Author Topic: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only  (Read 5094 times)

Offline Mr. Bill

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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:

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. ...

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. ...

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.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 06:05:04 PM by Mr. Bill »

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 02:44:15 PM »
Update:

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.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2018, 02:20:49 PM »
The Political Discussion board remains archived.  In its place is the new Political Sandbox board.

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.

Offline The Professor

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 08:16:42 AM »
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)
 

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 08:56:42 AM »
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.

Offline David in MN

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2018, 12:10:17 PM »
I'll split the difference. I gave up on the politics stuff when I read Stirner and I'm glad to have abandoned it. That said, I appreciated the differing viewpoints and found I got a better grasp of the narrative here than I did on any news source.

Put another way the board devolved into a shit show but there were voices of sanity. And at times really good arguments I would disagree with. And (no joke) I have made money using the news I get here as an investing tool.

I also found great value in the tin foil. It's actually really helpful for me to know I have a place I can post the oddest theories I hear and get them kicked around. I largely felt it was a judgement free zone and liked it.

I'm not sure turning this forum into a safe space is the correct decision but I can't argue against the choice given where it was. If it's not obvious I harbor very mixed feelings.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2018, 01:35:46 PM »
Okay, somehow I managed to leave this thread unlocked for discussion, which isn't what I meant to do.  But since we've gotten a few comments, I'll reply, and leave it open for a few days before I lock it.

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.

This is absolutely not what we have done.  We have two boards for specific political issues that affect preparedness: Food Legislation & News and Firearms Legislation and News.  We have Economic News, the Global Economy and all Things Monetary, which is inevitably going to include discussion of economics-related political actions.  The Childhood Ecucation board includes some discussion of political/legal issues.  And of course we've got Political News (with its restrictions) for politics that don't fit anywhere else.

For non-political, non-prepping topics, we've got Around the Campfire and Morale, Encouragement, & Motivation.

What we've nuked is the interminable, ill-tempered mudslinging outrage, where the only surviving participants were people who had no intention of changing their minds anyway.  There are LOTS of other places on the Internet for that.

Regarding Tin Foil Hat Brigade, we haven't made a permanent decision.  Any future TFHB (if we decide to have one) will have a no-politics restriction, because otherwise it will just turn into the de-facto political argument board.



Some general issues...

First, y'all remember Jack Spirko?  He's that guy from The Survival Podcast. 8)

Jack is paying for the server on which this forum runs.  He gives the mods/admins broad leeway in how we moderate this place.  But underlying everything, the forum is a branch of Jack's business.  So the one thing the forum cannot do is drive people away from The Survival Podcast.  Yes, there will always be some fraction of forum members who become dissatisfied and leave.  We can't make everyone happy.  But if the forum is operating, on the average, to repel people instead of attracting them, it becomes contrary to Jack's business interests.

It's also (obviously, I think) contrary to the benefit of the majority of forum members.

What we've seen, especially over the past couple of years, is a lot of people leaving the forum.  Most of the time, we don't know why.  But among the reasons we have heard, the biggest complaint has been the political arguments, and the way that the ill temper from political argument seeps into the rest of the forum.  So it is our duty to address that problem.

Up at the top of this thread, check out the quote from DeltaEchoVictor.  We've been trying to deal with this problem for nine years.  But the past two years have definitely been the worst.

In general terms, there are two ways of interacting with other members on a forum: cooperative, or competitive.  Most people do both, at various times.  The cooperative interactions are usually beneficial to the forum community.  The competitive ones... well, up to a point.  Yes, it's great to get people to think, to question their own assumptions, etc.  But it takes some self-control to know when to shut up, especially once you get angry or frustrated.  This generally leads to the less-argumentative people dropping out, and the more-argumentative people escalating their arguments.  And this is where we usually hear comments of the "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" variety, and decrying any moderator actions as "turning the forum into a safe space".

You don't win an award by being the last person standing in a hot kitchen.  All you get is a nearly-empty forum with a handful of people yelling at each other.  That's not what the majority of forum members want, it's not what the mods/admins are willing to vounteer their time for, and it's not something that Jack should be paying for.

Offline Stwood

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2018, 02:20:55 PM »
That's not what the majority of forum members want, it's not what the mods/admins are willing to vounteer their time for, and it's not something that Jack should be paying for.



Amen

Offline Carl

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2018, 07:19:37 AM »
  I am most pleased to be back on subjects of preparation.

Offline BillyS

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2018, 08:20:59 AM »
If I may, I'd like to ask that Tinfoil stay around.

I used to discuss and contribute a lot here and in other forums around the net. Over the past couple of years, however, as political discourse got more nasty and the stress of social media got to me, I did an interesting thing. Well, a couple of interesting things, actually.

First, I took Jack's and other mentor's advice and started my own business as well as working to develop certain talents into productive and fulfilling pursuits.

I started a podcast that released episode 81 of its weekly show.
The podcast led me to start an events/convention company that is currently planning its second Halloween/Horror con in Houston.
I started writing with serious aim to get published and paid and am working with different editors and publishing groups to make that happen.
I survived Harvey with stuff to spare and was able to help family, friends, and neighbors with the bounty I had in place because of what I've learned from the show and in the forums.
I've learned how to unfollow, hide, unfriend, and focus my social media experience across platforms to ensure that my time spent online is, if not profitable, at least entertaining, informative, or at least not anger or stress-inducing.

In short, I've been away from here because I'm racing that tick-tock of the clock to make things better for me and mine.

But just because I don't contribute or discuss as much as I used to doesn't mean that I'm not here. I use the forum at least twice a week to find information about one thing or another. Where in the past I might have posted a question, I now seach it first and find several places where it has already been discussed at length. I wonder if a lack of activity on the boards might also be attributed to the fact that a lot of stuff is already here and not because people are upset with things...

I've also learned that I don't have to respond to or even read stuff that gets my blood boiling. It's like a TV. If I don't like the show, I can change the channel.

That said, Tinfoil Hat Brigade has always been one of my favorite boards here. I love conspiracy and intrigue and the unique perspectives that the (mostly) even-minded people in this forum tend to bring to the discussion. I would hate to see it die because a minority of members can't just change the channel when they don't like the show.

I understand why you are doing what you're doing. I just wish people would/could moderate themselves instead of having to close boards.  :-\


Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2018, 03:38:41 PM »
...Where in the past I might have posted a question, I now seach it first and find several places where it has already been discussed at length. I wonder if a lack of activity on the boards might also be attributed to the fact that a lot of stuff is already here and not because people are upset with things...

Yup, I'm sure that's part of the explanation.  There are only so many new things you can say about paracord. ;D  In fact, our forum statistics show that even as new-posts-per-day have been declining, our page-views-per-day have been increasing (primarily, we assume, from non-members who find info here in a Google search).  We're now a prepping information resource.

(ATTENTION, LURKERS!  You're missing a lot of stuff that is only visible to registered members, and doesn't show up on Google searches.  So register!  The process generally leaves little permanent damage.)

But anyway.  There are other reasons too.  Forums, in general, have been in decline for several years, as people migrate to other social media.  Heh, maybe we should expect a huge influx of newbies, what with Facebook being in disrepute this month!

(ATTENTION, LURKERS!  Sorry to keep bothering you.  But if you're a Facebook user and you've never used a forum like this one, we've got a page of beginners' info about what forums are, and how they work.)

Offline Carl

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2018, 06:57:32 PM »
  Maybe if we offer a FREE MEMBERSHIP on the home page ?? Some will sign up for the bargain. ;D

Offline archer

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2018, 09:05:30 AM »
  Maybe if we offer a FREE MEMBERSHIP on the home page ?? Some will sign up for the bargain. ;D

or a 50% discount if you act now! limited availability, not available in stores!

Offline Stwood

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2018, 09:50:43 AM »
  Maybe if we offer a FREE MEMBERSHIP on the home page ?? Some will sign up for the bargain. ;D

 :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Hey Red, where's your slappie at? Carl needs one.

Offline surfivor

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Re: "Political Discussion" and "Tin Foil Hat Brigade" are now read-only
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2018, 10:46:24 AM »
If I may, I'd like to ask that Tinfoil stay around.

I used to discuss and contribute a lot here and in other forums around the net. Over the past couple of years, however, as political discourse got more nasty and the stress of social media got to me, I did an interesting thing. Well, a couple of interesting things, actually.

First, I took Jack's and other mentor's advice and started my own business as well as working to develop certain talents into productive and fulfilling pursuits.

I started a podcast that released episode 81 of its weekly show.
The podcast led me to start an events/convention company that is currently planning its second Halloween/Horror con in Houston.
I started writing with serious aim to get published and paid and am working with different editors and publishing groups to make that happen.
I survived Harvey with stuff to spare and was able to help family, friends, and neighbors with the bounty I had in place because of what I've learned from the show and in the forums.
I've learned how to unfollow, hide, unfriend, and focus my social media experience across platforms to ensure that my time spent online is, if not profitable, at least entertaining, informative, or at least not anger or stress-inducing.

In short, I've been away from here because I'm racing that tick-tock of the clock to make things better for me and mine.

But just because I don't contribute or discuss as much as I used to doesn't mean that I'm not here. I use the forum at least twice a week to find information about one thing or another. Where in the past I might have posted a question, I now seach it first and find several places where it has already been discussed at length. I wonder if a lack of activity on the boards might also be attributed to the fact that a lot of stuff is already here and not because people are upset with things...

I've also learned that I don't have to respond to or even read stuff that gets my blood boiling. It's like a TV. If I don't like the show, I can change the channel.

That said, Tinfoil Hat Brigade has always been one of my favorite boards here. I love conspiracy and intrigue and the unique perspectives that the (mostly) even-minded people in this forum tend to bring to the discussion. I would hate to see it die because a minority of members can't just change the channel when they don't like the show.

I understand why you are doing what you're doing. I just wish people would/could moderate themselves instead of having to close boards.  :-\

 Yes, the tinfoil section was good. I don't like facebook for political discussions. I am on there to connect with old classmates and friends. I like anonymous discussions that are harder to track by google and all the others.

 It seems like some of the people who helped shut the boards down have gotten frustrated and moved on someplace else after freaking out a good deal. Maybe there's better arguments going on someplace we don't know about or care about. I am not sure if it would matter or not to allow those discussions to go on again and if those people came back or it got bad again then you just shut it down for another rest period.

 No forums are perfect but I prefer the moderated forums to the a lot of the wild west stuff that's out there. If someone shuts the conversation down once in a while, it forces you to take a break from it which can be good even if it can seem frustrating sometimes. Unmoderated forums are actually more frustrating in many ways

« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 11:14:06 AM by surfivor »