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This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

We would like to avoid these negative dynamics. Accordingly, we ask that you do not use this thread for waging the Culture War. Examples of waging the Culture War:

  • Shaming.

  • Attempting to 'build consensus' or enforce ideological conformity.

  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

  • Recruiting for a cause.

  • Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

In general, you should argue to understand, not to win. This thread is not territory to be claimed by one group or another; indeed, the aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. Thus, we also ask that you follow some guidelines:

  • Speak plainly. Avoid sarcasm and mockery. When disagreeing with someone, state your objections explicitly.

  • Be as precise and charitable as you can. Don't paraphrase unflatteringly.

  • Don't imply that someone said something they did not say, even if you think it follows from what they said.

  • Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.

Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

Transnational Thursday is a thread for people to discuss international news, foreign policy or international relations history. Feel free as well to drop in with coverage of countries you’re interested in, talk about ongoing dynamics like the wars in Israel or Ukraine, or even just whatever you’re reading.

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?

This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.

Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.

Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

Transnational Thursday is a thread for people to discuss international news, foreign policy or international relations history. Feel free as well to drop in with coverage of countries you’re interested in, talk about ongoing dynamics like the wars in Israel or Ukraine, or even just whatever you’re reading.

15

Well, the site got dumped. I have a bad habit of hoarding tabs, and I've got two pages worth of posts still open, so I'm going to copy-paste them here in raw text so people can salvage what they can. Anyone else who still has pages open, feel free to join in.

16

Very sorry about this one, guys.

For reasons that I'm currently unsure of, the database decided to eat itself. I'm giving it something like 40/40/20 "hacker", "postgres bug", or "host glitch".

The site currently has two different backup methods. The manual backup triggers whenever I do a site update; the last site update was on 1/31. The automatic backup is supposed to be daily, and I check it once in a while to make sure it's working. It's been working literally ever since before the main Motte site was launched . . . and it broke on 2/4. Good timing, thanks, system.

In theory, the quality-contribution system captured all reported quality contributions during this time. I'll try to retrieve those. Any opinions on whether I should just go ahead and repost them, or whether I should send them to the person so they can repost them?

I do have a dump of a bunch of text snippets that are all that was left of the database. If you remember some phrases you used I might be able to retrieve parts of lost posts. That said, someone's tried this with a few posts and got 0/2, so absolutely no promises here. Feel free to ask though! If you want to take data recovery more seriously, make a copy of your browser cache, which can then be pored over to find people's posts. I'm not totally sure how important this is, but I bet at least a few people will be sad to lose effortposts they made.

I've fixed the backup issue and set up better monitoring so it will yell at me if it fails again. I've also temporarily increased backup frequency to hourly, just in case there's some serious stability issue right now that I'm not aware of. The good news is that this shouldn't happen again, at least with as much lost data. But that doesn't really fix this one.

Apologies again.

This too shall pass.

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

We would like to avoid these negative dynamics. Accordingly, we ask that you do not use this thread for waging the Culture War. Examples of waging the Culture War:

  • Shaming.

  • Attempting to 'build consensus' or enforce ideological conformity.

  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

  • Recruiting for a cause.

  • Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

In general, you should argue to understand, not to win. This thread is not territory to be claimed by one group or another; indeed, the aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. Thus, we also ask that you follow some guidelines:

  • Speak plainly. Avoid sarcasm and mockery. When disagreeing with someone, state your objections explicitly.

  • Be as precise and charitable as you can. Don't paraphrase unflatteringly.

  • Don't imply that someone said something they did not say, even if you think it follows from what they said.

  • Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.

Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

15

This is the Quality Contributions Roundup. It showcases interesting and well-written comments and posts from the period covered. If you want to get an idea of what this community is about or how we want you to participate, look no further (except the rules maybe--those might be important too).

As a reminder, you can nominate Quality Contributions by hitting the report button and selecting the "Actually A Quality Contribution!" option. Additionally, links to all of the roundups can be found in the wiki of /r/theThread which can be found here. For a list of other great community content, see here.

These are mostly chronologically ordered, but I have in some cases tried to cluster comments by topic so if there is something you are looking for (or trying to avoid), this might be helpful.


Quality Contributions to the Main Motte

@MadMonzer:

@George_E_Hale:

@Meriadoc:

@LetsAllSitDown:

@themoosh:

@FarNearEverywhere:

Contributions for the week of January 1, 2024

@ymeskhout:

@FiveHourMarathon:

@100ProofTollBooth:

@firmamenti:

@Capital_Room:

@gog:

@George_E_Hale:

@gattsuru:

@To_Mandalay:

@papardus:

@Hoffmeister25:

Contributions for the week of January 8, 2024

@Folamh3:

@NullHypothesis:

@FiveHourMarathon:

@rayon:

@gattsuru:

@RandomRanger:

@ControlsFreak:

@Amadan:

Contributions for the week of January 15, 2024

@ymeskhout:

@doglatine:

@SSCReader:

@gattsuru:

@HlynkaCG:

@FiveHourMarathon:

Contributions for the week of January 22, 2024

@Martian_Expat:

@kopperfish:

@FiveHourMarathon:

@felis-parenthesis:

Transnational Thursday is a thread for people to discuss international news, foreign policy or international relations history. Feel free as well to drop in with coverage of countries you’re interested in, talk about ongoing dynamics like the wars in Israel or Ukraine, or even just whatever you’re reading.

8
post thumbnail

Aaaand we're back!

The goal of this thread is to coordinate development on our project codenamed HighSpace - a mod for Freespace 2 that will be a mashup between it and High Fleet. A description of how the mechanics of the two games could be combined is available in the first thread.

Who we have

Who we need

The more the merrier, you are free to join in any capacity you wish! I can already identify a few distinct tasks for each position that we could split the work into

  • developers: “mission” code, “strategic” system map code

  • artists: 2D (user interface), 3D (space ships, weapons explosions)

  • writers: worldbuilding/lore, quests, characters

  • testers: the way the any program works always makes sense to the developer, so feedback from people who aren't me is always appreciated. This is a pretty easy way to get involved, though it does require an initial investment of buying Freespace2, at least until we manage to turn it into a proper total conversion, and use only our content.

A small note if you want to contribute:

Don't be afraid to ask questions however small, or silly you might find them. This is literally one of the primary functions this thread has. The Hard Light documentation is... there... but it's not great, and between that, the peculiarities of LUA, the FS2 scripting API, RocketLib, and other parts of FS2 modding, it really might not be obvious how to resolve issues you run into. I might not be able to answer all questions, but I've dabbled in all these things, so there's good chances I might be able to help.

What we have

  1. Capital ships

  2. Fighters

  3. A cruiser, loaded in-game

  4. Turntable render for a cruiser

  5. Turntable render for a destroyer

  • Some of the ships concepts are now imported into the game

  • A proof of concenpt for “strategic” system map we jump into on start of the campaign. It contains a friendly ship and 2 enemy ships, you can chose where to move / which enemy ship to attack.

  • A “tactical” RTS-like in-mission view where you can give commands to your ships.

  • A somewhat actual-game-like workflow. Attacking a ship launches a mission where the two ships are pitted against each other. If you win, the current health of your ship is saved, and you can launch the second attack. If you clean up the map you are greeted with a “You Win” message, or “You Lose” if you lose your ship.

Updates

November was a mess for me IRL, December was Christmas time, and even though January was busier than I would like, I managed to get some work in. The biggest change is the Battle Group split / merge feature. Also did some refactoring because there were way too many ship lists to keep track of whenever any ship is was added / removed, but of course that's not the kind of thing that lends itself to flashy gifs. Another change that I managed to get in back in November is setting up debugging with EmmyLua which helps in development a lot.

Bugs found

  • Cannot jump into mission without “Alpha 1” being present in group
  • Crash on win/lose of the game
  • System map targetting is off - sometimes the target ship moves on before you reach it

What's next

  • Improve the simplified orbital mechanics

  • Fixing the bugs

  • AI code for System View ships, first for plotting the course, and if time permits for some basic enemy movement as well.

9

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

1

Over the past year I've made a number of cryptic posts regarding consciousness, language, and the slippery notion of "self," "identity," or "self-concept," particularly in the era of digital and social media. I am still toying with the idea, but here are some of its pieces which may hopefully lead to fruitful discussion, copied and somewhat cleaned up from loose drafts written over IRC:

Point 1. Our entire experience and world of accessible thought is circumscribed by language. This is similar to Wittgenstein's notion of "language games," in which we use words as tools to conceptualize and model the structure of the world. However, crucially, it is impossible to escape from this linguistic framing; there does not exist any point outside of language from which it becomes possible to "objectively" assess or analyze language from a detached point-of-view. Our world is in fact circumscribed by the expressivity of our language (with allusions to strong Sapir-Whorf here).

Point 2. Our consciousness is lexical, linguistic, metaphorical, and narrative in structure This is an idea from Julian Jaynes' "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind," where he discusses linguistic metaphor, of how we use concrete concepts, ideas, and words, things we already know, to analogize, or make helpful comparisons to, what is unknown. He brings up the example of the word "to be," and the concept of existence, which is so philosophically abstract and removed from any concrete experience of hunting for game through the savannas or foraging for wild berries, that we simply didn't have a word for "existence," or "being" until Sanskrit speakers came up with the metaphor of "bhu," which literally means "to grow," but in fact serves as the etymological root for the english word, "to be." Hence we have analogized from the familiar concept, and the word we have attached to it, "grow," to the unknown, the metaphysical, and the abstract notion of "being."

Do you "see" what I'm saying? Of the way we can leverage language used to describe one sensory faculty, vision, to make statements of others - sound and thought? How the web of loose associations and connotations carried by the sense of the word "see" can extend outwards and be applied to speech and thought, shading in the word "saying" with its depth of nuance? Of how we proceed from the "knowledge primitive," the immediately apprehensible concept of "sight," to build mental machinery and cognitive tools that allow us to talk about the invisible world of ideas? Of how we can apply our knowledge in one domain to build analogical bridges to, and footholds in, others? So it is, too, with the self - when exploring the territory of the self, we can only use our existing language and vocabulary, rooted in the physical world of the five senses, to build maps that hope to capture the immaterial nature of the psychological world of "self."

Jaynes hypothesizes that essentially all language and thought operates on this metaphorical basis, including consciousness itself, and our own internal concepts and notions of self. Jaynes believes that a fundamental characteristic of human conscious experience is the creation of a "metaphorical self," a model of who we are, which he calls "the analog 'I'." We draw on our existing spatiotemporal experiences in the physical world to construct a spatiotemporal metaphor in our internal psychological world, a "simulation" of ourselves. We picture ourselves in our heads, going about our day wondering about how action A may lead to consequence X, and instead action B may lead to consequence Y... That little mini-me we simulate in our head? That is the "analog I," the metaphor we have of ourselves; and in addition to being spatiotemporal, of physical bodies moving around in a 3D space and through time, it is also narrative in that our metaphor of self is fundamentally driven by a story we tell about who we are, that links together events in time into a coherent thread of why we are the way that we are right now.

Point 3. The media we inscribe our language upon, both constrains and influences what kind of language we can use to express ourselves. This is weakly inspired by Marshall McLuhan, "the medium is the message," and how the structure of the medium actually imparts information of a fundamentally different quality from messages expressed through other media. Here's the most salient example in modern day social media: Twitter. Until a few years ago, the medium of Twitter literally and technically forbade you from being able to write Tweets over 280 characters; it is literally putting a hard cap on the maximum complexity and information content of your speech. Hence the emergence of "hot takes," soundbytes, and other 15-second quips that are devoid of any actual rich philosophical insight and other garbage short-form "junk food" content.

So too with our selves - where previously we had to be content with cave drawings, statues, paintings, that loosely gestured at a human being, and invited us to consider what the actual person the medium depicts was really like, now we have 4K, HD, 24/7 real-time streaming of everyone's lives in minute detail. Now we have photoshop, and airbrushing, and filters, and /r/instagramreality. Instead of the literary, artistic, oil on canvas language of the self, of ink and scrolls and paper, we now have a photorealistic, even hyperrealistic, more-real-than-reality language of the self that no longer invites speculation, that no longer invites discourse and discussion to learn more about the man behind the photo. In some ways all of that beating around the bush is obsolete - we know exactly who you are, pixel by pixel, right here - and so there is little left of pondering what the content of the man's soul is.

In fact, the man's soul has already died; there is no room for it in modern discourse, for science has assured us of its nonexistence. The pixels themselves are sufficient - a Johnny Silverhand facsimilie of a human being, necromantically reanimated into the pixels you see on your screen. The self, the "soul," is obsolete. We can capture your "psychological engram," in the lingo of Cyberpunk 2077, and implant it into another mechanically augmented body, preserving your entire being even across the horizons of death. We can make the cyborg, the pixels, the videos, move, talk, and walk exactly as you do; the self from which the "engram" is taken is no longer needed, and can be put through the incinerator, because Johnny Silverhand is sitting right there, playing guitar from his newly occupied cyborg body, the exact same way he used to until he was shot in the chest in the year 2023.

Our stories, our narratives of ourselves, the languages we use to describe ourselves, have all attained such a high level of definition, that there is nothing left to the imagination, nothing left for the viewers and audience to fill in. As McLuhan calls it, the Internet is a "hot" medium, contrasted with "cool" media that sketch in as few points as possible and leave the rest up to the audience to interpolate between. It's the mystery, the lack of definition, the feeling that there is more information behind the pixels, that sustains belief in some kind of immaterial "psyche" or "soul" behind the sense data assembled into the selfie, the self-portrait. There is no longer any mystery; ourselves have become coextensive with their digital representation. What is on the screen is in the man, and everything that is in the man is on the screen.

Point 4. The confusion of symbols of things, with the things in themselves I will defer to Alan Watts here who summed up the idea so eloquently (emphasis mine):

For on the one hand, there is the real world, and on the other, a whole system of symbols about that world, which we have in our minds. These are very, very useful symbols. All civilization depends on them. But like all good things, they have their disadvantages, and the principle disadvantage of symbols is that we confuse them with reality, just as we confuse money with actual wealth, and our names about ourselves, our ideas of ourselves, our images of ourselves, with ourselves.

The point about confusing "images of ourselves" with our (real) selves is most salient here. With our ability to depict reality to the finest grain of resolution, it becomes much easier to mistake the image for the thing itself. Our hyperrealistic language and depictions of ourselves have rendered the inner world obsolete, because we no longer have the mystery of incomplete information to gesture at, to suggest the existence of an ineffable, inscrutable, immaterial "soul" or essence of self. We've looked very hard at all the pixels. all we can see are pixels, no "souls" here. The pixels are the man, and the man is the set of pixels. As McLuhan once said, live on television, "we are on the air, and on the air we do not have any physical body. When you're on the telephone, or on radio, or on TV, you don't have a physical body. You're just an image, on the air."

Taken further: by presenting the correct sequence of symbols to human beings, you can confuse other people into mistaking those symbols for reality, and thus in some way, "create reality itself." Consider the following thought experiment: a man born deaf, mute, incapable of communicating to others, but who still has internal thoughts, dreams, hopes, et cetera. For all we know there may be a very rich storehouse of ideas and stories that are only accessible to the mind of the deaf-mute, but since he is unable to communicate any of those ideas, through language (let's leave body language aside for now), he is unable to realize any of those ideas, create shared intersubjective experiences; unable to bring any of those private and internal thoughts to the world of the living; unable to externalize those purely internal experiences, to make his inner subjective experience, at least now an intersubjective experience, if not an objective one. Instead, others may create their own realities, their own models, ideas of what is going on in the deaf-mute's head, and if the deaf-mute were to spend his whole life like that, it's really only those models, those projections, those guesses of what is going on in the deaf-mute's head that are "real." After all, he can't speak, talk, tell us what he's thinking, so all we have to go on are our uneducated guesstimations.

Suppose now after some period of time, years, decades, the deaf-mute is spontaneously able to speak, write, communicate as fluently as any other fully grown adult human. Now he starts literally speaking his mind, taking what was once purely ideal, mental, internal, subjective, and lending at least some degree of objectivity, reality to it, by, at the very least, physically vibrating the air in order to produce sound, which is an objectively verifiable and quantifiable phenomenon. Not only is he now physically influencing the world through causality, he is also influencing the minds of his caretakers and friends by overturning their self-deceptions and illusions regarding what the deaf-mute is thinking, how his mind works. It's only by breaking silence, by literally speaking his mind that he is able to change the perceptions and the minds of those around him, who now may suddenly start treating him differently, with a little more respect, since it turns out he wasn't just a brainless invalid but may actually have half a thought lingering in his head.

Simply through the application of language and speech he has almost literally rewritten reality. You could say, "you are what you speak forth;" and for the deaf-mute, who could not speak forth anything at all, his self, others' concepts of his self, were empty, mere speculation, empty shadows and guesses at a human being. In fact, his persona is almost entirely socially determined and mediated - the only "self" that exists in the mind of his social circle, is the poor approximation that the deaf-mute's friends had to construct in his silence. It was only his act of using language, speaking his mind out into the world, that actually solidified his subjective experience of self into an intersubjective shared reality.

In fact, extending the thought experiment further, what if the deaf-mute decided to lie about the contents of his own mind, and speak forth completely different ideas and thoughts from those he harbors internally in the privacy of his mind? Would his friends and acquaintances know any better? or would they take his word at face-value, and now accept this linguistic fabrication of who the deaf-mute is as the deaf-mute's ACTUAL person, his ACTUAL character?

What exactly is the difference? does it matter whether or not his speech has any actual direct correlation or resemblance to his internal thought process? After all, one can say all sorts of things about themselves; in the immortal words of Razzlekhan,

I'm many things. A rapper. An economist. A journalist. A writer. A CEO. And a dirty, dirty, dirty dirty hoe.

This doesn't mean she actually is a rapper (in fact, this video would suggest the complete opposite). But does anyone deny the socially constructed, intersubjective "reality" of the media persona that is Razzlekhan? After all, someone logged in under such an alias posted moving pixels depicting a human being doing and saying these things in the physical world. I will probably never get to meet the actual "person" behind that alias, that persona - the only thing I will ever know of Razzlekhan is the narrative that was sold to me in my suspension of disbelief in the reality of digital media.

Do you see what I'm talking about?

This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

We would like to avoid these negative dynamics. Accordingly, we ask that you do not use this thread for waging the Culture War. Examples of waging the Culture War:

  • Shaming.

  • Attempting to 'build consensus' or enforce ideological conformity.

  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

  • Recruiting for a cause.

  • Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

In general, you should argue to understand, not to win. This thread is not territory to be claimed by one group or another; indeed, the aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. Thus, we also ask that you follow some guidelines:

  • Speak plainly. Avoid sarcasm and mockery. When disagreeing with someone, state your objections explicitly.

  • Be as precise and charitable as you can. Don't paraphrase unflatteringly.

  • Don't imply that someone said something they did not say, even if you think it follows from what they said.

  • Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.

Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?

This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.

Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.

Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

Transnational Thursday is a thread for people to discuss international news, foreign policy or international relations history. Feel free as well to drop in with coverage of countries you’re interested in, talk about ongoing dynamics like the wars in Israel or Ukraine, or even just whatever you’re reading.

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

We would like to avoid these negative dynamics. Accordingly, we ask that you do not use this thread for waging the Culture War. Examples of waging the Culture War:

  • Shaming.

  • Attempting to 'build consensus' or enforce ideological conformity.

  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

  • Recruiting for a cause.

  • Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

In general, you should argue to understand, not to win. This thread is not territory to be claimed by one group or another; indeed, the aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. Thus, we also ask that you follow some guidelines:

  • Speak plainly. Avoid sarcasm and mockery. When disagreeing with someone, state your objections explicitly.

  • Be as precise and charitable as you can. Don't paraphrase unflatteringly.

  • Don't imply that someone said something they did not say, even if you think it follows from what they said.

  • Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.