I just came across a user who used this picture


of fascist dictator Mussolini for his avatar.

Is that legit, or well, not?

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    It's definitly not legit/legal in the EU, in the US it's considered freedom of speech.. Please read Verbotsgesetz 1947 – iLuvLogix May 3 '19 at 14:22
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    @iLuvLogix That really depends on your definition of "freedom of speech". In the narrow sense, that term is about the government not suppressing speech of citizens. A corporation telling its users what is "legit" or not "legit" on their platform ... has nothing to do with free speech. – GhostCat May 3 '19 at 14:26
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    @iLuvLogix Dont get me wrong, I am not attacking you, just making a statement to avoid getting into a "freedom of speech" discussion, which isn't applicable here. From the legal perspective, I am not sure if your statement that this would be illegal throughout the EU is actually accurate. Regarding such stuff, you still have national laws, and they might be really different for the 27+1 nations within the EU. – GhostCat May 3 '19 at 14:30
  • @GhostCat Didn't plan to have such a discussion here - was just a remark - btw almost all EU-countries have a similar law.. (with slight variations on the penalties) – iLuvLogix May 3 '19 at 14:34
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    Leaving aside the discussion on legality, no, it's not appropriate (according to SE standards). Please flag one of their posts for moderator attention and explain the situation; they should reset it to their default gravatar. Display images which can potentially induce widespread feelings of hatred aren't supposed to be used here; SE isn't a platform for advertising political beliefs. This isn't too different from our stance on Nazi symbolism. – S.D. May 3 '19 at 14:47
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    @Blue Here is the response I got after doing so: I'd say yes. A photograph of a dictator is not itself hate speech, and we are very lenient in terms of what profile pictures people are allowed to use, up until it causes a distraction. This one isn't. Be it so then. – GhostCat May 3 '19 at 18:05
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    That's unexpected. Which site is this on? Did you show them this discussion? Could you give me a link to the profile? Note that you can use the contact form to reach out to the Stack Exchange team directly. – S.D. May 3 '19 at 18:11
  • No, GhostCat didn't provide me with a link to this discussion, but I don't think that would have changed my response. I don't think a painting of a real historical figure can reasonably be considered hate speech, or even endorsement. Furthermore, when reviewing the flag, I did not see any evidence that this profile picture was creating a distraction. This may, of course, be colored by my US perspective on freedom of speech. If you are actually offended, I'm willing to reconsider. Your flag was phrased merely in the form of a question, not indicating that you even wanted it changed. @Blue – Cody Gray May 3 '19 at 18:23
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    @CodyGray Personally, I'm not particularly offended, but I do not think keeping around a portrait of a dictator who's responsible for several war crimes and millions of deaths is a good idea. A profile picture does not necessarily need to contain "hate speech" per se to be inappropriate cf. Is Swastika really treated as offensive even when it's used for religious purpose in Profile pictures or chat?. – S.D. May 3 '19 at 18:28
  • I see that as an entirely different case. The swastika has been reappropriated as a clear symbol of hatred, and has itself become hate speech. It unambiguously suggests endorsement of an ideology of hatred, thanks to the Nazis and neo-Nazis, its long history notwithstanding. I don't feel the same way about a portrait of a real historical figure. Maybe that's what you get when you ask the history major? George W. Bush was responsible for several war crimes and countless deaths, too; should we ban all pictures of him? I don't know. Only when there's an actual problem. – Cody Gray May 3 '19 at 18:31
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    @CodyGray In general, it's a good idea to avoid political figures in profile pictures and moreso when it's a dictator. Now, I'm not going to debate the relative merits and demerits of Hitler, Mussolini and Bush with you, as that will only drag us down the subjective rabbit hole of philosophy. Anyway, you're the mod and it's ultimately your and your team's call. I just tried to show you my interpretation of SE's stance on this issue (hint: Robert closed this as a duplicate of "As a moderator, how do I handle a potentially inappropriate profile picture?"). Have a good day. – S.D. May 3 '19 at 18:37
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    @CodyGray All fine with me. You got a good point there about W. Question is ... where to draw the line. Is a MAGA cap offensive? Or a photo of Trump? Or Putin ... I am actually a pretty political person, but on any SE.com site, I try to stay away from all of that. Thus it simply feels odd when other people cross such invisible "lines". The last thing I want to do when visiting any place on SE is to worry about that stuff.... – GhostCat May 3 '19 at 18:38
  • Yes. It is best practice to avoid politics on all SE sites that aren't Politics.SE. But we don't have a policy of policing what people put in their profile pictures unless it's actually offensive/hate speech (CoC violation), is inappropriate for a family-friendly site, or is causing a problem/distraction. There's no clear place to draw the line. Many of the SE employees have written answers about this, and it's always "use your best judgment". I don't like MAGA caps much myself, but are they offensive? No. They're shown on TV for public viewing. Same here, as I see it. – Cody Gray May 3 '19 at 18:46
  • @iLuvLogix: Regarding legal, it is only illegal in Poland, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q May 4 '19 at 15:47

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