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ANNOUNCEMENT: Political speech on the forums

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I did not want to bring this up, but over the last week or so, certain events have forced me to address this.


This forum is public access with common sense security measures to prevent spam and other unwanted solicitations. So while guests don't have full access to all topics, anyone with a valid email address and shows some willingness to behave as a mature adult will be approved as a Novice to obtain full access.


This forum welcomes all people. This forum accepts that people are different and sometimes those differences clash. This forum accepts points of view and allows people to talk about them.


Our guidelines are clear about what we tolerate and what we don't. Basically, the rules don't allow personal insults and/or actions that are malicious towards others. This doesn't mean you can't debate. It means the opposite of that.


Debate is an action of intellectual discovery. Debate means an acceptance of freedom of thought, speech and ideas. Debate is how truth and fact are revealed. Debate is how people from all walks of life, all social classes, all races can meet eye to eye and learn about life and what it means.


It takes guts to debate and face what you fear the most - that you could be wrong. That your convictions, which for whatever reason, you have chosen to define your point of view, could be threatened. Debate can shake your beliefs and sometimes, you can look like a fool.


However, debate is the only way a civilized society finds its way back when it goes off track. It's the only way you, as a subject, can rationally test your sanity.


The reason I bring this up is because debate has never been and is not against our guidelines. Free speech is honored and respected here. Political speech is allowed, however, due to its passionate nature, it is usually only permitted in the Thunderdome Category.


We all get mad, frustrated, confused and hurt by current events. We want to speak out and express our feelings. No matter what your convictions are, you are human, and it is human to communicate. Sometimes we say things without considering its consequences. Emotions give us tunnel vision. We don't see all paths our remarks could take others to. On the other hard, sometimes we feel it necessary to point out someone else's 'irrational' behavior - and this is usually how an all out brawl starts. At this point, members will leave or threaten to leave.


It happens every time.


Every time even the slightest of arguments starts, or even the slightest mention of a political event, people threaten to leave.


This puts pressure on the moderators and, in my opinion, completely unfair to them. They are forced between a rock and hard place to figure out how they can make both sides happy when no matter what they do, they will make someone(s) unhappy. Therefore, the mods typically just move topics under fire to the Thunderdome and leave it be. But sometimes, that is not enough, and passions continue to climb.


So what is the rational way of deconstructing this dynamic of human behavior?


I don't have all the answers but I will give my impressions.


- If someone wants to leave because others in the forum are not forced to believe what they believe then I think it's best to let them leave.

- If someone wants to leave because they feel mistreated, then they should talk to a moderator. 

- If someone wants to leave because they want to make a scene, and post their grievances to make the moderators look bad and divide people against each other - they will be banned.

- If someone wants to leave because they don't like 'the direction the forum is going' should start a topic and discuss it in the Member Lounge. Yes it could end up in the Thunderdome, but if it's a serious issue, it needs to be talked about.


All in all, I hope it's not too much to ask to please do your best to tolerate others. Our political climate is very heated right now, and as much as I want to ban political topics completely, I don't think that is a solution.


The only real solution is for all of us to get along despite the war of emotions in our hearts. I think if we make an effort to make friends, we can make peace. Friends talk about the truth. Friends take care of each other.


Friends understand. And if they don't, they debate until they do...politely and in private.


We all have PMs and means of contacting each other. Use these tools to talk over problems that can arise. Contact a Moderator if you need to - but please do not corner them by imposing a threat they can't resolve. That's just immature.


Do your best to not take things too personally. Moderators can't control everything that happens here, and in some ways, they aren't supposed to.


Freedom is an individual responsibility, protected only by minds that acknowledge its necessity.

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