Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

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Buck McGeehy
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Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:11 pm

This is not a good-bye post.

It has become very clear on the basis of online research that this forum is not designed or administered to support the Dharma training of Right Speech. For example: https://www.religiousforums.com/threads ... mp.214288/ In light of the massacre of Muslims in NZ and the invigoration among white supremacists, it is appropriate to point out that these sites over the years have provided a home for anti-Muslim and anti-Rohingya views, and have defended the expression of such views as an exercise of freedom of speech. By the same logic, the manifesto and live-streaming of the slaughter in NZ also would be defended by Dharmawheel/Dhammawheel leadership as free speech, and anybody who calls out such speech as harmful will be called names such as the "thought police," as I have been called here. Name-calling appears to be historically supported and welcome here, whereas comments such as I am making regarding Right Speech appear historically to be unwelcome here and generally attacked as an attempt to police members. Ridiculous.

It is fine if you want to continue to proclaim that "Trump is great" and if you want to continue to support anti-this and anti-that views, and condemn anyone who suggests Right Speech is a better approach in a "Dharma/Dhamma" forum comprised only of speech. But please recognize that most of what occurs on these discussion boards has nothing to do with Dhamma. The hurtful speech here, in which even certain venerable monks participate (with the support of forum leadership), is a disservice to Dhamma. The events in NZ highlight the weeds that can sprout from such seeds.

As the world mourns the dead in NZ, and as white supremacists take inspiration from this event and other expressions of hatred, I hope participants and board leadership here will take a moment to consider the effects of divisive and hurtful speech. I suppose this message will be unwelcome and will result in being banned, although it does not violate TOS.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:03 pm

Buck,
You have returned after a six-month break, only to post an attack on DWE which I believe is unjustified.
:thinking:

However, we do need to monitor our Right Speech and the horrific attack (by an Australian, which makes it even worse for me personally) on Muslims in Christchurch is likely to be discussed here so I will let your thread run its course. And I will suspend - in this thread only! - our usual rules against metadiscussion, since I can't see how the issues you raise can be discussed without it.

If anyone wishes to talk about the attack itself, rather than about how we talk about other religions on DWE, please begin another thread.

:namaste:
Kim

Dan74
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Dan74 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:35 pm

As far as I know the three forums owned by David Snyder - DW-Theravada, DW-Mahayana and this one, are run separately. Is your complaint about this forum or DW-Theravada?

While DW-Theravada, IMO, may be said to have a libertarian slant which has been too lax on alt-right views and on occasion even what I'd call hate-speech, especially prior to the creation of this forum, I haven't seen anything like that on DW-Mahayana or here (but I don't read every thread).

What happened in NZ is indeed a terrible tragedy but while I disagree with islamophobia, I would hesitate to link anti-Muslim views to the attack. There are plenty of anti-Communists and they don't necessarily go and kill Communists and theor children. People are allowed to have opinions, even prejudices. We should think long and hard before we take extreme measures against opinions because one person or a tiny handful take them to extreme murderous conclusions. Banning opinions isn't going to save lives, IMO. But confronting them in good faith might.

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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by DNS » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:58 pm

Is the OP about the horrors in NZ or just a complaint about DWT? It appears to be solely about DWT and how there are supposedly so many Trump supporters over there. As has been noted, politics is not discussed there any more. So what's the problem? It appears to be the OP can't complain any more at DWT and that is the real problem. In any event, where are these numerous Trump supporters?

A poll at DWT about who people want for POTUS, 2016:
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... ident+poll

Only 14% wanted Trump and 75% wanted Bernie or Hillary Clinton.

A later poll closer to the election shows 47% for Hillary Clinton, 26% for Trump.
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=27053

At DWM, 20% for Trump, with the vast majority for Bernie Sanders with 59%:
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=20636

A later poll closer to the election shows 74% for Jill Stein or Hillary Clinton and only 18% for Trump.
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=23179

Therefore, at both DWT and DWM, the most active DW forums, the vast majority of users favored liberal candidates, no grand right wing conspiracy there.

It appears the only problem is that there is nothing to complain about? :shrug:

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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by DNS » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:13 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:35 pm
As far as I know the three forums owned by David Snyder - DW-Theravada, DW-Mahayana and this one, are run separately. Is your complaint about this forum or DW-Theravada?
Don't forget Dharma Paths!
https://dharmapaths.com/

Although, I should admit, it's very inactive, it's easy to forget that one. :D

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Buck McGeehy
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:55 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:03 pm
And I will suspend - in this thread only! - our usual rules against metadiscussion, since I can't see how the issues you raise can be discussed without it.
Ok, thanks.
DNS wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:58 pm
Is the OP about the horrors in NZ or just a complaint about DWT? It appears to be solely about DWT and how there are supposedly so many Trump supporters over there.
You miss the point. The point is made, in part, in the following quote from the citation in the OP:
Anti-Muslim and Anti-Rohingya
There should be no disagreement that the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State in Myanmar, at the hands of the Buddhist majority, has been a crime against humanity. Yet DhammaWheel.com facilitates anti-Rohingya sentiments. More broadly, DhammaWheel.com repeatedly has attacked Islam and Islam-derived Bahai. The DhammaWheel.com attacks on Bahai are hard to explain. But they have received attention
DNS wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:58 pm
As has been noted, politics is not discussed there any more. So what's the problem?
It seems to me the "problem," if there is one, is the decision to create and maintain a platform for harmful speech including attacks on Islam, to maintain hurtful posts in the historic archive, to label it all "Dharma" or "Dhamma" discussion (which is slander of Dharma/Dhamma in my view), and further, to adopt a style of interaction in which efforts to discuss "Right Speech" are condemned as assuming the role of "thought police" or hidden through selective enforcement of the ambiguous and overly broad "no meta discussion" rule. Especially among the venerable monks and leadership team, I would expect a so-called Dharma or Dhamma site to set higher standards. But it is your decision, not mine.
DNS wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:58 pm
It appears to be the OP can't complain any more at DWT and that is the real problem.
No. Frankly, if this is your view, it seems to be pure defensiveness and a refusal to face the real issues raised. You are welcome to disagree with me. As stated, this is all owned by you.
DNS wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:58 pm
In any event, where are these numerous Trump supporters?
The main one appears to be the disc jockey who runs things over there. His past vocal support for Trump and scathing rebuke against those with contrary viewpoints carries a lot of weight and sets an example for others.
DNS wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:58 pm
Therefore, at both DWT and DWM, the most active DW forums, the vast majority of users favored liberal candidates, no grand right wing conspiracy there.
I never claimed there was a conspiracy, let alone a grand conspiracy.

Frankly, it can be repugnant to try to engage in the type of environment you have created. The reality is that this horrific live-cast of the slaying, and the publication of the manifesto, together with the hateful targeting of Muslims in NZ reminded me of one thing: the hurtful, anti-Muslim speech that has been allowed and sometimes encouraged on the Buddhist platform you own, and which continues to be paid for and maintained by you in the name of Dhamma/Dharma. In my judgment, it is not Right Speech.

At this stage in the discussion, I expect you or others to tell me to focus on myself and my own reactivity. First, I already do that. Second, turning the table in such a manner is an avoidance strategy that seeks to disarm the critic and weaponize the Dhamma in a manner to shut down criticism. Third, all of the teachings on Right Speech focus on taking responsibility for the potential harmful effects of one's words. It should be perfectly appropriate, on a Dharma/Dhamma platform, to raise Right Speech as an issue when hurtful speech is manifest. Allowing the hurtful speech, while not allowing so-called "meta discussion" calling it out, is a further illustration of how this platform is not designed to promote and support Right Speech.
Last edited by Buck McGeehy on Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Buck McGeehy
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:08 am

Dan74 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:35 pm
Banning opinions isn't going to save lives, IMO. But confronting them in good faith might.
Yes, but confronting them on this platform is often disallowed as meta-discussion. You are not allowed to say something like: "Your post is inflammatory and contrary to Right Speech." Or maybe sometimes you are allowed. Enforcement of the "no meta-discussion" rule allows for plenty of discretion to pick and choose when to enforce it, and whom to silence.
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by DNS » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:14 am

Calling something as "dhammawheel.com attacks . . ." is wrong speech. You are generalizing once again to an entire forum of participants who don't all share the views of one or two or three members, or whoever it is who is writing the post you disagree with. Writing such speech like that is divisive, untruthful and might be hurtful to the general membership. As Dan noted better to focus on the real things that matter, like trying to stop horrors like what happened in NZ.

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Buck McGeehy
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:21 am

DNS wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:14 am
Calling something as "dhammawheel.com attacks . . ." is wrong speech. You are generalizing once again to an entire forum of participants who don't all share the views of one or two or three members, or whoever it is who is writing the post you disagree with. Writing such speech like that is divisive, untruthful and might be hurtful to the general membership. As Dan noted better to focus on the real things that matter, like trying to stop horrors like what happened in NZ.
We disagree. Your platform that you own and maintain, and which you moderate, is set up to permit public personal attacks and attacks on other religions, etc. You have provided the mechanism and forum to facilitate some very hurtful messages. Your administration has discouraged people from effectively calling out hurtful speech. This is not Dhamma.

One way to stop horrors like what happened in NZ is to stop treating extremist views as equivalent to non-extremist views. One way to stop horrors like what happened in NZ is to learn how to manage our communications resources in a responsible way which does not legitimize and give voice to extremist views, while discouraging criticism of such views.
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:26 am

The United States has an open racist in the White House. The individual who carried out the NZ attacks was inspired and emboldened in part by this. Saying there are "many fine people" on both sides is a false equivalence. The sickening death toll in NZ, and the use of new media to spread this hateful message, should be called out.

Also, it is an opportunity to re-examine how, in the name of Dhamma/Dharma discussion, this Buddhist platform has contributed to this false equivalence.
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by dxm_dxm » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:29 am

Buck McGeehy wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:26 am
The United States has an open racist in the White House. The individual who carried out the NZ attacks was inspired and emboldened in part by this. Saying there are "many fine people" on both sides is a false equivalence. The sickening death toll in NZ, and the use of new media to spread this hateful message, should be called out.

Also, it is an opportunity to re-examine how, in the name of Dhamma/Dharma discussion, this Buddhist platform has contributed to this false equivalence.
There were and continue to be many communist terrorist organizations in this world, causing incalculable more victims than random guy in NZ.

What you are saying is equal to saying radical antifa groups in syria, made out of western PC people, are the fault of Bernie Sanders or Obama voicing their pro-PC opinions in public without getting censored by some brain bodyguard.

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Buck McGeehy
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:21 am

dxm_dxm wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:29 am
What you are saying is equal to saying radical antifa groups in syria, made out of western PC people, are the fault of Bernie Sanders or Obama voicing their pro-PC opinions in public without getting censored by some brain bodyguard.
No, that is not equal to what I am saying. Try to look at it this way: For years and years, there was a horrible post on DhammaWheel.com that referenced urinating on a certain prophet of another religion. It was vile stuff. DNS finally removed the post, but not until it was specifically pointed out. It is the kind of post that moderators should have caught in the first place, but didn't. It was part of a thread that attacked Islam. Many threads on this platform attack Islam, Christianity and other religions. Such attacks are not Dhamma/Dharma.

Reasonable boundaries can be drawn when one owns and operates a communications forum. YouTube and other companies have worked overtime to try to take down copies of the NZ massacre livestream video. You may regard this all as "getting censored by some brain bodyguard," but it's not. This hate-filled extremist crap should find no home on a properly managed platform.

Particularly on a platform devoted to Dharma/Dhamma, discussion regarding Right Speech should not be discouraged. The reality is that Trump has tapped into a real underlying racism in our society. White supremacists are more emboldened than ever to speak out. Trump actually encourages violence, promising for example to pay the legal bills of those who attack his opponents. Words matter.

By the way, labeling speech with the term "PC" or "political correctness" (if that is what you mean) (BTW a further form of name-calling) does not give anyone a free pass to engage in hurtful speech. On the one hand, we are responsible for our reactions to harmful speech. On the other hand, if we own and control the communications platform, or if we are permitted to participate with it, there is nothing wrong with appropriately moderating to discourage hurtful speech, and to encourage those who wish to raise the issue of Right Speech, and to allow harmful speech to be called out without being accused of being the "thought police." I understand you think it is fine to call others "PC people." You may think it's not a big deal. But it is name-calling.

And in anticipation of your next comment, yes, I called Trump a "racist." This is a form of name-calling. Trump is an elected, public official in an important global leadership role. Part of our civic duty is to make judgments about the character of such people. The same standard does not apply to name-calling in general, particularly as it is (unfortunately) permitted on this Buddhist platform when aimed at other forum members.
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:21 am

Buck,
As Admin and a Moderator here I don't want to pre-empt free discussion so I will engage in the thread as little as possible BUT if you continue to conflate this forum - Dharma Wheel Engaged - with the other two Wheels which (as someone has already noted) are administered and moderated quite independently, I will be offended enough to ask you to withdraw and rephrase your post. If you refuse, I will remove your post.

I don't mind (much) being criticised for my own actions or faults but I really don't think it's fair or reasonable to accept criticism for the actions of others.
Okay?

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:16 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:21 am
Buck,
As Admin and a Moderator here I don't want to pre-empt free discussion so I will engage in the thread as little as possible BUT if you continue to conflate this forum - Dharma Wheel Engaged - with the other two Wheels which (as someone has already noted) are administered and moderated quite independently, I will be offended enough to ask you to withdraw and rephrase your post. If you refuse, I will remove your post.

I don't mind (much) being criticised for my own actions or faults but I really don't think it's fair or reasonable to accept criticism for the actions of others.
Okay?

:namaste:
Kim
I agree with you. My understanding is that we were invited to visit/join DWE if we wanted to engage in this type of discussion. This type of discussion is not permitted on DWT.

Generally speaking, I think the level of discussion could be elevated across the platforms. However, this would probably make the various fora less popular. I will continue to advocate for discussions supporting Right Speech, civility, and traditional civic values. There should be a way to have disagreements yet maintain mutual respect and refrain from name-calling. And in light of the continuing, fatal attacks motivated by racial and/or religious animus, and fueled by online extremism, there should be a way to facilitate and encourage respect for all faiths on any forum that labels itself Dharma/Dhamma.
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:00 am

:thanks:

Now it's my turn: I agree with you. :smile:

The difficulty (challenge? problem? all three?) of online forums is that all kinds of people come along and join in the discussion. Moderation then becomes a balancing act between maintaining good behaviour and allowing free expression of opinions. Set the bar too high, and the forum becomes rigid, repressive, unfriendly; set it too low, and the quality of discussion goes :toilet: - sometimes very quickly.

All I can say is that all of us on the mod teams at the various Wheels do our best with what we have inherited from our predecessors.

:namaste:
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Nicholas » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:03 pm

A reminder of the key element in Right Speech (not to mention the other seven):
Now, in understanding wrong speech as wrong, and right
speech as right, one practises Right Understanding (1st factor);
and in making efforts to overcome evil speech and to arouse
right speech, one practises Right Effort (6th factor); and in
overcoming wrong speech with attentive mind, and dwelling
with attentive mind in possession of right speech, one practises
Right Mindfulness (7th factor). Hence, there are three
things that accompany and follow upon Right Speech,
namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right
Mindfulness.
Without individual effort freely chosen to practice nothing is gained. Imposition of right speech by moderators or a political regime or an educational institution etc. is neither Right Speech nor effective in producing either mundane nor supra-mundane Right Speech.

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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:11 pm

The OP is reminded that when a moderator gives you a warning and removes your post for violating TOS, you do not simply re-post it.

DS

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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Bundokji » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:45 pm

I still fail to see the link between old posts on DWT and the tragic incident in NZ :shrug:
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

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Buck McGeehy
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:51 pm

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:11 pm
The OP is reminded that when a moderator gives you a warning and removes your post for violating TOS, you do not simply re-post it.

DS
I did not simply re-post. Instead, I made substantive changes to the content to specifically address your concern that it was a "good-bye post." I thought this was allowed.
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Re: Horrors in NZ and taking responsibility for hurtful speech

Post by Buck McGeehy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:58 pm

Nicholas wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:03 pm
Imposition of right speech by moderators or a political regime or an educational institution etc. is neither Right Speech nor effective in producing either mundane nor supra-mundane Right Speech.
This illustrates the crux of the misunderstanding. Nobody can do your work for you. Nobody can impose right speech for you.

However, this does not mean that:
(1) the standards of a Dhamma/Dharma forum should not exclude extremist views.
(2) individuals who raise the issue of Right Speech should be condemned as the "thought police."

The platform is comprised entirely of speech. It should be appropriate to raise the issue of Right Speech. In a community of Buddhists, we can be supporting one another to develop all of the factors of the Path. When hurtful speech in manifest in our Buddhist community, it is appropriate to call it out.

Based on the everything available on the internet, this is an issue which has been brought repeatedly to the attention of DNS and DWT (and I realize it is not really fair to draw DWE into it, but this is the only forum which permits such discussion). Teachings on Right Speech, and discussion of Right Speech, is not the same is imposition of Right Speech.
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