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Sexism policy

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Ender Sai, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Five Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Absolutely. The condescending tone is more common than actual terminology.

    That's one reason I brought up the point about stereotypes in my last post.

    While for the most part I think mods are pretty good about saying, 'Hey, you're being a condescending ass, knock it off', a written policy specifically stating that sexist language is not allowed, could be helpful.

    I should add that Community is hardly the only forum affected here. Go to any of the ST forums and mention a female lead and the sexists come out of the woodwork. The TV forum has had a few as well although not quite to the same extent.
     
    Ewok Poet, Ender Sai and skygawker like this.
  2. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    May 4, 2003
    Not very effectively, no. On the one hand, as Other Jabba notes, some people aren't aware that they're doing it. In that case, I imagine that getting met with immediate bans (or threats thereof), for something you don't even have the framework to understand would simply be off-putting. On the other, any process like this would have to open itself to appeals from the poster. Anyone who was really dedicated to making bigoted commentary could continue constructing things with enough plausible doubt for them to escape serious scrutiny.
     
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  3. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    But isn't where Iello's point, and my subsequent follow up, comes into place then?

    I accept that certain people don't realise they behave in a manner that is sexist and misogynistic. I also accept that they do, and that in many cases people remain resistant to a number of voices suggesting otherwise. Isn't there a point where empathy and tolerance just ends up excusing certain behavior?
     
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  4. Darth Morella

    Darth Morella Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 5, 2004
    On the subject of some people being genuinely unaware that they're being condescending or sexist towards other users, how would we go about helping them understand that what they're doing is in fact not acceptable? Is there going to be some sort of crash course on being respectful towards other users? I'm not trying to be a smartass here. It's just that, although I agree that there should a zero tolerance policy, I feel it would be of great help if there was some sort of learning experience to go along with it. To minimize some of the animosity we've seen in the past. Or is that just not feasible/asking too much? Also, wow,this thread is going fast.

    Edit: Wocky was faster.
     
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  5. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Five Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    My reaction is somewhere between 'How do people not realize that they are being sexist by 21st century standards?' and 'How do people not realize they are being sexist after having it pointed out to them by several users?'

    The worst offenders are the ones who know they are being sexist and just don't care, their justification being [insert stereotype here]. In those situations a mod warning will just cause them to whine about their opinion or "belief system" being oppressed. Whereas anyone who genuinely stuck a foot in mouth will say 'OK, my bad' and not do it again.
     
  6. Darth Morella

    Darth Morella Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Perhaps I still know too many sexist jerks IRL, so sadly this kind of behavior doesn't surprise me.
     
  7. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001

    Well, no.

    And yes.

    Think of it this way; if six people said you were being a bit <something>-ist, would you

    a) Consider your actions in the light of a unanimous verdict,
    b) Tell them to sod off, you know and don't care, or
    c) Assume they're all out to get you?

    If the answer's A, then you're probably going to fare better with a MS stance that's opposed to sexism than if you answered b or c.
     
  8. Darth Morella

    Darth Morella Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Yeah, I'm assuming and hoping the majority will choose A. I just like the idea of educating people.
     
  9. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001

    Sure and that's why we're here. The issue I think is that we have Bs and Cs now, and unless they bait, flame or harass a user directly there's little enforcement mechanisms available to mods. Really, we're asking for a common standard we all agree upon and then adding teeth to it so that when someone breaches that standard mods can exercise authority as needed.
     
  10. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    Nov 28, 2000
    It's possible. We've seen it happen in JCC before, after all. Some people are genuinely unaware that what they're doing is putting down other people and they'd be happy to change if it was brought up to them. The trick is doing it in a way that doesn't automatically make people defensive, and therefore unwilling to change.

    And the second trick is to find out if someone is genuinely unaware, versus someone who really is a pretty bigoted person and hiding it. Because that's definitely a thing too.
     
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  11. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    I guess as well, there has to be some acknowledgement from the user base that mods often employ direct contact to discuss potential issues with a user's behavior or attitude that may not always be overt. So if a Mod has reasonable suspicion they can PM the user or seek even input from their peers in ModSquad first...
     
  12. tom

    tom Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 14, 2004
    someone who is legitimately "unaware" that what they're doing is putting down other people when it is 2014 and we are on the internet is every bit as offensive to me as someone who at least admits that they are an *******.
     
  13. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    May 4, 2003
    But what's our goal here? Plenty of people have grown over the course of their years here, and come to a new and better appreciation on any number of issues, thanks to exposure they would never have gotten in real life. Trying to adopt a "zero tolerance" policy necessarily precludes that from happening. I'm not convinced that's what's best.
     
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  14. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    We've had a number of instances where sexism has been apparent but there's no mechanism to deal with it. In light of that, of GamerGate, of heightened awareness of the negative impacts of rape culture in Geekdom as a whole, it's past time we remedied that.

    I'm not sure what the point of your opposition is, other that random esoterica.
     
  15. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    May 4, 2003
    Is it either "random" or "esoteric" that some people, by being exposed to viewpoints they aren't around normally, might have their minds changed on those issues? I don't see how.

    Nor did I say I was opposed to anything. But do you want to actually discuss the best way to implement a new policy? Or just have everyone cheer on how heroic you are?
     
  16. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    May 21, 2002
    1)How would this square with the overall direction of making community more organic in nature, with less mod intervention except in more defined situations?

    2)Would the standard be used to frame this overall policy be based on individual interpretation here, or based on more broad societal norms? Because where would the line be drawn? How about including religious persecution within the standards? Is calling someone "sweetheart" any more patronizing than telling a Catholic that they're delusional? Doesn't the context already determine how something would be handled under policy? Does the topic define what is appropriate on its own, or does the discussion within it?

    If the goal here is to eliminate patronizing and/or sarcastic tone, then there is literally going to be 3 people left in the forums. If the goal is to create protected categories of individuals, then I don't see how the categories themselves won't simply grow to include everyone anyway.
     
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  17. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Both?

    I genuinely am not sure what you're trying to achieve here. I mean, I thought had consensus and you appear almost to be saying no, we don't - but I'm not sure.

    EDIT: That was at Wocky.

    EDIT2: Mr44, it's kind of like you skipped the first few posts in this thread...
     
  18. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    May 21, 2002
    I think I read them. I guess I'm just asking how this squares with the overall organic goal that I mentioned in my previous post, with "point b" from your opening post:
    b) If the sexism/misogyny in question is a clear bait or flame.

    As an example, I'm not the most religious person, but historically, some of the most downright hostile attacks have been against those who are. Again, so is calling someone "sweetheart" any worse than telling someone who has sincere faith that their life is a lie? If either post is an attack or a flame, then they are already dealt with. I just think any such protections could open all sorts of inclusions.

    I'm just asking about the big picture getting bigger in relation to the bait or flame policy in place.
     
  19. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Well right now there exist two mechanisms by which a Mod would be able to take action if a form of misogyny is encountered.

    They can seek guidance from the Harassment Policy, which is limited in scope to unwarranted PMs from users (though as Iello notes, they can look at harassment as an action aside from sexual advances from a creepy and really annoying former Head Admin who never listened to ModSquad when making his mind up - but the policy itself is scoped narrowly); or they can apply the bait/flame rule to a post on a case by case basis.

    Whilst allowing a moderator the discretion to judge if something is a bait or a flame; or just under/over the line is a good thing because it's not prescriptive and therefore wide-ranging, it also means the ceiling is set too high for a mod to really be empowered to consider misogyny inappropriate and act. Rather than the JC as a whole taking an official stance that sexism is not only equal to racism and homophobia and other forms of disempowerment/othering, it means each mod has to use their discretion and as Iello noted, it's a bit harder with an all male mod team in Community in particular. Simply put, we men are often unaware of the extent to which women are objectified and discriminated against and so it's easy to miss - see also my response to @PointGiven in the Misogyny thread.

    So there's really two obstacles. Firstly; greater female representation in the Community (and other) mods; or a policy which specifically acknowledges that sexism is as bad as racism and will be subject to the same zero-tolerance approach by the Administration. The former is problematic because it doesn't appear as if there's any slots in Community and if a female mod was tasked with dealing with sexism (being more attuned to it) they will simply be accused of being a man-hating misandrist and nothing will change. I'm not saying it's insurmountable but it must be considered. Irrespective I think greater female representation in the administration would be a good thing and I recall fondly how roo acted as head admin as an example.

    I also think a defined stance, with boundaries, helps empower all mods to manage sexism when they become aware of it, either through self-detection or because it was raised by the community.

    If you are after examples of behaviour I can supply them via PM; I am loathe to do so here lest we end up in a spiral of accusation v defence.
     
  20. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    May 21, 2002
    I'm certainly not after examples, but rather trying to get a big picture view of this.

    As an example, I'm not the most religious person, but historically, some of the most downright hostile attacks have been against those who are. Again, so is calling someone "sweetheart" any worse than telling someone who has sincere faith that their life is a lie? If either post is an attack or a flame, then they are already dealt with. I just think any such protections could open all sorts of inclusions. On page 1 or 2, Jabba made this post: If it were me then I'd expand the second principle of behavior to define respect as a gender/race/ sexual orientation etc aware respect. Except how about religious aware respect? How about veterans aware respect? Is the basis the strength of someone's belief and the damage it can cause as a result vs someone else not being aware of the extent?

    Literally, you can have someone say "You stupid, %$#$^ religious %$#@, God is Dead!" and that's fine in a thread, but you'll ban someone else for saying that Jennifer Aniston looks hot in her miniskirt? yes, those are intentionally "in your face kind" of examples. If you're going to expand the definition of things like "misogyny" beyond the existing standard of flame/bait, then I just think it sets an even more muddled policy in a kind of "thought police" manner. I think I know what you're going for, but is the expansion worth it?

    I'm just asking about the big picture getting bigger in relation to the bait or flame policy in place.
     
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  21. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    If I may, I'm just going to address but one part of your post without addressing the rest. It's not because I haven't read the rest, but because this is most critical:

    "I think I know what you're going for, but is the expansion worth it?"

    Yes.

    Right now, any debate on how women are marginalised in society is corrupted to talk about other issues beyond how women are marginalised. It can be extreme as people - no, stuff that, idiots - claiming "but men are raped too!" to situations where we want to talk about other issues of race, religion etc.

    I'm not suggesting that there is nothing valid in exploring race and religion, or that discrimination does not occur. Far from it. What I am doing though is very purposefully excluding them from this discussion because every time we look at addressing gender equality in our society, men co-opt the argument to either make it about them or to cast a net so far and wide that consensus or progress becomes impossible.

    It's not often intentional, but it happens that way. And many of us react in the same fashion, because we were brought up in a decade when it wasn't thought of as bad to simultaneously have women with careers AND to objectify women. I mean, we had Baywatch come on the air. So for a lot of men there's inherent discomfort in discussing the topic because of the implied criticism. I don't want it to be avoided or diluted accordingly.

    By all means, I'd encourage others to use the Comms forum to raise concerns around these points. But I would also ask that please, we confine the discussion to instances of gender inequality, and misogynist behavior on the boards.
     
  22. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    May 21, 2002
    Which is what I'm trying to pin down. Baywatch is an excellent example, because it doesn't account for taste, but it also represents what you're describing. So, would any Baywatch discussion thread be shut down as non-compatible? Would it be shut down because it doesn't represent gender awareness? Is posting that Haley Atwell looks smashing in the Agent Carter thread grounds for banning? Or only to the extent of balancing it out with an equal post that observes that Chris Evans looks buff without his shirt as well? Or neither would be tolerated and can only be referenced in gender neutral, positive affirming ways?

    I'm just going back to your opening post- "sexism, chauvinism or misogyny" But there is a huge difference between being cruel to someone ala Gamergate, and being chauvinist. Being cruel is covered under the TOS. Being chauvinist is much more interpretive... or misogynist... or sexist...

    There was a discussion in Amp not too long ago about Agent May, from Agents of Shield being in a slip, or some sort of camisole thing... I think that discussion would probably be banned under your proposal here. Not because it was overtly misogynist, but because most male participants didn't recognize that the character was even sexualized in the first place in the context of "a written policy specifically stating that sexist language is not allowed."

    It might seem like I'm busting your chops here, and I am, but I'm trying to pin down the extent of where you're taking this.
     
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  23. tom

    tom Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 14, 2004
    mr44, why do all of your posts seem designed to obfuscate the actual issue? the difference between what we are discussing and religious people or veterans is that the latter are willfully entering into a debate about their beliefs or their values. not something that they are born with. we can differ on our beliefs, and argument can be healthy in that regard, we can't differ on the equality of all humanity.

    wocky, you seem to be suggesting that we should put up with a certain amount of intolerance because we might be able to change that intolerant person's mind. i guess my problem is; do you draw the line anywhere? are outright racial slurs to be tolerated then? and if you do draw the line somewhere, how do you decide what level of bigotry is acceptable? are we really here to educate the most willfully ignorant among us and guide them to enlightenment (has this ever happened btw?) or can we benefit the community more by eliminating these malignant voices, which are thankfully extremely rare in our community?

    i think i can see an argument for not being to quick to ban. i mean the "thought police" thing rings true, right? but at the same time we are only talking about respecting the basic humanity of everyone. there isn't really a logical counterpoint to that.

    edit: just responding to the most recent line of discussion, i think the posting of "sexy" pictures of celebrities and that kind of thing should be left aside from this thread. at the very least it's much more debatable than the core issue of sexism in the forums and intolerance in general.
     
  24. Zapdos

    Zapdos Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 7, 2013
    in my opinion there is a huge difference between being criticised/ridiculed for your opinions or actions, and being criticised/ridiculed for your gender or colour. i don't understand why this needs any further explanation.
     
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  25. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Apr 3, 2002
    This. What started this for real was me. I called someone "darling" using it as sarcasm. The word itself is not sexist. It is a term of endearment and I used it scarcastically as she was...get ready...being directly insulting to me! The problem here isn't sexism. The problem here is certain people are condescending to everyone and come up with all kinds of ways to put others down and get away with it.