Peace and International Relations

Below is the code of conduct I have written as a moderator of "International Relations" at Orkut. Maybe you also like to read what I wrote there. It starts with an explanation of the rules of the discussion group, then the procedure to be unbanned, then some philosophy and finally some lyrics about peace from U2 and Paul Simon...

Ten rules of the International Relations community

  1. We are NOT a hate community for fights between countries, cultures or religions.
  2. Take a look at the existing threads to avoid repeated topics.
  3. No preaching is allowed. It is possible to write about religion but it should be relevant to international relations then. It could be for instance that when somebody else has presented a wrong image of a religion at IR, you start a thread to take away misconceptions. But general threads with information about a certain religion or holy book should be posted in communities about religious topics. Preaching from atheists is not allowed either. (Meaning of “to preach” according to Cambridge Dictionaries Online: “to try to persuade other people to believe in a particular belief or follow a particular way of life”.) Threads of harm are not allowed either.
  4. Personal insults to Orkuters (and their family / friends) are not allowed in IR. So threads to “expose” how stupid somebody is, are not allowed either. It is much better to just talk about topics related to politics and international relations. If you are angry with an Orkuter, have your fight in scrapbooks then or anywhere, but not in IR. So regular bad words like moron, troll, asshole are not allowed. Calling people e.g. kafir or Paki is not allowed either. It was considered to be ok to use the word “Commie”, though. The moderator of IR cannot be held accountable for what people say in other communities or in scrapbooks. You should not quote or complain about these things in IR. In the scrapbook of the moderator the rules of IR don’t apply, so if you want to complain about behaviour of IR members in a not so polite way that can be done in the scrapbook of the moderator (although there are limits to the amount of shit that can be posted there as well). What people write in scrapbooks can never be a reason to ban them from IR.
  5. Serious insults to a certain culture, people or religion are not allowed. To say that Pakistani don’t have human feelings like shame, or that American soldiers are babykillers, these are serious insults towards a certain group of people (country / culture / religion / profession), so they are not allowed in IR. Don’t say that someone is a “typical Indian”, don’t talk about “people like you”. We are all unique individuals, to make generalisations about everybody else with the same religion / culture etc. is not necessary and not correct. And don’t abuse any prophets, gods, holy books, etc.
    It is ok to criticize certain aspects of a religion or e.g. decisions from a government. But do try to make your criticism specific then, don’t include the whole world and all times in it. Try to post your criticism in such a way that it is with respect for other people’s faith and culture. Islam
    bashing, Hinduism bashing, mudslinging parties, endless fights, hate spreading, these things are not allowed. Behave a bit responsible and mature please, don’t try to hide away an “X bashing” thread by presenting it as neutral criticism. X-haters had better go somewhere else, instead of seeing it as their mission to fight X (a certain culture or religion) in IR. Extremely offensive profile pictures and descriptions are not allowed. Profiles which are making jokes about other Orkuters will not get access to IR. Serious insults to a religion or promotion of extremism / racism are not be allowed. In the past I refused access to “Prophet Swine”, “Om & Bhaskar” and Nazrallah with breasts.
  6. Please don't use this community to make publicity for your website, certainly not if it's not related to International Relations. These threads will be deleted.
  7. Only write in English here please, so we can all understand it (or provide the translation if you post in another language). And try to write in proper English, so no SMS / MSN language, don’t write in caps lock / bold only / all colours mixed. This will not be a reason to ban IR members, but it is just annoying for others if they have to do extra efforts to read what you wrote, which also makes the chance bigger that nobody will really read what you write.
  8. Repeated attempts to hijack a thread are not allowed (certainly when the new topic is not relevant for IR or not funny).
  9. If anyone who joins IR threatens to or incite others to report this community and/or its members as bogus, he/she will be banned.

What will happen when I (repeatedly) violate the rules?

The moderator will give you a warning to stop the violations. If you refuse to take back your words and/or you continue to violate the rules, the moderator will ban you. You can never come back the same day. But if you send the moderator a scrap that you will respect the rules from now on, you will be unbanned and your request to rejoin IR will be accepted the next day.

Some philosophy

Why are we here at Orkut talking with each other? Are we here only to say that Pakistani are barbarians and that Hindu’s have such weird gods and that Bush is a fascist and that the Dutch have a suicidal attitude of extreme political correctness? Are we here to have useless endless fights with each other, insulting and hurting each other about things which we find most important in life? Do we have as a mission to prove that “the other” is wrong and bad and dangerous? Do we want that the violence and aggression towards innocent people, the endless wars of the offline world, do we want to copy and continue these wars into the online world?

Or do we want to make a difference, do we want to strive for peace together, while realising that we are all equal as human beings, with respect for each other? It is not easy to have discussions here with totally different people. There is a lot of anger against injustice, frustration, hate, both in the offline and the online world.

Orkuters want to be able to speak out for themselves, of course. They want to fight against injustice by saying what they think. Even if this is sometimes offensive for others, they think that “the truth should be told”. But what they consider to be an absolute truth is totally untrue in the eyes of others. I do find freedom of expression important, even if it hurts others. I think that nobody possesses the absolute truth. For sure my own views are coloured by my perspective as a lunatic liberal. Who am I, as a moderator, to determine which views are allowed to be expressed in IR and which not?

An IR member once said it very well: it is not about which views are being expressed, it is about how this is being done. It is very well possible to explain that it is not your intention to insult peaceful normal people who quietly follow their personal belief. You can always start a thread by saying something like that. And then you can protest against women being stoned to death, abortions, environment pollution, innocent people being killed, governments who take away universal human rights from certain groups, etc.
Be precise with your criticism, don’t disapprove of a whole religion or culture, describe precise practices which are carried out in the name of it, and explain exactly why you disapprove of these practices. The chance is much bigger then that your post will lead to an interesting constructive dialogue than when you start to shout at a certain religion. The chance will be very big that in rea
ction people will start to shout back and this bashing party thread becomes totally useless then…

Songs about peace

Lay down
Lay down your guns
All your daughters of Zion
All your Abraham sons
Baby don't fight
We can talk this thing through

Heaven on earth
We need it now
I’m sick of all of this
Hanging around
Sick of sorrow
I’m sick of the pain

And it’s already gone too far
You said that if you go in hard
You won't get hurt
Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on earth

No one cries like a mother cries
For peace on earth
She never got to say goodbye
To see the colour in his eyes
Now he’s in the dirt
Peace on earth

You say love is a temple
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on
To what you got
When all you've got is hurt

One love, one blood, one life
You got to do what you should
One life with each other
Sisters, brothers
But we're not the same
We got to carry each other

And I believe in the future
We shall suffer no more
Maybe not in my lifetime
But in yours I feel sure
Who says “hard times”?
I'm used to them
And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears

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