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Political Threads
Posted: 02 April 2012 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]

I was happy when Jim expanded Hot Topics from 10 items to 15, but with the volume of new threads here, it’s common for more than 15 threads to be active. Some people above are still noting/complaining that off-topic threads crowd out baseball threads in Hot Topics. I wonder how much additional server load would be required to increase Hot Topics to, e.g., the last 25 threads with a comment. It seems like the higher the Hot Topics number, the better.

Posted: 02 April 2012 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]

But why is that troll bait?  Does race touch all our lives?  Did it play a role in baseball?  Does it? 

If this is just going to be message boards that deal with games, stats, and stuff like that, okay.  But if Baseball (capital B) is to be discussed, the larger issues of society certainly apply. If so, then the deluge. If not, then this become nothing more than a fanboy site. and it will quickly find itself with a radically different clientele.

Posted: 02 April 2012 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]

I constantly get the Campanis situation confused with the Jimmy the Greek situation (and there are similar names around those, aren’t there?  It happens every time for me), so I have to back up on my trollbait statement, yes. 

I STILL maintain, however, that a policy has to be adhered to for the creation of threads.

Posted: 02 April 2012 11:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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I have no problem with people talking about whatever they feel like talking about. That is part of the beaty of the site, that discussions veer off in random ways. Sometimes a thousand page thread is political vitriol and I avoid it. Sometimes it is a really interesting discussion about zombies in the real world.

Let people talk about what they want to talk about. If I don’t like it, i won’t read it.

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Posted: 03 April 2012 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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I don’t have a problem with things like the Santorum thread, or the Campanis one turning political. What I do have a problem with is people popping up in other threads to whine about their thread being closed when they fail to be courteous and burn it all down around them.

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Drink Along With Me! JugLub’s Semi-Whenever-He-Feels-Like It Beer Rating Thread

Posted: 03 April 2012 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder. - 02 April 2012 11:10 AM

I have a great idea. If those folks want to discuss politics all day just do it in the politics forum that already exists. Duh.

This.

Posted: 03 April 2012 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Morty Causa - 02 April 2012 04:06 PM

But why is that troll bait?  Does race touch all our lives?  Did it play a role in baseball?  Does it? 

If this is just going to be message boards that deal with games, stats, and stuff like that, okay.  But if Baseball (capital B) is to be discussed, the larger issues of society certainly apply. If so, then the deluge. If not, then this become nothing more than a fanboy site. and it will quickly find itself with a radically different clientele.

I didn’t see the thread in question, so I’ve no idea whether it posed the important issue of the influence of racial issues on baseball in an inflammatory manner. A thread like that is troll bait because the discussions here are unmoderated. And with the very limited amount of time the site administrators have to moderate discussions (I believe Jim and Dan have full-time jobs that are not connected to running BTF), moderated discussions are probably not going to happen.

Basically, it’s the same old story we remember from grade school. Some crass individual always has to ruin it for everybody else. It’s not simply name-calling or grudge-holding, either. People preside over meetings to control access to debate, in order to avoid a noisy individual from dominating the discussion. We don’t have that kind of self-discipline either. Some Primates let their enjoyment carry them away and put up a run of three or four posts in a row, some of which introduce new tangents. Suddenly the discussion is going in three or four directions at once, and some drive-by troll (or even some well-meaning participant) will toss in a bit of combustible material that causes a third party to lose their rag. These are all things that moderated discussions would prevent. So either people need to moderate themselves, or else, it seems, threads will be closed.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we have had more thread closures in the last three months than in the preceding three years. It may be that the administrators are coming well after the horse has bolted through the open stable door, but that doesn’t preclude them buying a new horse, a new door and deciding that this time things will be different.

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Posted: 03 April 2012 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]

I have a great idea. If those folks want to discuss politics all day just do it in the politics forum that already exists. Duh.

Nah, man, I save that for showcasing my baseball smarts.

Posted: 03 April 2012 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]

I didn’t see the thread in question, so I’ve no idea whether it posed the important issue of the influence of racial issues on baseball in an inflammatory manner. A thread like that is troll bait because the discussions here are unmoderated. And with the very limited amount of time the site administrators have to moderate discussions (I believe Jim and Dan have full-time jobs that are not connected to running BTF), moderated discussions are probably not going to happen.

I’m sorry, but this doesn’t pass the giggle test.  A site owner and it’s personnel can’t encourage political discussion like the people here do, then rely on the ain’t nobody here but us chickens defense. They have to know what follows what they so readily do. That’s not a trump card.  Passion follows politics, and argument and temperament follow that.  Let’s not forget the world we live in and the humans who inhabit.  Earth is not the vacation playground for God’s angels.

Posted: 03 April 2012 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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@all, I started a reply which ultimately exceeded the character limit. Hopefully I will get a chance to finish it later today. When it’s done I will post it to my Lab Notes.

Morty, that’s a lot of meaningless, flowery words. This isn’t primarily a political site. Although at times tangentially baseball-related political issues get posted, it doesn’t mean this is Kos.com or RedState.com. That some issues might generate emotional responses does not make the site responsible for any bad behavior of the individual posters. I have had many respectful political discussions with friends after seeing an item on the news or reading about it in the paper. If our conversation got heated it wasn’t the newscast’s or the paper’s responsibility, it’s ours. The conduct of the individual posters is their’s alone.

Additionally, the idea that I am responsible for following every thread is ridicules. What isn’t ridicules is expecting members to conduct themselves as adults when interacting on the site, especially when those members have been around here a long time. The fact that some members have trouble knowing where the bounds of civil discourse exist is their problem. It only becomes my problem when I get complaints. When that happens, my longstanding policy has been to close the thread and advise people to cool down. For most people, that is enough. For the most difficult of personalities, more personal attention is required. Since I don’t feel adults should require that much attention, my response is similar to the one I used when my kids were little…if I need to get involved nobody is quite happy with the resolution. Although we’ve tried some different other things (for a few years we tried moving the discussion to the forums), I have found, ultimately, it’s best to directly contact whichever personalities are causing the most problems and, if they can’t understand the established limits, to take more punitive action, up to permanent banning. In the past I have often relied on some of the editors and moderators (and sometimes individual members) to notify me about which threads need my attention. I’ve also learned there are limits to that as well. First, there are just too many ongoing discussions for the few of us to manage. Second, eventually whoever is taking on the most responsibility in that regard gets tired of the process. To alleviate some of the aggravation Dan has been putting up with recently and to try and establish more consistency with the moderation policy, I’ve re-assumed the sole responsibility of closing threads and stirring the tone of interaction on the site.

For the most part, this site is one of the best communities on the web. Most people, most times treat each other with respect. From time-to-time issues crop up (steroids, Presidential elections, the Paterno scandal) which generate excessive animus among certain members. In those times, my personal attention is required. Since I’m in the middle of a redesign, I’m working on creating some new tools to help me get a better picture of what is going on in more discussions by making it much easier for members to provide feedback about members, comments, and threads (like letting people easily flag a patently offensive comment like “For that matter, a lot of little 13-year old girls would like to be molested by a 13-year old boy [or a 20-30-year old one]”).

I will provide more information about the upcoming changes in my upcoming Lab Notes thread. Even when that’s done, though, I’m sure things won’t be perfect. Having said that, I am confident it will help me make the place more enjoyable for more members by helping me be more proactive in addressing the actions of any bad actors on the site.

Posted: 04 April 2012 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I’m a little late to the thread, but it’s still open…

One of the things that seemed to appeal to this community ten years ago, and still seems to appeal to the community today, is the general respect for fact over opinion. It’s at the heart of sabermetrics, and plays a strong part in the lives and livelihoods of the analytical/techie/lawyer types who frequent the site. We all have opinions, and there’s no problem with hearing different ones, especially where facts are few. But facts and objectivity rule.

I’ve participated in the political threads, religion threads, and other off-topic threads, and on some level I like them because with this community there is much greater potential for rational discussion. Where I think threads start to break down and become counterproductive to the site are when commenters are unable to separate fact from opinion in their own comments. And this happens most often currently in political-themed and religion-themed threads. (And steroid threads in the past.)

Still, if that were the only problem, it would be a small problem. What exacerbates it is when the community-wide discussion becomes dominated essentially by a small number of people, many of whom mistakes their opinion for fact. What was, or could have been, a community-wide discussion becomes more like a limited-participation discussion with a large audience. When that happens it seems that the few participants could switch to e-mail if they wanted, but doing so would remove the audience - and I think that’s the main thing. It’s not that participants simply want to prove the others wrong, but that they want to do it in front of the audience. What reinforces this for me is how quickly the discussion dies down once it is moved to the forums. None of these people are so tech-unsavvy that they can’t handle the move, and if they are so motivated to continue the discussion it’s easy to do. But any time the discussion is moved the audience does not move with it. The participants eventually give up, and the discussion dies.

Maybe it’s not as grandstandy as that sounds; maybe each repeats their talking points simply because they don’t want their opponent to have the last word on the subject. Some folks post something like “well, so-and-so hasn’t responded to my points, so obviously he knows he’s wrong and just won’t admit it”, which baits the discussion to continue. OTOH, that’s pretty grandstandy in and of itself. The only reason to post that, or to post in response to that, is to frame the conclusion to the audience. If it’s for the sake of the few involved… there’s the e-mail button, use it.

I think the reason why people have problems with the political threads is the same problem they had with BetUS or whoever it was posting advertisements masquerading as “content” a few years ago. We are a community, not an audience. We come here to satisfy common interests, not to satisfy the vanities of a select few. To the extent the TOS can be written to discourage related behavior, and is enforced, we’re better off. To the extent that people can click to ignore threads - and even moreso if the refresh rate and/or post frequency for a thread is throttled the more people have it on ignore - all the better. I’m fine with the platform for political discussion existing, and even encouraged; but if the platform isn’t used in keeping with the community theme then the community and the admin should be able to minimize its impact.

Posted: 01 May 2012 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]

I think the political discussions are fine.  Who cares if Sweeney/Santorum runs off the rails a little bit?

Posted: 15 December 2012 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]

what do you mean?

   
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