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Censorship on this site?

Rule discussion, feature requests, what have you.

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

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Postby movieman1957 » April 19th, 2008, 9:43 pm

I won't speak for Jon or Moira. There is a relatively short list of words that are blocked. Most of those would be self evident.

I think whatever censorship there is is primarily self imposed. I think it could be a matter of making the point obvious without being totally obvious. I don't think we have that many youngsters here but I think it is more just a consideration than anyone lording over every word.

I haven't seen the need to question anything anyone has said as far as a particular word. Maybe the other moderators have.

Now I have to go find my copy of "Casino Royale."

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."


Postby klondike » April 19th, 2008, 9:50 pm

Cut & pasted here directly from the "Things You Can't Do" section of our Code of Conduct (easily found in our Site Talk forum):

To develop a comfortable environment for all members of varied ages and tastes, we encourage you to be sensitive to the fact that there are those who are offended by strong language. In general, we ask you to restrict yourselves to language permissible on U.S. network TV.

"Filter dodging" (the use of symbols or deliberate mispellings to avoid spelling out an offensive word) is frowned upon. An exception may be made when quoting a public figure, but again, we ask you to use your judgement.

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Postby moira finnie » April 20th, 2008, 7:54 am

Hi Bryce,
I welcome your thoughtful input. When deciding to censor certain words on this site around the same time that the Code of Conduct was composed, one thing that was considered was that the common usage of many anglo-saxon words in everyday life and on network television has removed their emphatic meaning for some, but not all readers.

Blocking words was intended to encourage posters to be as articulate as possible, to enable visitors with kids to surf this site with a degree of confidence, and to encourage a degree of civility and a level of prose that might be better than network television, (and most websites).

There are members who view this site with children and grandchildren, and would like to keep a somewhat family-friendly atmosphere here. Inevitably youngsters will undoubtedly hear these words a few hundred thousand times in their lives, but maintaining one small website where that might not occur isn't going to cause our resilient constitution to fall completely to pieces.

I tend to think that "b****" and "f***" with the asterisks give a quote or the point being made more emphasis, not less. Besides, since we're largely composed of pretty savvy adults here, it's a safe bet that we can use our imaginations to fill in the blanks, (or rather, the asterisks).

I realize that this explanation may not be something you like or agree with, but I hope that you continue to participate here whenever you'd like. Your observations are welcome. Thank you.

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Postby Ollie » April 20th, 2008, 9:09 am

Of course, I'd like to see the screenwriters choose different words or phrases entirely. Most of their choices - like Rhett Butler's walk-off line - was done for its shock value and that only is appropriate in the theatre-audience context in that era. Now, when new viewers of that film see it, they probably have LITTLE initial understanding of the impact of that line. It's so diluted, and when they study the film's place in cinema history, they probably giggle and smirk that the line had any impact at all.

So, does the line belittle the film? The audience? The era?

After all, he could have said, "Frankly, I won't ever care" and the impact of HIS intent would remain timeless.

But the writers had a choice to make, just like we all do, to make dialog appear timeless or time-appropriate - the show the Age of the dialog or to try to transcend eras and styles.

Mostly, I'm surprised filmmakers - who have a belief that TV revenues can be important - would ever want to create a film that requires additional expenses and edits at some different time-period. Why not aim for "timeless" so future edits aren't needed by some broadcasts, and reduce their expenses and increase profits?

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Postby Mr. Arkadin » April 20th, 2008, 9:41 am

Personally, I'm not a fan of coarse language, but there are times when it works--and is even necessary--in film.

As far as GWTW, it speaks to Rhett’s character and who he is as a blunt man. He does not pretend airs or hold Scarlett’s hypocrisy. His choice of words is much like his character—forceful and direct.

There are many other films where language wields similar power, and to change or edit that language, is to change the intent and meaning of the film.

I don’t really care for a first word followed by asterisks because first of all it disrupts the flow of the sentence. Secondly, I am using my mind to “connect the dots” and visualize this word, giving it more impact (and making it more personal) than the writer ever intended.

I honestly think quotes from films should be allowed, but everyday speak should indeed conform to the rules. These are just my personal thoughts though. As Jon said once:

“Censorship is what I say it is.”

We all agree to the rules and limits of this board and work within them.

When I wanted to start off an essay with a quote from a film that had an objectionable word, I Pmed Moira about it and asked if it would be okay. Having the word edited would have robbed the statement of much of its power and if that was going to happen, I needed to change it, or post it somewhere else. As the rules say, use your own judgment. If you have a serious complaint, PM the Moderators.


Postby klondike » April 20th, 2008, 12:24 pm

Mr. Arkadin wrote: As the rules say, use your own judgment. If you have a serious complaint, PM the Moderators.

Great point, Mr. A; and let me just elaborate for a wee bit here.

One of the most important responsibilities of being a Moderator for SSO is being approachable by each one of our Members by PM.
The concern doesn't necessarily need to be what you'd consider "a serious complaint" either; virtually any concern or issue that you feel needs a deeper review by us, or that you feel is not being resolved through typical forum discussion, or needs special consideration . . any and all of those situations would certainly qualify as recommendable for our attention!
Admittedly, each one of us Moderators/Administrators here at SSO is Human enough to have our own individual spins & slants, peeves & peccadillos (go ahead ask me about Ford automobiles, or the New England Patriots . . I dare ya!); nevertheless, I believe we've maintained a well-earned reputation for fairness, and fair-mindedness, and have reliably gone to great measures to make everyone feel at home here at the Silver Screen Oasis.
See, IMO, that's the real bottom line: the more comfortable you feel logging on to this site, and participating with your fellow Members here, the more you'll want to participate, and spread the word about the fun you have here . . and that's how young, little sites grow, and improve!
So, if you feel you need to reach out to us through a PM, please don't hesitate to do just that!
Truly, we are here to serve!
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

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Postby SSO Admins » April 20th, 2008, 1:30 pm

I agree with Bryce -- I think the profanity filters as implemented are pretty silly -- in fact, if my vote was the only one that counted, we wouldn't have them at all. It's much more important to look at context -- is someone cursing for the hell of it or is there an actual point that needs to be made?

They're also stupid and incapable of looking at what's actually being said -- I was once caught by PFs on a cooking site for using the word "cucumber" because of a three letter string within the word, which given the context was laughable.

In addition, "family friendly" is pretty far down on the list of criteria of any discussion devoted to artistic achievement in my view, especially one devoted to the last period in Hollywood history when movies were made for actual adults rather than teens. However, if you look at the TCM boards from the period when TCM Underground was being implemented, you'll see a LOT of posts from people who were just fine with the Production Code and wish we still had it.

I'm more in favor of active moderation by real people who are able to use judgment. There are problems with that approach as well, but at least it's not mindless.

However, I don't make the rules here. As far as PMing the mods, if you want to report a specific violation of one of the rules, that's the approach to take. If you have an issue with a rule in general though, that's what the Site Talk forum is for. I can't see any policy as not being open for discussion.

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Postby SSO Admins » April 20th, 2008, 1:48 pm

¡Ciao! Patsy wrote:I have not, and never will, without exception, battle a rule on a private forum which was enacted with a more comfortable and inviting atmosphere in mind. It isn't my forum, I've no right.

I agree with this entire post except for this. You have every right to make your wishes known regarding the rules. A forum is nothing without its members, and having members who care enough to try to make it a better place, regardless of whether their wishes are eventually enacted, is evidence that they are invested enough in the site to care about making it better.

You, or any other member, has an absolute right to challenge the policies here. It is your forum.

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Postby SSO Admins » April 20th, 2008, 4:34 pm

I'm with you in having a liberal viewpoint on what can be said (I'm an ex-journalist), but it's also important to remember that this site was started after the TCM board was overrun by trolls of all kinds. We may be overly sensitive to such things, understandably.

To answer your question about who runs it (and I'm glad you asked), it's moirafinnie and the moderators, and they all do a great job. I can see where it's confusing, since the admin emails come from me. When I share my opinions on something like this, that's all they are -- my opinions. moirafinnie is both free and responsible for setting the tone and direction of the site, and you can see by the results that she does a fantastic job. They can and do disregard me, and that's ok.

I'm the administrator, meaning I keep the software going and pay the hosting bills. The only thing I have an active role in as far as the site content goes is the guest star program, and even that's limited to the guests that I personally invited, like Brownlow and Shepard.

So don't take my thoughts on this as having official weight, because they don't. I absolutely will not intervene in site policy other than spouting my opinions.

I did put my foot down about chet and connie though.


Postby klondike » April 20th, 2008, 4:52 pm

jondaris wrote:
I did put my foot down about chet and connie though.

Yes, about that, Jon . .

I have it on good authority that since losing their gig here, they're co-habiting a rusty airstream just past the junction of I-4 & U.S. 213, in San Huevos, Utah.

Chet's traded in his Sunbeam roadster, is working weekends as a relief roadie for Wall of Voodoo, and had to cancel his GQ & Esquire subscriptions.

Connie's taking an on-line beautician course, and has started drinking on the down-low.

Things do not look good.

I hope you can live with this.

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