On the closing of the DrDeth Pit thread

I’ll say first of all that this particular thread is not a huge deal to me, though I’ve posted in it a number of times. I’m a bit more bothered by some of the strange directions that the moderation here has been taking recently. Let me express my concerns in terms of a response to the following (from that thread):

I appreciate the consideration of the delayed closing, but I note that in the interim there has been revived interest and quite a few constructive posts made in that thread. My objection, such as it is, is not about the delayed closing, but about why it needed to be closed at all. I agree that Pit threads about banned posters should be closed, and I’ve even flagged some myself for closing for that reason. But that’s not the case here.

With regard to that rhetorical question in the quote, “Have you ever noticed, no matter what decision a mod makes, someone will object?”, yes, mods are often in a no-win situation. However, sometimes the best thing to do – and often the hardest thing to do – is to do nothing at all.

My question is simply this:

How on earth could you possibly imagine being criticized for NOT closing a Pit thread just because the subject of the thread was suspended, when:

(a) Historically, AFAIK, no Pit thread about anyone has ever been closed as a result of a suspension, but only after a permanent banning, and

(b) the Pit is not your forum to moderate, and certainly not your forum to enact new policies in, such as deciding that threads about suspended posters should be closed. Will the thread subsequently be re-opened when the suspension expires? I’m sure it won’t. And this is at least the second time you’ve closed a thread in the Pit for dubious reasons. The last time, @Miller had to re-open it.

I would urge that greater consideration be given to the valuable and underrated policy of “less is more” when it comes to moderator actions. Sometimes doing nothing is the best course, even if it’s less satisfying.

We’ve lost too many posters to ‘less is more.’

WE? tagged Miller in the post where he said he’d close the thread. If the Pit’s mod feels that it needs to remain open, it’ll remain open.

And since we’re throwing our 2 cents around, I think he should have closed it immediately. Not pitting people who are suspended is a sound policy.

Actually Miller let me know it was OK to close as did the OP.
To me it seems like the right thing to do.

That sounds reasonable to me too.

I’m not sure that this is true. I don’t have a firm policy about whether threads about suspended posters should be treated the same as threads about banned posters. I’m kind of lukewarm on the whole “close thread for banned posters” thing in the first place, which is just a tradition, I think from when Lynn Bodoni was the Pit mod. There’s no actual rule requiring it.

Maybe. Or someone will start a new one. Who cares?

Indeed. For example, was this ATMB thread really necessary?

No kidding. If this guy bothers you so much you are worried his pit thread won’t be reopened in a month, maybe the problem is with you. You are not required to read his posts.

As probably the most vocal critic of What_Exits? modding, he got this one right. I can’t see any purpose in allowing the thread, which has already run for almost a year, to stay open while he is suspended.

Good call by both What_Exit? and Miller.

Touché (well, sort of). Please consider me an ATMB complainer-in-training, 2nd Class. Maybe it wasn’t necessary. And I had no way of knowing that @What_Exit had checked with you first about the closing.

But Miller, the thought in the back of my mind was actually a compliment to you. Like you, I usually enjoy the positive and freewheeling aspects of the Pit, and I particularly like the fact that it’s the only place on the board where you can (within reason) bluntly say what you really think in whatever terms seem appropriate and have really frank discussions. Your light-handed moderation is a big reason for that. I guess basically I was pushing back against what I perceived – rightly or wrongly – as TPTB from the rest of the board infringing on this frontier spirit in the Pit.

No big deal, just a bit of loss of continuity. I still don’t understand why it was so important to close this particular thread when you don’t have a firm policy even for banned posters, and (AFAIK) no such thread about suspended posters has been closed before, but I’m content to let the matter drop. My own view is that continuing to criticize banned posters is obviously futile and just pointless bashing, but posters who are suspended and expected to change their ways could still benefit from comments about why they’re problematic.

You have just made up a position the poster didn’t state in order to attack them. In fact, this post is more hateful than many if not most of the posts in the DrDeth pit thread. And, even when those do get hateful, they at least talk about what he actually said.

While I disagree with the decision to merely suspend DrDeth, I don’t have a problem with closing the Pit thread during his suspension, even if it is a relative novelty to do so.

I did appreciate the lag time, though, it has given the thread a certain last wind energy. Just closing it would have been less satisfactory. Pitizens need closure too!

You think that is hateful? There isn’t enough roll-eyes in the world.

I say close the Pit thread and consider DrDeth to be serving his time. When he gets out, consider his debt to (this) society paid and cut him some slack. It’s really hard to rehabilitate when everybody’s giving you shit.

If the behavior doesn’t change, consider him a habitual offender and deal with him on that basis.

Thank you, that mirrors a lot of my thoughts on it.

I really agree. Hopefully this final suspension works and he can break some bad habits.

It definitely seems so to me. We have an odd behavior by a mod that contradicts the norms of this board. Normally a mod only moderates another forum based on clear rules, and only if the other mod is not around to deal with it. But, as you admit, there is no clear rule about closing the threads for suspended posters. So we have a mod who made an unusual decision on his own about a forum he doesn’t moderate.

That seems worthy of note. It seems worthy of hashing out why that decision was made and discussing whether it is something we want to change moving forward. Do we want to have mods jumping into other forums and making debatable decisions? Do we want the new norm to be to close threads when someone is suspended?

Personally, the latter is something I could go either way on. But the former seems something that shouldn’t be. And it would have the added benefit that @What_Exit would not then be the one who has to take the criticism that he stated he doesn’t like.

I would suggest that, in non-emergency situations, you let the mod of the forum make the decision. Or, if they are not present, that you consult with the other mods, not make the decision on you own. That would reduce the burden.

I say let @Miller make the decisions for the Pit, or put @What_Exit on as a pit mod, too.

Cool. My decision is that what What_Exit? did was fine.

Please do not take portions of my post out of context. I have an entire post explaining what that line means—that @What_Exit should not have gotten involved in the first place. That you should have been the one to make the decision from the start.

And, as you’ve indicated, it seems you would have made a different decision. You aren’t even sure if you’d close threads when people were banned.

I’m arguing that mods don’t and should not have the authority to jump into other threads for non-emergency situations that are based on a judgement call. If you disagree, please argue with that, and not snark at something out of context.

That’s the type of argument I get on YouTube.

Nuh uh, no way I’m modding the pit. Maybe after I’ve grown some callouses in a few years. :slight_smile:

I did ask permission of Miller, I didn’t close the thread, I set it to be closed. I was trying something new I fully admit. I was taking care of all the admin work of the suspension and I thought it would be fairer to DrDeth if I closed the pit thread. But as I am not a pit mod, I set a 10 hour timer and asked Miller about it two different ways. It was easy to cancel or reopen.

I feel I was pretty cautious and worst case, a thread would have to be reopened.

I do think it might be a good idea to close pit threads of posters that are suspended for 2 weeks or more. But if it happens it would be on a case by case basis. The thread in question was fairly old and not directly related to this current suspension. Hopefully this situation doesn’t come up very often.

Actually, many of us have been doing this more and more often of late. I think it is helping all of us.

I edited out the bits that I felt weren’t relevant.

How very Christian of you, BigT. Thank you for showing me the way, I’ll try to live up to your standards.

Exactly. Being pitted for months at a time would be trying for anybody.

To me, having a pit thread open for people to talk shit about someone who’s not around to defend themselves seems like poor form, so I think closing it was the right call regardless of which mod made it.

Concur. What was hateful about said post in any way, shape, or form?