Allow me to preface the following by stating that I’m really not interested in the internecine drama of “board life”. I don’t care that much about who said what to whom in the past, and why so-and-so is a chronic jerkface, and so forth. Quite frankly, I only recognize and remember about a dozen screen names of posters, all of whom have specific areas of techincal knowledge, or with whom I have corresponded with in the past outside this forum. Generally when I find some poster particularly onerous or engaged in defacing an active threat, I’ll put that person on an Ignore list, unsubscribe from the thread, or just walk away from the keyboard and go read. It’s just not worth my while to get too wound up in the artificial community of a message board, especially since my main interest is a discussion of science, engineering, food, drink, and travel.
That being said, I’m really at a loss to understand some recent exchanges, the umbrage they’ve caused, and why I perceive a significant bias in moderation that permits and even tacitly encourages drama at the expensive of rational, civil discussion. A specific example is in the recent thread entitled [post=11804255]Okay to ask guest to leave their guns at home?[/post]. In this thread (which is admittedly on a topic that causes many people to run for corners and wait for the bell to ring) most posters responded in earlier threads in a reasonable and civil manner, with some reasonably good natured ribbing and dissent, and one outlier who proved the exception to the rule. Then [post=11804219]another poster interjected with invective and ad hominem[/post], and while he did not at that point single out any specific posters as the target for his insults, it was very clearly directed at early respondents to the thread who did not share his view. Shortly thereafter, [post=11804298]he explicitly acknowledged that his comments were directed toward at least one specific poster[/post], and then continued to fan the flames in the same manner while disingenuously asserting that his statements of unlawful physical violence were not what they appeared to be. Meanwhile, [post=11805336]I was giving an official Warning for pointing out that the poster in question was behavior this way[/post] (which was reasonable given that I used a term for this poster that is a prohibited insult), and [post=11805344]another person was cautioned[/post] for tossing back the same metaphor used by the poster in question. Meanwhile, the offending poster, while all but called out by name by the moderating authority as engaging in argument trolling behavior, received no more than a “We’ll be watching you,” caution.
Ordinarily I’d just chalk this up to moderator indifference and a lack of thoroughness, but as it was indicated by others that the behavior demonstrated by the offending poster was part of a larger pattern of behavior, and so I did a search. Even a cursory examination of posts by said individual indicate a very clear and persistent pattern of goading people and thinly veiled insults, and yet I can’t find a single example of his being officially Warned or given any more caution than a “knock it off,” while several other posters have received official Warnings for responding in like manner or indeed with less invective.
And lest it be indicated that this is just limited to one individual who may retain some kind of incriminating evidence against said moderator, the same pattern of behavior recently occurred in [thread=539856]another thread[/thread], in which a poster responded to pointed comments that he was missing an essential flaw in his reasoning with personal insults and insinuations of mental instability with nothing but a gentle, “Stop that,” rather than a Warning that his actions were in clear violation of the forum rules. Another cursory search of this poster demonstrated the same pattern of behavior; unsubstantiated and untrue claims, response to challenge by invective, and nothing more than the slightest diversion from his behavior.
Why is it that some persons are given almost unrestrained reign to insult and troll for drama at the expense of civil discussion and knowledgeable discourse?