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Newbie question

Postby Schrottrocker » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:26 pm UTC

Excuse me for making a new thread, I miss a general "newbie questions/feedback" thread... Reading through the newbie guide and the rules told me this whole subforum is the place for all forum questions, if I'm wrong here feel free to delete this and to direct me somewhere else :)

I have one question in particular since I'm new:
Spoiler:
These safespace topics...

I've never seen something like that in any other forum so I went through rules and guide and search function to find out what these topics are good for. I think I basically understood the intention: they're supposed to be places for certain groups of people to talk amongst themselves without arguments and questioning. Right? :wink:
Ok, now I was just wondering why only some groups of people get safespaces and others don't. E.g., the search function revealed a safespace for men which has been locked after only a couple posts, the bottom line of the debate in there was simply "men don't need a safespace". Well, why so? :?:
What's more, the queer and "colored" safespaces seem to work on the basis that they are open for all people except for one group. I don't get it?
It seems to come down to that I, being a straight white guy with no disabilities or mental health problems have no access to any safespace whilst my ex (if she was active here), herself being a queer colored disabled woman, could go into any safespace. Looks kind of odd to me regarding I was always being taught that all people are supposed to be equal :wink:
Well, I expanded my forum search to get myself informed, and I found an old thread about this. Unfortunately, that thread turned at an early stage into a heated up discussion and got locked; I wasn't able to find any answer why only certain kinds of safespaces seem to be appropriate. Which, however, appears to be a general feature to be connected with these safespace threads: as soon as anyone asks why they exist or what they are good for or even if only a "wrong" person answers in one of these threads, things instantly get heated up and topics get locked without a sound, dry discussion having taken place. That's at least the so-far result of my little forum research out of curiosity...

Now don't get me wrong, I know this is just an internet forum and nothing of this is going to bother me - if this is the way this forum works, I'm fine with it and I won't whine around and stuff. I'm just saying, being new here the whole thing looks kind of grotesque to me. Maybe I got a wrong impression, maybe I didn't search enough or I don't know about a sensible history behind this? - Please let me know if I'm wrong :)
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Re: Newbie question

Postby lanicita » Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:26 pm UTC

Firstly, all safespace threads are open for anyone to participate in. For instance, we get a lot of men contributing to the women thread, responding to questions and comments without starting debates or arguing.

Safespace threads are not like an exclusive club, so that everyone gets their own thread. They are a place for discussing topics that are specifically related to a group that is often marginalized or discriminated against on other parts of the world or internet, or even other parts of these fora, so they can discuss these topics without fearing any debate or criticism. Groups that have privilege, such as white males, do not need this type of thread. The whole internet is overrun with white males and you can go into basically any other corner of the internet if you want to be able to post about white male-related issues. That is not something that we tend to support.

As you will see, we do have a Man Thread which often just devolves into discussions of bacon and metahumor. Whereas the Woman Thread often involves feminist news, birth control, and other topics that do necessitate a guarantee that you can post whatever you want and not have to argue for it. Basically, we've seen what tends to be posted in either place and it turns out that it really is only the marginalized groups that necessitate the safespace tag.

Someone else may come along and explain this better.
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Re: Newbie question

Postby Schrottrocker » Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

Thank you for explaining, that makes sense. I'd suggest your post should be included in the newbie guide, I found the description there pretty confusing.
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Re: Newbie question

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:25 am UTC

A... kinda quick and dirty way of thinking about it is...

As a heterosexual able-bodied white male, the number of times you'll be asked questions pertaining to the entirety of Heterosexuals, Europeans or Men will likely take less than a single hand, and certainly less than both hands. Any time a heterosexual able-bodied white male is asked a question about a life-experience, the response will be taken to reflect his experience and his experience alone. In short, anything you say will be taken as, like, your opinion, man.

The same cannot be said for a homosexual Asian/Hispanic woman with a disability, particularly if she's living in a predominately white, male and heterosexual environment. Many times her responses to questions will be taken as responses for all homosexuals/lesbians, Asians, Hispanics, Women, or people sharing her disability, despite the responses reflecting only her situation. Hence, a safespace so that one particular person can, I don't know, bitch about not liking casseroles or something without it being taken as a reflection of one of the many groups of which she is a member.

So yeah, if you have an issue related to being a man or maleness or what have you, use the Man thread. No one in there is going to stop and try and play 20 questions with you about what it's like to be a Man and if it's weird to not menstruate or how it feels to have pretty much always had the Vote and so on. To a certain extent, the Safespace threads are so the people involved can have a discussion without having to stop and play Feminism 101 or Racism 55 to a bunch of clueless folks.
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Re: Newbie question

Postby Роберт » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:28 pm UTC

Safe-spaces are there for when they're needed.

They are for when people want to discuss something that almost constantly gets derailed without it getting derailed yet again.

XKCD has a Christian Safespace thread because people want to be able to talk about Christain-y things without having to be pointed to studies about how intercessory prayer doesn't work, or otherwise get baited into debates about the validity of Christianity or the horrible things the pope has done.

The need for an Abortion Safespace or a safespace for the less common sexualities or gender issues not conforming to the stereotypical gender binary should be obvious.
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Re: Newbie question

Postby Hammer » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:05 pm UTC

I think it's also worth mentioning that, if the Men safespace thread had been created in the spirit of the other safespaces and contained things like men discussing the difficulties they encounter when doing things like choosing to stay home with the kids while their wife supports the family or feeling targeted by other men if they don't present in a sufficiently macho way, it would likely have been allowed to stand. However, since it was specifically created as a mockery of the existing safespaces and consisted mostly of one person being a troll, it was locked.
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Re: Newbie question

Postby Schrottrocker » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

Thank you guys, you explained the concept of your safespaces very well and comprehensible.

As I said, I would suggest you include a "For newbies: what is a safespace" article in your FAQ; "safespaces" are not common in the online world and I as a newbie was simply wondering what they are supposed to be at all.
The little forum research I did revealed mainly controversial emotional debates that did not cast much light on the actual purpose and intention of the safespaces but rather made them look like they were rude no-go areas for a supposed stereotype of so called privileged people, which is most likely not serving your intent.

I have to add, the existence of most of your safespaces is indeed quite self-evident; yet, what really irritated me was the "colored people" safespace. This could well be misunderstood as a place for racism, alone by the fact that you guys are talking about "colored" and "white" people. Glancing at the discussion there I can recognize the common US-American pattern of "races" (dividing mankind into supposed "white", "black", "Asian", "Mexican", "Indian" and some other "races") - this way of categorizing people is neither well-known nor welcomed too much outside of the USA. Regarding this forum is international, my newbie suggestion for you guys would be to either close this topic or give it a clear explanation to avoid misunderstandings.

Hope this doesn't come across smartass-y or what, just trying to give helpful feedback about things that I found confusing in this forum :)


edit: @men topic: I know what you're talking about... sadly this is the way all the men topics go in the online world. :? Common problem but no solution in sight, it's only the guys themselves that could change that :roll:
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Re: Newbie question

Postby Роберт » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:54 pm UTC

Schrottrocker wrote: Glancing at the discussion there I can recognize the common US-American pattern of "races" (dividing mankind into supposed "white", "black", "Asian", "Mexican", "Indian" and some other "races") - this way of categorizing people is neither well-known nor welcomed too much outside of the USA.
Hmm... good point, there has never been a division of races in other countries like, say, Germany.

(Yes I'm Godwin-ing this because it's ridiculous.)
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Re: Newbie question

Postby Angua » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:59 pm UTC

I'm from the Caribbean, and we definitely notice (and sadly, sometimes also discriminate) people's races there (we even distinguish between the shades of those of African descent for descriptive purposes - I find it is more socially acceptable to mention someone's colour when describing them there than it would be in the US or UK).
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Re: Newbie question

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:20 pm UTC

S/F I is not the place for general discussion. The OP's suggestion has been noted and will be taken into consideration by the moderator staff.
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Re: Newbie question

Postby Hammer » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:23 pm UTC

Also: Big difference between "colored people" and "people of color". In this case, the safespace was labelled by the affected group. I'm not a member of that group and I'm not going to tell those who are what they should call themselves.
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Re: Newbie question

Postby jestingrabbit » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:15 am UTC

Lock'd
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