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  #1   Report Post  
Joe Parsons
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

....is that, for starters, we often see aspects of people we'd be far better off
*not* seeing. Sure--it's easy to characterize them as "marina bar chat;" but
that is NOT what much of this is. Is it really likely that there would be these
kinds of acrimonious, polarizing discussions, replete with namecalling and
speculation about personal habits and ancestry in an actual bar? Of course not!
But the quasi-anonymity of Usenet seems often to give license for behavior that
would be unnacceptable--and even dangerous--in real life.

It's easy to say "just use your filters and shaddup" when people complain about
these highly unpleasant (and invariably unproductive) threads; but just as
people can't avoid slowing to gape at accidents on the freeway, people will
continue to read these threads. And they'll get a certain impression of the
newsgroup, just as they would if they went into a yacht club or marina bar and
found many of the regulars involved in loud, bitter, interminable and pointless
political discussions.

For my part, when I see the namecalling and personal insults, the polarized
thinking on both sides, it tends to give me a very unfavorable picture of ALL
the participants--and if I were seeing that behavior in a yacht club or marina
bar, I'd do a fast 180 and get out of there.

I think the same thing happens on Usenet as happens in The Real
World(tm)--people go where they feel comfortable, and where they feel they can
contribute and receive value.

Most of the time, in my observation, that's not happening here--even in spite of
a number of regulars who keep trying to guide the conversation back to boating.
I often wonder how many people here actually spend time on boats.

I have kept my own political views (and they are views that I hold dear) out of
this newsgroup--but if someone were to call me "light in the loafers" for being
a Democrat, or a "fascist" for being a Republican, I'd immediately lose interest
in any sort of participation here.

I don't think I'm alone in that respect.

Joe Parsons
FWIW

  #2   Report Post  
bb
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

On Wed, 03 Sep 2003 00:26:37 GMT, Joe Parsons
wrote:

...is that, for starters,


Joe Parsons
FWIW


Not bad Joe. Doesn't fit for everybody, but in general, yep.

bb
  #3   Report Post  
Gary Warner
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...


- The "bar room" thing is just an anology, don't try to carry it too far.

- The discussions are not just pointless. They show me how others think.
Even when I disagree, I learn something.

- If you dont' want to read the threads, don't. If you can't help yourself
from
"slowing down and gawking" don't blame others, help yourself.

- I disagree that there is little or no boating value here. Post a boating
story
and plenty of people will comment or sympathize. Post a boating or boat
question and there will be very helpful hints, tips, information, web-links,
stories of similar experience, etc., etc.


In the Pot-Kettel-Black department: why not mark your off topic
post with "OT:" ?? Yes, the subject is pretty self-explanitory, but
it is convention to mark subjects with "OT:" so people can easily
filter for them.


Gary



  #4   Report Post  
Gary H
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

Yea, I come here for boat information not to hear someone's political views.
I think those political people need to find alt.politics.



"Joe Parsons" wrote in message
...
...is that, for starters, we often see aspects of people we'd be far

better off
*not* seeing. Sure--it's easy to characterize them as "marina bar chat;"

but
that is NOT what much of this is. Is it really likely that there would be

these
kinds of acrimonious, polarizing discussions, replete with namecalling and
speculation about personal habits and ancestry in an actual bar? Of

course not!
But the quasi-anonymity of Usenet seems often to give license for behavior

that
would be unnacceptable--and even dangerous--in real life.

It's easy to say "just use your filters and shaddup" when people complain

about
these highly unpleasant (and invariably unproductive) threads; but just as
people can't avoid slowing to gape at accidents on the freeway, people

will
continue to read these threads. And they'll get a certain impression of

the
newsgroup, just as they would if they went into a yacht club or marina bar

and
found many of the regulars involved in loud, bitter, interminable and

pointless
political discussions.

For my part, when I see the namecalling and personal insults, the

polarized
thinking on both sides, it tends to give me a very unfavorable picture of

ALL
the participants--and if I were seeing that behavior in a yacht club or

marina
bar, I'd do a fast 180 and get out of there.

I think the same thing happens on Usenet as happens in The Real
World(tm)--people go where they feel comfortable, and where they feel they

can
contribute and receive value.

Most of the time, in my observation, that's not happening here--even in

spite of
a number of regulars who keep trying to guide the conversation back to

boating.
I often wonder how many people here actually spend time on boats.

I have kept my own political views (and they are views that I hold dear)

out of
this newsgroup--but if someone were to call me "light in the loafers" for

being
a Democrat, or a "fascist" for being a Republican, I'd immediately lose

interest
in any sort of participation here.

I don't think I'm alone in that respect.

Joe Parsons
FWIW



  #5   Report Post  
Joe Parsons
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

On Tue, 2 Sep 2003 21:35:39 -0400, "Gary Warner" wrote:

- The "bar room" thing is just an anology, don't try to carry it too far.


But it's the analogy that is most commonly used in this context.

- The discussions are not just pointless. They show me how others think.
Even when I disagree, I learn something.


That's true--and my whole point is that one may learn enough about another
person to view him with contempt. Reasoned--even heated--debate is just fine;
it's energizing and often educational for both sides. But when the "debate"
turns so quickly to gratuitous insults--and it invariably does--it says far too
much about the combatants that one might like to know. Characterizing a
"liberal" as a limp-wristed, light-in-the-loafers faggot; or a "conservative" as
a fascist. Or displaying black-and-white, bigoted thinking--on *either* side of
an argument.

For me, it's just too much information--and I personally find it difficult to
separate often valuable information (which is often scarce) from someone's
despicable character traits, regardless of how his politics might play out.

- If you dont' want to read the threads, don't. If you can't help yourself
from
"slowing down and gawking" don't blame others, help yourself.


I'm quite able to set filters--even when the subject line is a moving target.
But my concerns are not for my own sensibilities; rather, they are for the
impression made on people subscribing for the first time.

And the content--quality and quantity--in rec.boats is far less appealing now
than it was, say, two years ago.

- I disagree that there is little or no boating value here. Post a boating
story
and plenty of people will comment or sympathize. Post a boating or boat
question and there will be very helpful hints, tips, information, web-links,
stories of similar experience, etc., etc.


In the Pot-Kettel-Black department: why not mark your off topic
post with "OT:" ?? Yes, the subject is pretty self-explanitory, but
it is convention to mark subjects with "OT:" so people can easily
filter for them.


As we've already discussed, many newsreaders strip out the OT: on follow-ups.
OE is the most widely used newsreader here, and it behaves that way.

Any Usenet newsgroup is a do-it-yourself deal. I just don't think the deal is
being done as well as it should be.

Joe Parsons



  #6   Report Post  
Gould 0738
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

Rec.boats isn't purely a spectator sport.

There is a disturbing lack of civility in many of the discussions, both OT and
ON.
That's a greater problem than the fact that the conversation drifts off topic.

We have at least one poster who takes pride in the fact that he only comes here
to
cause trouble, and then immediately blames that on individuals holding opposite
philosophical viewpoints.

It is a bit puzzling how, so often, the people who post the loudest protests
about the signal to noise ratio and the lack of significant boating content in
the NG never contribute any boating content *to* the group.

The content of the group is configured by what we all put in- what we take out
or choose to filter has no effect on the overall character of the group.

Aren't enough boating discussions? Start one.


  #7   Report Post  
Bill Cole
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

Chuck,
Whomever said they come here to "start trouble" is just being honest. The
majority of the regulars come here to argue their favorite cause and try to
make their opponents looks foolish, ignorant of just to get his goat.

The regulars who come here to discuss boating are few and far in-between,
they have been chased away ages ago.


"Gould 0738" wrote in message
...
Rec.boats isn't purely a spectator sport.

There is a disturbing lack of civility in many of the discussions, both OT

and
ON.
That's a greater problem than the fact that the conversation drifts off

topic.

We have at least one poster who takes pride in the fact that he only comes

here
to
cause trouble, and then immediately blames that on individuals holding

opposite
philosophical viewpoints.

It is a bit puzzling how, so often, the people who post the loudest

protests
about the signal to noise ratio and the lack of significant boating

content in
the NG never contribute any boating content *to* the group.

The content of the group is configured by what we all put in- what we take

out
or choose to filter has no effect on the overall character of the group.

Aren't enough boating discussions? Start one.




  #8   Report Post  
Gould 0738
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

Chuck,
Whomever said they come here to "start trouble" is just being honest. The
majority of the regulars come here to argue their favorite cause and try to
make their opponents looks foolish, ignorant of just to get his goat.

The regulars who come here to discuss boating are few and far in-between,
they have been chased away ages ago.



Without going waaaay back, we're still runing a 3:1 ratio of on topic *threads*
vs.
off topic threads. Of the last 59 threads initiated in rec.boats, 45 had some
direct relevance to boating and 14 did not.

Problem is in the number of posts.

Example:

I.M. Uhground posts: "Where is the secondary fuel filter on my Spitz and Putz
inboard?"

Hal P Fulwrench replies: "Look under the second framus past the diogenator."

End of thread, two posts.

Example two:

Left wing Louie posts: "Bush is a war criminal!"

Right wing Rickie replies:"No, he's a hero and you liberals are all
traitors........"

And 450 posts follow. 225 from the right, 225 from the left, with insults and
bad manners split equally between the pair. End of thread nowhere in
sight.......


"Gould 0738" wrote in message
...
Rec.boats isn't purely a spectator sport.

There is a disturbing lack of civility in many of the discussions, both OT

and
ON.
That's a greater problem than the fact that the conversation drifts off

topic.

We have at least one poster who takes pride in the fact that he only comes

here
to
cause trouble, and then immediately blames that on individuals holding

opposite
philosophical viewpoints.

It is a bit puzzling how, so often, the people who post the loudest

protests
about the signal to noise ratio and the lack of significant boating

content in
the NG never contribute any boating content *to* the group.

The content of the group is configured by what we all put in- what we take

out
or choose to filter has no effect on the overall character of the group.

Aren't enough boating discussions? Start one.













  #9   Report Post  
Gould 0738
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

Most of the on topic posts are done by newbie's stumbling in. They have no
idea rec.boats is all about politics. The regulars are the ones who turn
the on topic posts into off topic posts and start the majority of the off
topic threads.


How many of the 45 on-topic threads did you originate?

The regulars can't complain about a lack of on-topic threads if they don't
start any.


  #10   Report Post  
Jim
 
Posts: n/a
Default The problem with these off-topic, political threads...

You know Chuck you act like you are a saint in this whole mess. And that is the
furthest thing from the truth. Granted, you post one or two boating related items, but
the far majority of your posts are political. You and Harry have been involved in the
mudslinging and OT political posts long before most of us have been here.

Yes, I admitted I come here for the politics. I never said, however, that I come here
to cause trouble and I challenge you to find where I said that....because I did not.

Move out of that glass house before you start throwing stones.

"Gould 0738" wrote in message
...
Most of the on topic posts are done by newbie's stumbling in. They have no
idea rec.boats is all about politics. The regulars are the ones who turn
the on topic posts into off topic posts and start the majority of the off
topic threads.


How many of the 45 on-topic threads did you originate?

The regulars can't complain about a lack of on-topic threads if they don't
start any.



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