It seems like such a minor thing, but I think we all owe a great debt of thanks to whomever it was, ten odd years ago, who programmed this forum to always replace f—k with CINECAST!. I suspect that not being able to rely on that linguistic crutch — so often, on the internet, linked to anger, hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, false outrage, etc. — is greatly responsible for his forum having generally been an oasis of (somewhat) measured cyber sanity and respect.
I wonder if the effect of that restriction is wearing off lately. The level of mutual respect around here seems to be at an all-time low. That's not to say there's a complete lack of respect — it's still well above internet average — just less than we've ever seen previously. Every thread seems to have a dash more snideness and superiority and sarcasm (the bad kind) and general belligerence.
Perhaps it's time to auto-replace a few other words, just to get people to think twice about what they say. Not swear words. Random things. Like "overrated" could become "MAYONNAISE!", "terrible" could become "BAZINGA!", "boring" could become "NOT AS ENGAGING AS I WOULD HAVE LIKED!", and "ˇKeith!" could become "Keith".
It should go without saying that nobody wants to extinguish disagreements. Differences of opinion and smirnoff's gifs are the two things that make this place interesting. Passion and strong opinions are great. Sarcasm (the good kind) is great. Even ridicule has its place. But all those things have to fall under the umbrella of respect.
Respect, by the way, need not be earned here. It's a given. A starting point. Something you maybe lose, not gain. And if you lose too much of it, you probably don't belong here anymore. Most people figure that out on their own. Others need a push.
The administrators and moderators of this forum have banned very few people over time. You can probably count them on one hand. It always seems to be an appealing short-time solution with negative long-term repercussions. I can't speak for everyone, but I view everyone here as extended family. And when someone loses their way, I usually fight, directly or indirectly, to get them back on track. I'm always in favor of second chances and third chances and fourth chances.
For the record, Paul Phoenix (The Kid) ran out of chances tonight. And it's really unfortunate. His response to being banned was even more unfortunate, but hopefully most of you were spared seeing the grisly images he attempted to spam the forum with. That kind of hostility has never survived here, and it's amazing we've had to deal with so little of it over time. (All because we can't say f—k!)
Anyway, this post isn't about those who have left but those who remain. I've been involved in way too many back room debates lately about whether suspensions and/or bans are appropriate. It should never come to that.
Can we, together, make a concerted effort to raise the level of mutual respect here back up to where it's generally been?
Thanks in advance.