As in all things where people and personalities are involved, every one of them has a seperate opinion which surfaces and the moderating staff is no
different in that regard.
The Terms and Conditions are very clear, but, as the Ten Commandments will show, there is always that 'interpretation' by individuals which muddies
The rule that says "Thou shalt not kill" does not seem to carry much weight when it comes to war, self-defence, death penalties or even mercy
killings, does it? Interpretations abound when it gets down to the nit-picky bits.
And so it is with the topic here. A profanity to me is a common term to another. Take for instance the word 'damn'. In most cases, this would be
passed over by the majority since it is considered mild as far as profanities are concerned and yet, there have been complaints sent in over its
usage. There are those who feel it deserves a warn.
The English language is full of even more subtle ways of delivering a profane insult hidden in common language. 'Dick' comes to mind and I'm not
talking about an ex-president here. It's all about the context. It's nuance and sly intent that successfully evades censors every time and drives
mods mad trying to curtail such attacks. Take another word... 'ignorant'. If I were to call someone ignorant, it's a personal attack but, if I were
to say that a statement is ignorant, it's not. A fine line, imo.
And that's what the problem is. It's a case of an 'opinion' when a moderator decides to act or not act on a statement made in a post. This is the
human potential for error at play. We could, of course, have bots loaded with every derogatory slang word issuing warnings and point deductions for
word like 'dork' for example, but that would be a ridiculously huge program, not only to construct but also to manipulate so that when you're
talking about Dick Cheney, you won't wind up with a red flag.
I'm a huge enemy of censor circumvention and act on it wherever I see it. I also dislike the use of foul language, especially when directed at a
particular member, but I judge the occurances according to the member's time on ATS. A newer member will get an edit and a link to the T&C's, but an
older member, who I consider should know better gets a warn and a points deduction.
Once again, it's a personal opinion and one that is shared by other moderators in varying degrees
. It's the best we can do and I
think we're pretty good at keeping a reasonable semblance of decorum on this website.
Just try to understand the immense number of ways in which to insult someone using only Americanised terms (let alone Canadian, Aussie or British
slang), without triggering the censors here and you can see how personal opinions can have an effect on a moderator's judgement.
You should hear me swear in Dutch.
(we try our best, though)
[edit on 7/9/07 by masqua]