The Signpost


Pronouns beware

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By Barbara Page and SMcCandlish
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As for ridicule, I will try not to ridicule you, despite the fact that your ham-handed (apologies to any Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu contributors that I may have just triggered) attempt at censorship is completely ridiculous and deserving of ridicule. --Guy Macon (talk) 12:45, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
For your next trick, could you write one that targets us Jews instead of us queers but pretends not to because, "humour". Thanks so much -- (talk) 18:16, 28 February 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Um, I already included criticism of excessive language-related demands by religious groups. Not only was it obvious, I even pointed it out really clearly above, in the post you're responding to. It's seems you are not actually reading but have already made up your mind; you made this clear yourself, over here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:35, 28 February 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Great way to game the system, painting yourself a "victim" with the complainants as attackers, even though that skips the logic that nobody forced or harassed you into writing this article or publishing it on Wikipedia.
Well done for using Wikipedia Signpost to add to the sum of human knowledge by teaching us that "Also, marginalized, discriminated-against transgender people are fun to mock."[1] No doubt that's the niche role in the community you were gunning for.
P.s. this is of course, a humorous comment. Naturally everyone with any sense of humour gets that. If not, then that's your fault, not mine. -- (talk) 14:37, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Great way to engage in hand-waving. I've never claimed to be a victim; that's your kind of game. Disagreeing with being mischaracterized, and correcting it, is not anywhere near equivalent to claiming to being victimized by it. More to the point, the post you're replying to has nothing to do with any of that, but with your own long-term behavior problems on Wikipedia; you're engaging in transparent deflection and no one's going to buy it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:16, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
As you travel through life you will encounter attempts at humor that you find to be offensive. See [ ], which documents and complains about some very offensive material that is for some reason widely accepted as being OK. Go ahead and flame the "comic", boycott its sponsors/advertisers, etc., but do not attempt to censor. Besides being morally repugnant (who are you to tell me what I am allowed to see?) you are extremely likely to end up experiencing the Streisand effect up close and personal.
I have further advice for the censors. Don't read things that you find to be offensive. Unless you are tied to a chair with your head in a clamp, your eyes taped open, a self-refreshing Wikipedia feed on a monitor, and the Wikipedia Song blaring into your ears, nobody is forcing you to read and respond to The Signpost. Simply stop clicking on the links marked "editorial" or "humor". The fact that you have a choice about what you read means that if you encounter something that you are offended by you only have yourself to blame.
If you are tied to a chair, etc., let me address your captors: First, keep up the good work. Second, please take away its keyboard. --Guy Macon (talk) 12:28, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I've avoided getting into this side of the issue, as a former professional freedom-of-expression activist. If you think I get long-winded already, don't get me started on that. It'd be like asking a pastor to tell you about the Bible. >;-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:42, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
"You don't have to look at it, we are not responsible for it", said Facebook and Twitter, until they were exposed for being the cause of multiple child suicides, and their marketing departments started to see this seriously damaged their "brand" and income.
Guy, based on your words, you will never do anything to harm "free speech". Do you think that for improvement to happen without your "permission", we need something like a series of PR disasters? -- (talk) 13:07, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

It would be useful to have some feedback here on how critics of this "humorous essay" can fairly complain, including the deletion discussion, and which words they are allowed to use or not use in compliance with Wikipedia policies. One of the authors SMcCandlish has repeatedly responded as if what is intended as criticism of the article were a personal attack, so it would benefit everyone to be clear about what is reasonable criticism allowed in comments or the MfD. Many participants in the MfD have already stated that the article appears transphobic and intended to cause offense, some of those contributors have also identified as trans or genderqueer, which you may see as giving them a special perspective on appropriate use of related language or "humour", maybe not.

My understanding of NPA and related policies is that:

  1. Criticising a humour essay as reading as, or being, transphobic is within policy and is not a personal attack.
  2. Calling the author transphobic would be a personal attack, unless the author has self identified as this.
  3. Debate about the article may be robust, including invective language, but if not directed at an individual and does not disrupt Wikipedia to make a point, should not be censored or result in sysop action.

To date, I do not believe that anyone has claimed that the author is themselves transphobic, so there have been no NPA violations that would need a warning. Should anyone do so, then warnings for incivility would be entirely justifiable.

Thanks -- (talk) 14:18, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

But you aren't "Criticising a humour essay". You are trying to censor a humour essay. And yet if anyone was to attempt to censor your expression of your point of view, you would complain loudly. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:28, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

@SMcCandlish: Given that your co-author was in violation of a TBAN by creating the humour essay, and has now been blocked for it, does that potentially change anything about what you have said so far here or in the MfD, or help illuminate any of the issues that others have raised during discussion? I presume that you were the main editor, but I have not checked who did or instigated what. Thanks -- (talk) 16:30, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

And because of a lack of common understanding of words like 'gender', the block is under discussion. -- (talk) 19:00, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
That's just more non-neutral canvassing, this time to "go after" someone at ANI for politicized reasons. You're going to end up there yourself real soon now. At this point I would bet cash money on it. Done; I opened the ANI myself, despite my distaste for the dramaboards, because your topic ban from sexuality, broadly construed, was lifted only on condition that you not return to canvassing and incivility the topic area. In point of fact, Barbara_(WVS)'s block was removed because the topic ban in question is limited to medical and health topics and thus it wasn't a valid block.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:04, 2 March 2019 (UTC); updated 06:45, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Why would drama surrounding some other party have anything to do with how I formulate my own opinions? How does whether someone violated a rule imposed on them in particular have an effect on the rationales of unrelated parties commenting here? Not everyone is nearly as concerned with tweaking perception spin as you seem to be, Fæ. (See also WP:NOT#MMORPG; this is not a game you can play to earn a high score and some virtual "achievements".) For the record, Barbara (WVS) was not a co-author of this (it long pre-dated this Signpost re-use), but simply did a compressing pass on it. I'm unaware of anything about the history of that editor or any restrictions they might be subjected to, or why. They simply asked to use the piece in Signpost, and I assented, albeit with some misgivings (to which I should have paid heed). Anyway, please stop WP:DRAMA-mongering. It's really distasteful. WP isn't a battleground for your agenda-pushing and individual-level vindictiveness.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:29, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
PS: I've caught up over at the ANI. Obviously a wrongful block (which has already been undone), as the topic-ban is constrained to health and medical topics. As usual, your ranting is simply off-topic.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:40, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Gotta love how free speech seemingly only is important because "I want to hurt minorities and say slurs". So much for "I didn’t want to offend" by doubling down on every possible point of offence... --Sleeps-Darkly (talk) 19:48, 1 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Not sure who this is in reference to, since I haven't made any free speech arguments. Who is "doubling down" on what, exactly?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:29, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Been on Wikipedia for nearing 14 years & I thought I'd seen it all. First, Justin Trudeau (the current Prime Minister of Canada) says use peoplekind instead of mankind. Now? we've got censuring taking place at Wikipedia's Signpost. It makes me want to engage in an involuntary personal protein spill. GoodDay (talk) 04:38, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

@GoodDay: I'm sure you'll be thrilled to know that Trudeau was poking fun at a couple of feminists with that comment. Watch the whole video: [2]. Bradv🍁 05:09, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
JT had to backtrack & cover his behind, when there was a backlash on media over it. GoodDay (talk) 05:13, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Well, no, that's the actual video where he made the comment. The backlash is only from people who only heard that one line. Seriously, watch the whole thing, you'll enjoy it. (The link is in my comment above.) Bradv🍁 05:22, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Seen the whole thing on Youtube. GoodDay (talk) 05:26, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
GoodDay—and you still believe it was straight-faced? Do you believe he admires China's government as well? You'd fit right in at the National Post's comments section. Not a fan of JT, but this deliberate, conscious context-stripping is disgusting. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:05, 4 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Are you upset that I oppose the removal of the Signpost story in question? GoodDay (talk) 03:10, 4 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Huh? I'm disgusted at the continued spread of disinformation. I haven't commented on the Signpost story. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:53, 4 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
1. Go to your Preferences page: Special:Preferences
2. Add your preferred pronouns to your signature (he/him, she/her, they/them, etc.)
...While you're at it add them to your email signature, your Twitter profile, etc. You do not have to be trans or queer to do to this. In fact, it's incredibly helpful to the trans community when cis folks help to make declaring pronouns and respecting pronouns routine. Also it's legitimately very practical! I can't tell you the number of times I've wanted to use pronouns to refer to someone on a talk page only to be like, wait, I didn't know which ones to use. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 05:43, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Just a note that {{gender}} exists, for those who may not know. It has options but I don't know if it can be safely subst:'d. It would be better if the Foundation cared about this stuff and implemented automatic pronoun insertion, but I'm not opposed to pronouns in signatures if that's what some prefer. wumbolo ^^^ 21:35, 2 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Wumbolo Actually, they did! I just found out about it, so this is cool. You can see the full documentation here. To give an example, your pronouns are he/his/him. Cool, right?! ―MJL -Talk- 06:00, 3 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Here's analogy: someone writes an article for The Signpost comparing President Obama to an orangutan. People are outraged and call it racist. The author responds "no, no, I'm not a racist at all! I was just making a play on how Obama and the word orangutan both start with the letter o!" Let's say this is true: deep down, in the author's heart of hearts, they didn't mean to be racist and had no idea about the long history of vile racist humor comparing black people to monkeys. Well, how should the author respond? Should they apologize and strive to be more thoughtful in the future? Or instead go on and on about how this is a witchhunt, and the piece is really really really not racist, and everyone just isn't smart enough to understand my writing, and everything offends somebody, and people are just trying to be offended.... WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 05:42, 3 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
P.S. If you know eight-graders who make jokes about being a transcendental space-god with strange demands about language, then you know some really weird kids. That sounds exactly like the sort of writing I'd do in middle school and, yes, I was a very weird kid. :) WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 05:49, 3 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
There's an Onion video for everything. -- Ununseti (talk) 18:27, 3 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Stupid Rosa Parks. Had she stayed at the back of the bus, and kept her mouth shut, none of those race riots would have happened. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:02, 7 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Rosa parks wasn't trying to censor an encyclopedia. The Streisand effect and AACS encryption key controversy are far better analogies. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:35, 7 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Um, what? House photos and AACS encryption keys aren't exactly important to draw attention to for being harmful to marginalized groups. Also, wow, just wow. How is anyone defending this article in the comments here and MfD, never mind it getting *published*? Did this get run past *any* meaningful number of people who are actually affected by it?! (Blanking is better than deleting, don't just sweep shit under the rug.) —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/their)|😹|✝️|John 15:12|☮️|🍂|T/C 04:29, 12 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
You do understand the concept of someone simultaneously agreeing with every bad thing said about an article while at the same time opposing censorship of that article, right? Freedom of expression is not freedom of expression if it only applies to things you approve of. When the ACLU defended a neo-Nazi group that wanted to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie, where many Holocaust survivors lived, they were not approving of the Nazi's message. They agreed that holocaust survivors were, as you put it, a "marginalized group." (what they went through was actually much worse than marginalization). They agreed that Nazis marching through the street with "Kill the Jews" signs was harmful to holocaust survivors. But they rejected the basic idea that the Nazis should be silenced. And you should also be against silencing things that you disprove of.
Don't forget, times change and cultures change. One day you may find that y6ou are the one being silenced, and you may find yourself thanking people who defend your right to speak out despite disagreeing with your message.
BTW, The Streisand effect is already starting: [3][4][5][6] --Guy Macon (talk) 05:54, 12 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Oh no, they're posting on Reddit about it! Curses, how dare we try to remove transphobic bullshit, now they're on Reddit. PeterTheFourth (talk) 12:24, 12 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not saying it should be illegal to say whatever. Rather, I'm saying it shouldn't have a platform on Wikipedia, where our collective goal is "trying to create an encyclopedia", and making groups of editors feel unwelcome obstructs that goal. Important difference. That argument could perhaps be countered by considering that the group of people who a free-speech zone similarly feel unwelcome, but that is not compelling to me: if everyone has absolute freedom of speech, at least some people will inevitably use that freedom to criticize others' positions. —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/their)|😹|✝️|John 15:12|☮️|🍂|T/C 13:06, 12 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
One day it may be you who are the target of people who say that you shouldn't have a platform on Wikipedia because groups of editors feel unwelcome. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:44, 12 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
So? If I say something that hurts people, then of course it shouldn't just be quietly let stand. —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/their)|😹|✝️|John 15:12|☮️|🍂|T/C 19:02, 12 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Ten years ago I was involved in the political campaign to defeat 2008 California Proposition 8, which attempted to put "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California" into the California constitution. During that campaign, many fundamentalist Christians claimed that allowing gays to marry hurt them and attempted, through advertiser boycotts and write in campaigns, to force various media outlets to remove "hurtful" editorials supporting gay marriage. Would you have suppressed those who supported gay marriage on the grounds that "If I say something that hurts people, then of course it shouldn't just be quietly let stand"? Or is your censorship based on suppressing what you disagree with and not, as you claim, that which some group of people says hurts them? I say that everyone -- gay, straight, transgendered, Christian, Satanist, Nazi, Socialist, Republican, Democrat, etc. -- should be allowed to freely express their opinions in an editorial. The right answer to unpopular speech is more speech opposing the objectionable content. It isn't censorship. To be blunt who the hell do you think you are, deciding what I am allowed to read and not allowed to read?? That is the question everybody should be asking here. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:56, 12 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
That you think you have a right to read (or write) something does not require Wikipedia to hand its platform over to you to host that thing. Is the national news also censoring you by not letting you air your opinions on their nightly broadcasts? -sche (talk) 00:55, 13 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Goose sauce and Gander sauce.
If the national news decides not to publish something I have no problem with that. If the national news decides to publish something and you decide that I should not be allowed to read it, I have a big problem. Who are you to decide what I am allowed to read and not allowed to read?? If The Signpost decides not to publish something I have no problem with that. If The Signpost decides to publish something and you decide that I should not be allowed to read it, I have a big problem. Who are you to decide what I am allowed to read and not allowed to read?? I don't mind people who own websites, newspapers, etc. deciding what they think I should read. Self-appointed censors who try to do the same thing are my enemy, and I will fight them any legal way that I can.
BTW, I couldn't help but notice you evading my question about censoring supporters of gay marriage because many fundamentalist Christians claim that allowing gays to marry hurts them. Do I detect a double standard here? --Guy Macon (talk) 05:12, 13 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Regarding: "Who are you to decide what I am allowed to read and not allowed to read??" — You indeed have a right to read the published article: that's why it was blanked rather than deleted.

Regarding your question on gay marriage: The issue of editorials supporting (or opposing) gay marriage is somewhat complicated, so bear with me here. (That complexity makes it a bit hard to apply meaningfully as a direct analogy to the situation of this Signpost article, but I think it is an interesting question to try to tackle separately regardless.)

Government recognition of gay marriage is an improvement over the status quo, as it reduces gender discrimination by the government, but it is merely treating a symptom of an underlying problem, rather than solving the problem itself. Marriage is a social interaction between individuals; it is irrelevant to government. Likewise, gender is irrelevant to government. So when the government considers marriage or gender in laws or in the way it treats people, it's overstepping its proper bounds. The real solution isn't allowing married gay people to be treated like married straight people; instead the solution is treating all people equally, regardless of whether they're married and regardless of gender. Thus, governments recognizing gay marriages as equivalent to straight marriages is reasonable as it reduces discrimination based on gender, but from the perspective of some religious communities, it is perceived either as the government trying to legislate private religious practice (which governments should not do), or as the government implicitly critiquing religious restrictions on marriage (which governments also should not do).

So, to get back to the issues of editorials. Consider two hypothetical editorials, accepted for publication in a major newspaper. The first editorial argues for the addition of government recognition of gay marriage to the current status quo, with the rationale that the government should not discriminate based on gender. That is a reasonable argument, but does not acknowledge that it is not an actual solution to the underlying problem, but is, rather, a suboptimal solution limited by political expediency. The second editorial argues that the status quo is preferable, as it avoids the government implicitly critiquing religion. That is also a reasonable argument, but does not acknowledge that the only reason that the current government recognition of marriage is accepted by the concerned religious communities is because that recognition, as a consequence of its history, is done in a way that happens to align with those communities' existing religious beliefs. So, both of these editorials are flawed, and miss part of the picture. They both could be plausibly accepted for publication, as each presents a reasonable argument.

If those two hypothetical editorials were published by a newspaper, should that newspaper's decision to publish either or both of them be criticized? That depends on how hurtful they were to people, so let's try to assess that. In the case of the pro-gay-marriage editorial, it is arguably hurtful to religious people by advocating for the government to adopt legislation that implicitly critiques their religious practices. In the case of the anti-gay-marriage editorial, it is arguably hurtful to gay people by advocating for the government to retain legislation that treats them differently than straight people. So, there's some room for criticism of both editorials. However, the anti-gay-marriage editorial is more hurtful overall to gay people than the pro-gay-marriage editorial is to religious people, as gay people are both historically and presently more marginalized than the concerned religious people are, and in this case the harm of laws that discriminate based on gender is greater than the harm of laws that implicitly critique religious practice. So, the criticism of the choice to publish the anti-gay-marriage editorial is more compelling than the criticism of the choice to publish the pro-gay-marriage editorial, as the publication of the former is more harmful. The pro-gay-marriage editorial shouldn't be suppressed, on the basis of it ultimately doing more good than harm, but it also is not perfect.

In conclusion, governments should remove any consideration of marriage or gender from their laws and actions. —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/their)|😹|✝️|John 15:12|☮️|🍂|T/C 10:42, 13 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Re: "that's why it was blanked rather than deleted" Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-02-28/Humour was not an attempt to blank the page. It was an attempt to delete the page. The !votes were:
Keep outright = 39
Keep and blank = 22
Delete OR blank = 10
Delete outright = 57
Re: "should that newspaper's decision to publish either or both of them be criticized?", and "So, the criticism of the choice to publish the anti-gay-marriage editorial is more compelling than the criticism of the choice to publish the pro-gay-marriage editorial", Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-02-28/Humour was not a criticism of the page. It was an attempt to delete the page. Acting like this is about criticism rather than censorship is a red herring.
Re: newspapers deciding what to publish and governments deciding what laws to pass, Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-02-28/Humour was not either. It was an attempt by third parties (57 of them) to remove content that The Signpost had already decided to publish.
Re: "the anti-gay-marriage editorial is more hurtful overall to gay people than the pro-gay-marriage editorial is to religious people, as gay people are both historically and presently more marginalized than the concerned religious people are" I agree with that but the concerned religious people clearly do not. You appear to be saying "when deciding whether to let third parties censor material that The Signpost has decided to publish, it is OK to let the censorship by third parties happen if we agree with the censors but it is not OK to let the censorship by third parties happen if we don't agree with the censors". I am saying that it is never OK to let censorship by third parties happen.
You don't seem to be listening when I say that there was a time in the past when anti-gay opinions completely dominated the public discourse, and that it may happen again sometime in the future. We happen to be in a period where anti-gay opinions are becoming less and less popular -- which is a good thing -- but you don't seem to hear me when I say that if we allow third parties to censor newspapers the day may come when popular opinion swings the other way and we find that we are now the ones who are censored. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:16, 13 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

We have now recognized the necessity to the mental well-being of mankind (on which all their other well-being depends) of freedom of opinion, and freedom of the expression of opinion, on four distinct grounds; which we will now briefly recapitulate.
First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.
Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any object is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.
Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.
Before quitting the subject of freedom of opinion, it is fit to take notice of those who say, that the free expression of all opinions should be permitted, on condition that the manner be temperate, and do not pass the bounds of fair discussion. Much might be said on the impossibility of fixing where these supposed bounds are to be placed; for if the test be offence to those whose opinion is attacked, I think experience testifies that this offence is given whenever the attack is telling and powerful, and that every opponent who pushes them hard, and whom they find it difficult to answer, appears to them, if he shows any strong feeling on the subject, an intemperate opponent. But this, though an important consideration in a practical point of view, merges in a more fundamental objection. Undoubtedly the manner of asserting an opinion, even though it be a true one, may be very objectionable, and may justly incur severe censure. But the principal offences of the kind are such as it is mostly impossible, unless by accidental self-betrayal, to bring home to conviction. The gravest of them is, to argue sophistically, to suppress facts or arguments, to misstate the elements of the case, or misrepresent the opposite opinion. But all this, even to the most aggravated degree, is so continually done in perfect good faith, by persons who are not considered, and in many other respects may not deserve to be considered, ignorant or incompetent, that it is rarely possible on adequate grounds conscientiously to stamp the misrepresentation as morally culpable; and still less could law presume to interfere with this kind of controversial misconduct.
With regard to what is commonly meant by intemperate discussion, namely, invective, sarcasm, personality, and the like, the denunciation of these weapons would deserve more sympathy if it were ever proposed to interdict them equally to both sides; but it is only desired to restrain the employment of them against the prevailing opinion: against the unprevailing they may not only be used without general disapproval, but will be likely to obtain for him who uses them the praise of honest zeal and righteous indignation. Yet whatever mischief arises from their use, is greatest when they are employed against the comparatively defenceless; and whatever unfair advantage can be derived by any opinion from this mode of asserting it, accrues almost exclusively to received opinions. The worst offence of this kind which can be committed by a polemic, is to stigmatize those who hold the contrary opinion as bad and immoral men. To calumny of this sort, those who hold any unpopular opinion are peculiarly exposed, because they are in general few and uninfluential, and nobody but themselves feels much interest in seeing justice done them; but this weapon is, from the nature of the case, denied to those who attack a prevailing opinion: they can neither use it with safety to themselves, nor if they could, would it do anything but recoil on their own cause. In general, opinions contrary to those commonly received can only obtain a hearing by studied moderation of language, and the most cautious avoidance of unnecessary offence, from which they hardly ever deviate even in a slight degree without losing ground: while unmeasured vituperation employed on the side of the prevailing opinion, really does deter people from professing contrary opinions, and from listening to those who profess them. For the interest, therefore, of truth and justice, it is far more important to restrain this employment of vituperative language than the other; and, for example, if it were necessary to choose, there would be much more need to discourage offensive attacks on infidelity, than on religion.
It is, however, obvious that law and authority have no business with restraining either, while opinion ought, in every instance, to determine its verdict by the circumstances of the individual case; condemning every one, on whichever side of the argument he places himself, in whose mode of advocacy either want of candor, or malignity, bigotry or intolerance of feeling manifest themselves, but not inferring these vices from the side which a person takes, though it be the contrary side of the question to our own; and giving merited honor to every one, whatever opinion he may hold, who has calmness to see and honesty to state what his opponents and their opinions really are, exaggerating nothing to their discredit, keeping nothing back which tells, or can be supposed to tell, in their favor. This is the real morality of public discussion; and if often violated, I am happy to think that there are many controversialists who to a great extent observe it, and a still greater number who conscientiously strive towards it.
EEng 19:46, 13 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree. If those 57 editors who supported censorship had instead called for a retraction, I would have joined them after reading their arguments. And if I ever end up on the unpopular side of an issue, I would have no problem with anyone criticizing me or asking for a retraction. The John Stuart Mill quote above sums it up nicely. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:13, 13 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
<Bows, acknowledges applause> Thank you. Of course, some credit goes to Mill as well. EEng 02:50, 14 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Guy Macon: It occurs to me upon further reflection: deletion is, in a sense, Wikipedia's own form of retraction: articles published in mainspace cannot be read by the public after being "retracted" by Wikipedia; their only legacy is an entry in the deletion log. So, MfDing this sort of is calling for a retraction, in Wikipedia terms, although I consider it better to retract it through blanking... Personally, I think that once it becomes practical, pretty much all published knowledge should remain public, and all knowledge should become public after enough time has passed (e.g. a couple hundred years) that it is only of historical interest and won't affect anyone but historians. The problem preventing that is that society doesn't have the necessary systems in place to (1) allow all knowledge to be public and to (2) ensure everyone is safe (such as from harassers knowing their contact information) and able to support themselves economically (including people who, for instance, write books or produce music for a living). I hope that can eventually become possible somehow. —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/their)|😹|✝️|John 15:12|☮️|🍂|T/C 22:22, 20 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Two completely different concepts:
[1] You are free to publish or not publish this, but I and these X other people really think you should not publish this, so we are asking you to voluntarily remove it. This is known as "Calling for a retraction."
[2] I and these X other people are going to force you not publish this. You, the author who wrote it and the editor(s) who approved it, have no say in the matter. This is known as "censorship". (Not to be confused with the narrower concept of "first amendment violation".)
Please don't confuse the two. It isn't a retraction if it is shoved down your throat against your will. It isn't censorship if someone pressures you to remove it of your own free will. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:33, 21 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I don't view it as us telling them what they can and cannot publish in their newspaper. This is the community deciding what we do and do not want to publish in our newspaper. The idea that a small group of self-appointed editors can publish anything they wish in a widely-circulated newspaper in Wiki space, with no community accountability or review, is the opposite of the normal collaborative editing process that builds everything from articles to policies. –dlthewave 12:01, 21 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
In which case, Dlthewave, if articles get published in The Signpost that the community ultimately disagrees with, the community itself is at fault for not responding to the multiple calls by The Signpost's editors for greater community collaboration, participation, and control in the newspaper's newsroom. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:11, 21 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Guy Macon: I was trying to share my thoughts regarding how some of the delete-voters might have been thinking of it, since it seemed like you took issue with their position above. I don't know why it sounds like you're trying to argue with me now, given that I support blanking over deletion, and pretty much agree with you regarding this as far as I can tell... :) —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/their)|😹|✝️|John 15:12|☮️|🍂|T/C 19:34, 21 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I apologize. That wasn't my intent. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:04, 21 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I likewise apologize, not my intent to accuse you of anything although I can see how my comment still kind of comes off as that. It's all cool :) —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/their)|😹|✝️|John 15:12|☮️|🍂|T/C 20:33, 21 March 2019 (UTC) Help, my foot's stuck in my mouth and I can't get it out —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/their)|😹|✝️|John 15:12|☮️|🍂|T/C 20:36, 21 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
[GROUP HUG] :)   --Guy Macon (talk) 05:43, 22 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  • I respectfully disagree with the that first part. The Signpost meets any reasonable definition of an online newspaper, and the editors meet any reasonable definition of journalists. In house publications are not free to criticize the "house". Until this recent failed attempt at censorship, nobody attempted to tell the signpost editors what they could and could not publish. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:04, 21 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  • Pldx1, while Guy Macon respectfully disagrees with your statement, I find it offensive. It attacks an identifiable group of people about whom you have no idea of their experience in journalism. If you were to do some easy research yourself before you make such sweeping claims you would see the a diferent perspective. I call for a retraction of your comment. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:59, 22 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]


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