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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Folly of Censorship for Tranquility

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Banned for having a humourous intent.

I wouldn't be a freedom fighter stickin' to my values if I didn't get banned from quite a few places in my time. And hey, it's not really news that some people don't appreciate the kind of person I am. Some places are terrified of truth and levity, so good on you dear reader for sticking around. And if you're just joinin' us, then check out our About and then our feature opportunity for you to win $10 on your Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft digital download marketplace account.

I like to take my bans from gaming communities and turn them into learning lessons for y'all. Well, this time the ban is from the gaming community literally called the Gaming community on Google+. It's notable because it has over 800,000 members in it. Obviously not all of them are active, but that's a very high user count that dwarfs the number of people that have been affected by some of the things we've written articles about before. Just to put it in perspective, that's multiple times as many people who have originally bought EarthBound and we all know how influential that fandom is.

Here's the post that got me banned. I thought it was pretty clever. You can see it below. It was showing off yesterday's article.

Google+ Gaming community group ban corrupt censorship injustice
"Ban due to making fun of a serious issue."

The serious issue here, of course, is that ban reason. Let's go over why that's so bad and recap what we've learned from my bans so far... about the nature of the enemy.

KoopaTV has had four articles so far about me being banned from places. They were all from 2014, so I guess that was a really rough year for me:
  1. Banned from NeoGAF. The lesson here is that when you construct a community that is so alike in opinions, any diversity in thought appears to be a threat and must be eradicated. And this is a bad outcome for a variety of reasons, including a drop in intellectual discourse.
  2. Banned from Miiverse. That sparked a lot of other articles, but the message here was rather Miiverse-specific: Miiverse is a fantastic feature that encourages you to share your gaming experiences, and you really miss its integration when it's gone. Also another good lesson is that arguing with children probably isn't a productive activity. This is a corporation-ran social network, so it's pretty ideology-neutral, as it should be.
  3. Banned from NSider2. This story has a very special part in our history, because KoopaTV's staff are currently all Nintendo NSider Forum alumni. The guy who banned us was none other than another KoopaTV staffer who became the head admin of NSider2 and stabbed us in the shell. With some scary scale-piercing Falchion. The lesson is to not go and abandon your friends and then act like you don't even know them. If you're gonna ditch your pals, then be fully transparent about it or there will be previously-avoidable consequences later on.
  4. Banned from Facebook. ...To make things simple, the lesson is to never use Facebook. I think that's a worthwhile lesson itself. You can also see how idiotic minions in a corporation can be a detriment to that organisation's evil goals, which goes to our lesson on Monday about how to be a good minion so your evil organisation can actually do harm to the world instead of messing it up. (That's how I eventually got unbanned.)
Now the lesson with this Google+ Gaming group? Well, we can clearly see I'm clever in my writing to show off the Ledge Trump article. I'm writing just like a journalist would!
"Presidential candidate of Nintendo Corp. Ltd, Ledge Trump, has sparked controversy with his recent comments:"
And then a quote from the article that would be very relevant to the interests and discussions of the Gaming group. When I promote an article in different places I try to tailor the message to that place. This was very tailored, and I'd know since I've posted things in this group many times before. It was great. And it got some +1s (approvals from other users) until this dude deleted it and banned me.

Edge hogging ledge trumps Super Smash Bros.
This wasn't as well-received but at least I didn't get banned.
So the crux of the ban was that I got banned for making fun of a serious issue.

That's... literally what KoopaTV is all about. Truth & levity is all about finding things to laugh about in the topics of the day. A poet once said,
"Anything worth taking seriously is worth making fun of."
And that's pretty much true. KoopaTV wouldn't be what it is if we didn't have fun. Apparently, fun is not allowed in Google+'s biggest gaming community. Stupid polls and memes everyone has seen before is a-okay though.

What is the serious issue, anyway? Is it Ubisoft's game problems? Did the admin get scarred for life by an incomplete Ubisoft game he bought at launch?

Maybe the serious issue is Donald Trump. But... Donald Trump isn't a serious issue. He's a serious issue for the Republican primaries if he dupes enough people into thinking he's a conservative that he actually wins, but few people are taking that premise seriously.

Oh, it must be the fact that Nintendo doesn't have a CEO right now. That's definitely serious. But is it making fun of the issue to be reporting on what the company faces?

No one in the Gaming community was taking any issue with the content presented. This admin, bearing the face of Waluigi (today is #WiggerWednesday don't forget), just decided "WAAAAAAAAAAAH" and pre-emptively invaded the post like the invasion of Iraq. Because, oh no, someone might be offended by the usage of HUMOUR. How dare that happen?!

This is the kind of behaviour that lets the terrorists win, which is precisely why the nation of Japan used this kind of humour against ISIS.

We're against terrorism, and we're for people expressing their points through humour. It's a shame that people feel the need to censor one of the most effective ways to get one's point across. If we're all serious all the time, the world gets very dull very quickly. So this is an injustice and an affront to humanity everywhere.

So what lesson do you learn from this? Well, since he censored the post BEFORE any conflict happened, don't assume that people are stupid. People get offended if they WANT to get offended. And if people get offended, that's not always a bad thing. Humour is dry if someone out there ain't on the butt end. Censoring for tranquility only makes your community as interesting as watching grass grow or watching me struggle to Let's Play Donkey Kong Country 3. And no one wants to participate in communal grass-watching or getting zapped by the environment in Lightning Lookout.

And that's offensive to the lightning, which tries so hard to be interesting that it hurts. Really hurts. So much I spent like 4 full-length videos on that level so screw it. Either way, it's bad community-building that content-making people won't want to be a part of. Stale environment means your content will be stale, and that hurts everyone.

UPDATE  9/11/15: The admin in the screenshot has this to say: “Personally I am offended by the real Donald Trump remarks alone, and I don't need any satire ruining my life or the lives of others. I think satirical news sites should shut down.”

Well, there we go.

UPDATE 10/23/2017: Ludwig appealed his ban to a Gaming community moderator, who did not understand what justification the Waluigi-faced moderator (who is no longer a moderator at the community) had for banning Ludwig. Ludwig has been unbanned.

Ludwig isn't even going to link his Let's Play here, but he will link his YouTube channel at PrinceOfKoopas. That's also his NNID on Miiverse, where he currently is unbanned and has been ban-free for well over a year! KoopaTV has a vibrant atmosphere, so KoopaTV's content is also vibrant. Join the conversation in the comments section and all the other comments sections on KoopaTV!

Censorship is always bad for you.
It turns out that karma exists, and that Chrom guy who banned and censored on NSider2 got banned off of NSider2.
Ludwig got banned from Miiverse a second time afterwards.
I guess Donald Trump is a serious issue, since he won the Republican primaries.
...And then Donald Trump actually became president of the United States. A bit of a miscalculation on my part!
Ludwig explores why people are anti-humour and taking action against humourists in this article, where he also describes being banned for laughing at a joke.


  1. Being the legalistic person that I am, I went to the group and read their policies. I found nothing about "making fun of serious issues." I could see them stretching it if they argued the post was self-promotion or flamebait, but that's not the reason they gave.

    And I want to know how far "making fun of serious issues" goes. Would they have a problem with Hogan's Heroes (which I know isn't a video game, but it's the first example I thought of) because Nazis and POW camps are serious issues? What did they do during the Portal 2 controversy when a parent made a stink over GLaDOS making fun of fat and adopted people (which was played for laughs in the same dark way nearly everything she says is)?

    Just saying, "making fun of serious issues" is a vague and unclear reason to ban someone when it isn't listed in their policies.

    1. I've given up on people being consistent with their written policies a long time ago. None of the places I've been banned from have been consistent with their written policies.

      Except Facebook, I guess. They pretty much put on paper that they're evil but people still use it, which makes me wonder if people even care.

      Either way, we'll continue to make fun of serious issues and we'll find other outlets to let folks know our content exists. And hey, Google+ is still a big place and a viable platform and it's not like Google themselves banned me.

      ...(Unless they do, and then I think more than Google+ will be affected. *gulp*)

      But yeah, these types of groups don't really do serious discussion. A lot of it are stupid polls like "CALL OF DUTY OR BATTLEFIELD".

      OH YEAH. Uh, does Miiverse stay true to its written rules? Well, pretty much yes, the problem there is they over-enforce.

  2. How dumb, but then again Google + communities aren't that great anyway when you let users take the wheel... But knowing you...

    How about you make your own community, Ludwig? You can make your own rules and put your articles there! You'll have another outlet for KoopaTV publicity too.

    1. Oh hey I didn't expect you to post. Thanks for the comment!

      Running a community is really hard work, and if I'm going to run a community then I'll need some sort of plan for it.
      I mean, I've run communities before and I run one now on Pokémon Online, but I'm wondering how I would approach it.

      (If it's exclusively KoopaTV then having a Google+ community wouldn't really be getting anymore folks. If it's something more general, then people would be turned off if the mix of posts isn't right.)


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