Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

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Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by BlueFox1 » #725102

I know that part of the policy is not necessarily to create a list of banned words, but I think this is kinda important.
I've never seen "retard" itself used in a medical setting, or to respectfully refer to mental illness. It seems to be mainly used as a derogatory term towards anyone unskilled, annoying, stupid, or otherwise undesireable, which is a gross oversimplification of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I believe this falls under rule 11's bigotry guidelines as intolerance towards people with a certain disability. I do not know if this behavior goes unpunished, but I do see this semi-often.

I do not know what else to say or how else to word this to support my point. Like, for real, I'd rather be called a dumbass or an idiot if I do something wrong.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by ekaterina » #725109

BlueFox1 wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 9:01 pm unskilled, annoying, stupid, or otherwise undesireable, which is a gross oversimplification of Autism Spectrum Disorder
You are the one making the link between "retard" and autism. As you basically point out, other people use it to mean "unskilled, annoying, stupid, or otherwise undesirable", not "autistic".

A small minority of admins considers it a slur based on what I have seen, most acknowledge the reality above.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Indie-ana Jones » #725112

I don't think we should ban the word 'retard'. It's obvious what people mean when they say it in-game and perceiving it as otherwise seems like a massive, massive stretch.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by iwishforducks » #725113

For reference, a policy thread was made about this about a year ago if anyone wants to take a peek at it: viewtopic.php?p=635106

This is what the headmins ultimately responded with:
As an addendum for clarity, here are some bullet points:

1. At this time, we are choosing not to go as far as to say all uses of the word "retard"/"retarded" are bigoted, just hurtful, but being hurtful isn't what rule 11 is about. However, excessive harassment/spew like this (such as repeatedly demeaning someone to the point where you're being a dick more than you are roleplaying as a rude character) will continue to be enforcable under rule 1. There are no changes there, and we intend to defend admins who act on that.
2. As rule 11 is not a word ban, "autism"/"autistic" are not banned, or even placed under any filter yet. "Autism fort" is fine, calling people autistic as a means to demean them is not. For example, we want to highlight that calling someone an "autistic retard" will almost certainly be considered a discriminatory act. Context is key.
3. As one of the ultimate goals was to defend the existing practice of discouraging the use of "schizo" as a synonym for "paranoid", we will be continuing to defend admins that rule as such. "Schizo" or similar to refer to the in-game schizophrenia, or anything of that nature, is completely fine.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by winterseasalt » #725114

the word 'retard' isnt inherently about autism, it was an umbrella term to refer to mental illness in general
BlueFox1 wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 9:01 pm which is a gross oversimplification of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
what does this even mean anyways???????????? hello?????????
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Istoprocent1 » #725117

My friend, as you pointed out, nobody is calling people retarded because they have a disability, they call people retarded because they act out of pocket.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Vekter » #725138

This is a rough one, because I feel like it gets used a lot like how "gay" was used in the late 2000s, though a little more directed. I don't like the word, I don't think we should allow it, but I also understand that I'm the minority and word bans are never going to be A Thing here because of MSO.

Also, a word of caution: This discussion almost always ends up getting poisoned by a slippery slope argument that amounts to "Well, if we can't say that, then why don't we ban 'idiot' or 'stupid'? Where do you draw the line?". It's like saying "If we ban drunk driving, we should ban tired driving!". That's not really relevant and I'd urge anyone to ignore the argument - we're only talking about one specific word here, if someone is genuinely bothered by the use of other ones, they can make their own thread.

Anyway, OP is fighting an uphill battle but I agree with them, y'all can find better things to call people that haven't historically been used to demean people with mental disabilities. I'll obviously enforce the rules as written, but if my opinion means anything here, then I say we treat it like any other rule 11 insult.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by BlueFox1 » #725139

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I mean, the definition is quite literally used as an insult towards people with mental disabilities, like autism.
I treat it the same way as a kid spewing slurs over xbox live. They don't know if you fit whatever criteria they have in their head, and they might not even care. Whatever terms they use are still hurtful and based on bigotry. I know bigotry is a strong word, but at the very least it's not nice.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by BlueFox1 » #725141

winterseasalt wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 11:01 pm the word 'retard' isnt inherently about autism, it was an umbrella term to refer to mental illness in general
BlueFox1 wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 9:01 pm which is a gross oversimplification of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
what does this even mean anyways???????????? hello?????????

Calling somebody a retard means you assume that anyone with an intellectual or learning disability is automatically stupid, which is false. Each person is different, and may have knowledge or skill in other areas, including if they have an intellectual disability.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by AsbestosSniffer » #725142

"Retard" is fine, I don't see why you're linking it particularly to autism, it just means someone's slow (it's even in the etymology of the word), not that they have a particular disability or indeed have a disability to begin with. It's pretty much calling someone a moron with more vitriol.

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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Imitates-The-Lizards » #725144

BlueFox1 wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:18 am Image

I mean, the definition is quite literally used as an insult towards people with mental disabilities, like autism.
I treat it the same way as a kid spewing slurs over xbox live. They don't know if you fit whatever criteria they have in their head, and they might not even care. Whatever terms they use are still hurtful and based on bigotry. I know bigotry is a strong word, but at the very least it's not nice.
Just because a dictionary says something doesn't mean that's actually how people use it. Dictionaries are notoriously biased, hell, a few days ago there was a controversy about how google changed the definition of "bloodbath" to remove the financial connotations from it's definition after Trump used the word in a speech about the economy. Literally appealing to authority here mate.

Fundamentally, when people call other players "retarded" in this game, it's because they did something stupid. If there was ever a case where a player legitimately called someone retarded because they knew that that person OOC had a mental disability, no one would disagree with a harassment ban under rules 1 or 11, but the simple fact is that 99.99999999999999999999% of the time, that is not the way that the word is being used.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by BlueFox1 » #725145

AsbestosSniffer wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:42 am "Retard" is fine, I don't see why you're linking it particularly to autism, it just means someone's slow (it's even in the etymology of the word), not that they have a particular disability or indeed have a disability to begin with. It's pretty much calling someone a moron with more vitriol.

t.diagnosed autistic
actually yeah hold on i was seething too hard to check shit. I associate autism with learning and intellectual disorders that often accompany it. Even if it's originally meant for just calling somebody slow or stupid, I still don't like it.
Continuing down the path of slowly presenting weaker and weaker arguments, yall could at least come up with something more poetic and less concerning than "retard."
Imitates-The-Lizards wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:48 am
BlueFox1 wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:18 am Image

I mean, the definition is quite literally used as an insult towards people with mental disabilities, like autism.
I treat it the same way as a kid spewing slurs over xbox live. They don't know if you fit whatever criteria they have in their head, and they might not even care. Whatever terms they use are still hurtful and based on bigotry. I know bigotry is a strong word, but at the very least it's not nice.
Fundamentally, when people call other players "retarded" in this game, it's because they did something stupid. If there was ever a case where a player legitimately called someone retarded because they knew that that person OOC had a mental disability, no one would disagree with a harassment ban under rules 1 or 11, but the simple fact is that 99.99999999999999999999% of the time, that is not the way that the word is being used.
I will once again point to my xbox live example. Just because the word "retard" doesn't mean anything to you doesn't mean it doesn't mean something to anyone else.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by AsbestosSniffer » #725149

BlueFox1 wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:54 am
AsbestosSniffer wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:42 am "Retard" is fine, I don't see why you're linking it particularly to autism, it just means someone's slow (it's even in the etymology of the word), not that they have a particular disability or indeed have a disability to begin with. It's pretty much calling someone a moron with more vitriol.

t.diagnosed autistic
actually yeah hold on i was seething too hard to check shit. I associate autism with learning and intellectual disorders that often accompany it. Even if it's originally meant for just calling somebody slow or stupid, I still don't like it.
Continuing down the path of slowly presenting weaker and weaker arguments, yall could at least come up with something more poetic and less concerning than "retard."
Imitates-The-Lizards wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:48 am
BlueFox1 wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:18 am Image

I mean, the definition is quite literally used as an insult towards people with mental disabilities, like autism.
I treat it the same way as a kid spewing slurs over xbox live. They don't know if you fit whatever criteria they have in their head, and they might not even care. Whatever terms they use are still hurtful and based on bigotry. I know bigotry is a strong word, but at the very least it's not nice.
Fundamentally, when people call other players "retarded" in this game, it's because they did something stupid. If there was ever a case where a player legitimately called someone retarded because they knew that that person OOC had a mental disability, no one would disagree with a harassment ban under rules 1 or 11, but the simple fact is that 99.99999999999999999999% of the time, that is not the way that the word is being used.
I will once again point to my xbox live example. Just because the word "retard" doesn't mean anything to you doesn't mean it doesn't mean something to anyone else.
It only seems to matter to you. I don't know why you feel the need to speak on behalf of people with "intellectual disabilities", if someone is harassing another for that, they can very easily be banned for breaking rule 1.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Timberpoes » #725152

The previous headmin ruling on this was me drawing a line which Moth and Melb agreed to. It wasn't an MSO issue, it was a me issue. I didn't really want to expand the definition of bigotry to encompass disability as I felt that was going too far in the direction of true and genuine political correctness. Selfishly, it felt it would have made the community less fun for me to be in because of excessive sanitisation of wrongthink.

Retard may be hurtful but I fall short of considering it genuinely bigoted. We do have other rules to deal with it if used excessively or in a truly inappropriate way.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Istoprocent1 » #725153

George has something to say about it:

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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by DrAmazing343 » #725162

I’m with Timber in that it’s hurtful but rarely bigoted; when it is, it’s quite easy to nail the offender to the wall because it’s much more overt when it is bigoted.

Personally, I often call myself retarded or autistic because I am high functioning and the self-deprecating humor is instinctive at this point— I’m still not swayed that I should be fighting to stop saying these or stop others from saying these with this policy unless they’re genuinely saying it to pick someone who suffers from disability out of the crowd.

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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by ekaterina » #725164

Vekter wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 4:42 am if someone is genuinely bothered by the use of other ones, they can make their own thread.
I hope you're not saying that the standard for restricting everybody's speech is one guy's feelings and only mean that in the sense of opening up discussion about it.
BlueFox1 wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:18 am I know bigotry is a strong word, but at the very least it's not nice.
Ok? As far as I know, enforced niceness is not the standard, so you'd need to actually argue that it crosses the threshold for bigotry, not just go "it's not nice :( "
BlueFox1 wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:36 am Calling somebody a retard means you assume that anyone with an intellectual or learning disability is automatically stupid, which is false.
It's actually the other way around. You're the one assuming anyone other users call retarded, by which they mean stupid, is saying anything whatsoever related to "an intellectual or learning disability".
BlueFox1 wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:18 am the definition
A definition. You literally picked the first one you came across off of Google. We can easily find ones that back our point too. Here's Merriam-Webster's, note the third:
1: a holding back or slowing down : RETARDATION
2 [offensive]: a person affected with intellectual disability
3 [informal + offensive]: a foolish or stupid person
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Vekter » #725165

ekaterina wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 12:45 pm
Vekter wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 4:42 am if someone is genuinely bothered by the use of other ones, they can make their own thread.
I hope you're not saying that the standard for restricting everybody's speech is one guy's feelings and only mean that in the sense of opening up discussion about it.
Please give me more credit than that.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by BlueFox1 » #725179

I've also been diagnosed with autism, was kinda hoping I didn't have to say that. Which is why I even made this thread in the first place.
Anyway, y'all got my point, I'm gonna head out. Crusade is over, can't change what people say. I remembered why I left, I will not be missed.
Last edited by BlueFox1 on Wed Mar 27, 2024 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by winterseasalt » #725180

i too am autistic lol im sure many people who play this game are
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Higgin » #725191

just because a word isn't banned doesn't mean that being a dick is fine, but I think this is one word we should leave behind.

"schizo" is problematic both for its eye-rolling FOTM status as well as its association with a terrible, debilitating, and often stigmatized condition.

"retard" is much more general and, like "schizo," refers broadly to conditions of living that weren't people's fault and suck to live with. retard is also just a word meaning to slow or frustrate something in its process i.e. we use fire retardant to stop fires, or you're retarded in getting medbay remade by a bunch of assistants fighting and shoving each other into you. some people with psychomotor retardation play this game and have a harder time for it - they are quite literally retarded in their ability to play as well as they could or used to at that point.

I still don't like the use of the word retard in anger. often the way it's used is to explain negative behavior - it explains it by making it an attribute of the person you're talking about, much in the same way as "stupid" or "dumb," but with a much heavier connotation of being inherent and unchangeable, only mitigable, like many actual retardations and disabilities.

the use of it negatively just sucks because like. if you're frustrated by or don't understand someone's behavior because they're retarded, the only feeling there ultimately towards the person should be pity and compassion.

it also sucks to use it negatively with somebody who's not got any relevant retardation if they're making a good faith effort, because it's very much a shorthand for saying "this is just your level, stay at it and get out of the way."

it sucks, man. directed abusive language in general sucks to the point it can feel like splitting hairs with stuff like this. i'm not sure we wouldn't do better by some clearer language about just not venting your spleen on and shittalking people under the rule 1 precedents, if only as a reminder to please be kind.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Justice12354 » #725242

This feels like such a 4chan mentality moment

We ban players for saying "you're being such a nigger" or "you're such a fucking faggot" when someone does something bad, so I don't get why "you're so fucking retarded" doesn't fall into the same box. Yeah, guess what, calling someone a fag over fucking up surgery doesn't mean they're a fag ooc, so why is calling them a retard over fucking up surgery suddenly fine?
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by dendydoom » #725245

i'm autistic (not that it really matters) and i'm not really bothered by this word. i use it self-referentially when i feel like being unkind to myself but i generally don't use it to describe other people.

i have, continue to do so and will support others that choose to step in when anyone is going too far with insults. there is a line between saying something out of frustration and OOCly attacking someone as much as you can.

i have no real issue with people saying it out of frustration or just as a general curse word to use in the heat of the moment. but there is a limit to this and if you over-do it or target someone with it relentlessly then i'll be asking you to stop.

this is the difference between seeing you say "nice going, retard" because someone fucked up and me ctrl+f'ing your say log and seeing 38 hits for "retard" in a 15 minute round.

of course, the expression of bigotry is banned. meaning, if you call someone "retard" as an offhanded insult because you saw them fuck up or do something silly, this is just insulting them. if they know you have some sort of neurodivergent condition/disability/learning disorder and choose to describe you as retarded because of this, then this is already against the rules.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by BlueMemesauce » #725251

Wikipedia summarizes the history of the terms clearly:
Intellectually-disabled people were originally defined with words such as "morons" or "imbeciles", which then became commonly used insults. The medical diagnosis was changed to "mentally retarded", which morphed into a pejorative against those with intellectual disabilities. To avoid the negative connotations of their diagnoses, students who need accommodations because of such conditions are often labeled as "special needs" instead, although the words "special" or "sped" (short for "special education") have long been schoolyard insults.[35][better source needed] As of August 2013, the Social Security Administration replaced the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability".

No matter what, people are going to use the medical term for people with low intelligence as an insult. It's impossible to ban it. If we ban retard and say "intellectual disability" is the new term, people are probably going to come up insults for that as well. Therefore, it is not the word itself, but how it is used.

Retard is considered the worst term since it's more recent term in the "euphemism treadmill", but considering the history it's the same exact meaning as moron and imbeciles which have been in the English language longer and completely lost their old connotation and meaning, while retard is still associated with being a slur. In 50 years or so, "intellectual disability" is probably going to be replaced with a new slur while retard will have lost its meaning as a slur for a medical condition and just be a normal insult like idiot.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by BlueMemesauce » #725256

we should use baka instead
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Istoprocent1 » #725274

Its a simple code issue.

Instead of creating policies and overhead for the administration to look into every instance of "retard, brainlet, autist, mentally delayed, etc" - just create a toggleable word filter that either replaces non-kosher words for those who need it with asterisks or replaces them with kosher alternatives.

Users can do this themselves via chat by marking words and covering those words with the same color as the font, which creates a solid color bar instead of any chosen word.

Edit: Its not about being able to be mean to other 2D avatars in a space game, its about social interactions not becoming a minefield. There are times where strong language is needed to grab attention and deter future negative actions or describe a situation that happened in the ghost chat.
Last edited by Istoprocent1 on Fri Mar 29, 2024 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by carshalash » #725275

Does redditor count as a variant?
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Yulice » #725593

People are going to be mean. There will be times when people get pissed IC and have a reason to use colorful language. It's why I think goon banning words like "bitch" is silly as shit. If anyone is being aggressively obnoxious and spewing vitriol for posts on end in OOC admins will slam them anyway. Personally I'd say people have to have a LITTLE bit of a thicker skin on the internet; retard is so generalized that it's still used in public and frankly I don't think that'll ever stop being a thing (at least for as long as I'm alive).

Ultimately, I agree a lot with what Iso said about social interactions not becoming a minefield; anyone who's genuinely trying to be mean is going to get owned regardless, and I shouldn't have to worry about saying no-no words in casual conversation even if said casual conversation ends up being a little inflammatory.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by wesoda25 » #725594

I wouldn't mind a (hard) filter, but won't advocate for doing so since the argument seems a little absurd to me. Personally I stopped using the word after hearing someones personal account and recognizing it as needlessly hurtful. In line with that, bluefox, you might have more success in reducing its usage by simply sharing your perspective with others. Thats just an observation and not an argument against a ban, though.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by NecromancerAnne » #725621

I think there should be a proc that instantly inflicts the brain damage smite on anyone who uses it (and it isn't followed by '-ant' at the end of the word). That'll filter them out and its funnier.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by oranges » #725638

Justice12354 wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 12:42 am This feels like such a 4chan mentality moment

We ban players for saying "you're being such a nigger" or "you're such a fucking faggot" when someone does something bad, so I don't get why "you're so fucking retarded" doesn't fall into the same box. Yeah, guess what, calling someone a fag over fucking up surgery doesn't mean they're a fag ooc, so why is calling them a retard over fucking up surgery suddenly fine?
you honestly look stupid when you try to equivalence retard and nigger
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by DrAmazing343 » #725654

NecromancerAnne wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:19 pm I think there should be a proc that instantly inflicts the brain damage smite on anyone who uses it (and it isn't followed by '-ant' at the end of the word). That'll filter them out and its funnier.
This is a compromise I would very genuinely enjoy. In all honesty, though I don't think it SHOULD be word-blocked or OOC punished unless in bad faith as per the situations we've discussed, it's a habit of linguistics I'd like to break myself off of and it'd be hilarious to immediately receive a smite to remind me. It's also hilarious irony.
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Indie-ana Jones » #725668

I'm with oranges on this one. The n-word and retard aren't comparible and are on two completely different levels of acceptableness
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by Screemonster » #725756

BlueMemesauce wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 2:11 am Wikipedia summarizes the history of the terms clearly:
Intellectually-disabled people were originally defined with words such as "morons" or "imbeciles", which then became commonly used insults. The medical diagnosis was changed to "mentally retarded", which morphed into a pejorative against those with intellectual disabilities. To avoid the negative connotations of their diagnoses, students who need accommodations because of such conditions are often labeled as "special needs" instead, although the words "special" or "sped" (short for "special education") have long been schoolyard insults.[35][better source needed] As of August 2013, the Social Security Administration replaced the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability".

No matter what, people are going to use the medical term for people with low intelligence as an insult. It's impossible to ban it. If we ban retard and say "intellectual disability" is the new term, people are probably going to come up insults for that as well. Therefore, it is not the word itself, but how it is used.

Retard is considered the worst term since it's more recent term in the "euphemism treadmill", but considering the history it's the same exact meaning as moron and imbeciles which have been in the English language longer and completely lost their old connotation and meaning, while retard is still associated with being a slur. In 50 years or so, "intellectual disability" is probably going to be replaced with a new slur while retard will have lost its meaning as a slur for a medical condition and just be a normal insult like idiot.
memories of when the cerebral palsy charity "the spastics' society" changed its name to "scope" in the uk because "spastic" was far more commonly used as a schoolyard insult than anything else, and the paint wasn't even dry on the new office signs before kids up and down the country were calling each other "scopers" instead
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by RedBaronFlyer » #725771

I'm not the biggest fan of restricting meanie words unless they're full blown racial slurs. In my experience the more you drift away from that the more questionable the word restrictions become. Obviously, this is only my experience, but I usually don't see those words being used unless someone's really done goofed. Usually the worst it gets is calling someone a dumbass.

Somewhat related but I've called silicons clankers and I called a guy and n'wah once and in both instances people treated ICly like I went way over the line, which was funny. It's like the Sandlot "you play ball like a girl!" scene:
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Super Aggro Crag wrote: Fri Mar 03, 2023 5:11 pm I assume he did it elsewhere because it's fucking goofball and he never half-asses his shitty ideas, he full asses them so both cheeks are absolutely slathered in shit
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Re: Usage of term "retard" and its variants ingame

Post by kieth4 » #726080

Although we are not going to move to ban the word outright- we encourage admins to use the rules to bop people who are using it to be bigoted or to harass other players. There is a difference between saying something out of frustration and OOCly attacking someone.

to quote dendy,
i have no real issue with people saying it out of frustration or just as a general curse word to use in the heat of the moment. but there is a limit to this and if you over-do it or target someone with it relentlessly then i'll be asking you to stop.

this is the difference between seeing you say "nice going, retard" because someone fucked up and me ctrl+f'ing your say log and seeing 38 hits for "retard" in a 15 minute round.

of course, the expression of bigotry is banned. meaning, if you call someone "retard" as an offhanded insult because you saw them fuck up or do something silly, this is just insulting them. if they know you have some sort of neurodivergent condition/disability/learning disorder and choose to describe you as retarded because of this, then this is already against the rules.
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