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John Stern
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hi:
i saw a racism joke which is not appropriate. it is contrary to "be nice" rule in javaranch. so it should be removed.
Thanks,
[ February 11, 2004: Message edited by: John Steve ]
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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The offending words have been removed.
 
John Stern
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thanks for the quick response!
[ February 11, 2004: Message edited by: John Steve ]
 
Don Stadler
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Isn't this going a little overboard? Into the realm of the politially correct?
[ February 11, 2004: Message edited by: Don Stadler ]
 
Max Habibi
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It's in the realm of "be nice", and that's a nice place to me. If it had been me, I would have deleted the entire post.
M
 
Jason Menard
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John Steve,
Please view your Private Messages.
 
Don Stadler
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Mandatory niceness. Ve haff vays of makink you nice!
I'm beating a dead mule I know, but I think a lot more of King Log is called for on this forum. Particularly in MD.
A little thought experiment for you quick-trigger edit artists. Would Mark Twain have been acceptable fare for Javaranch? Specifically Huckleberry Finn?
[ February 11, 2004: Message edited by: Don Stadler ]
 
Max Habibi
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Hi Don,
While I'm a big Twain fan(ever reads Letters from Earth) the fact of the matter is that JavaRanch is a private site, and as such, there are certain behavioral niceties that are required of quests. You are not required to adhere to these in your day to day life, but you are if you're going to hang out @ the 'Ranch.
Let's take another look. Say you're having a swell soiree at your immensely popular (and private) residence, with free beer and fun for all, but one quests violates your house rules and/or offends another quest. Worse, say a guest complains about said behavior. How would you handle it?
I actually liked ME's joke, and I appreciated his subtle point. However, not removing a racist joke from a 'be nice' site, especially when the poster is a moderator, would be a double standard, IMO.
M
 
Michael Ernest
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My bias notwithstanding, the rule "be nice" seems general enough to allow for political correction of posts, although I disagree with this interpretation of it and the doors it may open.
EFH's editing did, however, bring about a more interesting discussion than I expected. My original objection was to show that, shock words aside, the two jokes had the same intent. The only difference, at least in my mind, were the words used to convey them. If there is a good side to EFH's judgment here in my view, it's that several people noted the point I wanted to make and didn't get hung up on "bad words."
The other guideline we use is not to allow statements that suggest anyone here is less than perfect. One could take an expansive view of that rule, and use it to delete the original UN joke, I think, with approving or disapproving responses depending on the crowd. I don't like that idea at all. If I did, I would have deleted the topic myself. Instead, I remembered out loud a joke that this one reminded me of, and thought it would be worthwhile to say, a la Joe Pluta, "everyone seems to think it's ok to say joke X. No one thinks joke Y is a good idea. What's the difference? Word choice? Really?"
So I suppose in a way I'm commenting on the rules of the house. My fear has been, ever since the moderators started talking about "be nice," is that it was so expansive that it might easily turn into "don't be controversial." I think that would be a shame, but the results of the current litmus test are in. Interpret them as you will.
Certainly that topic illustrated that moderators don't agree on what "being nice" means. It does not, for me, boil down to a list of foribdden words. Well, I'm sure the community here might allow, "The word [some utterance] is hateful and should never be used" in order to heap approval on the sentiment. But frankly, I'm disappointed that we need to express in such forceful terms what I would have hoped was evident to the vast majority of us. Hate sucks.
But hate, ladies and gentleman, ain't in the words. It's in the heart.
 
Max Habibi
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Are you implying that we, as a democratic society, need to be more open to discussions that involve some suspect words? If so, then I agree with.
OTOH, if you're saying that we, as JavaRanch, can't have rules such as 'check your suspect words and your guns at the door?'? If so, I disagree.
M
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
Are you implying that we, as a democratic society, need to be more open to discussions that involve some suspect words? If so, then I agree with.
OTOH, if you're saying that we, as JavaRanch, can't have rules such as 'check your suspect words and your guns at the door?'? If so, I disagree.

On the first question: Well, that would suit me. But it's a tough thing. Here's a f'rinstance:
When I was in high school, there was some talk of creating a White Students Union that was attacked with no small amount of vigor by a lot of people I knew. Initially, I saw it as a rather juvenile response to the Black Student Union we already had on campus. This was Larkspur, California, after all, in Marin County. You could count the number of black students we had pretty fast.
What I wasn't as aware of, at the time, were the overtones of racial supremacy that many of my schoolmates heard in the idea. And not only did they want no part of it, they wanted no one else to have such an organization either. What I was really curious about was whether the people who wanted permission to meet on campus were even aware of the issues that formed the objection. Did they have any clue? But it was all shouting, so nothing ever got discussed. The whole thing was shut down solely on the grounds of being controversial. It was one of the first days I got to see 'liberalism' in a manner no less prejudicial, unthinking, and as bent on using (rhetorical) force as the conservative political types they so freely complained about.
To the people who didn't hear or think 'Nazi' or 'Aryan' or whatever else in the proposal for a White Students Union, the only education they ever received on the matter was polarized and dogmatic. It demanded that everyone take sides for no other reason than deciding who you could from now on talk to and who you couldn't.
So yeah, I'd say we all could use a place or places where we're not preaching on racial tolerance or bigotry, or really not preaching at all. We need a place or places where people can get the whole scoop, what it's all about, why some people are completely charged on the issues. Does this allow someone to speak of Naziism or Communism as if it might be "ok?" Well I suppose the failure to judge swiftly and decisively on polarizing issues does allow for that. If someone doesn't immediately say "the Nazis were a sick, twisted military killing machine," or "we know Communism, besides being evil, doesn't work because the Soviet Union fell," there's always the chance that someone might ask, what did they want? what were they after? But on certain points like that you're likely to run into one too many people who cannot in their own conscience allow that discussion. Everyone first must acknowledge that they are talking about a Bad Thing. Everyone knows it's bad, right? Show of hands? Ok. Fine. Now that we all know it's bad, you can all ask me some questions about it. Any questions about the Bad Thing?"
So, on that point I'd simply like to say: where and when do we get to speak and act like adults? Why is it so daring for any one of us to speak out on these things? Why does it take, for example, a special kind of comedian to get to it, like Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, or shows like Seinfeld or The Simpsons? Does no one else have the credentials, dispensation, or sheer wherewithal to broach these subjects?
Seriously: who would have thought you could make a joke about making out during Schindler's List? Seinfeld did that. It was such a brilliant device I think some people simply forgot to be upset.
Ok, hopefully my response to the first question is in all of that somewhere: yes.
Now, on to the second question: Do I think JavaRanch is supposed be that place? No, I don't. That said, I can't say I thought those certain words I invoked, brought up in a context intended to create discussion, would be intrinsically offensive. I stand corrected on that point. Saddened a little, but corrected on that point. Ain't no thang.
[ February 11, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
Jeroen Wenting
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The same thing is going on again now in the US...
Some white students somewhere want to create a white student union somewhere because there's nowhere for white students to go to.
Asians have an Asian-only society, blacks have theirs, so do Chinese (aren't those Asians?).
But if you even suggest something that's for Caucasian people in general you're branded a Nazi (and usually by hardcore members of those ethnic minorities who'd refuse you entry into their societies even as a guest to a member because you have the wrong colour skin)...
 
Don Stadler
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:

While I'm a big Twain fan(ever reads Letters from Earth) the fact of the matter is that JavaRanch is a private site, and as such, there are certain behavioral niceties that are required of quests. You are not required to adhere to these in your day to day life, but you are if you're going to hang out @ the 'Ranch.

Hi, Max. I appreciate your points. I hope that you appreciate mine.
I've been hanging out at the Ranch for quite some time (under nom de plumes) and I think I can fairly say that I have violated the 'be nice' rules once only (under extreme circumstances which I won't go into). I certainly have never posted anything as edgy as either joke on that thread. As a personal code of behavior 'be nice' works for me. I very much dislike the censorship aspects of what I've been seeing on Javaranch lately. It seems to me that carrying tales to the moderators violates the 'be nice' directive almost as much as the original post did. Perhaps we need another rule, such as 'be tolerant'?
Originally posted by Max Habibi:

Let's take another look. Say you're having a swell soiree at your immensely popular (and private) residence, with free beer and fun for all, but one quests violates your house rules and/or offends another quest. Worse, say a guest complains about said behavior. How would you handle it?
I actually liked ME's joke, and I appreciated his subtle point. However, not removing a racist joke from a 'be nice' site, especially when the poster is a moderator, would be a double standard, IMO.

I'm not sure. I suppose it would depend upon the individuals & circumstances involved, but I'd be inclined to send the offending one home in a cab and tell him to sleep it off. If the offense was a slight one I might ask the complainant to exercise a bit more tolerance and judgement in future. I cultivate a deaf ear in such cases.
Double standard? No doubt about that, it would have been. The moderation has been tightening up on Javaranch lately and the 'neutering' of that post was not the most extreme action I've seen taken. Relatively gentle in fact. But Michael had a real point and made it in as careful a way as possible it seemed to me.
 
Don Stadler
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So I suppose in a way I'm commenting on the rules of the house. My fear has been, ever since the moderators started talking about "be nice," is that it was so expansive that it might easily turn into "don't be controversial." I think that would be a shame, but the results of the current litmus test are in. Interpret them as you will.

I noticed this morning that the 'offending' thread has been removed without comment.
I think you have made Michael's point for him.....
[ February 12, 2004: Message edited by: Don Stadler ]
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

On the first question: Well, that would suit me. But it's a tough thing. Here's a f'rinstance:
When I was in high school, there was some talk of creating a White Students Union that was attacked with no small amount of vigor by a lot of people I knew. Initially, I saw it as a rather juvenile response to the Black Student Union we already had on campus. This was Larkspur, California, after all, in Marin County. You could count the number of black students we had pretty fast.
What I wasn't as aware of, at the time, were the overtones of racial supremacy that many of my schoolmates heard in the idea. And not only did they want no part of it, they wanted no one else to have such an organization either. What I was really curious about was whether the people who wanted permission to meet on campus were even aware of the issues that formed the objection. Did they have any clue? But it was all shouting, so nothing ever got discussed. The whole thing was shut down solely on the grounds of being controversial. It was one of the first days I got to see 'liberalism' in a manner no less prejudicial, unthinking, and as bent on using (rhetorical) force as the conservative political types they so freely complained about.

I agree, and I would argue that such an approach isn't really about liberalism: it's about protecting your own. If you're fostering a democratic environment, then 'ugly' ideas need to be discussed, and judged on their own merit.
f'rinstance(stolen), I'm not against the white power arguments because I'm a compassionate person. I'm against the white power argument because I'm a rational person, and the ideas don't hold water(IMO). Those arguments tend to be the WPM's worst enemy.
I just think that ideas should be judged in context, and not out of preference. Amazingly, this is why I would have removed your post.
Regardless of the fact that I thought your joke was clever (even more so after Eugene's analysis), and regardless of the fact that I found it funny, and regardless of the fact that I generally tend to agree with the content of your arguments, it wasn't nice.
And be nice is the context around here.

Now, on to the second question: Do I think JavaRanch is supposed be that place? No, I don't. That said, I can't say I thought those certain words I invoked, brought up in a context intended to create discussion, would be intrinsically offensive.

Yes, but they seem to have been offensive. I'm sure that many of the people you argue with in MD(as opposed to, say, sticking your neck into SCJD and giving a certain beleaguered bartender a hand ), would also state, with sincerity, that they can't understand why some people find their posts offensive.
It would be a double standard if we didn't hold moderators to the same standard, however arbitrary it may be.

I stand corrected on that point. Saddened a little, but corrected on that point. Ain't no thang.
[ February 11, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]

Well, I'll buy you a beer should you ever find yourself in the midwest, we'll gossip and speculate about the JavaRanch womeen folk, and call it a day. Well, I'll call it a day, because you'll pass out long before I will. Deal?
All best,
M
 
paul wheaton
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Um, I would like it if posts to this forum could focus on JavaRanch policies, ideas, etc. I think this discussion is a better fit for MD.
I'll leave this thread open for further discussion of possible policy, but I'd appreciate it if you guys can take the rest to MD.
 
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