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So, I heard there was a lot of people banned today for criticizing the site, and attacking certain controversial opinions that are tolerated around here.
I understand why the moderation would want to let these opinions go uncensored, and I agree—in the sense that they should be allowed only so that they can be criticized and shouted down. The way people typically participate in OTC there's barely any difference between criticizing an argument and criticizing the person who made it anyway. If TV Tropes is dedicated to tolerating all opinions, then opinions critical of other opinions must be allowed to go uncensored.
Fast Eddie, you have said that you just wanted a place for friends to hang out. When I joined the TV Tropes forum in 2009 I really enjoyed the place because I felt that the posters were intelligent and I learned a lot about how to be a better person from them. People were friendly, and in general I did not feel that tropers condoned views that harmed me, my friends, and people in general. Yes, it was a "hugbox", but it was better than what the forum is now. When the site tolerates posts with homophobic, transphobic, racist, misogynist, rape apologist, or pro-pedophilia content, people do not feel safe and do not feel that the forum is friendly. If someone posts (for example) a sexist opinion and I am not allowed to tell them they are a sexist prick, I do not feel safe or that I am in a friendly environment.
To be honest, I have been reluctant to participate in constructive discussion because I was afraid of thumpings and bannings. Why is it that posts criticizing the way the site is run (harmless opinions) are censored while posts with harmful content are not? Why are people banned just for being goons? This is inconsistent even by the "we won't be the Thought Police" standard. Fast Eddie, this tells me that you want to be friends with people who harm my friends and me, and do not want to be friends with me.
It should be that either 1) TV Tropes practices true freedom of thought and speech and no one is censored, be they goon or KNJ fan, or 2) TV Tropes lives up to its "don't be a dick" policy and does not tolerate homophobic, transphobic, racist, misogynist, rape apologist, or pro-pedophilia content at all. Because frankly, those things are dickish.
This post may be hypocritical, coming from me. I've said some stupid and horrible things in the past. But I can confidently say that I am better informed now, and am trying to do better. To anyone reading this, sorry for the times I have posted ignorant and harmful things.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:14:44 PM by melloncollie
I think this is probably some of the more intelligent criticism I've heard of this site in a long time.
In any case, I would like to amend that the standard appeal system (make alt account, post in ban appeal thread) should still apply here. It's possible to not be a sexist/racist/whatever and still come off as one by accident and that should be taken into account.
I'll be honest, I've lost a lot of faith in this place over time, but I do want to be clear that I completely appreciate the work that is still put into it by every troper and that is up to and including Fast Eddie himself. I, and I don't think anyone, mean to criticize the man directly. Personally, I understand he funds the place out of his own pocket and that he also has an active life off the internet.
I don't expect concessions to be made, and I don't expect current decisions to be reversed, but I think that a good step in the right direction would be a crowner to draw up a list of things that we do not want discussed here. Because it's abundantly clear that some topics always or nearly always end poorly, and this is a website and as such, freedom of speech is just not as important as a friendly, safe atmosphere.
We often claim to be different than the rest of the internet, and it is time to enforce that before it is too late. Fuck other people calling us a hugbox or unable to take criticism or whatever. I want the site I remember back, and I know for a fact that a lot of other people do too. Will it all be peachy keen all the time? Absolutely not, but we shouldn't expect that. We should however, expect an atmosphere devoid of the noxiousness that a lot of us joined to escape. Yes, that will entail banning some people, and I'm not going to name names because that would just be rude, but I trust the administration's judgment. I just think we've been veering offcourse for the past several months, and I'd like to go back on course.
Consider this a pledge of support to Melloncollie and to the "Fix Tvtropes" movement in general. I know I've been harsh on them, and I apologize for it.
* I would also like to clarify something. Regarding my stance on paedophilia; it remains that there is nothing morally wrong with it simply because I don't believe in morals. But I would not mind pro-paedophilia content being banned in the slightest. I put this here because I know some of my arguments have been interpreted as "defending lolicons" in the past, and they should not be taken that way and aren't meant to be taken that way.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:17:40 PM by BlixtySlycat
To be clear, the people who were banned today (from the policy discussion thread anyway) were banned for being deliberate trolls. We aren't stupid. When a horde of new accounts starts showing up and making posts designed to make the moderation look bad, it's not an accident and it is not a bunch of "well meaning" tropers who were "too afraid" to express themselves on their main accounts. As I said, we are not idiots.
Further, we are indeed reviewing our policy regarding offensive material and have begun deleting certain threads in Anime and Manga. We need help from you guys because we can't identify the threads by name alone. About the only hentai I know about is Urotsukidoji. It's all Japanese to me... literally.
As for the rest, please report stuff that's objectionable. We will never ban you or otherwise take action against someone who hollers a post in good faith.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:18:55 PM by Fighteer
No one here is defending Yeah Bro or his six million alt accounts (or his friends, or whatever they were), I don't think anyone is going to.
I'm not even defending Anne, personally. As I pointed out in my post, I simply think that Melloncollie raises a good point.
As for the rest, please report stuff that's objectionable. We will never ban you or otherwise take action against someone who hollers a post in good faith.
This is not about just lolicon or hentai. Note the menagerie of things Melloncollie listed in the OP.
Lolicon only covers part of that last one. The others are still big problems but the issue is defining what counts as those things, and what does not.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:22:45 PM by BlixtySlycat
I have yet to see evidence that the fears it raises are valid. All I hear is "complain and you get banned", but I have never, ever, banned someone for raising a valid issue and I know for a fact that nobody else has.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:25:47 PM by Fighteer
Fighteer, with all due respect, that is not what the OP, or what my post, are about at all. They're about things that get tolerated on this site that we and others don't think should be tolerated here. And initially weren't tolerated here, I feel they've crept in over time without anyone really realizing (I recall an old adage about a toad and boiling water).
I can go dig for examples if you'd like, but I don't want to be thumped for being rude to the posters who posted the original posts (so many usages of the word post in this post, gah). So I want a guarantee that I wouldn't be, as this would require linking to specific posts, and yes, naming names.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:25:13 PM by BlixtySlycat
No, I want to see this. Telling us about a bad thing is not breaking any rules and never has been. What I want to know is why these things weren't hollered.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:26:44 PM by Fighteer
Very well then. This will take some time as I'm going to be looking mostly at random.
As a very quick example I'll refer you to Steventheman's behavior in this thread, for most of the first page, he is posting something that I'd consider pretty inflammatory. He advocates nuking a country, for one thing.
I did holler it (in fact, I think I hollered that exact post) the day it was posted, and no action was taken.
Am I wrong? I feel that advocating nuclear war, especially in the very inflammatory way it's framed there, certainly should merit at least a thump.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:30:09 PM by BlixtySlycat
Something for the concerned.
A step in the right direction, but it still only covers one issue of many.
See, that's where I think we cross the line between someone being hateful and just having an opinion. Heck, I know I've thought sometimes that nuking violently intransigent countries just might solve certain problems. I don't really mean it, but the thought is there. I don't see how him posting that caused anyone else to feel like they were being shamed or hurt or made less of.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:32:43 PM by Fighteer
Well, I am not aware of people getting away with all that crap in the list. Doesn't mean they haven't been, just means it has been happening out of my sight and the sight of moderators. These things have to be hollered.
On the pedo thing: I thought we'd made it very, very clear that pedos are not welcome and that pedophilia is not funny or 'okay' in any way. Anything said by anyone at any time contrary to that position is not welcome here. Or on the planet, really, but we'll look after this little bit of the place.
Also, rape is not cool, and we are not interested in stories about why your sheep are nervous.
Accusations that we tolerate these things is ludicrous. If you think you have evidence of it being tolerated ... why in the world didn't you bring it up earlier? Why keep it a secret? Just hit that holler button and sing out.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:34:28 PM by FastEddie
Any Argentinian or someone of Argentinian-descent who might've been reading that thread perhaps?
My main point is that yes, it's an opinion, and there's no such thing as a "wrong" opinion, but there are some things that are generally offensive enough that I don't think they're acceptable to say and that is one.
You're of course free to disagree, but that would imply that one guy's right to declare his virulent love of nukes and war is more important than several other people's right to not hear him say that.
I'll go dig more.
Paedophilia itself certainly isn't welcome here, but we have an entire thread currently running in OTC that features an argument between pro and anti-paedophilia sides. So either it's still an acceptable thing to discuss, or the moderation has somehow not noticed an entire thread, which I find difficult to believe.
Furthermore, Melloncollie isn't talking about sharing rape fantasies, she's talking about rape apologists, which is something quite different (ever heard the "she was asking to be raped because she was wearing provocative clothing" argument? That, but under many layers of psychobabble).
On a last note, I feel it is very important to state that I at least am not accusing you or anyone of actively tolerating such things. But, it's difficult for us to holler someone when we don't know what counts as supporting paedophilia, rape, and so forth. They seem clear-cut, but they're not. Point is, if people don't think something "counts" they're not going to holler on a subconscious level. We need a very clear line.
I'd also like your opinion on whether or not the linked post is an acceptable post to make.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:44:00 PM by BlixtySlycat
Re 8: Yeah, that looks like hyperbole to me, too.
edited 20th Dec '11 9:09:00 PM by FastEddie
Didn't realize Eddie lived in New Zealand now.
Honestly, I'd agree with Fighteer and Eddie except that that's from OTC, where everyone is in "Assumed Serious Unless Otherwise Noted" mode and the troper in question repeated his statement several times after that. Even so, I'd go, "That's nice, dear." in my head and ignore the post, but as seen, it disturbs other people more than it does me.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:42:49 PM by Parable
Here's my piece on this:
I find that the whole problem here is a matter of submission and tolerance. We should not, ever ban subjects of discussion. We should tread them lightly, yes, even have a moderator on close watch (But not doing the fatalistic "Mod Hat + YOU'RE ALL WARNED" thing, which tends to be more of an omen than a thread title or a stupid OP ever are)
What we should do is start reevaluating our policies on what is a dick. Or what is dickish and what is not. And how we punish this behaviour.
Now, this may just be me, but I sincerely believe that people should be able to speak up and complain. But, and here's the kicker, be civilized about it. One of the things I've noticed is that many of the people who complain about the problems here tend to be overtly snide and holier than thou. Myself included. Hell even I, at times, have lost my shit and started to just try and be as mordant as possible. We're all subject to our feelings and we all make mistakes. Eddie does them too, as he has proven today, not with the bannings, but with what I feel is a wrong call in calling someone's opinion worthless based on a rather weak base of argument.
Now, here's a thought experiment I want you, any reader, to perform. I want you to imagine, what if someone came in to your room, office or whatever right now and started to tell you what is wrong, step by step with you. Imagine if said person tried to do it in the most cruel way they can muster. Insults, and so on. And I want you to be completely honest with yourself when you answer the next question: "Would you listen?"
That's the problem at hand. I'm not saying that everyone who criticizes the site has been someone who has gone out of his way to be hurtful, but a lot of the people who have come in to do so, have done it with the intention of rubbing in how superior they are for realizing that this, like many, if not all the sites in the internet, is a flawed one.
So, I beg of the past, present and future people who criticize the site, who feel like saying what they believe of the site, to follow Melloncollie's example here and show a degree of civility. Being right is not a free coupon to being mordant and a dick. Even if you think I'm wrong, then do it for the sake of people listening to you. After all, that's why you post and that's why you decide to speak up in the first place. Not to be ignored.
That on the side of the poster
On the side of Administration:
I feel that the administration is problematic. I've gone over why many times by now. I feel that they forgive things that should not be forgiven in a misguided attempt at a free forum where everyone speak up and silence the opinions that matter in an attempt at a peaceful forum.
This has caused an atmosphere of almost fear in the air, where engaging in talk with most moderators is scary because you feel that at any moment they might decide that your post is being dickish. Hell, I remember a while back being thumped because I called someone who I hold in high regard, mockingly, a weeaboo in a thread that is constantly frequented by moderation. I feel that that exemplifies exactly what I find wrong with the moderation these days. They resort to deletion and thumping immediately as if this was the magic solution to things when it's not.
In fact, this touches upon on something that I feel that both sides have engaged a lot and it's on intimidation and attacking in the name of a discussion. Discussion should not be about moderators putting on their modhats and deleting everypost they're replying to. How are we supposed to follow a conversation if they do this, anyway? However, discussion should not be about trying to be as biting and hurtful as possibly as you can.
This, on one side. Another big problem I find with the current administration is how...close minded it can be at times. Appealing things takes effort and time that I feel are excessive, and it's almost always a big struggle that ends up in nothing. Arguing with Eddie has been, in my past experience, a pain and a hazard, because the man himself is not willing to listen to his opposition and just uses his administrational powers to shut them down.
At the core of this all, there is a paradox. I feel that TV Tropes is, or wants to be, two places. Whether it is a free forum where people can discuss and speak up their minds without problems or persecutions or a forum where Eddie's friends hang out. The problem is that it can't be both. It is now up to administration to decide: Who are we gonna be?
I guess that's all I have to say. I don't think there's anything I'm interested on discussing, and frankly, I'm expecting this post to not be read by morning or to have an edit tag by a moderator. I dunno. And I don't care. All I know is that this is what I think about this. You can skip it, or you can read it. And I hope this post helps towards dealing with these problems.
I've conscripted two friends of mine to help me dig through OTC, this should take less time now. Hopefully, anyway.
(In case you're wondering why I'm focusing on that subforum, it's just in my experience where the most volatile discussions tend to be. That may or may not be objectively true, but it's easier to focus on one forum)
Let me point out in partial response to the above that the complete removal of posters from threads is specifically for the ones identified as deliberate trolls. Believe me, they exist and were swarming over the ban policy thread. Nothing is lost that anyone needs to be concerned with.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:54:29 PM by Fighteer
I agree with Juan, nobody, Mod or poster, should be hostile or afraid of the other. We also need to figure out what is Holler-worthy, because asking people to not be afraid of abusing the Holler system apparently isn't working (assuming we were saying that to begin with, but if we weren't disregard this sentence).
OTC has proven to be more of a hassle for a variety of reasons that we're all somewhat aware of.
Not to say that the other subforums and areas are not faulty, but the problems there seem to be less due to their non-serious discussion intentions.
In that instance, this is indeed true. But from what I've seen, I've seen plenty of unjustified thumps and deletions for the sake of avoiding "drama" as we label it somewhat immaturely, imo.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:56:29 PM by juancarlos
You're correct about OTC being the most volatile, as it's where most sensitive or highly divisive topics are discussed.
edited 20th Dec '11 8:56:12 PM by culex2
Here is an example of one of the rape apologists that Melloncollie referred to. That's in the middle of a conversation, but he's trying to justify what's pretty clearly a rape, and I question why this wasn't thumped (I'll grant that I don't know if this was reported or not, but it's still glaring).
edited 20th Dec '11 8:58:37 PM by BlixtySlycat
Really, OTC suffers from what every politics/science/real-life-focused forum suffers from: endless back-and-forthing, the occasional extremist or two, and an apparent lack of sensibility. That doesn't excuse what's the matter with OTC, but I wouldn't say it's exclusive to this site.
I should point out that if we intend to improve in any shape or form, thinking in terms of what the rest of the internet does or does not should not be a priority. Thinking like civilized people with brains and a minimum of morals will.
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