Please stop closing threads where productive discussion is happening

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jas
Please stop closing threads where productive discussion is happening

Catchfire, what's the deal?

I can't even mention "Boston Bombing" (OMG!!!11!!) without you swooping in and closing the thread down.

The thread was about how discussion about conspiracy theories gets shut down, even in progressive, democratic forums. It was  producing some good dialogue that was respectful and making headway on issues that actually need to be addressed here, as your actions so obviously demonstrate. And here you go again, shutting the conversation down, with a non-explanatory, "I don't see this conversation going anywhere." Are you being instructed by someone?

No, we have not made all our points -- clearly, since you have just shut another thread down.

If you don't want us mentioning "Boston Bombing" give us a heads up at least (and ideally an explanation of why) but let us continue the conversation we were having. Otherwise you were allowing Magoo to set me up.

Issues Pages: 
jas

Here were the last two posts that apparently were so offensive to Catchfire:

jas wrote:
Being new to this information myself, I was simply approaching it from an everyday, common sense perspective, having many years first aid training myself, assuming others would also, and just asking questions about these images which, to my mind, depict a bizarre and completely counter-to-all-common-sense first aid approach in treating supposed trauma. I would not be able to construct an entire theory about how such a hoax could be pulled off in plain view. But many of the details of this event, and certainly the official images raise questions. So rather than dismiss something right off the bat out of incredulity, I was asking folks here to simply look at the images and give their impressions of it. I understand why my posting of those images was repugnant to some, but this what I mean by being able to examine the facts alone, on their own merit, before demanding an entire, elaborate explanation of what those facts suggest.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Too bad the concept of implausibility did not define the term more than the concept of conspiracy. I wish I could lump all the implausible ideas in a basket defined by implausibility rather than conspiracy. A good many implausible ideas have nothing to do with conspiracy and a number of conspiracy ideas are quite plausible.

I do understand the point that grand conspiracy is hard to do and the greater the numbers of people who must be involved the less plausible the idea is. Perhaps even a term: grand conspiracy theorist would be better.

As a point of logic there is no benefit in having such pejorative connotation to something that exists. Conspiracy exists. Check out the criminal code of any nation on earth -- and it is proven in courts. White collar conspiracy also exists and it is not all tax fraud.

jas

Catchfire, can you answer my question, please?

Why did you shut down a thread that several people were participating in, and that was operating within Babble guidelines?

Kinda need to know, because I would like to continue the discussion.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hi jas, I don't agree that it's a productive discussion and I don't think that babble is the place for it. It's really as simple as that and it's not personal. I'm sorry if you consider it so. I welcome dissent on this subject, although my feelings are quite clear and have been for awhile, but I also think that most babblers agree with me.

ygtbk

Catchfire wrote:

Hi jas, I don't agree that it's a productive discussion and I don't think that babble is the place for it. It's really as simple as that and it's not personal. I'm sorry if you consider it so. I welcome dissent on this subject, although my feelings are quite clear and have been for awhile, but I also think that most babblers agree with me.

(* sighs - if I claim to be in favour of free speech, I am obliged to defend jas, even if I disagree... *)

Catchfire, that was really not a responsive answer and I think you know it. jas was asking what babble policy was being violated and you responded on the basis of your feelings. And "I welcome dissent" when you just shut down the thread is obvious shenanigans.

I was just going to tell jas that once in a while you have to exercise your authority as an alpha mod, just because you can, don't take it personally.

Can you do better?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't think conspiracy theory discussions are valuable because the people who engage in them are more interested in mocking the other side rather than convincing them. While that may be true for most of babble, it is particularly true for conspiracy theory discussions which exist almost entirely in the performative.

I'm sorry if you think I'm just trying on my alpha mod hat, as if I enjoy this. I don't have time to turn every decision over to committee or put it in the next omnibus bill I bring to the babble senate. This discussion on the validity of conspiracy theories on babble has gone on a long time and at some point you just have to make a decision. I'll note that this was a decision to close one particular thread that had long since departed its original intent and had become a catch all bucket for conspiracy theories in general. It was unfortunately revived after a few weeks when I should have killed it, but better late than never.

ygtbk

@ Catchfire:

Thanks for responding.

I myself am not particularly enamored of conspiracy theory threads (although the RAW book I cited is excellent).

So, is it safe to say that although babble has at present no formal policy against conspiracy theory threads, they are nonetheless severely frowned at?

jas

Thanks, ygtbk. If it was just an 'alpha mod' phenom, I'd say he goes 'alpha' on me quite a bit, which would need its own explanation.

And I agree that Catchfire has failed to point out what part of the discussion was "unproductive" in his mind, given that there was a productive dialogue happening, it was within guidelines, and it was not producing any hassles for the mods.

Plus, I just plain need to know for future reference, and to decide whether I can continue to be on this forum (after ten years of posting here): is a discussion about the political agenda of labels like "conspiracy theory" off bounds for Babble? And if so, why?

jas

Catchfire wrote:
I don't think conspiracy theory discussions are valuable because the people who engage in them are more interested in mocking the other side rather than convincing them. While that may be true for most of babble, it is particularly true for conspiracy theory discussions which exist almost entirely in the performative.

The discussion you closed was about how gatekeepers use the term, the political history of which has been demonstrated, to shut down discussion. And then you shut down discussion. And don't explain yourself. Surely you can see how this is a prime example of what the discussion was about, and therefore the need for it.

It was happening in a respectful fashion that produced no more acrimony than many of the other moronic threads that exist on Babble.

Catchfire wrote:
This discussion on the validity of conspiracy theories on babble has gone on a long time and at some point you just have to make a decision. I'll note that this was a decision to close one particular thread that had long since departed its original intent and had become a catch all bucket for conspiracy theories in general. It was unfortunately revived after a few weeks when I should have killed it, but better late than never.

The OP of the thread you closed was exactly what the discussion was about. It wasn't about what you describe as "the validity of conspiracy theories". If you can't recognize that distinction, Catchfire, you shouldn't be moderating the thread. So, no, there was no derailment there. And it was in Babble Banter, for frig'sake. How is that threatening to anyone?

Your reasons here are not adequately justified, and you do seem to be acting out of a personal bias. That's not a good basis for moderating a progressive forum.

jas

ygtbk wrote:
So, is it safe to say that although babble has at present no formal policy against conspiracy theory threads, they are nonetheless severely frowned at?

First, we'd need a definition of what a "conspiracy theory thread" is, which would, secondly, require a definition of what a "conspiracy theory" is, and thirdly, not a "severe frown" but a formal guideline, available and applied to all, that eliminates the kangaroo-court style of moderation that Catchfire feels the need to employ on these occasions.

ygtbk

jas wrote:

ygtbk wrote:
So, is it safe to say that although babble has at present no formal policy against conspiracy theory threads, they are nonetheless severely frowned at?

First, we'd need a definition of what a "conspiracy theory thread" is, which would, secondly, require a definition of what a "conspiracy theory" is, and thirdly, not a "severe frown" but a formal guideline, available and applied to all, that eliminates the kangaroo-court style of moderation that Catchfire feels the need to employ on these occasions.

Well, without getting too meta, when policies have been changed because I was ruthlessly applying the actual policy as written, I counted it as a moral victory - but it was still a PITA, and still only a moral victory. So if babble formalizes such a policy, I doubt it will actually make you happier.

jas

ygtbk wrote:

Well, without getting too meta, when policies have been changed because I was ruthlessly applying the actual policy as written, I counted it as a moral victory - but it was still a PITA, and still only a moral victory. So if babble formalizes such a policy, I doubt it will actually make you happier

No, but it will force the community to define its terms, which would expose any such policy for what it is: invalid, and democratically unsupportable.

ygtbk

jas wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

Well, without getting too meta, when policies have been changed because I was ruthlessly applying the actual policy as written, I counted it as a moral victory - but it was still a PITA, and still only a moral victory. So if babble formalizes such a policy, I doubt it will actually make you happier

No, but it will force the community to define its terms, which would expose any such policy for what it is: invalid, and democratically unsupportable.

You may be right. I was attempting to be more descriptive than normative. 

jas

Anyway, I'd appreciate an answer to my question in post #6.

And it would be good to get some other mod opinions -- MegB and even oldgoat, who I believe is still a volunteer mod here, and whose opinion seems to be respected. 

MegB

One of the things that help us mods do our job is a sense of history. We've been around for a long time (too long, it feels, sometimes) so we have an understanding of when things can go south before they actually do so. So, rather than wait for the inevitable trainwreck, we stop it before it happens. It might look arbitrary or unfair but the decision is based on long experience.

jas

You didn't seem to care about stopping all the whitesplainin' in the Aboriginal Issues forum on what's real medicine and what isn't that went on for weeks and months. Despite people flagging the posts, and despite someone asking for moderator input right in the thread itself. No mods swooping in on that thread, and no corrective action taken, except to suspend the one FN voice (as I understand it) in that discussion.

I'm not sure what "train wreck" could be expected from a thread discussing the political nature of labels like "conspiracy theory" on a progressive political forum. It's not exactly a controversial topic, as the political agenda behind many mainstream memes will demonstrate. The only thing I can think of (because neither of you are actually telling me anything) is that you're concerned that some of your Babble buddies may not play nice. If that's the case, shouldn't you be addressing their behaviour, rather than shutting down threads where civil discourse is occurring? How ridiculous can you get that you would shut down a discussion about the very problem of discussions being shut down based on the currency of a false meme?

Slumberjack

I think it's a conspiracy to tidy up the place for current and prospective donors.  It's sort of like, I browse the cbcnews.ca site and often lament the fact that I'm helping to support it financially.  Here there are some big player donors that probably wouldn't want to be associated with some of the intrigues that gets discussed here.  Babble is a marginal area of the site as it is.  They could probably gut it completely in favour of the new format and just allow for commentary on Rabble features and blogs.

Slumberjack

Because other than that, who would really care if some conspiracy theiry gets discussed until everyone involved is blue in the face, so long as it was within the normal policy.

MegB

Slumberjack wrote:

I think it's a conspiracy to tidy up the place for current and prospective donors.  It's sort of like, I browse the cbcnews.ca site and often lament the fact that I'm helping to support it financially.  Here there are some big player donors that probably wouldn't want to be associated with some of the intrigues that gets discussed here.  Babble is a marginal area of the site as it is.  They could probably gut it completely in favour of the new format and just allow for commentary on Rabble features and blogs.

Actually, babble is consistently one of the most visited places, according to our monthly stat reports. You should all know that babble is read by thousands of people.

Slumberjack

I stand corrected.  Which in a way does lend itself to my hypothesis about the need to tidy things up for company. 

But come to think of it, that wouldn't explain everything else that gets a pass would it?  Hmmm.  Scratches head.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Or maybe we're telling the truth and wat we actually think. But whatever, SJ. I'm just in the pocket of Big Labour.

jas

Slumberjack wrote:
Because other than that, who would really care if some conspiracy theiry gets discussed until everyone involved is blue in the face, so long as it was within the normal policy.

I can understand why a site would want to outlaw discussions about known conspiracy theories. I can see this from an optics consideration (which actually just proves my point about how such inquiry gets silenced and 'invisibled' in progressive discourse.) I can also see it from a moderation perspective: the 9/11 threads, for example, do get obsessive, with obsessive posting from both sides of the debate.

What I'm protesting here is the shutting down not just of conspiracy topics, but of a meta-discussion about how the "conspiracy theory" meme gets constructed by powerful parties that clearly don't want public examination of certain topics. And how these memes then get reinforced through media, and then social media.

So it is, by definition, a topic not only worthy of academic study --this is what communication studies is about-- but obviously worthy of progressive analysis, and absolutely should be discussed on Rabble/Babble. If the mods want me to take a break from it, I'm fine with that, but it's inevitable that it will come up again in future conversations because it's a very dominant element in what's happening to democratic discourse right now.

Slumberjack

Catchfire wrote:
Or maybe we're telling the truth and wat we actually think. But whatever, SJ. I'm just in the pocket of Big Labour.

The fact that there's a good deal of truth in the non-productivity of conspiracy theory threads where people just mock one another is not really in contention.  It's about getting at the reason why they're singled out for closing as opposed to every thread currently underway within the Election 2015 forum where similar observations could be made, ie: mockery and non-productivity.  It is in that context that I offered aesthetics as a potential motivation.  Some forms of mockery are given more licence than others, which is understandable.  It doesn't say anything about you personally.  It was just an opinion as to the rationale.

NDPP

The problem  with a decision to close down a thread deemed a 'conspiracy theory', is that there may be considerably more evidence and foundation for the 'conspiracy' than the closer is aware of. Not so very long ago, the contention that the 'Arab Spring' was a West based strategem for regional destabilization, was also deemed a 'conspiracy theory', and threads were closed. It wasn't and they shouldn't.

It is clear that frequently we may know far less of a topic than someone else. It should not be the practice here, for those with a minimal understanding of a topic to arbitrarily impose this upon those pursuing a discussion of greater depth or possibility. The Boston bombing incident is very much such a topic. And there are a great deal of inconsistencies and problems with the official narrative.

I see no good reason to terminate such explorations which are, or should be, entirely legitimate here. And besides, it's called 'babble' with good reason. All sorts of nonsense goes on. Who cares? Leave it alone..

Mr. Magoo

Quote:

The Boston bombing incident is very much such a topic. And there are a great deal of inconsistencies and problems with the official narrative.

I see no good reason to terminate such explorations which are, or should be, entirely legitimate here. And besides, it's called 'babble' with good reason. All sorts of nonsense goes on. Who cares? Leave it alone..

But are you really ready for babble to host threads like:

"Climate change: hoax or lie??"

"What *if* Phillipe Rushton got it right??"

"If there really is a God, shouldn't we be following HIS laws??"

 

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:

The Boston bombing incident is very much such a topic. And there are a great deal of inconsistencies and problems with the official narrative.

I see no good reason to terminate such explorations which are, or should be, entirely legitimate here. And besides, it's called 'babble' with good reason. All sorts of nonsense goes on. Who cares? Leave it alone..

But are you really ready for babble to host threads like:

"Climate change: hoax or lie??"

"What *if* Phillipe Rushton got it right??"

"If there really is a God, shouldn't we be following HIS laws??"

 

I thought there was some effort to avoid ANY discussion about the merits of a particular or controversial "conspiracy theory."

It was an effort to find balance between burying legitimate discussion in the noise of indulgence in so-called conspiracy theories and rejecting legitimate alternate ideas out of hand.

I did not think the discussion was controversial, acrimonious or pointless to ANY of the participants -- and is that not the point?

 

jas

I'm going to edit that anyway. I don't think it's sexist, as people of all genders use the term. ANd I'm female if that gives me any extra licence. But thanks for stating it.

Sean in Ottawa

Ok -- I will delete my comment.

 

Sean in Ottawa

-

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Threads with dumb topics will fall off the TAT pretty quick if people stopped engaging them.

Seems to me that way back in the day there was a certain reluctance to respond to one's own post -- a bit like laughing at your own joke, or complimenting your own meal.

But these days if your dumb topic is in danger of falling off the TAT, and nobody's interested in discussing it, just post to it again.  And again.  However often it takes.

Sean in Ottawa

Rabble once was a place where the prime motives were: discussion, issue advocacy with certainly some political party advocacy. I think that party advocacy has taken over so solidy that instead of Liberals and New Democrats and Greens and others arguing perspective, the space is dominated by posts that are nothing more than political attack ads of a nasty, rather amateur quality.

I do advocate for the NDP but I do so based on a specific point or issue -- and I am harsh at times particularly in response to what I see as BS but not content-free. The empty advertising posts for both the NDP and the Liberals have increased so much that they dominate the character of some sections of the site to the point where real discussion on specifics -- even from a partisan point of view -- is crowded out by the "ads."I am no more impressed with those advertising my political party as I am those advertising one I disagree with. Although the ones advertising my own party are naturally easier to ignore.

In some cases there is almost no content other than an excuse to put up a trolling thread subject. The temptations when you see the content-free obnoxious stuff are either to participate and make it worse out of anger (to pay back) or to go away and take a shower. I have done both.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Rabble once was a place where the prime motives were: discussion, issue advocacy with certainly some political party advocacy.

I do miss the discussion part.  While I think that a well-chosen (and hopefully well written) article or essay can be useful in helping one support their argument, it also seems to me that now links are fobbed off as posts of their own.  I guess the idea is why have an opinion and take the time to discuss it if you can just link to someone else's opinion?  IMHO, that's what blogs are for.  Or Facebook.

Imagine a dinner party where instead of actually discussing the topics of the day, the guests just silently reached into their pockets and produced newspaper clippings, photocopied magazine articles or audio recordings of speeches and passed them around.  What fun!

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Rabble once was a place where the prime motives were: discussion, issue advocacy with certainly some political party advocacy.

I do miss the discussion part.  While I think that a well-chosen (and hopefully well written) article or essay can be useful in helping one support their argument, it also seems to me that now links are fobbed off as posts of their own.  I guess the idea is why have an opinion and take the time to discuss it if you can just link to someone else's opinion?  IMHO, that's what blogs are for.  Or Facebook.

Imagine a dinner party where instead of actually discussing the topics of the day, the guests just silently reached into their pockets and produced newspaper clippings, photocopied magazine articles or audio recordings of speeches and passed them around.  What fun!

I completely agree with everything you say here.

Unfortunately the duelling ads in place of discussion become a magnet for more.

Unionist

Well said - Magoo and Sean.

 

jas

Mr. Magoo wrote:
But are you really ready for babble to host threads like:

"Climate change: hoax or lie??"

"What *if* Phillipe Rushton got it right??"

"If there really is a God, shouldn't we be following HIS laws??"

Would any of these topics be violating Babble policy? If so, then they can be shut down.

If not, here's an idea: DON'T CLICK ON THEM. Threads with dumb topics will fall off the TAT pretty quick if people stopped engaging them.

Slumberjack

Mr. Magoo wrote:
 ... it also seems to me that now links are fobbed off as posts of their own. 

This would be the case if pieces of articles were cut and pasted without attribution or linking to the original story.  If it seems to you that a fully attributed article is being fobbed off as someone elses original thoughts, I don't know what would account for that.

Quote:
I guess the idea is why have an opinion and take the time to discuss it if you can just link to someone else's opinion?  IMHO, that's what blogs are for.  Or Facebook.

It is your working assumption that all opinions are original to the opinionator?  Every thought is a new creation that has never been seen before?  If that is the case, then providing information that someone else came up with, which might interfere with someone's original thoughts, is dirty pool?

Quote:
Imagine a dinner party where instead of actually discussing the topics of the day, the guests just silently reached into their pockets and produced newspaper clippings, photocopied magazine articles or audio recordings of speeches and passed them around.  What fun!

On the other hand, if the dinner party guests were to introduce topics of discussion, the breadth of which might suggest that we were in the company of the most knowledgeable people in the world, owing to the fact that they failed to mention where the information came from, then all sorts of interest and conversation might be generated from the information provided, but it wouldn't be a very honest conversation for all of that.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
This would be the case if pieces of articles were cut and pasted without attribution or linking to the original story.  If it seems to you that a fully attributed article is being fobbed off as someone elses original thoughts, I don't know what would account for that.

I don't mean to say that anyone is presenting someone else's idea as their own thought (i.e. plagiarism)

I mean that in lieu of people saying "Here's my opinion, here's what I believe..." we now get a link to some non-babbler's opinion on the subject.  I'm not saying that violates the AUP or anything, but if I'd rather discuss events with a blog I guess I'd go visit that blog.  In days of yore, babblers seemed to have ideas and analysis of their own, even if only some original ideas and analysis of a link to someone else.

Quote:
It is your working assumption that all opinions are original to the opinionator?  Every thought is a new creation that has never been seen before?

Of course not.

But somehow people seemed able to have and voice an opinion on things -- on a DISCUSSION BOARD -- but increasingly they silence themselves in favour of some blogger.  Perhaps that blogger made sense to them.  Perhaps that blogger influenced their opinion.  When did it become too difficult or too time consuming to actually speak for themselves -- again, on a DISCUSSION BOARD?

Quote:
On the other hand, if the dinner party guests were to introduce topics of discussion, the breadth of which might suggest that we were in the company of the most knowledgeable people in the world, owing to the fact that they failed to mention where the information came from, then all sorts of interest and conversation might be generated from the information provided, but it wouldn't be a very honest conversation for all of that.

Maybe it's just the human in me, but I'd much rather have a flawed, sometimes illogical, sometimes ridiculous ACTUAL DISCUSSION with other flawed, illogical, ridiculous humans than just read a whole thread of links to somewhere else.

 

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Maybe it's just the human in me, but I'd much rather have a flawed, sometimes illogical, sometimes ridiculous ACTUAL DISCUSSION with other flawed, illogical, ridiculous humans than just read a whole thread of links to somewhere else.

Me too, but posts with just a link in them are pretty easy to skip and NR has posted some really good links that I would not have otherwise discovered.

Pondering

Pondering wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Maybe it's just the human in me, but I'd much rather have a flawed, sometimes illogical, sometimes ridiculous ACTUAL DISCUSSION with other flawed, illogical, ridiculous humans than just read a whole thread of links to somewhere else.

Me too, but posts with just a link in them are pretty easy to skip and NR has posted some really good links that I would not have otherwise discovered. (which isn't to say I agree with him on anything)

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Me too, but posts with just a link in them are pretty easy to skip and NR has posted some really good links that I would not have otherwise discovered.

Fair enough.  I'm not suggesting that babble needs to crack down on this.  It's just a bit disappointing to see a discussion board become a link aggregator.

If people only want to post links to things they like, there's Pinterest for that.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..babble is very good at taking an issue and thoroughly investigating. it turns it upside down sideways right side up..every which way and i love babble for it. you could say i’m addicted to that. but that is only one reason why i came to this board.

..i came because i wanted to explore real change. by that i mean that it is capitalism and it’s contradictions that are at the route of the multi crisis we face today globally. and with change that does not happen in the same way that other issues are dealt with. discussion is channeled towards party politics. and no matter what contradictions are presented that doesn’t change.

..an example is the square occupations that began with arab spring then spread to europe and to north america was truly an alternative presented to the status que. a ground up decision making process. yet you can see on babble that it was mostly just a few people that indulged in these movements. that keep them alive on this board. and when the que students hit the streets and used assemblies as a way to organize it was the same. there was no broad discussion on how we can force political parties towards a participatory democracy that is rooted in the ground up. there was no revolt and little discussion within the ndp re a participatory party.  

..and the same is true today where the environmental/resource extraction/first nation movements are concerned. those threads are again populated with only a few babblers. this in spite of the incredible powerful advisories they have faced. this is change. real change from the ground up. and there is little debate in those threads on how this can be supported or grown as a means to changing how canada is governed.

Slumberjack

Mr. Magoo wrote:
Maybe it's just the human in me, but I'd much rather have a flawed, sometimes illogical, sometimes ridiculous ACTUAL DISCUSSION with other flawed, illogical, ridiculous humans than just read a whole thread of links to somewhere else.

That's being done to death already.  In the area of foreign policy, conversation has significantly diminished on babble because for the most part the board is populated by liberal and NDP partisans.  Being as such, the topic of foreign policy and events is necessarily avoided due to the synchronicity between the various enabling camps and the harper gang.  There was a time when a news story pertaining to foreign policy would generate interest and debate, but the silence nowadays says even more about where we're at as a society.  The real discussion pertains to the lack of it, in parliament and on the board.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

 Being as such, the topic of foreign policy and events is necessarily avoided due to the synchronicity between the various enabling camps and the harper gang. 

Are you kidding? That line actually dominates some of the threads we have been talking about, and if it weren't taken to ridiculous and fictitious extremes, with a refusal to consider any other positions there might actually be a bit of discussion on the order Magoo is talking about.

But no, we don't think for ourselves; we're just regurgitating the nonsense spewed by the corporate-controlled mainstream media. We shouldn't even be on a progressive board like this.

It's like the perennial complaint that no one has heard of the 9-11 false flag because we are all part of a conspiracy of silence, when in fact we have heard about it so many times that it is a joke in the popular culture.

 

jas

I appreciate the side discussion here, but would like to remind folks that this thread is about moderators closing threads that are not in violation of Babble policy, are not generating obsessive, acrimonious exchange, but are nevertheless deemed "non-productive" by the actioning mod. The actioning mod in this case has not provided an explanation of what he means by "non-productive" and how he makes that determination. Nor has he answered my question as to whether a meta-discussion about the rhetorical construction of the term "conspiracy theory" is allowable on Babble, and if not, why not.

As several people have now pointed out, lots of "non-productive", as well as repetitive discussion has been and is allowed on Babble, and on a frequent basis. So a definition of "non-productive" is needed here, and some reliable guideline as to what factors will initiate moderator intervention.

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
But no, we don't think for ourselves; we're just regurgitating the nonsense spewed by the corporate-controlled mainstream media. We shouldn't even be on a progressive board like this.

Well, if you're embarking on this journey of self discovery, for the sake of encouragement I'll just add that I smoke way too much weed.

Quote:
It's like the perennial complaint that no one has heard of the 9-11 false flag because we are all part of a conspiracy of silence, when in fact we have heard about it so many times that it is a joke in the popular culture.

Hearing things a thousand times over has certainly not been the measure by which something gets a pass or not on the board.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

Hearing things a thousand times over has certainly not been the measure by which something gets a pass or not on the board.

That's not what you said; you spoke of topics being avoided. By whom? What are you talking about? Near as I can see on any one of a number of issues it is those alternatives which are the loudest voices here.

 

Slumberjack

Thus far I do retain the ability to say different things at different times about different subjects you know.  When I talked about the lack of uptake amongst the babble population as a whole for foreign policy discussions, I made reference to the fact that many babblers are partisans for their respective political parties, and as such, generally speaking it is understandable as to the reasons why they often prefer not to add their thoughts to the discussion, or the thoughts of their party, which are often enough one in the same.  What we’re mostly left with as a result is information from various links around the world, which is not to say that the time and effort to do that isn't appreciated.  It is what it is, and I offered an opinion as to why that might be.  Why don't liberal and ndp partisans chime in on international stories very often?  I have argued that they prefer to hash out whatever differences there are between the various camps based upon domestic concerns, as opposed to international concerns, where the differences are negligible if indeed any exist at all.

In the next conversation I argued that the repetitive nature of certain topics and conversations is generally not an indication as to whether a subject becomes a forbidden topic.

6079_Smith_W

People don't engage as much as you think they should? When anyone DOES have anything to say it is dismissed as repetition of the CIA/mainstream media propaganda narrative. Sorry, but engagement isn't just that which conforms to your world-view. And sorry, but I don't have the time to respond to every single article in the news feed, much less parrot agreement.

Good illustration of Magoo's point about the difficulty in carrying on an actual conversation, anyway.

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:

People don't engage as much as you think they should?

I don't know if they should. Should or shouldn't wasn't being discussed. It was an opinion as to why it wasn't taking place.

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When anyone DOES have anything to say it is dismissed as repetition of the CIA/mainstream media propaganda narrative.

That's because it so often is limited to just that. Western talking heads already have that covered. Today for example the CBC is telling us to be very afraid of Putin's nuclear weapon because he's been waving them around in a threatening way.

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Sorry, but engagement isn't just that which conforms to your world-view. And sorry, but I don't have the time to respond to every single article in the news feed, much less parrot agreement.

This thread isn't all about you and where you get your information from.

jas

Slumberjack wrote:
In the next conversation I argued that the repetitive nature of certain topics and conversations is generally not an indication as to whether a subject becomes a forbidden topic.

Exactly. Nor is the fact that it might be a conspiracy theory, as many official and non-official conspiracy theories are still discussed here. There is a conspiracy theory about alt med, for example, that says the practitioners know full well that their methods don't work, and that they're entirely in it for the money. There is a conspiracy theory about boxcutter hijackers on 9/11 - a theory that still lacks the most basic evidence. I've seen conspiracy theories about conspiracy theories - that they are almost always about anti-semitism. Or that a movement like 9/11 truth is somehow this massive cash cow that various people are cashing in on. Or that people would risk personal and professional ostracization because "they're looking for attention".

There are also real conspiracies that get discussed: Conservative robo-calls, voting fraud in the U.S., war profiteering, corporate propaganda, big pharma, media censorship, sexual abuse cover ups, residential schools cover ups ... the list goes on. Yet none of these receive the same contempt as theories that question 9/11 or other current-day potential false flags, or the idea that there is a political or obfuscation agenda behind the propagation of terms like "conspiracy theory". 

So why is that? That is the underlying subject of this thread, and that's what I'm asking the mods to answer.

wage zombie

Slumberjack wrote:

When I talked about the lack of uptake amongst the babble population as a whole for foreign policy discussions, I made reference to the fact that many babblers are partisans for their respective political parties, and as such, generally speaking it is understandable as to the reasons why they often prefer not to add their thoughts to the discussion, or the thoughts of their party, which are often enough one in the same.

I think I would be considered partisan and I tend not to post much about foreign policy.  The reason for this is that I don't feel confident that I have the knowledge to do so.  I haven't travelled much, but what I have learned from travelling is that, regardless of how much I may have read about a place, it's not until I've spent much time there that I understand much about it.  If there's a discussion about one of the handful of countries I've been to, I will participate.

I do read most of the foreign policy threads, but partly I don't feel I have much to offer that others aren't already saying, and partly I don't know which sources to trust.  When it comes to Ukraine, I don't speak or read Ukrainian or Russian.  I think Russia TV serves as a good counterpoint CNN, but I think they both basically state media.

If Babble had a Like button you might get a better sense of the passive engagement of those of us not actively posting in the foreign policy threads.  I can also tell you that our posting habits are likely different on other sites.  For example, when I see people on Facebook talking about Big Bad Russia invading Ukraine, I argue.  Sometimes with arguments I have read on Babble.

But I don't post on the Ukraine topic, because a) I don't have anything to say that isn't already being said, and b) it's too combative for my tastes.  And when I say combative, I'm not referring to the content, I'm referring to the tone.  It seems like the discussion on these threads is more about posters feeding their own anger issues than anything else.  I get that people can get very upset about war and slaughter and complicity via manufactured content.  But I don't come to babble to fight.

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