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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default "Morally justified" threads

    I haven't participated in them because they frankly bore me.

    However, I note that the forum staff will now lock such threads on site, whether they are 'veiled', 'thinly veiled' or 'not thinly veiled at all'.

    So I'm going to ask, for my own clarification: What exactly constitutes a 'morally justified' thread? I'm asking because I don't want to inadvertently start one or turn an existing thread into a "thinly veiled" one.

    Yes, I suppose I could read all the locked threads, which would take several hours, and that would only give me a *guess*. I would prefer to be *told* exactly what guidelines the mod team uses in this decision, so I don't cross them.

    I'm sure you understand my confusion; arguments over alignment are the single hottest topic on these forums, as people try to narrow down exactly where on the alignment spectrum a particular character falls. I need to know when a typical argument over alignment has spilled over into "morally justified" territory.

    Many thanks for your assistance!

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Backing this up. Some of the recent locks I've seen don't seem to be veiled at all. I'm not into making those kinds of threads, but if I was, I wouldn't have a clue where I'd turn out on the lottery.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Backing this up some more, I feel like I've missed something. What?
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Er, could someone point me to one of these locked threads so I can see what this discussion is about? Maybe I just haven't been visiting the right forums or paying enough attention, but I don't remember seeing any locks in the past few months for reasons other than necromancy, flaming, duplication, and real-world politics and religion.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    here's one example . I'd seen a couple threads over the past few weeks locked as 'morally justified' threads, and this is the latest one.

    ETA: I participated in a similar thread which was NOT locked, and we argued many of the same things vis-a-vis the evil (or lack thereof) of Tarquin's actions. So I'm confused.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2010-11-30 at 09:53 AM.

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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Threads which discuss it seriously, in the Roleplaying Games section, tend not to be locked though.

    It's usually:

    "Does X count as an Always Evil act- or can X be Non-Evil if the motive and context are right?"

    (where X is an act not explicitly specified in either core or splatbooks to be Evil, but is dubious enough to get a lot of argument either direction).
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    I think that he's referring to this, this, andthis. Apparently there is a moratorium on discussing the alignment of a specific action in the comic:

    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Staff
    At this time, we have a moratorium on threads whose sole discussion point is whether a certain character was "morally justified" in taking a certain action in the comic. Please do not start new topics to discuss such issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Staff
    Didn't we put a moratorium on "Is X action morally justified?" threads. I think we did. Yes, we definitely did.

    Whatever point this thread had to begin with, it has long since become, "Was Haley/Belkar morally justified in escaping?"

    Good thing you posted this, too, because I had no idea that this was disallowed. Seems pretty clear cut, though. I think the reason it was called "thinly veiled" was because it started off by "reminding" the person of "Tarquin's Atrocities" rather than straight out saying that they wanted to talk about Tarquin's alignment.
    Last edited by Zeofar; 2010-11-30 at 10:01 AM.

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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    In the most recent one in particular - I don't see much difference between krossbow's thread and a thread that says, "Tarquin's still a jerk even if you like him." There is no one specific action being pointed at here, just all of them, which... is what the character is built on. What's the dividing line? At what point does discussion of a character's likability become discussion of a character's moral justification, especially when the comic's subject matter itself is often about morality?

    Do we just avoid talking about it at all, ever?
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2010-11-30 at 10:04 AM.
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    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    My guess is, whenever the alignment of an act committed by a character in OoTS is brought up, and disputed ("X act was evil"- "No it wasn't, X act was chaotic")

    and the mods, if notified for some other reason, spot it, they might lock it for that reason as well.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-11-30 at 10:06 AM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Hamishspence, that is precisely why I started this thread.

    Because at this point the only safe response seems to be 'don't discuss alignment at all with regards to the comic'. I don't think that's what the mods mean, though, because if they MEANT 'don't discuss alignment at all' they would have SAID 'don't discuss alignment at all'. They're pretty good about that sort of thing.

    As far as I can tell, alignment is permissible but 'morally justified' is not. I don't know what the difference is. It's imperative I find out. Otherwise I could inadvertently be the cause of threadlock and infractions et al. I have no desire to do so.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    I think alignment is OK when it's not talking about individual acts, and trying to justify (or condemn) them.

    So "Has X changed alignment through doing this, that, and an overall change of attitude" would be a safe topic.

    But "X act was the right thing to do, because....." is a not-safe topic.

    This is just my guess based on the phrasing of:

    "moratorium on discussing the alignment/justifications of acts in the comic"

    though.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Well, if they put a moratorium on a subject, I'd think it proper to announce it somewhere prominent rather than not telling anyone and having to deal with the extra work of locking threads left and right because no one knew about the unpublished rule. I don't see an announcement in the OotS forum, and it's certainly not in the forum rules; like apparently several other people this thread is the first I'd heard about it.
    Last edited by Renegade Paladin; 2010-11-30 at 10:30 AM.
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Yeah, I'm with Renegade Paladin on this one - if you're going to add a new rule, the least you can do is tell people about it.

    Not that it affects me, since I have no interest in discussing alignment at all, but still.
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Maybe put it up next to the:

    "First Post!" posts are not allowed

    bit on the OOTS page?
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-11-30 at 10:40 AM.
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Huh. I'd have thought the 200 foot flaming letters would kind of obviate the need for such threads on Tarquin's behalf.
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    As far as I can tell, alignment is permissible but 'morally justified' is not. I don't know what the difference is. It's imperative I find out. Otherwise I could inadvertently be the cause of threadlock and infractions et al. I have no desire to do so.
    This might come across as spiliting hairs but in my opinion:

    Alignment is separate from morals. It is a classification based on DnD rules. For example, a tenant of DnD "good" behavior is that the ends do not justify the means (at least according to the Book of Exalted Deeds). This is separate from morality because alignment is a construct to artificially classify fictional characters and not designed to actually judge human behavior. Whether or not something is "good" or "evil" in the DnD game system does not make it "good" or "evil" in actual life.

    Claiming that something is "morally justified" is asserting an argument in human morality of which there is no common consensus. This is different from an alignment argument which is based on a fictional game system with defined rules.

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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeofar View Post
    Good thing you posted this, too, because I had no idea that this was disallowed. Seems pretty clear cut, though. I think the reason it was called "thinly veiled" was because it started off by "reminding" the person of "Tarquin's Atrocities" rather than straight out saying that they wanted to talk about Tarquin's alignment.
    I don't see that at all. "Is Tarquin morally justified?" sounds like it should be a discussion of his grayer actions (namely, keeping the continent in a state of controlled anarchy). That thread opens with his atrocities, the sorts of things that nobody in their right mind would consider morally justified (eg all the raping and torturing of his numerous "wives" or the 200-foot tall flaming letters). The OP's just saying he can't understand the popularity of a character who does something like that. It's got nothing to do with his justifications and everything to do with the actions he doesn't bother justifying.
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Sheriff of Moddingham: A while back the OotS subforum suffered a rash of "Is X morally justified?" threads. Soon, there was such a thread about everything you can imagine, parodies of such threads, and a thread about whether starting such a thread is morally justified (the inevitable meta-humor thread). These were promptly locked as somewhat spammy and threatening to overwhelm the subforum.

    These were locked to prevent the forum from being overrun by endless morality disputes and parodies thereof. Like the more recent round, no one is receiving Infractions (or even Warnings) over these. It's more a matter of good forum administration than rule enforcement. We haven't added any rules, but then again, we're not willing to have a bunch of morally justified threads taking up the whole OotS subforum again.

    As one of those threads notes:
    "At this time, we have a moratorium on threads whose sole discussion point is whether a certain character was "morally justified" in taking a certain action in the comic."

    No one's going to get Warnings or Infractions over it unless they seem to be purposefully trolling or something. Just avoid starting threads on that because they're likely to be locked, as are threads that become about it.
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2010-11-30 at 11:39 PM.
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    Default Re: "Morally justified" threads

    Roland is right, but I wanted to give some additional explanation as to what constitutes a "morally justified" thread.

    "Alignment" is a feature of a game system with a reasonably strict set of guidelines; "moral justification" is a feature of the real world with no such clarity. If your discussion of a character's alignment veers so far afield from the game definitions that only real-world judgments and examples are being used, then you're not discussing alignment anymore, you're discussing morality. And in-depth discussions of personal real-world morality almost always tread into the no-politics/no-religion end of the pool.

    Likewise, if everyone on your thread agrees that a character would have a listed alignment of Evil before a ten-page debate begins on his actions, then you are not discussing his alignment anymore. If you are attacking or defending a fictional character for being who they are, you are engaging in a "morally justified" debate, not a discussion of their alignment.

    The locked thread regarding Tarquin began from the premise that Tarquin was Evil and then went on to discuss whether or not his evil actions were acceptable. It sought to argue that Tarquin shouldn't be admired by readers because he had committed evil acts, which is essentially one poster telling other posters that they should follow his own personal moral compass. It then followed with various posters defending Tarquin's actions, often through real-world benchmarks, even while acknowledging that he had "Evil" written on his character sheet. Thus, it was not substantially a debate about his alignment, but about whether having such an alignment was a positive or negative thing in either a character or a leader. In other words, whether being Lawful Evil was morally justified.

    Hopefully, that makes things a bit clearer. As far as announcing it as a specific rule, we mostly see it as falling under the heading of no-politics/no-religion, or, in some cases, of telling other posters what to do (in this case, what to believe), both of which are already established rules. However, maybe we'll tweak the wording in the Rules of Posting to make it more clear. As Roland said, though, we are not currently infracting people for straying into this territory on account of it being a borderline case. If we enshrine it in the rules, we will begin doing so.
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