No debates for you! (not in a poll thread, at least)

Next month marks my tenth anniversary on the SDMB. As best as I can recall, since joining, I have never pitted, or even criticized, a moderator (although I once asked why the rules of Great Debates seemed not to apply to a certain poster). So, I hope it’s clear that I am not one to complain about the mods here. Indeed, I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to be constantly lambasted, knowing that whatever decision you make is gonna piss someone off (and please spare me the pointing out of how I am thereby contradicting myself by opening this thread). Having said that, there reaches a point where even an unpaid, overworked, and unthanked volunteer is fair game for condemnation.

I am speaking of Czarcasm and her (I think she’s a ‘she’) actions in this thread (a poll about whether you think Obama has the country’s best interest at heart). She locked it down. Why? Because people weren’t just voting, they were, get this, debating:eek:

Did the OP’er complain? I don’t think so; his/her responses in the thread gave no clue that he/she was displeased at the way the thread had evolved. Did the debate engender profanity-laced vitriol inappropriate for IMHO? No, no more than many, many others. Was the thread closed to offload the SDMB server? No, in fact, Czarcasm encouraged the offending posters (one of whom received a “moderator warning” for debating, btw) to start a new thread in GD, increasing the load if anything. Other than to enforce an unduly narrow, literal interpretation of the forum guidelines, her lockdown served no purpose.

I recognize that a ‘guiding hand’ can be needed on the boards and often fulfills an important role. In this case, though, that hand did nothing more than smack down a spontaneously emerging discussion (OK call it a debate if you want) that, if anything, should have been supported (“fighting ignorance” and all that).

I really meant what I said about the mods having a tough time. And, I am serious when I say that it pains me to open this thread. But, come on, you’ve gotta have some flexibility, especially when sticking strictly to the rules is going to cut off legitimate discussion.


P.S. One brief comment on Czarcasm’s final statement upon closing the thread (“will decide future of political polls in IMHO”). Is she suggesting that because people debated, and didn’t simply vote and then keep their mouths shut, that “political polls” may now be prohibited? I hope I have misinterpreted that.

Czarcasm is most definitely male.

:smack: Now I owe him two apologies.

No problem-I’m secure in my masculinity…and I don’t look half-bad in heels.

In the case of the more volitile polls, would it help if I(or the person starting the poll) opened a companion thread in Great Debates, and redirected posters to it?

Sure, that would be a plus. But I still don’t understand why it is forbidden for a debate to emerge, and then to continue in that same poll thread. What is the harm?

Might not the best option be to (ahem) enable the polling feature in GD? Why is it presently disabled there?


What’s with this new (to me, anyway) move to sissify IMHO? My understanding has been that IMHO is a forum where less formal discussions take place–fewer calls for cites, but otherwise debating, vigorously discussing, and sometimes snarking was allowed. We’ve already got MPSIMS as the fluffy bunny forum. Recently, it seems, at least to the casual observer, that there has been some unannounced rule change to IMHO.

Keeping debates out of polls is not new.

Karl, did you recently change your username from something else?

No, it’s been the same for nine years and eleven months.

  • KarlGauss, the poster formerly known as KarlGauss

Huh. I would have thought I’d remember somebody as active as you, but honestly I only remember you going back about a year.

Doesn’t make it right.

Perhaps he was too blurry to see.

That’s very interesting for me to hear. In the last year I’ve been off work for a total of almost five months (surgery etc), so I’ve had a LOT more time on my hands. And, that means I have a lot more time to spend here. So, you’re right about my ‘visibility’ being a recent thing.

I don’t recall a lot of overly political threads in IMHO, and I don’t see a reason to clutter up the forum with it now that polls have been enabled. Just allowing polls in GD, which is supposed to be about debates (not some simple yes/no votes) doesn’t seem like the greatest option, either.

I’m not nealry as annoyed with this as other posters are, and I think it was a stupid poll, anyhow.

Not to hijack this terribly, but thank you for the link. The first two lines of Gaudere’s response is so deliciously ironic it’s priceless.

I’ve always thought that the best way to handle a poll on any controversial topic is to have the debate first, then start the poll. It stops a whole lot of the problems that arise from kneejerk voting like “Hell yeah, I want them to pass the proposed law that would outlaw showing images of nude, underage children”, only to find out in post #485 that the law would also apply to medical texts.

Yeah, that thread closing didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

I guess I sorta kinda see the point that debating could be a bad thing in poll threads and/or IMHO threads, because they’re about expressing opinions and beliefs, not about challenging and defending and pushing those opinions and beliefs, and that very much of the latter could scare off people who only want to do the former.

And I can especially see why you might not want a poll thread to turn into a debate over something other than what the poll itself is about.

Still, I don’t think it’s unreasonable in a poll for people to elaborate on why they “voted” the way they did, or for some back-and-forth discussion to follow. And I didn’t think that particular thread had gotten out of hand.