Could we get some clarification on the forum rules regarding religion/politics?

Like the title says, I would like if we could get some clarification on what the forum rules are regarding religion/politics. @sparkleninja18 closed this thread today (Bible Verses - #61), as well as two other threads that mentioned religion in the past month, with the reason being that discussing religion/politcs was against the rules for the forums. But @katinka had mentioned in that same thread a few weeks ago that that particular thread was fine since religion/politics are allowed to be brought up as long as you’re not trying to influence or discriminate against others. So I’d just like to know which it is because it doesn’t seem as if even the moderators are aware of what the current rules are. Thanks.

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[name_m]Hi[/name_m] @pansy, thanks for drawing our attention to this. You’re right that there have been accidental crossed wires here and the mod team will review and clarify this as a matter of urgency.

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Thanks for your patience while we discussed this!

I am aware that this will be an unpopular decision with some members, but we have decided to keep the Bible Verses thread closed.

You are right that the phrasing of the religion and politics rule was a little woolly and I take full responsibility for that! It is, as you can imagine, a bit of a minefield trying to come up with clear guidelines around this since religion (and, to a lesser extent, politics) is closely tied up with family, identity and the personal significance behind people’s name choices.

So it is often highly relevant to name discussions and would be undesirable – not to mention completely unworkable – to ban any mention of religion entirely from Nameberry.

However, the restrictions around those subjects exist for a reason, and that is that they are huge, complex and often highly contentious topics that go far beyond the scope of a baby names forum.

I have just redrafted the rule relating to religion and politics to hopefully clarify our stance on this:

4. Don’t push specific religious or political beliefs.

Mentioning your personal political or religious affiliation in a neutral way, as part of an organic discussion about names, is fine. But please do not enter into lengthy debates, proselytize, or create topics solely for discussion of religion or politics. Avoid spreading fake news or anti-scientific information.

In other words, if your personal beliefs are an important factor behind your name choices and you want to talk about that, that’s of course fine.

If you want to discuss “Is [name_u]Bodhi[/name_u] cultural appropriation?”, that’s directly relevant to names and as long as the conversation remains focused on names and the wider cultural implications of using [name_u]Bodhi[/name_u] as a name, that’s also relevant, constructive and within the rules.

However, topics created solely for religious discussion are really beyond the scope of Nameberry.

I hope that’s clearer, and that you understand our position on this. Please feel free to leave further questions or comments below.

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If no religious or political topics are allowed to be discussed if it’s not relevant to names is the lgbt thread also going to get closed? It’s a highly political topic after all.

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I would just like to add…ordinarily it makes sense to me that on nameberry the forums should be about discussing only names and everything related to them but by having a category ‘everything but names’ it implies that things other than things explicitly relating to names are acceptable to be discussed on nameberry.

In the modern world ideologies and fandoms also function in a similar way to religions, so I just ask for your own thoughts when considering what is permitted to be discussed on nameberry to check that you are not discriminating against religions but treating all threads that do not pertain to names in the same vein. I.e. if I were to create a [name_u]Taylor[/name_u] [name_m]Swift[/name_m] appreciation thread that talked more about her songs than names related to them, would that be allowed or banned? I was not personally a part of the bible verses thread, but it is possible to talk about verses that are meaningful to you in your personal life without trying to evangelise, convert or cause controversy…in the same way that there are discussions and games about things on your street or about your life unconnected with names to reveal more about who we are as individuals.

Thank you for bringing more clarity to the rules and all the work you do in moderating these lovely forums

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People’s identity isn’t politics.

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Of course it is, we fully recognise that and the thread in question did not set out to do any of those things. We are very clear on that.

But equally, on all platforms there are limits to what can be discussed and platforms have the right to decide what they feel they are able to moderate effectively, and what is beyond the remit of the forum.

Nameberry has always been primarily a platform for name discussion with volunteer mods who give up their own time to keep things running smoothly.

As such, complex and controversial issues like religion and politics have always been restricted. It’s just not feasible for us to manage the inevitable disputes and even potential legal issues that can arise.

I’m just trying to clarify here exactly where those lines lie, although as happened here it is unavoidable that sometimes wires might cross and we have to look at it as a team and make a call, then explain that call to members.

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I never said that, that’s your interpretation but people don’t just discuss their identity there. Lgbt topics are controversially discussed in most western countries there’s no party that hasn’t a political stance on it. I usually wouldn’t say anything about it but if a simple bible verse thread is a problem I can’t see how that isn’t an issue too…

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I think saying that people don’t discuss their identity on this website is hardly accurate. Our social identity includes all groups that we belong to: whether that be the LGBTQ+ community, an age group, or the group of expectant/TTC parents, all of which have their own threads on the site.

While I’m not active in the LGBTQ+ thread and I’ve only checked it out a few times, I know that political subjects are not extensively discussed on it, as that would be against the website’s rules. It’s not a thread to be political on, but rather a thread to celebrate a shared group identity in, similar to Teenberries, TTC 2022, etcetera. The politicization of LGBTQ+ rights is a sad phenomenon, but it doesn’t subtract from the LGBTQ+ community being a community and social group first and a political subject second. People deserve the right to exist and find community online without their own existence or the existence of the community being turned into something political.

The bible verse thread - whether you agree with its closing or not - is wildly different because it was inherently religious, and the discussion of off-topic religion or politics is prohibited on the site. LGBTQ+ people and our existence is neither inherently religious nor political. [name_f]Hope[/name_f] that clears things up x

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I don’t see myself as religious… at all. But I do see myself as a [name_u]Christian[/name_u]. It’s sad to me that on Nameberry some identities are permitted and given special threads and some identities are being singled out and having their threads closed.

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In regards to the LGBTQ+ thread, it’s considered more of a safe space created for berries who identify within that community, where safe spaces may not otherwise be easily accessible for them.

We made the difficult decision to close the thread about Bible Verses solely because it discusses religion in an off-topic manor. If any religious based post were to be created for the sole purpose to discuss religious texts, it would be given the same treatment (I am a moderator, and a practicing [name_u]Christian[/name_u], and I feel as though there’s a largely disproportionate amount of [name_u]Christian[/name_u] based threads that don’t relate to names in comparison to other religions, hence why it appears targeted, though I can assure you, it’s in no way meant to be an attack).

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Actually, a small correction: No one was “given” any “special” threads. All the threads were created by community members who wanted a safe space to share with other members of their social group, they weren’t “given” to us by anyone.

I doubt any community is being maliciously singled out, I think the moderators are just trying their best to uphold the basic website rules that have been around for many years :+1:

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And Christian’s don’t? Christan’s are a community too why shouldn’t we have a thread to share uplifting verses if no one pushes their views on others? There’s nothing bad about being religious either, it’s part of people’s identities too. I’m sorry but this seems like a biased decision by Nameberry and I don’t like how it implies some general suspicion against Christians on this forum.

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So what kind of thread for Christians on Nameberry would be allowed to give us our safe space. Persecution for those of the [name_u]Christian[/name_u] faith is still very real in todays world…

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I’m not sure what exactly you’re failing to understand. No one said there’s anything bad about being religious - however, religion-based or politics-based topics are against the website rules. The admins described that it’s to keep the peace and avoid legal trouble. They also explained that if the same threads popped up about other religions, they too would be shut down. Threads that aren’t inherently religious or political are fine, because this isn’t a personal attack against one community - it’s just upkeeping the site rules. In addition, maybe don’t attack another community’s safe space just because you lost a thread you like - it comes off as targetted, even if that wasn’t your intention.

Maybe check the admin and moderators’ responses if you have further questions, I won’t be responding to this thread anymore x

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To clarify, no one is denouncing Christians as a community. The primary difference here is that one thread is created more as a safe space and support group and support others in name-related areas, such as a name change during a transition; while the other thread is literally just posting verses from the Bible with zero connection/relation to names.

Again, as a practicing [name_u]Christian[/name_u] moderator, I can assure you it is in no way a biased decision or meant to imply any malicious intent on the part of [name_u]Christian[/name_u] users on the forum (again, if it were, I would essentially be insulting myself).

While it is true that in some areas, Christians are persecuted, there are plenty more appropriate spaces for Christians to safely practice their religion than a forum about names that is moderated by a group of volunteers. Again, the LGBTQ+ thread still relates to naming itself via individuals looking for support, help and guidance on say, changing their name during a transition, and because of this direct relation to names, it doesn’t go against community guidelines.

I also would like to point out that no other religion is allowed to solely post a thread about their religious texts with no context relating to names as it would also be inappropriate. That’s not what this community is for. The fact is, as of recently, only Christian-based threads that do not relate to names have been posted and therefore, only Christian-based threads that don’t relate to names have been removed.

Posts regarding requests for names from religious texts (including the [name_u]Christian[/name_u] Bible), discussing the Biblical history of names, etc. is all still very much allowed on the site. We’re simply asking for posts about religion with no relation to names to cease.

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This does make me sad. The Bible verses topic was such a positive, lovely thread, and I really don’t see how it was bothering anyone. That said, I can respect the decision y’all came to. Running a website is something I know nothing about, and it was probably a decision that y’all put a lot of thought into.

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