Is there a left/right bias in dealing with hyperbolic posters?

This is not a new discussion, and it could easliy be a GD or Pit thread.

I’m hoping it doesn’t end up there. I would ask then, you follow these courtesies:

  1. Your first post to the thread should be your own original thoughts/ experiences, as opposed to attacking other posters posts. I’d like to keep the participation from the grandstands at a minimum. If you want to open a parallel GD thread, that’s the place to do it.
  2. I’d like to keep it positive. If you’re going to disagree, that’s cool, but try to extract as much emotion as possible so we’re having a discussion more than a debate.
  3. If you can, cite.

So heres the discussion:

Is there a double standard in dealing with hyperbolic posters?

I’m not sure I could offer up a right leaning poster child, as they seem to be shown the door fairly rapidly—whether by the force of the community, or by death-by-mod. This is not a thread about a specific poster, but feel free to offer a specific representative poster.

On the left Der Trihs clearly draws the most ire, although there are others who offer up similar fare.

Many feel that Der Trihs et al are given much more latitude to engage in jerkish behavior because fundamentally the views they espouse are popular, and if the same views were displayed from the radical right they’d be summarily banned.

Is this true?

Can you cite examples from both right and left?

Does it hurt the community? If yes, how?

Fair enough.

It is rather like bias in the media - something that is a good bit more than obvious, but is hotly denied by those whose leanings are far enough to the left.

A couple of examples from my own immediate experience -
[ul][li]I was semi-officially warned for characterizing a left-leaning OP by calling it “a steaming pile”. In the same post where the mod semi-officially warned me, he called my post “bullshit”. The distinction escapes me.[/li][li]Euthanasiast started a thread some time back linking to a video of a Planned Parenthood nurse, acting in her official capacity as an agent of the organization, advising a person who she believed to be 13, to lie so as to allow the nurse to avoid her duty to report statutory sexual abuse cases. The title of the thread was “Planned Parenthood hides rape of 13 year old girl”. The thread was locked and Euthanasiast was warned for trolling, because the title was so misleading.[/li]
There was considerable discussion about it. I do not think I am being inaccurate when I say that it was fairly clear that the title was no more misleading than others in the Pit. The problem was that the admin who locked the thread and characterized the title as “trolling” did so merely because it was aimed at Planned Parenthood, who do abortions, and therefore was above criticism.
[li]The whole badchad thing. badchad said, rather clearly that he was cyberstalking a Christian poster in order to drive him off the SDMB. But the nature of the harassment was screamingly apparent long before that, and the Powers That Be bent over backwards until they could look out between their knees to avoid banning him. Because he may have been an asshole, but he was an aggressively atheist asshole. [/ul][/li]

Yes there certainly is, and not just right/left but also religion/non religion views are totally differently moderated. The smallest excuse is always used against someone they do not share beliefs with. No matter how good the case, they can always revert to saying it can’t be discussed in that thread, even if the OP says it is OK. They will claim visions of what he really meant, and nonsense like that.

On the other hand, we had posters like Reeder and Aldebaran who were banned despite promoting what I would call “left-wing” views.
From my personal opinion, the SDMB is very middle-of-the-road, it’s just that the USA is on the right of the political spectrum of the countries whence most posters here originate (western industrialized nations) so that the people that are considered “right-wing” in the USA probably fell more marginalized in their opinions than they would feel is this were to be a purely US-poster based message board.

I personally don’t feel that “left-wing” posters are given more slack than “right-wing” posters.

[quote=“Shodan, post:2, topic:526571”]

A couple of examples from my own immediate experience -
[ul][li]I was semi-officially warned for characterizing a left-leaning OP by calling it “a steaming pile”. In the same post where the mod semi-officially warned me, he called my post “bullshit”. The distinction escapes me.[/ul][/li][/quote]
Gee, can we roll the tape of that one, again?

First, Shodan sets the tone of the thread with this post (#2) that opens “Your post is a very large, steaming pile, . . .”
There follow 35 more posts displaying, more or less, the same hostility, at which point I interrupt wth the following Mod note:

(Note the vicious attack on Shodan on that post.)
Shodan then comes back with a whiny complaint that I am picking on him in this post, despite the fact that I issued no Warning to anyone and selected no poster or post as an example of bad behavior.
I responded with a clarification of the rules for that thread–imposed because I thought that the thread could be interesting to all the posters, but that it was in danger of being locked. I explicitly noted that no poster was in trouble (at that point) for behavior to that point.
Shodan posted a sanctimonious, well I’m glad you were not talking to me, then reply in which he twisted my words to his own end, at which point I called him on his games, clarified my point once again, and told him to stop threadshitting.

And this becomes an example of favoring the Left?

[quote=“Shodan, post:2, topic:526571”]

[ul][li]The whole badchad thing. badchad said, rather clearly that he was cyberstalking a Christian poster in order to drive him off the SDMB. But the nature of the harassment was screamingly apparent long before that, and the Powers That Be bent over backwards until they could look out between their knees to avoid banning him. Because he may have been an asshole, but he was an aggressively atheist asshole. [/ul][/li][/QUOTE]
Interestingly, a poster on the Left who has spent an enormous amount of energy attacking my person is primarily mad because he accuses me of getting badchad banned for his views on religion. You guys need to get your stories straight.

I don’t think you know much about the beliefs of the staff here considering how much of your short time at the SDMB has been spent complaining about them, and how little has been spent discussing those views.

Note that Reeder wasn’t actually banned until one of the iterations of the snarkpit found about 6 “last and final warnings” plus a half dozen other warnings and posted them.

It took that much work to have Reeder banned.

On the other hand, you had similarly obnoxious Wildest Bill, who was given a few warnings and was banned for…well…pissing off a mod. Don’t get me wrong: he more than deserved banning. But taking a quote from “the president”, letting some posters go ballistic about how Bush sux and then saying “Nyah-nyah! That was Clinton” strikes me as banning looking for an excuse.

Actually I tend to agree. There is a problem (as evidenced by Reeder and currently) with what seems to be complacency with long-standing posters who…troll…for lack of a better word. A newbie who said the things DT said at the frequency he said them would never (IMO) be allowed to stick around–if only because he’d be a new nuisciance, not a long-standing one who’s probably on a lot of ignore lists.

I guess that isn’t possible for some people.


There is a matter of tone as well as of content. The late unlamented December had a long, long track record of borderline libellous anti-leftwing accusations and innuendo, but kept his language calm and moderate. As a result, he lasted quite a while - probably comparable to Reeder, although I am unaware what interaction December had with TPTB behind the scenes - prior to his eventual banning.

Actually, the well-poisoning happened in the OP, as was pointed out later in the thread. Your warning mentioned that referring to posts as fecal was not going to be allowed - except when you referred to my post as “bullshit”. Which I also mentioned.

This is a mischaracterization. The thread was continuing much as such things usually do, lots of cites demonstrating various points.

Where did I claim that you had “viciously attacked” me?

Likewise false - I did no whining at all, made no complaint, and made no reference that I was being picked on.

So, I was not in trouble, and when I said that it was good that I was not in trouble, you warned me. The stuff about twisting your words is just gibberish that you drag out whenever you say something meaningless.

The problem was that I called John Edwards stupid (it has since become clear that Edwards is a sleazeball as well as an idiot). You support(ed) Edwards politically. Therefore you did not react to the attack on George Bush in the quote contained in the OP, but you did react to my derogatory comment about Edwards.

Frankly, after you contradicted yourself again

I stopped paying attention and simply carried on with the rest of the thread. You felt the need to vent when you saw one of your favored politicians being mocked, you carried it out, it isn’t possible to explain the contradictory nature of the special rules you dreamed up to protect Edwards, so this kind of thing can be profitably ignored.

Yes, since you have never imposed this silly-ass rule about “no insulting politicians” on a GD thread attacking a Republican, it is.


I don’t think there’s a bias. And if there is, it’s more of an ingroup/outgroup one rather than a LW/RW one, IMO. It should be noted that DT, for instance, doesn’t often break the rules in GD as they are, so he doesn’t get moderated very often. Where there would be a bias is if he were breaking the rules, and mods were letting it slide.

Now, you could argue that the rules are set up to favour LWs, but this is patently absurd - RWs are free to insult whole groups the way DT does - and they do.

I challenge the OP to point to RWs who were banned for doing the exact same thing** DT** does, but in reverse. Hell, no-one was warned or even suspended for threatening LWs with physical violence over our stances on Iraq & the US military, AFAIK.

raindog said:

I have not personally witnessed any instances of bias in moderating - either left/right, Dem/Repub, or religion based (or any other, for that matter).

If bias were found, I would agree it hurts the community by stifling diversity of ideas. If one side of a debate is not allowed to post, you can’t have a debate. Uneven moderation can also feed attitudes that the SDMB is not a reasonable place to get information or discuss topics. “We don’t want your kind” is very off-putting.

Silverstreak Wonder said:

Still shoveling that around?

Marley23 said:


Well, sure; it wasn’t ideal, but those situations are going to happen in a system where bannings aren’t handled by automation. I know I don’t check on a user’s list of warnings each time one’s given out. Sometimes, yes, if I think I’ve recently seen the user break multiple rules I’ll do a quick check; however, that’s not a guarantee, so it’s possible that if I don’t look, and if other mods don’t search for past warnings, a user can keep whistling in the dark for a while.

Nowadays, with the vB infraction system, it’s much easier to see a user’s warnings in one place; before, with our old warning system, we had to search a long, years-old thread for any warnings. It was easy to miss stuff.

Reeder wasn’t the only poster who received multiple warnings and even several final warnings before being kicked off the island. I don’t doubt that it will eventually happen again simply because we’re not out to get anyone, and only really look at a user’s list of warnings when an obvious pattern of misbehavior pops up. Otherwise we’d rather spend our time on the board reading and posting like everyone else.

Wildest Bill was banned nine years ago. The board is simply not the same place it was back then when it comes to bannings (or even some of the hellfire and brimstone rulings): the weight of a user’s warnings lessen over time, suspensions have been introduced, and users no longer get banned for ticking off a mod. The board is much more lenient with users these days and, for the most part, I think that’s a good thing.

You also left out the part where december cobbled together a trolling post from multiple sources (i.e., the first paragraph of the post came from one speaker; the second, from another who never even held the presidency). Plus, december had a history of warnings. It wasn’t that he earned one and ended up banned; instead, that final warning was just the last among many others. There are very, very few instances where a user will be banned for a single infraction. december’s banning wasn’t one of those.

Now I see where the accusations of bias orginate: you make them up as you go along.

I never supported Edwards IRL or on this board. That you wish I had so that you could claim favoritism is your problem, not mine.

As to the rest of your odd claims, I’ve linked to the thread and posts and I will let the TM review the evidence.

Even if the mods themselves are not biased by their own ideology, it’s probably impossible for them not to be biased by the overwhelming consensus of the masses that “so-and-so is a jerk” (or the reverse). And the consensus of the masses in assessing the behaviour of an individual poster will inevitably be heavily influenced by ideological sympathy (or the opposite).

[Not that I think there’s much if anything that can be done about this. But it’s out there.]

Up to a point, yeah–but there comes a point where I think you folks are too slow with the ban-stick.

Yeah, I know this is gonna sound contradictory but hear me out: I’d like a bit less moderation–I hate (really, REALLY hate) closing zombie threads and even worse, closing threads that are too “pointless”–let the marketplace handle those. (I realize I’m in the minority with this opinion, so this is what I’d like, not what I expect you to do). Threadshitting, trolling (or whatever you want to call what Der Trihs does–same thing Kirkland did, if you remember him)…there’s where I’d like to see more intervention and less warnings/more bannings. Really, this isn’t the “Let’s housebreak you and teach you to be socialized” messageboard.

Also–holy crap–was it really nine years ago!? Damn, Skip–I feel old :wink:

I supported the December banning (and I’d confused him with Wildest Bill–thanks for figuring what I meant, not what I wrote :smiley: ) and still do–but thought the specific “final straw” was lame. My memory is different (out of curiosity, I may dig up the post/thread–if so, I’ll link it)–I thought he just pulled one quote (from Bill or Hillary) which strikes me as a legit, if low “gotcha”. If he did cobble together multiple quotes, that’s the same as making one up and clearly that’s out of bounds.

(9 YEARS?!?!)

FYI, your memory is clearly better than mine: there’s apparently about 8000 “Why Was December Banned” threads and the official one is vague as to the ‘last straw’ offense, but this thread makes it clear that your memory is solid: he mixed a Bill and Hillary quote together (I don’t buy his “Oops, mixing the two was just an accident”) so consider that point retracted.

Liberals take debate challenges as they come, and are more likely to make a good faith effort in maintaining an honest discussion, no matter which way it goes. Conservatives, on the other hand, can usually be counted upon, when the one-sided polemic they disingenuously refer to as a “debate” turns into an actual debate, to whimper and whine about liberal bias and unfair moderation. So consistently, in fact, that you can use it as a pretty reliable litmus test for someone’s political leaning.

This thread is my cite. Also, every single post that Shodan has ever contributed to this board in the years he’s been here, each one is my cite; each one is a sour-grapey whingefest appealing to the playground monitors to hold down the little kids so he can hit them without getting hit back. Because, since he’s right, it’s OK for him to play dirty; but since the other side is wrong, any progress or success they may achieve can only be attributed to treachery, and a global conspiracy against his personal self. (When Steven Colbert said that reality has a well-known liberal bias, Shodan didn’t laugh, because it’s true.)

But hey, it keeps things funny around here.

lissener: That’s out of line in this thread. This is NOT the place to be singling out another poster for nasty comments about their posts, and it is certainly not the place for personal insults. OFFICIAL WARNING is issued.