I request we make a one-time exception and un-ban Dude Robert

A spammer resurrected a thread started by Dude Robert. This brought back fond memories of DR, who was eventually banned for reasons I do not recall or never knew. Whatever the reason, I ask we make a one-time exception and invite them back. He possessed an inquisitive lunacy now missing from the board, and which provided much amusement. You have to admire a mind which ponders the feasibility of a yacht with a helicopter as a base from which to snatch illegal merchandise from the sellers’ unsuspecting hands as a business model. https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/search.php?searchid=15500880
So, pretty please? For Christmas?

Only if he fights an m1a1 abrams.

That link in the OP doesn’t open any specific thread or post.


Those wondering why such a fine poster was inexplicably banned might review his thread entitled, Can women consent to having anal sex?. To the board’s credit, no meltdown transpired. However the thread was closed with the following observation:

So basically the thread created the appearance of impropriety. Good times.

Why did I read that?

Don’t worry. The tradition of inquisitive lunacy continues unabated.

Nice effort, for sure, but apparently a one-off.

I guess in a larger sense I’m asking for something akin to prosecutorial discretion - I.e. a tolerance for trolling if sufficiently zany - and I’m fine with leaving it entirely at the discretion of the mods. But we need a little more crazy in here. Not frothing-at-the-mouth crazy, but the “Never in a million years would I have thought of that” type of nutty.

Moderator Note

We prefer that you not discuss banned users in public. If you want to know why someone was banned, send one of us a PM.

This thread has the potential to call attention to trolls and to insult people. We don’t want either of those in ATMB.

I think you do have a valid topic buried in here somewhere, so instead of closing this, I will permit you to continue discussing your desire for more “Never in a million years would I have thought of that” type of nutty.

Let’s not name names or call attention to specific posts, though. Keep the discussion a bit more generic.

Also note that we do not ban or lift bans on request, regardless of whether Santa thinks you’ve been very good this year.

I think more zaniness would be welcome. I’ll endorse that portion of the OP.

With that in mind, I’ll give it a shot?

Q1: In general, does the board cut insufficient slack for trolls, not giving them the benefit of the doubt? No. Actually complaints typically run in the other direction, though I do not endorse these complaints.

Q2: Ok, what if the troll is entertaining though? That’s an interesting question. Speaking generally, what if the troll is above average? What if the troll isn’t especially obvious, such that the implausibility of his premises are not immediately apparent, but rather require a little thought? What if the troll applies techniques of misdirection or even standard written grammar and punctuation?

See Q1. Quality trolls (a vanishing breed - I blame the education system) generally stick around long enough to entertain before the mod hammer does the inevitable. In fact I think we’ve achieved balance.
That said, maybe we could make another one-time exception for posters who convincingly argue that they are not a troll, sock puppet, parodist or satirist. Or maybe we could auction off a dozen or so one-time exceptions as a fundraiser. Ok maybe not. [1]

Q3: What’s the difference between joking and trolling? A: Jokesters want their targets to understand the joke. They’re also funnier. If the poster starts out with a provocative post and a) doesn’t show up again, or b) quadruples down on the lunacy, something is generally not board-appropriate.

In other words, effective grappling with ignorance requires followup, as well as a light touch.

Q4: Where do twist questions go? IMHO, I think. For example, over at 538 they discuss Who Would Win A Fight Between An Anaconda And A Komodo Dragon? (Other than the people who got to watch, that is.) We’ve covered topics like that before.
[1] I linked to a 2002 thread and didn’t mention the name, so I don’t think I’m feeding anyone.

Maybe we could do like the Giraffe forums, have a like a “box”, where we stick all the trolls that are too entertaining to ban?

Maybe GB could send a welcome kit to all SDMB banned posters. You know, address labels, fruit basket, that sort of thing.

Zany entertaining questions will always be with us, for as long as there is an internet. Sometimes, however, they just get to be too much, at which point something has to be done.

OK, everyone. My place at 5. Bring a bomber bottle and we’ll do a bottle share.*****

*****this is a private event.

Don’t you think it’s irresponsible to campaign for the return of a banned poster when you don’t know any of the details regarding why he was banned? You kind of lost me when I read that.

Ooh!! Party! I am on my way. Do we need snacks?

Jasmine I cannot answer that without risking discussing an actual banned poster, contra to warning. So please note the overall theme: I’m looking, I guess, for more differentiation when dealing with trolls. I.e. some posters who are clearly trolls are sufficiently entertaining to bring value, despite or maybe even because of their particular behavior and style. I would like us to start treating those differently from the “ I just like to get everyone worked-up” variety. Difficult, I know, it would require judgement calls.


Unfortunately, one member’s “entertainment value” is another’s “annoyance”, so I think that would be a can of worms best left sealed.