SuttaCentral

Censorship on D&D

I noticed it too. You’re doing a good job with it. It’s difficult to read different opinions without being unkind. But it’s good that you are careful with that.

my already limited IQ just dropped 20 points…

My apologies, I am wrong more often than I am right on many issues. But please, dxm, some of what you have written on psychological issues has just no foundation in the science or anything I am familiar with in this area. Be careful with this. I am unsure if you are trolling, or just confident in your views from wherever they may derive, but I can only suggest caution. I’ve been guilty of overstating some things on more than one occasion, but over time, have tried to be more careful, more circumspect. I am often upset by some of the crap that I write too, so I haven’t applied a standard to you that I don’t apply to myself. My apologies for any offense.

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But please, dxm, some of what you have written on psychological issues has just no foundation in the science or anything I am familiar with in this area. Be careful with this. I am unsure if you are trolling, or just confident in your views from wherever they may derive, but I can only suggest caution.

Then show me some evidence to support your opinion. Some studies, some data, etc. If my opinion is wrong, I will change it. Indeed I am not an expert in the field. So feel free to contradict my arguments where you feel they are wrong.

Are there any studies supporting censorship over debate when it comes to suicidal people ? If so, to what percentage of suicidal people does censorship work better than debate ? Does censorship or debate work at all in this case?

Dxm, as you said, you’re not an expert in the field. Fortunately, there are experts in this field, and their work is not difficult to google and discover. I will leave it at that. You can do the work and compare your thoughts on these issues with what the experts have concluded. As I mentioned I am often wrong on issues, and am glad that there are experts in many fields willing to share their publications and expertise. Maybe both of us can take a step back, do some research, and re-approach these issues in 30 days and see what the evidence shows. I might even gain back the 20 points I lost. :slight_smile: Cheers.

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I have researched it already. None of these studies suggest that censoring or debating these ideas is something important. Suicide treatment and prevention is concentrated to a whole different area. If you know of such studies supporting the censorship opinion, please do not hesitate to quote them.

Being a buddhist forum, if there are suicidal people roaming around this means they are capable of abstract thinking and are looking for opinions and arguments regarding the problem. Otherwise, what would they be doing on a buddhist forum reading long posts ?

I posted a link in the Water Cooler recently The Backfire Effect I really think it could help with this topic if everyone involved would take five minutes to read and take it to heart.

Best of wishes for all!

:anjal:

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As it has been mentioned: My perception is that Dhammawheel was a far better forum under the last admin. The site is, in my perception, very (right wing) agenda driven. Hate speech is enabled. No doubt some people like that. I could say plenty more.

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I would qualify that to not characterize the entire forum; rather, at least part of the “leadership” there appears to relish inciting discussion of hot political issues, and baiting them with references to extremist literature. The sad part is that the moderation function appears at times to be skewed by this personal bias. The guidelines encourage relating political issue to dhamma, but that’s rare, and largely ignored by the more vociferous participants.

One justification offered is that a participant can choose to “turn-off” access to, visibility of that part of the forum – roughly equivalent to the “Watercooler” here.

If though, the context is truly to focus on Theravadan, or EBT, or the like, I find that the presence of extensive amounts of political invective tends to poison the whole atmosphere – when the sila goes south, what’s the point of samadhi (other than the kind of concentration of a safe-cracker or a sniper)? How is panna possible?. In recent months as this has intensified, the amount and quality of dhamma discussions has markedly deteriorated over there. (Not that this couldn’t reverse in the future, as I’ve seen possible in various forums – in the course of being around for in a couple for 3 or 4 years now).

In the recent thread discussing the “Watercooler” forum, I was reassured by an apparent decision, or leaning, to NOT permit that kind of political discussion. Unfortunately, it’s popping up again and again, right here in this very thread, for instance – same topics, same language, same biases, (and same identifying quirks of expression) as these personages have extensively displayed in at least two other forums , albeit behind shifting, often multiple “avatar” personas. For those of us with as yet not perfected equanimity, it’s a bothersome challenge – like a beginner meditator trying to master jhana while sitting in the middle of Times Square (or Piccadilly Circus, or maybe more like the current battle for Mosul).

The treatment by the moderators here has been admirable in many ways; some of it, though, IMO, tends to “feed the trolls” by trying to have reasonable discussion with them (to which they respond by going on and on…).

Btw. An opinion on the OP issue here: I think the manner of that mention of suicide could create legal liability in some legal systems / countries. Something serious happens and can be linked to the website – lawyers and judges could cause the administrators of the website major grief. Like what happens here with reference to potential copyright infringements, immediate and decisive action is prudent.

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There is a this problem with judging a forum administration: those who are on the same side in terms of views (buddhist, political) rarely get to experience their might and understand what is actually going on.

The Gestapo administration changed in 2016 has banned 1/3 of users with over 1000 posts, to say nothing of those less important. They banned and deleted topics like nobody business. Censored topics were: any type of criticism of goenka, any kind of criticism of mahasi, any kind of non-progressive opinion in the news section.

And what is strange is that they cared more about the political side than about goenka criticism censorship. That is how politically invested they were. I was actually friend at that time with them and had no strong buddist opinions so caused no troubles in that area. I had no idea about western politics, it was the first time I learned about “PC”. I got perma banned for making a point homogenity is better than diversity in a country demographics and the whole topic was deleted 1 month after the incident.

While being banned, there was a topic about victims of communism where the problematic mods started denying the communist holocaust. I posted a msg that only mods could see about how life was for my parents under such brutal dictatorship, famine, 1500$ pib per capita, etc. They changed their avatar pictures to the URSS flag for that day as a response and they closed the victims of communism topic, thinking they are gona upset me by doing that. Really I felt like a Jew on a Nazist forum over there.

They were so disturbed my messages that I was posting and only other mods could see (first msg need aproval) that they made the whole forum have problems logging in because of it: https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=26571
That is how thuff censorship was. They banned the whole forum cause of messages posted from time to time by me, messages that only other mods could see.

In regard to dhamma censorship things were the same. For example they even edited posts containing “gradual training” suttas cause that contradicted goenka “boot camp” understanding of buddhism. Direct discussion of goenka or mahasi was of course strictly forbidden.

There are pages I could write about the Gestapo administration. The level of censorship and lying was just like e-shanga. The problematic mods were also mods on e-shanga and they imported those great tendencies to DW.

This is why when I came here to StC and saw that the mods are progressives, I expected the worse. This is what I understand by “progressive”: Gestapo type of moderation. I am still surprised that mods here are not like that. I mean for a topic critical of moderation like this, the Gestapo mods on DW would electroshock you through the computer if they could. Such a topic would be unthinkable on DW pre-2016. But in my opinion there is always the risk with progressives turning into full fledged communist because the ideology is there. The idea that censorship can be justified is there. All it takes is enough time for the “ultimate power corrupts in ultimate ways” to take effect. The Gestapo mods on DW were not like that from the beginning, like all moderators they became like that over time. And this is why I have been so critical and did my best to rise alarm bells right now while it is still possible. I know that mods here, at least at this moment, honestly care about doing a good job so my words are not written in vain.

The huge advantage of this forum is that most here are sutta followers. I’ve never seen censorship of buddhist opinions over here, a thing that is still happening on DW when it comes to Nanananda or Thanissaro (but I still have a lot of respect for the new mods cause of their free speech and fairness commitment). This is because when you actually are in the right, there is no fear of hearing other opinions. When you have something to hide, when you’re convictions can be easily contradicted, it is much more necessary to delete posts and ban users not in line with you’re interpretation of buddhism. When you are in the right, the attitude is pro-debate, eager to show the other you’re argument. When you are in the wrong, the tendency is to ban anything critical of you’re opinion. This is why this forum is pretty much totally safe from censorship of buddhist ideas, witch is by far the most problematic part on other forums.

I may have made a big case about mods enforcing a too PC language over here, but honestly I am not that upset about it as I might appear. I have been so critical in order to stop something bad from happening while it is still possible, but that is not something incredibly important. The most problematic aspect of all buddhist forums have been censorship of buddhist ideas. On every forum there is a buddhist interpretation that is beyond criticism. That is by far the nr 1 problem. Nr 2 problem is censorhip in the political discussion section. And only Nr 3 comes the enforced PC way of speaking.

Suicide and guidance to media:

"Over the past few decades there has been significant
research into media coverage of suicide and how it
can affect behaviour. The research shows that, when
the media has applied caution in the reporting of
suicide, there have been positive outcomes, potentially
reducing the number of deaths.
This academic research has been conducted mainly
around ‘mainstream’ media, including television and
print newspapers, but there is growing interest among
researchers to investigate the possible influence
of digital media on suicidal behaviour.
Media coverage and suicidal behaviour
A World Health Organisation (WHO) publication on
media coverage of suicide in 2008, Preventing Suicide
– A Resource for Media Professionals, verifies universal
links between media coverage and imitative behaviour,
it states:
“ Vulnerable individuals may be
influenced to engage in imitative
behaviours by reports of suicide,
particularly if the coverage is
extensive, prominent, sensationalist
and/or explicitly describes the
method of suicide.”
In 2010 a comprehensive global review of the scientific
literature carried out by Jane Pirkis and colleagues of 97
studies on suicide and the media concluded:
“ Irresponsible presentations of suicide in news and
information media can influence copycat acts.”
The Pirkis et al report also stressed:
“ The findings of the current review should not be
interpreted as a call for censorship of the media; it
is acknowledged that the media has a role to play
in raising awareness of suicide as a public health
issue. Rather the findings should be interpreted as
an indication that media presentation of suicide
should be done responsibly, and balanced against
the public’s ‘right to know’ in order to reduce the
potential harm confirmed by the evidence.”

with metta

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Yes, thanks cjmacie.

@CJmacie , I have a question for you: Imagine if you were born in an ex communist country still poor because of communism. Imagine if you lived more than half you’re life in 1600$ pib per capita. Imagine if your parents lived in even lower pib per capita, a famine that lasted a decade and unimaginable represseion. The older generation in such countries, including my parents, are still traumatized and have a “communist mentality” meaning extreme fear of the police or of breaking any unimportant rule or being non-conformist in any way. All their lives they lived in fear that anything can put you in the labor camp, and you can also be put there arbitrarely, or for disturbing some important person, or for a neighbour that doesn’t like you lying to the police about you. Even though they were against communism, they still have this fear and paranoid mentality. They were trained all their life to be like that. The older generation is also much shorter than the new one, cause of malnutrition.

And now imagine you are on a buddhist forum in 2016 and the mods there close the “Victims of communism” topic and put the URSS coat of arms at their avatar for the rest of the day (I can provide print screen) because you, as a member unjustly banned, posted a message that only mods could see about how bad communism was. Put yourself in such a person shoes.

Would you feel like a Jew on a Nazist forum or not ? Is it normal that on a buddhist forum, to feel like a jew on a nazist forum ? What does buddhism has to do with radical ideologies ? I have no problem with radical people, there is room for them too under the sun. But don’t make marxist or nazist moderators on an international buddhist forum where victims of marxism or nazism can be present too. Send them to a political forum, not to a buddhist one. Don’t you think that DW needed to be made more inclusive to a different variety of people ? The owner of the forum has made it clear that when he started it, he wanted to create an international BUDDHIST forum, not a marxist subreddit.

Also, what do you think about the constant insults thrown by them, including the “stupid cough syrupe guy” when they banned the whole forum for messages that only other mods could see, but no forum members so their image was safe anyway ?

I know the current moderation might not be perfect. I agree there is a little too much focus on politics. But at least you can discuss the dhamma. Before, you could not discuss the dhamma. You could not say things in contradiction with goenka and mahasi. You would get banned and your posts deleted. Even posts unrelated to goenka, posts containing “gradual training” suttas (MN 117, MN 48 etc.) were edited cause they remotely contradicted goenka. Today, only Nanananda and Thanissaro are beyond criticism but even there, there is much more liberalism than it was before. As for the political side of the forum, it was much more political than it is today, maybe you do not remember well. And you would get banned for absolutely anything in that section. At least now you have the right to speak.

Say what you want about the new moderation, but please don’t say the last one was better. Until you see the new moderation closing the “Victim of nazism” topic and putting a swastica at their avatar, don’t say they are worse than those before. Have a little respect for the liberalism they brought to the biggest buddhist forum on the internet. As you may know, I am banned there for criticizing Nanavira and got my topic closed for no reason, same as the Thanissaro topic. But that won’t make me ever say that the Gestapo moderation was better. And at least those topics were allowed a couple of pages, not deleted in 30 seconds + ban. Even now they are not deleted, just closed.

I’ve opened a topic containing a youtube video about Vice romania vs Vice USA/UK, trying to show the cultural differences between the countries. (vice romania article being totally not-PC, despite the magazine being aimed at urban, young, hipster audience). I’ve did this in an effort to show that those who do not speak PC here are not evil trolls or conservatives, they might simply be people from non-english countries. People who never emigrated and never intend to emigrate to english countries, who’s only contact with english way of speaking happens on the internet. I have not asked for multiculturalism on the forum, I have only asked for tolerance of those who are not english, not to be as quick as to judge them as “evil” because of being from another country.

The topic was flagged as being inappropriate and censored. I have removed the translation of the article and have posted:

“EDIT: the post has been flagged as inappropriate so those who are interested in it should watch the youtube video. WARNING: Some might find it OFFENSIVE”

The topic has been flagged a second time, because the content of the post did not match the title of the topic. I have changed the title of the topic but the topic is still hidden. Even my second post in the topic has been flagged and censored.

The “flag post” system witch allows regular users to censor topics they find as inappropriate can easily be abused and contribute to censorship on D&D. Topics or people one does not like can be censored with no reason provided, not even knowing who censored it.

I suggest that the “censor a post” option should also show the person who censored it and the person in question should also provide a small message about why he has decided to censor it. Otherwise a person might just censor topics that break no community guidelines just because he does not like the author or the points made in the topic. There is no pressure on the user to act fair and correct since he is in full anonimity and there is no punishment for this kind of action.

Hi,

The flags on the posts referred to were upheld as the posts do not fit into the definition of the Watercooler category they were posted in given here:

Our community guidelines state:

Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.

As you know, the posts do still exist. I’d offer to move you’re posts to a different category, but they don’t belong to any of the other categories offered on this forum, so I recommend finding a suitable forum on which you can explore the idea you’re interested in more fully.

As an aside, I might note that our community guidelines begin:

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a temple.

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I believe the topic was important, since there have been problems in the past with users being considered evil trolls for their way of speaking. There have been 3 topics about trolls where people have complained about the recent avalanche of evil trolls on the forum, hinting at some particular users.

As a non-english person who is only exposed to this style of speaking on the internet, I have found it very insulting to be considered evil for my way of speaking.

I believe a topic rising awareness about the diversity of cultures and ways of speaking in this world is very important given the misslabel of such people as “evil trolls” on this forum in the past. Without addressing the problem, there will always be people misunderstanding non-english people as evil and having evil intentions, when they are simply using a normal way of speaking that they used all their life in their country. Since a topic containing an article from romanian Vice magazine was considered too inappropriate by some users on this forum, this means basically the romanian way of speaking is considered inappropiate on this forum. Just like in the past, people will continue to label such people as “evil trolls” for their way of speaking, despite their efforts to adapt and speak as PC as they can on this forum. Again, I have not asked for a change in way of speaking on the forum. I have only asked for awareness and tolerance of those not living in an english culture.

Another important reason for such a topic is that I actually had a topic here in the past about english culture and level of politeness where most people denied there are any differences between english and continental europeans. (also, that topic has not been censored)

Giving this context and the recent 3 topics about evil trolls, I believe it is an important topic to be addressed in a mainly english forum with a recent history of misslabeling non-english people as evil trolls. Could it be moved to the feedback section of the forum ? I think that a honest and open discussion about the problem might be very fruitful for all, including for me.

Your post (as last edited) was on “Vice Romania vs Vice USA - cultural differences between different countries”. That does not concern feedback on SuttaCentral.

The description for the Feedback category is as follows:

It principally concerns the main SuttaCentral site, and perhaps technical glitches here on D&D. Obviously, this thread on Censorship stretches those boundaries a little, but did at least originate from the handling of a specific issue that arose on the site.

In any case, I think you’ve successfully articulated the point you wish to make above, and as I say, if you would find it beneficial to explore that point further, you might like to find a forum dedicated to eg. cross-cultural exchange, rather than the Early Buddhist Texts.

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Judging by you’re general opinions, I do not think you are one of those who demand instantanious integration of immigrants in english cultures. I assume you agree that it takes some time for newcomers to adapt to a new culture and that it is not a process that happens over night. I suppose you are not one of those who demand deportation of immigrants if they don’t adapt overnight to the host culture.

In the context of an internet forum, adaptation is even more difficult since this people might live in their own countries where they live in a different culture all their lives. Their only exposure to such culture and way of speaking might be just through the internet.

In such a case, adaptation clearly can not happen overnight. The host culture, just like in the case of immigrants, the natives might be fast to judge them as evil and ignore adaptation is a hard process and does not happen over night, despite their honest efforts to adapt. Without rising awareness about such difficulties, these people will easily be misunderstood. Intolerance can only be lowered through awareness.

Judging by your general opinions, I am sure you would support awareness programs about immigrants in your country and are not a person who would support extreme punishment of such people or censorship of such awareness programs.

In my years spent of buddhist forums, I can not stress enough how many time I have been misunderstood as evil, as having evil intentions, as being a troll, etc. despite my honest efforts to speak PC on them and my perfection over the years in speaking PC.

I repeat, I am not one of those who believs everyone should keep their own culture and own way of speaking in a place where they are a minority. I believe the minority should adapt to the majority and try not to cause too much troubles. I’m just trying to rise awareness that such a process takes time and might never be perfect in the case of an internet forum, since people do not move to english countries but continue to live in their own. Those who manifest intolerance towards different cultures and ways of speaking should claim from the begining that "this is an exclusive english forum, not an international one. We have a zero tolerance policy for those who are not english and consider them “evil trolls”.

I know most here are probably not radical white supremacist in terms of political convictions, so you probably do understand what I’ve wrote in this topic. Where the problem comes is that these differences in ways of speeking are understood through political lens by the english. Not having a PC english way of speaking is understood as taking a political stance, when you might simply be from another country. And this stops people from aplying to forum members from other countries the same logic they apply to immigrants in their countries, despite understanding the problem and the logic behind this in the case of immigrants.

if you would find it beneficial to explore that point further, you might like to find a forum dedicated to eg. cross-cultural exchange, rather than the Early Buddhist Texts.

Would you say the same thing about a topic rising awareness about the difficulties of immigrant adaptation to english culture ? I don’t think so, because there are numerous such topics in the wattercooler and you have expressed such opinions yourself.

I would also add that this forum is not dedicated exclusively to study of Early Buddhist Texts, otherwise there would be no Wattercooler and Feedback category, no topics about Trump, about gender, about immigrants, etc.

If this is the case, I have to ask you, why have the 3 topics about trolling have not been censored, but a topic responding to problems raised there is ?

Things change.

Again, the Feedback category is there to support the running of SuttaCentral - a site exclusively on the EBTs.

There wasn’t always a Watercooler category, now there is. It was handled in one way previously and it’s kind of inevitable that it would be approached differently as the community evolved. Having seen some of the conversations there unfold in quite unfortunate ways, I personally was a little sympathetic to LXNDR’s suggestion to get rid of it, although at the same time have been very moved by some of the posts that actually live up to what it’s meant to do: create a light-hearted, friendly and supportive community atmosphere. As a moderator, my ongoing intention is to do my best to see the category’s function served, and I don’t really care what’s happened in the past.

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Witch one is it ? Or does it depend on who is making the topic, on weather you agree with the opinions expressed in the topic or not, etc ? Are you for it or against it ? Cause saying “I am neither for not against” but censoring one topic, while allowing another, is not the way to go. This leaves the door open to very arbitrary decisions to be made, a very slippery slope. I say that if the watercooler exists, then any topic respecting the guidelines should be allowed, no matter if one of the moderator agrees with the opinions expressed in it or not.

A decision should be made about this. Will the watercooler be allowed to continue ? What kind of things is a person allowed to post in the watercooler ? Is he allowed to post about trolling, about science, about feminism, about etc. ? What exactly are users allowed to post in that section ?

Personally, I have no problem with closing that section. But if you chose to close it, then close it already.

As a moderator, my ongoing intention is to do my best to see the category’s function served, and I don’t really care what’s happened in the past.

Again, the Feedback category is there to support the running of SuttaCentral - a site exclusively on the EBTs.

Yes, the feedback category is there so that people can express what they like and don’t like about the forum, suggestions about how the forum can be improved, etc. The feedback category is not a place to discuss EBT, it is a place to discuss about the forum running itself. Such as this topic is doing. I see no reason why a topic such as mine should be censored from the feedback category because it was initially placed in the wrong Watercooler category, as long as it would perfectly fit in the feedback category.

Here is what is written below the feedback category: "Corrections, suggestions, ideas, and complaints."

As a moderator, my ongoing intention is to do my best to see the category’s function served, and I don’t really care what’s happened in the past.

I know you are a very recent addition to the moderator team, I didn’t know you were made the chief of the moderator team or that moderators. If you want to change the attitude in regards to moderation of the forum and impose a higher level of censorship, then please communicate about this with the other moderators and the forum community. A forum is made out of a community. If the community opinions are ignored, then many might contribute less and leave the forum to transform into a subreddit.

It was because of just 2 authoritarian moderators and the reluctance of the others to take action against them that it took so much time for the DW 2016 revolution to take place. Another problem on DW was the complete lack of anti-moderator abuse laws, a problem on any forum. If there is no chief moderator where you can report a mod, mods are allowed to moderate however they see fit without specific guidelines in place, and mods are made mods for life without the possibility of somebody ever correcting a mod decision when he does a mistake, then that is bound to lead to abuses and excesses over time.

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I think rather than spending inordinate amounts of time explaining moderator’s actions, which becomes a further trolling opportunity, it would be better to state that the moderator’s decision is final and if that is unacceptable to leave the forum for another.

With metta

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