Forums for discussing social and political issues

Calgon, take me away!

Can you possibly recommend and online forums for discussion of social and political issues, hopefully where I won’t grate upon people too badly?

I like the BB forums, the people and the topics, but I feel like I am involved in a constant eggshell-walk of people resenting my input, which is frustrating. It seems that I am discussing the same topics as everybody else, yet I always get flagged, shouted down, and complained about as derailing. That’s not how it seems to me, I really am interested in the topics at hand, and am trying to work out real-world solutions in my life, just as others here are.

If you are tempted to simply mock me here, complain, commiserate and tease - then nothing happens except for more noise. But it you can suggest other interesting and relevant forums, perhaps I will leave! Then you wouldn’t need to read about my nonsense here.

Websites, BBS, IRC channels, whatever.

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Welcome to the Echo Chamber, please check dissenting opinions at the door

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I don’t follow. What are you trying to communicate?


Realistically, this forum isn’t much different than many others. The problem here, honestly, is your communication style, not all the other humans. People have given you pointed feedback on why they have issues with how you communicate and your manner of debate many many times. I’m not going to rehash them (as you’ve already been given the feedback) but I really doubt you will find a different reception in other venues.


By the way, no one has asked you to leave.


If people flagged me and complained on the basis of me having a style of communication they happened to find unconvivial - I wouldn’t like this, but I would find it much more honest and respectful than insisting that I am always off-topic. Even after I bailed from a topic earlier today, people are still replying to my posts, so this suggests that what I said was of some relevance to some participants.

It just stresses me out too much. I do put a lot of thought into my positions and what I say. It is easy for me to guess that my outlook on life is simply really unpopular here, So trying elsewhere might not hurt.

I think that there is a big difference between discussing a different topic entirely, and having unpopular opinions about the same topic.

I like you, and often appreciate your comments, but you are frustrating to communicate with on political topics because:
a) You ramble a lot. I ramble a lot too. But posting dissertations is not a good communication style for a forum. Nobody wants to read 1000 words in one comment unless they’re super funny or super informative in a really amazing way, and even then it’s iffy.
b) Your approach to language isn’t conducive to mutual understanding. I also can use some peculiar diction, but if I’m not snarking I try to use language that bridges understanding rather than forcing others to parse an ideologically constrained technical vocabulary that can call pets slaves.
c) You appear to justify yourself rather than trying to understand what others are saying a lot. Self-justification is annoying to others since it makes it look like you’re not really listening.
d) I’m rambling on at length here. Isn’t it tiresome?

All of those are a communication style that alienates others and results in long-running threads of people talking at each other rather than with each other. This becomes especially aggravating for everyone who’s not involved.


But why does this only ever seem to be an issue with social/political topics? My communication style doesn’t change, and, for the most part, neither do the participants. So it effectively seems like I am only “allowed” to discuss certain topics - excluding those which are most important to me.

Sure, but people often explicitly tell me to justify myself! And if I don’t, I get told that I am evasive or full of shit.

As for understanding what others are saying - that’s why I ask a lot of questions. Which usually go unanswered. If I wasn’t listening, I would not constantly be asking people for more details and clarification.

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On those topics you should assume that everyone

  1. has skin in that game
  2. has thin skin

I’d disagree. When you refer to pets as slaves you’re using definitions on your terms rather than the terms of the people you’re talking to (which you tend to do in political arenas). That’s a terrible approach. Language should be defined by use, and you should be trying to frame your ideas in mutually intelligible terms rather than using terms in a way that isn’t interpersonal.

Yeah, but they’re telling you to justify yourself because you’re saying really confusing things since you’re not trying to bridge the gap with your communication style.

If I see a 1000 word ramble saying weird things, I’m lazy so I’ll skim for the most objectionable bit and then nail that part to the wall. By saying things like “pets are slaves” you’re inviting that. If you were to say something more like, “animals are conscious and feeling beings and should be treated respectfully rather than treated like a curated possession” (or whatever it is you mean) where everyone’s going to understand what you’re trying to say then you’d be able to open up a more interesting discussion about animal rights and related things that promoted some mutual understanding, even if not all agree in the end whether animals are conscious/feeling/deserving respectful treatment. But you have to use language that suit your audience (which will vary depending on who you’re talking to).

If someone says “justify yourself!” you should try to understand where they’re coming from that they responded that way and adjust your communication style to try understand their point of view even if you don’t agree.


I suppose so, but that’s also a result of me trying to help other people by being more succinct. When I am told that I ramble and should instead try making simple direct statements, then people insist that too much additional context and unpacking would be required.

I think the topic you reference went quite well. Somebody latched onto a comment I made, spun it out into a separate topic, and there was a dialectal feeling-around which clarified the positions of all concerned. We probably don’t all agree, but everybody got to talk and more or less understand each other, which is I think how it should be.

In contrast, most topics about gender, sexuality, race, homelessness, classism, activism, etc leave me feeling like some clichéd cop busted my tail light themselves because they couldn’t find anything else to pull me over for. It doesn’t seem justified, even if I am awkward and annoying.


Gen X is so over. Millennials were yawn. The new generation is Generation Intersects (or Intersex, or InterX, if you will).

From this day forward, we all get called out on our shit.

The measure of character won’t be how often you get called out, but how well you respond when you do.


That’s not what I am getting at all.

I am interested in exchanging ideas and devising social structures, not having a personal identity.

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You made about 14 references to yourself as an entity or your personal patterns in the OP. About whether your personal identity should stay in this forum, or go to another.

If you feel like my personal feedback is off topic, perhaps rewording the OP is in order?

I mean, how can I possibly make a recommendation of what forum would be a good fit for you, if I don’t try to dream of what you are like, and what you prefer?


You have an identity whether you want to or not and your interactions with others are how they sort out who you are, so it’s in your interest to consider that aspect. Even if you’re cool with alienating people you’re better off being aware of why you’re doing it. Meaningful exchange of ideas requires some level of mutual trust and respect. You’re not going to get any social structure off the ground unless people respect both your character and your ideas.


Whether you’re interested in having one or not, you do, and it colors what you write and how your write it.

I must agree that I find reading what you write requires far too much parsing and qualification and it is still never really clear WTF you’re trying to get at with your long long replies. I often just give up, as I’ve told you.


Count me out of the Popo critique clique.


Do you have the constructive response Popo suggested then?

I dunno, I just seem to grok Popo’s angles easier than most… and I feel that to some extent, there’s an element of ‘stacks-on’ happening here; the BB hivemind has settled on a somewhat antagonistic stance in relation to Popo’s input, and I find that a bit tiresome.

I’m happy to accept Popo on its own terms, and when I fail to understand, I don’t immediately assume the fault lies outside my skull.


See, I feel a lot of people have engaged for a long time with Popo and that, even now, a lot of slack is given but there are only so many 1,000+ word responses of abstractness that most folks are going to read. A lot of forum threads feel like that to me. I’m reading in break times or while working on other things, not correcting an undergraduate philosophy essay masquerading as a forum comment. Sure, part of that’s on me (or us) but it isn’t all so.