[LMB] OT: Labels

Karen Hunt huntkc at gmail.com
Wed Oct 17 20:56:27 BST 2018


Several people have spoken negatively about this thread, so I will add my
own thoughts. Indeed, it has gone awfully far into the arena of current
politics. General politics is not forbidden on the list, only the
particularly fraught topic of American Politics is. The forbidding of the
specific topic does, however, have the effect of reducing discussion of the
general subject. For myself, one thing I've liked best about the list is
that it's been a place where we can leave that subject at the door.

Just right now, all forms of politics are extremely divisive and difficult
to discuss without upsetting people. I don't think it is wise to travel on
this road.

I will talk briefly of a prior time on the list...

Back in 2013, US politics tried several times to intrude on the list; I was
particularly active in cutting it off. People who knew nothing about the
current entity-to-be-hated were spouting foolishness about it, and those
who knew more weren't allowed to speak in any venue. People associated with
that entity went through hell (7 months of it openly in the media plus some
longish time afterwards less openly but just as bad); the media had gone
far over the top in its attempts to demonize them all - they'd found that
the more they said on the topic, the more attention and readers they got,
all at a time when it wasn't clear they were going to survive the arrival
of the internet. The effects were (silently) devastating to the attacked
people: Shop keepers and home-repair folk refused service to them, papers
and television said terrible things, neighbors made bad comments, friends
turned against them... And then there was family. There are people whose
relationships with certain family members will never recover. Some even had
to become known to the police as protection from being SWATted.

In the end, some accusations stood; most were shown wrong or seriously
overblown. Media just stopped covering the relevant topics whenever that
happened - no admission of wrong, no retraction of statements, just a
change of subject to some other accusation. The feeding frenzy finally
ended when then-president Obama made a speech telling the media to stop it
(stating they were "shedding more heat than light").

I understand the overwhelming desire to vent, particularly in the
oh-so-polarized now. Do I ever... But I've long appreciated the fact that
the list has been one place that's safe. A place where we don't have people
actively trying to hurt each other for their beliefs and voting
preferences.

I'd like us to stay that way.

Karen Hunt


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