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Is this forum just a place to vent and laugh?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jamie in Chile, Dec 29, 2018.

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  1. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Veteran Member

    Possibly related thread: Keeping the Forum Fun and Interesting

    As soon as someone put a pro-Trump thread on one specific issue an excuse was immediately found to shut it down. The anti-Trump thread ran for over >200 pages. It’s a clear inconsistency.

    I have learned a lot from this forum, but political/controversial topic threads on the forum are very pro liberal. If I found a story that went against the expected liberal narrative (e.g. someone used a gun to save someone’s life), I wouldn’t feel comfortable posting it on this forum incase it led to people questioning my motives or getting into an argument with me. I suspect that other people have also hesitated and not posted opinions/articles here that they knew wouldn’t be popular, and have posted instead other opinions at other times that they knew would fit the expectation. I feel this is a problem.

    I like intellectual debate where you can say controversial things (within reason) without provoking an emotional reaction. I think I should be able to say something controversial that goes against the majority belief. Anyone who believes that eating meat is morally questionable ought to be able to relate to this. But anytime I try to step slightly out of the mainstream liberal opinion on this forum with a controversial opinion invariably either someone attacks me and generates heat, or I just get ignored. It doesn’t seem to lead to a good intellectual debate.

    The funny thing is that I get the sense that people here on Veggie Views are very smart, more so than other forums. And yet there is fairly limited real intellectual debate in the sense of a polite, productive exchange of different views. When people have shared some opinions with me here, I’ve actually learned new facts, changed my opinions, and hopefully become a bit better person. I’ve actually learned from you all. But I also feel it’s a waste that we have so little real intellectual debate of substance and such exchanges are rare.

    Another problem is that there are likely very few spaces on the internet where conservative vegetarians can discuss and feel comfortable. I wouldn’t be surprised if as much as 20% of the people on this forum are more conservative than liberal, and just know to keep quiet on certain topics and avoid the political threads.

    I get that some people just don’t want intellectual debate, whether in general, or at certain times, or in certain places. I know some of you have serious personal, family, health, financial and other difficulties and sometimes just need some peace, a laugh, or an emotional release on a forum. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you are aware that the value of intellectual debate on this forum is limited by its liberal echo chamber bias, that you come here to vent only, and you go elsewhere for a real debate of substance.

    Do we want intellectual debate here and to attract differing views, or do we want to keep this as forum for liberals to vent and to chill out? At the moment it seems to me that it leans towards the latter. Is this something members are consciously aware of?
     
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  2. silva

    silva Addicted Poster

    Location:
    Ohio, U.S.A
    It's the right wing that has eroded environmental protections, is not willing to believe science in climate change, provides more assistence to those who need it rather than help those in need, and subsidizes the meat and dairy industry even when their food rots....there is no end to why vegans and vegetarians would be liberal.
     
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  3. Tom

    Tom Addicted Poster

    This forum does appear to be very left-leaning (as does VeggieBoards).

    One of the few conservative views I have is that I'm pro-life. I don't buy into most of what usually goes with that (e.g., opposition to birth control and same-sex marriage; the belief that God required someone to die for your sins). I would have thought that being vegetarian or vegan because one cared about all animals would fit easily with this, but it ain't necessarily so.

    I don't know that a website populated mostly by conservatives would have much more diversity, though. I live in upstate New York. While my area isn't quite as left-leaning as the New York City area, we're still quite solidly Democrat/Liberal. To get some exposure to "the other side", I sometimes listen to talk radio, and even slightly left-leaning views don't appear to get much welcome there.
     
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  4. PTree15

    PTree15 Beach bum

    Location:
    Connecticut
    I find it difficult to keep the emotion out of my defense of my left-leaning inclinations because the conservative agenda frankly makes my blood boil, mostly because it seems to have a complete disregard for others who are either less fortunate or not white/privileged/male/hetero, etc., not to mention the environment. I don't dispute that some people put themselves in untenable situations because of bad choices. That said, the privilege from which the conservative side speaks often is dismissive of others' station in life. Some people start off very much disadvantaged from the get-go and there seems to be no compassion for any of these people. To me, the conservative agenda is not-so-veiled racism and bigotry rooted in a maniacal need to make/keep America white and to keep people down with regard to economic enrichment. Also, some of these conservatives simply refuse to believe facts, truth or science, so liberals are shut down right away with defensive cries of "fake news" "snowflakes" and other derogatory retorts that stifle any reasonable discussion. I don't find it productive to bang my head against the wall in trying to rationally discuss differences of opinion when those differences stem from inhumane attitudes. So, yes, I guess VV is my place to rant/vent about my liberal leanings because most of my family and a good number of friends IRL lean more to the right.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  5. Amy SF

    Amy SF Dweller in nature

    I find VeggieViews to be a refreshing escape from much right wing opinion elsewhere on the internet, especially wrt to veg*anism and the environment. I feel I can safely express my liberal views and find support for them here. I came to VeggieViews from Veggieboards. I discovered Veggieboards in 2004 when IMDb had a lot of message boards. One user decided to start a thread criticizing hunting animals on moral grounds. I posted my support of her stance. So many hunters swarmed the thread and attacked both the thread starter and me with such venom that we both quit the thread, and I temporarily stayed away from IMDb. I decided I was going to look for a vegetarian message board where I could talk about hunting without getting my face ripped off.

    If conservatives feel unwelcome here, it's probably because many veg*ans feel that conservative views are at odds with the ethics of veg*anism.
     
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  6. KLS52

    KLS52 Only Kindness Matters

    When I joined VB 13 years ago I was very conservative and I found it very difficult. I still shudder at some of the dialogue from those early days. Even here, I’m not always comfortable talking about certain things...the fact that I’m a practicing Catholic...I feel like mostly everyone here is anti religion, especially anti-Catholic and anti Christian. and yet it’s weird that I don’t relate at all to today’s Christians.

    I also feel like there are a lot of anti-children views here where I think babies and kids are the bomb. I’ve gotten my nose out of joint on more than one occasion. So yeah, it’s hard being different, sometimes, so one does learn to keep certain things to themselves or at least not bring it up too often. Guess the cat’s out of the bag now, though, for anyone who didn’t know, lol.

    I think I’ve changed tremendously over the years and I like to think for the better. I do have some more liberal views now and I agree with everything that everyone has said here, so far, but I still have some conservative views, too. Like Tom, I consider myself pro-life. The difference is, that while I believe abortion is 100% the taking of a life and it would be wrong for me, I think women need to have the ability to make that choice.

    I think Jamie raises a valid question. As far as the thread that was shut down, I’m not sure how far it would have gone, anyway, with mostly everyone here having an opposing view. IMO, I think the thread was worded in a little bit of an antagonist manner so it evoked some negative responses. Conservatives should feel that they can post opposing views here if they want to debate/discuss, but it needs to be done in an appropriate manner. Responses should be made in the same way.

    I’m tired and losing my train of thought so before I really get to rambling any more than I already have, I’ll say goodnight. I think this is a good topic.
     
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  7. beancounter

    beancounter The Fire That Burns Within

    You brought up a number of valid points, and I will try to address a few.

    First, I didn't realize that the Pro Trump thread had been shut down, and I'm not sure why it was. My "Russian" comment was based on my personal experience. They are quite common on political forums, and the OP of that thread acted in a way that made me believe that he or she was a Russian troll. If you are interested, I can go into detail about the common characteristics of these people.

    This forum was originally intended to be a "safe space" alternative to VB. Where Veg*ns could go without having to deal with many of the type of jerks that haunted VB back in the day.

    Veg*ns in general tend to lean left, and the squeakiest wheels at VV, tend to be on the extreme Left. As such, a calm and civil exchange of view points is not possible here. So, yes, through the collective actions of the members, VV has become a place to laugh, vent and chill.

    With regard to you 20% comment - I suspect the percentage of VV conservatives is smaller than that, it's just that everything is relative. For example, I view myself as center-Left based on my interactions in a politically diverse forum, but I'll bet at least a few members here view me as a hard core conservative. :rolleyes:


     
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  8. silva

    silva Addicted Poster

    Location:
    Ohio, U.S.A
    I've had the impression Editorialist was a bot for some time
    I'm prefectly fine with conversative views, whether social or political. It's only when they get too one sided and start stepping on the rights and freedoms of others. For instance while I absolutely believe women should have complete rights to their own bodies I still view abortion as something that should be rare and the need for one preventable. I think both sides should come to an understanding of that and put more work into education and prevention
    I also am fine with people having religion, but can't understand why it should rule over laws or public education
    I wish there could be thoughtfulness in seeing that both sides have a voice rather than this tug of war that goes on. When the other party takes office things get totally trashed to suit the pleasure of their followers rather than caring about all citizens. I miss you President Obama....
     
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  9. PTree15

    PTree15 Beach bum

    Location:
    Connecticut
    I also suspected that Editorialist was a bot, which is another reason I didn't engage.
    RE: Abortion and religion: I probably would not choose abortion for myself, but I think women should have the option. I don't believe the government should have authority over women's bodies, period. Like silva, I agree that both sides should focus on efforts to prevent pregnancy in the first place.

    I am a lapsed Catholic, and yes, you could say I'm anti-religion, but I don't begrudge others who find solace, comfort or whatever in it. If it works for them, great. Just don't proselytize. This need of some religions to convert the world to their way of thinking/believing is more than annoying. I think of the atrocities committed in the name of religion and it makes me sad. Also, I don't believe religion has any place in government. The Christian right's desire to infiltrate the U.S. government really makes me angry. Not everyone believes in Christianity. There are other faiths as well, and they, too, have no business dictating public policy. There is a reason for separation of church and state. One religion shouldn't be favored over another, IMHO, and atheists and agnostics should be fairly represented as well. Foisting faith down someone's throat in the name of public policy is unacceptable to me.
     
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  10. shyvas

    shyvas Deity Forum Moderator

    I totally agree. All the members who have tried to voice a different point of view have left the forum.
     
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  11. Indian Summer

    Indian Summer One of a kind Administrator

    Thank you for your thoughts, Jamie, they're much appreciated.

    First off, regarding the suggestion in a few other posts above that Editorialist could be a bot: This seems unfair based on his intro thread. He describes himself as a Christian activist since 1966, lobbying for both animals and in human affairs. (Anti-abortion, but also supportive of some benign causes, including better health care.) Sure, he's probably posting the same content several places to some extent. I get the impression of someone who wants to maximize their impact without wasting time.

    I don't think the opening post in the locked thread was particularly well-written - more a rant, really, with some points that are easily refutable, and I could see the thread going downhill fast. So yes, I was probably subconsciously looking for an excuse to lock it, and was happy when I did in fact find something. I'll go back and edit my post later with the real / better reason ...
     
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  12. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Veteran Member

    I'm not saying you should be conservative, I'm saying perhaps we should be more open to conservative views. One reason to do so is that engaging with conservatives will be more likely to make them change. I think some minority of conservatives on some level deep down suspect that liberals are often right, but are resistant to change their mind because of liberal arrogance and unwillingness to engage politely.

    By all means, be dismissive and rude to someone who supports Trump full stop if you want (they are supporting a racist, sexist etc etc), but can we engage with someone who has reservations about him as a person but thinks that the border wall is actually a good idea, and wants to discuss the pros and cons of how to prevent illegal immigration. And can we do this without automatically wondering if they are racist just for bringing up border security?

    Sometimes the posts that I want to make are pro-liberal posts that I still hesitate to make because they don't fit the expected narrative. For example, I wonder if all the liberals focusing on the important issues of sexual harrassment and racism could be handing the white house to Trump in 2020 by not engaging with the masses on economy, jobs and immigration. Therefore I wonder if the Democrats ought to talk less about that stuff and come with some electable middle of the road positions on immigration and abortion. I worry to make this point here incase someone jumps on me about being dismissive to all the people that have suffered sexual harrassment, rape and racism. And then I start to worry about it that people might think that I am a closet conservative or a troll. This doesn't feel productive.

    It is not even just about liberal vs conservative (although that is one aspect of it). When I expressed anti-Christianity or anti-Israel opinions once or twice, I was perhaps expressing opinions that were more liberal than conservative, and that many liberals might actually agree with it. Some of you might agree with me that atheism/agnosticism makes more sense, or disagree with the current policies of Israel. But by expressing my opinions rather bluntly and admittedly without much tact, I was crossing a line for some people in the sense of saying something un-politically correct or that might offend others, even though they might agree with it. I think this is also a concern. This is where concern about offense touches into infringement about free speech which I think is a genuine issue that the liberal movement suffers from. Liberals try to avoid this issue by pointing out correctly that far right use free speech to defend toxic bigotry, which is a genuine concern, but it is also a genuine concern that some progressives/liberals try to stifle free speech too mention. There is a balance there to be had.

    What concerns me is we have a bit of an echo chamber effect, where we are reinforcing our own liberal views without realizing it. Not ALL of our liberal views are correct. It's a curious fact of the human mind that we seem to be in a constant state of thinking our current opinions are the ones we will hold forever, even thought we have constantly changed them up to this point!

    I want to be able to discuss intellectually. But I also don't want to spoil people's day, that come here after a hard day to just chill out and see something that spoils their day.

    A possible solution might be a part of the forum that is somehow separate, where the threads don't appear in the recent posts or new posts section, that doesn't show the latest thread, and can't be seen unless someone has clicked into this section.

    There is a balance to be had. I'm not saying we should welcome people coming here and saying that gay marriage is a sin. There are some things that are just flat out offensive or stupid. But perhaps we should be more willing to engage with people in the centre, moderate Republicans, and we might learn something.
     
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  13. Indian Summer

    Indian Summer One of a kind Administrator

    I think maybe what silva and some others were expressing were the effects of extreme polarisation in U.S. politics, and how much factually hinges on removing the incumbent president and whole administration, really. Can you imagine any other leader of a supposed non-corrupt first world country who, when presented with the body of evidence for androgenic global warming collected by the finest minds of the field, respond with: "I don't believe it"? And then that's the end of that. There is a lot at stake here, also beyond climate change, e.g. Trump's judges to the Supreme Court, which the country will have to suffer with for many decades.

    Which again makes it hard to keep emotions out of it.

    I've experienced my fair share of, let's say, unkind feedback over the years on VB as well as here, for some of my opinions which were, I suppose, non-PC. So I know how this works.

    For example, on the day after the Brexit referendum in 2016, I said "congratulations U.K." and at some point made an even more unfortunate comment (which came from a place of deep frustration with the housing market). From then on one member was on an on-and-off vendetta against me.

    I think there is a need for kinder, gentler, more forgiving debate, and for not holding grudges. One should be allowed to be wrong, one should be allowed to disagree, especially if one can give a seemingly coherent argument for it. Often, the important thing isn't the opinions themselves, but the reasoning and values at the bottom of it all.
     
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  14. Amy SF

    Amy SF Dweller in nature

    I agree with Indian Summer that the thread would have gone downhill fast had he left it open. Conservatives may criticize the fact that liberals dismiss their views without listening, but that doesn’t mean that liberals HAVE to listen to conservative views, even on VeggieViews. All that thread would have done is produce a lot of angry arguments and possibly result in one or more people leaving VeggieViews, possibly permanently, over the expressions of negative feelings. Maybe some people here welcome opposing views, but not many. And certainly not wrt Trump and his policies. I honestly don’t think both political sides can have rational discussions with each other where Donald Trump is concerned, given people either love him or hate him; there’s no middle ground.
     
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  15. beancounter

    beancounter The Fire That Burns Within

    Bingo. This is a big problem with the extreme Left.
     
  16. silva

    silva Addicted Poster

    Location:
    Ohio, U.S.A
    I miss being able to converse with others to debate our different opinions. When I was young it seemed I could accept other views I found ineffective, or wrong, but not outright dangerous and hateful!
    That last thread seemed like a bot or something to me because I can't come to terms with someone who states they're all about advancing humanitarian and animal rights causes, then writes a thread that causes human suffering and has the potential to cause extinction of species!
     
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  17. Indian Summer

    Indian Summer One of a kind Administrator

    On an IT-related forum I'm on, politics is mostly not a topic, though on some rare accounts when it does come up, I'm often negatively surprised by the number of what I thought were educated people who hold strong Trump sympathies. One guy is so out-there (a complete gun wacko), that I've decided to ignore most of his other posts after that. It's my silent protest against the guy, since politics isn't really an acceptable topic on there.

    I wonder if what many here are subconsciously afraid of, is, if we don't react at all when one trumpist shows up, if we don't react in a way that will chase them away, then more and more trumpists will accumulate over time, until they ompletely ruin the community.
     
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  18. silva

    silva Addicted Poster

    Location:
    Ohio, U.S.A
    It is incredibly hard to tell the difference between a 'dog whistle' and I innocent remark! For me that means the ones putting it out there should be aware of how it comes across to others, to the right it's seems the say it's their right and others need to be less sensitive. This is hard because liberals understand that oppression can't be undone by simply correcting laws and saying 'get over it'. One the one hand you don't want to crucify every innaproprite comment, but I do expect those comments should be acknowledged as hurtful and unhelpful and corrected.

    Support for Trump is truly where I draw the line in what I will not stand.
    There are plenty of Republicans and conservatives who will work for all, as well as Democrats and liberals. I do naturally give liberals more allowance because that's how I lean, but it doesn't mean I'm unwilling to understand how the other side feels and what they want
     
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  19. PTree15

    PTree15 Beach bum

    Location:
    Connecticut

    I do not think it boils down to only the polarization in U.S. politics. I do agree that the extremes on both sides seem to be the most vocal, but that didn't start with the Trump election. It's been going on for years, and I believe the polarization stems from a reaction from the other side to a concerted effort on the part of the far right to roll back America to the 1950s and before, when white men were the majority power and oppression of people of color and women ruled the day. There has also been an effort, since the Reagan years, I believe, to squelch debate and keep the wealth in the hands of a few. The erosion of civil liberties (exacerbated by 9/11) and anti-trust laws, the rise of corporate welfare, the decreasing protections of free speech/press and the steady decline in funding for environmental protection, education and other social safety nets in the interests of furthering the philosophy of trickle-down economics have helped bring us to where we are today. Education is now viewed as elitist. That has been one of the more shocking evolutions to come out of the conservative agenda. Opposition to government policies is considered unpatriotic. Party over people seems to be the prevailing sentiment politically, and that to me is dangerous. It's all about power and wealth, and party leaders are more interested in furthering the party money machine than in representing the public who put them in office. It's why I've never aligned myself to any party. So many Democrats were enraged and disillusioned when it came to light that the DNC railroaded the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton. I would love for third parties to become viable contenders, but I don't see that happening with the money machines that continue to churn for both major parties. Both parties have a death grip on the power and money.

    Also, White America, especially the far right, but also many well-meaning liberals and moderates refuse to confront institutional racism/sexism/bigotry, some of which is completely unintended on their parts. White people get really defensive if it is pointed out to them that they aren't aware of their own inherent biases. I've had to educate myself on the points of view of others who are different from me, and it has indeed been an education. Just by virtue of being white, I have a huge advantage of never having to think about the consequences of the color of my skin. People of color do not have this luxury.

    With regard to your last point, IS, the problem with many of these opinions that liberals oppose is that they are a reflection of values that people on the left can't abide. Nationalism, tribalism, popularism, etc., are all rooted in fear, fear of others who are different. Economic inequality also feeds this fear. It's part of the same rationale Hitler used to further the rise of the Nazis. I am by no means a socialist (though I favor national health care); I'm all for capitalism, but it has to be on a more even playing field. Helping those who don't need it only further enriches the wealthy; they don't need the help. Small businesses, the self-employed, the entrepreneurs are taxed to death. The government gives lip service to fostering small business and innovation, but innovation gets killed by the corporate behemoths that don't want competition because it might cut into their profits.

    @Jamie in Chile Perhaps I've missed a few of the more heated political debates, but your characterization of being jumped on when you express thoughts people oppose highlights my point of people being so defensive/sensitive when trying to discuss politics. It's one thing if you've been attacked personally (name-calling, etc.), but if people are taking issue with your position, isn't that what debate is all about? There are people who believe racism/sexual harassment are as important as jobs and the economy. We all have to be prepared that our views might be challenged; that's the nature of debate. Fearing backlash or opposition does not foster debate.

    Also, I'm not sure I would want a forum that does not notify me of posts and whatnot. That, too, has the potential to become an echo chamber. I want to be aware of opinions and views that differ from mine.
     
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  20. blues

    blues World Class Member

    One of the drawbacks with the site is that at times the majority of post are from the USA.
    It shouldn't matter what side of the political spectrum you are, conservative or liberal both should be made welcome.
    The reasons for someone to turn to veg*anism can be quite varied.
     
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