Let me quote from the end of this article:
"For their part, people should seek out actual human beings to converse with, Markman said — and we should make a point of including a few people in our social circles who think differently from us. "You'll develop a healthy respect for people whose opinions differ from your own," he said.
Working out solutions to the kinds of hard problems that tend to garner the most comments online requires lengthy discussion and compromise. "The back-and-forth negotiation that goes on in having a conversation with someone you don't agree with is a skill," Markman said. And this skill is languishing, both among members of the public and our leaders."
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet
When there is an active member whose entry into threads is known to often causes problems.
The complexity of moderating comes from the question of whether this person is causing problems, or if the forum is hostile to people that think differently. If there are always conflicts with one person, it may not be entirely that person's fault. For example, if you have a group of conservatives talking with one liberal, it may seem that the liberal is always arguing with everyone, and the other conservatives are such nice people except when they talk to the liberal. Therefore, it's the liberal's fault. But, if you flip the ratio, you might come to the opposite conclusion.
If I walk into a bar, and they make fun of me or imply I'm an idiot every time I say something they disagree with, I'll walk right out and try to find the place the cool people are hanging. Ultimately in that environment the only people left are the people that all think alike, forming a clique. If you're just hanging around drinking, making jokes, and telling stories, then you probably don't want someone else around that is going to say things you disagree with. But, when you're trying to learn, having diverse opinions is really essential. So, if epic is an Apres bar scene, then by all means let the clique form, allow dissenting points of view to be continually harassed and made fun of until we start using bad words or threatening physical violence. But, if you want a place to learn and share to grow as individuals both in knowledge and in skiing ability, then it's important to create a safe environment for dissension. That requires not clamping down on the person arguing with everyone else, but instead recognizing group bullying behavior that begins with personal attacks and condescending attempts to humiliate and disrespect.
I started off my very first thread in this forum with a heated discussion with CtKook, but we resolved it pretty quickly. It did not become the trainwreck I experienced with a fair number of other main members. I am a fairly staunch liberal, which I don't believe is true for CtKook, but yet there's enough similarity in thinking that we could most likely have civil discussions on any topic that don't require a moderator to shut down. I have many groups of friends conservative and liberal that I can get along with quite well and have been very successful in my group endeavors, but I find it nearly impossible to get along in this forum except with CtKook and others like him. The difference between CtKook and me is that he's willing to stay here and stand up to everyone that implies he's an idiot when he puts forth a minority opinion in the forum. It makes for an uncomfortable bar scene, but as far as learning things, he's an asset. In a more respectful environment you might find it's a pleasure to talk with him as I have. You might also find that other people with his point of view would hang around more too, and you'd learn that many people agree with things he says, and then we'd all be enlightened by discussion with a diverse group of thinkers...