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January

Sub-archives

Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 19, 2024 10:59 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included caring for a father-in-law, MCPS school closures, a rude teenager, and the Supreme Court's consideration of the regulatory authority of government agencies.

The most active thread yesterday was the Kate Middleton thread that I discussed yesterday. I'll skip that one today, but will mention that DCUM's usage statistics showed a significant bump in traffic yesterday. When I checked Google's search statistics, I saw that searches for Kate Middleton were driving users to our site and were responsible for the increased traffic. The next most active thread was titled, "Dad fell, SIL lives closest" and posted in the "Family Relationships" forum. The original poster says that her father-in-law was injured by a fall and will be immobile for several weeks. He has moved in with the original poster's sister-in-law who lives close to him and she has been taking care of him. However, the sister-in-law has run out of sick leave and asked the original poster's husband if he can come stay at her house for a week. The original poster and her family live about 3 hours away. The original poster's husband is currently unemployed and, as such, has a flexible schedule. However, the original poster is scheduled to travel for work during the week, which would leave nobody available to care for their children. She asks for suggestions about what to do. As is typical of DCUM, not all of the responses are helpful. But, a number of posters do attempt to provide useful answers. For some reason, the original poster tended to respond more often and more substantively to the unhelpful posts, often with a combination of self-pity and aggression. This started a spiral in which posters reacted even more negatively to the original poster, causing her to increase her complaints about the how unhelpful the responses were. The result was a thread that has a mostly negative tone. In addition, many responses were clouded by what appears to have been chips on the shoulders of many posters over the fact that women — in this case the original poster's sister-in-law — often get stuck with the bulk of the responsibility in cases such as these. There were several complaints that the original poster's unemployed husband had not been doing more to help. The original poster, in turn, devoted a lot of effort to defending her husband and stressing the assistance that he had been providing. The problem with situations like this is that there are no easy answers and whatever answers exist all have drawbacks. Ultimately, the perfect solution will not be found and, instead, the original poster and her family will have to make compromises. Many of those responding clearly recognize that fact, while not explicitly articulating it. The solutions proposed are imperfect, but probably the best available. However, the original poster's tendency is to either ignore such proposals or fixate on their downsides. This added to an increasing level of frustration among almost all posters in the thread.

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Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 16, 2024 11:25 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.

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Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 10, 2024 11:05 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included the current presidential election outlook, a likely troll thread about an affair 9 years ago, reconsidering standardized college entrance exams, and the value of family.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "CNN’s inaugural Road to 270 shows Trump in a position to win the White House" and posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. The original poster linked to a graphic produced by CNN showing US states color-coded by the current leading presidential candidate. According to CNN's analysis, former President Donald Trump is currently leading in enough states to secure 272 electoral votes, two more than necessary to win the election. Notably, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Arizona, all states that President Joe Biden previously won, are listed as "toss-ups" with their votes not being distributed. However, even if Biden were to pick up all three, he would still be short of the winning number. Therefore, Biden will need to flip at least one state currently leaning towards Trump. As is the tendency for political threads, most of those responding simply engage in partisan bickering. Pro-Trump posters beat their chests and make outlandish predictions. Pro-Biden posters argue that the current polling does not reflect the probable results in November. There are a few sensible posts from those who attempt serious analysis, though it is often difficult to tell where these posts cross the line to wishful thinking. As is also the tendency for political threads, posters do a poor job of staying on topic and the thread soon goes off in several different directions. By the end of the thread posters were engaged in a debate about whether or not Trump should legally be allowed on the ballot. My own thoughts about this are that early polling is often inaccurate, but it is undeniable that Biden is carrying a lot of baggage that he did not have during the last go around. Democrats have a terrible time controlling the narrative and, as a result, Biden's age and mental acuity have become issues with many voters while Trump's similar age and obvious mental shortcomings have not. More importantly for Biden, his policy regarding Israel and Gaza has turned off many young voters who have been key to Democrats' success. Expected red waves over several elections have failed to materialize due to women and young voters motivated by abortion rights. Whether that same pattern will hold true remains to be seen. In Biden's favor, almost constant predictions of a recession have been proven wrong and now conventional wisdom has turned away from such expectations. With inflation coming down and the job market remaining strong, the economy should favor Biden. Many prognosticators say that is the single biggest factor in elections. A lot can and probably will happen between now and the election, so it would be unwise for anyone to begin counting chickens or reconciling themselves with defeat.

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