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The Most Active Threads over the Past Two Days

by Jeff Steele — last modified Dec 29, 2023 10:36 AM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included actors with the most chemistry, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Bradley Cooper and Gigi Hadid, and recommendations for college tours.

I was unable to post yesterday so today I'll cover the most active threads from the past two days. The most active thread over those days was again the Gaza war thread which I'll skip since I've already discussed it. Following that was a thread titled, "Which two actors have/had the greatest on-screen chemistry?" and posted in the "Entertainment and Pop Culture" forum. The original poster didn't put a lot of effort into the first post, only writing, "What do you think?". Apparently other posters had enough thoughts to sustain a 14 page thread. The first page of the thread is almost completely devoted to suggestions of Brad Pitt along with almost any other actor, male or female. George Clooney also received multiple mentions, though one with with Brad Pitt. Much of this thread, in fact, is simply devoted to Brad Pitt. Some posters are fans of the classics like Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy while others suggested foreign actors such as Kim Go-Eun and Lee Min-Ho, two actors of whom I've never heard. One poster suggested Beavis and Butthead but I am not sure that cartoon characters count. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were mentioned so many times that one poster got angry and chastised others for repeating the suggestion. This then led to a back and forth about whether that poster could accurately be described as "enraged". There are lots and lots of suggestions, far too many to list, as well as some additional commentary. A number of posts discussed the real life relationships of the actors which might not have been reflected on screen. But, as a couple of posters pointed out, that's why it's called "acting". After considerable praise of George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez in "Out of Sight", at least two posters were inspired to watch the movie and agreed that it was both a good movie and that there was considerable chemistry.

The next most active thread was posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. Titled, "UW Madison horribly underrated", the original poster goes to some length to emphasize the virtues of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, lamenting that the university is not given sufficient appreciation on DCUM. The poster seems particularly bothered by suggestions that UW-Madison might not be as good as the University of North Carolina or the University of Michigan. For some reason, the original poster posted this thread in the "General Parenting Discussion" forum and I didn't notice for some time and by then the thread was quite long. I moved it to the college forum once I became aware of the thread, but I think the forum choice attracted a number of posters who otherwise might not have participated in the discussion and this impacted the type of responses. Several posters cited the Wisconsin weather and the lack of diversity at the university as being reasons for the lack of interest. A number of other posters claimed to have only seen positive mentions of the school and it is possible that the original poster is not actually familiar with our college forum. I grew up less than a 2 hour drive from Madison and visited frequently. Had I noticed this thread earlier and wanted to participate, I would have mentioned the damage done to the university by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. But another poster brought this up in a post at the end of the second page. As that poster noted, "[i]t's taken U Wisconsin some years to come back from that and the impression that Republicans were going to send the school into terminal decline." A few posters actually think UW-Madison is overrated rather than underrated, provoking considerable ire among other posters. A big problem when trying to rate a university concerns what metrics to use. Should it be selectivity as demonstrated by admission rates, graduation rates, the credentials of the faculty, reputation, the diversity of the student body, the local weather, the beauty of the campus, or the earnings of graduates? Different posters value different things and, therefore, come to different conclusions. The cherry on this discussion, however, came just this morning on page 12 of the thread. The original poster, without identifying herself as the original poster, expressed amazement that the thread had received so many responses. The original poster then sock puppeted a response to her own post expressing agreement and proclaiming a great future for the university. This caused me to go back and check whether the original poster had done earlier sock puppeting and, indeed, she had. Throughout the thread the original poster alternated between posting as a proponent of the University of Wisconsin and an proponent of the University of Michigan. In the second guise, the original poster was both a fan of and critic of UW. As a result of the sock puppeting, I locked the thread.

Next was a thread titled, "Bradley cooper and Gigi Hadid" and posted in the "Entertainment and Pop Culture" forum. The original poster simply writes that she has just learned that Bradley Cooper and Gigi Hadid are dating. She notes the 20 year age difference, but suggests that is not a big deal because it is Bradley Cooper. Other posters, however, are put off by the age difference with one poster even suggesting that Hadid has "daddy issues". Other posters allege that Cooper is gay and cast doubt on the authenticity of the relationship. As early as the second page, a poster alleged that Hadid is an antisemite and another poster claimed the same about Cooper. The evidence provided by the second poster is that Cooper reminds her of an antisemitic guy she used to know. Several posters found that to be less than convincing proof. At any rate, the thread completely degenerated into a debate about whether Cooper is gay, an antisemite, or a gay antisemite. The poster who claimed that Cooper is antisemitic based on her "gut instinct" then switched to discussing the prosthetic nose he wore to portray Leonard Bernstein. Other posters pointed out that Bernstein's family has defended Cooper and said that Bernstein did indeed have a large nose. This defense was rejected by the poster who said that Bernstein's family doesn't get to speak for all Jews. That may be true, but I am not sure that an anonymous DCUM poster has that role either. This debate became both tedious and repetitive so I locked the thread.

The final thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. The thread is titled, "Junior w 3.9/1550 - Big3 - College tour recommendations", which translated means that the original poster's child is a junior at a "Big 3" private school and has a 3.9 grade point average and a 1550 SAT score. The original poster is looking for suggestions for colleges to tour. The original poster elaborates a bit more in the body of the post and goes on to say that poster is really interested in whether top schools should be taken off the table. Essentially, the poster is looking for the best schools that are realistic targets for a student with such qualifications. The original poster also clarified in a subsequent post that the student is interested in pursuing "Economics/Environmental studies". The general feeling of those responding is that the most elite universities are probably not options, though a few posters think they are worth a shot as long as expectations are low. Posters particularly warn against "wasting" an early decision application on one. Most posters, however, think there are plenty of highly-ranked options available to the student. Many posters argue against using ranking or prestige as the primary factor and instead urge that other characteristics such as size, location, and campus setting (urban vs rural) be considered. Then, the best options with the chosen factors can be targeted. There is also discussion of the best admissions strategy including the use of early decision and other types of applications. Threads in the college forum are often hit or miss with some being of very high quality and others degenerating into useless arguments. In general, this thread sticks to the first category with one poster even commenting, "I am seeing outstandingly informative responses on this thread!" But soon after that post some negatively was injected by posters complaining that the original poster was relying on DCUM rather than the school's college counseling office. That ignores the likelihood that the poster is doing both. The thread is full of blunt advice — something the original poster said she welcomed — but without being mean. The responses really do seem to reflect the combined wisdom of DCUM posters. How much that wisdom reflects reality might be another question, but at least it sounds right.

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