Asking clarification regarding moderation

This is about the recent Bible setting thread.

I have great respect of the moderation team here. The moderation tends to be fair and not too heavy handed. And moderators generally patiently advice posters to cease unwanted behaviour before starting to hand out infractions. However, I feel that in thread in question the excellent standard of moderation I've come to expect weren't met. And I don't want to call out any specific moderators, here, but I want to ask for clarification. And as this really is not just about the specific moderation I received, but about the overall policy in in general, I decided to post it here, rather than use private messages. I hope that that is acceptable.

I have to say that I don't think the logic of handing infractions in that thread is clear to me. I don't think Christians were mocked or insulted in the thread. Factuality of bible was questioned and atrocities that happen in the Bible were (AFAIK, accurately) pointed out. Whilst perhaps there was some levity in manner it was expressed, I have hard time seeing how this would warrant infractions. Honestly consider had saying the same about some other mythology adapted for a setting warranted a similar action? Would questioning the factuality of the Eddas or implying that Xenu might be made up result an infraction? Would pointing out atrocities and other problematic content in the Greek myths, and asking how adaptation handles them warrant an infraction? I seriously doubt it. Yet those are religions of some real people too.

Now I fully understand that making such comments in unrelated tread would be inappropriate. But the thread is literally about setting developed based on the Bible. I really do not think it is appropriate to demand particular defence for a dominant major religions, that would not be afforded to other mythologies. And if the material is adapted into the game, people should be allowed to freely discuss it, without having to treat mythological source material as factual truth or beyond criticism.

I was quite hesitant to post this. As I said earlier, I respect moderation team greatly, and I don't want to start any trouble, but I truly feel the logic of the moderation is unclear, and it would set an uncomfortable precedent, so I would greatly appreciate if the matter of how real world mythologies can be discussed could be clarified.
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Way to ask the big questions!

In the US, anyway, I'm waiting to see how issues about how different religions are treated play through the federal courts in several contexts. As with many things in life, it feels like a lot of people have trouble putting themselves in other peoples' shoes. And, whatever the decisions, someone is going to be really ticked off.

I'm guessing part of it is just balancing collegiality. Joking at the usually accepted level about other things, dissecting, critiquing, making modifications to, basing things off of etc.. vs. "this/all religions are just fantasy" or "this/all religion is a joke".
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I understand your point completely.

Give you two examples. We have a commenter here who frequently discussed issues related to the Norse pantheon* / belief system because, IIRC, he is an active believer. Yet people are comfortable talking about (and/or rubbishing) the game elements of that belief system.

Or the controversial Deities and Demigods (or even the recent thread about Genies, aka Djinn ... which are not just folklore, but are also part of Islamic belief). Active religions were statted up.

And yet we have an active thread, about an entire 5e game based on a specific religious conception, and I'm not going to post in it because asking a question ("Will they stat up the Trinity?") might get me a warning.**

All that said, as a general matter, it is best to treat the beliefs of other with the respect that you wish to have accorded to your own.


*I know there's a better name, and it escapes me right now.

**I don't want to get my first actual point. Yeah, you read that correctly. I can read the room, and I see the lines. Usually. ;)
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I don’t remember the particular mod actions in question.

Speaking for myself, AFAIK, there’s is no hard & fast rule about what will draw attention. Like anything else, we consider the nature of the post within the context of how it was received in the thread, IOW, everything will be judged on a case-by-case basis.

So, if someone asks if the Trinity will be statted up, that’s probably a valid question.

If, OTOH, someone asks about the “big sky daddy”- a phrase that is used in non-gaming discussions to denigrate the Abrahamic faiths- that’s going to get noticed and probably draw a warning,

And of course, not being theologian, we’re probably going to miss stuff, so if a believer points out dog-whistle terminology or severe intentional distortions of the faith, we have to consider that, too.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I have to say that I don't think the logic of handing infractions in that thread is clear to me. I don't think Christians were mocked or insulted in the thread.
Obviously I'm not a mod and also just read the thread. IMO. Most slights weren't modded at all (no issue for me as some things can be a bit disrespectful without crossing the line). Most of the mod action I saw there was about fairly significant insults.

I think the topic was treated more sensitively than a typical topic which I think is what you are noticing, but not really any more sensitively than certain other topics get treated. I agree in principle that some topics need treated more respectfully than the typical topic - even if I sometimes disagree on where the lines get drawn or what should specifically count as respectful.

A few comments in that thread said things like "...because of the documented "relationships" the adult soldier had with his underage trainee/squire/name I can't remember. Not to make light of it, but it would be a class that fits some Catholic priests or the members of NAMBLA." and "It's based on a well known fictional franchise?" - Fictional Franchise here being a reference to peoples sincerely held religious beliefs in the church/bible. It was primarily these kinds of comments that were modded. (Not actually quoted as intention is to provide examples while minimizing calling out the individuals).
 

Obviously I'm not a mod and also just read the thread. IMO. Most slights weren't modded at all (no issue for me as some things can be a bit disrespectful without crossing the line). Most of the mod action I saw there was about fairly significant insults.

I think the topic was treated more sensitively than a typical topic which I think is what you are noticing, but not really any more sensitively than certain other topics get treated. I agree in principle that some topics need treated more respectfully than the typical topic - even if I sometimes disagree on where the lines get drawn or what should specifically count as respectful.

A few comments in that thread said things like "...because of the documented "relationships" the adult soldier had with his underage trainee/squire/name I can't remember. Not to make light of it, but it would be a class that fits some Catholic priests or the members of NAMBLA." and "It's based on a well known fictional franchise?" - Fictional Franchise here being a reference to peoples sincerely held religious beliefs in the church/bible. It was primarily these kinds of comments that were modded. (Not actually quoted as intention is to provide examples while minimizing calling out the individuals).
That some myth is 'someone's sincerely held belief' cannot mean that other people are required to treat it as fact. And that absolutely is not expected in the case of other myths. We are not expected to treat Viking or Greek myths as facts even though there are some people whose religion they are.

The other modded thing was mentioning the atrocities in the Bible, which again would be perfectly fair topic of discussion in the context of adapting some other myth.

I really don't think a very privileged major religion should enjoy some extra protection and deference over marginalised ones.
 
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That some myth is 'someone's sincerely held belief' cannot mean that other people are required to treat it as fact. And that absolutely is not expected in the case of other myths. We are not expected to treat Viking or Greek myths as facts even though there are some people whose religion they are.

The other modded thing was mentioning the atrocities in the Bible, which again would be perfectly fair topic of discussion in the context of adapting some other myth.

I really don't think a very privileged major religion should enjoy some extra protection and deference over marginalised ones.
You’ve used phrases like “That some myth is 'someone's sincerely held belief' cannot mean that other people are required to treat it as fact …” a number of times now. it seems clear that you have a pretty strong belief system / agenda here …

Christianity is one of the largest religions in the world, so calling (or strongly implying that) Christianity is a myth is certainly going to anger or offend a great many people.
 

You’ve used phrases like “That some myth is 'someone's sincerely held belief' cannot mean that other people are required to treat it as fact …” a number of times now. it seems clear that you have a pretty strong belief system / agenda here …

Christianity is one of the largest religions in the world, so calling (or strongly implying that) Christianity is a myth is certainly going to anger or offend a great many people.
Myth, as in meaning "a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events."

That's what religions are, and it is completely unreasonable to demand that people treat metaphysical of historical aspects of other people's religions as factual. That goes completely beyond normal respect or politeness.

I'm merely asking that we could discuss all mythologies in a neutral manner, especially as it comes to their use in the gaming context. Whether some mythology is or isn't part of someone's religion is their personal matter, and shouldn't really enter the discussion or warrant any special deference or judgement.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Folks, we’re not going to actually discuss the nature or validity of religion here. This thread is about moderation. Stay on topic please, and as always avoid politics and religion.
 

Huh, that's intetesting, cause i WAS totally mocking the buy bull and the atrocities/silliness therein in my commentary (adventure ideas #1 through #7) and i don't think i got modded at all. I'll have to goback and check.
 

Irlo

Hero
I'm merely asking that we could discuss all mythologies in a neutral manner, especially as it comes to their use in the gaming context. Whether some mythology is or isn't part of someone's religion is their personal matter, and shouldn't really enter the discussion or warrant any special deference or judgement.
Honestly, was your moderated comment neutral?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Myth, as in meaning "a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events."

That's what religions are, and it is completely unreasonable to demand that people treat metaphysical of historical aspects of other people's religions as factual. That goes completely beyond normal respect or politeness.
“Myth” in the context of discussion of major religions also has accreted the additional colloquial connotation of dismissing the faith as false. So it’s a little loaded.

Better practice: call it a “tradition” if you’re talking about a religion with active memberships in the 50M+ range.
 


“Myth” in the context of discussion of major religions also has accreted the additional colloquial connotation of dismissing the faith as false. So it’s a little loaded.

Better practice: call it a “tradition” if you’re talking about a religion with active memberships in the 50M+ range.
It might indeed have such connotation. Yet we talk about Greek or Norse myths etc all the time. Are you saying that it is not allowed to express an opinion, that you do not personally believe that things that might be subject of someone's religious belief might not be factually true? That effectively forces people who do not believe in certain religion to pretend that they do. That doesn't seem at all reasonable to me. Also, I'm not sure what size of the religion has to do with anything. If anything, one would expect that marginalised religions might need more protection that dominant and privileged ones.
 

Irlo

Hero
It was a joke, that relied on comparing the Bible to fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings. Something a fantasy forum like this might appreciate. And yes, it implied that Bible might not be factual, which, as a prevailing consensus among historians, is hopefully an opinion that is allowed to be expressed.
For what it’s worth, I thought it was funny.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Are you saying that it is not allowed to express an opinion, that you do not personally believe that things that might be subject of someone's religious belief might not be factually true?
Don’t twist my words- I meant precisely what I said.

There are many religious beliefs that are commonly called myths. While they may have living adherents, they are few in number. If a practitioner were to ask me to not call their belief a “myth”, I would honor that request and use other, less loaded terminology.

For example, I am a practicing Roman Catholic. I accept that my religious beliefs may not be provable as fact, and I do not insist that they be considered so to be.*. They are accepted by me on the basis of faith. But someone using rhetorical language that essentially implies that Christianity is a lie is going to get on my bad side.

Knowing this about ME, I’m not going to turn around and call Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, or any other major world belief system about the nature and existence of the divine a “myth”. That includes atheism.

It’s just basic respectfulness.




* For the record, in ANY context.
 
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...it is completely unreasonable to demand that people treat metaphysical of historical aspects of other people's religions as factual. That goes completely beyond normal respect or politeness.

AND

That effectively forces people who do not believe in certain religion to pretend that they do. That doesn't seem at all reasonable to me.

I'm gonna replace a few words here from these quotes

...it is completely unreasonable to demand that people treat aspects of other people's concept of xyz. That goes completely beyond normal respect or politeness.

That effectively forces people who do not believe in certain concepts to pretend that they do. That doesn't seem at all reasonable to me.


Moderation comes down heavy on the xyz all the time. I do not see why you believe moderation on religion should be any different.
 

Don’t twist my words- I meant precisely what I said.

There are many religious beliefs that are commonly called myths. While they may have living adherents, they are few in number. If a practitioner were to ask me to not call their belief a “myth”, I would honor that request and use other, less loaded terminology.

For example, I am a practicing Roman Catholic. I accept that my religious beliefs may not be probable as fact, and I do not insist that they be considered so to be.*. They are accepted by me on the basis of faith. But someone using rhetorical language that essentially implies that Christianity is a lie is going to get on my bad side.

Knowing this about ME, I’m not going to turn around and call Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, or any other major world belief system about the nature and existence of the divine a “myth”. That includes atheism.

It’s just basic respectfulness.




* For the record, in ANY context.
"Lie" carries an added connotation of deceptions, that myths' "might not necessarily be true" really doesn't. The latter is pretty much your "may not be probable as fact" and is pretty normal language in anthropological context. For example "flood myths" refers to various stories around the world relating to giant deluges, and that obviously includes the one in the Bible.
 


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