Atheist Ireland Forum Moderating Policy

by Michael Nugent on March 5, 2013

Atheist Ireland has removed from our Forum several posts which we consider to be sexist, racist and/or shaming, and we would like to apologise for allowing our Forum to be used as a platform for such material.

We would like to thank Skepsheik for bringing this to our attention. As with any voluntary organisation, we are always grateful to people who assist us in identifying areas where we can improve what we do.

The posts that we have removed include several jokes published by people who were suspended or banned several years ago. We should of course have also removed these posts at that time, and we have now done so.

We are now in the process of reviewing all of the historical posts on our Forum, to ensure that they are consistent with the policy we adopted at our 2012 AGM on making Atheist Ireland inclusive:

  • Be inclusive, caring and supportive of people of all races, genders, sexualities and abilities
  • Include people of diverse backgrounds on our organizing committees and event panels
  • In particular, aim for a reasonable gender balance in our activities
  • Host family-friendly events including museum visits, outdoor activities and brunches
  • Host our events in venues suitable for wheelchair users
  • Host our events in ways that accommodate people with other disabilities
  • Make our website as usable as possible for people with disabilities
  • Develop policies to help people to feel safe and enjoy themselves at our activities
  • Support the anti-harassment policy of Atheist Alliance International

In recent years, much of our online discussion has migrated from our Forum to our Facebook Page, where we have recently adopted a moderation policy aimed at making members feel welcome. That policy also applies to our Forum.

We would like to thank all of our members who have helped to improve our online interaction in recent years, and we look forward to many more years of enjoyable and useful discussion both on Facebook and our Forum.

Notice on Atheist Ireland website

Update: Comments on our website

Skepsheik, that you for again bringing to our attention (below) that there are comments on one our websites that are offensive.

That website is a campaign website for the repeal of the Irish blasphemy law, which was passed in 2009 and became operational on 1 January 2010.

We believe it is important that people are not criminalised (or in Islamic states, beaten or murdered) for making comments that are offensive to religious people on the basis of their religious beliefs.

There is, as you know, a distinction between something being illegal and something being immoral or unethical.

On the day that the law became operational, Atheist Ireland published 25 quotes that would be blasphemous under the definition in the new law.

None of the quotes you have cited were in the list officially published by Atheist Ireland. They are all comments posted by visitors to the website.

Nevertheless, we have left them published on our website to make the point that we do not want blasphemy criminalised, even if we ourselves would not personally agree with all of the blasphemous comments that other people make.

We’ll look again at that publishing decision in light of the current discussion.

I think it is important that none of us allow ourselves to remain trapped in insisting that a decision is correct merely because we believed it was correct three years ago.

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