Let the Cafe be the Cafe

Continuing the discussion from Hi! I'm Joy, new Senior Editor at CC:

I’ve heard this comment in several forms and get the sense that conversation in the Cafe isn’t as free as many of you would like it to be. I’m interested to hear some comments that I can discuss with the mods, but here is my initial takeaway:

The Cafe should be free to discuss any topic, as long as it doesn’t violate ToS.

What do you think? How can CC best support the community in the Cafe? Ready? Discuss! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m going to be lazy and cut and paste most of what I said there here rather than retyping (I did change a little, but only to have it make sense in the new context):

I’d like to see less admonishment to “keep threads on track,” etc. Conversation on the Cafe is what many of us like and conversation doesn’t always stay on track. I understand it being different when it’s a college specific (informative) thread, because people search for “x,” but the Cafe should be allowed to be a Cafe IMO. When folks get arguing too much it makes sense to intervene, or if something is blatantly political/derogatory or sales or whatever, but rabbit trails are part of life when we’re mainly chatting.

Yes to any topic not violating ToS. Readers can easily skip any that aren’t of interest. IMO we should be able to discuss policies about things if we wish and stay polite. Our family just watched Seaspiracy. It’s kinda “big” out there right now in case you hadn’t heard. It would be fun to discuss it with other intelligent people, but on CC I’m not sure you’d allow it because, you know, politics. Yet it’s not really politics (haven’t heard a politician address it yet). It’s our planet and our oceans - our future - and a film that, like all films, took some liberties while bringing up some points to ponder. It would be quite interesting for me to read the ponderings of others on various sides of the topic. I learn a lot when I hear all sides of things. I don’t find it difficult to sift through what is stated. If others do or for whatever reason don’t want to get involved, skip it. It’s just a thread like any other.

One could say similar things about Climate Change or aspects of it too.

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Let the cafe be the cafe. It was created for those folks who really are part of this community but don’t have college stuff to deal with. Lots of fabulous info there…vacations, recipes, housing suggestions, redecorating, where to get and what to get for furniture and appliances, grandparents, weddings, clothing, Best Buy’s, news tidbits …and the bragging thread…and of course the Coralbrook flip threads!

It’s just a fun place. I often ask a question in the cafe or search for a thread before I start researching in other places.

I personally am not interested in political discussions and I think it is hard to stay away from real politics when discussing certain other things.

TOS violations need to be addressed in all CC forums, in my opinion.

I guess I missed something @CCAdminMike is there a possibility that the Parent Cafe needs to change? I will say…you will lose a bunch of posters if that happens.

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Not at all. I just get the sense that there are some topics folks would like to discuss that are currently restricted. My question is mainly to ask if there are unnecessary restrictions to conversations in the Cafe.

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The Parent Cafe is part of the fabric of my life and so many other posters have gone from screen names to virtual friends in this last year. I love the Cafe.

I don’t think there are unnecessary restrictions, but that certain subjects lend themselves to issues with civil discussion. That COVID thread last summer was great for getting information on something that was new and scary for everyone. But along with the useful information and civil discussion were blatant provocative postings designed to anger and upset other members of the community. There were also posters who thought if they repeated their same opinion over and over on the same thread, and on multiple threads, that they were somehow winning. Numerous posts were very insulting and demeaning. It’s easy for readers to say to just ignore that, but the moderators were getting inundated with complaints and some of the comments were getting nasty. It was very hard to sift through that to get to the useful information. I was PMing with others over some of the public behavior, so can only imagine what was happening with the moderators.

I don’t know the answer to introducing controversial subjects without running into that again. Some posters enjoy the anonymity of being able to be deliberately inflammatory.

The current COVID and vaccine threads have been very interesting and useful. It’s been great to get perspective from so many places.

In terms of staying on subject, I agree that sometimes discussions veer off just like in person conversations can do. But if that sideline inspires dozens of replies, it probably does deserve a thread of its own. That way people who are searching for specific topics of interest can end up in the thread that discusses those topics. The random question thread is wonderful because it can go in any direction it likes.

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The parent Cafe is just a shadow of what it used to be. It’s a shame. There used to be some exceptional posters here and a lot of them are gone. I don’t know why some are so upset by reading opinions that contrast to their own but apparently they report posts they don’t like and then the moderators feel pressured to shut things down. I think a lot of us are adults and not only can handle reading opposite points of view but welcome the opportunity to see how others think.

I am all about home dec and dressing and recipes and books and movies but I also think about voting and policing and economics and Covid and vaccines and politics.

One of the issues today, as I see it, is that there are generations who are being taught to the test and who are not developing critical thinking skills. I am saddened that College Confidential, of all places, sees no value in articulating alternate viewpoints.

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@Singswimsew, here here! I like and support this post!

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How do you know that?

I for one would like to see us be able to address controversial topics which we’re now not allowed to touch --e.g., gun safety, reproductive rights, police reform. Yes, there would be arguments, but disrespectful comments could be removed. Honorable people – which we all are, of course :thinking: – can have respectful conversations about these and other issues.

That said, I suspect it’s not going to happen. And so the Cafe remains very “safe” and bland.

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As a mod, I agree with this.

@CCAdminMike , my thought is that as long as it doesn’t violate TOS, a thread in the cafe can meander. However, to benefit the OP of the thread, I also think it’s a good idea that we mods can split or merge threads as needed. As a made up example, a thread created to discuss travel tips for Iceland should probably stick to Iceland, but maybe several posts begin diverging to discuss Scandinavia as an offshoot of getting to Iceland. So it’s fine to split that thread into a topic about Scandinavia because the OP still wants to discuss Iceland. Does this seem fair?

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Part of what made the Café vibrant and active was the variety of posters and the passion some of them brought to certain topics. It’s like high school or a workplace. You’ll have your cliques and people often migrate to one, but it takes all those groups to make a community. If the community is too vanilla, the passion/variety and the ability to open eyes to new thoughts doesn’t really exist.

I too am in favor of a little more freedom, a little more of the adults here pulling up their pants and not being so easily offensed.

I hope this discussion grows today and that anyone who has a comment weighs in. You/We have some good suggestions on the table already.

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I would love less moderation in the cafe, especially when it comes to meandering. I also don’t mind respectful debate. When it devolves to name calling or personal attacks, it crosses the line.

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How will you make it clear that the moderation rules in the cafe are less so than elsewhere? I think that’s an OK idea as long as folks are able to have a civil conversation, and not insult others.

@Marilyn summed it up well.

I liked the main covid threads for the daily information contained in them. I didn’t like the political commentary that started to creep into every single update at one point.

I would suggest that if we are going to include politics that it have its own subforum as it used to have. That way folks can simply not go there if they aren’t interested in that discussion. That’s easier than scrolling past a lot of political threads in the cafe.

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Frankly, I am OK with the level of moderation. Hear me out:

The problem is that in our world, many cannot distinguish between fact and opinion. What happens is opinion is defended as fact. We are entitled to our own set of opinions but not our own set of facts. There is one objective set of facts. Until society can recognize this distinction, I feel tight moderation is is necessary.

Maybe my position comes from my career in science----“I don’t care what your feelings are regarding this bridge, if certain things are not done it WILL collapse—opinion will not change the laws of physics”.

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The moderators feel no such pressure.

Having an unpopular opinion is not a violation of ToS. Nor is being wrong. Just because a post is flagged does not mean we do anything with the flag. While we action all flags, one of our options is to take no action.

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There are in some situations like your example with the bridge, but with many other things there are theories/hypotheses/guesses like how best to address poverty or overfishing. The latter sometimes delve into politics, but they are no less interesting to discuss and can have as much of an impact on our future as a bridge.

I like the idea of having anything that “might” end up as politics in a sub-forum. Trips, houses, recipes, whatever, can still dominate the cafe.

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Unfortunately this is an observed phenomenon is threads about all sorts of topics in all sorts of subs.

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I agree that the mania for keeping threads on topic can be ridiculous. If I start a thread about where to get separate sheets (not sets), I’m fine if the discussion meanders to a more general discussion, especially once my question is answered.

My favorite threads have always been the ones that got shut down because moderators decided people were debating.

Also another pet peeve, it would be nice if we could leave the book club threads open so someone can add a comment even if it’s years later. We end up putting alerts about a movie or TV version of the book or some interesting new links in the current thread, but it would be nice to be able to do it in the original one. I realize you can ask for a thread to be reopened, but that always seems like too much trouble to me and it’s not obvious how you do it.

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Flag the thread. Select “something else.” Type your rationale. I have never not reopened a thread when presented with a valid reason.

Seems a much better option to ask for the one thread to be reopened than to not close the literally thousands of threads that should be closed.

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@Creekland , you do not understand my point—

Your mention of theories/hypotheses/guesses, are NOT fact, they are in fact opinion, which can be debated. My issue are those who wish to discuss opinion AS IF THEY ARE FACT. There are some who believe that because their opinions are their own, that makes them fact–it does not.

Those who acknowledge that their opinions are exactly that can engage in discussion, but if one has determined that their opinions are fact, then discussion cannot take place.

If I say the sky is green and accept that opinion as fact, telling me that I am wrong will get you no where, as I have accepted an opinion as fact.

For example, it is objective fact that the average overall temperature of the earth has been rising. That is documented, demonstrated fact. THIS CANNOT BE ARGUED OR DISCUSSED. Now, the causes of this, and solutions to correct this, and whether this is important or not, CAN be discussed as it involves opinion.

I wish I could remember who said, it but we’re allowed our own set of opinions but not our own set of facts. Opinions/theories/hypotheses are NOT fact.

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