Expectations for Activism and War and Politics posting - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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As a result of this thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...s=&forumid=220
let's talk about this a bit.

Feel free to post your opinions on the subject here but let's keep it respectful and general. This is not about a specific person but a general discussion about what we think should be accepted and allowed and what should not.

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#2 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 09:15 AM
 
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Well.. I think we have to draw a line between free speech and hate speech.
I know it is sometimes a blurry line.

But I just do not think MDC should be a place that tolerates hate speech.

To begin with:

Calling for the destruction of any particular group of people.. calling for the banning or conversion or removal of any particular group of people..

Blatant name calling or attacks on a particular group of people ie: "barbarians, sinners, animals, mongrels etc etc etc..."

That's where I would start anyway.

And personally.. I would like a statement SOMEWHERE that
MDC stands against "isms."
and a separate forum for hashing out and discussing "isms" in a respectful way.

And.. while I am not generally one for wholesale "banning" of members.. I do believe that if a pattern emerges where any member is continuing to engage in hate speech in a provacative manner.. after being warned..
They need to be out of the forum.
Because their right to say hateful things does NOT supercede the rights of others to have safe space where they will not be victims of hate speech.
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#3 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 09:51 AM
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If MDC is going to ban hate speech, will that include the tone of posts concerning the current administration. There have many post that are blatanly hateful in that area.
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#4 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:04 AM
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Admin note: post removed for inappropriateness.

Take your personal issue to PM. Express your points and opinions without making it personal. ~Cynthia
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#5 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:16 AM
 
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#6 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:16 AM
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That's not hate speech by law, SQ. It isn't 'tone' either as speech is speech.

I'd like to see a ban (b/c there isn't free speech at MDC and I'm glad) on posts that incite racial hatred and division. I really wish it were permissible to give a specific example here because this all might sound vague. I do believe that there has been a pattern of what Asherah described (as a member or members posting hate speech against a racial, ethnic, religious group) and that has been very detrimental to both Activism forums.

I don't see how such things (without giving an example) could be tolerated here at MDC.
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#7 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:21 AM
 
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Admin note: Post removed. Same reason
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#8 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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A clarification here since my opening post seems to not clearly convey my intentions.

This discussion is NOT about an individual. If your issue is with a single person please take that to PM with her and if you feel the need to express it to me, then to me as well. But DO NOT post addressing your words in criticism of a specific member in this thread. Let's talk in general here. Please.

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#9 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:29 AM
 
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Sorry, Cynthia.

I guess I cannot say it without putting into some kind of context.

But speech that villifies entire religions, ethnicities should not be used. Speech that incites verbal violence should not be used.

If a person feels personally attacked by speech, (s)he should be welcomed to make that clear. And as a group, with me right in the middle, wee should work harder to foster an atmosphere of empathy. If we're gentle parents, and we care about our world's future, this should be at the center, yes?

OK then. Deep breath.

I *hate* that my post was deleted. I'm sorry I failed to meet specs with it. Most sincerely.
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#10 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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It's difficult to keep the actual point in focus with a particular incident and persons in mind.

I can return your post if you want to edit.

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#11 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:33 AM
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Protest against an administration should not be likened to speech that incites hatred and violence against a group of people. I, too, think hate speech - outright and veiled - should be banned.
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#12 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 10:38 AM
 
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With all due respect, sq, I think hate speech is not a "hateful tone" toward an individual, but content that may be interpreted as liable to incite or express hatred against a group.

Like, if I say that Bush is a chimp or that MIchael Jackson is a spider or that Bill Clinton is a dinosaur, I express my personal opinion ~ I might even be able to explain why I think so (example: Bush might like bananas or I may think he has similarly expressive lips and hairy arms)

If I address a group, though, it might well be hate speech. LIke, if I say that Christians are bigots, or that Catholics want to take over the world because I know a Catholic who has told me that "go forth and multiply" is a very important sentence for many Catholics, or that Texans are idiots, or that Republicans are monkeys, it would be hate speech. Esp if I weren't able to show that I used the comparison in a metaphorical sense (like, if Republicans are known to like swinging in trees and eat bananas, the monkey metaphor might be apt. The other three examples here would likely be hate speech)


So saying that Bush is a chimp is not hate speech. But saying that Christians should be jailed because they want to conquer the world no matter how many innocents they have to kill, is.

other than that, ita asherah's first post
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#13 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 11:26 AM
 
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I have a question, If I were to say a world leader who represented a certain group was evil or that (s)he was a chimp or something, would you see that as hate speech? I am not sure if what i am trying to say is comming out or not. But what if I said the Dhali Lama was an idiot, a murderer, or that other such stuff. Would that be hate speech, or because it is addressing only that one person by name even though he represents a group is not hate speech?
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#14 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 11:33 AM
 
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Not hate speech (though certainly not nice)

Hate speech= All Tibetans who follow the Dalai Lama are barbarians who deserve to be converted or stomped out by the Chinese.

(Forgive me. Just trying to answer the question. That made me feel nauseated.)
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#15 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 12:41 PM
 
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I think that

1. Hateful tone and hate speech are two different things.

I see very subtle disdain come from those whom I have often seen lament "hateful tone", so no one here is perfectly conscientious in their level of respectfulness of expressin in posts.

To point a finger at another, is to point three more back at self.

We are ALL human.

To me:

Tone of any kind, can be real or perceived. It's self-expression and just because it is displeasing, that does not mean that it is meant as a threat. Often tone is indicated unintentionally through imprecise wording. NOT everyone expresses things precisely.

Some posts are full of passion. We don't see one another and so....frequent assumption is made as to tone...I see it every day. Assumption is ALWAYS convenient and lazy in my opinion.

I fall short all the time.

In contrast, I think Hate Speech represents a threat or incites acting out on a range of acceptability/unacceptability toward others of a specific group. To refer to the president or any authority figure as chimp may be a way of simply releasing frustration about policies or actions, but doesn't incite anything...if anything the neglected insult is the one to chimps...GW can speak for himself and if the Secret Service felt such was a threat...well, many of us would have met some interesting experiences long since. Get real.

And a hateful tone is likely to come from imperfect me when confronted with my perception of a (even if unconscious on the part of a discussion participant) baiting (seeming or actually knowingly expressing a contrary view to get a rise) attitude, condescension (talking down to the poor stupid ____ you fill in the blank) based on what feels like self-righteousness or self-righteous indignation (both indicate insecurity and immaturity), unwillingness to concede that facts are indeed facts, or just plain insult couched in a smoke screen of sweet words. And that is all very subjective...just as "hateful tone" is.

Do all of us folks realize how we come across? Well the reactions to posts that take a "hateful tone" should perhaps as we all should, try reading from the other point of view and see how our posts sound. It's astonishing what can be learned when actually putting forth the effort to do this.

I have CERTAINLY been frustrated enough to respond in a less than polite or even a downright angry manner after reading a whole string of posts in what feels a very condescending tone...or feels judgemental or self-righteous in tone...I think those tones are hateful in their own way, no matter who posts that way...but again, does the poster see this? If it is pointed out about your post, then take a look and change it if you honestly see what the other is saying.

But the secret to all this is: TO USE THE IGNORE BUTTON, if you know it's the stuff to trigger the worst response, or if you feel the urge to rise to bait, or don't want to feed the attitude coming at you...and that goes for anyone.

If is personal, then take it to privacy.

Sometimes I just don't bother to promote or try to project my view when I see it is useless to do so. In many instances, you won't change anyone's mind no matter how incredulous you find it that humans actually can think that those others do. Accept it. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and walk away instead of crying foul, and simply understand that human nature being what it is, sensitivities in a tense time being what they are, if you are in rather a minority, you may get flamed for what you express or you might just not bother as I don't always bother. Sometimes I have PMd someone I wanted to share something with that I know would get me flamed and I don't want to ruffle feathers...I do that alot. Sometimes waiting till a less tense time or choosing words less inflammatory, can be wise...and that goes for all. If you can't or don't want to then be prepared to take what you get, and don't say you weren't warned.

Sheesh. We'd all like to be right. We all view our facts as facts. We all want to have the right to speak out. If we want that right, we also have to remember that not everyone will agree. And we also need to get that sometimes disagreement is uncomfortable and may be perceived as attack.

Use IGNORE and PM to your fullest advantage and save alot of flamage.

WE also are better than the classic "piling on" tendency, but we are also very human, mothers, and will protect what we feel is crucial or in danger. Sorry if that upsets anyone, but I am being very honest here, and as objective as I can.

We all love our country and want everyone to be safe, sheltered, fed, clothed and all that; we differ in how that best comes about.

We all want to be natural parents, we each see how to be natural somewhat differently and it doesn't ruffle our feathers much, but when it comes to politics and war, well, get used to playing rough...the politicians themselves play plenty rough, so how can discussion and discourse not get edgy or even downright impolite? We diverge as to our feelings about this war...some of us have dh's or dd's or ds's or others who are in it and those folks' feelings diverge as much as anyone else's...how can we not get edgy and down right mamma bearish on all sides? IF you ask that of others prepare to ask it of yourself.

I say, that you either have to get used to playing with the big girls/boys- because we have some kick ass researchers who prove their points quite well- or don't play; or at least don't be calling foul every time when your point is weak and it gets blown out of the water factually.

I have participated in some really really competitive political debate sites (and practiced enough to hold my own where not everyone was going to be supportive or agreeable or nice about it) where if you don't provide adequate documentation, well, you will be reemed for it and there is no taking prisoners...I know how it feels to be new at that, to want to express opinion and be challenged to back it up...people are pretty brutal...but politics as I have said, is NOT polite among any of the parties or philosophies. I have learned alot by sticking with it and taking some lumps and humiliation and also by making a strong point and having it stick because I bothered to back it up with some good documentation. My advice is to practice and not take things too personally- very hard to do and you won't always be successful...and if you do get personal, admit that you did and don't cry about it when others do also. OR take it to PM.

If you are used to feeling right all the time...well you better shelter yourself...in politics and war, though most try to be at least minimally civil about things, there will be moments when it ain't pretty.

Some also say they are thick-skinned and yet, do alot of bellyaching...what can you do? I just don't see how getting bogged down in semantics and words will solve problems or meet challenges here.

I also think that as much as some accuse others of hatred, they must also look in the mirror.

History will bear out and prove who was right or wrong, righteous or weak. NOT you or me.

We are all just people trying to cope with a mess. Some await something to happen that others call a fairy tale. I can't just sit back, and wait for God to do it all for me, or figure that if I believe a certain way, it will be fine for me but ok for others to suffer because they are not as good, as righteous, as whatever as I am.

The only suffering that happens is when we think we are better, special or different, because really we are all in this together and it will take, not waiting for predicted (and let me say that all cultures have their prophecies; there is no corner on that either) miraculous interventions, or blinking out into eternity, but the thought that we are EACh responsible for what happens TODAY.

I don't know what will be. And those who are sure, must also remember that only a fool is positive of outcomes.

So take from this whatever serves and please, instead of flaming the rest, just discard it from your mental files. I dont' believe I have harmed anyone here in my post.

If you have issue with me, take it to PM...or don't bother. Either way is fine.

Thanks for listening.

I actually think this whole thread is about a false issue and a distraction from what really needs our energy. But that is only my silly opinion.

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#16 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 12:47 PM
 
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And so how does this translate into reality for the forum?

If there is a complaint about hate speech, should the mods just advice us to put the poster on ignore?

I understand what you are trying to say about "hateful TONE..." (I think)

But I am not sure how that applies to the question at hand, which is dealing with hate SPEECH and "isms" in this forum.
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#17 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 12:49 PM
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Good question, Asherah. I sincerely hope the answer isn't 'use ignore' when hate 'SPEECH' (important to emphasize, ita) happens.

Edited to add: the other problem with 'Use Ignore' and 'Take it to PM' is one will not receive the PMs from the Ignore listed person.
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#18 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 12:54 PM
 
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I actually would love to see less intervention in that forum, as so many times it seems that by removing a thread to 'prevent' a discussion that could become heated, it only postpones it to be rehashed in other ways in other threads. I'm not talking about hateful talk here, just regular debate.
Also, in the case of individuals whose opinions are in the minority, they know when what they say will get them flamed, so why do they need to be protected form that? Personal attacks are not acceptable of course, but we all know what we're doing and if it's to hot, we can get out of the kitchen.
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#19 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 12:58 PM
 
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Excellent post, Joyce...it wasn't there yet when I posted mine.
ITA.
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#20 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 01:07 PM
 
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Well, I have maybe a slightly less personalized take at the moment. I have posted daily for the last 18 months on another website for single mothers that I love dearly. However, there is no forum for politics at all and any time I or anyone attempts to discuss anything remotely political, the thread typically gets shut down and a lot of the members whine and complain that the board should not be a place to discuss politics... which genuinely baffles me. As parents in general, and especially as single mothers (many of which on this particular board are low income) we should be seriously thinking, talking, and learning about political and social issues. So, I have to say that I have been THRILLED to have a forum to discuss politics with other mommies.

Interestingly enough, I put "defintion of hate speach" into a search engine. No agency or group in the United States that I have come up with so far has been able to clearly define the term "hate speach" because any descritption of it violates our freedom of speach. The US refused to sign on to an International Treaty banning internet hate speach because they felt it violated free speach. I realize this web site is not required to uphold free speach here and I understand why it would be almost impossible to do so while simultaneously having such a great, overall loving and supportive community.

I do see that this MDC is a forum from a magazine that promotes peace, natural living, gentle discipline and attachment parenting and that if a member consistently posts with an opposing philosophy, it would make sense to ask them to leave. There are plenty of websites out there that they can find one that supports their view points. Aside from that, I think censorship here should be kept to an absolute minimum. I don't like a lot of the view points expressed, but I know a lot of people don't like mine. I don't want any of my posts deleted or to be banned based strictly on someone not liking my view point.

One last thought: I stay away from the strings where I know my only purpose in coming would be to be oppositional to folks who will not be interested. Like a "conservative moms roll call". Out of RESPECT for everyone's rights to their opinions, I'm not going to barge in on that thread (just an example) and start spouting my liberal view points. I do see other posters here that seem to pop into posts with no other intention than stirring up a heated and personalized debate. I know that's inpossible to control or really have much of a rule about, but I just wanted to point that out.
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#21 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 01:29 PM
 
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I didn't post to say ignore everyone, sheesh- sorry if it seemed that simplistic.

But real hate speech, we have all seen and some of us have actually heard directed at us. WE know it when we see/hear it.

I do think pointing out and calling out real hate speech, meant to incite and inflame, is important, but must be done in a rational, same across the board manner and immediately.

Frankly, MDC is SO BIG I don't know how the mods will be expected to deal with all this. I think the better part of valor is self-control and I think that PMing gives the extra moment of thought to expression of personal discomfort toward another's words...and can be useful. Ignore gives relief till one can take a breath and a step back from one person, find the shared humanity, and interact with that person again- IF they can do so. Both options should be used more in my opinion. Ignore certainly can stop feeding some baiting behaviors.

Other possibilities or answers?

MDC could CERTAINLY shut down the war and politics forum...but stuff would leak into Activism and other places so that is probably not going to be practical.

Should all ______s stay talking within their own tribal area to talk freely, and others in theirs to avoid any interaction that might bring on instances of actual hate speech or hateful tone?

I dont' know. I dont' think there is any ONE answer here, and a combo of things may be necessary.

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#22 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 01:38 PM
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It IS okay to say you hate the Bush administration. It is okay to say you hated the Clinton one, or the possibility of a Kerry one. Not exactly evolved or conducive to friendly banter, but it's not a hate crime to be pissed off at your government, at least in the U.S.

It is NOT OKAY to imply that all people of a certain religion hate us, or are bad.

That is just hurtful.

I can't believe it happened here, especially considering that certain very important and powerful members of the board happen to live in a Muslim country and to my knowledge are even Muslim. It just really shocked me.

Totally hurtful.
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#23 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 01:44 PM
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I don't understand why, if the admin can handle personal comments, it can't handle blatant attacks on a certain religion, Joyce. Why would the forum have to be shut down?

In my eyes one single attack on an entire people should result in a major time out, and the second, a banning for that person.
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#24 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 02:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by pie


I can't believe it happened here, especially considering that certain very important and powerful members of the board happen to live in a Muslim country and to my knowledge are even Muslim. It just really shocked me.

Totally hurtful.
All that was said in the thread in question was that 'Islam is militant', and offending links were removed. If Muslims on the board feel this is attacking them, isn't it up to them to decide when such discussions go to far? I don't know, but maybe in some contexts they might appreciate an opportunity to explain why this is now a common mispeception in America, and their own point of view on the matter. Not discussing it doesn't make it go away...case in point the racism thread of recent memory. That was really enlightening for a lot of people, even though some denied that racism was a problem etc. Is it better NOT to have such discussions? And that wasn't even in W+P!
Also, what does it matter if 'powerful' members of the board live in a Muslim country or are Muslim? What if un-powerful members are Muslim? Would that be better? Should power dictate anything?


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#25 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 02:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snowy Owl
Also, what does it matter if 'powerful' members of the board live in a Muslim country or are Muslim? What if un-powerful members are Muslim? Would that be better? Should power dictate anything?


No, it should not. It is completely irrelevant in light of the 'weight' of the post in general as each member's voice at MDC is as important as the next ... regardless of religious beliefs or any other life choice.

However, I think it really brings to light one 'side' to this - and that is that we have a tendency to, in love, want to protect those that we care about within a community. In that 'protectiveness' (for lack of a better word), we can easily get riled on behalf of another and it can (and does) effect our subsequents posts.
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#26 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 02:35 PM
 
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pie...

I never said Politics/War SHOULD be, but pointed out when pressed for an answer, that it COULD certainly be shut down, but then, was there ALWAYS a politics/war board?.

I thought it had been shut down for a while before. Until relatively recently, I only remember all these discussions generally taking place in Activism. Am I mistaken?

I also pointed out why shutting down War/Politics wouldn't work. Didn't I?

For the record: I am NOT for closing the Politics/War forum.

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#27 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 04:14 PM
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Hi Joyce, I didn't think you advised to 'ignore everyone', fwiw. I just wanted to point out that the advice is often to 'use ignore' AND 'take it to PM' and by definition, those mutually exclude one another.

So if we are encouraged to work things out via PM then we shouldn't put anyone on ignore since they might PM us! That's all I meant.
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#28 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 05:01 PM
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while I agree that all that was said was, "Islam is militant," ultimately, in the context of that conversation, more was said. I know we aren't to focus on one person here, so I won't quote.

And of course it shouldn't matter what religion or nationality the mods and admin of this board might be. But there ARE muslim posters on this board, and I hardly think they want to destroy me for being white. I guess that was my ultimate point.

And despite arguments and disagreements I've had with the people who run this board, I love this board, and them, and it makes me mad to see anyone generalize about them. I can't help it.

Also, I am unsure, but isn't the rule still no name calling? Re George Bush, I was asked to edit a post long ago for calling him an idiot or something. I am fine with finding more intelligent ways to discuss my distaste for him and I think everyone would be, in order to keep that board running more smoothly.

The war and politics board is by far the best and most open discussion to be found anywhere on modern issues. I hate to see it tainted by hate.
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#29 of 37 Old 04-23-2004, 05:02 PM
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oh and joyce, I wanted to say, your idea to use the ignore feature for some of the more baiting posters is a great one!
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#30 of 37 Old 04-24-2004, 02:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by HeatherSanders
However, I think it really brings to light one 'side' to this - and that is that we have a tendency to, in love, want to protect those that we care about within a community. In that 'protectiveness' (for lack of a better word), we can easily get riled on behalf of another and it can (and does) effect our subsequents posts.
This is where I see a double edged sword.

We had an article in our local paper recently, about how the current generation of children growing up, are the "coddled kids", about how by the ridiculous lengths to which people have gone to make things safe, that kids don't learn, that risks are sometimes positive. All the school attention to PC language, simple covers up real issues that need to be hashed out.

I would rather know the reality of a person, not a plastic exterior, which is conformed by a set of rules. You might also be preventing valuable thought fodder from panning out, as the thread proceeds.

And if a person feels "attacked" then we can support the attacked person by questioning the attacker. Asking the person to explain themselves. You never know, you might be responsible for changing their minds.

But if you put a lid on to prevent important discussions like the ones being considered here, then you are condemning those people to retain their prejudices, because there is no avenue for prejudice to be exposed.

What this really comes down to is self sensorship. I know that some have no sense of self-censorship, and that is why there has to be a user agreement.

While I am prepared to give my opinion of the USA administration, because I see its effects in this country every day, and read the newspapers, I am not prepared to make any statements as to, for instance, whether bin Laden represents main-stream Islam. I don't see how I can make a judgement on, or explain something that I have not accepted as a personal faith.

I would give an opinion as to whether or not Pat R represents me. He doesn't. And I might try to refocus a discussion that has gone AWOL. I know in what I believe, because I believe it, and know it, and therefore can explain it.

BUT it is up to the muslims on this board, to answer those sorts of question, for only they know what the truth is.

To the question of whether we should "protect" those Muslims, or prevent hate-speech, I will answer this in a personal way.

I do not want to be "protected" by any of my friends on this board. The world can be a nasty spiteful place, and it is up to me to read and know what the world things, and to formulate my ethics and morals, and then defend myself and my positions. And support my firends if need be. I believe that these discussions are a positive way to think outside the square, and better appreciate one another.

I think the better word is "support". If one of our friends is, say, under attack, then we can support the friend, by making the attacker explain their thinking. And to foster both understanding and tolerance. We can't have apractical opportunity to foster that, if there is nothing controversial said or debated.

If they won't explain, then its pretty plain that they aren't worth listening to. If they will, then that is a positive outcome.

I wouldn't like the function of the activism/politics board to be to stifle debate by hedging language and creating PC plastic faces, or protecting members. For to do that would result in a board that might resemble Nineteen eighty-four (George Orwell) where everything is so totally PC it becomes saccharin.

We can support one another well enough. I don't think any of the muslims on here feel unsupported actually.

But there is another point too, and that is that nasty though these issues are, to actually face them, and resolve them will also help us as mothers. These issues are bound to arise, with our children as time goes by.

Biffos like this, are important food for thought. And if we as parents can feel free to resolve them on the board, then just maybe we will also have better skills to help our children think through these issues in a rational way.

To put more rules in place specifically to cater for this situation, might actually be doing everyone here a disservice. The greatest learning can actually happen in the nastiest, most adversarial situations.

On a final personal note, I never use ignore, because I don't believe that there is an opinion I should not read. If there is something that upsets or shocks me, that is good, since that is the real world, and I need to get a handle on those things in order to make better decisions in the future. It helps me develop self-control and rational thought. That isn't an opportunity for me to tell the person they shouldn't have said whatever they said.

That is the basis of the philosophy of free speech.

We defend the right to say anything.

That way, there is far more chance of changing both attitudes and thoughts in a positive way.

“I want to sell drugs to everyone. I want to sell drugs to healthy people. I want drugs to sell like chewing gum.” former Merck CEO, Henry Gadsden

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