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Old 06-08-2007, 01:29 PM   #41
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I totally disagree with you. You can call it racist if you want. I make fun of my kids' American accent all the time when they speak Vietnamese, and they make fun of my Vietnamese accent when I speak English.
I think you hit on an important part of the problem: offensiveness is highly context-sensitive. For some comments, it's fine in one setting and offensive or distasteful in another. Whether it's ethnic jokes, the humorous side of various accents, or racist quips, their ability to offend depends on the audience.

So on a public forum where you have no way of testing the waters of sensitivity, why take a chance of hurting or offending someone if you can make the same points in a different way? You only decrease your own effectiveness.

Yeah, the reader needs to loosen up sometimes, too. But since it's so hard to see the lines in this medium (forum discussions), I try to play it safe.

Sam, it may be humorous and easily done within your family because you know and love one another. But would you find it funny if I paraphrased your message and somehow altered my spelling to obviously mimic an exaggerated Vietnamese accent without any further context, or even worse, some quip evoking ethnic stereotypes or whatever?

Context matters a lot.
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:34 PM   #42
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In an ideal world, we'd all be intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate people. But we're not. Rather than censorship, I prefer the "ignore any threads you don't like", and the recognition that the medium, which allows for more or less anonymity, often brings out the worst in many.

The best thing, IMHO, is that folks should refrain from saying anything in a thread here that they would hesitate to say in public and in person. If we could only bring the level of discourse up even that much it would be an improvement.

I try not to get my knickers in a twist about anything posted by some person I don't really even know, who might not even be who he or she purports to be, saying something on an anonymous board on the internet.

Yep, there are people here I would consider racist, or sexist, or just plain ignorant. So what? I just don't spend a lot of time perusing their thoughts on things.

Do I wish we were more able to discuss things peacefully? Of course. But this is the reality of anonymous forums. And I think our moderators do a great job of keeping it within some sort of reasonable bounds.

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Old 06-08-2007, 01:34 PM   #43
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Food addiction is no different from alcholism, drug or sex addiction. They each have the same circle of self hate, loathing component that drives them to continue with their drug/poison of choice.

Have a little freaking compassion!
I seriously do not think that OAP was making fun of the obese. I took it more as 'shaking your head' and being incredulous over the situation - kind of like most of us do when we talk about the people that spend, spend, spend and rack up credit card debt and then express amazement that we can retire early.

I have pity on anyone with a medical condition or true addiction that causes them to be obese. But I really, really doubt that is a common cause. How is it that haha can walk the streets of Seattle and not see obese people? How it that I spent a week in Korea and started *looking* for overweight natives and found only one somewhat large young lady (she worked in a restaurant, that may have contributed to it). I thought I *scored* a second one, turned out to be a dark haired Caucasian. This was in Seoul, high standard of living, I'm not talking about possibly poor starving rural types.

Just like the spenders, most of these people *choose* to overeat and not exercise. What you see is the result. It is a shame, but it is within their control (most of them anyway).

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Old 06-08-2007, 01:35 PM   #44
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Context on who the poster is, what they've had to offer the community, and their history...along with the subject matter.

I appreciate some of OAP's posts, because I know who he is, what he's been through, and a fair bit of what he's all about. Someone without that background might take the comments at face value. Some folks also are looking to be outrageous or outraged.
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:35 PM   #45
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Sam, it may be humorous and easily done within your family because you know and love one another. But would you find it funny if I paraphrased your message and somehow altered my spelling to obviously mimic an exaggerated Vietnamese accent without any further context, or even worse, some quip evoking ethnic stereotypes or whatever?
No Rich, it might not be funny. But LET'S NOT LOSE FOCUS HERE. We are not talking about humour, not about offensive, not about ethnicity. We are talking about something much more severe: RACISM!

My point is the same, I don't find anything racist in OAP's thread.
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:39 PM   #46
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calmoki, what are you talking about?
I'm saying that the portion of OAP's buttermilk post that could be interpreted as racist was the dialect he wrote out. Frankly, I didn't pick up on the obesity issue. I enjoy Mark Twain, Booth Tarkington's Penrod, and the old Amos and Andy show. I enjoy Irish dialect jokes. I have known that I, unlike Stephen Colbert, do see color and have tried to compensate for that rather than denying the flaw. I grew up getting lots of input on how skinny i was - It's much more painful in person in a crowd than alone in front of a computer screen. Maybe PC can be carried too far?
I did a post earlier today with racism in the title - it links to a Harvard test of racism which I did badly on, but found very interesting to take.
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:46 PM   #47
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I really enjoy the logical responses and different perspectives here, which is why I still lurk on this site. I still stand my ground, however, with my perspective on how I took the infamous buttermilk post. We can all agree to disagree which is nice.
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:51 PM   #48
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I totally disagree with you. You can call it racist if you want. I make fun of my kids' American accent all the time when they speak Vietnamese, and they make fun of my Vietnamese accent when I speak English.
well, and we all make fun of our own, but when someone else does it (or if it is done publicly - as in this forum, cuz i don't know what race OAP is) it is discomforting...

i don't like when margaret cho makes fun of her parent's accent - it hurts my parents feelings and it's not funny that people who aren't korean or asian think it's funny - cuz they certainly don't understand - they are laughing at her/her parents - not with...

in terms of how to regulate - i guess it is a toughy - i think there are definitely some posters who have a lot of feathers to ruffle or something - so if they get too many complaints the moderators can figure out what to do. i know i have lost my cool too otherwise i think this thread at least puts it out there and will give people pause to better consider what they are contributing to as things quickly spiral their way down...
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:57 PM   #49
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I feel that we are running a bit toward hypersensitivity. I personally try to avoid making others feel bad in direct verbal discourse. But if the rule about what can be written is that it shouldn't offend anyone, get ready for totally useless writing. Also get ready for mass abandonment of this board. Occasionally there is information that would not be easy to get in a more economical way elsewhere- prominent is legal, health, tax, SS and similar topics where some posters have generously shared what is truly expert knowledge. This is excellent and I believe highly reliable.

Most of the rest is personalities, which I ordinarily find interesting, and boilerplate about investing which I feel may or may not be worth anything at all.

I really get a laugh out of the OP (bunny) suggesting that we refrain from intentionally stirring the pot. This is pretty much the definition of chutzpah.

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Old 06-08-2007, 02:03 PM   #50
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My point is the same, I don't find anything racist in OAP's thread.
but that doesn't mean it wasn't or couldn't be interpreted that way...

whether or not it was OAP's intention - the result was that some of us thought it was insensitive or ignorant. given my experience, history and understanding - that's how i interp'd it...we all come with our backgrounds and experience - which contribute to how we see the world. sometimes exposure, or lack thereof can contribute to missing something - compassion and understanding are definitely not a universal required course in our world, nor are they a requirement for participating in this board! so we can disagree...
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Old 06-08-2007, 02:12 PM   #51
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Old 06-08-2007, 02:15 PM   #52
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No Rich, it might not be funny. But LET'S NOT LOSE FOCUS HERE. We are not talking about humour, not about offensive, not about ethnicity. We are talking about something much more severe: RACISM!
I think that sometimes the difference between "offensive humor" versus "racist" is whether or not your own race is the one being victimized. It's a fine line, especially in a public forum.

For the record, I don't think OAP's posts were intended to be racist or offensive. I do think they were insensitive in this context (though perhaps they would be less so in a personal blog or diary). Maybe he felt their potential humor or human interest warranted taking that risk in posting them. Since he apparently fled the scene, we'll just have to wonder.

P.S. I offer these comments as a person, not a moderator :
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Old 06-08-2007, 02:22 PM   #53
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P.S. I offer these comments as a person, not a moderator :
what? moderators are people too?! sounds like a bumper sticker...
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Old 06-08-2007, 02:31 PM   #54
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T


Seems to me we wear each other a little thin on the "bad" threads and then have a lot less patience for each other in the "good" threads.
And that is the sad part IMHO. There are some posters who really rub me the wrong way on some exchange yet they have very decent posting on financial or other issues.
The Other Topics wasn't (IMHO) meant to be entirely 'off topic', it is more about retirement related postings that don't fit the other categories. Maybe we need a thread for 'off topic' so I can just ignore it. Sort of like Political Asylum was on Motley Fool, I never once looked there, why waste my time & get all burned up when people just wouldn’t agree with my political & social opinions.
But I don’t know of a good way to police a board like this, its actually once of the best behaved around and I would like it to continue that way. But in an election year there is bound to be political discussions. And its hard to discuss financial issues without getting into taxes and govt policies and not then get into politics. Maybe we can anoint an ombudsman/super moderator/head of (web)state, above our daily politics, who can send a gentle reminder to an inappropriate poster and then have the moderators get after someone if they go too far too often.
But overall this is a well run place and I would not like to see some big structure imposed to counter the few incidents that crop up. Just think how well a new first poster who just happens to be pushing annuities is ‘welcomed’.
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Old 06-08-2007, 02:47 PM   #55
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Old 06-08-2007, 03:02 PM   #56
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From my years as moderator of boards, the area that was the biggest problem was the non-specific area, which on this board is called "Other". Most of it was OK, some was totally trash. But the width of the gray area between those two poles is open to a great deal of personal interpretation. From the hyper-sensitive PC people who I wondered if they could really exist in the real world, to the people that I wondered if they were typing from a jail cell.

I walked away from this board for months around the last election, as politics had invaded just about every topic area. Right now it's not doing bad.

OK OK, there are some posts I'm skipping over, as I've learned the OP seems to be incredibly , and their reasoning and grasp of situations appears to be below the 2nd grade level. I will just skip the posts, but if the amount of their new topic posting starts to fill up a topic page, I'll just skip the whole topic, and then they cease to exist.
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Old 06-08-2007, 03:24 PM   #57
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I really get a laugh out of the OP (bunny) suggesting that we refrain from intentionally stirring the pot. This is pretty much the definition of chutzpah.

"Intentionally stirring the pot" isnt even the topic. Creating an off topic post that offends or antagonizes a group of people and has nothing to do with early retirement is the topic. Try to stay with us here?

However, while we're down this road, the minute you can find a single post where what I wrote was insulting or antagonistic to a group of people with no value add and I was the first man in the fight...link it.
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Old 06-08-2007, 03:30 PM   #58
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Annoying is one thing. Ugly is another.

The part of having a set aside area for trash talk is that it still has to be policed for truly ugly stuff. Just NOT seeing it doesn't make it ok. Racism is not ok... even as a closet activity.

I can ignore annoying. I just don't feel right letting "ignore" be the norm for ugly though.

I think the process should be just report "over the top" posts to the Mod's and march on.
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Old 06-08-2007, 04:00 PM   #59
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Yes, that and improve the current "ignore list" feature, so that the threads started by the ignored never show up in the first place. Call that new feature "Total invisibility" !
That is the best solution to this problem, but if this forum software can't perform that function, we'll just keep discussing this problem over and over again, even though we all know what the solution is.

This is another case of the software developers not using their own software, thus not fully understanding how to design it correctly.
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Old 06-08-2007, 04:15 PM   #60
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So let's upgrade the software again - then we can piss and moan about that all over again.....................
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