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  #101  
Old 11-27-2019, 10:07 PM
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Trigger warnings?
  #102  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
Trigger warnings?
Or just create a new forum "Safe Space", where people get banned from it if anyone finds what they say offensive or runs contrary to what in their opinion is a settled fact or not.
I'm only half kidding, I'd like to see that run as an experiment and see how long (not if) until it turns into a toxic wasteland.

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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
I don't believe we even have many threads in GD on the topics people are proposing we ban. It looks like you all are trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.
It's more of a bait and switch IMO, something along the lines of "well we already agreed that X is verboten and if you look at this other thing with the right spin and with a mindset of attributing the worst possible motives behind it, it kinda sorta resembles X when you really really want it to for tribal reasons, so it should also be verboten. And if you disagree it means you wholeheartedly support X."
  #103  
Old 11-28-2019, 12:01 AM
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Regarding "Settled Questions": there has to be a way to reopen them.

Let's say someone gets called out for referring to adult female people as "girls". And the board has it down as a settled question that it is sexist and offensive to do so.

The person who did so has a different thoughtful dissenting opinion. There needs to be a way to formally indicate that they want to suspend the "settled question" status of the issue, or to petition to be allowed to do so.
  #104  
Old 11-28-2019, 12:21 AM
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Let's say someone gets called out for referring to adult female people as "girls". And the board has it down as a settled question that it is sexist and offensive to do so.
How would such a question get settled in the first place? What if at the time that question is discussed, the board happens to have a majority of people who think calling women "girls" is fine? Would the question then officially be settled that calling women "girls" is okay?

Last edited by filmore; 11-28-2019 at 12:21 AM.
  #105  
Old 11-28-2019, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by tomndebb View Post
If the newly accepted rule or approach is major, I will withdraw from Moderating.
So you clearly don't consider the rule against hate speech to be "major" enough, given you're still a Mod. Or is refusing to mod older rules grandfathered in?

Last edited by MrDibble; 11-28-2019 at 12:38 AM.
  #106  
Old 11-28-2019, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
It's pretty rare in the thread itself, yes; though I have seen people do it.

But I think people mostly don't change their minds on subjects they take seriously on the spot, but gradually, or at three in the morning when they're asleep. Lots of people, for instance, changed their minds about gay marriage between, say, 1980 and 2010. I doubt very many of them did so in the middle of an argument, and on top of that admitted it in the middle of the argument. But I also doubt they'd have done so if not exposed to the arguments.
And what you described is extremely inefficient, which is what I said. It takes a really long time, and often doesn't occur at all.

If you read my entire post, you'll see the part of the post you quoted is within a greater context. It is about refuting the idea that, just because we don't allow something to be argued, we are preventing people from learning. That is incorrect. Those people can still learn from a post explaining what they need to know. If they choose not to learn, that's not my problem--we can't force you to learn; we can only offer the information, same as when we argue.

My point is that we don't have to permit the most vile shit to be said in order to have people learn that this shit is vile. They can learn it simply by the fact that most places won't let them say that shit. They can learn it by reading information why, including links. There's more to learning than simply arguing.

As for your specific example: how much was arguing what changed people's minds? Because, for most people I know, it was having gay friends, and getting more information. They didn't argue with a bunch of LGBT people or their allies.

I'm sure some were convinced by argument. I never was. I learned the way I learn most things--by reading what other people have to say and thinking about it. Not by telling them that they are wrong. My counterarguments had already been made, so my making them was pointless.

I'm fighting this idea that there is some duty to allow the most vile arguments to be made to adhere to our goal of fighting ignorance. I say we don't have to do that. We can use other tactics to fight that. Arguing isn't even the most efficient way to learn, so why treat it like the only way?

Last edited by BigT; 11-28-2019 at 01:14 AM.
  #107  
Old 11-28-2019, 02:06 AM
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Then don't participate. Obviously if others are, they've found something to debate where you haven't.
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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
Yet it's a way that that many of us enjoy gaining knowledge. If you want to stick to books, Wikipedia, and GQ, knock yourself out. I don't like thread games; that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a forum for them.
You appear to be arguing against something I didn't say. I did not say anything about shutting down GD, or that we should no longer debate because I personally don't like debate.

My statements about "settled arguments" exist in a context. If you look at the rest of the thread, you'll see I'm discussing such ideas as "whether the Holocaust happened" or "are black people genetically inferior."

So your counterarguments do not apply. It doesn't matter if some racists or antisemites think there is something there to be debated. There factually isn't. The argument is settled, and the bigots lost.

The context of this thread is that GD is broken. It has become so hostile that it has chased away one of our mods, who specifically says that actual debate isn't possible under the current conditions. So our proposals here are not about stopping debate, but removing barriers that prevent it from occurring.

It's perfectly possible that you think that these "settled topics" would not help. I'm not saying we are right, just that your counterargument needs to consider the entire conversation, not just the sentences I said in isolation.

I apologize if I have misunderstood your argument. But it definitely appears you are arguing against something I didn't say.
  #108  
Old 11-28-2019, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
And what you described is extremely inefficient, which is what I said. It takes a really long time, and often doesn't occur at all.

If you read my entire post, you'll see the part of the post you quoted is within a greater context. It is about refuting the idea that, just because we don't allow something to be argued, we are preventing people from learning. That is incorrect. Those people can still learn from a post explaining what they need to know. If they choose not to learn, that's not my problem--we can't force you to learn; we can only offer the information, same as when we argue.

My point is that we don't have to permit the most vile shit to be said in order to have people learn that this shit is vile. They can learn it simply by the fact that most places won't let them say that shit. They can learn it by reading information why, including links. There's more to learning than simply arguing.

As for your specific example: how much was arguing what changed people's minds? Because, for most people I know, it was having gay friends, and getting more information. They didn't argue with a bunch of LGBT people or their allies.

I'm sure some were convinced by argument. I never was. I learned the way I learn most things--by reading what other people have to say and thinking about it. Not by telling them that they are wrong. My counterarguments had already been made, so my making them was pointless.

I'm fighting this idea that there is some duty to allow the most vile arguments to be made to adhere to our goal of fighting ignorance. I say we don't have to do that. We can use other tactics to fight that. Arguing isn't even the most efficient way to learn, so why treat it like the only way?
But, you see, the problem is that once upon a time (and even now unfortunately), it was a "settled" issue that homosexuality was a vile thing that shouldn't be discussed,let alone accepted; and that argument was done from a position of absolute moral certainty. So the reason you got to see otherwise was because enough people said screw it and spoke up anyway.
  #109  
Old 11-28-2019, 07:22 AM
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Let me reiterate.

I’m looking for ideas here, not discussion and argument. Think of this as a brainstorming session. It may become a downstream basis for discussion but that thread is not this thread.
  #110  
Old 11-28-2019, 08:54 AM
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  #111  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:35 AM
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I think someone being able to moderate their own GD threads would be a big help. I doubt the board software supports it, so here's an idea of how it would work:

- In the initial post, the OP says that they are self-moderating the thread and that any warnings or thread ejections they give must be complied with. The subject should also have a designation like "[OPM]" so it can't be missed.
- When the OP performs a moderator action in their thread, they post a message in the thread as well as give a PM to the user about the moderator action. Since the OP doesn't have any actual power, the user is expected to voluntarily comply.
- If the user doesn't comply, the actual board moderators should step in and give official warnings.

With something like this, if someone doesn't want to be subjected to those rules, they would have the choice not to participate in that thread. But if they participate, there is an implicit agreement that they will respect the OP as a moderator and be subject to the typical penalties for not following a board moderator.
  #112  
Old 11-28-2019, 11:08 AM
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N/m

Last edited by octopus; 11-28-2019 at 11:09 AM.
  #113  
Old 11-28-2019, 11:30 AM
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Simple solution:

Keep the two forums as they are now, but change the names to Polite Debate and Politics.

Politics would NOT be like the BBQ Pit, but policing would be slightly laxer than Polite Debate, e.g.
"[Politics Moderator] This is just a Note but watch it, please! Tone it down. Until you can do so, you are barred from posting in political threads in Polite Debate. There, a comment like yours, almost insulting, would certainly draw a Warning."
Posters perceived as excessively partisan or furious — such as myself — would prohibit themselves from posting in political threads in Polite Debates, at least until zero Notes were accruing in the Politics forum.
  #114  
Old 11-28-2019, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I'm fighting this idea that there is some duty to allow the most vile arguments to be made to adhere to our goal of fighting ignorance. I say we don't have to do that. We can use other tactics to fight that.
Which is why, in the same post that you quoted, I suggested a different technique.
  #115  
Old 11-29-2019, 08:00 AM
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Some discussion venues will have two fora, one with a narrow topic ban and one without.
I'm thinking of one in particular that disallows religion, circumcision, I forget what else, all in one forum. But they're ok in the other. But these are Facebook groups where it's harder to ignore threads you don't find interesting. I don't really like the idea for SDMB but I prefer it to just telling people they can't discuss topics anywhere here.
I asked someone who actually posts there (I don't):
Religion, politics, circumcision, gun control, with a blanket "don't be a jerk".
  #116  
Old 11-29-2019, 08:05 AM
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Re: Elections, I don't have much interest in most of the debates that go on there. I actually follow some of the threads because posters curate political news I find interesting. Almost like MPPSIMS, with the extra P being politics. We could consider splitting out political debates from political news. I don't think that would take away anything current active posters enjoy, unlike some of the proposals here.
  #117  
Old 11-29-2019, 04:33 PM
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I feel like a split between adverserial and non-adverserial debates would be helpful.
  #118  
Old 12-01-2019, 12:10 PM
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Funny enough 538 had a recent article that may be of value to this discussion - we really are a lot like families fighting during Thanksgiving and it is possible to do that fairly well.
Quote:
... You’re Definitely Not Going To Win That Argument, And That’s OK

The science of persuasion is messy. We know that minds can be changed and, in fact, we know that interpersonal relationships are particularly powerful sources of persuasion. And, yet, Johnson told me, there are serial disagreements that families carry on for years but never resolve. That includes both personal arguments (like leaving the toilet seat up) and political arguments that are really about personal values (like climate change).

Serial arguments can sink relationships, Johnson said. But they don’t have to. “The belief that you can [resolve it] is important,” she told me. So is walking away from the situation feeling like you learned something, or like you taught somebody else something. Also important: Avoiding aggressive behaviors like yelling and name calling. If you argue productively, she told me, you can argue about the same stuff every Thanksgiving for your entire life and still have strong relationships with your sparring partners.

Arguments Go Better In Families That Value Disagreement

Another thing that affects the outcome of holiday arguments on family relationships is whether those families think disagreement is okay. In Johnson’s study of Thanksgiving 2016, she writes about two different kinds of families. The first, called “conversation oriented” families, generally allowed for less conformity — it was normal to talk about controversial issues. They came away from a particularly politically tense year with stronger feelings of closeness than the “conformity oriented” families who generally avoided talking about touchy topics and placed a lot of value on uniformity of thought. ...
FWIW.
  #119  
Old 12-02-2019, 09:54 AM
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Unless someone is able to bring "new" information to "settled" topics. I'd have no problem with having a list of out of bounds topics. Because it bring us to selective acceptance of facts and reality. That's basically "a fantasy world".

Like if you want to arguing that matter isn't made up of sub atomic particles. Unless you come from CERN and have startling new experimentally validated info, I don't want to hear, nor should I have to waste my time reviewing your uninformed opinions. No one should..

Also I'd like to see/demand consistency in people's arguments using cites of expert opinion or scientifically accepted facts.

If I ask 100 doctors their opinion about a diagnosis and 98 of they agree, the matter is settled. So why do we have people who would also accept the 98 doctors views, but refuse to accept such overwhelming agreement in other areas. Some will claim "they want grant money". Really? So why don't I see those same claim that the 98 doctors are agreeing just to get the money earned by a particular course of treatment?
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  #120  
Old 12-02-2019, 04:32 PM
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I've only skimmed the other replies. My suggestions:

Avoid specific rules. "Don't be a jerk" is good enough. Any rule more specific encourages some posters to play games and push the boundaries.

Actively give warnings for anything close to the "don't be a jerk" line. Too often posters, moderators included, write hostile replies. Not insulting, but negative and dismissive. There's too much of a "must win argument" culture instead of a "learn what others have to say".

(Personal aside: it affects how much I post. I'm here to learn, not to argue. I post only a fraction of what I might because too often the responses here are negative and dismissive with little attempt to understand. This happens even in General Questions; other areas are worse.)

Use multiple levels of punishments. Removal from a thread should be used frequently. Suspension of posting privileges should be used repetitively. Have a high, but non-specific, threshold before banning a poster.

Have a level of staff below moderators. Many hands make light work. Someone who has the authority to say "cool it" and officially mark a post as problematic, but not the authority to assign punishments. These staff would be able to quickly call out hostile replies, while actual moderators deliberate when punishment is needed.

In summary, moderation should be extremely quick to warn, very quick to forgive, somewhat quick to give thread-bans, very slow to give suspensions, and extremely slow to permanently ban. The desired effect would be to keep threads on-track and productive with quick, clear warnings, but without serious consequences to posters who are responsive. For example, a poster who replies hostilely would get a warning from a sub-moderator, but would suffer no penalty when their later posts in the thread were fine. Several jerkish posts in a thread would earn a thread-ban. Only frequent problems would result in a suspension, and a ban would require clear lack of intent to be a useful member of our community.
  #121  
Old 12-02-2019, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Notice how you started off by saying that certain types of argument are unwelcome, no matter how civilly they're phrased?

That's legit. The forum needs to apply this principle more broadly.

There's plenty of room for disagreements, even if certain points of view are unwelcome. Let's start off easy. AFAICT, there is nobody in the US Senate who explicitly denies the Holocaust, but certainly they don't suffer from a shortage of, er, spirited debate there, right? We could emulate their example.

That is, we need to recognize that certain arguments, no matter how civilly presented, are anathema to respectful discourse. Start with Holocaust deniers. Let's break with tradition and STOP PUTTING UP WITH THEM.

After that? Let's make a list of arguments that are toxic bullshit and that drive good people off. These might include:
-Suggestions that certain racial groups are genetically superior to others.
-Suggestions that certain political/socioeconomic groups should be the subjects of genocide (I see this more on my Facebook wall than here--it's what toxic Leftism sometimes looks like--but I think we could make a rule against it here).
-Arguments that granting equality to homosexuals will destroy America.
-Arguments that transgenderism is a sickness, or a sham.
-Arguments that blatantly defy scientific consensus based on conspiracy theories.
-Pro-pedophilia arguments.
A few comments on that. First, this fits with the concept that Manda Jo described as "settled questions". I'm not sure if there's an explicit need to codify them, however, as from what I can see they've been dealt with through existing rules such as those against trolling, being a jerk, or the specific one about "hate speech, racist epithets and racism". Posters advancing such views tend to be very short-lived on this board.

Furthermore, the issue at hand here is how to make GD a better place. The only way to do that is to attract and encourage better posters, not by codifying the prohibition of the lowest common denominator of offensive argumentation -- which is de facto prohibited anyway. The SDMB has been fortunate because of its history in attracting a critical mass of intelligent and thoughtful posters; I don't know to what extent this has declined (I can think of two valued posters who left within the past year or so for unknown reasons) but in my view it still remains unique in that respect among all message boards that I know of. We need more posters like that, not, in my view, redundant rules that say "don't write offensive crap". I would also raise the suggestion, as well, that occurrences of such posts seem to be rare in GD, although I only scanned post titles and OPs (going back to 2014) and for the most part not the contents of threads, so there may have been offensive material within the threads (or perhaps on other fora).

A somewhat more minor point that's been a bit of a hot button with me in GD is the business of so-called "witnessing". To be very clear here, I have no problem with someone writing a thoughtful post in the appropriate forum about why either religious faith or atheism or whatever has been helpful in their life. But almost all the posts allowed under this category in GD are just blatant and poorly written proselytizing, and worse, that category has been used to explicitly permit nonsensical drivel that appears to have nothing to do with religion at all and should have no place in any self-respecting message board. "I am Brian James Mingus and I am the King of the USA"? Yeah, that went on for several pages

I didn't see any other examples in going through the GD archives back to 2014, either because I missed them or perhaps because they were eventually cornfielded, but I know it's happened, and in one case a moderator ruled almost immediately not to bother reporting some nearly incomprehensible non-religious drivel because it qualified as "witnessing". It may not be a big deal but to me this kind of content demeans the board. There have been more than few such nonsensical threads peppered through GD -- not very many, thankfully, but enough to be noticeable. To quote Jonathan Chance when he closed a ridiculous UFO thread, "I like to think we have standards". So do I, and I think we should be more consistent about enforcing them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ale View Post
I'll just open with one thing, because it's very important:

A debate is not, should not and cannot be safe.
Anything else is, in essence declaring a or a set of unquestionable presuppositions as the one and only truth.

Quoting Chomsky:

"One of the ways you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there’s a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins. Namely, you have to make sure that both sides in the debate accept certain assumptions, and those assumptions turn out to be the propaganda system. As long as everyone accepts the propaganda system, then you can have a debate."

So yeah, allow Holocaust Denialist, I for one would be interested in what sort of people believe those things, why, what are they sources and what goes on within that "movement" at the moment so to speak. I rather suffer odious people, which I can always choose to ignore, than the alternative where someone decides what am I fit or not fit to see.
Chomsky's statement reflects his belief that the media typically adopt the basic framework of state and private power. While I wouldn't characterize responsible media as "propagandizing", there's a certain truth to his beliefs about their biases. But it has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion here, which is about improving the user experience of the SDMB. The implication that there is some attempt here to keep the debate to artificially narrow margins is preposterous. Namely because there ARE such things as absolute truths, like the reality of the Holocaust. This is not "making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins". It's making sure that the debate stays within the sane constraints of reality, rather than somebody's sick delusions or maliciously motivated fabrications. Your Chomsky quote is completely out of place and irrelevant here.
  #122  
Old 12-02-2019, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post

... After that? Let's make a list of arguments that are toxic bullshit and that drive good people off. These might include:
-Suggestions that certain racial groups are genetically superior to others. ...
I am fine with identifying a limited number of subjects, inclusive of that one, as toxic bullshit, and taking their posting as presumptive trolling, not enough to ban a poster, but enough to shut down the thread. If someone wanted to open a thread on one of those subjects I'd propose that they need moderator approval first with that approval based on their demonstrating that they have new and significant information to bring to the discussion such that the thread would not be only a rehash of what has been done many times before.

OTOH I see this op, in GD now, as a similar sort of behavior, or worse, as just baiting, taunting, someone to say something that would be read as offensive. (No I am not reporting it. I think it is within the current pale.)

Would you have ops like that also on the list? If the one, then I'd have the other. A GD op is an invitation to debate, to take up a position opposing the op. If the position opposing the op is considered offensive enough to qualify as being a jerk or worse, then setting up that as the op is being a jerk or worse.
  #123  
Old 12-03-2019, 12:04 PM
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Vision: I want Great Debates and Elections to become more inviting places for people outside the normal run-of-the-mill people that are so used to arguing with each other that there's really become little point. I'd like to see threads on topics other than politics and policy that count as Great Debates and I'd like to see more threads in Elections that are more than the two sides of American discourse slagging each other. It doesn't all have to be real world, nor does it all have to be American politics.

What I want in this thread:

Ideas, suggestions and bluesky ideas.

Well, I swore off posting in Great Debates years ago, and I strongly suspect it was the best decision about the boards here I've ever made. GD is filled with people talking past each other, attempted snark (that's really just hostility rather than humor,) bad faith arguments, and beating of dead horses. How do we fix that?


More moderation, I'm afraid. Pick any thread in GD, and most of the content of that thread doesn't address the idea of the debate, provide information, or advance a new argument. What if we got rid of those posts? Moved them somewhere or hid them, so the thread could be read cleanly? As much as people might dislike Reddit, what if GD only showed the posts with three or more upvotes? (You could hide the total number of upvotes so it doesn't turn into a popularity contest, and I think allowing downvotes would just be a disaster.) But having some automatic way to reduce the volume of dross in a GD thread would be useful. Sure, people can game the system through sock accounts or getting their friends to upvote their posts. But given the number of posts in a GD thread, who's got the time to do all that?)


I think having a minimum upvote for visible comment standard would weed out a lot of the useless and hostile posts, and if people really want to read that stuff, they can click through on the "this comment did not meet our minimum standard" link.
  #124  
Old Yesterday, 11:57 PM
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I posted this in ATMB regarding a set of "decided" subjects
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
I wouldn't give it an open thread for discussion. The idea crossed my mind but in the end it's just as toxic as randomly started threads every fews months. The rules should state the banned topic with a heavily cited description of the "decided" argument with a well cited "dissent" section. All mod admonitions on the topic would link to that. End of the fucking discussion.
  #125  
Old Today, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
Some possible solutions are to have a "requested topics" list thread to drum up encouragement for someone with more knowledge in a topic to start a thread. People may be more willing to get a low-participation thread going if they know people who aren't quite capable of joining in are still reading and learning.

Another is a "let's learn about X and argue about it" list thread. E.g. that tax topic I mentioned, I could post it there. iamthewalrus(:3= and maybe a few others could say that they're interested in learning too, read a book / articles about it, and start discussing in a new thread.

People could even use those threads to help jointly craft a good OP prior to starting a new thread.
I started a thread in IMHO: "Post your ideas for GD threads"
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=886417
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