At what point do mods step in when a debate is getting derailed?

BTW, it seems like a brand new thread about Christian persecution has been opened…and Bricker is already in there taking potshots.

Hey, I was at lunch. Gimme a break.

They cut you loose for lunch now? :smiley:

I have to sneak away. Then the helicopters start showing up and I end up pretending I was here the whole time…just hiding in the storage room.

I am sure the mods will let me know if I have misstepped in that thread.

But that thread - as I observed in the thread itself - has a fatal flaw.

It starts out by carefully defining persecution as meaning victimized and systematically mistreated in a way that causes substantive harm.

And then a link is posted in which a (presumably) Christian author claims Christians are persecuted.

And the question is asked, “How can this be, given our definition of persecution?”

Of course, the flaw is obvious: the author of the linked persecution claim was not privy to the thread’s careful definition.

Not really.

I don’t want to inadvertently snipe, or draw discussion back to the issues of the previous thread.

But it seems to me that a key issue of the previous thread was the definition of "persecution,’ and it seems to me that the issue remains in this incarnation of it.

If someone wishes to link to a Christian claiming persecution, and point out that the claim is in error… is it relevant to point out that the claimant may be using a definition different from one in which the suffering experienced by the victim is sufficiently severe?

It seems so to me.

One cannot, in other words, impose a thread-specific definition for the word and then excoriate a writer who never saw the thread for using the word in a way contrary to the thread-specific definition…can one?

In fact, one can.

My goal here is to allow for a discussion of whether Christians are being unfairly singled out for negative consequences in the United States due to their belief. An attempt to define terms - especially one that goes on for pages - smacks of an attempt to handwave away the point of the discussion. Such in the new thread would irritate me. No one wants that.

It is possible to say ‘I don’t believe X is persecution’ or ‘I believe X is persecution’ with the understanding that others may disagree. It’s even possible to say why and I encourage all - in the spirit of good debate - to do so.

The thread can move forward with the understanding that ‘persecution’ is a slippery term without a need to ever and ever greater and finer definitions of the term. Should you wish to start a thread attaining a perfect definition of the term I encourage you to do so.

I don’t.

But the thread seems to me to be saying:

(A) THIS, and none other, is what “persecution” means.
(B) This is an example of a Christian claiming persecution
(C) He’s wrong, per (A).

Do you see my heartburn with that approach? What if the author is using a dictionary, not the thread?

My dog isn’t in this fight, and I generally stay away from forums full of Petri dishes for them, so to speak.

But in my experience–and I think this is germane to the thread under discussion–I have come up against this: 1) a thread drift gets good 2) OP’s " definitions, or, better, operating assumptions which are understood or clarified/worked/understood to be clear w/ respect to OP–initially he gets deference–are used for continuing blah blah drift. But then, when *in retrospect * of the discussion, two things can happen:

  1. Somebody looks back on the chain and realizes his point might be made better when he realizes, honestly, without guile, that in retrospect what was understood to be “clear” wasn’t, by his lights, and perhaps that’s where things went awry, as far as where we drifted to now. It might have changed

  2. Somebody looks back at the drift–and when you’re OP, or not into the drift, it can irk you–and hauls it back to OP as made “clear” then, way back in literal OP or soon thereafter. Thing is, the rest of the gang can think that ship has sailed.

But goddmamnit that’s the OP, you might think. But you gotta sulk off and start a new thread. But you’ll be damned because by rights (some rights), you’re thinking guys, guys, let’s get back to…

So you hold your ground, and the other guys hold their ground. Either that person–either somebody late to the thread or an original participant–can bug out/sulk off/pull a Cartman (“I’m outta here, screw you guys”, keep it up, or start a new thread. It’s a blow to the ego supported by his intellect. Truly. Same goes for the drift-guys the other way.

Ok, start a new thread. You just want to say it again clean, even though “it’s not your fault” that you (think) you have to. You think that others created that “fault” because only monomaniac or intellectually winded people would resort to that. And wonder if the mods will drop the hammer for same.

It seems to me that the author of that new thread wanted to define his way into forced agreement from everyone. But he really didn’t do a very good job. As I noted in the thread, that definition is extremely squishy and just invites debate about its validity.

Perhaps a better definition would have been something like: loss of property or doing time in jail.

The main problem I see with the threads is that the OPs are clearly posting them to say something negative about Christians. It does not come off as just an intellectual question. This will inevitably inspire Christians to feel the need to defend themselves.

Imagine if the thread were “why do black people feel victimized?” or “why do gay people feel victimized?” And then the OP goes on to say they think said claims are ridiculous and annoying. Would you not expect the group to come in and explain why they think that word fits their experiences?

I don’t know a single Christian that believes they are persecuted by the definition of persecution that you guys use. Claiming they do poisons the debate. The real question that you guys seem to be trying to ask is why some Christians seem to devalue the greater persecution of others while overstating their own persecution.

Note the use of the word “some” and the lack of quibbling over the definition of persecution, a word we know can cause contention. Instead, I accept their definition, but stick with something we can all agree on: the said persecution is nowhere near the level experienced by other groups. Surely even Bricker can agree that there is a phenomenon of some Christians overstating their own persecution.

And, yes, I know, it would be nice if posters would try to figure out what you mean for themselves instead of getting all upset. But I think that’s a pipe dream.

And as I pointed out in the OP, there’s nothing per se wrong with that. What I wanted to avoid was getting mired in a definition that was obviously bullshit to everyone involved.

And by easiest solution you mean the one where the mods don’t have to judge Brickers actions, correct?

Group hug.

This. Which is what Budget Player Cadet basically admitted to in the pit thread.

That doesn’t sound like much of a debate.

You admitted in the pit thread that “everyone involved” = “everyone who agrees with my definition” and that anyone else who didn’t wasn’t worth considering.

But that’s not the discussion that these threads are about.

The threads are about whether there is a mismatch between the level of persecution that Christians perceive and the level they actually endure.

So the question of what precisely Christians claiming persecution mean by that term is what’s relevant. You can’t settle that question by agreeing with other participants in the thread that you will use a particular definition. The thread is about use of the term by others who are not participating.

Not only agree – I explicitly said as much in the original thread.

You’re really this insecure? You needed to be told you were “right” before allowing the discussion to move forward? All while understanding what the thread was about?

So…this is about Budget Player Cadet trying to win an argument by finding a sufficiently weird definition and applying it to people who don’t mean the same thing when they use the term? Remember when Libertarian was doing his My Pretty Jesus threads where he would define a term by his specific (and weird) definitions (atoms are made of solid, condensed love, if I recall one of them correctly. Another was some kind of vaguely anti-Semitic thing about Jews) This smacks of that kind of thing.

Jonathan Chance: I generally like your moderation in GD but I think you should reconsider this. By this ruling, I could start a thread saying “I define “Global Warming” as the condition whereby the temperature increases everywhere in the world every day.” By my definition, if the temperature drops anywhere for any length of time, it disproves global warming. So here’s a bunch of cites showing people worried about global warming in places where the temperature dropped. So Global Warming is clearly false. Right? Right! :)"*

If the definition the OP uses is sufficiently stupid or vague, I think it’s a bad idea to make the rest of the thread to accept it as a given.
*Note, this is an example. I do not actually believe this.

Taking the points you raise seriatim:

No, I don’t agree this is any particular evidence of my insecurity, or for that matter of my confidence.

No, I didn’t need to be told I was right. I was debating a point. Typically, debate involves the concession by your opposite number of a point he has conceded. Since the point was not conceded, it was still in contention. For this reason, I continued to discuss it.

Yes, I did understand what the thread was about, as all my posts in the thread made clear.