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Winding Vines
08-02-2011, 16:44
If it is an issue with "gray areas", why not outline Political Avatars unacceptable?

Ergo:
Politicians
Party Affiliation
Anti-anythings
and so on.

It's a thought.

Enki
08-02-2011, 17:05
I don't think we need any set policy on avatars myself. If an avatars is disruptive, demeaning or the like Sr staff may contact them about its being a problem and ask them to change it. I think saying no politics at all would ultimately lead to no content of any sort and be a waste of staff time and a lot of member frustration. Eventually someone could argue that otters constitute some sort of political message which I swear they are not ;)

Thanks for your suggestion though. I'll also be interested to hear if others think we ought have some sort of avatar policy.

rachamim
08-02-2011, 17:23
Of course I feel that no avatar should be censored, even those I might find reprehensible. I am not sure what would constitute a "disruptive" avatar. Subjective reasoning being what it is impossible to quantify "disruptive."

To outline a current issue, I changed avatars 4 days ago. My newest avatar was a cartoon taken from 2 Lebanese magazines. It had a camel with a small rocket in its mouth and its testicles sitting on a tree stump. In back of the stump was an Arab in traditional attire with a sledgehammer raised high, about to comedown on the stump. An English caption said, "Hezbollah Rocket Launcher."

The premise, re the article that accompanied the cartoon, was that Hezbollah had been foolish in 2006 to initiate a war with Israel because the Hezbollah arsenal is antiquated, and that Hezbollah (which just gained control of Lebanon) should keep that in mind.

A Mod, without talking/communicating with me issued me a Warning, telling me more or less that the avatar is disruptive.

To offer a richer context, I am well known on BL as someone who vehemently opposes Islam (do not confuse that with "Muslims," they are people, Islam os an ideology). Apparently the Mod felt it was a dig at Muslims, etc. Of course it was produced by Muslims themselves (the periodicals were from the AMAL political party).

Above all the preceding I do think that it would be prudent for the avatar policy to better defined.

Enki
08-02-2011, 17:52
What you describe as your avatar rachamim certainly seems to me like it could be a BLUA issue. Ordinarily I suggest that any specific grievances with a moderator action be addressed by PM rather than a Support thread but I can see you are trying to illustrate a point.

BLUA prohibited use:


#4 post or upload any content that victimizes, harasses, degrades, or intimidates an individual or group of individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or any other reason;

Winding Vines
08-02-2011, 18:04
Enki, Pragmatism is the only way to clarify or further evolve BL policy. And as a note I started this thread on my own accord, out of curiosity.

I am trying to better understand this as well, because there are several avatars I have noted within the political arena that I would find offensive but not someone else. Now what it sounded like in your previous post, that this is to only be decided by a Sr. Moderator. So I am conflicted by personal perceptions and the idea of "infractions" perse.

rachamim
08-02-2011, 18:11
It illustrates the problem perfectly. As I noted above, it came out of Arab media and was drawn to illustrate the futility of Hezbollah attacking Israel (military superiority). The point as I see it? Had the Mod communicated their concern the entire issue would have promptly deflated.

As for "PM," of course I did so. In response the Mod publicly commented on the issue so once they out themselves it no longer is an issue though I still am not mentioning them by name.

My opinion? If there is to be a policy it should involve communication as the first step. Let the Mod inquire as to why the poster is utilising a possibly offencive avatar. Crossed wires as in this case negate the imagined concern.

(Edited for spelling)

Enki
08-02-2011, 18:48
I mentioned the grievances by PM not so much at you rachamim but more because new BL member's conceptions of using Support comes mostly from reading threads.

Forming new BL policy, especially site wide policies is a glacially slow process except when a big pressing need comes up by my observation. I'm glad to host the discussion here. I'm seriously interested in your ideas about this, however I don't think an issue that comes up a few times a year at most is likely to generate the sort of impetus it takes to get Bluelight into policy making mode. A no politics policy would actually become a prison yard lawyer type of members dream come true. No matter how clear the policy it would end up being retested and re-argued so I personally don't see the benefit of setting up a policy. At least not for staff or most members.

Winding Vines
08-02-2011, 19:14
Well Enki, lucky for you I have the time to discuss such matters.

I think having open dialogue, discussion and minds is important. I understand what you are saying, and I think you misunderstand my intentions. Without discussion, there lacks misunderstanding. Times change, events change things, irregardless of how well something was written. Retesting and displaying varying points of view is just a fact of progress, as nothing is set in stone.

ebola?
08-02-2011, 21:42
Let's look at how BL discussion (particularly the according discussion in CEP) is a context highly distinct from a Lebanese magazine. Let's look how posting history indicates how context influences meaning. Let's look at rule 4. Let's look at how some posters are unresponsive to multiple, gentle PMs.

The issue is not political speech.

I find the pertinent status-quo framework highly acceptable.

ebola

socko
08-02-2011, 22:42
I see it as a double standard. People are free to have avatars that would get many of us in trouble at work if the boss saw them, e.g. avatars depicting violence, nudity, and sexual acts. Have a look in the Lounge to see what I'm talking about. But a political avatar gets singled out and censored because, and I'm taking a guess on the word they used to describe it based on one of the labels people like to throw around, that somebody decided it was "Islamophobic."

Anyway, who hasn't had some kind of disagreement in CEP? It's a quasi-anonymous forum for people to discuss, rant, and vent. That's a good thing. If somebody doesn't like a particular political system (or a religio-political system in this case), fine. Don't use the Warning system as a weapon to vent frustrations left over from CEP threads.

ebola?
08-02-2011, 22:55
Insofar as people won't believe my explanation of my rationale, I guess there'll be no reason for me to discuss them. :/

ebola

socko
08-02-2011, 22:59
I believe that you believe it. No offense intended. I just think the issue is very subtle.

Pander Bear
08-02-2011, 23:02
Ebola articulates my sentiments perfectly. This is not a question of heterodox points of view, this is a question of defamatory, derogatory speech. A warning that doesn't count toward further disciplinary measures is a perfectly acceptable corrective measure in this case.

As for "judgement calls" and "shades of gray"-- I think making those judgment calls is within the purview of the mods and senior staff who are best acquainted with the poster.

alasdairm
09-02-2011, 00:00
Don't use the Warning system as a weapon to vent frustrations left over from CEP threads.that's a pretty serious allegation. i invite you to escalate it through the appropriate formal channel, with examples, or else withdraw it.

alasdair

Kenickie
09-02-2011, 02:44
re: The Lounge & offensive avatars:

we adhere to the BLUA as well, and if anyone's avatar seemed to violate any of that, we would deal with it accordingly -- is an avatar of someone wearing an S&M mask offensive? maybe to some, but it doesn't violate the quoted part of BLUA, and there for can stay. Bouncing tits? sure, maybe offensive, but doesn't violate the BLUA. i personally don't think Bluelight is something you should be cruising at work, especially The Lounge, but even The Lounge has lines drawn in the sand about things like this. If there is a particular avatar you find offensive that violates the BLUA, pm TL staff or smods about it and we'll deal with it.

MazDan
09-02-2011, 02:50
Avatars are already covered quite well in the BLUA.

If an offensive avatar has been missed then feel free to pm one of the senior staff to have a look at it.

MazDan
09-02-2011, 02:52
Avatars are already covered quite well in the BLUA.

If an offensive avatar has been missed then feel free to pm one of the senior staff to have a look at it.

Pander Bear
09-02-2011, 03:07
double posters, however, continue to thrive in a permissive culture of neglect. ;)

Pander Bear
09-02-2011, 03:13
I am trying to better understand this as well, because there are several avatars I have noted within the political arena that I would find offensive but not someone else.

You were offended, but were you victimized, harassed, degraded, or intimidated? I think you'd agree that there is a substantial (albeit fuzzy) difference. This rule isn't about having a completely sanitized online experience, its about creating a modicum of decency by curtailing what could generally be describes as "hate speech". If any "political" avatar, or post, for that matter, met that standard, you would certainly be correct in asking that it be removed.

Escher's Waterfall
09-02-2011, 04:59
I'm all for disagreement, even strong disagreement on Bluelight. If we all thought the same, this forum would be the equivalent of patting each other on the back and saying how awesome we are.

But we can have different viewpoints and still remain civilised. We can disagree, and yet not turn threads into flamewars. We need to respect other people, even if we don't see eye-to-eye.

Part of respecting other people is understanding that stereotypes exist, and not engaging in behavior that reinforces those stereotypes.

It's being polite.

Try it.

socko
09-02-2011, 05:14
that's a pretty serious allegation. i invite you to escalate it through the appropriate formal channel, with examples, or else withdraw it.

alasdair

It's not an allegation. I'm not accusing anybody. That's what the situation (one explanation of the situation) looks like to me as a 3rd party. This especially in light of Rach's explanation of that satirical political cartoon. Not only that, but i've read enough of his threads to know that he wouldn't make a veiled dig at someone through an avatar. When he has a problem with somebody, he confronts that person openly and leaves no room for doubt or mis-interpretation.

Droppersneck
09-02-2011, 05:15
If it is an issue with "gray areas", why not outline Political Avatars unacceptable?

Ergo:
Politicians
Party Affiliation
Anti-anythings
and so on.

It's a thought.

Classic oppressive/progressive mentality. If you dont like it or agree with it ban it.Expand your horizons and open your mind my friend! Things get boring when people like you are humored imo.

ebola?
09-02-2011, 05:25
I believe that you believe [your stated rationales for warning Rachamim]. No offense intended. I just think the issue is very subtle.

Hmmm. But you said that I did the following:


Don't use the Warning system as a weapon to vent frustrations left over from CEP threads.

I don't see how I can reconcile both claims. What motivated me? Were my motivations illegitimate?

Droppersneck
09-02-2011, 05:38
I personally love the the innocent academic- idealist majority of this site and the opinions they have to offer. If I post my opinions within reason they are accepted and discussed/critiqued in a entertaining and cordial manner. Nobody likes a circle jerk, it would cause CE&P to stale and boring imo. 99.9% of the time my political jabs are in good faith and jest. The OP is a modern day e-nazi, and I suspect his opinions will be treated as such

socko
09-02-2011, 05:41
Hmmm. But you said that I did the following:



I don't see how I can reconcile both claims. What motivated me? Were my motivations illegitimate?
I'm not accusing. I am saying what it looks like, and it did look like you (or whoever it was who issued the warning) did it for the reasons as explained above.

Edit, like I said, whatever is going on (and all the history and baggage that goes with it) could be subtle. I don't know your motivations. But censoring avatars (in cases like this) is lame.

Enki
09-02-2011, 06:03
I remember a couple previous Support threads with members offended by other member's avatars, that have been lost to pruning. In those threads the suggestion was that offended members shut off avatars in their userCP settings and thereby put an end to their being offended that way.

The times there have been avatar changes pushed that I am aware of its because an avatar was about denigrating a race, religion, sexual preference, etc or creating hostility about such a group. Avatars are regarded as the personal expression of a member except when a BLUA issue becomes involved. I really doubt that many members would want anymore reasons other than BLUA issues in play about avatars.

I had thought there would be much more contempt about even considering widening the criteria for intervening on avatars. If we want to be really safe about everything we could have like 30 preset avatars and not allow any other than the pre-approved cookie cutter avatars. Since colors can seem political I think it would be best to have any pre-approved avatars gray scaled.

Kenickie
09-02-2011, 06:07
even when they are racist? because it's racist, not anti Muslim. Put the glove on the other hand and people would scream anti Semitic bastard mods for allowing this! Nevermind that the explanation doesn't make any sense, but that's another matter for another time. The point is -- when something crosses the line from "political speech" to "hate speech", it needs to be addressed.

voxmystic
09-02-2011, 06:29
innocent academic- idealist
I may resemble this......

Winding Vines
09-02-2011, 12:01
I personally love the the innocent academic- idealist majority of this site and the opinions they have to offer. If I post my opinions within reason they are accepted and discussed/critiqued in a entertaining and cordial manner. Nobody likes a circle jerk, it would cause CE&P to stale and boring imo. 99.9% of the time my political jabs are in good faith and jest. The OP is a modern day e-nazi, and I suspect his opinions will be treated as such

Off topic and irrelevant to the subject, and obviously your taking my jab too seriously by making ridiculous commentary on how I am apparently an "e-nazi (absolutely ignorant). I don't actually believe all such things should be impermissible. I am actually vehemently looking at tolerance.

Kenickie: A .gif bashing Hezbollah is not racist. They are a group comprised of murderous minds that send suicide bombers into schools and so on.

-----

Supposing a good rule of thumb, if you have explain the context of the avatar, you probably shouldn't use it.

-----

Pander: Offending a person, can be any one of the subjects mentioned in the BLUA. The idea I was trying to poke at was, anything can offend anyone. How is it that we draw the line? No human is perfect, nor omnipotent. It is apparent, that Staff isn't perfect and may just have a bad day, or a poster may rub them the wrong way. Said offensive material, is it based on the mode of "times"/current ideals, what?

Enki: I hear what you are saying, and respect it; however, it's apparent your jargon is riddled with overtones behind over-generalizations. My thoughts are this, is there a better way we can handle this that avoids cookie-cutter bs but still allows people to have an opinion?:)

Enki
09-02-2011, 12:55
It is apparent, that Staff isn't perfect and may just have a bad day, or a poster may rub them the wrong way. Yes. This is very true. Did you know that if I warn or infract a member, or any staff warns or infracts , the whole transaction is visible to the whole BL staff. Warnings are challenged or probed for clarification, context, motive, etc on a regular basis by multiple persons. I'm not saying every warning is directly challenged but all the staff knows that warnings and infractions are scrutinized by their peers, Sr Staff, etc.

Even though the autonomy of running individual forums is respected to a large degree there are many checks against warnings and infractions being arbitrary or personally motivated. Through member feedback, peer feedback, and supervisor feedback some mod calls get reversed in any given month. BL staff are well aware that we are a pretty fallible bunch. Just as member errors aren't often publicized in any official way, mod mistakes are not publicized either.


A .gif bashing Hezbollah is not racist. They are a group comprised of murderous minds that send suicide bombers into schools and so on. The nature of Hezbollah is a good CE&P topic, a 50x50 gif isn't a really good venue for a debate on Hezbollah and can easily seem to be a a characterization of an entire ethnic group or religion, thereby being a problem under #4 in BLUA's prohibited use section. If a commentary on a culture, ethnicity, religion, etc is easily expressed in a 50x50 gif its probably unsubtle enough to come across as provocation rather than a good faith expression of one's opinions in my estimation.

Escher's Waterfall
09-02-2011, 16:03
Kenickie: A .gif bashing Hezbollah is not racist. They are a group comprised of murderous minds that send suicide bombers into schools and so on.

What's the logic in that?

If I take an image that shows racial stereotypes, as long as I label it as a specific group that does bad things, does it make it less racist?

I don't think so.

rachamim
09-02-2011, 19:46
Alas the avatar itself merely addressed Hezbollah's antiquated arsenal. How it could be construed as anti-Muslim or anti-Arab is truly beyond me. It is truly a reach to even suggest it. More to the point the Mod in question and I have previously discussed my outlook and I repeated to him, as I have umpteenth times in the forum publicly, that I have absolutely no problem with Muslims or Arabs but rather my problem is with Islam. Muslims and Arabs are people and have the ability to change or moderate their behavior where as Islam is a Belief System that is, due to inherent features, extremely rigid. One can criticise a belief in general without demeaning anyone. In light of that previous clarification the prudent thing to do would be to communicate concerns to me at which point I would have gladly explained both provenance and meaning.

As has been noted, Warnings aren't serious in and of themselves but they can certainly be used as a pretext for more serious steps. Another perspective is that they can be used to harass posters though I am not saying that 2 Warnings in 6 months even comes close to "harassment."

I think what Winding did in initiating the thread can only be viewed as positive in that obviously there is a disconnect in the process. If there is no concrete policy and the only rationale is a poster's history, i.e. the outlook they espouse over the course of time, it comes down to subjectivity (interpretation). The Mod obviously feels that I am racist. OK, I would ask that Mod why they feel that way when I have been more than clear about my views, and they do not involve denigration of anyone. In fact, the Mod in question acknowledged this in a previous exchange. So what then is the criteria being used?

Perhaps it has to do with "kindness to camels" or "kindness to camel testicles."
To me those make as much sense as the allegation. This is such a non-subject and yet because of this undefined area (nature of avatars) it is taking up time and energy.

Here is a different angle: Perhaps the policy that needs to be examined is the Warning System and not avatars per se. Perhaps, at least so far as undefined areas are concerned, it may be beneficial to have a concerned Mod simply communicate their views to the poster in question and THEN decide if a Warning is in line or not.

As for Socko's "allegation" and Alasdair's response, Socko isn't too far off the mark though if it was something worth discussing one can rest assure I would already be harping about it. I think it much more beneficial to discuss issues that concern the entire site than to latch onto more narrow concerns.

Escher: As to your last post, if a poster had an avatar that demeaned Louis Farrakhan would that translate into racism against all blacks in and of itself? Hezbollah is a well defined entity and yet the avatar did not even demean Hezbollah! As for "other than Hezbollah," the caption did not read, "Arab Rocket Launcher" though to be frank, given the context of Arab authorship and the subject matter having been the folly of the 2006 War I wouldn't see that caption as problematic either.

Political Correctness is a cancer and yet, I don't think the cartoon crossed any lines what-so-ever. As I offered earlier, the Mod more than likely perceives me a certain way and jumped the gun.

Damien
09-02-2011, 20:20
I never knew so many people could care so much about having to see 50x50 pixel images for a couple of minutes a day (if you're even a daily browser that is).

You have the option to turn em off. If you can't take the heat, get off the internet.

voxmystic
09-02-2011, 22:41
If a person is a racist (or whatever-ist)asshole, and that's apparent from his/her choice of avatar, at least you already know that going into a conversation with him/her, and don't have to waste any time being upset if s/he says something shitty, b/c you already KNOW it's not personal; s/he's just an asshole. How much emotion am I gonna invest in someone who brandishes a swastika?

ebola?
10-02-2011, 00:18
How it could be construed as anti-Muslim or anti-Arab is truly beyond me.

Really, Rachamim? Really? Even if I assume innocuous intent, is it not apparent how someone could have misunderstood the meaning, particularly when set in CEP's general context, or even the context of your posts taken in sum? Your occasional caveats, set in relation with convoluted rhetorical acrobatics apparently designed to temper rote anger at ascribed identity, make your overall view quite ambiguous.

For example (to make an analogy):


As for Socko's "allegation" and Alasdair's response, Socko isn't too far off the mark though if it was something worth discussing one can rest assure I would already be harping about it. I think it much more beneficial to discuss issues that concern the entire site than to latch onto more narrow concerns.

are you accusing me of using "warnings" to "take out frustrations on you" or not?


As has been noted, Warnings aren't serious in and of themselves but they can certainly be used as a pretext for more serious steps.

I wouldn't have warned you this often if you would respond to PMs within 2 week windows (whereas you respond to warnings, typically, within 2 hours).
...
I agree with you, however, in that we'd be better off using this thread to discuss the more general issues of the scope of utility of warnings and window for what types of avatars are acceptable on here (as I think (and hope) is closest to WindingVines' intent).

ebola

alasdairm
10-02-2011, 03:09
It's not an allegation. I'm not accusing anybody. That's what the situation (one explanation of the situation) looks like to me as a 3rd party.if that's what the situation looks like to you then we agree that you believe somebody is using "...the Warning system as a weapon to vent frustrations left over from CEP threads." it's not an abstract thing - you believe somebody is doing it...

if you believe somebody is doing that, then we - the community - can address it but if it's a vague allegation which you won't substatiate, then it's hard to take it seriously or reasonably do anything about it.

alasdair

raver2008
10-02-2011, 04:51
Theres no need to be putting extra restrictions on avitars. There are already rules for this site in place (BLUA), dont break those rules and your good to go. Censorship is fucked up,bluelight doesnt need it.