Proposal for a New Board Rule

Any chance that the moderators could consider the following rule for inclusion in the official rules?

If a person can demonstrably prove that any reasonable group of people would find that X poster has, in regards to a particular subject, developed his own set of rules, definitions, and tactics that are intellectually dishonest and/or lack any relationship to reality or common sense, that this poster be restricted from discussing that subject again.

Wait. . . first, were you serious? I’m guessing this is spurred by the recent drama in GD which spilled into the Pit.

I answered seriously below just in case.

Who are those people? Would there be a vote?

How would you define that?

Please note that if the mods are allowed to make the judgment call on what that constitutes, they may ask you not to discuss your favorite topics as well.

That sounds to me like it would cause more problems than it would solve. The most egregious cases already fall under trolling, and the less extreme cases would just be one more headache to figure out what’s extreme enough and what isn’t.

The other people in this thread seem to be a reasonable group of people who have concluded the proposed rule in the OP lacks common sense. Therefore, this thread should be closed post haste, and the OP banned from ever discussing it again. :wink:

I think there’s a level of has-no-relationship-to-reality where this really isn’t something vague enough that you need a hard definition.

For instance, I think that you could safely state that any reasonable panel of people (for instance the moderators) would be able to determine that David Wynn Miller’s ideas on grammar and punctuation are sufficiently deviant from popular reality that there really is no debate about it. It’s a clear and present fact.

The man would serve as a troll on any discussion of grammar regardless that he truly believes himself to be correct and helpful.

I would hope so.

How is a poster that has “developed his own set of rules, definitions, and tactics that are intellectually dishonest and/or lack any relationship to reality or common sense” not a troll?

I think this rule already exists, and your beef is with how it is enforced.

If the moderators would agree that this constitutes trolling, then that’s fine by me. Certainly I would be fine to report the behavior as trolling.

We actually have had considerable discussion among the moderators about how to deal with particular posters who engage in this kind of behavior in debates, and whether or not certain individuals might be prohibited from posting on particular subjects. The consensus so far has been that it would be too difficult to determine just where to draw the line. Moderators get accused of “bias” in debates enough as it is.

Besides, if we had to apply standards of “reality” or “common sense” to posting in Great Debates, it would cut down on activity considerably. :wink:

There is precedent though; ref. Handy and Reeder.

While I’ll admit that in this case the line would be lower than David Wynn Miller, I do think I could make a clear case for both a significant and distinct departure from basic human reasoning ability and honest trolling.

I guess that I’ll put together a best-shot petition and mail it in. Doesn’t hurt to try.

What an absolutely useless, uneccessary, and, frankly <insert your own favorite adjective to indicate both lack of intelligence and excess of narrow-mindedness> concept.

The concept is really pretty simple. Don’t feed the trolls. If you see trolling, don’t feed it, report it. If people didn’t feed them, they wouldn’t come.

If you have objection to ANY behavior here on this board, then as soon as it becomes clear to you that such behavior is happening, simply stop reading that post. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, just move on to the next post. If the thread gets caught up in the unworthy discussion, then close the thread and move on to another.
I much preferred it around here when the simple rule was, “Don’t Be A Jerk.”

I don’t think those cases fit what the OP is talking about. Handy was prohibited from answering medical questions in GQ, and Reeder was prohibited from posting multiple anti-Bush threads in the Pit. They were not prevented from posting on those subjects based on their debating techniques.

I have no compunction about insisting that posters adhere to factual information in GQ, but the rules are looser in GD.

This is an idea that sounds reasonable but would get ugly in the implementation. I know you’re phrasing this as a rule that would apply to everyone, but it would come across as one of those poster-specific rules and we try to avoid those.

Trolls say stuff to get a rise, true believers spread lies. DNFTT is relevant to the first, but I don’t know that it’s quite as viable for the latter. Stopping the spread of disinformation is an important task (in my mind.)

And that’s just it. Stopping the REAL raving nutjobs from raving nutjobbily keeps that nutjobbery from being put out in the open, where it can be squashed, shouted down, rebutted, or simply pointed at and mocked as needed. How are we to fight ignorance fairly if we don’t let it have its say?

As others have noted, there already existing a mechanism to restrict the posting.

That would be ignoring the thread.

Or, even, Ignoring the Poster.

I think it’s a horrible idea. Smug, elitist, narrow-minded, and just wrong. Or maybe just short-tempered and misguided.

You don’t fight ignorance with a muzzle.

I just keep thinking about Galileo when you say that. I’m sure that in his day, he was considered to have been spreading lies.

Whether or not some people on message boards are “spreading lies”, wouldn’t it at least be better to reason with them or ignore them? Sometimes very unpopular ideas have some merit. I was also just watching a ‘Nova’ on parallel universes which was an idea that was widely scoffed at in the past and that has gained some scientific acceptance relatively recently.

I’m not comparing message board participants with Galileo, I’m just saying that sequestering information doesn’t seem like such a great idea for those outlying potential new ideas.

How do you sort out which ideas have merit from those ideas that are plain loony? Common sense and reasonableness are just words that describe the norm and the current way of looking at things. Perhaps the ideas are not in the mainstream but they have yet to be validated.

Good point.


I’d like to see a few posters placed under house arrest and their movements restricted by the Pope.

Are you kidding?! They’d be posting more than ever from their homes with nowhere else to go.

I think you meant you’d like to see them under computer arrest and their internet access restricted by the police. :wink: