We absolutely should get rid of the Pit, or change it to a place for ranting and complaining about other things, not posters.
Honestly, it’s the worst idea. There is simply no logic to saying that the rules are that you can’t be a jerk and insult people, and then say you can be a jerk and insult people. It’s preposterous.
Me. I have never thought it was a good idea.
The lack of civility on the Boards is breathtakingly bad. It’s never been as good as I’d have liked but it’s getting distinctly worse.
The arguments for the Pit, as near as I can tell, basically break down into three general positions:
1. We’re always had it and it’s popular. “It’s always been that way” is not a real argument.
2. “It’s popular.” The popularity of the Pit is not necessarily a good thing if it discourages people from participating in the Boards as a whole. We can still keep a no-insulting-other-posters Pit for fun stuff. If the SDMB was doing well in membership we wouldn’t be having these conversations, anyway, and the hostility is one of the reasons it’s not doing well.
3. People need a place to vent. Oh, please, what total nonsense. We’re supposed to be adults. Adults are not forced to engage in reprehensible behaviour. In real life, do you have no choice but to scream at people and abuse them so that you can be a decent human the rest of the time? Such behaviour is intolerable and no decent human would accept it for a second. I wouldn’t let a child do that. That isn’t how human beings work; you do not have some sort of minimum quota of disgusting insults that you are forced to throw at other human beings. If something here makes you mad, don’t engage with that poster. Ignore them. Go for a walk. Do the things mentally stable adults do.
I do not believe, not for one second, that allowing insults and attacks in the Pit makes the other forums more civil. Not for a moment. In fact, I strongly believe the nastiness and hostility bred there spills over into the other forums and my cite is the enormous amount of meanness. We have on the Boards a great many posters whose posting behaviour is suggestive of a belief that they have a right to be legitimately cruel to others, with no regards whatsoever for their feelings or dignity, and who think it’s just fine and dandy to go berzerk in the Pit AND press right up against the allowable boundaries, stepping right on the line, in other forums, and figure that as long as they’re not getting warned or banned it’s totally fine to act like the worst sort of bully to living, breathing people in a way that they’d never, ever do in real life. It’s truly appalling and the Pit makes it worse, all over the board.
By the way, I’ve pitted another poster or two, awhile ago. I feel genuinely terrible for having done so.