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Offensive ableist expressions you are probably using on your daily life

*anoyoruniyakusokushita

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So, as the poll doesn't seem to give me an answer any time soon, I decided to start with this one.

For those who don't know, ableist means prejudice against those with disabilities. As most people in society are able-bodied, disabled people, as a minority, have to cope with toxic words and expressions that hurt them. By saying this words in a negative way, you are basically saying that disabled people are inferior. It's the same as using 'gay' as an insult. As those expressions are by no means necessary, we all can police ourselves in order to avoid them. 

Also, when I say 'ableist expressions', I'm not saying those who use them are ableist. Most people aren't even aware of the ableist connotations, so they aren't the ones to fault, society is.

Here are some of the expressions and why they are ableist:

1. Blinded by ignorance, fear, etc. (offends blind people)

2. Crazy (offends people with mental diseases)

3. Cripple (a very offensive word for people with physical disabilities)

4. Dumb (refers to deaf people, or individuals with communication disorders)

5. Idiot (intellectual disabilities)

6. Imbecile (same as 5)

7. Lame (offends people who have mobility disabilities)

8. Stupid (same as 5)

9. Moron (same as 5)

10. Nuts (same as 5)

11. Psycho (same as 5)

12. Retarded (same as 5)

13. Special needs (an euphemism that is actually offensive. It's better to use the word "disabled")

 

There are, of course, many other offensive expressions, unfortunately. But this list is just to give you an idea in hope to convince you be more careful with your words from now on.

 



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27 minutes ago, mitchhamilton said:

you need more friends then as i have mostly been exposed to these words as nothing but in jest.

But those jests only work because they revolve around the notion that those words are used as insults.

Imagine if your name were being used as an insult. When people were angry they would say: "Are you fucking [Insert your name here]?!". And then, when they were among their peers they would say: "You're [Insert your name here], lol." I know it's definitely not the same thing, but your name is a part of your life and who you are just like disabilities are a part of our lives. 

20 minutes ago, Barktooth said:

Sure, some of them will feel limited, but some won't. It depends on the person. Rin in Katawa Shoujo is a good example, she doesn't think not having arms is a disadvantage to her at all.

Except she is a fictional character. Even if she does exist in someone's body (I've never seen anyone who claimed being her, tho), this body is probably abled, and that's why she thinks like that.

Also, it's not like their emotional suffering always comes from the fact that they feel in disadvantage. It's because they feel different to other people; and when it's hard to fit in society, we usually get sad.

20 minutes ago, Barktooth said:

Even if one avoids these words around everyone else, they would still be acting this way for the sake of the disabled, so I think it may offend certain people regardless. Or maybe not, at this point I don't know anymore.

Some people (a group probably much smaller than those who would be offended if those words continued being spoken) would only feel offended if they knew someone was purposefully avoiding that. I don't believe anyone would notice that, tbh.

20 minutes ago, Barktooth said:

In either case, while I can't speak for anyone else, to me the usage of the words you listed plays a big role in whether they are perceived as "ableist" or not. If I call someone crazy, I'm simply trying to convey that they are acting in an irrational and nonsensical fashion, not that they are mentally disabled, or that their behavior stems from having a mental illness. The expression might have originated from someone likening a person acting nonsensically to the behavior of mentally disabled individuals, but the way it is used now, I don't believe such a link exists anymore.

In short, if you are mentally disabled but aren't going berserk on anyone, I won't call you crazy. However, if you're mentally healthy yet having a fit, I might just do so.

I'm not saying you're ableist for using those words. But even if your intentions are good, you would still be using a part of someone's identity and life in a negative connotation, which would only further emphasize their disadvantageous position in society. It's hard to give an example to someone who isn't in such a position, but look at the "name" example I gave to mitchhamilton above. 

17 minutes ago, Palas said:

Hey Big Name I Can't Ever Hope to Memorize, what do you think of Katawa Shoujo

Haven't played it yet, sorry.

Edited by *anoyoruniyakusokushita

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28 minutes ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

Except she is a fictional character. Even if she does exist in someone's body (I've never seen anyone who claimed being her, tho), this body is probably abled, and that's why she thinks like that.

I was simply using her as an example. I'm convinced there are people in the real world who think the same way. If you don't believe this to be the case, then that is where we disagree. You can try to convince me otherwise, maybe I'm wrong - but I'm not sure if it's possible to prove one way or the other.
 

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Also, it's not like their emotional suffering always comes from the fact that they feel in disadvantage. It's because they feel different to other people; and when it's hard to fit in society, we usually get sad.

I don't think any difference at all from others is something that can sadden an individual. There's no concrete definition for what "normal" is, so many of the ways in which one is different from others don't make it harder to fit in.

When talking about disabilities, it is likely that most of them make it harder to fit in. But I believe some people are so well adjusted to their differences, that this doesn't sadden them. They are able to do almost everything anyone else can, they just get there in a different way.

Well, this might not be the case for severely disabled people, who really aren't able to do most everyday things. But I don't think using or not using the word 'stupid' is going to change much for them. It's a fact they are different from most of the population, and until we can replace flesh bodies with cyborgs that isn't going away.

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Some people (a group probably much smaller than those who would be offended if those words continued being spoken) would only feel offended if they knew someone was purposefully avoiding that. I don't believe anyone would notice that, tbh.

I could see this being true on the internet, I suppose. In real life, I'm too autistic to not give away that I'm trying to refrain from using those words.

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I'm not saying you're ableist for using those words. But even if your intentions are good, you would still be using a part of someone's identity and life in a negative connotation, which would only further emphasize their disadvantageous position in society. It's hard to give an example to someone who isn't in such a position, but look at the "name" example I gave to mitchhamilton above.

I don't think I'd be using someone's identity in a negative connotation, though. If I call a person crazy, I'm not using mentally disabled people's lives in a negative connotation because I don't associate the two concepts together.

 

Edited by Barktooth

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11 minutes ago, Barktooth said:

When talking about disabilities, it is likely that most of them make it harder to fit in. But I believe some people are so well adjusted to their differences, that this doesn't sadden them. They are able to do almost everything anyone else can, they just get there in a different way.

You have a point; there are probably some people like that. However, when I say disadvantageous social position, I don't only mean that they can't do things most people can. Even though those people might sometimes not feel different at all, society is still harsh with them, especially because of some verbal offenses. I'm not referring specifically to the words I listed here, as most disabled people often have to hear lots of crap from able-bodied individuals. If they don't care about that, it's probably because they have gotten used to it, which is not a good thing. It's just like some black people have gotten used to racist microaggressions. 

17 minutes ago, Barktooth said:

Well, this might not be the case for severely disabled people, who really aren't able to do most everyday things. But I don't think using or not using the word 'stupid' is going to change much for them. It's a fact they are different from most of the population, and until we can replace flesh bodies with cyborgs that isn't going away.

It may not change their physical or mental condition, but it will certainly make them feel a lot better about themselves.

19 minutes ago, Barktooth said:

I could see this being true on the internet, I suppose. In real life, I'm too autistic to not give away that I'm trying to refrain from using those words.

Well, that's a problem with your personality in particular. But you have three choices:

1. Keep using those words and unintentionally offending some people, who will probably suffer quietly

2. Police yourself as to stop using those words and gloat about doing that, which might offend some people either because of the gloating or because they want to be treated like everyone else, like you said

3. Stop using those words and make the effort of keeping your mouth shut about it, which won't offend anyone

Guess what's the most selfless one?

24 minutes ago, Barktooth said:

I don't think I'd be using someone's identity in a negative connotation, though. If I call a person crazy, I'm not using mentally disabled people's lives in a negative connotation because I don't associate the two concepts together.

But people do not know whether you associate those concepts or not. The negative connotation related to mentally disabled people is already rooted on that word. It became a more and more common word, everyone started using it daily with various different connotations, but isn't that kinda sad? The fact that a word used to describe some people's condition became so common that everyone today is using it frivolously and meaninglessly, without even noticing that it carries an offensive connotation? Because, before, when it was a new word, everyone would be always aware that it referred to a disabled person, and they would at least know they were using it in an ableist way when insulting someone with it. But right now, nobody even notices that, so even people that mean no harm say it.

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14 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

Comparing a lady with a bad odor with using a part of oppressed people's bodies with negative connotation is not a fair comparison. The latter is an attack that is personally harmful

Whether it is an 'attack' at all is something a) you can't say and b) you haven't demonstrated. Whether it's harmful is another thing altogether, both offensive odours and language use are both potentially harmful and therefore it's quite the fair comparison. 

14 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

what I'm trying to say here is that if you don't have to sacrifice much to avoid offending some people, then do so. 

Good that you brought that point up, actually. You haven't addressed what you've sacrificed, you've just danced around the edges. 

What you sacrifice in your desire to be polite is your ability to be descriptive and concise. That is, you'd rather everybody be vague and nondescript in your desire to please everybody. Obviously a balance needs to be addressed, where you balance politeness with your desire to use descriptive imagery, to be descriptive, but that's a sacrifice I will never accept. If that offends people *shrugs*. I'm perfectly willing to be offensive. People who don't offend anybody never achieves anything. 

Case in point, find a replacement for 'lame' that presents the same imagery, noting that 'crippled' is also ablist and therefore can't be used if you're being fanatically PC.

14 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

It's funny how you, in one paragraph, tells me how an 'insult' is different from an 'offense', implying that the former is always bad and the latter is sometimes just nitpicking; and, in another paragraph, you insist on using a word to insult people, claiming it's an "excellent descriptive word".

You're making an assumption. You assume, incorrectly, that I advocate the position that you must always be 'nice' - I don't. I mentioned that being offended is on the offendee, being insulting is on the offender, and that you shouldn't mix the two. I didn't state anything further.

I'm Australian, if someone is being stupid I'll tell it to their face. If somebody else is offended by my language, when it's in no way disrespectful to them, then they'll just need to deal with it.

14 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

What exactly are you implying here? That we should stop trying to eliminate ableism from our society because it's 'normal'? Or that we should do that, as we are in a position in which we are able to do so? I'm confused.

I'm saying ableism isn't a 100% bad thing. That ableism is part for the growth behind society, and the growth behind society is the reason why we are able to care for the disabled. To say we must abandon the philosophies which helped get us to that position is a position which should need much more than 'it's offensive' to be worth any weight.

14 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

Why is it so hard to simply police yourself to avoid some words? It won't hurt anyone, as opposed to keep on using them, which will actually hurt some people.

The purpose of language isn't to be polite. The purpose of language use isn't to make people feel better. The purpose of language use is to convey information, thoughts, and ideas. If in your attempts to be polite you want to restrict your ability to communicate effectively, knock yourself out, but I won't be subscribing to this policy.

Abuse is about an offender intentionally treating a victim badly. People are right to clamp down on that. Going around using the word 'blind' is not this, though.

 

13 hours ago, bigfatround0 said:

What if I called your sister retarded and your cousin a cripple? No doubt at least your cousin would get offended. But would I be able to say "Just kidding lol" and make it all better? No because words hurt and most people don't have a choice when it comes to getting offended. Maybe you do but then again, you seem like normal person. Well, about as normal as a beta can be.

Your 'just kidding lol' is not believable in most cases. In this situation you would have engaged in 'namecalling' behaviour, which is a part of abuse. That is an attack and is behaviour which is frowned upon. Notice that it doesn't matter if the victim is offended or not, you can be held to account for this. Just like if I punched you in the face, I would be charged with assault whether you were injured, offended, harmed, or otherwise. That should give you a hint that it's not about the feelings of individuals which denote a crime or a social 'no-no', because the feelings of individuals are fickle things.

14 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

Imagine if your name were being used as an insult. When people were angry they would say: "Are you fucking [Insert your name here]?!". And then, when they were among their peers they would say: "You're [Insert your name here], lol." I know it's definitely not the same thing, but your name is a part of your life and who you are just like disabilities are a part of our lives. 

Once again you confuse the issue of 'insult' and 'offense'. If no 'insult' is present, it doesn't matter whether people take 'offense', if an insult is present then that is a deliberate attack.

14 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

I'm not saying you're ableist for using those words. But even if your intentions are good, you would still be using a part of someone's identity and life in a negative connotation, which would only further emphasize their disadvantageous position in society.

Using a part of someone's identity in a negative connotation, because that part of their identity is often considered a 'negative', and therefore provides a useful image for descriptive purposes. Nothing wrong here depending on how it's used. If you want to deny that someone who is blind is somehow disadvantaged, and if someone gets angry when people suggest they are, I would think that's more to do with denial on their part.

If people don't like that I use ablist language, and think I'm a selfish individual, please come up and start a discussion so I can tell you how wrong you are :) 

Edited by *anoyoruniyakusokushita

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8 minutes ago, Darklord Rooke said:

Your 'just kidding lol' is not believable in most cases. In this situation you would have engaged in 'namecalling' behaviour, which is a part of abuse. That is an attack and is behaviour which is frowned upon. Notice that it doesn't matter if the victim is offended or not, you can be held to account for this. Just like if I punched you in the face, I would be charged with assault whether you were injured, offended, harmed, or otherwise. That should give you a hint that it's not about the feelings of individuals which denote a crime or a social 'no-no', because the feelings of individuals are fickle things.

I didn't realize name calling was a crime.

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2 minutes ago, bigfatround0 said:

I didn't realize name calling was a crime.

I didn't say it was. I just said it was abuse, which isn't always criminal. And that you can be held to account, that is you could be fired (even though what you said isn't illegal, and you can get fired for some ridiculously low-grade stuff these days.) 

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I see the merit in avoiding certain terms (such as "retarded"), but you're taking it way too far. 

Words you falsely deem offensive enough to avoid are used very commonly in daily life to describe ordinary situations. Slept on your arm and it was" paralyzed" in the morning. Got out of a tunnel while driving and got momentarily "blinded" by sunlight. You can't hear the phone while in a stadium due to the crowd's "deafening" roar. You think "It was a 'stupid' move to spend my bus fare on Steam" as you walk home, because it was shortsighted/ nonsensical/ reckless/ a combination of these. 

As humans, we need both words that describe both situations humans can find themselves in and words describing human actions and behavior. This is where words you deem offensive come in. "Blind", "deaf", "idiot", "stupid"- It is possible to use these words without insinuating or implying ANYTHING about disabled people. I generally make a point of apologizing if I have inadvertently offended someone, but there's a logical extreme to which you can take that philosophy; there's nothing to be offended about in the daily usage of such terms unless you happen to take issue with the fact that people can momentarily lose their sense of sight or hearing. 

If we restrain ourselves in order to coddle people jumping at shadows, we stagnate the rational development of rational thought. There can be no compromise on the freedom of language (bar hate speech which these words are not), because any other way would lead to the dumbing down of thought. Not using words that indicate a circumstance of disability has no benefit unless you can't stand the fact that people can, and will, be reminded of their disabilities in daily life. 

I don't mean to condone ALL examples of such language, words like "retard" usually serve no purpose than to make light of clinical conditions for example and are as such words I'd rather not use, but do keep in mind that just because you can insult/offend someone using a word doesn't mean it has to be deemed offensive and avoided (like how we use knives in our kitchen even though other people use it to bring harm to people). Also, it easy to turn any word into an insult (e. g. literally all of sarcasm), so the criteria can't be "It cannot be used as an insult", either. 

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8 minutes ago, Funyarinpa said:

As humans, we need both words that describe both situations humans can find themselves in and words describing human actions and behavior. This is where words you deem offensive come in. "Blind", "deaf", "idiot", "stupid"- It is possible to use these words without insinuating or implying ANYTHING about disabled people. I generally make a point of apologizing if I have inadvertently offended someone, but there's a logical extreme to which you can take that philosophy; there's nothing to be offended about in the daily usage of such terms unless you happen to take issue with the fact that people can momentarily lose their sense of sight or hearing. 

If we restrain ourselves in order to coddle people jumping at shadows, we stagnate the rational development of rational thought. There can be no compromise on the freedom of language (bar hate speech which these words are not), because any other way would lead to the dumbing down of thought. Not using words that indicate a circumstance of disability has no benefit unless you can't stand the fact that people can, and will, be reminded of their disabilities in daily life. 

There's a reason why writers are advised NOT to be PC. It limits their ability to describe, and it limits their ability to tell and describe truths. There's lines I draw, and I refuse in any way to be limited in my language because people aren't happy with certain words. It's like when people frown at you for swearing, it's offensive to some people but it didn't stop anybody from actually saying them.

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5 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

You're saying those people told you they were in a better or equal social position compared to able-bodied individuals?

Well yes they are pretty much equal here where I live unless they have some really serious condition and those can't be helped.

Disabled people can lead a totally happy life and don't want to hear your condolences how bad their life must be. 

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1 hour ago, Darklord Rooke said:

There's a reason why writers are advised NOT to be PC. It limits their ability to describe, and it limits their ability to tell and describe truths. There's lines I draw, and I refuse in any way to be limited in my language because people aren't happy with certain words. It's like when people frown at you for swearing, it's offensive to some people but it didn't stop anybody from actually saying them.

I agree with this... it is fine to avoid hurting someone's feelings within sane limits, but forced over-sensitivity causes resentment - and at times - conscious prejudice (as opposed to subconscious prejudice) in people who are otherwise easygoing and open-hearted.  While I'm fine with avoiding subjects that are likely to offend a single group while speaking, I honestly don't think I should have to avoid that kind of thing while writing fiction or making a point in an essay. 

I've seen more than one relationship sour when one side insisted on the other being over-conscious of certain verbal limits.  In addition, there is a big difference between actual prejudice and using language one side considers prejudicial.  I'm fat and balding, and that in itself has lost me clients in the past, despite my proven skill level.  That is prejudice that is built into society.  However, I'm not about to take offense when someone says 'man that is one big fat airplane' or some kind of casual statement like that.

I have psychological problems, but it doesn't bother me when someone describes the plot of a movie as 'crazy' or 'insane'. 

In other words, being bothered by words not directed at you intentionally that are built into language and into literary styles is a waste of time and energy better spent elsewhere.  It's like complaining about the needle pricking your finger when someone is stabbing you repeatedly in the gut.  You are missing the point entirely.

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5 hours ago, *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

You have a point; there are probably some people like that. However, when I say disadvantageous social position, I don't only mean that they can't do things most people can. Even though those people might sometimes not feel different at all, society is still harsh with them, especially because of some verbal offenses. I'm not referring specifically to the words I listed here, as most disabled people often have to hear lots of crap from able-bodied individuals. If they don't care about that, it's probably because they have gotten used to it, which is not a good thing. It's just like some black people have gotten used to racist microaggressions. 

I'm not sure if those verbal offenses are really the problem. If (as you mentioned in a later paragraph) these expressions are really so ingrained in society that most people don't realize they are offensive anymore, then the disabled people aren't going to be affected negatively from them being used. Of course, if someone does have the intent to be offensive, then whether they utilize these words or not, they will find a way to upset people.

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It may not change their physical or mental condition, but it will certainly make them feel a lot better about themselves.

I don't think they feel bad about themselves because of these words being used in the first place. That is, unless they convince themselves that every time someone uses the word, whether that person has the intent to cause offense or not, they should get offended. In this case, the fault lies on the disabled person.

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Well, that's a problem with your personality in particular. But you have three choices:

1. Keep using those words and unintentionally offending some people, who will probably suffer quietly

2. Police yourself as to stop using those words and gloat about doing that, which might offend some people either because of the gloating or because they want to be treated like everyone else, like you said

3. Stop using those words and make the effort of keeping your mouth shut about it, which won't offend anyone

Guess what's the most selfless one?

I'm not sure I understand where #2 is coming from. I don't believe I would gloat over having to refrain from using certain words. However, at least until it becomes a habit, I would likely act and word things awkwardly if I had to consciously prevent myself from uttering certain words. Most people who are not mentally impaired would be able to notice these mannerisms and realize that I'm treating them differently, since it's only ableist expressions that I tiptoe around.

As for #3, that is what I wanted to do when I wrote the lines you quoted. However, as stated, I'll likely give away that I'm trying to refrain from using certain words by acting awkwardly, which, sadly, isn't something I'd be able to control as my social skills are poor.

As I don't believe using most of these words without the intent to offend will make disabled people suffer, #1 appears to be the best option.

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But people do not know whether you associate those concepts or not. The negative connotation related to mentally disabled people is already rooted on that word. It became a more and more common word, everyone started using it daily with various different connotations, but isn't that kinda sad? The fact that a word used to describe some people's condition became so common that everyone today is using it frivolously and meaninglessly, without even noticing that it carries an offensive connotation? Because, before, when it was a new word, everyone would be always aware that it referred to a disabled person, and they would at least know they were using it in an ableist way when insulting someone with it. But right now, nobody even notices that, so even people that mean no harm say it.

It's true that others don't know whether I associate those concepts or not, and they might take offense to something I meant no offense with. If such a misunderstanding happens, however, I hope a simple apology and explanation will clear things up.

As for these words becoming common and becoming disassociated from disabled people, isn't this a great thing? If the great majority of people don't realize a word is offensive, as far as society is concerned, it's not.

Words aren't static, their meanings and usage evolve over time and might become totally opposite to their originals. Just because people are using them differently from their original meaning doesn't make the act frivolous, they are just trying to convey a different meaning now. I don't know the word's origins, but let's say before 'crazy' could only be used to refer to someone who is mentally disabled; now that's not the only - or possibly even the primary - meaning of the word. Yes, it might be slightly harder to tell now whether someone is using the word in an offensive manner or not, but context will help to figure that out - and if not, a misunderstanding can always be cleared up, as mentioned above. In short, whether a word carries an offensive connotation or not depends on the context it's used in.

Also, if someone knew and considered the word they were using to be ableist, yet they proceeded to say it, they must have been trying to offend a disabled person. Whether everyone agrees with Sana-san to use or not to use those words, this goes out the window when an individual is purposefully trying to offend another. There's always alternative ways to show your contempt for another being, so by policing usage of these words I think you're attacking the wrong target. We should be trying to figure out why someone wants to offend a disabled person and how to discourage them from doing so, not attempting to convince them to not do it in one specific way of many.

 

P.S. sorry if this post is a bit incoherent. I was sleepy when I wrote it.

 

Edited by Barktooth

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Guest *anoyoruniyakusokushita

Posted

@Darklord Rooke, @Clephas, @Kiriririri, @Barktooth, Sana here. I was typing a reply to all of your comments, but unfortunately, when I clicked the submit button, I found out I had been banned. There were no warnings, no PMs from any of the moderators. I will neither reply here nor create another account as it might anger them even more. I'm sorry, guys. One of my friends even tried to speak with one of them, but they simply read the message and did not reply. I get it that this community is conservative but I didn't know it was bordering on absolutism, seriously... You should get new mods.

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btw, I was just trolling

 

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37 minutes ago, Guest *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

 

  Hide contents

btw, I was just trolling

 

It's not like I didn't make up things when writing my posts :makina: 

Was nice having you here.

Edited by Kiriririri

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1 hour ago, Guest *anoyoruniyakusokushita said:

 

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btw, I was just trolling

 

Well, good job to you, then... I couldn't quite decide whether you were trolling or not, but in the end settled that you were probably serious - surely no troll would put so much effort into their posts. Your dedication is inspiring.

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2 hours ago, Kiriririri said:

Was nice having you here.

Pffft, the assumption being he's not still here, bans aren't as final in this age of VPNs.

People will likely have their suspicions on who he is.

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7 minutes ago, Darklord Rooke said:

Pffft, the assumption being he's not still here, bans aren't as final in this age of VPNs.

People will likely have their suspicions on who he is.

What would be the point to do that?

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