Huey Freeman is banned

After discussion with the rest of the moderation staff, I’ve banned Huey Freeman as a troll.

Based on the other ATMB thread about Huey, and the numerous reports I’ve received about him from the BBQ Pit, I thought I should take a minute to explain why he was banned, and why it took so long to reach this decision.

First off, I should say that he lasted for so long because, for a while now, he’s been posting exclusively to the Pit, so he’s really only been on my radar among the moderating staff. It’s mostly on me that he wasn’t booted earlier, and I didn’t act on the reports I was receiving because there weren’t any clear, bright-line rule violations in his posts.

The two things he was most consistently reported for was hate speech, and “going too far” in his insults. On the second point, I’m very much opposed to the idea of moderating people because their postings in the Pit are too mean. It’s the Pit; it’s supposed to be mean, and “too” mean is very much in the eye of the beholder. At any rate, there’s no codified rules against insulting someone’s family, or making fun of them for being on psych meds, or any of Huey’s other posts that got reported for being mean. There’s obviously a discussion we could have about whether those things should be against the rules (my vote: no) but I wasn’t going to hand out notes or warnings for posting that stuff before there’s a formal rule against it.

The hate speech complaints are trickier. Huey was unquestionably racist. It is, however, not against the board rules to be racist. We have, in the past, allowed people to start threads in non-Pit fora arguing that black people are inherently less intelligent than whites, or that observant Muslims are inimical to liberal democracy, or that letting gays marry will lead to the collapse of western civilization. These are all bad, bigoted positions that we allow people to argue for. If “black people are genetically inferior” is acceptable grist for GD, I don’t see that I can forbid the color-swapped version of it appearing in the Pit. Certainly, Huey was being far more aggressively insulting in presenting his views than would be allowed in GD, but… it’s the Pit. Aggressively insulting is what we do there.

(We do, as someone will surely note, have a rule against hate speech in the Pit rules. In keeping with the idea that anything you can argue in GD, you can argue in the Pit plus swears, I’ve interpreted that rule as forbidding calls for violence, or use of slurs. Slurs, in this case, being stuff like “nigger” or “faggot,” and not just, “I hate people and also fuck you.”)

So, why is he banned now? When we started discussing him in the mod loop in response to the ATMB thread, I took a look at his posting history, and it turns out he hasn’t posted anywhere on the board except for the Pit since October, excepting a couple posts he made to the ATMB thread about him today. And, near as I could tell, 100% of those Pit posts were attacking other posters. As it turns out, we have a Pit rule that explicitly covers that behavior:

Three months and change of posting nothing on the board but invective-filled screeds against other posters seems about as clear a violation of that rule as you could ask for.

I’m going to leave this open for now, in case there are any questions. I might not be able to get to them until tomorrow, though.

I hate this argument. There are tons of things that are not allowed even though there is no specific rule against them. The number 1 rule is “Don’t be a jerk,” and there is no exception in the Pit, even though it is more lenient.

Ordinary people of all kinds understand that certain things are off limits, even in a place where you can otherwise insult people (i.e., real life). We should not need a specific rules to say that bringing up shit from the outside world to attack people is not okay. It’s not about it being “too mean.” It’s about it being something that everyone already knows is wrong. It’s like not contacting someone in real life because of what they did online. That got a Warning (and a banning). We know you can’t be a Nazi, which got a uplifted banning (without Warnings or Suspensions first). There still is no new rule about misogyny, but it’s now understood under the “don’t be a jerk” principle in many cases.

There are just so many things we don’t tolerate that don’t have specific rules (by design) that such an argument doesn’t work. It bypasses whether allowing this sort of thing is good for the board or not.

I also don’t like the argument that, because we allow racist arguments in GD, we must allow racist invective in the Pit. If we take your framework, then all we have to allow is racist arguments, with invective. That doesn’t mean we have to allow racist invective. The reason we allow the arguments is so we can debunk those arguments. But you can’t debunk invective.

I’m glad for the outcome, but not the reasoning used to arrive to it. The next bigoted troll will just post a few acceptable posts in other forums for show, but otherwise do the same things. You’ve created one of those bright lines that you otherwise hate so much.

Miller, thanks for taking the time to explain things in such detail, and thanks to you and the other mods for the time and thought you put in.

As for the specific arguments, well, I’m glad it’s not my job to decide.

The banning strikes me as technically correct but via an esoteric reason. The scattered nature of the rules makes it likely that one is going to run afoul of some of them on occasion.

A lot of folks knowingly violated the language rule in the pit and were given a gentle reminder. I’m not sure he knew he was violating a rule that I have never seen mentioned (outside the rule post) or used.

Of all the things you could have banned Huey for, being a “troll” is among the worst.

I was going to say it but didn’t think it needed to be said: What makes you think that Huey’s a troll? Do people find it hard to believe that a Black man could be filled with that much anger toward White people? I’m going to point out the obvious: Straight Dope Message Board is, like, TOTALLY FUCKING WHITE MALE.

So you ban someone without defining what “troll” means and without even giving him a warning?

The inherent bias in this place is starting to become obvious. I think what really led to Huey’s banning was that the white folk – on a white folk message board - were threatening to leave. That’s what made white folk uncomfortable.

I guess I’ll be next to get banned, but fuck it.

The best kind of correct!

Really. Being told your kids are inbred retards, or you’re going to end up all alone because you’re a depressed loser popping pills has nothing to do with it. It’s all about being white and “uncomfortable”. Sure. Those black folks, they just can’t help their anger. They can’t control their rage.

Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.


He went after families. Imported children, inbred autistic children, imported handbag (wife)- but when presented with a really well known “loaded question” phrase, he went after mental health, too. Maybe he wasn’t trying to rile people up but it sure seemed that way.

So, someone dealing with a pack in the pit is going to post disproportionately in the pit. It’s almost axiomatic that if it’s 10 vs 1 the 1 is going to be very busy. I remember Bricker making a similar point before he disappeared.

You expect to have a group attack someone and as a consequence of responding the pitted gets banned with no warning? C’mon now. Huey called me names and I thought some of what he said was mean. However, it’s no meaner than a lot of other stuff that his targets who are now complaining have themselves directed at others.

This strikes me as unfair.

SDMB is a white space. I don’t expect you all to understand it, but let the smug roll on.

Disproportionately? He was making a very purposeful decision to only post in the Pit because he knew that it was the only place he could spew his rhetoric ‘safely.’

Let’s not forget a post of his very early in his short time here - . Bolding mine.

So to sum it up, Huey:

  1. Was aware that his language was ‘intolerable’ and would ‘cause anger.’
  2. Was not trying to actually engage in any sort of a dialogue.
  3. Had no intention of posting anywhere but the Pit, or even outside of his own Pit thread.

No, I think it was because paying customers were threatening to leave. A very different animal.

(facepalm and counting to ten) No, what you need to do is quit posting drunk. I did and only got one warning since my last suspension. Ask Tuba to take you off the schedule for a month or two.

Like I said…

Honestly, bring back Huey, and bring back Starving Artist and Clothahump. I think all three got banned for arbitrary reasons. Because certain VIP posters got their little feelings hurt (in the Pit)!

Who WOULDN’T get pissed, if someone insulted their kids? Seriously, does this really need to be explained? You honestly cannot understand that?

Well if you feel that way about this place, then why are you still here?

Another thing: cut out pretending you are so much better than us. Smugness is not an attractive feature.

Apparently it’s a very white thing, to be bothered by attacks on ones family.

Huey’s worst crime was in making me sympathize with Shodan. For shame, child!

If your whole schtick is to make people mad, and you manage to get 10 of them mad, how is that not trolling?

Because you don’t own it anymore than I do - or at least that’s what I thought. You’re only proving Huey right, by the way. SDMB prides itself on being a place where ignorance is fought but when it comes to social issues, whites don’t like having ignorance challenged by angry black people. Why? Because they’re angry, and you’re not. Your idea of a civil rights champion is a safe person who can somehow overlook the shit that whites do to minorities and “bridge the divide” by not threatening revenge (even though revenge and bitterness are very natural emotions of the human condition). Maybe instead of arguing with Huey you could have taken time to understand why the fuck he was so angry. But you’re too fucking arrogant to give a toss. And after all, whites are the real victims. We see it in the news. Blacks get killed in the streets by the dozens all across this country, and whites don’t give a fuck about gun control. A white man’s ‘answer’ is more black-killing cops in the neighborhood. But the moment a white man or Asian kid shoots up 30 kids in a school, it’s all about gun control. Like where the fuck where you all when black kids were getting gunned down?!