March 04, 2008

Thread-pissing: can we have a little civil discussion about what constitutes thread-pissing, and what editorial policy toward it is (and should be)? There's been a bit of it lately, or at least allegations of same (I'm thinking of three, possibly four different threads, which I'll reference if anyone wants).

posted by lil_brown_bat to editorial policy at 02:39 PM - 56 comments

What is thread-pissing? I'm still new to all the blog lingo.

posted by BoKnows at 02:51 PM on March 04

Thread-pissing is pissing on a thread, and that's why I started this thread: to discuss just what is and isn't considered pissing on a thread. I think there are some behaviors that we can safely identify as pissing in a thread (going into a futbol thread to comment, "Aaah soccer is a stupid sport", for example), but where's the line? Or what are some other examples of different types of thread-pissing?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:07 PM on March 04

(going into a futbol thread to comment, "Aaah soccer is a stupid sport", for example) If that's the going definition then I'm aboard for finding a solution. It seems the Pats and Red Sox get a lot of negative posts/posters. (I'm from St. Louis, I have every reason to hate both teams from NE but I don't. And if I did, I'm not sure I would post away picking fights.) That usually starts arguments and prevents most from having a discussion. I know I've abandoned a thread solely to not get into a personal dispute, even though the thread's article was interesting. Side note: A lot of threads get posts on the day of, and a few more the next day. By the third or fourth day, the threads are dangling with only a handful of comments. Has there always been such a quick turnaround of posts? I usually form my better opinions after a day or two of thinking about the subject, but by then the post is dead. What gives?

posted by BoKnows at 03:25 PM on March 04

I've seen several type comments that I consider thread pissing: 1. Going into a thread and and merely stating that you hate the topic. I see little difference between this and your 'soccer is stupid' example. 2. Every patriots thread, no matter what the topic, becoming a debate on their hatred of the patriots. Every thread seems to go down that path. 3. The posting of links that have nothing to do with the topic simply to get in a jab. And it's my fault for responding.

posted by justgary at 03:30 PM on March 04

I think it's going into a discussion when you have absolutely no interest in the subject and demonstrating your contempt. I don't think it's going into a discussion and posting on a tangent. That kind of thing happens all the time, and it can be positive.

posted by rcade at 03:48 PM on March 04

Good god. Patriots threads bring out the most irrational people.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:55 PM on March 04

I think it's going into a discussion when you have absolutely no interest in the subject and demonstrating your contempt. I think that's a great definition. I don't think it's going into a discussion and posting on a tangent. That kind of thing happens all the time, and it can be positive. The two aren't necessarily exclusive. Bringing up spy-gate is a tangent that seems to be brought up in every patriot thread. It can be positive, it's usually not.

posted by justgary at 04:02 PM on March 04

I'm sure this is inspired by the latest Patriots and Red Sox threads (although the Steinbrenner thread did not start out originally as a commentary on the Red Sox). I believe we had a few rather emotional threads about the Yankees as well. The point is that threads about successful teams are going to bring forth those who are in some way envious of that success, and feel compelled to justify that envy by putting out the usually venomous comments. Let me take your points in order, justgary. First, the "I hate the topic" comment should never be allowed. Period! Can the Pantheon just chop these without a second thought? I was always taught that if you had nothing good to say, then remain silent. On some topics, my silence is deafeneing because I have strong negatives about the topic. On others, I have llittle knowledge of what is being discussed, so I go with the philosophy that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Your point about Patriots threads (and now Red Sox/Yankees) is well taken. Because the teams are located in the northeast, with large media outlets nearby, they do seem to get more attention than other teams. I agree (sometimes) with those who feel that ESPN is a house media outlet for all things Boston and New York. But if you have watched ESPN and others over a period of years, you will notice that their coverage goes to the front-runners. Of course, fans in San Francisco want to hear about the 49ers or the Giants (for example), but when those teams aren't piling up the wins, ESPN would rather cover the "hot" stories. Thus the envy factor that I wrote about in my first paragraph. How to cure it? Maybe those of us who are fans of the teams that draw the ire of others should just refuse to rise to the bait. When the "I hate the Patriots" comments appear, ignore them. Post your own take on the article and move on. If the rebuttals begin to get personal, I think the Pantheon will be able to see that and delete the comments. Posting links (and comments) that are off-topic just to get a in a dig falls into the same category as a personal "diss". It just shouldn't be tolerated. One other "sin" that all of us are prone to do is to post an inane comment or link that may or may not have anything to do with what is being discussed. I can't say this is all bad, because some of our funniest threads have degenerated into this sort of thing. The SpoFi community is very much like a bunch of friends sitting in a bar watching the TV and talking about sports as the topics come up. There will always be disagreements, but mostly they are mild and handled by buying another round of beers. Once in a while, the guy three tables away comes into the conversation with something that some don't really want to hear. When you're face to face, that can lead to some unwanted consequences, so for the most part, you ignore it. If the guy is obnoxious enough, maybe the bartender will ask him to leave. I see the Pantheon in the role of the bartender, but the rest of us need to think carefully in our original comments, and think doubly carefully if we reply to a comment. I obviously have a touch of diarrhea of the keyboard today, so I've gone on far too long. My apologies to you, but I had to get it off my chest.

posted by Howard_T at 04:31 PM on March 04

A TOUCH?!?! Naw - just joshing. NFL and Red Sox/Yankees is going to bring the noise. This is the guaranteed by-product of sports in North America. I mean - let's just let most of these barking dogs make themselves horse. I was surprised that people responded to whitedog so quickly. You snapped up that lure in a second. Of course, then I did. But by then why not have a little fun.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:38 PM on March 04

I think this kind of thing can be a slippery slope. By what gradient do we measure when a comment devolves from the inane (which is all I do for the most part) to pissing. For example, I went on and on and on about how Belichick was the devil this season. I found it funny, but most everyone here was smart enough to ignore me. It could have very easily been interpreted as hating the team or coach, even though that was not my true intent. I did not say one thing positive about the Patriots all season, yet nobody seemed to have a problem with it. But, meantime, in the Favre retirement thread, it seemed to me to be an example of pissing to hear the snark about his failings as an athlete and person. Everybody has an opinion. Why can't I say I don't agree or like yours. Or to maybe point out that this isn't the time. And, personally, I don't think that particular discussion was bad. Just made the line harder to define. So what am I getting at? I have no idea. Damned cold medicine.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:12 PM on March 04

The posting of links that have nothing to do with the topic simply to get in a jab. I entered a response to the link I posted and in no way meant it to be a "dig" at anyone. Sometimes I think people consider a "dig" to be anything they don't like or agree with. My link had to do with "haters," which others wanted to label people earlier in the thread, and also spoke to the intensity some high-strung individuals feel about a rivalry such as Yankees-Red Sox. It was also current, in the news today. But if this "thread-pissing" stuff is going to be defined and weeded out, it needs to be a rule of conduct for everyone, including the people with single-digit numbers on their member jerseys.

posted by dyams at 06:25 PM on March 04

But, meantime, in the Favre retirement thread, it seemed to me to be an example of pissing to hear the snark about his failings as an athlete and person. Everybody has an opinion. Why can't I say I don't agree or like yours. Or to maybe point out that this isn't the time. I'm in total agreement up until that last line, which is a perfect segue into my two cents (so thanks, THX). If Favre's retirement or Randy Moss re-signing is the topic of the FPP, then why a poster has issues with Favre or Moss certainly seems to be on-topic to me. Other posters can and will challenge that opinion but isn't that the whole point of the site? For example, I'm a fan of Favre, but the fact that he refused to mentor Aaron Rodgers is a good point. And one not likely mentioned in a forty post eulogy to Favre.

posted by cjets at 06:31 PM on March 04

You snapped up that lure in a second. I did and I keep doing it. It's a total character flaw, I'm just sick of hearing it. So I apologize for the constant playing of Hall Monitor. My skin has been thinned by deadspin and other places on the net where, as a New Englander, you just can't read the comments anymore unless you're a masochist.

posted by yerfatma at 07:41 PM on March 04

I say ignor them. If you (the understood you) need to reply to a "piss-on" comment make it and then let it go. It seems like some hold their team allegiance like a shield and wield their sarcasm like a sword on anyone who dares make a snarky remark. Then it seems like it is pile on and beat the offender to their knees. As for the posters of pissy comments...think before you type. Personally I don't care to be blasted for a remark, but maybe you do. For you members who just like to snark then sit back and watch the show...please don't do that. It detracts from the quality that is Sportsfilter.

posted by steelergirl at 08:05 PM on March 04

I was thinking about this the other day and I've come to a decision. Orange is definitely my favorite flavor.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:14 PM on March 04

Having gone away for a couple of hours... It was actually the Favre thread that provoked me to start this one, although the other threads were fuel for the fire. I think there was probably at least one instance in each of those threads where I said, "You know what, that's just plain pissin' in the punchbowl." I don't really think that because you have issues with something that's related to the topic of the thread, it's automatically appropriate and on-topic for you to vent in the thread. At the same time, while we probably would find that we've got broad consensus on certain behaviors being thread-pissing, all we've ever put in the guidelines are a few examples of it. We got the "I can so say!" response from some individuals, and there's no answer you can make to that if you haven't defined what thread-pissing is. I don't know that we're going to arrive at any such definition, but I thought it a subject worthy of discussion.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:39 PM on March 04

I don't really think that because you have issues with something that's related to the topic of the thread, it's automatically appropriate and on-topic for you to vent in the thread. Having issues with the premise of an argument is where discussion comes from. Favre's retirement thread brings out a heated debate; some people see him as a hero, some people see him as a risk-taking quarterback who doesn't belong in the elite. The day of his retirement is as good a day as any for people to discuss that. It's not like the man is dead and needs a funeral procession of people saying how wonderful he is. He's just retiring.

posted by dfleming at 07:59 AM on March 05

I don't really think that because you have issues with something that's related to the topic of the thread, it's automatically appropriate and on-topic for you to vent in the thread. If a thread is about Favre and 10 people post how wonderful he is, I don't think it is wrong to point out the ways in which he wasn't wonderful. Sometimes the accolades are enough provocation to try to throw in some balance. The same goes for the Pats. If it is on topic to talk about how great the Pats are, then it has to be on topic to talk about the ways in which they are not great. Or, what dfleming said.

posted by bperk at 08:05 AM on March 05

I agree with what you said, dfleming. What it comes down to is probably the tone of the comments. It's easy to realize when someone posts a remark and puts absolutely no though into its content, how it's written, or how it may be taken by others. I posted a comment bringing up the problems Favre had in Atlanta, such as his alcohol abuse, merely because it's actually a huge turning point for one franchise (Atlanta), in a negative way, while being an even bigger one, in a positive way, for Green Bay. I could have posted this by saying, "Favre was a drunken idiot in Atlanta," but that wouldn't be responsible. At the same time, I agree we don't need to treat the guy like he's dead with 50-100 posts saying, "Thanks Brett, Enjoy Your Retirement!" I'd much rather discuss the good, not so good, whatever, with regards to topics, but in a civil (for the most part, hopefully) way.

posted by dyams at 08:09 AM on March 05

dfleming: Having issues with the premise of an argument is where discussion comes from. There wasn't an argument to respond to, dfleming. It was an observation: the guy's retiring. bperk: If it is on topic to talk about how great the Pats are, then it has to be on topic to talk about the ways in which they are not great. Same thing here, only much more so. The FPP wasn't about "how great the Pats are", and if you read the thread, you will find that (if you discount my "re-signs, Yang!" comment and the related ones) it started with a comment about Roethlisberger, followed by a thread-piss about how much Randy Moss sucks. There were no accolades to respond to. Please, call a spade a spade.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:45 AM on March 05

There were no accolades to respond to. Only if you didn't read the link.

posted by bperk at 09:03 AM on March 05

Only if you didn't read the link. Oh, come now! The head coach says what amounts to, "We're really happy to have him back," and you call that "accolades"? You're really sounding like an apologist here, bperk.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:12 AM on March 05

Stop. I don't see how you can ignore implicit arguments. Any thread about Brett Favre retiring inherently suggests his retirement is noteworthy. People are free to disagree with it; I just wish, like dyams suggested, they would consider the tone they use. I think a lot of decent "debate" is stifled by the perception you need to say something in a talk-radio, over-the-top style to make sure it gets noticed. Pretending disagreements don't exist because they're not explicitly spelled out in a link doesn't do anyone any good. Would you prefer Pats' threads were simply a litany of praise from fans?

posted by yerfatma at 09:16 AM on March 05

Would you prefer Pats' threads were simply a litany of praise from fans? I can think of at least one person who'd be happy with that. Just kidding. Sort of. You snapped up that lure in a second. Whaddaya want? The trolls carry shiny metal objects that attract us. Must have the Precious.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:28 AM on March 05

There wasn't an argument to respond to, dfleming. It was an observation: the guy's retiring. If you're arguing for a simple observation and move on policy on things like this, sorry, you're fucking nuts. That's not a community; that's Google News. Sports sites like this discuss not only *the* incident itself but also the effect it will have on the sporting community as a whole. Favre's retirement will lead into a discussion about his place in history because it's the most logical place to go with it. Discussing the merits of his career achievements, numbers and reputation (which are, incidentally, in the article) is important.

posted by dfleming at 11:01 AM on March 05

All I gotta say is that I absolutely love how the SpoFi community polices itself and works continually to improve the quality and the calibre of the posts and ensuing discussions. I've said it before and I'll say it again, with limited time in a day to get up-to-speed on what's going on in the sports world, I check in here before turning on the tube or sports radio. I'm also a fan of just letting the "thread pissers" piss themselves out. Not responding usually ends it right then and there. Practicing restraint and not sinking into those back'n'forth pissin' contests works, for the most part. Like steelergirl said, simply ignore them.

posted by Spitztengle at 12:41 PM on March 05

And wade through puddles of piss. Meh. I take your point that they usually -- not always -- piss once and not again if no one responds, in that thread. And then they go and do it in another thread, and another, and another. And, even supposing those of us reading this live by some kind of "don't respond" consensus, we're not the only ones reading and posting on the threads. The end result, whether you want to blame it on the responders or the pissers, is that there's plenty of piss to go around. Is the consensus here that it doesn't matter and/or that nothing can/should be done to help the situation?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:00 PM on March 05

It seems that there is a consensus about certain types of comments which are clearly thread pissing (i.e. "soccer is a stupid sport" or "this is a stupid post"). But negative comments about a players such as Favre or Moss are not necessarily thread pissing. It depends, as Dyams said, on the quality of the post. And, it seems to me, it's just too subjective to try and codify the difference between negative posts and trolling except in the most basic way. A Brett Favre fan might find some of the posts about Favre to be trolling. But if the posts are well written and raise good points, why can't the poster express his negative view of Favre without it being called thread pissing?

posted by cjets at 03:24 PM on March 05

The end result, whether you want to blame it on the responders or the pissers, is that there's plenty of piss to go around. Is the consensus here that it doesn't matter and/or that nothing can/should be done to help the situation? I think, at least personally, things are nowhere near as bad as you make them seem. The signal to noise is still quite high. If there is a particular user you think is being a problem, please single them out so that the admins can deal with it. Your reluctance to point out all the pissing going on with links makes it very hard to believe there are more than a few concentrated drops of piss around.

posted by dfleming at 04:41 PM on March 05

I was thinking about this the other day and I've come to a decision. Orange is definitely my favorite flavor. How can you say that with purple standing right there? Have you no decency? *coughs* Since we're discussing "policy" I've cherry-picked some rules for one of the finest blogs around (DodgerThoughts for those who have yet to hear me pimp it from the mountaintops) to provide an example of rules that work for another community of commentors, that we may compare and contrast.

Thank You For Not ...
  1. using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
  2. personally attacking other commenters
  3. baiting other commenters
  4. arguing for the sake of arguing
  5. discussing politics
  6. using hyperbole when something less will suffice
  7. using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
  8. making the same point over and over again
  9. typing "no-hitter" to describe any no-hitter in progress
  10. being annoyed by the existence of this list
  11. commenting under the obvious influence
  12. claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with
Now obviously some of these rules are pretty site-specific (excessive hyperbole may seem like an odd duck until you see it in the wild), but they provide an example of how rules can be crafted to fit your needs. The overall point is when you have a community of passionate users you need to be able to encourage good discourse (which may not always sound intelligent) between users (which is the point of this site) while not allowing the conversation to grow contentious (second time I've used this word today, like me a good word of the day calendar). It is very hard as an "average user" when faced with someone with "the wrong facts" or "a stupid opinion" or who is "fucking nuts", to carry on civil discourse. And without the power to wield the banhammer it is far too easy for us too look for the heaviest, bluntest form of snark possible to bludgeon the poor dolt who thinks Juan Pierre in LF is a good idea. While satisfying (OH so deliciously satisfying!) it doesn't make us look too good. With that said, I call upon my fellow SpoFites to use the more delicate and precise tools available to them. Their intellect. Their good humour. Their good judgement. Their statistics, facts, and links. Use these tools so you won't get discouraged by the dolt who would oppose you. Use these tools so that even if you don't agree, you can be satisfied by the fact you were civil. Apologies for the excessive asides, commas, bunny quotes, and slandering of the good flavor purple's name.

posted by lilnemo at 06:50 PM on March 05

Oh, sure, appeal to everybody's higher nature. That always works.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 07:41 PM on March 05

Those are pretty interesting lilnemo, especially these two, which are highly related: 4. arguing for the sake of arguing 8. making the same point over and over again Some of the best threads are those that go back and forth. But in the worst threads we have a combination of those two; members making the same point over and over for the sake of arguing. Figuring out the difference can be tough. The same way with tangents. They can add to the discussion, or they can be used by someone to take attention away from the link and towards an axe they have to grind. The other two of my examples are easy. The first, complaining about the topic, should be deleted, and it's my fault that I didn't do it in a recent thread, waiting for a response that never came. My third example was a mistake on my part and I apologized to dyams. He's a good sportsfilter member and didn't deserve my jumping to a conclusion.

posted by justgary at 11:40 PM on March 05

Hmm. Well, I want to thank you all for the food for thought. I accept that this is a thing that's just been bugging me lately, and that may not have any connection with anything going on with the site as such, or indicate any need to do something. I really did just want to hear the thoughts of others, and it's been very helpful. (and special thanks to lilnemo -- that was an elegant little gem)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:18 AM on March 06

This whole dumb-ass thread pisses me off. I think anyone who agrees with that list, also pisses me off. What are you gonna do about it? It's like a bunch of fascist republican commies took over this site. Seriously, this is the dumbest thread in the history of conversation. I'm sure everybody here just loves my every post and hangs on my every word. I mean this is a dumb topic. What's more, I don't even like the topic. No hitter. I don't even like that list. It annoys me. I know this comment is going to be deleted because everyone here knows I'm right. Screw you all, I'm drunk. BY4nowcul8r. kby (Did that cover it?)

posted by THX-1138 at 12:15 PM on March 06

Needs more "nuff sed!" Plus, TBH hit #7 better.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:41 PM on March 06

Plus, TBH hit #7 better. Shitting on somebody else's thread is taboo; you should know that by now. Yeah, but now I'm also confused. That's because after all this talk about pissing on threads, TBH had to go and talk about "shitting" on threads too??? What is it? Piss? Or Shit? I don't know what to do anymore!?!? 'nuff said

posted by Spitztengle at 01:48 PM on March 06

The "no-hitter" thing threw me off. Red Sox R the SHIT!! You guys R dum. 'nuff said.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:13 PM on March 06

Spitz, I was wondering when someone was going to bring that up.

posted by hawkguy at 02:22 PM on March 06

Think of the children! (I don't know what that means, I just figured it needed to be said about now)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:57 PM on March 06

Piss? Or Shit? I don't know what to do anymore!?!? Wear diapers. You're covered either way.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:11 PM on March 06

Wear diapers. You're covered either way. I just hope I don't have to share a cab with you.

posted by hawkguy at 03:22 PM on March 06

I don't think TBH is the one you have to worry about.

posted by apoch at 08:13 PM on March 06

...use the more delicate and precise tools available to them. Their intellect. Their good humour... Home Depot and Lowes don't carry these tools. The guy in the local hardware store said they used to carry intellect, but since nobody ever bought any, they discontinued it. When I asked about good humour, he questioned my accent, then he told me to wait for summer when the ice cream truck comes around.

posted by Howard_T at 10:00 PM on March 06

Howard, I know a guy who can hook you up, but strictly on the QT. His enforcer is named Maddux, so make sure you keep your trap shut.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:18 AM on March 07

TBH, you know better than to spell out that name in its entirety. Lock your doors and windows tightly for the next few weeks. I won't mess with anyone associated with Mr. G.M.

posted by Howard_T at 08:26 AM on March 07

Just got this news from a friend on +++meetwealthyboomer.com+++ What the hell is up with this on the front page?

posted by hawkguy at 11:42 AM on March 07

Great example of thread-pissing happening now!!! That's spamming, not pissing.

posted by goddam at 11:44 AM on March 07

That's spamming, not pissing. (In my best Napoleon Dynamite) I'm an idiot, Gosh!

posted by BoKnows at 11:59 AM on March 07

Does anyone know where I can meet a wealthy boomer?

posted by tahoemoj at 01:00 PM on March 07

Hang around Bristol, CT in leather pants.

posted by yerfatma at 01:03 PM on March 07

The "no-hitter" thing threw me off. Dodgerthoughts runs gamethreads during the season. As a nod to baseball superstition, the commenters are asked not to type "no-hitter", if one is in progress. I believe there is an agreed upon code used in such cases.

posted by lilnemo at 04:52 PM on March 07

I'm wearing the herringboner pants.

posted by yerfatma at 10:46 PM on March 07

That's the code for a no-hitter?

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:12 AM on March 08

Ssshh, you're not supposed to say it while it's going on.

posted by yerfatma at 08:20 AM on March 08

Jesus, would you guys shut up, he's already got two strikes on Julio Franco!

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:30 PM on March 08

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