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Tuesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Jan 31, 2024 11:26 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included a husband taking "guy trips", "normal smart kids" and Ivy League admissions, NCS grade point averages, and expensive products that are worth it.

Yesterday's most active thread was the one about moms who are "just" wives and mothers that I discussed in yesterday's blog. I'll skip that one today and start with the next most active thread which was titled, "I hate ‘guy trips’" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. The original poster says that her husband takes one or two trips a year with guy friends of his. While the trips normally only last a long weekend, her husband returns tired and behind on work. While he is gone, the original poster is stuck taking care of the kids and running the house 24/7 and even after he returns he is not able to contribute for a few days while he recovers. While the original poster is glad that her husband has maintained his friendships and understands that he needs time to decompress, she doesn't like these trips. Responses range from those that sympathize with the original poster to those who are entirely on the side of her husband. One poster says that the original poster's attitude demonstrates why men shouldn't get married. Probably the most common response was to identify the days the husband takes to recover as the main issue. Most posters don't have a problem with the trips themselves, but believe the husband should jump right back into parenting upon his return. Several emphasize that is what would be expected of a woman. As such, several posters suggested ideas for how to deal with the days after the husband's return. Some said the original poster simply needed to tell her husband to suck it up. Others suggested having him spend his first day back in a hotel so that he could recover and the original poster wouldn't have to put up with his moping. Others suggested outsourcing more during the time the husband and gone and during his recovery period. More DoorDash dinners and possibly a cleaning person, for instance. One poster who described being in a similar situation wrote that, "I feel these situations really emphasize to me how tightly stretched we are all the time and I wish my husband would agree and be open to making changes." The original poster responded to this post suggesting that it had captured the essence of what she was feeling. A couple of the male posters said that they have similar trips with their friends and, as they have aged, they have also found that recovery takes longer. But, they have built this into their planning so it is not an issue when the get home. Quite a bit of the thread is devoted to discussing what is "fair" in a relationship. For instance, the husband works more and makes more money. Therefore, should he be entitled to more time off? Some posters attempt very strict accounting for what each partner in the relationship deserves. Others reject this sort of bean counting with one poster insisting that it kills relationships.

The next most active thread was the Gaza war thread which I will skip because I've already discussed it. After that was a thread posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum titled, "Can a normal smart kid get into an ivy these days?". The original poster says that her son has good grades and high test scores and plays three sports. But she has been seeing kids with impressive stats being rejected and wonders whether a "normal smart kid" can still get into an Ivy League university. In some ways this post highlights a contradiction that I often see in the forum. Posters argue that admissions to top universities should be entirely driven by merit, primarily academic ability. As such, "normal smart kids" should not be expected to be admitted because it should be only extremely smart kids who get in. But, it's also possible that "normal" in this case means "White", which opens up an entirely different can of worms. Most of those responding are pretty pessimistic about the original poster's son's chances. Several point out that Ivy League schools have become much more selective in recent years with acceptance rates that once were around 25% now down to 3-6%. As usual in threads such as this, many posters emphasize the need for "hooks" such as being an athletic recruit, a legacy, sponsored by a big donor, or a first generation college student. Some posters also attribute advantages to being an underrepresented minority despite the Supreme Court ruling prohibiting race as being a factor in admissions. Many of the posters who don't think the original poster's son's chances are very good also argue that that this should not be that big of a disappointment. They argue that there are plenty of other good schools outside the Ivy League and many of those might actually be better fits for the student. A few posters claim to know "normal smart" kids who were admitted to Ivy League universities without any hooks. The issue is not that it is impossible for the original poster's child to get admitted, but that chances are very slim. Slim is not none but it is slim. Or, as one poster writes, "In other words, ‘possible’ in the way that winning the lottery is possible." So, the advice to the original poster is not to rule Ivy League schools out completely, but to be realistic about her son's chances. Sadly, this thread turned into a fight between Asian and White posters arguing over who has it worse when it comes to college admissions with some very racists posts thrown in. As a result, I locked the thread.

Next was a thread titled, "NCS grades spin-off" and posted in the "Private & Independent Schools" forum. First some background. Last week there were multiple threads dealing with grade deflation, grade point averages, and other technical issues involving private schools. All of these threads were hijacked by a poster who is obsessed with the way the National Cathedral School calculates grade point averages. When I say "obsessed", I am not exaggerating or being hyperbolic. In one of the threads, that poster posted over half of the posts on one page and a plurality of posts on most pages of a thread that was in double digits of pages. Many of those posts were sock puppeted. This thread is a follow-up to one that I deleted due to the obsessed poster. I was afraid that this thread would suffer a similar fate and, sure enough, that poster showed up at the eight post of the first page. The poster immediately commenced to sock puppet, quoting her first post and beginning her reply with "This is correct and agree." Yes, I would expect the poster to agree with herself so no surprise there. The poster, starting with the 8th post on the page, subsequently posted 6 times on the first page. Keep in mind that pages have 15 posts so she posted 6 of the remaining 8 posts on the first page at the time she discovered the thread. Ultimately, this poster would post 40 times in the 9 page thread. Not only did the poster sock puppet a considerable number of posts, but often replied multiple times to the same post. At issue is the fact that NCS assigns a letter grade to the numeric grade earned by a student. For instance, a numeric grade between 93 and 100 is assigned an "A" and 90-92 is assigned an "A-". In turn, these letters are converted to a numeric 4 point scale. So an "A" is assigned 4 and an "A-" a 3.7. Then the GPA is determined by averaging those numbers. Other "Big 3" schools handle class grades similarly but either don't include a GPA on the transcript or calculate it based on the original numeric class grades. The obsessed poster believes that this results in NCS students being at a disadvantage. There are several caveats to this discussion. The area public school systems calculate GPAs the same way that NCS does, but many posters hold that public schools suck and shouldn't be mentioned in polite company. As such, how public schools calculate GPAs is meaningless and, in fact, doing it differently than those schools is desirable. Also, other popular private schools do the same as NCS, but the obsessed poster doesn't care because she does not consider those schools to be "Big 3" schools. Other posters say that none of this matters because colleges calculate GPA themselves based on the high school transcript and ignore whatever GPA is listed. Regardless, I ended up locking this thread.

The final thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Off-Topic" forum. Titled, "Name an expensive product or service that’s worth it", the original poster lists "Lululemon & Athleta yoga pants" as her suggestion and says that she avoids budget airlines, preferring to pay more for others. I am fairly certain that there was a thread exactly like this one some time back and I also wrote about it in this blog. But, I don't have time to track it down. As I always say when faced with this sort of thread, it is difficult for me to summarize threads that are really just lists of things. Many posters seem to think that expensive cookware is worth the cost, especially All Clad and Le Creuset. One poster rejected everything posted as not worth it, insisting only her horse was worth the expense. Later a number of other posters also agreed about horses. For many, having a housekeeper was something that they considered worth the cost. One poster said "divorce". Popular suggestions included various food items, especially items from Whole Foods. Similarly, many posters were willing to splurge for organic food from farmers markets or small local farms. Luxury cars were also popular with many posters and several Dyson products were repeatedly mentioned. A significant number of posters didn't list anything for themselves, but were willing to spend money on expensive things for their children, especially anything education-related. Some of the items listed sounded so appealing to other posters that there were demands for links or other information about how to obtain whatever it was. On the other hand, several posters disagreed about the value of some items suggested by others. There was even a bit of a dust-up after the suggestion of farmers markets with one poster complaining that not everyone has year-long access to farmers markets. As a poster pointed out in response, in thread full of extravagant purchases, farmers market were a weird choice to call out.

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