Civilized Conversation, A Primer

Bringing this back from the old forum since apparently some people have forgotten.

In light of a few recent events where people have found it untenable to realize that there are politics in video games, and resorted to a number of tactics ranging from:

  • Registering an account purely to derail the thread and try to claim nationalism is at least as good as anything else
  • People then insisting this guy had the right to do that and it’s really someone telling him to “fuck off” that’s the real threat to the forum
  • Waiting for a thread to go toxic and then immediately demand that it be closed before any response can be offered to politics presented
  • Repeatedly derailing a thread by wanting to talk about how moderation makes you feel rather than address the content of the thread
  • A whisper campaign to encourage disregard for moderators and continue trying to subvert their expectations and waste their time

I thought it’d be good to run a thread on what is civilized conversation, in hopefully what will be a nice civilized conversation.

First and foremost

A civilized conversation is one that recognizes and respects that we live in a society, and hence that society consists of many people, many kinds of people and that all of those people are, in fact, humans. Thus deserving of certain basic human respect.

It is, therefore, not civilized to propose that x group do not qualify for human rights because it makes y group uncomfortable OR that x group is inherently deserving of ridicule because members outside it find aspects of their existence outside their control hilarious.

If it does not meet this basic criteria, there is no amount of eloquence or politeness that can erase that you’ve essentially disregarded someone’s humanity.

Examples of common acts of uncivility

Now I recognize that this forum is different to other forums many people may be used to - it touched my heart when someone described it as “the least toxic gaming forum” they’d been on. So I’m going cover a few key examples so that “normal” (from outside the forum) is not mistaken for acceptable (within the forum).

  • "Triggered" memes: These are uncivilized both in that the essentially ridicule and misrepresent PTSD triggers (which are essentially where your brain glitches and keeps replaying something so horrible that you couldn’t process it properly when it happened, in the hopes it’ll end up better this time) but also are generally a way to try to dismiss the other party by pretending they are simply having an irrational emotional response. That’s particularly bad thing to do if say - they are upset over human rights.
  • Let’s “debate” fascism/nationalism/genocide: This one has popped up countless times in the places I moderate and I promise you, it is never actually a debate, if you have the time I recommend checking out Philosophy Tube’s video here. Simply put though, the main purpose of such debates is to try to raise awareness and find more people who sympathize with the cause so they can unite. I’ve lost track of the number of times the person claiming “I’m opposed to the, but we must let them speak so we can discredit them” later admitted to someone they actually supported them and it was just fun to upset people and find more people like them.
  • Friendly abuse (in public): Affectionate rudeness between friends is a pretty regular and normal thing, I’m not interested in debating where the proper line for it is and if some of you want to get downright BDSMy with each other in private - go ahead. However, the problem with performing this in public on a forum for civilized conversation is - it’s not a private conversation so you do always run the risk of someone with no idea what you’re talking about dropping in or someone else who might genuinely find it upsetting coming along. Exceptions may be made where it 1. comical and 2. genuinely harmless but as a general rule - send them a PM so we don’t normalize this and don’t derail topics.
  • False reports: The flagging system exists so that moderators and members alike can help keep the community enjoyable - as such it works when people use it to enforce the forum guidelines and not petty vendettas or machinations. Do not flag posts in the hopes they’ll get rubber stamped, flag one party when clearly both are out of line but one’s your buddy, etc. Obviously nobody is expected to be 100% correct but at a certain point, the system will make it obvious to us by showing what percentage of someone’s flags are agreed by the moderators, and what percentage not.
    You want to avoid this: 83% thumbs down
  • Private wars in public places: Whether you have a dispute with a moderator or another member, nobody else needs to be inconvenienced by it and there is no virtue in making it a public performance piece. Fights with moderators will get split into the appropriate topics, which will probably be this one and continued derails will end result in more direct action.
  • Gender assumption/parody jokes: The “did you just assume my gender” and “I identify as an attack helicopter” being the two obvious ones - these exist largely only to prevent people who have actual things to say on gender from being heard.

Please do enjoy the forum and the many opportunities for polite conversation.


this is awesome to see. agree wholeheartedly.