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Internet Censorship and Banning Members

YYW
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3/4/2014 2:40:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
In a thread I started not long ago about removing obscene material from this site, there were a few members who brought up the idea of internet censorship. So, I want to clarify what that is, and why removing obscene material from DDO is not censorship.

DDO is a part of the internet, not the whole. So, to say that a certain thing is unacceptable to discuss on DDO is not to say that on the whole of the internet, that thing -whatever it is- can never be discussed.

Internet censorship entails active resistance and suppression of something on the whole. For example, certain kinds of illegal pornography are censored on the whole of the internet by the United States government, and it should be. Copyrighted material is censored on the internet because viewing it is illegal.

Internet censorship can take place in a few ways. An internet service provider can throttle a particular website. That's censorship. A government can pass laws requiring internet service providers to not allow access to certain parts of the internet -especially the dark net. That's censorship.

It might be permissible censorship or not, but "internet censorship" does not occur where a single site decides to kick a member out for violating basic standards of decency, harassing other members and posting obscene material.

As a general rule, whenever members demonstrate at least three of the following: (1) a repeated inability or unwillingness to treat others with respect, (2) fail to post only material that is reasonably acceptable by community standards, (3) refuse to not harass other members despite repeated moderator warnings, and (4) actively target or harass specific members on a repeated occasion without provocation, that member can and should be banned.

To ban someone is not to necessarily censor what they say, so long as the person who is banned retains the liberty to join other online communities. If someone has internet access, they always have the liberty to join other online communities.

To remove certain content from the site that violates very specific criteria for decency is not to impose any kind of censorship, because to censor requires two things (1) examination of suspect material and (2) total active suppression of suspect material. The fact is that Airmax just doesn't have the power to censor the internet, generally. He can remove bad stuff from the site, but he can't censor the whole of the internet.

Like many, I share concerns about censorship and I agree that censorship as a rule is a bad thing in almost every circumstance. But removing content about human-animal sexual contact and the members who post about human-animal sexual contact can not be reasonably described as internet censorship.

Furthermore, to remove content about very specific topics (beastiality, incest and pedophilia, as I have argued in another thread) does not mean that anything other than discussions about those specific topics will be removed. The threshold of our communal aversion to censorship is not weakened by removing content about beastiality, incest and pedophilia.

I want to compare those topics, to another topic that a lot of members usually get irritated by: spam. Spam has no redeeming value. It isn't necessarily bad, but it does pollute the forum and most of us can agree on that. Some of us (even the ones who are arguing now that discussions about beastiality, pedophilia and incest should not be removed) have actively campaigned against other members who spam the site, and argued for their being banned.

Like spam, discussions about those topics actively pollute this site, and are not in keeping with the letter of the TOS, or the spirit of our community's standards. It would be hard to argue that the very act of posting about those topics presents some sort of existential harm to any particular member, but it would be equally difficult to suggest that any member who wants to talk about pedophilia, incest or bestiality is the kind of member who makes a valuable contribution to our community.

So, fully acknowledging the legitimate concern against internet censorship, to the extent that members who are banned can join other online communities in which discussions of those topics are more appropriate, it cannot be said that internet censorship, generally, has taken place. Rather, only a very specific part of the internet (DDO) has indicated that this is not the pace to talk about those things -and it isn't.

The reason DDO is not the place to talk about pedophilia, bestiality and incest is because of (1) the composition of this site's membership, (2) the nature of this site's function and (3) the implicit basic standards of what is permissible for discussion that follow from this site's composition and nature.

DDO is a community of both kids and adults, where people exchange ideas, learn, have fun and make friends. That requires that the site be generally free of inappropriate sexual content, because sex isn't what this site is about. That does not mean that all sexual content is to be banned, but that only very specific kinds of sexual content which is regulated by the state law to which DDO is subject and federal obscenity law precludes. Pedophilia, incest and beastiality are all regulated and banned by Illinois state law (the state to which DDO is subject) and United States Federal obscenity law. Whether those laws should be changed or not does not change the very real fact that all three of those topics are obscene by Illinois state and federal standards.

I think that DDO is, as a community, probably strong enough to handle some degree of content that some members would object to and that's a good thing. But realizing what it means that a member posts something that is obscene is the reason why that kind of material just isn't kosher, here. It means that a member who wants to advocate for pedophilia, beastiality or incest is among our ranks as a community, and it means that this site has become a platform for advocacy of pedophilia, beastiality or incest. It's not unreasonable to not want DDO to become a place where pedophilia, beastiality or incest are advocated for and it's not unreasonable to not want our community to be the means for that advocacy.
Tsar of DDO
Raisor
Posts: 4,462
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3/4/2014 3:18:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Censoring members based on the ideas they defend is in direct conflict with the goals of a website called "debate dot org."

It is no argument to say that this doesn't harm the purpose and function. Of the website because there are only three specific issues you want banned. There is either free discussion of ideas or there isn't. If there isn't, then what is allowed is up for grabs and any number of topics will be banned based on who is swaying public opinion or running the site.

Maybe the community of ddo wants to be one where only certain opinions are allowed to be expressed. I for one want this to be a community where I have the freedom to argue against repugnant positions rather than one that tries to erase them. I want this to be a place where bad ideas are exposed as bad ideas in a public forum rather then pushed to the fringes of society in an attempt to pretend they don't exist. Maybe others disagree and prefer censorship on DDO to freedom of expression.
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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3/4/2014 3:27:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 3:18:09 PM, Raisor wrote:
Censoring members based on the ideas they defend is in direct conflict with the goals of a website called "debate dot org."

And what are those goals?

It is no argument to say that this doesn't harm the purpose and function. Of the website because there are only three specific issues you want banned.

I want nothing obscene on this site. Pedophilia, incest and beastiality are less "issues" than they are instances of manifest pruriency, regulated by state law. But that is inconsequential to the argument that this is not the place to talk about those things.

Internet censorship, generally, cannot occur by one specific moderator on one specific site banning one specific member for posting very specific things that are in violation of very specific community standards.

There is either free discussion of ideas or there isn't.

That obscenity is banned does not mean that free discussion is lost, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will.

If there isn't, then what is allowed is up for grabs and any number of topics will be banned based on who is swaying public opinion or running the site.

Raisor, you're smarter than that. That obscenity is banned does not mean that any number of topics could be banned based on public opinion or who is running the site, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will. The slopes are just not that slippery.

Maybe the community of ddo wants to be one where only certain opinions are allowed to be expressed.

All that is not obscene is permissible, as it has always been, and will always be. Once more, that obscenity is banned does not mean that free discussion is lost, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will.

I for one want this to be a community where I have the freedom to argue against repugnant positions rather than one that tries to erase them. I want this to be a place where bad ideas are exposed as bad ideas in a public forum rather then pushed to the fringes of society in an attempt to pretend they don't exist. Maybe others disagree and prefer censorship on DDO to freedom of expression.

In case you weren't clear, that obscenity is banned does not mean that free discussion is lost, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will.
Tsar of DDO
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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3/4/2014 4:18:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
There is a lot of obscene subject-matter discussed in the forums (from the drug threads to the sex threads) and that has always been the case - it's just that these subjects you're referring to deal with sexual aberrance.

You're going to have to prove that you're enforcing a principle that has:
a) always been in existence
b) is codified in the site's terms of service
c) equally applied to all material of that nature

I'm not confident that the OP does that.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
sadolite
Posts: 8,842
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3/4/2014 4:20:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 4:02:59 PM, YYW wrote:
At 3/4/2014 3:58:33 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
You're pitiful dude.

Sure.

Do you know pornography when you see it?
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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3/4/2014 4:25:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 4:18:32 PM, 000ike wrote:
There is a lot of obscene subject-matter discussed in the forums (from the drug threads to the sex threads) and that has always been the case - it's just that these subjects you're referring to deal with sexual aberrance.

You're going to have to prove that you're enforcing a principle that has:
a) always been in existence
b) is codified in the site's terms of service
c) equally applied to all material of that nature

I'm not confident that the OP does that.

Talking about drugs or anything sexual isn't necessarily obscene.
Tsar of DDO
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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3/4/2014 4:34:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 4:25:39 PM, YYW wrote:
At 3/4/2014 4:18:32 PM, 000ike wrote:
There is a lot of obscene subject-matter discussed in the forums (from the drug threads to the sex threads) and that has always been the case - it's just that these subjects you're referring to deal with sexual aberrance.

You're going to have to prove that you're enforcing a principle that has:
a) always been in existence
b) is codified in the site's terms of service
c) equally applied to all material of that nature

I'm not confident that the OP does that.

Talking about drugs or anything sexual isn't necessarily obscene.

Of course not. But discussing drug use in an explicitly promotional manner or sex is a graphic manner is necessarily obscene - and conversations like that are interspersed in the archive of forum threads.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Citrakayah
Posts: 1,500
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3/4/2014 5:16:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 3:27:38 PM, YYW wrote:
That obscenity is banned does not mean that free discussion is lost, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will.

Simple discussion of those things is not obscene (at least not from a legal perspective, from a social perspective it varies wildly). Explicit verbal descriptions of sex with animals would be obscene, pictures would be obscene (unless used in a scientific context), but as it stands the argument would probably be made that it had "serious political value" which doesn't require you to take it seriously. Therefore it would very possibly fail the Miller Test.
mrsatan
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3/4/2014 5:42:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 3:27:38 PM, YYW wrote:
At 3/4/2014 3:18:09 PM, Raisor wrote:
Censoring members based on the ideas they defend is in direct conflict with the goals of a website called "debate dot org."

And what are those goals?


The general goal, I would imagine, is something along the lines of encouraging discussion and resolution of confrontational topics.

It is no argument to say that this doesn't harm the purpose and function. Of the website because there are only three specific issues you want banned.

I want nothing obscene on this site. Pedophilia, incest and beastiality are less "issues" than they are instances of manifest pruriency, regulated by state law. But that is inconsequential to the argument that this is not the place to talk about those things.


The problem is that what is or isn't an obscene topic is entirely subjective. Personally, I'm unconvinced any topic is obscene. The nature in which a topic is discussed may be obscene, i.e. giving a graphic description of sexual acts, but the topic itself is not.

For instance, if I say, "I see no reason why incest is considered an immoral act", am I being obscene? I would say no.

Of course, if I went on to describe sexual relations between me and a relative (or anyone else), then it would be obscene. The problem there is that such description does not contribute to any sort of argumentation. (To clarify, I have never had sexual relations with a relative)

Internet censorship, generally, cannot occur by one specific moderator on one specific site banning one specific member for posting very specific things that are in violation of very specific community standards.

There is either free discussion of ideas or there isn't.

That obscenity is banned does not mean that free discussion is lost, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will.


Lost? No. Diminished? Yes.

Censorship is censorship. Whether it's wide scaled or small scaled does not change this. If someone's written thoughts are removed, they are being censored. Whether or not censorship is a good thing is another matter. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't, but even that is subjective.

If there isn't, then what is allowed is up for grabs and any number of topics will be banned based on who is swaying public opinion or running the site.

Raisor, you're smarter than that. That obscenity is banned does not mean that any number of topics could be banned based on public opinion or who is running the site, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will. The slopes are just not that slippery.

Maybe the community of ddo wants to be one where only certain opinions are allowed to be expressed.

All that is not obscene is permissible, as it has always been, and will always be. Once more, that obscenity is banned does not mean that free discussion is lost, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will.

I for one want this to be a community where I have the freedom to argue against repugnant positions rather than one that tries to erase them. I want this to be a place where bad ideas are exposed as bad ideas in a public forum rather then pushed to the fringes of society in an attempt to pretend they don't exist. Maybe others disagree and prefer censorship on DDO to freedom of expression.

In case you weren't clear, that obscenity is banned does not mean that free discussion is lost, it means that pedophilia, incest and beastiality are not acceptable for discussion on this site -not that any topic can be arbitrary banned at will.

Why try to hide to issues when it's more productive to reason with people, trying to show them why something is wrong? If you have kids, or if you did, and one of them did something wrong, would you simply tell them it's wrong and be done with it, or would you explain to them WHY it's wrong?
To say one has free will, to have chosen other than they did, is to say they have will over their will... Will over the will they have over their will... Will over the will they have over the will they have over their will, etc... It's utter nonsense.
rross
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3/4/2014 6:34:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 6:00:54 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Jeeze YYW, what's got you in a knot? You're hardly acting like your normal self.

?? Are you being sarcastic? This is totally his normal self. He picks on someone and harasses them and harasses them until they lose their temper and get banned, leave of their own accord, or find some other solution.

YYW is proud of doing this. He boasts about it. He's spiteful to people all the time. I don't think anyone should be banned, but if we were banning people for harassment, YYW should be at the top of the list in my opinion.
bsh1
Posts: 27,504
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3/4/2014 7:21:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I am bit concerned about banning people under the broad term of "obscenity." Merriam Webster defines "obscene" as "relating to sex in an indecent or offensive way."

Would my discussion about the need for oral sex (in thett and my debate) count as indecent or offensive. Some people might think so. Should I be banned for it--I don't think so. So of the innuendo laden discussions I've had with various members have grossed out other people, like GCL, who find such discourse "indecent."

I think what this comes down to is that obscenity is inherently a judgment call. What GCL or someone else might find obscene, I wouldn't. Does subjectivity mean that some obscene things should not be prohibited? No--of course porn or pedophilic images on this site should be removed.

But images are one thing--discussion of them is another. I think this is where I might take issue with Raisor. This is debate dot org, certainly. But that does not mean that there is an absolute right to freedom of speech. For instance, harassment is not permissible.

So, this leads me to my ultimate question. Obscenity should not be permitted in all forms and in all degrees, but is verbal (or, in this case, written) obscenity the type of thing worth banning people over?

I don't really have an answer for it. I'll be honest--I cannot answer that question. It's a sort of "I know it when I see it" type of thing. If its gratuitous, violent, disturbing, etc. it might be inappropriate enough to remove, or to ban someone for.

I know this is a highly nebulous, un-useful standard, but it is the best I can articulate at this point, until I have time to invest further thought. I don't think YYW is totally off the mark, but he might not have shot a bull's-eye either.

I hope that all came out coherently...
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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3/4/2014 8:12:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 6:00:54 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Jeeze YYW, what's got you in a knot? You're hardly acting like your normal self.

Successful troll is successful ;D
rross
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3/4/2014 8:22:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 8:12:44 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
At 3/4/2014 6:00:54 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Jeeze YYW, what's got you in a knot? You're hardly acting like your normal self.

Successful troll is successful ;D

You mean me? Nah. I would have said all that anyway. If Zaradi hadn't been the most recent on the thread, I would have replied to someone else.
AnDoctuir
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3/4/2014 8:23:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 8:22:42 PM, rross wrote:
At 3/4/2014 8:12:44 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
At 3/4/2014 6:00:54 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Jeeze YYW, what's got you in a knot? You're hardly acting like your normal self.

Successful troll is successful ;D

You mean me? Nah. I would have said all that anyway. If Zaradi hadn't been the most recent on the thread, I would have replied to someone else.

Nah, YYW is being a little bitch looking for my attention. I'm the troll, lol.
AnDoctuir
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3/4/2014 8:31:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 8:26:05 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/4/2014 8:25:32 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
So long as everyone realises he's just a sperging retard, it's all okay.

http://media.tumblr.com...

I get that you're retarded, dylan. Cody does too, by the way. We had a funny little PM conversation about you that last time, lol.

Nice condescending to sadolite, who's probably a million times more useful than you, though.
madness
Posts: 5
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3/4/2014 9:04:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I mentioned a fat Jesus in one of my polls and got my poll taken down. We in communist China here?
Jonbonbon
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3/4/2014 9:06:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 9:04:24 PM, madness wrote:
I mentioned a fat Jesus in one of my polls and got my poll taken down. We in communist China here?

No, it was a properly stupid poll to begin with. The answers were retarded, and adding fat Jesus didn't help you. Also, you were a jerk in the comments. You dug your own grave.
The Troll Queen.

I'm also the Troll Goddess of Reason. Sacrifices are appreciated but not necessary.

"I'm a vivacious sex fiend," SolonKR.

Go vote on one of my debates. I'm not that smart, so it'll probably be an easy decision.

Fite me m9

http://www.debate.org...
Raisor
Posts: 4,462
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3/4/2014 9:08:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 7:21:02 PM, bsh1 wrote:
I am bit concerned about banning people under the broad term of "obscenity." Merriam Webster defines "obscene" as "relating to sex in an indecent or offensive way."

Would my discussion about the need for oral sex (in thett and my debate) count as indecent or offensive. Some people might think so. Should I be banned for it--I don't think so. So of the innuendo laden discussions I've had with various members have grossed out other people, like GCL, who find such discourse "indecent."

I think what this comes down to is that obscenity is inherently a judgment call. What GCL or someone else might find obscene, I wouldn't. Does subjectivity mean that some obscene things should not be prohibited? No--of course porn or pedophilic images on this site should be removed.

But images are one thing--discussion of them is another. I think this is where I might take issue with Raisor. This is debate dot org, certainly. But that does not mean that there is an absolute right to freedom of speech. For instance, harassment is not permissible.

So, this leads me to my ultimate question. Obscenity should not be permitted in all forms and in all degrees, but is verbal (or, in this case, written) obscenity the type of thing worth banning people over?

I don't really have an answer for it. I'll be honest--I cannot answer that question. It's a sort of "I know it when I see it" type of thing. If its gratuitous, violent, disturbing, etc. it might be inappropriate enough to remove, or to ban someone for.

I know this is a highly nebulous, un-useful standard, but it is the best I can articulate at this point, until I have time to invest further thought. I don't think YYW is totally off the mark, but he might not have shot a bull's-eye either.

I hope that all came out coherently...

I support total freedom in discussing ideas. We can get into fine points about what that really means, but from a practical stand point it clearly excludes harassment and posting obscene images except in very narrow and improbable circumstances.
RoyLatham
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3/4/2014 9:14:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
DDO is a commercial enterprise. The site can make any rules they want to. We expect the site owners to make rules that enhance their business. If incessant discussion of bestiality or pedophilia discourages business, we should expect there to be a rule against it. Since many members of DDO are high and middle schoolers, it's perfectly reasonable to try to maintain reasonably civilized level of discussion. I know that some older DDO members left because of insults and harassment.

Membership in DDO is voluntary. If a member believes that they cannot express themselves without using obscenity, then they should leave the site. There are many places on the internet where they rant to their heart's content.

I don't know of anyone who has been banned without getting repeated warnings. It's only after being given option to live within the rules and choosing not to that someone gets booted. Since few people have trouble staying within bounds, it's a desire to achieve faux-martydom that leads to banning.
YYW
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3/4/2014 9:19:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 7:21:02 PM, bsh1 wrote:
I am bit concerned about banning people under the broad term of "obscenity." Merriam Webster defines "obscene" as "relating to sex in an indecent or offensive way."

I'm not defining obscenity as Webster defines it, and I've outlined very specific criteria for what constitutes a ban-worthy offense. Advocating on pruriency's behalf has no place on this site. The only things I've suggested that fit into that category are advocacy for pedophilia, incest or beastiality and nothing else. So, your criticism here isn't so much an actual refutation against anything I've said as much as it is a general concern about an arbitrary definition that is only casually conceptually related to what's being discussed here.

I'm also not saying that whenever someone thinks something is offensive, that it should be banned or that because I think something is offensive that it has no place on this site. This is a common misconception that several have failed to grasp.

But images are one thing--discussion of them is another. I think this is where I might take issue with Raisor. This is debate dot org, certainly. But that does not mean that there is an absolute right to freedom of speech. For instance, harassment is not permissible.

I want to clarify something else, as well, that sort of builds on this general point. I am not suggesting that any time anything which is casually definable as obscene ought to be banned. Obscene is the adjective used to describe three prurient things: beastiality, pedophilia and incest. Nothing other than pedophilia, beastiality or incest become suspect by agreeing with what I'm saying.

And I want to clarify what, specifically, I'm saying ought not be allowed on this site: advocacy for pedophilia, beastiality or incest and only advocacy for pedophilia, beastiality or incest. Nothing else. This is hardly a controversial.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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3/4/2014 9:20:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 9:14:14 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
DDO is a commercial enterprise. The site can make any rules they want to. We expect the site owners to make rules that enhance their business. If incessant discussion of bestiality or pedophilia discourages business, we should expect there to be a rule against it. Since many members of DDO are high and middle schoolers, it's perfectly reasonable to try to maintain reasonably civilized level of discussion. I know that some older DDO members left because of insults and harassment.

Membership in DDO is voluntary. If a member believes that they cannot express themselves without using obscenity, then they should leave the site. There are many places on the internet where they rant to their heart's content.

I don't know of anyone who has been banned without getting repeated warnings. It's only after being given option to live within the rules and choosing not to that someone gets booted. Since few people have trouble staying within bounds, it's a desire to achieve faux-martydom that leads to banning.

I completely agree.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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3/4/2014 9:21:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/4/2014 6:34:15 PM, rross wrote:
At 3/4/2014 6:00:54 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Jeeze YYW, what's got you in a knot? You're hardly acting like your normal self.

?? Are you being sarcastic? This is totally his normal self. He picks on someone and harasses them and harasses them until they lose their temper and get banned, leave of their own accord, or find some other solution.

YYW is proud of doing this. He boasts about it. He's spiteful to people all the time. I don't think anyone should be banned, but if we were banning people for harassment, YYW should be at the top of the list in my opinion.

I suppose it's fair to conclude that Rross supports pedophilia, beastiality or incest being advocated for on this site. That's fantastic, really. I'm glad we've cleared that up.
Tsar of DDO