2019 Holiday Exchange!
 
A New and Exciting Beginning
 
The End of an Era
  • 2

    posted a message on Secret Lair x The Walking Dead
    Stepping in here to put a stop to the argument. Things have gone beyond far enough. Any escalation will get points.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • 2

    posted a message on RC STATEMENT ON SECRET LAIR: THE WALKING DEAD
    Quote from Xcric »
    Of course they werent going to.

    The rc lost its spine ages ago, and its reflective of the continued decline in their involvement in the format.

    Whatever hide behind rule zero about it some more

    I think the RC made the right call. It's not their job to police Wizards' sales, nor to discourage players from purchasing something they enjoy, nor to punish legitimate fans of the franchise.

    The fault here lies with Wizards, not the RC.

    Personally what I think will happen is that certain stores might ban these from their tournaments. Sure, the few players that buy these cards will be mad, but from the stores’ and other players’ perspectives it’s a viable reason.

    I don't think this is the right move either. It shouldn't fall on punishing players who have picked up something they love or are excited about. The anger should be directed at Wizards. Not the players.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • 1

    posted a message on What is the biggest, scariest creature you can think of?
    Blue will give you additional polymorph effects, as well as so additional token producers. Green will likely give you some of the better Big Scary Creatures, as well as the ramp to cast them should you accidentally draw them. Black has some powerful creatures as well, though they usually scream more "Combo!" Black also gives you good rez effects that works with big creatures, as well as discard outlets. White will give you powerful recursion and protection options, as well as prime removal.


    Here's a few ideas that jump immediately to mind, I'll try and keep them by color, with red first.

    Token Makers


    Big Scary Creatures



    Potential Commanders

    • Mayael the Anima - Pretty common for this Strategy. Effective colors, but may overshadow the polymorph aspect of the deck.
    • Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded - Sneak attack in the command zone. You know, in case you draw this things. Could also be in the deck.

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • 1

    posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Osieorb, thank you for the information on the Discord, I was not aware of that previously. Also thank you for the corrections on the closure of Debate. As I was not involved in the process, all I have are the sentiments and notes of the Admins at the time, which as you point out are simply one side of the story.

    H3RAC71TU5, I would say that the biggest things to address would be why we should have a debate forum here, rather than a site better suited and dedicated to it; how to maintain a debate forum in a family and work friendly environment; and how to respond to bad actors and trolls, without expressing a personal bias, or implicating personal policy as site policy.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • 1

    posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »

    I understand the difficulties involved here but I think it's worth the investment to make this a reality again. I'm sure you derive absolutely no personal enjoyment from having to continue to discuss this issue with me. Tell me your plan so that we can move on.


    We have no plans to reopen Debate, and are not working towards any plans to reopen Debate. It was closed for many reasons, and as far as we can see, those reasons remain valid.

    There are plenty of other sites specifically tailored to hosting those types of debates. I am not personally familiar with them, however a quick google search resulted in this Quora question, which has several answers. Might be a place to start. I have also found the various stack exchanges to be nice areas for discussion of a multitude of topics, they have a politics one, though I haven't frequented that one myself.

    Now, this does not mean that we cannot one day reopen debate here on Salvation, however it would take a lot of work and dedication.
    • First, we would need to see that such a forum is actually requested and wanted by the community. Included in this should be a general overview or scope of what the forum should cover, and any particular additional rules that might be required by it. I can say that I would personally be against the NSFW sub forum for it, given our current optics as a family-friendly site. Likely to raise awareness for this, you would start a thread in Community Discussion forum to gain and show interest, and then bring it to our attention.
    • Second, we would need a reasoned argument as to why the debate forum would NEED to be on MTGSalvation, and what benefits being on Salvation would give, compared to other more dedicated forums.
    • Third, we would need a reasoned argument as to why the forum would be beneficial to Salvation. Considering the history of Debate on this site, you would want to overcome those challenges.
    • Finally, we would need a Moderator champion to lead it, and would likely need two, maybe three moderators overall to run it (including the lead). The secondary moderator could be a new hire for the forum, but the lead would likely need to be an enfranchised Moderator.
    • All of this would then need to be presented to the owners, for final approval.

    Now, there currently are no moderators willing to take up the mantle of a Debate forum, however there are plenty of moderator openings where someone could join the staff and get a feel of the process and experience, and then move on to other improvements. We are always looking for talented, calm, and rational individuals, especially those that have ideas and visions for improving the site.

    ===

    This would be the same for any other off topic forum (and even on-topic, though showing the common interest on those is easier). For example, if someone wanted to make a Yu-Gi-Oh forum, or an Anime forum, it would be the same idea.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • 2

    posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    It is not my intent to lock down this thread, as it is a primary method of reaching out to staff. Likewise, outside of extreme situations, I would prefer to not issue infractions in this thread, as I do not want people to fear or question their ability to bring their issues, thoughts, and ideas here.

    That said, this thread got very personal very quickly, so I'm putting a brief pause on things. I'm also going to ask that personal attacks on other users not take place here (or anywhere else on the site).


    I think we have seen very clearly here how a conversation can easily derail, and change the flow of topic to something other than what it was intended to be.

    I would also like to take a brief moment to apologize for my earlier post. My exasperation, frustration, and loss of patience very clearly came through in my tone, and that was unacceptable. I deeply apologize for my lack of calm.

    Quote from Kamino_Taka »

    I agree that not everything is politics but most opinionated statements unless very specific stem from personal beliefs which include politics so techically alot of statements are political including the statement to not post anything exlpicitly political. Stems from the personal belief of Shut up and do the thing you are here for and only that. That is similar in vein as all the people said about the kneeling of the NFL players protest that they should just shut up and play the game because this is not the place to do that.

    Your analogy to the NFL situation is... apt, and thought provoking. Thank you for that.

    I do consider there to be a difference however, in reach, scope, timing, and purpose.

    The NFL protests were about dedicated and heroic players using their influence and position to reach out (even at personal risk) to bring awareness to a wider audience that was not informed.

    Posting on these forums does not involve a user's influence in reaching out and raising awareness to a larger audience. An anonymous user has negligible influence, the reach of the site is very closed to a specific facet and small. In short, I disagree that the context is in any way similar.

    However beeing against a on topic political discussion is something I don't understand.
    So how's your view on Magic related politics?

    We do realize that there will never be a clean differentiation. This is brought up in the "Inclusion in the MTG Salvation Community" announcement that was made, but I will rephrase it here. When Wizards releases statements that inherently have a political judgment - such as removing ties with an artist, or removing existing art from the game, we understand that discussions on those topics will contain some inherent politics.

    So long as the intersection of the two remain Magic focused (and not inflammatory/racist/prejudiced) the discussion remains on-topic. The problem occurs when the discussion moves outside of being magic related, or when racist or other prejudicial comments start being made.


    This site is about Magic. If you want to talk about something Not Magic - you've come to the wrong place.

    I know this is a bit pedantic but if thats the case why do we even have the Talk and Entertainment, Mafia and Forum Game sections?
    Are you in favor of getting rid of these with a statement like that? I don't think you do, so I think you don't agree with your own statement and this was more of a heat of the moment thing.

    Let me rephrase - Yes, we have areas dedicated to allowing the community to bond over things which are outside the realm of Magic. Those topics are perfectly fine in their designated areas - however, if someone were to bring those topics into the Magic related section of the forums, they would no longer be acceptable in the context of their environment.

    My quote above refers in particular to the Magic forums, and in concept of the Site as a whole (If people have come to this site, it is likely that they did so in the main focus of discussing Magic. While it is theoretically possible that we may have Mafia players who have somehow arrived here and joined who have no interest in Magic, I believe that overlap would be small).



    So how's your view on Magic related politics?


    Yea, some topics have a very high tendency to drift away from Magic into politics.

    If its about specific artists, "racist" card art being banned, or some policy of WotC, its basically always in some way or form political grounded already and people will either agree or disagree with them on their political reasons.


    I answered this above, hopefully well enough, but I shall restate: There will never be a perfect division when it comes to inherently political statements made by Wizards. These clearly will want discussion by the Community, and our goal as staff is to try and make sure these discussions remain on topic.

    Inclusion of gay characters in a card game for 13 year old kids, is that needed ? is it helpful ? is it even necessary ?
    Some people have very strong believes in that regard, and drastically different too, so its quite natural that such topics will get to that point and if a moderator stifles the conversation because its "no longer on topic" some people get angry about it, as it feels to them like their view is no longer welcome ; while the moderator decision is just to prevent a more excessive drifting away into the political realm.


    This site will always stand by the side of inclusion. Any comments stating that such inclusion is unnecessary, unhelpful, or morally incorrect will not be tolerated.


    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    It's important to be honest about it. So yes, if you're going to be political either way, I think a good maxim would be to lean toward allowing discussion. This way, you have people happy with their ability to express themselves and so on, meaning the results are effective for maintaining the health of the community which is your charge as the staff here.


    So here's the thing:
    1. I still disagree with the concept that anything and everything is inherently political. Perhaps this is a difference of definition or scope between us.
    2. People are not happy with discussions. There is no if and buts about this. Whenever a political discussion occurs, it is very easy to spot from the reports table - each person immediately reports any comment their opposition makes for being inflammatory. Each person wants us to infract their opposition for being closeminded, a troll, a flamer, or being racist - because clearly people whose views don't match their own are wrong, and immoral.
    3. Other people are not happy with the conversations. My favorite report this year went along the lines of "I respect this persons views, and agree with them, but I am tired of seeing this discussion brought up again in every thread."
    4. We do not have the staff to moderate a forum designated to this kind of discussion. We used to have a forum dedicated to this type of discussion, we did not have the staff then, and the forum devolved into 4chan lite. I have no desire to moderate a 4chan lite, nor do I believe it is feasible, nor appropriate for this site. Perhaps one day we will have staff that is interested in bringing this back, and willing to moderate it, and perhaps even make it appropriate for the site. Currently, none of those are true. I will die on this hill.
    In fact, that this ONE thread has managed to get derailed, in a matter of hours, I think clearly shows the difficulties that a thread dedicated to politics will bring, let alone an entire forum dedicated to this concept.

    At no point have I suggested that we should bring up politics "every 15 seconds." In fact, the issue I have been pointing out is the trend of political posts hating on groups being posted in threads for causes as minimal as a card depicting a black person. People have a natural desire to want to respond to such content which you have disallowed. But the reverse doesn't happen (people randomly posting leftist or centrist political takes out of the blue), because the nature of politics differs by ideology and this leads to different behavior.

    Every spoiler season this year, at least one thread, if not multiple, have gone off the rails. The 15 seconds is exaggerated, however I stand by the concept that the Rumor Mill is not the place to have these discussions. I also stand by the statement that this site is not the appropriate place to host a forum dedicated to that. I most assuredly stand by the fact that hosting such a forum would be a nightmare, and would be an unmitigated disaster given the site's current resources.

    This is simply not the place for this.

    2. So the options again are either to enforce bias, or to be biased anyways? Again, I disagree. Censoring to one extreme or another can only be harmful to all involved. This is a site that exists to discuss Magic. This should be feasible without overcomplication.


    To the contrary, it's entirely possible to not be biased in the matter. The non-biased perspective would acknowledge that one view is extreme and the other is not. The non-extreme (BLM) would only be possible to consider as extreme in the biased perspective that compares and defines it in relation to the extreme one.

    The extreme I was referencing here was the action of forcefully advocating a position by moderating against anyone of a differing opinion.

    I do not personally believe that BLM is an extreme position, nor do I believe that it (should) be inherently political. Somehow it has become so, but I will fight and die on the hill that it is not.

    Likewise, while I will not personally advocate for bluelives, I will advocate for the people that use it in a manner to support police against violence, and against calls to violence against police. To this end, it has become the Site's current stance that moderating against BlueLives in signatures would be that line of overmoderation that you mentioned. I can only emphasize, again, that this currently appears consistent with literally every other business. I have not found a single one that approaches this differently.


    I take it you're referring to bluelivesmatter here. I'm speaking more generally about hate groups, and it seems to me no coincidence that those same hate groups also are favorable towards bluelivesmatter. The lovely thing about reason is that we can draw inferences about things that lead us to opposite conclusions of popular opinion.

    The context was not clear - in part Hate Groups in general have no place here. The KKK, All Lives Matters, and White Lives Matters are not allowed. Thus, I am now confused as to your original post. Your point was "3. A balance which is inclusive to hate groups is toxic to the cohesion of the forum community". If you're talking about Hate Groups in general, this point is invalid, as we do not allow them. The only context that made sense is the current discussion of whether #BlueLivesMatters should be allowed on the site.

    If this association was in error on my part, I apologize.

    3. The site is not here to pass moral judgment. You know what else would be detrimental to a community? Excising anyone with a differing viewpoint than your own.

    The idea that excising people with different viewpoints than mine would be harmful to the community... is a moral judgment. Politics, after all, is a subset of moral theory. However, I haven't advocated for the excising of people just because their views differ from mine. Earlier in this thread, I engaged in polemics against the political positions you were kind enough to state in order to demonstrate that we're both partisan. I don't think you should be excised just because I disagree with you, because you haven't advocated for things that are inherently dehumanizing. I can recognize that you in good faith believe your views are what's best for a variety of people (a moral judgment).

    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »

    I'd like to touch again on the claim that the site isn't here to make moral judgments. This is false on its face, because the forum has rules of conduct in the first place which are based in moral judgment. Bob, you earlier introduced the term "moral" into the discussion and I was appreciative of you doing so because its frequently the case that people have a dismissive attitude about whatever they term "moral" due to its subjective connotations. If we were so inclined, we could engage in a discussion which in every explicit sense was only descriptive and leave its normative character as subtextual, but I don't think that would be a very sincere, clear, or constructive approach. Every decision we make in life entails a moral judgment; we could take no action otherwise. You can't avoid making moral judgments, just as you can't avoid being political, and maturity involves acknowledging this.

    This... feels like it's getting into semantics. While I can see what you are arguing, I doubt that you do not see the point I was trying to make.

    Yes, every community, every nation, every group of people will have laws and rules based on the morals it wishes to emphasize. However, there are some topics that are disagreed upon, ambiguous, or otherwise in contention. While each of us on the staff, and the owners, may have our personal opinions on these topics, the Site itself is not here to pass judgement on those. The site is not here as a platform to advocate for a cause in contention. Each of us that wishes to do so, does it on our own time, in our own locations.

    There is also the issue that the quote of mine you placed is in reference you your point 3: "3. A balance which is inclusive to hate groups is toxic to the cohesion of the forum community". Given the context of the preceding posts about the validity of BlueLives, and that Hate Groups in general are not allowed here, the association was the inference that your point was associating BlueLives as a Hate Group. Thus, the context of MY quote about passing moral judgement is that it is not this Site's duty or prerogative to make the judgement about whether or not a group qualifies as a Hate Group. We'll leave that to those better suited for it.


    4. And what overzealous and authoritarian approach are you referring to here?
    • A simple request to keep discussion to the topics that this forum was made for?
    • Or that if people fail to follow the rules of the community, they are asked to leave?
    Is it really that hard to understand "Please follow the rules, don't be a jerk, or we will ask you to not be here?"


    Intervening in discussions just because they're "off topic" is very likely to be excessive.

    Intervening in off-topic discussions is literally our job. If every thread were to turn into a thread about gardening, this would be a terrible Magic site. Replace "gardening" with any single other topic that is not Magic, and that statement remains true. Even Politics.

    Now, perhaps there is some remote set that will come out that provides an overlap between gardening and Magic. Then, gardening might find itself on topic... if it remains related to Magic. Replace "gardening" with any single other topic that is not Magic, and that statement remains true. Even Politics.


    5. You know what else would affect revenue? Becoming a Magic site that doesn't discuss Magic.


    I don't see how this is the necessary outcome. I suspect that politics is something that will rarely come up because most people here are primarily interested in discussing Magic and that's not going to change.

    This past year has proven otherwise. Politics has repeatedly come up, and been disruptive every single time. Every time, people report the opposition, and people not involved in the discussion report it and request that it please just stop.

    I agree that people are primarily interested in discussing Magic. That's why discussing politics here is disruptive. That's why discussing politics here is not appropriate.

    Never mind that Magic itself is expressly political, apparently provoking political responses with choices as simple as depicting black people in card art. The controversies here are over something really basic, which essentially distills to the question of whether humanity is universal or not. Such a basic controversy can't go unresolved.


    Depicting a black person in art is not Magic being expressly political. In fact, there is literally nothing political about depicting a black person in art. The only thing political, would be the person making a political statement because a black person was depicted in art. The art is not political, Magic is not being political, the person is.

    Humanity is universal. I will stand by that, and the site will stand by that.


    Quote from mikeyG »
    Careful, your slip is showing.
    Yes, I am human and can be frustrated. I also do have my own personal opinions, though as I am in a position of some sort of authority here, I do my best to refrain from exercising them too strongly, lest people inadvertently believe those statements to be on behalf of the site, rather than myself. (The site has had issues with some moderator opinions and pieces being mistaken as site policy rather than personal in the past). I also do wish to avoid potential optics of bias.

    While everyone will have their personal biases, I can do my best to try and keep it in check and moderate as objectively as possible.

    Quote from mikeyG »
    I'm willing to bet that you don't go to a Walmart, or a Target, or even a McDonald's to shout at people about your views on this.


    Well, no, and that's a bit of a strawman. I don't do that, I doubt anyone here does. Speaking for myself, however, when I'm in a public space (like a forum) and I witness ignorant comments or bigoted behavior I will (if safe) say something. And, in my experience, the reverse is also true and I've been in public and have had bigoted things said to me (usually for being ~*~TOO GAY~*~ but sometimes for other social justice/progressive statements). Being in public and never experiencing socio-political issues in everyday places is completely foreign to me.
    Perhaps it is a bit of a strawman, but that was also a bit of the intention. There are topics that have been derailed to extreme political discussion, which goes beyond what you discuss.

    For me, though, I'm going to take your advice and I'm going to go. I'll probably lurk and hibernate, see if the site changes again, but this clearly isn't the place for me anymore.
    This does make me sad. You have been an excellent influence on the forums, and a very long time standing member and accomplished moderator and admin of the site through trying times. Your departure does deeply distress me, as it clearly shows a dissonance in what the site is and should be.

    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    They could reinstate the Discussion forum. The site is probably not inclined to do so, since apparently it was retired because it required a heavy amount of work to moderate for no doubt obvious reasons. But I agree this is a workable solution.


    The debate forum was well intentioned, and started off well and well moderated. But it quickly went down a black hole. Towards the end of its existence, debates were not held in good faith, and there was a tendency to argue and make contrarian points just for shock and attention. There ended up being multiple "debates" which were nothing more than outright trolling, as well as rife trolling throughout what might be considered legitimate debates.

    And this doesn't even touch on the topics found in the NSFW Debate subforum (which I am personally confused why was ever a thing here).

    Looking at the retired forum, there are 11 threads that needed to be deleted in the first page alone, and another 9 on the second page. That's not healthy. There are also a significant amount of red text, and banned members in the responses.

    I am well aware that there were several mods that held the forum in fond memory, however there was solid reason to shut it down at the time. Perhaps it could return one day, but today is definitely not the time.


    ===

    A reminder: This thread is not to replace the debate forum. It is to discuss site policy, or to bring matters and concerns to the attention of the staff and owners. It is not the place for philosophical, theoretical, or political debate.

    It IS the place for discussion about the Regulations of the site.



    For those wondering about direct contact with the owners of the site: I will discuss with them if there is a way to make this feasible, but my guess is that it less likely. MagicFind operates a large number of sites, and part of the purpose of the staff is to be the intermediary to the Owners, so as to limit being swamped. The owners are aware of this thread, but unlike all of us, I doubt that most visit the site on a frequent basis, let alone daily. That's what the staff is for.

    I will happily forward relevant concerns, and if any of those concerns involve staff (or even myself), forward and alert them to those, while limiting my personal involvement to the best of my ability and ethics.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • 1

    posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    There is no need for further discussion of the issues brought up in this thread. The points have been made. However, with respect to the points I've raised, I have not seen them addressed to my satisfaction or really to the satisfaction of any reasonable standard. From my point of view, the staff has only reiterated their original positions and ignored my concerns.

    Please address:
    1. The issue that a policy against political posts is itself political
    2. A methodology which naively produces balance for its own sake actually produces bias. 'Overbalancing' by representing views that have no business being represented is bias
    3. A balance which is inclusive to hate groups is toxic to the cohesion of the forum community
    4. Overzealous and authoritarian approaches to moderation will stifle engagement in the forum community
    5. 4 & 5 will have the long term effect of diminishing revenue


    1. This seems to me to be a fallacy. If a policy against political posts is itself political, then the option is either to allow politics, or still be political? Everything is political? I find it irresponsible to believe that mature individuals are entirely incapable of having a conversation of Magic, or anything else, without bringing up politics every 15 seconds. Somehow, I manage to hold many such conversations each day.

    2. So the options again are either to enforce bias, or to be biased anyways? Again, I disagree. Censoring to one extreme or another can only be harmful to all involved. This is a site that exists to discuss Magic. This should be feasible without overcomplication.

    3. The site is not here to pass moral judgment. You know what else would be detrimental to a community? Excising anyone with a differing viewpoint than your own.

    While you may be judging the entire group to be a hate group, the rest of the collective US community, the commercial interest, and the internet do not currently agree with your assessment. If a change occurs, we will adapt to it. Until then, every other commercial venture is willing to accept it, so will we.

    4. And what overzealous and authoritarian approach are you referring to here?
    • A simple request to keep discussion to the topics that this forum was made for?
    • Or that if people fail to follow the rules of the community, they are asked to leave?
    Is it really that hard to understand "Please follow the rules, don't be a jerk, or we will ask you to not be here?"

    5. You know what else would affect revenue? Becoming a Magic site that doesn't discuss Magic.

    If a person arrives at this site from google, wanting to look up an interaction, or discuss some new cards - but instead they see a bunch of people yelling at each other about entirely unrelated things? Well suddenly that makes this seem like a terrible site to come to for the answers to Magic related questions.

    ===

    I joined this site to discuss Magic. I joined it to discuss Commander. I joined the moderator team to help improve the goals of facilitating that kind of discussion. For the last THREE MONTHS, 95% of my interaction and duties on this site have been entirely non-magic related. I'm frankly getting sick and tired of this. Everywhere else, I seem to be able to find people who are able to hold a conversation on a topic without needing to proselytize. Conversations in which if a person says "Hey, I don't want to hold this discussion here, can we let it drop," the other person respects it. Or even following simple rules and requests for use of a facility or services. When the people who collect the garbage in my neighborhood arrive in the early morning with their trucks, no one seems to need to quiz them about their political allegiance.

    Everyone saying that we need to discuss non-magic things here... No. We. Don't. There are plenty of places where you can share your political views. There are plenty of places where it's appropriate to do so. Want to share them? Write an opinion piece to your local paper. Write to your congressman. Go to a protest. Go to a townhall. GO. VOTE. Arguing with random people on the internet, on a site which has nothing to do about it is a waste of everyone's time.

    I'm willing to bet that you don't go to a Walmart, or a Target, or even a McDonald's to shout at people about your views on this. There is nothing that makes this place any more appropriate than those, expect that on here you can do so from the comfort of your own home and you don't have to actually look anyone in the eyes when you do it. Don't do it. We don't want it here. Grow up. Take it to where it matters.

    This site is about Magic. If you want to talk about something Not Magic - you've come to the wrong place.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • 2

    posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    After looking more into the history of the #BlueLivesMatter movement, how it has been used, and how it is culturally understood, we are allowing slogans of #BlueLivesMatter as a statement of solidarity to slain police officers and as a statement of support for our uniformed officers.

    While we understand and are sensitive that #BlueLivesMatter has been coopted as a counter-movement, and can be used dismissively in counter to #BLM, we feel that the Movement itself is not explicitly a counter-movement based on its history and formation. Just as we do not hold how other groups have coopted #BLM in ways that do not reflect upon the primary movement, so too should the coopted uses of the #BlueLivesMatter not be held against the movement itself.

    Context will of course matter in all situations. Using any slogan in a manner to incite aggression, dismiss others, or otherwise harass, troll, or violate our policies will not be supported.

    This is a complicated topic, and the decisions made regarding it are nuanced. We are receptive to hearing any feedback from our users, especially to how they are affected by these topics and statements. If you have any concerns, please let members of the staff know your concerns or how these statements affect you or reflect your own experiences.

    Thank you,
    -bobthefunny
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • 2

    posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Spamming messages like :

    #BLM
    #DefundThePolice

    In perspective that Antifa associates themselves with BLM and shouts DefundThePolice for years, is putting a massive negative on this entire topic.

    If political discussions are not wished for, this is downright insulting to anybody which friends these protesting terrorists attacked, hurt and which stores and homes these sick people are destroying and burning down.

    This is not helpful at all and pushing blindly in a direction is upsetting a lot of people that wish nothing more than working and living together respectfully (and especially #BLM is anything but respectful).

    Either be consequential and make all political associations not allowed or downright opt in to a extreme radical position that is spreading nothing more than hate, pain and misery in the world.


    Thank you TheOnlyOne652089 for joining this conversation. Your input is appreciated.

    Antifa is Antifa. Terrorists are terrorists. It would be incorrect to assign the actions and values of one group upon another, just as it would be wrong to hold #BlueLivesMatter accountable for the actions the Proud Boys.

    In order to hold a meaningful discussion on this matter and start from an equal footing, I would like to present a brief history of the three #LivesMatter movements, as my best understanding goes.

    === History ===

    #BlackLivesMatter

    #BlackLivesMatter (wiki (1)), often abbreviated #BLM has its earliest recorded usage in 2013. It began as a movement after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 to bring attention to systemic racism and the plight of minorities in the United States, who have more frequent physical encounters with police, an increased rate of fatal shootings by police, and are incarcerated at considerably higher percentages and rates than the economic and population distribution would suggest normal, and typically receive longer and harsher sentences for similar crimes committed by Caucasian criminals. Like the following movements, #BLM has deeper and wider roots than the movement started in 2013. In 2016, Collin Kaepernick's movement to kneel for the anthem achieved national headlines as another movement to raise awareness. Similarly, the history goes much further back. Comedian Richard Pryor's observations about police in 1979 is eerily similar to what we see today (2). Likewise, Dave Chappelle's police skits are altogether strikingly on point, bridging the gap.
    To put historical context in perspective, the 15th amendment gave African Americans the right to vote in 1870, however, many states and regions prevented African Americans from exercising those rights through various means of profiling. This was not amended until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (3). This was only 55 years ago. There are people still alive today who were blocked from exercising their right to vote. And there are people still alive today who prevented them from voting.

    #BLM is generally regarded as a non-violent protest group raising awareness for social inequities. The main controversy regarding the #BLM movement is in the name, where detractors equate it as saying that other lives don't matter. In part, this is part of the origin of the name of the #AllLivesMatter movement. The counter to this argument is that #BLM is not saying that only black lives matter, but rather that black lives matter as well, which has not been historically demonstrated. President Obama explains it best: "I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else's lives matter ... rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that's not happening in other communities."


    #AllLivesMatter

    #AllLivesMatter (wiki (4)) in contrast has its beginning in 2014, as a deliberate counter-movement to #BLM. As a direct counter to #BLM, #ALM is often used to dismiss or demean #BLM protests. It is important to take the context into account here. There was no #AllLivesMatter before #BlackLivesMatter. #ALM is a direct counter to #BLM, to assign incorrect meaning and assumptions to the name of the BLM movement in order to discredit it. Then general societal view accepts this. Facebook banned #ALM slogans in 2016, Walmart has removed sales of all #ALM merchandise this year (5). #ALM is generally viewed as a divisive statement, meant to divide.

    This is not to say that #AllLivesMatter as a slogan is without merit. There are several examples of prominent figures who have used AllLivesMatter as an inclusive form to say that everyone matters - or rather, that all lives SHOULD matter. In a 2015 poll (1), 78% of poll takers identified more with All Lives Matter, while only 11% identified with Black Lives Matter (note: 2015 is much closer to the 2013 start of the movements than today. Exceptionally high support for #BLM has grown over the last two years, I would be curious to see the poll results if repeated today). Several proponents have said that #BLM is divisive in its choice of name, and should update the name to more accurately reflect the goals of the movement.

    There are multiple articles that explain the false equivalence between BLM and ALM, and why saying ALM is not as inclusive as you might think. Here are a few examples:


    #BlueLivesMatter

    The #BlueLivesMatter (Wiki) slogan similarly began in 2014, and is used used as a counter-movement to #BLM. However, unlike #ALM, the #BlueLives movement originates as a movement to highlight that Police are often profiled and are victims of crimes based on their professions, and #Blue was started in direct reaction to the murder of two police officers in 2014 (7). As such, the movement has notable links towards supporting a difficult and dangerous job, which has come under increased scrutiny in recent days due to the evaluation of the use of police force. #BlueLivesMatter as a movement is often equated as comparing the dangers that officers face to the dangers that minorities face.

    Criticisms of the movement point out that becoming a Police Officer is a choice of profession. One of which the officer (to be) is informed and makes a choice to enter a profession which they know is dangerous. In comparison, African Americans do not have that choice. Criticisms point out that while the dangers of the job of a Police Officer are real, and need to be supported, using the slogan as a counter to the #BLM movement, especially in the face of police brutality is dismissive of the racial biases and problems that exist today (8).

    Like #BlackLivesMatter, the Blue Lives movement has considerably deeper roots. The symbol for Blue Lives movement is a black and white American flag, with a one stripe colored blue. This is a reference to "the thin blue line." A view point that puts the Police as the line between society and anarchy. The origins of the thin blue line extend back to 1922, but was popularized in 1950 by Police Chief William H. Parker (9) as part of his public relations program. Since then, the saying, as well as various versions of the flag of a blue stripe on a black field have been used to show support for officers slain on duty. However, today the flag is now equated to the Blue Lives movement, and as opposition to the Black Lives Movement. As such it has taken additional meaning in forms of being dismissive towards the value of Black Lives. This has been shown on a historical level as well (10).

    Some companies have banned the use of #BlueLivesMatter, such as GoodYear, though GoodYear later reverted that policy. A woman who was wearing a #BlueLivesMatter start pointed remarks against a person wearing #BLM attire on a Delta Flight (11). Delta has banned that woman for life, and shown support to the #BLM user.

    =======

    Conclusion


    This is simply a quick high level overview based on some fast and dirty research I did to better explain the stances as I see them. Other moderators, and the site Owners likely have their own set of research and sources. Based on these sources, I am confident that our current approach of accepting #BlackLivesMatter as a slogan, but not the other two, is consistent with the current meanings and current understanding of these terms by the general population.

    Note that this applies directly to the specific slogans, their use, and their current connotations. Claiming support for all, regardless of creed or color; or showing support to our uniformed officers that uphold the law with dignity and honor is not being demeaned - however, when supporting these movements, it is important to know the context, history, and connotations and impact they have on others.

    I hope this helps to explain why the stance is currently as it is. If you disagree with this stance, or these sources, or have additional sources you would like me to read, I encourage you to share these sources with me, such that I can better educate myself on the topic.


    ====

    Sources, again.
    (1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter]wiki
    (2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWulvchFpYs&ab_channel=NetflixIsAJoke
    (3) https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/voting-rights-act

    (4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Lives_Matter
    (5) https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/06/29/walmart-ends-sale-all-lives-matter-merchandise-indefinitely/3282035001/
    (*) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/all-lives-matter-black-lives-matter/
    (*) https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/philosophy/black-lives-matter-essay-why-is-saying-all-lives-matter-wrong
    (*) https://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter
    (*) https://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/2020/06/saying-all-lives-matter-doesnt-make-you-racist-just-extremely-ignorant.html

    (6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Lives_Matter
    (7) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_killings_of_NYPD_officers
    (8) https://www.reformer.com/stories/letter-racist-symbolism-behind-the-blue-lives-matter-flag,608759
    (9) https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/06/08/the-short-fraught-history-of-the-thin-blue-line-american-flag
    (10) https://gothamist.com/news/inside-seething-white-heart-blue-lives-matter-movement
    (11) https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/09/04/black-woman-was-confronted-about-blue-lives-matter-flight-delta-gave-her-black-lives-matter-pin/

    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • 1

    posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from FlossedBeaver »
    I'd really like to get your thoughts and impressions on this post:

    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »

    ... but a lot of the threads you mention being locked got started because people on the political right posted off topic and heinous comments. We've been directed by the mods to just ignore these posts and not talk about politics at all, then in different instances been told it's okay so long as it stays respectful, which is of course impossible if one side's view is inherently disrespectful. If the policy is to ignore these types of posts, then in practice the effect is that people make these remarks, they're eventually deleted or snipped, and the other side's point of view is not expressed. In other words, the policy is actually not neutral and unbiased; right-wing narratives will continue to be expressed and the counter points will not. Locking threads does not actually solve the problem so it continually recurs, leading to an overall forum community annoyed with political posts. But there's another reason why this is the approach used. Right-wing players are a sizeable audience on this site. Locking threads does not threaten their continued ad-viewership, but keeping threads open might.


    ---

    #BLM
    #DefundThePolice


    Hi FlossedBeaver,

    Thanks for your question! First off, I would like to apologize for the delay in responding to you. I have been out of town, so my personal thread here has been unmonitored during my absence.

    Political threads continue to be a difficult topic to approach, and even trickier to handle properly. Ideally, we wish to distance ourselves from politics as much as possible - as this is not a political site, and not intended for political debate. It is of course difficult because nothing is ever so easily divided, especially as several recent decisions by Wizards have reached into political spheres. We of course wish to allow discussion of Wizards' decisions and their impact. This makes monitoring that line of where discussion is Magic appropriate to be a difficult case, and needing evaluation on a shifting basis as new topics and decisions are introduced. We hope to maintain the standard to discussion that remains Magic related and oriented however, and not open the site to political rallies.

    The American political spectrum today is very divisive, and the post quoted does make the valid point that not all stances are inherently respectful or equal. This is one of many reasons we wish to not engage or encourage these discussions on this site. This is a family friendly site, and disrespectful and dismissive views can not, and should not be tolerated here. As such, those posts need to be deleted in order to maintain a family appropriate content.

    This however also touches on one of the difficulties of moderation - visible moderation leaves a record and example of content that gets infracted - but leaves also unacceptable content on the site where minors or other vulnerable demographics can see the content. Deleting or otherwise removing the content allows the discussion to continue without the objectionable deviations, however there is then no visible action shown and people may assume no moderation is taking place. Removing content can also give the impression of implicit censorship, or silencing of a specific viewpoint. This is especially difficult in a political sphere, where as the user stated, not all sides are inherently equal or respectful. It is always a struggle as to how to best handle each and any given situation. Building and fostering a community is always a difficult task, for all those involved. From the moderators who volunteer time and have to take action, but also to the very members of the community who shape the community and discussion in the messages they choose to post and spread, as well as reporting what they feel objectionable and detrimental to the community.

    As far as the view that the site is leaning in one direction or another - there have always been allegations of various viewpoints that the site leans in a direction opposite of where the user feels they personally stand. This is often the case when trying to hold a centrist or non-partisan position. We have been accused of being anywhere and everywhere on the political spectrum, from allegations of far-right, to allegations for far-left extreme liberalism. The hope is that the balance of these allegations shows that we do hold that central line. Historically speaking, I believe that the majority of the staff has tended to lean slightly to fairly liberal, all things considered, however the staff has had representation from the full spectrum of political beliefs. We have never had any sort of "official" survey on the matter, however our off topic chats, as well as various discussions on how to handle certain tickets (especially political) has shown that we are a fairly diverse group in terms of beliefs.

    ===

    I hope this answers your questions as to our general views, and why we take the stances we do on political discussions.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.