Time Out

Meditations on Punishment

So I’m sitting here drumming my fingers waiting for dK (undergoing a little maintenance right now), taking a little time out- an experience I have once likened to Azkaban (I’d be happy to link you, but I can’t do that Dave) and I’ve been thinking about punishment.

It’s really horrible not to be able to chat with your friends.

That is in fact one of the reasons I’m most excited about this new project.  It’s not that I don’t love all y’all, but the concept of exchanging ideas with pyrrho and Armando again has me all tingly.

One thing I’ve noticed in the past is how quick Admins are to go for that ultimate weapon- banishment.  It’s is quick out of the holster and solves lots of problems.


Takes away all your character ever had or ever will.

But it’s just a character folks.  Insubstantial photons floating to your eyes, hypnotizing in their dance.  It is no more real than a d20.  Surprising some folks obsession with the game.

I’d like to propose a new paradigm.

As my examination of the controls confirms, there are any number of ways an Admin can make your life miserable.  I’m not here to argue about what sort of punishment fits the crime but about entirely new terminology-


Misbehavior results in suspension of privileges, up to and including suspension of all ability to interact permanently- banishment.

But there is a whole range of lesser punishments for lesser offenses and the metaphor I have in mind is the ‘Time Out’.

Getting to into it with someone?  You’re both very naughty and need some time to think about how to work and play well with others.

Now Armando or pyrrho might argue that it’s too much cucumber fucking sandwiches and tea and there are implementation problems about what punishment fits to be sure. And I’ve always been in favor of a good spanking which might lead people to consider me strict.

In plain language I’m proposing that punishments be time limited at first and permanent only after persistent assholery.

But I’m not the boss and it’s just an argument.


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  1. to grace this board with its first harry potter reference.  or did i miss the first? 

    i think it would be silly, if you have the means to use suspension, to take it off the table entirely.  naive, even.

    we all come across people who need a break, including many who arent self-aware enough to realize it.  is it ‘our’ responsibility to parent these individuals and impose that break?  probably not.  but it seems right neighborly to offer the opportunity.  not even as a punishment, necessarily. 

    think of it as a vacation.  a vacation to a place you dont want to go…from a place where you want to stay. 

    p.s.  ratings abuse is a serious offense in a live-and-let-live environment.

    and, here is a pic for the admins:  

    • Turkana on September 5, 2007 at 10:50 am

    suspending armando, every other month.

    there are certain well-known blog assholes whom i will have no trouble banning on sight. no names, but it will, inevitably, happen. they’ll always have peeder’s place, for ill and good. others, sure, we can tell to take some time off.

    i’ve said it before- i like jhritz, mattes, and npbeachfun, and if they could have been convinced to stay out of each other’s ways, they’d all still be on dk. that was the type of situation that definitely called for “time outs,” although i assume they were being warned, behind the scenes. but there are a lot of generally good people who go through bad phases, and for most of them, when it happens, i’d like to give them the chance to prove they can still play nice.

    one thing i will be curious about is some of the incessant kos-bashers. some of them are very smart, and very astute political analysts. if they can leave the kos-bashing at the door, i would love to have almost all of them here, for the actual discussions. i hope some will be. but if they fall into the same old patterns they fall into on other sites, they won’t last long, here. time outs, or whatever- we’ve all seen how that crap can poison a blog. but almost anyone that wants a fresh start should certainly be given the chance.

  2. Stop with the cucumber jokes!

    Especially when you’ve just commented that Armando and pyrrho get you all tingly.

    But, seriously, I think the “time out” is a good idea. Let people cool off a bit.

    • Armando on September 5, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Nuance seems to be a very necessary weapon in community moderation it seems to me.

    pyrrho would blast you for censorship.

    • pfiore8 on September 5, 2007 at 6:42 pm


    1. He’s been very measured and supportive.

      If you think he’s beat on Major Danby you haven’t read my posts carefully enough.

      Armando is fine.

      If you have a bad history…

      How can you tell, and that’s what the Pit of Pain is for.

      But I’m expecting new and nice people and I’m suggesting that there are non-Traditional (dK, MLW) ways to deal.

    2. It deserves punishment.  Not the kind of site we aspire to be.

      Diaries?  Comments off at least.  Severe editing.

      Can’t deal?  See ya, come back next year.

      Or Month or Week or 3 days…

      See how it works?

    3. I missed that. I was wondering why I hadn’t seen her post – just assumed she was busy, like so many of us.

      I’m assuming this has something to do with I/P diaries?

      Do you people sleep?

  3. I haven’t seen anything laying out comment moderation policy here. If there have to be comment and/or diary deletions – and I’m sure there will be judging by the boundary-pushing going on over at peeder’s – I think it’s better for the community if it’s done not by community moderation but by admins, with full transparency over each deletion they make and the reasons for it. I’ve come to feel it’s very damaging for a community to get into troll rating and hiding of comments because it sets up cliques and turns people against one another and especially creates different tiers of users. I’m actually surprised that I’ve come to this conclusion, but in comparison to the nonsense that goes on at dk I’ve come to really appreciate for instance how jeralyn manages deletions at Talkleft.

    As long as admins are even-handed about what they’re doing and the guidelines are clear it seems preferable, although it has its shortcomings too as an approach (e.g., an admin with a vendetta). If the site gets too big for a small group of admins to handle, a rating could be added set to flag for an admin’s attention, like peeder’s 99 rating.

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