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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Jan 12, 2024 10:05 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included judging men and women, a decline in White Army recruits, taking classmates' college spots, and college freshmen GPAs.

Yesterday's most active thread was one that I will skip because I discussed it yesterday. That was the thread about the college choice of a "donut hole" family. The most active thread after that was titled, "Do you judge men who are wealthy and well educated but choose to marry fitness influencer/dancer/yoga instructor" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. My first reaction to this is that the forum is really getting into the realm of the esoteric with this thread. Personally, I don't judge such men because I can't think of a single one who meets the description. As such, the question in the title is completely theoretical to me and, in theory as well as reality, I have better things with which to concern myself. But I guess my reaction is not widely shared because this topic managed to produce 12 pages of responses in a single day. There were a number of posters, perhaps maybe even a majority of those responding, who unequivocally claimed not to make such judgements and to consider the question to be ridiculous. One perceptive poster pointed out that this question actually implies judgement of the women rather than the men. Other posters pointed out that the assumption that yoga instructors or dancers are necessarily uneducated is a misconception. Much of this thread consists of off-topic tangents involving posters dealing with their own neuroses. One poster appears overly fixated on her financial advisor ex-boyfriend and a male poster touts the advantages of dating women who are significantly younger than him. While the original poster's premise appeared to be that the women in this scenario are educationally and socially well below the men, several posters pointed out that this is frequently not the case. As mentioned before, women in these roles are often well-educated. One poster who says she is a yoga instructor touted two master's degrees and the ability to speak four languages. Others pointed out that it is not uncommon for well-educated professional women married to wealthy men to give up their careers to raise children and take up yoga or dance instructing as a hobby, sometimes turning that into a second career down the road. The men married professional women who only became instructors or dancers later. The original poster responded throughout the thread, generally not identifying herself as the original poster but not really sock puppeting either. She was very argumentative and if there were a common theme to her posts it is that men generally choose poorly when picking a mate.

Again I will skip the next most active thread, the one about not liking either Trump or Biden, because I've already discussed it. The most active thread after that was posted in the "Political Discussion" forum and titled, "Army Sees Sharp Decline in White Recruits". The original poster quotes from a Military.com article that details a steep decline in the Army's recruitment of White soldiers. While it may not be related, the article also mentions that Army officials are seeing recruits from the South struggling to meet service standards. My purely uneducated opinion about this development is that it likely reflects the job market in which there are plenty of alternatives to enlisting in the military. After two decades of soldiers being asked to serve multiple deployments in combat zones, Army life has probably lost a lot of its luster. The job market is, unfortunately, probably not as good for minorities and, therefore, Army service is still somewhat attractive. My speculation could easily be entirely off the mark, but I don't think that it could be any worse than most of the discussion in this thread. Posters immediately jumped to knee-jerk partisan reactions with MAGAs blaming President Joe Biden and claiming that former President Donald Trump would not have allowed this to happen. Never mind that the article traces the slump to the last years of the Trump administration. Other posters blame this on "wokeness" that they claim has affected our society and caused White men to become disillusioned. Liberals don't really present themselves much better, taking this an an opportunity to dump on the South and southern White men. Other posters question whether this is even a problem, wondering why the Army needs a specific number of White recruits. Both the Military.com article and the original poster of the thread did a disservice by conflating the recruitment issue with the failure of southern recruits to meet standards. As the article says, there is no indication that southern recruits are predominately White. So, these two issues are not necessarily connected. That point is ignored by posters on both sides of the debate who almost completely discuss the issue in terms of White southerners failing to enlist. One exception to this is a poster who analyzed demographic trends and connected those to the drop off in recruitment. The poster showed that younger age groups, such as those of recruitment age, are much less White than older demographics. Therefore, the pool of White candidates of recruitment age is simply smaller than in the past. Someone copied a post from Reddit written by a military recruiter who outlined his experience, saying that the biggest drop off was a result of covid lockdowns, though it is not clear how that might have impacted White recruits more than others. He also pointed out that increased screening for mental health issues such as ADHD and depression was having a very negative impact on recruitment. He was especially critical of a new health information system that makes it more difficult for recruits to lie about their medical histories and the strict policies regarding the use of anxiety and other mental health medications. Another factor he cited was a wave of anti-military sentiment among conservatives, which likely impacted White recruitment.

Next was the Gaza war thread which is still lingering around among the most active threads, but that I will skip now. Following that was a thread titled, "Taking classmates' spots by applying to multiple schools?" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. The original poster says that her daughter was accepted by a "HYPMS" — Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford. However, her daughter also wanted to see if she would be accepted by other colleges on her list and continued to apply to them in later admissions rounds. The original poster has subsequently heard criticism that her daughter is taking spots from other classmates because universities limit how many applicants they will accept from a single high school. The original poster wants to know whether or not this is true. There are a couple of different aspects to this post. The first is whether or not the original poster is a troll — an allegation that was made in the very first response. I can't tell either way but, purely from reading the post and with no additional information, it seems very trollish to me. The second issue is whether or not universities do limit the number admissions from a single high school. I can say from reading the forum that this is certainly a commonly-held belief. Third is whether, assuming this is a legitimate thread and colleges do have such limits, the original poster's daughter has done anything wrong. Responses touch on all three of these points. Post after post accuses the original poster of trolling, or at a minimum posting a "humblebrag". On the topic of limiting admissions, as as been the tendency in this forum, posters generally agree that it happens. Opinion is most divided over whether the daughter is doing anything wrong. Some posters say that it is best for her to lookout for herself and not be concerned about the other students. Some posters accuse the daughter of "trophy hunting" and view that negatively. In some cases, posters strongly opposed the daughter's behavior, considering it to be actively harming others. The original poster offered a clarification saying that her daughter was not completely sure that she wanted to attend the school that had accepted her and that she was only applying to other schools in which she was authentically interested. She was not randomly applying to every top school. This post addressed most of the criticism, but seems to have fallen on deaf ears and many of the critical posts ignored it.

The final thread that I will discuss was also posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. Titled, "What is your college freshman’s first semester GPA?", the original poster says that her son, who had been a 4.0 student in high school, skipped a lot of classes during his first semester of college and only achieved a 3.6 grade point average. The original poster is very disappointed. The first response accused the original poster of posting a "humblebrag" while others took the post at face value, posting their kids' GPAs. The GPAs seem to span the spectrum from sub 2 to 4.0. Several posters asked about the major that the student is pursuing, arguing that could make a difference. A number of posters also said that a low GPA during the first semester is not unusual and that things often improve later. In some cases, posts degenerated to juvenile bickering such as a poster who accused the University of Maryland of practicing grade inflation in response to one poster's child achieving a 4.0 GPA. Some posters bragged about not asking about their children's grades, apparently seeing this as a sign that they were supporting their kids' independence. Similarly, others accused some posters of "helicopter parenting" for paying too close of attention. The original poster received considerable pushback for being disappointed with posters arguing that 3.6 was very respectable. Others expressed understanding because, like the original poster, they had become used to all "A" grades in high school. There is not really a whole lot more that I can say about this thread. It is mostly the same sort of things being said over and over again. I'm not sure that the original poster was looking for much in the way of feedback in the first place.

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