Premature thread closure in Great Debates

I don’t believe it was necessary to close this thread on the topic of Moses Farrow’s support for Woody Allen.

It was closed after only 26 posts, of which 12 were either from the poster who was making inappropriate religious swipes or the three mods who came in to moderate.

The thread itself was just getting started, and had potential. If you actually read the article posted by the OP, there is an interesting discussion of the potential trauma of adoption, transracial adoption in particular. There’s also the topic of how #Metoo may have altered the lens through which we view the entire saga.

While it’s true the thread hadn’t really gone anywhere yet, it hadn’t been given much of a chance. Perhaps a better approach would have been simply to ban Tripolar from the thread if s/he was going to continue in the same vein, and let the rest of us develop a thoughtful conversation.

Also, given that there was no mod directive along the lines of “start a new thread in the Pit if you want to discuss this” or any similar instruction - which often there is in these cases - I am unsure whether it would be inappropriate to just start a new thread.

Anyway, I’m disappointed. I myself am an adoptee and have strong and reasonably well informed feelings on the issues Moses raised. A pity we won’t get to find out if the thread could have generated thoughtful discussion about those issues.

I was just about to create my own thread on this, so thanks to @CairoCarol.

If it was a train wreck, I think it was the moderators who made it one.

One poster was getting out of line, which perhaps warranted a mod note or warning, otherwise the only problem with the thread was three different moderators moving it around twice, fussing over it, and closing it.

It belongs in GD, and you could say of practically any thread in GD that “Neither side is going to sway the other. For the record, I don’t know and neither do any of you.”

I strongly feel it shouldn’t have been closed.

… what exactly is the Great Debate? This is more a battle of opinions (who do you believe?) than something that could ever be resolved by debate. I personally think the thread should have stayed in Cafe Society, but the next best place for it IMHO would be IMHO because it’s all about who you believe and not really something that could ever be resolved through debate.

I’m the OP. I saw the Guardian article just before I went to bed last night and I thought it would be something that would get discussed.

Then I was staggered to look this morning and find that it had been closed before I could make a single reply. Nothing I did was wrong. Nothing in the thread was qualitatively different from a hundred other similar threads. If one poster was derailing it, then that poster should have been kicked out of the thread and left the rest of us to talk.

If “neither side is going to sway the other” is the new rule, then apply it uniformly to all threads. Should we now report threads in which that is true?

Here are a few:

  • Is transracial adoption good or bad?
  • Is there anything wrong with celebrities playing “mother bountiful” and adopting lots of kids?
  • Should society universally condemn the Soon Yi-Woody relationship based on the actual facts?
  • Is Soon Yi a helpless victim or an adult with agency who made and should be held accountable for her choices?

ETA: Personally I don’t have strong feelings over whether the thread should have been in GD, CS, or the Pit. Any of those would be an improvement over closing a thread where one person was misbehaving and the rest of us were just getting warmed up in a civilized discussion.

… all of these “debates” are problematic in relation to the OP. “Is transracial adoption good or bad” is so tangentially related to the opening post I had to twist my head to make it fit. And any Great Debate predicated on “actual facts” is a Great Debate doomed to be a battle between two competing sets of subjective opinions largely based on other people’s recollection. “Is there anything wrong with celebrities playing “mother bountiful” and adopting lots of kids” is another IMHO topic as is the last topic as well. There is no debate here IMHO.

It doesn’t really belong in CS, and definitely not the Pit, but GD, IMHO, or even MPSIMS would be fine.

Moses Farrow is a therapist who specializes in trauma due to transracial adoption. Both he and Soon-Yi were transracially adopted, so it’s not tangential at all.

Personally I’m more concerned that the thread was prematurely closed than I am about where it was placed. So I’m curious as to your position on that: do you believe the thread closure was appropriate, particularly with no guidance on how to create a new thread that would avoid closure?

Still, I’m not convinced by your dismissal of all those topics as unsuitable for GD. The phrase “the problems of transracial adoption” appears right there in the text of the OP so I don’t know why any “head twisting to make it fit” was necessary.

True, the OP didn’t say something like, “RESOLVED: such-and-such should be the law of the land because blah blah blah” or some similarly precise language that laid out exactly what narrow premises should be debated. But if we’re being that strict now, a lot of GD threads won’t pass muster. Shall they all be closed?

…it certainly is only tangentially related if your intention is to frame a great debate around it.. That debate could stand on its own.

Then it should go into IMHO, and let’s discuss all the issues arising out of it, rather than narrowing down the debate into separate limited channels.

…I’ve already said what I think should have happened. The thread should have stayed in Cafe Society or at most moved to IMHO. But there isn’t a debate here.

That phrase wasn’t in “the text of the OP”. It was in the Guardian article cited by the OP. You have to twist your head to think a phrase from a cite should be the basis of a great debate.

Yes. Let’s close them all! That’s obviously what I was saying.

There appears to be, if not exactly a new sheriff in town, then a not-very-articulated new standard for what constitutes a Great Debate.

I started this in GD and although it didn’t get nuked from orbit, it got booted to MPSIMS. Yet it followed closely on the heels of Did We Treat Transgenderism Better in the Past, and I would have thought its debate-relevance was sufficiently obvious. Maybe the new standard is “nothing that looks likely to become a train wreck”. But what’s immune from that? If it weren’t controversial enough to have the potential for fueling a train wreck it wouldn’t constitute much of a debate either, would it?

It really wasn’t obvious at all. It read like a very long blog entry.

I was asking a rhetorical question, not accusing you of saying all threads should be closed. But I’m not going to argue any more, because while I don’t find your arguments compelling, I also don’t care much if the thread is placed outside of GD. The only point I really care about is that I don’t think the thread should have been closed, especially with no guidance on how to pursue the discussion further in a thread that would remain open.

You failed to frame a debate, It was a blog entry and doesn’t belong in GD. It seems to have got about as much attention as a long boring post deserves. I found out after the fact you’ve been told about not blogging in GD, so I probably should have warned you and disappeared it.

Your complaint here seem disingenuous or clueless.


To the OP: We’re discussing reopening the thread. We’ll at least answer by this evening.

I did take a swipe at the LDS, and the mod gave me a note about that. That could have been the end of it but the mod also moved the thread to the Pit and I think my next remark was fine for that forum, but whatever. I didn’t post in it again after that. I don’t know why it had to move to the PIt, or then to GD, or then get closed. And I don’t believe I derailed the thread in any way.

@What_Exit and the mod team, thanks.

I generally like your moderation, but I really think you missed the ball here. Sure, it’s fine to clarify why @AHunter’s GD post was closed, but I see no reason to assume he’s being disingenuous in claiming he didn’t understand or to call “his post” clueless.

@AHunter is far from the only poster who has said they didn’t understand the rules of GD and why their post didn’t qualify, so I don’t see any reason for the more personal response. I definitely don’t see any reason to discuss your opinion of his posts in general. That seems personal.

And saying stuff like “I should have Warned you” kinda comes off as a threat, saying “Don’t disagree with our moderation on this topic, or else.” But he’s in ATMB, and that’s the forum where you can disagree on a Warning. He’s not remotely unique in saying that he disagrees with a Warning, and doesn’t understand. It seems far better to explain rather than assume maliciousness.

One problem I’ve had with other mods is their assumption that someone is being disingenuous simply because they disagree with the moderation. But, nine times out of ten, the person really does just disagree or doesn’t think the same way you do about it. I don’t think the incrimination does any good. I actually think it often escalates situations. And the fact you had not done so is part of why I think highly of you. You actually revisit moderation, rather than assuming the other person is stupid. You explain why you disagree. Hence why I say you dropped the ball here.

Finally, since you did comment on @AHunter’s posts, I do feel the need to defend them somewhat. I don’t read them all, but I do glance at them. And I have to give him props for being a trans person who is willing to stick around and plug away at explaining the trans experience, even if through his own lens as nonbinary. I’ve learned from him. I think those who have little experience with trans issues would do well to skim his posts every once in a while.

Heck, I always assumed the allowance of his “blog” posts was specifically because of the trans topic, or his mental health topics. He’s not just doing the boring blog thing of talking about his boring life, but talking about important issues. He is verbose, which is why I only recommend skimming for the good bits, but he’s not unwelcome in my book.

Again, nothing wrong with telling him why his thread was closed. But he didn’t do anything several other posters haven’t done, and he’s not some hateful poster who I think deserves the harshness.

And I think the best moderation, from you or from anyone else, avoids that sort of personalizing things.

As I said, he has been told before about not making blog posts by other mods.

That was the key point and I’ll admit why I felt a bit pissed about his complaint. It wasn’t don’t disagree, it was if I was aware of past notes to him, I would have done my job and warned him.

Hopefully that makes more sense. And while this is the forum for complaints about moderation, I don’t think it is right to hijack this thread with it. But that might be a little petty on my part.

ETA: BTW: My understanding is AHunter doesn’t identify as trans. You might want to check with him by PM.


I don’t think we shined today in the premature closure and the 2 moves I made today. This I chalk up to we’re still learning. I got a mild smacking down* that I can’t dump my problem children in the Pit effectively. It was good advice. I will follow it.

* my words, there was no literal smacking down.