Please, take a breath.

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And then there's the heightened sensitivity and thinking that negative comments are directed at them personally that comes from having these kind of discussions....Ladelfina, I got nothing from Retire@40s post that was directed at you. Retire@40 didn't say anyone was a cancer, he said the whole kit and caboodle of political postings has spread to this thread and that it is a cancer. I really don't think retire@40 had one person in mind.

As a new moderator, I see how posts that I wouldn't have given much thought to, except, wow, so-and-so needs less coffee or something like that, now require a great deal of consideration: is that a personal attack, is he/she warming up for a big throwdown, etc.

I do remember this phase on the board in past election seasons, and I guess there are people who just must post about political topics, and I think the Soapbox is a great place for that, so that all of us that don't want to read about it (except your new moderator here, who now has to wade through it daily) aren't obligated.
I have been a member of this community for 18 months, but only consider myself a fringe dweller rather than a fully fledged member. Truthfully over this time I have seen things go in cycle of niceness to nastiness and I am sure the cycle will see it revert.

I think there is a place for the Soap Box. We are all adults and each of us has the choice whether or not to enter that area, knowing full well what we can expect. I rarely go there as I have no interest in those type of threads whether or not they degenerate into abuse. I am actually relieved that they are no longer in Other Topics clogging up that board.

However there does seem to be people who enjoy attacking others. I see long timers get away with it yet if a newbie does it they are labelled troll. I believe I have been innocuous in my time here and have not offended anyway, yet some responses I have received I could have interpreted to be personal attacks. I have taken the line that say what you want in response to something I post and I am not going to enter into an argument which is entirely different to a fact based debate. I try and respond the same as I would in real life. My job in life is not to cause unnecessary pain nor is it to blindly agree with something that I believe to be wrong.

Like Ladelfina I often hesitate to post because I know what reactions I will get from certain quarters.

I don't think there is any real answer to be found. Much of what goes on perhaps goes over my head perhaps being partly due to cultural differences me being a non-american and not really understanding why people carry on as they do.
I don't think that the forum loses anything by eliminating the soapbox. Dumping it would strengthen the forum, IMHO.
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.
Ding ding ding. If there was an easy answer to this situation it would've been implemented during the 2004 election. And thank goodness the major elections are on a two-year cycle!

Moderators have essentially three choices: to edit/delete posts, to ban posters, or to relocate the posts to a more appropriate [-]Sand[/-]Soapbox. The Soapbox offers the "better" alternative because too many posters are too quick to confuse the first with excessive censorship.

I agree with everything in ERD (edited) post. I especially echo his suggestion to make the moderation more visible. While I agree that long-time active contributors get and deserve more latitude than say drop in annuity saleman, the perception is that they can post damn near anything they want.
I've learned that through discussion with current and past moderators that isn't the case. However, because much of the moderation is done behind the scenes it looks non-existent. Lets keep the level of moderation where it is but make the enforcement more visible.
I also appreciate the work that moderators do to make this my favorite discussion forum on the net. A big mahalo. I hope Andy is increasing your pay at a least double the rate of inflation :D
It's a function of getting what you pay for. The posting volume on this board has grown far beyond the capacity of all but the most [-]obsessed[/-] dedicated moderators. Thoughtfully moderating the offending posts while educating the one or two percent of the offenders is a waste of time. Those who can't figure out the issues that resulted in a "[moderator edit]" will not be educated by a more in-depth explanation.

Moderators have learned another, more practical tool. The 1-2% who don't get it, and who refuse to get it, will be moderated until they either change their behavior, volunteer to leave on their own, or are banned. This is a far more effective means of training than [-]justifying[/-] explaining a moderator's actions to the whole populace.

There's a whole panoply of "praise in public, criticize in private" happening via PMs & e-mails. If it doesn't happen to you then you can probably stop worrying about it. If it has happened to you then review the three choices for the 1-2% in the last paragraph. It ain't rocket science, folks.

P.S. I now fully appreciate the wisdom of the moderator emeritus guys!
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