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Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Dec 07, 2023 10:12 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included losing a friend because of the Gaza war, short women, Yale and A grades, and anger with a mother-in-law due to holiday arrangements.

The Gaza war thread was back as the most active thread yesterday and the next most active thread was directly related to the war. Titled, "Lost a dear friend over the war", the thread was originally posted in the "Religion" forum. But, after reading it, I moved it to the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum because it really didn't have anything to do with religion. Some posters suggested that the thread was most appropriate for the "Political Discussion" forum, which ultimately was probably correct. The original poster says that three couples went to dinner, including one of her oldest and best friends. Two of the couples expressed solidarity with Palestinian civilians who are under Israeli attack in Gaza. The original poster's friend, who is strongly pro-Israel, went on a tirade against the others, jumped up and left the table, and took a ride share car home, even abandoning her husband. Her husband apologized and said that her extreme views have been causing marital problems and problems at their kids' school. The next day, the original poster called her friend and her friend told her never to speak to her again. The original poster asks if others have lost friends over this sort of discourse. When I moved this thread, it had less than a page of posts. But in less than five hours the thread grew to 18 pages. That's more than 250 posts, or more 50 posts an hour. Before the first page was complete, a poster had made a totally-political post that had nothing to do with the estranged relationship. Not only was that post off-topic to the discussion, it didn't even reflect the positions held by either the original poster or her friend, In short, the statement suggested that the poster had not bothered to read the original post. But, that was enough to provoke additional political posts. To be clear, the first three political posts were all from pro-Israel posters criticizing Hamas, a group that the original poster had explicitly rejected. Like the original poster's friend, these posters seem incapable of having a simple, reasonable discussion. While a few posters did address the relationship aspects of the thread, often saying that they too had lost friendships over political issues, the bulk of the discussion consisted of debate over the war. Many posts in this thread reflect why disagreements such as the original poster described can so easily lead to lost friendships. A good number of individuals have adopted the position that any sympathy for Palestinians is support for Hamas and any criticism of Israel is antisemitism. To be sure, many — maybe even most — Jews don't hold such positions and many non-Jewish supporters of Israel also reject those views. But, for those who do have such beliefs, almost any kind of discussion other than fully agreeing with Israel's actions is impossible. As was pointed out in the thread, when encountering such individuals, your choices are to keep silent and preserve relationships or speak up and likely see the relationship ended.

In yesterday's blog post I discussed a thread about so-called "above average value" women and noted how it's last several pages focused almost totally on height. The next most active thread, posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum and titled, "Is it more attractive to be a short woman?", was completely focused on that characteristic. The original poster believes that "being a short woman is a perk similar to being a blonde" and that men are attracted to short women. While some of those who respond do state a preference for short women, more argue that this is a subjective preference that is not shared by all. A common contention was that the woman in a relationship should be somewhat shorter than the man. Posters point out that models are generally tall, suggesting that taller women are considered more attractive. Like yesterday's discussion, some posters cite a preference for taller women due to hopes that they will produce tall sons. As one poster wrote, "Not any shorter than 5’4” and when breeding- men don’t want short kids." I really wonder how many men are actually viewing women as little more than broodmares in this manner. Another poster, like me, saw the connection of this thread and the one that I discussed yesterday. That poster wrote, "If you are internalizing this nonsense than you are going to struggle in your relationships". This is not completely true, at least if you believe posters in this thread. Many who seem to have assimilated the theory espoused by the original poster claim to be in happy relationships. But, by and large, I think there is a lot of truth in that poster's statement. As a poster wrote later in the thread, "People are packages of lots of things. You can't find a good partner with a measuring tape." Because there appears to be a fetish among some men, including some of those posting in this thread, involving very short women and sex, this thread may not be around for long. So, if you are interested in the topic, read quickly or you may get caught short (har, har, har).

The next most active thread was titled, "80% Yale Grades A & A-" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. The original poster linked to a New York Times article that says that nearly everyone at Yale receives A's or A minuses. The original poster says this is true at Brown and Harvard as well. As a result, the poster suggests that majors matter more than grades since, according to the poster, "Privates don’t give anyone lower than a B or C". What is immediately apparent in this thread are two different conceptions of what grades should reflect. Posters argue that top schools admit top students who are intelligent and hardworking. These students are all capable of high achievement. Therefore, these posters argue, the grades should reflect their mastery of the material. If almost all are capable of mastering the material, that is not entirely unexpected given the type of students they admit. Others believe that grades should reflect a student's abilities relative to the other students, grading on a bell curve if you will. As one such poster argues, "If everyone is getting a 3.7 GPA or higher, it will make the vetting process by employers much harder." This poster also argues that companies evaluate employees relative to each other so Yale's practice doesn't reflect the real world. Somewhere in the middle are posters who argue that grades should reflect a mastery of the material, but if all students are getting A's, the material is not challenging enough. Therefore, Yale and schools like it should increase their requirements for earning top grades. Another deep division reflected in the thread is between those who think that a degree from a top school like Yale is sufficiently impressive and that grade point average does not matter and those who are not all all impressed by prestigious schools but, instead, place value on various certifications for specific technologies. I think this again reflects the phenomenon I've noted before where many are beginning to see colleges as glorified vocational schools rather than places of broad learning.

The next most active thread was the one about Maury Elementary that I discussed a few days ago. Skipping that one, the last thread that I will discuss was posted in the "Family Relationships" forum and titled "Am I overreacting to in-law’s request re holiday travel?" The original poster says that her family normally travels to her in-laws for Christmas. But, she is currently 24 weeks pregnant and suffering from a number of complications. As a result, her doctor has told her to rest and take it easy and advised against taking their planned trip. After the original poster's husband informed his family that they would not be able to make it this Christmas, and explained why, his mother suggested that he and their daughter visit them for the holiday while leaving the original poster at home. This has infuriated the original poster who is so angry that she doesn't even want to talk to her mother-in-law again. Most of those who respond agree that the mother-in-law was insensitive and that the original poster has the right to be upset. However, most posters seem to think that the original poster is overreacting and that not talking to her mother-in-law again is too extreme. The original poster accepts this point and doesn't really plan such drastic measures. One suggestion is that the original poster's husband and child travel after Christmas, but the original poster is worried about early labor and worried about being alone. Moreover, her in-laws really want the family there on Christmas day. Other discussion revolves around how the original poster should respond with one suggestion being that she call her mother-in-law and explain why the request was hurtful. Other posters suggested that the mother-in-law was likely coping with disappointment in a poor manner and not meaning to slight or upset the original poster. They tried to explain the mindset of older people and urged the original poster not to take it too seriously. A number of posters didn't seem to get the message about the original poster's medical condition and repeatedly stated that they would actually enjoy some time alone and, therefore, support the husband and child visting his parents. The original poster says that, indeed, she values time alone. But, she is worried about her pregnancy complications and doesn't want her husband to be out of town at this time.

Avalon says:
Dec 07, 2023 01:43 PM
I think the explosion of posts on the first post you discussed was due to the OP being moved from religion to relationshi discussion.
I, for one, NEVER go to the religion forum, as there's so much hate & strife surrounding all religion that I find myself chosing to avoid discussions of it in every area of my life. I believe a fair amount of people probably feel similar (what's the old expression... "the three topics you never discuss at a civilized dinner table are religion, politics, and abortion"?

Yup. I agree... especially about religion though.
Jeff Steele says:
Dec 07, 2023 04:06 PM
Perhaps politics should be avoided generally, but as the original poster of that thread learned, discussion about the Gaza war should especially be avoided.
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