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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Dec 15, 2023 11:04 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included Emory University's Early Decision results, conspiracy theories in which posters believe, beauty secrets, and how to anonymously tell a friend important information.

In the blog post that I wrote yesterday, I mentioned that it had been a big day for threads that I had already discussed. Yesterday was just as big. Like yesterday, the thread about the Wizards and Capitals moving to Virginia was the most active, followed by the Gaza war thread. The Maury Elementary thread that was third yesterday finally dropped off the most active list, though I would not be surprised to see it return. The threads about suing Callie Oettinger and raising kids in competitive communities were the other already-covered topics at the top of the most active list. Therefore, like yesterday, the first thread that I will discuss was actually the fifth most active of the day. That thread was titled, "Emory ED is out!" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. For the benefit of those not fluent in college application terms, "ED" refers to "Early Decision" which is a type of college application that is submitted prior to normal applications and requires the applicant to commit to attending the college if accepted. Students are only allowed to make one such application and, as such, it should only be used for the student's top choice. We are currently at the time of the year when ED results are announced and this thread was created to discuss ED decisions by Emory University. The responses include those from excited and happy posters whose children were accepted and some from disappointed posters whose children must deal with rejection. In both cases, posters tended to provide the grade point average, test scores, and other relevant data along with the decision. This led to quite a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking as others tried to draw conclusions from the information. Traditionally on DCUM, one of the first questions asked of those who are accepted is whether or not the student is an underrepresented minority or URM. The more polite might simply inquire about any "hooks". Such questions are often viewed as a way to explain an acceptance which posters might otherwise find surprising. When one of those responding in this thread proactively mentioned that her child was a URM, that caused a number of posters to attack her as a troll. So, I guess, this is another situation in which posters can't win. Before too long, discussion diverged to posts about other universities and how they compared with Emory. In addition, any thread about schools in conservative states tends to attract a poster who makes a fuss about abortion. I am not sure why this poster thinks that those who obsessively research every last detail about universities the way the posters in this thread do would have overlooked a state's abortion policies. But, even if they had, this poster has reminded them several times already. The topic doesn't really need to be discussed in this thread.

Next was a thread posted in the "Off-Topic" and titled, "What is the wildest conspiracy theory you actually believe?". This thread was started way back in December 2020 but was revived late Wednesday by a poster simply writing "+1" in response to an earlier post. The revival of old threads frustrates some users and there have been repeated requests for me to routinely lock older threads to prevent this from happening. I am concerned about introducing an automated process that would change the status of a significant number of threads due to the possibility of unexpected consequences. Moreover, in cases like this thread, it doesn't really matter if the thread is old. As the six pages of discussion that were added after the thread's revival demonstrate, there is still eagerness to discuss the topic. In its entirety, the thread is 62 pages long so I have only looked at the most recent posts. Most of the conspiracies in which posters claim to believe seem pretty run-of-the-mill. They include that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered, that Covid was invented in a Chinese lab, and that the Queen killed Princess Diana. Many of the conspiracies that are believed involve politics and a number of the posts here are not really different than many in the Politics forum. That is probably not surprising given the number of conspiracy theories that have been fully embraced by the Republican Party. There are also some "oldie but goodie" conspiracies that are mentioned such as multiple shooters in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or that the CIA was responsible for his murder. There are also lots of conspiracies involving unidentified flying objects. A handful of posters are convinced that China is funding the progressive left and the mainstream media. Those two groups are almost always at odds with each other, but I guess part of believing this conspiracy is to overlook that fact. Similarly, a poster blames diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for almost everything he considers negative about the United States.

The next thread I'll discuss was titled, "If people regularly think you look a decade younger" and posted in the "Beauty and Fashion" forum. The original poster asks those who look younger than they are what beauty secrets and practices they have. I am fairly certain that this exact topic has been posted in the past and ones very similar to it are common. As such, I can more or less predict the responses. True to form, one of the first was to keep weight down and another was to be Asian. The first is probably being addressed already by anyone capable of doing so and the second is out of everyone's control. Similarly, a number of posters attribute heredity or genetics. Things that are within other's reach included hair dying, avoiding the sun, and careful use of makeup. As with the response about being Asian, another poster suggests that Black women have an advantage. That response is a staple of these discussions and always causes considerable resentment among our more melanin-challenged posters. Some posters are skeptical that very many of those responding are actually being mistaken for being a decade younger than they are. These posters suggest that others are just being polite and providing a compliment that they know will be appreciated. Along these lines, several posters claim that many women take care of themselves and look great. But, they look great for their age, they don't look a decade — or even five years — younger. If this is true, perhaps the real challenge here is how not to look older than you are. Time and again posters circle back to the biggest secret simply being luck in the gene pool. A few who apparently refuse to accept that answer do have complex beauty routines, but they are really the exceptions in this thread.

The final thread for today's blog post was posted in the "Tweens and Teens" forum and titled, "Need to Tell my Best Friend Something Anonymously About Her Child". The original poster says that she had learned something from her 17-year-old daughter about her best friend's daughter who is the same age. The original poster needs to tell her friend what she learned while protecting her daughter's confidence and wants to know the best way to provide the information anonymously. Most of those responding suggest that the original poster's daughter will likely know who was the source of the information. Therefore, these posters recommend not getting involved unless it is a matter of life or death. But, if it is a matter of life or death. the posters suggest going directly to her friend and either leaving her daughter out of it or explaining to her daughter why she must break her confidence. The original poster later clarified that the other girl has been buying and selling drugs and hanging around people who have guns. This seems to satisfy the "life or death" stipulation for most posters. As a result, some recommend that the original poster explain to her daughter why she must tell the other parent. Others suggest an anonymous email to the school principal and counselor. They will have to tell the other parent. One poster who had been in the same situation with her son told her son that he had 24 hours to tell his friend to confess to his mother or that she would tell her. In this case, the friend told his mother. Some posters don't believe an anonymous email will be taken seriously and urge the original poster to discuss this openly, either with her friend or the school. But, others are worried that this might make her daughter the target of armed drug dealers. They strongly argue in favor of anonymity. Some posters also suggest avoiding the school and going to the police with the matter. It looks like the original poster is going to go the anonymous email route, for which most posters recommend simply setting up a Gmail account.

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