Most common reason to be Pitted Appears to be Dishonesty?

I believe one of the bad things about the pit (among many) is that when you pit someone, you simply harden their position.

Or do you really think that calling someone a racist motherfucker or a stupid imbecile is going to get them to think, “You know, that vile asshole calling me names has a point. What have I been thinking?”

This attitude then carries on outside the pit, where people you have pitted will dig in their heels and refuse to concede even a trivial point to you. Debate becomes impossible.

In addition, it leads to people automatically assuming the worst of others, so even mild statements of disagreement wind up being blown out of proportion because you just know what the poster is really thinking because there are 300 messages in the pit describing just how vile or stupid that person is.

And I’m really tired of the constant accusations of racism, sexism, etc. It is thrown around on this board with wild abandon, even though I rarely see anything that rises to that level. I think real racism is horrible, and the constant use of it to describe people with slightly different views cheapens the word and lets real racists off the hook.

But some users here think that just about everyone who disagrees with them is some category of vile human being, rather than someone with different life experiences who sees things a little differently, or someone who honestly wants to treat people of all kinds well, but is just a little slower to move in certain directions than you were because they come from a different background and it’s harder to make certain leaps.

But you know what will really help them to a better place? Calling them names. That always works.

If you listened and tried for a bit of empathy instead of virtually spitting on them, maybe you could learn a little bit about diversity of thought and understand the ‘other side’ a little better. Then you’d have a better chance of convincing them of your point of view.

That is, if that’s what you really want to do, rather than just signal your allegiance to your tribe by attacking the ‘other’.

This is why the moralizing arguments in favor of the Pit fall flat for me. Maybe it serves some pragmatic purpose for the board, but this isn’t some kind of ethical endeavor, it’s about people wanting to vent their anger about social issues near and dear to them. Which, fine. But it doesn’t make the world a better place to scream at bigots on the internet and we need to stop deluding ourselves that it does.

Look, if you really want honest open communication with someone, you have to allow for the inclusion of “Look ^#@#$@!&, get your head out yer ass, you piss me off so much with this bullshit you goat felching trodlodyte”. You have to be open to hearing that you’ve really annoyed the everlovin’ shit out of someone, and yes that is communication, it is information to take in.

And when you know the people you are talking with will totally let you have it if they feel that way, that also means that when they are being far more polite and considerate, you don’t have to worry that they actually detest you and the horse you rode in on.

I haven’t always enjoyed being ridiculed and subjected to contempt, but I’m a willful and opinionated person with a tongue (or more accurately a fine keyboard) on me and perhaps I need that occasionally. It’s feedback. I don’t have to agree with the abusive sentiment (I may choose to interpret it as defensiveness or whatever) but it’s important to know that I’m making people feel that way.

You don’t generally start a thread on someone in the Pit to reform them. I doubt many people, if anyone, is hoping that their heart is growing to grow three times its size and realize the magic of Christmas because you’ve quoted the stupid things they’ve said and illustrate how toxic they are. Rather it is to put people on notice and commiserate with others who’ve also suffered in reading their posts, or watching a thread derailed by yet another instance of their tired schtick. It’s also to have it out with them in a place where you won’t get modded for it.

If you think that’s what the Pit is for, no wonder you don’t like it. You don’t get what it is. It’s like pouring table salt all over your cornflakes and griping about how terrible the sugar is.

I think you’ve lost all credibility at this point.

Well, people aren’t allowed to tell me that my fellow Africans have the IQ of literal morons anymore, so it’s gotten less bitter from my point of view. And I’m still not allowed to call racists racist outside of the Pit, so there should have been no change for the racists.

It’s also to put other people on notice about patterns of behavior which might not be immediately obvious, or terms which have particular meaning only in certain contexts which not everyone might be aware of; and/or to let others know that the behavior’s been noticed and is being objected to, when a comment just on an individual post might either look unreasonable taking just that post by itself, or is difficult to frame without violating Board rules outside the pit; and/or to check one’s own perceptions – ‘I think x is really being a jerk here, who agrees or disagrees with me?’ which would at best be a hijack if done in the thread(s) in which the problem’s occuring.

I think some of that’s actually starting with some of the people who get pitted. ‘That thing you just said looks racist/is an argument often used by racists/has racist implications/would have racist impact’ isn’t a personal attack. It’s information. One can accept the information and stop saying the thing/change one’s position; or one can argue that the information’s incorrect; but responding to it as if the person(s) providing the information just called the poster an essentially evil irredeemable member of the Ku Klux Klan blows the whole thing up.

Your not seeing it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

And the way we get “real” racism, if you mean by that what I think you mean, is by ignoring what appear to be lesser manifestations of it.

(That phrasing reminds me of people claiming that “real” rape is only by overwhelming physical force; especially those saying that nobody should be called out for using other types of pressure to get or try to get sex.)

Again, saying that somebody said something racist / bigoted is not saying they’re in some category of vile human being. It’s perfectly possible to say something racist / bigoted by accident, or due to not having thought through the probable consequences of what’s being recommended, or due to ignorance of a particular or overall situation.

And, again, it seems to me that it’s generally how people react to being given information on the subject that gets them clobbered; and that they rarely get clobbered for well sourced objections to the information, either.

Quoted for truth.

I try to avoid them. I know if I read this stuff then I wouldn’t be able to resist replying, and I don’t want to get into a slanging match with other posters or spend my time feeling angry and/or miserable. My ideas are also in the process of changing - sometimes I post more to work out my own views or to test out ideas I’ve seen elsewhere that to try to persuade anyone.

Me too. I’m glad you’re still able to be friends with someone who has such a different worldview.

Is it another part of the ‘progressive code’ that failing to express your disagreement in strong enough terms is tantamount to condoning a belief?

Pretty much. Silence is violence, etc.

Whether I speak up or not depends on the context, how likely I am to get anywhere, and how I happen to feel that day. But I think you can call out racism without insults.

The truth is, the brain likes being angry. It feels good. Especially when something triggered you to feel powerless. The Pit is heaven for people with low dopamine. But I think a lot of people don’t want to admit that. That’s kind of what bothers me. “This is important for the board and/or society” rings hollow to me when the truth is closer to, “I like yelling at bigots, it feels empowering.”

I know exactly what you mean. I’ve had two or three instances in the last three weeks where my immediate knee jerk response led me to think maybe I actually agreed with my opponent more than I realized.

From the insider perspective, “it’s ‘in the Pit’ so the rules say it’s OK so what is the problem?” makes perfect sense.

But in the context of people who have not been daily participants here for 20 years, an entirely accurate description of every debate thread is:

*The thread is full of motivated interpretations of the most faith-based rule on this board, “attack the post not the poster.” One side is allowed to respond to everything with “you’re a racist, you’re a member of Disliked Political Group X, you’re too stupid to respond to my brilliant takedowns,” and the other is told that saying “this post doesn’t make sense” or “this post implies X” is a “personal attack.”
*Every post made by the Wrong People in the thread has a shadow response made in a parallel running thread on “The Bad People Are Posting Again” that is subject to no rules. The fact that this second thread is “in the Pit” means nothing to people who aren’t already both aware of and ideologically on board with your notion of what “the Pit” should be.
*Often we then get a third thread in the ATMB forum about why the Bad People are allowed to express the Bad Opinions in the debate forum and haven’t been sanctioned yet. Again, the fact that it’s in a different forum doesn’t matter; what the forums are and what the rules are of each is something that the same board culture that got us here has chosen to construct. There is no inherent meaning to any of it.

To a new person it just looks like anything that departs from a very narrow ideological window is triggering a cascade of coordinated opprobrium from untouchable veteran posters and staffers in multiple threads, not from people who want to disagree, but from people who are up in arms about the fact that it was allowed to be posted at all.

The reason this appears to be the case is because it is, in fact, the case.

You can continue with this system and pretend everything is fine if your goal is to continue purging the board to the point that it goes below a viable number of participants and you can rest in your self-satisfaction about political righteousness somewhere else once this place shuts down. Or, you can realize that the current system is a huge problem and either commit to fundamentally overhauling it, or, as I’ve recommended, just stop pretending that this board wants to have a “debate forum” at all and ban political etc. discussion entirely.

And let’s not forget the peanut gallery effect of having like minded board members’ show of support in your righteous cause. Feels like victory.

The rules are against dragging a disagreement from one thread to another. A poster, I won’t name them, posted some opinions on the Old Testament I disagreed with. I shrugged it off. We are all entitled to our own opinions. Then, they posted a factually untrue claim about Jewish belief and practice. I, and others, asked for a cite. We never received one. So, I Pitted the poster. My linking to the original thread in my Pit thread resulted in it being revived. I, and others, asked again for cites. We never received them.

As in “Bully for you” . :roll_eyes: Teddy’s favorite expression.

But now that you bring it up, yes, that is exactly what pitting a person is. Other than a few attempts at humor, it is internet bullying, plain and simple.

Why does the SDMB allow, nay condone, Internet Bullying?

Yes, and so your Pitting was useless.

All of which you can do outside the pit.

Indeed, the reason why most are pitted is that they deviate from a ideological viewpoint.

Yeah, I ain’t buying it.

No, you can’t.

Saying the thread’s derailed would be junior modding. Commiserating with others about the poster’s behavior would be attacking the poster. All you can do outside the pit is object to each individual post – which would often only contribute to a derail.

That’s not even remotely what I meant. I simply meant that an unintended consequence of pitting your political enemies and dragging their character through the mud is that you make it much harder to engage with them in the future in other forums as they are likely to become obstinate or dug in on their positions, and are more likely to react with hostility to what you post.

It’s naive to think that what happens in thr Pit stays in the Pit. Personally attacking other posters is going to affect your interactions with them everywhere else, and not in a good way.

Why should someone be magnanimous and concede a point in a debate to someone who just finished calling them a racist drooling vegetable one click over?

Also, the fact that so many people feel it’s very important to retain the ability to lash out personally at their fellow members makes me weep for humanity.

A thousand times this. The SDMB used to pride itself on open and free debate. Now it doesn’t. Superficially it does, but for the reasons you state, it does not. Conservative leaning posts are denounced as racism, sexism, bigotry, etc. and if that doesn’t even pass the laugh test then it is trolling or being a jerk. Left leaning posts are consistently snarky, filled with unmodded veiled personal attacks. But that isn’t enough so we allow another forum, linked to the original conservative post, where the poster can be called vile names.

That’s not a recipe for a healthy board. If instead of fighting ignorance, the SDMB wants to be a board for left wing rallying and a continual banning of posters and topics and fall into oblivion, then keep doing what you are doing.

How many long time conservative posters have just said to hell with it because there is no desire to have a debate here. We have heard it from posters in this thread: there is no debate. We are right and they are evil.

So addressing several points on both sides of the debate (and being fully aware of how much work this would be for the mods), in the absence of the Pit, would all parties be willing to have the Mods support fair debate in forums especially such as Great Debates and P&E? So if posters refuse to provide cites, repeatedly repeat the same arguments without replying to counterarguments at all, and the like?

I am aware of at least one such example in the past, which was an actual example of a traditionally LW PoV that was closed when the OP refused to engage in the debate, one in which several posters in this thread participated in. However, despite my prior lurker status, I have far less time on the board than many others in the discussion, so would like more input on this point.

A big issue in Great Debates traditionally is there was a culture around, if you made factual claims, unless it was something that was kind of just generally accepted and well known, you would be called on to cite it. However posters that would refuse to do so and would just keep making the point, instead of being disengaged with, would frequently come to dominate threads, with dozens of other posters foaming at the mouth about how they wouldn’t provide a cite but kept rattling on.

In like a society of intelligent people you would just disengage in a debate from a person making unsubstantiated claims. But since we don’t have that level of behavior here I can see in specific forums where such discussions are kind of important–maybe GQ and GD, moderators ought be empowered to remove posts that make unsubstantiated factual assertions.

I do think you have to be narrow in scope though to avoid stifling basic conversation. For example even in GQ or GD I think an anecdote can help flesh a thread out, it just has to be clearly understood–hey, in line with other things being talked about in this thread, here is an anecdote of mine.

If someone is making unsubstantiated claims I don’t see much of a reason to call that person a liar though. You can simply say “I don’t believe your claim and you have offered no evidence.”

It doesn’t even have to be Conservative leaning. You must be in 100% agreement, nothing is allowed other than “we are the chorus and we agree!” .

Not even a mild demur is allowed or you will be shouted down and pitted.