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 Post subject: Question about Profanity
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:23 am 
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Code of Conduct wrote:
•Do not attempt to "mask" profanity or "test" the filter.

So, I have a sort of tricky/delicate situation. Recently in the M:EM, I wrote a story where the main character uses a lot of profanity. I posted it as I wrote it, and the language filter replaced those words with asterisks, as I expected them to.

The feedback I got from the story, however, illustrates that the story and the character loses a lot from the censorship. I understand the need to censor these sorts of things, but I was wondering if there was any way I could get permission to bypass this rule for this character. Her choice of language is thematically connected with her sense of social ostracisation; because she has felt cut off and removed from society, she lashes out with language that society deems inappropriate.

Obviously, I have no wish to break this rule for the sake of breaking it, nor would I do so without moderator permission, but I thought it was at least worth asking. Here is a link to the voting thread, if anyone is interested in seeing what I am talking about: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=13373

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:26 am 
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**** no


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:40 pm 
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I'm in favor of Raven's proposal.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:48 pm 
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I'm in favor of Raven's proposal.

Of course you would be. As part of the M:EM, you and Raven and I all have a vested interest in a topic/request such as this.

However, I am not in favor of it. I do not want to make an exception for the sake of posting a story to the M:EM, especially when I've seen alternative methods done on other sites. Besides implementing filters and/or having a public/unlisted/private system, the easiest solution would be to post a link directly to the unfiltered work, which is something I knew I would implement anyway as soon as I glanced at the story.

To be clear, I mean that I intend to have two versions of the story: the hosted, filtered version readable directly on NGA, and a link at the beginning of the Archived post of said story to an unfiltered version hosted on the M:EM's Google Drive. I know as long as it's clearly labeled, it should be acceptable:

Code of Conduct wrote:
When linking to content offsite that would violate the code of conduct if posted directly, we expect you to clearly label your link (for example, "click here" is not acceptable) and we also expect it to be tagged with warnings such as "NSFW" to be absolutely clear where the user will be going after they click.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:08 pm 
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I'm in favor of Raven's proposal.

Of course you would be. As part of the M:EM, you and Raven and I all have a vested interest in a topic/request such as this.

However, I am not in favor of it. I do not want to make an exception for the sake of posting a story to the M:EM, especially when I've seen alternative methods done on other sites. Besides implementing filters and/or having a public/unlisted/private system, the easiest solution would be to post a link directly to the unfiltered work, which is something I knew I would implement anyway as soon as I glanced at the story.

To be clear, I mean that I intend to have two versions of the story: the hosted, filtered version readable directly on NGA, and a link at the beginning of the Archived post of said story to an unfiltered version hosted on the M:EM's Google Drive. I know as long as it's clearly labeled, it should be acceptable:

Code of Conduct wrote:
When linking to content offsite that would violate the code of conduct if posted directly, we expect you to clearly label your link (for example, "click here" is not acceptable) and we also expect it to be tagged with warnings such as "NSFW" to be absolutely clear where the user will be going after they click.

I'm not unbiased either, but that doesn't really seem necessary. the M:EM features plenty of content that we have to warn people about already. why are swears any different? if we put a thing at the top that says "hey this contains filter-evading profanity, don't read it if that'll bother you" then I think ethically we're in the clear. if it's a technical concern and you don't want the mods to have to instate some special workaround, then it's worth noting that workarounds are really easy, they're just punished so people don't do them much. I could post any string of profanity I wanted here and you wouldn't be able to tell that I'd done anything weird unless you quoted the post. I'm just not gonna.

:duel:

PS: ok, looks like Welder took care of the most obvious workaround, but I found another one that works. not telling, but if this gets approved I'd be happy to share with the appropriate parties. (and if it gets denied, I'd be happy to share with the mods if they want to close the loophole.)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:41 pm 
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razorborne wrote:
...
the M:EM features plenty of content that we have to warn people about already. why are swears any different? ...

Because talking about those things is not an (super explicit) violation of the code of conduct. As members of the site, we should try and abide by the CoC. Maybe this is enough reason to reevaluate the CoC, but I don't think it's enough reason to break the CoC.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:51 pm 
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TPmanW wrote:
razorborne wrote:
...
the M:EM features plenty of content that we have to warn people about already. why are swears any different? ...

Because talking about those things is not an (super explicit) violation of the code of conduct. As members of the site, we should try and abide by the CoC. Maybe this is enough reason to reevaluate the CoC, but I don't think it's enough reason to break the CoC.

right, which is why, instead of breaking it, Raven went to the meatboard to ask if maybe this restriction was not in the spirit of the rules and that perhaps there could be an exception.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:02 pm 
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razorborne wrote:
TPmanW wrote:
razorborne wrote:
...
the M:EM features plenty of content that we have to warn people about already. why are swears any different? ...

Because talking about those things is not an (super explicit) violation of the code of conduct. As members of the site, we should try and abide by the CoC. Maybe this is enough reason to reevaluate the CoC, but I don't think it's enough reason to break the CoC.

right, which is why, instead of breaking it, Raven went to the meatboard to ask if maybe this restriction was not in the spirit of the rules and that perhaps there could be an exception.

:duel:

Alright I mispoketyped. I would rather see the rules changed than see an exception mad in all but exceptional cases. The need doesn't seem truly dire, and a viable workaround has already been proposed, so I don't think an exception is warranted.

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Cato wrote:
CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:01 am 
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All things considered, I would rather have the original, true version of the story posted here. It is an M:EM story, and NGA is the M:EM's home. The spirit of the rule, I feel, is to prevent casual, and ultimately pointless, abuse of profane language, as well as to be used in conjunction with the over-arching rule of the boards to be respectful to one another. I personally do not feel my story violates the spirit of either of those goals, which is, of course, why I asked.

But of course, if people are largely uncomfortable with it, or if the mods feel that leniency in this matter would create too many problems, we do have alternatives, as you and Luna have pointed out.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 6:33 pm 
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So, uh ... no admin/moderator’s take on this?

Personally, I think it is pretty preposterous to have profanity filters anywhere but in children-only environments but I guess this is a cultural thing that is explained by the majority of users and key staff here apparently hailing from the censorship-happy U.S. of A.


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:51 pm 
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It got discussed among the mods, but apparently none of us remembered to actually post our conclusion. That said, the moderation hierarchy has changed pretty noticeably since then, including my promotion to moderation lead and the introduction of GobO_Gadget, whose domain this would fall under, so perhaps we should reopen it. Raven, is this still an issue for you?

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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:36 pm 
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Raven, is this still an issue for you?

Well, I don't know if I'd say "an issue," necessarily, but the story has been successfully voted into the Archive, and speaking personally, I would like to have the original, uncensored version posted here. But as I said when I first brought it up, if the mods feel it's too problematic, it's ultimately not an issue I would press.

In short, yes, I would still like permission to circumvent the filter for this character.


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 9:52 pm 
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Personally, I think it is pretty preposterous to have profanity filters anywhere but in children-only environments but I guess this is a cultural thing that is explained by the majority of users and key staff here apparently hailing from the censorship-happy U.S. of A.


The reason this kind of thing is censored in the U.S. is because the primary negative use of these words tends to be offensive, usually as an insult. In fact, the words that are common to all ban filters (or all of the good ones) are almost exclusively negative, especially some of the racist ones, and some people have even gotten warnings and bans on this site for using them.

It's very hard to have an elevated discourse between two individuals who disagree with each other when cussing is involved. For example, the sentences "Your **** idea is stupid." and "Your idea is stupid." can both offend someone, but if user A uses a lot of the former and user B doesn't, User A is going to come across in a drastically different and more offensive way than User B most of the time. Since there isn't actually much legitimate use for cussing other than extra "oomph" or shock value, and the primary use of any filtered words is to insult someone, they get filtered.

-----------------------

That being said, there are some niche legitimate uses where exceptions are reasonable. As long as certain words aren't used, and people are acting in good faith, there's no reason they couldn't have a story like this labeled "profanity inside" and be left uncensored.


Last edited by GobO_Althalus on Sun May 22, 2016 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Please don't circumvent the filter, even in a conversation like this one.


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 11:18 pm 
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It's not very hard to bypass the filter.

I think in sections like M:EM, the Creative Corner, or PBP, swearing should definitely be allowed in the context of what a character or narrator is saying, but I'm much more indifferent about censorship of words being used in normal conversation. I'm not opposed to there being a restriction against swearing when it comes to interacting with other members, but I think it's detrimental to be unable to curse when writing because it detracts significantly from certain character types and writing styles.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 5:06 am 
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creative writing should be exempt from profanity rules

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 8:29 am 
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mark777 wrote:
It's very hard to have an elevated discourse between two individuals who disagree with each other when cussing is involved. For example, the sentences "Your **** idea is stupid." and "Your idea is stupid." can both offend someone, but if user A uses a lot of the former and user B doesn't, User A is going to come across in a drastically different and more offensive way than User B most of the time. Since there isn't actually much legitimate use for cussing other than extra "oomph" or shock value, and the primary use of any filtered words is to insult someone, they get filtered.

But whether someone calls you “a **** imbecile” or merely “an imbecile” doesn’t exactly matter anymore at this point, does it? In either case an insult was used and rules were broken. Or do you think that after someone called you an imbecile there is still room open for an elevated discourse?
So rather than profanity being punished, is not the insult what is wrong here? And unless you ban all negative words then insults will be possible anyway. No, strike that, even without those insults would still be possible. In other words, banning profanity to eliminate insults does not work.

Now, a legitimate use of “profanity” is, as you kinda alluded to, adding a certain oomph to one’s words. Yet not to insults but just to everyday statements:

“I aced that test I had on Monday.” conveys a certain feeling far less than “I aced the **** out of that test I had on Monday!”. Same for “That cat almost made me trip just now.” and “That **** cat almost made me trip just now!”

Strong emotions require strong words to be expressed properly. To fail to recognize that is to fail to recognize a large part of the way language is used, certainly not just a niche aspect. And to disavow that use of language entirely is, to me at least, prudish and juvenile. I hope you are not one of those silly people who would say something goofy like “I aced the sugar out of that test on Monday.” in the aforementioned examples to convey your strong emotion.

Anyway, for a humorous take on this notion, check out this video :)


Last edited by GobO_Althalus on Sun May 22, 2016 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Please don't circumvent the filter, even in a conversation like this one.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 10:49 am 
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Another forum I belonged to decided to implement a rule that basically stated "There is no word filter. If you use any words on list X, or any words on list Y innapropriately, we will ban you immediately." The first list was a much smaller list of words than our current ban filter mostly including racist, sexist, and other such terms. The second list was things on the normal filter where you basically weren't allowed to use them to refer to other posters.

Initially it worked out as intended. After a while though the environment started to degrade quite a bit and ended up much more hostile and unhealthy than it used to be. This was because it's not just a "strong emotions require strong words" thing. It's the fact that people overuse those strong words until they don't mean anything anymore just because it's the easiest way to get a "strong" point across, ala South Park. The community that implemented this ended up a much "Weaker" community as a whole, because people got used to using these in everday conversation and these kinds of words ARE in the eyes of the beholder in relation to how they affect your view of them, the use of them, and the people who use them. For better or worse people DO act much more aggressively and are much less willing to listen to each other when people are spouting off profanity all the time, and it makes conversation quality go down. Even when people aren't insulting each other. For example, "Black Lotus is a cancerious piece of **** that should never be allowed to see play in 3CM again" wouldn't really help anyone's case over in Magic General.

It's like the other problem we had back in the off topic room a while ago, which was also "mostly harmless". It's basically a question of what you want your community to represent as a whole, and what kind of forum environment you want to encourage.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 11:00 am 
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io wrote:
creative writing should be exempt from profanity rules


Maybe? My personal opinion is that for some words yes and for a smaller number of words no not even creative writing.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 12:19 pm 
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I have found myself in situations where profanity would help make my point, but in such cases it rarely matters which swear word I use, which means that I can accomplish my goals by just typing **** and letting the filter asterisk it out. I get to emphasize my point and other people who might be offended by the specific words don't have to read them. win win and such.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 6:43 pm 
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Having come back to this these many months later, I found that I'd be amenable to allowing certain subforums a probationary lift of the profanity filter, such as those Rubik mentioned. For instance, I feel that the M:EM community would be good enough to report anyone trying to use the words in an unhelpful way (i.e. outside of our writings).

That doesn't mean I'm actually in favor of this, though. Even if I believe the M:EM would behave now, I would not want to run the risk of the situation devolving due to the lifted ban, much the same way Mark777 said. I'm sure a lot of us (myself included, because in the meat I do curse a lot) would use profanity to complain about whatever newest show or movie has let us down.

I also feel that it breeds uncreative language. Rather than the vibrancy of "I saw Batman v Superman and didn’t hate it as much as I was supposed to. It was mostly confusing, honestly; my first edit pass on this script would have involved a machete.", most people are going to default to "The writing for BvS was **** awful.".

And I realize a lot of that nuance comes down to the individual, but I'd rather not have a forum filled with ****, piss, ****, ****, ****, ****, and tits.

QUICKEDIT: WHY IS THAT WORD NOT CENSORED?!?!


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