The low standard of moderation has become too much for me. (TLDR)

Apparently the new standard is that the role of the moderators in GD is not to enforce rules, but rather to decide whether the arguments being presented are honest and valid and to hand out warnings when they are not.

For those who are interested, the beginning of the end started herewhere I asked Gigobuster some fairly simple questions. For those who can’t be bothered with the link, the substance of it was

Not unreasonable or complex questions in my honest opinion. The type of questions that get asked in GD all the time. And I posted them solely in a bona fide effort to get a clear and accurate idea of what Gigobuster’s position was

Anyway Gigobuster simply ignored the questions. He didn’t even try to weasel around them, he simply ignored them.

So I pointed out several times that Gigobuster was avoiding answering the simple questions. A tactic that any regualr user of GD will know gets used regularly. After asking several times, tomndebb steps in with thispost:

So, here we have a moderator arbitrating the quality of the debate. No actual breach of the rules is even implied. The only thing that I am being warned for is that **tomndebb **has found my argument dishonest. And I am specifically told that I am not allowed to post dishonest arguments in GD.

Well that was a shock to me. I didn’t realise it was the place of Moderators to adjudicate on whether an argument in GD was honest. I also didn’t think they had the authority to stop people from using dishonest arguments. But apparently they do.

Now maybe I’m being harsh. Maybe Tomndebb is warning me for something else here. Maybe “badgering” is against the “no jerks” rule, though God knows it’s a common enough tactic and he certainly never made that clear in his warning.

But the situation that creates is equally disturbing. If I was warned because badgering = being a jerk then why has **Tomndebb **has taken the opportunity to intersperse his moderation with no less than three direct declarations that my argument is dishonest and invalid. 9/10th of Tomndebb’s post is commentary on the honesty of my argument. One sentence refers to badgering. We aren’t allowed to respond to Moderator posts in GD, so **Tomndebb **has taken shots at my argument that I can not address. And those shots have no bearing at all on what I was being warned for. Even if I wished to continue the debate without badgering, or whatever rule I am assumed to have broken, my argument has been trashed by board management using unassailable moderator privilege

Well that’s new behaviour to me. I have never before seen a moderator make a moderation call because an argument is dishonest, and even if it has happened, it’s totally unacceptable to me to have board management making declarations on the validity, strength and honesty of our arguments that we are forbidden, on pain of banning, to even challenge.

And in case you are wondering why it took me a week after this event to decide to post this, the shit has been piling up this week.

Firstly, in thisthread Colibri issues a directive that I am not to post relevant LMGTFY links. Not the worst admonishment by itself, but a bad call in light of the fact that we have specifically asked about this in advance, and been told by a freakin’ Board Administrator that it’s acceptable. Seriously, WTF are we supposed to do when we ask except get an Administrator’s word-of-god declaration that something is acceptable? This by itself isn’t a huge problem, **Colibri **was quite civil, but it’s just more inconsistent moderator behaviour in a week where **Tomndebb ** is already flinging it thick and high.

The final straws came as a result of thispost in another thread. In its entirety it consists of three sentences an apparently drive-by post as being too stupid to comment on:

For that I get more inconsistent, made up, subjective rule interpretation from Tomndebb. This time he claims the ability to interpret the “spirit of the rules” and apparently i have to develop that ability as well. :

So apparently now we not only get warning for actually breaking the rules, but also for breaking some nebulous “spirit” of the rules. And apparently three sentences dismissing a post is “piling up repetitive insults”.

This was just the final straw. I have previously reported other posters for calling someone “not entirely sane on the subject” or saying that if you “want to continue to make a fool of yourself knock yourself out” and similar insults. I was told that they wouldn’t even receive a Moderator comment because those were technically attacking the post, not the poster, and thus only violated the spirit of the rules, and also because they were one-offs, with no build-up of tension.

And today **Tomndebb **hands me an ultimatum again within a week for attacking a single post, something that is specifically allowed under the rules. A post made by a drive-by poster. And I was warned because **Tomndebb **has decided that it violates the “spirit” of the rules?

This is just too much, too close together. Some Moderator inconsistency is to be expected. But to be told by the same Moderator that some posters won’t even get a Moderator comment for “continue to make a fool of yourself” because it only violates the *spirit *of the rules, not the *letter *while I get an ultimatum, unreported, for something that is expressly fricken’ allowed in the rules precisely because he decided that it *does *violate the spirit of the rules? That is just bullshit. This sort of inconsistency makes it pointless to listen to some Moderators. We may as well not listen, because they clearly decide whether something is permissible or not with no attempt at consistency or clarity.

By itself this level of Moderator inconsistency would make me reticent to stay. But if the Mods are now openly adjudicating the honesty of arguments and making it a bannable offense to even post certain questions, it’s all too much for me.

At this stage if I am not sure if this is a new board policy, or if Tomndebb is just a really incompetent moderator who doesn’t understand that he isn’t allowed to arbitrate on the validity of arguments, or if he has some sort of personal gripe against me and is letting that get in the way of being objective.

And quite frankly I don’t care.

If management has decided Mods can adjudicate which questions we are allowed to even ask by measuring how honest they are, then it’s not worth the walking-on-eggshells that is required to post without getting a warning. And it’s certainly not worth the aggravation of watching some posters get away with blatant personal insults like “If want to continue to make a fool of yourself knock yourself out” despite being reported, while other get warning without being reported for violating some undefined “spirit of the rules”.

So, can I get this clarified please. Are Moderators now going to start pontificating on the validty of arguments on GD form the inviolable sanctum of Moderator status? Are they going to start issuing warning for people posting arguments that they consider honest? Or can we hope that somebody finally tells Tomndebb to pull his head in?

You are correct. But my man, it’s a message board, find your neutral space. And do not be expecting too much of the mods. Especially Tomndebb, for the reasons you note.

OTOH the vexatious report post is a tactic more often in use these days, particularly in GD.

And this is still a dumb argument. Where does this logic come from? If something is small, you can’t object to it. Why? It’s not like he’s bringing a gun up to someone’s house. He’s discussing perceived problems in moderation in the forum specifically designed for said discussion. He’s using a longer post on a board where people are supposed to be smart enough to handle them.

Why in the world shouldn’t he complain? Are there really people who are that passive and don’t do even the minimum about perceived problems. Seriously, why? It makes no sense.

And for once, it’s not being used by someone whose trying to win an argument. So apparently you aren’t just saying it to shut him down. You think it’s a legitimate argument that you shouldn’t complain because this is a message board, and message boards don’t’ matter. This makes no sense.

The mods pay indifferent and irregular attention to this particular forum. I refer to Tomndebb relevantly.

One of tomndebb’s basic assumptions is that it is not possible to disagree with him in good faith. Therefore, if he or another poster, has presented an argument that he considers valid, anyone who dissents must be doing so out of dishonesty.

If he finds your disagreement irrefutable, he looks around for something else to warn you. If he can’t find anything, he makes up a new rule and warns you for breaking it.

It’s just how tomndebb moderates.


If the mods in GD are to do anything about people repeatedly asking questions, it should be to tell people to answer them. It’s supposed to be a debating forum, and there are too many people there who either ignore questions, or provide non-answers to them.

That’s one of the main reasons I rarely post there.

Demands to answer specific questions in a specific way have been considered badgering since before I became a Mod. Gigobuster answered the general thrust of your question in his very next response to The Other Waldo Pepper, (upon which your questions were based). You may not have liked his response, (it may hve even been wrong), but it addressed the issues and no poster gets to demand that another poster answer in a particular way.

If you don’t like a specific response, you are free to post a different question, take a different tack, or challenge the response that was given. Simply repeating the same question over and over is similar to the tactic of the little kid that asks “Why?” to every response and is nothing more than a provocation to a fight.

= = =

Blake, you were not Warned for last night’s little outburst. You were simply told that your behavior was getting too close to a personal attack. And, as I pointed out in our exchange, there, repeating that something is “stupid” over and over and over without actually addressing the errors is not a simple “dismissal.”

I’ve always looked at *unanswered *questions as answered without words. But then, I see this as a message board, not a battle for survival.

A debate is a form of battle, though, albeit a rather civilised and word-based battle. Saying that someone can’t repeatedly ask pertinent questions that are going unanswered is not helpful to a debate. In any other forum, I’d agree with you.

Some people tend to ask Beckian “just asking” questions, or ignore answers that aren’t what they want–this is particularly noticeable from those who think they have some sort of be-all-end-all Gotcaha Ya question and answer point they’re trying to make.

By the way, I just had a chance to review this paragraph:

The “sane” comment was made in IMHO and I have no idea what correspondence you might have had with those Mods, but the “make a fool of yourself” comment occurred in Great Debates and I explicitly told that poster “If you want to continue posting in Great Debates, you will knock off the personal insults,” so I am not sure what you are claiming in that instance.

tomndebb, can you answer the pertinent question: if, as you claim, badgering is the issue, why was fully 9/10 of you post to me a comment on the honesty of my tactics?

Would I have been warned if you had adjudged my repeated questions to be honest?

If I *would *have been warned for questions you adjudged to be honest, then why was the honesty of the question the main thrust of you post? Why was I warned not to post blatantly dishonest questions rather than warned not to post the *same *question? And why did you use your position as moderator to issue an unchallengeable declaration that my argument was dishonest, when it had absolutely no bearing on your moderator duties?

If I would not have been warned for questions you adjudged to be honest, then all you have done is avoid the actual issue: the moderators are now deciding what is an honest argument and are preventing people from posting arguments they adjudge to be honest.

This is the issue here: why are the moderators making declarations about the honesty of arguments in their moderator decisions? Do the moderators now have the power to decide whether an argument is honest? Or are you simply unable to keep personal opinions out of you posts as a moderator?

Either way it is not a good reflection on the moderation of this board.

Read carefully what he called dishonest:

(emphasis added)

Note that he’s telling you not to ask why he hasn’t answered you since, in his (and Gigo’s) opinion, Gigo HAS answered you. Yes, he implies pretty strongly (via the use of the word “pretend”) that the rest of your questions are dishonest, but the thing you’re instructed not to do is to act as though Gigo hasn’t answered.

That said, I consistently find your debating style to be among the most unpleasant to read, even when I agree with you. If tom is able to affect your posting style, either by driving you off or by getting you to chill with the nasty contemptuous attitude toward everyone else, I’ll be grateful.

It was hard to tell in your wall of words that that was the “pertinent question,” but OK.

9/10? My post was not long enough to have been divided into 10 parts.

As noted, the issue of honesty was your claim that you “had” to repeatedly ask that question when any reasonable reading of the thread showed that he had answered the substance of your question in responding to The Other Waldo Pepper and that he was just ignoring you because you were badgering him to give a simplistic answer to an issue he considered too complex to permit such a response.

I have made no judgment regarding your position on the issues in the debate. I do consider your tactics to have been nothing more than badgering–repeatedly demanding simplistic answers to complex questions in a fashion that strongly implied that Gigobuster was, himself, dishonest for “avoiding” a question for which Gigobuster believed he had supplied the relevant response.

Yet again **tomndebb **you squirmed away from addressing the issue.

Why are the moderators making declarations about the honesty of posters in their moderator decisions? Do the moderators now have the power to decide whether a poster is honest? Or are you simply unable to keep personal opinions out of you posts as a moderator?

That is the question and you have gone no way at all towards answering it.

Is dishonesty now against the rules in GD, and are the Mods now arbitarting honesty to enforce this rule.

You quite clearly called my posts dishonest. Why did you do that if the warning was for badgering? Why did you use your Moderator immunity to call me dishonest in GD?

Out of 70-odd words in your post, 6 of them pertained to badgering and 60 to allegations of dishonesty. So yeah, tour post can be divided into 10 parts, and 9.10 of it relates to honestly and 1/10 to badgering. But this is all by-the-by.


You accused me of “**pretending **[to] actually have a 'simple” question that can be answered in short sentences of words of one syllable." And then went on to compare me to the notoriously dishonest Gish and Hovind for doing so.

You very directly and clearly stated that the problem was that I dishonestly claimed that my question could be answered in short sentences when I knew that it could not.

Or are you going to try to tell us that was not what you meant? That when you said I was “pretending” that my question had simple answers, you didn’t mean I knew they had complicated answers and was being dishonest? Are you going to pretend that when you compared me to Gish and Hovind you were not comparing to them because they are notoriously dishonest?

These are serious questions here. Is this the new standard for moderator intervention? That Moderators are going to adjudicate and pontificate on what posters know and what they are merely pretending? That Moderators are going to adjudicate on whether a poster is being honest?

A rule against badgering I can agree with completely. Badgering is an action. But I can not see what relevance the honesty of the poster has to do with this. Is an honest poster incapable of badgering? Is badgering going to be treated more harshly if the Moderators determine that a poster is dishonest?

I was being honest in dealing with GIGObuster. I did not and still do not believe he answered my questions in any way at all. I believe that those questions had simple answers and he simply ducked them because the simple answers were inconvenient.

**tomndebb ** do you intend in future to make similar determinations concerning my honestly, rather than my objective behaviour?

Do you intend to keep evaluating whether I am only pretending that my questions had simple answers, and whether I know that the answers were complex?

Is this evaluation of the honesty of poster in great debates the new Mod standard?

Or do you perhaps dispute that you you stated that i was only pretending to believe something when I believed something different? And perhaps you dispute that you said I was like Gish and Hovind because they were dishonest?

If you behave in the same manner, I will address your behavior in the same way.

I have answered your serious questions and I am not going to get into the games you are trying to play, here.

In other words tomndebb has decided he can accuse me of being dishonest GD from the sanctity of his moderator, and he doesn’t need to explain it.



Noting a less than honest approach to a specific argument in a single thread does not amount to a general accusation of dishonesty. Given that you often walk the line of accusing other posters of “dishonest” behavior, (as you did in both of the threads you cited in your OP), while carefully avoiding the rule against accusing them of lying, your claims that I am hiding behind my status as Mod are ludicrous.

And my explanation is pretty clear, so that claim is obviously baseless.

You’re still here?

Making six posts in a thread asking the same question definitely seems like it ought to be addressed by the moderators. Sorry, I don’t agree with you, Blake.