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In chat, as we were watching Family Guy Star Wars: It's a Trap!, our beloved RO Slytherincess objected to the choice of material, which had been selected by our other beloved RO, Praxis. Her objection was based on SE's "13+" content guidelines, and the fact that Family Guy is rated TV-14 in the US.

Our previous movie night choices, most recently, have been a mix of G, PG, PG-13, and R (18+) titles:

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan - PG
Stardust - PG-13
The Thing - R
Alien - R
Spaceballs - PG
The Day the Earth Stood Still - G
Invasion of the Body Snatchers - PG
Return of the Jedi - PG
Family Guy - TV-14
Shaun of the Dead - R
The Matrix - R

In every case, the R ratings were for violence and language, not nudity or sexuality, if that makes a difference.

In many cases - for instance, The Thing - we have had mods join us, including mods from other sites in the SE network, and no one has objected to the movies on the basis of ratings or content.

However, SE is now in the process of redefining the role of chat and what behavior should be expected in our chat rooms, and obviously, Mos Eisley has had its share of problems along those lines.

Should the ongoing changes in chat be reflected in what movies we consider watching during movie nights?

Insight from the mods and CMs is of particular interest here.

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    Just to clarify, I did reflect on my reaction to the Star Wars/Family Guy special, and, as I said in chat, I concluded I was wrong, and that I was bringing my own dislike of Family Guy to the table, which should not be a consideration in what movies we choose. I, nor anybody, should be able to overrule a consensus on which movie to watch based on personal preference. As to the age issue, yes, the site is 13+, which might imply any movie we watch should be inclusive of that age. However, parents should review what their kids are watching online; it's not our job to screen movie viewers. – Slytherincess Dec 29 '15 at 5:13
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    I did want to say, but ran out of characters, that should someone who is present during a movie viewing announce that they are 11, perhaps we ought to ask what the policy for that situation should be. :) – Slytherincess Dec 29 '15 at 5:14
  • Wait you guys all sit around the world and watch movies together? Count me in? Please explain more, of the actual going's on of this act. Do you all meet up in RL? – Sidhartha Jan 8 '16 at 13:21
  • @Sidhartha - No, we don't meet in person. We each get a copy of whatever movie it is, and go to the chat room (Mos Eisley) at a specific time on a specific date, and all at once, we hit play. So we're all watching the same movie at the same time, and chatting about it as we watch. – Wad Cheber Jan 8 '16 at 20:45
  • @Sidhartha - We nominate movies to watch here on meta. Whichever suggestion gets the most votes wins. – Wad Cheber Jan 8 '16 at 20:46
  • How do you get into club :9. ? – Sidhartha Jan 8 '16 at 23:50
  • @Sidhartha - Just check meta to see when the next event is going to happen, suggest a movie, vote, and show up at the designated time to watch the movie with us! We've been slacking off lately, so I don't know when the next movie will be. – Wad Cheber Jan 8 '16 at 23:52
  • Can I has a direct link.? – Sidhartha Jan 9 '16 at 0:01
  • @Sidhartha - There isn't a single link for all posts about all movie nights, and there isn't a post about the next one yet. Here's the chat room where we do movie nights: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/198/mos-eisley And here's an example of one meta post about a previous movie night: meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/7267/… Look for something like that. We haven't discussed when the next one will happen or what we'll watch yet. – Wad Cheber Jan 9 '16 at 0:04
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No, we shouldn't limit our movie nights to PG-13-or-under movies.


TL;DR:

The movie itself isn't being hosted on SE, so its content is irrelevant. In any case, ratings applied by the MPAA and FCC only count in the US, and many of our members don't live in the US, so those ratings aren't a useful metric (two different countries will use different criteria to determine different ratings that mean different things - assuming that they even bother to use ratings at all). All that matters is that we keep the commentary on the movie 13+.


We've watched R-rated movies before, and despite the 13+ guideline1, language that would never be allowed in a PG-13 film today is allowed, in moderation, on SE. Furthermore, it has been established on Meta that even users who think "obscenities" shouldn't be used on SE make exceptions for certain cases, including relevant quotations that have "obscenities" in the original material:

It is a direct quote. The poster is not using the word to make his point, he was quoting something else, and the swearing was part of the point. None of the obscenity was added.
- Source

More importantly, our site is devoted to SF&F in all its forms, and many of the franchises we discuss are rated R.

The actual content - i.e., the film itself - isn't hosted on the SE network, and the only way chat reflects the fact that we're watching the film is that we're talking about it. But we'd be talking about it anyway, even if we weren't watching it.

For the "no 14+ media on movie night, because chat is supposed to be 13+" idea to make sense, we would have to stop talking about many of the most popular on-topic franchises on the site - Aliens, The Matrix, Terminator (1 and 2), The Thing, etc.

On top of all this, the suggestion that our movie choices should be restricted to a certain ratings criteria ignores the fact that SE is a global network, and the ratings in the US are not universal. The agency that assigns ratings to movies in the US, the MPAA, has no authority outside the US. The same goes for the US' Television Parental Guidelines, which are, as the name suggests, merely guidelines, not laws. Many SF&F users are from the United Kingdom, for instance, where no television ratings system exists.

All we're doing in chat is discussing an on-topic movie that some of us happen to be watching. No 14+ material is being posted on the site or in chat2.


1 For what it is worth, the 13+ guideline appears to be merely a necessary byproduct of the fact that SE allows users to post contact info, and in the US, that makes the network subject to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. The idea isn't really to protect kids from naughty words, as I understand it, it is to prevent them from sharing their personal information in a way that might endanger them.

2 And even if we quote a line containing "obscenity" in chat during the event, which has happened on several occasions, it might be okay, as noted above. Even mods have used "profanity" during movie nights, and at other times as well... sometimes even a CM says a naughty word in chat.

I think the use of "obscene" words in chat, during movie nights or otherwise, may be a thing of the past (for the most part), and that's okay - but it doesn't mean we can't choose to watch movies containing such language, or other adult material (e.g., violence and gore), in our movie night events.

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    I think we can summarize this answer best by saying that everyone watching an R-rated movie in SE chat should be fine, so long as we keep our commentary on the movie 13+-friendly. – KutuluMike Dec 17 '15 at 1:41
  • @MikeEdenfield - I stole that and made it a TL;DR – Wad Cheber Dec 17 '15 at 1:48
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    (not familiar with the logistics of movie nights) It may be worth moving to a separate room for movie nights. That way people who don't want to be part of it (for whatever reason, objections about the content being one) aren't bothered by it – Jason Baker Dec 17 '15 at 1:48
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    What is 13+ anyway? I think you'll find on stacks where that's really relevant, such as Parenting, you'll find that it's incredibly subjective and change from household to household. – user31178 Dec 17 '15 at 1:49
  • @JasonBaker - Sounds like another meta question in the making... – Wad Cheber Dec 17 '15 at 1:49
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    @JasonBaker - The original point of hosting it in the main chatroom was to make it more inclusive and attract participants. That was also the point of making it an "event" and placing an advert on the main site. – Valorum Dec 17 '15 at 8:58

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