Tired of Political Correctness

Tanglebones wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

I've seen this community self-moderate away from the cliff of hurt feelings and flames several times - I've been on both sides of that process, to be honest. I think we're generally good actors here. Barring that, Certis :)

Sounds like you're raising a straw man argument to avoid opening up the possibility of someone being genuinely offended by things that have been said or done. Also, you never addressed KaterinLHC's comments about your inaccurate use of the 'killswitch' term.

That term and the nested quote was mine, and I addressed it here.

Tanglebones wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

I've seen this community self-moderate away from the cliff of hurt feelings and flames several times - I've been on both sides of that process, to be honest. I think we're generally good actors here. Barring that, Certis :)

Sounds like you're raising a straw man argument to avoid opening up the possibility of someone being genuinely offended by things that have been said or done.

I never said or suggested the offense isn't genuine - the question is, is it always and automatically reasonable to the extent that it warrants some form of redress.

Also, you never addressed KaterinLHC's comments about your inaccurate use of the 'killswitch' term

That's, uh... because I didn't use that term.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

I've seen this community self-moderate away from the cliff of hurt feelings and flames several times - I've been on both sides of that process, to be honest. I think we're generally good actors here. Barring that, Certis :)

Sounds like you're raising a straw man argument to avoid opening up the possibility of someone being genuinely offended by things that have been said or done. And this is a discussion about GWJ specifically, but also about communication at large. I think there's precious little self-moderation, or incentive to realize that you've caused pain without someone being willing to admit that they've received pain. The trivialization of the pain is one of the reasons people suffer in silence, or leave communities.

Edit:
This part is more directed to Cheezepavilion:
Also, you never addressed KaterinLHC's comments about your inaccurate use of the 'killswitch' term. Saying that someone has been offended does not kill conversation. If the offender refuses to take the opportunity to self-assess and continues to cause offense after having it brought to their attention, then that strikes me as a failure of basic empathy. Addressing an argument using different terminology, which is usually the preferred outcome, is so far from a killswitch that I honestly can't understand where you're coming from, if this is meant to be a good faith argument.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

I've seen this community self-moderate away from the cliff of hurt feelings and flames several times - I've been on both sides of that process, to be honest. I think we're generally good actors here. Barring that, Certis :)

Sounds like you're raising a straw man argument to avoid opening up the possibility of someone being genuinely offended by things that have been said or done.

I never said or suggested the offense isn't genuine - the question is, is it always and automatically reasonable to the extent that it warrants some form of redress.

The requested redress, as stated in this thread, is that the person causing offense look at their actions and reassess when they've been made aware that they cause pain. If you find that to be an unreasonable standard, then I weep for your lack of empathy.

I never said or suggested the offense isn't genuine - the question is, is it always and automatically reasonable to the extent that it warrants some form of redress.

Norman, the moment you put standards on how much harm is necessary for "some form of redress" you create a chilling effect. Who are you to make a determination as to a standard of redress? This is ludicrous. Step #1 of civilized internet discussion is to realize that there's a real human being behind every post.

This goes back to learning basic human empathy. If you can't manage that, I'm not sure you should be interacting in society. And if that's offensive, I'm sorry, but it's not offensive enough to demand redress by my standards, so you can't say anything.

Tanglebones wrote:

This part is more directed to Cheezepavilion:
Also, you never addressed KaterinLHC's comments about your inaccurate use of the 'killswitch' term. Saying that someone has been offended does not kill conversation. If the offender refuses to take the opportunity to self-assess and continues to cause offense after having it brought to their attention, then that strikes me as a failure of basic empathy. Addressing an argument using different terminology, which is usually the preferred outcome, is so far from a killswitch that I honestly can't understand where you're coming from, if this is meant to be a good faith argument.

I think signals are getting crossed here. The discussion as I understood it wasn't just about terminology, it was about the arguments themselves. Of course if you use a word or phrasing that offends someone it doesn't kill the conversation if they object, I agree. What we're talking about here are opinions that could offend someone, which makes the argument just plain unaddressable, no matter what terminology you use.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

This part is more directed to Cheezepavilion:
Also, you never addressed KaterinLHC's comments about your inaccurate use of the 'killswitch' term. Saying that someone has been offended does not kill conversation. If the offender refuses to take the opportunity to self-assess and continues to cause offense after having it brought to their attention, then that strikes me as a failure of basic empathy. Addressing an argument using different terminology, which is usually the preferred outcome, is so far from a killswitch that I honestly can't understand where you're coming from, if this is meant to be a good faith argument.

I think signals are getting crossed here. The discussion as I understood it wasn't just about terminology, it was about the arguments themselves. Of course if you use a word or phrasing that offends someone it doesn't kill the conversation if they object, I agree. What we're talking about here are opinions that could offend someone, which makes the argument just plain unaddressable, no matter what terminology you use.

I think you'll find that in those situations, taking a step back, seeking common ground, and finding a way to actually talk to each other without attacks will do wonders for communication, rather than debate.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Stengah wrote:

So what, P&C is now the "boys-only" section of GWJ where derogatory terms are allowed because they're opinions?

Be reasonable, that's not what I said at all - and in fact I went out of my way to explicity state that wasn't true.

You didn't come out and say "no girls allowed" but in the context of this thread, that's what your suggestion would lead to. "This isn't carte blanche for hate speech of course, but if reading positions about sexism and politicial correctness that don't mesh with your worldview cause such a strong reaction, perhaps just pass threads clearly labeled as such by? Obviously this isn't my sandbox, but I feel like people coming into this particular corner of GWJ shouldn't do so with the expectation of never reading an opinion that offends." Your suggestion is that people who are offended should go elsewhere, and that's no better than the OP.

As for the gendered pronouns example you're so stuck on, a good rule of thumb is to refer to people how they want to be referred to. If someone tells you they prefer a gender neutral pronoun, then use one whenever you refer to them.

Tanglebones wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

This part is more directed to Cheezepavilion:
Also, you never addressed KaterinLHC's comments about your inaccurate use of the 'killswitch' term. Saying that someone has been offended does not kill conversation. If the offender refuses to take the opportunity to self-assess and continues to cause offense after having it brought to their attention, then that strikes me as a failure of basic empathy. Addressing an argument using different terminology, which is usually the preferred outcome, is so far from a killswitch that I honestly can't understand where you're coming from, if this is meant to be a good faith argument.

I think signals are getting crossed here. The discussion as I understood it wasn't just about terminology, it was about the arguments themselves. Of course if you use a word or phrasing that offends someone it doesn't kill the conversation if they object, I agree. What we're talking about here are opinions that could offend someone, which makes the argument just plain unaddressable, no matter what terminology you use.

I think you'll find that in those situations, taking a step back, seeking common ground, and finding a way to actually talk to each other without attacks will do wonders for communication, rather than debate.

No, I don't think it will. Not if I'm understanding correctly that the issue here is that people don't want to find themselves in that situation in the first place, that they don't want to have to deal with having to seek common ground or talk to each other.

I'm pretty sure I know what you're saying and I agree, but some people don't even want to go through that process. And I can respect that. That doesn't mean implementing such a system won't have drawbacks though, and it doesn't mean that failing to do so condemns a forum to be a cesspool. It means they are two valid choices, each with positives. You can't have both at the same time though, so a choice has to be made, or else split things up into sub-forums, like I said. It's before my time, but isn't that how P&C got started in the first place?

You guys are going deep deep deep down a rabbit hole. I can barely understand what you're actually discussing at this point.

I'll put it in real plain language so we're all clear on what my expectations are. If you're talking and someone says you've hurt their feelings, you acknowledge what happened, apologize and then continue on with the topic at hand.

All of this nail biting about some vague dystopian future where threads are locked the moment someone is upset seems to be aimed at dragging the conversation into the abstract rather than dealing with all the messy human stuff where the things we say impact real people. I know it's safer to reside in the hypothetical and that tends to be where the most argumentative (often disruptive) of us prefer to work from, but that doesn't really fly in a conversation like this.

If you well and truly can't extract your opinion and viewpoint from a basis of mutual respect, I'll be happy to show you the door. That's been our code of conduct from day one. Nothing has changed.

In other words, don't be an asshat, recognizing that yes, sometimes being white male American is in fact the easy mode of life, so you don't get to set the bar on what that means.

Also ... Don't think you understand what is and isn't "gendered" until you've had your 10-13 year old daughter talk to you about how SHE views language once in a while. Have fun refuting how a 10 year old views the word "bitch" with arguments about toughening up. My daughter is about as tough as they come already.

Certis wrote:

You guys are going deep deep deep down a rabbit hole. I can barely understand what you're actually discussing at this point.

I'll put it in real plain language so we're all clear on what my expectations are. If you're talking and someone says you've hurt their feelings, you acknowledge what happened, apologize and then continue on with the topic at hand.

What I'm hearing is how the Sexism, Gaming, Pax and Fear discussion turned "creepy" for some members. And it did. But that didn't mean it wasn't a discussion worth having, that meant it wasn't the kind of discussion people coming to that topic wanted to deal with. Like a trigger warning or a safe space. Those are good, useful things. It doesn't mean, though, that they're essential to any worthwhile discussion.

All of this nail biting about some vague dystopian future where threads are locked the moment someone is upset seems to be aimed at dragging the conversation into the abstract rather than dealing with all the messy human stuff where the things we say impact real people. I know it's safer to reside in the hypothetical and that tends to be where the most argumentative (often disruptive) of us prefer to work from, but that doesn't really fly in a conversation like this.

Here's a real world example: a while ago in the gay marriage thread, there was a post about former Republican candidate for President John Huntsman's views, where he said he was in favor of civil unions but not gay marriage. The consensus in the thread was "separate but equal." I expressed my opinion that it was different, that it looked more like someone coming to terms with the issue than someone looking for legal cover of an unapologetically bigoted intent.

Now, I don't want to make Rubb Ed and Phoenix Rev feel anything but support from me. Number one, they're nice people. Number two, I can't tell you when exactly I became a supporter of same-sex marriage, but it was probably right around the time when I realized it might become a possibility in my lifetime, and the first 'union' gay or straight among my friends was a same-sex one almost twenty years ago. Still though, I was in disagreement with the general opinion in that thread on that issue. Well, about a year later it turns out I was right: Huntsman *did* come out in support of gay marriage. So it wasn't just playing devil's advocate or some other junk, it's honestly what I thought was the truth about the situation, and it wasn't out of left field.

If you want to know more, feel free to ask, but I'm thinking this is probably a good place for me to stop.

People can express opinions which offend others or creep them out. I see no problem with that, and value the honesty if it's respectfully given. It's possible to apologize for the observed impact of where you stand while still remaining there. The key is respect. That means acknowledging others' feelings and allowing the discussion to move on.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Here's a real world example: a while ago in the gay marriage thread, there was a post about former Republican candidate for President John Huntsman's views, where he said he was in favor of civil unions but not gay marriage. The consensus in the thread was "separate but equal." I expressed my opinion that it was different, that it looked more like someone coming to terms with the issue than someone looking for legal cover of an unapologetically bigoted intent.

Now, I don't want to make Rubb Ed and Phoenix Rev feel anything but support from me. Number one, they're nice people. Number two, I can't tell you when exactly I became a supporter of same-sex marriage, but it was probably right around the time when I realized it might become a possibility in my lifetime, and the first 'union' gay or straight among my friends was a same-sex one almost twenty years ago. Still though, I was in disagreement with the general opinion in that thread on that issue. Well, about a year later it turns out I was right: Huntsman *did* come out in support of gay marriage. So it wasn't just playing devil's advocate or some other junk, it's honestly what I thought was the truth about the situation, and it wasn't out of left field.

That's all fine. What is this an example of? Are you suggesting that conversation wouldn't happen if some nebulous "safe space" rule was in effect?

Certis wrote:

If you well and truly can't extract your opinion and viewpoint from a basis of mutual respect, I'll be happy to show you the door. That's been our code of conduct from day one. Nothing has changed.

Once more with feeling. Unless you were telling everyone who doesn't hold your opinion to shut up and grow a thicker skin, I really don't see the problem. I feel like I've been pretty clear there's a difference between an opinion and personal attacks. This isn't about everyone agreeing on every issue. It's about being considerate.

Anyway, broken record. It's one of those things where it either makes sense or it doesn't. It's basic 101 human interaction and respect to me.

rabbit wrote:

Also ... Don't think you understand what is and isn't "gendered" until you've had your 10-13 year old daughter talk to you about how SHE views language once in a while. Have fun refuting how a 10 year old views the word "bitch" with arguments about toughening up. My daughter is about as tough as they come already.

I'm impressed that your daughter even opened up to you about her feelings on the matter. Not that it's any slight on you, but just -- that's a stressful conversation to have at any age, and not only are you an adult male, you're also her father. The power imbalance couldn't be wider between the two of you. She's a brave kid. I know I wouldn't have had the brass ovaries to have that conversation with my father at her age.

Back to the point: Gendered insults hurt people. They hurt the women who've heard them every day of their lives, and the little girls who internalize them. That much is obvious. But they also hurt men, too, because with every "don't be such a girl" or "quit being a little bitch" you say, you essentially squeeze yourself tighter into a definition of masculinity too narrow to be sustainable. You shut yourself off from what you perceive as weakness, instead of exploring it, exposing it and potentially growing as an individual as a result. Furthermore, every little boy who hears you utter these words? They follow your example, thinking that they have to shut off parts of themselves in order to gain approval. Thus is perpetuated the cycle of harm.

Nobody benefits when told to "man up" or "stop being such a pussy". There is only cost: a loss of good will, a loss of feeling safe or of belonging, a loss of friendships. So if you look at it from no other perspective than a cost-benefit analysis, why on earth would you defend a behavior that has no benefits, but only cost? Why defend your right to hurt people, when in fact all you're achieving is hurting people? Give me one good reason. Please. Because I simply cannot understand it.

Certis wrote:

That's all fine. What is this an example of? Are you suggesting that conversation wouldn't happen if some nebulous "safe space" rule was in effect?

Certis wrote:

If you well and truly can't extract your opinion and viewpoint from a basis of mutual respect, I'll be happy to show you the door. That's been our code of conduct from day one. Nothing has changed.

Once more with feeling. Unless you were telling everyone who doesn't hold your opinion to shut up and grow a thicker skin, I really don't see the problem. I feel like I've been pretty clear there's a difference between an opinion and personal attacks. This isn't about everyone agreeing on every issue. It's about being considerate.

Anyway, broken record. It's one of those things where it either makes sense or it doesn't. It's basic 101 human interaction and respect to me.

I am suggesting that conversation might not happen. I might decide that even if I disagree with someone, it's not worth making them feel the sting of being criticized even if it's done respectfully and reasonably, because sometimes some issues hit too close to home. Sometimes being considerate requires not saying anything at all.

LouZiffer wrote:

People can express opinions which offend others or creep them out. I see no problem with that, and value the honesty if it's respectfully given. It's possible to apologize for the observed impact of where you stand while still remaining there. The key is respect. That means acknowledging others' feelings and allowing the discussion to move on.

I don't think a discussion can move on from that--you can't say "sorry" for what you just did, then go right back and do the same thing again. An apology without a change in behavior doesn't make sense, and that's the problem with an apology when you haven't done anything wrong, even if you did something that wound up hurting someone.

I mean, I can understand it from the social dance we all play where we fib a little to keep the wheels of human interaction greased, but I think this issue goes beyond that.

There was a radio programme a while ago about an Indian guy who used to run a newsagents with his family. He told all kinds of stories about the locals and the problems they had being Indian in the north of England but one thing he said has really stuck with me. They would occasionally get a drunk or a racist guy making comments but the thing that really bothered him was when local people, buying a paper or whatever, didn't want to touch his hand. They would pay for a paper but, when it came to him giving them their change, they'd want him to place it on the counter rather than take it from his palm.

The problem with small things like that is, to the person who doesn't want to take the money, it's a tiny insignificant thing but to the Indian newsagent it's a part of a endless landscape of disapproval and negativity that he has to live with day in and day out.

I'll just talk about my personal experience as an Asian, since I can not speak for women. I grew up as the only Asian in my neighborhood. The amount of racial slurs (most of them for the wrong race) I was called are uncountable. It left a lasting effect on me.

Now and again I hear the word "Jap" in conversations I am a part in, whether in asking me a question or referring to my heritage. I point out that even though I am sure they didn't mean it in a demeaning way it has a negative connotation. They are quick to apologize and say that they will take care not to use it again. Now substitute Jap with bitch or pussy. Is there a difference? I have a hard time seeing one.

As a footnote, I was browsing video game streamers the other day when I came across one whose chat rules included no demeaning, sexist, or racist comments. His offline picture included the text "Reloading is for pussies". I believe that many people have a cognitive disconnect on this issue.

CheezePavilion wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

People can express opinions which offend others or creep them out. I see no problem with that, and value the honesty if it's respectfully given. It's possible to apologize for the observed impact of where you stand while still remaining there. The key is respect. That means acknowledging others' feelings and allowing the discussion to move on.

I don't think a discussion can move on from that--you can't say "sorry" for what you just did, then go right back and do the same thing again. An apology without a change in behavior doesn't make sense, and that's the problem with an apology when you haven't done anything wrong, even if you did something that wound up hurting someone.

I mean, I can understand it from the social dance we all play where we fib a little to keep the wheels of human interaction greased, but I think this issue goes beyond that.

It's not a fib at all. I'm not talking about apologizing for behavior. Expressing one's opinion respectfully isn't bad behavior. I'm talking about apologizing for the unintended consequences of human interaction, which happens all the time. Bumping into people comes with being part of the world. In a crowded theater you respect them by apologizing for the bumps and moving on to your seat. When expressing your opinion you can apologize to people who have friction with it and move on. Once you've made it plain where you stand, there's no reason to repeat it. This isn't about trying to prove you're right or getting people to change. It's about declaring who you are.

LouZiffer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

People can express opinions which offend others or creep them out. I see no problem with that, and value the honesty if it's respectfully given. It's possible to apologize for the observed impact of where you stand while still remaining there. The key is respect. That means acknowledging others' feelings and allowing the discussion to move on.

I don't think a discussion can move on from that--you can't say "sorry" for what you just did, then go right back and do the same thing again. An apology without a change in behavior doesn't make sense, and that's the problem with an apology when you haven't done anything wrong, even if you did something that wound up hurting someone.

I mean, I can understand it from the social dance we all play where we fib a little to keep the wheels of human interaction greased, but I think this issue goes beyond that.

It's not a fib at all. I'm not talking about apologizing for behavior. Expressing one's opinion respectfully isn't bad behavior. I'm talking about apologizing for the unintended consequences of human interaction, which happens all the time. Bumping into people comes with being part of the world. In a crowded theater you respect them by apologizing for the bumps and moving on to your seat. When expressing your opinion you can apologize to people who have friction with it and move on. Once you've made it plain where you stand, there's no reason to repeat it.

Well, you'd have to keep repeating your opinion in some form for the discussion to move on. I'm not saying "don't apologize" I'm saying just an apology won't cut it the way it does in your analogy because the situations are different. This isn't like those unintended consequences of human interaction that happen all the time.

CheezePavilion wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

People can express opinions which offend others or creep them out. I see no problem with that, and value the honesty if it's respectfully given. It's possible to apologize for the observed impact of where you stand while still remaining there. The key is respect. That means acknowledging others' feelings and allowing the discussion to move on.

I don't think a discussion can move on from that--you can't say "sorry" for what you just did, then go right back and do the same thing again. An apology without a change in behavior doesn't make sense, and that's the problem with an apology when you haven't done anything wrong, even if you did something that wound up hurting someone.

I mean, I can understand it from the social dance we all play where we fib a little to keep the wheels of human interaction greased, but I think this issue goes beyond that.

It's not a fib at all. I'm not talking about apologizing for behavior. Expressing one's opinion respectfully isn't bad behavior. I'm talking about apologizing for the unintended consequences of human interaction, which happens all the time. Bumping into people comes with being part of the world. In a crowded theater you respect them by apologizing for the bumps and moving on to your seat. When expressing your opinion you can apologize to people who have friction with it and move on. Once you've made it plain where you stand, there's no reason to repeat it.

Well, you'd have to keep repeating your opinion in some form for the discussion to move on. I'm not saying "don't apologize" I'm saying just an apology won't cut it the way it does in your analogy because the situations are different. This isn't like those unintended consequences of human interaction that happen all the time.

I disagree, but don't feel like this is important or interesting enough to hash it out. Sorry.

It seems to me that there's two different things under discussion here:

a) Expressing an idea using language that people find offensive.

b) Expressing an idea that people find offensive (using language that carry no extra baggage for the audience).

a) is something I should reasonably be expected to change in the interest of politeness, inclusiveness and good communication, especially since I probably didn't intend to use derogatory language.

b) is contextual. For instance, there are deeply religious people who will find my views on religion offensive no matter how neutral the language used to express them is. If I express those opinions during some sort of religious ceremony, I'm the ass who needs to shut up.

On the other hand, if they take offense during a discussion of religions, they're the ones that either need to deal with it or excuse themselves, because they're objecting to something inimical to the discussion and hampering its quality.

Although really, a discussion of offensive ideas seems like a digression that muddies the waters here, given that this thread was a reaction to the podcasters making an effort to stop using gendered language that carries connotations they don't agree with.

Cogent analysis, ALG.

We should be able to make a point without squeezing anyone's hand so hard it hurts, or getting huffy when they tell us it hurts (great analogy).

Edit: I'm sticking my hand in a cold pot of soup here, but I wanted to address the analogy some people made re: swearing. It's not a good analogy.

Overlaps notwthstanding, Curse words do not target a specific unprivileged minority like gendered or racist speech does. They're individualized; we have a loose and hasty definition thanks to George carlin, but even then...very few people are offended by "ass," for example. It's just not comparable to the multi-millennium long tradition of using language as a weapon against a specific minority.

Seth wrote:

Cogent analysis, ALG.

We should be able to make a point without squeezing anyone's hand so hard it hurts, or getting huffy when they tell us it hurts (great analogy).

Then that's a point about how you express things, not about whether you should express the thing in the first place. That's really just an extension of "addressing an argument using different terminology" like Tanglebones said.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Seth wrote:

Cogent analysis, ALG.

We should be able to make a point without squeezing anyone's hand so hard it hurts, or getting huffy when they tell us it hurts (great analogy).

Then that's a point about how you express things, not about whether you should express the thing in the first place. That's really just an extension of "addressing an argument using different terminology" like Tanglebones said.

Isn't that the complaint the OP has, though? That it's not fair that he can't talk about video games without using words that insult an entire demographic?

Seth wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Seth wrote:

Cogent analysis, ALG.

We should be able to make a point without squeezing anyone's hand so hard it hurts, or getting huffy when they tell us it hurts (great analogy).

Then that's a point about how you express things, not about whether you should express the thing in the first place. That's really just an extension of "addressing an argument using different terminology" like Tanglebones said.

Isn't that the complaint the OP has, though? That it's not fair that he can't talk about video games without using words that insult an entire demographic?

The OP, sure, but the discussion has expanded to include ideas from the other recent threads along these lines, so that it's now about harmful opinions and their effect, not just harmful words.

Ahh. Sorry, I missed that evolution, Cheeze. Apologies.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Although really, a discussion of offensive ideas seems like a digression that muddies the waters here, given that this thread was a reaction to the podcasters making an effort to stop using gendered language that carries connotations they don't agree with.

Well, except for the fact that people in this thread have actually taken personal offense to ideas they don't agree with. Regardless, Certis clearly separating personal insult from opinion and reinforcing a reasonable "play nice" policy resolves my concerns.

Seth wrote:

Edit: I'm sticking my hand in a cold pot of soup here, but I wanted to address the analogy some people made re: swearing. It's not a good analogy.

Overlaps notwthstanding, Curse words do not target a specific unprivileged minority like gendered or racist speech does. They're individualized; we have a loose and hasty definition thanks to George carlin, but even then...very few people are offended by "ass," for example. It's just not comparable to the multi-millennium long tradition of using language as a weapon against a specific minority.

That's a good point and something that was going through my own mind as well.