Status Updates posted by Roland
I made a pun based on the name of a well known movement. My pun neither supports nor condemns the movement nor their aims. It was simple wordplay. I'm not sure how such a simple phrase could possibly be offensive or political as the complete extent of the pun acknowledges that there exists a movement in the world that has a name similar to the phrase I typed. @Psychodabble, you are the one who has injected the politics and political correctness into this thead by going off on a rant overtly showing your own personal bias regarding the movement and accusing me of motives and beliefs that you could not possibly gain from the simple pun that I made. The absolute most you could glean about my beliefs is that I know that such an organization exists and I know its name.
You have absolutely no idea where I stand because my joke was just a play on a phrase that many people know and was completely non-political. But we all know where YOU stand because you are the one using my simple joke as catalyst to bring politics into the thread and stir things up. I just goes to show that in this day and age you can't simply make an innocuous pun without someone using it as a platform to preach their own stance.
This is why we can't have nice things. My desire was to give a quick laugh on the turn of phrase and that would be it, but you decided to derail the thread for your own activism-- so I have hidden the posts which is the same exact moderation that I would do and have done for anyone who posted something that wound up giving offense or derailing the thread.
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You first asked Roland about the race of the staff and mods, not about if he knows someone of color to ask. Maybe a small mistake, but I'm not surprised that Roland gets the possibly wrong impression from this.
I don't agree with your slippery slope argument, this forum has not become a rascist cespool and surely will not descend into one because of a rather harmless pun.
I agree that jokes about sensitive topics have much less wriggle room as jokes about toothpaste. I don't agree those topics should be sacrosanct. I don't agree because in my country even jokes about nazis were censored from TV because it was a sensitive topic. Did that taboo help in preventing new nazi movements? I definitely think it helped them. Now nazis are more of a sensitive negative subject. Still, even BLM probably wants to be present in peoples minds and not a subject non grata.
That is why I think that not the most sensitive person on the forum should decide, but the mods (even though we know the problem might be "Who watches the watchers", right? And the other problem that we can't have mods of every race and serious illness, religious belief, nationality and gender).
But a person on the forum has always the option to report it, even if the post IS from a mod. If you had just reported it, the pun would have likely been removed as well, without all that fuzz. And I don't think you have done the movement a favor with the open discussion, because for people mindless or on the fence about an issue making a fuzz about minor issues IS exactly what drives them into the other camp.
I know you didn't intend to, but by punning on BLM in conjunction with something as trivial as blocks in a video game, you made light of the organization and the reason it exists. You didn't need to express any opinion in the joke...it's the joke itself that's the problem. Do you understand that now?
I think this is where we must disagree. You believe that making a trivial pun on the name of an organization automatically trivializes what that organization stands for. You feel that by invoking the name of BLM in a frivolous manner, I wasn't respecting the organization itself which then transfers to being frivolous and snarky about the message that that organization is trying to promote. I completely disagree. BLM isn't some unimpeachably sacred entity. It is an organization that has success and failures like any other organization. Poking fun at an organization is often done and people understand that it doesn't mean that the joke teller is assaulting what that organization stands for or is trying to accomplish. Lots of people poke fun at churches, governments, parenting, etc. which each can have noble objectives and ideals but that doesn't mean that in doing so, those people are trying to undermine the good that they want to do.
Now, what I did wasn't even poking fun at the organization. I wasn't mocking it or making some ironic commentary to try and point out some flaw or shortcoming in how BLM pursues its objectives. My pun simply was a play on words that referenced its name (without actually stating its name explicitly). You are upset because you see block damage in the game as a trivial and frivolous idea that was paired with BLM which is important and deals with important issues and you believe that that somehow will cause others to dismiss BLM, the organization and what it stands for, as trivial and frivolous and from there damage and undermine the whole mission. I don't see it that way but do acknowledge your feelings and am sorry that you took offense at the pun.Quote
I never said it was wrong or immoral, I said it was in bad taste. Jokes in bad taste are not a crime...people try to be funny and miss the mark ALL THE TIME. The reason why it is an issue that I felt needed to be addressed publicly is because of your position in the community. Do you understand that?
Yes, I understand now that you believe it was simply in bad taste which makes me feel better. I do admit that I was feeling attacked or perhaps even accused of something more than that. But I'll take you at your word that you just found the pun unfunny and inappropriate. Taste is, of course, extremely subjective. I still maintain that the pun I made was perfectly okay. I did ask a friend of mine who is a person of color what they thought after having to explain to her the whole context of a voxel game and what blocks are and how the title of a messaging thread was that blocks were losing life and then telling her what I posted and did she see anything wrong with that. She did not. But that doesn't mean that another person of color also wouldn't. Taste is in the mouth of the taster.
IMO, there are jokes that are pretty generally considered poor taste by the majority of decent human beings and then there are jokes that most people would say are just fine and only a very few are going to hate. I feel that a pun that simply acknowledges the existence of the name of an organization is definitely in the "generally fine" category. There are people who hold an ideal or an organization so sacred that even invoking the name in anything other than the most reverent and deferential tones is offensive. I just don't think those people represent the norm and I don't believe that I or anyone should check in with others before speaking or writing anything just in case one of those people might be around.
As for responding as you did publicly, I do believe that you were injecting politics into what was a completely nonpolitical pun. My pun simply was a reference joke that to "get it" you simply needed to know that an organization called "Black Lives Matter" exists. Period. You didn't have to understand some alleged flaw in the organization that was being ironically poked at. In your public response you represented a definite stance about the issue. You didn't have to do that. You could have taught me the error of my ways in a personal message and requested the pun to be removed and it would have been with far less of a footprint. It still happened. Everything was removed. But plenty of people report objectionable material and that material also gets removed. The difference is that nobody uses the opportunity to preach their political stance. That is why I doubted YOUR sincerety in just wanting to teach me and help me be more sensitive. You seemed quite opportunistic in response to the pun.
As I said, you seem to feel that even invoking the name of the organization in anything other than deepest respect somehow transfers disrespect to the ideals and mission of that organization and in that we disagree. In all of my correspondence on this issue I have been very careful to keep my own opinion about what BLM stands for and how it goes about accomplishing its aims private. I refuse to use this conversation as a soap box to preach my own opinion and I categorically deny that the pun I stated would change the culture or make the forums feel unwelcoming to most reasonable people nor would it undermine BLM and what it seeks to accomplish.
It is like when someone around 4-5 years ago wanted TFP to make a change and posted, "Let's make the game great again!". Most reasonable people would simply smile or roll their eyes-- getting the reference that such a slogan existed at the time. Only the most extreme of political minded zealots might take such a joke and use it to go on a rant either for or against the person who was running on that slogan at the time and the political ideals that that person represented. But who knows....maybe that play on words is also beyond the pale for you. In that case, we probably will never see eye to eye on this. I do feel bad that my pun fell so flat for you but I don't feel bad for making it in the same way that I might feel bad for making a joke at the expense of BLM. Of course, I would never make a joke at the expense of BLM or a joke striving to be ironic about some perceived flaw about how it accomplishes its objectives.
Asking about the diversity of the staff was not a mistake. In the absence of colleagues, the next step was to move on to friends/family, but staff diversity in any organization is always the starting point when it comes to ensuring an inclusive atmosphere.
I live in Germany too, and I think the treatment of the NPD and its former incarnations is very well handled. Obviously, handling a subject matter seriously cannot prevent the emergence of far-right groups, but it is clear to every German that the topic is something that needs to be approached with care. Government censorship isn't the ideal solution for situations like this, but the Bundesrepublik recognizes that they have a special responsibility in this case. That's what I expect from the mods here. Yes, the mods SHOULD decide, but they should also err on the side of caution. The benefit that an off topic joke brings to the forum is absolutely nothing compared to the damage it can do it taken as precedent by a toxic element.
I take exception to the characterization of this as minor or harmless. Microaggressions are small by definition, but they can still cause lasting harm, especially when they become part of a persistent pattern. That is my primary concern here, simply because of the outsized influence that moderators have on an online community. When one moderator makes the joke and another defends it, the message becomes clear and it emboldens those who would take it beyond attempts at humor.
I also don't understand the invocation of "sides" here. This is NOT a political issue. There are no two ways of thinking about this. Either you believe in equal rights for all or you have no place in modern society. I'm not trying to convince anyone of this...it is a self-evident truth. If someone is "on the fence" about equal rights for all, there's nothing I can say or do to either redeem them or drive them deeper into the void.
Regarding the inherent harm of the pun, I think you are missing a very key point here. BLM is not an organization. Not in the way that churches or governments or parenting groups are. BLM is an affirmative statement that spawned a movement. Black lives matter. That statement has been under attack from its very first utterance, most notably by the counter that all lives matter. Though it is obviously true, the use of all lives matter as a retort to black lives matter is intended to diminish the impact and import of the original statement. It explicitly ignores the context that spurred the need for the original statement, that in far too many instances law enforcement officers and other agents of state-born authority act as if black lives do not matter. It is this tradition of attack through transformation that renders the pun problematic and in bad taste. Perhaps in a vacuum your pun WAS harmless, but we do not live in a vacuum. Context matters, and the context here is that punning on or twisting the statement has been used as a way to delegitimize it since the very beginning.
It is possible that your friend was unaware of this context or maybe they just don't take the issue seriously. Either way, I'm glad you did ask as that demonstrates your good faith in learning from this.
I hope this clarifies the difference for you between this specific pun and other examples you've brought up. I also further hope that my points about your higher responsibility as leadership figures is clear. Maybe my response was opportunistic, but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. Times like these are often called teaching moments and that opportunity flows both ways. It was an opportunity for me to draw the line and make clear that it's crossing was unappreciated and an opportunity for you as mods to respond with empathy and self-awareness...again, modeling appropriate behavior for the entire community.
I don't think I'm the most sensitive forum goer, but I may be the most proactive when it comes to establishing and maintaining boundaries. I think you would do well to assume that for every one user like me who says something, there may be ten more that feel similarly but are either too intimidated or not invested enough to speak up.
Thank you for the ongoing dialogue. I hope it has been productive for you.
My avatar image is from my 7 Days to Die mod. https://community.7daystodie.com/topic/12762-0xp-rolmod-a18/