Let's try a more extreme example directed at a smaller group than "motorists":
The moderators are too busy trading dodgy files on their private boards to remove public defamation of groups and only do so when the charity's equality policy absolutely unambiguously requires it.
Would the mods leave that sort of comment standing and if not, why not?
Sure, why not?
I would prefer to refute such a thing than delete it. I would only delete it if it descended into name-calling and that sort of thing.
We basically have a choice when it comes to stuff like this....
1) We can delete it every time it pops up. This can get to be quite a task with some topics. If, for example, we were to tackle those sorts of things in the helmet subforum, we could have a full time job when there is an active topic.
Also, we already get complaints that we impinge upon free speech. Yes, there's a limit to it. And no, it's not an exact science. We jsut do the best we can. We have banned people for posting offensive material, and people have left over 'censorship'.
2) We can leave it there for people to discuss, refute, and/or see how ridioculous a statement it really is.
This also has the advantages that it may provide an education for people who have not encountered the particular concept before. It may allow moderators to delete or combine threads on similar topics.
Graham wrote:Don't feed the trolls. Ignore them.
"Don't feed the trolls" was the failed attitude of many of my colleagues working with the Internet in the 1990s. It doesn't work and allowed too many good internet services to become cesspits which reasonable people walked away from.
These days, the courts throw the worst trolls in prison, ban them from social websites for years
and so on. Good! We have got to move beyond the "don't feed the trolls" soundbite - trolling is usually harassment, often mixed up with defamation or hate speech. You couldn't publish some trolling material as a magazine and you'd probably be in trouble if you posted much of it directly to someone - fortunately, most of the world has moved on beyond trying to excuse and appease these liars and so should this forum.
No one that I am aware of has been permitted to leave posts on this forum that would constitute a gaolable offence, and if you saw the stuff we *do* delete, I don't think that you would accuse us of a 'failed attitude', either.
"Don't feed the trolls" should not be taken too literally, but if you don't respond, and especially if you don't respond in kind to things that provoke or irritate you, these sorts of arguments cannot escalate.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom