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The Be Nice policy of SE is pretty clear:

Name-calling: Focus on the post, not the person. That includes terms that feel personal even when they're applied to posts (like "lazy", "ignorant", or "whiny").

Bigotry of any kind: Language likely to offend or alienate individuals or groups based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. will not be tolerated. At all. (Those are just a few examples; when in doubt, just don't.)

But I see both regular users and moderators engaging in such behavior.

I've brought a couple of such comments to the notice of moderators and both are declined:

  1. Original post: Was Bhagavad Gita a later interpolation?

    You can ignore Bori people. Most of them are leftists. – The Destroyer ♦ Jun 10 at 7:26

    bigotry of any kind is against SE policy, "Language likely to offend or alienate individuals or groups based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. will not be tolerated. At all." – sv. 24 mins ago declined

  2. Original post: Why did BORI excise the Vyāsa-Gaṇeśa conversation from its critical edition of the Mahābhārata?

    If I come up RAM-Obedient-Research-Institue (RORI) edition today, can we get a tag for that too ? Scholarly brain does not equal discernment of truth. The main editor for this BORI book, V.S Sukthankar lived/studied in Britain & New-York, married a British woman etc. What else other than western atheistically-inclined interpretations can we expect from them. To answer your question, Their brain did not want to accept these extraordinary events, so they edited it out – ram Aug 24 at 22:48

    name-calling and bigotry of any kind is not allowed on SE sites – sv. 45 mins ago declined

Both of those comments seem to be personally attacking or alienating the BORI scholars just for holding their own views. The second comment even goes into the personal life of one scholar.

I understand that regular users can take offense to all sorts of valid questions and comments and respond strongly in comments with personal attacks and name-calling, targeting their religious and philosophical orientation. This can be easily countered by flagging.

However, what should we do when moderators themselves engage in bigotry and actively support other users doing the same?

It's rather ironic that we want more Hindu scholars to join this website, yet, we are actively attacking them in the comments sections of several questions.

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    The two examples you cite don't qualify as namecalling/bigotry. They refer to ideologies (that may be anti-thetical to Hinduism). Referring to an ideology or mentioning it by name is not bigotry and certainly not name-calling. As for your other point about wanting more Hindu scholars, we don't need "scholars" with a hidden anti-Hindu agenda. – user1195 Sep 20 '17 at 12:04
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    SV- If you are interested in a dispassionate , academic study of Hinduism, try looking up Prof S N Balagangadhara. He has numerous students who are not born Hindu and therefore do not have a natural affinity or loyalty to it. Their approach is purely academic and many of them advocate strongly for the tenets of hinduism such as the caste system. Go figure :-) – user1195 Sep 20 '17 at 12:09
  • "we don't need 'scholars' with a hidden anti-Hindu agenda" - we should let the community decide? Why is one of the moderators inviting scholars to this site only to let other users slander them after they join? Is there a conflict of interest here between personal beliefs and moderating the site? – sv. Sep 20 '17 at 15:00
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    "we should let the community decide?" - I am part of the community. And I'm pretty sure my opinion is shared by the majority. "Why is one of the moderators inviting scholars to this site only to let other users slander them after they join?" - They are "letting the community decide" . BTW, where is this invitation to scholars? – user1195 Sep 20 '17 at 15:39
  • And who are these scholars that have joined and where and when have they been slandered? – user1195 Sep 20 '17 at 15:46
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    "V.S Sukthankar lived/studied in Britain & New-York, married a British woman" - I consider this slandering and bigotry. What's the need to alienate people based on where they lived/studied, who they are married to? This is not a tabloid, this is a website running on SE platform and needs to follow the SE Be Nice policy. "with a hidden anti-Hindu agenda" - shouldn't you define what Hindu or Hinduism means before labeling someone anti-Hindu? So all Hindus who agree with your views are Hindus and those who don't automatically have an "anti-Hindu agenda"? – sv. Sep 20 '17 at 16:17
  • "where is this invitation to scholars" - see discussion under this. – sv. Sep 20 '17 at 16:18
  • "see discussion under this. –" Thats not an invitation to scholars. Just a discussion of the possibility. And the community was clear that even these scholars must cite proper scriptural sources and cannot peddle their own wares. – user1195 Sep 20 '17 at 16:26
  • Reg sukthankar - we are products of our environments. What someone is exposed to and their choices in life are usually a good indicator of their ideologies and affinities. This is where the poster was coming from , it seems. The definition of Hindu is not new or rare. It has been stated many times on this SE as well. A hindu is someone who accepts the authority of the veda. Simple. – user1195 Sep 20 '17 at 16:28
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    As i mentioned earlier, you do not know what slander means. Those BORI editor's life-choices are facts. Why would anyone be offended by the fact that a scholar married a western woman, unless they intrinsically felt it was something shameful ? The point of digging up the BORI editor's personal beliefs is to uncover hidden bias. It is obvious many westerners are opposed to Hindu epics. Would you believe a Wikipedia article on Richard Dawkins if you knew it was edited by a christian monk ? – ram Sep 20 '17 at 19:25
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    You might immediately make a comment that Valmiki was a thief, so why believe Ramayana. We all know, he transformed by intense tapas before writing it. The same could have happened to BORI editor VS Sukthankar, but there is no evidence to support it, so it is a valid inference that he was influenced by western idealogies. None has time to pour through some random book to discern if the author removed only one instance of supernatural events.. – ram Sep 20 '17 at 19:33
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    Slander means "Words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another" - What part of 'false' do you not understand ? BORI editor's personal life choices are true events, not made up by me. If those are damaging to his reputation, not my fault. – ram Sep 22 '17 at 0:47
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    Let's see - bori.ac.in/mahabharata_project.html - lists main editors V. S. Sukhtankar - London, S.K. De - London, R.N. Dandekar - Germany, S.K. Belvalkar - Harvard. What an amazing coincidence that the men behind BORI were scholars who did graduate studies in western nations and tried to translate ancient Sanskrit works into English. – ram Sep 22 '17 at 6:01
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    and M.A. Mehendale - professor of Deccan college, where, coincidentally, S.K. Belvalkar, another Western-educated indologist was also professor. Surely at least Mehendale must have had his own views on ancient epics totally un-influenced by his peers – ram Sep 22 '17 at 6:09
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    and let's not forget the main man behind BORI institute itself - R.G Bhandarkar - Germany. And who in 1911, was given the 'Companion of Order of Indian Empire' by Britishers who were ruling many parts of India. Nope, there is no way any editor affiliated with BORI could have any bias against spiritual texts from Bharat. – ram Sep 22 '17 at 6:26
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As we all know that the bigotry is not allowed in this site.
The NEW new "Be Nice" Policy ("Code of Conduct") — Updated with your feedback


Regarding specific comments:

"You can ignore Bori people. Most of them are leftists."

I don't see any issue with above comment. The word "leftist" itself is not wrong. Typically they are believed to be opposing the organised religions.

The comment though doesn't show any bigotry, is actually not required either.
At best, one may ignore a comment, if it's giving unwanted advise.


"What else other than western atheistically-inclined interpretations can we expect from them"

Being brought up in western & atheistic culture is not any offence. The commenter probably meant that, a person with such ambience is likely to overthink rationality and will be mostly devoid of faith towards scriptures.

However, discussion of a scholar's married life is too personal to deride in open forum. Thankfully it's a comment. Moderator could have edited it out, if the comment had to be retained.

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    How do you react to: "You can ignore Vedantins, Vaishnavas...Most of them are ..." - IMO, this is alienating people ("Language likely to offend or alienate individuals or groups") If a BORI scholar takes offense to "You can ignore Bori people. Most of them are leftists." and flags it - would you delete the comment if you were a moderator? – sv. Sep 20 '17 at 14:51
  • @sv. Yes I might delete a comment, which alienates or remotely attempts to insult individuals/groups. But that's my discretion. It's not echoed in my answer because, it doesn't serve any purpose. There are many agressive comments than these 2 + your "speculation" comment. As an individual user, we have to build tolerance & that can be achieved by ignoring. For me the tolerance is broken if a mod deletes a valid Qn or answer. Rest all are fine. Even if someone use curse words! It's personal view. – iammilind Sep 20 '17 at 15:17
  • 'Yes I would delete the comment, which alienates or remotely attempts to insult individuals/groups.' - Good to know. 'But that's my discretion' - Luckily, SE policy doesn't leave a lot of things to discretion. They specifically have the phrase 'alienate individuals or groups'. So why do we need discretion? :P – sv. Sep 20 '17 at 15:22
  • @sv. Somewhere I read that site specific policies would override the general SE policy. Moreover not all mods follow the rules strictly. All have their own understandings, for practical reasons. Since I am coming from main SO, I will tend to be liberal as main SO. However I am fine with conservative way of moderation as well. My answers were deleted for too long before being restored by new Mod. May be that's why I have developed good resistance. :-) – iammilind Sep 20 '17 at 15:33
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    why do you call it 'deride' ? if i said 'The sun rises in the east', would you say 'discussion of direction in which sun rises' is digging too much into the personal life of the sun in a public forum ? Why are people like @sv offended by me mentioning the fact that BORI editor married a western woman, unless they felt deep in their heart that it would make him biased towards western/atheistic tendencies.. – ram Sep 20 '17 at 19:36
  • we are not beholden to the semantics of SE site policy which are up for interpretation. the underlying theme of Hinduism is that God is the sole proprietor and controller of the universe. it is silly to argue about rules laid down by a local city councilor when it is Prime Minister's we need to focus on. – ram Sep 20 '17 at 19:41
  • @iammilind Not sure if you read this answer on Meta.SE. If you can edit your answer to align with the SE recommendation w.r.t the first comment, I will accept your answer. – sv. Sep 22 '17 at 15:13
  • @sv. I saw your comment yesterday & just read now. I have commented 2 answers for clarifications. BTW it's good that you asked in main SE & see the stupendous upvotes. :-) They seem to be concerned about unbiased "be nice" policy. Since I have already given my POV neutrally, I would prefer to stick there. Would edit answer based on what those Mods respond to my comment. Thx. – iammilind Sep 23 '17 at 2:11

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