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"Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only

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Mr. Bill:
Summary:  We're locking the political argument sections of the forum.  The Political News board will remain open (for members who have reached the required minimum postcount), along with the other five news-related boards.

Background:  Political argument has interfered with the primary purpose of The Survival Podcast Forum since day one.  Here are the guidelines that were posted less than 9 months after the forum began operation:

--- Quote from: DeltaEchoVictor on June 01, 2009, 04:52:22 PM ---First and foremost, these forums are to be used as an adjunct to The Survival Podcast show that Jack conducts.

These boards are not primarily political debate boards, & the TSP forums are not primarily political forums.  Political discussion is a small part of what these forums are for.  Primarily we are a preparedness site, the forums are a place for new folks to come to glean information pertaining to modern survivalism.  These forums are not a venue for some to push their political agenda. ...

If you're visiting the TSP forums for reasons other than contributing to, learning from, or because of a general interest in modern survivalism then we recommend that you go elsewhere.  If you're here to primarily discuss politics or to push a specific political agenda, then we seriously recommend you seek your argument fix elsewhere. ...

--- End quote ---

For the past 8½ years, the moderators/admins have tried various forum tweaks and moderation styles to deal with this issue.  Many members became frustrated anyway, and departed.

But any semblance of balance broke down with the start of the 2016 US election campaigns.

Those of you who are heavily into political argument may not recognize that we have three factions on the forum: pro-Trump, anti-Trump, and the large majority of members who already get their RDA of political argument from daily life, and are here only for prepping.

Here's part of a PM I got recently from a member who was about to delete their account:

--- Quote ---...I just finally got tired of seeing [some members behave like] trolls.  I keep political talk pretty much out of my life at home and at work and the spiral into a 24-hour site for political bickering here has been disheartening.
I ... went through your instructions for ignoring boards.  I ignored the political news and discussion boards.  I’ll see how that goes and ignore [some members] as a next step before I delete my account. ...
--- End quote ---

We have already lost quite a few members who felt similarly.  The forum's Ignore Boards feature has become inadequate, as politicization and personal head-butting have spilled over into other sections of the forum.

What we're doing:  The Political Discussion board is now locked for new posts.  We've also locked The Tin Foil Hat Brigade, because it has become a clone of Political Discussion except with less evidence for the claims made.

Both boards will remain readable for the next year by members with the minimum postcount.  Around January 2019 we'll remove both boards from the forum.

We still have six other news-related boards:
* Political News - This is the place to share political news articles and information that is relevant to prepping.  Every post must contain one or more of the following:
* A link to a news article.
* A link to, or the text of, official government information (e.g. proposed or adopted legislation, regulations, executive orders, press releases, etc).
* A link to original video and/or audio of a newsworthy event.
* Personal observations of a newsworthy event.
* A link to a separate topic (elsewhere on the forum) where the issue is being discussed.Posts may not contain any of the following:
* Your personal comments or opinions.
* Links to editorial or opinion pieces, or links to "news" articles that are partly news and mostly opinion.
* Links to videos that are heavily edited to support a particular opinion.
* Links/info about political rumors and theories that are not yet supported by convincing evidence.
* Stories that are obviously fake, or originate from a satirical or fraudulent source.Access to this board is usually granted after you have made a minimum number of posts elsewhere on the forum.
* Food Legislation & News - Any legislation that may be pending or that we need to know about should go here. Post your links to food issues in the news.
* Firearms Legislation And News - Discuss current or upcoming laws and regulations. Also share news stories about firearms, such as armed citizens defending themselves.
* Economic News, the Global Economy and all Things Monetary - Discuss the latest economic news, the Federal Reserve, etc. here.
* Current Severe Emergency Situations - Severe weather, earthquakes, industrial accidents, active shooters, terrorist attacks, civil disturbances, and other current emergencies.
* General News - For posting general news topics of interest to preppers, if they don't fit into any of the above specialized categories.
This decision was made after a great deal of moderator discussion.  We hope it will help to bring The Survival Podcast Forum back to its roots: a community of modern survivalists, helping each other to live the lives we want, if times get tough, or even if they don't.

Mr. Bill:

The Political Discussion board remains archived.  In its place is the new Political Sandbox board.  Please read About the Political Sandbox before participating.

The Tin Foil Hat Brigade has been re-opened.

Mr. Bill:

--- Quote from: Mr. Bill on January 11, 2018, 02:44:15 PM ---The Political Discussion board remains archived.  In its place is the new Political Sandbox board.

--- End quote ---

Nope, we were right the first time.

Political Sandbox is now a read-only archive, along with Political Discussion.  Please see the first post (above) for a discussion of the rationale, and a list of boards that remain open for posting news.

The Tin Foil Hat Brigade is also read-only for the present.  Mods/admins are still discussing what to do with it.

The Professor:
I'd like to chime in, if I may.

Unlike others, apparently, I paid attention to your original recommendations about the political boards and simply moved to ignore them.  I haven't had any problems except when I, um, "accidentally" found myself wandering the halls.  However. . .I didn't have to participate (and I didn't participate, for the most part). 

I do agree with your decision to remove the political boards. . .to a point.  Please understand, I just woke up and have to leave in about an hour, so I may not have the most coherent of arguments, right now.

Yes, we've seen a significant decline in Preparedness and Survival topics in the past couple of years.  IMO, the reasons for this are twofold:  First, the people who would normally fall into the prepper/survivalist niche aren't currently overly-concerned about the state of the future (I predict that will change in the next year, or so) and second; prepping and survivalism is no longer "advertised" in the mainstream.

The first reason is generally evident and would be a discussion suitable for the now-locked Political Discussion board.   The second is because we no longer have shows like Doomsday Preppers on TV bringing the discussion out in the open.  Not to editorialize, too much, but: Yeah, the producers tried every trick in the book to showcase and twist everything that a prepper did as evidence of the person being a few fries short of a full Happy Meal, but it got people to talking about the issue.

And, yes, I do realize there are other "survival" shows out there, but watching a British urophiliac with a hefty Holiday Inn Rewards account run willy-nilly through the woods is not a good opener for discussions with your coworkers or neighbors about getting ready in case something interrupts the food supply chain.

So, we're going to waft and wane a bit on the 100% preparedness topics until people start becoming concerned, again.

You moderators have a difficult task in trying to keep the board on-topic.  I am not disagreeing with that and I do want you to know that I appreciate the work you do to try and keep this board both interactive and relevant to the original concept.

But, I feel that completely doing away with non-preparedness topics is a bit restrictive.  Some political issues do directly affect preparedness.  Some do so only in an oblique, tangential manner.  Others, not at all. 

For that reason, might I suggest that the Tin Foil Hat Brigade board be kept open.  I consider it a not-too-egregious diversion from the original set of discussions.  Keep it moderated, as has been done in the past (or, at least I think it has. . .I'm not exactly sure what happened to have it opened and then, almost immediately, closed again).

Rather than close TFHB completely, perhaps instituting a multi-level method of moderation in that board would be more workable.  Start with a posted censure of a member if his/her reply or post is inappropriate or goes over the line.  Keep it public for others to see.  If it continues, a temporary and public suspension of the account goes into effect.  Finally, Ban Hammer someone if it continues.

Yes, people with complain, stamp their feet and twist their hankies. . .but some who are (and will be) valuable contributors will learn the appropriate levels of discussions and still be able to post strange, slightly appropriate posts that peripherally affect preparedness and the future.

To summarize:  Please consider keeping the TFHB portion of the boards with it's original intent, even if it means medium- to heavy-moderation.  I did feel that it stimulated some interesting discussion of varying value.

The Professor
(who is now desperately going in search of caffeine)

Alan Georges:
As always Professor, your thoughts are insightful.  However, I have to agree with the mods' decision here.  These side topics were too distracting and too disruptive of main reason behind this forum.  Like you, I largely ignored the political and tin-foil boards, both by actually using the "ignore" function for political and by mostly brushing past the tin-foil stuff.  Still, the heated discussions there were chasing good people off.  Even worse, posts on survival topics were down to as few as a half-dozen per day.

As a side note, yes, things have cooled down with survivalism in the media, and I agree that that's also a reason things have cooled down some around here.  It's a mixed blessing.  As always, another situation mostly beyond our control that we just have to make the best of.

At least we do retain the news-without-commentary board.  That's useful for getting the word out when things are happening.  Also, various takes on (say) economic or other trends can be slid in on their relevant boards, especially as an external link.  Those generally stay focused and non-controversial.

Since the ban has come down on the political and tin-foil boards, the number of survival related posts has somewhat recovered.  I don't know if we'll ever really get things back on the tracks here, but things are getting better.  And while I do miss the political and tin-foil discussions, I miss Cedar and Endurance a lot more.


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