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There's a podcast linked in the sidebar titled Podcast 341: Blocking the haters as a service:

"Blocking the haters as a service" in the sidebar

The Code of Conduct clearly forbids name calling and personal insults:

No name-calling or personal attacks.

Focus on the content, not the person. This includes terms that feel personal even when they're applied to content (e.g. “lazy”).

It goes even further:

No subtle put-downs or unfriendly language.

Even if you don’t intend it, this can have a negative impact on others.

If you really believe in these rules, then it must apply to yourselves, including your blog. Don't be dismissive of other people's feelings, even when they're upset about something that doesn't bother you.

If you don't demonstrate the attitude you require of others, how can you expect others to act according to it?

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    @KevinB If referring to someone by a particular word constitutes harassment (or as SO has insisted in some cases, even not calling them by a particular word), then plastering name calling on the front page is harassment. – jpmc26 May 25 at 22:30
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    I'm confused why you think this qualifies as name calling. Haters exist, in the same vein that trolls exist or racists exist. Whatever term you use, it can be used as a form of name calling when directed at someone specific. But when discussing the topic of haters in general, how exactly does it become an attack? We cannot discuss these topics at all because the terms can be negative? How many times has the word "trolls" been brought up here on Meta? Same thing... – animuson May 25 at 22:37
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    @animuson Let me make sure I understand the implications of what you're saying. As long as an insult refers to no specific person participating in a discussion, it's allowed? Because that would be in direct contradiction of clear SO ruling on some particular issues I can think of. – jpmc26 May 25 at 22:45
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    I think you're interpreting that section of the CoC in an invalid way. To use that example. lazy people exist. And there's nothing wrong with discussing "lazy people" in general. Calling a specific person lazy by referring directly to them or their content is inappropriate, though. This is exactly why we have always banned the use of the [specific-user] tag and discourage referencing specific users or posts when bringing up issues on Meta. – animuson May 25 at 22:47
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    @animuson "And there's nothing wrong with discussing 'lazy people' in general." Why not? Isn't it unwelcoming, particularly to people who might feel it refers to them because their questions have been rejected as inadequate? – jpmc26 May 25 at 22:49
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    In the case of the blog, "haters" is referring to people who harass other people with hateful speech on sites like Twitter, and I see no problem with referring to some anonymous person who would direct hateful content towards another as a hater. It's an appropriate term for what is being described. – animuson May 25 at 22:50
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    @animuson Let me clarify a bit. Labeling a group of people "haters" immediately encourages an "us, the good guys, vs. them, the bad guys" mindset. Isn't that sort of division where you're inclined to immediately assume you're in the "good" group something the CoC seeks to discourage? It certainly does not strike me as very kind, respectful, or inclusive, much less patient or welcoming. – jpmc26 May 25 at 23:19
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    Yes there are groups of people. People who spread hate on purpose do belong to a group, and this group is NOT welcome in Stack Exchange. That's a good thing. If someone will claim you, personally, is a "hater" that's name calling and can be reported, but just discussing this in general is not. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard May 26 at 7:11
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    Related is the consistent general hate (e.g., by making fun of) on COBOL, Perl, and PHP on the podcast (indirectly hating on the practitioners of those languages). Some of it is entirely superficial, like the use of sigils. All three languages are extremely useful in the real world, outside of the cool kids' New York club. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q May 26 at 12:02
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    @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard We all hate something and are even spreading hate on purpose. Surely, I am allowed to hate JavaScript ;) I am not really sensitive kind, but I also think using haters in a podcast title is just too raw (I cannot find more appropriate word now) – Resistance Is Futile May 26 at 16:35
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    @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard Unfortunately, we live in a world where mere policy disagreement is categorized as "hate." Consider immigration debates, for instance, where wanting to enforce immigration law is categorized as "hate," and the more relevant to our community gender issues, where denying certain truth claims is labeled "hate." Particularly without context (and even in context in this case), how can I trust that this usage refers to actual hate vs. this overuse, especially when the speakers in the podcast appear to support to ideology of people who tend to overuse the label? – jpmc26 May 26 at 18:35
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    @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard 1. A "hater" is not a person spreading hate, even by the moderators' own admissions here. 2. The idea that everyone who disagrees with you about any particular issue is "spreading hate" is itself a prejudice that assumes the correctness of your view. 3. The Code of Conduct does not say anyone is unwelcome. It says everyone is welcome and should feel included. It doesn't matter if you're fine with it. So there's only two options here: the CoC doesn't mean what it says or the policy is not being applied as intended. Which is it? – jpmc26 May 27 at 8:14
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    @ColleenV Read the post. I explained in detail why the content in question was a problem as you describe. I used the Be Nice rules as a guide because I actually thought they meant something at the time and represented values we could agree on. And then I begged for improvements, doing my absolute best to appeal to their better nature. Regardless, many others have used approaches that did not leverage any sort of rules. – jpmc26 May 27 at 22:14
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    @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard In practical usage, a "hater" is anyone who speaks an opinion that the speaker wishes to dismiss and deride without having to present an argument against it. For example, when I tried to explain to a superior that database performance tools could not make up for the lack of experience and knowledge among myself and my colleagues and could lead to more problems if we didn't understand what the tool was telling us, he called me a "hater." He did so because he felt personally slighted by my reasoned response, since the tooling was his idea. – jpmc26 May 27 at 22:23
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    @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard With regard to spreading hate, I didn't say you said anything in particular. I was emphasizing that you can't equivocate criticism with spreading hate, when often what this issue is really about is ideological criticism. As for rules for every scenario, I'm not suggesting any such thing. The rules spell out a specific set of values as a good thing, and then the company ignored those values. A simple, "You're right. We goofed. We'll fix this," is all that could be expected. In lieu of any action, I'll have to settle for sunlight on the hypocrisy. – jpmc26 May 28 at 5:06
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Sometimes it's useful not to 'simply' judge a book by its cover - or perhaps a podcast 'simply' by its title. I took a quick look at the transcripts and the topic of discussion is about a tool that reminds me a lot of Smoke Detector for Twitter, and a few other bits of data.

The nice thing about the transcript is that I can do a quick search for the word haters and it is said a grand total of zero times. (And I might want to actually listen to it - sounds interesting.)

As for the term itself - as a moderator, and occasional yeller at SE when they mess up, it's useful for me, at least as a mental exercise to consider whether a reasonable person would find it offensive. Naturally, opinions may differ, as does cultural relevance.

The first thing that comes to mind is the term "Haters gonna hate":

enter image description here

Practically - in modern/internet culture, this tends to be a term used to brush off folks who're trying to put you down, so... for most part it's inoffensive.

The US government (and I assume the current administration) also talks about it in those terms in their anti-bullying page archive link - using the precise term and defining it as:

"Hater" is a label used to refer to people who use negative and critical comments and behavior to bring another person down by making them look or feel bad.

I don't find anything specifically relevant in the current stacks design guide either.

Naturally - it's not for me to say what someone would be offended by, but it feels like it's not that offensive a label unless applied to someone specifically.

On the other hand, when talking about tools - internal, or community led, it's about the tool and objectives, not the 'target'. It is a bit unusual, title-wise.

It's certainly a clickbaity title, and possibly oversimplifies the work being done by block party, but I wouldn't go as far as escalating it as a COC violation if it had been something I had to moderate based on content alone.

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    Personally and this is entirely the reason I downvoted this question and upvoted this answer, when I saw the title of the podcast, immediately took “Haters” as a reference to those who attempt to claim people cannot do something. Reading as much as I could stomach of the transcript, that’s pretty much the reference, only difference is those “haters” are on Twitter and there is a service to block them. Distasteful title of an episode, perhaps, but nothing insulting to anyone in the SE community – Ramhound May 26 at 4:02
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    @Ramhound No, it's not a reference to people claiming someone can't do something. It's a reference to identity focused worldviews, where "hate" can mean anything from actual prejudices to mere political disagreement. You can see that in the transcript, with references to things like "social justice" (or even the vastly more strange "climate justice"). – jpmc26 May 26 at 4:46
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    "'Hater' is a label..." Yeah, exactly. That's the problem. It, as a label, is almost exclusively used to disparage and dismiss people. The podcast itself isn't so... directly demeaning, but that would only be more justification for changing the title. – jpmc26 May 26 at 4:50
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    Of special irony is the fact that using "hater" in the manner your definition describes would actually qualify the speaker as a "hater." It's a pejorative (which makes it a negative and critical commentary) that's used to make someone look or feel bad, and worse, it's used by the speaker to make themselves feel superior. – jpmc26 May 26 at 5:25
  • Maybe - but having a point of reference to how it might be used is useful. Of course, unless we can find a neutral point of view to the use of the term. That proved exceedingly difficult – Journeyman Geek May 26 at 5:36
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    I wasn't objecting to the inclusion of the definition. I was saying that even the definition you found supports my point and undermines yours. – jpmc26 May 26 at 5:44
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    Ah, but you're assuming I fundamentally disagree - I am not. I'm critically assessing the broader situation. I don't think its a great title, but the COC isn't the right tool in this instance IMO. And I guess - how inaccurate would the title be for a podcast for tools that block negative and critical comments? Could there be a better option? And more importantly - how we can get more considered titles.... – Journeyman Geek May 26 at 5:57
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    @jpmc26 - You can’t tell me how I took the title is incorrect; While I might not agree with the podcast content or the subject matter, and I might agree the title of the episode is distasteful, I am not offended by the title itself and understand its reference. I personally hated Twitter and Facebook before the last year, I certainly hate them even more, given their recent policy choices. – Ramhound May 26 at 7:17
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    bonus points for the panda – Luuklag May 26 at 8:26
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    See the edit. The CoC is clearly written to be generally opposed to any kind of downputting language. – jpmc26 May 26 at 21:54
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Whether or not calling people haters is unwelcoming and a CoC violation... it's meh, it depends mostly on a context that apparently isn't shared by everyone here. I've seen the word "haters" used in so many contexts online that it can be basically anything from a joking insult for people that don't like pineapple on pizza to a word used to dismiss things that you don't want to listen to. Some usage of it is fun, some usage of it is 'clinical' (following a 'dictionary definition'), some usage of it is dismissive.

This whole post (question, answers, comments) reminds me of a post on IPS Meta, where one of the answers made a good point:

You may have intended to communicate these concerns via the term "militant", but all you're really conveying is your own perception of this person; if we were sitting down over a pitcher of beer and plate of nachos such a description would aid in commiseration with you, but does little to help further our understanding of the person that you wish to communicate with.

In this case: all this post, and the reactions here, are conveying is our own perception of this word.

Personally, I wouldn't reach for labelling the use of the word haters in this instance a Code of Conduct violation (because I perceive a different intent behind the use of this word in a podcast title), but I would agree that the title could've been more clear by using e.g. 'online harassment' instead of 'haters', in order to avoid all these perceptions.

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  • The semantics of a word being offensive or inadequate are not only subjective perception (as your bold categorically states). Otherwise there would be no offensive vocabulary mentioned in the CoC. Besides, SE has made poor choices both in wording and concept see Why is SO running a promoted tweet with scaremongering Wikipedia misinformation?, turd polishing to name only a few. – bad_coder May 26 at 11:31
  • @bad_coder I don't see me claiming anywhere that the semantics of a word being offensive or inadequate are only subjective perception. I don't see the word only in my bolded sentence anywhere, and I'm well aware that such perceptions are steered by e.g. processes of pejoration and melioration and/or the community/context these words are used in (see e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigga). – Tinkeringbell May 26 at 12:15
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    Still, if you want to argue the point, I'd say that "offensive vocabulary" as listed in the CoC is subjective perception, enforcing the same 'offensive vocabulary' rule on e.g. Parler would lead to different results, because of different perceptions of different words. Otherwise, why mention 'offensive vocabulary' in the CoC at all? Just give us poor mods a list of words we can delete on sight, and if it's not there, we don't need to moderate it. But because of the above, that's just not going to happen, and what is/isn't offensive is left up to the community and mods to decide. – Tinkeringbell May 26 at 12:17
  • "I've seen the word "haters" used in so many contexts online that it can be basically anything from a joking insult for people that don't like pineapple on pizza to a word used to dismiss things that you don't want to listen to." - +1, basically what I said about ambiguity – Nick May 26 at 15:43
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    Can you think of any instance in which the word "haters" was not used in a manner intended to be dismissive of someone? To deride their thoughts and opinions? Even your "pineapple on pizza" example is still doing that to some group of people. – jpmc26 May 26 at 20:52
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    @jpmc26 Congrats, you reconfirmed the point: not all context is shared by everyone and as such our perceptions are colored differently. Yes, I can think of instances where 'haters' wasn't used with the intent to be dismissive of someone, but where the intent was to acknowledge an agreement to disagree and full acceptance of differences to the point where two people are comfortable joking about those. Whether that's about pineapple on pizza or applying mascara before or after eye-shadow, the context is there for me. Apparently not for you though, so any example I give would be useless to you. – Tinkeringbell May 27 at 6:56
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    @Tinkeringbell That's an interesting response because the CoC addresses it: "Be inclusive and respectful. Avoid sarcasm and be careful with jokes — tone is hard to decipher online." So the usage you described is explicitly discouraged by the CoC. – jpmc26 May 27 at 8:19
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    @Jpmc26 Discouraging something is different from telling people to be careful when using something. I've never been discouraged from using sharp knives to cut up vegetables, but I have been told to be careful when using sharp knives. Perhaps you could say I have been discouraged to not go waving around sharp knives wildly as part of being careful with knives, but again, that doesn't mean I'm being discouraged from using those sharp knives entirely. So what's explicitly discouraged here can be argued about, which isn't something I'm all that interested in to be honest. – Tinkeringbell May 27 at 8:27
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    @Tinkeringbell Plastering something commonly used as an insult on the site's functional homepage certainly doesn't qualify as "careful." It's about as careful as throwing the knife at the vegetable in a crowded room. – jpmc26 May 27 at 8:28
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    @jpmc26 'Avoid sarcasm and be careful with jokes' is hating the British, (or, at least, some kind of woke argument could be made for that:). – Martin James May 31 at 7:40
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    @MartinJames I am no Brit, but I grew up on British humor... I have hard time adjusting to that requirement. I mean how can people even live without joking all the time ;) – Resistance Is Futile Jun 2 at 7:03
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Humans categorize in order to more easily address specific things.
In this context, 'haters' simply refers to those users who (actively) participate in "online harassment" (quoted from the link you posted).
The word 'hate' has a negative connotation, and that may be why you interpret it as name-calling.

Also keep in mind that no individuals are addressed here: this is an abstraction, a label used for a threat to this community.
It is similar to using the word 'misogynists', 'racists' - as well as 'philanthropists' or 'patrons' - in order to talk about a specific group of people whose actions (and often convictions) have a specific influence on or consequence for those using these labels (or the ones they care about).


A more objective argument: Lexico defines 'hater' as

A person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing.

  • informal A negative or critical person.

There is nothing inherently insulting about the word.

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    "There is nothing inherently insulting about the word." I'm sorry, but that's nonsense. It is absolutely an insult, used to be intentionally dismissive of someone and anything they have to say. And the use of "misogynists" and "racists" is also unwelcoming, not because actual prejudices are good, but because the labels are applied so broadly today that they can encompass anyone. (There are literally people who claim that having a specific skin color makes you inherently racist.) They're far more often hurled as insults than as specific terms, and "hater" is no different in that regard. – jpmc26 May 26 at 20:44
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    @jpmc26 I think you mistake 'insult' for '(potentially) hurtful'. – Joachim May 26 at 21:39
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    The CoC goes so far as to forbid unintentional unfriendly language, so even if you were correct, that distinction would be meaningless here. You're not correct, though. It is absolutely a word used to intentionally put someone down. – jpmc26 May 26 at 21:43
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It's fine. I'm a hater of some things. I don't see it as a pejorative. Labelling me a hater doesn't pit me against anyone; it just describes my attitude (in a playful, well-known, idiomatic way). And if they mean it in a more specific way (e.g. "people who harass other people with hateful speech"), then I'm also fine, because it doesn't apply to me, I hope!

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    It's good that you're fine, and if the company based their policy around responding with charity to such things, I wouldn't be posting this. That is not the nature of the policy. – jpmc26 May 26 at 5:23
  • Thanks! I made it community wiki so you can improve it. – user133469 May 26 at 5:58
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    Don't make it community wiki, that's not what it's meant for. (downvote shield.) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard May 26 at 9:12
  • What is that? I see 4 downvotes. It can be edited or downvoted. – user133469 May 26 at 13:03
  • I tried to make it community wiki, but it isn't permanent. I think you can still make edits though. – user133469 May 26 at 15:15

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