Revisiting the BBQ Pit- Boon or Bane?

Whether calling a post racist, stupid, etc is interpeted as “attacking the post” or by implication “attacking the poster” (after all, who would make a racist or stupid post besides a racist or stupid person?) depends, unsurprisingly, on the position being argued and the tenure/popularity of the people doing the arguing.

This is absolutely not the place to discuss other poster’s views on race. This goes for everyone else, too - let’s stick to the topic of the thread. If you want to comment on another poster’s character… well, as it happens, we’ve got a forum for that.

No warning issued.

I’m not looking to rules lawyer shit but I was attacking his country and nationality, not his race. South Africa is a multiethnic state and the “country” of South Africa doesn’t have a race.

I think it would still be in keeping with the topic to reply to two questions in that post that aren’t personal, and relate to the topic, right?:

The need isn’t to call names, the need is for open debate. And that only happens when you can actually put the correct name to things.

a) you can’t do that, either, any more than you can say a post is a lie instead of saying a poster is a liar.
b) that’s just fake politeness bullshit, anyway - everyone knows what you mean when you call a post racist.

Since the Pit is the only forum that currently allows that level of honesty, it should stay.

I see two issues here. Poster pittings (So and so is an ambulatory douchebag), and non-poster pittings (I pit the vote suppressing Republicans). Whatever decision is made about one should be made independently of any decision about the other.


I’m not commenting on any particular poster, but I will say that posters’ views on racism and bigotry is a large reason that I think the Pit has value. To explain why, I feel the need to start with a position a lot of you would initially disagree with, so I ask you to read the post all the way through first.

I have, relatively recently, been hearing a certain idea that I think has merit: Demanding civility at all times can often be a boon to racists and other bigots. The initial idea I heard was simply that calling out such is often seen as uncivil, making it difficult to reply back to bigoted remarks without being able to call them what they are.

Another way I’ve heard it talked about is to say that many white groups don’t have a concept of “real talk”—that you always have to be in the polite, civil mode, and that they see this as bad thing. There’s no point where you can just take someone aside and say “you’re being shitty. Stop it.” And that, combined with the idea I mentioned above, this makes actual conversations about race (and other bigotry) quite difficult. People will get upset, and, if they can’t express that, then they wind up not really being able to talk about it.

What I think is an appealing explanation is that bigotry itself is hurtful, especially to those it directly affects, no matter how civilly it is proposed. So you wind up with the bigots being able to say hurtful things, while the responses have to avoid overly expressing anger. While not every person would be doing it intentionally, but I do note this is a common tactic—make your opponent angry as it tends to lead to sloppier reasoning, and just has an aesthetic of being wrong.

That said, I do understand the underlying idea of wanting to have civil conversations. For one thing, people getting too heated can be hard to read, but there are plenty of other reasons I’m sure you all can think of.

The Pit thus functions as a bit of compromise. You get to have a place where you can respond at the appropriate anger level, but also a place where more civil discussion can take place.

Some may argue that venting anger has been shown to prolong it in psychological studies. I’m aware of that. However, I’m not sure the goal should be to decrease anger about racism. Anger is a motivator. Racism making you angry tends to make you want to do something about it.

As such, I think having a place where that anger can be expressed, where people can have that “real talk” and actually treat racism (and other bigotry) as hurtful and respond at the same level—I believe that is actually genuinely useful.

I would not want the Pit to be removed without some way to address this aspect.

The thing is you’re just describing bigoted trolling, and an actual troll who wants to operate that way would just ignore any pit threads directed at them. Their motivation to post on the boards would be to rile up posters in the other forums. The people who actually discuss things in good faith are generally willing to rebut Pittings. The people you’re worried about are more likely to just ignore them. You can pit someone all day long. You can’t make them come to the pit.

While everyone is not doing it intentionally, those who are doing it intentionally, making their opponent angry is the goal.

There are times when that is true. If someone caused you offense, then “venting” about it isn’t going to actually calm you down any. It will keep their offense in mind, and make you spend more time angry.

If someone is continuing to cause offense, then they are the ones who are extending your anger, and at some point telling them to knock it the fuck off isn’t you extending your time being angry, it is trying to remove the source of continuing irritation that is causing that anger.

And that’s where what is described as "pile-on"s are actually useful.

The bigot in question may get upset that there are a bunch of people that are agreeing that they are a bigot, but the poster that was getting upset with the bigotry being displayed can get some comfort in the knowledge that it’s not just them that is being pissed off by this troll or bigot.

Sharing frustration and even anger is helpful.

And if the poster in question sees that their views are found to be reprehensible by a significant amount of the board, they may just ignore that and continue on being reprehensible until they are banned, or they may see that they are not being accepted the way they would like to be, and work on changing their tone.

Yeah, it’s helpful when you want to bully other posters you dislike, and avoid feeling guilty about it by making them into an ‘other’ that doesn’t deserve any human consideration.

No, I’m not. Trolls aren’t the issue. Those can be dealt with by moderation. There is only one part in my post that talks about trolls, and I specifically said that’s not the main issue. The issue is people who support bigoted ideas.

I can’t get too specific, due to the rules of this forum. But there is a recent topic where I do not think anyone involved was trolling. But they did wind up saying something that was grossly offensive in a way many of us consider racist. And there were people who were clearly angered by that, but stifled by the forum.

Heck, now that I think of it, there’s a second one, where I think a poster innocently criticized something without realizing the implications of their criticism. People tried to explain calmly, but it wasn’t getting through. Now there’s a Pit thread where people could be much more direct.

Sure, my post mentions that some trolls do this sort of thing deliberately and obviously. Those can dealt with via mods. But “real talk” isn’t generally for genuine assholes. It’s for people who are otherwise decent.

And if the person seemed decent but was really a troll, then their reactions can actually give that away. One thing trolls usually want is attention—even if it’s negative—so I disagree that most trolls would avoid a pitting. And then how they respond can help out them.

I remember that happening recently as well.

No, that’s not when it’s helpful.

I stand by what I said, not by what you have chosen it to try to distort it to mean.

I think that @Rickjay said it well, “Alright, well, good day.”

We are getting into what Karl Popper observed,

Karl Popper and John Rawls, perhaps two of the 20th century’s greatest thinkers, had similar ideas on the concept of tolerance, but different conclusions on how it should be treated in practice.

For Popper, who coined the idea of the Paradox of Tolerance, his formulation can be summarised thusly:

“In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.”

For Popper, this is because any society which tolerates the intolerant is destined to eventually see itself destroyed by the intolerant.

We must take heed of Popper’s own famous statement that “all life is problem solving”.

It will come, but the urgency is ever-growing.

Should we tolerate the intolerant?

Perhaps the question is; for how much longer will the intolerant tolerate us?

And of course we’ll define “intolerance” in such a twisted way that fourth-degree implications of the most uncharitable possible readings of posts made by the out-crowd will be enough to condemn them, whereas other forms of direct bigotry will always be allowed from the right people.

I hope it doesn’t cross the line of forbidden topics to point out that vociferously arguing that we should not discriminate on the basis of race in certain areas of public accommodation is a common example of what the above poster believes is such racist “intolerance” that it must not be allowed to be vocalized, even in a “political debates” forum.

We know the answer to that. Every week another person loses their job or reputation thanks to intolerance on the left or the right. The intolerant are winning and the majority of people are now afraid to speak their mind.

And the ever-decreasing range of views represented on these boards suggest the intolerant are succeeding in stifling debate here too. Would getting rid of the Pit (or specifically pile-ons on unpopular posters) help? I don’t know. The problem is a reflection of wider society, not something specific to any messageboard.

That only works by ignoring that most of the ones being targeted were intolerant to begin with.

BTW a lot of those intolerant that you complain about it? The biggest ones still get to spew their intolerance and hate thanks to their think tanks and other intolerant supporters.

The thing that I wish more lefties would recognize is that the conservatives that actually are willing to talk to you aren’t your real enemies. We’re also a very, very small percentage of the conservative movement. The vast majority of conservatives are lost to polite society and have become both violent and antidemocratic. They would simply call you “traitors” “ANTIFA” and threaten, or actually commit, violence against you. They would most likely be armed with multiple firearms as they did so, as well.

I have spent years thinking about how this developed, and while I think it’s 85-90% some organic problems in the right that were festered and even cultivated, at least some of it has been informed by intolerant rhetorical shit the left does. Something I said many times during Trump–the left had so overused the slur of racism against Republican politicians, that when a genuinely super racist man ran for the Presidency the slur had no meaningful impact at all, because to everyone on that side of the spectrum we’ve just learned to not listen when you say “racism” because it’s become in too many situations just word you use to mean “I don’t like conservatives.”

It’s akin to how some conservatives use the word “socialist” (completely devoid of any knowledge as to what socialism even is or how it intersects with their usage of it), or calling everyone they dislike “elites” even when the speaker is themselves a Ted Cruz figure (i.e. an Ivy Leaguer.)

Edit: to tie this more into the board, I think the SDMB is one of the few places on the internet that semi-civil conversations between left and right still occur. The reality is the overwhelming majority of this board leftist, if you want that unique aspect of the board to survive I do think there ought be consideration of your own behavior.

Yes, not all are.

But some are:

Generally contempt from the right for those on the left. Treating those like a hive mind, or like sheep, or disingenuously making assertions of fact and then demanding that those assertions be accepted and justified.

Discussion cannot be had when one side claims that any disagreement with them makes them the victim. It’s a constant refrain from the right, “I’d be reasonable with you, if you’d just agree with me.” That’s what is seen as “compromise”.

Yes, there are a few people on this board that tend towards the conservative side of the spectrum that have made good contributions to the board. They are valuable members.

You are right and this statement should be uncontroversial.