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Subject: Thread locking in a community forum rss

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Matthew M
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dthurston wrote:
I think Alison Mandible explained well the barriers to continuation for me:
grasa_total wrote:
One of the problems, I think, is that asking people to restart a conversation from scratch is not too unlike the implicit demands on people's time that were one of the motivations for the creating the forum in the first place: "Hey, what do you mean prejudice exists? Prove it to me! Stop the discussion you're having and convince me homophobia is a real thing or else you're wrong." Except instead of saying "stop your advanced discussion and have a basic discussion for the benefit of someone who doesn't care about your advanced discussion anyway", it's "stop your advanced discussion and do it over". Not the same thing, but similar.


I see how restarting a discussion from scratch would be a barrier.

It isn't necessary to start from scratch, though. We don't need to pretend the previous discussion doesn't exist. A link back to the original for context and some quotes of main discussion points would effectively have a new thread start where the previous one left off.
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DragonsDream wrote:
Octavian wrote:
darker wrote:

That being said: I'd suggest that when weighing the harm done by any policy, context is important. And in particular, that a policy which effectively results in per-thread DOS attacks is an exceptionally poor match for any community which has historically been silenced and oppressed.


I agree. Normally I would not lock down a thread merely because some outside voices were jumping in with the aim of shit stirring. That would let the shit stirrers weaponize their disruptiveness.

What set this incident apart is that members of both threads were crossing over into the other, creating a feedback loop of antagonism.

If some person or contingent of people decides to try to use this as a strategy for shutting down a thread in the future they will be disappointed with the results.


but what prevents this from happening? if something problematic occurs in some forum, say a specific game, and this gets mentioned in a thread in RanbowBGG, it seems inevitable and perhaps even necessary that cross-pollination will occur
Well, for starters, the next time I see someone thread-jumping just to cause trouble, I'm calling that person out on it. Most of the time these things can be stopped merely by heading off the first offender, like snuffing out the match that causes the fire.

Pete (will probably be PMing Octavian for good measure)
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Octavian wrote:
DragonsDream wrote:

but what prevents this from happening? if something problematic occurs in some forum, say a specific game, and this gets mentioned in a thread in RanbowBGG, it seems inevitable and perhaps if necessary that cross-pollination will occur


Individual restraint and group accountability against engaging in people looking to start fights.

I am also serious about support for seeing a discussion in a thread that is locked for reasons unrelated to the original topic continuing in a new thread. I make this suggestion because I have seen it work in the past. However I have had a private discussion related to this situation where it was suggested that there are barriers to continuing a discussion in a new thread. I am interested in minimizing those barriers in whatever ways I can and invite suggestions on how to best do that.


I /really/ don't think that restraint and accountability are any sort of solution in a general sense. What you're saying is that you will do nothing to protect us from attacks, except shutting down our discussions when we dare to step up and try to defend ourselves.

It's an impartial solution to the specific "brigading" issue, because the core problem there is that you can go in to someone else's thread and if you troll hard enough and effectively enough, you can shut down that discussion. In other words, if you can do real emotional harm, then you're rewarded with the added benefit of silencing their discussion. That INCENTIVIZES the very behavior that moderation is intended to fight.

This also cuts both ways. From the perspective of the people in the Ask Sandy thread, we came in, "attacked" them, pissed some people off, and their discussion was effectively shut down. Scare quotes because calling out misogyny in its context is not an attack, but I have enough empathy to see that they're not going to be happy about how this happened either. The policy of locking threads and not deleting comments is one of mutually assured destruction, ensuring that you've pissed everybody off. The changes I'm proposing benefit everybody involved here.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Octavian wrote:
dthurston wrote:
I think Alison Mandible explained well the barriers to continuation for me:
grasa_total wrote:
One of the problems, I think, is that asking people to restart a conversation from scratch is not too unlike the implicit demands on people's time that were one of the motivations for the creating the forum in the first place: "Hey, what do you mean prejudice exists? Prove it to me! Stop the discussion you're having and convince me homophobia is a real thing or else you're wrong." Except instead of saying "stop your advanced discussion and have a basic discussion for the benefit of someone who doesn't care about your advanced discussion anyway", it's "stop your advanced discussion and do it over". Not the same thing, but similar.


I see how restarting a discussion from scratch would be a barrier.

It isn't necessary to start from scratch, though. We don't need to pretend the previous discussion doesn't exist. A link back to the original for context and some quotes of main discussion points would effectively have a new thread start where the previous one left off.
What about posting a link in the old (locked) thread pointing to the new thread? Perhaps with a message that you want the discussion to continue, stating what behavior you saw that caused you to lock the old thread, and an instruction that anyone who wants to continue the discussion can migrate to the new thread... provided that they leave behind whatever inappropriate behaviors that triggered the lock in the first place?
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C Bazler
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What I would like to ask Octavian is: how can our community legitimately discuss instances of language they consider bigoted or alienating on BGG without threads being shut down or drawing crowds of angry onlookers (who often use the same kinds of offensive language - note the guy who called Scooby a "pansy princess" in the Peterson forum)? Standard BGG moderation policy tells us to "flag and ignore" offensive comments, but that just buries the problem without trying to change site standards. Sometimes it's important to be able to point at and call out the behavior.

The problem is that people are accusing the RainbowBGG thread of being an "attack" on Sandy Peterson, whereas a lot of people in that forum considered Peterson's offensive words to be a different sort of attack, no less hostile than the critique directed towards Peterson himself. People rail against the "drama" caused by such threads without realizing that, for a lot of people who use this site, "drama" occurs all the time by the casual bigotry that is often allowed.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last time this will happen here. So how can we expect this to be addressed in the future? Just more of the same? Do you think it would help to have a dedicated thread for this topic, like "Gender-Alienating Language on BGG" with its own set of rules to prevent flare-ups? Maybe we should disallow citations of specific usernames in such discussions, to remove the perception that particular users are being singled out? Or maybe we could make a rule about cutting out foul language, personal attacks, accusations of "Political Correctness" or calls for people to "not be offended" etc. - ?

Or would it be possible to promote a forum regular who would be sympathetic to LGBT+ issues to moderate?
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Octavian wrote:
DragonsDream wrote:

but what prevents this from happening? if something problematic occurs in some forum, say a specific game, and this gets mentioned in a thread in RanbowBGG, it seems inevitable and perhaps if necessary that cross-pollination will occur


Individual restraint and group accountability against engaging in people looking to start fights.

I am also serious about support for seeing a discussion in a thread that is locked for reasons unrelated to the original topic continuing in a new thread. I make this suggestion because I have seen it work in the past. However I have had a private discussion related to this situation where it was suggested that there are barriers to continuing a discussion in a new thread. I am interested in minimizing those barriers in whatever ways I can and invite suggestions on how to best do that.


I've been thinking about this and it's very difficult to come up with viable solutions. The problem is that everything that I can come up with that would reduce that barrier also defeats the purpose of locking the thread in the first place, which is to break up a degenerate cycle of discussion and to reduce the visibility of the thread. If you elevate visibility to previous participants, the same people who came in to cause trouble will come right back. If you maintain context and the flow of discussion, then you're caught in the same loop. Any steps you take to reduce those barriers are just undoing what you did by locking the thread.

In other words, the most effective way to continue the topic in a new thread is simply not to lock the thread in the first place.

If you are /absolutely committed/ to the idea of locking and restarting threads instead of moderating them, the least-terrible solution I can come up with is for you officially generate a new thread linking to the old thread with the same subscriptions minus whoever you deemed to be disruptive. But that's a lot of work, and a lot of judgement calls on your part for who to auto-subscribe and who to excise, and it doesn't feel good at all for participants. It feels like running away and hiding, and it's a bandaid on a flawed system that does nothing to address the core problem.
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Octavian wrote:
DragonsDream wrote:

but what prevents this from happening? if something problematic occurs in some forum, say a specific game, and this gets mentioned in a thread in RanbowBGG, it seems inevitable and perhaps if necessary that cross-pollination will occur


Individual restraint and group accountability against engaging in people looking to start fights.

I am also serious about support for seeing a discussion in a thread that is locked for reasons unrelated to the original topic continuing in a new thread. I make this suggestion because I have seen it work in the past. However I have had a private discussion related to this situation where it was suggested that there are barriers to continuing a discussion in a new thread. I am interested in minimizing those barriers in whatever ways I can and invite suggestions on how to best do that.


I've been thinking about this and it's very difficult to come up with viable solutions. The problem is that everything that I can come up with that would reduce that barrier also defeats the purpose of locking the thread in the first place, which is to break up a degenerate cycle of discussion and to reduce the visibility of the thread. If you elevate visibility to previous participants, the same people who came in to cause trouble will come right back. If you maintain context and the flow of discussion, then you're caught in the same loop. Any steps you take to reduce those barriers are just undoing what you did by locking the thread.

In other words, the most effective way to continue the topic in a new thread is simply not to lock the thread in the first place.

If you are /absolutely committed/ to the idea of locking and restarting threads instead of moderating them, the least-terrible solution I can come up with is for you officially generate a new thread linking to the old thread with the same subscriptions minus whoever you deemed to be disruptive. But that's a lot of work, and a lot of judgement calls on your part for who to auto-subscribe and who to excise, and it doesn't feel good at all for participants. It feels like running away and hiding, and it's a bandaid on a flawed system that does nothing to address the core problem.


I think this misses one important part of the system. People that cause problems will be dealt with with temporary banning.

I realize that a part of this issue is that you think people are not being dealt with, or just continue their issues after a temp ban.

I personally was 24 hour banned for making a music quote that was taken out of context. The person I made the reference at knew what I was saying but others didn't. Other people Red X'ed me and I was banned soon after.

If a person is harassing others then they should be temp banned if they continue to cause issues they get permabanned. Which has happened a lot recently in the RSP forums.

Eventually we will weed out the bad guys.

I feel that a part of the issue is that BGG has grown exponentially in the last few years. I believe they have something over a million unique users a month. Just a few years ago that wasn't even close to the truth. Whereas it used to be a tighter knit group of people that really cared about their status on the GEEK. Now we have tons of people and it is a lot less tight knit. Which leads to more bad apples causing problems. Which needs more moderating ETC.

I think it great that people are speaking up and saying their is an issue. I hope that they can see that BGG cares about people and are at least trying to solve the problem without redoing the entire way they handle things.


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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Scare quotes because calling out misogyny in its context is not an attack, but I have enough empathy to see that they're not going to be happy about how this happened either.


My concern here would be to what degree the moderators decide to consider something 'misogynistic.' I read my girlfriend the comment and she stated it was 'poor taste' but she didn't find it offensive to all women.

Similar to how a user had an issue with a moderator saying 'deplorable' or Sandy himself in his goodbye post saying 'warriors.' There are so many keywords that would become troublesome without clear cut defined rules as to what's allowed. I mean even swear words are just moderated by the word 'excessive.' They have to leave the rules open to interpretation as they can't be prepared for every case that comes their way.

This has definitely sparked a discussion for how we can best talk about misogyny and such without trolls simply locking every thread. In my personal opinion the reports could have gotten Sandy a warning that 'the language you used was offensive to some users, can you please edit the post' vs an iron fist when someone simply says 'why do women opinions matter' or something insanely demeaning.

I mean if Sandy had even removed one sentence and reworked another I feel like the entire thing could change tones and be much more neutral / less charged.

Also I'm not sure the BGG limits but if a moderator could even promote a user of Rainbow so their flags or Red X's on other users become a priority that could work? That way they see them first and can remove them as needed if they truly are stifling discussion vs. a different viewpoint? Or at least be faster about the process, I'm not sure how many Red X's they get in an hour.
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Nyarthlotep wrote:
This has definitely sparked a discussion for how we can best talk about misogyny and such without trolls simply locking every thread. In my personal opinion the reports could have gotten Sandy a warning that 'the language you used was offensive to some users, can you please edit the post' vs an iron fist when someone simply says 'why do women opinions matter' or something insanely demeaning.

I mean if Sandy had even removed one sentence and reworked another I feel like the entire thing could change tones and be much more neutral / less charged.


I totally agree, but it bears reminding people that HE left the site, offended that other people were offended. If Peterson had simply said "I'm sorry, I didn't think about how this could come across to some people" and changed his post, most of his critics would have accepted that. If he had said "Screw you, what I said is not offensive" but decided not to leave BGG in a fit of rage, he might have received mild moderation and then moved on with his life.

But Sandy decided to become a martyr in opposition to "SJWs" and turned the whole thing into a crusade. I hate to break it to everyone, but Sandy is not a victim here. He chose his fate.
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Maybe it's not good enough to wait until a right number of red-Xes appear? Maybe we need a "live action troll hunting" thread to go along with the "live action spam hunting" thread?

Pete (theorizes)
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Octavian wrote:
What set this incident apart is that members of both threads were crossing over into the other, creating a feedback loop of antagonism.
Coming back to this post, I think in this particular case there is a case to be made for cross-over from the Rainbow BGGers thread to the Peterson thread. The Rainbow BGGers thread was bringing up a point of concern with a particular post, and I think it's reasonable that such a concern would eventually be brought up in the original context, or perhaps in a separate thread in that same forum. So I don't think that expecting no cross-over makes sense.

Indeed, I don't think the concern was ever clearly articulated outside of the Rainbow BGGers thread.
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plezercruz wrote:
Maybe it's not good enough to wait until a right number of red-Xes appear? Maybe we need a "live action troll hunting" thread to go along with the "live action spam hunting" thread?

Pete (theorizes)
Where's this spam hunting thread?

Spamming is a much clearer category than trolling, of course.
 
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Quote:
In other words, if you can do real emotional harm, then you're rewarded with the added benefit of silencing their discussion. That INCENTIVIZES the very behavior that moderation is intended to fight.


I agree, and have already stated previously in this thread that if people attempt that that they would be disappointed with the outcome as the thread would not be locked and the instigators would be sanctioned.

I feel it is important to reiterate that locking a thread due to outsider shit stirring is not the typical response and will not be the typical response. The thread locking that took place yesterday was due to the unusual circumstances that lead up to it and my sense that things were generally headed towards someplace worse and required an immediate stop.

That last bit is obviously a judgment call, and perhaps my judgment was wrong in this case. But either way, it should not be seen as how things will generally be handled.

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dthurston wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
Maybe it's not good enough to wait until a right number of red-Xes appear? Maybe we need a "live action troll hunting" thread to go along with the "live action spam hunting" thread?

Pete (theorizes)
Where's this spam hunting thread?

Spamming is a much clearer category than trolling, of course.


The Naughty List

Pete (is a regular there, too)
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cbazler wrote:

I totally agree, but it bears reminding people that HE left the site, offended that other people were offended.


That is not why he left. He left because of the accusations and labels thrown at him, including suggestions to damage and hurt his business. Not to mention personal attacks about his religion.

I'm not going to defend his initial post because I found it in bad taste, but I do not think that the response was thrown his way was warranted. I guess if you want to say, he deserved it because he's a misogynist, that's a position to take, but I do not think hate begetting more hate is appropriate.

I am not at all trying to downplay the issues that were raised in the Rainbow BGG forum and the unique challenges there, because I do not have the same experiences that you do. I do think there are issues regarding implicit and, unfortunately still in this day and age, explicit bias, that we do not have to accept. But not accepting does not necessarily allow personal attacks, labels, and disparaging in my eyes (from any side).

Edit - Also to be clear, I do think Sandy should have posted some kind of apology rather than just leaving BGG. But I can understand, given the amount of personal negativity aimed at him (and understandably at the things that he said) why he chose to do so.
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Matthew M
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Thunkd wrote:
What about posting a link in the old (locked) thread pointing to the new thread? Perhaps with a message that you want the discussion to continue, stating what behavior you saw that caused you to lock the old thread, and an instruction that anyone who wants to continue the discussion can migrate to the new thread... provided that they leave behind whatever inappropriate behaviors that triggered the lock in the first place?


Yes...I would absolutely do that. This would also help people subscribed to the original find the new thread.
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reddish22 wrote:
cbazler wrote:

I totally agree, but it bears reminding people that HE left the site, offended that other people were offended.


That is not why he left. He left because of the accusations and labels thrown at him, including suggestions to damage and hurt his business. Not to mention personal attacks about his religion.

I'm not going to defend his initial post because I found it in bad taste, but I do not think that the response was thrown his way was warranted. I guess if you want to say, he deserved it because he's a misogynist, that's a position to take, but I do not think hate begetting more hate is appropriate.

I am not at all trying to downplay the issues that were raised in the Rainbow BGG forum and the unique challenges there, because I do not have the same experiences that you do. I do think there are issues regarding implicit and, unfortunately still in this day and age, explicit bias, that we do not have to accept. But not accepting does not necessarily allow personal attacks, labels, and disparaging in my eyes (from any side).

Edit - Also to be clear, I do think Sandy should have posted some kind of apology rather than just leaving BGG. But I can understand, given the amount of personal negativity aimed at him (and understandably at the things that he said) why he chose to do so.

his religion was mentioned but not attacked. in fact, people who were on the "he's sexist" side made a point to not disparage his religion. Let's be clear, he had had previous run ins with moderation and he left now because he was called out for something he wrote.
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Matthew M
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cbazler wrote:
What I would like to ask Octavian is: how can our community legitimately discuss instances of language they consider bigoted or alienating on BGG without threads being shut down or drawing crowds of angry onlookers


There is nothing inherent about such discussions that would lead to their being locked. Any disruptive voices can be moderated individually. As long as participants in the thread resist being derailed there is no reason the thread shouldn't continue as normal.

Quote:
(who often use the same kinds of offensive language - note the guy who called Scooby a "pansy princess" in the Peterson forum)?


That user has been banned from the site.

Quote:
Standard BGG moderation policy tells us to "flag and ignore" offensive comments, but that just buries the problem without trying to change site standards. Sometimes it's important to be able to point at and call out the behavior.


Engaging offensive comments in a constructive way is not easy for a lot of people, so the policy is written with that in mind. In my experience, both from watching people interact in these forums and from personal experience as a member of forums myself, it can be hard to resist the temptation to fight fire with fire when confronted with something offensive.

I welcome having offensive voices countered in a constructive way, that avoids falling into the trap of responding in kind and getting dragged down with the original offender. I would not moderate someone who does so.

Quote:
Or would it be possible to promote a forum regular who would be sympathetic to LGBT+ issues to moderate?


My guess is you did not mean to imply that I am not sympathetic to LGBTQ+ issues, but rather you are suggesting adding someone more specifically versed in/attuned to those issues - yes?
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DragonsDream wrote:
reddish22 wrote:
cbazler wrote:

I totally agree, but it bears reminding people that HE left the site, offended that other people were offended.


That is not why he left. He left because of the accusations and labels thrown at him, including suggestions to damage and hurt his business. Not to mention personal attacks about his religion.

I'm not going to defend his initial post because I found it in bad taste, but I do not think that the response was thrown his way was warranted. I guess if you want to say, he deserved it because he's a misogynist, that's a position to take, but I do not think hate begetting more hate is appropriate.

I am not at all trying to downplay the issues that were raised in the Rainbow BGG forum and the unique challenges there, because I do not have the same experiences that you do. I do think there are issues regarding implicit and, unfortunately still in this day and age, explicit bias, that we do not have to accept. But not accepting does not necessarily allow personal attacks, labels, and disparaging in my eyes (from any side).

Edit - Also to be clear, I do think Sandy should have posted some kind of apology rather than just leaving BGG. But I can understand, given the amount of personal negativity aimed at him (and understandably at the things that he said) why he chose to do so.

his religion was mentioned but not attacked. in fact, people who were on the "he's sexist" side made a point to not disparage his religion. Let's be clear, he had had previous run ins with moderation and he left now because he was called out for something he wrote.


It was not mentioned in a positive light, if that's what you're getting at. I don't see how you can read that particular post to do anything other than implying all members of that faith are bigoted.

I'm not supporting his decision to leave nor the words he wrote initially, but that does not mean that I have to automatically support some of the responses to him personally.
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I think maybe it's worth mentioning the distinction between talking about problematic acts ("That's a pretty sexist joke") and saying that a person is irredeemably bigoted ("You're a damn sexist"). As Jay Smooth explains, the former is much more productive than the latter.

I know from experience that this is really hard to stick to, but worth keeping in mind. This is also true even if you do actually think a person is irredeemably bigoted.

This is not news to most of the regular participants in the Rainbow BGGers forum, but is less well known more broadly.
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Octavian wrote:
cbazler wrote:
Or would it be possible to promote a forum regular who would be sympathetic to LGBT+ issues to moderate?


My guess is you did not mean to imply that I am not sympathetic to LGBTQ+ issues, but rather you are suggesting adding someone more specifically versed in/attuned to those issues - yes?


Yes, and more specifically, someone who was not necessarily affiliated with "BGG management."

From what I've observed (despite the claims of some people in this thread), I feel BGG is for the most part a very LGBT-friendly business, but one that also has a substantial interest in catering to the needs (and wallets) of a diverse body of people, including religious conservatives and others who may not be LGBT-friendly at all.

It is in BGG's financial interest to appear "neutral" regarding politics, while appearing "tolerant" towards all kinds of views. So, from my perspective, it was great you guys made an LGBT+ forum, but disappointing when that forum was quickly hidden from the front page after an outpouring of criticism. It's nice that BGG allows discussions of LGBT-issues to occur, but is frustrating when such threads are closed after pressure from non-LGBT people (who, for instance, complain about "political" discussions taking place on a board game site).

A user-moderator in the community forum would take pressure off of BGG admins from having to feel accountable to the rest of the site. The moderator would ideally not only be more receptive/understanding of LGBT issues, but would also be more informed about the needs of the community itself. Of course, if you or Aldie think the user-moderator is abusing or misusing their powers, you could always step in and intervene.
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cbazler wrote:
... it was great you guys made an LGBT+ forum, but disappointing when that forum was quickly hidden from the front page after an outpouring of criticism. ...
Is the Rainbow BGGers forum hidden from the front page in some way I'm not aware of? Which forums can show up in the top "Forums" box?

Rainbow BGGers do show up in the "Community" box on the front page, a little bit farther down.
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dthurston wrote:
I think maybe it's worth mentioning the distinction between talking about problematic acts ("That's a pretty sexist joke") and saying that a person is irredeemably bigoted ("You're a damn sexist").


This is an excellent point. I feel this also relates to the issue brought up earlier (previously in the context of moderation/justice) about how the way something appears is as important as the actual effect of that thing.

If a criticism about something I have said comes off to me as an attack against my identity then it is going to put me in a defensive place from the start, which is a much harder starting point to overcome if the goal is to reach a place of understanding.

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C Bazler
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Bronx
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dthurston wrote:
cbazler wrote:
... it was great you guys made an LGBT+ forum, but disappointing when that forum was quickly hidden from the front page after an outpouring of criticism. ...
Is the Rainbow BGGers forum hidden from the front page in some way I'm not aware of? Which forums can show up in the top "Forums" box?

Rainbow BGGers do show up in the "Community" box on the front page, a little bit farther down.


Sorry, I meant to say "Gaming Forums on the front page," where W&G is located.
 
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Dennis McCarthy
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DragonsDream wrote:

his religion was mentioned but not attacked. in fact, people who were on the "he's sexist" side made a point to not disparage his religion. Let's be clear, he had had previous run ins with moderation and he left now because he was called out for something he wrote.


I have to disagree with part of your statement. It did feel like a lot of bile was loaded behind the statement:
Quote:
OH WAIT, it's this guy. He's in his 60s and Mormon.


Something like that said about someone being part of any other minority group would be considered offensive. I think an edit / apology for this phrasing was in order and would have defused some of the situation.
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