A while ago we opened this forum as it seemed that keeping all politics, religion and news discussion in a single thread was unwieldy and ultimately unfair to our users who might want to discuss multiple topics in more detail, especially during the long off season. We had a good run, but this section has slipped into the same back office political infighting that is plaguing US politics. And so it has swayed from unfair to the user to headache for the mod team. A headache over Rangers hockey discussion is what we all signed up for here. A headache over whether Obamacare (ACA) is a clever tool, created by Satan himself, who was born in Kenya but claims to have been born in Hawaii is something entirely different.
That left us with two choices. Try to fix the mess or close up shop. Like so many other decisions the Mod team makes, this came down to a vote. Try to fix the mess won by a slim margin. Unlike US politics, after the vote, all mods switched focus to discussions about how to fix the Politics, Religion, Philosophy & News section. Here's what we came up with:
1) New threads must contain a new topic. That new topic must be thoroughly explained, when ever possible support material must be presented for at least one position, but support for multiple positions is much better. And finally, the poster must offer up a question for others to answer and explore.
2) No Party rhetoric. While party rhetoric often clearly states an overall position, it doesn't offer any new opinion for discussion and so it is now unacceptable as the sole content of any post. Here's an example:
Unacceptable: "Abortion is murder".
Bare minimum of acceptable: "I think abortion is murder because I believe that life begins at conception."
Encouraged: "Statistics show that once a woman has an abortion, she's 75% more likely to have a second one. I think abortion is murder because it is taking away the potential that every child has to make the world a better place and with the increased likelihood of multiple abortions, we have an epidemic on our hands. While there are some very extreme circumstances where abortions may be necessary, such as with rape or where the life of the mother is in jeopardy, I think it is necessary to end abortions as an easy option and instead educate especially young women on birth control measures and adoption.
3) Your demeanor. Topics get heated, however, you are expected to be respectful of each other. You can say what you want for the most part in rejecting another person's ideas, however, you must do so in way that is not insulting. That means calling someone else's' opinion "stupid", "moronic", "naïve" or the like is unacceptable.
4) Stay on topic and don't spam. Threads naturally evolve, but when they evolve to the point that rather than having a discussion on the original topic, they are now a completely different topic or a mess of different ones, it's time to move on to a new thread. Additionally, spam in the form of posts that don't share an opinion, make a joke with the intent to derail conversation, etc are also unwelcomed.
5) Closing threads and thread banning. When threads go completely off course we will now close them rather than letting unconnected conversations continue to the usual topics. In addition, we have installed a new tool that will let the mods thread ban users. What this means is if you make a post that violates these new rules, no matter who you are, you'll be banned from posting in the thread you violated the rules in. In short, if you drop a post that is simply party rhetoric in a thread, you'll no longer be allowed to post in that thread. If you spam a thread, you'll no longer be able to post in that thread. If you can't post without insulting another member or their opinion, you'll no longer be able to post in that thread. You may also face normal forum discipline in addition to being thread banned. If you are thread banned and you try to create a new thread on the same topic you were banned in, you'll receive a forum infraction.
These new rules and the enforcement of old ones are here to make the Politics forum a fun and informative place to discuss modern topics, political theory and the like. There are plenty of outlets on the internet for political bickering. This is no longer going to be one of them. The threat to close this forum is very real, but we hope these new ideas and tools will make that unnecessary.
We need and encourage all of you to help us here. Report posts that you feel cross the line, whether they come from a first time poster or a member of the Mod team. Ask questions of us and each other when you're unsure of a position or what is proper. Above all, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU POST BEFORE YOU HIT SUBMIT. Take an extra moment to reread what you're posting and consider whether your word choice makes your position clear or if you are violating any of these or other forum rules.