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Announcement Changes to politics discussion policy

  1. Mar 5, 2017 #1
    In an effort to remove potentially divisive and toxic political discussions we are making the following changes.

    1. Politics discussion outside of education and science policy will be prohibited. (Examples of thread banned: here, here, here, here) (Examples of threads safe: here, here, here, here). You will notice the safe threads are generally void of politicians and party politics.

    2. Current News Events sub forum will be removed, threads merged into General Discussion and given a "News" prefix. News posts in the future should be non political. (Examples: here, here, here, here)

    3. Replacing the Current News Events sub forum will be an "Art, Music, History, and Linguistics" forum.

    4. This change will go into effect one week from now on March 12th. That gives you plenty of time to wrap up any discussions in political threads you currently participate in.

    Thanks for your understanding as we try to make PF a more productive and friendlier community focused in its mission.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2017 #2
    If I'm correct, does that leave roughly two narrow areas where education & science policy might intersect with political developments? These being first, changes in federal funding & policy for agencies that combine science w/ regulation, e.g. the EPA, CDC, etc.; and second, anything to do with the effect of politics or social disenchantment w/ authority on science education or public belief in science?

    There was a recent thread on the latter issue (diminishing public trust in science) that skirted being politically divisive at a couple of points. But presumably these areas are narrow enough that light moderation plus restraint on the part of posters will be enough?
     
  4. Mar 5, 2017 #3
    Policy is politics, but as long as the discussion sticks to the science and the policy instead of the politics of a party, politician or ideology then we're good.

    If in the future problems still persist we will make further changes.
     
  5. Mar 5, 2017 #4

    Ranger Mike

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    good show, Greg...im fer it!
     
  6. Mar 5, 2017 #5

    StatGuy2000

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    Hi Greg. This may be a silly question, but since a new subforum will be created on Art, Music, History, and Linguistics (to replace the Current News Events subforum), would existing threads along those topics be forwarded to that subforum?
     
  7. Mar 5, 2017 #6
    I didn't know political discussions were allowed here to begin with, which was probably for the best...
     
  8. Mar 5, 2017 #7
    Even though I contributed, somewhat against my better judgment, to at least one of these banned threads, I support this decision. One reason I am on PF and not on other social media is because it's the only forum I have found to date where there is good moderation of the sort this decision exemplifies. I think this forum is broad enough, because it's not only about physics, but about math, science, and engineering in general. Thanks for maintaining high standards.
     
  9. Mar 5, 2017 #8
    Yes contact @Evo to make sure a specific thread you are interested in makes it over on moving day :)
     
  10. Mar 5, 2017 #9

    StatGuy2000

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    I admit that I have contributed to 2 of the examples of the threads that will be banned in the future, but I too support this decision. Political discussions can have a tendency devolve into partisan arguments that pit one or more groups against another, without necessarily being enlightening, and I so support the good moderation on this forum that contributed to this decision.

    Thanks for all the good work you do here, and I promise (despite my past lapses in judgement on this front) that I will do my part while on the forum to live up to the high standards you set. :smile:
     
  11. Mar 5, 2017 #10

    symbolipoint

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    The point #3 to include Linguistics is a good idea.
     
  12. Mar 5, 2017 #11

    Dale

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    Also, current events and news that are specific to some technical forum can be discussed in the technical forum where the relevant technical mentors can keep things non political and avoid fake news.
     
  13. Mar 5, 2017 #12

    Evo

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    I will be trying to find as many of the old threads as possible, but since the threads weren't tagged (AFAIK) as art, history, etc... it's going to be a rather difficult manual process, I would love it if anyone that finds a thread that falls into the new category would place a link in this thread or PM it to me.

    @zoobyshoe do you want your art threads moved there?
     
  14. Mar 5, 2017 #13

    Drakkith

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    The easiest method would probably be to just report the first post in the thread and tell us that you'd like it moved to the new subforum. That way Evo isn't bombarded with requests and it ensures things happen in a timely manner if Evo leaves to go to a vacation in Hawaii or something. :wink:
     
  15. Mar 5, 2017 #14

    Evo

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    Brilliant! That is why you are mentor! :smile:
     
  16. Mar 5, 2017 #15

    haruspex

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    Anything can become "political". (In quotes because political, strictly speaking, means related to policies; the attribute at issue here is party-political.)
    I do not feel strongly about this discussion, and I see there is wide support for the ban. But being of a contrary nature, I'll play Devil's Advocate...

    The four threads listed are arguably about civil rights, the US legal system, cybersecurity and reliability of news sources. None are remotely about science (so personally I would be unlikely to read them, let alone contribute), but these Forums are not limited to science. The proposed ban, it seems to me, results from the circumstantial linkage to current party politics. In the Fox News thread, for example, it is that organisation's understood linkage to the US right wing.

    How might this develop? What if a certain source of tweets were to accuse some Hollywood actors of being anti-American? Would it then be banned to mention those actors on these Forums?
     
  17. Mar 5, 2017 #16

    Evo

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    No, only their political actions.
     
  18. Mar 5, 2017 #17

    haruspex

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    And who defines whether an action is political?
     
  19. Mar 5, 2017 #18
  20. Mar 5, 2017 #19

    Evo

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    If it has to do with a political party. What we will be looking for as Greg said above is no "politics of a party, politician or ideology".
     
  21. Mar 5, 2017 #20

    mfb

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    If we could phrase every rule in mathematical precision without any ambiguity, we wouldn't need mentors, a well-written bot enforcing those rules would be sufficient.
    We will certainly get cases where we have to discuss how to proceed, but in most cases the new rules should be clear.
     
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