Personally, my opinion on the matter of npc 'props', in this case slaves, being utilized by members of the channel is the same argument one might make about nudity, strong language, harassment, or morbid scenarios involving torture and death. In the right hands, these tools can be utilized well to relate a particular idea to a character.
For example, a shady Angel Cartel supporting pilot like Leopold being fed grapes tells the audience exactly what we need to know about his position on human exploitation in general. This individual clearly has no regard for his fellow men and isn't afraid to take advantage of his fellow men to get ahead in life. A minmatar murdering Amarrian children in revenge for the wrongs done to him, a Caldari burning a Gallente orphanage just for kicks, or maybe just a liberated Gallente female walking around in transparent clothing, can all tell an audience a great deal about the character behind the act.
The problem is twofold, involving reactions from both the audience and the players.
The audience of characters response to any of these situations could range from 'agreement' of their values, disinterest, disgust/repulsion, to violent verbal response involving the rapid disintegration of civil conversation with hurled insults and wild racist generalizations. In what is essentially an open public channel where various cultures attempt to co-exist any introduction of differences, particularly to the extremes that the EVE lore has engineered to create conflict, will result in a breakdown of order and politeness. As in-character moderators, tasked with maintaining order, this cannot be allowed to happen. It means that essentially conflict, which is the heart of EVE, is not allowed in this format. And while I have no doubt the moderators maintain an excellent record of conflict control, I do feel that much is lost in stifling half of what makes this game great.
And yet this is the most popular Roleplay channel to date, so clearly they aren't screwing everything up, because people continue to participate at a regular pace. I think it maintains its dominance, in large part to this forum and a strong, active central group who promote this site to each new generation of interested role players. However, it does beg the question in whether there is room for improvement in accommodating both civility and conflict in the same channel. Is this possible?
And secondly, our player reaction to these public displays of controversial
behavior are just as important. Anyone who has interacted with the community for at least a year or more will start to see common themes, like slavers using slave props to rile up the minmatar, slutty gallente females making conservatives uncomfortable, or greedy caldari hoarding gold coins like a dragon. It's tired, it's boring, and its two dimensional behavior induces eye-rolling responses in OOC with everyone flapping their penguin arms in concert.
By drawing a line in the sand stating clearly that any use of these common tropes is outlawed because most people (or no one) can do it properly
, why not draw a more substantial line in the sand and start removing people who you feel are too two-dimensional, or simply do not enhance your channel in any substantial way? Where does one draw the line at artistic license and value judgement when it comes to the characters created by others?
Personally, I'm content with letting individual players and characters make up their own minds in how they react to others in the same channel. Muting people for OOC reasons may be necessary if they continually persist in crossing your personal boundaries, and letting characters react as naturally as possible when the extremes rear their ugly heads. As a socially liberal and rather unorthodox miscreant, I am rather content to let people dictate their own destiny and let the cards fall where they may.
There, I gave my opinion, just like you asked.