Before anyone jumps me for my hypocrisy for posting in two threads
currently running on the wreck, let me say that I regret my
participation in those threads, but solely because I don't believe
these threads belong here, whether they are labeled "Off Topic" or
not. Justifying a post simply by labeling it "Off Topic" is akin to
qualifying a racial or other odious slur by following it up with "just
kidding." It's still odious and it's wrong.
Here's why I hate the political threads. I have spent a number of
years on the wreck. I participate both here and on other woodworking
fora on the internet on a regular basis. I have personally met dozens
of fellow woodworkers from all over the country; a feat unthinkable
before the 'net. Virtually all of the people that I've met have been
people that I would be comfortable with in my house. I would enjoy
conversing with them about woodworking and other topics of mutual
When two (or more) people sit face to face it is almost unheard of for
one of them to lean forward and say something anathema to the other's
point of view; political, religious, or otherwise. I can't imagine
someone doing that. It would be rude. It would be the height of
inappropriate behavior. It would violate all rules of society.
Of all of the people I've met as described, I can honestly say I don't
know the political inclinations of any of them. I didn't ask; they
didn't tell. I don't want to know. And apparently they felt the same,
because at the end of the day, they had not asked, either. That's not
to say I don't have some inklings or suspicions, but I've not wanted
to follow up to confirm.
The reason for that is I've seen too much lying, muckraking,
prevarication, misinformation, mudslinging, unbelievable distortion of
facts, all to political ends, for me to respect anyone that I believe
is embracing those techniques and using them to further their
particular ends. And I don't want to not respect the people I've
become friends with. It hurts me to see someone whom I appreciate for
their knowledge and experience in a particular area of woodworking
(the reason I'm here) line up on the other side of what I believe.
In fact, I haven't been able to help but develop a list of wreckers
who I wouldn't share a broken tool with, much less pleasant discourse;
all because they couldn't contain their opinions on subjects that
shouldn't be aired in a common interest forum for which those subjects
would be off-topic.
Unfortunately, the anonymity behind which all who choose to can hide
on the internet removes the constraints with which society holds a
person with regard to his behavior.
Moreover, typing vitriol is virtually risk free as opposed to spewing
it in person at the risk of a bloody nose. It's no surprise to me that
we see so much of it on the internet. I'm not saying there's no place
for it on the 'net; I know of at least a couple of "flame" newsgroups
and several political ones where that is the appropriate medium.
I just think that the wreck is not one of them, and I don't want to
find out about my friends' feet of clay. And that works across the
spectrum; I'm sure there must be someone out there who is embarrassed
about the way they've learned I feel.
Anyway, I expressed regret about joining the mob and its mentality and
I meant it. And here is my pledge. No more will I engage in political
(or other divisive) threads. It is not good for me, it is not good for
my friends, it is not good for the wreck. The opinions expressed
aren't going to change anyone's mind; it's naive for anyone to think
so. That probably includes this one.
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
Then just do it for God's sake. Making announcements to gather sympathy
just increases the noise around here.
I hate whining from regulars for the following reason. Political battles
and other OT content in threads is so easy to spot and ignore if one is so
inclined. However, the all too frequent whining posts are slipped in
everywhere often without a way to tell it is just another complaint about
something that won't change. It's even worse coming from a regular because
I am more inclined to download a post from a regular. Much more of my time
is wasted by regulars who are complaining about something than by the OT
And yes, in the spirit of sheer hypocrisy, I am whining.
Amen, brother, sort of. I haven't been wading through the political
threads since the first day. I admit, I did waste a little time there
the first day. I do think it's inappropriate to fill a box called
rec.woodworking with all this extraneous stuff. Must be a place where
it's expected, where it belongs. Let's get back to the sawdust.
Hello All Fellow Woodworkers,
Here, here! I second the motion! I'm fairly new to the
rec.woodworking group and do appreciate the good, the bad and the
indifferent here on the myriad nuances of woodworking et al. If I
wanted to discuss politics, fishing, tantric sex or other social
issues I'd be digging around in another group for that particular
pertinent information. I have always found most of the internet
groups, whatever their topic, to be anything but. Ads, trolls, red
herrings, scams & blathering idiots rampant. Sifting through the
detritus is a waste of mine and most people's time. I respect the
integrity I have seen in this woodworking group for staying, for the
most part, relevant, and true to the purpose of a group forum. I feel
a sense of pride, in that, most of the contributors here feel the same
way. Now, I know I am going off topic myself, in response to this
thread, but I do applaud the thought behind it. Thank you!
Oh damn! I have a problem with political threads. Whenever somebody
makes some statement that registers in mega-morons on the stupid scale,
I feel I must jump in and set things straight. But then I realize that
trying to change the mindset of an idealogue who worships at the
porcelain throne of some politician is a waste of time. Once in a while
I will add some point of fact that is obviously missing, but I try to do
so without adding to the flow of bile. I shouldn't even do that I
suppose, but it does feel good until some doofus disputes the facts. My
blood pressure rises and then I realize that trying to change ... yada yada.
It is however, a free unrefereed forum and I would not suggest changing
In theory, of course, you're absolutely right. In practice, one
of the important aspects of "the wreck" is that it's evolved into
a community of persons who share some level of mutual respect -
based primarily on woodworking skills/experience; but also on a
lot of other factors. We're not really complete strangers to one
Off-topic discussions are nearly inevitable between people who
share common interests and respect one another. Hidden in these
conditions is the reason that wreck regulars don't take the
off-topic discussions off to alt.talk.politics (or wherever).
Labeling a topic "Off Topic" isn't a justification at all. I tend
to think of it as a courtesy that facilitates filtering out
messages that aren't topical to woodworking - while providing an
expanded communication channel between community members.
I think you're really talking about two different things here -
at least I hope you are. I think we could all agree that lying,
mudslinging, etc. are unacceptable behaviors.
On the other hand, none of us (to the best of my knowledge) is
necessarily in possession of all of the truth on any subject.
Moreover, it's entirely possible - and reasonable - for two
people in posession of the same facts to /interpret/ those facts
differently as a consequence of their differing experiences.
Ok. My criteria for tool-sharing is a bit different; but I don't
have any difficulty accepting yours.
The anonymity doesn't remove the community's norms; it simply
allows those who disregard them to be somewhat faceless. As with
most usenet groups, posters who conceal their identity are
afforded much less credibility/respect than others.
It'll probably continue as long as there are sufficiently angry,
twisted, or broken people. Not much you or I or the wreck can
do about it, except quietly not participate when we recognize
that this is the case.
Do you think they should be? A diversity of viewpoints, to me at
least, is wonderful and to be treasured. I can value you as a
person and source of woodworking expertise regardless of your
politics, religion, favorite editor, or choice of computer/OS.
The bad news: We all have feet of clay.
The good news: We do the best we can in spite of it.
It's your choice, of course. My own take is that it's almost
impossible to arrive at consensus without a certain amount of
wrangling - and the more people care and the more varied their
experiences, the more heat the discussion generates. I don't much
worry about the heat as long as there's at least some light.
Politics isn't inherently toxic - but neither is it inherently
Case in point: I'm finding that good wood is becoming more and
more difficult to find. Why is that? Is there anything that can
be done to remedy the situation? If there is, what action can I
(and/or other woodworkers) take?
I've already asked myself these questions; and (with considerable
regret) come to the conclusion that any long-term solution /will/
involve politics and politicians. If your conclusion is
different, then I'm interested in learning about it. Actually,
I'm interested in /any/ solution.
I apologize to you if any of my posts have given offense. I can
assure you that it was not intentional. I can assure you also
that I don't use a pseudonym and that you can DAGS (web and
groups) on my name (use quotes) to retrieve enough material to
thoroughly bore yourself.
As someone said a few weeks ago, he was "disappointed in me for my response" to
whatever the question was. I was never sure about why that should matter to me:
it was his disappointment, not mine, and he isn't a parent or a boss or a
spouse or a child of mine, so his reaction is very close to irrelevant to me.
One of my clay feet.
I have an article coming out soon in Smart Homeowner that covers PART of that
problem and another coming out later that covers a bit more. It ain't simple.
OK. I agree with all but the first part. There are times that I have absolutely
meant to offend someone. Those are infrequent, but do happen. There are other
times when my political or emotional standpoint offends someone, but, as above,
that's rooted in their personal belief system, not mine, and is their problem,
It really doesn't cost much to NOT read an OT subject if such things bother a
person. And political arguments don't have to get mean---Mike Hide and I have
been prodding each other for a bit, and, AFAIK, there's no mean intent on
either side. I think he's wrong. He thinks I'm wrong. Life's like that.
"A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers." H. L. Mencken
I find that the OT discussions in rec.woodworking are usually
enjoyable, even when (and sometimes because) people get worked up. In
general the political discussions and other OT threads on this group
are simi-polite and show a degree of intelligence on both sides (even
those damned liberals). I have seldom felt the need to block whole
threads or even individuals, let alone the whole "OT" prefix. I
recently started reading rec.boats for some specific info needs and
found that they are completely out-of-control with at least 80% of
post on nasty name calling political threads and you could hardly find
the boating info. However a quick setup of a couple filters (all OT
post, post with Bush, Kerry, Chaney, etc and a couple of the nastiest
people who purposefully worded their posts to get around the above
filters) made the group quite readable again. If anyone finds the OT
stuff here objectionable, a quick filter will wipe almost all of it
out. I should note that I am not using some hi-tech, complex filtering
software. I am on Compuserve and I just use the rather limited
filtering capability built into it.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.