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Discussion on: DEV Community: Ableist Language & Maintaining an Inclusive Environment

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leob profile image
leob • Edited on

You already replied to my reply (but I'm unable to reply to your reply to my reply, lol) but just know that I'm with you and with what you said, 99 or 100 percent. What I want to add to that, is that my concern is when these issues are being framed too heavily in politicized or ideological terms, like "woke" or "activist" or "identity politics". I get irked a bit when I read generalized statements like "society is ... or does ... or has always" or "people tend to ..." or "throughout society for centuries ...". All of that is debatable, and arguably subjective - don't give me opinions, stick to the facts!

What I do value however is if dev.to promotes empathy and humanity - when you write a text with words like "deaf", "blind", "idiotic" or whatever, do put yourself in other people's shoes and ask yourself: would this offend someone who's not like me? Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself! Those are the concepts that I would like to put front and center, as guiding principles: respect, empathy and humanity ... and the good thing is that it does not just apply to ableism but also to race, gender, you name it.

I don't feel we really need a special "approach" for each subject, with a list of forbidden words, or the need for policing. Just the basic principles, and what's great is that these are universal, that we can all agree on them, and that they also translate to other cultures and countries (outside of the US, that is).

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial • Edited on

Glad to know I am not the only one 🤣

I am not going to wander into "woke" etc. as I know that my ideology is not a good fit here and I do not want to muddy the water on the point I am making by bringing other things into the mix (but I do agree with you on most points - I am centre with possibly even a slight right lean in some people's eyes! Hell I agree with every word that people like Thomas Sowell say and most stuff he says would be super offensive here.)

But this time my objection and criticism is not driven by beliefs, politics etc. It is driven by experience and observation in the real world.

I would rather the community moderated itself here than the mods and the DEV team as this is one thing that we need a:

Person A: "that isn't acceptable language"

Person B: "but it is a preferred term in my Country, please do not take offence"

Person A: "could we perhaps use the term...X"

Person B: "sure, as long as not in this context"

type of understanding on as that is how we arrive at terms that we can use internationally.

Anyway I have written too many essays, I better go get some work done!!

P.s. the reply to your reply to my reply thing is always interesting 😋🤣

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leob profile image
leob

Agree to all of that ... they shouldn't be policing the site in a witch hunt for "wrong" words or whatever (who decides that?), what should be the core principle is - do people act and communicate with respect and empathy? If we see that they do then fine, we're done. If we see they don't - yes then we can call them out, I'm all for it.

And, please please please, let's stay far away from politics and ideology here at dev.to, it's toxic and divisive and it has no place here - too many realms of life and society are already poisoned by endless political debate - we need less politics and ideology, not more.

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ellativity profile image
Ella Ang (she/her/elle)

Chiming in here as a member of the DEV Team:

Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself! Those are the concepts that I would like to put front and center, as guiding principles: respect, empathy and humanity

My read on things is that mutual respect and empathy are at the core of everything we do, in terms of moderation. If the concepts @michaeltharrington has outlined above seem like stating the obvious (or go so far as over-stating) then the circles you move in on DEV are probably in fairly strong alignment with our community values.

However, there have been times when language has been used to belittle or disrespect people. The pushback we received when moderating those instances was the motivation behind this post.

My understanding is that the intent here was never to introduce a new set of rules to DEV, but to highlight that when we speak of inclusiveness, that includes language - especially when used to belittle or disrespect other community members. We hope by making this clearer to the community, it will come as less of a surprise when we request modifications and/or remove the offending language (in the case of a refusal to modify).

Thanks for taking the time to share your views on this post.

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leob profile image
leob

Totally with you, belittling or denigrating people is never acceptable ... I can understand that sometimes people can get carried away by their emotions and say these things, but it's the duty of moderators or others to point this out - and ultimately this is beneficial for everyone, that's how we can learn and grow.

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ellativity profile image
Ella Ang (she/her/elle)

💯 and I like to think that DEV is a place where we can foster empathic communication about these things too.

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leob profile image
leob

Well, people can sometimes easily get carried away, and I'm including myself ... it happened to me once that I was about to post a pretty aggressive reply to someone, when just in time I saw that I completely misunderstood what he/she said ... this goes to show that it's always a good idea to "count to 10" when you're about to post something while you're emotionally triggered.

Something else I've learned is that sometimes it's simply better to not react at all, even when you think you're right and the other isn't. Happened to me more than once that I posted something, then decided to immediately delete it because I thought, yeah whatever, live and let live, this isn't worth it.

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ellativity profile image
Ella Ang (she/her/elle)

Lol! The old "just because you can say it, don't mean you should say it"... I'm finding myself getting better at this as I'm getting older, but it's been a long time coming and I still have a long way to go!

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leob profile image
leob

This! that's exactly what I mean ... if we'd all stick to this principle, the world would be a better place (but well, some people just like drama and strife better than peace and harmony).