The value of a message board is the free exchange of knowledge and opinions among people of good will.
Freedom of unrestricted speech in such a forum is a privilege revokable upon profound abuse as defined by the board owners and their designees.
Political debate is an undeniably valid topic. People of goodwill may clash, sometimes almost violently within the context of debate on this topic. This is also appropriate as political beleifs run as deep as any, grounded as they may be in culture, race, geography, sexual preference, cultural background etc.
There is however a difference between political debate and thinly veiled hatemongering disguised as debate. It is my opinion that within the SDMB this line is being crossed more frequently and consistently than usual with little or no constructive intent or outcome.
Surely this has come to the attention of the administrators. Past experience lends me little doubt that if and when they decide to do something about it, they will do so unambiguously, resulting in stricter guidelines, and a loss of some of the benefits resulting from the first axiom. Perhaps things will die down on their own, perhaps not.
My prediction is that something will be done, unless we all show better judgement, and goodwill.
Therefore, I resolve the following:
When I participate in political debates, I will control myself like a responsible human being should.
I will not engage in wholesale attacks upon people based on affiliation with what are widely recognized as legitimate political beliefs.
I will not falsely imply that the perceived or real failings of any particular individual somehow construe these same failings upon other people of the same affiliation.
a. Bill Clinton getting a hummer, does not prove the moral bankruptcy of Democrats everywhere.
b. George Bush driving drunk, and endangering lives by doing so, does not prove that Republicans everywhere have little regard for human life.
I will be reasonable and specific in my conclusions and they will directly follow from the substance of my assertions. I will not engage in baiting.
When people not of my political affiliation engage in 1-4, I will hold my breath and count to ten before posting. I will not respond in kind. If I think a debate is worthwhile, I will either ignore the insulting rhetoric, or point it out politely. If I feel the purpose is total empty hatemongering, I will ignore it, or if I feel that I must post, I will post one, short, crisp, yet reasonable and appropriate reply. Then, I will not feed the trolls, even if they are political.
When someone of my affiliation engages in 1-4, I will feel it my duty to attempt to mitigate the offense as appropriately and reasonably as I can, in order to preserve the integrity of the discussion.
The signal should be sent that hatemongering is intolerable under any banner.