Today, I got a private message from a mod. The message said I wasn't being nice and my chat posts were rude and contained inappropriate content on chat:

Chat is supposed to be a more relaxed place than the main site, but that doesn't make it a wasteland with no rules.

My understanding is that chat is for friendly banter. Can someone look at this chat transcript from a lazy Sunday afternoon and tell me what exactly from the following chat transcript turned the chat into a wasteland with no rules ? I think if you take offense to a laughable comment like 'even appetite has a tit in it' you are going to find this chat offensive.

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    In the interest of completeness, I should point out that I moved the linked messages to that separate room after the fact. The conversation originally started with this message, but nobody complained about that beginning bit being objectionable. – Pops Jan 6 '14 at 22:31

The very first line I read in that transcript was:

but, a pussy is a pussy my friend. And I aint eating the same one for the rest of my life

I hesitated to quote that, but in the interest of making the problem clear I have little choice. Understand that I don't really care what context that was said in, if this line appears in a chat transcript, I know I've entered a wasteland.

To be clear about what that communicates to me:

  1. Women may be reduced to a single body part and a single function.
  2. Women are basically interchangeable.
  3. Relationships are unimportant; sexual satisfaction is all important.
  4. People, such as myself, who have dedicated ourselves to one person for life are fools.
  5. The speaker is completely insensitive to the values and mores of other cultures.

To be fair, you might not have intended any of these things to be communicated. But the nature of chat is such that statements are bound to be taken out of context. Considering that there are a dozen or more messages in that conversation which communicate similar things to me, it's hard for me to escape the suspicion that my impression is accurate.

We have users as young as 13 on our sites. Some of them are bound to use chat. I'm not naive enough to believe that they can't find far more immature conversations elsewhere. (I can recall similar conversations on the schoolyard when I was 13.) But Stack Exchange should not stoop to the level of junior high titillation. I expect more from our travel site.

One more thing: a deleted message referred to "house slaves". If I ever read anything that even hints at approval of human trafficking (as I feel that message did) I will personally supsend that person for a very long time.

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    Great answer. I can see how bad that comment was. About human trafficking, it wasn't my approval, but just a mention of facts. I got mine from wiki and may be the wiki is wrong (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Saudi_Arabia) : The Government of Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government continues to lack adequate anti-trafficking laws ... – happybuddha Jan 7 '14 at 17:56
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    @happybuddha: Thanks for clarifying. As I said, context is everything and it's pretty easy to have things taken out of context on chat. Just something to keep in mind on a lazy Sunday afternoon. – Jon Ericson Jan 7 '14 at 18:15

IMO, it's offensive. I started reading it and couldn't finish. My opinion: Pops made the right call at the right time.

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    This post is not answering the question as it stands. I am really trying to understand. At which point did it force you to abort reading ? – happybuddha Jan 7 '14 at 0:37

I can understand that a company like Stackexchange does not tolerate this kind of dumb and pubertary discussion on one of their websites. Personally I do not find these sexual and sexist remarks particularly offensive but they do not really contribute to the reputation of the site either.

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    hear hear, fully agree, although I don't think many will consider the chat function for the reputation of the site. I for one have never visited the chat box of stackoverflow, which I would consider the stackexchange with the highest reputation. – user141 Jan 7 '14 at 12:23
  • For sure, the slonsors and advertisers, current and potential ones, DO have a look at everything, including the chat – user3470 Jan 7 '14 at 13:05
  • I would have loved to add a word to my verbiage and ask the meaning of pubertary, but considering you already think the discussion is just dumb and not derogatory, I will take that, that's what you wanted to convey as your answer. The mods found it derogatory. – happybuddha Jan 7 '14 at 15:55

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