SuttaCentral

Extremist views are banned on this forum


#1

While it may seem odd to speak of extremist views for Buddhists, they do exist, and on a number of occasion we have had to deal with them. These situations may be covered by the more general moderation rules, but the moderators and I felt it was worth making an explicit policy to cover extremist views.

Advocating extremist views is banned on this forum.

  • Anyone advocating hateful views will be banned without warning.
  • Anyone advocating non-hateful extremist views will be warned, and if they persist, banned.

If you see something that you think might violate this policy, please help us out by flagging it. The moderators will attend to your flag and see if any action is required.

What is an extremist view?

Generally it refers to views that blithely reject well-established facts. The views themselves may or may not be hateful, but they are always delusional. Such views seem like an innocuous theory, but they often aim at creating a nationalist, sectarian fundamentalism.

It is not possible to define these with precision, so I will decide on a case by case basis, with consultation if necessary.

We are concerned primarily with Buddhist extremist views, but other forms of anti-reality extremism are included, such as climate change denial.

Examples of hateful views include anti-semitic, homophobic, misogynist, racist, and pro-nazi ideas.

Examples of non-hateful extremist views include:

  • The Buddha was born in Sri Lanka.
  • Anicca doesn’t mean impermanence.
  • The original Pali manuscripts at Aluvihara exist.
  • Pali fundamentalism (Chinese texts are all Mahayana, etc.).

What gets you banned?

Advocating in favour of such a view, after a warning, will result in a permanent ban. If it is a hateful view, however, there will be no warning.

Asking about or generally discussing such views is a grey area. Someone may innocently want to simply clarify what such a view is about, or what the issue is. So that is fine.

But such questions or suggestions, asked persistently, can be used as a way of trolling while escaping the ban. Experienced trolls will say things like, “I wonder if it could be true that …” “We can’t know for sure that …”.

If anyone persists in raising such issues in this kind of leading manner after being warned, they will be banned.


Democracy dies in darkness
#3

This seems like a misconception that a beginner could very easily hold. That same beginner might be very surprised to get a warning about “extremism.”


split this topic #4

9 posts were split to a new topic: Rescinded material


#7

I would leave this community in a heart beat if i was required to adhere to a position i don’t understand. I assume you are like me, lay people on the matters of climate change, are you not? So what are your qualifications for dismissing this or that paper?

I could cite other quite prevalent politically problematic ideas, take the various positions taken on issues associated with notions of ‘Pay Gap’ and ‘Transsexualism’

Do you really want to take the forum in the direction of there being an official narrative that one should align oneself with and banning people over matters & opinions you can’t demonstrably prove?

I personally think some disagreements like this should be up for alternate arbitration.


#9

From the article you yourself posted:

The paper has been criticised for not being peer reviewed and other climate scientists have refuted the conclusions reached

Exactly. This is a forum for Early Buddhist Texts. If you want to argue about climate change there are alternative forums for that.

Nobody is forcing you to e.g. believe in climate change, we’re merely saying (and hopefully now enforcing) that this isn’t the place to argue about such things.


#10

There are clear-cut issues and i would advice the arbitrators of this community to clearly differentiate between what is a clearly warranting censorship and what is a problem/inconvenience/indeterminate issue which may or may not turn out to be true or false.

A clear cut issue are for example issues like pācittiya 68;

Not to affirm that things such as sexual pleasures are not an obstacle to the development of ariyā stage or to jhāna realisations, nor to rebirth in the deva world, when the Buddha explains that these things are precisely an obstacle to those, and not to maintain erroneous views.

A less clear cut issue is as is discussed here;

Are you not herein choosing to align yourself with the author of the article and the ‘other scientists’ (who have not even been named) and the alleged refutal of the original paper, without adressing the actual content presented in the paper which claims to prove that “GCM-models used in IPCC report AR5 fail to calculate the influences of the low cloud cover changes on the global temperature.”

I have no idea what those things even mean, therefore i wouldn’t argue about this one way or another and am skeptical to anybody who does even if they are supposed “experts” let alone lay people.

I completely agree with this, that this isn’t the place to discuss it.

I think when it comes to expression of problematic views which aren’t easy to prove or disprove, there can probably be reached some sort of compromise and creative solutions on a case-by-case basis is the best way to deal with such controversy.

I do think that one of the merits of this community is low tolerance for expression of unsubstantiated notions like “This sutta is probably fake” and things like this.


#13

I think this is a good discussion for a separate thread.


#17

Regarding permanent bans, which is a form of killing, I would suggest that policy be based on the suttas.

What’s the one thing, Gotama, whose killing you approve?
“When anger’s incinerated you sleep at ease.
When anger’s incinerated there is no sorrow.
O deity, anger has a poisoned root
and a honey tip.
The noble ones praise its killing,
for when it’s incinerated there is no sorrow.”

In other words, ban those who continually post with intrasigent anger as understood by multiple mods. Permanent bans should not be instituted lightly or by any single individual. We have all dealt with anger in ourselves and the key to moderation is…being moderate.

We should not indulge our own anger at the perceived ignorance of others by banning them.
:pray:


#19

I have actively participated on Buddhist discussion forums for the last 4 years and from what i can tell the big problems are the techniques used to invalidate evidence and proof;

  • unsubstantiated dismissal of a Sutta Nikaya
  • unsubstantiated dismissal of a certain Sutta
  • unsubstantiated dismissal of semantics; a person will claim that a certain word means something else entirely, saying it is an idiom or something that is not to be understood literally, thus making a supposedly unreasonable/extraordinary assumption but rejecting the burden of proof. This is imo the most subtle form of distortion used to circumvent proof by contradiction.

If one allows these techniques then there is no way for a learned person to establish a view as false because one takes away the finest weapon which is the proof by contradiction.

As for the more political discussion like the climate change i think it is very unfortunate if one on the matters on which there is no consensus even among experts would allow the expression of one position but not the other positions .


#20

There is another sutta which some policy might be based on – AN 4.111


#21

Please stick to the topic, trying as best you can not to slide, within these first two dozen responses, into the kind of posting that Bhante @sujato is warning against.

Permanent suspensions, or bans, are not taken upon lightly. In the majority of circumstances the forum member has gone through a process whereupon they are given ample opportunity to address their shortcomimgs with regard to the Guidelines. The cases that are covered by Bhante’s explanation will be a rare, few individuals. (Hopefully :crossed_fingers:)

We are privelaged to be able to participate in this forum that Bhante created. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we all comport ourselves here in the manner in which we are being asked.


#22

I don’t understand where this is coming from and what is the purpose of these new regulations for several reasons;

  1. I don’t see any racist, nationalist or misogynistic content at all
  2. I don’t see how the policy of non-hateful views can be enforced fairly. Let me give an example here;
  • Anicca doesn’t mean impermanence = Not allowed
  • Sankhara doesn’t mean Formations = Allowed? Many would consider this quite extreme.

What is the reasoning behind banning the non-hateful “forbidden” views exactly? I understand the

Such views seem like an innocuous theory, but they often aim at creating a nationalist, sectarian fundamentalism. […]We are concerned primarily with Buddhist extremist views, but other forms of anti-reality extremism are included, such as climate change denial.

I can understand how you might not want to give ISIS a platform here.

However i am concerned with this ‘Sectarian Fundamentalism’ because this clearly opens and/or calls for the censorship of any views at odds with the views of the highest authority amongs Administrators, does it not? Furthermore it would seem that the burden of proof is ALWAYS on the supposedly offending party and the admins can just censor people they don’t agree with, essentially creating ‘Sectarian Fundamentalism’ to that extent.

I don’t mind if you want to do this any more than i mind the existence of islamic forums but i personally probably won’t participate or be a part of your sect.


#23

I have often written about my dhamma views. I have never been shot down by admins. What ‘evidence’ do you have. I’ve recently used ‘formations’. There’s a tension between one learned translational practice and what I understand about the translation of a specific term. This works both ways and the translators have altered their rendering when new light is thrown, on numerous occasions. However they’re not going to turn god into dog :dog2:?!


#24

I have also expressed my views and not been shot down by admins but that was before these new rules.

What evidence i have for it turning out in the doom and gloomy way i described? I don’t have any evidence for this other than seeing these new policies and my posts are merely an expression of concerns. Since this is an open thread i take it as an invitation to discuss the new policies, express concerns and better understand the terms of using the service.

There are not that many people posting here and if there are new changes i assumed that there is a reason for these changes and the reason is either restricting future posters or correcting the content that is currently being posted which would include my content. In other words as i understand it these changes are for either taking the board in a different direction or preventing it from changing the direction.


#25

Hi inb4dead, I don’t think there’s really much new about these rules. To my understanding they are just supposed to make explicit what the mods are trying to maintain already all the time.

So if you haven’t been censured for discussing your understanding of the suttas in the past, I don’t see why you should be afraid of censure for the future, unless you change your style of discussion.

As I understand it, the purpose of this “new” policy is to make it easier for the mods, and perhaps clearer for everybody else.


#26

If you are correct it is good and it would be nice to get a confirmation from the rule-makers. What threw me off is thinking that ‘if the old rules were sufficient to deal with all unwanted content then there would be no need to create additional amendments?’


#27

Even if the number of cases to which these things apply is not high, as @Nadine stated above (and hopefully this won’t change in the future :crossed_fingers:), it has still been a lot of work for the mods; and certainly not the most pleasant sort of work, I would guess.

So if a more explicit policy can make their work easier I would heartily appreciate it. :heart: And thank the mods for keeping this forum mostly clean of extremist statements for us (so much so that you can even say you didn’t notice such stuff, inb4dead… ). :pray:


#28

Is climate change any thing to do with EBT?


closed #30

#32

I closed the topic because @Nadine’s warning, surprisingly, didn’t do the trick.

Bhante’s OP isn’t in the Discussion area of the Forum and he doesn’t ask “What do you all think?” It is in the Meta area. It is an announcement. Bhante @sujato lead the creation of this Forum for people working on the EBTs or interested in learning about the EBTs. As such it is subject to tighter Guidelines than the average social media site.