Things have been getting out-of-control here, and I simply donít have the time to baby-sit and ask folks to play nicely anymore. As such, I am laying out some guidelines, and the consequences of crossing said lines. Please read, and take seriously.
The following behaviors need to stop...now:
I understand that sometimes tangents happen, and relevant side points come up; this can make for a very interesting discussion. If it looks like itís veering away from the thread topic, feel free to start a new topic, or ask me to split it out into a new topic...I will also split topics as I see itís needed.
However... Intentional derailment will be dealt with harshly. Pulling a thread off-topic just to get in a shot at another poster, or to insert an unrelated opinion/issue in an attempt to gain an advantage in the debate isnít going to be tolerated anymore. if youíve got something that you need to say so badly, give it its own thread.
Also, please keep a debate in its proper thread...letís stop having the same debate across five different threads. We can have discussions on more than one topic going at a time, without them converging. Itís not that hard to walk and chew gum at the same time.
Stop making very broad generalizations or caricatures of a given group, lumping another poster into that group, and then dismiss them purely for being a member of that group. Religious, political, ethnic, smoker, lactose-intolerant, whatever. Stop it. Itís intellectually lazy (since you never even have to respond to the personís actual position), very inflammatory, and it causes any real discourse to grind to a halt.
Telling the other person what they think
Stop telling the other person what they think, and why they think it. Itís another means of dismissal and intellectual laziness, and it is equally irksome and destructive.
Making it personal
Donít make arguments personal; keep it to the topic. No name calling. Despite this being the internet, I donít think itís too much to ask for us to treat each other with some degree of civility.
EDIT by bosk1:
Another issue I have noticed that is getting to a level I am becoming less tolerant of:
Asking for threads to be locked, users to be banned, etc.
This is similar to some of the above, but is a specific type of derailing/off-topic posting. If you are annoyed with a particular poster or topic, and you think the discussion has gotten to a point where it is no longer productive, outright annoying, or whatever, here is the best advice I can give: DON'T POST IN THE THREAD. That's right. Ignore it. This forum does not exist so that all DTF forum members will be annoyance free. Topics here will annoy you from time to time. People here may annoy you from time to time. But you have no right to decide how many times someone can make a point, or whether they have the right to debate a topic or make a thread. That's up to the mods. And if there is no forum rule violation, I am not going to shut down the discussion. For some reason, when a thread pops up that some don't like and feel has been debated "enough," their personal OCD kicks in and they can't let the thread just be without feeling like they have somehow conceded defeat if they haven't posted. Get over it. This isn't a contest. You don't "win" anything by getting in the last word or getting the thread locked. I'll say it one more time: IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING ON TOPIC AND CONSTRUCTIVE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE DISCUSSION, DON'T POST IN THE THREAD. Simple as that.
These guidelines are now in effect. Flout them, and you can take a vacation from P/R for a bit. Make a habit of doing so, and that vacation will become permanent. As always, the general forum rules still apply as well. This isn't quite "zero tolerance", but it is "not much tolerance".
Among the folks who post here, there are a wide variety of experiences, philosophies, educations, and opinions. It is really frustrating that nuanced, interesting discussion gets completely lost as a result of the above-described behaviors. Iím not trying to clamp down on fun...the irreverence that happens in this forum is one of its redeeming qualities. I just want people to stop being jerks.