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Proposed Ban on Hateful Diatribes

Ulrika Zugzwang
Magnanimous in Victory
Join date: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 6,382
09-25-2005 14:07
One of the great loopholes in the SL forums is that truly hateful material can be published provided that names aren't named. This stops minor insults but allows through massive, forceful, and bitter verbal attacks that creatively disguise their targets. I just read one of the most upsetting and hateful diatribes I have ever read on the forums.

It can be found here.


In short, it's a a forceful and bitter verbal attack focusing on a poorly defined group's motives and character rather than the policy or position they maintain. Because the diatribe relies exclusively on rhetorical attacks on position and character (ad hominem attacks), it has a disturbing similarity to ethnocentric diatribes I've had the displeasure of reading in my past studies.

What's particularly upsetting about this post, is that like anti-Semitic, racist, or sexist diatribes I've read in the past, it has a nasty habit of comparing opponents with animals. This is an abominable way of casting other human beings as subhuman and thus justifying their subhuman treatment (this rhetorical technique was extensively used in anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda). I've extracted a few of the worse subhuman comparatives from the text and listed them below. They are used by the author to describe opponents:
  1. wail and gnash their teeth
  2. office mooch
  3. bum
  4. drunken pan handler
  5. reeking alcoholic breath slapping you in the face from 20 paces
  6. slavering
  7. they turn, cornered, to snarl and slaver and attack
  8. 'dog in the manger-ish' last ditch effort
  9. wolfish fervor
  10. morbid ambulance chasers
  11. looking for blood not unlike sharks
  12. eerie and cultish
  13. panting
  14. puzzled look on their 'face' (face is quoted)

Beyond the subhuman analogies, this is one of the worst posts I have ever seen in the forums. There is no room for hate like this in the forums. It is simply unacceptable.

How would you feel about a proposed ban on hateful diatribes?

~Ulrika~
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Chik-chik-chika-ahh
Margaret Mfume
I.C.
Join date: 30 Dec 2004
Posts: 2,492
09-25-2005 14:14
I'm kind of torn. I like to know where people are coming from, especially in this anonymous environment.
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hush
Ulrika Zugzwang
Magnanimous in Victory
Join date: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 6,382
09-25-2005 14:16
From: Margaret Mfume
I'm kind of torn. I like to know where people are coming from, especially in this anonymous environment.
So you enjoy hateful diatribes that compare people to animals without actually addressing any real issues logically?

~Ulrika~
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Chik-chik-chika-ahh
Judah Jimador
Registered User
Join date: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 230
09-25-2005 14:18
Ulrika,

For *you* to reach for a word like "ban" suggests to me that you were unusually moved by what you'd read. And now I've read it, too.

Banned? No..probably not. The whole "who watches the watchmen" thing.

Boycotted? In a heartbeat.

-- jj
Gabrielle Assia
Mostly Ignorant
Join date: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 262
09-25-2005 14:26
If you don't like it, don't read it.
I have avoided that thread after reading the first page.

But I respect their rights to say what they want.
We're all suppose to be grown-ups here... although
some may argue that others don't act like it.

We all can choose to read or not read any thread.
We can click Ignore on any specific user.

We should not be begging for a nanny to come
police us. We should not be ASKING for Lindens
to take their time away from SL development to
baby us (protect us) in the forums.

Gabrielle
Minsk Oud
Registered User
Join date: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 85
09-25-2005 14:30
Actually I find hateful rants more informative about members of a community than the more collected discussions: it is a sign that someone can likely be disregarded as a source of coherent opinion. If someone states their opinion and supports it logically, I actually have to read it and consider their position. Plus the pyromaniacs make for entertaining reading when I need a break from work.

On a more serious note: people will always have a channel for their rants. Really the only thing LL (or we) can affect is whether they wind up here in a forum that is somewhat controlled, or out in the boondocks on some random blog. While the latter might improve the local signal to noise ratio it would have some pretty painful results for a web searchs regarding second life.

I tend to use New Posts rather than opening forums explicitly. Once one ignores a few particular names and flamey topics, it becomes fairly easy to avoid the worst of the mess.
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Selador Cellardoor
Registered User
Join date: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 3,082
09-25-2005 14:38
Ulrika,

I have read a lot worse. And indeed, some of the phrases to which you take exception I would class as perfectly acceptable metaphors. When I last checked, ambulance chasers were all too human.

I think it is expressed strongly, but no one is addressed directly. The 'group' to which it refers is self-defined. I know that I was not one of the ones intended. I venture to suggest that only those who recognise themselves will feel upset by this.

Certainly not the worst I have read by any means. When I see a posting directed at an individual suggesting they are mentally ill, that strikes me as unacceptable. As do your own sentences that were quoted in your signature until recently. The worst that can be said about this, IMO, is that it is tasteless.
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Margaret Mfume
I.C.
Join date: 30 Dec 2004
Posts: 2,492
09-25-2005 14:41
From: Ulrika Zugzwang
So you enjoy hateful diatribes that compare people to animals without actually addressing any real issues logically?

~Ulrika~

Enjoy? No. I do feel that I benefitted from reading the thread in its entirety. I did consider that had it been closed before you posted, the presentation would remain without the opportunity to counteract.
_____________________
hush
Ulrika Zugzwang
Magnanimous in Victory
Join date: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 6,382
09-25-2005 14:42
From: Selador Cellardoor
I think it is expressed strongly, but no one is addressed directly. The 'group' to which it refers is self-defined. I know that I was not one of the ones intended. I venture to suggest that only those who recognise themselves will feel upset by this.
That's my point precisely. That a group can fabricate a forceful and bitter verbal attack by simply keeping the target ambiguous, is a loophole. I would also suggest that hateful attacks are by definition immoral regardless of whether or not they specifically include you as a target. Is an anti-Semitic diatribe not inherently immoral or must one be Jewish before they are allowed to feel anger?

~Ulrika~
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Chik-chik-chika-ahh
Gabrielle Assia
Mostly Ignorant
Join date: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 262
09-25-2005 14:56
From: Ulrika Zugzwang

That a group can fabricate a forceful and bitter verbal attack by simply keeping the target ambiguous, is a loophole. I would also suggest that hateful attacks are by definition immoral regardless of whether or not they specifically include you as a target. Is an anti-Semitic diatribe not inherently immoral or must one be Jewish before they are allowed to feel anger?

~Ulrika~


In the interest of freedom....

Why don't you just exercise your freedom to not read those
threads, and let others who are interested have the freedom
to read them?

Why must we have any person or group of people
trying to enforce their morality or ethics or viewpoints
on any other group of people?

Gabrielle
Aimee Weber
The one on the right
Join date: 30 Jan 2004
Posts: 4,286
09-25-2005 15:01
Ulrika, I think the problem lies in allowing the Lindens the freedom to make judgement calls on subjective issues. Or at least that's what I was told when I had diatribes written about ME on a daily basis a few months back. The Lindens were helpless because the individual involved rarely crossed the easily quantifiable line into TOS/CS violation territory. With the rules so clearly spelled out and the Lindens so dutiful in seeing things as black and while, this person was free to rampage for months! Had the Lindens felt comfortable enough to make a subjective judgement call, rather than scanning the texts for words and statements that matched a violation pattern, a lot of problems could have been avoided.

But my question is, is this really what you want? Do you feel comfortable releasing the Lindens of their obligation to dicipline by keyword searches and instead allow them to punish by their interpretation of the ideas being conveyed?
_____________________
Margaret Mfume
I.C.
Join date: 30 Dec 2004
Posts: 2,492
09-25-2005 15:02
From: Gabrielle Assia
In the interest of freedom....

Why don't you just exercise your freedom to not read those
threads, and let others who are interested have the freedom
to read them?

Why must we have any person or group of people
trying to enforce their morality or ethics or viewpoints
on any other group of people?

Gabrielle

You'd never have post #49 in that thread if people with a different perspective of post #1 ignored and moved on.

From: Snowcrash Hoffman
You know what, you are right Ulrika! I am really surprised how you provided a completely new perspective to look at this post. Even though I strongly disagree with vast majority of things you write, I now feel compelled to agree with you and in a profound manner completely reverse my original opinion. You are definitely now in my list of people whose opinion I should respect here.
_____________________
hush
Cocoanut Koala
Coco's Cottages
Join date: 7 Feb 2005
Posts: 7,903
09-25-2005 15:12
I agree with Ulrika.

I also think it's sort of inane to assert over and over, "This is how people are." The fact is, people tend to live up to the standards determined by the place they are in.

NOT that we are kindergarteners, but there can be and often has been a kindergarten teacher with a bunch of wild, unruly kids tearing about the room and bopping each other on the head while she sits rather unconcerned at her desk looking at papers. Whereas across the hall, there is another kindergarten class happily absorbed in their activities, with an engaged teacher, and not a lot of head bopping.

So which is human nature? Which classroom would you rather be in?

The sort of post/thread Ulrika refers to is NOT good for Sl. The mods, in my view, ought to be plentiful enough to pay attention to the the forums, keep an eye on them, make judgment calls, discourage this sort of thing, and remove these sorts of things.

Not ban people from the game. Just raise the standards of the forums somewhere up to ANYWHERE NEAR what is promised in the TOS. It can be done. As for those who say it can't, I think they just like it this way. Whether they do or not, it's not good for SL.

coco
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Gabrielle Assia
Mostly Ignorant
Join date: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 262
09-25-2005 15:15
From: Margaret Mfume
You'd never have post #49 in that thread if people with a different perspective of post #1 ignored and moved on.


Hmmm... I'm not suggesting people immediately click away
from threads they don't agree with. Certianly it's important
to have opposite views expressing their viewpoints.

In fact, THAT is exactly what my point is... that people SHOULD
be allowed to speak their mind without worrying about what
the Forum Police might do, or if the thread will continue to
exist.

I was suggesting that if any thread gets SO heated (in the
opinion of any given reader)... that it's better for them to
just stop reading that thread, rather than call out the police
and have EVERYONE removed from the thread.

Gabrielle
Ulrika Zugzwang
Magnanimous in Victory
Join date: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 6,382
09-25-2005 15:16
From: Aimee Weber
Ulrika, I think the problem lies in allowing the Lindens the freedom to make judgement calls on subjective issues. Or at least that's what I was told when I had diatribes written about ME on a daily basis a few months back. The Lindens were helpless because the individual involved rarely crossed the easily quantifiable line into TOS/CS violation territory. With the rules so clearly spelled out and the Lindens so dutiful in seeing things as black and while, this person was free to rampage for months! Had the Lindens felt comfortable enough to make a subjective judgement call, rather than scanning the texts for words and statements that matched a violation pattern, a lot of problems could have been avoided.
What a great post. It's such a rare thing to find in the forums. :D

From: someone
But my question is, is this really what you want? Do you feel comfortable releasing the Lindens of their obligation to dicipline by keyword searches and instead allow them to punish by their interpretation of the ideas being conveyed?
One of my unwavering platforms is that the forums should allow free speech up to the point where that speech harms another. To determine whether or not harm was done, it would be up to the Lindens to subjectively consider the content and the poster's intent (a cornerstone of modern law). Is this what I want? Absolutely.

In my opinion, that post is the perfect example of content that has taken speech to a point where its sole function is to harm (painting opponents as subhumans) and thus should not be protected. It should be the responsibility of the moderators to consider the impact and intent and to then make a subjective judgement, instead of having them be powerless simply because a poster didn't include a name in the post.

The goal is to ground moderation rules on sound philosophical principles as opposed to loose rules riddled with loopholes.

~Ulrika~
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Chik-chik-chika-ahh
Ulrika Zugzwang
Magnanimous in Victory
Join date: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 6,382
09-25-2005 15:18
From: Cocoanut Koala
The sort of post/thread Ulrika refers to is NOT good for Sl.
I agree with your whole post. The forum should have no place for forceful and bitter verbal attacks.

~Ulrika~
_____________________
Chik-chik-chika-ahh
Weedy Herbst
Too many parameters
Join date: 5 Aug 2004
Posts: 2,255
09-25-2005 15:19
From: Ulrika Zugzwang
I agree with your whole post. The forum should have no place for forceful and bitter verbal attacks.

~Ulrika~


Pot , kettle, black.
_____________________
Nolan Nash
Frischer Frosch
Join date: 15 May 2003
Posts: 7,141
09-25-2005 15:24
From: Cocoanut Koala
I agree with Ulrika.

I also think it's sort of inane to assert over and over, "This is how people are."

I am a bit confused here. Are you asserting that continually calling people "bullies" and the like, or insinuating that they behave in a group think manner is not saying "This is how people are"?

Are you saying that it's fine to label people as long as you're the one doing the labeling?

This type of hypocrisy is what I try to expose here - whether or not the propagators shovel out a line of excuses as for why it's ok for them to do it.
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Nolan Nash
Frischer Frosch
Join date: 15 May 2003
Posts: 7,141
09-25-2005 15:27
From: Ulrika Zugzwang
I agree with your whole post. The forum should have no place for forceful and bitter verbal attacks.

~Ulrika~
From: Ulrika Zugzwang
Eboni,

Instead of putting so much heat on poor Selador, I would instead love to see you focus on SuezanneC. She's become quite the robotic forum nanny lately posting pseudo-professional assessments of a thread or post's fitness to exist along with the occasional call to group AR posts. They are always off topic, disruptive, and a tad bit rude. Perhaps your mighty hammer of justice could find a new nail to pound upon.


The props department wants their sheep's clothing back. ;)
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Margaret Mfume
I.C.
Join date: 30 Dec 2004
Posts: 2,492
09-25-2005 15:29
From: Gabrielle Assia
Hmmm... I'm not suggesting people immediately click away
from threads they don't agree with. Certianly it's important
to have opposite views expressing their viewpoints.

In fact, THAT is exactly what my point is... that people SHOULD
be allowed to speak their mind without worrying about what
the Forum Police might do, or if the thread will continue to
exist.

I was suggesting that if any thread gets SO heated (in the
opinion of any given reader)... that it's better for them to
just stop reading that thread, rather than call out the police
and have EVERYONE removed from the thread.

Gabrielle

Is it possible to throw water on those too heated (doesn't most everyone get that way at one point or another?) and address those who encourage it to continue as a form of amusement? Vacating an area where trouble is brewing is a reasonable and recommendable choice. Removing the distraction and allowing the discourse to resume is a more difficult option to execute.
_____________________
hush
Gabrielle Assia
Mostly Ignorant
Join date: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 262
09-25-2005 15:30
From: Cocoanut Koala
The sort of post/thread Ulrika refers to is NOT good for Sl. The mods, in my view, ought to be plentiful enough to pay attention to the the forums, keep an eye on them, make judgment calls, discourage this sort of thing, and remove these sorts of things.


I agree that attacking people in the forums is not good for making
SL a happy place. If newbies read some of that trash it will most
likely turn them off in some way. Hence, I feel the SL forums will
always be policed.

However, we have seen MANY recent examples of the Forum Police
locking and even deleting entire threads where I (and others) feel
there was a valid concern about the biz practices of various residents
and companies.

One I remember recently was the person offering "double your money"
to newbies for first land. I forget if any names were named, but I
can remember WANTING names named... so I could be sure to keep on
my toes if ever confronted by that person.

So, in that respect I would like to see LESS forced policing by the
elite moderators and more personal policing of people avoiding
threads they feel are hateful.... which each person always has
a different tolerance level of.

Gabrielle
Ulrika Zugzwang
Magnanimous in Victory
Join date: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 6,382
09-25-2005 15:42
From: Nolan Nash
The props department wants their sheep's clothing back. ;)
In my life I have never been so criminal or hateful as to craft a forceful and bitter verbal attack that ascribes animal traits to a group of human beings. That two-page lesson in hatred is in a league all its own. Only Prokofy has posted worse.

~Ulrika~
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Chik-chik-chika-ahh
Nolan Nash
Frischer Frosch
Join date: 15 May 2003
Posts: 7,141
09-25-2005 15:51
From: Ulrika Zugzwang
In my life I have never been so criminal or hateful as to craft a forceful and bitter verbal attack that ascribes animal traits to a group of human beings. That two-page lesson in hatred is in a league all its own. Only Prokofy has posted worse.

~Ulrika~

I think you're being a bit unfair to helpless animals. Animals are generally a lot nicer than people.

Julian likened us unto a bunch of feces flinging primates yesterday. Were you upset by that?

Actually, a better question would be, before we take this further, are you being genuine?
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Alexin Bismark
Annoying Bastard
Join date: 7 May 2004
Posts: 208
In answer to the question
09-25-2005 15:53
---Start Quote---
How would you feel about a proposed ban on hateful diatribes?

~Ulrika~
---End Quote---

1) On the scale of "hatefulness", I've read alot more "hateful" and "offensive" stuff on this forum over the years. But then perhaps I'm more offended by some things than others. Which is at least one reason its good that *I* don't have the Big Red [Censor/Delete/Ban] Button either. *wicked evil grin*


2) I would be against the ban you propose because I don't trust anyone else's judgement on what constitutes a "hateful diatribe" not to be used simply to slience people from criticizing them on the forum or expressing different opinions. We're all adults here, supposedly, so handling these posts we disagree with or take offense at should not be a problem for us. I accept the current Linden forum posting policies as a sufficient "lesser evil" for avoiding total Forum FlameFests(tm). I'm not interested in expanding that "lesser evil" to protect what is basically individual and subjective hurt feelings or offense at what someone else types on an internet forum. DoublePlusUngood that is.



Alexin
Gabrielle Assia
Mostly Ignorant
Join date: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 262
09-25-2005 15:57
From: Ulrika Zugzwang
In my life I have never been so criminal or hateful as to craft a forceful and bitter verbal attack that ascribes animal traits to a group of human beings. That two-page lesson in hatred is in a league all its own. Only Prokofy has posted worse.

~Ulrika~


And some might view THAT as a personal attack on Prok !?

And just clear out of the blue !

If TOS was going to be strictly held to, I'd say that deserves a reprimand
on first offense and a few days suspension on next, and so on.

However, I am on the side of free speech and so it doesn't bother me,
except for getting the feeling of a little hypocracy.

I've talked to Prok a little in-world and he seems to be a little
quirky here and there, but in general I like him and several of his
ideas (certainly not all).... but I first heard about him in the forums
from comments like this and as a newbie my FIRST impression was
avoid him at all costs. As I read more I learned we did have a few
ideas in common. All this determined during "verbal attacks"
against him. Finally, after a couple of long posts from him on
certain topics I contacted him about a like-minded idea.

I'm sure glad THOSE "verbal attacks" were not removed from
the forums or I'd have one less acquantance in SL... where I
got to learn a lot more about them here and would have
never met him in-world otherwise.

Gabrielle
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