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Old 08-15-2009, 11:32 AM
Gfactor is offline
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Detroit
Posts: 9,491
I've been waiting until I had time to put a TLDR post together, but I'm not sure when that will happen, and so far this thread has been doing very well without me, so I think I'll just add a few things here and there as time allows. First up: the "origin" of the Pit:

Originally Posted by TubaDiva
Remember all those times we said, "hey, why don't you take that outside?" Well, here's where you go. <g>

No, really. This is where you go for all those verbal fistfights. When a thread veers from debate and/or discussion into personal attack, sneering insults, and "Yo Mommas," y'all should step outside to this thread.

Remember, although AOL's Terms of Service do not usually apply and we will give you SOME latitude, this is no back alley and you will be expected to be if not civil at least semi-reasonable. Pure evil and/or rants won't fly -- unless they're really entertaining.

Oh, and give me five minutes to sell some tickets, okay?

While the original description of the Pit doesn't set its current uses or purposes in stone, I think the post anticipates many of the issues we're still discussing:

1. Pit as combat. Mainly for "verbal fistfights."
2. Pit as entertainment. "Selling tickets" "Pure evil and rants only if really entertaining."
3. Rules relaxed.

This third feature is significant to me. While I have no problem moving a thread from GQ to GD or one of the other non-Pit forums, moving a thread out of the Pit changes the rules. That can cause problems if the insults have already started to fly and it also can change the shape of the discourse. For one thing, the Pit has very loose relevancy standards. Not only do we permit personal attacks, but we permit them against anybody who happens to show up--even if they aren't throwing any. It's a lot like this:

This seems to be the paradigmatic Pit discourse arc. But other variations are also pretty common:

We've got the backfired ambush:

And the duel that didn't go as expected:

And sometimes we get diatribes:

This last one raises some questions for me. It's one sided, but it's definitely a rant:

Is it RO? What about this one? The Telemarketer Speaks. I Respond.

What about this one? Tampons Suck

At any rate, before I got distracted by the clip show I intended to point out:

1. Moving a thread out of here changes the way it will develop, so predictions about how it might unfold are to some extent self-fulfilling.

2. While some profanity is permitted in other forums, there's more tolerance for it in the Pit.

3. Other elements of the Pit aren't mirrored in other forums.

4. There are some threads that the other moderators don't want in their forums. Those have to be closed instead of moved.

5. To some extent the whole point of the board is to have threads and have them where they'll get the most attention and participation.

6. None of these points necessarily changes anything about what sorts of threads we ought to have in here. I'm just sayin'.

Please keep the comments coming.