Is this the beginning of the end?

Having been a regular/semi-regular poster here for over 2 decades, I’ve seen distinct trends in the personality and culture of this little community. It’s ebbed and flowed.

Have you perused the ATMB forum lately? There is unique shift recently in the moderation and the manner in which we interact with each other. It’s easy to seek out and quickly assign root causes to this shift…political leaning of the board in response to current political climate of the society at large; relatively new crop of moderators letting their own personal agenda cloud their moderation; certain membership base actively pushing back against this; etc. etc.

Those of you that fit into these categories know who you are. The majority of us here that have been around here since the beginning or damn near close and the majority of those that have joined along the way and stayed around, just want the problem kids to chill the fuck out!

We enjoy having a place where we can ask questions about things we aren’t sure about and getting an answer in about 2 minutes from those of us that know the answers.

We like having a place to engage in philosophical discussions and enjoy hearing others points of view…and for which it’s not always about winning.

We think it’s cool to have a place where we can discuss current events and share our opinions on why certain things/people/etc. happen the way they do.

We also like to discuss movies, books, food, television, etc. and learn what other people might like or not like.

Those of you that believe there needs to be a culture shift here…flame away! Otherwise let’s not kill what’s been a great place for many of us.

Hear! hear!

Absolutely. What I haven’t seen a change in is “This board is going to die any minute now because it’s BIASE against CONSERVATIVES!!!” That’s been going on for goddamned ever, mostly by petulant assholes who don’t like being called out for acting like assholes.

Now, to be fair it’s not just been "BIASE against CONSERVATIVES!!!” This place has always been biase against people who get their asses handed to them in a conversation with smartypantses (that’s happened to me here… I really should have yelled “HIVE MIND!” and flounced).

In the nearly 20 years that I’ve been here, less than that as an active poster for sure, my own eyes have been opened to the rampant racism, sexism, homophobia, and other bigotry in society. There really has been a revolution is trying to treat people more fairly and more sensitively (there’s still a long way to go).

This place was always pretty progressive, so it’s not surprising that it followed those kinds of progressive trends.

I’m hopeful that we’ll get back some of the people we lost when this place was still trying to adjust to these changing times. One of my favorite posters left and never came back, due to the rampant transphobia that used to be allowed here (and, still is, though to a lesser extent). She was an extremely knowledgeable engineer, and was also a great source of information on trans issues, but I guess she just got fed up.

I’ve noticed a lot of reading between the lines going on. One person will post something, and then another (or others) will infer that the post is trolling, or JAQing, or walrusing, or trying to set a gotcha trap or any of a number of posting styles they don’t like, and pounce on the poster. Sometimes this is based on a poster’s history or some personal grudge, but oftentimes it’s a newbie on the recieving end of the attack.
There’s a dictum here to challenge the post and not the poster, but, it seems to me that more and more it’s the poster that gets attacked.
I don’t care for this behavior, myself.
It hasn’t been enough to make me leave the board, but I have left threads (topics, I guess, is the new term) because of it.

I’m not sure what you’re getting at. I think I might, but I could be totally wrong.

The problem, of course, being that since 21st century conservative thought in America is based entirely on tribal loyalty and emotion, Conservatives tend to not be able to win a fact-based logical argument that is the aim of this board, and so find themselves to be loyalty card members of the smartypants ass-delivery service (12 ass handings will give you enough loyalty points to get a pitting for free!).

This concern reminds me of the urban liberal hand wringing over understanding the white middle American voters, at a time when the white middle American voter didn’t give a rats ass towards understanding the urban liberal. It leads me to ask, where on the internet is an example of what critics of the current board seem to think we should emulate.

In terms of fact based civil discussion the dope is way ahead of any other place I have seen. The others are either pure juvenile vitriol, or non fact based opinion sharing where all views are given equal weight, and it is an open question whether nano-thermite was used on the towers.

The newbies who get driven off are generally expect a board that matches one of the two types above, and quickly find that this board is not what they expected, and so leave for greener pastures. I question whether altering the tone of the board to better accommodate that audience, or even for that matter even retaining that audience among our membership whether or not we change the board, would improve it.

Hear hear! I’m sure we could have more members if we let this site descend into the cesspit that is your typical newspaper comment section. You could have hundreds, nay thousands of people who will herp derp with their inane and illogical comments.

To some extent, there has to be. Subtext is a huge part of communication. Even if you try to be as straightforward as possible, there is still tons of information about your motivation, your worldview, and so on.

None of those things are “posting styles we don’t like.” They’re all disingenuous means of engaging. I can’t say that people’s detection of them is always accurate, but rooting out those who do those sorts of things is vital for any sort of real discussion or debate to take place.

I really don’t see us being any harder on newbies than before. Maybe a higher percentage of those who come in seem to want to engage in dubious ways, but I blame that on the current political climate. When you have one side that is raising that sort of thing to an artform, and actually seeing decent success with it, is it any wonder we see more of it?

We had a troll president, after all. And he pushed his followers to troll in the same manner. And don’t get me started on the Alt-Right playbook. (Yes, they’re videos. But there’s no better research on this out there. Academics cite this guy, and he goes to academic conferences.)

I stumbled onto the SDMB about 25 years ago. It was a question “Was Math Invented, or Discovered” Or similar.

I’m a bit chronologically challenged, and can’t be bothered with tracking this down the exact date.

I feel it’s fine that those that disagree with most of us here are given a solid debate, and allow anyone to answer and support their claims. I like to know what people are thinking, and how they reached those conclusions.

That’s learning, and discussion is often the best way to do that.

Keep your friend close, and your enemy closer.

(If I have completely mis-read the OP, I’ll take the chastising, it is in the Pit after all)

I think this depends on what the definition of an asshole is.

If a conservative is expressing a conservative viewpoint, but in a jerkish way, then he’s being called an asshole because he’s behaving like an asshole.

But if a conservative is expressing a conservative viewpoint civilly and politely, but his viewpoint is fundamentally offensive itself and he is called an asshole because of his viewpoint - well then, that’s kind of circular. Because then it would be tantamount to saying that “the only way you can stop being regarded as an asshole is to stop being conservative.”

It would be like as if a conservative message board were to ask, “Why is it that all of our liberal posters are unpatriotic?” Because their definition of “patriotic” is such that only a right-winger could qualify as patriotic. It becomes circular.

There are definitely some conservative views that don’t make you an asshole. If you think charter schools should expand, or think that federal deficits are a bad idea, or think that taxing capital gains is an inefficient way to raise revenue, we have room for respectful dialogue.

But yeah, there are totally positions that people can hold that make the holder an asshole. How can this even be in doubt? And a lot of them have become mainstream positions in the American conservative movement. Anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-vaccine, anti-trans. Sealioning the previous sentence. Those are asshole positions and asshole behavior and at the core of modern conservativism.

The idea that we must be respectful toward people espousing asshole positions is silly. People who want to be treated with respect need to not act like assholes.

Bringing it back to this board: I’m 100% okay not only with banning the fuck out of folks who come at us with those asshole positions, but also with those fucksticks screaming about bias on their way out the door.

You don’t treat these people with respect because they deserve it; you treat them with respect because we deserve it. The rest of us deserve a place were ignorance is fought in a respectful manner.
Just as we don’t treat prisoners with respect because they deserve it (they’ve behaved in a way which has caused them to be banished, if temporarily, from society) we do it because we believe that all people deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of any circumstance.

I’m not quite as on board with other old timers here as I might be. Harking back to the “good old days” is of course something to be done with caution. However personally one of the things that I used to find a lot of fun about the boards was that it did adopt Cecil’s slightly snarky combative style, and a lot of highly creative and amusing threads came of it, even if at the risk of a certain degree of “drama”.

Now you might say that one could be funny and slightly snarky and somewhat combative without being a jerk, and that is so. However I wonder if the pendulum hasn’t swung a bit far. I suspect that the personality type that can come up with crazy/smart/amusing thread topics and post spiky but interesting points of view, isn’t also the personality type that sometimes goes a little overboard and ends up getting hit with the ban hammer, or just cops enough tut-tutting that they leave.

When I have occasion to read through old threads, reading the poster names with “banned” under their names is like reading a Who’s Who of our formerly most interesting and provocative members.

I also feel this way.

I think that observation has legs.
ATM too many amongst the SD brethren appear thin skinned and fly off the handle in indignation at (to my foreign and uneducated eye) minor infractions of sensibilities.

My 2c
Learn (relearn) how to have an argument without breaking up.

RitterSport… may I give you a hug? If yes, consider it done. If no, consider a fist bump or a head nod.

Haha! Sure, just no handshaking – too much possibility of COVID transmission.

This seems odd to me. You seem to be treating both of these as positive traits, but I’d say only one of them is. Sure, bring on the interesting posters. But fuck the provocative ones. If you’re here to poke and prod and start fights rather than start discussions and debates, then why the hell should you be welcome? That just gets people angry and emotional and gets in the way of trying to find the truth and fight ignorance, or even just having casual conversations.

Sure, maybe some interesting ideas will provoke spirited discussion. But that’s not my understanding of the word “provocative,” especially when applied to people. A provocative person deliberately causes annoyance or anger. And those feelings, when not arising from the subject itself, are detrimental to good thinking.

I’m all for posters who have interesting things to say and/or interesting ways of saying them. But if they say things for the reaction, then I don’t really see what they add.