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Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Jan 16, 2024 11:17 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included weather-related closures, the college admissions game, actors and actresses who can't act, and questions about being an alcoholic.

Yesterday the District of Columbia region received its first significant snowfall of the year, though as a native midwesterner, I am practically required to scoff at what Washingtonians consider "significant snowfall". Nevertheless, with little more than flurries that barely stuck to the pavement, posters could hardly write about anything other than snow-related closings. Fully half of the top ten most active threads were weather related. Therefore, rather than discuss a bunch of threads that are all pretty much the same, I'll lump the five weather-related threads together and discuss them all at once. The most active of the bunch was titled, "Snow day predictions? Anyone" and posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum. As I mentioned in a recent blog post discussing a thread about Montgomery County Public Schools closing early due to wind and rain, MCPS is particularly sensitive about weather issues, leading to repeated controversies. Next was a thread titled, "Snow closing tracker" and posted in the "Private & Independent Schools" forum. In the world of private schools, nearly anything can be turned into a competition and reactions to snow is no exception. Either being the first to announce a closure or the last can be a point of pride depending on one's pont of view. Third was a thread titled, "Will schools be open next week?" and posted in the "Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)" forum. This thread was actually started last Friday by a poster looking ahead but gained more traction — apparently unlike cars on Fairfax County roads — yesterday. After that was a thread titled "ROADS ARE BAD STAY HOME!!!!" which, if I remember correctly, was originally posted in the "Off-Topic" forum before I moved it to the "Cars and Transportation" forum. Other than the snow, the most discussed issue in this thread was "236" and exactly what road that is and whether or not anyone actually calls it that. Finally, rounding out the top ten most active threads as well as the top five snow-related topics was a thread titled, "Chances that school will be canceled tomorrow?" and posted in the "DC Public and Public Charter Schools" forum. This thread, in addition to the snow discussion, was dominated by a debate about whether fathers can competently adjust to the threat of a delayed opening or cancellation. Apparently the logistics of this are well beyond the capabilities of some men. Good job to the guys who have figured out that acting helpless can secure a couple of hours of extra sleep on a snowy day while their wives struggle with the kids.

The most active non-weather-related thread was the Gaza war thread which was the second most active thread yesterday. But, since I've already discussed that thread, I'll skip it and discuss a thread posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum and titled, "Did you opt in or out of the UMC admission game? Do you regret it?". The original poster says that her family has always taken a relaxed attitude toward college and now that her kids are in high school, they are not doing text preparation, hiring tutors, engaging college counselors, or steering the kids toward extracurricular activities that might enhance their college applications. However, when the original poster talks to other parents who are doing all of these things, she has second thoughts and gets stressed about college. She asks how others are approaching this. Most of those responding did a few of the things that the original poster mentioned without going full enchilada. Some considered an entirely hands-off approach to be neglectful. But, a few posters reported taking the same attitude as the original poster and having things work out quite well. At the extreme end of the scale was a poster who called most of the others "weirdos" for being too obsessed with college and claimed that the only thing parents needed to do was tell their kids how much they could afford to pay for college. Basically, responses were highly reliant upon how much posters valued undergraduate degrees. Quite a few didn't think that the undergraduate school mattered all that much. Or, probably more frequently, believe that even without all the normal college prep activities, their kids would still get into a good state university and that was good enough. These parents put very little effort into prepping their kids for college. But, parents who saw undergraduate school as being a make or break opportunity tended to invest in the entire menu of college preparation. Some posters argued that getting as involved as some parents reported was actually doing a disservice to their children, preventing them from developing independence and responsibility. For one poster this was less about their kids' future and more about simple finances. An academically strong student who checks all the college admissions boxes is more likely to be offered merit aid and other financial assistance, lowering the cost for the family. Therefore, investing in college preparation makes financial sense.

Next was a thread titled, "Celebrities who can't act" and posted in the "Entertainment and Pop Culture" forum. The original poster asks for suggestions of actors or actresses who lack acting talent and have probably succeeded in their careers due to other factors. The original poster provided her own list that included a number of well-known figures. Initially, those responding didn't really offer their own suggestions but simply debated the original poster's list. Several of the original poster's entries had defenders, but others were agreed to have little acting talent. Emma Watson, for instance, was suggested by the original poster and others concurred, with one poster claiming she has "no acting ability". Another actress for whom there was broad agreement about her lack of talent was Kristen Stewart. Julia Roberts was another whose name came up a lot. These threads are difficult for me to summarize because I don't want to simply list all of the names. Moreover, this is not a topic about which I have strong feelings, or any feelings really. So, I can't even offer my own opinion as an alternative. There were a few posts in which posters went into a bit of depth about an actor or actress to provide support for their opinion. I thought some of those were interesting. For instance there was a discussion about Adam Sandler and one poster argued that he used comedy as a way to break into television but always considered himself to be an actor. Therefore, he pursued dramatic roles as well as comedies. But, even this poster concluded that while he is an actor, he is simply not a very good one. I couldn't pick most of those mentioned out of a police lineup and I couldn't identify roles that they've performed if my life depended on it. So, whether others think they have talent or not is meaningless to me.

The last thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Health and Medicine" forum. Titled, "Do you think I’m an alcoholic?", the original poster says that almost every day in 2023 she had exactly one alcoholic drink, either a glass of wine or hard cider. Her husband suggested that as a new year's resolution, she quit drinking because he is concerned that she is becoming an alcoholic. She has not had a drink since January 1st, but is planning to go out with a friend this week and would like to have a drink with her. She asked her husband if it would be okay and he said that he thinks she should continue a "dry January" or he would continue to have concerns. She asks what others think. Almost none of those responding believe that the original poster is an alcoholic, though several agree that she has a bad habit and should probably reduce her drinking. A number of posters believe that the original poster's husband has succumbed to hysteria about alcohol that one poster believes is being spread by the cannabis industry. Others suggest that her husband may have been influenced by recent evidence of a connection between drinking and cancer. Several posters, despite their belief that the original poster is not an alcoholic, advise that the original poster should not drink during January to prove to her husband that she doesn't have a problem. A number of posters didn't think the problem was the original poster's drinking, but rather her husband who they view as controlling and as overreacting. Later the thread turned into a dispute about whether moderate consumption of alcohol could be part of a healthy lifestyle as well as whether or not one drink a day is moderate consumption. Several posters argued that while one drink a day is not an indication of alcoholism, it could be a sign of an unhealthy lifestyle. Other posters objected to this and insisted that there is no disconnect between moderate drinking and a healthy lifestyle. Some posters expressed a willingness to accept the health risks that moderate drinking might cause. One poster argued that when people talk about "one drink a day" they are normally not referring to the same unit of measurement that medical professionals mean when they say "one drink a day". Instead, this poster argued, most people actually drink more than one of what doctors would consider "one drink".

Anon says:
Jan 16, 2024 11:23 AM
Very interesting summary!
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