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Acceptable Flag Policy

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NERVUN
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Founded: Mar 24, 2005
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Acceptable Flag Policy

Postby NERVUN » Sun May 23, 2010 5:05 pm

Acceptable Flag Policy (originally posted by [violet])

Apparently there's some confusion over our policy on acceptable images for flags (the kind you upload yourself). In particular, there's a mistaken belief that any image is fine so long as it doesn't include a swastika or nudity.

Nope! As per the FAQ, flags are subject to the same minimum standard as any other content: they can't be obscene, illegal, threatening, malicious, defamatory, spam, or have the primary aim of offending or upsetting people. And:

Originally Posted by http://www.nationstates.net/page=faq
Does that apply to my nation's flag?
You betcha. In fact, we're much stricter on nation flags than we are on forum posts, because they're not open for challenge and debate. If you want to make a political point, don't use your flag -- use the forum, where other people have a right of reply.

This has been the case from the beginning. However, I once answered a question about a three-pronged red and black flag by saying something like, "Only swastikas and swastika-like images are banned, not anything else," and the "anything else" was taken more literally than I intended. I apologize, particularly to the mods, for this confusion, and I'm sorry if it's lead to some inconsistent moderation.

To make life easier, here are some examples of what is and isn't acceptable. I expect there will be many borderline cases (there always are), but it's a simple principle. If a flag celebrates death, slavery, violence, or other not-nice things against real people, that's malicious, and will have the primary effect of offending.

Acceptable or Not? A Rough Guide

  • A Nazi swastika (like this): not acceptable (Yes, it was used by Buddhists in the third Century, etc, etc, but that's not what it represents now. To the vast majority of people, the swastika represents the Holocaust. A nation with a swastika appears to be endorsing that event; that's malicious and has the primary effect of offending.)
  • A swastika with little flowers and happy faces, on a nation called "The Friendly Nazis": fine
  • A swastika with little flowers and happy faces, on a nation called "The Friendly Nazis" that has the slogan: "We kill Jews with kindness": not fine
  • A flag of Hitler looking all stern: no (Only one interpretation available there.)
  • A flag of Hitler wearing an apron with fake boobs that says "Kiss the Cook": fine
  • Actual boobs: no (I know, I know, who gets offended by breasts? But it's only fun to post them because it's naughty, and that's why it's banned)
  • The iron cross: my feeling is it's usually okay, because I don't think most people even recognize it. But if the nation also had a name, slogan, etc, that seemed to be glorifying Bad Things, then no
  • That SS lightning slash thing: no
  • Something that looks like a Nazi swastika if you squint just right: mods would need to judge the intent. If the context of the nation (its name, region, custom fields, etc) suggest that it's simply an attempt to get around the swastika ban, then no. If it seems coincidental -- e.g. nothing else about the nation seems to endorse violence against real people -- then it's fine.
  • A swastika on a pro-Nazi nation but honest it's just roleplaying: no. Sorry, you might be RPing but if that's not obvious to other people, then the primary effect of your flag will be to offend and upset, even though you don't intend it.
  • A swastika of the non-Nazi variety (such as the Jain Flag): depends on the context. If mods judge that it's simply a stand-in for a Nazi flag (because of the nation's name, custom fields, region, etc), then no. Otherwise, fine.
  • The hammer and sickle: fine (Yes, I'm aware of the hundreds of millions of deaths. But when people look at the hammer and sickle, they think communism, not mass graves. If you can point me at a survey that shows otherwise, then we'll deem this one malicious, too. But until then, it's just a Soviet flag.)
  • The Japanese flag, or the American one, or the British one, or... : fine (Most people don't primarily associate any of these with death or violence.)
  • The Japanese flag on a nation with the slogan, "We bombed your grandparents": no

To make that point again: we don't ban particular patterns of colored pixels, we ban any content that is malicious in nature. The mods' job is to judge which is which, according to guidelines like this.

And because I know this is going to come up again: I realize that you can point out a bunch of different groups that committed terrible acts, and yet we're not banning their flags. That's because we're not banning the symbols of every group that scored a particular body count; we're prohibiting content that is malicious in nature and to most people will have the primary effect of offending. Not a few people, not just you, but most people. That's the criteria.

The forums permit relatively free speech on a range of issues, so, as the FAQ says, if you've got a political ax to grind, do it here, where people can argue back. Please don't put it in your flag when you know it will piss people off.

Animated flags: we don't mind them, within reason. Be aware that rapidly flashing flags may be removed for the comfort of other forum readers.

Using someone else's flag without permission: Don't. You'd think we didn't have to spell this out as it's copyright infringement/plagiarism, but apparently we do.

Added animated flags 04 Oct 2010 -NERV
Last edited by Sedgistan on Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:01 am, edited 10 times in total.
Reason: Moved from obsoleted OSRS thread
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