Excessive & Vulgar Language

Discussion in 'Site and Forum Feedback' started by Bryan Bowler, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

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    #1
    MacRumors,

    I greatly enjoy this entire site and I consider it a privilege to be able to discuss Apple related topics in the discussion forum. However, I have a growing concern regarding excessive and vulgar language.

    Today I reported a thread in the MacBook Pro forum that talked about getting "****ed in the ass" and another thread in which someone talked about Apple "fisting people in the ass". I received an automated reply back form a moderator stating that no action was taken and the profanity filter is working as designed.

    Is this kind of vulgarity now allowed on MacRumors? The forums are already a struggle with the negativity and trolling that is allowed, but I fear this new level of vulgarity will take the forums right down the toilet. I hope this was a mistake by the hard-working moderation team and MacRumors is not allowing this kind of language to be tolerated in the forums.

    Bryan
     
  2. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #2
    I've given up on reporting rule violations, but not moderating that surprises me.
     
  3. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

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    #3
    I personally think catering to all the fragile little snowflakes on here is not a way to encourage growth and stability. I think people can live with some of the above comments...its not the end of the world...in my opinion.
     
  4. Elian_Gonzalez macrumors newbie

    Elian_Gonzalez

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    #4
    Persons with little to no ethics often say things like that.
     
  5. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

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    #5
    LOL. Okay. Ethics.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 18, 2016 ---
    On a side note. This subject should also have the 100 post rule. No opinions and complaints until you've been around a while and earned a place. Would have spared us one pointless and unproductive comment.
     
  6. blkjedi954 macrumors member

    blkjedi954

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    #6
    Elian is not wrong though.
     
  7. ejb190 macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #7
    Ever see an athlete who plays "dirty"? Dennis Rodman comes to mind. He might be good. He gets the job done. I can respect his efforts. But it tarnishes my impression of him. I don't enjoy watching someone play who can only win by pushing the rules.

    Nobody likes to admit it, but we judge each other. That's what people do. My impression of you is based solely on what you write. That's all I have.

    It's not about ethics or imposing my ideals on someone else or being offended. And this is about your reputation . This language is within the rules. Fine. But it's discourteous to others in a wide open public forum. You can make a point without resorting to crude visuals. You can express yourself without using curse words. In fact, I would argue the use of such vulgarities is lazy language and lowers the value of the conversation and your contribution to it.
     
  8. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

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    #8
    People speak to each other with emojis now. We are way beyond lazy language!
     
  9. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Not everyone is the same as you. Some people have a more "colorful" way of speaking. Sure, some people are just rude, but you shouldn't jump to that conclusion. It's when the speech becomes an attack on others that it becomes a problem for me and hopefully for the moderators as well. Try out the ignore feature and see if that helps you.
     
  10. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #10
    Some people here will complain if you use the ignore feature too often. ;) Sometimes you just can't win...
     
  11. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Just a suggestion to the OP since he/she seems to be having difficulty. And one using the ignore feature will hardly hear the screams of disapproval!

    I have a functioning internal BS filter so I don't really need it myself.
     
  12. Bryan Bowler thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Thanks for the replies everyone. I understand that people have colorful ways of talking and I also have very thick skin. But it's not about me or any one person. It's about the future of these forums. If there are no barriers at all, then internet behavior will bring the quality of this place down to the point of being unusable for what it was probably intended for.

    The Ignore feature, while a useful tool for certain situations, has no bearing or effect. It's great for ignoring a particular person, but it would do nothing to stop the gradual decline of the forums from excessively vulgar language.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude and I sometimes goof around on these forums with off-banter comments that are intended to be funny and bring comic relief. But I do think that comments like "fisting in the ass" are stepping well past the gray area of acceptable civil behavior.

    Just for discussions sake, if "fisting in the ass" is acceptable, then would it not be fair game for someone to openly refer to a guy having sex with a chick as "getting up in that gut" and "banging that *****". I just don't see how that type of language ties into the discussion of any Apple product or technology discussion...or how it would benefit this site.
     
  13. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Wow, Bryan. I will say that I've never seen such comments here. But if I had, it's still the biased fanboy bickering that I like less. As far as what Mac Rumors could do better, how about fewer click bait stories? I understand the need to pay the bills but there are too many news posts with zero actual info.

    What do you think, Bryan? Is there a difference in discourse depending on the type of thread or story?
     
  14. chscag macrumors 68000

    chscag

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    #14
    I totally agree with you, however, MacRumors remains as one of the most popular Apple discussion sites. I guess it's a product of our current society and generation that we are experiencing. :(
     
  15. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #15
    You bring up a very good point. Technically the profanity filter DID do its job. However, we constantly balance the letter and spirit of the rules. It's impossible to regulate all possible combinations of words, which is why we have the more general Rules for Appropriate Debate. These are meant to describe the tone and level we expect in forum discussions. Civil debate in my opinion doesn't need - and is in fact strengthened by - a lack of profanity and vulgarity. What constitutes vulgarity varies of course from person to person, but that's why the site has moderators and administrators: to decide where the lines are drawn here.

    It's of course harder to have a good barometer of stated rules and expectations on a site with over 1 000 000 members from all over the world than it would be on a small site of like-minded members. The length and complexity of our rules illustrate that. This is however a site where we are fairly strict about civil debate, and where we have users as young as 13 years of age.

    To sum up: we take this very seriously and are discussing it now. I'll say it once more because it bears repeating: civil debate doesn't need - and is in fact strengthened by - a lack of profanity and vulgarity.
     
  16. Scepticalscribe, Nov 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #16
    I had been debating starting a thread on this very topic, and I am very grateful to the OP for having taken the time and the trouble to raise it first.

    I have to say that I have found the level of language that has been used - and has been permitted to have been used - on these fora in recent weeks and months - mainly, but not exclusively - in the PRSI forum - to have been a very unedifying and deeply depressing sight.

    Civil debate - even intense civil debate - should not need the buttress of profanity, or the shock of brutal and deliberately offensive language in order to be able to make its point.

    That it has been tolerated, and shrugged off, in recent times, is not something which I think has reflected well on the forum, least of all the tone of the forum.

    And I have no doubt that to continue to allow such words, expressions, forms of speech and writing is to serve to lower the tone in which debate takes place in the public space. Worse, allowing this, normalising this, and enabling this, it makes such aggressive and unpleasant forms of expression a new - and accepted - norm on the forum, which is something that I, for one, regret and deplore.
     
  17. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #17
    I'd like to point out that this is an interpretation. It's not possible for you to know if others have tolerated or shrugged anything off. I'm a great believer in speaking for oneself.

    I'm not necessarily implying any defense of the comment that started this thread, I'm simply saying that assumptions about the attitudes of others aren't productive. I do understand that aside from this, you were stating your opinion about a level of discourse, and that's of course fine. I only suggest that we speak for ourselves.
     
  18. Scepticalscribe, Nov 20, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #18
    Very well then.

    I appreciate that emotions ran high - and are still running high - as a result of the recent election campaign.

    However, I have to say that I found the fact that individuals were allowed- on these very threads - to describe Hillary Clinton as a 'bitch', - and in terms referring to other animals ('pig' comes to mind) profoundly offensive and incredibly sexist. Not challenging it enabled it and gave the impression that this is tolerated.

    And, my understanding is that this was raised, and the concerns expressed were dismissed.

    Likewise, I take grave issue with some of the terms of racist abuse that have been used on these threads (I seem to recall that the word 'ape' used to describe Michelle Obama, and the ugly term 'stench' used in connection with the current occupants of the White House).

    By all means criticise a public figure on the basis of policies, positions, reputation, or actions committed or omitted over the course of a public life, but not in such deplorably crude and offensive terms. Attack the politics and the policies, not what the person is simply by virtue of having been born.

    But there is a difference between permitting lively and robust debate and differences of opinion and sanctioning profanity and allowing belittling insult to replace discussion lacking even a modicum of respect.

    I honestly think the forums have become a far less pleasant place to be in recent months and weeks.

    This is not about establishing 'safe spaces for snow-flakes' - words which tell their own story - but of encouraging - or facilitating an environment where exchanges can take place and are conducted with some sort of basic courtesy.
     
  19. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #19
    That's a deflection from the fact that the language cited by the OP is disgusting. I'm surprised the report did not result in an edit or removal of the post.

    Of course it's not the end of the world. The end of MacRumors world is when one is permanently banned.

    But now allowing someone to say "****ed in the ass" or "fisted in the ass" is a sign of growth and stability?

    I beg to disagree. This is not widely accepted language for kitchens and living rooms. Not by a long shot.

    Censorship of ideas is one thing. Cleaning up gutter language for "treated unfairly" is something else again.

    MacRumors needs to get a grip. There seem to be a lot of deliberate end runs around the spirit of the profanity filters this year. The moderation had been part of what made the forums a pleasant place to debate or hang out.

    Awhile back I remember long debates over whether "fanboy" or "fangirl" were to be considered insults. Wow, those were the days, huh? Now one may call political candidates pigs, sows, cows, or criminal bitches and when someone complains one may call them "fragile snowflakes"? I call such complainants people who remember the days of civil discourse.

    MacRumors moderators have allowed themselves to be worn down by users of crude language, to the detriment of the forums. I'm sorry to hear that crude expressions have now been allowed to proliferate outside the PRSI as well. Y'all should have a rethink here. People well under the age of 13 doubtless browse these forums looking for clues on tech problems they encounter. I've provided MacR links in the past to young members of my own extended family. Maybe that's not such a great idea any more.
     
  20. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #20
    I think I'm not managing to be clear, so I'll try once more - because I think this is important.

    Rules need to evolve as a forum community evolves. If discourse changes in a way that is unacceptable to some, it's important that they let us know. In my opinion this can be done simply by speaking for oneself, without assuming anything about the opinions of other users (including moderators). It is not possible for any one user to truly know how other users feel about vulgarity. But it IS possible for users to tell us what THEY think about it, without implying anything about anyone else.

    Discussions such as this one give us valuable information. Have situations arisen that the rules no longer cover? If so, the rules need to be tweaked. Or are situations arising where the rules as they stand are enough? If so, we need to remind users that the rules also apply to the new situations. Do new lines need to be drawn because something has gotten out of hand? If so, we need to communicate clearly where the new lines go.

    I've already stated my own opinion: vulgarity has no place in civil discussions. Exactly what we need to do about it on MacRumors is a discussion the administrators and moderators will have, based on input such as this thread, based on post reports, and based on our own observations and experience. With so many users and so many opinions, it behoves us to take the time it takes to discuss.

    My point is that assumptions about the thoughts and intentions of others are seldom useful and often inaccurate. That's why I feel it's important the users give feedback based on their own wants and needs rather than their guesses about the thoughts and intentions of other users. If the thought of speaking only for oneself ruffles feathers, so be it. I still think it's worth thinking about. The simple fact is that feedback without assumptions is often more powerful.
     
  21. Scepticalscribe, Nov 20, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #21
    Very well then, @annk, thank you for that clarification; I will say that there is no need to be defensive, and I will also further say that - by PM - I have discussed this very topic with other members.

    In that case, let us speak plainly.

    This recent election allowed for a striking deterioration in the quality of the tone used for debate on MR, something I personally regret, and has had the result of making the forums a lot less pleasant to visit, or linger in.

    Now, perhaps it is that I am a European 'snowflake', but I cannot envisage any context, setting or situation, public or private, where it is considered acceptable to describe a woman as a bitch without some manner of reprimand or indication that this is unacceptable.

    Personally, I would like for MR mods discuss whether it is appropriate for anyone - ever - to refer to a woman on these forums as a 'bitch', -(or sow, ape, cow, pig - all of which I have seen in writing on these fora in recent weeks describing either Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama) even one who has a public profile - and if it is deemed acceptable I would like to know why.

    The fact that Secretary Clinton ran for office, and had held and lived much of her life in the public space, does not, to my mind, justify the use of some of the disgusting and disgraceful names that were flung at her on these fora and elsewhere.

    And, if you don't challenge it, you condone it, implicitly if not explicitly. You make MR another space where it is considered acceptable to make snide remarks about the 'stench' in the White House, or to describe a woman in the public space in grossly offensive terms


    Actually, - and I write this with regret - it is my considered opinion that MR has played its part in enabling, allowing and facilitating that marked deterioration in the tone in which public and political debate is carried out in the US which has been such a striking feature of this appalling election campaign.
     
  22. RedOrchestra, Nov 20, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016

    RedOrchestra Suspended

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    #22
    My expressed hope is that the moderation on the MR forum be nothing more than even-handed - currently it is anything but. Merely reacting to some couch-surfing member who pushes a button and the "offending" comment is then removed without the "moderator" looking at the context is totally unacceptable. If you say you are an MR moderator, then moderate and not just delete.

    Currently, members can be suspended over the silliest of notions and that has to stop.
     
  23. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #23
    I agree that there's no need to be defensive. I haven't seen any evidence of defensiveness, only a tendency to speak in generalities outside of one's own opinion. I suggest that discussing with others does not change the importance of speaking for oneself. I brought it into the discussion because it's something that's taken me a long time to learn, and I've found it to be very useful.

    I hear and respect that this is your opinion. I do not however assume that this is everyone's experience. (I write the last sentence as a further example of the point I've tried to make. I'm not implying that you believe this to be anyone else's experience.) Since not everyone frequents the same sections of the forum, this is only to be expected.

    I personally agree (though I have no opinion about the snowflake comment).

    The discussion is, as I've already stated, taking place.

    In answer to your request for a reason for the current rule in place, MacRumors chose way back not to police comments made about public figures as a balance between civil debate and allowing users to express themselves. Whether or not there should be a more clearly defined framework for this is certainly something that can be discussed.

    That's useful feedback. I would encourage you to submit post reports of any examples you see, even if they're not direct rules violations. That will aid our discussion.

    I don't necessarily agree. I don't feel I can be certain that when a forum user doesn't speak out against something, it's fair to say that the user condones it. And it's certainly not true that our rules have been set up so as to necessarily condone any view expressed within the rules. MR has drawn the line between forum users and public figures as a balance. Insulting public figures has been beyond what this site has chosen to police. I understand this decision, because I've been privy for over seven years to the feedback sent via post reports and contact messages. Users want as little moderation as possible, but as much as necessary. Is there a line somewhere in all of this that needs to be clearer? Is any comment acceptable when the object is not a forum user? Should PRSI simply be closed during a contentious political event? Maybe. This is again something we can discuss.

    Ideally of course ALL discourse should be civil (my opinion). I don't see how name-calling of anyone, public figure or forum user, adds anything constructive to a debate. But I'm one of 1 000 000. It's very, very hard to land on a balance that most users will feel gives a reasonably civil framework without undue restriction. If I on the other hand were to define this based on my personal opinions it would be very easy for me. And I freely admit it's often difficult for me to put my own opinions aside long enough to have whatever discussion needs to be had before a decision is reached. But it's part of my function here, so I do it.

    It's not completely clear exactly what you mean here, but I do not agree that MacRumors has enabled or facilitated anything. On the contrary, the immense amount of time put into the rules and the very existence of Site and Forum Feedback shows that not to be the case. Discussion here is a barometer of the opinions of the membership, but that doesn't mean that anything goes. We have a set of rules that is challenged when a (for example) political event causes temperature to run high, but we have basic principles of civil debate. The rules and the way they're enforced can be brought up for discussion, as in this thread.

    If the moderation done by the volunteer moderators and the discussions these moderators and the volunteer administrators need to have don't result in immediate action and change, that's a function of the volunteer aspect of the gig. Changes in the rules, in what is and isn't allowed, how to interpret the rules as they stand - all of this in light of our goal to treat 1 000 000 members fairly is something that can take time. I'm sure it can be experienced as frustrating, but unless MR at some time in the future has a full time moderation staff, that's not going to change.

    Again, I'll say that we take this seriously.
     
  24. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #24
    The fact that a post report exists does not mean that a post will be removed or edited. And many reports generate considerable discussion of context. That doesn't mean we're infallible, and that's why we have the Contact Us form. If a complaint is made and we agree, we reverse or adjust the moderation.

    No. Users can be suspended based on the rules and their moderation histories. If you feel a rule is a silly notion, you can start a thread to discuss that rule and explain why you feel it should be changed.
     
  25. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #25
    @LizKat and @Scepticalscribe

    Is it fair to take actions in PRSI and extrapolate them to the rest of the forum? If you spend any time in the Mac Pro section, PowerPC, OSX, or Alternatives section you'll see that while things get heated they rarely devolve, PRSI is just special. I don't spend any real time in the MBP section and no time at all in the iStuff sections so I won't comment on those and that may be where the problem lies i just don't know.

    To all just remember that plain talk or telling it like it is is different than vulgar.
     

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