Pit rules have been revised

We’ve revised the rules in the BBQ Pit - see:

Notable changes:

  1. All comments and complaints about SDMB administration must now go in the About This Message Board forum.

  2. No abusive remarks directed at other posters. Basically this means you can’t tell another poster to fuck off (or similar). Creative insults on the other hand are welcome as always.

  3. No obscenities in thread titles.

  4. Quote tags are for actual quotes only.

  5. The rule against telling people they’re on your “ignore” list has been rescinded in the Pit.

Since some of these changes are significant, we provide the following FAQ:

Why are you doing this?

We’ve had several flareups between posters and staff lately about what is and isn’t allowed in the Pit. This had led us to re-examine our current rules and how we enforce them. Conclusions: (1) Most of what’s in the Pit we find pretty entertaining, but some of the cruder stuff we could do without. (2) Interaction between posters and staff on questions of board (and especially Pit) administration has been getting ugly at times, and recent band-aids to the rules haven’t addressed the problems. We need a new approach. This is it.

Does this mean I can’t complain about the SDMB anymore?

No, it just means you have to post your complaints in ATMB. You can say what you like; you just can’t be insulting about it. We think this will work out better for all concerned. For one thing, we’re more likely to give serious consideration to a complaint that isn’t laced with abuse.

Do I need to worry that I’ll get banned if I say something in the Pit that a moderator decides is too crude?

No. We recognize that the line between funny and offensive can be a fine one and often depends on context. We also understand that sometimes people lose their tempers. In most such cases we may tell one, some, or all of the participants in a thread to cool off (or we may close the thread altogether) and that’ll be the end of it. What will get you in trouble is persisting in doing something after you’ve been told to stop or making abusive remarks to the mod.

Can I argue with a mod in the Pit?

If you simply want to clarify a misunderstanding in a reasonable manner, no problem. However, any protracted discussion of a mod action should be taken to ATMB.

Am I not allowed to Pit moderators any more?

You can Pit mods for comments they make as ordinary posters. If you’ve got a beef about a mod action, that needs to go in ATMB.

We don’t expect these changes to have any major impact on what the Pit is all about. You can still rant about the world or duke it out with another poster. All we’re trying to do is establish some Marquess of Queensberry-type rules.


Close it. There is no reason for it. We don’t need two MPSIMS

Future Guest

My thoughts, Ed, are that you spend too much time hanging out with Admin and Mods. Their issues are all you can see since you’re exposed to them much more often than you are to the regular Joes’.

You’re wrong. Fix your mistake.

Well fuck me.

What’s the point of the pit now?

Actually, considering that both of the regular Pit mods have just resigned (one from The Pit, one from all moderating), and at least one has expressed that the reason for his resignation was the new rules, i’m not sure that it’s the moderators who are to blame for this.

This FAQ is unsatisfactory. Specifically, “fuck off (or similar)”. That “or similar” seems to potentially cover a huge amount of ground, and frankly I have no idea what the difference is between calling someone an idiot, calling someone a jackass, telling them to fuck off, telling them to go felch a goat, etc. I mean, obviously I can see that there are differences in degree between many of those, but I honestly have no idea whatsoever where a mod would draw the line. And, really: creative insults are OK, but abuse isn’t? One person’s creative insult is another person’s “report this post.”

This is an unclear rule and will lead to misunderstanding, confusion, and frustration. And probably some unwarranted bannings.

Define “abusive remark.”

Yeah, we have some pretty good Mods here. I’ll agree with that. Giraffe fuckin’ rawked!

I am going to step against the common trend and say, I see why you guys did the moderator thing, at least. Every time a mod takes an action around here there is a Pit thread, or whining and complaining, even when it was fully warranted. Threadshit like mad? Not my fault, it wasn’t really threadshitting, you can’t prove it, what does threadshitting mean, etc., etc. Insult somebody outside the Pit? More whines and complaints about how the sun was mis-aligned and how IT’S NOT MY FAULT AND I AM A PRECIOUS LITTLE HOTHOUSE FLOWER. This gets just as annoying as the insults in the first place.

As for the insulting of posters, meh. I have to admit I am not heavily invested in insulting of posters…so I won’t speak about whether it is good or not, but I’m inclined to take a “wait and see” approach.


Ed, what Pit are you talking about? It certainly is not the one that’s been here for years. It can’t function like this, and has no reason to exist as a rubberized with training wheels version of its former self.

Congratulations. You’ve officially hammered the first nail in the lid of the SDMB coffin. Keep it up, and the whole board will have the amount of traffic you’re seeing for “Straight Dope Chicago”. Meanwhile, as others have noted, the “Nonny Boards” will flourish with traffic (and ad views) that used to come here.

May as well change the motto.

Straight Dope: Ignorance kicked our buttocks in 2009.

I’ve expressed my opinions on this already. I expect that the opinions of the paying customers to be ignored. However, I wonder if one question can be answered honestly. Was there any outside influence about this? Is this an Ed Zotti policy or was there pressure from above?

Future Guest

What Gaderene said. Is this a joke?

So, if a mod tells a poster they are violating the “don’t be a jerk” rule, aren’t they also directly insulting that poster by insinuating they are a jerk? Under the new rules, will they be summarily [del]drawn and quartered[/del] warned or banned?

Hey… good loophole find.

Thus, the SDMB steps further towards mediocraty. That way lies death.

Somewhere between little and none.

It may get annoying but I think it’s a valid release valve and serves a very good purpose for the boards. And if a mod can’t deal with it they should not be a mod.

Got no problem w/ #1, 3 or 4. Don’t care about #5. #2 is, in my humble opinion extremely problematic.

I’m not the type of person to post long protracted (or even short) ‘farewell cruel world’ type of crap, but I’ve been posting less and less here of late, and these new rules exemplify the attitude that has led to that.

How is the SDMB like an Ethopian girl?

Well, at 10 years old they both have their fun bits forciably removed in order to please one of the village elders.

So we can insult people as much as we want, just so long as we’re not telling them to fuck off?

This is some fucked up doublethink.