ConfusedCow

I am disappointed in censoring

24 posts in this topic

The leaders of this site seem like great people.   Honestly, I like this site and it is well run and I bet it takes a lot of work.   I don't get though why there's such an effort to discourage a heated debate about Brandon's Politics?  I'm thinking about NattyBo's post on silence.  Yeah, some people might be upset but isn't talking about politics with people we disagee with a good thing? More importantly and the point of my post is that Brandon's politics are a key part of his books.  Racism, social structures, oppression, these are themes Brandon brings up again and again.  Books like his are meant to cast a contrast and raise questions about our own society.  Understanding his personal views about racism effect the experience of reading his books.   His art cannot be held apart and seperated from him as individual.  If the point of this site is to discuss Brandon's works we have to discuss his politics.   The same way one could not take a course on Shakespeare without discussing, his religion(I'm convinced he was Catholic), or his views on women, or indeed his views on race.   I wish moderators would let people argue, maybe ask people to elevate their discussion instead of abandon it.  

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Thing is it's not about politics but human behavior. When people are arguing from opposing viewpoints (i.e. opposing silence vs defending BS), rarely do they come to a peaceful resolution.  Each party's aim is to convince the other that they are right, and not to have a peaceful discussion. If either side is unwilling to concede or accept the opposite viewpoint, then what is the point? It'll just be an endless back-and-forth going nowhere. Add to that some rowdy-elements (people who cannot have a civil discussion) and it's easy to escalate and go downhill from there. 

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in my experience, this is a very free community. i've been in several discussions touching on politics, some got pretty heated, but they were also civil and productive. in fact, this is the one forum where i feel safe enough discussing about heated topics.

the mods closing an  occasional thread every once in a while is not enough for me to revise this opinion.

i would like to comment on the tone of the locked thread (which i missed, by the way), but i am afraid that would only result in moving the discussion to a new place, so i will refrain. Though frankly i am surprised that a statement against racism is needed, i mean, it would be like having to officially declare that water is wet, but then again, given events that happen, perhaps there is actually the need

but just to reiterate: this forum is not censored, and it is very good place to discuss heated topics. i've been here for over 5 years, and i never found a reason to complain about the mods once.

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@Mestiv perhaps you're right.   As you say there are things I can't see.

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11 hours ago, ConfusedCow said:

Understanding his personal views about racism effect the experience of reading his books.   His art cannot be held apart and seperated from him as individual.  If the point of this site is to discuss Brandon's works we have to discuss his politics. 

This actually came up in a recent discussion on Discord (though it was about other authors not Brandon). In my opinion this is not true. I always disconnect authors/artists/musicians and their personal lives, views, and actions from the art/books/music they make. This is not to say I agree or disagree with the whole BLM thing on its own, I just don't think that anyone's views on the subject matter in the slightest with regard to their art. I fundamentally disagree with the notion that anyone should be 'cancelled' and that it should be considered somehow wrong or immoral to enjoy their art due to something they believe, say, or have done no how wrong that thing may be. If I enjoy something there is nothing I can learn about its creator that will stop me from continuing to do so.

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       @KingofHerdaz  I don't boycott artists based on political views, though I find overly political rightwing works (Terry Goodkind) unreadable.    I suppose there are different schools of literary criticism, but let me make my point by contrasting Sanderson's Skyward and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. (mild spoilers for both)  Both books feature a young protagonist with violent impulses saving their desperate world from an alien invasion.  They have grumpy sergeants, an opaque military bureaucracy, a difficult peer group, and underlying mysteries.  They both have peace loving characters to provide contrast.  They are very similar books.   I happen to know, however, that Orson Scott Card is rather religious and conservative.  The books feel entirely different to me.  Card is not criticizing the military or even presenting a debate they are our saviors, taking our collective sins upon themselves. Sanderson feels like he's offering us a picture of broken child and broken world on their way to being healed.  This difference ultimately located in the authors political differences about war changes the whole book.  Ender's game is dark and tortured; clinical, vicious and preachy.  Skyward is punchy even silly, but richer more hopeful.  If I thought Sanderson shared Card's politics Skyward would come off as bloodthirsty and shallow and characters like Kimmalyn, Cobb, and Jorgen would feel very different.

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1 hour ago, ConfusedCow said:

Skyward is punchy even silly, but richer more hopeful.  If I thought Sanderson shared Card's politics Skyward would come off as bloodthirsty and shallow and characters like Kimmalyn, Cobb, and Jorgen would feel very different.

That's an interesting way of reading a book. When I read a book I just read it. I don't make assumptions about the plot and the characters based on unrelated information about the author. I can't comment about the actual comparison you are making since it has been something like ten years since I last read Ender's Game.

1 hour ago, ConfusedCow said:

Card is not criticizing the military or even presenting a debate they are our saviors, taking our collective sins upon themselves. 

What did you mean by this?

 

 

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And don’t we know Brandon’s stance already? I mean, in the annotations of Warbreaker he addressed how he feels about racism:

“It’s not good to be racist. Skin color is a terrible reason to judge someone. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sometimes make judgments about people for other reasons. I think maybe we’ve become hypersensitive to this sort of thing.”

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Posted (edited)

Any way of interacting with art is valid, though you might enjoy pondering what Sanderson's political and philosophical motivations are and how he arrived at them.  To answer the second question, Ender's Game Spoilers

Spoiler

Colonel Graff and then Ender (the perfect soldier) make a series of horrible choices for the good of humanity.  Seperating kids from their parents, psychologically torturing them, killing some of them,  sending soldiers to die, and then destroying a whole world.  We witness the immense psychological toll this takes on them.  They bear the weight of necessary sin and then are judged and exiled by humanity for it.  This is a heroic sacrifice in Card's eyes, akin to Jesus on the cross.  Moreover this is a common right wing rhetoric in the U.S., the military is a noble self sacrificing organization protecting us from dangerous 'aliens'.  I will spare you a garbled polemic against the military industrial complex and just add I disagree. 

 

Edited by ConfusedCow
typos
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Hey all, this looks like an interesting discussion that people are keen to converse about. We would like to move it to a new thread though, to keep this current one about moderation in case others members wish to ask more questions or ask for more clarification over how we've been modding. If you want, we can move individual posts into a new thread (it's a bit clunky so please bear with us and it would be super helpful if people are able to double check their posts once moved). The Split feature allows us to literally move posts in one thread to a new thread, we'd just need to know what to name it and then it's super easy to do!

We also want to say that we appreciate how much people are engaging with each other here even though there are a few different viewpoints.

One other thing we wanted to note is that if people want to discuss their thoughts on Brandon's silence on BLM then that is also completely fine, and a new thread can be created--we do suggest that the OP mention what type of interactions they're after (e.g. do they want to discuss the different opinions of people, or do they need a place to vent and let their emotions out and are looking for support). We're currently discussing ways to better handle distinctions like these to try and cater to the different conversation types that people want to have on the Shard as when they get crossed unintentionally (we believe this was part of the issue with the thread referenced by ConfusedCow). this can cause major upset and lead to conflict. That's what we were trying to avoid there.

And ConfusedCow, Mestiv said basically everything I'd want to say but if you'd like more details on moderation, or you'd like to discuss further, I'm happy to talk about it!

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Hi, I hope it's okay that I started a new thread because Brandon commented (in support) of BLM in response to my, uh, lets say repeated inquiries. 

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Absolutely no problem with that :) We just want to make sure things stay civil. I'm glad Brandon responded.

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I personally don't have too many problems with what the shard does, I would like to see more places with absolutely no censorship though, a place online to say whatever you want.

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Frustration said:

I personally don't have too many problems with what the shard does, I would like to see more places with absolutely no censorship though, a place online to say whatever you want.

I mean...they exist, it’s just that being allowed to say whatever you want online almost always leads to very bad places very quickly. 

Edited by AonEne
switched around a word placement for clarity
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Yep, lack of moderation leads to the loudest and most extreme viewpoints having the most power. The whole reason why Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was made was to encourage online sites to actually moderate things without them having legal liability. It is a very good thing that moderation exists, generally, though obviously can be quite disagreeable at times.

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6 hours ago, Chaos said:

Yep, lack of moderation leads to the loudest and most extreme viewpoints having the most power. The whole reason why Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was made was to encourage online sites to actually moderate things without them having legal liability. It is a very good thing that moderation exists, generally, though obviously can be quite disagreeable at times.

I'm not against censorship in its entirety there is a reason it exists, I just wish that there where more place's online it didn't.

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6 hours ago, Frustration said:

I'm not against censorship in its entirety there is a reason it exists, I just wish that there where more place's online it didn't.

I think you might be mistaking moderation for censorship? In some cases it is, in some it isn’t. There are other types of moderation than just censoring things. 

And again, there are plenty of online spaces where you can say whatever you want. The Shard happens to not be one of them. I’d personally much rather stay here, as it’s safer and I’m less likely to be attacked through words, but if you want to talk about politics or something there are many other places where you can do so. 

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17 minutes ago, AonEne said:

I think you might be mistaking moderation for censorship? In some cases it is, in some it isn’t. There are other types of moderation than just censoring things. 

And again, there are plenty of online spaces where you can say whatever you want. The Shard happens to not be one of them. I’d personally much rather stay here, as it’s safer and I’m less likely to be attacked through words, but if you want to talk about politics or something there are many other places where you can do so. 

If there are actually places like that I've never heard of them.

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4chan, 8chan, probably a bunch of places with very bad reputations won't moderate at all. I don't really the details of those places. 

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Posted (edited)

On 16.6.2020 at 6:40 PM, AonEne said:

I think you might be mistaking moderation for censorship? In some cases it is, in some it isn’t. There are other types of moderation than just censoring things. 

And again, there are plenty of online spaces where you can say whatever you want. The Shard happens to not be one of them. I’d personally much rather stay here, as it’s safer and I’m less likely to be attacked through words, but if you want to talk about politics or something there are many other places where you can do so. 

I generally agree with this, and it's true that this is not necessarily the place for elaborate political discussions and instead a place to talk about Brandon's books. But those books aren't completely apolitical, just like there's no book that could ever be really apolitical, since everything exists in a political context and portrays things that have an analogy in political reality - and that's why I think it's important to be able to talk about stuff like this even on this platform.

-

So, this is not a response to a particular comment anymore, but my general opinion: Discrimination is a major theme of not only the Stormlight Archive but a lot of Cosmere and Brandon works in general ... When talking about his books, it's also important to be able to talk about these things and how they relate to reality. After all, the books are born from that political/cultural reality. Brandon himself has repeatedly stated that parts of the Stormlight Archive are a reflection of American history in particular. The Parshendi are in part a comment on colonialization, and in the Dusty Wheel interview some weeks ago he said that one character's history has deliberate similarities to how the "heroes" of history have often actually done terrible things as well and compared it to the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This could go on for ages: Are Taln's thousands of years of pain a recognition of hundreds of years of slavery, the pain of over 12 million of black people abducted and brought to Western countries? Maybe that's a stretch, I'm not really the one to judge, but it is something that needs to be discussed. If we bar that way, we deny the complete significance of anything Brandon writes outside of, well, the mere "stuff that's fun to read" component. And there is no stuff to read, no matter how fun, that doesn't have at least some political implications, and it is important to acknowledge these in a forum dedicated to these books. So, there is no clear line between talking about fiction (what this forum is designed for) and talking about cultural and political topics, which is why the second one will necessarily become a thing and should always be allowed and even encouraged. And of course there should be boundaries to those discussions, and constructive moderation is the key in that case, I completely agree that there has to be some restriction to how they are held and phrased. But they must happen, Black Lives Matter discussions included.

Anyway, kudos to the staff because I think this is the most civil site I have ever been logged into, I admire the efforts!

Edited by Elegy
Made the phrasing more vague at one point due to mild spoilers
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In reply to @Elegy's comment - we definitely recognize that Brandon's books may have political themes, and that there will be discussions on those themes.  At times, those discussions will be very important.  We have tried to build some flexibility into our moderation policies and practices to recognize that the line is not always a clear one.  

Where I personally start to see an issue, and will start consulting with other staff members about how to respond, is when people move beyond "this is a theme I see in Brandon's work, let's discuss how he deals with it, and what our feelings are" to positional debates about general issues that--aside from the origin of the discussion--have nothing to do with Brandon or the community.  That is where we tend to see the the most escalation in terms of personal attacks and arguments which just go around and around without accomplishing anything.  

Hope this helps in understanding.  

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I also feel like there is a difference between relating subjects in Brandon's works to historical events vs. contemporary ones. It's much harder to make both an informed and objective claim about something that's currently going on, or has happened in recent history, which makes it easier for tensions to flare up. 

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11 hours ago, Elegy said:

I generally agree with this, and it's true that this is not necessarily the place for elaborate political discussions and instead a place to talk about Brandon's books. But those books aren't completely apolitical, just like there's no book that could ever be really apolitical, since everything exists in a political context and portrays things that have an analogy in political reality

you know, this reminds me of the wheel of time, and rand coming to cahirien the first time and getting involved in politics without doing anything, because even that is a political move.

Brandon: "does nothing"

fanbase: "oh, by his lack of action, he is clearly expressing his lack of support for ..."

Brandon: "facepalm"

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