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dsheinem
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Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by dsheinem Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:20 am

Flake made a decision to close the old "World is Falling Apart Thread" that he started, citing not wanting to be associated with some of the toxicity and abuse found therein.

With all due respect to Flake, I really thought that there was some engaging conversation in that thread over the 6+ years that it was up, and would like to open up this thread as an outlet to continue that kind of dialogue (hopefully without the nonsense).

Given the potentially volatile nature of this thread, though, a few reminders up front would be helpful. Some of the relevant official forum rules indicate:

-Our purpose is to share, help and support others
-Be respectful of others' opinions
-Try to lurk for a while and get to know the forum before you post.
-Do not deliberately start arguments. Debates are great, as long as they remain respectful!
-Be nice to each other and respect the moderator. If you have a problem with another member turn to the respective moderator and if the moderator can't help, you can send a private message to an admin.
-Do not post anything which is offensive, hateful, racist, sexist, discriminatory, obscene, vulgar or in violation of local or international laws.
-No personal insults. Direct personal insult of another member, i.e., "You are an idiot." and all the variations. Why? Because this isn't grade school. Bottom line -- don't try to tick off others.
-Any posts that get heated or are in a mocking fashion involving politics, religion, etc will be taken down and members will receive a warning. (try to avoid even "joking" about it)
-Do not post content or knowingly link to any site that contains adult content, sexually oriented material, racist, or might otherwise be considered offensive. (If link may contain some potentially offensive content, please use a NSFW tag)


What does this mean for political debate on a thread like this? Here's my .02:

Discussion about politics and current events can obviously get heated quickly, especially in an online/anonymous forum where people don't know each other personally and the general internet fuckwad theory takes over. We want to avoid that.

The best kind of discussion in a political thread is based around well-informed arguments that are used to craft a perspective/opinion on policy, a response to something in the news, etc. Not all opinions are equally well-informed, and thus while all opinions can be initially respected as such, not all opinions should expect to be stated without engendering a respectful challenge. That means that you need to be able to think through your own argument, its bases, and its potential ramifications before making it. It also means you need to understand that whatever you say in here can (and often will) be seen as an argument made in part of a larger ongoing debate.

Prepare to critique ideas and to have your ideas critiqued, but do not insult/taunt others or expect them to do it to you. If someone says something that you think is dumb, show them why you think it is dumb with a good counter-argument...but don't ever call them "dumb". On a related note, it is generally fair to critique a political party (e.g. "those Democrats sure did something stupid today") or ideology (e.g. "Libertarianism is such an selfish world view") because people's political affiliations and perspectives are mutable (they can change over time). It is generally not fair, though, to critique things that people can not change about themselves (e.g. "if you were born in Pennsylvania you are part of the problem"); this is an especially important point on political issues that focus around parts of one's identity (e.g. civil rights policies).

On a related note, in the old thread this chart was one that people seemed to like and hopefully it will be helpful here. It runs along the same lines as a lot of good academic research regarding media sources/bias/quality. You may want to use it as a starting place for considering what kinds of sources you are citing and what kinds of information are grounding the opinions/arguments you are putting forward here.

Image


^TLDR: Do your research, post respectfully and with due diligence, and don't make personal attacks on specific individuals or about immutable characteristics of one's identity.

---

Anyway...I know we have some folks here (Flake included) that follow foreign policy wrangling far closer than I do. I am really curious to hear what these people think about the ratcheting-up of rhetoric around North Korea and its nukes over the past few days. How is Trump's seemingly off-handed "fire and fury" comment going to play internationally? With China and Russia supporting the new sanctions that prompted all this, is North Korea just barking loudly or do they feel cornered enough to "bite"? I can't figure out what to make of all this as usually I am fairly dismissive of Kim Jong Un (as I was of his dad)...but this feels a little different this time around.
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by AppleQueso Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:30 am

the old thread was easily one of the worst things to happen to this forum but I mean y'all have fun I guess.
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by Flake Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:48 am

Hello all!

We are actively discussing a way to have a politics / current affairs thread in the moderator secret lair forum. The biggest concern, obviously, is avoiding the abuse that we saw in the 'falling apart' thread.

One idea that I am actively promoting is the idea of a thread that will be deleted at the end of every month - regardless of how discussion is going or which conversations are happening. The hope would be that this would prevent people from allowing animosity to fester or users becoming 'too attached' to a specific line of discussion.

Thoughts?
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dsheinem
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by dsheinem Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:59 am

Flake wrote:Hello all!

We are actively discussing a way to have a politics / current affairs thread in the moderator secret lair forum. The biggest concern, obviously, is avoiding the abuse that we saw in the 'falling apart' thread.

One idea that I am actively promoting is the idea of a thread that will be deleted at the end of every month - regardless of how discussion is going or which conversations are happening. The hope would be that this would prevent people from allowing animosity to fester or users becoming 'too attached' to a specific line of discussion.

Thoughts?


It is an interesting idea and might bring new people into the thread more regularly...is there a model for what you are thinking about elsewhere (on a another forum) that we could check out?

I wasn't trying to step on any toes with this thread as I figured you were out of the "politics thread-making" game given your reasons for closing the other one. In any case, I hope this thread can work as a starting place for whatever comes about as I tried to put some thought into the info in the OP...
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by Flake Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:02 am

The model is literally '1st of the month, the thread gets deleted'. I'm not aware of a similar approach but my inspiration is reddit or news sites that do not allow comments after a specific point.
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dsheinem
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by dsheinem Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:08 am

Flake wrote:The model is literally '1st of the month, the thread gets deleted'. I'm not aware of a similar approach but my inspiration is reddit or news sites that do not allow comments after a specific point.


If you want to go that route, I think I would recommend a lock instead of a deletion. There are often old things in older threads still worth linking to (instead of having to restate them) and I would guess the same is as true (if not more so) on some political points.
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by Flake Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:09 am

But that (In my opinion) would defeat the purpose of not allowing history to build up.
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dsheinem
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by dsheinem Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:15 am

Is the history you are concerned with that of "bad blood" or some such between members? If that were to occur, I think that it would persist across months (even with thread deletions). I am generally against deleting/removing anything, and in this case I don't think I understand what the presumed benefit would be...

Can you clarify a bit more?
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by Erik_Twice Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:40 am

That thread was the worst thing that has ever happened to the forum and has directly lead to more good posters being driven away than anything else in its history.

In every forum I've been part of political threads have brought nothing but problems:

- Incendiary posts and personal attacks
- Bigotry, take-thats and generaly nastyness
- Reduced appeal of the forum's main content (What is it, politics or games?)
- Attracting bad posters (Gamergaters, Hillarystans, people who want to be right, etc.)
- Polarization and radicalization as good posters are driven away
- Worse moderation as mods are forced to take matters into their own hands

And, being honest, you can't have an inclusive community and discuss politics at the same time. What are you going to do, ban all Trump supporters? What's going to happen when people discuss feminism or religion, how many people will have to be banned or told to step off? And what effect will that have on the forum?
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Re: Thread to Discuss Current Events & Politics

by miked Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:25 pm

I agree with Erik_twice.

While I'm sure the old thread did have some meaningful and civil conversation in the 6 years in existed, the last year was a complete shit show. One of the oddest digital dick measuring contests I have ever seen, and I don't see how this one would be any different.

The current political situation is just too wild right now, with too many sides involved. The rise of Trump/Alt right seems too have a lot of people confused and questioning many things and it only seems to lead to extremely vile arguments.

While I myself despise Trump, and many of his most loyal supporters, I just don't want to hear about this junk anymore. I can't turn on the Tv or visit some of my favorite websites without hearing about it already, and it would be nice if the retro themed forum I visit wasn't parts of it. Seriously this stuff has been a major source of stress for me this year.

Sure, I guess I just should never even click on the thread, but if this has the potential to run off members or even worse attract shitty ones I just don't see the point. Especially with racket actively trying to reboot the site, I feel its the LAST thing this place needs.
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