Ban on Religion & Politics
Posted: 07 September 2007 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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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.

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Posted: 07 September 2007 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Y’know, I’ve been wondering for some time if we should add physics to the list of proscribed topics.  It seems to bring out vociferous clashes of world-views almost as well as the other two.

Of course, I’m one of the ones who’d have to bite tongue the hardest if it were.  I’m used to the notion that not everyone shares my religion or politics, but I still see the physical sciences as areas in which some ideas are right and others are wrong, dammit.

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Posted: 10 September 2007 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I think with science—at least there is agreement on the method for determining right and wrong.  That’s the definition of science after all.

With religion, although there may well be right and wrong as well—no one (except maybe within a particular religion) agrees on the method.

But, maybe I’m breaking Dave’s rule about discussing religion—so I’ll shut up.

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Posted: 28 January 2008 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’ve sworn off religious topics though I thought Islamophobe was an interesting and vague new term worthy of discussion. I should have worded my post better.
I can’t see a problem with etymology in physics unless people got carried away and went off topic like I did with religion at times!
Dave does a grand job as moderator anyway.

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Posted: 17 July 2008 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’d like to apologize here for my Islamophobe thread. It was ill-thought-through and badly worded though my enquiry was about usage rather than etymology. I can understand the rancour and I was too ashamed to reply at the time. Having read Pavlos’ posts since I understand your objections to what many would see as provocative and inflammatory stuff. Sorry.

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Posted: 17 July 2008 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I salute the courage it took to write that.

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Posted: 17 July 2008 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I agree.  Thanks for the note VB.

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Posted: 17 July 2008 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Same here!

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Posted: 19 July 2008 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Appreciated.  As Dr Techie notes, it does take courage to admit to our mistakes, and even more to admit to attempting to avoid responsibility afterwards.  I hope others take note.

[ Edited: 19 July 2008 01:57 PM by astal ]
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