I’m concerned about some potentially inflammatory language in a recent answer, regarding the limitations of a popular role-playing game (emphasis in original):
It goes a little beyond that, but only a little. Unfortunately, it also lies to you and claims to do much more than that. Every attempt I have seen to use it for such purposes, however, has either relied on heavy houseruling/freeforming or simply fallen flat on its face. . . . That’s mostly because they shouldn’t have any effect and their inclusion is just an attempt . . . to maintain the fundamental deception that it is a game that cares about these things.
This post has spawned at least two extended and heated exchanges in comments which were later deleted or moved to chat. I’ve asked the poster to tone down the language, but he vehemently refused. I don’t object to the poster’s point of view, but framing the opposition as “lies” and “deception” puts fans of the game on the defensive and paints them as dupes or conspirators in the deception. Even worse, some of the people who wrote the game in question are members of the community, and we really shouldn’t be attacking their creations as “lies.”
The code of conduct asks us all to Choose your words carefully and Be civil. The latest proposed version specifically warns against using inflammatory language even when not directed at another person:
Don’t be a jerk. [Avoid] Name-calling. Focus on the post, not the person. That includes terms that feel personal even when they're applied to posts (for example, “lazy”, “ignorant”, or “whiny”).
Given that our community includes game designers and fans of the games we discuss, I think we should apply this policy to games as well as posts. There’s room for reasoned criticism, but we should avoid name-calling here, no matter whether it’s applied to posters, their posts, or the games they write and play.
It’s not a theoretical question.
Answers which argue that these words can’t, or shouldn’t, create bad feelings need to address the fact that they have spawned multiple heated, emotional discussions: at least two comment threads have been deleted for this reason. This is a real problem and “people shouldn't feel like that” doesn’t make them feel it any less.