Old  July 3rd, 2013, 7:41pm     #1
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Joined: Feb 1999
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Location: Springfield, Ohio
Post The Politics Forum is Closing
To post in the Politics forum, you must now have been a registered OLS member for 90 days and have made 30 posts. This is to prevent outside people and banned OLS members from simply registering a new account to troll.

Unfortunately, this measure is just a temporary band-aid for a much larger problem.

Mea culpa
It is the strong opinion of many, and probably most, that the Politics forum breeds such a degree of continued negativity and hostility that it greatly affects the rest of the message board and web site. In my opinion, there is no question that it does just that and has for quite some time.

A number of OLS members and moderators have been calling for the Politics forum to be closed since it began. I resisted because I thought we could control it eventually, I thought it was just a matter of finding the right approach. I was wrong.

The Politics forum requires more time and energy to moderate than all the rest of the forums combined. Policing it is far more subjective and usually ends in entire groups or "sides" of people feeling wronged or slighted, real or feigned.

Disputes all too often carry over to other areas of the forums and web site causing yet additional problems.

As much as I'd like to keep it (though not in its present form), it's just not worth the problems it festers. Like numerous others have said, OLS is a sweepstakes community. Anything non-related that negatively detracts from that primary focus, especially to the degree the Politics forum has, is just not worth keeping.

I want to be clear about one thing, this is absolutely, positively not an issue or problem specific to OLS, our members or moderator staff. This very same issue is prevalent throughout the United States and merely reflects the overly divisive course our politics have taken in recent years. You see the same thing on Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and many, many other web sites whose audience isn't tilted to one particular political view or another. In fact, just a few years ago numerous newspaper web sites did away with user comments altogether for the very same reasons. User comments were brought back in many cases only once Facebook accounts were required to post. Facebook accounts largely did away with the anonymity that tended to encourage the worst of the worst of the divisive comments.

I'd like to thank all the moderators who have quite literally stuck their necks out over the years to moderate the Politics forum, GTBuzz and kbsocial in particular. It's an extremely difficult position to put yourself in, and all but impossible to fully appreciate that difficulty unless and until you've been in that position yourself. Despite the frequent accusations of favoritism or prejudice, I know they tried very hard to be fair and impartial. Without them, and without the overwhelming majority of OLS members who have participated in the Politics forum while treating everyone with respect regardless of political views, it would have never lasted as long as it did.

There were a few times over the years when I know people weren't treated fairly. In those cases, mostly all several years ago, we acted quickly to rectify the problem and ensure they would not continue.

We currently don't have any plans to change either of the two related forums, In the News and Consumer and Economic News. It's certainly not much of a stretch to imagine many of the same topics being discussed there. So it's important to realize that we are not taking a hard-line and absolutely forbidding any particular topic from discussion necessarily. We'll most likely add a 90-day/30 post restriction or similar to those forums as well, and play the rest by ear.

The Politics forum will remain open for at least a few days to allow current topics to run their course and provide some time for everyone to transition. Unless kbsocial tells me something different, perhaps I should say.


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