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Old 09-09-2008, 11:53 PM   #61
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I enjoy reading and (occasionally) participating in the Soapbox forum. Having a place to cuss and discuss political topics is appropriate, especially during an election year. People are talking about politics at work, in their homes, parties, bars, etc, so why eliminate it here? This forum is a microcosm of society at large. People are engaged, intrigued and entertained by the topics in the Soapbox forum, to wit the Sarah Palin Thread is now the second most popular thread on this forum. If we were to eliminate the Soapbox, we should do away with the joke threads, and any other threads that are even remotely considered to be just for entertainment. (except for bacon-don't even think about doing away with the with the bacon thread.. that one is strictly off limits..riots will break out in the streets.) Having one place to post political musings, rantings and rebuttals is productive, and entertaining.By having a designated Soapbox forum, it compartmentalizes the postings where they can be more easily policed, viewed selectively, and visited by choice. Look at the number of times the Soapbox has been accessed recently, and tell me this is not a forum the members are utilizing.

Anyone can choose to ignore the Soapbox, and individual posters as they see fit. I think most of what I read in the Soapbox is pretty tame, compared to other forums. Sure, people can get a little wound up from time to time, but only because they are passionate about their candidates.

I predict it will slow down after McCain/Palin win the election in November, anyway.

Ok, I'm done for now, and back on that ignore list.
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:40 AM   #62
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While I appreciate the logic behind the creation of the Soapbox, I fear that it's just a waystation to the inevitable. People should be able to enjoy this forum for its subject, not for its "anything goes" behavior. If they can't live without a Soapbox forum then they don't belong here. Greaney has a section of his board for "towel-snapping discourse", and Morningstar has an entire "Politics" forum. I think that the Soapbox experiment has run its course and should be sanitized in a biolevel four environment before the contamination gets out of control.
Here's a few reasons that I see this differently:

1) IMO, the SoapBox is very, very far from being 'anything goes'. As others have said, and has been my experience, the discussions gets heated, occasionally a bit silly and circular (I always have the option of bowing out of that thread), but the civility level is still relatively high. Most threads I've seen in other forums degrade immediately to hit-and-run personal attacks, and totally mindless responses.

2) I already have come to 'know' quite a few of the posters here (through their posts), and understand a bit about their background and how they process information. That makes it a lot more interesting to engage in a discussion. If I go to a different forum, I'd have to take the time to learn the 'lay of the land' all over again. Prefer not to. Also prefer not to add another forum to my list that I monitor regularly. Plus, SoapBox discussions *do* dovetail some of the other topics.

3) It is political season. People seem to need an outlet. We wouldn't have 1000 posts on a VP choice if that was not true.

I fail to see how any of this is 'polluting' anything else on this board. I don't get your beef, other than maybe a bit of sour grapes that some people are going off to play a game that doesn't interest you. I fail to see the harm.

People should be able to enjoy this forum for its subject,

And what exactly is that 'subject'? - We already have 'Travel Information', 'Other' and 'Life after FIRE' have a pretty wide range of subject matter Would we be better off sticking to FIRE financial topics only? No room here for surfer talk, dryer vents, military life, cooking, books (except Four Pillars), etc, etc, etc?

That would be more limiting than I would care to see.

-ERD50
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:56 AM   #63
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sam, REW, notmuchlonger.. you are being the problematic, argumentative ones here. You can see my practical reason for asking; I stated it twice.

It's not my fault that people used the opportunity to sound off one way or the other.
There's an old saying about a pot and a kettle, do you remember it??
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:01 PM   #64
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Here's a few reasons that I see this differently:

1) IMO, the SoapBox is very, very far from being 'anything goes'. As others have said, and has been my experience, the discussions gets heated, occasionally a bit silly and circular (I always have the option of bowing out of that thread), but the civility level is still relatively high. Most threads I've seen in other forums degrade immediately to hit-and-run personal attacks, and totally mindless responses.
I complete agree ERD with everything in your post, how often do you hear that from me

One of the things I enjoy about being retired is gives me the time to engage in my passion for current events and politics. One of the things I miss about Silicon Valley is people just don't discuss politics in Hawaii that much. The soapbox is good substitute. Are people sarcastic and rude? sure more so than other places on the forums not really. What is important to me is that I know something about the poster. Unlike other places where politics is discuss, the discussion is reasonably civil, and I know the person isn't an idiot or assh*le, just somebody with a different opinion. Also I find the ratio of intelligent posts to stupid ones to be very high the Signal to Noise ratio...

If political discussion are banned, I won't say I am going to boycott the forum but my interest in participating in this place will go way down. Us folks who have actually retired have an opportunity to "give back", to those folks dreaming of ER, some of our wisdom and experience. How much is this worth who knows but I don't I think I am being cocky when I say more than the young dreamers pay for it. As was observed many years ago on the Motley Fool ER forum, there is only some many ways you can debate the 4% rule/pay off mortgage etc before it loses interest.
Which is why all of these forums end up discussing politics along with other subjects.

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I fail to see how any of this is 'polluting' anything else on this board. I don't get your beef, other than maybe a bit of sour grapes that some people are going off to play a game that doesn't interest you. I fail to see the harm.

People should be able to enjoy this forum for its subject,

And what exactly is that 'subject'? - We already have 'Travel Information', 'Other' and 'Life after FIRE' have a pretty wide range of subject matter Would we be better off sticking to FIRE financial topics only? No room here for surfer talk, dryer vents, military life, cooking, books (except Four Pillars), etc, etc, etc?

That would be more limiting than I would care to see.

-ERD50
And me also


I also don't see the harm the soap box is causing? Could someone explain it?

If the problem is too much work for the moderators, well that is a legitimate complaint.

I made a post last night which got pulled by a moderator, for reasons I don't understand.

The essence of my suggestion was to eliminate proactive moderation of the soapbox forum until after the election (or perhaps forever). So if BWW calls Lad an Italian Commie, and Ladelfina calls BWW a redneck fascist, no harm unless somebody (preferable more than one person) complains.

No need for any moderator to waste their time reading a 1000 posts.
Of course if some troll comes in here and tries to sell us F%#$* McCain, or %$#%# Obama T-Shirts along with an annuity we will report the post and the moderators can continue to provide a valuable service appreciated by Republicans and Democrats a like. However, right now I am way more upset with the moderators than any Obama support, I doubt am alone in my believe and I don't think this is good for anyone.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:20 PM   #65
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I also don't see the harm the soap box is causing? Could someone explain it?
I can!

For starters it is an enormous load on the moderators to maintain the civility you're seeing.

Secondarily, people get worked up at each other in the SB and that spills into their other posts on the forum. Some poor bloke like me who ignores the soapbox is left trying to figure out why someone is being unexpectedly huffy or two otherwise nice people are poking each other in the eye in a backhanded manner.

Some percentage of people can have a rational discussion with disagreement and grow from the conversation. But its not that good for most people.

I've gone through an awful lot of these discussion groups where a bunch of people get together to talk about some product or topic, things go well, the group grows, and at some point the politics shows up. Many try to contain it or wrap some rules around it, give it its own sandbox, etc.

It always ends the same way.

A percentage of really valuable posters leave because they dont like it. I can think of a half dozen people who have left because they didnt like the politics. People I could read from all day long that are way better than what 98% of our current inhabitants have to offer, with all due respects. Moderator burnout and turnover becomes a major issue. Any of you mods want to disagree with that? You draw in some pompous buttholes that just like to tweak each other.

Inevitably one of two things happens...the community gets a hole poked in its inner tube and loses a lot of air or a simple rule of "dont talk about naughty political stuff (and its like porn, you know it when you see it) or your post/thread will be deleted and persistence will get your account banned".

I've been a mod on a couple of those boards. Shooting 2-3 posts a day and banning someone once a month was a whole lot easier than trying to mend fences between 100 people across a few dozen threads. After a few weeks of being called a Nazi Censor 99% of the people 'get it' and the BS stops.

You'd find that you can engage in perfectly reasonable non partisan discussions that incorporate political aspects without the sort of stuff that I imagine goes on in the soapbox. I can more than imagine it because people have on 3-4 occasions pointed me to a thread which promptly caused me to put the forum right back on ignore.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:27 PM   #66
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:30 PM   #67
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Polls posted in the soapbox are not going to be representative samplings of the posters here. The best and brightest have the soapbox on ignore.
Absolutely. But how did that Palin thread get over 1000 posts before it was cut down in the bloom of youth?

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:30 PM   #68
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Once in a great while
Ah, blow me you commie pinko neocon bush loving flip flopping fair and balanced jerk, whatever the heck you are!

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:33 PM   #69
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If we were really smart here, don't you think we would get rid of the Soap Box and replace it with your link above?

This way people would click on it, get lost in that forum, and not find their way back here.
Heck no! We want to argue with all the friends we know and love, not some strangers!

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:39 PM   #70
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Yep, we're like a bunch of old married people. We know exactly what buttons to push
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:41 PM   #71
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I can!

For starters it is an enormous load on the moderators to maintain the civility you're seeing.

Secondarily, people get worked up at each other in the SB and that spills into their other posts on the forum. Some poor bloke like me who ignores the soapbox is left trying to figure out why someone is being unexpectedly huffy or two otherwise nice people are poking each other in the eye in a backhanded manner.
Ok so why not quit moderating it? It isn't like the forum is being televised.

As for spill over, I am sure that has happened but it is far from unique to political forums. Frankly the mortgage, and annuity threads are nastier.

Just recently a very smart, but prickly regular made a nasty shot about another regular post about a stock. I have no idea what set the prickly guy off, but it certainly wasn't a political discussion cause neither participate.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:44 PM   #72
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:38 PM   #73
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Ok so why not quit moderating it? It isn't like the forum is being televised.
There's plenty of other unmoderated boards for that type of behavior, and this board's posters will either go off to find it or will change their behavior on this board. No sense duplicating anarchy here just for the purpose of free expression. We can get that anytime we want at Yahoo! Finance or M* Politics or FundVision.com.

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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
Just recently a very smart, but prickly regular made a nasty shot about another regular post about a stock. I have no idea what set the prickly guy off, but it certainly wasn't a political discussion cause neither participate.
I spent a lot of time dealing with moderator issues regarding the prickly regular, but in this case I'm on his side. There's just no fixing persistent opinionating in the absence of the facts... and although that poster is on a lot of ignore lists, sometimes the misinformation is so abysmally incorrect that it has to be addressed.
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:25 AM   #74
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I'm assuming clifp does not mean totally unmoderated, but that less monitoring may be OK.

If the soap box is taking too much time to monitor, can the moderators just respond to flagged posts? I personally have not seen very many that I would flag.

And since there is no feedback on this, I have no idea how often people are flagging posts, so I don't know if that suggestion makes sense. And if it is made clear that if a member makes multiple flags of posts that are not in violation, that could be considered a violation in itself.

Just an idea. -ERD50
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:52 AM   #75
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I can!

For starters it is an enormous load on the moderators to maintain the civility you're seeing.

Secondarily, people get worked up at each other in the SB and that spills into their other posts on the forum. Some poor bloke like me who ignores the soapbox is left trying to figure out why someone is being unexpectedly huffy or two otherwise nice people are poking each other in the eye in a backhanded manner.

Some percentage of people can have a rational discussion with disagreement and grow from the conversation. But its not that good for most people.

I've gone through an awful lot of these discussion groups where a bunch of people get together to talk about some product or topic, things go well, the group grows, and at some point the politics shows up. Many try to contain it or wrap some rules around it, give it its own sandbox, etc.

It always ends the same way.

A percentage of really valuable posters leave because they dont like it. I can think of a half dozen people who have left because they didnt like the politics. People I could read from all day long that are way better than what 98% of our current inhabitants have to offer, with all due respects. Moderator burnout and turnover becomes a major issue. Any of you mods want to disagree with that? You draw in some pompous buttholes that just like to tweak each other.

Inevitably one of two things happens...the community gets a hole poked in its inner tube and loses a lot of air or a simple rule of "dont talk about naughty political stuff (and its like porn, you know it when you see it) or your post/thread will be deleted and persistence will get your account banned".

I've been a mod on a couple of those boards. Shooting 2-3 posts a day and banning someone once a month was a whole lot easier than trying to mend fences between 100 people across a few dozen threads. After a few weeks of being called a Nazi Censor 99% of the people 'get it' and the BS stops.

You'd find that you can engage in perfectly reasonable non partisan discussions that incorporate political aspects without the sort of stuff that I imagine goes on in the soapbox. I can more than imagine it because people have on 3-4 occasions pointed me to a thread which promptly caused me to put the forum right back on ignore.
Ding, ding, ding!! We have a winner. CFB, let me chime in with my applause. As REW says, another home run for the Bunny.
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:05 AM   #76
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Just recently a very smart, but prickly regular made a nasty shot about another regular post about a stock. I have no idea what set the prickly guy off, but it certainly wasn't a political discussion cause neither participate.
I miss all the good stuff.

As far as not moderating that pot of boiling water...well...a lot of people say they'd like to see less excessive police presence in their neighborhood until their car gets stolen and their wallet lifted.

We used to have a totally unmoderated board many years ago. We had a never ending rash of trolls, clever spammers and salesmen blasting in and out of every thread on the board, with stuff ranging from thinly veiled sales pitches to 5 page off topic rants, said rants often repeated in various forms in dozens of different posts every day.

Maybe some folks like Clif can conduct themselves in a reasonable manner without supervision. I can think of a dozen off the top of my head who cant.

And like I said before...the real damage is from the people who quietly (or not so quietly) disappear and stop contributing. Or the ones that go off like roman candles and have to be tossed out by the bouncers.

I'm here to talk about early retirement, finance, investing, our lives and have some fun with people I've known for years. If I want to verbally bash someone in the face about what a nutball Sarah Palin is, I have a wide variety of places to pick from.
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:31 AM   #77
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I'm assuming clifp does not mean totally unmoderated, but that less monitoring may be OK.

If the soap box is taking too much time to monitor, can the moderators just respond to flagged posts? I personally have not seen very many that I would flag.

And since there is no feedback on this, I have no idea how often people are flagging posts, so I don't know if that suggestion makes sense. And if it is made clear that if a member makes multiple flags of posts that are not in violation, that could be considered a violation in itself.

Just an idea. -ERD50
I agree. Moderating shouldn't be a job. As the board gets bigger and more popular, it's not necessary to read every post. Just review the posts that are flagged as inappropriate.
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:09 AM   #78
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By that time the damage is done. Most of the art of moderation is slowing something down or stopping it before they reach a point where a bunch of people are mad about it.

Everyone has a different opinion. As I mentioned just recently in a perfectly operated board, 20% of the people wish there were more moderation, 20% wish there was less or none, and 60% paddle around blissfully unaware of whats going on.

I'd imagine the folks around here who do/did law enforcement understand the dynamic...
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:25 AM   #79
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The topic is how many ignore the soapbox. Andy set up a report so we now know as of today, 52 have the soapbox on ignore. We average about 500 visitors to the forum a day.
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:37 AM   #80
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sorry - this is considered in violation, but it was simply meant as suggestions for improving the moderation around here. Will try to find a way to bring this up within the rules....


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