I don't see how one can discuss genuine issues without being provocative. What makes an issue an issue is the controversy behind it. How does one address controversy without pushing someone else's buttons?
I'd re-phrase it thusly: Simple: discuss the issues without attacking, insulting, or allowing yourself to react to provocation.
"The series may be hesitant to say it, but the day is here for everybody that loves IndyCar racing to link arms and help each other out. Anybody who doesn’t want to do that needs to find something else to do with their time.”
-- Eddie Gossage, President, Texas Motor Speedway, ICONIC Advisory Committee & TrackForum member
OK, Ren, I'll spot you that for a one-on-one real-life conversation; but how do you pull it off on a multiple member message board where any member can respond to what you post?
I've posted things here I thought were completely innocent, even innocuous, that people have responded to or PM'ed me thinking it was personal or offensive. I've also seen posters here do the same to you. It's the nature of the beast.
But yes, I've seen people take things incorrectly, and I'm sure I've been on both ends of it. That doesn't mean it will or must happen by nature. As long as they are careful, they clarify when they are misunderstood, and they grant each other deference, mature people can and should be able to hold civil disagreements about controversial topics.
What FTHurley said. One person's "civil disagreement" is another person's "hate," because the latter person sees the viewpoint as hateful regardless of how the former person presents it. Again, how do you get around that in a public forum? Do you require the latter person to bottle his emotions? What if how that person presents his emotions sounds "hateful" to you; do you suppress your instinctual response in the name of "civil disagreement?"
Makes me glad I'm not a moderator, how about you?
Ren, I can see what you're proposing as a personal code of honor. Would that everyone would do the same! But many won't and making it a rule saying they have to doesn't guarantee they'll follow it. If anything when the rule is enforced, they'll yowl like cats under a full moon.
The point is that no matter how nice we think we're being, we're probably all going to come across as jackasses at some point, whether we're actually being jackasses or not.
But I actually think the moderators are doing a great job these days. (That hasn't always been true in the past.) If a viewpoint is truly hateful, the post is deleted; if it's not, the respondent has to refrain from overreacting.
With limited membership, this is all very realistic.
What do others think?
Edit: Sorry, I didn't see FTHurley's post on this topic which was posted while I was had my post open and was working on something else. I would still be interested in other's opinion about the appropriateness of this comment to what people seem to be hoping will reshape discourse on TF.
There was no fight. There were no personal attacks. There was no lack of "getting along."
There was simply a reasoned protest that was apparently denied.
I think sifaka misinterpreted my comments, Ren's, and mindervillain's, putting him at odds with the rest of the discussion.
FTH, well said.
Yes, please, move on.
DIA, is the plan to eventually open CE back up to the full audience, or is the closed beta maybe going to become a closed release? I'm not a CE regular, so I don't especially have a horse in the race; just curious.
I'd like it to be more open, but it will probably be by invitation, and possibly not for public viewing.
I do believe that if the old CE forum becomes a restricted access area, the definition of what constitutes a CE topic needs to be addressed. While the majority of threads in Current Events either start out as or devolve into political discussions, this is not true for all topics and, therefore, I believe it would be detrimental to TrackForum in general if the opportunity to discuss the world at large or humankind in general became retsricted because of the tendency of some posters to identify others with a specific political camp and to then react on that basis.
If truly political sniping and the repetitive finger-pointing which results could be confined to an exclusively political forum and a Current Events forum could then be created for the more general social/military/humanity/philosophical/religious/legal sort of issues, the danger of CE emotions spilling over into the OffTopic forum may be avoided while not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
With many of the threads on the old CE forum, there was little real attempt to conduct any meaningful discussion or to gain insight as a result of an exchange of views. Some positions are so entrenched that the presence of one poster simply results in a response to the appearamce of the poster's name rather than to the topic which is presented for discussion and, in truth, often the thread title itself is intentionally worded to maximize reaction.
Maybe a quota should be applied to the threads themselves rather than to the posters, though the two are obviously intertwined. For example, enough threads have been started about Obama's birth certificate and about Palin's intelligence to allow the moderators to simply toss out any attempts to use those issues as titles in new threads ( I only use those as examples because the issues seem to have largely blown over but, during their peak, new threads were started frequently for the sole purpose of soap-boxing on the same positions ) During the current Republican nomination race, the same issue would be brought up in numerous guises by posters who seemed to have run out of steam in other threads on the topic but felt that using their interpretation as the title of a new thread somehow gave them a sense of accomplishment.
Few posters are as reasoned and courteous as those who have offered their opinions within this thread and, while I still believe that a no-moderation policy may be the best option for CE, if moderation has to take place, I do think that the nature of American political discourse requires that it, and it alone, be kept separate from other broader areas which are of of interest to TF members.
I think this reflects genius at work and is an excellent idea. I say that as someone who has not been invited, and is unlikely to be invited, to participate.
Now if the powers that be make it private but readable by the world, that would be cruel and unusual punishment for those of us who like discussing politics with people of different persuasions. So if the mods want to be really nasty, take CE private and make it public.
No idea how hard this is since I have no experience running a message board, but could it be that by default you cannot access the CE forum when you join (and that would be retroactive when it went live) but you could go into your control panel and essentially turn it on?
One annoying thing about the beta test is that I left what I think is a perfectly reasonable and rational comment on a thread in the OT forum, only to see the thread disappear right after I posted. I know it's a fact of life in a closed beta, and it's not intentional, but damn, that's kind of annoying.