How should the Pit be changed, if at all?

Ah, good! Now we just need to identify what a “minority group” is with regard to message boards . . . and I don’t think ‘people that don’t like the Pit’ really makes the grade.

Being in the minority on an issue does not make you a minority, and it’s frankly offensive, and a slap in the face for real minorities, for you to cloak yourself in minority-hood.

I’m just going to apologize to anyone who read the above. It was meant for the pit. Not obscene, but not appropriate for ATMB I think. Thanks to @MrDibble for pointing it out.

I can only speak from my own experience, and I haven’t been a regular poster for very long. But as a woman, and as someone who holds some unpopular opinions, the treatment of the latter on this board has been orders of magnitude worse than the former. It’s a real blindspot, and being on the wrong end of this dynamic feels very similar no matter the reason for it. Now I see the same excuses being given, too. Somehow the same patterns keep repeating, no matter how much people have supposedly educated themselves.

Liking pineapple on your pizza and ketchup on hot dogs are “some unpopular opinions”. What you’re talking about is something else, entirely.

You’re new, it used to be a lot worse for “the former”

The best comparison I can make is to atheism. That’s a very unpopular belief in some quarters, and atheists are often viewed as immoral by the religious. Nevertheless, we all have to live in the same world together - and having lost your faith, you can’t simply choose to believe again. Are atheists a real minority in your NSHO, since you consider yourself an arbiter of such things?

Let’s see some examples then.

Or how about Holocaust deniers? That’s a very unpopular belief in some quarters, and Holocaust deniers are often viewed as immoral by others. Nevertheless, we all have to live in the same world together.

Many atheists never had a faith to lose in the first place.

MrDibble has been no more forthright about promoting his opinions than you have. Do you consider yourself an “arbiter of such things”?

What makes you think I’m going to answer any question that comes like this, laced with snark?

Searching for anything before The Move is pants, but it’s not like we’ve never discussed this.

I made the argument many times before, it is wrong to think that all arguments have the same value, In the case of Critical Race Theory, there was never an acknowledgement about the crap partisan citations you made (just excuses of why the bottom of the barrel was reached to get that cite). Also no recognition that minority teachers and professors are the ones losing their jobs or being threatened by Orwellian arguments. And to top it all, you continue to ignore that the real reason the white governors are using the CRT controversy, to erase history that is inconvenient.

The point anyhow is that there is a problem when denying that arguments can be wrong, and the ones demanding that those ideas be respected is not good, when they are not only wrong, but harmful to others and anti-intellectual too. Just the opposite of what a message board like this one is supposed to be about.

Moderator Note

All of this (plus your linked cite) are discussing the topic of CRT, which is not a topic for ATMB. Keep your discussions relevant to the rules and moderation of the SDMB, please. It’s OK to refer to discussions about CRT to reference how the topic is moderated, but let’s not discuss the topic itself here.

Sorry, the poster asked about an example, but I see that I should not make a comment about the discussion. Sorry about that.

No, but I think a lot of them only care about it because they themselves have been Pitted. The reason I believe this is that they have posted things that is just as hateful as the stuff they claim is bad (and, in some cases, not even in the Pit). And this has continued even after they started arguing against the Pit as it currently exists, so it’s not like they’ve had a change of heart. So my only possible conclusion is that they just didn’t like it used against them.

And I sympathize. My heart falls when I have gotten Pitted. And, no, it’s not pleasant. And, yes, sometimes it seems unfair. But I also note that the Pit has gotten a lot better in the decade I’ve been here, and that people are much less likely to just be gratuitously mean. I’ve seen how people can learn that something they do is seriously infuriating and make changes. I’ve seen genuinely horrible things called out. I’ve been in situations where I needed to be able to point out how bad something was in a way not allowed in the main forum. (This is especially so as the other forums are being more tightly moderated, where “attack the post, not the poster” is insufficient. It’s now more “argue against the post.” )

If we can get the standards about family members and personal trauma in place, I do think the Pit can continue to be a viable forum. And you don’t really close or modify something that’s been here for 20 years because a small number of people don’t like it.

The fact that we can mostly all agree that some things are beyond the pale should tell you that we’re not completely unamenable to change. But these work because they’re already unwritten norms most of us follow. They work because they’re something that society in general considers worse about these than merely being insulting. They don’t really impact the ability to use the Pit for its intended purpose of venting or calling people out.

Most of these other proposals do, and thus they won’t gain traction.

Oh, and I’d say that Heph’s list of people who are opposed to the Pit is being generous when throwing in people from outside this thread as opposing the Pit. I don’t think it makes sense to speak for those who have not decided to post in this thread.

That’s not a bug, it’s a feature. We’re supposed to pick on each other around here about our opinions on various and sundry sociopolitical matters; we have entire forums devoted to that.

But we’re not supposed to pick on each other for our gender or race or ethnicity or similar protected-category-type status. We have board rules specifically forbidding that (although, as other posters have noted, the path to getting them consistently enforced has been rather long and not always smooth).

If we don’t like getting picked on for our unpopular opinions on various and sundry sociopolitical matters, we can avoid the forums where such picking-on takes place.

We have forums devoted to debate, and in those the rule is explicitly not to pick on each other (‘attack the post, not the poster’). The official purpose of the board is to fight ignorance, not to take out your frustrations by attacking acceptable targets.

Back when the only opinions considered truly unacceptable were things like holocaust denial, it really wasn’t a problem; a wide range of debate was still possible. Nowadays even small deviations from the current progressive orthodoxy are apparently considered heinous, and the board has been overtaken by conformity. Anyone who disagrees is driven away, or sticks to posting in Cafe Society. Debates become boring circle jerks. Is that what you consider a feature?

How do you think religious belief, or lack thereof fits into that?

No. I may give my own opinion, but I am not trying to promote it as the only acceptable one by declaring others offensive.

Aren’t you? Because the substantial amount of time you’ve spent complaining about opinions expressed in the Pit suggests otherwise.

I’m complaining about personal attacks that sometimes rise to the level of bullying, not opinions.

The question of what groups count as minorities in a given situation is not a personal attack on anyone.

It’s not exactly a fallacy, but is there a name for trying to win a debate by declaring the other side’s views offensive, rather than arguing in favour of your own?

I want to agree. It’s really terrible when someone wants to debate, say, whether Jew kill Christian babies to use their blood to make matzo and people immediately declare them anti-Semites instead of arguing in favor of their own position that Jews don’t kill Christian babies to use their blood to make matzo.

And I’m sure no one will take me to task for using an intentionally over the top reductio ad absurdum instead of using, say, the incredibly common act of sexual predators pretending to be trans-women so they can get into locker rooms to rape cis-women.

Well I’m not the arbiter of such things but let me think. Is it a “strawman argument”? No, that’s deliberately misrepresenting an opponent’s position in order to create the impression of refuting an argument that wasn’t made while failing to address or refute the actual position. I’ll have to consider it further.

But in the broader sense I’d say that it’s not usually a “rather than”. Take the aforementioned “Holocaust denier” example above. It doesn’t diminish the arguments against Holocaust denial to also state that it is a spectacularly offensive position and that people making it are horrible, even if the deniers simply ignore all the arguments against them and focus on the complaints.

Indeed, it has been common practice on this board over the many years for individuals making offensive statements (or bad faith arguments, or just ridiculous assertions in general) to simply never respond to any substantive arguments or evidence against them, cherrypick an insult and then claim that “all the other side has is insults”. To pick the first example that comes to mind, Clothahump often resorted to this when yet another of his ludicrous anti-liberal claims crumbled at the slightest touch (although in his case these usually weren’t so much “bigoted” as “unsupported by any evidence whatsoever”).

Most of these people eventually suffered the wrath of the banhammer for crossing one line or another, and rightly so - it is, at its root, a ‘bad faith’ argument and ultimately toxic to the board. Consider the implications of this extremely generic exchange:

A: “[Members of Group X] are inherent inferior.”

B: “That is a deeply offensive statement and you are a bad person for making it.”

A: “Clearly you are unable to refute my point, and therefore I am correct. Also, you should not be allowed to express that opinion.”

The upshot would be to allow disingenuous bigots to have free rein over the board as long as they applied the thinnest rhetorical veneer over their statements. They could continue to sealion their way along by claiming that their positions should be refuted purely by academic argument while knowing full well that to the members of Group X here on this board their statements are deliberately calculated malicious insults. They would get to take punches at others and then hide from reprisal behind the faux-innocence of “Gosh, I’m just expressing a different opinion”.

In short, they would get to hurt other members with impunity. As I know you deplore “bullying” so much, I’m sure you would not want this sort of behavior to be tolerated. After all, the result in the past has been to drive away good, constructive posters who were subject to such repeated broad attacks - most notably transgendered members but also other minorities along the way, while the individuals that drove them off lingered on, claiming no responsibility and innocently wondering why the people who left didn’t just make evidence-based arguments that they weren’t inherently inferior.

And the messageboard has been all the poorer for it.

Ad Hominem (Circumstantial)?

Look, it’s very simple. This board has decided collectively — not unanimously, that’s different, but collectively — that certain beliefs are hurtfully prejudiced, and allowing the minority of people who hold those beliefs to continuously crank the motor on the carousel of repetitive arguments defending those beliefs is, one, generally unproductive because those arguments are wholly unconvincing, and two, alienating and damaging to the membership encompassed by or sympathetic to the targets of those prejudiced beliefs.

Hence, the board has, again collectively, decided that there will be no more banging of those drums, because it’s judged to be a net negative. There is an accompanying defensive effort to sniff out people who might be trying to smuggle those prejudiced arguments into the conversation, camouflaged in other forms and contexts, because there is a reasonable desire to maintain the health of the community according to the collectively agreed terms.

Naturally the people who hold those prejudiced beliefs will chafe at the prohibition, and will seek various means to beat their drums in this space, whether by simple subterfuge or by appealing for changes in the rules. Where these fail, such people will be unhappy.

But here’s the thing: it’s a big internet.

Someone who wants to beat their prejudiced drum has absolutely no shortage of places where they are free to do so. There is precisely zero impact on their rights and freedoms that the beating of that drum is not welcomed here. This person is not being oppressed. This person is not a persecuted minority. If such a person were to make such an assertion, this board, collectively, will correctly brush it off as laughable and frankly offensive.

I repeat. This is not complicated.