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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » What's happened to Hatrack! (Page 3)

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Author Topic: What's happened to Hatrack!
Samprimary
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quote:
I don't know; even "relatively minor alterations" can cause a round of "but you didn't step in when she said" and "you're not going to get away with that under the new standard" and what have you.
Well, I mean, you can't let worries of non-impartiality paralyze moderation. What moderation is going to be impartial? Moderation is impartial even solely based on what moderators are on at what hours. :/
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Sterling
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True enough. But it's difficult not to think of it as "Who are we going to lose for the sake of moderation which might make things more civil" vs. "Who are we going to lose if things remain in the status quo".
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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
Mostly I'm staying out of threads that get into anything much more contentious than movies, music, video games, computer builds, and the like.

That seems to be a very common sentiment, and I almost wonder whether that is part of the problem. When people avoid sensitive and inflammatory topics, it tends to leave the people who are most passionate and incapable of putting the issue at a distance. When there are others, they can act to keep the discussion at a civil tone, and provide less inflammatory points for everyone to respond to.

I doubt that the posters who have been singled out here as inflammatory are doing it for the fun of things. I know that KoM has tried unsuccessfully several times to abstain from all religious threads. Lisa certainly doesn't seem to be enjoying herself on the heated threads, and given how personally Kat seems to take things at times I'm sure she isn't enjoying it. I'm guessing that they get involved because they are topics that they are passionate about, and if want to make sure that their points are expressed. Then, it's just a matter of creating a feedback loop that spirals until a thread is locked and even more people are turned off of that sort of discussion.

So given this, I wonder whether the best solution to the recent animosity would be for people to make a conscious decision to stop ignoring these threads. If we all made a point of putting aside our aversion and contributing, perhaps it would be possible to bring back the ability to have serious discussions on controversial topics. By avoiding topics that arouse their passions, people are already showing restraint, but to really help out the community I think that we all ought to take it a step further and apply that restraint to making constructive posts on serious topics.

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Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by Fluff:
[Kiss]

I love you too, Greg!

[Group Hug]

[The Wave]

[Hat]

I always told people they had the wrong impression of you Fluff. That you were not shallow and aimless, just misunderstood...a good guy to have around.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
True enough. But it's difficult not to think of it as "Who are we going to lose for the sake of moderation which might make things more civil" vs. "Who are we going to lose if things remain in the status quo".

You don't even really have to lose anyone. You just have to give them clear guidelines on what they're not allowed to do because it is not productive to the health of the community. You can regret that it comes to confrontation, but part of moderation is confrontation and you have to be prepared to undergo this confrontation in ways that are more productive than 'oops, the thread melted, time for damage control.'
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by ricree101:
So given this, I wonder whether the best solution to the recent animosity would be for people to make a conscious decision to stop ignoring these threads. If we all made a point of putting aside our aversion and contributing, perhaps it would be possible to bring back the ability to have serious discussions on controversial topics.

I would say that the critical word here is serious. It's not like I'm the angelic beacon of noble posting here, but seriously, once a thread goes contentious around here people honesty have few compelling reasons to think it is worth trying to work with and bring up. Note how I was down to making laconic jabs at the last locked thread. Because I knew it was going to be locked. Nothing was going to be salvaged. It was soon to be a festering wreck on the front page. It inspires further flippancy. One of the people I used to know on hatrack left pretty much for that reason. They said "Hatrack isn't moderated, they just have damage control. They hose down the flames after the building's been burnt."

It's true, too. The thread lock is a crude, garrulous implement. Using it here the way its used is akin to trying to treat the growth of a tumor by killing the patient.

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Tatiana
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Excellent analysis of forum dynamics, Samprimary! It makes me wonder if a more heavily moderated forum could actually bring back those halcyon days of yore when we had interesting discussions on sensitive topics with diverse viewpoints expressed in an environment of calm and rational discourse. We really did have that on hatrack in the olden days, at times.

But I think the change in the hook has changed hatrack forever. With the start of Ornery, and the influx from there to here, I saw a downturn that hasn't really ever been reversed. It comes from the tone of OSC's writing in recent times.

So, now that serious threads are made ugly and boring by the many shrill voices, there is the fluff, which is fun sometimes, but one can't live on a diet of marshmallow creme.

One thing I've found that hasn't been mentioned so far in this thread. Forums which have a reason for existing, whose members are joining together to accomplish some good thing, and are sharing information about how to go about it, those forums have a source of life and interest that transcends your analysis. They have a wholesomeness to them for that reason. Lately I hang out at the kiva friends forum a lot. There are some really awesome people there, and we get a huge kick when we join together to accomplish things. It's an amazing feeling!

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Note how I was down to making laconic jabs at the last locked thread.
Well, in all fairness, you usually only start posting on threads when they've reached the "laconic jab" stage. So that's hardly a surprise. [Wink]
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Samprimary
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Normally I'd apologize for my unfashionable lateness but man I ground floored that one.
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Teshi
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I found Hatrack approximately this hostile when I first started posting here. It was only hostile to liberals - particularly non-Mormon liberals, though.

I have never particularly noticed this.
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Noemon
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Kate started posting here quite a while before you did, though, Teshi. She's one of the forum's original members.
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andi330
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I don't think that the more reasonable people ignoring the potentially inflammatory threads is the cause of the situation. I didn't always avoid those threads, and I still occasionally try to participate in them if I think that a certain point of view needs to be expressed. When I participate in those threads (which is rarely these days) I try very hard to be reasonable and polite to people, but I have a temper too, and I can only be told I am stupid, or have words put in my mouth that say something entirely different from what I actually said so many times before I lose my temper. When I reach that point, I leave the conversation because calling people names or yelling isn't going to do any good. I've even made the point of stating in some threads that I am leaving because the conversation has taken a turn where I can no longer keep my temper and participate.

I've been ridiculed for leaving, and told that it shows a lack of maturity, rather than staying to further defend my comments. It doesn't make me want to put up with it any more. So I lurk, and I post in some threads that are kind of fluffy, or I ask questions about products I am considering purchasing. But it's not a community where I can participate in topics that I do have opinions on anymore, because the name calling and inflammatory posts defeat the purpose of trying, and they don't go away when other people try to participate, they just get worse.

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Fluff
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
. . . but one can't live on a diet of marshmallow creme.

Au contraire!
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Christine
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The debate style in the more controversial threads is a frustrating one that I have not mastered. When I first started posting here I jumped into some of them blindly and got smacked hard. Not that I'm particularly good at any type of debating (I'm too soft), but I've noticed the following happening a great deal:

1. Strawmen

2. Making it personal -- trying to attack a person's credential rather than their arguments.

3. Taking it personally -- whether it was meant that way or not.

4. Semantic misunderstandings -- I'm not phrasing this right (which is exactly when you get into these types of situations), but basically this happens when someone doesn't use exactly the word you would have used and you end up arguing semantics for a page and a half.

5. Assuming the worst -- This happens when the intent or attitude behind a post is not 100% clear but others in the discussion assume the worst possible motives.

6. Ganging up.

Just a few things I've noticed. It's probably not unique, but these things can and do lead to open hostility.

Of course, there are a few posters who seem to jump straight to open hostility without waiting to see what happens.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I found Hatrack approximately this hostile when I first started posting here. It was only hostile to liberals - particularly non-Mormon liberals, though.

I have never particularly noticed this.
Teshi, it was a long time ago. More than ten years. I wasn't there very long. Years later - after what most people refer to as the "golden age" - I checked Hatrack out on a whim to find it, from my point of view, much improved.

Added: I would also like to add my voice to those thanking Papa for taking care of us. He does a great job at the job he was asked to do.

[ June 13, 2009, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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T:man
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I like Papa [Smile]

Most of you seem really cool-headed. But some topics seem a lot more volatile hmm... I really try to stay away from those threads, my opinions are pretty, uhhh liberal, and I'm not very good at voicing my opinions.

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Tatiana
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I've been here since about 1996, and I was a liberal non-Mormon for the first 5 years. I didn't notice any bias against liberal non-Mormons, myself, but I might not have noticed. It never felt like a hostile place then as it does now.
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Teshi
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quote:
Teshi, it was a long time ago. More than ten years.
Oh, well in that case.
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Sala
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My sign-up date and number of posts may not seem like much, but I've actually lurked here for at least nine years. I've seen the forum go through lots of changes. Some people I really miss who have left. Some people I wouldn't ever miss if they left. I probably wouldn't be missed if I left! But every now and then I still find some interesting threads and sometimes even make my own comments. Just not too often. And never in the "hot" topics. They just get too hot for me to want to participate in them, though I'll read through them for a while until the back-and-forth flames bore me.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
"Who are we going to lose if things remain in the status quo".

JonHecht
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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
You don't even really have to lose anyone. You just have to give them clear guidelines on what they're not allowed to do because it is not productive to the health of the community. You can regret that it comes to confrontation, but part of moderation is confrontation and you have to be prepared to undergo this confrontation in ways that are more productive than 'oops, the thread melted, time for damage control.'

I think that clear guidelines would be terrific. I'm a little leary of a readjustment period in which people some people try to come to terms with new guidelines and find ways to express themselves that remain within them, and the possibility that some might try, fail, and get frustrated.

Don't let my saying this sound like I'm against the idea of reform altogether; I'm not. And I like a lot of what you've said. Your overall assessment has been intriguing to read. I just can't observe the ideas without voicing my own concern.

And I caught your comment about JonHecht. Alas.

Frankly- just so it doesn't go unsaid- I wouldn't want to see King of Men or Lisa leave Hatrack. Yes, I've butted heads with them myself on occasion, but they're both bright people with unique insights, and I think their departure would be a loss.

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TomDavidson
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I seriously doubt either would ever voluntarily leave. It's not in their nature.
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Paul Goldner
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Pretty sure that Lisa voluntarily left ornery. Maybe I'm wrong... maybe she was banned.
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Yozhik
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quote:
With the start of Ornery, and the influx from there to here, I saw a downturn that hasn't really ever been reversed. It comes from the tone of OSC's writing in recent times.
I sort of agree with this.

There seem to be quite a few people now who post primarily to express how very, very much they hate OSC's political opinions, writing, and/or the man himself.

I've never understood why they would want to frequent the forum of a person whose work they despise, but they're here, and I see them as the reason for the change in tone of Hatrack.

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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by Yozhik:
quote:
With the start of Ornery, and the influx from there to here, I saw a downturn that hasn't really ever been reversed. It comes from the tone of OSC's writing in recent times.
I sort of agree with this.

There seem to be quite a few people now who post primarily to express how very, very much they hate OSC's political opinions, writing, and/or the man himself.

I've never understood why they would want to frequent the forum of a person whose work they despise, but they're here, and I see them as the reason for the change in tone of Hatrack.

There's a difference between despising his work and despising his opinions. A lot of people consider some of his views to border on hatemongering. I'm not saying that they are or aren't, but they seem to be getting a little more inflammatory over the years.

But several of his books have been honest and true and good. And they attract both intelligent people and those trying to validate their "intelligence".

Makes for an odd crowd.

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Paul Goldner
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Attempting to pin the problems of hatrack on ornery is an old (and tired) game. Most of the worst posters on hatrack registered here before ornery, and the movement from one site to the other has predominently been from hatrack to ornery, though some have moved from ornery to hatrack (like myself). Its not ornery. Its the change in the host. Prior to fall 2000, OSC hadn't published political opinions much, if at all, outside of his own site. Starting in the fall of 2001, he was putting his political opinions out there on a regular basis for people not already fans of his to read. That shifts the type of person attracted to his forums.
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Xaposert
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There hasn't been an increase in "bad apples", however you'd define that. There has always been inflammatory people on the forum. In fact, the worst case I remember was even longer ago than the dispute with Leto.

If there has been a change, the change is in the way Hatrack regulars respond to inflammatory people and controversial discussions.

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Tatiana
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Whoa, seriously, Yozhik? To me it seems like it's the bitter argumentative style that came to the board along with that influx from Ornery, and has never wholly left it, though it got better for a time. It's the way Ornery was, then it came to Hatrack with the many who came over from Ornery.

But you're right that it's still OSC's board. Yozhik, do you think it's wrong for those of us who disagree with his politics and think he's let his political beliefs negatively impact his writing in recent years to stay here?

Tres, I guess that's what I'm saying about the "hook", as Samprimary terms it. OSC's writings have changed, so the mix of types of new people it brings in have also changed.

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Paul Goldner
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Ornery started with a "bitter argument tone," that has never really changed (small swings, but basically argumentative) and most of the early members registered from hatrack. The "way ornery was," was an in large part an import from hatrack... the subset of hatrack posters who were more interested in political discussion brought their tone to ornery, and made that the ornery tone. This was compounded at ornery because the same type of people were attracted to ornery from "outside," as had come from hatrack

Blaming the change in tone here, on ornery, is largely, in my view, simply deflection.

Did you guys start getting more politically oriented posters after ornery started? Probably. But that's a reflection on OSC starting to be more of a political animal.

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Tatiana
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Paul, yes I don't mean to say it's all Ornery's fault. I just know the tone changed about that time, and there were several notably strident posters who had come here from Ornery. It quite well could all be due to the change in OSC's writings.
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nik
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Very interesting thread, and I thoroughly enjoyed Sam's forum theories. I have been members of many online communities and have seen countless people come and go who "really made the forum what it was".

But it's important to realize that, if at anytime you wish things in an online community were "the way they were" at any other time, you're trying to squeeze milk out of an orange.

I'm a firm believer in the phrase "You can never stand in the same stream twice". Likewise, you can never post in the same forum twice. Give that a second of two of thought and keep in mind that dynamic communities are just that, dynamic.

It's sad to see people go, but that's just what happens. Go with the flow. Reply to things you like, don't give attention to posts that you don't. Do your best to enjoy your time and take things for what they're worth. And when the time comes to move on to someplace new, bid ye farewells!

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Paul Goldner
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" I just know the tone changed about that time, and there were several notably strident posters who had come here from Ornery."

Sure. But the tone of ornery was in large part set by people like David Bowles, who started at hatrack and went to ornery when that opened in the fall of 2000.

I'm not saying that strident posters didn't come here from ornery. I'm saying that those posters were shaped by, primarily, OSC (the hook) and his style of essay writing. The responses to those essays were in the same tone as they were written, for obvious reasons.

And, of course, the largest group of early posters on ornery were hatrackers.

Basically, what I'm saying is that any change in tone here may correlate to the opening of ornery. But its only a correlation. A cause can be found in the type of essay that OSC was writing and the type of posting style that attracted.

I think I've said that clearly now, so I'll drop it.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Basically, what I'm saying is that any change in tone here may correlate to the opening of ornery. But its only a correlation. A cause can be found in the type of essay that OSC was writing and the type of posting style that attracted.
It took me while to figure out why this distinction needed to be made at all. I assumed that by "Ornery" people were referring to OSC's column in general as well as the forum that went along with it, making the statement "it wasn't Ornery, it was OSC" kinda redundant and/or nonsensical.
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Blayne Bradley
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Times have changed! Our kids are getting worse they won't obey their parents they just want to fart and curse!

Should we blame the government? Should we blame society?

Or should we blame the images on TV? NO!

Blame Ornery! Blame Ornery!

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Flying Fish
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I think Card doesn't want to wake up some day and see a headline somewhere: "PROMINENT MORMON SF WRITER RUNS INTERNET HATE SITE."

And I think Card is savvy enough to know that if such an accusation ever does get leveled, a lot of people are going to judge that true or false based not on the intentions of the top 10%, but based on the posted words of the bottom 10%.

A friend of mine suggested that internet forums are, by definition, largely peopled by characters who can't have many successful relationships in real life, and that's why the level of discourse is so childish. But I argued that there's more to it than that.

I do think that there is a "frog in boiling water effect" which renders some people blind to what's going on here. I've heard a lot of people speak of how they judge the forum today versus how it was last year or 5 years ago or 10 years ago. What they don't seem to do is compare the level of discourse here compared to the way well-adjusted adults interact, face-to-face, in real life. By that standard Hatrack and Ornery start to look really pathetic and creepy and nasty.

But I mean that in a good way.

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James Tiberius Kirk
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quote:
Originally posted by Shan:
Hi All -- Lurker checking in. It's kinda reassuring to see that some things never change, including the inevitable "what happened to Hatrack?" around this community.

[Big Grin]

( [Wave] Hi, Shan. )

*

I think the tone of Hatrack is correlated to how often Israel is discussed [Wink]

--j_k, who knows that this, too, shall pass

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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Times have changed! Our kids are getting worse they won't obey their parents they just want to fart and curse!

Should we blame the government? Should we blame society?

Or should we blame the images on TV? NO!

Blame Ornery! Blame Ornery!

Kids aren't getting worse:
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705306974,00.html

There's way less cursin'.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
What they don't seem to do is compare the level of discourse here compared to the way well-adjusted adults interact, face-to-face, in real life.
Egad. I'm trying to imagine holding any part of the Internet to that standard. The mind boggles.

Heck, I'm trying to imagine holding any part of the state of Florida to that standard. It's just not a reasonable yardstick. [Smile]

----------

BTW, Herblay, your link above notes this: "Only G-, PG- and PG-13-rated films were included because teens aren't supposed to see R-rated movies without a parent or guardian." My reaction to this was "heh." It pretty much invalidates the entire study if you assume that, say, "American Pie" wasn't intended to be watched by teenagers.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Herblay:
Kids aren't getting worse:
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705306974,00.html

There's way less cursin'.

That fairly silly study makes no claim as to whether or not there's actually less kids swearing these days. They just used a loose metric to determine what constitutes a 'teen' movie and counted how many "hells" and "damns" and whatnot are in the limited sample movies from 1980, versus today.
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Paul Goldner
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"What they don't seem to do is compare the level of discourse here compared to the way well-adjusted adults interact, face-to-face, in real life. By that standard Hatrack and Ornery start to look really pathetic and creepy and nasty."

My experience is that people who aren't close friends, and disagree on politics, do it far worse than ornery and hatrack. If they talk politics at all. Which is unlikely.

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Kwea
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Funny, I think the north is far more rude than any part of FL, and I am speaking as someone who was raised in the north.
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Herblay
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What's funny is that I can just post a silly study from BYU and everyone starts arguing about it. Isn't that kind of ironic considering the original purpose of the post? Oh wait, irony would imply that there was a difference. . . .
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by James Tiberius Kirk:
I think the tone of Hatrack is correlated to how often Israel is discussed [Wink]

Only because the election and proposition votes are over.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Funny, I think the north is far more rude than any part of FL...
Yeah, I know people living in the South think that. But they're wrong. [Smile] That said, I wasn't talking about rudeness. I was talking about discussing things like well-adjusted adults. *grin*
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
Pretty sure that Lisa voluntarily left ornery. Maybe I'm wrong... maybe she was banned.

You're wrong. I got tired of dealing with morons.
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Fluff
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Wait . . . he's wrong about being wrong? Or was he right about being wrong?

::headasplode::

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FlyingCow
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quote:
If there has been a change, the change is in the way Hatrack regulars respond to inflammatory people and controversial discussions.
True. Or that the Hatrack regulars responding to the inflammatory people are become less willing to do so (or have left/are leaving), which by necessity means the way they respond will change (i.e. become somehow "less").

There have been firebrands and flare ups for as long as I've been at hatrack, but most were countered by a large group of cooler heads - and several were banned. Cedrios, Baldar, etc.

If Baldar had come to hatrack now, rather than when he did, he'd have fit in a lot more smoothly with the "norm" and would not have stood out as much.

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Paul Goldner
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Ooo. Morons. Like the morons who destroyed your views on top-down changes imposed by lincoln in this thread which was one of the last places you posted seriously on ornery?

Yeah. I think by "morons," you mean "people who challenge my views of reality by dealing with facts instead of wishes."

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Jamio
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You'd think that we could be nice to each other in the "Why can't we all be nice to each other" thread.
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TomDavidson
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Paul, chill.
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