Recently there have been some discussions about the political stances of the Lemmy developers and site admins. To clear up some misconceptions: Lemmy is run by a team of people with different ideologies, including anti-capitalist, communist, anarchist, and others. While @dessalines and I are communists, we take decisions collectively, and don’t demand that anyone adopt our views or convert to our ideologies. We wouldn’t devote so much time to building a federated site otherwise.

What’s important to us is that you follow the site rules and Code of Conduct. Meaning primarily, no-bigotry, and being respectful towards others. As long as that is the case, we can get along perfectly fine.

In general we are open for constructive feedback, so please contact any member of the admin team if you have an idea how to improve Lemmy.

Slur Filter

We also noticed a consistent criticism of the built-in slur filter in Lemmy. Not so much on lemmy.ml itself, but whenever Lemmy is recommended elsewhere, a few usual suspects keep bringing it up. To these people we say the following: we are using the slur filter as a tool to keep a friendly atmosphere, and prevent racists, sexists and other bigots from using Lemmy. Its existence alone has lead many of them to not make an account, or run an instance: a clear net positive.

You can see for yourself the words which are blocked (content warning, link here). Note that it doesn’t include any simple swear words, but only slurs which are used to insult and attack other people. If you want to use any of these words, then please stay on one of the many platforms that permit them. Lemmy is not for you, and we don’t want you here.

We are fully aware that the slur filter is not perfect. It is made for American English, and can give false positives in other languages or dialects. We are totally willing to fix such problems on a case by case basis, simply open an issue in our repo with a description of the problem.

@letstry@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
65 hilabete

I like how the slur filter is described here:

“Note that it doesn’t include any simple swear words, but only slurs which are used to insult and attack other people.

but I guess the devil is in the details. Where do I see the actual words that are being blocked? When I clicked on the link I just saw a page of code which I cannot understand.

Lemmy is a fabulous creation - keep up the good work. I am excited to see what the future holds for Lemmy.

@sexy_peach@feddit.de
link
fedilink
55 hilabete

The slur filter has been removed since this post was made.

@nutomic@lemmy.ml
mod
creator
link
fedilink
15 hilabete

I dont know if the slur filter for lemmy.ml is posted publicly anywhere, but its just insults which no one would use in normal conversation. Also, each instance can define their own filter, or disable it completely.

creek
link
fedilink
06 hilabete

@nutomic test reply.

@grimmi@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
15 hilabete

going to reply to this test

@Yujiri@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
99 hilabete

Hi. I’m a new Lemmy user who used to spend a lot of time on Reddit, before I became so interested in decentralization. I’m actually thrilled to hear that the people running this instance are leftist and anarchist types. It makes me feel better about my decision to use the biggest instance.

About the slur filter, I was very annoyed to find out about it, for two main reasons: I think that as a matter of technical architecture, any sort of content filtering should always be kept out of the source code, even if it’s active on a certain instance; and that there are contexts where it’s acceptable to use those words, such as when quoting from someone else, or in a discussion about the concept of offensive language itself.

@SloppilyFloss@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
17
edit-2
urte bat

And developed by people who hate the fact that you’re alive!

A comment about Lemmy I saw on Reddit. The slur filter really pulls its weight and keeps the bigots out, it was a great idea.

Dessalines
mod
link
fedilink
11
edit-2
urte bat

Every time we get recommendations to remove the filter I think of this. These bigots end up staying on reddit, or moving to other bigoted platforms, and avoid lemmy, making our lives a LOT easier :smiling face: . I could care less about “growth” if that growth means an influx of disgusting racists. I’d much rather have a smaller, positive community that defends members of targeted communities.

@AgreeableLandscape@lemmy.ml
mod
link
fedilink
6
edit-2
urte bat

I keep saying this: the very existence of the slur filter, even though it’s actually trivial to remove or modify, acts like an alt-right/MAGA/bigot/freeze-peach repellent even though it’s trivial to remove or modify. Just look at the types of people on /r/RedditAlternatives who say they’ll never go to Lemmy because of this, and what their priorities on platforms they’re actually interested in are. To me, that’s half the battle.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this stance!

I think the slur filter is a brilliant idea, especially given the type of person it seems to bother most, and this site feels a lot less toxic than other online communities, probably as a direct result.

Dessalines
mod
link
fedilink
2urte bat

Thanks! :)

Question: is it hardcoded or just active on lemmy.ml? Can it be disabled (by an instance admin)?

From my understanding it is hardcoded into the source code. Not sure how hard it would be to remove if you ran the site yourself.

I guess should not be hard to just change the regex to ^$ so it only matches an empty string… then there is also Lenny

@Kroktann@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
3urte bat

I could care less about “growth” if that growth means an influx of disgusting racists. I’d much rather have a smaller, positive community that defends members of targeted communities.

You have no idea how good it is to see this attitude from the central developers of the platform. How much better wouldn’t the world be if more people were thinking like this? Kudos to you all!

@xe8@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
1urte bat

Federated social media platforms may always be smaller than the for-profit platforms which use all kinds of tricks to turn people into commodities: tracking users, using targeted advertising, having psychologists on the development team to “gamify” everything, incentivizing people to turn themselves into “content creators” and “influencers”, create and exploit addictive behaviour by having infinite scrolling pages and adjusting content based on “engagement” data.

So Lemmy won’t make you rich - but I think you’re ok with that.

@Deadnaut@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
1urte bat

I’m a fan of the current approach, especially if it allows the devs to focus their resources elsewhere. Can always be revisited later.

@Tomat0@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
9
edit-2
urte bat

Isn’t instance-blocking alone sufficient for being able to prevent the environment from being overrun? I understand the hesitancy to platform reactionaries, but as it stands the network effect is easily the biggest hurdle the Fediverse is going to face. Right-libertarians and actual reactionaries might be a net negative on the main instance, but as far as the software itself goes, numbers are numbers, and could end up making a world of difference.

Let them form their own circlejerks away from everyone else and have slur-blocking be on a per-instance basis, after all that’s why the federated design works so well.

@nutomic@lemmy.ml
mod
creator
link
fedilink
8urte bat

There are more important things than making numbers go up. Just the existance of the slur filter makes right-wingers upset, and stops them from even considering to use Lemmy. That makes our job much easier because we dont have to deal with them.

@Tomat0@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
5
edit-2
urte bat

I disagree just due to the aforementioned network effect. Numbers with social media have a snowball effect, where people make their decision on whether or not to participate based on existing levels of activity. What sets Lemmy apart from stuff like Lobste.rs and HackerNews IMO is that it’s integration of federation gives it potential to break out as a serious alternative to the platforms rather than catering a specific niche, so I’d say the snowballing is important also since it has the potential to help bring up the rest of the Fediverse.

Given Lemmy’s reputation as being a platform run by communists, the fact that such a hardcoded filter even existed to begin with, and also per-instance blocking/slur filtering, I’d think that should be enough to keep them away and stop them from polluting the communities associated with the flagship instances, then again I’m not an admin so I can’t say for sure. It’d also help the issue you mentioned regarding ambiguity of what slurs to include, since each community can decide that for themselves.

@nutomic@lemmy.ml
mod
creator
link
fedilink
8urte bat

Lemmy is growing quite well, one year ago we only had 800 users, now we are already at 13.000. Sure the slur filter might limit growth a bit, but we are not a silicon valley company whose goal is growth at any cost.

m-p{3}
link
fedilink
3urte bat

Can’t they just remove the slur filter, recompile and join the federated network with their instance?

@jadziadax@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
3urte bat

Would take a lot of effort and would be immediately unfederated when it was noticed. Not worth the time investment

Seeing the pile of comments on here, I just wanna go out of my way to say I think the slur filter is a great idea. Fascists will appropriate any leeway they’re given regardless of the ideological motivations under which said leeway is provided

It is but hardcoding it isn’t. First of all the server admin should be able to change the regex (preferably without editing the source code) to fit the community’s need.

RoAe
link
fedilink
11urte bat

Although I’m more right-leaning than left, I personally think it’s great that the people leading lemmy are communists, anarchists, etc. I think it helps provide a counter-balance to the more right leaning groups trying to avoid mainstream social media.

I like the idea of a slur filter as a moderation tool for any instance I am a part of, but I feel like it goes against the whole purpose of federated social media. Isn’t the point of federated stuff that you are free of centralized control, with the freedom to pick an instance which suits your desires? It seems wrong to impose any moderation, no matter how justified, on an entire federated platform.

Generally though, I love this platform! Thanks so much for all your hard work!

@marmulak@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
6urte bat

I think it helps provide a counter-balance to the more right leaning groups trying to avoid mainstream social media.

I think this point is important regardless of political spectrum. Lots of really nasty people have migrated to alternative platforms so that they can be nasty, but I’m glad Lemmy makes it clear enough that it’s not one of their nasty spaces.

Ideological freedom encourages nasty people. And restrictions encourage thoughtless people.

You can go on notabug and ignore the crazy psychos and chat with the creative people.

You can go on reddit and find endless people with no independent thought, repeating things and not listening to reach other.

Lemmy is in the middle. But IMO that’s not an objective good thing, it’s a preference.

@marmulak@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
3urte bat

False dilemma, no?

How so?

You have to assume that the devs’ rules do restrict the types if discourse which happen. But other than that, it all follows.

Maya
link
fedilink
4urte bat

So as @PP44 is saying, it’s open source. The devs work to make sure that anyone can set it up straightforwardly to run with their own modifications, not just the main version – and that means modifying the slur filter is also supposed to be straightforward, even though it’s not encouraged. There isn’t actual moderation on the whole platform per se, since two instances can federate even if one has no slur filter. There are lots of “points” to federated stuff, though, so the existence of a slur filter works well to help keep Lemmy from attracting the cesspool-types while still enjoying those other benefits.

It should be in a config file IMO, so communities can add/remove things based on their needs. There might be a community consisting of black people, for example, who would want to jokingly use the n-word between themselves. Hardcoding it into the code makes it harder to change it for legitimate use-cases. Putting it into a separate file could also help people to customize Lemmy for their language (there are languages where offensive words in English are just ordinary words).

Not everyone is tech-savvy enough to find the regex in the code and patch it out, and that could make a lot of people’s life a lot harder

@PP44@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
0urte bat

I’m clearly “left-leaning”, so I might be biased, but I don’t agree with your criticism toward the slur filter : the project is open source, and as such people wanting to use these slur can work they way to another version. The devs explain here a clear intention to make this change difficult enough to prevent at least partially the migration of some communities they don’t want to support and/or give a platform to. I think that’s an honest way to do things ?

It also open up the debate on free speech and how saying some things actively attacks fundamental rights of others. In those cases, defending free speech as a “right” becomes irrelevant since both sides of the debate can use this logic to defend opposing actions. Trying to be short here, hope you understand what I mean !

The devs explain here a clear intention to make this change difficult enough to prevent at least partially the migration of some communities they don’t want to support and/or give a platform to.

I’m happy it’s becoming harder for neonazis to find a home online, however i’m not happy that this makes lemmy english-centric, and i’m not happy that honest discussion about some topics (including thoughtful criticism) will be made harder.

Related example: on another message board a few weeks back i couldn’t post a message containing my criticism of “bitcoin” because bitcoin was part of the slur filter to filter out the crypto-capitalist clique… i understand and appreciate why it was put in place, but i felt really powerless as a user that a machine who lacks understanding of the context of me using this word, decided i had no right to post it. I appreciate strong moderation, but i don’t trust machine to police/judge our activities.

@PP44@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
4urte bat

I quite agree with you that moderation is hardly a machine job, and not saying it is the perfect solution. It sure as it’s drawback. I am just arguing that the benefits outweigh them. I would prefer to be in a world where there are not needed, be as of the world today, I admit I prefer having this filter rather than not having it, mostly because of the systemic effects I explained.

I agree that the relevance of he content of the filter can be discussed too, and that banning some words can make it difficult to discuss certain topics. But I think some words are almost always meant to harm, and can be easily replace by more positive or neutral term.

As a direct example : I can talk in this post about homosexuality, and I can event paraphrase to talk about the way some f word is used as a slur for it and how I think allowing it here isn’t a good idea in my opinion. See, I can talk about it, be respectful about it. I just prevent to call you a [insert here whatever banned slur] pretending to use my free speech.

I prefer having this filter rather than not having it, mostly because of the systemic effects I explained.

That’s also the case for me, in case that was not clear :)

I think some words are almost always meant to harm, and can be easily replace by more positive or neutral term.

I don’t think it’s that easy, because of the context. Should all usage of the n***** word by black people be prevented? Should all usage of w****/b**** words by queer/femmes folks in a sex-positive context be prevented? etc… I agree with you using these words is most times inappropriate and we can find better words for that, however white male technologists have a long history of dictating how the software can be used (and who it’s for) and i believe there’s something wrong in that power dynamic in and of itself. It’s not uncommon that measures of control introduced “to protect the oppressed” turn into serious popular repression.

Still, like i said i like this filter in practice, and it’s part of the reason i’m here (no fascism policy). As a militant antifascist AFK, i need to reflect on this and ponder whether automatic censorship is ok in the name of antifascism: it seems pretty efficient so far, if only as a psychological barrier. And i strongly believe we should moderate speech and advertise why we consider certain words/concepts to be mental barriers, but i’m really bothered on an ethical level to just dismiss content without human interaction. Isn’t that precisely what we critique in Youtube/Facebook/etc? I’m not exactly placing these examples on the same level as a slur filter though ;)

@PP44@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
4
edit-2
urte bat

As often in cool debate, I think in the end we mostly agree. I especially agree with you on the point that reclaiming a word is a valid way of using some slur, and that it should not be to a privileged group to choose when a word is ok or not. On this point I have to point out that this is still the case with manual moderation, if most moderator are privileged. So I agree that diversity should be push in all places of power, and all decision are better made (and more legitimate) with a diversity in the group that make them.

But on the automated part, I really think the psychological aspect is strong and should be questioned. You talk about “human interaction” but this definition is really hard non only to define, but also to defend as an efficient way of reaching you goals. I am quite sure that when the devs made their filter, there was quite a lot of human interaction and debate around it, and the simple fact the put one show that they interacted with other people around them. And is a “manual” moderation a human interaction when you don’t see or know the person, don’t know their culture, the context, their tone, etc. Moderation will never be perfect, will always involve bad decisions, errors. When errors are mades “directly” by humans, compassion and empathy help us to try and understand before judging (but judging nonetheless in the end don’t get me wrong). Why is it so different when an automated system (created by an imperfect human) ? Why is an automated error worse than a human one if the consequences are the same ?

Long story short, I don’t like thinking along great principles like “automated moderation is dangerous”, but rather try analyze the situation and think : would this place be better if there was not this automated moderation ? I agree that this is a wide and difficult debate one what is “better” of course, but the focus should always be this one : how to make things better.

Thank you so much for your answer, i’m not used to debate online because I didn’t feel at ease anywhere else before, but I love it and it is thanks to people like you and all the other interesting answers I get that I can enjoy that and think about it so much ! Thank you thank you <3 !!

(edit : typo)

this is still the case with manual moderation, if most moderator are privileged

Sure, but given a /c/blackfolks community, a white admin would probably think twice before getting involved in internal matters over there. Which an algorithm will have no clue about.

I am quite sure that when the devs made their filter, there was quite a lot of human interaction and debate around it, and the simple fact the put one show that they interacted with other people around them.

The latter is true, but i believe the former isn’t. Having some kind of filter shows great concern for people experiencing harassment/bullying online, but using a word-based filter is a known anti-pattern since about the end of the 90s. I remember i used to go to this library, and from there you couldn’t access the library’s own website because the name of the library contained a french slur inside (though the whole was not a slur really) and the library-wide MITM proxy had a slur list like the one lemmy implemented. That’s how clueless such systems are.

Why is an automated error worse than a human one if the consequences are the same ?

For the reason you mentioned: lack of context and empathy.

would this place be better if there was not this automated moderation ?

Certainly not. I’m not advocating for removing the slur filter on this specific instance. I’m arguing having it hardcoded into the source is a strong political posture and we don’t really measure the variety of consequences it may have on the ecosystem as a whole.

Thank you so much for your answer (…) <3

Thanks to you too <3! I strongly appreciate online debate in such settings. Are you by any chance too young to remember when (before Facebook) forums/BBS were the craze? We really lost something (on a human/political level) when everyone moved to these centralized platforms where interactions were turned uniform and bland, and real-name policies have led to real-life crisis (bullying, suicides…).

@nutomic@lemmy.ml
mod
creator
link
fedilink
1
edit-2
urte bat

Thanks for your comment, I’m really happy to read something like this. I’m glad that people can really get along here :)

That’s the defence of the “slur filter” that everyone can agree on. It’s harmless because it does almost nothing. It has no real benefit or cost.

The people who say it deters fascists - it just doesn’t hold water.#

@PP44@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
1urte bat

I don’t know, if I believe some comments around here, there are clearly some of them that explicitly explain they would not come here because they feel “hated”, in public, so clearly to deter anyone close to them to come here for these reason. If so, it means it has some positive effect, and it seems plausible to me.

@roastpotatothief@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
0
edit-2
urte bat

I don’t understand a lot of your message.

But if i get the gist, that might not be so positive. People who feel hated, isolated, afraid to express themselves in public, they are the people we should welcome.

It sounds like they are teenagers who are just figuring out their views. They all have strange and offensive ideas at times, but with help most people figure out a sensible worldview in the end.

@nutomic@lemmy.ml
mod
creator
link
fedilink
1
edit-2
urte bat

As long as they can stop themselves from insulting or attacking other people, they can come to Lemmy with no problem.

@PP44@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
0urte bat

Sorry, it was not clear at all ! I was talking about fascist publicly denouncing lemmy as a platform suppressing their free speech, and that, as such, it should be avoided.

@roastpotatothief@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
1
edit-2
urte bat

Okay i didn’t get that at all.

Bit this new idea sounds like a paradox - someone pro free speech would mind object to that denouncement at all.

@PP44@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
0urte bat

I’m not sure I understand what you mean here sorry.

@roastpotatothief@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
0
edit-2
urte bat

Trying to avoid someone denouncing you - it means suppressing his free speech.

If you don’t want someone denouncing you, then you are not tolerant of all free speech.

alive

@PP44@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
1urte bat

They do not complain about lemmy only denouncing, but putting filter to prevent certain words, which they see as free speech denial. At least I guest, i’m not in their head. To be clear I’m referencing this citation (that I found in another comment on this post) :

And developed by people who hate the fact that you’re alive !

The strong political stance seems to really put them off…

RoAe
link
fedilink
1
edit-2
urte bat

Perhaps I was a bit too harsh on the filter. After all, you’re right that someone could just modify the code. Even so, it doesn’t really seem like it lines up with the philosophy of federated platforms. It makes it more difficult to customize moderation on the instance level. I also feel like the problem of platforming nasty people could be solved by moderation on the instance level and blocking instances which don’t have adequate moderation. That’s what it’s going to need to be in the end anyway if Lemmy grows enough and people customize the code.

It does bring up the free speech debate, but I find those usually aren’t very productive in these sorts of contexts. It’s not really a legal question since the government isn’t involved, and they usually just end up being each side stating their presuppositions.

It’s not terribly important in this case anyways, I just thought I’d share my thoughts on it.

@PP44@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
2urte bat

I mostly agree. And I agree that if the platform really grows, it will come down to per instance moderation and instance admins choosing wisely the instances they choose to federate with. But I think the choice is to make sure to give a head start to the people they want to welcome here. With the recent events in the US, imagine lemmy being the next tool used by “some people” the devs wich didn’t come. Then the platform as a whole would be much less attractive to some other people the devs are more interested in helping and interacting with.

So I think we agree, on the long term, if Lemmy grow, someone will come up with a modified version without thoses filter. It will just take more time. Meanwhile, Lemmur gets to be at peace as much as it can ?

Thanks for your answer !

@threethan@lemmy.ml
link
fedilink
4urte bat

I agree with the policy in concept, and I think it has generally done good. As a new user to the platform I am impressed by how friendly and non-vitriolic it seems to be.

Having the filter hard-coded and public is a great way to keep things transparent and free from abuse.

However, I do have some issues with the actual content of the list.

I’m not going to even allude to them for obvious reasons, but there are many slurs that really should be included and are not.

There’s also the case of reclaimed slurs. While some of the slurs on the list are pretty much purely used by racists, a few are frequently used in a reclaimed context, and excluding them may harm or exclude the targeted group - possibly more so than to allow them.

OdinTheProle
link
fedilink
3urte bat

I understand the perspective of slurs being used in a reclaimed context. However I used to be an admin for a relatively large multiplayer MILSIM game and I can tell you right now that perspective falls apart the moment trashy people get their hands on it. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the excuse “but I am black” or “but I am gay” in an attempt to defend what is clearly a statement meant to harm a specific minority group.

This isn’t to say I don’t understand where you are coming from because I do but I don’t think that the internet is really a place that can be a safe space for people to anonymously use reclaimed words no matter the context. You would be surprised how many people may infiltrate a space just to get a pass to say slurs.

Geotechland
link
fedilink
6urte bat

@nutomic@lemmy.ml Glad you posted this! I’ve been getting a lot of comments on my video about Lemmy regarding the political views of the Lemmy devs.

I’ve think I’ve handled them like a champ but they seem to be so afraid that Lemmy will be used to “convert” people to communist ideology which is absurd.

As for the slur filter, while I personally don’t think it’s a good way to deal with abuse on Lemmy instances (e.g words can be used in different contexts). I understand the reasoning behind it.

I set up a slur filter first thing when I made r/antifastonetoss – but I left reddit last year, so I don’t know how the discourse progressed after that. But the mod team on AST is composed of various ideologies and marginalised people which was instrumental in setting up a slur filter without seeming like we dictated our vision too much on the community.

We made it to foster a safe environment where people can feel welcome to, and so they feel they have the right to participate. Ultimately it needed some tweaking, because the community used some words a lot and their status as a slur was not entirely clear yet. IIRC we only ended up removing the words id.ot and st.pid from the filter. Overall, it worked well. It did remove a lot of bad actors straight up (fascists and reactionaries who wanted to argue), with very few false-positives.

Even in the case of words that could be used in several ways (homophones mostly), we basically knew how many instances of false-positives and true-positives there was and could decide to filter them on a case-by-case basis. Of course if you want to deploy this to a whole project and its future instances, it’s a different question.

It’s a dialogue between your users and your vision. I firmly believe you get the community you deserve, meaning that your actions as a community manager (or moderator or admin whatever) will shape your community. We removed the words mentioned above because it was causing a lot of frustration and we never had someone write us to say “hey I’m glad you filter these two specific words”. Or even after removing them, we never had someone say “I prefered when they were filtered because I feel targeted”. Lacking a proper audit of our community, this was our way to gauge . So in the end it removed some frustration and the users were overall happier that they could use these two words, even if I personally believe there are other words that work just as well. We felt we were driving people away and it was counterproductive to keep them in when it was having 0 noticeable benefits. Of course this doesn’t work for every word lol. I’m reminded of the “t-word” debate on animemes and in this case I think they were right to ban it.

Yes, some words have been reclaimed. And not everyone considers the same words to be slurs. What we did was err on the side of caution, and figure that words that have been reclaimed were allowed because there was only a very small chance of someone using it disparagingly – and if they did they would usually be mocked in the comments. Of course though this applied to a subreddit where a) we live with fascists on the whole site (one of the reasons I left reddit altogether) and b) our community was already mostly aware of these issues and knew not to push the buttons. We could also trust them to push back against people using these words as slurs, as did the mod team.

As for words that some didn’t consider a slur when it applied to them, we kept them in if the status was unclear. Because while some people didn’t think it was a slur and laughed about the word, others did consider it a slur, and we took the stance of doing more good than harm which was to ban the word.

We also allowed people to censor the words with some characters (asterisks aren’t ideal because markdown uses them), YMMV. We figured that in most cases a censor would be enough not to trigger anything but we’d see if someone would mail us to say censors are not enough for them. Ultimately nobody did, so we kept it like this because

There’s also one other very important benefit to a slur filter: not only does it frustrate fascists so much that they just stop writing (and their comments are not seen, that’s a win-win), but the filter also helps keep conversations level-headed. I don’t want to be a lib and worship peace, but in our project it was important that people could get along and focus their anger at stonetoss, not at each other. If your comment gets removed because you didn’t think and used a slur, it would get removed, and you’d get a private message telling you which word you used and to please censor it or delete it. That also gave them time to think about what they really wanted to say, because often you realize after writing your comment that you don’t really care all that much and what is even the point of sending it?

People circumventing the filter was never an issue, except to fascists who would get banned for other reasons. We did take a no-nonsense policy on this and flat out said in the private mail that circumventing the filter on purpose will result in a permanent ban. Most of the time if there was any issue, it was people not understanding how some word was a slur, but after explaining it they usually understood. That’s why people – in this particular community at least – didn’t circumvent the filter; they understood to some extent that the word wasn’t a good one to use. And really it’s easier to put in an asterisk or period than to try and make it go through.

But I wanted a slur filter day one on antifastonetoss to make people understand what kind of community we wanted. We didn’t want the edgy teens, we didn’t want the cryptofash, we didn’t even want the libs. We wanted leftist people who wanted to really hurt a fascist and could remain respectful between themselves. We wanted people who had some amount of knowledge about these issues in the first place because again, you get the community you build. Of course we had no issues with newcomers and understood that some people had no idea about fascism (which is why I wrote some articles for the subreddit) or that they may not understand why we had a filter, and we were prepared to explain that with the help of the more knowledgeable part of the community.