My first BNBR warning

What happened next? was a little story about an exchange I had with Carlos Matias La Borde recently. The exchange was in comments.

Philip Newton wins the prize for guessing what happened next accurately: I got a BNBR notice. Scott Welch, as far as I know, Carlos didn’t get a warning.

Interesting discovery: if a comment triggers BNBR, the comment is deleted. That, I did not know; I assumed BNBR would only collapse comments. Don’t like that at all.

Edward Conway, John Gragson and Alfredo Perozo all wrote entertaining speculations (and Clarissa Lohr’s was meta-entertaining 🙂 Hard to pick. I’ll pick John, but anyone else who wants to collect a prize, let me know.

And Philip and John: sonnet or cartoon?

I am appealing the BNBR notice. It is actually only my first eponymous one; my first anonymous one was a couple of weeks beforehand, and I’ve also appealed it. It really made no sense to me at all, but it’s an anonymous answer, so I’m not getting into it here.

The BNBR for this is… well, it’s as nuts as the BNBR notices I protested on behalf of others, at Nick Nicholas’ answer to Do you believe Quora moderation is doing a good and responsible job of maintaining this site’s policies? Why or why not?

The putative BNBR violation is me telling Carlos he doesn’t sound like a shitposter—a term he used to describe himself, a term with a specific Internet slang meaning, and a negative term I was expressly saying did not apply to him. One would have thought I was being nice to Carlos, if anything.

I thought so, and so did he.

What we actually have here, of course, is Quora Moderation clamping down on the language of interlocutors, to maintain appropriate “tone” for the place. I have seen Tatiana say somewhere that, even if two people are having an exchange with sharp words that neither takes offence at, bystanders might draw from that the wrong conclusion that such tone and language is acceptable on Quora.

It boggles my mind that “You don’t sound like a shitposter at all, Carlos!” falls under even that rubric; but the contractors or bots of Quora moderation clearly must have thought so.

Of course, the application of such policing of tone seems pretty random. There’d be no Dan Holliday if it was policed rigorously, after all. But plenty of Quora users have felt its wrath. User [Rick Klugman], I do not forget.

And what do I think of such policing of “tone”?

Marcos Mayer was a user here. He deleted his account a few months back. We had an exchange about this issue in comments, when he was still here.

Remember that episode of the Twilight Zone, It’s a Good Life (The Twilight Zone), when a six-year old gains power of life and death over a town, and the whole town is terrified to say anything to upset that six-year old, for fear of him smiting them?

Quora Moderation reminded Marcos of that episode.

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