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Reiterating Policy on Hate Groups & Protecting our User Base


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  • Staff Team

Heya!

We know there have been a great deal of concerns shared amongst the user base on the forums and we want to make sure all of you know that we are taking these conversations very seriously. We want to assure that we are promoting the safety of our members and that people know exactly where we stand regarding the effects of harmful ideology. To this end, we are reiterating our terms on hate groups, hate speech, and how we want to hold ourselves as a site and a staff team accountable to protecting the marginalized members of our community. 

We have updated our CUP [Content Upload Policy] to the following:

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Generally Prohibited Content and Behavior

  1. Any Media which promotes, glorifies, encourages, or in any way puts forth in a positive light, and includes but is not limited to: terrorism, illegal acts, hate speech, hate groups (such as the KKK, Nazism, Fascism, Authoritarianism, the Alt-Right, Q-Anon, All Lives Matter, Back the Blue, Kekistan, etc.), harm or abuse to minors (including nsfw "cub" art), animals, or adults, spam or deceptive media, harassment, or human trafficking.

To ensure these policies are upheld, we are outlining our strategy of disciplinary action against those that break these prohibitions: 

  1. Warnings will be sent to those who indulge in baiting, trolling & intentionally incendiary posts meant to antagonize others with no purpose. (3> points)
  2. Suspending and monitoring those who post hate speech/hateful content, especially those that target marginalized communities. (BIPOC/LGBTQ+/disabled/differently-abled folks, neurodivergent individuals) (6> points)
  3. Permanently banning users who continue to post outright hate speech/hateful content. (9> points)


Here is how the report points system works:

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Context matters in how we manage reports. Not everything reported to moderators will warrant a warning. Frustration and snark are not inherently hateful, and people standing up for themselves against hate are not “as bad as their aggressor” for not maintaining perfect civility. We know that forcing civility is often at the expense of minorities forced to deal with microaggressions or overt othering all for the sake of the supposed comfort of the group. It is also important to point out that "civil" doesn't inherently mean "not bigoted", as plenty of hateful people are still capable of weaponizing harmful ideas whilst remaining, in their minds, "calm and civil". It is not always the simplest job to recognize all of these nuances of rhetoric, but we will make as an effort by continuing to build a diverse staff team with a great deal of personal experience.

That being said, there are common expectations and it is always important to keep our TOS in mind. Telling someone else to kill/harm themselves is not tolerated, please consider that when posting.

To help show how the Generally Prohibited Content and Behavior rules will be applied, here are some examples (note these are not all-encompassing examples and we will keep our ears open to make sure we address any loopholes, concerns or otherwise unintended consequences:

  1. Trolling & bait: Someone would receive a warning for this if they are posting multiple times with clearly antagonistic and/or intentionally incendiary comments meant to upset others. Bait adds nothing constructive to a conversation and is meant to get a rise out of fellow forum members and potentially provoke them into retaliatory statements. For example, someone continuously posting, in so many words, “wow so much for the tolerant left why don’t you just call me a nazi lol” in response legitimate points made by forum members is intentionally trying to upset them. This is not tolerated.
  2. Hateful speech as a first event: Levels of severity are to be considered here. Hateful content is something with intent and malice most of the time, but it can also be blatant ignorance that is harmful. Because of this we want to give some chance for individuals to rectify their behavior. If someone posts something that is harmful and recognizes the harm/tries to apologize and rectify the situation then they may receive a 6 point warning instead of an outright ban. Ignorance can take other forms as well. Accidentally posting harmful propaganda, appropriating imagery/ideas from other cultures disrespectfully, sharing/saying something one doesn’t realize is hateful (cultures differ and we have to inform and teach each other, even in punishment scenarios), or getting too heated and grossly insulting others in the forums may all be behaviors resulting in a suspension and/or other punishment.
  3. Hateful speech as an extreme and/or a pattern of behavior: While we want to differentiate between people making mistakes and people whom are known to be hateful, we also realize that sometimes statements and actions are so egregious that a person must face a ban regardless of whether or not it is their first offense. Calling individuals/groups slurs, openly supporting hate groups/hateful figures, posting hateful imagery, peddling known harmful conspiracy theories (i.e. Qanon and otherwise), and/or targeting others for intentional harassment based on their marginalized identity are all acts that can result in a permanent ban. An easy example of this behavior would be to publicly celebrate a mass shooter or weaponizing a racial slur. Moderators reserve the right to take in outside information regarding individuals conduct offsite if it is proof of extreme bigotry, to better protect our user base.
     

*Imagery depicting hate symbols in a negative light, such as characters tearing up a "thin blue line" flag or characters punching a Nazi in uniform, will not fall under this ban. Protest art often uses this tactic to make a point, which we recognize and celebrate.

There are still details to be worked out, but we will keep you all updated. Currently more moderators are being brought on, including me [heya!], @COMBVRO, @DeoTasDevil, @Skree, and @Sky King Wolfo! (There are plans to bring on more moderators!) We're all excited and eager to be here to help shape this community into a safer space for people of color, LGBTQ+ folk, neurodivergent folk, folks with disabilities and differently-abled people.

Along with this, we know that a block feature is needed and wanted, and it will become a priority to get implemented. It'll take some work and time, so some changes may come to the ignore feature to accommodate for the time being (the ignore feature will hide an ignored user's posts from you on the forums and in clubs.) We hope for now, these new rules and the action we will take against bigotry, will be an encouraging step to keeping our users safe.

We hope all of this will let us prevent any foothold of hate groups and/or radical right-wing conspiracies. This does not mean our jobs are finished, as we know we must remain on top of the situation regarding conservatism on this website as a whole. No one’s humanity is up for debate, no one on FLO should feel their personhood is a subject of argument. We have removed self-identified right-wing clubs from our service and intend to continue doing so. As a team we are committing to staying progressive on this subject long-term and will continuously take in critique and suggestions from the community to ensure FLO is a website where the user base can be confident their safety is a top priority.

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Heya! We know there have been a great deal of concerns shared amongst the user base on the forums and we want to make sure all of you know that we are taking these conversations very seriously. W

mod at your service

This is a very good point. I'll be sure to bring it up to the team. We are small right now, but we want to try to be as prepared as possible to handle the needs of our community.

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Just now, FamiliarAlien said:

This all sounds very good. Hopefully no foolish dorks try to claim our stance against glorifying terrorism means no antifa imagery (I know weird right wingers always try to play that game on other sites).

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i don't know all the new mods, but i absolutely cannot imagine KINDRED, COMBVRO, or DeoTasDevil playing that game! i think we are in the clear on that

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Thanks so much for this! Both for the transparency and the clear communication that y'all are listening to community feedback and suggestions. This is all wonderful news and I can't wait to see how your policies and moderation techniques will continue to evolve and become more effective in protecting our community. (I know that the upcoming site updates will help a lot of as well, and the devs working on the technical side of things are also very much appreciated)!

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Thank you for doing this! Since it's a bit unclear, have you banned art depicting zoophilia as well? It's stated that harm to animals is not allowed, I'm hoping you also consider zoophilia and bestiality to fall under this category since they do harm animals.

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Just now, ThornFlowers said:

Thank you for doing this! Since it's a bit unclear, have you banned art depicting zoophilia as well? It's stated that harm to animals is not allowed, I'm hoping you also consider zoophilia and bestiality to fall under this category since they do harm animals.

These are pointed out in our CUP as not permitted and we are currently editing our updated policy post regarding our recent poll! This should hopefully be out very very soon.

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I'M SO HAPPY HAPPY ABOUT THIS ??

Okay, but with this being pushed forward and hell YES to the final decision, idk if it's my place to actively say this? I'm not a tech nerd, but I believe (and I'm sure those who've been around long enough) that you guys as a team and the site itself might end up getting targeted because of this. We've seen it before on various different websites that have taken this step before.

We know this song and dance, we know what comes next when you give people like so the boot. Is there any way folks can help with the tech stuff to safeguard against DDoS attacks/raids/doxing/etc. that's bound to happen in the future?

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this was  exactly what was needed im glad to see these new mods. i dont care who disagrees with them, thier voices have been amazing and to see this after so little time? yes. yes yes. i KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this community of FLO will be the best community that there ever has been. and we can be the forefront of a healthy and positive image for the furry community as a whole.

 

edit : ill be putting in my subscription absolutely today.

Edited by Draco Fenris
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1 minute ago, hoosierbogwitch said:

I'M SO HAPPY HAPPY ABOUT THIS ??

Okay, but with this being pushed forward and hell YES to the final decision, idk if it's my place to actively say this? I'm not a tech nerd, but I believe (and I'm sure those who've been around long enough) that you guys as a team and the site itself might end up getting targeted because of this. We've seen it before on various different websites that have taken this step before.

We know this song and dance, we know what comes next when you give people like so the boot. Is there any way folks can help with the tech stuff to safeguard against DDoS attacks/raids/doxing/etc. that's bound to happen in the future?

This is a very good point. I'll be sure to bring it up to the team. We are small right now, but we want to try to be as prepared as possible to handle the needs of our community.

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