Who we are as a community

Requiem

Well-Known Member
Member
So it sort of started in the Election Debate thread, but I think it's a healthy thing to make its own topic.

Put simply, regardless of how we've behaved in the past, I think it's time we openly discuss how we as a group talk about, make jokes, or otherwise hurt people when we talk about stuff like the Traps meme/any sort of joke made at the expense of other people and groups for whatever reason we might have.

To write it quickly and without wasting all y'alls time, stuff like the traps meme, calling people niggerfaggots, as well as other memes at the expense of others is something we shouldn't do, that we should stop, and that we should not let happen when we see it happening.

I'm not trying to say we should censor people, but I am saying that at the end of the day, we should strive to be better people than those who make jokes like those, especially when they hurt people who are actually part of our community. From there, it's also important to note that if we're actually serious about making content as a community and trying to do this for real, we've gotta pull back. We can joke and we can be funny, sure, nothing wrong with that, but there's a difference between making a joke for fun and making a joke at the expense of a whole group of people who shouldn't have to defend themselves against us. It's one thing to make a meme of TC where we edit a picture of him holding a note that says "I eat ass" and another thing to keep using the "traps meme." I don't think I've seen anyone use the word niggerfaggot in earnest for years now, but it was something we used to do and something we never discussed or actively stopped, so that's why I'm bringing it up here (and since it was referenced in the Election Debate thread).

Basically, we can do better. I think it would be for the best if we worked towards being better about stuff like this. Maybe I'm way off base. If so, please tell me. Either way, I think this is a healthy conversation we need to have as a community.
 
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Elliot

Confirmed Robot
Member
Yeah I agree with this and would also apply it to things like the constant jokes about autism or calling other people autistic, using the "r word" even in ways that y'all think isn't ableist. When I brought this up in chat I got a lot of "Oh well I don't wanna tell other people what words they can/can't use" but like, that's not even what I'm talking about. I'm just saying that most of y'all don't seem to want to actually say things that are hurtful to other people, but you are doing that even if you don't "know" it.

And saying "Oh I'd stop if someone had a problem with it" doesn't really work either because most people who are actually affected by something aren't going to feel comfortable stepping into a culture of people saying harmful things and tell them to cut it out. Because then, again, you'll have to defend yourself against a bunch of people who aren't part of those groups saying it's just a joke or whatever or talking about not wanting to censor people even though you were never talking about censorship in the first place.

Anyway I get that these are inside jokes etc., but it can be pretty uncomfortable when a group of people have "inside jokes" about a completely separate group of people that they aren't part of. Like, trans women are women; being attracted to women as a straight man is a pretty normal thing; having a whole 'debate' about whether or not "traps" are gay feels kinda uncomfortable. And the word "trap" in general implies that trans women are somehow "tricking" straight men, which again is a narrative that gets people murdered. Even if y'all are saying that a trap isn't the same thing as a trans woman, that's how the word tends to be used.
 

The Hound

Just Monika
Member
I just wanted to say after re-reading my comment on the other thread that I wasn't trying to say the traps meme wasn't awful just that I found the other memes so distasteful in retrospect that I was glad they had mostly died away. I think a reason I found those two worse is that they were solely creations of this community whereas the traps one is ubiquitous around the internet (not that that makes it alright in anyway).

There's so many better inside jokes that don't cross the line into being bigoted and hateful that it seems pretty easy to avoid these ones.

I like that as a community we can discuss this stuff and work on making this place a healthier and happier place to inhabit, especially if we're striving to grow in size.

<3
 

Lumpy

Well-Known Member
Member
A trap is a passable trans woman with a penis. It's clearly not gay. In fact, it's the superior choice.

Meh, I may post a bit later. Personally, I think Ibix is the most experienced when it comes to this topic and I want to read what he has to say.
 

Anatronman

Well-Known Member
Member
You guys said everything I wanted to in 5 posts and about two hours! I'm proud to be a member of this community today.
 

Lumpy

Well-Known Member
Member
VERY good point. You are absolutely correct.

The main point is that they pass as the opposite sex and that ain't gay.
 

coolpool2

Savage AF
The Original Gangster
Sorry. It's just a huge pet peeve of mine. Sure, a trap can be trans, but correlation isn't causation you know.
 

The Hound

Just Monika
Member
The only problem is the original usage of the word is problematic as Wolfy said, just because the internet has adapted it to mean someone who can pass for a woman doesn't make it not come off like we're being derogatory to the trans community. I mean I think TC brought up that we haven't always been great to that community as it is and it caused us to lose a member (mind you that was a long time ago and we were probably much worse about it), doesn't it just make sense to stop using the term?
 

Elliot

Confirmed Robot
Member
https://intoomanywords.com/2017/12/05/why-trap-is-a-bad-term/

"So basically the word “trap” in theory refers to crossdressers who are deceiving people by presenting as a different gender, and for that should perhaps be seen as a threat. If you’re a trans person you probably already see what’s wrong with this. One of the pervasive and harmful stereotypes against trans people is that they’re deceiving people by presenting as a gender besides what they were assigned at birth. And not just harmful in a self-esteem sense, harmful in the sense that many trans people have been on the receiving end of violence at the hands of people who believe they’ve been tricked. This violence in many unfortunate situations has resulted in the deaths of trans people, and is occurring at a continually increasing rate. The fact that a term like “trap” fundamentally refers to being tricked in this usage makes it extremely concerning.

“But they’re not trans people”, you might say, “they’re crossdressers”. Indeed many characters identified as “traps” and individuals who self identify are in actual fact crossdressers, but as far as the perpetrators of violence against trans people are concerned there’s no distinction. To them trans people are just deceitful crossdressers, and the pervasiveness of that idea is precisely BECAUSE of cultural concepts like “traps”. It’s also true that many people who use the term don’t have that malicious intent, but many share that lack of a distinction between crossdressers and trans people. Because of that they ultimately still play a part in perpetuating scare tactics against trans people and the erasure of their existence. There’s a lot of explanations that seek to distance the term from transphobia, but the ones I’ve encountered have all been inadequate at coming to grips with how people view and refer to transgender individuals.

[...R]ealise that most trans people outside the bubble of anime fandom (and many within) are definitely not okay with it. Many are uncomfortable and find it demeaning and harmful, especially those who’ve survived experiences of violence at the hands of people who deny their existence.

[...]And as for cisgender people it’s probably best you don’t call anyone a “trap”. Not crossdressers, not trans people, not anyone. It cannot be stated enough how much the language we use to refer to trans people and other marginalised groups is both a symptom and a cause of real world harm. So don’t be a jerk!"
 

Tirin

God-Emperor of Tealkind
Moderator
I dispute these constrained definitions of "trap", as the term is used somewhat ambiguously to refer both to cis-passing pre-op trans women and passable crossdressing men who do not identify as women. It is the latter definition which, I believe, has led to the quote-unquote debate, as there is similarly some ambiguity as to whether or not it is gay to be attracted to such traps (easily debatable) and whether or not such a crossdressing man is gay (less debatable and obviously occurring on an individual basis; given that I once crossdressed for Halloween and ended up hit on by people, my assessment would be "not necessarily").

Ultimately, though, that's neither here nor there. I think that it's correct that we need to roll it back and do what we can to, y'know, not be so toxic and hateful - it's a turnoff to new members that we want and would only, if anything, attract an unpleasantly toxic audience that I don't think we want or have the time to fuckin' deal with. As much as I appreciate (and partake in) the assholeish and savage charm of this community, if we're going to keep being this way it should be more inclusive instead of standoffish and potentially transphobic, racist, or whatever. People can make whatever jokes they want to in PMs or private calls (not that I would necessarily endorse as much), but doing it in public sends the message that we think it's fine and that's... not something I think we should be or want to be associated with.

I disagree with Lumpy's post in the debate thread, by the way; I think that we've absolutely become less toxic as a community and on an individual level. I'm pretty damn confident that I have, and at the very least hope that I'm perceived as less so now than I have been historically. It's our prerogative to do better and I'm glad that you brought this up, Req, and that so many people have felt it worthwhile to participate. I think the fact that we're able to talk about this at all is a sign that we're doing better.
 

coolpool2

Savage AF
The Original Gangster
Mhmm, I never said that it wasn't bad or that there wasn't a bad side. To be polite I won't throw the term around here though. I would never call someone else a trap. Although sometimes I call myself a trap just because I personally like the term. But that's to say that I do understand the violent history behind it.
 

Requiem

Well-Known Member
Member
At the end of the day, taking all ill intent out of the words (for the sake of argument in this post), it's basically low effort, bad comedy schlock that I know we're better than.

Putting the ill intent of the words back in, we don't need to associate ourselves with stuff like that. We can be better. Whether we individually intend to hurt anyone with the terms, what matters is that people are offended by them. Not just trap, niggerfaggot, but any and all of the numerous other terms we've used or have been popular around the internet since we became a community. This community should be a place where we acknowledge that certain things that we do or say can be unintentionally alienating. We've run community members out before because of stupid things we've done or said, not just through the problematic terms we've used, but by the things we've allowed to happen. They were results we didn't intend, but they still happened. I don't need to point out specific instances, I don't hope at least. There's plenty of them and I know that the community we are now would have done what it could to stop the behavior that caused those people to leave.

We should try to be better about these things because it's kind and decent. It doesn't get any more simple than that. Sure, maybe the word "trap" has various interpretations and ideas behind it and maybe you individually feel different ways about it, but what matters is that some people are hurt by it. It doesn't make us any worse to just hang the word up and forget it exists. We've improved over time by just living and experiencing things, let's actively try to curb our more troublesome behavior and be a more inviting community. Like I said in my Vocal Debate recap/response post: focus inward, grow outward. Right now, we gotta focus inward, fix what needs fixing and just try to be more kind.
 

Lumpy

Well-Known Member
Member
Tirin, if I recall, some of the examples of toxicity were homophobia, racism, and transphobia. When would you have described yourself as a racist, transphobic homo-hater? I really don't think these things have ever been issues in this community. In terms of how we might use words like fag or trap, I really haven't seen any change. No one ever used these terms in a malicious way, and they are still used today the same as they always were. It's not until I called everyone out for patting themselves on the back for being "less toxic" that the use of the word trap even became an issue here, which was not really my point. My point is that saying these things in a non-malicious way was never toxic at all. Perhaps the people who took it the wrong way are in fact not entirely right?

Now, if you want some legitimate toxicity on this forum, it would be the passive aggressive remarks people throw out towards others that don't share their views, while never actually addressing them to anyone in particular. Such as calling the other forumer's toxic for example. I find it counterproductive to the goal of inclusiveness to divide people into categories of "toxic" and "non-toxic", or even as exhibitors of either behaviour.

That said, getting on Goldy for his autism was ALWAYS gross to me. That's certainly an example of toxic behaviour and a lack of understanding. The illness is basically defined by social awkwardness and you all got on him in the most personal way for a faux pas. So I guess, in a way, I can accept that everyone is a bit less toxic now. You aren't gang-harassing autistic people anymore. But simple jokes, whether they are funny or not, don't seem like a huge issue to me. They all come from the place of trying to be funny, and thus making people happy, not trying to upset people. That is not at all toxic behaviour to me.
 

Tirin

God-Emperor of Tealkind
Moderator
Tirin, if I recall, some of the examples of toxicity were homophobia, racism, and transphobia. When would you have described yourself as a racist, transphobic homo-hater? I really don't think these things have ever been issues in this community. In terms of how we might use words like fag or trap, I really haven't seen any change. No one ever used these terms in a malicious way, and they are still used today the same as they always were. It's not until I called everyone out for patting themselves on the back for being "less toxic" that the use of the word trap even became an issue here, which was not really my point. My point is that saying these things in a non-malicious way was never toxic at all. Perhaps the people who took it the wrong way are in fact not entirely right?
I wouldn't describe myself as those things at any point, but I would be lying to say that I haven't said things that would lead people to mistake me for as much and I think we'd all be lying if we were to say we're not guilty of the same - which is my point, and I believe Req's as well. By using these words we make ourselves look crude and hurtful even if that's not our intent; I think that it drives people away and makes them feel as though they have a target on their back for being different, and that's something that I want to avoid and think some people would conclude with me on. Teasing people in good fun for eating ass or doing stupid shit or something else that they're comfortable with being made fun of is obviously fine; making them or possible new users potentially feel attacked, even if it's done in an unintentional and non-malicious fashion, is not.

Now, if you want some legitimate toxicity on this forum, it would be the passive aggressive remarks people throw out towards others that don't share their views, while never actually addressing them to anyone in particular. Such as calling the other forumer's toxic for example. I find it counterproductive to the goal of inclusiveness to divide people into categories of "toxic" and "non-toxic", or even as exhibitors of either behaviour.
I disagree; I think that you need to point out (and possibly punish) undesirable behavior if you want to discourage it. I can see your point with regards to calling specific people toxic - but, frankly, I think that that's more of an assessment of the behavior itself than saying "you are an irredeemable pile of shit", and somewhere along the line if people are acting in ways that really make other people uncomfortable and/or violate the rules, there has to be a change and thus an acknowledgement that somebody has done something unacceptable. I think that it's worthwhile to point out in the future.

That said, getting on Goldy for his autism was ALWAYS gross to me. That's certainly an example of toxic behaviour and a lack of understanding. The illness is basically defined by social awkwardness and you all got on him in the most personal way for a faux pas. So I guess, in a way, I can accept that everyone is a bit less toxic now. You aren't gang-harassing autistic people anymore. But simple jokes, whether they are funny or not, don't seem like a huge issue to me. They all come from the place of trying to be funny, and thus making people happy, not trying to upset people. That is not at all toxic behaviour to me.
I think that we're more discussing the unintentional and possibly-marginalizing effects of saying these things here, rather than the intentions behind them which are noble or at least for the sake of entertainment. I don't doubt that, at least for the most part, these things are all meant to be in good fun; that's certainly the case when I say them and I have no reason to think that anyone else necessarily means worse by them. The trouble is when that intention gets misinterpreted or superceded by our choice of words; it leads to hurt feelings and people getting upset, oftentimes all around.
 

Tirin

God-Emperor of Tealkind
Moderator
I agree; I also think that it says a lot that Rob has stepped away from using these kinds of words (at least professionally) and while we're far from professionally anything, it's worth following that "lead".
 

Dunsparce

Well-Known Member
Member
I completely wholeheartedly and systematically disagree with everything said in this thread and everything you people stand for. But what else is new? Not to be overly dramatic, but if this is the way this community is heading then I doubt I’ll be here much longer. I come to this website for entertainment, not because I want to learn the true meaning of friendship.

I’m not even gonna bother explaining my thoughts on transgenderism or stuff like that. Honestly it’s just a question of basic ethics that nobody’s gonna get convinced one way or the other on. Suffice it to say, the moral code I live by is radically different than any of yours.

As for jokes that hurt people’s feelings, I’ve got a question for you. Can you think of anything in the world that’s funny that doesn’t involve someone else’s suffering? If you can, that’s the exception rather than the rule. If you want to put an end to comedy that hurts people’s feelings, you’ll pretty much have to put an end to comedy itself. Obviously most people don’t want it to be all or nothing, so they draw an arbitrary line in the sand somewhere. You’ll choose some group to make fun of and give some flimsy excuse like “X hasn’t been as marginalized as Y, so it’s okay to hurt X’s feelings.”

I don’t believe in lines like that. I don’t believe that belonging to some group of people entitles you to any special treatment. If you think hurting people’s feelings is bad, it should always be bad. If you don’t, then ya don’t. That’s the Categorical Imperative, as it were.

So which should you choose? Should you adopt an inconsistent morality and make hurtful jokes against only the people you’ve arbitrarily decided it’s okay to? Should you be a psychopath like me and not care about anyone? Or should you be a social justice ascetic monk and eschew comedy altogether? All I can say is that my way is the most fun.

But you know the best part about hurtful jokes? It’s literally impossible for them to hurt you unless you choose to get hurt by them. If me saying “traps are gay” hurts you, that hurt is self-imposed. All I did was give you the rope to hang yourself with, your pain isn’t anyone’s fault but your own. That’s what’s truly funny to me, and that’s why there’s no such thing as evil speech.

*mic drop*
 
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