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Anti-Racism and the Golden Rule

x-posted to SD

Dear members of Scans_Daily and NoScans_Daily,

One of the things that we love about scans_daily is that we don't shy away from controversial subjects. This is a good thing, and one of the many things that make our community great. Subjects like race, gender, sexuality, or even your favourite comic or character, can spark passionate discussion and debate.

But in order to maintain our community as a place where people feel comfortable having these discussions, we all must adhere to our community ethos: Criticize arguments, art, writing, but do not make insulting, offensive or passive aggressive remarks to or about people. This includes people both inside and outside of the community.

To quote from our userinfo:
ETHOS.

1. The golden rule, also known as the Thumper's Dad rule: All posts and comments are to maintain a respectful tone towards fellow Homo sapiens. Posts or comments making rude remarks about other members of this community, their expressions of fannish enthusiasm, comics creators, or even people not remotely associated with comics will not be tolerated. It's perfectly fine to disagree with others and to express your own opinions, but if you can't do so without making it personal, then that's probably a sign that you should take a step back from that conversation. We don't accept passive aggressive or even just aggressive comments with a smiley after them. We don't accept being insulting to fans or to creators personally. You should all be able to separate the artist from the art.

Note: if you see someone making insulting comments, do not respond in kind. Contact a moderator to let them know about it.

2. Scans Daily was founded by girl geeks, and members of slash fandom. The moderating team strives to maintain the community as a LGBT-friendly, anti-racist, anti-ableist and woman-friendly space. As such, hate speech, discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated. Democratic dialog and friendly debate however, are more than welcome.

3. SD respects our members' rights to privacy and control over their online identities. As far as we're concerned you are your pseud. Trolling and attempts to dismiss other posters on the basis of their 'hiding behind a fake name' will not be tolerated. Unauthorized public release of a fellow member's contact information will result in immediate banning.

The mod team hopes to maintain SD and NSD as spaces where anti-racist conversations can take place, but this requires finding a balance between the golden rule and the imperatives of activism. It is absolutely okay to call out comics creators, or your fellow members on racist actions or statements. However, we would ask that you do so in a manner that conforms to the golden rule.

We recognize that in discussions of racism, asking people to adhere to a certain form of discourse can be interpreted as asking them to "watch their tone." We also recognize that "tone" is a loaded term with a loaded history. We are not seeking to silence people of colour and allies. Nor are we asking people of colour and allies to stop being angry about racism. If a member is showing their privilege, or exhibiting unconsciously racist attitudes, it is not only okay, but good and healthy for the community, for you to call them on it. However, we are asking you to refrain from using someone else's behavior as an excuse to engage in trolling, flaming and pointless flamebaiting.
Some examples of acceptable criticism:

"This art is racist because..."
"Your words are verging on racist territory because..."
"You should take a step back and examine your privilege."
"This story is drawing on racist stereotypes."

We realize that opinions differ on whether saying "you're racist/being racist" is merely a statement of fact or a personal attack. This is one issue on which we would welcome your feedback.

The mod team has not, and will not always get things right. We would ask that you join us in striving to get up when we've fallen down, and striving to do better. Anti-racist (and for that matter, anti-sexist, and anti-ablelist) modding is something that the mod team has been struggling with since before the TOSing.

We would very much like to hear from members on this, particularly fans of colour. How can we do better by you? And how can we do better as a community?



As always, if you encounter someone making insulting comments toward fellow human beings, please contact a moderator.

Comments

( 217 comments — Leave a comment )
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btravage
May. 30th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
Confronting racism in fellow members is especially difficult, because in these days its rare to find someone who is consciously aware of their racism. We are taught that a racist is a despicable person who actively sets out to hurt others, so of course nobody wants to be called one by being called out on their subconscious prejudices. Instead of coming to terms with and moving past their prejudices(a life-long process), it's just easier to ignore them.
(Deleted comment)
stubbleupdate
May. 30th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
Speaking only for myself, I don't want to create Taboo titles or authors because we've had problems in the past.
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lilacsigil
May. 30th, 2009 10:13 am (UTC)
Of your examples, "this art is racist" is pretty unhelpful and is immediately going to get a reply of "NO IT ISN'T". "This art is racist because..." "Your words are verging on racist territory because..." might be a more useful example.
schmevil
May. 30th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)
That's true, it might lead to a merry go round of accusations. I'll edit to include your revised examples, if you don't mind?
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oddityangel
May. 30th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
Nice.
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keeni84
May. 30th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
"You're racist/being racist" is a statement of fact.
art_house_queen
May. 30th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
I agree.
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not to put you on the spot... - schmevil - May. 31st, 2009 12:28 am (UTC) - Expand
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mullon
May. 30th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
At least we can still insult animals.

Emus suck!
oddityangel
May. 30th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
I've had just about enough of your anti-emu bias.
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kali921
May. 30th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the repetition, since I just posted the same comment over on S_D 2.0.

It's very troubling in light of the fact that no matter how many warnings an individual has received prior to a discussion about race/bigotry/privilege, no matter how poor their behavior has been previously in other posts, when that individual is calling someone out on their privilege in a community where anti-racism is explicitly stated as part of the community ethos and then gets banned, it can easily be interpreted as a grudge!ban. It also kinds of cheapens the debate if the mods use an admittedly heated discussion about privilege, cultural appropriation, and racism as an excuse to ban someone that they've wanted to ban for a while. Hopefully you can see how what the mods said and did sends that as a powerful message and that said message is downright quelling and frightening? In light of Racefail 1.0, 1.0.1, 2.0, etc., it's an extra helping of "wow, are these comms even a safe place to discuss these issues?" You state that they are, but recent mod actions seem to counteract that assertion. It's an inconsistency that I've increasingly noticed.

That being said, I think that the mod team has kind of hamstrung themselves with wanting to brand NS_D and S_D 2.0 as anti-racist, anti-ablist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia but then focusing so much more on the Golden Rule rather than curbing sexism, privilege, and racism when they manifest on the comms. I can sympathize with the difficult position that you're in because of this, but you're essentially saying in this post "we get what Racefail was about, but watch your tone, it's all about tone."

This in particular is ambiguous:

The mod team hopes to maintain SD and NSD as spaces where anti-racist conversations can take place, but this requires finding a balance between the golden rule and the imperatives of activism. It is absolutely okay to call out comics creators, or your fellow members on racist actions or statements. However, we would ask that you do so in a manner that conforms to the golden rule.

What does that even mean? You've provided some examples, but hopefully you can see how the above can easily read as contradictory? It lends itself to arbitrariness, and after yesterday, the level of trust in the mods' ability to actually be consistent with how they choose to interpret what's acceptable and what isn't seems to be diminishing amongst more than a few people, and I frankly think with good reason.

That being said, I absolutely appreciate your effort to address this with the comm, but the way this post is worded is problematic. I do sympathize with your position on not wanting endless flaming and personal insults on the comm, but the grey areas in your post above are still looming and massive - it kind of gets into the Rhetorical Bermuda Triangle mentioned in the YouTube video above, and it can easily be read as the mods saying "WE will control the structure and type of discourse when people start to address and debate privilege, racism, etc."

I'd appreciate overall if the modding was more consistent all around vis a vis the Golden Rule, which people get away with bashing creators and which don't, and discussions where sexism, gender discrimination, bigotry, etc. come up.

And again, thank you for at least trying to address this; this post is appreciated.
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thokstar
May. 30th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
I don't think the original post by cissie_king was ban worthy (and I say this as somebody who's Jewish: it was clear that the comments at the end were a joke. Granted I'm a bit more thick skinned when it comes to this sort of humor than most.)

I do think the way the discussion developed after that was ban-worthy for cissie (and possibly others.) I'm also not particularly shocked that box_in_the_box was already near the border line, given that he was our resident Red Lantern.

I sort of hope both of these bans are temporary month long bans (that time frame seems about right, possibly 2 weeks or 6 weeks so they don't get unbanned right when FC: Dance 2 is released): I think both cissie and box are valuable members of the noscans/scans 2.0, but I think they both could use some down time off the community.
keeni84
May. 30th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
How can you call an attempt by cissie_king to derail any opposition to her post by saying people were going to call her a racist nazi "a joke"?

It wasn't funny and that tactic has been used (in particular against POC) to invalidate (our) thoughts and opinions.
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cerusee
May. 30th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
I agree on all points.
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dv8nation
May. 30th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
"You should take a step back and examine your privilege."

This is acceptable? You gotta be kidding me. A person saying this is saying they know things about my POV on the world based on, mostly, my race, gender and sexual preference. How in the world is this "friendly"?

I'm HIGHLY insulted whenever someone says this to me and I certainly don't come to this comm for that sort of thing.
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sanspantalons
May. 30th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'm mostly a lurker here (was the same at the old community), but to me;

'You're being racist' is a statement of fact, and a useful one at that. Speaking as someone who has, in the past (due to upbringing and cultural background) unwittingly carried around racist ideas/thoughts/opinions, it needs to be said because otherwise, well... how the hell else are we supposed to realise our privilege and ignorance re; the subject matter and drop it post-haste?

Perhaps amend the rules to note that a statement regarding sexism/racism/etc is not an attack? Could even provide helpful links to well-written pieces on the subject of privilege and how far racism can reach?

Possibly too complex/tl;dr but speaking as a white male raised in a fairly xenophobic area, I want people to be able to succintly and easily let me know when my privilege is showing. ...which possibly in and of itself smacks of privilege, sorry.
schmevil
Jun. 2nd, 2009 01:43 am (UTC)
Perhaps amend the rules to note that a statement regarding sexism/racism/etc is not an attack? Could even provide helpful links to well-written pieces on the subject of privilege and how far racism can reach?

We've started working on both of these things. We've also decided that our official stance is, "you're being racist" is not a personal attack, and that it will be the mod team's responsibility to make this clear, by linking to helpful materials.

I want people to be able to succintly and easily let me know when my privilege is showing. ...which possibly in and of itself smacks of privilege, sorry.

I hear you on this. It's something I fall into as well.
spiralsheep
May. 30th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
We realize that opinions differ on whether saying "you're racist/being racist" is merely a statement of fact or a personal attack. This is one issue on which we would welcome your feedback.

It's personal criticism. However, if it's disallowed personal criticism in this community then that implies the personal feelings of racists/people being racist are more important in this com than the impact of racism on members, which would be extremely faily. Of course, there will be errors of judgement by posters and commentors and mods in the implementation of any and all attempts at communication but imo the baseline for those attempts should begin somewhere above a level which effectively protects racists but not victims of racism.

/currently inactive member
dv8nation
May. 30th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
That's a bit murky. Wouldn't it be better to just accept that some ruffled feathers are bound to happen from time to time and that as we should all just follow the basic rule of "Disagree but don't be an ass about it,"?
(no subject) - skalja - May. 30th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - schmevil - May. 30th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
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stubbleupdate
May. 31st, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
Who did you send that to, and how? I didn't see any of that and if I had known about it, something would have been done.
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(no subject) - schmevil - May. 31st, 2009 12:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skalja - May. 31st, 2009 12:47 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - skalja - May. 31st, 2009 01:09 am (UTC) - Expand
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schmevil
May. 31st, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
We can tell you what we think the difference is between being rude and giving criticism ETA: in the context of a political charged discussion. But not everyone will agree with us. That's why we've opened this up for discussion.

Edited at 2009-05-31 01:43 am (UTC)
(no subject) - foxhack - May. 31st, 2009 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - foxhack - May. 31st, 2009 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
btravage
May. 31st, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
What the heck is "Racefail"?
foxhack
May. 31st, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
Eminem! He's a perfect example of Racefail.

Seriously though, this post seems to cover everything, at least at first glance.
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