Oooo-kay... so what the hey went on here?

First off, up-front, front and foremost, 100% transparency: this is about the now-locked thread “Is Charlie Hebdo racist?”. I know I will not garner any love by opening a thread about something that was locked, but in fact I just got home, saw this thread, saw some of the posts, and quite frankly I don’t give a damn about what Charlie Hebdo is or isn’t, but it seriously rubs me the response this got here.

First post: The opening gambit, brought on because - apparently - someone else does have this declaration in their signature and it irked the OPoster who thought it merited discussion.

Second post: a warning that this discussion would come to no good, which was made fun on on the fourth post.

Fifth post: the first to try and tackle the question, who insulted the OP by asking it in the first place and attacking him, as far as I can see, completely out of left field.

Sixth post: a good, reasonable post about the topic at hand (finally!).

Then namekusejin got in and things got hairy because he was being himself (and seriously, either ban him or deal with him, he behaved pretty much as he always does, and if you don’t want to go in his direction you can ignore his posts). Then a mod comes in and says the conversation sparked various reports.

I find that quite interesting, because the conversation is horribly sparse. Everyone involved seems to know what they’re talking about; I didn’t and I would have quite enjoyed the discussion which is quite current and was actually triggered, apparently, by a concern the OP had over a signature of another forum member. Except that the whole thing was shotgunned at the start, and apparently tons of people got highly offended by I-have-no-idea-what. Most of the discussion, right at the start, involved “let’s not talk about this” or “you just want us to tell you you’re 100% right and correct”.


Having a CoC is one thing. Wanting a nice place to discuss things - off-topic as they may be, as this IS the off-topic board - is one thing. Being civil and respectful and not wanting trash in your back yard is one thing.

This was something else. And it scares me. Well, no, not really, it doesn’t scare me because there are other places to talk about things, but is this what IntFiction has become? Everything’s roses as long as no one touches upon a number of forbidden subjects, lest they be shot down instantly?

I wonder how many people will just look at this thread, completely overlook the concern, and just conclude I’m a troublemaker. I wonder how many people will report this. I wonder.

If someone has concerns about the signature of a forum member, it’s appropriate to either a) take it up privately with that forum member, or b) report it.

Starting a thread to pick a public fight with someone is not cool. Most of the replies were unconstructive at best. Multiple people reported to ask for mod intervention (which is the appropriate way to handle a situation like that, per the CoC).

If someone had started a “Hey, what’s your opinion on Charlie Hebdo?” thread out of the blue, that would have been another situation entirely, and I see no reason why it couldn’t have been discussed, as long as the discussion stayed civil. But that wasn’t the situation here, and the thread was going downhill fast.

it got hairy because of me?! I didn’t even notice the thread was in need of a hairdo…

I was banned for a week for stating my opinions in non-conforming ™ ways… perhaps next time it’ll be a month and then whole-life so there can finally be peace and mindless, conforming cheerleading among the users of a site that wrongly calls itself a forum… and wrongly about IF

waiting for yet another MP telling me this is a violation of conduct for conforming netcitizens

Is the CoC a means for the mods to lock any thread they dislike on the grounds that it breaches the CoC because of vaguely specified reasons?

If there was any reason to lock that thread, it was because of namekuseijin - or Pudlo mark 2 as I tend to think of him these days - so wouldn’t it have been fairer to simply lock him from the threads and let the adults have their own discussion?

you didn’t like the rape victim metaphor that Victor suggested and I expanded upon, David? The magazine made satire after satire of a most sensible group, one which has proven times and times again that it’s ready to kill infidels. I didn’t mean it’s right to kill infidels or that freedom of press should be suppressed. Just that they (CH) had it coming.

what is wrong in CoC terms with that opinion to close threads?

I just couldn’t believe anyone would be so egotistical and full-of-himself to swoop in and decide what we peasants can and can not discuss in the off-topic section, even when it is fully within the CoC. If a Charlie Hebdoe thread makes you uncomfortable or if you think we idiots can’t handle it, here’s a thought: don’t effing read it.

In case you really do not understand what went on there, let me try to explain it. When you point out that Charlie Hebdo ‘had it coming’, you could mean that in one of several ways. First, completely literally; they had it coming because, in fact, it came. That point is too obvious to make, so it can’t be what you mean. Second, you could mean it purely objectively, in terms of rational prior expectations: given that Charlie Hebdo was in situation X, the probability of result Y appearing was larger than 50%. Given that they repeatedly published satirical cartoons about Islam, it was to be expected that they would be murdered. That point is very probably false, and if you wanted to make it, you would have had to present at least some rough estimates of the number of people who publish such cartoons and the number of murders that ensue. You did not do this, and so this cannot have been your point either (or at least nobody will have understood it to be your point, and that is, in the end, more important than your subjective intention).

So what does it mean in these circumstances to say that someone “had it coming”? What it means, what absolutely everybody is going to read it as meaning, is that these people were at least to some extent responsible for and complicit in whatever it was that came. In other words, it is the claim that the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were complicit in their own murder, that they share some part of its guilt. That is a terribly offensive statement. It was coupled to the – also implicit but very non-ambiguous – claim that people who flirt and run around half-naked share some part of the guilt when they are raped.

They do not. People get offended when you suggest that they do. In fact, my own post in that thread pointed out that it would be offensive to make such a suggestion. And yet you come along in that thread and make exactly this – highly contentious and in no way factual – suggestion, while at the same time claiming that you are just stating the facts. I do not think that it is terribly surprising that people are less than happy with that. And I also think it is pretty clear how to avoid that in the future, without, I might add, having your right to free speech violated too much. (There is of course no right to say whatever you want on any particular website, but we can ignore that.)

Marshal, I do not think anything will be gained by calling other people “egotistical” and “full-of-themselves”, even if some posts i that thread might certainly – and much more fruitfully – have struck a more friendly tone. (I agree with you on that.) But the way to react to that is, of course, by being friendly ourselves. :smiley: (All the emoticons on this forum make me feel like an idiot, but sometimes you need one. :wink: Actually, the winking one is the only one that is half-way acceptable. I mean, what kind of idiot is this: :smiley: ?)

Our moderator has explained that a major factor in deciding to close the thread was that it was started as an attack on somebody’s signature, and that the minor factor was that people were placing some rather non-constructive posts. Both of those appear very true. So I don’t think we need to have a discussion of whether or not discussing Charlie Hebdo is within the CoC: nobody has suggested that it is not.

just to clear up: I wasn’t thinking about a girl clad in bikini flirting at a beach and then being raped. More in the lines of that Jodie Foster movie, where she goes up a bar, have a few drinks, gets licentious with men in the bar and then afterwards claims to have been raped or led to it.

yeah, in that case I I believe they share part of the guilt in their own rape/murder. You know, it’s not because people are murdered that all of a sudden they become saints or something, that they don’t have faults, that they didn’t have it coming indeed. They may very well be suicidal. It doesn’t make it less rape or less murder.

I know nothing of Charlie Hebdo to suggest that he was a douchebag or something, but he no doubt turned into a martyr of freedom of speech.

what is ironic is that that freedom of speech doesn’t seem to apply when we suggest an opinion such as the one I’m stating. Seems like he died in vain.

The thing is, some people just like to complain about everything. They see a subject crop up that someone out there might possibly conceivably in a million years be offended about and they pounce on it and demand that the subject be banned. Look at the fuss kicked up because the white actor Benedict Cumberbatch used the word “coloured” in an interview (apparently the PC brigade have now decided this is racist - the mind boggles) for an example of how ridiculous this gets at times. Funny how you get many black rappers using the N word time and again and no one bats an eyelid.

I’m sure if that was the case then that would have been done. But it wasn’t concern over a signature - it was concern over a matter in which one side of the issue was very strongly and publicly going in a direction which left the OP concerned about the issue, prompting him to discuss it.

Or, to put it another way and using this very thread as a comparison - if I had problems about the way it was handled, I’d have PM’d you, who locked the thread. My problem is with the way it all spiralled down from the first, and to do that I don’t address you directly, I instead create a new post and address the people who contributed to that discussion.

See, that’s the thing. I got no impression at all, in any way, that that’s what was being done. Certainly someone people behaved as though it was. And since you have the modpowers, and you saw it that way, and others saw it that way, you locked it, and preserved it in that state of being forever.

So what is left for those of us who didn’t see a public fight at all? While all those reports are invisibly piling up?

Screw the CoC. Ok, that’s that out of the way. This is not about the CoC, it’s about being sensible in posting. Which I agree - most people weren’t. And I’m sorry to say but the first unconstructive reply was by Zarf - you start a reply saying “We really shouldn’t go this way because we’re too immature” won’t lead to anything good. I grudgingly accept that he turned out to be right - and that’s the real problem, one that no CoC and no amount of locking will solve… and apparently, one that is supported by the mods. That’s the overall view from where I’m sitting.

I wonder how many sensible people even had time to read the thread and reply to it sensibly before it got locked. We’ll never know. Multiple time-zones here.

So the problem was, first and foremost, the title of the thread. A more sanitized title would have been more appropriate. Well, I can’t speak about that, because I happen to think renaming Ten Little N------ to And Then There Were None was one of the stupidest things ever done, so I’m obviously the wrong person for that discussion.

You do have a way of swopping in with powerfully offensive one-liners. When you’re given the chance to justify them you do a much better job at explaining your point, as you just did in this thread (my agreement or disagreement is beside the point). Might be something you could think about, it’ll make your interactions smoother and you own point will come across clearer. As it is, things were fragile enough and then you introduced “rape” as a concept without fully explaining what you mean… yeah, it got things pretty hairy.

As you see, you gave Victor a chance to address your point meaningfully - and he did! And you replied in the same vein! Surely that’s a much better way to conduct a discussion? :slight_smile:


that Sherlock Cumberbitch

coloured people have an inate right to colors that discoloured people don’t

deal with it

(and David), I think the thing about that word is that it has been used for centuries as part of a vicious system of oppression of black people, so that the very use of the n-word can be a nasty reminder of the awful stuff that black people face and still face. Here’s a good video on it; one of the key points is when she says “People get to decide how to talk about themselves,” which I think implicitly means that people don’t get to decide how to talk about other people the same way. (I mean, of course you can decide how to talk about other people however you want, but in turn other people can criticize you for the way you talk about other people.)

, in particular I’m disappointed that you just decided to drop that word in the middle of your post as though it’s a word that you won and it’s appropriate for you to make decisions about whether it’s going to show up in the thread–especially because there were plenty of ways for you to make your point, about how averse you are to judging language offensive, without using that word. I realize that you were trying to make a point against the very claim I’m making here! But of course I disagree with that point, and I think that using the word to make a point about how you object to people who don’t want you to use the word would be a bit like swearing in the middle of a discussion about whether swear words were appropriate for the board–you’re not letting the other side even have its voice heard before forcing the issue. (Except that the use of swear words is much milder than the use of that word.) I would rather that this not be a place where people can expect to visit and see vicious racial slurs. It’s a bad look for the forum and the community.

I do admit to being surprised by your post. I did not believe in my post, in my context, there would be any way in which that word could be read as being used offensively. And indeed you illustrate my point remarkably - I am against that very sort of thing. However, I have no wish to be hurtful, and having it been pointed out that the word - even in that context - was, I shall ammend it.

I have now banned namekuseijin for ongoing violations of the Code of Conduct. Please continue this thread without making rape jokes or casually dropping in sexist or racist slurs.

Peter, thank you for amending your post.

Yes, thank you, Peter.

It would seem to me that off-topic should still be within the confines of IF, but doesn’t fit into any of the BB major topics.

Discussions outside of IF probably belong somewhere else.


The board description would disagree.

I don’t understand how referencing And Then There Were None’s previous title would be offensive, no more than how quoting Huck Finn or Invisible Man would be offensive. What is there for anyone to “win” in this context to earn the right to quote a document? You could even take it a step further. And Then There Were None, Huck Finn, and Invisible Man are not themselves racist, but if you were to quote an actual racist document, then being accurate with your quotation still wouldn’t automatically make your own speech racist. It just means you’re not sanitizing history (in this case, specifically literature). You’re looking it in the face and acknowledging the facts. Being able to soberly do such a thing is really essential when you’re having a conversation like this.

I understand why someone might not want to see a racist slur posted on the forum. I personally try my best to always keep my language pretty clean on every forum I visit. But when you’re having an intellectual discussion, then the situation changes, and it becomes a little absurd to say “N-word” or “n-----” rather than just spelling out the real word. Your readers know what word you mean. You’ve still communicated the full word despite superficially censoring it. But no harm is being done because everyone knows that you’re analyzing it as a word, not using it as a slur. For that same reason, everyone should be able to handle seeing it spelled out; it’s already spelled out in everyone’s heads anyway.

That said, I haven’t spelled it out in my own post because I know this community does have specific guidelines, and censorship has been requested in this thread. Most people around here seem well spoken and mature. That’s why I don’t quite get the censorship. This seems like a community that would have no problem with straightforward dialogue when the speaker’s intentions are well meant.

I fully agree. Regardless, it remains that the mere mention of the word is disagreeable. Censoring it seems a small concession for board peace.

Which is quite unlike the reason I started this thread in the first place. I’m ok with censoring distasteful words, but not with pre-emptively shooting down a discussion because of the subject matter.