4. No political or religious discussions unless they have to do with political or religious terms and usage. (The occasional side comment is fine, but this is not the place to espouse your political views or to save our souls.)
A recent discussion in the “Valor” thread is prompting me to explain the rationale behind this rule of our discussion forum.
Politics and religion can be very sensitive topics. It’s easy to unintentionally offend someone when discussing these topics. (You may say nothing wrong, but someone may read something into your comments.) As a result, any extended discussion of politics or religion will almost inevitably degenerate into a shouting match. Even though most of those who frequent this site are perfectly capable of engaging in an informed and respectful discussion of sensitive topics, there will always be a few who are not.
Since this forum exists to discuss word origins, in particular, and language, in general, most of the denizens here (presumably) don’t want to have to listen to these degenerate and off-topic arguments.
Further, such discussion attracts the lunatic fringe and that just makes things worse. Trust me, there are people who have automated Google searches set to look for terms like “g*n c*ntrol,” “ab*rtion,” “tr*nsubst*ntiation,” etc. and will swoop in and troll the group when such discussions arise.
So, we avoid these topics.
That said, there is absolutely no reason to avoid discussing political or religious language or terms. Such topics are fair game for this group--just don’t make normative statements about various political or religious opinions or beliefs. We can tolerate some degree of the inevitable misunderstanding when it occurs as the result of an on-topic discussion.