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The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele — last modified Jan 08, 2024 10:54 AM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included a stolen car with a baby inside, Bill Ackman defends his wife's plagiarism, a father who dislikes fatherhood, and a possible fantasy thread about a husband being pursued by a pretty neighbor.

The Gaza war thread was again the most active over the weekend but I will skip it since it has been previously discussed. Similarly, I will skip the second most active thread which was the one about a woman in Ohio being charged after miscarrying. After that was a thread titled, "Baby Missing After Carjacking in Georgetown Early This Evening (30th & M St. NW)" and posted in the "Metropolitan DC Local Politics" forum. The thread was started after a report that a vehicle had been carjacked in Georgetown while a 4-month-old baby girl was inside. Not quite a hour later, the baby was discovered outside the door of a house in DC's southeast quadrant (Georgetown is in northwest) where the carjackers apparently dropped her off. The car has still not been recovered as far as I know. This thread represents almost all that is wrong with crime discussions on DCUM and most other mediums. On the one hand are posts from those simply interested in obtaining or sharing facts and expressing concern. I have no issue, of course, with those posts. But, other posters seem to simply be triggered by any mention of crime in a thread's title and rush to post reflexive talking points regardless of their relevance. There were a number of complaints about ANC 3C, which represents Cleveland Park. This crime was in a completely different ward, not to mention ANC district. Similarly, posters rushed to blame the DC Council with one poster wrongly asserting that the Council had attempted to change the law so that offenses such as this would not be considered kidnapping. Ironically, the tweet that the poster embedded to support his allegation actually said the opposite, but I guess the poster didn't bother reading it completely. There, of course, were the normal complement of racist posts that I had to delete. Much of the focus of the thread was on the mother involved. She had apparently left the vehicle running with the child inside, but it was not clear why she left the car. Information provided by police said that she claimed to have had a flat tire but witness reports circulating on social media said that she had gone into a store. It is not clear how a car with a flat tire could drive around DC for a hour or more and some posters suggested that the woman and invented the tire explanation to avoid legal problems as a result of leaving the child unattended. At any rate, the fact that the mother was not in the vehicle when it was taken caused the crime to be reclassified as car theft rather than carjacking. There was also discussion about what public officials describe as the difficulty of prosecuting carjacking and car theft. When stolen vehicles are recovered, apparently fingerprints can't be used as evidence because the cars may have passed through multiple drivers and it is not clear which had stolen it. Discussion also touched on whether or not an Amber Alert had been issued. Police said that they were in the process of preparing one when the baby was found.

The next most active thread over the weekend was posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. Titled, "Bill Ackman forgives wife for plagiarism", the original poster discussed Ackman's reaction to revelations of several instances of plagiarism in his wife, Neri Oxman's, Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral dissertation. Ackman had been one of the highest-profile individuals attacking former Harvard University president Claudine Gay for plagiarism that she appeared to have committed. But, whereas Ackman had been unrelenting in his criticism of Gay, he offered forgiveness to his wife saying that mistakes made her human. Much of the discussion focused on Ackman's alleged hypocrisy. In addition, other posters pointed out that this confirmed that Ackman was not actually concerned about plagiarism but was simply using that as a cudgel in place of his true motivations. Other posts went to great lengths to distinguish between Oxman and Gay, arguing that Oxman was not in a leadership role at a university and that her plagiarism was not as extensive. Political partisanship ruins any ability to discuss topics of this nature with any seriousness. Many of those who were previously offering excuses for Gay's plagiarism were now attacking Oxman with extreme vehemence and, similarly, those who previously stressed the importance of punishing plagiarism were now, like Ackman, quick to find excuses. The massive increase in wealth disparity that has characterized the US in recent years has many negative ramifications. But, one of the most humorous outcomes has been the emergence of thin-skinned billionaires on social media. These individuals appeared to spend most of their waking hours surrounded by acolytes who do little more than praise their genius. The billionaires then throw temper tantrums worthy of three-year-olds when things don't go their way. It can be especially entertaining when they take to social media for these outbursts. Several posts in this thread focused on Ackman's antics on X where he in turn bullied, tried to gain sympathy, and generally made a spectacle of himself. Ackman has has been a strong opponent of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in universities. As some posters pointed out, he appears to have benefited from legacy preferences in being accepted as a student at Harvard. These posters criticized legacy preferences as being affirmative action for the wealthy and argued that this was another instance of Ackman's hypocrisy.

The next most active thread was titled, "Having kids sucks!" and posted in the "General Parenting Discussion" forum. The orignal poster says that he is the father of two children and is unhappy about the sacrifices he has made due to having kids. He thinks having kids is too much work and advises childless-friends not to have children. His wife overheard him saying this and accused him of not loving their family. Other posters agree that raising children is hard and requires sacrifice, but most of them believe that it is worth it. Other posters questioned why the original poster had not been aware before having children that they would be a lot of work. Posts of this sort always trigger troll accusations and such a post arrived before the first page was complete. I checked this morning and, as far as I can tell, the original poster made four subsequent responses in the thread. Three out of the four were sock puppeted with the original poster writing in the guise of a third party offering himself support. After discovering this, I locked the thread. One poster even correctly identified the sock puppeting, but failed to report the post to me. In the vast majority of cases, claims about trolling or sock puppeting are wrong and posts making such claims simply disrupt threads. I much prefer posters to report their suspicions using the "report" link rather than posting them in the thread. Among those posters addressing the thread seriously, a great many offered encouragement to the original poster by saying that things get better as the kids get older. DCUM has always been a website dominated by women and male posters frequently complain about a double standard that results in them being treated more harshly. I generally have little patience for such posts. But, on this topic, despite the original poster likely being a troll, there does appear to be a double standard. When women post about not enjoying parenthood, their posts are met with warnings about post partum depression, discussions about the dangers of "wanting it all", and considerable sympathy. In this case, many posters tell the original poster that he shouldn't have been a father, that his kids deserve better, and that he should "man up". One poster goes so far as to say that most men shouldn't become fathers because they are too selfish. That's not to say that the original poster doesn't get sympathy or support, because he does. But, even some of the compliments are backhanded such as one post describing original poster as a "honest but terrible father".

Next was the thread about Harvard's president resigning which I've already discussed and, therefore, will skip. That means that the final thread for today will be one that was posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum titled, "Friend is ‘hitting’ on my husband who's okay with it? Should I be concerned." The original poster says that she is keeping a long story short, but, frankly, I can't imagine what the long version would have been like. She explains that a single woman in her 30s moved into their neighborhood a year and a half ago and became friends with many of the wives. During the winter break, the original poster, along with her husband and child, another couple with two children, and the single neighbor rented a house in the mountains together. During that trip, the single neighbor spent a lot of time with the original poster's husband. During the two weeks since the trip ended, the original poster's husband and the neighbor have been texting each other. Her husband is not hiding anything and has handed over his phone so that the original poster can read their text exchanges. The original poster is increasingly irritated by these interactions and has complained to her husband who thinks she is overreacting. This bothers her even more. The responses mostly side with the original poster and advise her to demand that her husband stop texting. A few posters argue that the husband is not hiding anything and is completely open about things and that this is simply the original poster's problem. He is innocent. Others suggest that the relationship may be innocent now, but could grow to be something more and suggest nipping it in the bud. Like the previous thread there were a number of posts saying the original poster was a troll and, like the previous thread, they appear to have been correct. Again, I would have much preferred these posters use the "report" link rather than posting in the thread. In any case, I didn't see those posts until just now. First of all, I believe the original poster is a man and not a jealous wife. The original poster sock puppeted a number of posts in the thread, once claiming to be a husband and defending the original poster's husband. Whether the entire scenario was invented or the orignal poster is simply the husband posing as his wife is something that I can't answer.

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