Rule clarification re: changing names in quotes

There’s currently a Pit thread that deals with the mass shooting/gun control issue (big shock, I know). It’s become a bit of a hijack in regards to whether it’s permissible to alter a poster’s name in quoted text. The debate starts here:

In this hijack, Starving Artist suggests that it’s okay to do so. Relevant links provided in the subsequent posts show that the practice seems to be impermissible. If I understand Starving Artist’s line of thinking, he says that, despite the cites given, the rule has never been enforced, therefore the rule is essentially non-existent.

I disagree. In my logic, the absence of enforcement doesn’t negate the rule itself. Speeding is against the law. If the speeder isn’t ticketed, the law still exists.

Note that we’re only discussing quoted text, as originally appears in the quote. Not a riff on the username. So, for example, someone could address me as Superdick (or any other bastardization of my name) as long as that alteration only happens in the body of their text. However, if someone were to alter my name to where it would say “originally posted by Superdick,” that should receive a mod correction.

Is that the actual case?

I’m not interested in trying to get a warning for anyone for breaking this rule. I just want a ruling one way or another so that that whole hijack could finally be settled. The digression is becoming extremely annoying.

This is currently being discussed in the mod loop. We will get back to you when we reach a consensus. Please be patient.

For the record, I’m not saying it’s okay to break the rule because it’s never been enforced, I’m saying there’s no such rule.

FYI - Previous discussions about this topic:

As Colibri said, we’re still discussing this in the mod loop. We’ll get back to you.

The previous discussions seem clear that there is- or was- a rule, whether or not it was enforced in the pit.

Well, it looks like to the degree there was a rule, it took the form of a ruling by Colibri in the ATMB thread linked by engineer_comp_geek, which no one who hadn’t seen that thread would ever be aware of. It was never posted in the form of a sticky in the Pit, and the Pit mod Giraffe stated himself that while the mods may or may not come to a consensus as to whether to allow it, it was at that time permissible although discouraged.

I first took up the practice after it was used against me, and have engaged in it myself (in the Pit) for pretty much my entire time here without so much as a mod note. And I’ve seen other posters do it from time to time too. This to me is pretty strong evidence that no such rule was ever in effect there.

This is simply wrong. The fact that a rule hasn’t been enforced is not evidence that the rule doesn’t exist.

There’s not a lot of point in arguing the case here. We are aware of your arguments. As I said, this is under discussion and we will let you know when we have a consensus.

Oh, for God’s sake, Starving Artist. The issue here isn’t whether what you did was ok or not. The issue here is whether what you did should be ok. The question of whether or not a rule existed, and was or was not enforced is irrelevant to that issue.

If/when the issue becomes “Did Starving Artist break a rule?”, then you can worry about past history.

I appreciate you all looking into this for a definitive answer. As I said, I’m not asking for anyone to be sanctioned. I just want the rule to no longer be a mystery for all involved so that we might get back to that thread’s actual topic.

As far as the thread goes, that shouldn’t be an issue, since Miller has given instructions not to argue the issue further there.

This thread reminded me of this thread - any progress?

That’s not so simple, IMO. If a rule is explicit and unambiguous, then I was agree that lack of enforcement doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. But if there’s genuine ambiguity about the meaning of a certain rule, then consistent moderator action and inaction amounts to an effective interpretation of that rule. (Which wouldn’t preclude changing that interpretation going forward, of course, but does amount to a de facto position on the existence of the rule at the time.)

Progress, but not conclusion. It’s still being evaluated.