What exactly is "Insulting"?

After looking at a bunch of posts, I’m still having trouble understanding the criteria as to what’s insulting or not.

I was called out by a Mod for describing a post as having “nerdy and sneering” tone (which I thought was accurate), and then for describing the Mod’s tactic of what I perceived as making dogmatic assertions while implying bad faith on the part of others and not engaging in opposing points of view as “creepy.”

I can see certainly see how these could be perceived as insulting, but they were offered in the context of more blantantly insulting posts. In the same thread, people were calling each others’ posts “moronic.” And in a thread entitled “I pit the derisive, condenscending, anti-conspiriacy propagandists” the same Mod directly called someone “delusional”, and replied to their comment “this is stupid.”

Is there really a principled way to distinguish between calling someone delusional (sounds pretty gratuitous and insulting to me) or their ideas “moronic” and calling the tone of something "sneering’ or “creepy” (which is actually more just plain descriptive)?

Is there a “higher power” who can clarify this?

Reading is fun.

It really depends on where you post. Insults are against the rules everywhere but The Pit, and even there you can’t say a few choice words and phrases.

I don’t know where you posted that someone was “nerdy and sneering,” but you admit it’s an insult, so if it was outside of the Pit, it was against the rules.

Yes I reread that. Now explain to me why it’s ok for a Mod to call someone “delusional.”

It’s insulting not to link to the posts in question.

You can call anyone almost anything in the BBQ Pit.

Now read to understand.

You are allowed to call posters delusional in the Pit.

OK, actually that explains the “delusional” comment…

Still don’t understand the difference between “moronic” (which is apparently ok) and “nerdy and sneering” (not ok)

First of all, “accurate” and “insulting” are not mutually exclusive terms. If you’re tipping the scales at 350lbs, and I call you a fucking lard-ass, I may be technically correct, but I’ve still insulted you. Thus, your characterization of another post as “nerdy and whining” may have been correct (I have no idea if it was - a link to the post in question would be helpful), it was still an insult.

The [I pit the derisive, condenscending, anti-conspiriacy propagandists](anti-conspiriacy propagandists ) (sic) thread is in our Pit forum. The Pit was created as a place where posters could hash it out with each other with the gloves off, and is not bound by the normal rules regarding insulting or trolling behavior that governs the rest of the board. This is pointed out in the second paragraph of the link Inner Stickler gave you. Note that while standards are much relaxed in the Pit, it is NOT a no-holds-barred forum, and you’re strongly advised to read the Pit-specific rules stickies at the top of the forum.

There’s some additional hair-splitting about insulting a post v. insulting a poster that mostly applies to Great Debates. I’ll let one of the mods of that forum explain how that works.

FYI, here is the thread where the Mod note about not describing others’ posts as “nerdy” or “creepy” was given. Here is a post in that same thread where someone describes someone else’s post as “moronic”.

I have no further comment on the OP, since I don’t believe he is asking these questions in good faith.

It was pretty obvious that Marley was asking everyone to tone things down, not just you, even if he only singled you out. No warning was issued, so it’s not a big deal.

I’d say that covers the comment about a post being “moronic”, too.

I just wrote a post where I called an OP “insulting.” It was about the thread title, “Why do gays insist on marriage?” That seems an appropriate use of the word “insulting” to me. . . .

People do sometimes get moderated for calling posts moronic. It’s not a direct insult of the poster, but it’s close and it is something people object to. I gave you a note about “nerdy” because that seemed more like a comment about the poster than what he’d written. “Nerdy” and “creepy” are far from the worst things I’ve seen posted here, but you’re new here and I felt you should know that those kinds of comments are frowned on outside The BBQ Pit. I didn’t realize you were unaware of the broader rules against personal insults. That rule was the basis for my moderation in that thread.

OK, all that helps. Thanks.

Case closed.

I’ve given this advice before*, but I’m willing to repeat myself**:

If you’re new here, just read for a while, and learn. I did that for probably three years before I waded in and posted. Mostly because I realized that once I started, it would suck up a good chunk of my free time, but also because most of the people here are highly intelligent, and I figured I’d learn from them. And I was right on both counts.
*But everyone I’ve had to point this out to has ended up banned before they took the advice.

**Just ask my students, or my kids…

Doesn’t do any good when you are moderated for things that other posters do regularly. Calling someone’s post a derisive term is done all the time. And, yes, often, it’s obviously an indirect way of describing the poster.

It really would be a lot easier to follow the rules if the mods would enumerate them better, but they seem to prefer having people break the unwritten ones and then modding them repeatedly until they finally get the idea for what the rule actually is.

My best guess is that, when it’s not based on what mood the mod is in, it boils down to how mean your post sounded in general, and what your past history is of meanness. Well, that, and whether or not what you said was said about a mod, as in this case.

I have to ask - do you think commentary like this is actually helpful? The OP asked about the rules and the poster you are responding to offered some reasoned, sensible advice on how to get a grasp of the rules and the tone here.

No comment on this… just re-reading it (and bolding the part that’s getting me through a Teaching-Til-Nine-PM-With-A-Headache day).

NojNoj, there’s always the “Ask a mod” lifeline if you’re confused or unsure about a forum’s rule(s). They are generally very polite when they respond.