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Very disheartened by this "postmortem".

In my experience, it's not the "icky red tribe discussion" that's lowered the quality of the sub. It's actually the increase in number of people with niche or unpopular opinions, that are often coded right wing.

Worse, the newcomers or people discovering this place for the first time are not properly acquainted with the culture it inherited, a culture where their ideas are discussed and debated (on good faith). When someone genuinely tries to steelman their viewpoint and argue against it, the newcomer finds their genuinely held belief challenged. They will double down rather than change their mind or accept a new argument - as opposed to the standards of the motte, where steelmen grind against each other, and the weak are ground into filings - they consider any challenge to their viewpoint just plain wrong even in the face of evidence.

This results in a norm of more and more people that are willing to assert increasingly outlandish claims without evidence, as they understand on some level that outside this place, evidence is not needed to convince others for or against their viewpoint.

Evidence didn't convince them away from their viewpoint before, so why would it convince anyone else? This makes arguing in good faith extremely difficult.

Hats off to the mods, even if I agree or disagree with their positions. There are a significant number of genuine shit-stirrers who explicitly set out to skirt the rules while actively trying to sabotage discussion, and the place is the worse for it.