How should the Pit be changed, if at all?

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.

Thank you.

This pointless exercise in axe-grinding may never end.

No movement started, no momentum gained. This thread amounts to a handful of malcontents pitting the entire board


It’s a personal attack on all real minorities, when it’s used to claim minority-hood by non-minorities. It’s the abled parking in the handicapped zone, or Rachel Dolezal pretending to be Black.

“Minority group” doesn’t just mean “not the majority”.

Which is why the terms disenfranchised or minoritized groups are useful. It’s describing the relationship to power rather than simply a numbers game.

I remember reading a column in our local lefty rag, back in the nineties, where the oh-so-clever columnist talked about the poor oppressed left-handers and how much we suffer, as a satire on minorities asking for rights. As a southpaw, I was like, Christ Almighty, dude, don’t draw me into your shitty drama. There is no call for trivializing struggles for rights, especially not when you’re co-opting them to make yourself look put-upon.

Well sure. It’s about power. Being in the majority generally does give you advantages, but in some cases it’s a minority who have more power - for example, the very rich who can buy political representation the rest of us don’t get.

No, those are bad analogies. It’s like someone disagreeing on what disabilities should qualify someone for parking in the handicapped zone, or who should count as black for whatever reason.

See, you do know what it’s about…

Or not.

Reframing the argument in a way that serves your side doesn’t make the original analogy go away. They are not ‘bad analogies’, they are exactly what someone who is not a minority claiming to be a minority is doing. You weren’t questioning the definitions of other minorities, you were claiming the status of minority-hood for yourself just for being in a numeric minority on this Pit issue - and while the boundaries of what a minority group is may be fuzzy, they definitely don’t stretch to “people with quote-unquote ‘unpopular opinions’ on messageboards”.