2015 Housecleaning

We are required to actively participate in the forums that we moderate. We are not required to read (or skim) every thread. We’re not just moderators. We are also users, just like you. We read posts and participate in threads for our own enjoyment. We will generally read a majority of the threads in the forums that we moderate simply because they interest us, but most of us don’t have the time to read through every single thread, even just to skim it.

We don’t just sit around and wait for complaints. Since we are participants in the forums that we moderate, we will often come across problematic posts as we read through threads that interest us. But if we happen not to read a particular thread, we do rely on post reports to let us know if there is a problem there.

When someone reports a post, we get an e-mail with details about the report. We very much appreciate post reports, as they often allow us to respond more quickly to issues even when we would have stumbled across the problematic post on our own eventually.

Well, this is the heart of the matter, innit? Mods are given and exercise discretion for a reason. There is just no way to moderate thousands of threads otherwise. Many zombie threads are left open. They understand that people happen upon this MB from Google, etc. and are not conversant with the rules, much less the culture of the board. And yes, I agree that new posters should get up to speed on those things, but guess what? Good luck battling human nature.

There is a list of reasons for thread closings by Dex here. The last one is

I decline to believe that Dex put that in off-the-cuff, without extensive discussion among the mods. In my experience, the mods are fair and even-handed. I was satisfied with Miller’s reasoning for not closing the AGW RULES! thread. Frankly, I was fascinated to read it. I disagree in that case - I think it possible that the thread and what is taking place in it reflects a bit poorly on the Board. That’s my opinion. Carries exactly the same weight, neither more nor less, than anyone else’s.

Okay - have at me.

ETA : I know where I’m not going to be going for a little light reading for a while after this post. <Bows>

There is a reason why we ask for a PM if there is some action without explanation. I will generally leave zombie threads open unless I see there was a lot of back and forth between posters that have been banned or are no longer posting. That is not conducive to a good conversation. But I will generally give an explanation and invite the participants to open a new thread if they wish. Sometimes if zombies are shut down without explanation there is a reason that we don’t wish to publicize as a matter of long standing policy. So just like with unexplained bannings, PM a mod.

I’m not sure that’s true and I’m one of the people who post in the thread. Everytime that FX bumps it, it has activity for a day or two and then dies. Days later, when FX bumps it again, the process starts over, but it’s a response to whatever silly post he used to bump it, not any desire to participate in a long dead thread.

I would argue (and I think I’m on firm philosophical grounds here) that a post in a thread requires desire for the thread to be open because openness is a condition of posting.

Therefore, we can be sure that at least during the moment of posting, we know there was desire for the thread to be open.

Now it’s possible that in between posts, if we had a universal “thread openness desirability” measuring device, we may detect that even in the far reaches of the universe that no “thread openness desireability” registers at all. But because we don’t have one of those devices, we have to assume that in between posts that desireability never dropped to absolute zero due to the follow on activity.

Something to consider is that if we did have the “thread openness desireability” measuring device and we gathered data on all of the current threads in the system, we may have to face the horrifying reality that other threads that we thought were completely safe were actually registering zero for longer periods of time than the thread in question. If that were the case, should those be closed also?

It is actually worse than that, on many occasions he has to go the necromancer way to feed, not just with the thread, but also by reusing dead quotes, on more than one occasion FX has resorted to bump his thread with quotes from others that he already responded to. Sometimes even going back to posts that were made years ago.

Even DMC was made to look by FX as if he was continuing to feed FX’s trolling more than what DMC had actually done.

You know, there is the possibility of all the people who feel compelled to respond to FXMastermind’s latest recap to simply quit following the thread, quit reading whatever brilliant insight he posted as his latest post, and let the only poster be FX himself. Then, it becomes easy to justify closing the thread. FX isn’t supposed to keep bumping a thread with no responses.

If he truly isn’t going to post anything new or insightful or different than the million lines of previous posts on the topic, just state that in your farewell to the thread post and then walk away. Done.

BTW, recently FX did go once again to calling the ones that do not agree with him “F…heads” even going so far as adding more than one moderator on what he considers is one. IIRC there was once a justification offered on why that is allowed but it still looks to me as a very iffy loophole for the rule of not using “F… you” and other variations of that insult in the pit too, particularly when they should not be used a often as FX is clearly doing.

QFT, but unfortunately FX has found a loophole, using zombie quotes to make it look as his bumps are new responses to others, never mind that most of the posters he re-quotes already did follow your advise here.

This is an excellent suggestion, and maybe it will work this time in contrast to the billion other times it has been suggested on the internet. :wink:

I know, we can dream.

And BTW many thanks to Lamar Mundane for starting this, I actually do not bother with FX there anymore and I agree with what the mods concluded a long time ago regarding what that poster is doing.

There is so much trolling that I’m not even bothering to start any thread against him. But it has to be reported that besides the trolling and insults it is really underhanded to bump threads with zombie quotes, I think it was needed to leave on the record that me and many others were made to look by FX as if we had never followed advise like the one Irishman made here.

Still nobody has answered the question: what purpose does closing serve? Specifically, as in: “if threads don’t get closed, Negative X will occur, and Negative X occurring must be prevented because if it isn’t, Negatives Y and Z will happen.”

Because I could see somebody coming along and saying " well gee if you don’t close it then Joe Jackass comes along and says something stupid" or whatever and yeah so? It’s the bigger picture I’m shooting for here.

As far as the FX thread,it seems to me that if he is bumping his own thread by re-answering things he answered previously just to get attention, and really not adding new or different things to what he’d already said, and this leads to the people he is “re-answering” feeling as though he is dishonestly making them look bad, THAT seems like a particularly impressive and genuinely impactful example of being a jerk, A situation which is traditionally dealt with by warning the poster in question directly and taking further action towards the poster if the warning isn’t heeded.

None of which requires closing the thread: if FX is stopped, and he will be if he doesn’t stop himself, the thread will then live or die on its own merits in the same way that all threads do.

Nope, doesn’t fly. If a thread has gone so far away from the original OP There is virtually no more discussion occurring at all about the original subject, then that is as good as dead to someone like you who is hitting it too late. There is no useful purpose served in closing it,certainly not one great enough to justify cutting off other conversations that people are enjoying. And you also have the opportunity to try and redirect the conversation back to the topic and see if anybody is interested.

So you have described how your personal enjoyment will be increased. (A dubious claim based on tons of assumptions, but ok) you have brought us back to the original query: why should your enjoyment according to your criteria be elevated over the enjoyment of the people in the thread, people whose criteria differ from yours,particularly given the shaky series of assumptions that form your thinking on this versus the concrete reality of the people who are participating in a real thread right now?

He has added nothing new since page 1. Neither has anyone else, since they keep banging their heads against the same unmoving wall. There is a limited number of facts, and if they are consistently ignored the discussion goes nowhere.

Come on, you’re almost willfully ignoring my point. A nice feature of this board is that threads are generally high quality (relatively speaking). Threads generally match their original topic and don’t devolve into pointless circles. This is in large part due to the moderation that redirects posters and closes threads when redirection doesn’t work. You can advocate for looser moderation if that’s your preference, but you’re doing the same thing that you accuse me of: you are putting your personal enjoyment of the board before others.

As jimbuff314 said above, defining the clear rules for when a thread can be closed is the heart of the matter and worthy of discussion. I agree with you there. But don’t pretend that what is allowed in one thread has zero impact on anyone not participating in it. It certainly does affect the overall quality of the board, its threads, and its culture.

I would argue (and I think I’m on firm historical grounds here) that if it weren’t for him bumping the thread continuously, the thread would have disappeared months ago.

The last three posts on 11-25 and 11-26 were from FX, followed by no activity until 11-30 which was a bump by FX.

The last two posts on 12-2 were from FX, followed by no activity until 12-9 when he bumped it again.

The last three posts on 12-19 were from FX, followed by a bump on 12-22. That bump had no responses, so he bumped again on 1-1.

I’d strongly argue that threads that have no activity for over a week on multiple occasions prove that the desire for the thread to remain open is not exactly high.

I’ll also note that according to the rules post on bumping as quoted below, he appears to be a serial offender.

So, I’m not arguing that the thread be closed because I don’t like it, I’m arguing that it’s been effectively dead and only remains active because the OP repeatedly bumps it. In fact, instead of closing it, I’d consider simply forbidding the bumps by FX to be a perfectly acceptable solution. Then, if there is a desire to keep it open, it’ll stay open. If there isn’t, it will fade into oblivion.

This is the Straight Dope. We don’t avoid a deluge of board-killing garbage threads because of the closings. We avoid board-killing garbage threads because the community itself does a great job of weeding out the sorts of folk who think that’s what message boards are for.

The only possible answer is, it depends on the thread.

There is that, and the overuse of zombie quotes to get around the rule, also as **Stoid **noticed the posts are “a particularly impressive and genuinely impactful example of being a jerk” and then many posts are designed to get a rise out of other posters, the posts also rely on insulting variations of the “F” bomb, and as the OP mentioned, those posts are also making trollish “points”; as the thread is in the pit, it is clear that if we would be talking about a single issue those posts are allowed, but the accumulation of insults and abuse of bumps should already had been grounds to, if not to close the thread, tell FX to stop all that.

Mod Note

Accusations of trolling are a violation of our rules, as clarified here:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=18036218&postcount=35

Any further accusations of trollery are likely to result in a warning. Don’t do this again.

We reserve the right to tell posters with an agenda to dial back or stop posting on a particular subject. You’re free to call attention to obsessive posting in ATMB, but we’ll be the judge of whether action is warranted. In the case under discussion the poster has largely confined his remarks to a single thread, and others are debating him. That’s what the board is for; as things stand we see no need to take action. To persist in making silly arguments for many months is not, in itself, against our rules - only if we tell you to stop and you don’t.