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Old 06-20-2008, 06:19 PM   #41
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I prefer the combination of the Soap Box as flypaper and my ability to put it on ignore. Efforts by the mods to keep the Soap Box stuff in the Soap Box area will get my applause.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:46 PM   #42
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... I think the mods got a little lax in letting things go too far in some of those threads, partly because the thread was "safely" tucked away in that forum. Erred on the side of allowing too much stuff in violation of the board rules.
I think the mods do a fine job of balancing "Wet toxic spill on aisle four, cleanup crew to the decontamination facility" with all the piteously despairing cries of excessive jack-booted censorship.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Those Soapbox fans not understanding the concept of excessive moderation should put up a few posts at the Bogleheads forum... if you can get past the posting rules.

And for those who prefer minimal moderation, there's just about every forum on Morningstar as well as the entire wonderful world of Yahoo! Finance.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:51 PM   #43
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I put the Soap Box on ignore. GREAT!!!

As I am all far limiting political post, this does it for me.

Thanks.
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:08 PM   #44
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Otherwise, if we remove the soapbox then I think we would need to say no more political posts unless they directly relate to ER or at least R.
I don't think that the forum loses anything by eliminating the soapbox. Dumping it would strengthen the forum, IMHO.
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:43 PM   #45
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I don't think that the forum loses anything by eliminating the soapbox. Dumping it would strengthen the forum, IMHO.

I disagree. It is a few months before an election, many of us have the time and/or inclination to watch and comment on the election. The government does effect our retirement any many ways and so it can be difficult to separate politics from health care/money retirement discussions. In fact, I've yet to see a retirement discussion forum not contain a lot of political threads, exhibit A is the Motley Fool Early retirement forum.

The soapbox is a way to mostly contain discussions to one area and the folks who don't want to read or participate can easily ignore them.

Frankly, I find the problem to be far less the topic as the attitude of some of the long time posters. I think simply reflecting (or as Martha says take a deep breath) on how the person at the other end of your post may react to your post will do a lot for increasing the civility of the forum.

It really is NOT hard to disagree with someone without resorting to personal attacks. The vast majority of people on this forum a quite intelligent and capable of posting cogent arguments without reverting to Jr. High behavior. The original golden rule applies to the virtual world just as well as does to the real world.
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:30 PM   #46
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Eh, inflamatory political/religion/sex threads are pretty easy to spot. You know one when you see one.

I've said it before a few times. All boards that grow hit this 'crap ceiling' and all of the ones that kept growing just put a warning in the rules that threads started or drifting too seriously into such areas will be closed/deleted.

People get the point after a bit. Its not about censorship. Its about not raising or tilting towards areas where people will become sharply polarized, actual 'learning' rarely occurs, and opinions are frequently unchanged.

Oh yeah, and theres that stuff about pissing people off and having the grumpiness carry over into other threads. Mad people stay mad for a while, but they dont stop posting.

So I'm kinda of the opinion that if you think it should be posted in the 'soap box', keep it to yourself. People who only come up with stuff that should be posted in the 'soap box' oughta fnd another place to post.

Polarization and giving people really interesting things to talk about that allow someone to sit back and watch the fireworks does not make a happy discussion group.

I want to talk about early retirement, investing, our lives, interesting bits of this and that, etc. I'm not remotely interested in why Bush sucks, what is actually Clintons fault, why liberals are idiots, why conservatives are jackasses, etc.

If I want that, I'll go looking for www.pissyourselfoffandeveroneelse.com
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:14 AM   #47
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I disagree. It is a few months before an election, many of us have the time and/or inclination to watch and comment on the election. The government does effect our retirement any many ways and so it can be difficult to separate politics from health care/money retirement discussions. In fact, I've yet to see a retirement discussion forum not contain a lot of political threads, exhibit A is the Motley Fool Early retirement forum.
All true. But I've brought up issues related to the national deficit and really there has been no thoughtful discussion that has resulted. Mostly just knee jerk reactions based upon preconceived political opinions. I've yet to read a political thread on this board that brought out any new and thoughtful observations. Sorry, guys. I think that's just the nature of the beast.

On the other hand, I have learned much of great value by being a member of this board and basking in the intelligence of the other members on topics related to personal finance, life matters, health, etc.

My point was that focusing the board upon what it does best would strengthen it, while allowing peripheral sections, like soapbox, diffuse the purpose of the board.

But I'm not invested in the outcome of this and, soapbox or not, will continue to read and post here.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:22 AM   #48
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The forum title just BEGS for problems

I agree with clifp a few posts above. I would like to point out a few things that I thing are contributing to some of the issues:

1) The TITLE 'Soap Box' is just wrong, IMO. This is supposed to be (I think?) a discussion forum, and the term Soap Box is generally used to describe someone that is just talking with no regard or desire for feedback or debate. You don't 'stand on a Soap Box' to discuss something face-to-face, you stand on a Soap box to make pronouncements. So why be surprised when some people do this? The title is asking for it.

2) Also in the Title: 'Headline News'? Don't we already have plenty of sources for news? Again, it seems to be asking people to just regurgitate headline news, w/o any thought behind discussion/debate, or 'what can we learn from this'.

Maybe the forum 'Other Topics' just needs to be split - 'General Topics not related to ER' And 'Political and Current Topics not Related to ER', or 'Hot Button Topics not related to ER' ( to help people who wish to totally ignore the 'hot button' topics), or something. What's in a name? Sometimes a lot.

3) FEEDBACK! I'm not sure I know what threads anyone is talking about. What threads caused trouble, where, which posts were OK, which are viewed as inflammatory? I'm sure many won't even bother to try to figure it out, so we don't get feedback on what is right/wrong. I am also confused about the infraction system here, because there is no feedback. How does anyone learn what is right/wrong when it is all secret?

As an example, after this '3 infractions and measures will be taken' was set up, I saw a thread where a long time poster engaged in very direct, obscene, degrading personal attacks, attacks on the OP, not the subject matter - it must have been four or five separate posts in that thread from him like that - yet, did anything happen? It appears not, he kept posting. All we saw was 'moderator edit' on the worst of it.

That thread was so bad, I would have been embarrassed if anyone looked over my shoulder - it would have been 'what the heck are you reading!!??'. It sends the message that personal, obscene, degrading attacks ARE OK, no problem, the mods will just edit the worst of it, have a nice day.

I'm not thrilled with the practice of shutting down threads because *some* poster/s push the rules. Sometimes, that means they 'win', and the rest of us who actually wanted to discuss the topic respectfully are left out. Punish the 'offenders', not everybody in the same thread.

Suggestions:

1) Mods should LABEL any posts that resulted in infractions - we will all see what is considered trouble. Maybe even show a count of how many times that post was reported as a problem (whether it resulted in infraction or not - at least we would know if the mods were made aware of the problem).

2) I'm sure this will be controversial, but think about it: It sounds like the mods have a little spreadsheet they share, so they can track the '3 violations in 120 days' rule. I say make it public. No, not to humiliate any specific posters, but so that we can see what is being tolerated, what is not, and also - maybe some of us will report offensive, disruptive posts that don't appear on that list. That should help clean the place up.

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Old 06-21-2008, 08:28 AM   #49
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How does anyone learn what is right/wrong when it is all secret?
Secret?

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Old 06-21-2008, 11:52 AM   #50
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In fact, I've yet to see a retirement discussion forum not contain a lot of political threads, exhibit A is the Motley Fool Early retirement forum.
I came here in the first place to get away from the toxic waste dump that place became. If this forum ends up like that one, I will be looking elsewhere.
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:14 PM   #51
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I didn't mean to say that the rules are secret, I meant to say that the enforcement of the rules seems to be secret. And I don't mean that in a 'conspiracy theory' sort of way, just that they are not made public (AFAIK).

People tend to respond to what they see/know to be enforced. If everyone is doing 65 in a 55 zone, and no one ever seems to get pulled over, people will keep doing 65.

Likewise, if someone says in a single thread over a short period of time:

Screw you and the piglet horse you rode in on.
Yeah, you're a ****ing saint, aren't you?
If you right wingers want [moderator edit] in public,

and the poster keeps on posting, it makes one wonder what the real 'rules' are. Those comments are personal attacks and offensive.

Is that a single infraction, or three infractions?

Again, if people see rules being broken, and no enforcement, it will encourage others to break/bend/test the rules. Things tend to work that way.

And I'm not trying to pick on the mods here - it's a tough job and they are probably doing an exemplary job. I'm really trying to help by saying that some public info might help make their job easier - people will see examples of rules being broken, enforcement, and 'click' - the light bulb will come on (for some).

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Old 06-21-2008, 12:24 PM   #52
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Getting rid of the Soap Box is tempting. But given the political climate and in a political election year, it at least allows the mods to isolate the toxic political sludge into one place. I fear that if it were removed, the politics and the insults and disrespect it brings would bleed back into other forums. At least with this setup, those wishing to avoid it completely have a solution: avoid the Soap Box.

Plus, as already mentioned, there can sometimes be a fine line between political issues and how they can affect the quest for FIRE and engaging in full-contact politics for its own sake. It's hard to discuss the future of health care, Social Security or other economic issues impacting that quest without at least some reference to it.

The real shame is that some people can't look at political disagreement without assuming the people on the other side must be either stupid, malevolent or both. And it's that attitude that tends to turn political discussion into a sewer.

Having said all that, I don't understand the mindset of some people to have to drag politics into everything and everywhere. There are plenty of sites devoted to political debate. Why feel the need to drag that crap into places where it doesn't belong?
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:34 PM   #53
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It is true that the threshholds for enforcement of existing rules (and their interpretation) are not always clear cut.

Just as real-world cops might give you a break on a speeding ticket, or judges might disagree on a verdict, our rules are subject to things such as past history of offenses, longevity of the user (2 posts with a vulgarity over 1500 posts might be viewed differently from 2 over 4 posts for a new user). There are countless unique factors that go into any serious moderator action. Complaints and private messages add another layer. And some times it's "just because" that's the way the mods want to handle something.

What I can clarify is that we discuss virtually all non-trivial actions amongst ourselves, we consider a lot of factors, and we generally shy away from doing anything restrictive unless we really feel the need.

Not a perfect system, and we have all seen what happens if things get too nasty for too long (or if things get over-policed). We're doing our best. I can assure everyone that if you have even a vague notion of civility and the community rules, your chances of ever running into a mod action are next to zero. You almost have to try to get moderated around here compared to lots of other boards.

I hope that helps give you a sense of the usual MO.
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:50 PM   #54
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All over the world people are killing one another over politics. I believe that for the most part, this is because politics are important, and not just because these people have not yet been introduced to correct thinking. Political decisions affect every one of us. So far perhaps less so in the USA than elsewhere, but that is not guaranteed to persist forever.

I don't understand adults who have no interest in politics- whether it be the near range infighting in a company, zoning and land use decisions in a town, or tax and "income redistribution" policies nationally, or foreign policy and war internationally.

At worst, political discussions on this board can give us a laboratory to gauge how people who we already know quite a bit about just by reading their thoughts over a period of time will view national political issues. People have complained that political discussions are uninformative. IMO that is an oxymoron. A broad minded person can learn many things from what might at first glance appear to nothing more than a shouting contest. S/he might observe what is said and how it is said. S/he can infer why it is said, and make other inferences from who it is said to.

I believe I have said before, this board is a valuable laboratory. And of course that fact cannot be destroyed - even if everything but Bogle-isms were to become unspeak, that alone would be useful knowledge to some people.

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Old 06-21-2008, 12:57 PM   #55
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I don't understand adults who have no interest in politics- whether it be the near range infighting in a company, zoning and land use decisions in a town, or tax and "income redistribution" policies nationally.
Is it a complete disinterest in politics or is it seeking a refuge from it when we're bombarded with it everywhere else?

The fact that some people don't want politics discussed here doesn't mean they have no interest in it. They may have no interest in seeing it HERE, even if some might be interested in it elsewhere. One of the best ways to balkanize a mostly harmonious online community is to start injecting politics in it. You start seeing people who used to like and respect each other start disliking each other. I can't count the number of times I've seen that elsewhere.

So in the end, I guess I'd say there's enough other places to get riled up over politics, and I don't see why it's so darned critical to argue them *everywhere* and in all places. I enjoy a good and reasonably civil political discussion, but sometimes I want to go to a place where I can GET AWAY from it when I start feeling 'politics fatigue.'

I can already get my fill of Bush sucks/Obama sucks or whatever else in any number of other places. I for one like the idea of a 'politics free zone.' If I ever decide I want to engage in some political discussion, I can turn to one of dozens, if not hundreds, of other sites online.
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Old 06-21-2008, 01:00 PM   #56
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1) The TITLE 'Soap Box' is just wrong, IMO. This is supposed to be (I think?) a discussion forum, and the term Soap Box is generally used to describe someone that is just talking with no regard or desire for feedback or debate. You don't 'stand on a Soap Box' to discuss something face-to-face, you stand on a Soap box to make pronouncements. So why be surprised when some people do this? The title is asking for it.
Just a note.... I guess you have not been to Hyde Park in London on a Sunday morning... where they DO have the real soap boxes.... I used to go visit just to see what people wanted to 'pronounce'.... well, it was a discussion more than a pronouncement.... well, except for some who were just talking in the air.... if they made a statement that was not in the norm, someone in the crowd would challenge what was said and it was a back and forth with some 'yeas' and 'nays' from others.... you could tell who had the better argument and when someone made a good point or someone else was being unreasonable... sometimes they got heated... but the people all knew what it was for and would walk away if they did not like how things were going.... why can this not happen HERE?


As an aside... I found one of the most interesting was a Muslim guy who blamed every bad thing in the Middle East on America.. .and this Communist was 'arguing' with him... after about 15 minutes it kind of petered out... I went up to the Communist (I did not know at the time he was one) and asked him about his beliefs.... well, to my surprise he then told me he was a Communist but that the Muslim was just spouting such stupid things he wanted to see what he would say... so funny.....
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Old 06-21-2008, 01:05 PM   #57
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Likewise, if someone says in a single thread over a short period of time:

Screw you and the piglet horse you rode in on.
Yeah, you're a ****ing saint, aren't you?
If you right wingers want [moderator edit] in public,

and the poster keeps on posting, it makes one wonder what the real 'rules' are. Those comments are personal attacks and offensive.
I have to agree with this.... as I have said, some of the long time posters can 'dismiss' someone they do not agree with with a very snide comment like the above and move on... they got their panties in a knot (yes, inflammatory ) and did not want to continue the discussion.... but wanted to get in their last 'hit'....

To me... this is just background noise... it makes me wonder about the person for a minute or two... but then I move on and forget it...

I recommend this to others...
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Old 06-21-2008, 01:09 PM   #58
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So in the end, I guess I'd say there's enough other places to get riled up over politics, and I don't see why it's so darned critical to argue them *everywhere* and in all places. I enjoy a good and reasonably civil political discussion, but sometimes I want to go to a place where I can GET AWAY from it when I start feeling 'politicsfatigue.'
Well, of course you use inflammatory speech "get riled up over politics"; "so darned critical", etc.

Really it is all OK to me, you just contributed to my data gathering.

And by the way, if putting the soapbox on ignore doesn't do it for you, perhaps you might enjoy reading about self control, self determination, and the roots of democratic societies.

Respectfully yours,

Ha
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Old 06-21-2008, 01:12 PM   #59
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And by the way, if putting the soapbox on ignore doesn't do it for you, perhaps you might enjoy reading about self control, self determination, and the roots of democratic societies.
Hey, I'm cool with having the Soap Box around as a "containment field" when I don't want to be riled up over politics. I'm just saying that even people who are interested in politics may not *always* be in the mood to debate it or wade through all the incendiary discussion, and that having a desire to not see political stuff here doesn't necessarily mean they are apolitical.

In reality, as long as the Soap Box keeps the other forums politics-free, that's good enough for me. I may even go in there from time to time if I'm in the mood.
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Old 06-21-2008, 01:35 PM   #60
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Enough of the whining and complaining.

You asked for the ignore features (it was granted to you)and now those are not enough. Again it is plain and simple if you do not want to read it then don't.

If I may borrow a post from the GREAT Haha on thread Ground Rules

There used to be a group called The Legion of Decency. They wanted the abolition of pornography, which by their definition included most anything that showed a man and a women in any situation other than praying.

Why did they want this? It wasn't that pornography ran out and held a gun to their heads and made them look at it.

I was because to them it was sexually appealing, but morally challenging. And they couldn't handle the dissonance this produced.

I would think that people who are all heated up over more and more ways to hide threads or posters or life itself from their daintly eyes suffer from the same problem. They are attracted to these topics, or these types of expression, but at the same time they are distressed by this.

Isn't that something that can be best handled by self restraint? Or self knowledge? Or by compassion for oneself and for others?

What would the Buddha say?

Ha

End of HaHa's post.

With that being said I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

God Bless Us All
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