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Rule 69 - where are the limits

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Andymac View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Andymac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 12 at 5:58pm
Originally posted by simonrh

The worst swearing I have ever heard on the water was between couples sailing together.
 
Married couples, obviously Wink
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gordon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gordon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 12 at 11:46am
Here is a quote from the ISAF Judges Manual. Does this establish acceptable guidelines?

Bad language (including that not directed towards an official) has to be judged in this
context. If you are uncomfortable with the language being used, then action should be
taken. It is quite proper for clubs and organisers to make clear before an event that the
use of inappropriate language will lead to rule 69 action. If the organisers have made this
statement, then the protest committee should be prepared to enforce the standards
expected. Clubs and event must set and improve their own standards.

Foul and abusive language towards race officials should be considered as dissent and
forwarded to the protest committee for possible rule 69 action.

Gordon
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Solo4652 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Solo4652 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 15 at 4:54pm
I'm new to this thread. I've read through all of it because I'm interested in Rule 69 and swearing. A few days ago, I was told to F**K Off by a competitor after I asked for mark room twice. I personally thought his language was unpleasant and offensive and I protested under rule 69.
A recurring theme here is "Who says what is/isn't acceptable?" Well, in my case, as the person on the receiving end of the swearing, I think I do. If I'm offended by something said to me (even if other people aren't offended by it) to the extent that I decide to protest somebody, I wouldn't expect a Protest Committee to tell me or decide for me whether what was said was acceptable. I think it's my call.
Equally, if on another day on another racecourse competitor 3 bawls at competitor 4; "You're a f**king c**t" and competitor 4 is not offended and therefore doesn't protest, so be it - no harm done. Of course, if competitor 5 who overheard the swearing is genuinely offended for whatever reason, then perhaps they should protest competitor 3.
Sorry - rambling here. Maybe we should turn the approach to swearing upside down; rather than expect National bodies/RYA/ISAF/your local club to define and police "acceptable behaviour", maybe these bodies should allow competitors to tell them what is acceptable. This will be messy, of course, because it will depend on a whole host of things such as the culture of the boat class, the country, the particular club, etc. But that's life and society, isn't it?
One more point, if I may. When I was sworn at (and bearing in mind the other guy freely admitted it), I ticked the "happy with Arbitration" box on the protest form, not realising at that point that Arbitration isn't an option for a rule 69 incident. Subsequently I have been informed that the guy who swore at me in a way that I found unpleasant and offensive and who freely admitted doing so has, and I quote, "been totally wronged, and that should be put right immediately" I do not think that is the right approach at all.

Edited by Solo4652 - 12 Aug 15 at 5:01pm
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Brass View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 15 at 3:44pm
The seventh post in the thread focused argument onto foul language per se and drew attention to Bryan Willis excellent paper on the subject.

The post on 30 May at 11:32 addressed when it's appropriate to penalise, namely only when a protest committee is (now) comfortably satisfied that conduct constitutes a gross breach.

Peaky on 30 May at 18:29 raised the issue of 'subjective' determination of 'offensive', and I responded to this on 31 May at 12:21.

The issue for rule 69 is not whether conduct is 'offensive' or 'unacceptable', either to an individual or to a group such as a club or a fleet.

The question is whether conduct which is offensive or unacceptable to some people, which would doubtless be a breach of good manners, is grossly so, in the eyes of an objective, fair minded tribunal:  a protest committee.

So far we have addressed foul language only, without any associated context such as abuse or intimidation.

Now let us consider abuse.

It is possible to recognise a difference between scathing, cutting abuse, expressed in the most proper language, and abuse using vulgar and foul language.

Abuse, when it departs from reasoned criticism, is probably always bad manners, but not necessarily gross.  Abuse couched in foul language can well rise to the level of gross bad manners.

Context and tone are also relevant.

Being told "F*** you" or "F*** off" is pretty clearly abuse.  I think, however, that there is a considerable range of shades of meaning and intensity which affect the reasonableness of any offendedness, and hence whether the offending speech is gross bad manners or not.

For example "Why don't you f*** off, will you" in response to some provocation, in an irritated, but not particularly loud or aggressive tone, is clearly at the lower end of the scale, while being told "F*** you and your parents to several generations and F*** the F*** off" in a loud, aggressive voice, with accompanying body language is certainly towards the upper end of the scale.

Thus, abuse using bad language, unless it is close to the realm of 'good natured banter' (in the eyes at least of the subject or recipient) is likely to be in the area of a gross breach of good manners and subject to a sanction under rule 69.

Note that such a sanction might be restricted to a warning, which, one might optimistically expect to be effective.
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Solo4652 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Solo4652 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 15 at 4:28pm
Precisely. You spend quite a bit of time trying to define behaviour which is offensive and unacceptable on my behalf. I don't think this approach will ever work. If I tell you that, for whatever reason, I find; "You're such a silly sausage" offensive and unacceptable, who are you, or "an objective, fair minded tribunal: a protest committee." to say otherwise, please?
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andymck View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote andymck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 15 at 4:47pm
Abuse and bullying are very subjective, and subject to the recipients feelings or those that witness such language. The accepted definition of bullying is totally dependent on the recipients feelings, not what the herd feels appropriate.
Any use of a swear word on the water is potential abuse, and should be considered as such if this resulted in a protest. As Brass has said in his post that the sanction may be a warning but it has to be a case of user beware.
I have witnessed penalties given at a schools team racing event by an international unpire for language most of us would consider harmless banter and certainly was not swearing.
Since that point I have kept my out of boat communication on a much more benign level, and always start with "protest" if I feel I have been wronged, and try to keep it at that.
Even then I have once been sworn so badly at that I should have protested, but am not easily offended and no kids were around and my come back made him sail really slowly.

Andy Mck
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andymck View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote andymck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 15 at 4:53pm
You are quite correct solo and there is plenty of examples away from sailing that back you up. The only option is the protest committee could decide on minimal sanction, not that your feelings were not offended. Fortunately sailors tend to be more pragmatic than some of the employees where I work.
Andy Mck
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Solo4652 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Solo4652 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 15 at 4:56pm
@andymck;    Agreed. Thank you.

Edited by Solo4652 - 13 Aug 15 at 4:57pm
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PeterG View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PeterG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 15 at 6:50pm
Precisely. You spend quite a bit of time trying to define behaviour which is offensive and unacceptable on my behalf. I don't think this approach will ever work. If I tell you that, for whatever reason, I find; "You're such a silly sausage" offensive and unacceptable, who are you, or "an objective, fair minded tribunal: a protest committee." to say otherwise, please?

Well, they are the protest committee. That's the structure we as sailors agree to when we go racing. You may find "silly sausage" offensive, but it would grossly unreasonable for a competitor to be penalised for saying it to you on the race track. What is the alternative? Other than allowing the person who objects to "silly sausage" being allowed in someway to penalise another competitor for using an expression that the vast majority would not regard as offensive?

If you want to race that involves close interaction with others. That can only work if everyone accepts that you need a set of common standards and rules to operate by, and that some may have to compromise on what they accept in those. And that precisely means accepting that someone other than yourself may end up deciding for you what is acceptable and what isn't.

Peter
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Solo4652 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Solo4652 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 15 at 10:01pm
Well, - they're the Protest Committee, not the Ethics Committee.

Why would it be grossly unreasonable for a competitor to be penalised for saying "Silly Sausage" to me on the racetrack if I genuinely find it offensive? The fact that the vast majority of people may not find it offensive is pretty irrelevant. It was said to me, and I find it offensive.

Maybe the thing to do is not to make a full-on Protest hearing mandatory for such incidents (as it is at the moment). Maybe we should make an Advisory Hearing a necessary first response, the aim being that the name-caller learns that what he said was considered offensive, even if he didn't think so. If he says the same thing again to me, then I protest.

This then replaces the traditional "top-down" approach where somebody other than me ends up deciding for me what's acceptable/offensive to me and what isn't. I think that makes far more sense.

Edited by Solo4652 - 13 Aug 15 at 10:07pm
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