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Stormfront got an NYT mention

YYW
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7/13/2014 1:36:39 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The New York Times published an op-ed about Stormfront entitled The Data Of Hate:

http://www.nytimes.com...

VIKINGMAIDEN88 is 26 years old. She enjoys reading history and writing poetry. Her signature quote is from Shakespeare. She was impressed when the dialect quiz in The New York Times correctly identified where she was from: Tacoma and Spokane, Wash. "Completely spot on," she wrote, followed by a smiling green emoji.

The article continues to talk about the site itself, and its membership:

The white nationalist posters on Stormfront have issues with many different groups. They often write about crimes committed by African-Americans against whites; they complain about an "invasion" of Mexicans; and they love to mock gays and feminists. But their main problem appears to be with Jewish people, who are often described as super-powerful and clever " the driving force, generally speaking, behind the societal changes they do not like. Stormfront members tend to be young, at least according to self-reported birth dates. The most common age at which people join the site is 19. And four times more 19-year-olds sign up than 40-year-olds. Internet and social network users lean young, but not nearly that young....I estimate that about 30 percent of Stormfront members are female.

This was surprising:

Among this age group, California, a state with one of the largest minority populations, has a membership rate 25 percent higher than the national average.

This wasn't surprising:

POLITICAL developments certainly play a role. The day that saw the biggest single increase in membership in Stormfront"s history, by far, was Nov. 5, 2008, the day after Barack Obama was elected president.

This is interesting too...

The top reported interest of Stormfront members is "reading." Most notably, Stormfront users are news and political junkies. One interesting data point here is the popularity of The New York Times among Stormfront users. According to the economists Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro, when you compare Stormfront users to people who go to the Yahoo News site, it turns out that the Stormfront crowd is twice as likely to visit nytimes.com.

But the typical story we're told about hate just doesn't quite cut it...

In the 1930s, Arthur F. Raper reported a correlation between bad economic conditions and lynchings of blacks. This led many scholars to the intuitive conclusion that people turn to hate because their lives are going poorly.

But evidence is increasingly casting doubt on this idea. In 2001, the political scientists Donald P. Green, Laurence H. McFalls and Jennifer K. Smith used more data and found that there was actually no relationship between lynchings and economic hardship. Lynchings actually fell during the Great Depression.

The economist Alan B. Krueger has shown that terrorists are not disproportionately poor. And the economists Roland G. Fryer Jr. and Steven D. Levitt found that Ku Klux Klan members were actually better educated than the typical American.

And the article ends with irresolution...

Return to VikingMaiden88. When you read her 189 posts since joining the site, she often seems like a perfectly nice and intelligent young woman.

But she also has a lot of hatred. She praises a store for having "100% white employees." She says the media is promoting a "Jewish agenda." And she says she finds Asians "repulsive physically, socially, religiously, etc."

Why do some people feel this way? And what is to be done about it? I have pored over data of an unprecedented breadth and depth, thanks to our new digital era. And I can honestly offer the following answer: I have no idea.

As a member of an online community that's been host to more than a few crazies of the kind that might be seen on stormfront and other sites like it, what do you think about this op-ed?
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bladerunner060
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7/13/2014 2:04:22 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Seemed kind of a fluff piece, really...seems like he could have spent like two hours on SF, Google, and Wikipedia to get it written. Which, granted, it's an Op-Ed, but still, I'm not sure there was a lot of rigour in it.
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YYW
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7/13/2014 12:43:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 2:04:22 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Seemed kind of a fluff piece, really...seems like he could have spent like two hours on SF, Google, and Wikipedia to get it written. Which, granted, it's an Op-Ed, but still, I'm not sure there was a lot of rigour in it.

I agree. I just think it's interesting that an online community got a mention in the NYT, and that of all the online communities to be mentioned, Stormfront got a special.

Stormfront is the kind of place that beckons crazies. The way it works is that the nature of the content on their site -even though some of it is mundane- is what gets them together, and it attracts people with similar beliefs to come in and join.

The fundamental reason that I'm always going to oppose certain topics being discussed on this site, then, is because I don't want DDO to become an online haven for people to talk about how they want to have sex with animals or how they want to have Klan rallies.

I think that for people who have never really belonged to any online community other than this one, it's really tempting to think about things like free speech issues as "first principles" that can never be violated.

While I can accept that freedom of thought is important, balancing that against the need to keep this community from becoming a place like Stormfront necessitates that we uphold certain standards.

I'm even ok if some members make bold public statements in defense of people's right to post almost anything they want, so long as whenever people whose very presence on this site threatens its integrity are permanently banned.

The very existence of niche groups like Stormfront (and all kinds of others like it that cater to fringe interests) means that banning someone who wishes to engage in beastiality or someone who sympathizes with neo-Nazis does not violate their rights -even if they had rights. So, there are at once plenty of places on the internet to indulge in fringe-type behavior/activities and DDO is and cannot be a place to do it.
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Greyparrot
Posts: 14,337
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7/13/2014 12:46:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 12:43:27 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 2:04:22 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Seemed kind of a fluff piece, really...seems like he could have spent like two hours on SF, Google, and Wikipedia to get it written. Which, granted, it's an Op-Ed, but still, I'm not sure there was a lot of rigour in it.

I agree. I just think it's interesting that an online community got a mention in the NYT, and that of all the online communities to be mentioned, Stormfront got a special.

Stormfront is the kind of place that beckons crazies. The way it works is that the nature of the content on their site -even though some of it is mundane- is what gets them together, and it attracts people with similar beliefs to come in and join.

The fundamental reason that I'm always going to oppose certain topics being discussed on this site, then, is because I don't want DDO to become an online haven for people to talk about how they want to have sex with animals or how they want to have Klan rallies.

I think that for people who have never really belonged to any online community other than this one, it's really tempting to think about things like free speech issues as "first principles" that can never be violated.

While I can accept that freedom of thought is important, balancing that against the need to keep this community from becoming a place like Stormfront necessitates that we uphold certain standards.

I'm even ok if some members make bold public statements in defense of people's right to post almost anything they want, so long as whenever people whose very presence on this site threatens its integrity are permanently banned.

The very existence of niche groups like Stormfront (and all kinds of others like it that cater to fringe interests) means that banning someone who wishes to engage in beastiality or someone who sympathizes with neo-Nazis does not violate their rights -even if they had rights. So, there are at once plenty of places on the internet to indulge in fringe-type behavior/activities and DDO is and cannot be a place to do it.

I think it is important that they can express whatever they want so curious people will become aware of the dystopian nature of the world and give them something to fight against.
YYW
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7/13/2014 12:47:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 12:46:15 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:43:27 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 2:04:22 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Seemed kind of a fluff piece, really...seems like he could have spent like two hours on SF, Google, and Wikipedia to get it written. Which, granted, it's an Op-Ed, but still, I'm not sure there was a lot of rigour in it.

I agree. I just think it's interesting that an online community got a mention in the NYT, and that of all the online communities to be mentioned, Stormfront got a special.

Stormfront is the kind of place that beckons crazies. The way it works is that the nature of the content on their site -even though some of it is mundane- is what gets them together, and it attracts people with similar beliefs to come in and join.

The fundamental reason that I'm always going to oppose certain topics being discussed on this site, then, is because I don't want DDO to become an online haven for people to talk about how they want to have sex with animals or how they want to have Klan rallies.

I think that for people who have never really belonged to any online community other than this one, it's really tempting to think about things like free speech issues as "first principles" that can never be violated.

While I can accept that freedom of thought is important, balancing that against the need to keep this community from becoming a place like Stormfront necessitates that we uphold certain standards.

I'm even ok if some members make bold public statements in defense of people's right to post almost anything they want, so long as whenever people whose very presence on this site threatens its integrity are permanently banned.

The very existence of niche groups like Stormfront (and all kinds of others like it that cater to fringe interests) means that banning someone who wishes to engage in beastiality or someone who sympathizes with neo-Nazis does not violate their rights -even if they had rights. So, there are at once plenty of places on the internet to indulge in fringe-type behavior/activities and DDO is and cannot be a place to do it.

I think it is important that they can express whatever they want so curious people will become aware of the dystopian nature of the world and give them something to fight against.

Sure... as long as that's done some place other than DDO.
Tsar of DDO
Greyparrot
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7/13/2014 12:49:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 12:47:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:46:15 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:43:27 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 2:04:22 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Seemed kind of a fluff piece, really...seems like he could have spent like two hours on SF, Google, and Wikipedia to get it written. Which, granted, it's an Op-Ed, but still, I'm not sure there was a lot of rigour in it.

I agree. I just think it's interesting that an online community got a mention in the NYT, and that of all the online communities to be mentioned, Stormfront got a special.

Stormfront is the kind of place that beckons crazies. The way it works is that the nature of the content on their site -even though some of it is mundane- is what gets them together, and it attracts people with similar beliefs to come in and join.

The fundamental reason that I'm always going to oppose certain topics being discussed on this site, then, is because I don't want DDO to become an online haven for people to talk about how they want to have sex with animals or how they want to have Klan rallies.

I think that for people who have never really belonged to any online community other than this one, it's really tempting to think about things like free speech issues as "first principles" that can never be violated.

While I can accept that freedom of thought is important, balancing that against the need to keep this community from becoming a place like Stormfront necessitates that we uphold certain standards.

I'm even ok if some members make bold public statements in defense of people's right to post almost anything they want, so long as whenever people whose very presence on this site threatens its integrity are permanently banned.

The very existence of niche groups like Stormfront (and all kinds of others like it that cater to fringe interests) means that banning someone who wishes to engage in beastiality or someone who sympathizes with neo-Nazis does not violate their rights -even if they had rights. So, there are at once plenty of places on the internet to indulge in fringe-type behavior/activities and DDO is and cannot be a place to do it.

I think it is important that they can express whatever they want so curious people will become aware of the dystopian nature of the world and give them something to fight against.

Sure... as long as that's done some place other than DDO.

I don't think I would have developed into such a strong advocate for LBGT issues were it not for some of the inflammatory posts on this site.
YYW
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7/13/2014 12:49:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 12:49:04 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:47:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:46:15 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:43:27 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 2:04:22 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Seemed kind of a fluff piece, really...seems like he could have spent like two hours on SF, Google, and Wikipedia to get it written. Which, granted, it's an Op-Ed, but still, I'm not sure there was a lot of rigour in it.

I agree. I just think it's interesting that an online community got a mention in the NYT, and that of all the online communities to be mentioned, Stormfront got a special.

Stormfront is the kind of place that beckons crazies. The way it works is that the nature of the content on their site -even though some of it is mundane- is what gets them together, and it attracts people with similar beliefs to come in and join.

The fundamental reason that I'm always going to oppose certain topics being discussed on this site, then, is because I don't want DDO to become an online haven for people to talk about how they want to have sex with animals or how they want to have Klan rallies.

I think that for people who have never really belonged to any online community other than this one, it's really tempting to think about things like free speech issues as "first principles" that can never be violated.

While I can accept that freedom of thought is important, balancing that against the need to keep this community from becoming a place like Stormfront necessitates that we uphold certain standards.

I'm even ok if some members make bold public statements in defense of people's right to post almost anything they want, so long as whenever people whose very presence on this site threatens its integrity are permanently banned.

The very existence of niche groups like Stormfront (and all kinds of others like it that cater to fringe interests) means that banning someone who wishes to engage in beastiality or someone who sympathizes with neo-Nazis does not violate their rights -even if they had rights. So, there are at once plenty of places on the internet to indulge in fringe-type behavior/activities and DDO is and cannot be a place to do it.

I think it is important that they can express whatever they want so curious people will become aware of the dystopian nature of the world and give them something to fight against.

Sure... as long as that's done some place other than DDO.

I don't think I would have developed into such a strong advocate for LBGT issues were it not for some of the inflammatory posts on this site.

Gay rights aren't really a fringe issue, though. Having sex with animals and being a neo-Nazi are.
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YYW
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7/13/2014 12:55:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 12:52:13 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
So there is no value in being aware of the existence of fringe crazies?

That's not what I said, nor is it an implication of anything I said. Here are the problems with that question. If there is value in being aware of the existence of fringe crazies, that fringe crazies would not be allowed on DDO does not mean that anyone (even DDO members) would not be aware of those kinds of beliefs. This is because there is no restriction on what DDO members can or should be able to do online outside of this site.
Tsar of DDO
Greyparrot
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7/13/2014 12:57:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 12:55:52 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:52:13 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
So there is no value in being aware of the existence of fringe crazies?

That's not what I said, nor is it an implication of anything I said. Here are the problems with that question. If there is value in being aware of the existence of fringe crazies, that fringe crazies would not be allowed on DDO does not mean that anyone (even DDO members) would not be aware of those kinds of beliefs. This is because there is no restriction on what DDO members can or should be able to do online outside of this site.

Sounds like "it's a good idea, just not in my backyard" reasoning.
YYW
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7/13/2014 12:58:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 12:57:39 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:55:52 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 12:52:13 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
So there is no value in being aware of the existence of fringe crazies?

That's not what I said, nor is it an implication of anything I said. Here are the problems with that question. If there is value in being aware of the existence of fringe crazies, that fringe crazies would not be allowed on DDO does not mean that anyone (even DDO members) would not be aware of those kinds of beliefs. This is because there is no restriction on what DDO members can or should be able to do online outside of this site.

Sounds like "it's a good idea, just not in my backyard" reasoning.

DDO isn't my back yard, but the logic is similar.
Tsar of DDO
LogicalLunatic
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7/13/2014 1:16:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 1:36:39 AM, YYW wrote:
The New York Times published an op-ed about Stormfront entitled The Data Of Hate:

http://www.nytimes.com...

VIKINGMAIDEN88 is 26 years old. She enjoys reading history and writing poetry. Her signature quote is from Shakespeare. She was impressed when the dialect quiz in The New York Times correctly identified where she was from: Tacoma and Spokane, Wash. "Completely spot on," she wrote, followed by a smiling green emoji.

The article continues to talk about the site itself, and its membership:

The white nationalist posters on Stormfront have issues with many different groups. They often write about crimes committed by African-Americans against whites; they complain about an "invasion" of Mexicans; and they love to mock gays and feminists. But their main problem appears to be with Jewish people, who are often described as super-powerful and clever " the driving force, generally speaking, behind the societal changes they do not like. Stormfront members tend to be young, at least according to self-reported birth dates. The most common age at which people join the site is 19. And four times more 19-year-olds sign up than 40-year-olds. Internet and social network users lean young, but not nearly that young....I estimate that about 30 percent of Stormfront members are female.

This was surprising:

Among this age group, California, a state with one of the largest minority populations, has a membership rate 25 percent higher than the national average.

This wasn't surprising:

POLITICAL developments certainly play a role. The day that saw the biggest single increase in membership in Stormfront"s history, by far, was Nov. 5, 2008, the day after Barack Obama was elected president.

This is interesting too...

The top reported interest of Stormfront members is "reading." Most notably, Stormfront users are news and political junkies. One interesting data point here is the popularity of The New York Times among Stormfront users. According to the economists Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro, when you compare Stormfront users to people who go to the Yahoo News site, it turns out that the Stormfront crowd is twice as likely to visit nytimes.com.

But the typical story we're told about hate just doesn't quite cut it...

In the 1930s, Arthur F. Raper reported a correlation between bad economic conditions and lynchings of blacks. This led many scholars to the intuitive conclusion that people turn to hate because their lives are going poorly.

But evidence is increasingly casting doubt on this idea. In 2001, the political scientists Donald P. Green, Laurence H. McFalls and Jennifer K. Smith used more data and found that there was actually no relationship between lynchings and economic hardship. Lynchings actually fell during the Great Depression.

The economist Alan B. Krueger has shown that terrorists are not disproportionately poor. And the economists Roland G. Fryer Jr. and Steven D. Levitt found that Ku Klux Klan members were actually better educated than the typical American.

And the article ends with irresolution...

Return to VikingMaiden88. When you read her 189 posts since joining the site, she often seems like a perfectly nice and intelligent young woman.

But she also has a lot of hatred. She praises a store for having "100% white employees." She says the media is promoting a "Jewish agenda." And she says she finds Asians "repulsive physically, socially, religiously, etc."

Why do some people feel this way? And what is to be done about it? I have pored over data of an unprecedented breadth and depth, thanks to our new digital era. And I can honestly offer the following answer: I have no idea.

As a member of an online community that's been host to more than a few crazies of the kind that might be seen on stormfront and other sites like it, what do you think about this op-ed?

There can be a very appealing side to hatred. Many people do not realize this and they question why websites like Stormfront are so popular and why groups like the KKK have members.
What surprised me about this article is the fact that racists are often of above average intelligence.
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YYW
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7/13/2014 1:18:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 1:16:09 PM, LogicalLunatic wrote:
There can be a very appealing side to hatred. Many people do not realize this and they question why websites like Stormfront are so popular and why groups like the KKK have members.

Blaming someone else for one's problems is a coping strategy, albeit a poor one.

What surprised me about this article is the fact that racists are often of above average intelligence.

It doesn't surprise me, because generally people of less average intelligence aren't likely to be joining online communities to begin with.
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LogicalLunatic
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7/13/2014 1:20:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 1:18:26 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 1:16:09 PM, LogicalLunatic wrote:
There can be a very appealing side to hatred. Many people do not realize this and they question why websites like Stormfront are so popular and why groups like the KKK have members.

Blaming someone else for one's problems is a coping strategy, albeit a poor one.

Racists do not necessarily certain groups for current personal problems. They may believe that certain groups will cause problems in the future, or that they cause problems on a national level.

What surprised me about this article is the fact that racists are often of above average intelligence.

It doesn't surprise me, because generally people of less average intelligence aren't likely to be joining online communities to begin with.
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drhead
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7/14/2014 1:24:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/13/2014 12:43:27 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/13/2014 2:04:22 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Seemed kind of a fluff piece, really...seems like he could have spent like two hours on SF, Google, and Wikipedia to get it written. Which, granted, it's an Op-Ed, but still, I'm not sure there was a lot of rigour in it.

I agree. I just think it's interesting that an online community got a mention in the NYT, and that of all the online communities to be mentioned, Stormfront got a special.

Stormfront is the kind of place that beckons crazies. The way it works is that the nature of the content on their site -even though some of it is mundane- is what gets them together, and it attracts people with similar beliefs to come in and join.

The fundamental reason that I'm always going to oppose certain topics being discussed on this site, then, is because I don't want DDO to become an online haven for people to talk about how they want to have sex with animals or how they want to have Klan rallies.

I think that for people who have never really belonged to any online community other than this one, it's really tempting to think about things like free speech issues as "first principles" that can never be violated.

While I can accept that freedom of thought is important, balancing that against the need to keep this community from becoming a place like Stormfront necessitates that we uphold certain standards.

I'm even ok if some members make bold public statements in defense of people's right to post almost anything they want, so long as whenever people whose very presence on this site threatens its integrity are permanently banned.

The very existence of niche groups like Stormfront (and all kinds of others like it that cater to fringe interests) means that banning someone who wishes to engage in beastiality or someone who sympathizes with neo-Nazis does not violate their rights -even if they had rights. So, there are at once plenty of places on the internet to indulge in fringe-type behavior/activities and DDO is and cannot be a place to do it.

I'm going to have to disagree on this -- if people want to express their fringe views here, I'm fine with that. They'll either be torn to shreds in most cases if they are aggressive, or they will present their points calmly and in a civil manner as has happened most times issues like bestiality/pedophilia have come up. Every time we've discussed sensitive issues in a civil manner, it hasn't harmed us one bit, and it usually ends up being a lot more interesting than exchanging points refuted a thousand times with standard issues of the day.

The problem with groups like Stormfront is that most of the stuff they post is aggressive and condescending. I once ventured into the hellhole that is Stormfront out of curiosity. One thing I remember is their standing thread asking for any evidence that the Holocaust ever happened. No matter what was posted there, any dissenting opinions were dismissed without thought and drowned out by the clamor of the Stormfront circlejerk. That is the part that should be avoided, not the discussion of the topic itself. Personally, I think discussions of wildly unsupported fringe topics are fun -- it's like a race to see how fast you can get your opponent arguing in a circle. Or like playing DDO on Easy difficulty.

Fortunately, we already have rules in place against meaningless personal attacks, so we don't really have to worry about a neo-Nazi invasion any time soon. In the balanced arena of civil discussion, views with the most merit tend to rise up further. Neo-Nazi views essentially require their followers to force people into categories and generalize instead of judging people on their individual merits (which is an infinitely more logical choice, at least in my opinion), and seem to require themselves to be loud enough to drown out any opposing views to keep themselves convinced that they are right. If restricted from making personal attacks to bolster their own ego, they won't stand a chance in any civil discussion of their views.

I do not think we have the same to fear from groups supporting bestiality or similar things -- bestiality has been shunned in society for long enough that they have absolutely nothing to gain by being aggressive about it, and in most cases I've seen, the only thing that has led to hostility from people advocating bestiality/zoophilia is people who disagree with them engaging in personal attacks. If that happens, then the person who decides to personally attack someone is the one who should get banned -- they only came in to wreck a perfectly civil discussion. For the most part, the only topics which have problems with being presented in aggressive ways are religious or ideological ones, or ones where the instigating party is emotionally hurt by the issue from their side (e.g. people against abortion, which is probably a bad example due to how closely this ties in with religion). Even these issues can be discussed in a civil manner with a little self-control on the part of the instigator. Our focus should be on situations where the instigator lacks this self-control, and this should be applied equally to all issues (meaning finding a degree of enforcement that people are comfortable with being applied to all issues).
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