Some peeps may have noticed that there was an election a few days ago, last Tuesday, Nov. 8th …

The basic fact of life today is that regardless of anyone’s political position, our national culture exploded into divisions that are now part of life in this country. That was reflected in the often heated election discussion here on Blab, among a membership that (proudly) has broadly diverse political views.

Here on Blab, we survived the first post-election week in good shape, compared with many another online discussion site (a record week for Facebook unfriending? ).

But now, as events move forward, imagine the kinds of feelings that are coming in the weeks and months ahead, each time the President-Elect proposes a new appointment or policy. And then, after he takes office, how people of various points of view will be reacting to everything that will be happening, from policy to government shake-ups to other current events. Imagine, just for a moment, what’s ahead for opinion discussion … we are living in those “interesting times”.

How will these feelings and reactions affect Blab?
A primary purpose Blab, as a hobby and collector website, serves for its devoted members is as a welcome diversion to the stresses of daily life. To let their enjoyment of their collection and their hobby take them briefly away from the less-pleasant non-model life stuff, whatever it is – job, discouraging news and social media, difficult life issues, all that stuff.

As a hobby/collector site, that is the real purpose Blab serves for its members – diversion and enjoyment. That’s what Blab puts its resources toward providing for its members.

Blab has always included off-topic discussion.

Through the years we’ve been through the fevered hot-button topics of politics, religion, pit bulls, horse color and a lot of other keenly divisive issues. At times, off-topic opinion has been a major part of the forum posting. Just from a personal perspective it has been powerfully interesting and instructive to hear a range of viewpoints and find out more about what it’s like to walk in other shoes. Such interaction can bring us closer as a community.

But …
As of last Tuesday’s election, Blab is finding that we cannot provide the high level of moderating needed now to maintain civility in political threads, in this new and far more contentious world of opinion.
  • It is deeply awkward and even unfair to ask mods who are part of the hobby community to moderate other hobbyists' political expressions. Especially when the mods and members also interact elsewhere within the hobby and even meet each other offline and at live shows.
  • Such moderating takes too much time and too many resources for a hobby/collector forum. Moderating political discussion is a heavy distraction from the real purpose of the forum.
  • And worst of all is having to moderate individual members who are on this site for their hobby interests, and who would not be in a moderating situation at all were it not for the political discussion.

So …
We are going to try to have our cake and eat it too, here on Blab. Keep the political discussion for those who want to engage, while minimizing the moderating burden and the effect on the rest of the site.

Political and current events threads will now go to this
new (linked) sub-forum under General Off-Topic.

Although Blab rules are in effect, in the political/current-events sub-forum mods will act only if a post is reported. Moderators will NOT try to keep up with the threads and posting.

  • Members who object to a rules-violation post should use the ‘Post Report’ button in the lower frame of each post (the triangle, mouse-over to see the description) to let the mods know.
  • Mods may report some posts themselves IF they are reading a thread, but there is NO commitment to review posting. Mods may not be reading the sub-forum at all.
  • Members who participate in the sub-forum but are unable to follow Blab rules in that sub-forum will be blocked from that sub-forum. So long as they don’t have problems elsewhere in the forum, they will retain their standard access to the rest of Blab.
  • Members who mods suspect of using the post reporting in a tit-for-tat fashion will be blocked from that sub-forum.
  • There will be no extended attempts to gain compliance from individual members. Arguing or defying the mods, and failing to follow mod direction, will lead to being blocked from that sub-forum.

Bottom line for this decision …
Political discussion is not the primary purpose of Blab; it is a side benefit for the members who come to Blab for the hobbyist/collector content, and are also interested in off-topic discussion. Moderating politics and current events should not become burdensome and awkward for the mods. We would like to avoid having an individual member’s problems in such discussions affect their participation in the hobby/collector areas. So, this compromise should enable Blab to function more smoothly in these interesting times.

Summary …
Blab is first and foremost a hobby and collector site, allowing people to enjoy their model horses with a little time away from the stress of “the real world”. As a community, let’s continue to allow the political discussion in a barely-moderated fashion in its own sub-forum, while putting the resources and energy of the forum behind the hobby and collector activities.

We need a NAME for this new forum … Suggestions?

Once we have some name suggestions we’ll probably have a poll for the name. Sounds ironically appropriate to vote on it …

My ideas for a name:
  • Forum for Civil, Reasoned Discussion of Current Events and Politics
  • Mosh Pit

That’s all I got, re name ideas. How about you?

Hope everyone understands!
Thanks for being the wonderful Blabbers that you are!