Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cheynem »

Do you have examples of the character attacks you're thinking of? I'd like to know what you're thinking of and in what way this can be improved. As a moderator on these boards, I have tried to treat people with respect, even though I may critique them, so I'd like to know if I can do better.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by AKKOLADE »

La Maga wrote:b) It might just be that the board is dominated by a handful of people (which I guess in itself is not a huge problem), but it just doesn't feel very open.
The in-jokes and such are fun, but they exclude people from feeling like they can be a part of the community that the board is supposed to promote. It feels like a clique sometimes. I don't know how fixable this is.
For what it's worth, I respect your accomplishments a lot and would like to see you post more.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

I hate to ruin this thread with my positive observations, but IMO the in-joke problem was way worse 5-6 years ago. I haven't meaningfully been a part of the quizbowl "cool kids crowd" for years and I manage to currently understand most things posted on this forum, whereas 5 years ago you needed to be in IRC for several hours each night to really understand what some posts actually meant. I think that's one area where the board has made substantial progress, and I do think that Andrew and Jeff are responsible for this. The board staff has also become much more professional.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

Cheynem wrote:Do you have examples of the character attacks you're thinking of? I'd like to know what you're thinking of and in what way this can be improved. As a moderator on these boards, I have tried to treat people with respect, even though I may critique them, so I'd like to know if I can do better.
Absolutely: they're to be found right here in this thread. See the out-of-nowhere gratuitous insult to Kay Li and the attack on Jonah as not interested in good quizbowl. I don't care if you don't like someone or you think someone's making a dumb argument. Jonah obviously does care about (and is professionally committed to) good quizbowl, and throwing in a sneer at someone you don't like just makes for anger and resentment. Temper your rhetoric.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
Cheynem wrote:Do you have examples of the character attacks you're thinking of? I'd like to know what you're thinking of and in what way this can be improved. As a moderator on these boards, I have tried to treat people with respect, even though I may critique them, so I'd like to know if I can do better.
Absolutely: they're to be found right here in this thread. See the out-of-nowhere gratuitous insult to Kay Li and the attack on Jonah as not interested in good quizbowl. I don't care if you don't like someone or you think someone's making a dumb argument. Jonah obviously does care about (and is professionally committed to) good quizbowl, and throwing in a sneer at someone you don't like just makes for anger and resentment. Temper your rhetoric.
I'm not going to disagree with you that a number of people on the boards, including myself at times, could improve their posts by tempering their rhetoric. On the other hand, I would note that you could improve more than anyone in that department. I've had very pleasant relations with you in person but it does seem like online, you tend to extrapolate vast conspiracies from theoretical disagreements pretty often. That's unfortunate, because I don't think anyone here is out to get you.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cody »

You telling other people to "temper their rhetoric" sure is rich, Marshall, considering that it was only a month ago that you accused the tournament director of a national tournament of malfeasance and malicious intent based on LESS than NO evidence. Many of the most vituperative and controversial threads in the board's recent history can be traced back directly to no one other than yourself because you "turning every thread about overarching issues into a rehash of whatever personal slight [you are] feeling" is one of the biggest problems on the board right now.
Last edited by Cody on Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by fett0001 »

La Maga wrote:
b) It might just be that the board is dominated by a handful of people (which I guess in itself is not a huge problem), but it just doesn't feel very open.
The in-jokes and such are fun, but they exclude people from feeling like they can be a part of the community that the board is supposed to promote. It feels like a clique sometimes. I don't know how fixable this is.
Only board staff members are permitted to have “joke” accounts or secondary accounts of any kind.
Changing this is something that might help eliminate the cliquishness.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

Since I posted the first comment in this thread, three of this board's moderators have told me privately they agree with what I'm saying. If, in order to have that point of view shared widely by the moderators and users of the forum, it's necessary to undertake some ritual Marshall-bashing just to sooth ruffled feathers and so on, I'm happy to be bashed if it's in the service of a more collegial quizbowl-promoting environment on here.

Further note: in the other thread in this sub-forum, Matt said that the proponents of "civility" are in fact pushing a secret malign agenda of terrible quizbowl. In that construction, insisting on civility is a way to silence justified criticism, and if, like Matt, you've devoted your life to defeating the avatars of bad quizbowl, it's understandable you would apply extreme measures to stop that extremely destructive agenda. However, THAT AGENDA DOESN'T EXIST, and it certainly doesn't characterize a number of the people who've been excessively criticized above (namely, Jonah). If your justification for rhetorical excess is that the cause you're fighting against is on the cusp of achieving a great victory, plunging the world into eternal darkness and suffering, there has to actually be such a threat. It doesn't work as a blanket excuse.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Matt Weiner »

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Further note: in the other thread in this sub-forum, Matt said that the proponents of "civility" are in fact pushing a secret malign agenda of terrible quizbowl.
Nope.
you've devoted your life to defeating the avatars of bad quizbowl, it's understandable you would apply extreme measures to stop that extremely destructive agenda. However, THAT AGENDA DOESN'T EXIST
Yes it does, though notably, no one accused Mike Hundley or any of the other people in that thread save Gilbert of being a part of that agenda.
and it certainly doesn't characterize a number of the people who've been excessively criticized above (namely, Jonah).
Jonah was criticized for his lashing-out against people asking him to back up his point by plainly implying that he is the only one here with other commitments and that those who post here are dumb for engaging in "Internet arguments." He was not accused of being part of any "agenda."

As usual, another thread that should be about a major issue that needs addressing (women in quizbowl, the protest procedure, the state of the board) has been hijacked by Marshall's exaggerations and personal agendas against people his paranoia says has wronged him, and everything's shot to shit. I contend that the ability of a small faction of trolls to hijack and shut down discussions at will is a huge problem on the board that should be addressed. This thread is a perfect example of what happens when that is not done.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

Matt Weiner wrote:As usual, another thread that should be about a major issue that needs addressing (women in quizbowl, the protest procedure, the state of the board) has been hijacked by Marshall's exaggerations and personal agendas against people his paranoia says has wronged him
So I hijacked the thread I started on that subject? No.... what happened is that people decided the appropriate response to the points I made on the subject was to lash out at me and say what a troll I am. Kind of like in that protest resolution thread, where once everyone had their chance to say I had convinced them to shift their position from the one I was advocating in favor of to the one I was advocating against, in the subsequent threads on the subject they vocalized the same point about ambiguity I had been making. Like I said, if insulting me is a prerequisite to a constructive discussion, then so be it.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by jonah »

Matt Weiner wrote:
and it certainly doesn't characterize a number of the people who've been excessively criticized above (namely, Jonah).
Jonah was criticized for his lashing-out against people asking him to back up his point by plainly implying that he is the only one here with other commitments and that those who post here are dumb for engaging in "Internet arguments." He was not accused of being part of any "agenda."
I didn't lash out at anyone, and I didn't imply other people didn't have other commitments. I just said I had other commitments that precluded an immediate full and proper response to legitimate questions I was being asked. I also didn't imply anything about the dumbness of internet arguments or the people who engage in them, I just said that they are a lower priority for me than other things. (Specifically, it is a lower priority to spend an hour or more digging through old emails and posts to find something that, as other people in this subforum have pointed out, is relatively obvious; and furthermore, much of which was communicated in person and thus can't be backed up by exact quotes, and more of which didn't cite the specific thread that turned the speaker off, if there was even a unique one.)
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cheynem »

All of this stuff confuses issues.

I found Jonah's posts bothersome because he suggested the boards had a major problem and then said he couldn't really provide evidence of it. That led to some angry back and forth which now ipso facto "is relatively obvious." It is not relatively obvious to me because this thread does not feature any attacks on new players or high school coaches or people offering alternative suggestions to quizbowl. It does have a lot of people arguing with Marshall, which could probably be toned down, but is this having a harmful effect on the quizbowl community? On the people who visit these forums? Give some examples of people who put forth a good faith effort or alternative opinion who are being mocked/savaged.

What also bothers me about this is that people tend to talk in shadowy terms when they criticize the forums. I have a sneaking suspicion Marshall is mainly referring to Matt Weiner and a few others, but I have no idea what, say, Connie was referring to, when they discuss the meanness of the boards. I work my ass off for quizbowl and do my utmost to be a professional and serve the community with these forums. I want to know what specifically the problems are so I can address/fix them. If people think the joke posts are too cliquey, that's a good thing to address. If I'm being delinquent as a moderator, I'd like to know. If a lot of this relates to Matt Weiner being "mean," I don't know what to tell you.

And while I agree that Matt could tone down his posts from an 11 to a 8 (and have said so publicly on these forums and in the IRC), you (you being Marshall) should also do the same.

Edit: I don't know if Marshall was counting me as "one of the moderators who agreed with him privately," but just to be clear, if he was, I agree with some of his points (sexism is an issue, people should stand to be less vituperative) and definitely not with others (the boards are an unfriendly place, etc.).
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

Cheynem wrote:Give some examples of people who put forth a good faith effort or alternative opinion who are being mocked/savaged.
I've tried to avoid putting myself forward as a victim of this, both because 1. it obviously hasn't stopped me from coming here, and 2. general aversion to seeing myself as a victim: I'm a graduate student at an elite institution who earns enough to live at a decent standard, etc. But since I've been roundly accused of playing the victim anyway, I'll mention that awful locked thread about the distribution from last year, in which I supported some people who came forward to question the distribution, was roundly attacked, emailed privately and sympathetically by others, and then signed up to edit a tournament whose distribution largely echoes the points I and others made in that thread, which apparently people are happy to have on the schedule and to play.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cheynem »

The thread was locked partially because people were attacking you, though. I don't deny lots of people got out of line in that thread (you yourself told Cody to "call daddy," which while a delightful meme, is probably vituperative)...but that's why it got locked.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

Cheynem wrote:The thread was locked partially because people were attacking you, though. I don't deny lots of people got out of line in that thread (you yourself told Cody to "call daddy," which while a delightful meme, is probably vituperative)...but that's why it got locked.
Yes! That's exactly what I'm saying--constructive suggestions met with anger, seemingly generated by pent up grievances that must be aired given any opportunity. It's frustrating! And if you're demanding I bring forward individuals who, unlike me, have avoided the forums as a result, I'd say two things:
1. How am I to identify such people if they're not here? If you're inferring the forum is healthy only based on the people who are here, you have a data truncation problem.
2. The fact that people are emailing privately, etc, when these ragefests go down is presumably because they don't want to be in the line of fire and thus don't feel comfortable stepping forward, even if those same people are happy to most generally and in other contexts.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cheynem »

I'm not demanding individuals come forward, I'm requesting specific examples and points. Are people e-mailing privately? They're not e-mailing me, so what can I do about it as a moderator if I don't know?
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

Cheynem wrote:what can I do about it as a moderator if I don't know?
You can take action to make sure this kind of rage doesn't get expressed on here and that it's FZed when it does, no matter who does it. I hope you and the other moderators have started talking about how you might do that.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by fett0001 »

Maybe we would benefit from a designee who should be emailed privately about concerns about other posters.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Matt Weiner »

The board has a built-in report function. However, it is for people who actually break the rules...reports based on "someone disagreed with me!" will continue to be closed without further comment.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Matt Weiner »

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Yes! That's exactly what I'm saying--constructive suggestions met with anger, seemingly generated by pent up grievances that must be aired given any opportunity.
A good description of your posting style!

It seems like in that thread, there was a lot of earnest discussion about the distribution, a few really bad ideas that were called bad ideas in a fairly polite fashion, and then OH NO HERE COMES MARSHALL TO START PERSONAL [STUFF] WITH CODY AND START DICTATING WHO IS AND IS NOT ALLOWED TO POST THINGS. This isn't your website. When you do stuff like that, it destroys the thread. Surprise, that's when it had to be closed!

Maybe if you stopped destroying threads over and over again with overpersonalization and tangents, there would be more productive discussion? Maybe if you stopped accusing people of being misogynists or conspiring to fix national tournaments against you, there would be fewer personal insults? Maybe if you stopped misrepresenting what people are saying, there would be more people willing to engage with you honestly? This isn't rocket science.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cheynem »

Reminder that this is a non college area of the boards. No profanity, please.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cody »

Tees-Exe Line wrote:But since I've been roundly accused of playing the victim anyway, I'll mention that awful locked thread about the distribution from last year, in which I supported some people who came forward to question the distribution, was roundly attacked, emailed privately and sympathetically by others, and then signed up to edit a tournament whose distribution largely echoes the points I and others made in that thread, which apparently people are happy to have on the schedule and to play.
Are you talking about Cane Ridge Revival or some other tournament here? There's a lot of problems with this argument if you mean CRR, and more if you mean some other tournament you edited recently.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

Matt Weiner wrote:
Tees-Exe Line wrote:Yes! That's exactly what I'm saying--constructive suggestions met with anger, seemingly generated by pent up grievances that must be aired given any opportunity.
A good description of your posting style!

It seems like in that thread, there was a lot of earnest discussion about the distribution, a few really bad ideas that were called bad ideas in a fairly polite fashion, and then OH NO HERE COMES MARSHALL TO START PERSONAL [STUFF] WITH CODY AND START DICTATING WHO IS AND IS NOT ALLOWED TO POST THINGS. This isn't your website. When you do stuff like that, it destroys the thread. Surprise, that's when it had to be closed!

Maybe if you stopped destroying threads over and over again with overpersonalization and tangents, there would be more productive discussion? Maybe if you stopped accusing people of being misogynists or conspiring to fix national tournaments against you, there would be fewer personal insults? Maybe if you stopped misrepresenting what people are saying, there would be more people willing to engage with you honestly? This isn't rocket science.
Fine, let's call a truce. Upthread Bollinger said we've had perfectly enjoyable in-person interaction; I trust the rest of you feel at least something approaching that. If you think I'm a radically different person online and the unpleasantness of past threads on here is entirely my fault rather than the generally toxic atmosphere of the forum, I'm happy to do my part to "change the tone."
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cheynem »

I like you (and Matt) a lot in person and generally in online. I agree that a truce and productive communication will be a good thing.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

I will offer up this token of goodwill:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtU5q4z-xXc
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! »

Obviously this isn't an issue that concerns sexism, or Marshall, but I think the high school section is fine: except I feel as if the threads and posts about the NAC in the past could've been handled more gentler. Of course, saying why the NAC is bad isn't the problem. Some posts, however, I think can reflect poorly upon good quiz bowl and the organizations those individuals who say provocative things represent. For instance,
Charlie Dees in reply to John Gilbert's post on the 2013 NAC thread wrote: What will it take you to drop the ridiculous "If people like it, then it is OK" stream of bull:capybara:
you can't stop yourself from spouting, even when you know others are right?
is not, by any means, the warmest of posts, and if I'm an outsider looking in, I'm going to immediately think Charlie is an acehole for saying that (even if I do or I don't understand the context on that anecdote). It only takes one scroll of a mouse to see Chris Chiego later claim that teams who go to the NAC are "a sucker for trophies and meaningless awards". It only takes the keywords on Google search "2013 NAC quiz bowl" and that very thread is the second result when the search turns up. I understand this is a message board and most of us know, or like to think we know, each other from the boards and intra-personal experience at tournaments, but the fact is that HSQB is not something only the quiz bowl community knows about. Even though we may like to think this is a clubhouse and a close-knit coalescence of similarly minded academics who enjoy quiz bowl, and only we can see and read stuff on here, the fact is, tons of people can read what we see. So while we in the HSQB community are able to recognize who Charlie and Chris really are, and appreciate the contributions they've made to quiz bowl in Missouri and So Cal, respectively, those who don't know them might look at them (and others who say similarly harsh things) and take an umbrage towards them and receive a bad impression that those who moderate this site condone those statements.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by The Atom Strikes! »

I believe that a lot of people's complaints about personal attacks and nastiness on the board have to do with Matt Weiner.

I should clarify that in general, I agree with the vast majority of the things that Matt says, and believe that most of the people that he mocks direly need mockery. I respect his vast experience and his enormous contributions to quizbowl (as a kid growing up on the DC circuit, I've participated in and really enjoyed a lot of tournaments that he's written, organized, or directed). I also don't think that there's a problem with his communication style in and of itself. His posts are self-evidently vitriolic and aggressive, but they tend to be insightful, incisive, and very funny as well. Matt's voice is very lively and very real.

I believe that it mostly becomes problematic because of Matt's very real power. He's a board administrator as well as an important figure in all of HSAPQ, PACE, and ACF. So, when he speaks, he carries a lot of institutional and organizational authority with him, and in some sense "represents" the community. So, when he say, dismissively calls people trolls, mocks people in all caps, takes pot-shots at teams in tournament announcements, and uses what's generally some pretty angry rhetoric, he a) seems like kind of a bully and b) seems to project a sort of contentious aggressiveness onto the entire quizbowl community which he, in some capacity, represents.

I'm not committed to this viewpoint, of course. If anyone can throw me some good evidence that I'm wrong, I'll gladly recant. I just want to open up some discussion.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by cchiego »

Mr. Scogan wrote: It only takes the keywords on Google search "2013 NAC quiz bowl" and that very thread is the second result when the search turns up.
You say this like it's a problem.
Mr. Scogan wrote:[...] that those who moderate this site condone those statements.
I certainly hope those who moderate the site condone the ability to say such statements freely and suspect they privately sympathize.

The strongest weapon the world of good quizbowl has to counter those out there who put out sub-par products and engage in egregious misconduct is by promoting the free flow of honest information about such tournaments. Teams who continue to attend the NAC or use bad QB questions in general can no longer claim ignorance thanks to this forum (and, to a lesser extent, the QB Wiki) with the extensive documentation of all of the hijinks and bad practices associated with such tournaments and questions.

From reading past threads, it seems like the strong opinions presented here have had a positive effect on convincing a number of previously recalcitrant people. It may not be happy group therapy with accepting-all-types sunshine and hurt-no-feelings rainbows, but it's the tough love that works in the end.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Excelsior (smack) »

fett0001 wrote:
Only board staff members are permitted to have “joke” accounts or secondary accounts of any kind.
Changing this is something that might help eliminate the cliquishness.
I agree with this. Every "joke" account from at least the past three years has been awful, and has served no real purpose. I would like to hear any arguments in favor of keeping this rule, because I honestly can't think of any besides "we think this is funny, and you can't stop us neener neener!".
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Cheynem
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cheynem »

I'm all right with changing that rule, or I guess doing something where it is obvious who _____ is. For instance, I wrote the Colin Cowherd joke post last year, I thought it was a puckish satire, and I'd probably still post it, but if it was immediately obvious who Colin was, maybe it would be less insidery.

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Tees-Exe Line
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

Excelsior (smack) wrote:
fett0001 wrote:
Only board staff members are permitted to have “joke” accounts or secondary accounts of any kind.
Changing this is something that might help eliminate the cliquishness.
I agree with this. Every "joke" account from at least the past three years has been awful, and has served no real purpose. I would like to hear any arguments in favor of keeping this rule, because I honestly can't think of any besides "we think this is funny, and you can't stop us neener neener!".
Couldn't agree more.
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naturalistic phallacy
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Connie is exactly right here. Contributing to the boards should never be a proxy for actual work towards better quizbowl; nor should the technological separation allow us to forget that we are here because of an activity that takes place in real life. While participation on the boards may not be mandatory, the discussions and arguments that take place here do have lasting repercussions on the impressions people have of both posters and the causes they support.
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Rococo A Go Go »

I think one of the biggest problems this board has is that the same people (usually Matt Weiner and someone like Gilbert, Steinbaum, or Li) are constantly arguing with each other. I don't want to say the issue is only Matt, nor do I want to blame it on his constant opponents, but these people don't get along and the collateral damage happens to be a bunch of discussions that happen (or fail to happen) on this board. It seems to me that if these people would find a better venue to complain about one another, the community as a whole can have more productive discussions without being afraid that the same argument about that one time Kay Li ate Matt Weiner's pizza at ACF Nationals pops up again and again.
Nick Conder
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Re: Split thread: "Venting and vituperation" and sexism

Post by Cheynem »

Well...I don't know about Matt and Kay, but Marshall tends to discuss quizbowl stuff with people, so that's good to discuss on the boards. Matt and John Gilbert's arguments are always about high school quizbowl. Could some of these arguments be handled better? Yeah. But I don't think they really need to find another venue, since they're discussing quizbowl, not pizza.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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