The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: Off Topic:
Admin warning re: political discussion on TORN



Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Nov 21 2016, 9:13pm


Views: 9254
Admin warning re: political discussion on TORN

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Two months ago, the Mods began seriously discussing the possibility of banning political discussion from the boards. We have gone so far as to actually draft the announcement. We nearly posted it last week. We still may. Before you start complaining about censorship and tyranny, please hear us out.

The site founders have always preferred that politics not be a feature of TORN, and would have no hesitation at all in telling us to go ahead with a ban. But we have always been reluctant to forbid discussion, instead preferring to rely on the goodwill of the community here to respect each other despite our differences. But on this topic, our approach has had limited success at best. Every political thread of substantial length that we can recall has had to be heavily edited, locked, or deleted and we have had to deal with the fallout, sometimes long afterward. Nothing else has caused so many flame wars and so much lasting animosity between members. But despite this, we kept on posting reminders and requests as we always have, hoping that the usual resilient friendship and good humor of TORNsibs would reassert itself.

We have always put a premium on courtesy among members. We don't allow personal attacks, or insults, or discriminatory remarks. We don't support making people feel unwelcome simply because they disagree. We've enjoyed the diversity of our members and welcomed other viewpoints. It's been one of the hallmarks of TORN.

But we feel like that ideal is losing ground.

We see more and more people taking the approach that: "If I'm right and it's important, then civility is optional. If I'm sure of my rightness, I'm entitled to lecture the other person about their wrongness." And the corollary is held true as well; "If they're wrong, they deserve what they get. If I attack this bit of wrongness it will be a blow against all the other wrongness in the world I can't reach." When people fall into this mode of thinking, they come across rude, arrogant or condescending, often without knowing it. And many people who don't like arguing with a mind entirely made up - or just don't like arguing at all - will prefer to be silent, even though insulted or hurt. And because they're not speaking up, it's assumed they're not there. If they're not there, we don't have to worry about what we say about them. And so on. We've repeatedly asked people to consider their words carefully. But lately feelings are running so high that we're often ignored, or accused of partiality (because I'm Right, how dare you defend the Wrong people).

As we have said over and over - it is important to show respect for the person even if you wholly disagree with their position. If you do not, every disagreement ends in either a stated or implied insult and actual communication goes out the window. Nobody ever changed their mind because someone insulted them. They just get defensive and dig in even harder. Have you ever been mocked or belittled or talked down to and then said to yourself "You know, they really have a good point there"? Neither has anyone else.

Recent political events have been so divisive that it is bringing these patterns to the fore - and to TORN. The effects are unlikely to fade anytime soon. In fact, we see them as likely to flare up again as we get closer to the inauguration and therein lies our problem. This is a Tolkien site. While people love to talk OT, is it good for the site to allow an off-topic issue to create such division and such lasting resentment among members? Are we doing our job if we sit and watch political arguments undermine our unique space to talk Tolkien? Shall we let some members be driven away because others are using this place to vent? Can the community here survive long if our forums begin to echo the refrains of social media?

Or - should we make an effort to focus on the purpose of the site and make this the one place you know you won't encounter a political debate? Should we declare ourselves a truly politics-free zone as the site Founders would wish? We suspect that there are many beside ourselves who would find this a relief. There are lots of places to vent, to lecture, to discuss politics. The news is full of it. Much of social media seems devoted to it. But there's only one TORN.

So this is your final warning, and your very last chance, all. There won't be any more discreet edits, or reminders of the TOS, or pleas to think about how your words are coming across. The next political breach of the TOS will be the last. We have so much else in common and so many other things to talk about, we can't afford to let this one drive us apart.


Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 21 2016, 9:20pm


Views: 9047
Fair points.

I do think that discussions in the Off-Topic forums should have a bit of leeway as some disagreement is inevitable; but courtesy and civility should always be encouraged and, if necessary, enforced. I'll leave it at that for now.

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes


weathertop
Rohan


Nov 21 2016, 10:44pm


Views: 9037
i don't think those points are limited to political realm

while the political realm sees it more dramatically, it seems to be a growing trend in many 'debates' around TORn.

While most posting in the debates (be it in science, the beardiness of dwarves or politics) are level headed and understanding/accepting of differing views, there are more than a handful that become defensive and insolent.

This is more concerning to me than the topic of the debate. Maybe putting a hiatus on an easy target (politics) is a way to get through, but I don't think so. Unfortunately, I don't have a stab at a solution to the issue i see and raise.

Enginerd


Donry
Tol Eressea


Nov 21 2016, 10:46pm


Views: 9038
I'm all for...

the tradition of TOR.n.... I am not a U.S. Citizen and I get bombarded with U.S. Politics all over the internet it seems. This has usually been one of those places where I can get away from it all. Whatever 'all' is at the time. TOR.n has my support, if that matter at all!

What's the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?"

Twitter - @DonryFetor
FB - https://www.facebook.com/donryfetortheouthouse
Instagram - donryfetor
Blog - donryfetorsouthouse.wordpress.com


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Nov 21 2016, 10:52pm


Views: 9034
Back in the Second Age someone got pretty nasty with me

because I had the audacity to argue in the Arena why I thought Robin Hood was a better archer than Legolas. But I just figured she was probably very young and passionate and I laughed it off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GNU Terry Pratchett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Nov 21 2016, 10:54pm


Views: 9022
I wouldn't mind giving it a rest.

It's all over facebook, and I indulge in it there, but for me TORn is like my classroom: I'd rather focus on something else.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GNU Terry Pratchett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Nov 21 2016, 11:02pm


Views: 9043
They're not...

and you're right, discussion of The Hobbit, for instance, has been extremely contentious due to many of the very same attitudes. The difference is, discussing The Hobbit is part of the mission of the site, and politics is not. We are not ignoring the pattern or thinking that it will go away entirely if we cut out political arguments. We will continue to step in and enforce the TOS as best we can on all occasions, as that is our job. But politics, and the bitterness it has inspired this year, are adding outside issues of contention which are only likely to increase, and have been drawing in even some of those people who normally manage to avoid such patterns on all other topics.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




Meneldor
Valinor


Nov 22 2016, 12:04am


Views: 9017
I'm all for the "ban."

We can argue politics all over the internet; I want this place to be a refuge, Rivendell or The Shire which are safe from the outside world. If that makes me a special snowflake, then, let it snow!


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. -Psalm 107


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 22 2016, 1:11am


Views: 8989
Ditto what Meneldor said. (PS. I want you to dress as a snowflake next Halloween.) //

 


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Nov 22 2016, 1:44am


Views: 8992
I, for one, would be sad about the ban

Not particularly because I love discussing politics here. Actually, I'm not sure I've EVER discussed politics here, but...I probably have.

But I would be sad because TORN has always prided itself in our ability to have civil discussions about difficult topics, and if we've failed at that, then, well, in some way we've failed at being TORN. At least a little.

BUT, if we have failed, and it sounds like we have, then ban hammer it. We don't need divisive political arguments around here.

I hate taking toys from my kids, but I do it all the time when they prove they can't handle them. These days, of course, those toys are likely to be cell phones, but the point and message are the same.

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea


Nov 22 2016, 1:55am


Views: 8998
Under the circumstances, perhaps a "ban" would be for the best.

However, I should say this is only so because of what is considered "insulting" or "hurting feelings" where politics are concerned.

I am not, nor have I ever been, one to hurl insults on the board. Which is not to say that I haven't wanted to post things that I would certainly regret. But I have done my best to remain civil on the boards.

Where I hold a disagreement with the mods (and I genuinely say this with all due respect) is in what crosses the line. Last week I posted something about my emotional reaction to the election. It was then brought up that such comments would inadvertently hurt the feelings of others who did not share my political leanings. But I can't help but wonder if this is an overreaction? Disagreements are not limited to politics. I could just as easily express an impassioned response to a film, book, or news item. Surely, we aren't expected to hold back for fear of offending someone who may have had a completely different reaction to said thing?

I whole-heartedly agree that actual insults have no place here (whether they be personal or targeted towards a larger group), but the expression of personal political opinions and/or emotional reactions to elections, policies, etc. do not seem, in my opinion, to fall under the category of unreasonable or rude speech.

Having said that, I am of course not in a position to say what is or is not "okay" for discussion on these boards. I respect that such decisions are at the moderators' discretion.

Given this, I would not be opposed to a ban. Even respectful political discourse will inevitably invite passions. I know that I myself am incapable of separating passion from my political stances. So perhaps it would simply be for the best if we did away with it altogether.

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that."
- Viggo Mortensen


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 22 2016, 2:17am


Views: 8983
Dont you Admins./Moderators have enough to do?

I too am all for a ban on political discussion. Politics are (to me) the most divisive and argumentative of subjects, and always seem to begger a nastiness and name calling. And I see no end to it. The election is over. Lets live with it! But the next four years are going to be filled with half the country continuing to blast the other half precognition? Just wait!

There are many OT debates (or just good old discussions) that we may have but none as conflictive as politics where goodwill takes a back-seat and offensiveness takes the fore, nearly everytime.

If its a vote I say ban politics from TORn!

*heads over to Pollantir*

. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




Annael
Half-elven


Nov 22 2016, 5:17am


Views: 8976
thanks

I need a refuge. Not going to find it in my family or friends, or on Facebook, or in church . . . I've been watching a lot of football, which I've never done before.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Starling
Half-elven


Nov 22 2016, 6:27am


Views: 8963
Whose politics and how do we define it?

How will it be decided what is a political discussion?
I am asking this because I have what might be considered to be a political conversation every day. It is a part of life for me. I understand that recent events in the US have brought things to a head, but surely there is a lot more to politics than this? Will I still be able to talk about NZ political issues on TORn? Other political issues?
Are there cultural differences in how we define and discuss politics? I have often wondered this. Do I have a different take on it as a Kiwi compared to the majority American membership here or is it just my personal beliefs?

Thank you Silverlode, and all of the other Mods, for the amazing work you do. Sorry for all the questions - I've been thinking about this a lot lately too. I would be really sad if there was some sort of blanket political ban. But then I don't have to deal with what you Mods deal with.
If it feels like TORn is becoming an unsafe place to be then I will go with whatever you all decide.

This community is too precious to be put in danger.




DanielLB
Immortal


Nov 22 2016, 7:40am


Views: 8958
Thoughts from a non-American who (until recently) has spent considerable time away from TORn.

Let me begin by saying that I think everything that has been raised is a fair assessment: this discussion is about whether TORn is an appropriate platform to discuss political topics. I won't be turning up at TORn HQ with my pitchfork with a placard saying "Maggie Thatcher doesn't approve", but I do want to openly put out there some of my immediate thoughts having read this.

Now, the two things I mention in this posts subject line I think are important and relevant.

Firstly, TORn is (and always has been) heavily US-based (in terms of membership, news stories, etc.). I presume 'recent political events' can only refer to the US election (please correct me if I am wrong). And because of that my first thought was: is it really fair to ban all political discussions solely based on these events? While there are several US-related (e.g. the election, gun crime) and worldwide-related (e.g. the politics of climate change, war) political issues which are heavily contested (and yes, they rely on mature people to intelligently express and discuss ideas) and do come up fairly regularly, I think there are many, many, many important political issues which should be allowed to be discussed: women's rights, the economy, foreign policy, equality, health care, the environment. All of these are important issues, but if I wanted to discuss any of these (to share my woes, fears, or experiences with other TORn users) would they be deleted? On a more personal level, I couldn't discuss how the outfall of Brexit is going to effect my job or how X country has starting oil mining in the Arctic and its going to be an environmental disaster?

And also related to this is other non-spirited debates. Political threads can be blind, filled with biased opinions. But what about religious threads, which can equally be intolerant rants laced with prejudice and bigotry? Should religious discussions on TORn be banned, too? And then what ...?

Secondly, there are one or two reasons why I have spent sometime away from TORn. The number one reason was because it was becoming to easy to offend someone. Not vindictively, but an increase in the number of people being offended by any and every opinion someone else posts. And the admin have had to act upon that. I have had more warnings from the admins about the content and tone of my posts since the release of BO5A than I have ever done my entire time on this forum. That's not their fault (I'm not questioning the rules), but in my opinion we seem to have moved away from the ethos that: if you don't like it, move on. Which is related to this:


Quote
We see more and more people taking the approach that: "If I'm right and it's important, then civility is optional. If I'm sure of my rightness, I'm entitled to lecture the other person about their wrongness." And the corollary is held true as well; "If they're wrong, they deserve what they get. If I attack this bit of wrongness it will be a blow against all the other wrongness in the world I can't reach."


We don't need to create conflict where none should exist, and unfortunately, there are notable trolls that thrive on it. While I like the idea of discussing any topic, maybe not everyone is mature enough to carry a civil conversation without the admins stepping in. With a mix of generations, of religions, of backgrounds, and of races, it is difficult to strike a balance. Political discussions are only going to work if all the people discussing it are knowledgeable about the world and mature enough to discuss a controversial topic. Does the moderation of the forum need to be stepped up? Maybe, maybe not? Is it really worth it? I don't know.

As you can see I am conflicted: I would cautiously say that no matter what, even if you strongly disagree with someone, you should never shut down communication of ideas. Political threads help people learn, and can provide some serious conversation. However, TORn isn't really the platform for it.

It's a tricky one.

Thank you for letting us know.

Smile


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Nov 22 2016, 1:17pm


Views: 8913
TORn showing its Quality... the very highest :)

This is exactly what I needed! I have come to TORn since January 2002 for respite, community, engagement, and to be safe from the hardness of the day. I am so very grateful for and whole-heartedly in favour of this direction and clarity of who we are.

It broke my heart to see the hardness seep into our home. I literally heaved a deep sigh as I reached the end of this very thoughtful and respectful post. Thank you for the engaging explanation and the move to keep us whole.

*bows deeply* Cheers sibbies! :D




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NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Nov 22 2016, 1:34pm


Views: 8901
Also, thank you

Not only was the topic post thoughtful and well-written, but I feel the mods have been doing a tremendous job in this area. And it is clearly a job that has been getting more difficult and more thankless as the years have gone by.

Thus, if the mods say it is time to be done, it's time to be done.

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Dame Ioreth
Tol Eressea


Nov 22 2016, 2:45pm


Views: 8901
I understand but it makes me sad

My personal view of the world has changed dramatically in the last year. I got the Pollyanna slapped out of me good and hard. I understand now that what I thought before was silly and naive. I know better now. Some people don't have a core of civility that you can reach if you try hard enough. Some people are so enamoured of their own opinions that compromise and even (gasp!) growth and acceptance will never happen. And some people, who have surrounded themselves with those of like opinions, can never see the opposing side as anything but the enemy, no matter how much time, energy and effort you put into giving that "other" a human face. I made that mistake, spending personal energy I didn't have, trying to reach someone and it almost killed me. No amount of giving would have been enough. It ended with me being branded a bad friend, which only made the hurt deeper.

Even here at TORn, I see now that there are some (as someone else said previously) notable trolls, who have a penchant for taking offense, digging in their heels and accepting only one viewpoint (theirs) so that discussions become diatribes or fruitless waste of time. A few more folks have joined them at their lunch table of closed minds.

And it's not fun.

I think the Modars are correct in limiting the toys in the sandbox at least for now. They have to work too darn hard stopping the flinging sand for this to be anything other than a job to them. That's not fun either and they are all volunteers. As a professional volunteer, I understand their situation. Sometimes the time you put in just isn't worth what is coming out of the situation and it's time for a change.

I personally am going to walk on by that one lunch table and look for the folks who have always made TORn a wonderful place to come and nerd out over Tolkien. I'm going to sit with the cool kids - you know, the ones with the books and the nerdy t-shirts. (They're probably band/music kids too, but that may just be a personal preference for music geeks.) I'm going to look for the creative types, the ones who are open to the world in all its wonders. I'm going to make sure I thank those Modars frequently for keeping our sandbox clean and the air (relatively) free from sand.

I'm going to go read a book. (Probably Tolkien.)

But if you see me on any other sites, or you meet me in person, or PM me and you ask my opinion on other matters, you will hear that opinion. There are ways to be civil, get your point across and learn things in the process. I'm done being a doormat but there is a time and a place. TORn is not that place.

So, Thank you Modars! You do a thankless but fantastic job of keeping this site running. I value you time and your efforts. Have a great day!

_


Heed WBA when building blanket forts.
ITLs don't get enough FAS. :)

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings






Annael
Half-elven


Nov 22 2016, 3:20pm


Views: 8878
that happened to me too


Quote
I made that mistake, spending personal energy I didn't have, trying to reach someone and it almost killed me. No amount of giving would have been enough. It ended with me being branded a bad friend, which only made the hurt deeper.


more than once, I assumed that because we'd been friends for a long time and liked each other very much that we could actually discuss stuff . . . only to find that no, we couldn't, and more than that, I was being judged even for trying.

This happened years ago to me and the person I thought was my best friend. It wasn't politics in that case, but more just attitude towards life, I guess I'd call it. I was a bad friend for not agreeing with her that her outlook - which was ruining relationships for her - was the right one to have. I brought up the saying "you can either have relationships, or you can be right." She chose the latter.

Out of that and other experiences I learned that a true friend is the one who will go to the mat with you in the spirit of understanding and working things out. When I can work through something painful with a friend, it always strengthens and deepens the relationship, because the trust level skyrockets.

Years ago I had a months-long off-board exchange with a TORNado who holds very different views from mine. We managed to keep it civil and I think we both learned a lot, even though we never did find agreement. There were times when we had to laugh because one of us might say "I've always thought that [you people] do THIS" and the other would say "why, I've always thought the same of [you people], just in a different form!" We got to see our own prejudices, which might have been the best thing I took away from that.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Elarie
Grey Havens

Nov 22 2016, 4:53pm


Views: 8864
Yes...

What Annael said - Refuge

I'm THIS close to deactivating my Facebook account...except I enjoy all the pretty photos every morning from some of the sites that I follow, especially the horses. I also recommend 'Geology Wonders' and 'Beautiful Universe Telescope Hubble' as a day brightener:

Kryptonite discovered!
http://www.geologyin.com/...covered-in-mine.html

Spiral galaxy


Pretty horses


Smile

__________________

Gold is the strife of kinsmen,
and fire of the flood-tide,
and the path of the serpent.



Annael
Half-elven


Nov 22 2016, 6:16pm


Views: 8845
I've "unfollowed" a lot of people

we're still friends, I'm just not getting battered with the gazillion preaching-to-the-choir posts . . .

sadly, did have to unfriend a few people who couldn't let me have my own opinions.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Nov 22 2016, 11:15pm


Views: 8823
"I got the Pollyanna slapped out of me good and hard."

Well put. Wise men have said, "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice", but sometimes we forget the "long" part.

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How to find old Reading Room discussions.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Nov 22 2016, 11:24pm


Views: 8824
"It is hard walkin' on this stuff."

Excellent post.

I worry a little that posts that don't mean to be political will be banned, because someone else will misread what is meant to be merely descriptive as political. In the "What Are You Reading?" threads, squire posted several times, years ago, about reading Bill Clinton's autobiography. He discussed the subject with a historian's eye, as befits a history teacher (although he wasn't yet one at the time, I don't think). I don't believe anyone took offense to what he wrote, but I could certainly imagine it happening, especially now.

Sadly, if this course of action is followed, and I understand that it might have to be, some good discussions that are explicitly controversial will be lost. One of the most brilliant posts ever on these forums was Darkstone's contribution to a sub-thread, that sprung up, in another "Reading?" thread, in response to a discussion about homosexuality in the Bible. Sheer genius.

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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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How to find old Reading Room discussions.

(This post was edited by N.E. Brigand on Nov 22 2016, 11:25pm)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Nov 22 2016, 11:27pm


Views: 8807
Sorry for stepping on your toes.

I didn't realize when I posted in the Pollantir forum that I was basically repeating what you and Daniel had already expressed here. Good thoughts, both.

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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Nov 23 2016, 12:08am


Views: 8792
Wow! Right up my alley

Thanks!SmileSmile



CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 23 2016, 2:07am


Views: 7188
I wondered where you had gotten to, Daniel


In Reply To
Secondly, there are one or two reasons why I have spent sometime away from TORn. The number one reason was because it was becoming to easy to offend someone. Not vindictively, but an increase in the number of people being offended by any and every opinion someone else posts. And the admin have had to act upon that. I have had more warnings from the admins about the content and tone of my posts since the release of BO5A than I have ever done my entire time on this forum. That's not their fault (I'm not questioning the rules), but in my opinion we seem to have moved away from the ethos that: if you don't like it, move on.

I just assumed you were a busy dad these days. (And won't be treating us to any more photo journeys to remote islands in the south Atlantic, which I still remember.)

I think 2 things have happened overall:
1. The Hobbit forum got polarized to a degree that the LOTR movie forum never really did, so everything became offensive, and nothing/no one could remain neutral.
2. Politics in the world has become more polarized. Mostly in the US, but not just the US.

To reply to your thoughtful post (and others' thoughtful posts), I would propose that we define politics more narrowly as deeply contentious, immediate issues, such as the current US election, which is very emotional and polarizing and best left to other sites full of flaming. But if people want to discuss other issues, such as how New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote and Switzerland was one of the last, and why did it work out that way, then that ought to be possible without calling down fire and brimstone on each other.

And maybe TORN can return to an atmosphere of reader responsibility of "if you don't like it, move on." I can say, for example, that the "Thranduil Appreciation Threads" never appealed to me, so I skipped them, and never understood the fuss about them.

People are definitely being trolls if they're reading every single post looking for something to object to--they should be the targets of the Modar, not the posters.


swordwhale
Tol Eressea


Nov 23 2016, 5:06pm


Views: 7166
thanks for weighing in on that

It hadn't occurred to me that folks in other far flung places would be as inundated and totally donedonedone as we are with the rhetoric! Tongue

Perhaps it is due time to turn our attention to more positive energies. I have heard many, from local news to larger .orgs like Audubon, basically say we need to focus our energies on what we can do locally, with non profits, without worrying about the Top Level.

And whatever is going on, TOR.N is a fabulous, positive community of interesting folks. Carry on!

bigger on the inside...

Na 'Aear, na 'Aear! Ml 'lain nallol, I sl ribiel a i falf 'loss reviol...
To the sea, to the sea, the white gulls are crying, the wind is blowing and the white foam is flying... (JRR Tolkien, Legolas Song of the Sea)

Aue, aue,
Te fenua, te mālie
Nā heko hakilia
We know the way
(Te Vaka, Moana soundtrack)

Member of Horse Manure Movers Local 101, Raptor Wranglers & Rehab, and Night Fury Trainers Assoc. Owned by several cats and a very small team of maniacal sled dogs... sorry Radagast, those rabbits were delicious...






swordwhale
Tol Eressea


Nov 23 2016, 5:10pm


Views: 7165
well said

In the larger world it seems we have lost the ability to discuss without attacking.

This site should remain a welcome Rivendell, Lorien, or Hobbiton.

bigger on the inside...

Na 'Aear, na 'Aear! Ml 'lain nallol, I sl ribiel a i falf 'loss reviol...
To the sea, to the sea, the white gulls are crying, the wind is blowing and the white foam is flying... (JRR Tolkien, Legolas Song of the Sea)

Aue, aue,
Te fenua, te mālie
Nā heko hakilia
We know the way
(Te Vaka, Moana soundtrack)

Member of Horse Manure Movers Local 101, Raptor Wranglers & Rehab, and Night Fury Trainers Assoc. Owned by several cats and a very small team of maniacal sled dogs... sorry Radagast, those rabbits were delicious...






RosieLass
Valinor


Nov 23 2016, 10:35pm


Views: 7160
I wish I could like this a thousand times.

"We see more and more people taking the approach that: "If I'm right and it's important, then civility is optional."
"Have you ever been mocked or belittled or talked down to and then said to yourself 'You know, they really have a good point there'? Neither has anyone else."

And unfortunately, I don't think it's limited to the political sphere. The go-to response to anything anyone disagrees with these days seems to be an insult or a cheap shot.

I've been avoiding political discussions exactly because of the ugliness. I have my opinions, just like everyone else. But I'm weary of being slammed because those opinions aren't what other people think they ought to be.

And I wouldn't be a forum moderator if you paid me a million bucks cash. You guys are saints!

"Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it."
--Joyce Meyer

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
--Leonard Nimoy


RosieLass
Valinor


Nov 23 2016, 10:49pm


Views: 7145
I haven't blocked or unfriended anyone yet.

But I do a LOT of hiding of political posts. From both sides.

"Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it."
--Joyce Meyer

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
--Leonard Nimoy


Donry
Tol Eressea


Nov 23 2016, 10:52pm


Views: 7144
Agreed

I have my opinions on politics, but I have not really put anything online here....seems to be like lighting a fuse with someone every time....
I love discussing politics, but there has to be an understanding that some people have different opinions.

What's the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?"

Twitter - @DonryFetor
FB - https://www.facebook.com/donryfetortheouthouse
Instagram - donryfetor
Blog - donryfetorsouthouse.wordpress.com


Greenwood Hobbit
Grey Havens


Nov 23 2016, 11:24pm


Views: 7146
Modding can be a very thankless task -

so a special thank you from a UK sib to all the Mods who try to keep things running smoothly. It's been a crazy year and 'Party politics' has become very ugly lately. I do not think TORn is the place for that, even in off topic. General issues, if discussed properly and without personal attacks, can be well explored - but if someone is determined to argue the point ad nauseam in a 'my way or the highway' manner that is not in the spirit of the boards, to my mind. If it means the topic is shut down, so be it. I tend not to engage in contentious discussions, so would not miss political posts. Some sites I visit have a 'no religion or politics' rule anyway. there are other places to discuss such things.


dormouse
Half-elven


Nov 24 2016, 9:28am


Views: 7119
Yes, this.....

...and may I add my thanks too, from another UK sib.

There's a part of me which hates the idea of shutting down discussion. If we can't discuss, how can we understand? But political passions seem to be running high everywhere at the moment and things become all the more complicated in an international forum like this, where the issues that matter desperately to one group of members will baffle another. Argument isn't discussion and the friendliness of TORn is too precious to lose.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


Meneldor
Valinor


Nov 25 2016, 12:09am


Views: 7089
Have we considered a temporary ban?

Give it a rest for, let's say, 6 months, so the inauguration will be past and we'll be more settled in to the new status quo. Maybe passions will have died down by then?


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. -Psalm 107


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Nov 25 2016, 3:26am


Views: 7094
Politics discussions going down in flames

happened well before the latest US election. Heck, well before we'd heard of Barack Obama. It's not a new problem that we're dealing with.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Saurons master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 20 2016, 11:36pm


Views: 6931
As an American in the thick of issues of late

here are my personal thoughts on the subject. I have repeatedly been the target of those who disagree with me politically and have been labeled all sorts of things that couldn't be further from the truth from angry politically opposite folks. I'm getting sick of it. I cannot control social media, but I CAN give my thoughts on political discussions here on Torn Smile

First and foremost, I apologize if anything I say here offends anyone. That is not my intent.

There. That being said, I shall now move on to my thoughts on the ban. I personally think that the ban shouldn't happen. As others above me have mentioned, it sets a dangerous precedent. One could be having a discussion on Minas Tirith's tax policy during Aragorn's rule, and inevitably someone will come along and twist it for their own personal vendetta.

Are we to block that? Technically, it is discussing politics- even if they're politics from Tolkien's world. And inevitably, someone will come and apply real-world politics to it, and discussion goes down the drain.

The example I mentioned above could relate to pretty much anything on here that can ignite passions. Person A might be offended by snowflakes, so should we ban any snow pictures? Person B might be offended that someone's avatar has purple hair. Should we ban avatars with purple hair? Someone could be offended that a 4th of July post with an American flag in it is there, so should we ban holiday expressions on here? Someone could be offended that another user is of a different faith. Should we ban any mention of their faith on the boards, even if it is only the revelation that they belong to ___ faith and that's it?

I agree that the ground rules of civility and politeness and respect should be strictly enforced. That provides the avenue and means for discussion and exchange of ideas, thoughts, and the chance for people to learn about other people's perspectives and other cultures and their unique views (for instance, I can now read the words "favourite" and "colour" and "programme" without my inner Grammar cop going berserk, thanks to all the tornsibs from other English speaking countries on here normalizing it for me Wink).

Here's the single biggest problem I have with offense and the internet- people are offended by EVERYTHING. You literally cannot say hello to someone without offending them, it seems! I think people need to remember that there is an actual human being on the other side of the keyboard, and if they wouldn't say it to their face, it should not be typed in their posts.

A ban on all political discussion because some people are getting offended and hurling insults as a result of that offense is only going to present a larger problem that will eventually shut down any and all discussion on here. How will people learn to get along and respect differing viewpoints and learn how to see life from another's perspective if they are never given the chance to disagree with anyone?

I have noticed that many of these sorts of threads (albeit life has left me absent from Torn for a couple months. Darn surgery and illness Pirate) tend to devolve into specific arguments between specific people. Rather than a ban, I propose that the mods adopt a "three strikes" rule. If a user insults or seriously defies the TOS three times, they're put on probation. If they do so a fourth time, they're banned for three months. If they come back and STILL do it, they're banned from Torn forever.

That will allow those of us who are still respectful of others to have debates and discussions of any nature, be it political, religious, the color of the sky, whatever, and permit the free exchange of ideas to learn from others who share a differing perspective. We may never agree, but we can learn to see where the other person is coming from and respectfully agree to disagree without flames flying and insults being hurled.

And those who are the trolls, the troublemakers who are ruining these discussions (be it politics, TH board, etc)- they will be quickly weeded out and banned if they keep it up, and when they are, the discussions will have less and less trouble brewing in the threads and make Torn a more pleasant place for everyone.

So in a nutshell, my proposal is to target not the subject of discussion in the ban, but rather the users who persistently cause these threads to spiral out of control. If you remove the trolls, and keep those who are respectful of their fellow tornsibs, then the problem will inevitably heal itself without the loss of free discourse Smile



Allan J
Registered User

Feb 8 2017, 7:14pm


Views: 6739
Politics

It's not the subject of the OP which corrupts, I see a society that has been corrupted by the eruption of social media, and anonymous nature of our interpersonal communication these days. There is little accountability for words said, anything goes, Lies are reported as truth, fiction is spun as fact by news organizations that once commanded respect. The end pursuit truly justifies any and all means. I fear we as a society are being manipulated.

Politics, Social constructs, Economics, Religion, Ethnicity, Race, Education, on and on are all targeted these days equally by countless individuals and groups with their own varying ideals and agenda's. It's to the point I seldom listen or watch news reports now, and read very few blogs. Everything is reported based on the viewpoints of the reporter, rather than the actual facts which may be present. Editorialists have taken over the news reporters mission.

I don't see how civility will ever make a return in mass. We must relish what remains in places such as this, guard it, keep the space safe as an example of what still can be, what should not be allowed to pass.