Deleting a socks' threads and posts

I wrote this post in response to this thread, which got closed before I could post it. (Which is annoying, by the way – does it really hurt anything to give people a chance to comment on mod actions?)

So, leaving aside this particular case, I’d like to express my general dissatisfaction with the policy of deleting any active thread with more than a couple of replies, regardless of who started it. You’re not accomplishing anything, you’re just giving the sock way more attention by annoying the rules-abiding posters who suddenly can’t find the thread they were just posting in.

Want to discourage a sock? Just ban him, put a brief mod note in the thread saying “OP was a sock, carry on” and if you’re feeling particularly bold, leave the thread open so people can have fun at his expense. People having fun is a good thing, and far more important than maximizing the Internet Justice that is dispensed at the socks and trolls.

So you are saying that socks, who thrive on attention(good or bad), should be punished by keeping their original posts up and letting people talk about them?

Hmmm. Interesting concept.

Not being able to post, i.e. banning is the ultimate punishment. I mean really, what could possibly be a worse punishment than that?

Locking threads only serves to curb all further discussion and so essentially punishes everyone else.

Like attracts like. Leaving the trolling only attracts more trolling.

That is a terrible summary of my post.

I’m saying that punishing socks should be a lower priority than making this a fun place for posters to post. That’s it. If it means a banned sock somewhere felt a brief stirring in their tiny genitals when they read the follow-up posts to a thread of theirs, so what? If 20 posters have a good time piling on and mocking him after he was banned, that’s a net positive, not a net negative.

I would also argue that there is no evidence that the post deleting has discouraged any socks or trolls from re-registering later on, and that a simple combination of account bans and IP bans for serial socks will be exactly as effective as the current post-deleting strategy, with a bonus of improving mod-poster relations (as your efforts to keep the board nuisance-free are more visible) and the overall poster experience.

Just my opinion.

This makes no sense at all. A thread attracts more attention when it is invisible than when it is visible?

Most posters who have been around a while know perfectly well what has happened and why they can’t find the thread. And a lot of the commentary in a troll thread is directed to the fact that the poster and the thread may soon be gone.

I’m saying if the sock poster’s title were to simply switch to BANNED SOCK, no one would spend more a microsecond thinking about it. But when posts disappear out of the middle of active threads, or entire threads disappear, not every poster will automatically realize it was a sock. People will search for the thread, or start an ATMB thread asking about it, or even if they realize, they’ll be annoyed that they can’t continue a funny running joke they had going or read someone’s follow up to a post of theirs. It ends up consuming far more active attention than a simple banning would.

It’s not the end of the world, but this philosophy that punishing evildoers takes precedence over all else is bad policy, IMO.

Besides, it’s just such gosh-darned FUN to piss off your clientele like that!!

I question this premise.


I think I have to agree with Giraffe. There are now two other ATMB threads (besides this one) attributable to this ban. If that isn’t “more attention” I don’t know what is. And of course it doesn’t include however many other users haven’t noticed yet, or (like me) are searching for posts they could swear were there a few minutes ago.

I too think that banning them but not being in such a hurry to delete all evidence of their existence would make *my *user experience better. Ban 'em, post a mod note saying “I’ve banned this sock, but I’ll give 24 hours for everyone to kick their departed corpse and/or start a new thread from the ashes of this one. Then it’s deletedsville.”

Now, if posters who have already been told to take questions about trolls off-line continue to press on about the matter online, I can see where it can become a hassle. The need to feed trolls even after they are gone can be a problem, which is why it is discouraged.

I’m questioning whether threads like this one point out a problem, or feed a problem that already exists.

No, they are two different cases. One was a troll thread, the other was a probable sock post in a different thread. They are unrelated. It is coincidence they happened at the same time.

How so?

I seem to be user number sixty three thousand something. Given that number, there will always be posters new and old who “press on about the matter”. I really do not see the suggestions above as feeding.

Back when I taught school, one of the most powerful tools to use against a disruptive student was to prevent them from participating in classroom discussion. Similarly, here a ban would allow the banned miscreant to read his own drivel, read the castigation he will inevitably receive, and be totally unable to say anything in reply. That’s got to be the worst possible punishment.

So really, both of you want to play with the troll? Why bother banning trolls and socks at all then?

Trolls don’t care if the pile on is while they still have posting privileges, they want any attention they can get.

Sorry, I’m behind.

Czarcasm, I have no desire to feed a problem. I’m speaking with the intention of improving this board. I do so because I myself found the disappearance to be disconcerting. And not for the first time. But being a repeat performance, I did suspect the reason. I could not though know for sure until I saw confirmation in these threads.

Colibri, thanks, that just demonstrates the confusion and illustrates my point.

I was just looking for that thread because I was having fun posting in it, but it seems to be gone now. No more fun. :frowning:

Play with them? No, just know what happened after they’ve been adjudicated guilty. I can’t be everywhere on this board every minute of every day. It is disconcerting to say the least to (try to) return to a thread that has disappeared. And to then have to conclude a negative-- “No, I’m not crazy, it must have been a sock or something, I guess. Do I want to bother to back-channel a mod?” --seems unnecessary.

As for your second point, I know that seems to be the operative wisdom, but is it true? As I said, it goes against my own personal experience. I am surely not an expert in trolls, but it seems a controversial enough conclusion to ask politely for a cite.