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-   -   Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=6825)

sugarkang 06-22-2011 03:14 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 213581)
Brendan has historically been the most tireless watchdogs for wingnut bs.

You've justified BJ's post count on the premise that he's only responding to "wingnut bs." You conclude with the notion of a liberal-bias at BHTV being a fantasy. Have I mischaracterized your argument?

operative 06-22-2011 03:18 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 213581)
Also, keep in mind that Brendan's disproportionately high post count has an additional component (in addition to him being a prolific commenter who weighs in on alot of topics.) Brendan has historically been the most tireless watchdogs for wingnut bs. If Look, Badhat, Operative etc. each write 5 fox talking points, I may refute a couple, Ocean may jump in on a few etc., but Brendan (when he's around) is usually the only one who will respond to all 15. On the flip side of the coin, Brendan will post something intelligent (imo) and he will often get swarmed with attacks from multiple wingnuts, and will happily swat at each one like mosquitos. So it's easy to see how in a brief time period Brendan can rack up 30 comments, while Look, Badhat etc. will each only have 10. This is why the never-ending cries about Brendan's post count are misguided (in addition to being pathetically obvious attempts to work the ref and keep the liberal-bias-at-BHTV fantasy alive.)

That post really invalidates your prior argument. I seem to remember you being capable of producing posts that included some form of coherent thought, but that's 12 year old angry tribalist child territory.

uncle ebeneezer 06-22-2011 03:44 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

You've justified BJ's post count on the premise that he's only responding to "wingnut bs." You conclude with the notion of a liberal-bias at BHTV being a fantasy. Have I mischaracterized your argument?
Mischaracterization accomplished!!1!

Quote:

(in addition to him being a prolific commenter who weighs in on alot of topics.)
My point is that Brendan's persistence in responding (much more than most commentors) combined with the apparent obsession by many of the wingnuts to gang up on him because of his persistent and unapologetic nature, causes a pretty obvious positive feedback loop that helps to explain why he has so many more posts than the rest of us.

You did get the liberal-bias fantasy part correct though. That has been a constant refrain for as long as the site has existed. Even in periods when wingnut comments largely dominate. Even in threads that are mostly made-up of right-wingers. I can't really imagine this ever changing. The persecution syndrome narative embraced by the Right (promoted regularly by Fox, RedState, Althouse etc.) must continue at all costs, regardless of any data. Something tells me that even if every liberal fled this forum, that in-between bouts of high-fives, the rightwing commenters would still find a way to claim that BHTV is a liberal-dominated forum.

operative 06-22-2011 03:45 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 213596)
Mischaracterization accomplished!!1!



My point is that Brendan's persistence in responding (much more than most commentors) combined with the apparent obsession by many of the wingnuts to gang up on him because of his persistent and unapologetic nature, causes a pretty obvious positive feedback loop that helps to explain why he has so many more posts than the rest of us.

You did get the liberal-bias fantasy part correct though. That has been a constant refrain for as long as the site has existed. Even in periods when wingnut comments largely dominate. Even in threads that are mostly made-up of right-wingers. I can't really imagine this ever changing. The persecution syndrome narative embraced by the Right (promoted regularly by Fox, RedState, Althouse etc.) must continue at all costs, regardless of any data. Something tells me that even if every liberal fled this forum, that in-between bouts of high-fives, the rightwing commenters would still find a way to claim that BHTV is a liberal-dominated forum.

I'm sorry, but when you say "unapologetic" you really ought to be saying apoplectic. Unfortunately some on the left mistake venom for intellect--basically, you're just like the conservatives who champion Ann Coulter. BJ was called out for a debate by a BHead (I forget if it was Conn or someone else) and wilted away faster than LeBron James in the 4th quarter.

stephanie 06-22-2011 04:52 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 213551)
All of my real life friends are liberals. No choice. I live in Cali.

I had the impression California was a lot more diverse politically than all that.

However, most of us probably live in areas which are more diverse and, in particular, more conservative than the one you are reacting against. Heck, I live in a large, mostly Democratic city, and yet have plenty of friends who aren't liberals. Now, they are also mostly conservatives or libertarians of a particular type, and thus more like Ross Douthat than Erik Erikson, but TS would probably explain that's why I tend to be naive about Republicans.

Of course, I also have family in very red areas, and lived in some Republican areas growing up (my dad is a petroleum engineer), so I'd deny the charge.

In any case, I don't think this site is particularly representative of the political divisions in this country, or that such a thing would even be possible, given the differences from locality to locality and subculture to subculture.

Contrary to the theory that the irritation with commentary comes from ideas that disagree with ours, my view is that the comments that tend to cause the most bad feeling and are least productive in terms of discussion are those not genuinely intended as discussion at all. For example, a lot of the RW posts on this site are not made as part of a discussion, but by what I've called driveby posters. These are posters who show up at the beginning of a conversation, post a few things about liberals and how much they suck and are immoral assholes and so on. Or perhaps rant about Obama or one of the 'heads. The point is that the post demonstrates that no response is expected, and if one is gotten they either make some snide comment about people being upset or don't respond at all. I suppose the answer is just to ignore these comments, but they do color how the discussion overall on the forum is read, IMO. When regular conservative posters kiss up to these kinds of posts, well, that affects how I see their posts in the future.

In contrast to these kinds of posts, I think the posts that engage others are at least making an effort to convince or understand, so tend to have a different feel. Note: this would not include snarky responses or accusations of socialism, nor would it include any posts that mischaracterize what was said intentionally and in a sarcastic way.

I do think a much higher percentage of the "liberal" posts on this forum are of the kind that try to engage and convince or understand. Indeed, I think some of the intelligent conservative participants -- the ones who seem interested in these same kinds of conversations -- have expressed frustration with the same kinds of posts I'm complaining about. One point is that the kinds of conversations that seem productive tend to be issue focused, and once we start talking about issues rather than "liberals" and "conservatives" or "the right" generally, it's easier to see people as individuals with views not so easily caricatured. That's why I keep pointing out that individuals here who are often classified as "liberals" are just as able to debate passionately and disagree with each other, and there's no reason to assume that we can figure out where people stand just based on these labels, let alone precisely what they will say. I disagree as strongly with eeeeeeli and Wonderment about some things as I do with Rob, and whether they are willing to get into it or not, it's pretty clear there are disagreements among the most prolific posters who are right of center.

It is also true that regular posters can fall into the kind of posting style that is more aimed at expressing bad feeling and frustrating with others than actually interacting fairly. I'm sure I've done this at times, and some threads tend to encourage this (Jon's favored "why liberals suck" threads, the "right wing extremism" type threads, so on). However, the following is an example of such commentary:

Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 213600)
Then have a look at the comment section.

Milton Friedman was, like, totally evil. Yeah, because, like, I read this book by Naomi Klein, and you know it was, how do I put this: shocking.

My problem with this is that it's an argument with people not here, yet implicitly holding all liberals responsible. It's basically picking out some dumb things people say and arguing with them in lieu of arguing with people here, who might not fall into the easy patterns that you want to argue with. It seems like a waste of time, really -- if we all just think some easily dismissed thing, then surely you could engage with what we actually say and dismiss that.

And for the record, I don't think Milton Friedman is evil and I don't care for Naomi Klein. I don't recall anyone on this site getting all excited about Klein or saying Friedman is evil. If you make up something to attribute to "liberals" and argue against it, it makes real conversation impossible. That's the kind of talking past each other that I think is far, far worse than debates that occasionally include harsh words.

operative 06-22-2011 04:58 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213611)
I had the impression California was a lot more diverse politically than all that.

However, most of us probably live in areas which are more diverse and, in particular, more conservative than the one you are reacting against. Heck, I live in a large, mostly Democratic city, and yet have plenty of friends who aren't liberals. Now, they are also mostly conservatives or libertarians of a particular type, and thus more like Ross Douthat than Erik Erikson, but TS would probably explain that's why I tend to be naive about Republicans.

Of course, I also have family in very red areas, and lived in some Republican areas growing up (my dad is a petroleum engineer), so I'd deny the charge.

In any case, I don't think this site is particularly representative of the political divisions in this country, or that such a thing would even be possible, given the differences from locality to locality and subculture to subculture.

Contrary to the theory that the irritation with commentary comes from ideas that disagree with ours, my view is that the comments that tend to cause the most bad feeling and are least productive in terms of discussion are those not genuinely intended as discussion at all. For example, a lot of the RW posts on this site are not made as part of a discussion, but by what I've called driveby posters. These are posters who show up at the beginning of a conversation, post a few things about liberals and how much they suck and are immoral assholes and so on. Or perhaps rant about Obama or one of the 'heads. The point is that the post demonstrates that no response is expected, and if one is gotten they either make some snide comment about people being upset or don't respond at all. I suppose the answer is just to ignore these comments, but they do color how the discussion overall on the forum is read, IMO. When regular conservative posters kiss up to these kinds of posts, well, that affects how I see their posts in the future.

In contrast to these kinds of posts, I think the posts that engage others are at least making an effort to convince or understand, so tend to have a different feel. I think a much higher percentage of the "liberal" posts on this forum are of that kind. Indeed, I think some of the intelligent conservative participants have expressed frustration with the same kinds of posts I'm talking about.

It is also true that regular posters can fall into the kind of posting style that is more aimed at expressing bad feeling and frustrating with others than actually interacting fairly. I'm sure I've done this at times, and some threads tend to encourage this (Jon's favored "why liberals suck" threads, the "right wing extremism" type threads, so on). However, the following is an example of such commentary:



My problem with this is that it's an argument with people not here, yet implicitly holding all liberals responsible. It's basically picking out some dumb things people say and arguing with them in lieu of arguing with people here, who might not fall into the easy patterns that you want to argue with. It seems like a waste of time, really -- if we all just think some easily dismissed thing, then surely you could engage with what we actually say and dismiss that.

And for the record, I don't think Milton Friedman is evil and I don't care for Naomi Klein. I don't recall anyone on this site getting all excited about Klein or saying Friedman is evil. If you make up something to attribute to "liberals" and argue against it, it makes real conversation impossible. That's the kind of talking past each other that I think is far, far worse than debates that occasionally include harsh words.

Perhaps I don't follow threads closely enough but I don't see the phenomena of drive-by talking points droppers that you see, at least not by conservatives. The folks who I can think of who tend to post in predictable ways that are designed to enrage instead of engage are predominantly left-wing (brucds, TS, etc.)

sugarkang 06-22-2011 05:04 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 213596)
Something tells me that even if every liberal fled this forum, that in-between bouts of high-fives, the rightwing commenters would still find a way to claim that BHTV is a liberal-dominated forum.

Could you provide some examples of these in-between bouts of high-fives? Because I can definitely provide examples on the other side and will do so, but only upon your request.

sugarkang 06-22-2011 05:32 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213611)
I had the impression California was a lot more diverse politically than all that.

I wasn't really focused on accuracy when I wrote the part you quoted. I do have a close friend that's kind of "standard" right-wing, as opposed to just being fiscal right-wing, like I am. Umm, I did live in Orange County for a brief stint, which means ZOMG no fucking wonder, what an asshole, of course! Which doesn't explain my former infatuation with Noam Chomsky, but whatever.

Other than that, though, public school system, college and post-grad in California for me were all liberal institutions. So, it's kind of hard to be friends with people if you hate liberals. And I don't. I do love to troll them, though.

Quote:

For example, a lot of the RW posts on this site are not made as part of a discussion, but by what I've called driveby posters. These are posters who show up at the beginning of a conversation, post a few things about liberals and how much they suck and are immoral assholes and so on. Or perhaps rant about Obama or one of the 'heads. The point is that the post demonstrates that no response is expected, and if one is gotten they either make some snide comment about people being upset or don't respond at all. I suppose the answer is just to ignore these comments, but they do color how the discussion overall on the forum is read, IMO. When regular conservative posters kiss up to these kinds of posts, well, that affects how I see their posts in the future.

In contrast to these kinds of posts, I think the posts that engage others are at least making an effort to convince or understand, so tend to have a different feel. Note: this would not include snarky responses or accusations of socialism, nor would it include any posts that mischaracterize what was said intentionally and in a sarcastic way.
I understand why you'd be upset. But I also think that some of that is the "cost" of having a freer discussion board. I've been on boards where there's no cursing allowed and other Disneyesque rules and it's just annoying. So, I guess I have a higher tolerance for people I dislike because I dislike the alternative.

I very much disagree with your last part about snark. I think of it like fire. It can burn you and it can keep you warm. It's just really hard to find a balance.

Quote:

My problem with this is that it's an argument with people not here, yet implicitly holding all liberals responsible.
I can understand your interpretation of what I'm doing. However, that's not the way I see it. You see "people," but I see "content" for discussion. The quote you're pointing to, which I am totally caricaturing, is not text written by anyone here. You can call it trolling if you'd like, as I'd be fine with that. But what I won't do is passive-aggressively take a BHTV member's post out of context, then point to a buddy and go, "amirite?" That's back-patting. Do you see the distinction I'm making?

As I've said before, I like fire. My goal isn't peace; it's engagement without annihilation.

uncle ebeneezer 06-22-2011 05:46 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
No. First-off, it is impossible to gather evidence for a future/hypothetical scenario. Second, I don't have the time or energy to search through the forum history to explain why I have come to this view of the wingnuts over a period of years of following the comments threads. The forum is wide open for you to search on your own. Have at it, if you like. For a starting point you can look up many instances where Brendan has been allegedly "Pwned" for something that he wrote (usually cherry-picked and taken out of context) and see the hyena-like celebration by all his haters. That's a good reason for why I believe my hypothetical scenario would play out in the manner I suggested. Third and most importantly, to dig up examples for you would entail me taking several people off my ignore list and I'm sorry but I'm rather enjoying the serenity that that tool provides at the moment.

stephanie 06-22-2011 06:05 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 213622)
I understand why you'd be upset.

Just to be clear, I'm not upset. I also agree with you on the cost of freer discussion bit. I'm simply expressing an opinion about what makes for good discussion. Seems to be that no flame wars is a plus, but less actual discussion is a huge minus. Getting excited about having posters of diverse political views is unwarranted when the discussion is no better than it's been, and therefore I think the "victory" declared is illusory. Perhaps that was supposed to be inherent in the rhetoric chosen, though.

Quote:

But what I won't do is passive-aggressively take a BHTV member's post out of context, then point to a buddy and go, "amirite?" That's back-patting. Do you see the distinction I'm making?
That's good, and I do see it, but I see the kind of thing you did as bad for discussion generally too, even if not meant to be more than humor or eye rolling. And I specifically called myself and other liberals here for doing it too. The discussion is usually worst when we get into fights about whether generic liberals or conservatives are awful and who does worse to whom, since of course how representative you see the totally idiotic and unfair comments one can find from both sides is going to depend on your lenses and the media you look at and who you hang out with and so on. I've been in situations where I was more conservative than most around me (I used to be more conservative than I am now) and get feeling frustrated about the assumptions liberals make, and I certainly know how frustrated listening to a steady diet of RW talking points and mischaracterizations can make liberals. IMO, if we are to have respectful discussions here, it's better to talk to people as individuals, not representatives. And like I said, I'm sure I fail at this.

I also think part of this is recognizing who here is not interested in anything approaching intelligent conversation and ignoring them. I'd agree with Bob that that is better than a flame war or than even acknowledging their efforts to disrupt the forum.

sugarkang 06-22-2011 06:06 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 213624)
No. First-off, it is impossible to gather evidence for a future/hypothetical scenario.

Good point. Another fine example of where I failed to read closely. That also renders the rest of your answer unnecessary. However, your supposition is very false if applied to me, personally. I believe I've provided an adequate explanation to stephanie in a previous post, i.e., it'd be pretty damn boring without "you people" around.

operative 06-22-2011 06:20 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213628)
Just to be clear, I'm not upset. I also agree with you on the cost of freer discussion bit. I'm simply expressing an opinion about what makes for good discussion. Seems to be that no flame wars is a plus, but less actual discussion is a huge minus. Getting excited about having posters of diverse political views is unwarranted when the discussion is no better than it's been, and therefore I think the "victory" declared is illusory. Perhaps that was supposed to be inherent in the rhetoric chosen, though.



That's good, and I do see it, but I see the kind of thing you did as bad for discussion generally too, even if not meant to be more than humor or eye rolling. And I specifically called myself and other liberals here for doing it too. The discussion is usually worst when we get into fights about whether generic liberals or conservatives are awful and who does worse to whom, since of course how representative you see the totally idiotic and unfair comments one can find from both sides is going to depend on your lenses and the media you look at and who you hang out with and so on. I've been in situations where I was more conservative than most around me (I used to be more conservative than I am now) and get feeling frustrated about the assumptions liberals make, and I certainly know how frustrated listening to a steady diet of RW talking points and mischaracterizations can make liberals. IMO, if we are to have respectful discussions here, it's better to talk to people as individuals, not representatives. And like I said, I'm sure I fail at this.

I also think part of this is recognizing who here is not interested in anything approaching intelligent conversation and ignoring them. I'd agree with Bob that that is better than a flame war or than even acknowledging their efforts to disrupt the forum.

Actually on that measure--the serious conversation measure--I'd say 'RW' members do pretty well. Chiwi, myself, BH, rf, and sugarkang, pisc, and look all come to mind. rc is more of a Jim Webb Democrat but nevertheless someone who is usually interested in actual discussion. Denville is more of a paleocon which puts him at odds with most of us on some issues, and while I find some of his ideas to be very disagreeable, I find that he often conducts himself in a reasonable manner. I don't pay too much attention to user names (I wish we had avatars, which I'd have an easier time remembering), and I'm sure I'm missing a few people, both good and bad, but I think the highest profile RW contributors are actually at the very least as thoughtful, on average, than the highest profile LW posters (since the highest profile LW posters include some who spread far more noise than viable content).

sugarkang 06-22-2011 06:20 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213628)
Just to be clear, I'm not upset.

Sorry, I didn't mean to make you upset when I intimated that you were upset when you were clearly not upset.

Quote:

That's good, and I do see it, but I see the kind of thing you did as bad for discussion generally too, even if not meant to be more than humor or eye rolling.
Right. That's why I prefaced my answer with: "I understand..."

However, your solution is to prevent the first stone. My question is, "What is a stone?" You have found a moral solution in your mind that works for everyone involved if everyone participates according to those moral precepts. Except, I believe, my Fire Doctrine rejects that.

In other words, I don't hold people to my standards of morality. I hold people to their own standards of morality as they define it for themselves.

Quote:

I've been in situations where I was more conservative than most around me (I used to be more conservative than I am now) and get feeling frustrated about the assumptions liberals make, and I certainly know how frustrated listening to a steady diet of RW talking points and mischaracterizations can make liberals. IMO, if we are to have respectful discussions here, it's better to talk to people as individuals, not representatives. And like I said, I'm sure I fail at this.
This bolded portion is the most relevant part. Your failure isn't the problem. It's that we all fail at this. Therefore, to make a rule that we all generally fail at, is ridiculous. This relates to my tirade about marriage vows.

I used to be a rabid atheist. I've since tempered my views since Robert Wright made me question my assumptions. I still don't believe in God, and no less sure than before. What's different is my assumptions about the utility of religion. For example, one of the greatest Christian insights is: we are all sinners.

Now, of course if God does not exist, then everything is permitted. But that's a totally different discussion.

operative 06-22-2011 06:23 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 213634)
Sorry, I didn't mean to make you upset when I intimated that you were upset when you were clearly not upset.



Right. That's why I prefaced my answer with: "I understand..."

However, your solution is to prevent the first stone. My question is, "What is a stone?" You have found a moral solution in your mind that works for everyone involved if everyone participates according to those moral precepts. Except, I believe, my Fire Doctrine rejects that.

In other words, I don't hold people to my standards of morality. I hold people to their own standards of morality as they define it for themselves.



This bolded portion is the most relevant part. Your failure isn't the problem. It's that we all fail at this. Therefore, to make a rule that we all generally fail at, is ridiculous. This relates to my tirade about marriage vows.

I used to be a rabid atheist. I've since tempered my views since Robert Wright made me question my assumptions. I still don't believe in God, and no less sure than before. What's different is my assumptions about the utility of religion. For example, one of the greatest Christian insights is: we are all sinners.

Now, of course if God does not exist, then everything is permitted. But that's a totally different discussion.

I think that libertarians are probably the most likely to be atheists of any significant political group in America, but also that many libertarian atheists (except the hardcore Randians) acknowledge the merits of religion. In other words, I'd say they're the most tolerant of atheists.

uncle ebeneezer 06-22-2011 06:48 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
That's ok. I do that all the time (miss a detail when reading.) As Stephanie and Twin and others have noted, I think most of us here appreciate when the forum is chock-full of thoughtful debate with intelligent points from both sides. Indeed, that is one of the reasons most of us were drawn here to begin with. There have been many threads and even diavlogs talking about imbalance in the comments section. For a long time Bob made it clear that he welcomed more conservative commenters and most of us on the liberal side agreed and offered suggestions and even reached out to conservative friends (yes, we have them). What has grown really tiresome is the longstanding gripe from gripe about liberal domination of the boards. The best explanation I can see for any imbalance between the # of posts between the two sides (note: Brendan's output is an anomaly), seems to be easily explained by the fact that there are a handful of liberal commentors who have simply stuck around for a long time. Many right-leaning commenters (sadly, some of the best ones) have departed for various reasons known only to them. I can think of at least 3-4 that I wish were still around. So, really I think what irritates many of us left-leaning commenters is when somebody complains that a.) there are no conservative commenters here (it varies but there has always been a healthy number of them present), and b.) that the reason is because the meanie librulz here chase everybody away. It's a popular narrative to some that never seems to change no matter how we engage with our adversaries. There will always be snarky crap from both sides, but in my experience, when a conservative viewpoint is made well and without too much name-calling, the response is generally respectful and the debate enlightening. Many of us have engaged in regular debate with those from the side over the years on any number of issues (look at threads with BobbyG, Jim47, Wolfgangus etc. for some examples). So it gets really irritating when the constant refrain from the current crop of FoxNews junkies that the big problem is that the liberals won't play nice. It gets really tiresome after 5 years, especially when it is often made by those (not you) who seem least interested in fostering debate of the afore-mentioned high quality.

stephanie 06-22-2011 06:58 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 213634)
Sorry, I didn't mean to make you upset when I intimated that you were upset when you were clearly not upset.

Heh.

Quote:

In other words, I don't hold people to my standards of morality. I hold people to their own standards of morality as they define it for themselves.
I'm not talking about morality. I'm talking about what makes for good discussion, with the hope that by talking about it we can move closer to achieving it. The basic assumption here is that a portion of those involved in this discussion or reading it are also interested in discussions that avoid the kinds of pitfalls that sometimes happen on this site. Also, that Bob and Aryeh are generally trying to encourage such discussions between people who disagree with each other but can interact respectfully.

If so, I have set forth some ideas, and those interested can decide I'm right or might be and try out a similar approach (one that I am encouraging myself to try). Or they could decide I'm wrong, which is fine too. And I know some just aren't interested in the same kind of discussion I am, which is hardly shocking -- it's clear people come here for a variety of reasons.

Quote:

Your failure isn't the problem. It's that we all fail at this. Therefore, to make a rule that we all generally fail at, is ridiculous.
It's not a rule, I'm suggesting a guideline, a guideline that I think is a good idea for those who want to encourage respectful debate and avoid what usually seem the least interesting and most anger-making conversations. A general approach to discussion that, basically, focusing on people here as, well, people, and not as representatives of others who annoy us.

rfrobison 06-22-2011 07:17 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213569)
...

Steph, please see my second reply to Jeff further upthread if you're interested in why I struck the tone I did. Long story short, I wasn't really bothered by what he wrote, just trying to engage in a bit of satire.

I'll respond to the rest of what you write later, if I can find the time at work today, heh.

stephanie 06-22-2011 07:27 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 213633)
Actually on that measure--the serious conversation measure--I'd say 'RW' members do pretty well.

We disagree about what serious conversation is, I think, but I certainly agree that some of the people you mention are interested in it, and I'm trying to get us away from liberal vs. conservative fight and onto a more general discussion about what makes for good conversation.

I think it requires something more than avoiding flame wars, although that's a start. I can avoid flame wars by not talking to those who seem interested mainly in such disruptive conversation. Merely doing that doesn't result in good conversation, though. It might result in threads that have little conversation of any merit at all, and I think that's been more of what we've seen since the CCs, as opposed to what there used to be, once upon a time. I'm not so sure it was the CCs which caused the decline, but I think they encouraged bad feeling, which didn't help.

stephanie 06-22-2011 07:29 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 213641)
Steph, please see my second reply to Jeff further upthread if you're interested in why I struck the tone I did. Long story short, I wasn't really bothered by what he wrote, just trying to engage in a bit of satire.

Yeah, I saw it after I replied, but generally figured it was still worth making the points I did, even if I would have struck a different tone myself had I seen your other post first.

operative 06-22-2011 07:45 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213642)
We disagree about what serious conversation is, I think, but I certainly agree that some of the people you mention are interested in it, and I'm trying to get us away from liberal vs. conservative fight and onto a more general discussion about what makes for good conversation.

I think it requires something more than avoiding flame wars, although that's a start. I can avoid flame wars by not talking to those who seem interested mainly in such disruptive conversation. Merely doing that doesn't result in good conversation, though. It might result in threads that have little conversation of any merit at all, and I think that's been more of what we've seen since the CCs, as opposed to what there used to be, once upon a time. I'm not so sure it was the CCs which caused the decline, but I think they encouraged bad feeling, which didn't help.

I also wouldn't say that CCs cause a decline. Now, maybe CCs lead to a few valuable posters leaving, which diminishes the number of quality threads, but I'm not so sure I'd credit it indirectly either. I only pay attention to a small number of topics, so I'm not really one to guess about the overall level. I do wish that more people were interested in Latin America though--seriously, it is far more interesting than the Middle East.

look 06-22-2011 07:47 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213642)
We disagree about what serious conversation is, I think, but I certainly agree that some of the people you mention are interested in it, and I'm trying to get us away from liberal vs. conservative fight and onto a more general discussion about what makes for good conversation.

I think it requires something more than avoiding flame wars, although that's a start. I can avoid flame wars by not talking to those who seem interested mainly in such disruptive conversation. Merely doing that doesn't result in good conversation, though. It might result in threads that have little conversation of any merit at all, and I think that's been more of what we've seen since the CCs, as opposed to what there used to be, once upon a time. I'm not so sure it was the CCs which caused the decline, but I think they encouraged bad feeling, which didn't help.

Why did Bob start commenter courts and the dungeon?

sugarkang 06-22-2011 08:00 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213640)
It's not a rule, I'm suggesting a guideline, a guideline that I think is a good idea for those who want to encourage respectful debate and avoid what usually seem the least interesting and most anger-making conversations. A general approach to discussion that, basically, focusing on people here as, well, people, and not as representatives of others who annoy us.

I understand and agree that, as a guideline, it's a good idea. It's only when we set up expectations of behavior and people fail, the who did what first finger pointing starts and then we're back to square one.

I've only started commenting again recently after a two-year hiatus, more or less, so I don't know the specifics of all that went on around here. I do know that there have been a number of commenter courts in the past that have had little to no effect. The last one seemed effective only because Bob forced us all out of the prisoner's dilemma; or that's my take on it, anyway.

So, yeah. And BHH is hilarious, so we'll just have to disagree on what is a "stone" and whether it was thrown.

stephanie 06-22-2011 08:02 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by look (Post 213645)
Why did Bob start commenter courts and the dungeon?

As I said:

Quote:

I think it requires something more than avoiding flame wars, although that's a start. I can avoid flame wars by not talking to those who seem interested mainly in such disruptive conversation.
As I further said:

Quote:

Merely doing that doesn't result in good conversation, though. It might result in threads that have little conversation of any merit at all, and I think that's been more of what we've seen since the CCs, as opposed to what there used to be, once upon a time. I'm not so sure it was the CCs which caused the decline, but I think they encouraged bad feeling, which didn't help.
For example, the CC's made the full extent of the gaming of the refs apparent, including some comments and posts which struck me as incredibly dishonest, but which I had been happy to ignore or even be in ignorance of. That has affected my feelings about the board and certain posters in a negative way. I will continue to interact in a positive manner -- or try, anyway -- or quit, but I can't pretend this is not the case.

operative 06-22-2011 08:09 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213647)
As I said:



As I further said:



For example, the CC's made the full extent of the gaming of the refs apparent, including some comments and posts which struck me as incredibly dishonest, but which I had been happy to ignore or even be in ignorance of. That has affected my feelings about the board and certain posters in a negative way. I will continue to interact in a positive manner -- or try, anyway -- or quit, but I can't pretend this is not the case.

I do wonder who you mean here because I just don't recall this (I do remember that someone dishonestly asserted that I sought to have graz banned for the Mormon crack, which I did not).

stephanie 06-22-2011 08:16 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Anyway, adorable special-needs kitten!

look 06-22-2011 08:19 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Today, 07:02 PM
stephanie Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,474

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by look
Why did Bob start commenter courts and the dungeon?

As I said:


Quote:

Quote:
I think it requires something more than avoiding flame wars, although that's a start. I can avoid flame wars by not talking to those who seem interested mainly in such disruptive conversation.
I think it's a very important step. I don't think Bob started CC and the Dungeon for his health. Things had deteriorated badly, and the CC was needed to get us to the point of using the ignore function rather than flaming.



Quote:

Quote:
Merely doing that doesn't result in good conversation, though. It might result in threads that have little conversation of any merit at all, and I think that's been more of what we've seen since the CCs, as opposed to what there used to be, once upon a time. I'm not so sure it was the CCs which caused the decline, but I think they encouraged bad feeling, which didn't help.

For example, the CC's made the full extent of the gaming of the refs apparent, including some comments and posts which struck me as incredibly dishonest, but which I had been happy to ignore or even be in ignorance of. That has affected my feelings about the board and certain posters in a negative way. I will continue to interact in a positive manner -- or try, anyway -- or quit, but I can't pretend this is not the case.
As I said in another discussion, when you're on the receiving end of constant vitriol it gets really old, and from your post, and things others have said, you all are failing to appreciate our position. I don't think it's about gaming the refs at all.

graz 06-22-2011 08:27 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 213648)
I do wonder who you mean here because I just don't recall this (I do remember that someone dishonestly asserted that I sought to have graz banned for the Mormon crack, which I did not).

For the record, I never suspected you. It may not even have been one of the 9 you've slotted in the starting line-up:
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 213633)
Actually on that measure--the serious conversation measure--I'd say 'RW' members do pretty well. Chiwi, myself, BH, rf, and sugarkang, pisc, and look all come to mind. rc is more of a Jim Webb Democrat but nevertheless someone who is usually interested in actual discussion. Denville ...

(if I were you I'd stick with basketball not baseball -- you may have five keepers there). It was just as likely one or both of the meddlers (Bob/Aryheh). They meant well I'm sure. And you're not half-bad for a schizophrenic crank.

Diane1976 06-22-2011 08:35 PM

Re: I'll miss these...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 213434)
...and not just because I had an award named after me. I always found them kind of entertaining, and the fact that the people who run the site comment on the commenters seems testimony to the high regard in which they hold us.

I'm still mystified by the negative reaction of people to these "courts" in general. Haven't you guys heard: There's no such thing as bad publicity! I wonder if it isn't a problem of taking these things (and oneself) a tad too seriously.

On this last point, I'll plead guilty to taking myself way-over-the-top too seriously on numerous occasions, just in case anybody thinks I'm pointing fingers.

I do hope Mr. Wright and Mr. Cohen-Wade will continue to interact with the peanut gallery in some form. It's kinda like that movie "Almost Famous."

Was that a movie? I never saw it.

Me too. I always looked forward to Commenter Court, although I admit I wouldn't have wanted one of my posts to be picked on, and I always wondered if people whose posts were picked on had any warning, or if it was just out of the blue. But, all the same, I found the feedback really interesting and it made me think many times before I posted about what might be appropriate or not. I've been on forums where there was much less good discussion than this one, where people made much less effot to really communicate and try to understand each other in spite of political differences, etc.

TKS to B. and A.

operative 06-22-2011 09:11 PM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 213651)
For the record, I never suspected you. It may not even have been one of the 9 you've slotted in the starting line-up:

(if I were you I'd stick with basketball not baseball -- you may have five keepers there). It was just as likely one or both of the meddlers (Bob/Aryheh). They meant well I'm sure. And you're not half-bad for a schizophrenic crank.

I don't acknowledge baseball as a legitimate sport anyway. Basketball is where it's at.

TwinSwords 06-22-2011 10:06 PM

Re: I'll miss these...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane1976 (Post 213652)
Me too. I always looked forward to Commenter Court, although I admit I wouldn't have wanted one of my posts to be picked on, and I always wondered if people whose posts were picked on had any warning, or if it was just out of the blue. But, all the same, I found the feedback really interesting and it made me think many times before I posted about what might be appropriate or not. I've been on forums where there was much less good discussion than this one, where people made much less effot to really communicate and try to understand each other in spite of political differences, etc.

Sure, but this place was like that long before Bob and Aryeh did Commenter Courts -- in fact, it was historically much better than what it has turned into.* Many of the CC's, especially the last 3 or 4, actually had the opposite of the intended effect; there was usually a sharp uptick in hostilities emanating from wingnuts after each one.

That said, I often enjoyed the CC's (especially the ones with Wonderment), as well, because I like Bob and it is always enjoyable listening to his diavlogs. But I'd much rather he appear before us in other capacities: Doing real diavlogs, or featuring some kind of commenter interaction that was based on some kind of positive affirmation of impressive commenter contributions -- like he used to do. Sadly, it may be too late. The forum is now on a precipice and will likely be lost to the Glenn Beck types who engage in regular wildings through the forum.


* It's now a close approximation of the Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity Forum.

badhatharry 06-23-2011 12:01 AM

Re: I'll miss these...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 213674)

* It's now a close approximation of the Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity Forum.

Don't you ever get tired or realize what a goof you are?

badhatharry 06-23-2011 12:13 AM

Re: I'll miss these...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane1976 (Post 213652)
Me too. I always looked forward to Commenter Court, although I admit I wouldn't have wanted one of my posts to be picked on, and I always wondered if people whose posts were picked on had any warning, or if it was just out of the blue. But, all the same, I found the feedback really interesting and it made me think many times before I posted about what might be appropriate or not. I've been on forums where there was much less good discussion than this one, where people made much less effot to really communicate and try to understand each other in spite of political differences, etc.

TKS to B. and A.

To answer your question...people aren't notified if their posts are going to be commented on.

And now I have a question for you. What's a nice person like you doing in a place like this?

just kidding, you're a great contributer.

chiwhisoxx 06-23-2011 01:31 AM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 213581)
Also, keep in mind that Brendan's disproportionately high post count has an additional component (in addition to him being a prolific commenter who weighs in on alot of topics.) Brendan has historically been the most tireless watchdogs for wingnut bs. If Look, Badhat, Operative etc. each write 5 fox talking points, I may refute a couple, Ocean may jump in on a few etc., but Brendan (when he's around) is usually the only one who will respond to all 15. On the flip side of the coin, Brendan will post something intelligent (imo) and he will often get swarmed with attacks from multiple wingnuts, and will happily swat at each one like mosquitos. So it's easy to see how in a brief time period Brendan can rack up 30 comments, while Look, Badhat etc. will each only have 10. This is why the never-ending cries about Brendan's post count are misguided (in addition to being pathetically obvious attempts to work the ref and keep the liberal-bias-at-BHTV fantasy alive.)

that's one explanation. I believe the occam's razor explanation is that he's thin skinned, rigidly ideological, has to get the last word, and is desperate to prove that he's smarter than everyone else on the board.

piscivorous 06-23-2011 01:37 AM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Occam's razorr for sure.

rfrobison 06-23-2011 03:01 AM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
As promised (threatened?), here's the rest of my reply:

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 213569)
Rob, I'd agree with Jeff here. I wish there were more good debates between conservatives and liberals. I also wish there were more good debates between liberals -- the kind that we sometimes get between various posters and Wonderment, but too often those focus on tactics, as if there weren't real disagreements, and too often the focus is only foreign policy. I similarly wish there were real debates between more libertarian leaning folks and more traditional conservatives, but we don't get that in part because the forum is not particularly representative of the political spectrum. Also, I fear, we don't get that because there is an effort made by those on the right to focus attacks on liberals and gloss over their own disagreements, although perhaps I'm being unfair there.

Yeah, I suppose it would be salutary to see a little more internecine strife on the site. If nothing else, it would open our eyes to the fact that our political opponents are not as monolithic as we think.

I suppose there is a tendency not to want to wash one's dirty laundry in public, for fear of handing an easy win to the other side: "Yeah, but Rob, didn't you just say to Piscivorious the other day...", that kind of thing.

Part of the problem for me personally is that I'm much closer to the center, I'd say, than some of the other posters here. I'm fairly partisan, I suppose, but I'm a partisan moderate, if there is such a thing.

It's really hard to have a discussion with those further on the right than me about areas where I disagree because I'm not prepared to go to the mat over some of these differences in nuance. Immigration is a big exception. So is free trade. As you may recall, RC doesn't much care for my wishy-washy "Wall Street Journal"-esque brand of conservatism. And I can't figure out what his is about except a vaguely populist dislike of bankers, immigrants, and people who aren't fans of Sarah Palin.

It probably comes as no surprise to Op to learn that I think some of his attacks on Obama's intelligence are silly...As for the rest, I guess I pay less attention to what my fellow righties are saying than what people on the other side of the aisle are saying.

I also tend to avoid talking about a lot of social policy questions on the site because for me they touch on matters of faith, and while I'm not at all afraid to discuss that, I DON'T want to politicize things that I think belong on a higher plane, as it were.

Quote:

In any case, I think we don't get these kinds of debates for a variety of reasons, some simply having to do with this being a forum that responds to debate between 'heads, and the matchups and toopics often aren't that imaginative. But I definitely agree with Jeff that things have gotten worse lately, and that a good bit of that has to do with the kinds of things DonZeko mentioned. I'd add to that the unending nonsense of Denville Steve and the encouragement of him by posters such as badhat -- apparently any slam on a liberal is a good slam in the minds of some, which perhaps also explains the adoration of Whatfur in the same camp. And I'd add the many, many drive by posts by numerous rightwingers who tend to be attracted by certain subjects (think carkrueger). These people may not engage, but they do take over threads so that it's not uncommon for threads to end up being rather extreme comments by such people and substance-free backpatting of their comments.
A couple of the people you mention fall into what I would call the crank category. I don't waste my breath on them.

It appears BHH feels she has been badly treated by some of the lefties here, so you may be picking up on a sort of immune system reaction. I have no idea whether her grievances are justified or not. As a general rule, I try not to involve myself in other people's spats. It just creates a lot of ill will and contributes little or nothing to any substantive discussion.

Quote:

On a personal level, I like good discussion about issues with people of other views, and sometimes even like to explore why we disagree and whether we might not so deeply as we think. I think you and chiwhi and JimM47 and others do this, but sadly the ability to have these kinds of debates are being drowned out by the fact that many of us are reacting to the noise and a few of you -- you in particular, sometimes chiwhi is also overly sensitive IMO -- are taking personally comments never aimed at you.
Fair enough. I'll let Chiwhi speak for himself. I'm unfamiliar with JimM47, though I've seen the name. As for me, I am subject to bouts of hypersensitivity, bordering on a persecution complex. Working on it, but it is probably just a character flaw. You could just reply: "Rob, you're doing it again." Maybe I'll get the hint.

Quote:

I'll further note that tons of comments of the sort that you take offense at are made about liberals, and I know I'm trying not to take them personally, so I understand better than you may be willing to admit. We all see more clearly perceived insults to ourselves, after all. But we've been through this often enough that I'd think that people like Jeff and DonZ and me and others are pretty on the record about not thinking what you sometimes interpret us to be saying, so a question or so before leaping to conclusions might be warranted.
See previous.

Quote:

But back to the state of the forum debates -- hell, just as I hope the Republicans run on a "let's rethink foreign involvement" plank, nominate someone like Huntsman, and eschew all the stupid faux populist appeals to the culture war and scary Muslims and "elitists" and talk about the economic ideas they have, I wish we could really spend more time debating the kinds of things you and I and Jeff and chiwhi disagree about. Half the time I don't even know what you and I or chiwhi and I disagree about, because we are talking instead about some boring topic, such as whether my view of libertarians who love Ayn Rand is sufficiently nuanced or whether people not here are more unfair to liberals or instead more unfair to conservatives. And when we get fall into that pattern, the people who want us to just have a substance free dislike of each other based on labels win. We can disagree strongly about who those people really are if you want, it's not really important that we agree.
I couldn't agree more. Let's have at it, shall we? (Those weighty debates.)

sugarkang 06-23-2011 07:13 AM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 213741)
I'm fairly partisan, I suppose, but I'm a partisan moderate, if there is such a thing.

I dig your honesty man, I really do. Because I consider myself to be extremely left-wing and extremely right-wing; the perception will change depending on what issues are important in politics at the moment. So, while I understand the appeal of Huntsman, I'd sooner vote for Obama because they're almost the same to me.

But if by some miracle Ron Paul were in the generals, I'd go with that old crank for sure. Although, he keeps spamming me for cash and I might have to threaten to withdraw support if he doesn't stop acting like broke government.

rfrobison 06-23-2011 09:30 AM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 213748)
IBut if by some miracle Ron Paul were in the generals, I'd go with that old crank for sure. Although, he keeps spamming me for cash and I might have to threaten to withdraw support if he doesn't stop acting like broke government.

LOL! He is a politician, after all. Some things are universal.

operative 06-23-2011 09:51 AM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 213741)
It probably comes as no surprise to Op to learn that I think some of his attacks on Obama's intelligence are silly...As for the rest, I guess I pay less attention to what my fellow righties are saying than what people on the other side of the aisle are saying.

Heh best not to get me started on that again ;)

I will say this: I think Obama is smarter than Tim Pawlenty. And Rick Santorum. Probably Jon Huntsman. And probably Michele Bachmann.

badhatharry 06-23-2011 11:28 AM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx (Post 213733)
that's one explanation. I believe the occam's razor explanation is that he's thin skinned, rigidly ideological, has to get the last word, and is desperate to prove that he's smarter than everyone else on the board.

eating your Wheaties, I see.

badhatharry 06-23-2011 11:50 AM

Re: Commenter Court: The End(?) (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 213741)
It appears BHH feels she has been badly treated by some of the lefties here, so you may be picking up on a sort of immune system reaction. I have no idea whether her grievances are justified or not. As a general rule, I try not to involve myself in other people's spats. It just creates a lot of ill will and contributes little or nothing to any substantive discussion.

Since we're getting all personal here and my favorite subject is, of course, me...I'd like to explain from my perspective. When I first stared posting I was targeted by a certain person who is most easily identified by his huge number of posts. Being new is kind of hard and I made the big mistake of engaging with him. It was sort of a mind blowing experience because in one moment he'd be civil and I'd think there was peace to be had and in the next moment I had a ton of bricks being delivered to the top of my head.

Because I wanted to remain in the forum I tried to suss out a way to deal with this guy which would allow me to survive. I took a while but I hit upon just ignoring his posts and not responding to him. I did however continue to respond to things he said via others' responses to him. And generally they were pretty sarcastic responses. The way I see it is that this guy was playing to his audience and when I withdrew from the performance things changed, at least for me. I felt all of this was fair because of how I had been treated by him. I was incapable of trying to be on his good side because I have no respect for him other than acknowledging he is very smart.

But of course he has a lot of fans so I got some residual shit as well. People have accused me of gaming the refs but that is just a way to discredit me, IMHO. If people are unfair, that is to expected on a public forum (and in life for that matter). And I am certainly not all sweetness and light as my screen name would perhaps lead you to think. Bottom line, I'll never be as nice as you and so I will probably get slammed every once in a while. However, I slam back if it's necessary.

But that is not my primary motivation for visiting here. I just love politics and love talking about stuff with people who like to do the same.


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