I am SPARTACUS -- I mean msmith537

Wow, I never thought that one such as I would ever start a thread that questioned a moderation decision, even provisionally.*

But this thread in IMHO has a moderator action that may be a bridge too far. The relevant exchange:

FWIW, I agree with Eyebrows of Doom’s remark.

But overall, the incident kinda makes me want to ask if I can have a warning too. Because, istm that, provocative language aside, msmith537’s “translations” were not really inapposite.

*I say “provisionally” because I have not yet read Flyer’s response (if one is forthcoming) to my request for a cite as to the school that excluded a long-haired boy from its classrooms, so I can evaluate his assertion that the outrage generated was misdirected. If the citation suggests to me that an unjust exclusion was imposed, it will tend to support msmith537’s characterization.

Four year old boy.

I completely concur with the OP. I made similar comments in my followup response in that thread, but Eyebrows of Doom summed it up succinctly in a single sentence.

We all agree that we can’t go around arbitrarily insulting other posters, but what if a poster says something blatantly bigoted and all we do is hold a mirror up to them? And then, not liking what they see in the mirror, the poster loudly and publicly calls for vindication from the moderation staff? The only difference between what msmith537 said and what several of us also said is the more colorful language used – the criticisms expressed were exactly the same – and the criticisms were factual and legitimate.

The point is that we don’t make insulting comments about people here. That’s not that hard a concept to understand.

msmith537 could easily have said something like, “that sounds an awful lot like you’re saying that he looked gay, and that that was a bad thing. One might interpret that to mean you have a dislike of gays.” Obviously other similar ways of putting the same concept abound. The point is, the comment so rendered doesn’t put hate-filled words in the mouth of the poster; it doesn’t even attack the poster, but rather points out that the words the poster used are susceptible of an interpretation the poster might not want.

Flyer makes comments like that all the time and gets away with it. It’s about time someone finally called him on it. What else did he mean by “sexual perversions”? C’mon.

“I think homosexuality is sexual pervasion.” I’m no seeing why that would be out of bounds as an opinion to state in IMHO. “You hate fags” is a personal insult, directed at the poster. Not OK in IMHO, but perfect OK in the BBQ Pit.

I’m just now seeing this and not in a place where I can respond fully (I will do so later). But in short, a poster making reprehensible comments is not necessarily against the rules. But attacking another poster, and in particular, attributing slurs to that person, is against IMHO rules. I did not rule against everything that msmith537 said in his post; just that aspect.

Again, sorry to post this on the run. I’ll be back later.

This is consistent with previous warnings.

In the past, SDMB members have been warned for saying “nigger” in their posts. They were not themselves racist, and were expressing opposition to racists. But they substantially paraphrased their opponents, and inserted the word where it was not actually said.


Personally, I think a mod note is appropriate in cases like this, but the rule itself is long-standing and well known.

Bolding mine.

But the “provocative language” is the heart of why the post would have been moderated. That’s like saying, “Aside from the insult I don’t see why the post was insulting.” msmith537 chose a deliberately inflammatory way to characterize Flyer’s remark. It was not merely a rephrasing of his remark, it was clearly intended to be insulting.

If you are insulted by a totally fair paraphrase of your comments, then that paraphrase is something really quite useful in the discussion.

If the paraphrase is unfair, then it’s just an insult.

I don’t think you get to duck that distinction by observing that the paraphrase was inflammatory. The unferlying opinion was inflammatory.

For what it’s worth, Flyer himself later conceded that the paraphrase was semantically accurate (albeit with a hate-the-sinner-not-the-sin preamble):

So the bone of contention is msmith537’s introduction of explicit inflammatory/offensive vocabulary (outside the Pit) that was absent in the original. I’m in two minds about this. It’s pretty clear that Flyer used the standard weasel words that actually mean precisely what msmith537 said they mean.

If you want to use inflammatory language to characterize what you believe to be someone else’s opinion, you are free to do that in the Pit. Using deliberately inflammatory language in IMHO or other forums does not really assist in civil discussion.

And we’ve never considered “but he said something offensive first” to be a legitimate defense against insulting another poster.

Let me ask this. If Flyer had said explicitly in the original post:

“I have a problem with homosexual behavior.”

And someone had responded:

“Does the fact that you hate fags mean that you think they should be allowed to marry?”

Would that (outside the Pit) merit a warning?
If that’s the policy, then that’s fine - I think the warning was justified. It’s not for an (accurate) paraphrase, it’s for the choice of inflammatory vocabulary.

In my opinion as a moderator, yes. The second poster is putting hate speech in the mouth of the other poster. This goes beyond a mere “paraphrase.”

I would also make the observation that merely stating that you “have a problem with homosexual behavior” does not mean you hate homosexuals. You can disapprove of someone’s behavior without hating them personally.

Can you clarify? Are you saying that you think:

  1. Flyer should have been moderated for making an offensive comment, and smith should not have been moderated since his paraphrase was accurate.

  2. Both posters should have been moderated for offensive and/or insulting posts.

  3. Neither poster should have been moderated.

  4. Something else?

Yes. It. DOES!!! You’ve literally just taken the bullshit that homophobes say all the time. If you have a problem with homosexual behavior, you can’t love the sinner and hate the sin. It’s just bigotry, and that is hatred.

But, hey. Got to make excuses to defend bigotry. Can’t actually care about other people enough to actually use what power you have to stop it.

And don’t bring up inflammatory language when you attacked me via PM. You love using inflammatory language against people you hate. I had to be all deferential, you got to try to hurt me as much as you could. I had to shut off PMs because you were making me want to attack you.

So stop trying to pretend you care about some sacred rules.

This will not end well.

Dude. Chill. I recommend less indignation and more measured interaction.

Stop making inflammatory predictions.

My mother is a devout Catholic, and I have other relatives who are nuns. They believe on religious grounds that homosexual behavior is immoral. I also have several family members who are gay. I know for a fact that my mother loves them deeply, and she has never shown the least bit of bigotry with respect to their gay friends (who are frequent guests at her house, attending her birthday parties and coming over for Christmas dinner). People are more complex than you acknowledge.

As for the rest of your remarks, they are not pertinent to the present discussion so I will not address them here.