I am a member of an online group of friends and we are having a little debate on the right way to handle political debate, conflict, discussions, etc.
We decided long ago to prohibit political talk in our regular forums and created a specific area for politics. That seems to work pretty well IMO.
Lately it has become apparent that this isn’t working for everyone. Conservatives feel outnumbered in the community as a whole and they choose not to participate in the political discussion for fear of getting ganged up on. Some of them participate on an irregular basis, join the group temporarily, throw a few barbs, and then leave. Occasionally comments are made that the political group is an echo chamber or a “circle jerk.” This makes everyone feel worse and uncomfortable.
We would like to encourage healthy discussion, and more participation of all beliefs in the forum but frankly, the conservatives want no part of that.
How would you handle it if you were in charge here? Leadership is leaning towards getting rid of the politics forum altogether and banning all political talk and opinion from all discussion. (Currently we redirect the discussion to the separate forum) I feel like this is letting the bullies win, who don’t even want to participate, they just don’t like that it exists.
If the forum is scrapped, the only outlet for political talk would be private groups that were invitation only. This might actually work but would be tricky to use for redirection.
The group is about 100 people, mostly male, mostly ages 25-45.