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  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from bobthefunny »
    If you have material you would be kind of enough to send my way, I am intrigued.

    I'm deriving this argument from a reading of Bakunin and Marx, there's quite a lot of other literature I'm not well versed in. I'll try to see if I can find any articles applying this analysis to the current issue

    All that is required for an institution to be racist is that it participates in and/or perpetuates systemic racism. The institution of police does do this as you admit, so it is a racist institution. It is not necessary for that institution to have a conscious agenda of participating or perpetuating systemic racism. It is not necessary for the individuals who make up the institution in whole or in part to hold racial prejudices. These aren't the claims being made by people who say that the institution of the police is racist. The claim that you want to deny here is that the institution is necessarily racist, and the movement to defund the police is pretty skeptical about that denial to say the least.
    I think we are working on different definitions here.

    Alright, I think that's probably true. But the definition I'm using seems to be the same definition that FlossedBeaver is using.

    This appears to be a moral equivalence argument. Use of violence in any context is, by definition, extreme. Yet what most people (except absolute pacifists) agree on is that violence is sometimes necessary. You, for example, say police violence is sometimes necessary. Meaning, the context determines whether it's appropriate. If the context is an institution which systemically engages in violence under the auspices of state power, and a violent response is considered an undesirable but historically informed strategy of combating this institution, that position shares a principle with yours--neither is pacifist. But yours accepts the basic legitimacy of state violence and chooses moderate rather than extreme action as a response to this state violence. And there is a third position, the promotion of state violence, which you are characterizing as equivalent morally to the violent opposition. I don't think that you are morally equivalent to the state-violence-promoting group here but I do find it dubious that in this situation being moderate is the most rational and appropriate response, and I definitely object to the insinuation that the two groups you are comparing are at all similar.
    You've lost me here, and are making things more convoluted than necessary.

    Well, I do my best to edit my thoughts so that they're as clear as possible but it can be very difficult when I'm trying to discuss something that's counterintuitive.

    Here's a different presentation:
    1. You've condemned violent actions for the sake of BLM (hereafter termed "antifascist violence")
    2. The condemnation in (1) was placed side by side with the condemnation of police violence (the promotion thereof hereafter termed "fascist violence") but
    3. Earlier you stated police violence is sometimes necessary
    4. Therefore, you're not a pacifist.
    5. The non-pacifist distinction between anti-fascist violence, fascist violence, and your position is when violence is considered necessary
    6. The conditions of fascist violence are institutionally in place and produce the most violence of the three standards in question
    7. Anti-fascist violence considers itself to be necessary to oppose fascist violence yet is not violent in the absence of fascism
    7a. Anti-fascist violence is only violent in practice against fascism, not violent in principle and in practice as with liberalism and fascism
    8. You consider anti-fascist violence unnecessary, in direct comparison to the unnecessary nature of fascist violence
    9. The toleration of some state violence naturally and predictably leads to tolerating increasing violence. It attempts to negate this violence from the equation by calling it necessary but neglects that its always violent in principle.
    10. If you tolerate some degree of state violence per (3) and oppose anti-fascist violence per (8), then you cannot in principle violently oppose fascism
    11. Not violently opposing fascism results in more fascist violence
    12. Your position creates more net violence despite appearing to favor peace, which is morally untenable

    What I am saying is that each group needs to be judged on their own position and merits, and not on the actions of another group that uses their slogan. If we uphold this ideal for #BlackLivesMatters, by saying that the violence and riots are a separate entity from the entity of the movement, and do not reflect the goals and general acceptance of the #BLM movement (which has been largely, but not entirely, peaceful protests) then we should uphold the same standards for others, and not villainize them based on the actions of other groups.

    I understand that this was the point you were making, but the examples you choose for your comparison were ill-considered since you did not qualify what you were saying with a statement about how they're not equivalent.

    I have never stated that #BLM or any of the peaceful protests, or even civil disobedience, or even straight up riots, were unnecessary. The movement has stepped up its attempts to gain attention for a decade now, and if simple acts of attention aren't enough, clearly larger acts are needed until the attention is given is deserved. Simply because something is necessary however does not mean that it is exempt from repercussion either.

    Ok, so you are denying my premise 8 from above.

    That does change my interpretation a little bit. But I'm not quite sure what you mean here by repercussion. One possible repercussion of this activism is that society changes in some way along the lines that the activism took as a goal. If this doesn't happen, then that activism was not effective, and this is also a repercussion. I think you mean something like legal, criminal justice type repercussions, which is of course an aspect of the struggle. Or in the context of this forum, the enforcement of rules (you mentioned harassment specifically).

    We must all accept the consequences of our actions. But the necessity of our actions ought to be a factor where there's a choice about those consequences. If this isn't weighed properly it implies a denial of the necessity, which would bring premise 8 back into the picture.

    There are also various contexts of violence that seem to be conflated here.

    Not conflated, considered violence in principle.

    (1) Excessive violence and use of force by the Police that has led to the wrongful deaths of individuals with no repercussions; (2) Regular violence and use of Police force in proper procedure when other deescalation methods have failed - No matter what your beliefs or ideals, there will always be some need to apprehend a non-compliant subject;

    You seem to misunderstand what I'm saying here. Of all the possible institutional models in which the need to apprehend a non-compliant subject is to be addressed, how does the institution of the police fare? The institution of the police can't be separated out from the capitalist state as a whole... it's integral. And there's a number of factors here because of that: 1. poverty is positively correlated with criminality, capitalism suppresses wages and perpetuates cycles of poverty as the necessary condition of increasing profits 2. in order to increase profits capitalist states are pressured toward privatization 3. privatized prison-industrial complexes profit from increased incarceration 4. police are thereby encouraged to incarcerate as many people as possible 5. poor people are easier to incarcerate (black people are disproportionately poor) 6. reforms leave intact the existence of the capitalist class who organize to undermine these reforms ... etc.

    So, for one, I'm suggesting there's an alternate model where the number of situations in which a non-compliant subject needs to be apprehended is diminished. And secondly, when the method of apprehension involves the community in a directly democratic process instead of designated gun-bearers of an official state, that method is compatible with rehabilitative and restorative justice.

    (3) the violence of the protests; (4) the violence of the riots; (5) the violence by government authorities against the protesters (peaceful, non-peaceful, and riots); and (6) the violence of confrontations between protesters and counter protesters. At no point did I ever claim that these different situations and contexts of violence are equivalent in scope, context, or anything else.

    Yet the comparison implies it. You deem both to be unacceptable, you didn't specify anything beyond this.


    The general current accepted context does not seem to support this. If you have additional context to provide, I would be happy to pass it up and add it to the growing research that I have put together on this.

    Seems to me the person advocating for bluelivesmatter in this thread is an example of the case I was talking about.

    That first is why initially we did not accept #BlueLives. However, after doing some research, what we found is that the blue lives movement is for solidarity of assassinated officers, and was not explicitly started as a counter-movement to BLM. This is reflected in common usage, as companies have explicitly allowed #BlueLives, and/or explicitly rolled back previous disapproval of it. This is in stark contrast to ALM, which is explicitly a counter-movement, and is likewise seen in common usage where companies have been explicitly disapproving of it, with such disapprovals only consistently rising. Likewise with #WLM, which barely even deserves a mention.

    Isn't it implicitly counter to it, though? After all, it uses the same framing. I find this interpretation a little obtuse.

    An interesting analogy, and actually the exact one I had in mind and that I was alluding to when writing my post, as I had just seen this:

    That is a TED talk by a previously prominent Women's Rights Activist who created two feminist documentaries, and then went to research the MRA for a third documentary, examined her own biases, found that they actually had compelling points not covered by feminism, made a documentary about it, and then was ostracized for supporting that unpopular view.

    In short, according to her, after doing the research for her documentary she discovered that No, the Mens Rights Activists are NOT the "alllivesmatters" of gender issues. They did have a separate point, and were not necessarily in contention with the feminist movements, and that men are not "already covered."

    Anything to be published. Lots of people profess to be "feminist" but it's actually a pretty intellectually difficult subject and not everyone who takes on this title is very representative or consistent with feminism. J.K. Rowling comes to mind, being a TERF. This is a misnomer, by the way; there's nothing radical or feminist about TERFs... they are reactionary and non-feminist. Or, for another example, the typical populist version of feminism which argued that it was automatically sexist to oppose Hilary Clinton's candidacy for presidency in 2016 despite the fact that her policy platform and record wasn't particularly favorable to women's liberation. I find this video to be impossibly shallow to be considered seriously as a counterexample, almost as if she was trying to be a "stereotypical" feminist in her initial spin of her interviews. Just one example.... speaking personally as a man who was a victim of domestic violence, I would point out the discrepancy in institutional support for victims of domestic violence is something that absolutely can be addressed in feminist theory, the idea that some women who call themselves feminists would take a dismissive attitude toward the issue might just be an indicator of a need to reflect more deeply on the commitments their ideology entails.

    There are limits to feminist theory as a form of analysis. But I don't see this video as demonstrating its limits, as much as of the limits of the speaker's own thinking. Of course, her exposure to a different point of view was critical for being able to acknowledge her biases and maybe that wasn't possible in her normal feminist circle. Maybe, in practice, feminist discourse has the possibility of inculcating these biases if it forms overly insular communities. But that doesn't prove that MRA is itself necessary, it just had the accidental effect in her case of getting her out of her echo chamber. But that's also kind of why I've hammered on about how we need freer discourse everywhere it occurs. In other words, I don't want the MRAs to shut up, but I do want to explain to them why listening a little can be beneficial.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from bobthefunny »

    I believe you would be hard pressed to find anyone that would claim to be for excessive violence. Police are no exception. Excessive police violence is never to be condoned - however policing is itself a job that comes into contact with violence frequently, and sometimes needs to resort to violence. It is important to separate the activism against the excessive and unnecessary violence.

    It would be important to make that distinction if we assume that is a distinction among natural kinds: policing that involves excessive and unnecessary violence, and policing which does not. It is actually quite substantive a claim to state that the latter exists or is possible; it is also substantive to claim otherwise. Which is to say, neither is a neutral or default position. While it is certainly a commonly held view that policing is a necessary institution (and by virtue of that, any violence it may involve is not always unnecessary), alternative views have been proposed. The basis of the alternative view is the principle that an institution which creates a societal caste of law enforcers whose enforcement practice is founded on their caste license to firearm usage, is an inherently violent institution because it is nonvoluntary and entrenches hierarchical relations. What is proposed instead is a society in which authority is determined by voluntary relations that democratize in all spheres of life. Insofar as this alternative view provides a different model of society which is possible (it's at least logically possible, whereas practically, technologically, or politically possible are much harder judgments), police violence is never necessary and so police aren't necessary either.

    I'm pointing this out because this is the sort of argument being made by people in the anti-fascist movement, and you seem to be unfamiliar with it. The advocacy of centrist, bourgeois liberals for reform of these institutions needs to be understood for what it is: counterrevolutionary. And this position is not holding an unbiased middle line, it works against the changes the anti-fascist movement is working towards by asserting the problems are not fundamental to the institutions. And because such moderate views tend to be more palatable to the mainstream audience, they've attained widespread ideological success, even though as you admit below, much hasn't changed on account of those policies over the course of not-so-recent history. Belief in institutional reform is not the same as denying that the problems exist at all. There are valid reasons for thinking that institutional reform is possible, just as there are valid reasons for thinking it is not (obviously I'm inclined toward the latter, full disclosure, and I would point out validity alone isn't equivalence of justification). My point is that this is hugely contentious issue; liberals and the left both favor solving the problem but they're really not on the same side when it comes to the method--and method is critical.

    The effect of this conflict probably has contributed to the inefficacy of the half-measures which have been legislated in the past even as they were eroded and actually reversed by the triangulation strategies of the center in its competition with the right. But the division is something that is not easily mended because the point of the division is fundamental. And that's important because it means that, in practice, centrism opposes the left more than the right. That same bias is being reflected here in this forum.

    Likewise, while policing in general has had racist results, it's important to separate that the police institution is not a racist institution - there is no racist agenda that they are fighting for. Policing is intended to be the institution that upholds the laws and protects the people - That this is not happening equally is the problem. The execution, not the vision or agenda. Not only that, but not every police officer is racist. Not every police officer ends encounters with minorities with gun shots. To say that these officers have no value of life? To compare them to Nazis? That is beyond harsh.

    All that is required for an institution to be racist is that it participates in and/or perpetuates systemic racism. The institution of police does do this as you admit, so it is a racist institution. It is not necessary for that institution to have a conscious agenda of participating or perpetuating systemic racism. It is not necessary for the individuals who make up the institution in whole or in part to hold racial prejudices. These aren't the claims being made by people who say that the institution of the police is racist. The claim that you want to deny here is that the institution is necessarily racist, and the movement to defund the police is pretty skeptical about that denial to say the least.

    Comparison of police officers to Nazis can be taken in two different ways: a police officer is the moral equivalent of a Nazi, or a police officer's actions have an underlying similarity in principle to the actions of a Nazi. The former is a comparison of degree, the latter is a comparison of category. In some cases, it can be both.

    Your example of Nazism is also interesting. Even at its height, only about 10% of Germans were actually Nazis. Many more than that were German soldiers. Not every soldier actively believed in the Nazi ideal - this was a movement that grew over time, meticulously, and stamped out any dissent or opposition. To say that each of these people lose all claims of humanity is extreme. Many debates are had over the culpability of individual people in the movement, or even in mobs in general.

    It's important to be cautious any time we dehumanize anyone. I re-read over FlossedBeaver's post and I didn't get the sense that his argument was the Nazi loses his claim to humanity, though if anyone would surely a Nazi is a candidate. He said that a Nazi whose act is characterized by what we would normally consider the virtue of courage should not be celebrated for this seeming courage because this virtue is not in harmony with other virtues (Plato's Laches, give me life! Thumbs Up ). And this is quite germane to the consideration of whether #bluelivesmatter is a worthy cause to promote, in light of the question of whether the institution of police has any capacity of being realized in full virtue or is compatible with a society of liberal values.

    As I said earlier, policing is a dangerous job. Police Officers should expect to encounter violence, danger, and hardship in the line of duty. However, we can still recognize that they are making that choice. That remains a noble choice, of itself. Not only that, but #BlueLivesMatters is a step beyond that. It isn't just about police officers being killed for doing their job - it's a movement about bringing attention to officers who were gunned down - targeted by assassins and terrorists, outside of the normal line of duty.

    Policing is dangerous, although, many professions are more dangerous than that of the police who aren't being brought up because they are not an explicit foil to the political issue of black lives matter.

    Again, can a choice be truly noble of itself as though isolated from the context that choice takes place in? The amount of analysis that question would take to even understand the problem it poses isn't suited to this format.

    Now, #Blue lives activists have taken the movement beyond that scope, pitting it as #BLM vs #BlueLM - that is despicable. But several groups have taken #BLM chants to violence as well, or even in seeking confrontation and violence in counter #BlueLM protests. These are extremists. If we say, rightfully, that they should not be held against #BLM - then those coopting #BlueLM should not be held against that movement either. - That is the position we have arrived at, and why Context matters. If #BLM were used in a harassing manner, it would not be allowed here. Using #BlueLivesMatter in a harassing manner won't be allowed either. But as a supportive statement, we have decided that they are valid.

    This appears to be a moral equivalence argument. Use of violence in any context is, by definition, extreme. Yet what most people (except absolute pacifists) agree on is that violence is sometimes necessary. You, for example, say police violence is sometimes necessary. Meaning, the context determines whether it's appropriate. If the context is an institution which systemically engages in violence under the auspices of state power, and a violent response is considered an undesirable but historically informed strategy of combating this institution, that position shares a principle with yours--neither is pacifist. But yours accepts the basic legitimacy of state violence and chooses moderate rather than extreme action as a response to this state violence. And there is a third position, the promotion of state violence, which you are characterizing as equivalent morally to the violent opposition. I don't think that you are morally equivalent to the state-violence-promoting group here but I do find it dubious that in this situation being moderate is the most rational and appropriate response, and I definitely object to the insinuation that the two groups you are comparing are at all similar.

    The context of bluelivesmatter is that blacklivesmatter arose specifically to address the issue of police violence and the former was, in complete and utter cynicism, thrown out ad hoc to derail the discussion so that the focus was instead on... the perpetrators of the violence and their issues. I find this perverse. A specific individual's intent in invoking bluelivesmatter may simply be to offer support, but this usage is technically acontextual. Judging intent, especially over the internet, is basically impossible because intent is all about the inner aspect of the person using the expression and not about how its meaning is interpreted in context. I would welcome the discussion about this usage with someone who did have that sort of intent, because I welcome all discussion, but it's important to take into consideration the impact in which the proliferation of "bluelivesmatter" signatures would have on marginalized groups within the community. It would make the community less welcoming to them. Some people might be similarly impacted by "blacklivesmatter" and feel unwelcomed, but is this a segment of the community which is worthy of being specifically catered to? "Blacklivesmatter" does not have to be unwelcoming to anyone except those who do not want to accept this premise, and that's racists as a group. I think there's legitimate cause to say that the best thing for them is to sit with that discomfort, which is not something that applies to BIPOC in the reverse situation.

    I do agree that harassment is always inappropriate. I think we have established that as a common ground.

    These are good and important questions. Many human rights grievances need attention brought to them, many in different ways. Women's rights, LGBT rights, all have movements behind them advocating the changes we need. Sometimes they enter the spotlight, sometimes they get swept away a month later. Media attention and documentaries help bring these issues back into the light, but even those are fraught with controversy - especially when it is counter to current prevalent consensus. Veteran rights and issues have been brought up time and again, but the issues still persist. We can only try to keep bringing attention to the issues, and hope we find ways to improve them.

    In terms of Police lives, it is only natural that as the Police come under scrutiny that they would wish to remind people of their side of the story, their sacrifices, and their problems. Since the spotlight is focused on them, they have gotten more attention of late.

    Policing does need to change, and improve, towards #BLM violations. But while we are reexamining how we Police, why can we not fix other issues as well? Such as their mental health care, public image, or that they can be made targets? That there are other issues do not necessarily invalidate theirs. It's important to target the important changes first, but if we can fix more than one thing at the same time, I would be for it. My hope is that the Defund campaign will have an impact on how Police respond, and thereby lower the rate at which they are targeted.

    I'm not sure a permissive attitude toward police PR efforts is exactly what this conflict calls for. I would draw a comparison to men's rights activism, which is reactionary to feminism. It assumes, first of all, that men's issues require distinct treatment not provided by feminism. This is somewhat understandable considering that the word is "feminism," the emphasis is on women. MRA is the "alllivesmatter" of gender issues, basically. But feminism actually does analyze the issues that men face under a patriarchal society, it just makes the simple point that its emphasis is based on the fact that the issues men face are overall not as impactful as patriarchal society is on women. So men don't really need a separate treatment on gender issues independent of feminist analysis; they're already covered. And, on top of that, for men to receive this separate treatment would mean that dialogue on gender issues is taking place in which women aren't prioritized, which is backwards because of the earlier point that women are impacted more heavily by the effects of systemic gender inequality. Finally, there's the way that this discourse has developed and takes place in practice, in order to derail feminist discourse. We can indeed solve both women's issues and men's issues at the same time. But the aversion that some men have to the solution because it associates them with femininity is a salient instantiation of the problem to begin with.

    I am sure it is true that policing has negative effects on the police. However, they choose to become police. BLM has a solution to these negative effects which does not require the addition of separate treatment for police (the solution is defunding and abolition). There's also class analysis and mental health awareness available which would address different aspects of those issues in a way that's not offensive and would even support solidarity and social integration. In other words, there's a bevy of constructive approaches to the issues of the police that don't involve them centering attention on themselves as police.


    You find yourself overcommitted to the board while playing your aggro deck, meanwhile your opponent's side of the board is empty. "Equality before the law," your opponent says, casting Wrath of God; "There is literally no oppression at all."
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Full set reveal
    Quote from Xcric »
    I'm pretty sure people are being excessively harsh on party. Yes, a full party is optimal, but the cards are also costed so they're bat ***** insane with a full party. They're so over the top stupid then that there's no comparison unless you count Ancestral Recall that's so broken it hasn't been seen since Unlimited. I think people are forgetting that party creatures already count as party of 1 alone. Party of 2 is quite effective.

    Can you provide some clear examples?

    I think youre grossly over estimating its potency somewhere

    All the good payoff cards are noticeably concentrated in black. In fact, a black-based party deck could well be viable.

    But the power level is only part of it. It's the fact that each of the tribes in party had tribal support cards printed which didn't interact with the party mechanic at all, meaning that there were five distinct mechanics in the set marked more so by their tension than synergy (to say nothing of the other mechanics... there is a bit of a play experience redundancy with kicker which is mostly because of kicker's design). So you get clerics who care only about clerics and clerics who care about (full) party, and so on with the other four. Some of that space could have been spared for traps, expeditions, or, if not those exact mechanics, something similar. And that would have been vastly more interesting than yet another set with a tribal subtheme. That would have meant a set with an overall higher level of complexity, though. I think the current design rules against complexity are starting to exhaust the design space that lies within this scope. They're going to have to up the complexity threshold to get us out of the rut we're in.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Full set reveal
    Quote from mikeyG »
    I think a part of it is the limitations of the way they do batching mechanics, your party isn't chosen/static and all the mechanics do is check if things fit basic criteria. What I mean is, the way party was designed doesn't allow for things like "When a creature joins your party" "When ~ dies, if it was a member of your party, " or "Members of your party have lifelink." They were limited to counting roles filled, but even that could have been explored in more dynamic ways than basic scaling with some bonuses for a full party.

    Caring if your party has other members ("If your party has two or more creatures in it, ") or more interesting cross-class encouragement ("Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. if it's a Warrior, it gains lifelink until end of turn." on a Cleric or "When ~ attacks, it gains flying until end of turn if you control a Wizard." on a Rogue) may have helped. As it stands, party is quite a binary mechanic, you either want full party to maximize everything or you don't want it at all. I respect that WotC was pushing for that (much the same way Domain was intended to be maximized and encouraged five color play and didn't bother with half steps), I just think it made for a less dynamic, less interesting mechanic.

    I think the flavor was well-received, so hopefully they bring party back and expand on how it is explored.

    I just find it very unfortunate that a lot of the in-tribe synergy cards didn't pull double duty for party and so ended up eating a lot of space in the set for minimal (!) benefit. The next installments are likely to incorporate some of the innovations you have in mind though I suspect it will always be inherently conservative.

    Having a board state with four different creature types is not quite magical Christmas land but it's on the verge of that. Meh.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Full set reveal
    Quote from mikeyG »
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »

    Does anyone actually like party? I mean, to actually play with versus the general flavor concept. I feel like there's fairly broad consensus that it's the mechanic that sunk the set, which does not bode well for the D&D set if we have even more of this.

    Maybe? I think there's some potential in a WUB build as that trio has some of the better party payoff cards and have a really flush history in the four tribes with really good potential candidates to expand the party with creatures that you both want to play, contribute to a bigger gameplan, and/or protect the party. I think it'd still be pretty casual, and I don't see it making a big splash outside of Limited and constructed formats more focused on fun than fine-tuned competition.

    The colors struggle a bit for Warriors that measure up, but a handful may have potential.
    Mindblade Render
    Mardu Strike Leader
    Species Specialist
    God-Eternal Oketra
    Butcher of Malakir
    Solemn Recruit

    Once you get into the other tribes, though, things get wonderful. Wizards has Commander stalwarts like Sen Triplets, Azami, Teferi, Venser, Snapcaster. Not to mention more workhorse cards like Exclusion Mage, Vedalken AEthermage, Glen Elendra Archmage, Wizard's Retort, Archaeomancer, Deadeye Navigator. Clerics has Ravos, Ayli, new Mangara, Bishop of Rebirth, Selfless Spirit, Containment Priest. Rogues get Sygg, Oona, Invisible Stalker, Rankle, True-Name Nemesis, Zulaport Cutthroat, Notorious Throng, Gwafa Hazid, Brazen Borrower. These three tribes are deep in these colors, so there's a lot to pick from depending on your playstyle, deck concept, and meta.

    Am I overly invested in building around party? No, not really, but if I were, I'd probably run Tazri as a commander focusing only on WUB. I think the biggest hurdles party decks face are consistently getting a full party and keeping that party on the board. WUB likely has the best tools to assemble a party and keep it around, and they have a few party payoffs that are worth it. The red and green party payoffs just aren't worth it.

    I think Linvala really made a strong impression for me that the mechanic wasn't understood to need potent payoffs. There are some good full party payoff effects but I can't help but wonder what could have been with different mechanics.

    Part of the issue could be addressed if they just adjusted the level of complexity they'd allow. Like the aforementioned Expedition Healer. If it were something like:
    ~ has lifelink as long as you control another Cleric, first strike as long as you control a Rogue, vigilance as long as you control a Warrior, protection from non creature spells as long as you control a Wizard. Then you'd get a little bit for Cleric redundancy but also jives with full party.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Full set reveal
    Quote from soramaro »
    Yeah … my excitement for this set is limited.

    I like the MDFCs in principle, because they fix mana screw/flood. But DFCs are a pain in the ass in paper, and I still don't know how to feel about Wizards apparently wanting to flood the game with them throughout the next year.

    The landfall cards are fine.

    I really don't like the party mechanic. It feels really weak outside of Limited, and the creative behind it is uninspired (Allies weren't much better though). It's kind of disheartening that we're going to get even more boring, milquetoast DnD stuff next year…

    I'm all about the MDFCs, but I mainly play Arena so that helps. If it's any consolation, I think the tedium of swapping out card faces in sleeves will probably fade as it becomes muscle memory.

    Does anyone actually like party? I mean, to actually play with versus the general flavor concept. I feel like there's fairly broad consensus that it's the mechanic that sunk the set, which does not bode well for the D&D set if we have even more of this.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Full set reveal
    Seems like they have the same problem revisiting Zendikar as they did with Ravnica.

    First Ravnica block was the best, partially because of all the innovative card designs, but also because it had an organic creative feel to it. There were lots of individual features like the nephilim that weren't popular in and of themselves but added character to the setting. These were stripped out during the revisits and replaced with more of the features that marketed well, resulting in a blander, more generic plane. By the third visit I dread ever going back.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Kargan Warleader— LadyLavinias preview
    Quote from FlossedBeaver »

    Much more signally stuff in the past, WotC cooled down a lot in that regard (they now produce like "checkbox" art, so a set has to have some kind of sex-controversial person, just because).

    Inclusion may not matter to you, but it does matter to other people. That's not "just because."

    Can we agree that, in principle, it's better for all of us in the long run - as Magic players - that people from as many different races, creeds, colors, identities and preferences play this game?

    On top of that, isn't "butch female warrior" an existing fantasy trope that has nothing to do with a political agenda? Sheesh. Is there really a "checkbox" here or are you just overly sensitive to having your gender norms poked at?
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Akiri, Fearless Voyager— GLHF preview
    Quote from Ryperior74 »

    I knew maros boros creature “whenever” ends with “draw a card” was gonna be attacked based rather than non-combat and I know fans what draw outside combat in boros

    Yep... combat, combat, combat. Would it kill them to conceptualize different themes for the pairing?

    This card is good, although a lot of the time the card draw is going to be pretty expensive, paying equip costs potentially repeatedly. That hidden cost is made more egregious by the fact that you only get one card for all your trouble. Much like Puresteel Paladin, the draw is tied to equiptress builds which are a lot of fun to play but the color pair needs a more generalizable draw effect.

    Meanwhile, blue-green is running stuff like Edric, Spymaster of Trest and Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy to both outdraw you and drop way more threats. They should, of course, be better at that than red-white, but how much better? Red-white still has a lot of catching up to do.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Stonework Packbeast— Alliestrasza preview
    This card is the Vice news of the set.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from bobthefunny »

    Thank you Rosy Dumplings for joining the thread!

    What you have said is the hopeful ideal, and what we hope to strive for. We do know that ideals are often just that - ideal, however I feel it is important to still strive and aim for that ideal, even while we must keep our sights, and respect, on reality.

    1 - We have attempted to revitalize the recruitment threads, as well as post some new threads in areas that are also lacking. Sadly, this kind of 'passive' recruitment has not yielded any results, as people are more likely to simply gloss over them. We have been in discussion as to how to best take a more active recruitment role, and the Rumor Mill is currently our top priority for it. We hope to reach out to several prominent members of the Community, and solicit some feedback and recommendations from them. We have also reached out to several users for nominations of other prominent members who are active, who we will then reach out to with the same request for feedback, ideas, and nominations.

    We hope to use this information to identify and build up a kind of 'map' of active users who care about the community and are well respected within the community; from there we will reach out to several that stand out, and see if they would be receptive to taking a more active role.

    This process is a new idea, so we're still working through it and learning as we reach out, but our hope is that this will lead to finding someone passionate, respected, and committed to the community.

    2- This is always the difficulty of discussions overall, and especially over the internet. While I would love that everyone be able to approach every conversation calmly and politely - the truth is that not all people do. As moderators, our tools are a bit limited. From the punitive side, we have the ability to infract users, or remove them from the site, either temporarily or permanently. Punitive actions however, are not the best way to change behavior.

    I believe this is where the staff, myself included, can improve more. When discussions veer off course and get heated, we still need to step in and take actions to correct the course if possible, or close the thread if needed and other courses don't work. We do still need to issue warnings and tickets to language that crosses the line.

    Where I feel we can improve is our language and messaging when these actions take place. Explaining why a thread gets closed, or why a certain position or line is not acceptable. Rather than handing out simple punitive measures, to ensure that our actions are also educational to the best of our abilities. This can be difficult, as this takes more effort and time - but I believe this would be a good and necessary step.

    I'm interested in what the educational approach by moderators would look like. Rosy Dumplings proposed a solution of submitting arguments to moderators to parse out as a third party. What I've proposed is much more informal and allows posters to engage directly with content.

    Generally when a post is reported, there's an option for a small comment on the report, correct? If moderators direct us to place our remarks in the report with the understanding that some of this content will be represented by the moderator's actions in the thread, this would be a great improvement. Ideally, I would still like to engage with direct discussion. Or at least, for forum members to be able to discuss the reported content. If there was some kind of option to open up a public report for discussion which would flag on a post and be approved by a moderator to generate a new thread (or some other thread-like medium) clickable from the original post (blocking quotability), and in which the reported person is permitted to offer a defense, I see this solving several problems. With respect to the difficulty for moderators to generate an educational response, they can reference the discussion of the issue and represent the general premises in that discussion in moderator remarks. The original thread would remain clean of off-topic posts. And the community gets to be involved in discussions. This might mean a more moderation-intense form of discourse but there could be higher standards set in place for the format. Participation in public reports would be treated as a privilege, requiring a certain length of membership to prevent sock puppets, rescinded by a community mechanism (but reinstate-able by moderators) to discourage misbehavior so that moderator workload is kept as light as possible. Moderators would need to stay on top of the requests to open public reports so that discussion doesn't spill out into the original thread but could let discussion in the public report proceed for up to two days before weighing in.

    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    Quote from bobthefunny »
    You are correct H3RAC71TU5 that the views of the staff do not have a direct bearing to the site,

    Well, let's not get carried away. Smile

    What I meant is that while each staff member obviously has their own views and biases, this should ideally not impact their capability to enforce the rules and views of the site, or to act with respect and dignity towards others, even when those views or biases might be challenged on a personal level.

    If that makes sense?

    Yep! Impartiality is an important ideal but it can be hard to achieve in practice.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from mikeyG »

    2. In this era of purity testing, I can understand (but do not necessarily agree with) the concern that some people have… especially during the pandemic, when people may not have full access to their offline support systems. I personally do not feel that I need to boycott any bakery or grocery store that has allowed neo-nazis to buy things there. I don’t care if bigots make use of my preferred car wash if they aren’t actively bothering people while they are there. I personally feel that imposing such purity requirements (outside of specific areas/cases with VERY real and imminent safety concerns) is kind of absurd as most stores won’t recognize bigots… and because certain marginalizing views encapsulated in tags like all lives matter or blue lives matter seem to have found their ways into mainstream party narratives… but other people very much DO hold those purity standards.

    For the record, the "purity test" here is that a contingent of posters don't want to see bigoted attitudes shared on the forums without challenge (or, if egregious enough, moderator action). Is that unreasonable? I ask because the phrase "purity test" is usually thrown around as a way to frame advocacy around higher standards as unreasonable.

    As well, it is important to note that this forum isn't like a shop or a car wash, it's a place where opinions, ideas, and discussion are encouraged and platformed. There ought to be different standards for behavior, lest the forum become a space that's unwelcoming for some - it's why the forum has rules and moderation of behavior at all. This is more akin to allowing homophobic street preachers use your space to spread their hate and ignorance (he said, three blocks from a local business doing exactly that right this minute), and telling counter protesters they can't pushback or say anything without actions taken by your business to stop them.

    At the end of the day, it is easy to interpret actions taken from a desire to not have thread after thread devolve into largely off-topic arguments as a desire to not want to annoy/alienate or deal with/acknowledge bigoted individuals within the community. When someone’s incendiary statements goad someone into making someone post inappropriate political messages… What’s the plan? Are you willing to accept the unfortunate implications of most responses (implicitly encouraging people to do that more, appearing to favor bigotry or oppose those standing up against it, etc.) You have talked a lot about being able to make civil communication in a way that doesn’t cause people to dig in their heels but what is the ultimate fate of people who refuse to accept anything less than actively removing everyone with problematic views from the forum (whether by bans or through harassment)?

    I think your first question is an important one, it's something I've been thinking about as well. Your second question, though, is framed oddly. Do you you think its the position of the people advocating in this thread that people with alt-right/bigoted views should just be removed from the site by bans or harassment? Anyone who feels otherwise can correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding was that we're pushing for more leeway to actively engage in good faith discussion (so long as it remains respectful). The bigots can stay, it's their bigotry that ought to go and there's value in giving space to posters to engage and challenge those views, demonstrate support for marginalized people, and help give people (whether people actively engaged in the discussion or viewing it as a lurker) something to think about. Many people in this site's presumed userbase (predominantly young, predominantly white, majorly male) have expressed that space to actively engaged concepts openly and without condemnation helped them get out of the alt-right's gravitational pull. Whole articles have been written about the phenomenon (particularly in the case of YouTubers, Tik Tok-ers, and other social media avenues of educating/debating a topic).

    Simply removing people because they have problematic views is a waste of an opportunity to engage and educate - if not that poster, than the many watching the conversation who may share similar opinions.

    Thank you. Crying

    I've not heard of the position that businesses should be boycotted for serving neo-Nazis. If this is a real thing that people have advocated for, how charitable is it to interpret the intent of this proposal to go on a witch hunt against any and all businesses that may have accidentally served neo-Nazis? I find that unlikely. Now if there is some obvious way of knowing that someone is a neo-Nazi (and I think there are some clear indicators), it might be reasonable to expect the business to refuse service for much the same reason we expect people to not cross picket lines during a strike. I also would like to add that, just because one individual wouldn't be bothered by a neo-Nazi patronizing a car wash at the same time as them does not mean it would be unreasonable for another individual, especially belonging to one of the groups neo-Nazis target, to be uncomfortable. You not being uncomfortable in that situation of the neo-Nazi merely being there just means you have a higher threshold of tolerance to neo-Nazis, which could be granted by any number of things (I hesitate to mention privilege because of its overzealous invocation in political discussion nowadays, but it seems to apply here).

    I also firmly condemn the idea of harassing people with problematic views. What I am in favor of is those views being criticized adequately in terms of their substance so that the problem they are 'problematic' about gets resolved. Likewise, banning on the basis of views alone would seem like an excessive measure. People who have problematic views are prevalent on these forums. I believe the most effective way of dealing with this is to have the community involved as a whole in delineating what views are unacceptable on a more informal basis with moderators providing broad guidance. In other words, a community-building activity. In this thread we already have the example of someone claiming that systemic racism doesn't exist except against white people, which is not the first time this person has made that claim. Presumably, nothing will convince him otherwise. I'm comfortable with allowing this view to be discussed without bannings because, on account of its fundamental irrationality, it is easy to refute. That doesn't necessarily change its rhetorical sway among those predisposed to find it a compelling argument, but every time this comes up and it is refuted there is a small increase in clarity among the background audience. Irrational views can only take root in murkiness of thought, and the internet has a lot of potential to bring clarity to broad audiences. But when discussion is shut down two things happen: those irrational views fester with resentment and become more dangerous, and greater clarity is not attained. More clarity means more agreement, so we can go back to disagreeing about Magic cards.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Ladee Danger's party
    Quote from Whirl »
    So if you really need to complain, at least try to find more compelling reasons for it, please.

    Oh, let me!

    This set is supposed to be about a "Return to Adventure", but the extreme focus on party kind of let's yo see a lot of adventurer's, but not so much the adventure itself. The returning mechanics and MDFCs all neatly play into the land theme, but the adventuring tropes are not well served. There are individual cards like Adventure Awaits and Spare Supplies, but is there really a feeling of adventure without a unified mechanic or presence of cards like quests and Traps? Those were the adventures and the challenges to overcome. While there is bad weather and grumpy creatures, we get a lot of the latter on any plane.

    I get a feeling ZNR delivers only on half of the adventure trope with the vehemence of original ZEN. Quests and Traps didn't need to return, but they left a hole that needed filling.

    I agree, except I think maybe Quests and Traps did need to return. Imagine if the theme for Rogues was Traps. How much more interesting and amazing Rogues would be with that theme compared to... Rogue tribal. Ugh.

    Allies was one of the most boring aspects of the entire Zendikar setting. But they didn't take up too much space, so ok. Now with party we have this enormous tension between full party and in-tribe synergy that bloats up a huge chunk of the set. I think it's the fact that the latter is part of the design that makes it such a problem, whereas if the tribes themselves had a looser theme relating to some other mechanical element of the set the design would be much tighter. If even one of these tribes makes a competitive standard deck, we have a boring homogenous standard environment to look forward to. God I hate tribal.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from bobthefunny »

    You are correct H3RAC71TU5 that the views of the staff do not have a direct bearing to the site,

    Well, let's not get carried away. Smile

    Perhaps it is the case that the views of the staff do not have a direct bearing on the site; I do not know this to be true (or false). Rather, whatever systemic bias which is present on the site is not contingent on the views of the staff. Every single staff member could be a card-carrying communist and the enforcement of this moderation policy in itself would have the same results. This is not a coincidence. There is no chronic issue of left-wing posters blurting out inflammatory political posts out of the blue. Centrists also do not do this. I don't say this to suggest two wrongs make a right, but to point out the cause for the disparity. The reason for this is the fundamental strategies employed by different political ideologies. The right is characterized by the provocateur tactic; the left is characterized by critique (for the center, its a disdain for passion presented as the high ground, among other techniques ;)). These strategies are being borne out through the forum posts here, and because of their inherent differences, a representative bias emerges from the policy about political posts. And this has an effect over time of emboldening hateful views unopposed by positive resistance (only the passive, negative action of moderation which leaves resistance unspoken), creating a space for their gradual 'radicalization' (a bit of a misnomer) which causes real life violence. The policy creates a safe space for this behavior to continually recur because its moderation is effectively a slap on the wrist whereas everyone else receives total censure. So not only is the policy manifestly not neutral, it actively contributes to a problem.

    In a more pressing and closer to home example, recent political discussions have been quite in depth among the moderators as well. There are several solutions which have been proposed which have been debated, and given contrasting views as we thankfully have the diversity on staff to not simply railroad one set of values at the expense of others.

    I would caution against a notion that diversity is a panacea for moderating the community. For diversity to be reliably beneficial, its representatives must be accountable to the groups they represent, for one. I presume this site does have general mechanisms of accountability for moderators, forgive me that I do not know all of the details thereof. But there is a danger of diversity becoming a final goal, the oft-criticized "identity politics," when (although it is an end in itself) diversity's value must be contextualized with the broader set of goals of which it is a part as a means to the true final goal, justice. I mean "justice" in the broadest possible sense, for the purposes of the site in our current discussion, you can take it to mean fairness.

    I'm not familiar with what you personally consider to be a diverse set of political views; in my experience, the perception most people have of the range of views in politics is actually a fairly narrow set of ideologies from which is extrapolated the model of the "spectrum." This is exacerbated from the conflation of entire sets of views with one another, especially in the United States, due to a false dichotomy of liberal and conservative. Which, incidentally, also forms its own representative bias in what ideologies the general public has political awareness of. I mean, when you say the staff has a diverse range of views does that mean some staff members are of a fascist persuasion? That would be diverse, technically, just as if some staff members had committed murder the staff would be diverse in the metric of criminality.

    You are also correct about disproportionate representation of viewpoints. Media these days try to gain viewrship and clicks by presenting drama and strife, and do so by often saying that both sides of an issue need to be examined. It is important to examine both views, however this does not mean that both views are equal. Examining both sides simply means to not dismiss a contrary viewpoint out of hand - not to give it equal importance. Simply because two viewpoints are opposed, does not mean they have equal weight. For an extreme example, let's take Murder. If one side says "Murder is bad" and the other side says "Murder is good" - the morality of these points are not equal. Examining both sides may mean simply listening to the other argument, or acknowledging that it exists. However, it does not mean that both points have an equal ground, nor need to be given equal screentime. In fact, promoting both messages equally would be immoral in itself. Once the contrary arguments are heard, and debated, it is important to repeat the message that "murder is bad" and have that be the prevalent message that is shown.

    That is why on this site that signs of solidarity for #BLM are allowed in user's signatures. Several members have opted to show solidarity within their signatures in respect with the sites rules. However, the alternate slogan of #BlueLivesMatter, which has been recognized as widely used as a hate slogan, is not allowed (however, general support of the police IS allowed - there is rightful disagreement and discussion on HOW to best fix the police - what is not allowed is hatespeech/movements, which BlueLM is generally recognized as supporting). There is some division on the staff about #AllLivesMatter, as there are legitimate cases of its use in promoting racial equality and unity - however, as its main use has been as a slogan for "Racial Dismissal" or simply as a criticism of #BLM, we again ask that it not be used on this site.

    I'm afraid that I can't consider hashtags in signatures to be remotely adequate. Using your example above, it would be like an advertisement saying "MURDER IS GOOD" with small text at the end stating "murder is bad actually." Even that doesn't quite capture it. It would be a small text on a different commercial on a different channel.

    If someone makes a post which is immoral, it is important that the moral message be prevalent. But that moral message is only (with exceptional briefness) summarized in slogans. And in the case of a locked thread, the moral message has no possible prevalence in the exact relevant situation that its prevalence ought to be expressed vociferously. The moral message must be conveyed specifically in response to the immoral message because this itself demonstrates the substance of the morality in the concrete example of refuting the immoral. The original messenger may be unconvinced, and the discussion may become heated, but its existence is morally beneficial to the community.

    What I want is for counterpoints to be able to be expressed. If lines are crossed or if both sides begin to repeat themselves, then moderator intervention is certainly appropriate. And perhaps some of the solutions you've alluded to being discussed could be helpful as well. Perhaps a functionality could be put in place to ban a specific member from posting in a given thread, allowing people to make replies without it escalating into an argument that derails a thread. And in the event that other people join in and it does become an argument, perhaps all that indicates is a strong community desire to have that discussion. You're asking us to ignore posts for the sake of people who want to get away from political discussions, why is it not the case those people can simply ignore the discussions which occur? There's a blocking system in place, certainly people who engage in political discussion gain a reputation for doing so. I think it would be healthier for the community for the selection of discussion to be largely handled by individual users' tastes of who to simply block than to put in place moderation rules which you've admitted create enormous difficulties to enforce.

    I would also dispute the claim that there are better places to discuss politics or engage in activism. Politics suffuses all human existence. It is present in all our interactions. There is no "better" place for the discussion to occur, it is a dimension within all discussions. As such it is universally relevant. I understand that you don't see this as being on topic, but it's fundamentally different from the example you provide of gardening. A topic always has a certain scope, but these "horizontal" dimensions are superficial (in even an etymological sense It's magic! ), meaning all depth of discussion ultimately proceeds through the moral aspect (i.e., the topic's salient relevance to human life, of which politics is a part). Topicality is one of many criteria which must dictate discursive norms. I would contrast with it the "moral aspect" I mention, meaning not quite so lofty things as it sounds as just forming social relationships between posters. Permitting political discussion is something I see as having a net benefit of generating higher engagement within the community. I've been reading this forum for over a decade (yikes), and correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like the average length of threads and the amount of replies between members has gradually decreased over that interval. Partially I suppose this could be attributed to the greater frequency of Magic products resulting in a higher quantity of threads and also the consequence of finite design space. But I think the forum culture here has also suffered from forum rules being unnecessarily stifling to discussion. A move toward promoting free and open discussion would allow the forum to flourish. Topicality is important, but as long as the forum overall is about Magic, as long as individual threads have had space made for on topic discussion, I don't see the need to root out all digression.

    There is also the case that simply by nature of the discussion, one side is more likely to be moderated, and thus that message will not be given equal representation. As such, moderation may provide a bias in what messaging appears on the site. An example of this could possibly be pro-LGBT messaging vs. anti-LGBT messaging. As pro-LGBT messaging is generally non-inflammatory and supportive, it is less likely to receive moderation than anti-LGBT messaging which is often inflammatory and divisive. As such, more LGBT messaging will show up on the site than anti-LGBT messaging. That said, we have had exceptional cases in the past where pro-LGBT users have posted messages that have been inflammatory in their own messaging and own right, and have had to be moderated on their own merits. Whether this presents an issue with the moderation methods, and whether a viewpoint is being dis-proportionally represented needs to be evaluated on a case by case merit. In the example presented, I see no issue in promoting an inclusive message over a hateful or dismissive one.

    I'm a little bit concerned about what you're saying here.

    Let me start off by using an example from philosophy of science to get away from framing bias in terms of politics for a bit. My hope is that we can attain greater clarity about bias. So. The Quine-Duhem Thesis states that hypotheses are not tested in isolation. For example, in the famous experiment demonstrating the roundness of the earth, the sails of a ship were observed as the ship sailed toward the horizon. If the earth were flat, the entire ship would be expected to go out of view all at once. But if the earth has a curvature, the sails would be the last part of the ship to vanish. The aforementioned thesis would point out that this experiment assumes that light travels in straight lines. Then, to demonstrate light does travel in straight lines, an experimental complex would have to make other assumptions that that experiment does not test, and so on. Meaning that there are an unlimited number of potential hypotheses for any given phenomenon. This is, btw, a massive epistemological problem which has been discussed at length, but I digress (!). My point is, *in practice* scientists still select from a relatively small number of hypotheses to test, and even develop consensus. Is it a bias for the hypothesis that light travels in straight lines is selected for representation in scientific theory and that the hypothesis that light travels in crooked lines isn't, let alone the N other hypotheses that also aren't represented? Well, maybe. But the notion of bias in the first place presupposes an objective and coherent world. That's a start for explaining the intuitive process of narrowing the options down. The presence of free and open discussion has always been a critical mechanism for biases to be brought to light in the history of science. And reaching consensus means moving on to other topics, the fringe resurgence of flat-earthism notwithstanding.

    So, in other words, contrary to what you said earlier, being unbiased does not mean that two opposing views receive some amount of representation in which neither is dismissed outright. In fact it is quite impossible to not dismiss outright any number of things at all times, nor would it be desirable not to. It is not a bias to discriminate on the point of representation if there is justification to omit. I'm glad you agree that not all views are equal, but in fact, that means that some views warrant absolutely no serious treatment and the most rational thing to do is to dismiss them outright.

    That's what concerns me about you saying that some anti-LBGT posts would not be moderated. I should think that any anti-LBGT post would be against the forum rules and subject to moderation. Hate speech isn't bad because it's rude. It's not bad because it disrupts orderly operation. It's bad because it causes harm. Hate speech, no matter how politely worded so as to not inflame, is harmful. Suppose a Nazi is hunting a Jew, but stealthily. He captures the man unseen, and even replaces him with a convincing automaton. Civil life goes on undisrupted, and no one notices what has happened, but this is still murder--its still wrong. It would not be a bias to remove all instances of anti-LBGT posts, as they do not meet basic moral standards for representation just as "light travels in crooked lines" fails epistemic standards. However, since people do make these posts anyway, when they do (and it happens frequently), if it is deleted or the thread closed without a rebuttal allowed, this creates a bias in the site. It's important for the general community to see the arguments as to why such content is immoral, because this is basically educational and raises awareness. This supports conditions of healthy forum interactions even though the argument against immorality itself is acutely argumentative. Under the circumstances, a heated discussion is warranted because it cements the values of the community at that frontier and is a signpost for the community's cultural development. This keeps on happening because the community needs to be able to talk about these things in order to move on and talk about Magic. You want the site to be a safe space for a broad variety of people, and it should be. But it cannot be a safe space for both LBGT people and people with anti-LGBT views; reactively covering up the latter is not sufficient for making it a safe space for the former.

    When we say we want to accept all people on this site to discuss magic - what we mean is that we accept all people to come to the site and discuss magic. Much as Target or Walmart will allow any individual to enter their stores and shop regardless of their political affiliation, we allow any individual to browse this site and discuss magic regardless of their affiliations.

    However, if an individual were to enter a Target or Walmart, and disturb other users by shouting political messages in their faces, or by knocking over stands of masks, they would be removed from the store regardless of their political biases. The same is true here. This site is not a political soapbox, and political bias has no merit in disrupting other users. Support towards a cause IS welcome here - unless that support itself is prejudicial or harmful.

    Showing support and solidarity is great - much like wearing a T-shirt or face covering that shows your solidarity to a cause. However, if that solidarity itself is problematic or hateful, it is not welcome here either. Using the Walmart/Target example, this would be akin to someone entering the store with a Tshirt/Mask which is obscene, hateful, or contains a slur, those individuals can (and would) be asked to vacate the store.

    Assaulting others is not ok, regardless of circumstance.

    And I would counter that it's not possible for all content in the discussions to be 100% about Magic. People come here to discuss Magic, but also to discuss generally... it's a forum. People go to Walmart to shop, the lines which demarcate appropriate behavior in that context are necessarily narrower. I want to generate more Magic discussion. But the conditions for that means having more leeway. That doesn't mean allowing harassment. But it does mean that the degree of controversy is proportional to the value of the thesis. A thesis which has the (negative) value of creating large immoral situations needs to be rejected more forcefully than most theses. To reject forcefully without devolving into harassment is quite a hard skill to develop, I've certainly not mastered it. I believe it takes practice and maybe some direction.

    This means we should work to create a safe place for them. Not create a toxic environment that repeatedly throws the fight back into there faces no matter where they go. This site is one of those places where people CAN step away from their problems. Behind a name on the internet, you can be anything - black, white, red, blue, or green - no one knows anything about you except what you choose to share. This is the one place where people CAN get away from their troubles, from their problems, from the politics - and enjoy a hobby they love, and share that enjoyment with others.

    If a person trying to unwind is constantly attacked and not allowed to unwind, is it really surprising that they end up pissed off and stressed? That they end up pissed off at the very cause that "awareness" is being raised for? And pissed off at the person attacking them, for the manner in which they are constantly bringing up that "awareness"?

    Consistently berating and attacking the other side is the exact opposite of creating a safe space for anyone. It creates a place where even the group in question cannot escape their issues. Believe it or not, they need to unwind as well. Creating a safe space means creating an environment where those people can be relax, not harassed, and not have to interact with the hateful rhetoric. In the context of this site, it means creating an environment which (1) does not have people and messages that disparage them, such as racist, misogynistic, or prejudicial messages - and (2) does not have people constantly bringing up the issue in the face of everyone else, which then instigates those very fights right in their faces - which, coincidentally causes those very issues to cut those wounds right back open again - in the very place that they hoped to find that very safety.

    I don't think there is the need for an environment for people to go where it's supposed to not be at politics at all, but political posts hating on that person in particular for who they are pop up periodically and no one stands up to this. Seeing content like that which moderation will structurally never completely eliminate or suppress, and not seeing anyone come out with more supportive content, is alienating. It is because of the great degree of prevalence of that hatred that the groups subject to this in fact need the allowance of equitable exception, up to and including the criterion of topicality.

    I also fear I do not understand the need to weigh in on FlossedBeaver's in-post tags. This isn't harassment, it is not in itself disruptive although a person could choose to make a disruption out of it--but the problem then lies with that person's choice. It's a personal quirk, and it's also an unintended consequence of your policy against political posts. I think you understand this and that's the real reason why you're coming down so hard on it. But you're putting yourself in a position where you're going to have to plug up too many holes in your ship because your policy is untenable. If people aren't allowed to express the things they need to express in a particular way, it will come out in some other way. This isn't good for the health of the community.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Lithoform Blight— @Wizards_Magic Instagram preview
    Quote from FlossedBeaver »
    You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Calling it now, Nahiri becomes the big-bad for the next major story arc.



    I get the same sense, maybe it's because the marketing department browbeat us with that trailer. "What this set needs is an unambiguous villain in the trailer. Yes, they have to do something real evil, for practically no reason. We can make a grand story arc out of her being real evil for no good reason! That's what sells."

    Maybe it depends a little bit on our reception of Nahiri. I mean, she's always been crazy so at least it's consistent. But as much as I thought Bolas was a shallow, clichéd villain who I genuinely wish to never see again, at least he made sense. Pushing Akiri off the edge of the precipice in cold blood just kind of makes her uninteresting as a villain to begin with, and also feels inappropriate for a RW character. She'd be vastly more compelling if, alternatively, she and Akiri were struggling and Akiri fell by accident... Nahiri is shown grief stricken but, hardened, proceeds as planned. It would show Nahiri is ultimately willing to make sacrifices for her goals that are morally questionable yet actually be conflicted about those sacrifices such that they have dramatic stakes. We're supposed to pay attention to this story about Nahiri because we know who she is, but the other characters who are her victims are much less prominent and so less likely to have meaningful impact. All the more if they don't have a meaningful impact on Nahiri herself, in which case, she doesn't meaningfully impact us either. That might be different if her goal, eliminating the Roil, felt a bit more justified or held more personal significance to her. But instead I just feel like she's shoe-horned into this Roil-eliminating plot because they need some source of conflict in the absence of the Eldrazi. Which is of course literally the reason for the plot, but in this case it's so glaring. An anti-villain who clearly only cares about their ideals right from the get-go might have the potential for character development but there's little the hook the audience as to this possibility, in which case you need other characters to shore up that front. With Nissa as the counterpoint... well this is par for the course for Magic storylines.

    All that said, if they add even a little bit of depth to the character (which will be hard to do but not impossible), I'm excited to think about the possibilities of a new story arc. The sooner I can completely forget Bolas was ever a thing, the better.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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