Author Topic: Politics and religion  (Read 25606 times)  

Offline Jeff

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Politics and religion
« on: November 27, 2008, 05:11:17 AM »
Should we exclude hot-button topics such as politics and religion from the board?

Your comments are appreciated.

Jeff
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 08:56:43 AM by Jeff »

Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2008, 05:25:39 AM »
As we respond to Jeff's question, I would ask that we respond to the general question of whether religion and politics should be allowed for discussion and that we eliminate responding to the specifics that prompted this question.  (I wish Jeff had phrased the question without the specifics which aren't needed for this purpose.)  If I could moderate here I would have removed them (sorry, Jeff).

I will say, given the current Forum Decorum of allowing such discussions, the issue I had with the postings, which have since been removed BY THE PARTICIPANTS, voluntarily I believe, was that it was seriously off topic.  It was clearly inappropriate to have such a discussion in the middle of a totally unrelated topic.  Readers had no warning of what they were walking into.  At least in person, we would have heard raised voices which would have warned us to not enter the room.

People, we NEED to stay on topic.  If you want to discuss something or post something that is not part of the current discussion, create a NEW TOPIC.  (Caps for emphasis not yelling).

Let's try to stay calm here.  Most of the mods are on holiday and Leslie is dealing with a small family crisis.  We can resolve this, don't make it snowball even bigger.

Thanks!

Betsy
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2008, 05:32:41 AM »
If I could moderate here I would have removed them (sorry, Jeff).

I thought the background was necessary to explain why I was motivated to ask the question, Betsy.

I have removed all but the question.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 08:58:02 AM by Jeff »

Offline Michael R. Hicks

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2008, 05:40:14 AM »
Jeff -

Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone else, too! :-)

As for the subject at hand, my personal view is that as long as people don't make personal attacks and are able to "respectfully disagree," such discussions should be allowed. I don't normally discuss politics, religion, or military actions overseas with most folks specifically because those are hot topics, and I have plenty of stress at work without having to worry about more at home! But I think in a community setting people should have the option of being able to have those sorts of discussions: they're important aspects of our lives.

That being said, I think there's also a threshold of reasonableness in terms of the context of the thread. For example, in the case below, the discussion went sufficiently off-topic that the thread could have been split, with those posts set as a new thread in a dedicated "heated discussion" board. That way, the folks who wanted to stick with the subject at hand could continue to do so, while Sailor and Jim - and whomever else wanted to join in - could sort things out in a separate thread (again, as long as people remain respectful in their treatment of each other). I personally would like to make some observations relevant to their discussion, but not on a thread that is dedicated to something else...

Now, is it too early for eggnog??  :-)

Cheers,
Mike
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Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2008, 06:05:19 AM »
I'll make the same observation I've made on other boards.  I moderate a liturgical musicians e-mail list and every now and again someone will say something that will get someone's knickers in a twist.  Here's my policy:

Though we all have something in common, we have to each recognize that it doesn't mean that we have everything in common.  There are going to be things we disagree on.  So the rules are these:

(1) Before posting, stop and think and work out whether what you are about to say might inadvertently upset/offend someone.  Does this need to be said, and, if you feel it does, can you say it in a more neutral way?  Even if it's a point you feel you must make and are passionate about, recognize that not everyone will share that level of intensity and don't you be offended when they express this.  Perhaps it's best taken off list, or not posted at all. . . .

(2) If you read a post that upsets or offends you, recognize that the poster probably followed rule 1 above and did not mean to cause any trouble.  Again, if you feel the need to respond, take it off list or if you feel it to be particularly egregious, alert a moderator.

(3) Remember that people only know you from your posts and while I, personally, tend to just ignore such postings, try as I might, such postings invariably affect my opinion of the poster(s) -- whether I agree or not.  I really want people to like me so I try really really hard not to say anything that might make people not!

As a practical matter, with a board this busy, I wonder if it makes sense to have two moderators per forum?

All of the above is totally my opinion and, in accordance with rule 3, absolutely not meant to offend anyone.  ::)

Happy Thanksgiving. . . .

Ann

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Offline Bacardi Jim

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2008, 07:03:33 AM »
Yes, Sailor and I removed our posts ourselves.  I can't speak for Sailor, but I know that I did so exactly because they were wildly off topic--NOT because I regret or am ashamed of anything I said.  And it wasn't the picture of the dog that "got my knickers in a twist."  It was having to read for the umpteenth time how I should be "thanking" the soldiers in Iraq.  Surely if Sailor is allowed to force her brand of patriotism on us at every opportunity, then (I felt at the time) I am entitled to occasionally voice my own brand of patriotism.  Regardless, the whole thing was off-topic, beginning with Sailor's initial post--which is still there.  Sorry if I caused an uproar.  Thankfully, the board wasn't very busy at the time.

As to whether or not we should allow discussion of religion or politics, that's not up to me.  But if the decision is to not allow it, then that rule must be applied equally to all.  If I can't publicly question American foreign policy, then Sailor, Dori, et al can't be allowed to continually post about praying for people, their "prayer books" and "thanking our troops."  That offends me as much as anything I said offended Jeff.

For my part, all I can do is promise to try hard to not allow such discussions to interrupt or hijack other threads.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 07:07:05 AM by Bacardi Jim »
At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up.
After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.

Offline KBoards Admin

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2008, 08:15:36 AM »
Thank you all for your thoughtful posts, observation, and opinions on this.

I am 'learning as I go' in terms of board moderation, so thank you for bearing with me as I determine the best way to handle these types of flare-ups.

There are many topics that can become inflammatory. So, the question is, how to prevent that from happening while at the same not being overly heavy-handed in terms of moderation.

My inclination is not to ban the general topics of religion, politics, and other polarizing topics. I value the energy and passion that our members bring to these forums.

However, if we are going to allow posts about subjects like politics and religion, those topics have to be explored with a gentle tone and an underlying respect for the opinions of others. It's the only way to touch on those areas without it degenerating quickly into rhetoric and offensiveness.

Part of this, is being generous about attributing good intentions in the postings of other members. I do not find it offensive to read posts that talk about praying for others, or posts that have a general message about supporting our troops. I don't read into those posts an attempt to stir up a political debate or to proclaim a case for our government's policies.

The thread in question did become charged with inciteful words, and I'm distressed that it caused some to withdraw from the boards for a while. Let's not let that happen.

I am going to suggest that we moderators quickly lock threads that - in our opinion - are become inflammatory. If the thread has an overall value, that warrants it continuing in an unlocked status, we will promptly ask the poster to modify or delete the post. And when we feel it necessary, we'll modify or delete posts that are not keeping with the above guidelines.

This is not the job we want to do as moderators, but it's part of our responsibility to maintain the integrity and tone of these forums.

This is really important to me. I hope that we as a community can avoid this in the future, without the need for a lot of moderator actions.
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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2008, 08:23:04 AM »
Thank you, Harvey, good guidelines.

I would only add that our members need to think if what they want to post adds to the topic under discussion.  If so, by all means post it.  If not, and it is something that you really think needs saying, create a new topic with an appropriate subject so readers know what they're getting into.

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Offline Bacardi Jim

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2008, 08:24:25 AM »
Sorry, Harvey, but I do find zealotry offensive, be it religious or political.  And it wasn't merely "a general expression of support for our troops."  I was told twice that I should be thanking them for "fighting for other people's freedom" when, in my opinion, they are doing exactly the opposite.  Yes, that offended me.  Thus my heated rhetoric in response.  As you weren't here at the time and we quickly removed our posts, I know you only have Jeff's rather biased account to go on, but that's how it was.

Like I said, I stand behind everything I said.  But it was inappropriate for both of us to have our debate in the middle of another thread.  THAT I regret, and it was that which motivated me to promptly delete my posts.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 08:40:02 AM by Bacardi Jim »
At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up.
After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.

Offline Dori

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2008, 08:31:06 AM »
Thanks Harvey,  you try to keep the boards orderly and civilized and with some folk here that is a difficult task to be sure.


Offline tecwritr

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2008, 09:15:23 AM »
As an Independent, married to a far left Liberal, living and working in a far right Conservative environment (Kansas) I can tell you that I've seen just this kind of thing explode at a moments notice.  Especially in the last few years.  While I agree that KindleBoards is not the appropriate place for this kind of discussion, I do believe that everyone has a right to their opinions and to express themselves freely.

I hope that the Moderators are very careful with what they allow and don't allow.  Censoring the response can be worse that the response its self.

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2008, 09:23:58 AM »
Sorry, Harvey, but I do find zealotry offensive, be it religious or political.  And it wasn't merely "a general expression of support for our troops."  I was told twice that I should be thanking them for "fighting for other people's freedom" when, in my opinion, they are doing exactly the opposite.  Yes, that offended me.  Thus my heated rhetoric in response.  As you weren't here at the time and we quickly removed our posts, I know you only have Jeff's rather biased account to go on, but that's how it was.

Like I said, I stand behind everything I said.  But it was inappropriate for both of us to have our debate in the middle of another thread.  THAT I regret, and it was that which motivated me to promptly delete my posts.


Well, I remain concerned. All I can do is ask that everyone respect the best, albeit imperfect, judgment of me and the mods as we try to make this place an enjoyable destination.

Please bear with us, everybody.
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Offline Dori

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2008, 09:26:03 AM »
I, for one, appreciate your censoring anything that you deem inappropriate.  You are not perfect, but when you err, I hope you err on the side of over censorship.


Offline KBoards Admin

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2008, 09:29:25 AM »
As an Independent, married to a far left Liberal, living and working in a far right Conservative environment (Kansas) I can tell you that I've seen just this kind of thing explode at a moments notice.  Especially in the last few years.  While I agree that KindleBoards is not the appropriate place for this kind of discussion, I do believe that everyone has a right to their opinions and to express themselves freely.

I hope that the Moderators are very careful with what they allow and don't allow.  Censoring the response can be worse that the response its self.

I respectfully disagree. And not because I'm not a proponent of free speech - I am!

The reality is that allowing unfettered freedom of speech in this board will kill it, because seeing threads everyday full of rhetoric, hardline positions, and charged 'discussions' is a turn-off. It's not where I would want to spend my time - - and I bet that's true for most of our members.

I'm sure there are boards out there that cater to that kind of open speech - and that's a good thing.  

Some of us have gone to a lot of work to make this board a friendly, supportive environment for discussions, and I will moderate as heavily as I need to to protect that.
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Offline Bacardi Jim

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2008, 09:33:27 AM »

Well, I remain concerned. All I can do is ask that everyone respect the best, albeit imperfect, judgment of me and the mods as we try to make this place an enjoyable destination.

Please bear with us, everybody.
In this particular case, no Mod action was necessary.  I hope that remains the rule, rather than the exception.  Reasonable people can disagree.  (The opposite attitudes of tecwritr and Dori concerning censorship being a perfect example.)  And reasonably considerate people should be able to clean up their own trash, as Sailor and I did.  Personally, I trust you and your fellow Mods to do the right thing.  You all have so far. :)
At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up.
After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.

Offline TM

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2008, 09:38:59 AM »
I was on the thread last night... and I must say I really like how it was handled. Even while disagreeing, Sailor and Jim did not get nasty with each other. They also deleted their own posts since it was completely off topic and they didn't want to hijack the thread. It is a refreshing change from many boards I have visited, and one of the things I do so enjoy about this board is the nioceness and consideration shown.

it is nice when the posters take action themselves instead of needing a moderator to "clean up" after them.

Offline Bacardi Jim

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2008, 09:41:43 AM »
Thanks, TM. :)
At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up.
After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.

Offline tecwritr

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2008, 10:43:45 AM »
I respectfully disagree. And not because I'm not a proponent of free speech - I am!

The reality is that allowing unfettered freedom of speech in this board will kill it, because seeing threads everyday full of rhetoric, hardline positions, and charged 'discussions' is a turn-off. It's not where I would want to spend my time - - and I bet that's true for most of our members.

I'm sure there are boards out there that cater to that kind of open speech - and that's a good thing.  

Some of us have gone to a lot of work to make this board a friendly, supportive environment for discussions, and I will moderate as heavily as I need to to protect that.


I do not disagree with what you are saying.  I hope that this forum never becomes a religious or political soap box for any one.  I very much enjoy it the way it is.  It is very well moderated. 

I simply hope that the moderators are fair and equal with the way they moderate.  Every opinion on any subject is important we just need to keep it civil. 

Offline Lotus

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2008, 11:55:16 AM »
Something I've seen on other boards is a forum specifically for religion and politics threads. Or, those discussions are restricted to a "Lounge" area like the Not Quite Kindle forum.

I certainly don't want to go into a thread about accessories and find that it became a political argument. Similarly, I wouldn't want to see a discussion on Bible versions become a discussion on Christianity -- if the discussion is about formatting/translations/price, etc. then it should be kept on topic. I guess we all need to try to keep things on topic.

Other boards I've seen a complete ban on anything even remotely about politics or religion. I think that's taking things a bit far, but if members can't have a reasonable discussion, I guess it's the best way to go.

Offline ScrappingForever

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2008, 12:06:18 PM »
My in-laws and I have a complete ban on talking about religion and politics. Mike put it in place before we even met. So I can understand the need for that sometimes. ;)

Seriously though, the best policy is the one posted by Ann. Always consider what you're saying before you say (type) it, especially in the internet world, where there is no body language to help you decipher the intent of the other person. When in doubt, just don't hit that post button.
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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2008, 01:21:51 PM »
Is the topic that started this non-K thread dead?  Hope not, as I have a distinct view on the subject and since I have not heard an actual soldier who served there speak up, as one who did go to Iraq on two occasions during the setup of the coalition efforts, as well as Kosovo for several months, dealing one-on-one with the nationals, forgive these brief observations.

I worked intensely with high Iraqi justice officials (Ministrys of Justice and Interior) and never, repeat never, ever witnessed a single example, not to mention never having been counseled to do so by high American officials, of anyone trying to coax an Iraqi into doing a damn thing.  It was anathema to our mission to do anything whatsoever that did not merely offer our experiences as nothing more than an example to follow or disregard as they chose fit.  Amongst other responsibilities (I wrote the judicial assessment on the practices of the central governates of the country), I was a member of the Judicial Review Committee that reviewed the Iraqi justice officials for worthiness to hold office and while we made recommendations of whether or not a person should be retained or fired, it was a decision for the Iraqis to make in the end.  I totally reject any connotation that our efforts were aimed at anything other than support.  I don't have an opinion on whether or not we should have gone in to begin with, but I do know what our intent was in the stabilization of government functions and it was NOT to overrule the nationals on important functions. 

Forgive the rant, but while everybody is entitled to an opinion on whatever they are interested in, there are some opinions that add more weight to the conversation if they were based upon ACTUAL experience in the topic that they are talking about. 

I guess the observation that we should stay away from politics and religion is a good one, but do we draw the line at governance?  What a slippery slope.  Anyway, Kindle on Kindlers and many wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2008, 02:39:43 PM »
Now we are moving off topic.  The thread may be alive but it isn't THIS thread.  This should, and may, be continued in a separate discussion in Not Quite Kindle, with an appropriate subject title.  The  only discussion that should be going on within this thread is whether politics or religion should be allowed at all, not any specific political or religious discourse.  Jim and Ethan, please take it outside, i.e., to a new thread.

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Offline Bacardi Jim

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2008, 02:43:39 PM »
Now we are moving off topic.  The thread may be alive but it isn't THIS thread.  This should, and may, be continued in a separate discussion in Not Quite Kindle, with an appropriate subject title.  The  only discussion that should be going on within this thread is whether politics or religion should be allowed at all, not any specific political or religious discourse.  Jim and Ethan, please take it outside, i.e., to a new thread.

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At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up.
After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2008, 03:14:24 PM »
The thread seemed to address multiple issues, so feel free to give it a more specific topic heading.  Ah, the joys of free speech - even Justice Holmes had problems with how to address it, so you are in good company.

Offline Bacardi Jim

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Re: Politics and religion
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2008, 03:18:31 PM »
FIRE!

;)
At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up.
After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.