Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Swastika

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  • This username is almost certain to cause offsense to Wikipedia users and should be changed under Wikipedia policy. See Wikipedia:Username for offensive username policy. Jooler 23:31, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't find this username offensive. A swastika is a symbol in several cultures and this user's contribs and user page show no signs of offensive nature (nor edits to Nazi-related pages). --Jewbacca 23:32, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)
    • From the policy page: Names should not be "Names which refer to symbols of racial/ethnic/national/religious hatred". Yes the swastika is one of these, but it is also not this. I think the user should be asked to voluntarily change usernames, but should not be obligated to. --Jewbacca 23:34, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)
I'm afraid you are wrong about the user's contributions. Otto Ernst Remer is or rather was a well known Holocaust revisionist. Also Varg Vikernes is apparently "a prominent voice for Neo-Nazi ideology." Jooler 23:36, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Opens eyes. Thanks for pointing those out. --Jewbacca 23:44, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)
Failing to see how my contributions are relevant to the matter. I am not a troll. --Swastika 17:22, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
I am an African American and I am also half-Jewish (see my user page) but I do not think the user Swastika should be censored. I am all for controlling the minds of youths in the name of tolerance, but censoring the Swastika which preceeds NAZISM by perhaps thousands of years is ludicris! Swastikas even occur in nature (see the Swastika page) so perhaps we need to start censoring nature and have hate-crime lawsuits against mother nature? Perhaps we should start censoring all cultures that have had swastikas associated with them? Even if he is a dirty hateful bastard that needs to be Censored in the name of Tolerance, the history of Swastika must not allowed to be perverted by the evils of the holocaust (which I have had relatives die in!!!). --Iconoclast 21:52, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You seem to be missing the point here somewhat. Nobody is censoring anybody. This user can do what he likes as long as he sticks to NPOV, like everybody else. The simple fact is that the username - almost by definition - is not compatable wth existing Wikipedia policies. If you think the policy is wrong then you can debate it on the appropriate page. What articles this user edits is completely irrelevant to that specific issue. However from my personal perspective it would appear to be more than coincidental that this user has chosen to edit articles on nazism under a username that itself symbolises nazism. I personally suspect that the user deliberately chose a username likely to be controversial. He may say differently, but that is my view. My view has nothing to do with the actual issue regarding an established policy. Jooler
The moment you make somebody act differently because he thinks, feels, or IS different is the moment censorship (and tyranny) occurs. Excuse me, but I do feel that I know what censorship is; I have been called N*GGER and F*GGOT more times in a day than you can hear in MTV and BET's lifetimes. You have NEVER felt the horrible feeling of having to be turned away at voting polls because your skin color is incorrect. So really what the hell does it matter if he is a hateful bastard? Does that make two rights a wrong and is freedom supposed to look into somebody's personality before he or she can wear their shirt? Tell me, whom is he taking freedom away from? The moment we censor is the moment WE are the hateful bastards, not them! Its not a one way street! --Iconoclast 02:15, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC) (Please remember that vulgar names to not constitute someone's profanties are still permittable to censor)
Very interesting but completely irrelevant, because no-one is censoring anybody. All societies have rules to make them function. Don't piss in the drinking water is probably universal. Imposing that rule on somebody could hardly be described as tyranny. Wikipedia has relatively few rules, but one of them is "don't choose usernames likely to offend." Jooler 09:22, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
There is a BIG difference on imposing a rule on somebody, and imposing a rule on somebody because they think/feel/act differently. I don't care if there is some murky, subjective and nebulous "don't offend people" rule, what is right is often not what is done. --Iconoclast 22:33, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Presumably rules like "don't piss in the drinking water" are there to discourage people who think that it might be a good idea to do so, despite it offending (or harming) others. There are really only two rules that are absolute musts on Wikipedia - Wikipedia:NPOV and Wikipedia:Civility. I suggest you read those and Wikipedia:Wikilove and Wikipedia:Wikiquette before you make any more statements about imposition of rules. Jooler 23:24, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You didn't bother to read what I said, he is forced to have his screen name changed because of what he thought. For instance, note how Jewbacca said he wasn't offended, and then all of the sudden when the user makes some unkosher edits it makes all the difference... Okay, wikipedia has rules on civility and NPOV, thats nice, except he is having to act differently because he thinks/feels/looks differently. I hate to tell you this again but EVERYONE is going to find someone else somehow offensive ideologically; be it a southern baptist stumbling upon a user's page and finding out they are a homosexual or a satanist stumbling upon a picture of a cross in a user's is inevitable and to police such things is akin to Tyranny. --Iconoclast 23:54, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
No. Forgive me but I think perhaps that you're the one who hasn't bothered to read what you should be reading. She (not he) was asked politely to change her name because it violated Wikipedia's established policies about usernames. Her edits had nothing to do with it. If you look at the edits they appear to be neutral in tone. The reference that I made (above) to her edits was to correct Jewbacca's statement where he said - "this user's contribs and user page show no ... edits to Nazi-related pages.". Her contribtutions didn't enter into the equation of whether the username was allowed or not. The rule is very simple - please look at Wikipedia:Username. It states very clearly that "Names which refer to symbols of racial/ethnic/national/religious hatred" are not allowed. The word Swastika (whatever else it may be) is almost the very definition of a symbol of hatred. It could not be simpler - The swastika is a symbol of hatred (that some do not think so is irrelevant). Symbols of hatred are not to be used as usernames. Ergo Swastika should not be used as a username. That is the end of it. You have made an assumption that the user is a neo-nazi and as a consequence you made various ad-hominem remarks against her. I have to admit that given the evidence I considered it a strong possibility too, but as I stated above that was my personal feeling and had nothing to with the issue at hand. My opinion has now changed and I now think that she is someone with an interest in in the subject (one doesn't have to be a nazi to be interested in them) who chose a striking username without realising that Wikipedia doesn't allow it. Much like punks wearing swastikas in the 1970s. Perhaps if you bother to read more of this page you might change your mind to, you might also want to apologise to her for your ad hominem remarks. The rule is clear the username is no more allowed than would be a username like "FaggotKillingNazi" and had nothign to do with what she wrote. Jooler 11:46, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I assume the user is a neo-nazi, based on their edits and user page, but we have no policy against that. The user name is by no means offensive, its a holy symbol in most cultures. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 00:20, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • I must admit that I find this somewhat surprising. To me, a username that could be said to be inciting controversy would be something in the vein of HITLERRULZS38639. I didn't choose my name in order to make a statement; rather, I chose it for its multifaceted value, and as it stands, the name is not an opinion. Yes, my contributions are largely toward individuals who support Nazi ideology, as this is an interest of mine, but I think it should be noted that my contributions are also free of bias. I hardly think that my personal politics should count against me. The swastika is an ancient symbol in many cultures. Thanks for considering my stance. -- Swastika 05:04, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
You must consider that the edit history of an article is there for everybody to see. It would not do the credibility of Wikipedia any good to have a user called Swastika appearing on the edit history of our article on the Holocaust. But in any case this is a matter a policy. Specifically - on Wikipedia:Username under 'No inflammatory usernames:' - "Names which refer to symbols of racial/ethnic/national/religious hatred". Now of course the educated among us know that the swastika is an ancient mystic symbol and still is in the East, but to the vast majority of people in Europe and the Americas the Swastika means only one thing and that is a 'symbol of Nazi ideology'. Displaying the swastika is still illegal in Germany and since the recent Prince Harry fiasco, some have called for the Swastika to be banned throught the European Union (BBC( - I don't think there is any room for debate on this. Jooler 09:22, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You are quite right about that last, there is no room for debate. There is nothing offensive about the user name, indeed any attempt at offense could easily be construed as derogatory to well over a billion Hindu’s and Buddhists, and strikes me as disturbingly ethnocentric. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 13:05, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Offensiveness is in the eye of the beholder. You cannot say the username is not offensive. In some cultures for all I know the word "Belgium" may be offensive. Anyhow the Wikipedia policy on this is very specific. Jooler 14:50, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You cannot say that the username is not offensive. Why not? You'd think if this word was so offensive, Swastika, Ontario would've changed their name by now. Anyway, I think it is less a matter of taking Wikipedia policy at face value and more a matter of considering why the rules are there and if they do indeed apply. Not everyone considers the swastika to be a symbol of hatred. That is where the issue lies. -- Swastika 15:10, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
You seem to have missed my point of that particular statement. By saying "something is not offensive" one is implying that no-one finds it offensive. In the general case this is impossible to prove. In this specific case it is clearly false. The rest of your statement is irrelevant. Jooler
Indeed you prove my point jooler, because while some things (like swastika) are subjectively offensive, others (like say...User:Fuck You) are universally offensive. My point that I am trying to make is that your taking offense at the holy symbol of a great many people is far more potentially offensive than his usage of it. If we were to be utilitarian about this, we must recognize that the number of people who find this symbol offensive, when compared to the number who find it neutral, or positive, is very, very small. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 16:04, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
What a sheltered life you must lead. I can assure you that there have been numberless occasions when people have said "fuck you" to me and I haven't taken the slightest offense. The point - is that any such offence one may or may not generate by using a particular username can be simply avoided by not using that name. The argument that one has the right to use a particular username "because [.. insert whatever reason you like here ]." holds no water. If the name breaches Wikipedia rules it breaches the rules. End of story. Jooler 16:39, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Again, your conclusion is correct, without it having been supported by any of your premises. Of course your tautology is correct, rule breaking does indeed involve rule breaking. In this case, no rule has been broken, altho as I keep insisting you ascertain, your very suggestion that the Swastika is offensive is likely of offense to a substantial number of persons (in excess of 1 billion) [1]( I understand thatv it is offensive to world jewry, and most citizens of allied powers, and clearly the the former axis powers as well. But thats not really all that many people, when compared to China and India and frankly most of Asia generally, where the symbols are a common good luck symbol. Indeed if you read the article, you will find that the symbol has been present in most, if not all, cultures. It is not generally offensive, plain and simple. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 17:01, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I note that you have now modified your position somewhat. From earlier saying "it is not offensive" you are now saying "It is not generally offensive". It makes no difference as far as the Wikipedia policy concerning inappropriate usernames is concerned. The swastika is almost the very definition of a "symbol of racial/ethnic/national/religious hatred". This is the policy and I don't see any clause saying that if the symbol also means peace and harmony etc..etc.. then it's ok to use it. If you think that this policy should have exceptions such as these, then perhaps you should discuss it there. Jooler 17:15, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You have stated over and over again that 1) the swastika is a symbol of hatred; 2) the Wikipedia policy disallows usernames that are references to symbols of hatred; 3) there is no room on the matter. However, you seem to be continually missing the point that many do not consider it to be a symbol of hatred. On that basis, the name is allowed under Wikipedia policy. This has nothing to do with what the swastika also is; it has to do with what the swastika essentially is. This is a matter of subjective historical interpretation. That is where the issue lies. Would you argue that the username of algiz (the life rune) is offensive, given that white nationalists groups use this symbol? Probably not, because that is not what it essentially is, although you could say that it is also a symbol that is disallowed under Wikipedia policy. You could argue that "swastika" is more offensive than "algiz" just at face value, but that require that you deviate from the basic Wikipedia policy to which you so dogmatically adhere. Now, I think this is subjective, and therefore I await the WikiJudges or whomever settles these cyclical debates to do so... How does this work, exactly? -- Swastika 18:37, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
Your claim - "On that basis, the name is allowed under Wikipedia policy" - has no merit because we do not have a rule about what is allowed. We only have a rule about what is not allowed. There is no caveat to the policy that allows symbols of hatred if those symbols have other meanings. The rest of your argument is irrelevant. Jooler 23:18, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Wow, that one went right over your head. Obviously allowed under Wikipedia policy means not disallowed under Wikipedia policy. This is like how when you do something that isn't forbidden by law, it isn't illegal? -- Swastika 23:34, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
The swastika is a symbol of hatred (that some do not think so is irrelevant). Symbols of hatred are not to be used as usersnames. Ergo Swastika should not be used as a username. Jooler 00:30, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Many millions of people find "swastika" offensive. The polite thing would to be to pick a new user name. What harm is there in that? Paul August 18:17, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)

You see, that would require that I create a new account, request a new username, and then wait in line for two months to satisfy the whims of a request that I personally think is both unneccessary and heavily biased, all the while having hypersensitive individuals moralising all over my user talk page. --Swastika 18:37, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
You can create a new user account, with a new user name, right now. It is easy, requires no request, and no waiting. Changing it would show that you care about the feelings of the millions and millions of people who find the term deeply offensive and hurtful. You may not have chosen the name with the intention of offending or being hurtful — but keeping it, knowing now that people are offended and are hurt by it, would make it seem that you do intend to be offensive and hurtful. So, unless it is your intention to offend, you should change it. That would be the noble thing to do. Paul August 20:36, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
Forgive me if I don't credit any subjectively-offensive internet username with having the capacity to deeply hurt and offend millions of people. Maybe you see it as honourable to bend over backwards to adhere to a policy that I believe to be arbitrary; I feel quite the opposite. And as a note - I would want my contributions and all to be moved to the new account, were I to change it, and that would indeed require a wait. -- Swastika 20:48, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
I find it honorable to care more about the feelings of others than your own. Have you truly considered how someone might feel whose family members were killed in the concentration camps? Do you really think that the minor inconvenience of having to wait a while to have your edits reattributed, somehow compares to that? Paul August 22:45, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I do. I feel that any sensible individual would be able to handle viewing a word that can be viewed in the dictionary - it is not as if this is a slanderous word or an offensive image - without breaking down into hysterics over their dead ancestors. I don't see this as selfishness on my part, but I would see that as weakness on theirs. My values are not the same as yours, apparently, so I don't feel I need to be parented by you. This is irrelevant to the matter at hand. -- Swastika 22:59, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps it is weak to feel offended. Perhaps it is a kind of frailty to be offended by anything. That some may be weak or frail doesn't justify knowingly and, in this case needlessly, giving offense. How do you define selfishness? Paul August 23:56, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
Lets assume for a moment, for the sake of argument, that User:Swastika is indeed pro-nazi. That would suggest to me that he would likely be offended by the presence of Jews amongst us. Persons who have user names that suggest Judaism would likely make him uncomfortable. Would it be "the noble thing to do", for them to change their names to appease him? Of course not, our politics are and ethnicities are not the issue here, quite the opposite. Focus on the argument, not the person. It is callously ethnocentric to suggest we should accept any negativity towards the swastika whatsoever. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 20:50, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
It seems to me, anything which causes great offense to many people, and which can be avoided at little cost, should be. The swastika is a symbol, and symbols acquire meaning through usage. It would be "callously ethnocentric" not to realize that the swastika acquired considerable negative meaning through its use by the Nazis. Paul August 22:45, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
Indeed. I believe some time ago there was a user called LordIsGod or some such who had to change is name. There are an untold number of usernames that are unlikely to cause offense. If one should inadvertantly choose an inappropriate username, it is courteous to change it. Jooler 23:43, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

What kind of encyclopedia censors itself? Come on, let's be grownups here. Also, the swastika is sacred in Hindu, Buddhist and many European cultures, so whether not the Nazis used it, its history is greater than that. Do we ban stars because the Russians had a red star flag when they killed 30 million of their own citizens? I hope not - I like stars, and ponies. Prozak 00:19, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Once more nobody is censoring anything. Please read the policy on Wikipedia:Usernames Jooler 00:30, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The name is offensive. The user can edit under another name that does not offend. The name WILL be changed. There is nothing to discuss. RickK 00:38, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)

Regardless of the hubris, there is clearly no consensus on that. (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 01:00, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia:Username, Wikipedia "does not allow ... [n]ames which refer to symbols of racial/ethnic/national/religious hatred". Swastika is not a universal symbol of racial/ethnic/national/religious hatred, but in a significantly large part of the world it is. Also, in the context of this user's edits, the username "Swastika" clearly refers to the historical and present context in which the swastika was a symbol of hatred. The username must remain blocked. silsor 01:19, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)

I agree that the policy in this case is clear. The swastika, regardless of its other associations (and I grant that those associations exist and predate the Nazis by a good long ways), is a symbol of racial, ethnic, and national hatred for most Westerners (and, dare I say, most speakers of English). The defense being presented is insufficient -- Swastika, Ontario is no better defense that an appeal to Fucking, Austria would be. We could pose hypothetical cases all day long (Sam, I didn't much care for the argument that Swastika might be offended at Jewish usernames....when the Jews have herded millions of Germans into camps and slaughtered them, I think the argument will hold water, but not before). We are not merely talking about a symbol that has "offended" people (say, a gay pride symbol) -- we are talking about a symbol that was co-opted by a regime which, under that banner, slaughtered millions of innocents in diabolical and assembly-line fashion. Regardless of what the ACLU might say, it is a violation of the Wikiquette and Wikilove principles of this site (to say nothing of the very clear username policy) to suggest that the child of a Holocaust survivor would have to see that symbol appearing over and over again in recent changes and on talk pages. Again, we are not merely dealing in the level of "offensiveness" -- if the user's handle were User:BisexualAndProud I think we could legitimately argue about how damaging it truly was. But this cuts much deeper, and I am ashamed to see a defense of it. Jwrosenzweig 01:31, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree that the name is offensive to some people, and most likely to a majority of native-English speakers. I would have to consider whether it was acceptable on some other-language Wikipedias, but it certainly isn't on the English-language Wikipedia.-gadfium 01:41, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The username is not only offensive, it's calculated to cause offense. Those who argue this point should pause and consider how troll-friendly they wish to be. - Nunh-huh 01:58, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

First an apology to the user in question, I understand that the swastika means far far more than what it has come to represent to the majority of Europeans and Americans, however, wiki policy specifically says Fairly or unfairly, the line between acceptable and unacceptable user names is drawn by those who find the username inappropriate, not by the creator of the name. (taken directly from Wikipedia:Username Unfortunately, the case here is cut, dry, and well presented against the use of this name. It is offensive, simply put. rУnT 02:07, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • So we have to take away one person's freedoms because others can't handle that? Ho ho, what kind of "free" encyclopedia is this? Free as in Nineteen Eighty-Four? I'm sorry, but something doesn't become "correct" merely because people want it to become correct. Freedom is for all, not for only socially acceptable individuals and ideas. --Iconoclast 02:49, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
First off, the content of the articles is not being affected by the username therefore the "free"ness of the encyclopedia is not affected. And with small things like this (as opposed to large things like Murder) the will of the people is to be observed. The policy I mentioned earlier is to be respected, that is why it was made policy. I will fight tooth and nail if interpretations of such a policy are taken to the extreme such as in Nineteen Eighty-Four but that argument is straw-man. rУnT 05:32, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The moment we have to look into somebody's beliefs in order to rule on a situation is the moment we know we are committing a tyranny--Iconoclast 02:17, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I find any usernames involving Christianity or Judaism offensive. Please begin censoring users now, so I am not offended. Thank you. 02:19, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • The username may or may not be offensive, but this isn't preschool daycare where we have to worry about every little offensive thing. It clearly isn't trollish, so i don't see a problem.Baxter0 02:35, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • I find any sort of ethnocentric or cultural reference to be offensive and believe that no mention of distinction between people, cultures, social classes, or physical locations should be permitted in user names or the opinions posted in topic pages. Please consider others who do not share your values are find them inherently biased, even if you are not aware of that. I am especially speaking of Western writers, who are very much disproportionately represented in Wikipedia writing and policies. A more diverse system would be inclusive of a wise range of opinions instead of your biases. BlackCountess 06:17, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • First of all, everyone read Swastika. The "in religion" part, but also the "taboo" part. I argue that the interests of this user do make a difference. If an editor with this username would predominantly edit Neo-Pagan articles, it would be clear that the name was chosen in good faith. Seeing that the user is editing Nazi and holocaust-denier articles (I assume in 'good faith', too, i.e. not trolling, but seriously representing a pro-Nazi pov(?)), the username is clearly inflammatory. Not just to random visitors who will see "Swastika" in the edit histories of holocaust related articles, but also to Neo-Pagans who hold that the swastika is/was a holy symbol that was defiled by the Nazis. This user seems to want to perpetuate the unholy association of the symbol with the inhumane Nazi ideology, and this alone is enough to constitute a breach of username policy. I do hope that this user will realize that the choice of his username is only an impediment to his working undisturbedly on WP, and will change it of his own accord. If he does not do this, I expect that he will be forced to change it after a lenghy process, which will just be a waste of time for everybody: please change your username now, and continue to make npov edits in peace. You are here for your edits, and not for your username, I hope. dab () 09:24, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
PS: I realize user's edits are in the murky domain where Neo-Paganism and Nazi suprematism meet. All the more reason to choose a neutral username. dab () 09:41, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • This is the user in question (Swastika). The name has already been banned. I will thank you to refrain from your presumptions about my beliefs, given that my "interests" are obviously not making a difference considering that I have made only NPOV posts. The only basis you people have to go on is that my name was Swastika and that I had an interest in Nazi ideology. That does not prove my politics, and the only reason I have not bothered to defend myself from your audacious assumptions is because I should not have to do so. Also, for everyone who has referred to me with male pronouns thus far... I am female. Of course I am here for my edits and not for my username. Just because I wait for the word of a moderator before being subscribing to a rule with which I do not agree does not mean that I am inconsiderate. Can the petty ad hominems end here? -- Rapunzel 09:52, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Rapunzel: I would like to thank you for choosing a new username. I, for one, was and am willing to assume good faith on your part, to assume that you intended no offense or disrespect to others, by your choice of username. I didn't look at your edits, nor did I presume anything about your beliefs. As many have said and as is clearly covered in the Swastika article, the swastika has many meanings. My only point has ever been that, since for many, particularly, most english speakers, the symbol has deeply negative connotations, it would be good of you to choose a different username — which you have now done, and for which, I again thank you. Paul August 13:31, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)
Christianity and Judaism are repugnant. Can we please ban them also? Thank you. I've never heard of an encyclopedia that put social affectations before truth before. Guess this explains why at school, they don't let us cite WikiPedia like a regular resource: it's not close enough to reality. 01:04, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Dear 67... - please read Wikipedia:usernames Usernames that promote or embody a specific ideology, belief or political view are already not allowed. So if anyone comes up with a username like "ChristIsLord" "AmericanPatriot" or "BushSucks" are not allowed. If you have a specific username that you are troubled by then by all means do exactly as I did and list it on Wikipedia:Requests for comment under offensive usernames. Jooler 11:59, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)