So, I’ve been reading our ongoing thread about improving the SDMB and attracting and retaining new members. The Pit comes up as one of the most common complaints, specifically about Pit-entries targeting other members of the board. Which is fair, it can be hostile, and we discussed in in great detail in the now-closed thread about the Pit being a Benefit or Bane.
For the record, my opinion in said thread was that it probably provided a needed outlet, but that we should get rid of omnibus threads for other -posters- and that each thread should be automatically closed after a fixed period of time. If there is a new problem, create a new thread.
But the ongoing concern in the current threads got me thinking about -why- the Pit seems to be needed in regards to other posters, so I read through a number of Pit threads, and IMHO, the biggest single reason that someone pits another poster is a forum in which they can flat out call another poster a liar. Whether it be making up anecdotes, making up facts or cites, or citing from poor sources, it all seems to be falling under the general heading of dishonesty.
Especially in the case of what appears to be serial dishonesty, in that the Pitted Poster is believed to repeat the same dishonesty across several threads, and then refuses to respond to counter-proofs. This sort of poster is commonly considered to be a troll, but their activities often don’t meet the board definitions, or skirt it, or takes a great deal of time to work through the mod process. So they end up in the Pit, where various posters pile on (sometimes legitimately, possibly not other) which arguably makes the Pitee more set in their ways, and more offensive.
Please be clear, this is by -no means- the only reason to end up in the Pit, but it’s the most common reason I see after reviewing several individual threads and most of the omnibus threads.
So having said all of this, let’s say that the PTB one day ban Pitting other posters, should we reconsider whether accusations of lying should be modded? Yes, it’s arguably a personal attack, and we are often asked to attack the post, not the poster, BUT that’s the moderation I see as being lightly enforced. Not because Mods can’t/won’t but because it’s often incredibly subjective. And when it is enforced, it’s almost always a note, rather than a warning, unless the poster has a loooong history of such posts and is probably already on the way towards suspension and the like.
I reviewed a previous thread about ‘factual’ claims of lying against other posters which points out the pros and cons, but felt it could use a new discussion in light of the commonly expressed sentiment.
PLEASE NOTE - feel free to debate if you think I’m correct about dishonesty being a prime mover of such threads, or pro/against reconsidering moderation for lies, but let’s NOT link to specific posters or Pit threads. Almost every thread I see touching on these topics gets closed because people get personal, so let’s avoid it.