I am posting to formally register my disapproval of this user's name.

I believe it constitutes hate speech. If you look at the comments on this user's answers, you will see that many others do too. The name is already causing a lot of trouble, and the user has not even been around for an entire day yet.

I don't think this site should tolerate hate speech. I think the name is intentionally offensive and the user should be suspended. At the very least, I would like their name changed.

Update: This user is now tossing around homophobic slurs in the main chatroom.

Update 2: This user has been temporarily suspended and their name has been changed.

Update 3: The user has been deleted.

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    $\begingroup$ A problem with a particular user would better be handled via a flag to the moderators or a message via the Help Center to the community team. Meta is better suited for general issues, not specific ones. I have already contacted anti-gay, but that is all I can say about that. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Sep 7 '13 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ @robjohn Sorry. I was not aware that was the proper course of action. I will remember that the next time I have such a complaint. $\endgroup$ – Potato Sep 7 '13 at 22:57
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    $\begingroup$ @robjohn Thank you for that. $\endgroup$ – Potato Sep 7 '13 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ @robjohn Though I do not think this was your intention, it seems dismissive to treat the problem at hand (Hate speech? Harassment and intimidation?) as "a problem with a particular user". This is something where the site community should be involved, $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 7 '13 at 23:36
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    $\begingroup$ As an update, the user is now named anti-happiness, and has been suspended. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Sep 7 '13 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ as a happy person I am deeply offended. $\endgroup$ – Anthony Carapetis Sep 8 '13 at 2:03
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    $\begingroup$ @LoieBenedicte It is a joke. He was making a joke. $\endgroup$ – Potato Sep 8 '13 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ (@Potato A bad one, at that, since it appears to be ridiculing and dismissing a very serious issue.) $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 8 '13 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Potato, I'm glad you made this public post rather than just notifying the mods in private, because I think this particular issue needed to be put to a vote for it to be clear how the general mathSE community feels. I appreciate it. (I actually almost made a similar post about this user earlier today but ended up just flagging instead.) $\endgroup$ – 6005 Sep 8 '13 at 5:58
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    $\begingroup$ "No one is anti-gay anymore, it's the 21st century". The first part is demonstrably false (but the second part is true). $\endgroup$ – Did Sep 8 '13 at 9:22
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    $\begingroup$ So here we have another instance of hypocritical moral-high-ground-soapboxing in the ever hostile propaganda war on sexual orientations (both sides guilty). Free speech anyone? Or does that only count when someone agrees with the majority's ideals on delicate subjects? Tasteless, sure. Disruptive, certainly. It should be dealt with by mods. But this volatile response (particularly in comments) is nothing but the public hanging of those with different opinion, and therefore morally behaving equivalent to the thing it opposes. Yugh, hypocrisy. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Sep 8 '13 at 11:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin No, it is not, common! Plus, "volatile", "public hanging"? Really? That seems soapboxing, more than the other comments. (Anyway, I will not continue on this thread.) $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 8 '13 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin: I have trouble digesting your point. Are you arguing that users should be allowed to have incendiary and insulting names? $\endgroup$ – Cheerful Parsnip Sep 12 '13 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin I don't think anyone's throwing reason or moderation overboard. I tried to lay out very clearly the reasons why I thought action should be taken. You're free to defend such names if you want to. Further, I am emphatically not tolerant of ideas I deem to be extraordinarily toxic and without merit, like racism and homophobia. There is no hypocrisy here. I will concede, however, that this was probably better addressed privately. $\endgroup$ – Potato Sep 12 '13 at 18:57
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    $\begingroup$ At first I've read: user with holomorphic name $\endgroup$ – leo Sep 13 '13 at 3:28

It seems overboard to classify the mere labeling of oneself anti-gay as hate speech. Would this apply for example to the username anti-x for various labels x that can be applied to people, for example christian, atheist, homophobe, etc? At any rate, the more unarguably germane issue is that the username is disruptive and inflammatory, not to mention poor taste. And there is an even more germane reason for suspension still at hand that is unexamined here.

Edit: I agree my given examples are weak and do not have the force and quality of "anti-gay" or "anti-black," but my understanding is that hate speech is beyond being factually wrong, morally wrong, or universally offensive $-$ it is hostility, harassment and incitement at criminally culpable levels (think drawing a cartoon in the US condoning a black man hanging by a rope around his neck). My impression is that a single username like "anti-gay" or "anti-black" is too passive and not nearly communicative enough alone to reach a level that it can be called hate speech.

It is clear to some of us that the user "anti-gay" is the same as the user "Twink." The account Twink came into the chatroom evangelizing tolerance for gays (something nobody voiced any contrary opinion to) to the point of disrupting conversation, and randomly calling others racist, homophobic etc. Here we see an account anti-gay basically manifesting the same exact behaviors but from the other side of the political spectrum. Both appeared in chat within days of each other using the exact same MO to troll (and as Twink this user explicitly admitted to trolling).

The disparity tells us that we do not actually know what this user's opinions about gays and gay issues, or really anything, truly are. Everything s/he says is performance art for the purpose of entertainment, so we cannot take what is said at his/her word. Ultimately, this user is testing us and amusing themselves with our extracted responses, probably reveling in the power of being able to cause such consternation at will. This is probably the most notable aspect of this situation.

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    $\begingroup$ This user was already suspended in MSE's chatroom once by the moderator Madara Uchiha, who said "Your own site's mods will decide what to do with him when it's lifted." $\endgroup$ – anon Sep 7 '13 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ In my opinion there ought to be a filter for user names. I mean how hard would it be to get a library of profanity to filter a user's name during signup? $\endgroup$ – Loie Benedicte Sep 7 '13 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ @LoieBenedicte Yes, I think such a basic filter would make sense to have. For this particular user I think the most banworthy thing is not their expression or labeling per se, but the simple act of being intentionally disruptive, inflammatory and (in the chatroom) confrontational. Even with automated filters this user would attempt trolling behavior, only with slightly more cleverness. $\endgroup$ – anon Sep 7 '13 at 23:50
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    $\begingroup$ Re a filter: as you say, any determined troll will easily find ways around it, while legitimate users may suffer from it via the Scunthorpe problem. Surely it would be simpler just to have it dealt with by mods, providing there’s consensus for a simple (zero-tolerance?) policy so that it doesn’t take too much of mods’ time and energy? If this were a more frequent problem, certainly a filter would be worthwhile, but it seems like it’s pretty rare so far, fortunately. $\endgroup$ – Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine Sep 8 '13 at 0:34
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    $\begingroup$ I like this for the most part, but the first paragraph is unfair. Surely the meaning of "anti-gay" is not on the same level as "anti-christian". That is like saying "anti-black" and "anti-white" are equivalent just because they are two classes of people. Surely "anti-black" will offend more people, hurt more feelings, etc. Similarly "anti-jew" is going to be much more offensive than "anti-christian" even if you think the Jewish religion is ridiculous and deserves a lot of criticism. It's not really a matter of politics, but rather of respect and sensitivity to other peoples' feelings. $\endgroup$ – 6005 Sep 8 '13 at 5:39
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    $\begingroup$ This reaction, this meta thread, is exactly what the user wanted. The troll has been fed a kings' banquet this day. $\endgroup$ – James S. Cook Sep 8 '13 at 5:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Goos That makes sense. My feelings are that using the term "hate speech" too loosely could trivialize real hate speech, so I had a bone to pick with that, and that was how I originally thought to articulate myself. The nym "anti-gay" alone could at most I think remind people that anti-gay attitudes exist, hurtful but not entirely traumatic. | Aside: observe that "anti-gay" is a term used probably exclusively against those who hold anti-gay attitudes by those of us who are more progressive $-$ if there were any lingering question that this user is not being sincere in their presentation. $\endgroup$ – anon Sep 8 '13 at 6:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Goos: It is a matter of politics to treat anti-X labels differently depending on whether X is a "dominant" or "oppressed" group. But this is not the issue at hand. $\endgroup$ – Dan Sep 8 '13 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Dan I don't think that many people would be very offended by the username "anti-white". Most people are not deeply passionate about white people being mistreated or hated. So it doesn't actually have to do with whether white people are "dominant" or "oppressed". $\endgroup$ – 6005 Sep 8 '13 at 6:40
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    $\begingroup$ How do you know what all those people on mathSE have strong feelings about? This is a site with tens or hundreds of thousands of users from all over the world. Maybe there are many more people than you accounted for, who are from traditional sorts of backgrounds, nations and religions, different from the "progressive" leftish academics and elites you might have in mind, who are offended by a username like GayPride or SatansLoveChild, and maybe their number is comparable to or larger than the quantity offended by AntiGay. Neither your views nor their opposites are universal. @Goos $\endgroup$ – zyx Sep 9 '13 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Goos, as I am sure you know, it is less likely that people offended by those other usernames would make a thread on meta to debate the matter. They may be non-English speakers, or are familiar with the present state of the Western democracies and understand the possibility of a hostile reception and a battle in which they are painted very negatively. (Those are two reasons from a much larger set.) The point at issue was not whether people exist who have strong feeling about 'anti-gay' or any other username, but your distinction between anti-X and anti-Y. $\endgroup$ – zyx Sep 9 '13 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ There are presently 29 users who upvoted the question, and 10 who downvoted, if that tells you anything. The greater visibility of people attacking anti-minority versus anti-majority displays really says nothing about what is "inappropriate" under your definition of offending some large swath of people or their strongly held beliefs. It does say something about the culture in which beliefs can be expressed or kept strategically quiet. There are obvious problems with "placate the loudest" as the effective standard. @Goos $\endgroup$ – zyx Sep 9 '13 at 2:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Goos In retrospect, I should have written it that way. I was trying to be as short as possibly, so it wouldn't be ranty, and I seem to have cut corners a little too much. $\endgroup$ – Potato Sep 10 '13 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ Being "a-theist" or any anti-$x$ where $x$ represents an ideology, a way of thinking like a religious or political opinion, for ex. "anti-christian", is not the same as being anti-$x$ where $x$ represents people, for ex. "anti-gay", "anti-black" or "anti-white". $\endgroup$ – Self-teaching worker Dec 20 '14 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ @DavideZena True, the examples of labels I gave are not as germane as the examples of labels you give in your comment. $\endgroup$ – anon Dec 20 '14 at 15:49

Reminds me of this SMBC comic:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ +1 In the name of Ser Weiner. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Sep 7 '13 at 23:12
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Sep 9 '13 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ Apparently I am not au courant in matters of popular culture. Thanks. @AsafKaragila $\endgroup$ – zyx Sep 9 '13 at 13:08

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