It is probably stupid for me to start this no-win battle, but I am really interested in everyone's opinion. My whole issue with Fuck being in the title of groups has NEVER been about free speech. I have gone way out of my way to defend variable and his stance on free speech.

My last concern I told him about was the problems people were having at work viewing this site at work. We have literally hundreds of people who log on at work and they are flagged to their employers for viewing a NSFW site.

All I asked was that the name of the group be changed and a warning be placed in the description. I told him he was free to do whatever he wanted within the groups.

George Carlin made a point to fight for freedom of speech and he won. However, he did NOT post the "7 words" on his billboards or say them during interviews. Are we supposed to say he was not truly for free speech and that he was a sellout?

Also, this is not the "public square," this is a private site.

I wrote this in an earlier post:

The issue was not about children per say, even though it was a part. My main concern is because I have been informed that we are getting some media snoops. If anyone has seen the uproar that happened with The Daily Koz you will understand where I am coming from. The last thing we need is to be accused of endorsing any of the online groups. The only group I totally supported deleting was the one called Atheist Bestiality. Should I not have done that? Maybe so, maybe not. Unfortunately, I can't only function in a idealistic perfect world. I am stuck in our real world and dealing with consequences of our freedom of speech.

Lines have to be drawn somewhere. I myself, am against censorship and I'm not overly concerned with protecting my kids from words. However, if you drive up and down my street screaming fuck out your window, rest assured I will censor your ass. It is not acceptable behavior. I cannot walk naked down the street. I chose not to fart in public, not because I am censoring myself, but because it is not the accepted etiquette.

Also, this is not a public space, so we are not talking about free speech. This is a private site and we must all follow the rules to be apart of it (I would love to get all your help developing those rules with me).

We have to remember our focus. Are we only trying to proclaim our atheism to the world, or are we trying to communicate it. You might be 100% right on an issue, but if you only want to force it down someone's throat, you are not going to be effective. Sometimes we have to lose the battle to win the war.

Also a quick note about variable (the creator of the groups in question). I spent some time chatting with him yesterday and found him to be an intelligent and passionate person. It seems that we are both dedicated to the same things. If you have not watched his YouTube videos, you should. I look forward to working with him (and you) to make this site all it can be.

I really would love to hear everyone's opinion on this. And not only through the eyes of a perfect world, but through the eyes of the real world we live in.

Thanks for all your support guys!

Views: 15

Replies to This Discussion

Also as a followup, Variable, has continually told me he was changing the names of Fuck Christianity and Fuck Islam. He either does so, and then changes it back, or he ignores me entirely. Therefore these groups have been deleted. I freely welcome anyone to open similar groups without profanity in them. Also, this group (Fuck Censorship) will remain open. However, I do wish the name would be changed.

It is our policy that no profanity can be used in the title of a group. However, speech within said group is not edited. Also, we do not allow any flaming or disparaging of one group over another. Even if that group is 100% wrong. If someone started a group called Fuck Homosexuality or Fuck Democrats we would not accept it. This is no different.

Variable has said that it was okay to censor the Atheist Bestiality group because he did not agree with it. This is hypocritical. The group was not serious and did nothing at all to break any laws. He obviously has a line he thinks is wrong to pass. And so do I.
Every forum I'm on has had to wrestle with this issue, and every one of them has ended up with rules that either prohibit profanity across the board or strongly discourage its unnecessary and gratuitous use.

None of the owners of these sites are deeply religious, nor were their objections to casual profanity based on personal preference. It was a decision made solely on the reasoning that those behind school and work firewall filters wouldn't be able to access the forum if the filters blocked it.

I love profanity. I use it to express emotions that only profanity can express. I use it to shock people too comfortable in their puritanical thinking. I think profanity can be employed in functional as well as imaginative ways.

Yet I'm a responsible adult, responsible for my actions and their consequences. If I cause even one member to be unable to access the site just because I wanted to say "fuck", I am being selfish and inconsiderate. Those are not traits I admire in myself.

I don't want to do anything that inconveniences other members unless the reason is important enough to justify that. I can use other words that convey the same thoughts without having to be profane. Calling a person the Southern end of a North-bound horse says exactly the same thing as calling them a horse's ass. It's even more fun in that it makes them stop and think before they realize they've been insulted.

I'm not about to claim I'll never use profanity here. But when I can, as a courtesy to other members, I'll try to find other ways to make my point. It's not about censorship, in my opinion, it's about consideration.
Jack,

Thanks that is my point exactly. I am not concerned with profanity within groups. But what is unique about our site is the groups themselves. These names are available to public. We have to be responsible. In fact, I think this site could be just as effective if it was called "$#@% Censorship." Plus it would be ironic and funny. I am afraid however, that some people will just not listen to reason.
I'm in agreement with what has been said here. I can understand where Variable is coming from, with the group names, I really can. I actually think the titles ARE appropriate for the site and really aren't offensive. But. But, I don't think it is wrong to ask, for the reasons that have already been stated (NSFW mostly) to refrain from naming groups using profanity. IMO, this is not about censorship it is about allowing everyone who wishes to use the site access and for that there has to be compromise. I also believe strongly in choosing your battles. If Richard was suggesting that profanity should be banned entirely I would have a problem with that. As it happens he's not and I don't think it's inappropriate to ask that certain areas be kept clean.
Thanks so much Dawn!
Well, that really makes sense, if people are getting into trouble for the use of the word "fuck" in the titles of some groups then there's a practical reason for not having profanity used in titles. Besides, this is a private site, actually, you could impose a regulation on everybody using green socks while online at the Atheist Nexus if you wanted to lol.

I have no troubles with "Fuck Islam" or whatever turning into "Down with Islam" for example...it would seem more appropriate in fact. The problem I had at the beginning of this whole issue had more to do with the "deleting without warning" matter ( and not because I think I have a right to a warning but because I think warning users so as to give us a chance to modify our posts would be an act of common curtesy) which has already been resolved.
...emmm...I'll like to add, when I mean mods should use "common curtesy" I just mean at instances where there's room for good faith to be presumed. In such cases as the bestiality group it would be safe to assume the user is being a jerk on purpose and the said user should be immediately banned without further consideration (just my opinion of course).
Of course the corollary to this is, that where possible people should be pressing for these filters to be removed - especially in public institutions, like libraries and schools. Filtering by a list of words that some bureaucrat deems inappropriate is idiotic. All it really achieves is interfering with accessing perfectly reasonable sites that people have a legitimate reason to be using.

In both the library & school examples, people might be researching, sexuality, literature, slang, film, social issues - an almost endless list of topics. These broad scatter shot approaches to "protect" people from offence tend to fail miserably in their intended purpose, and instead work wonderfully at fucking up legitimate research lol.

For this very reason Newcastle Region Public Library where I worked for the last 15 years has absolutely no filters on the public access computers :) The same applies to the staff computers as we are constantly doing research online for patrons.

It's quite amusing to see the stunned expression on some people’s faces as they are joining their children & we ask them if they wish the children to be able access the net with their cards :) The parent will usually say something like "I don't see why not, naturally you have filters, Net Nanny or the like"

That's when I get to utter those sweet words - "Absolutely not, there is no censorship at all on our computers” *grin* I then follow with something like “you are asked not to look at sites that might offend others, and if a complaint is made, it will be assessed by a senior member of staff & if deemed inappropriate you will be asked to exit the site or have your session closed" In 90% of cases the fact that people are accessing the net in public and what they looking at is viewable by others is all that’s required to engender self censorship for most.

It is the only sane approach to these issues in any setting where access is being provided to the Internet for public or student use. To interpose filters of any sort between them and the net immediately impairs its effectiveness as a tool of research. *grin*

I must also say this was a victory for library staff - Public libraries like ours, are part of local government in our State [NSW, Australia]. As Newcastle City Council automated, they did get all Internet safety conscious, and obsessed with denying access for staff to anything that might be deemed inappropriate or just outside the scope of their job description. The zeal with which Council's IT section set about implementing these policy's made the net virtually useless in the library, both for the public, and the staff trying to use it as a reference tool. Getting this policy changed for the library was a major victory for reason :)

I support your view on showing restraint in group titles, but it is with distaste and only because it is the consensus view :) Not because I have any overwhelming need to say fuck or cunt*grin* but because it's acquiescing in a system that interferes with the free exchange of information. My own view is that even the bestiality group should have stayed - I have no idea how serious it was and I have no interest in fucking animals - I leave that to my Kiwi friends, 4 million people - 40 million sheep! (Old joke). No, the issue is still one of accessibility of information - who knows when someone will want to do a PhD on Bestiality amongst Atheist? *grin* a simple warning label or sticker denoting mature or adult content is all that should be required.

For those that will protest about protecting our children - that is primarily the role of the parent and to a small degree the institutions that provide public access. If you don't feel your child has the maturity for free access to the net then they shouldn't have it - supervise them at home, supervise them and train them in the schools, don't give them free access to the net in the local public library unless you feel they are mature enough. There is a distinct attitude these days of abrogating an individual’s responsibilities to the state. Unwise, it might seem a simple solution to the dilemma of my child understands computers better than I do. But encouraging greater good for the greatest numbers laws is fraught with peril.

On the deleting, banning of groups, people etc. It should be because of intent not words, Brother Richard talks of the Bestiality group as being not serious, not breaking any law – harmless in fact, and yet they get banned. He also says “we do not allow any flaming or disparaging of one group over another. Even if that group is 100% wrong. If someone started a group called Fuck Homosexuality or Fuck Democrats we would not accept it.” That’s not banning because it’s disparaging – that would depend on its intent, it’s banning it because of a word. A group called Fuck Homosexuality might in fact be supportive of homosexuality.

Ultimately, strangely, I support the casting out into the wilderness of one Variable – not because he had a penchant for saying fuck but because despite Brother Richard’s kind words about him, I think his intent was malicious. His intention, while appearing quite rational, was to cause dissent, to be argumentative and bring about disharmony – he was argumentative and confrontational in many of the threads he joined in on. For me this seems a far more reasonable ground for banishment than he used naughty words :) And the reason he was ultimately banned if I read Brother Richard’s words correctly.

And a final note – Hear what variable has to say about his banning :)

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