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Author Topic: Politics Topic to be Discontinued  (Read 19002 times)

adamwc

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2008, 01:00:58 PM »
I think part of the problem, though, is that it's usually only the same 5-10 people, and the conversations almost always end up rehashing the same positions and discussions, and often degrade in the same way from thread to thread.

JTrane, respectfully, this is a generalization. Most of the threads don't "degrade." Some of them include flashpoints where the exchanges become heated, but that's par for the course in a Politics thread, right?

I don't see the conversations "often" degrading or "almost always" rehashing same positions and discussions. I am regularly surprised to discover the people with whom I find myself in agreement and disagreement, surprised by the introduction of engaging topics and the in-depth conversations they engender. Sure there are exceptions, but that's life. You don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

As for the "usually the same 5-10 people" comment, you can and should say the same thing about other threads having the same basic core group of people participating in them. The "Last Poster Wins" or "My Favorite Salumeria" threads don't end up in heated exchanges, but who would expect them to?

Also, many more people read (dare I say, enjoy?) the threads than participate in them by posting. The effect of ending Politics and Rants isn't going to be limited to 5-10 people.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2008, 01:14:59 PM by adamwc »

Offline Gleason

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2008, 01:09:46 PM »
Merm, I must state how unfortunate this suggestion is. In a borough (and community board) where political discouse is all but discouraged (outside of tiresome bashing - not matter how justified - of Bush, Spitzer, and Bloomburg, and no one else!) this is certainly an unwelcome cloud over this community.

Yes, we all understand how some comments leaves us uncomfortable, but, hey, that is what a public forum is in a democratic republic - at times it is a messy place. But effort after effort by some to restrict free speech (outside of calling out 'Fire' when there was none in a crowded theater) has always been struck down by the courts. Of course, this IS your playpen, and you can take away anything you want. But,really Merm is this any way to treat adults?

The conduct of our community board, which prides itself in 'tidy' meetings, while our community around us falls apart, speaks volumes about what happens when political discussion is discouraged or muffled.

The other thing that strikes me (and others) odd about this board is keeping up topics, as 'Astoria Eats' that are all but dead and 'Power Outage' covering something, that it this point, happened years ago and goes little beyond tiresome bashing of Con Ed.

Indeed, I would boldly propose setting up three new topics that are commonly found on community boards:

Quality of Life

Development Concerns

and Local Politics.

Offline Debbie

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2008, 01:14:56 PM »
Indeed, I would boldly propose setting up three new topics that are commonly found on community boards:

Quality of Life

Development Concerns

and Local Politics.

Wow!  I actually agree with Gleason on this one!

Offline 28Grand

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2008, 01:23:33 PM »
Quality of Life

Development Concerns

and Local Politics.

Sounds reasonable to me as well

Offline Jtrane

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2008, 01:28:10 PM »
Merm, I must state how unfortunate this suggestion is. In a borough (and community board) where political discouse is all but discouraged (outside of tiresome bashing - not matter how justified - of Bush, Spitzer, and Bloomburg, and no one else!) this is certainly an unwelcome cloud over this community.

Yes, we all understand how some comments leaves us uncomfortable, but, hey, that is what a public forum is in a democratic republic - at times it is a messy place. But effort after effort by some to restrict free speech (outside of calling out 'Fire' when there was none in a crowded theater) has always been struck down by the courts. Of course, this IS your playpen, and you can take away anything you want. But,really Merm is this any way to treat adults?

The conduct of our community board, which prides itself in 'tidy' meetings, while our community around us falls apart, speaks volumes about what happens when political discussion is discouraged or muffled.

The other thing that strikes me (and others) odd about this board is keeping up topics, as 'Astoria Eats' that are all but dead and 'Power Outage' covering something, that it this point, happened years ago and goes little beyond tiresome bashing of Con Ed.

Indeed, I would boldly propose setting up three new topics that are commonly found on community boards:

Quality of Life

Development Concerns

and Local Politics.

Well said.
Trying is the first step to failure - Homer Simpson
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SeminoleB

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2008, 01:33:51 PM »
Thank you for the site and the hard work, Merm.  It has been a great tool to get to know more about my community.

My vote goes for keeping the Politics section and I second (or, I guess, third) Gleason's addition of the 3 new topics and, perhaps, say adding a 4th that is National Politics.

While I agree that the purpose of this forum is, mainly, to talk about things Astoria, I know that I and, perhaps, many others utilize it as a forum for political discourse.  I am involved with other forums, but they are definitely very specific in their nature and are not as open and conducive to talking about politics.

Sure, having the threads degrade to bashing one another is not pretty and a PITA, but I think maybe you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater by removing the section altogether.  This forum brings a multitude of people with diverse backgrounds together to discuss everything better than any other forum I'm involved with.  Disagreements are bound to flare up; hell, look at the Applebee's thread.

But, that's part of it all.  To me, it almost seems like removing the Politics section is removing an avenue of free speech and bringing down heavy regulation because some (even many, at times) don't like the way the discussion plays out.  Politics is just one of those things that drives most to get very defensive or aggressive; but it doesn't necessarily mean that great ideas and points aren't being exchanged in there before reaching that point.

With the bias and censure that the main media outlets seem to have already, the discussions here are almost a breath of fresh air because they are so candid.

My vote is to keep the avenue open, leave it uncensored and unregulated, and only step in if things get WAY out of hand.  Self regulation could work well here, too, and perhaps it could be left up to us to "report" posts/threads that have gotten out of hand?

Thanks again for everything.

Offline Pulled pork

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2008, 01:56:31 PM »

5. Getting together for beers and having political conversations in person complements but does not adequately replace participating in an online community discussion of politics (or anything other topic, from recipes to florists to photography, etc.) that involves hundreds if not thousands of other people. Ideas and issues being discussed openly in a public forum fosters accountability, which is a good thing for everybody involved. People getting together in a bar will tend to reify their beliefs/assumptions/policy positions more than to challenge them.

6. I'd like to reiterate that most of the conversations in the Politics and Rants forums are civil and engaging. Even threads started with topic names that are controversial are pretty well "moderated" by the decency of the participants instead of from above.

7. Consider letting this forum moderate itself.

Cheers,
Adam


Ok, I totally agree with you on these points.  Drinks would be nice but would not be the same as this board.  Open forum please.

BigBryan

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2008, 01:59:49 PM »
I hope we can keep politics on this board and preserve free speech. Of course we can reserve the right to publically flog those who continuously disrupt with theiir political incorrectness.

Bur seriously merm, thanks for all your hard work, not only with this but the server issues and all the rest.

Ditmartian

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2008, 02:39:00 PM »
I'd like to see it stay in all its less-rabid-than-you-think glory.

But if it's gotta go, it's gotta go...

Offline merm

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2008, 02:49:52 PM »
Quality of Life, Development Concerns, and Local Politics.

I can tell you right now that I have absolutely no plans to expand the coverage of politics to include an entire forum for "Development Concerns", especially given our history of the conversation surrounding that issue. Quality of life and local politics issues I think would work fine in the "local chat" section - and many of those discussions end up there anyway.

Also, I just want to restate that this site does not permit "free speech" - this is a site about Astoria, so the discussion is intended to be limited to those topics. There are many restrictions that both I (as moderator), and the rest of you place on each other - and I think that's a good thing. I'm not against political conversation - but the question is whether or not it's appropriate and helpful in this particular venue and format. There are other venues and formats that may be more conducive to general (especially national) political discourse (and I may even be willing to help start a venue specifically for that if we find a way to achieve that that satisfies everyone).

Problem is that many very nice folks can't seem to control themselves and act civilly when it comes to these general political issues (liberal vs conservative), and it ruins it not only for them (when I ban them), but for me, and for some others who don't read the threads, but post. As for having the board be 100% "open" (in that people can say whatever they want) I can honestly say I'm against that. Too many people have left the site entirely because of something someone said - I'm not inclined to allow a single (or a few) trolls offend the entire board and drive the community away leaving only those with the thickest skin left on the site.

Offline paratactical

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2008, 02:50:49 PM »
I know that, whether my posts have been personally offensive or not, I am one of those who continues and adds fuel to the fire on the politics section of the board.  That being said, I think that most of the discussions do have some intelligent and insightful discourse. I know the Frappe, Billz and several others have managed to maintain thoughtful discussion while holding very contrary views. As in any realm of personal conversation, you will run into some who don't add as much to the conversation as others or some who are there merely to rile people up.

I fully support the idea of making the politics board an "Enter At Your Own Risk" portion of the site. I'd much prefer to defend the arguments from trolls through our own merit or ignoring them than to have it shut down all together.

I like being able to discuss political issues here. There are several members whose opinions, while not always anywhere near my own, I look forward to hearing and respect. I would like to continue that discourse. Certainly though, the board is not mine to dictate and I feel that further moderation of the forum would probably lead to the inability to actually have the kind of discussion I value.

Do what you feel is necessary, merm. Thanks, as always, for the rest of the site.

Offline edava

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2008, 04:29:29 PM »
on a lighter note...

Part 1: There's the Girl that I like..
Now more than ever, she give me butterflies
She makes my stomach queezy every time she walks by..
I know I can be cool if I try.

Part 2: There's the Girl that I like..
Over there laughing with that smart--
Cartman: Ey! You're holding up the god damn lunch line!

Part 3: There's the Girl that I like..
But now it appears that she likes another guy
It must be because, he's political and stuff..
I bet I could be political too!

...but apparently not at Astorians.com

adamwc

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2008, 04:52:42 PM »
Merm, the title of your thread is "Politics Topic to be Discontinued."

Your first post then suggests that you're open to persuasion. To most of us, "seriously considering" connotes open-mindedness.
"Considering" means "thinking about," not "leaning towards." Which is why some of us are presenting a case to you for keeping Politics and Rants despite your thread title. 

As you are "seriously considering" this issue, your thought process would surely turn up a reason or two for keeping the Politics and Rants section. It would be great to hear you play devil's advocate. You've told us about the reasons for closing it down, but if those reasons were not countered by reasons for keeping it open, you would have shut it down already. You wouldn't have started a thread about it if your mind was already made up. In other words, your own conclusion is not conclusive to you, if we're to understand your thread title in the context of your first post.

As everybody has observed, this is your board so you can do what you want. You chose to create a thread that simultaneously states a final decision and then suggests a process whereby that final decision might be contradicted.

Are you, in fact, open to persuasion? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Offline merm

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2008, 05:02:03 PM »
Actually, I was looking for a compelling title to encourage people to click on the thread and solicit feedback. I am interested in hearing other's ideas, which is why I appreciate hearing the feedback. But, the title does represent where my mindset is at the moment.

The reasons for keeping a politics section have been stated well here I think, and those of you who'd like to keep it make valid points. I recognize that taking it away will narrow the focus of conversation on the board, and I do see that there is a negative side to removing it. However, these kinds of choices are never clear cut, at some point the scale tips where the risks and negative effects of political discussion outweigh the benefits it creates for the site.

The more I have to ban normally friendly people from the site because they lose their cool, the more it feels that this kind of discussion detracts from the site more than it benefits it. It is especially annoying when I have to ban people who are my friends, and especially annoying when I have to do it repeatedly.

Offline essen

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Re: Politics Topic to be Discontinued
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2008, 05:57:22 PM »
I like Gleason's idea of a local politics/issues category if you'd rather avoid general politics. I'm still slightly troubled by the fact that my Astoria-related "Vallone letter in Metro" thread was moved to the Politics & Rants category, as it is an subject pertinent to Astoria and something I found to be "local chat."


 

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