So is MPSIMS exclusively for kitten pictures?

Okay, the thread title is misleading. My real question is: Are we not allowed to have discussions on contentious subjects anywhere but the Pit?

I’ve seen this often enough, but I’m having a hard time coming up with any specific examples, and am not turning up much with a search. An immediate, active example of what I’m talking about the the Seattle Cop Shooting thread that has been shuffled about. It was bounced from MPSIMS to GD (even though I’m not sure what the debate was) and then off to The Pit.

Why? I’m not even concerned about that thread specifically, although reasons behind that thread’s movement might provide insight into what I want to know, but I am concerned about why every time a thread pops up about a senstitive topic, it’s deemed suitable only for the BBQ Pit. As far as I can tell, unless I’m missing a memo, discussions on sketchy topics are allowed anywhere. The only thing that is not allowed in other forums is personal attacks on other posters. So then why are we apparently not allowed to have threads about messy topics anywhere but the Pit?

These thread movements are oft-preceded with preemptive statements like “This may get ugly, so off to the BBQ Pit.” That roughly translates to me “You all are incapable of having a discussion about this topic without delving into personal insults, so in the interest of saving time, I’ll just move this into another forum where there are no standards of discussion, and this thread can devolve into whatever name-calling, childish clusterfuck it wants to… so long as nobody says ‘Fuck you!’”

A little insight, please?


Why are you arguing about this? It’s only going to end up in The Pit if you don’t tone it down.

Oh shit, I’m on the radar now! I would like a response to this, though. If this is how it’s going to be, the BBQ Pit should be labeled the “This is where we talk about things other than TV (of the unoffensive variety, of course!) and puppies” forum.

That’s right. You’ve been flagged. :smiley:

Seriously, there is some overlap between forums. That said, had that thread been started in the Pit, I probably would have moved it to MPSIMS. The moderators of that forum didn’t want it there, and I’ll defer to the other moderators’ decisions on what they want in their forums, just as they do when I move a thread from General Questions or The Pit.

While we’re on the subject, I’d like to point out that there isn’t a magic number of naughty words that automatically qualifies an OP for The Pit. As one of my predecessor’s has put it, I’ll make my best guess as to the likely response to your OP. And sometimes my guesses suck.

I’m not an MPSIMS mod anymore, but I haven’t washed the scent out of my clothes yet, so…

We have a lot of contentious discussions in Great Debates. And I’ve seen some heated discussions in MPSIMS and IMHO that were heated, although it’s not the norm for those forums.

That didn’t look like a “sensitive subject” to me, it looked like one that went off the rails immediately. You can see there are a bunch of personal remarks by the middle of the first page. That’s a pretty good sign the thread is going to (or belongs in) the Pit. Otherwise you’re probably going to have a mod waste time and give out a bunch of warnings in an effort to get the thread on track. I didn’t moderate the thread but I would have probably done the same thing.

That’s not a fair interpretation. Moves like that are usually based on the tone of the discussion up to that point, not a judgment of whether or not people are intellectually capable of discussing it.

Just as examples, here is one thread I moved to the BBQ Pit from MPSIMS. Here’s another.

I was this close (holds fingers 1mm apart) to saying, “And don’t give me any Great Debates garbage,” and then I got this:

Clearly, there are contentious discussions in GD, and that’s all fine and good. Now onto this business about contentious topics not being “the norm” in IMHO or MPSIMS - this means they aren’t allowed, then? Because they get shuffled to GD or BBQ Pit real fast like.

Can’t put it back on?

Apparently not.

As someone who was just about every other post in that thread, there were some dillholes who couldn’t keep it together, but we maintained a discussion devoid of personal attacks for the most part. It began as a thread about catcalling, then got moved to the Pit for reasons unknown (oh right, no, because some douche nozzles who never returned to she thread got some cheap shots off early) and remained there, but it was overall a pretty good, though infuriatingly annoying at times, discussion. There were some personal attacks here and there later on, perhaps because it had been moved, and at that point it was okay, or perhaps not. The moving may have been irrelevant, as the level of attacks remained fairly consistent between its MPSIMS and Pit locations. Sure, the thread was a subject that a lot of people get really pissed off (myself included! I could damn well shoot the next person who catcalls me!) about the topic, but I still don’t see why it had to be moved to the Personal Insults Forum.

But I don’t want this to deteriorate into a rehashing of moved threads from weeks, months or years ago. If a less than super happy goodness thread is brought up in a forum other than GD or BBQ Pit, it will be moved:

A) Immediately, because we can only talk about baby ducks in non GD or Pit forums

B) As soon as someone makes a not nice comment

C) Whenever moderation good and damn well pleases, because they don’t have time to make sure these subjects remain nice and pretty, so such threads will be moved elsewhere when they’re weary of dealing with them


D) None of these are applicable. They will be moved when _______________.

It needed to be said.

They are absolutely allowed. That’s why I said “I’ve seen some heated discussions in MPSIMS and IMHO.” Some of them belong in those forums. They do not all get sent to GD or the Pit. If they’re veering toward personal insults they might go to the Pit, and if they’re about a political or religious issue they might go to GD, but there are no rules against contentious threads there. In fact I went out of my way to keep some political threads (for example) in MPSIMS during my time there. Advice threads about dating and relationships can get very contentious sometimes, to name another common topic.

Sometimes, yes. In that case? No. I don’t know offhand when the thread was first reported but that one was too far gone.

D), with a little bit of C) in that these moves are judgment calls sometimes. There’s no objective standard for deciding the best place for a thread. Most thread moves are easy: if it’s a factual question it goes in GQ, if it’s about the arts it goes to Cafe Society, sports goes to the Game Room, etc. The difference between sending a thread to Great Debates, MPSIMS, IMHO or the Pit is often the tone of the discussion, and there’s no objective standard for that.

Just as a reminder: there’s no shame or penalty for putting a thread in the wrong forum. We just shrug our shoulders and move it. And sometimes, of course, it’s not the OP’s fault or responsibility, the thread took a different direction than intended. So, it tain’t no big deal.

I’m the mod who originally moved it out of MPSIMS – to Great Debates, because believe it or not I don’t think the Pit should be the default forum for unruly threads. Why I moved it – well, Marley nailed it:

As to why I didn’t spend an hour handing out warnings and then monitoring the ensuing discussion to make sure everyone behaved themselves – well, I’ll be completely honest with you: Moderating here is an unpaid position, and when that thread blew up I was also working on a freelance assignment that is going to yield actual cash money on the other end.

I move a fair number of threads. Within the last couple of days, I’ve moved one thread from MPSIMS to Great Debates (on Huckabee’s pardon of the Washington cop killer, and what effect that pardon will have on his presidential ambitions), and another to Cafe Society [a forum I also moderate, so this wasn’t about trying to duck my responsibilities]. This latter thread was, it turned out, started by a sock who was ramping ump for suicide by mod, so it was pretty polemical: about why members of minorities are so adamant about having other members of those minorities portray them in movies and TV. I moved it with no more than a reminder to keep it civil.

And, of course, I leave all kinds of threads in MPSIMS as well.

That was uncalled for.


So let me see if I have this now: We are allowed to have discussions about contentious topics outside of BBQ Pit, but if they degenerate into name-calling, rather than warn or tell people to knock it off, the thread is moved.

That’s not just reading between the lines. That’s looking at the first and last letters, and imagining everything in-between says what you want it to mean.

People get warned or told to knock it off in contentious threads. (Most of the time, that’s how you know they’re contentious.) If a mod feels the thread belongs in a different forum due to its tone or content, it’ll get moved. If there’s name-calling, that could be one reason to move it to the Pit. But it’s not always the case.

The best part about SDMB is that it *can *have discussions about potentially contentious topics without name calling & that tiresome tit for tat “You misparsed my sentence. Here, I’ll reparse it and your reply for you.

If we had a special forum for generic stuff being discussed un-civilly, sort of a GD/Pit Lite, and GQ, CS, IMHO, & MPSIMS threads were routinely moved there when folks decided to discuss like teens rather than like adults, well I’d be a very happy camper. Because I wouldn’t need to filter them out of the forums I attend to.

The point some folks seem to be missing upthread is that thread topics are not at issue. Nobody says MPSIMS has to be about kittens. But whether about kittens or CIA rendition policy, it needs to be conducted civilliy.

If we have a crop of posters who can only be civil when discussing kittens, well those folks will find themselves reading GD or the Pit (or my proposed new forum*) more than the other, more civil ones. Different communities for different tastes. Works in my book.

My bottom line:
+1 for the mods’ current behaviors.

  • This is not a serious suggestion, more of a thought experiment / straw man.

As an MPSIMS mod, let me throw my two cents in.

We have a few forums here that are defined by their subject matter. If you start a thread about the 1927 Red Sox pitching staff or whether World of Warcraft should allow gnome death knights, it’s probably going to the Game Room. If it’s about Nigerian Bagpipe Death Metal or that actress who played Mildred “Boom-Boom” Turner on All in the Family, it’s going to Cafe Society. If it’s about religion or politics, there’s a good chance it’s headed for Great Debates.

The Pit and MPSIMS are different. There’s no definition of what subject matter belongs there. Kitty threads could end up in MPSIMS (“I got a new kitty”) or GQ (“Is it true that all calicos are female?”) or IMHO (“What’s your favorite kitty color”). We do sometimes have to play things by ear.

I for one am much happier keeping contentious, impolite threads out of the more light hearted forums. I don’t see a point in having a separate forum for being a jerk to people if you are allowed to be a jerk everywhere else.

GD is weirder because it seems to have a high level of hostility since people are discussing things they feel passionate about, yet direct insults are fewer. I personally find hidden hostility more offensive than name calling, but this seems to make me a minority. I see it as the difference between premeditated murder and manslaughter–the more thought it takes, the more offensive it is.

Anyways, that’s all beside the point. The point is that different forums seem to have different standards of what behavior does not qualify one as jerk, even if the rules don’t specifically say that. It seems like the OP is falling into the trap of thinking the rules are all that matters, which is decidedly not the case.

I personally find that, if a thread is started in a civil tone, and someone comes in and takes it to an uncivil place, that person is trolling. The purpose of such a post is to stir up other people’s feelings, not discuss the subject rationally. I’d rather the moderator, rather than moving the thread, would instead tell the people to start a new thread (in the appropriate forum). Anything else is granting the troll power to control the thread. Instead of not feeding the troll, we’re giving them a buffet.

All right.

I’m not asking about basic categorizations; books/music/whatever go in Cafe Society, questions for which factual answers are sought go in GQ, etc. Fair enough, no questions, no argument (at least outta me) here. The thing is, while it’s pretty clear that “Look at the photos of my cat!” go in MPSIMS, when topics become a little less inoffensive and pointless than that, we enter the Great Foggy Grey Area. If I say, “My butt itches,” gross, but MPSIMS. If I say, for example, “I think cops should undergo more rigorous background examinations” there might be the Potential-Clusterfuck factor. My thing is (fuck me for not having a link) sometimes there will be a “Let’s not even start” disclaimer, before a thread is moved to the Pit. That’s what really causes a giant WTF for me?

As for other threads that are allowed to remain initially, but go off the rails, get too heated for its own good, or assume a non-MPSIMS “tone,” I suppose that’s not the way I would do things, but I am not a moderator, do not wish to be a moderator, and reckon the explanations are fair enough.

I’m going to disagree with you about that. I think this is a better description of being a jerk (SDMB definition). Trolling describes someone’s intent, and posters sometimes behave this way without the intent of stirring people up. More often the poster just reads something he strongly disapproves of, and says so.

MeanOldLady, there’s definitely some gray area. A lot of the time there is no factually correct answer to where a thread goes. Sometimes we’re responding to the way a thread is going, other times we’re guessing based on the way similar discussions have gone in the past. I think you’re interpreting this as a judgment on the posters for being uncivil or the OP for putting the thread in the wrong place. That’s not the case.

Gloria LeRoy, in case anyone is actually interested.