Banninations, and the rapidty of.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by ray245 » 2009-10-16 02:17pm

I think putting restrictions on image posting from newcomers is the best way to do it. The chan invasion happened like this: a bunch of them signed up within a few hours of each other and started posting as much as they could before they got banned. There may have been one or two who had longer-term accounts, but almost all of them signed up over a period of about six hours on 8 January. If there was a 100 post/1 month requirement before being allowed to post images, all of them would have had to actually make 100 posts without drawing any suspicion they were planning anything, and wait a full 30 days before being allowed to move. That's a lot of work just to post a few pictures before you get banned.

The thing is, internally, as regular members, there's not that much invading trolls can do. Unless they hit really late at night, more likely than not there's going to be a supermod around to ban them, and the report button lets every user on the board, even 0-post lurkers, call the cavalry. If they can't post images (and I would include YouTube videos as well in this), what can they do? Links? WHORES WHORES WHORES?
I seconded such an idea. A few forums I've been to have implemented this measure. Although in my opinion, we should extend such an idea to linking to websites as well.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Ace Pace » 2009-10-16 02:22pm

Ray, Uh...What? One of the central requirements in N&P and SLAM is to source your links and quotes. How do you want them to do that? How do you plan to prevent anything except turning off [url] tags for them which doesn't stop the link showing up?
Stupid extension of the idea without too much though.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by ray245 » 2009-10-16 02:30pm

Ace Pace wrote:Ray, Uh...What? One of the central requirements in N&P and SLAM is to source your links and quotes. How do you want them to do that? How do you plan to prevent anything except turning off [url] tags for them which doesn't stop the link showing up?
Stupid extension of the idea without too much though.
Depends on how long you want to prevent them from being able to post links. I think new users would only need to have a post count of 10 in order to gain the privilages of being able to post links.

Additionally, I don't think most newbies would jump straight into N&P and SLAM section when they just sign up on the board.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by General Zod » 2009-10-16 02:37pm

ray245 wrote: Depends on how long you want to prevent them from being able to post links. I think new users would only need to have a post count of 10 in order to gain the privilages of being able to post links.
10 or 100 makes no difference in making the idea any less retarded. The only thing a post count requirement for links will do is either increase spam or drive away members.
Additionally, I don't think most newbies would jump straight into N&P and SLAM section when they just sign up on the board.
Based on . . .what?
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by ray245 » 2009-10-16 02:41pm

General Zod wrote: 10 or 100 makes no difference in making the idea any less retarded. The only thing a post count requirement for links will do is either increase spam or drive away members.
Concede on the point that it might increase spam, but I fail to understand why would such an action drive away members? One of the forum I've been to make use of this rule and they have a higher traffic than SD.net .
Based on . . .what?
When was the last time you see a newcomer posting something that requires him to link to sites?
Last edited by ray245 on 2009-10-16 02:43pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by General Zod » 2009-10-16 02:43pm

ray245 wrote: Concede on the point that it might increase spam, but I fail to understand why would such an action drive away members?
Who wants to bother making posts just to use a basic board function? I know I sure as fuck wouldn't.
When was the last time you see a newcomer posting something that requires him to link to sites?
Your claim was that newbies wouldn't jump straight into SLAM or N&P. Which is based on . . . absolutely nothing.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by ray245 » 2009-10-16 02:47pm

General Zod wrote:
ray245 wrote: Concede on the point that it might increase spam, but I fail to understand why would such an action drive away members?
Who wants to bother making posts just to use a basic board function? I know I sure as fuck wouldn't.
Hasn't SD.net done this for a pretty long time? For a period of time, the only group of people who are allowed to edit their post are the senators.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by General Zod » 2009-10-16 02:50pm

ray245 wrote:
General Zod wrote:
ray245 wrote: Concede on the point that it might increase spam, but I fail to understand why would such an action drive away members?
Who wants to bother making posts just to use a basic board function? I know I sure as fuck wouldn't.
Hasn't SD.net done this for a pretty long time? For a period of time, the only group of people who are allowed to edit their post are the senators.
. . .how is that even comparable? Disabling editing in debate forums makes sense to cut down on dishonest troll tactics. Disabling links does not, and being a Senator is not based on post count.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by RedImperator » 2009-10-16 03:34pm

Ray, you're totally missing the point of the idea. I picked 100 posts because that's long enough for a troll who's just trying to pad his post count to get image inlining enabled to be noticed, and probably beyond the patience of many trolls. And I only want to disable pic inlining and Flash embedding because those are the two features most open to abuse, and they're not necessary for full participation (even someone who's signed up just to show off his artwork can always link to a Flickr account). The whole idea is to prevent a repeat of the chan attack from January, not impose hurdles on newbies for no good reason.

Disabling links but only for ten posts is the worst of all possible worlds. It takes away a necessary function from people who want to legitimately contribute, while providing almost no hurdle for trolls.
Themightytom wrote:Thats true, you just have to let new members GET to them. The original post was regarding a rapidfire ban. There's nothing wrong with having high standards for debate but new members have to jump immediately into the deepend if they are to swim. If you WANT to make it easier for new members, you could restrict their posting access for the first 200 posts or so to testing, and expand testing into something like "New members" where there could be a topic for introducing yourself, a topic for idle chat, a topic for conversations at the work place etc. Whoever mods the area would have to be-not Ghostrider (sorry man i know you're doing your job but you make new people cry) and would have to be willing to redirect new members a little more tolerantly. Shroom or Havok for example. The mod could ALSO protect new members from getting flamed by board members who are in the habit of harshly deconstructing arguments.
No. Just no. It will turn Testing into exactly the kind of lame spampit its detractors have always accused it of being, it'll irritate the shit out of newbies who signed up for the fun stuff in the rest of the board, it'll be way too fuck-off boring for anyone else and nobody will participate in most of the threads (why the hell do I care what some newbie's job is? I don't even care what most long-time members do for a living), and hilariously, it'll provide less protection than my idea, because while if a troll tries to make 100 empty-headed spam posts to activate image inlining under my plan, he'll be noticed long before he hits that number (and possibly banned if he ignores warnings to stop), whereas under your scheme, a troll who generated 200 posts of bullshit in a few days is just another new member in a hurry to contribute to the rest of the board.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by ThomasP » 2009-10-17 03:14am

If it's OK, I'd like to add my two cents to the thread as one of the noobs. This may be a bit long.

I lurked here for a few months before joining, trying to get a feel for the forum and whatnot. I'll admit that the barriers to registration contributed to that in no small measure, but that wasn't a huge deal because I could read things and be entertained.

As noted, this site has a fairly unique culture which has pros and cons to it.

On the plus side, I really have to say I enjoy the no-bullshit policies combined with the emphasis (in most forums) on rationalism and critical thinking. I can't say how welcome that is, given that this is, well, the Internet.

I don't get my news exclusively from here, but I do make it a point to check N&P regularly just to make sure I don't miss anything and to get the (inevitably funny) commentary. I enjoy the OSF discussions, most of the SLAM discussions (the ones I can understand, sadly advanced math goes right over my head), and a few other sections.

However all of this comes with a price; this board is very unfriendly to new posters. I haven't experienced that personally (yet) because I knew what to expect coming in; that is, I read the rules and got a feel for the place beforehand.

That said, I do notice that I'm very hesitant to post and do make every attempt to think through and word my posts carefully, lest I "slip up". Some would argue that this is a good thing, and maybe it is, in the scheme of things.

The flip side of that is that not everyone is going to do those things. If you open the site to The Internet, you're going to inevitably have to accept some degree of slippage, as far as quality goes, on that front.

Further, and this is something I've noticed both as a pure lurker and a member, there does seem to be an incongruity between the site's heavy-handed rules and how those rules are enforced. SDN has, by far, the most iron-clad set of rules, procedures, policies, and quasi-bureaucratic enforcement I've ever seen on a web forum.

It's not my place to criticize that, nor would I anyway, because I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. I do feel that it is worth pointing out, because for one, members that might otherwise contribute can be very turned off by what can seem like overbearing emphasis on moderation/administration, vs. emphasis on encouraging discussion.

In addition, just from what I've seen, this can lead to the appearance of favoritism or more general unfairness when these rules are enforced asymmetrically, as when elder members are given leeway as compared to someone with a newer join date or lesser post count.

I do understand the historical context of these rules, in light of this place being a hard debate forum and given the expected dishonest debate that would ensue. That said, it has to be acknowledged that this state of being, to include both the rule-set and the culture that surrounds it, is a major factor in keeping away new joins. Why deal with it when they can just go to another board and not deal with what seems like taking the Internet way too seriously?

Ultimately I think that the board's direction will have to be decided on before any policy changes can be made, or even defined clearly. If SDN wants to remain a smaller community with a premium on content quality, even at the cost of membership and traffic, then I don't think much needs to change.

If the board does want to change direction, then it would be worth looking at a larger paradigm shift, and I'm talking very broad strokes. Changing the registration policy would be a big start. I agree with the side that feels the lockdown is a bit of an overreaction. The Internet is full of dumb, and turning into a fortress won't actually stop it, but it can harm the board in a general sense. It would seem that the numbers agree with that.

I don't know if phpBB has an Akismet plugin, but I've found it to be very useful on a few other forums. If not, simply suspending image/flash embedding is a good idea, and that can be done simply by assigning new registrations to a probationary user-group until N posts.

As far as board culture/rules/yelling policy, I don't really feel it's my place to suggest changes given my relative newbie-ness; I don't think that would be right of me to barge in and tell people how to do things. Instead, I will submit that I've seen many other forums operate just fine without the quasi-police state style of moderation here, and some of them can even maintain a high level of discourse. It may not be what this board is used to, mind, and that hands-off style may not even be compatible with this community, but I do point it out just for the sake of further discussion.

It's going to entirely depend on how much the board culture is willing to accept changes, and more importantly, what kind of changes the board culture wants.

Sorry for the long post, but I had quite a few things I wanted to add. Be gentle :wink:
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Formless » 2009-10-17 04:37am

You know, I got slammed once early on (more for acting like I'd been here longer than I actually had than for saying something monumentally stupid-- lurking for over five [?] months really is no substitute for posting-- but still) and I gotta say, it really does get easier after the first time. Having experienced Ms Manners bullshit firsthand, being flamed once in a while is far more pleasant, especially knowing that the other guy could just as easily have been on the other end of the torch. Sure, dogpiling the newb might be a bit worse of an experience than anything that I've ever brought on myself, but last I checked dogpiling was considered a problem in its own right anyway. Newbs are hardly the only ones experiencing it.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Themightytom » 2009-10-17 05:26am

Themightytom wrote:Thats true, you just have to let new members GET to them. The original post was regarding a rapidfire ban. There's nothing wrong with having high standards for debate but new members have to jump immediately into the deepend if they are to swim. If you WANT to make it easier for new members, you could restrict their posting access for the first 200 posts or so to testing, and expand testing into something like "New members" where there could be a topic for introducing yourself, a topic for idle chat, a topic for conversations at the work place etc. Whoever mods the area would have to be-not Ghostrider (sorry man i know you're doing your job but you make new people cry) and would have to be willing to redirect new members a little more tolerantly. Shroom or Havok for example. The mod could ALSO protect new members from getting flamed by board members who are in the habit of harshly deconstructing arguments.
No. Just no. It will turn Testing into exactly the kind of lame spampit its detractors have always accused it of being, it'll irritate the shit out of newbies who signed up for the fun stuff in the rest of the board, it'll be way too fuck-off boring for anyone else and nobody will participate in most of the threads (why the hell do I care what some newbie's job is? I don't even care what most long-time members do for a living), and hilariously, it'll provide less protection than my idea, because while if a troll tries to make 100 empty-headed spam posts to activate image inlining under my plan, he'll be noticed long before he hits that number (and possibly banned if he ignores warnings to stop), whereas under your scheme, a troll who generated 200 posts of bullshit in a few days is just another new member in a hurry to contribute to the rest of the board.[/quote]

What are you campaigning?? No one would force you to read every newbie post Red, and in the past week on spacebattles (A comparable situation) there have never been more than four a day so I don't think we're talking about a flood here. There are plenty of people posting in testing because they are simply bored, having a n00b come on and introduce himself gives them something to chat about in a vaguely constructive manner while providing a casual environment for a new poster to you know... TEST the site. It appears that testing is entrtaining enough, people are creating threads and posting in them all the time. Letting a new person create their own introduction thread and host it, well lets not assume that something like taht would be boring to a new person. There's no reason to think they wouldn't enjoy the attention and the novel experience while not having to answer for every msitake they make.

If someone is going to be an idiot and get dogpiled, lets have it happen when they AREN't in danger of immediate banning. If someone has decent ideas and the ability to articulate them but is simply unfamiliar with the social mores of a chat board, or how to use the site, lets protect them a little before they get backed into a corner and treated like an asshole. We can do that WITHOUT compromising the quality of the site by creating an area where such behavior is predictable.

Dial down my suggested number if you want, I was placing emphasis on training and experience rather than expedient participation. While I recognize the argument for new members there's no reason to start degrading the site quality because that is definitely something the site does well.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Ace Pace » 2009-10-17 05:36am

I am going to take a very biased sampling of two people here, and their first posts. Broomstick's first post, right away in the middle of a debate.
And Surlethe's third post, again, relevant.
What are the fucking chances that they'd be able to make these posts in any sort of sandbox? Why the fuck should anyone stay in this little sandbox?

Training?! What kind of fucking training do you think goes on in here, mock debates where people show you how SDN works? Would you join a forum that has you on training wheels?
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by TheLostVikings » 2009-10-17 06:12am

ray245 wrote:
RedImperator wrote: I would think that before we starts to throw even more ancedotes, it would be better to get some sort of data first. Data like asking some of the more recent memebers how did they discover the forum would be helpful.
Data Point:

Accidentally stumbled upon one of the T:TSCC discussion threads, then stayed for OSF/Fantasy and SLAM.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Themightytom » 2009-10-17 06:17am

Ace Pace wrote:I am going to take a very biased sampling of two people here, and their first posts. Broomstick's first post, right away in the middle of a debate.
And Surlethe's third post, again, relevant.
What are the fucking chances that they'd be able to make these posts in any sort of sandbox? Why the fuck should anyone stay in this little sandbox?

Training?! What kind of fucking training do you think goes on in here, mock debates where people show you how SDN works? Would you join a forum that has you on training wheels?
They are good examples of upstanding members who started with outstanding posts.
Unfortunately the most recent example is Surlethe in 2005 and as hotfoot pointed out the membership drop has been on since 2005? So if I am suggesting a "sandbox" in which new members can make their first posts unmolested because the board has developed a level of aggression that is a deterrent, why would you provide examples where it wasn't from BEFORE the problem existed?

I would be more likely to join a forum if I didn't think I would be immediately board raped, but rather than expect the entire board to alter its behavior I suggested the sandbox.

Datapoint: Was reading fanfics and decided to start commenting. Migrated to news and politics after a while.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by General Zod » 2009-10-17 03:23pm

Themightytom wrote: I would be more likely to join a forum if I didn't think I would be immediately board raped, but rather than expect the entire board to alter its behavior I suggested the sandbox.

Datapoint: Was reading fanfics and decided to start commenting. Migrated to news and politics after a while.
It's called lurking and thinking before you post. There is no need for some stupid sandbox.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Thanas » 2009-10-17 03:33pm

TheLostVikings wrote:
ray245 wrote:
RedImperator wrote: I would think that before we starts to throw even more ancedotes, it would be better to get some sort of data first. Data like asking some of the more recent memebers how did they discover the forum would be helpful.
Data Point:

Accidentally stumbled upon one of the T:TSCC discussion threads, then stayed for OSF/Fantasy and SLAM.
How did you stumble over them? Just asking, as I put them up mostly.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by RedImperator » 2009-10-17 04:28pm

Themightytom wrote:What are you campaigning?? No one would force you to read every newbie post Red, and in the past week on spacebattles (A comparable situation) there have never been more than four a day so I don't think we're talking about a flood here. There are plenty of people posting in testing because they are simply bored, having a n00b come on and introduce himself gives them something to chat about in a vaguely constructive manner while providing a casual environment for a new poster to you know... TEST the site.
There's absolutely nothing preventing new members from making introduction posts in Testing and hanging around down there while they get their feet wet. My objection is to forcing people to stay in a "sandbox" for however many posts. How many people do you actually think would sign up for a board which confined them to an off-topic forum for dozens of posts?

By the way, you missed an obvious problem with this whole idea: in order for noobs to build up X number of posts in Testing, Testing would have to 1) count towards post count, and 2) not auto-delete. The entire reason Testing is allowed to be Testing is because of the auto-delete. Frankly, the reason Testing is Testing is because of auto-delete. I don't think it would be nearly as freewheeling or fun if people knew their posts would be archived for posterity. And good fucking luck getting the staff to relent on auto-delete anyway.
It appears that testing is entrtaining enough, people are creating threads and posting in them all the time. Letting a new person create their own introduction thread and host it, well lets not assume that something like taht would be boring to a new person. There's no reason to think they wouldn't enjoy the attention and the novel experience while not having to answer for every msitake they make.
How many people do you think see SDN and think, "Oh wow, I should sign up to make dozens of bullshit small talk posts in Testing!" Presumably, the people who sign up are interested in talking about science fiction, politics, or one of the board's other subjects.

You know what would actually wind up happening? They'd make on-topic threads in Testing. And those threads would either wind up A) getting moved up to an on-topic forum, locking the newbie out of his own thread, B) fizzling out because a sizable fraction of the board never goes in Testing, or C) attracting the same people who flame the shit out of newbies in the on-topic forums. Unless you want to make a rule against newbies making on-topic threads, your whole sandbox is fucking pointless. Shit, why not go all the way and prevent newbies from making new threads entirely? Then we'll be sure they can't do what they actually signed up to do.
If someone is going to be an idiot and get dogpiled, lets have it happen when they AREN't in danger of immediate banning. If someone has decent ideas and the ability to articulate them but is simply unfamiliar with the social mores of a chat board, or how to use the site, lets protect them a little before they get backed into a corner and treated like an asshole. We can do that WITHOUT compromising the quality of the site by creating an area where such behavior is predictable.
What in the world makes you think a flamewar couldn't happen in Testing, or a mod in a fit of pique couldn't issue a "Do X or get banned?" threat there? Right now Testing has fewer flamewars because it has fewer on-topic posts and for whatever reason, it doesn't attract the kind of raging tryhards who like to beat up on newbies for easy points (it also doesn't draw that many newbies...huh, turns out new people who don't know the in-jokes aren't interested in hanging around an off-topic social forum with an established clique of longtime board members...who knew?!). Your plan would be rolling out a great big tryhard welcome mat. You might as well say we'll protect salmon from bears by putting them in a barrel in the bear exhibit at the zoo.

News flash: you want to protect newbies, there's no easy way to do it. Honestly, I think the rules would have to change--Mike would have to explicitly tell people to go easy on newcomers, even when they're wrong (and put up with endless "wah wah, Miss Manners!" whining), the mods would have to rigorously enforce it (and not participate themselves), and probably other longtime members would have to step up and defend newbies from time to time (as happened in DataPacRat's thread). All that hinges on whether Mike actually thinks the problem is bad enough to warrant that kind of intervention--and incidentally, if he doesn't, he for damn sure isn't going to think a noob sandbox is warranted, either.

Failing that, blow up the board and start again. Call it CreationTheory.Org BBS, modify the rules, maybe bring in new mods, consciously try to make the board less hostile while still not tolerating bullshit. I don't even know if that would work, either.
Dial down my suggested number if you want, I was placing emphasis on training and experience rather than expedient participation. While I recognize the argument for new members there's no reason to start degrading the site quality because that is definitely something the site does well.
I have a great number for you: zero.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by TheLostVikings » 2009-10-17 06:15pm

Thanas wrote:
TheLostVikings wrote: Data Point:
Accidentally stumbled upon one of the T:TSCC discussion threads, then stayed for OSF/Fantasy and SLAM.
How did you stumble over them? Just asking, as I put them up mostly.
I was reading the episode recaps at io9, but wanted to know what others though about the series, so I did some googling and basically ended up here. Guess I liked what I saw enough to eventually make an account.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Big Phil » 2009-10-17 09:24pm

Wow... I just had a mind blowing moment. :wtf:

I'd never bothered to read DataPacRat's parting shots thread before, and I was somewhat astonished at what I saw there. The "elites" of SDNet acting as douchey as DataPacRat and threatening the banstick (which was used) over someone not taking the thread seriously enough. I wish I could say I couldn't believe multiple moderators and Senators went apeshit over that stupidity and banned someone, but unfortunately this is SDNet and I am not at all surprised to have seen this sort of crap. Hell, Einy was even there stirring up trouble just for old times sake...

It almost makes me think having the Senate around to vote on ban threads is a good idea, except that in most cases the moderators tend to be more easygoing than the Senate... so meh...

Good christ :roll:
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Mr. Coffee » 2009-10-18 03:38am

See, if it were up to me we'd have kept DataPackRat. The guy could have been a ginormous lolcow for us to point and laugh at. I thought the same thing about the Twinkie Messiah too. I know we've got debate and posting standards, but unless it's someone being egregiously fucking retarded, can we not make an exception for people who are just plain bugfuck nuts and amusing? After all, as serious as some people get around here, I think we could use a good laugh at someone's expense and chuckleheads like that are perfect for the job.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Nieztchean Uber-Amoeba » 2009-10-18 03:51am

Mr. Coffee wrote:See, if it were up to me we'd have kept DataPackRat. The guy could have been a ginormous lolcow for us to point and laugh at. I thought the same thing about the Twinkie Messiah too. I know we've got debate and posting standards, but unless it's someone being egregiously fucking retarded, can we not make an exception for people who are just plain bugfuck nuts and amusing? After all, as serious as some people get around here, I think we could use a good laugh at someone's expense and chuckleheads like that are perfect for the job.
And besides, don't we already have Bear? :P

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Sarevok » 2009-10-18 05:06am

Is not the problem people not joining in sufficent numbers instead of new members fleeing in droves due to flaming ?
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by General Zod » 2009-10-18 05:09am

Sarevok wrote:Is not the problem people not joining in sufficent numbers instead of new members fleeing in droves due to flaming ?
If anything I'd say jumping the gun with full flaming has died down considerably since 2003, when we still had public showtrials to ban people. I somehow don't think that's the case.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Mr. Coffee » 2009-10-18 05:18am

Nieztchean Uber-Amoeba wrote:
Mr. Coffee wrote:See, if it were up to me we'd have kept DataPackRat. The guy could have been a ginormous lolcow for us to point and laugh at. I thought the same thing about the Twinkie Messiah too. I know we've got debate and posting standards, but unless it's someone being egregiously fucking retarded, can we not make an exception for people who are just plain bugfuck nuts and amusing? After all, as serious as some people get around here, I think we could use a good laugh at someone's expense and chuckleheads like that are perfect for the job.
And besides, don't we already have Bear? :P
Well played, sir. That's the sort of quality zingers this board needs more of. Bravo!
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