How should the Pit be changed, if at all?

One option might be to split the Pit into two different forums. One could be for uncensored rants about general stuff like politicians, businesses, pet peeves, etc., but with the “don’t attack other members” rule that most forums have. It could be called “In My F__king Opinion”. The other forum could be for pitting and personal attacks. Maybe that could be “The Mud Pit”. It seems like it’s really the personal attacks that create the controversy. The uncensored rants about general stuff are entertaining and it would be a shame if they were restricted or eliminated as part of any changes to personal attacks.

While I’m not a fan of the Pit, I agree that there does need to be a place where Dopers can be called out for recurrent behavior or whatnot. I propose that we incorporate that into ATMB so that it becomes a milder version of the Pit - where we can still flag and identify trolls, or call someone out for a pattern of behavior.

One benefit of the Pit, for instance - that would not have worked in private - was when a few years ago we had a poster who was repeatedly posting threads like “What’s your grandmother’s maiden name?” and other questions that fit the profile of identity theft - you know, the questions like “what is your birthday,” “which city were you born in,” “what was your pet’s name”. That was a very valuable instance of catching a would-be identity thief.

This would be fine. I don’t need a place to say that “so and so is a massive fucking idiot” but I DO need a place where I can point out that “so and so has a pattern of making these kinds of weak-sauce arguments and lying about the evidence”.

In other words, I care about the content of the Pit a lot more than the ability to call people names.

Perhaps, but I’ve never been Pitted (AFAIK - of course I may be tempting fate now) and I’d like it to be changed at least.

I think @mordecaiB had the right of it is that I think those Pit grudges of course leak over - in that the Pittee and the Pitted start off new discussions at each other’s throat and that causes a far more hostile discussion that may otherwise occur. I think there some sense to make some changes to prevent lifelong grudges. Maybe the elimination of Omnibus threads against other people may help? Or the suggestion to start the forum as muted?

Yeah, DrDeth says he is opposed to Pitting other Dopers. He started a Pit thread about me. I’m curious how he can reconcile those two positions.

Yep, I started one, to prove a point.

What precisely, was that point?

Recipe threads belong in Cafe Society?

Just for the record, I guess, since this has become an issue:

I’ve never been Pitted. To the best of my recollection, I’ve never participated in the Pitting of another Doper*. I’ve certainly never Pitted another Doper myself. I have posted in the Pit, in threads others have started, but not to attack another Doper*.

I don’t like the Pit. On balance, I think it’s a net negative for the board.

*I did once tell a poster, “Fuck you”. But that was in direct response to a post they had made in a Pit thread, which wasn’t about them. They had used “special education” as an insult. Outside of the Pit, I would have still objected, but wouldn’t have posted, “Fuck you.” I think that actually would have probably been the better course of action. So, even though it briefly felt cathartic, I don’t really think I would have been worse off if I had had to respond with a civil reply.

Except I don’t think that is the right chain of causation; it’s the behavior that originally made the pittee “worth” pitting that is the cause of rancor in other threads. The existence (or nonexistence) of the pit is not the source of the rancor. I don’t hold a “grudge” against a particular poster because there is a pit thread about them; I read and contribute to the pit thread because their behaviour drives me up the fucking wall. My irritation is then generally confined to that thread and I can usually keep away from petty sniping in the other fora.


Presuming, of course, that ‘this person has a pattern of making racist (or otherwise bigoted)-sounding posts’, accompanied by evidence, doesn’t get defined as “calling names.”

FWIW: I don’t think I’ve ever been pitted; I don’t think I’ve ever started a pit thread; I have posted in the Pit, I’m pretty sure not always to agree with a pitting (though I have done that) but also sometimes to defend a pitee.

I usually look at new pit threads at least long enough to figure out what people are on about, if they’re about an individual. I only occasionally glance at omnibus threads and have probably missed a lot of stuff in those. I often, though not always, skip non-poster-related threads entirely.

Which was…?

As I’ve said before – you don’t need the Pit to be hateful. Even if you get rid of the Pit doesn’t mean you’re going to see posters being more civil towards one another. Far from it.

Please report this. No mod is going to notice a pattern like this unless they, too, are following you around.

The Pitted is going to approach all conversations with those that Pitted them far more hostile don’t you think? And I don’t think Pit threads prevent petty sniping at all tbh.

I have to admit that I almost never report this kind of stuff. My fault I guess, but I’m sensitive to the mods being volunteers, and don’t like to add to the workload. So it is really my own fault, and not yours.

What I would again urge people to consider is that the fact that a thread is “in the Pit” has no inherent meaning. It means only what you choose to assign to it. Take a step back and look at it from the perspective of someone who has not been here for 20 years.

“Oh, there’s threads on this board where all the normal rules don’t apply and people just scream at each other? And not even over particularly egregious offenses most of the time, there’s just … running meta-threads where people post “fuck this guy” like clockwork every time certain people post in OTHER threads?”

Why should people who don’t already agree with you about the totally artificial construct of “this thread is in the Pit so everything you would think if it was in a different subforum doesn’t apply, because I say so” not react to this the way a rational person would?

What’s the evidence for the vast numbers of innocent newbies being driven away by the Pit?

And yet the mods themselves find it useful.

Here’s a cite from today:

“It doesn’t work, and when it does work it doesn’t count.” Got it.

Along with gdave, ISiddiqui and Delayed_Reflex in this thread, who haven’t been Pit and want the Pit eliminated or changed, there are several more in the other threads.

From just a cursory glance at the other threads, there’s also kevlaw, codinghorror, mod RickJay. and GuanoLad that I don’t think have been Pit and want the Pit to be eliminated or changed.

I’m hoping not to have to see that argument that people who want the Pit gone are only those people who have been Pit repeatedly. It’s just another example of how quick some people are to vilify people who are against the Pit.

Back to the OP, I like the idea of the thread and the poll, but I think the poll results may be skewed. Just from my observation, many people who post in the Pit also post in ATMB. I’m not sure if that’s so true about people who post in say, IMHO. There’s a poll in IMHO where almost half the people say that they don’t post in the Pit or frequent it rarely. I often see the same names in ATMB that I see in the Pit, but I see people who frequent IMHO posting in ATMB less often. Without public polls, it’s hard to tell how much the overlap is.

Of the almost half of the people who either don’t post in the Pit or post rarely that voted in the IMHO survey, they might be more inclined to get rid of the Pit than the people who post in ATMB regularly.

“Everyone I asked gave me an answer I didn’t like, so let’s imagine that there’s some big nebulous group of invisible people who totally support me”

Heh, exactly.