Czarcasm, Giraffe, is this a new pit policy?

I have noticed this a couple of times in the past month or so, specifically in this thread and this thread. In both cases, the OP started a pit thread about a topic, and it turned out that the vast majority of people responding did not agree with them. They then requested the thread to be closed, which it was. When did this policy come into effect? In all the years I’ve been here, it’s always been the case that if you started a pit thread about an asinine subject, you had to take your lumps as other dopers pointed the flaws of your reasoning out to you, often with cruelty and malice aforethought. WTF, guys? Has the pit been dampened down so much that posters are now immune from having to answer for their words? If I were to post a thread saying, oh, I dunno, that I thought Howard Dean was a lunatic, I expect that I’d be gently chastised by a lot of people for having that opinion, which is how it should be. Why are you guys letting people off the hook like this? Shouldn’t we all be required to stand behind what we say and either defend it against all comers or admit our mistakes if convinced to do so by the madding crowd?

WeirdDave and I agree on something. Apocalypse at eleven.

I thought the very same thing when I saw Cartooniverse’s thead had been closed at his request. Actually, my thought was “wimp.” I’m surprised it was closed, and disappointed in Czarcasm.

The rule itself has been around for as long as I can remember.

It’s kinda one o’them fluffy rules… If the OP really steps out of line, the mods will let them take their lumps for a while. They will also leave it open if the discussion has some merit or has gone beyond the op. If it’s causing more harm than good or if it simply isn’t going anywhere, closed it gets.

In the examples you have, one thread wasn’t really getting much in the way of legs (cartooniverse). The other was really upsetting the op (spongemom). That one was best put out of it’s misery.

Agreed that this policy, if that’s what it is, sucks. It’s bad enough that people feel entitled to a closure because they’re getting their ass rightfully handed to them, but even worse is that these requests are honored instead of being met with raised eyebrows and hysterical laughter.

If someone deserves to get their ass handed to them, most time the mods will let it take place. Nobody was handing anyone their ass in the mason thread, and the cat thread was just ugly. Not one of the boards finer moments imho. As spongemom really seemed to be getting upset (not to mention getting the shit kicked out of her when she was down) I am glad the mods shut it down.

After a certain point, a lesson stops being taught. Then the pile-on is for the jollies of the pile-ees, not the education of the pile-or. It’s a judgement call, but one I’m willing to let happen at the discretion of the mods.

I hear ya, Weirddave. I remember a number of threads wherein the OP requested to have it closed only to have a mod deny it on the grounds that you opened this can of worms so now you have to deal with it.

In the case of the spongemom thread, several posters had said that she ought to ask to have the thread closed; I would guess (though I certainly don’t know being as IANAM, IHNBAM and other acronyms) that such commentary had an effect on the mods’ decision.

I’m of two minds about this. On one hand, I’m generally well-disposed to Cartooniverse, based on reading his posts, and I was afraid that his thread would soon devolve into the kind of animosity that could do real damage, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. On the other, I suspect that this is the kind of moderator decision that will hurt the community in the long run. Here’s why:

  1. The nature of the OP. It wasn’t of the same class as “I hate puppies, how about you?” or “Facial hair is disgusting” or even “The King of Soup hates America.” It made a public, ugly accusation against a large group of people and their organization, an organization with which several in this community proclaim some affiliation, and to which other members may well belong. Moreover, the purpose of the OP was not to support the accusation, but to solicit anecdotal support for it from others, which is kind of like raising your sail and asking the bystanders on shore to blow in your direction.

  2. In spite of this, the train not only had not wrecked, it was sitting as prettily on the tracks as could be expected, especially for the forum. The OP was being treated extremely gently. Those who could give solid information in support did so, those whose experience did not support the OP supplied their thoughts in an admirably nonconfrontational way, and most of the rest of us asked questions and raised objections respectfully and honestly.

  3. The OP never appeared again. Thread closed. Period.

Here’s why I’m upset. If we can make accusations of pedophilia (or anything else) against whole groups of unnamed (but hardly nameless) people on the basis of evidence we hope to borrow from strangers on the internet, and then be allowed to test the winds, find them unfavorable, and simply walk away from them, without either substantiating or recanting them, this board could rapidly get so ugly that the worst pile-on in Pit history would look like a collection of fan letters by comparison. If you make an accusation on this board, your options should be as follows: (a) prove it, (b) retract it, © take your lumps. That’s not to say the moderators shouldn’t ever close these threads. But I think it unwise to close one at the OP’s request without any of those things happening. Our best protection against the worst abuses of a message board (and I’m not talking about Cartooniverse, here) is not the moderators, it’s us, using our ability to question and compile facts and sometimes let an OP or other poster have it with both barrels. That got taken away this time.

Which brings up another dilemma. Presumably anyone so inclined (I’m not) could open up a Pit thread to tell Cartooniverse what he wanted to say in the closed thread. But if I were so inclined, I’d hesitate while I thought about what it meant that a thread which merely *threatened * to become an avenue for attacking him was closed even before any attacks took place. I’d look at all the threads in which an OP got into trouble and was pilloried without intervention, at least for a while.

So in my opinion, this closing can do nothing except embolden those who would make loud unsubstantiated accusations and have a chilling effect on anyone who might be inclined to respond.

I agree with the OP on both counts. A little less so on the Spongemom thread, where it could be argued that the mods had decided that she’d already had enough of a beating. I disagree, but that’s because I’m an angry, spiteful little man who enjoys watching others suffer. I’d’ve let it run to ten pages, minimum.

The Cartooniverse one should not have been closed, though. He made some pretty harsh accusations, then just cut and ran when it didn’t go the way he’d apparently hoped. I’m no fan of the Masons: in fact, I think it’s just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, but accusing the entire organization of being a pedophilia ring is just a tidge over the top. He should have been made to either defend his OP, retract it, or take his lumps like a man.

I agree with closing Spongemom’s thread, as the thread had nowhere else to go, and had said everything it could say. But Cartooniverse’s thread was closed too early, it was like me starting a thread to say Cecil is a kiddy fiddler, then refusing to give cites and asking for the thread to be closed without withdrawing or backing up my accusation. I would ecxpect a warning at least not to make accusations that I am not willing or able to back up.
Of course if I said I had seen Cecil playing violin at an early age, that would be fine, my evidence would be week, and I should be expected to give details of where and when I saw the action, it would still be an accusation based on flimsy evidence and so OK. But to make an accusation and then refuse to give any evidence at all that points to the validity of the accusation is wrong and should be called to account.

While I don’t generally support vicious pile-ons, I would have liked to hear Cartooniverse’s explanation about the pedophilia accusation. That’s a serious charge to levy at a group, only to not bring forth relevant information. Perhaps he realized he was getting a bit out of line with his accusations and cooled down a bit – a very good thing, but I wish he could have stated that before having it closed. I think a brief few lines explaining that would have served better than an abrupt closure of the thread, especially since there was no real flaming going on.

As for the second thread held up for evidence, I agree with that lock. It was just getting nasty.

I just read the link to the Spongemom thread and I’m sorry I did. I cannot believe the nasty and hateful messages posted here against a woman in grief. I had thought better of the posters here. Regardless of my feelings on the subject of free-roaming cats, the insensitivity and bashing here were deplorable. My highest regards to Left Hand of Dorkness and the few, very few, reasonable and moderated voices there. I am your newest fan.
Regardless of your motivation, the pains caused there were unnecessary and will never be forgotten.

It may be relevant to note that Cartooniverse (IIRC) adopted, several years ago, a personal policy of nonparticipation in Pit threads. His thread was originally opened in IMHO, and moved to the Pit by moderator action. Since he can’t/won’t participate in a Pit thread, it was probably sensible to close it. Likewise, you can probably expect that there won’t be any response from him in this thread.

Obviously, I am neither Cartooniverse nor a mod. Just making an observation, is all.

Who was it who had the sig line quoting Coldy saying, “I ain’t moving shit.” in response to december’s request to move a thread from the Pit to GD where he thought it belonged?

I agree with your post in general, but I wanted to also add that it might have taken a few days for various Mason-involved board members to find their way over to the thread and give their input, so leaving it open for longer might actually have been productive.

A quick perusal of his posting history proves you right,** minty**; he doesn’t post in the Pit.

Thanks, that was helpful.

I had much the same reaction, though my version was “Chickenshit.”

My reaction remains the same upon the reminder that Cartooniverse apparently won’t post in the Pit even in a thread he started.

There hasn’t been a change in procedure. This was an usual situation, as Minty noted. 'Toon doesn’t post in the Pit, which Czarcasm, not being a Pit mod, didn’t realize when he moved the thread.

Nothing new or major went on. Just a stray hiccup.


In a way this proves the point. I really really really think you are wrong. Her behavior as recorded in that thread was despicable, her attitude was terrible, and she was a lunatic. I would have been pleased to debate that point with anyone who disagreed.

On the other hand maybe things would have turned around for her. Either way the thread would have died a natural death, which is always more satisfying than a mod mercy killing.