The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

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    Default What are Religion and Politics in the Playground?

    I've run afoul of this rule a few times, sometimes due to forgetting the rule exists but usually due to stepping over the line in the middle of a discussion that's been dancing just on this side of it the whole time. I find this frustrating.

    The forum rules make one thing clear; religion and politics are banned topics. Do not discuss them. But it leaves another important question frustratingly vague. What counts as "religious" or "political"? The moderators have previously ruled that discussions about gods in historical religions, in the context of those religions (as opposed to in a fantasy context) fall under the ban. But discussions about those gods in historical or cultural contexts generally go unscrubbed, implying that those are okay. The same is sometimes true for discussing modern deities in historical/cultural contexts, though not consistently enough that I'm comfortable making even a minor reference to events in certain religious texts.
    That's probably the most common issue I've run into, but I recently ran afoul of one much more frustrating. I got an infraction for either mentioning the possibility that the USA justice department can make mistakes or acknowledging the existence of Vatican City as a political entity. I don't know even which part of the post pushed that over the edge into infraction territory, and that's part of why I'm making this post.

    It has become increasingly clear to me over the years that simply stating "Religion and politics are banned topics on this forum" is just not sufficient. Don't get me wrong, I understand and agree with the reasoning for those bans. They prevent topics which are emotionally-charged and generally irrelevant to this forum from cropping up and turning forum threads into cesspools. And that's true not just for the big stuff, but for the small stuff; even the little scraps of religion and politics are enough to get people fired up into cesspool mode.
    But "religion" and "politics" are too vague. They touch on so many aspects of our history, culture, and worldview that it's almost impossible to have a deep discussion about anything interesting—including fantasy webcomics—without occasionally digging into topics adjacent to the forbidden ones.
    It's the job of the moderation staff to make sure that forbidden-adjacent discussions don't slip into the forbidden, by using the moderation tools at their disposal. They do a great job of that, and that's not what I'm here to complain about. What I'm here to complain about is that I don't understand why some of the things I say earn infractions when other things that I thought were more directly political or religious pass by without comment (even in heavily-trafficked threads).
    Was there something I missed in the post I made that pushed it over the edge, and if so what? Is my understanding of what "political" and "religious" are as concepts just that different from the moderators? Are they making their decisions based on how relevant the forbidden topic is to the germane one, and if so, how can I stay more relevant? Or is it all just a matter of what gets noticed and what gets overlooked?

    I don't ask for the rules to change, keep them as they are. What I'd like is a revision in how they're communicated that explains why I get infractions some of the time and why I sometimes don't. If I don't understand that, I'm just going to keep making the same dang mistakes until I get banned, and I don't think anyone wants that.
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    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
     
    Mark Hall's Avatar

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    Default Re: What are Religion and Politics in the Playground?

    The Mod Ogre: We interpret this very broadly. My rule of thumb is it counts as religion if it covers the real-world beliefs at any time.

    Other mods and admins may have stuff to say on this, and I may add more later or tomorrow.
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2019-08-09 at 09:01 PM.
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    Sheriff in the Playground Administrator
     
    Roland St. Jude's Avatar

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    Default Re: What are Religion and Politics in the Playground?

    Sheriff: Thank you for the respectful and articulate question.

    • If you don't understand the reasoning behind an Infraction, please PM the moderator who issued it rather than making a post here.
    • Avoid all references to real world governments and governmental entities (and subdivisions) and real world religions or religious figures of any kind or era.
    • The breadth of the rules terminology is adequate because we mean it that broadly, even if it inhibits or even prevents some discussion.
    • Just because something goes unscrubbed doesn't mean it's acceptable. The Forum Rules notes this specifically. We can't be everywhere, and on a forum this size, many things go unreported or unnoticed. Conform your own comments to be safely within the Forum Rules, not the least common denominator you see in other posts.
    • The easiest way to avoid violating the Forum Rules is to err on the side of caution and avoid all such topics entirely.
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2019-08-09 at 09:43 PM.
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