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Old 02-12-2018, 01:22 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Bone - Re: ElvisL1ves' Warning in Elections

This has to do with this warning. Cite.

I do enough complaining about moderation that I feel, in fairness, to speak up on this. The poster in question is not by any means a favorite. Nonetheless, ISTM that a warning (or Warning) is slightly more than it deserved. He wasn't accusing me, directly, of lying, at least no more so than the standard-issue "Republicans are liars" that is more or less OK as part of the "you can accuse groups of lying but not posters".

I know this sounds kind of funny coming from me. Nonetheless, might I request that it be downgraded to a Mod Note or something? I understand what you were saying, but from my side of the keyboard, it didn't seem all that bad.

Obviously it's your call. And besides, this way I can keep my "Shodan complains about the moderation no matter what happens" streak going!

Thanks for your consideration. And ElvisL1ves - no hard feelings, no matter how this comes out.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:27 PM
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I agree and I commend your sense of fair play.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:29 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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I'm pretty certain it was "alternative facts" that got him the warning. You're not supposed to say another poster is using "alternative facts" as a not-so-clever work-around to the prohibition on accusations of lying.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
I'm pretty certain it was "alternative facts" that got him the warning. You're not supposed to say another poster is using "alternative facts" as a not-so-clever work-around to the prohibition on accusations of lying.
That's the impression I got, also.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:39 PM
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I'm pretty certain it was "alternative facts" that got him the warning. You're not supposed to say another poster is using "alternative facts" as a not-so-clever work-around to the prohibition on accusations of lying.
Alternative facts, your people call them. (quoting from the link)

That doesn't seem to point at a poster but at a group.
  #6  
Old 02-12-2018, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
This has to do with this warning. Cite.

I do enough complaining about moderation that I feel, in fairness, to speak up on this. The poster in question is not by any means a favorite. Nonetheless, ISTM that a warning (or Warning) is slightly more than it deserved. He wasn't accusing me, directly, of lying, at least no more so than the standard-issue "Republicans are liars" that is more or less OK as part of the "you can accuse groups of lying but not posters".

I know this sounds kind of funny coming from me. Nonetheless, might I request that it be downgraded to a Mod Note or something? I understand what you were saying, but from my side of the keyboard, it didn't seem all that bad.

Obviously it's your call. And besides, this way I can keep my "Shodan complains about the moderation no matter what happens" streak going!

Thanks for your consideration. And ElvisL1ves - no hard feelings, no matter how this comes out.

Regards,
Shodan
In 11 years of sometimes-posting-mostly-lurking I've never complained about the moderation here, but after reading Bone's warning in that thread I headed over here to do just that. You beat me to the punch.

I pretty much agree with everything you wrote here. In a thread that begins with the premise that it's an assumed fact that we all hate each other, I'm pleasantly surprised that's it's stayed as civil as it has. I also read ElvisL1ves's comment as trotting out the "all Republicans are liars!" line. That gets old quick but but I don't think he was attacking Shodan.

Last edited by Lancia; 02-12-2018 at 01:41 PM.
  #7  
Old 02-12-2018, 01:46 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Originally Posted by Morgenstern View Post
Alternative facts, your people call them. (quoting from the link)

That doesn't seem to point at a poster but at a group.
That wasn't the only time ElvisL1ves used the "alternative facts" formulation. He also said this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
... That includes following the traditional RW alternative-facts approach that pretends Clinton didn't produce budget surpluses. Just for one example.

Quote:
Dems were outraged that they couldn't sue their way into the White House.
"Dems were outraged that they couldn't sue their way into the White House" was written by Shodan, in post #26. Does that fact change your analysis?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding him, but it seemed pretty clear to me.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 02-12-2018 at 01:49 PM.
  #8  
Old 02-12-2018, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
He wasn't accusing me, directly, of lying, at least no more so than the standard-issue "Republicans are liars" that is more or less OK as part of the "you can accuse groups of lying but not posters".
I start from the proposition that "alternative facts" is equivalent to lies. Performing a substitution like this provides clarity by which to interpret the posts. In the warning, I quoted two separate posts from Elvis. In post #26, you (Shodan) offered your view on potential origins of partisan hatred, one of which mentions the defict, to which Elvis responded to as follows:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
Etc. You're providing evidence of the results, not the causes.

That includes following the traditional RW alternative-facts approach that pretends Clinton didn't produce budget surpluses. Just for one example.
Paraphrased:
'Shodan, you are doing something, and that something that you are doing includes lying [following the traditional RW alternative-facts approach] in your example about deficts.'

In post #32, you (Shodan) expanded on your explanation about deficits, explaining your view of the flaw in the argument you were responding to. Elvis replies:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
All of that, including the Fed chairman cautioning against "irrational exuberance", stemmed from the 1993 Budget Act, didn't it? Now tell us how many Republicans voted for it. Here, I'll save you the trouble: 0.

Alternative facts, your people call them.
Paraphrased:
Shodan, your explanation misses some nuance.

Your people would call this lying.
I see these combined as an accusation of lying which is prohibited.
  #9  
Old 02-12-2018, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
I start from the proposition that "alternative facts" is equivalent to lies. Performing a substitution like this provides clarity by which to interpret the posts. In the warning, I quoted two separate posts from Elvis. In post #26, you (Shodan) offered your view on potential origins of partisan hatred, one of which mentions the defict, to which Elvis responded to as follows:


Paraphrased:
'Shodan, you are doing something, and that something that you are doing includes lying [following the traditional RW alternative-facts approach] in your example about deficts.'

In post #32, you (Shodan) expanded on your explanation about deficits, explaining your view of the flaw in the argument you were responding to. Elvis replies:


Paraphrased:
Shodan, your explanation misses some nuance.

Your people would call this lying.
I see these combined as an accusation of lying which is prohibited.
Great reply.

I see your point, but perhaps, being as it is at least slightly grey, perhaps a Note might suit as well?
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:26 PM
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I think he skated too close to the thin ice this time. C'est la vie, but it's only a warning...if he got a suspension I'd probably feel more strongly that the Mods should rethink it. I've gotten modded (rightfully) when I did similar stuff, so don't think it was unfair. Sometimes we all try and be just a bit too clever (or we lose our tempers, as is often the case with me) and the mods jerk us back to reality.
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:39 PM
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I agree with Shodan. He did not call anyone a liar or imply anyone was lying. He's not even anywhere near the line. Yes, he argues that what Shodan has brought up is an "alternative fact," but that doesn't mean that Shodan himself is lying. It can easily mean that he was misled by others who lied to him.

In this specific context, it would mean that he's bought into some of the lies of the Republican Party. It is not saying that Shodan himself is a liar. And saying that Republicans are lying has not been forbidden.

I don't see any difference in what he said and when posters have talked about how someone is repeating Republican talking points. And that definitely is not an accusation of lying.

Accusing someone of being disingenuous is closer to calling them a liar than this. And such comments are allowed. (And they have to be, since establishing that they are arguing in good faith is important in any debate.)
  #12  
Old 02-12-2018, 11:07 PM
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I dunno, "you're repeating lies" doesn't have much difference from "you're lying" to me. There's a difference between that and "Republicans lie", you're particularly pointing out specific statements as lies, and linking them to the poster as the one telling them, even if there's the wiggle room that the poster themself doesn't know they're lies.

Last edited by MrDibble; 02-12-2018 at 11:09 PM.
  #13  
Old 02-13-2018, 07:00 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
I start from the proposition that "alternative facts" is equivalent to lies. Performing a substitution like this provides clarity by which to interpret the posts. In the warning, I quoted two separate posts from Elvis. In post #26, you (Shodan) offered your view on potential origins of partisan hatred, one of which mentions the defict, to which Elvis responded to as follows:


Paraphrased:
'Shodan, you are doing something, and that something that you are doing includes lying [following the traditional RW alternative-facts approach] in your example about deficts.'

In post #32, you (Shodan) expanded on your explanation about deficits, explaining your view of the flaw in the argument you were responding to. Elvis replies:


Paraphrased:
Shodan, your explanation misses some nuance.

Your people would call this lying.
I see these combined as an accusation of lying which is prohibited.
Thanks for your response. Given that, as DrDeth mentions, it is at least a gray area, can I request the downgrade to a Mod Note? I understand your reasoning, but maybe a Mod Note would get the message across as well.

Besides, help a poster out here - I am having trouble coming up with arguments besides "the board hates conservatives".

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:21 AM
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Wherein lies the problem of using trial-and-error methods for limit testing ... the errors lead to warnings ... ElvisL1ves knew that saying somebody is using alternate facts is the same as calling them a liar; or if he didn't, he does now ... is there a reasonable cause for which ElvisL1ves might not have known? ... then maybe downgrade the warning to a note ... but the moderators have been very clear and the information widely distributed ...

The only benefit to downgrading the action is to give ElvisL1ves one extra chance to call someone a liar ... that's how limit testing works ... worse, now everybody would be demanding a note for calling each other liars ... also, there doesn't seem to be a limit on how many times one can use The Lil' Red Triangle (but testing continues) ... ElvisL1ves had better options if he really thought Shoden was lying ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 02-13-2018 at 08:23 AM. Reason: Added parenthetical shouting ...
  #15  
Old 02-13-2018, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
...
Besides, help a poster out here - I am having trouble coming up with arguments besides "the board hates conservatives".

Regards,
Shodan

"Regards" works well in the meantime.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
Paraphrased:
Shodan, your explanation misses some nuance.

Your people would call this lying.
I see these combined as an accusation of lying which is prohibited.
I get where you are coming from but to call ElvisL1ves out on this is a little ridiculous when there are many more blatant examples of:
ALL members of this group do A.
We know you are a member of the group.
So (not so subtly) you also do A.

For example a common one on this board is All Republicans are racist. Hey I'm a Republican. Oh no, he's not accusing YOU of being a racist - just all Republicans so its OK.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:53 AM
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For example a common one on this board is All Republicans are racist. Hey I'm a Republican. Oh no, he's not accusing YOU of being a racist - just all Republicans so its OK.
That's common? An example, please.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:06 AM
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Bone's analysis in #8 is faultlessly accurate. But IMHO the central issue in all situations like this -- the reason the rule about calling someone a liar can be justified in the first place -- revolves around the "attacking the other poster rather than attacking the other poster's arguments" principle. Calling someone a liar is alleging a basic character flaw, implying dishonesty and deceit. It's a clear and blatant insult that adds no information and detracts from constructive debate. IMHO one should ask, not whether a statement can be logically interpreted to mean that someone is saying something that isn't true, but whether it's intended as a clear and blatant insult in the sense of the above.

I think that ultimately the question of "interpretation" isn't so much a technical one as a question of what decision makes GD a better place for debate, one in which discussions aren't derailed by posters hurling insults at each other, but one in which discussions aren't stifled, either, and wrong or deceptive statements can be called out without fear of sanctions. I wish we wouldn't engage in these exercises of interpretation. Blatant insults need no interpretation. The only valid test of whether something is truly an accusation of lying IMHO is whether it helps debate (by providing information) or hinders it (by being gratuitously insulting). Since the OP wasn't insulted by the statements in question, it's hard to argue that they were insults.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
Since the OP wasn't insulted by the statements in question, it's hard to argue that they were insults.
I think this would set a bad precedent. The next time something like this happens and the OP feels insulted, the argument will be made that since it was allowed last time why isn't it allowed this time.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
Performing a substitution like this <snip>

Paraphrased <snip>

Paraphrased <snip>

I see these combined as an accusation of lying which is prohibited.
Maybe at some point you could just moderate on what was said. I think performing these substitutions is absurd when the output is a Warning. I'd think that if you're going to start moderating on what you perceive as intent rather than the content, maybe start with a Note.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:23 AM
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I just want to thank all of you who have expressed similar astonishment at this decision - especially you, Shodan. Regards - sincerely.

Paraphrasing? Wow.
  #22  
Old 02-13-2018, 12:05 PM
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I think this would set a bad precedent. The next time something like this happens and the OP feels insulted, the argument will be made that since it was allowed last time why isn't it allowed this time.
It wouldn't set any precedent because that's not really the point. The point is contained in the principles I tried to elucidate. That the OP was as surprised as anyone that the comments were supposed to be insulting him is just evidence supportive of those principles.
  #23  
Old 02-13-2018, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
I think that ultimately the question of "interpretation" isn't so much a technical one as a question of what decision makes GD a better place for debate, one in which discussions aren't derailed by posters hurling insults at each other, but one in which discussions aren't stifled, either, and wrong or deceptive statements can be called out without fear of sanctions.
I agree, and there are plenty of ways to call out wrong or misleading statements without fear of sanctions. You're right to identify one of the main principles, attack the post not the poster. As corollaries to that we have several specific tactics that are off limits because ultimately they run afoul of this principle. No accusations of trolling, lying, sexual gratification, etc. Those things invariably make the boards a worse place for discussion.

What also makes GD and Elections a worse place for debate are efforts to try and ride as close to the line as possible. Inevitably some folks will run afoul of the rules as is the nature of passionate disagreement. That's not a big deal and most of the time a reminder is sufficient. I tend to interpret generously, but that only goes so far. When many reminders are necessary, it becomes clear that escalation is needed. A warning represents that escalation so hopefully it serves its intended purpose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
The only valid test of whether something is truly an accusation of lying IMHO is whether it helps debate (by providing information) or hinders it (by being gratuitously insulting). Since the OP wasn't insulted by the statements in question, it's hard to argue that they were insults.
We've determined by way of the rules of the forum that any accusation of lying hinders debate so the first prong of your test is a non-starter. Analogous to the decision on whether legal action should proceed, a DA can move forward without the consent of the victim because some offenses are both against the person [poster] and against the state [board].

Quote:
Originally Posted by Munch View Post
Maybe at some point you could just moderate on what was said. I think performing these substitutions is absurd when the output is a Warning. I'd think that if you're going to start moderating on what you perceive as intent rather than the content, maybe start with a Note.
A note would be great. It would be even better if there was an ATMB thread about it. And of course we don't expect posters to see every note if they are not participants in the thread, but the instruction has been given multiple times. I like to think that the fact that the phrase isn't used more frequently even though it's part of the current zeitgeist is because of such instruction. But more than notes, and the ATMB thread, it would be even better if an explanation was posted as a sticky at the top of the forum for a month. Something like this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomndebb View Post
The phrase [alternative facts] means falsehood from its inception and any use directed at the statements of another poster will be treated as an accusation of lying.
The warning will stand.
  #24  
Old 02-13-2018, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
That's common? An example, please.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobLibDem
With the election of Bill Clinton, Republicans lost what they thought was their birthright to the White House. This led directly to the rise of Rush Limbaugh. Republicans figured out that their base is so stupid they will believe anything you tell them,
So even though I am a member of the Repubican base, apparently BobLibDem is not accusing ME of being stupid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoManyCats
and the guy dying in the street was not his father, but just the latest victim of poverty and racism. Or just a worthless thug if you're republican.
So a Republican is not concerned if people die because of racism or poverty but of course I am not accused of such insenstivity by being a Republican.

And there are others but I want to point out what I think is an appropriate comment, one in which I am not attacked qua a Republican
Quote:
Originally Posted by adaher
But now, the white working class votes Republican and the Democrats are heavily reliant on minority voters. Further, due to the Republican Party going down the religion and racism rabbit hole,
So he is not saying Republicans (and thus me) are racists but he points out that the Party as a whole is heading in the Evangelical and Racist direction.
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
So even though I am a member of the Repubican base, apparently BobLibDem is not accusing ME of being stupid.


So a Republican is not concerned if people die because of racism or poverty but of course I am not accused of such insenstivity by being a Republican.

And there are others but I want to point out what I think is an appropriate comment, one in which I am not attacked qua a Republican

So he is not saying Republicans (and thus me) are racists but he points out that the Party as a whole is heading in the Evangelical and Racist direction.
The problem with your examples is that you're reading a literal meaning of "all" into those statements where the word "all" does not appear. While it would be false to say that "all Republicans" have certain attributes, some of those broad generalizations are, in fact, accurate. If you want to "interpret" that as an insult against you personally, that shouldn't be the poster's responsibility, and I think it just serves to illustrate the perils of "interpretation" rather than the plain facts of what a person is actually saying, which is just the point I was making earlier.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
The problem with your examples is that you're reading a literal meaning of "all" into those statements where the word "all" does not appear. While it would be false to say that "all Republicans" have certain attributes, some of those broad generalizations are, in fact, accurate. If you want to "interpret" that as an insult against you personally, that shouldn't be the poster's responsibility, and I think it just serves to illustrate the perils of "interpretation" rather than the plain facts of what a person is actually saying, which is just the point I was making earlier.
You may be right but that's not the point. Those insinuations are a lot more overt than what ElivisL1ves said so why does HE get a warning?
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:49 AM
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  #28  
Old 02-14-2018, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
You may be right but that's not the point. Those insinuations are a lot more overt than what ElivisL1ves said so why does HE get a warning?
The treatment of group insults on the boards has been a common topic for discussion. When I came on, I did quite a bit of searching through old threads, warnings, notes, etc. to familiarize myself more with past practice in consideration of how I wanted to proceed moving forward. I've actually wrote about this before when I first came on, in post #69 here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
The rule remains, attack the post, not the poster. Attacking the ideas and arguments within a post is one of the raison d'être of Great Debates and Elections. It is when the attack on the post is inseparable from an attack on the poster where a person can run afoul of the rules. Consider the following as a general example:
A: [content]
B: Only stupid people would post [content]
That line between attacking the post and the poster in this example is so thin as to be non-existent. That is an example of a personal insult. If B said that “[content] is poorly conceived, a failure of deductive logic, inconsistent with the world as we know it, and unrelated to a degree that makes [content] incomprehensible” that is attacking the post and not the poster. A good example was also given in post #61 – being critical of a book is not the same as being critical of the author. Telling the author to their face that their book was dumb is not the same thing as telling the author that they are dumb. It would be rude of course, but we are not in the business of moderating manners. If on the other hand you told the author that only a dumb person would write such a dumb book, that would cross the line because the distinction between book and author has been swept away.

This is especially apparent in instances where descriptors are used in a way that blurs this distinction. That post is assholish - I'm not sure how a post can be assholish, but that's a far cry from saying that post is poorly thought out. Both characterize a post, but the former IMO is hardly separated from the poster at all whereas the latter is addressing the argument.

And in case it wasn't clear, context always matters and there will be grey areas. We are not going to be able to come up with acceptable and not acceptable ways to rib other posters - folks are way to creative for that to ever work.
You actually replied as the very next post. We had a brief exchange and my sentiment is unchanged from that time. It appears yours is too.

The topic came up again here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
Group insults do lend themselves to bright line rules. In discussions all across the Great Debates and Elections there are disparaging comments towards groups that it is clear from past posting history that some of our posters are members of. Insults towards Republicans, Democrats, and libertarians abound and while I personally am not a fan of sweeping generalizations, it's not something that I'd prefer to moderate.

It is when the attack on a group is inseparable from an attack on a poster where a person can run afoul of the rules. This would be context dependent. I gave an example in post #3 where a group insult would be inseparable from a personal insult towards another poster.

On the other hand, we often have posts along the lines of 'Democrats are thieves because they want to tax all our money away!', or 'Republicans are racists who hate the poor!'. Both of those are childish and add little to productive discussion, but probably not something I'd moderate for personal insults (withholding judgment for other potential violations). However, depending on the direction of the thread, if it's clear that the intent is to disparage other posters by adding the veneer of the group insult, then that would be moderated. In general I'd avoid sweeping generalizations since they are often false.
And again here, where I basically quoted the above again. The thing about this last one is it has a loosely similar fact pattern to the warning that was the catalyst for this thread. This is on point with my earlier comment about trying to ride as close to the line as possible. Doing that, sometimes people end up on the wrong side.
  #29  
Old 02-14-2018, 11:14 AM
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I wonder what the difference is between "paraphrasing" a post to make it read the way you wish the poster had written it, and simply altering a quote.
  #30  
Old 02-14-2018, 11:46 AM
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I wonder what the difference is between "paraphrasing" a post to make it read the way you wish the poster had written it, and simply altering a quote.
Really? That's some basic level misunderstanding of communication right there.
  #31  
Old 02-14-2018, 07:08 PM
Munch Munch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
A note would be great. It would be even better if there was an ATMB thread about it.
You know what? You're right. The mere existence of that 13 month old thread IS even better than simply reminding the poster of the rule.

Quote:
And of course we don't expect posters to see every note if they are not participants in the thread, but the instruction has been given multiple times. I like to think that the fact that the phrase isn't used more frequently even though it's part of the current zeitgeist is because of such instruction.
Wait, so you're saying that Notes ARE more effective? Okay, I guess that makes sense...

Quote:
But more than notes, and the ATMB thread, it would be even better if an explanation was posted as a sticky at the top of the forum for a month. Something like this:


The warning will stand.
Seems like before you paraphrase the crap out of someone's post, you'd have just started there. (Or kept with the continued precedent you pointed out of the effective Note-giving.) Guess that's why they pay you the big bucks.

Last edited by Munch; 02-14-2018 at 07:09 PM.
  #32  
Old 02-15-2018, 01:48 PM
Measure for Measure's Avatar
Measure for Measure Measure for Measure is offline
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FYI, though this might be obvious. I perceive that the civility bar has risen over the past 15 months or so. Specifically, restrictions on implying dishonesty on the part of other GD/elections posters have been tightened. I'm just adding this since my spell of absence makes the change more obvious to me.

By way of historical perspective, explicitly calling someone a liar in GD was acceptable here in the early 2000s. FTR, I approved of raising the civility bar from that point; currently I am in my zone of indifference.


In the past, warnings issued for newly-enforced infractions (aka moving violations) have been given a lighter weight when posting privileges were put under review. Just saying.
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