title would not have brought such a strong reaction from so many.