About the rules of the Facebook Official Discussion Group


Thank you for your comments regarding our The Atheist Experience Official Discussion Group on Facebook. The rules for the group are stated on the pinned post at the top of the group. Rule 2 states:

2. No disparaging comments against groups of people, i.e. no discrimination against genders, races, sexual/gender orientations, etc. This includes, but is not limited to, sexist, racist, ableist, and homophobic or transphobic language or slurs.

The one that trips up a lot of people is the prohibition against ableist language. This includes, but is not limited to, words that are slurs about mental disability (such as crazy, stupid, idiot, moron, retarded, dumb, insane, imbecile, maniac, nuts, psycho) and words that are slurs about physical disabilities (such as lame, crippled, invalid, blind, deaf, spastic). It makes no difference whether these words are being used to refer to a person or an idea, they are marginalizing words nonetheless. We realize that some of these words are in common use, just like racist words were in common use 60 years ago. Many of us have used these words in the past, even on the show. That doesn’t make it ok to use them in the discussion group.

Furthermore, rule 6 states:

6. No complaining about moderation on the page. If you feel a moderation error has been made, please PM an admin.

If you argued in the group about the rules, then you broke the rules. Breaking the rules is grounds for removal. Refusing to abide by an admin instruction (which is your warning) is also grounds for removal. The admins are just enforcing the rules that we have set up for them to enforce, they don’t make the rules.

The group rules are not up for negotiation or debate. We have heard every single objection about a hundred times already. Follow the rules, instead of trying to rationalize the use of marginalizing language, or find another group to participate in. If you have a party at your house and invite 20000 people, you are not going to have a 20 minute conversation with each guest who comes in about why it’s not permitted to kick the cat. Just don’t do it.

Comments

  1. Raucous Indignation says

    No. 2 is always hardest for me. Years of vitriolic speech ingrained many of those terms into my ready vocabulary. I’ve been practicing “splash damage free” insults since Iris and I discussed that issue. It’s prodded me to up my game. Try calling someone a purulent ass-weasel next time. (Yes, it’s hyphenated. It’s an object–verbal noun compound.) Insults that also confuse and exasperate by their unfamiliarity are always worth trying out.

  2. RationalismRules says

    @Raucous Indignation
    ‘Purulent’ clearly marginalizes people with suppurating wounds, and ‘ass-weasel’ is obviously a derogatory reference to proctologists (and/or Richard Gere).
    Must try harder.

  3. Raucous Indignation says

    @RationalismRules
    It is not derogatory to either medical professionals or felching enthusiasts. Ass-weasel refers to nothing of the sort. My older son has an ass-weasel – we imagine him (Of course he’s a d00d! The ass-weasel, not my son; although my son is also a d00d.) as wearing a vest like a train conductor and holding a pocket watch – who’s always nagging him, meaning my son, whenever we’re running even a few minutes late for anything. Also, a lesser common usage the name of an archaic proctology instrument, the Gruntler reversible clutch retractor, which was known colloquially as, you guessed it, an ass-weasel.

  4. Kurt says

    If it were simply a matter of “we’re enforcing the rules as they are written” that would be one thing, but it isn’t. The administration style of the Facebook group is draconian at best and thuggish at worst. Before I was banned, I witnessed several incidents where admins bullied members until they got a reaction they deemed ban worthy. When I was finally banned I received no explanation, and no warning beyond “if you don’t like it maybe you don’t belong here.” I’m pretty sure the admin responsible just doesn’t like me. When I asked for an explanation, I was ignored. When I contacted another admin, he said he couldn’t see where I had broken any rules and reinstated me. I was banned again almost immediately. The admin responsible refuses to reply to my private messages.

    Is atheism a fascist regime? It’s against the rules to question the rules? Really? How do you not see what’s wrong with this?

  5. Monocle Smile says

    @Kurt

    Is atheism a fascist regime?

    No, and that’s a rather baffling, dishonest, butthurt question.

    It’s against the rules to question the rules?

    No, but you don’t get to walk into my house, piss on the rug, and then whine when I throw you out. Question the rules of a forum all you like, but you can do it from a different platform.

    How do you not see what’s wrong with this?

    There’s nothing “wrong” in the way you mean. I know there’s at least one sour mod on that FB group, but that’s just tough shit. Your objections to your treatment likely stand, although you should notice that you experienced two very different moderators, so both the “groupthink” and “freeze peach” bitching is rather unwarranted. There are plenty of other places to discuss the shows, this blog being one of them, and moderation is much, much, MUCH more lenient here.

  6. Kurt says

    @Monocle Smile

    “There are plenty of other places to discuss the shows, this blog being one of them…”

    I’m not a fan of this blog. The interface in clunky. It feels like it was coded in the late 90’s and hasn’t received an update since then. Comments are not organized into threads, and I am not sure how the notification system works. I commented here a few times, but I don’t think the people I was addressing always saw my comments. I joined the Facebook group and found that to be a much more active community, until I was banned for no good reason.

    “…and moderation is much, much, MUCH more lenient here.”

    From my experience I find the moderation style very similar here. I make one comment, then you accuse me of “bitching,” being “butthurt” and put words in my mouth. I never said anything about groupthink or free speech.

    I only commented because I got the e-mail about this thread and it hit close to home, as I have been affected by overzealous moderation in the Facebook group. I can see my comments are not welcome here either. Sorry to have bothered you. I will continue participating in discussions in other places of the internet, which Atheist Experience hosts refer to as “cesspools” because they cannot control them.

    Good day 😉

  7. shadowblade says

    There are channels on U-Bend that upload TAE clips and full episodes with no moderation at all. Of course, they can also be full of idiots and imbeciles.

    I discovered TAE a few years ago through these clips. When I found the official TAE U-Bend channel, I was horrified and confused that they did not allow comments. In all my previous experience, since U bend first started, only dishonest, deceitful liars, charlatans and frauds blocked comments: Flat Earth Retards, NephilimFree, VenomFangX, Anita Sarkeesian etc.

    But how could TAE be kin to these people? I did not understand. I thought they were better than this.

    I do not use Twatarse or Farcebok, but would “Brain-dead fuck-witt” be “Ableist”?

    Would “If your IQ was any lower we’d have to water you” be “Plantist”?

    What about “You utterly uneducated, pig-shit stupid, retarded moron”?

  8. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Ever get the feeling that you’ve missed something?

    @Kurt

    From my experience I find the moderation style very similar here. I make one comment, then you accuse me of “bitching,” being “butthurt” and put words in my mouth.

    I’m pretty sure (not 100%, but pretty sure) MS isn’t a mod here?
    I’m also pretty sure that responding to you isn’t moderation.

  9. shadowblade says

    This includes, but is not limited to, words that are slurs about mental disability (such as crazy, stupid, idiot, moron, retarded, dumb, insane, imbecile, maniac, nuts, psycho)

    LOL! Most of those are not “slurs” about mental disability in the first place, but I wonder what Matt will do the next time he points out to an imbecile that

    “Even the most bat-shit crazy funda-mental-ists at Asswipes in Genesis don’t agree with your position”?

    Sigh. TAE just got a lot more boring. Even Tracie uses words like that.

    No wonder John Lacoletti hardly ever says a word on the show. He’s too busy evaluating whether it fits in with his oppressive NewSpeak paradigm, and by then the moment’s passed.

    x8x

  10. indianajones says

    So, and correct me if I’m wrong here Shadowblade, but you are upset here and in other parts of the blog that your range of insults is being curtailed? Because it seems to me that you are doing just fine with the range available and with making silly puns on peoples names. I don’t think your message is at all unclear.

  11. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    MS a mod here? Lolno. At least pretty sure no. Neither am I. Just frequent regulars.

  12. RationalismRules says

    @shadowblade

    When I found the official TAE U-Bend channel, I was horrified and confused that they did not allow comments.

    Horrified and confused?! Gasp! How traumatic for you, poor delicate petal.

    In all my previous experience, since U bend first started, only dishonest, deceitful liars, charlatans and frauds blocked comments:

    So either:
    a. TAE is dishonest, deceitful etc. etc., in which case why have you hung around?
    or
    b. Your expanded experience now shows that not all channels that block comments are dishonest, deceitful etc. etc.. Congrats, you’ve learned something new.

    You seem to be deliberately upping your offensiveness-quotient until you get blocked. What is this supposed to prove? If you want to leave the forum, then leave. If you don’t like the rules here, tough shit, go somewhere else. Grow up and stop throwing your teenage tantrums.

  13. TheYouTubeGuy says

    There are words I’ve removed from my vocabulary because I realized they are offensive. “Gyped” comes to mind. I just grew up saying that word and had no idea it was a word talking ill about gypsies. So I understand with not allowing certain words in a moderated forum.

    With that said… this list goes WAY too far. If someone puts forth an idea that is subpar and I think their mind at present is incapable of constructing a better idea is it wrong to say to say they’re ignorant? Is that elitist? I’ve been lucky enough to get a great education. Where are the lines because we can draw them everywhere if we want to make it absolutely impossible to offend anyone.

    I’ve heard Matt D say many times that dictionaries have the agreed to definitions of words. Since words evolve over time and are used by groups in different ways, I will now speak using this current definition.

    Dumb – simplify or reduce the intellectual content of something so as to make it accessible to a larger number of people.

    As stated at the start, people are allowed to moderate online forums but I think the moderation here is dumb. The room has been padded down so that no one might scrap a knee. I understand the removal of some abusive language but this… if you really stand by it… go and remove every video on the AXP YouTube channel that uses these words. Even though those words were said in the past, do you want people viewing them now and thinking they’re acceptable?

    I’ll agree that the forum can have different rules than the show… but maybe you ought to reconsider… it’s not fun being a hypocrite.

    These are my FREE THOUGHTS and I hope they stay for others to see.

  14. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Didn’t take long for me to walk into a pile of crappy “fascist oppreshun!//!# xD”

    [wastedthoughtprocesses]Stop stealing the highly valuable, uh, um right to be heard in whichever way the speakers deem appropriate freedom. Oppressive internet atheists are why I hang in free spaces! Stop moderating meh! With the lack of specialized slurs and the-(*diatribe of filth*)
    [/wastedthoughtprocesses]

    These people continue to boost my unjustified ego considering how I, someone regarded as uncouth, manages to not be too much of a bother in this “oppressive” environment. Something’s not adding up here…

  15. Vivec says

    I like these rules and I hope they continue to enforce them. If you can’t handle losing access to your favorite ableist slurs, go somewhere else.

    99.9% of spaces are totally fine with you using them, so try one of those.

  16. John Iacoletti says

    If you’re wondering why this post is on the blog, it’s so we have a link to send to all the people who send us emails about how they were “banned for no good reason”.

  17. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    I disagree with AXP on some of those words, but it’s not hard to get creative.
    Also, I disagree very heavily with lots of what you say given the history of this blog. The mods are super lenient here.
    Finally:

    These are my FREE THOUGHTS and I hope they stay for others to see.

    This is a bad look. You lost quite a few points in my book. This is something that trolls say when gunning for suicide by mod. You’re better than this.

  18. TheYouTube Guy says

    @Monocle Smile

    I was guarding myself against censorship. Basically I feared I’d come back later today and the comment would be removed. My primary objection is inconsistency in the stance of AXP across multiple platforms. If the stance is that words such as “dumb” are ableist (Discussion could be had on this) then that’s fine. However, be consistent on multiple platforms. This includes the show. This means they should remove shows where the hosts use the objectionable language. Be consistent.

    I will continue to watch AXP but I will find this stance hypocritical. This is not arguing the merits of the stance. It is merely arguing the standard to which they hold people on the internet verses the show (Which is the main point).

  19. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy

    I was guarding myself against censorship

    -_____________________-
    This isn’t even worth addressing.

    This means they should remove shows where the hosts use the objectionable language. Be consistent.

    Sweet, so now they can get accused of more “censorship” and “hiding” things. There’s no winning here, is there?
    You’re forgetting something…it’s not the same people moderating everything. Take a chill pill. It doesn’t matter that much.

  20. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @TheYouTube Guy, 24
    Speaking as someone who has been a moderator in various places, without even giving a second’s thought or investigation to whether TAE is consistent in their stand on anything (except maybe the existence of gods) anywhere? No.
    This is a result of the fact that each moderator is an individual who interprets things differently. Even where the rules are perfectly clear and all moderators somehow have exactly the same understanding of their meaning, some moderators are more lenient than others, and will be more or less so at different points in time. This will always cause a degree of inconsistency.

    @RationalismRules, 14

    So either:
    a. TAE is dishonest, deceitful etc. etc., in which case why have you hung around?
    or
    b. Your expanded experience now shows that not all channels that block comments are dishonest, deceitful etc. etc.. Congrats, you’ve learned something new.

    Given that shadowblade is apparently incapable of distinguishing between outright charlatans and people who simply believe things they disagree with, whether for good reasons or bad – or maybe just too intellectually lazy to consider the difference – I wouldn’t put too much faith in option B being picked here.

  21. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    Yeah, yeah, freeze peach, whatever.

    You’ve got hundreds of videos where hosts use these words being watched on the internet

    Fucking prove it. I’m of course in agreement that there may be a few, but you’re just throwing around pointless accusations for no reason, so I figure I might as well call you on it.

    To have hosts on air use language they disagree with people using on the internet is a problem

    I get it. You care about this for some reason.
    Why should I care? I don’t see a reason to get butthurt. I’m also not someone in danger of running afoul of these rules, nor do I particularly care about how internet forums are moderated in general.

  22. John Iacoletti says

    YoutubeGuy – give it a rest. We do not live to satisfy your need for perfect consistency. We’re not perfect and sometimes slip up too. Consciousness raising can take time. If you continue griping about it, your days here are numbered. Feel free to start your own discussion group where you can have whatever rules you want.

  23. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I respect you John but I think the inconsistency is glaring here. Imagine if I had videos up with racial slurs in them. Should I just keep them posted because they’re the past and I slipped up or didn’t know better? The post above says how we use to think racial slurs were alright and then it alludes to the same relationship between those and ablest language.

    What I find very interesting is the comment saying that there are different standards across the show, the Facebook group and Free Thought Blogs. That is what I would call an inconsistent standard. I’m merely asking you to be consistent and you don’t need to do this.

    Funny thing… you know what convinced me not to a be a Christian? The inconsistency of the gift of eternal life. Logically speaking P(AnB) = P(A) * P(B|A). Given that the probability of having Christian parents P(A) and the probability of being Christian P(B) are not independent events, the probability of of both occurring would be highly related to the other happening P(AnB). When I started to think about a fair and just God, I realized this God would not be CONSISTENT (i.e. fair) if he made it more likely for some people to be Christian just because they were born to Christian parents.

    Ban me if you want. I’ve done nothing but speak my mind on here and tell you that I don’t find fault in the banning of ablest speak but I find fault in the inconsistency in the stance the AXP and the ACA has on it. I’ve never posted on the Facebook group. I have no intent to start my own forum. I merely like to come here to talk about shows every once in awhile. If you can’t handle that and are very offended my free thoughts…

    Ban away.

  24. John Iacoletti says

    I never said there are different standards across the show, the Facebook group and the blog.

    Now, this will be your last post on the subject.

  25. RationalismRules says

    @YouTubeGuy

    With that said… this list goes WAY too far. If someone puts forth an idea that is subpar and I think their mind at present is incapable of constructing a better idea is it wrong to say to say they’re ignorant? Is that elitist? I’ve been lucky enough to get a great education. Where are the lines because we can draw them everywhere if we want to make it absolutely impossible to offend anyone..

    a. The point is not offense, it’s marginalization. Learn the difference, it’s important.
    b. Ignorance is a property you can change in yourself. ‘Ableist’ words relate to properties that we do not have control over.

    if you really stand by it… go and remove every video on the AXP YouTube channel that uses these words

    There is a world of difference between moderating individual comments on a blog and deleting entire shows because of a careless word. Note also that posters aren’t immediately banned for using ableist language – they are warned, and sometimes the mod removes the post but not the poster.
    There is also a world of difference between making changes moving forward and attempting to expunge the past. We all change our standards as we progress through life – that doesn’t mean we have to repudiate everything we’ve done in the past for ‘consistency’. You’re simply being hyperbolic.

    I’ve done nothing but speak my mind on here and tell you that I don’t find fault in the banning of ablest speak but I find fault in the inconsistency in the stance the AXP and the ACA has on it.

    No, you said the policy goes too far. That’s finding fault. It has nothing to do with consistency.

    I’ve done nothing but speak my mind on here

    You and I are guests at someone else’s party. If you think you could improve the party, by all means make a constructive comment to the hosts, but if they don’t take up your suggestions remember that it’s their party, get over yourself and get on with the interesting conversations with the other guests.
    Read John I’s comment #26 again. It says everything, and says it very succinctly and clearly.

    Elsewhere you seem like a thoughtful commenter, but your points on this issue are not well-considered. I’m interested in continuing the discussion because it’s a complex issue and worth exploring (I have some ambivalence about it, too) so I’ve set up an open forum at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ot-overflow in case you’re interested.

  26. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    I can’t for the life of me understand why some people on a forum need to get butthurt, make things all about them, and then gun for suicide by mod. I just don’t get it. I have never felt the urge to do anything even remotely like this, regardless of context. Again, this just reeks of “my shit don’t stink,” pun fully intended.

  27. TheYouTubeGuy says

    Butthurt is pretty offensive…. I’m gay (true story)… and it seems like this alludes to someone who has been having anal sex with a male and it has caused pain in the anus due to rough sex. I’m dumbfounded (Yes dumbfounded) that someone on here can tell me I’m butthurt but I can’t say dumbfounded. If using “dumb” in any format is offensive then actually calling someone butthurt is definitely offensive and anti-lgbt by the ablest standard set forth. Kick me off if you want. I’ll take it as a badge of honor knowing I got kicked off for pointing out someone saying I’m “butthurt” but saying this “dumbfounds” me is uncalled for. Maybe it was my questioning of the system that got me banned from Free Thought blogs…. just do me the honor of stating the reason when you ban me so everyone can see the insane standard you’re setting where telling people they’re “butthurt” is A-ok but saying the standards are insane is horrible.

  28. RationalismRules says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    Jesus fucking Christ! Learn the difference between offensive and marginalizing! Your entire comment #31 rests on the notion that what matters is whether you personally find something offensive. THAT IS NOT THE FUCKING POINT!

    And your next post is simply throwing a tantrum: “I hate your rules! I don’t care if you ban me. I dare you to. I double dare you. Go, on ban me. You’ll just prove that I’m right and you’re wrong. You’re so unfair! I don’t want to be part of your group anyway.”

    I invited you to continue the conversation off-blog, because it’s a complex and nuanced issue and I thought we might have an interesting discussion. Now, not so much…

  29. John Iacoletti says

    YouTubeGuy, what part of “this will be your last post on the subject” did you not understand?

  30. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    Actually, it refers to the temperament one holds from taking a dump after devouring jalapenos and Thai food the previous day.

    Once again, you seem to think that people actually give a shit about you getting potentially banned or any of this fucking toddler stuff. Disabuse yourself of this notion and maybe things will be better.

  31. dargndorp says

    It should be noted that the *rules* of the facebook group are just those two short statements preceeded by the numbers 2 and 6 in the opening post – the longer explanatory text is how these rules are interpreted/applied by the moderators of the fb group.

    The blog itself is under very different rules, as noted in http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/moderation-policy/.

  32. Justin Perry says

    As soon as I hear Math in someones reasoning I think to myself “O boy here comes a convoluted story were math will be said a lot but no math will be used and story will make no logical since.”