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The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele — last modified Mar 18, 2024 12:55 PM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included a disagreement over a child's bedroom, new fee structure for realtors, professors not checking in on students, and former MCPS Superintendent Monifa McKnight's settlement agreement.

The most active thread over the weekend was the Kate photo thread that had nearly 4 times the number of posts as the next most active thread. That thread, wouldn't you know it, was the thread about Meghan Markle's new lifestyle brand. So, apparently, DCUM has turned into a tabloid. The next most active thread, and the first one that I have not already discussed and, therefore, will discuss today, was actually a parenting topic. Titled, "DD wants the big bedroom, but I don’t want to give it to her & DH not backing me up", the thread was posted in the "General Parenting Discussion" forum. The original poster describes a disagreement involving her nine year old daughter, herself, and her husband. The family is moving into a new house that has three children's bedrooms. Two are identical to each other while the third is larger and has built-in furniture that gives it a "girly" appearance. More importantly to the original poster, it has a door to the outside. The original poster would like her daughter to take one of the identical rooms and her 4 year old son to take the other. However, her daughter wants the larger room. The original poster is concerned about the door and she would rather remove the built-in furniture and convert the room to either a guest room or play room. The original poster's husband has agreed that their daughter should not get the larger room at this time, but has told her that she may be able to move into it in the future. This is frustrating for the original poster because this presents an obstacle to removing the built-in furniture which she also thinks is her daughter's main attraction to the room. Moreover, the original poster's husband thinks that she is being paranoid about the door. She wants to know what DCUM thinks about this situation. This seems fairly simple to resolve to me. Put the kids in the small rooms, convert the larger room, and assume that their daughter will forget all about moving soon enough. If not, deal with that in the future. But, few of those responding seemed to see things in these terms. To the contrary, quite a few of the posters would consider this abusive. One poster is convinced that having raised the daughter's hopes about the larger room, it would be mean to disappoint her now. She insists that the daughter should be allowed to have the larger room immediately. Other posters reject the notion of fairness and don't see a problem with one child having a larger room than the other. In contrast, fairness is very important to other posters. A few posters side with the original poster and criticize her husband for not supporting her. In addition, some posters are concerned about the outside door and consider that a safety issue. The notable thing about this thread, and what contributes to its length, is the strength of the feelings of various posters. To some, this is not a topic on which reasonable people can disagree, but rather one about which a few posters seem to think that their answer is the only valid one. As one poster sums things up, "Clear that the inmates are running the asylum in most of y’all’s homes."

Next was a thread posted in the "Real Estate" forum titled, "New Commission -3%". Almost since the day we created the Real Estate forum, posters have used it to complain about the fees charged by realtors. Thread after thread has discussed ways around such fees. Now, as part of a legal settlement, the National Association of Realtors has agreed to make it easier for buyers to negotiate fees. If I were in the market to buy a home, I would be thrilled about this development. But since I am a website owner who benefits from the traffic provoked by the old policy, I am disappointed. What will posters complain about now? The original poster of this thread is happy because he has repeatedly been quoted a 3% total commission rate and he wonders if this is a new trend. In addition to complaining about realtors' fees, posters in this forum have tended to have dismal views of realtors. This continues in this thread with even former realtors suggesting that realtors are uneducated. Other posters have a litany of criticisms of agents. While the drop in fees is welcome. some posters want to see fees lowered even further or replaced with a flat fee. Some posters don't think agents are necessary in the first place. Much of the discussion revolves around the impact of lower fees and whether that will be reflected in lower housing prices or reduced closing costs. The posters that are happy about the new fee arrangement seem to believe that realtors will perform the same service as previously, but it will just cost less. There is some understanding that some realtors will no longer find sufficient revenue with the lower fees and will be forced out of the profession, but few seem to care about that and some even welcome it. But another view is that realtors, or at least the good ones, will no longer be willing to provide the same level of service and, therefore, buyers will suffer from the changes. I am far from an expert, but this rings a little hollow to me. A buyer's agent was willing to put a tremendous amount of effort into helping us buy our house when it was available for about a quarter of what it would sell for today. I would think that many agents would accept half the commission that they did back then on a house that would now sell for four times as much. Things could be more difficult in areas with lower housing costs or with less appreciation, of course. A slew of other unexpected consequences are hypothesized by those who prefer the current system. The likelihood of those scenarios coming to pass is, obviously, debated. One good point is that buyers have generally not put much thought into fees because they didn't pay them. Now that fees will be negotiable, buyers may start to take them into account. Some suggest that this will lead to tiered levels of agents who are willing to work at different price points.

The next most active thread was titled, "are professors not required to check in on students?" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. DCUM posters can often be a bit snarky if not downright mean to those who start threads. Often such responses are unwarranted, but occasionally a poster essentially puts a "kick me" sign on themselves inviting such replies. Then, rarely but it does happen, a poster puts a "kick me" sign on themselves, stages a fireworks display to attract attention, hires a guy with sign pointing to them to stand on the street and wave to cars, and has a airplane fly overhead pulling a banner saying "poster wants to be kicked". This thread is one of those cases. The original poster complains that their child who is in college has skipped class many times and the professor has not phoned or emailed. I could see the response to this post coming from a mile away. The first response was simply, "Lol No". The second was, "I guess not... It's not an elementary school." The third was, "No, this is not high school." Some posters pointed out that college professors generally don't take attendance. They might not even know the student was missing. One poster, on the other hand, was very insistant that professors should touch base with a student who was missing class, much as an employer might check in on a missing employee. Whether employers actually do such a thing was disputed, but this analogy misses the nature of the relationship. Employers are paying their employees and, in addition to any humanitarian concerns, don't want to pay employees who don't come to work. Professors, on the other hand, are used to students skipping class. Some posters suggest that at very small liberal arts colleges, a professor might check in a student who was missing classes, but that is clearly an exception more than the rule. Far more common were posts saying that it was the parent's responsibility to know whether their children were missing class or not. The original poster says that their child only enrolled in the class in order to be classified as a fulltime student and, therefore, receive financial aid. Getting a "F" would still allow the student to be eligible for assistance. Apparently, the student was satisfied with an "F" and therefore didn't bother going to class. As such, there was really no imperative for a professor to contact the student in any case. Other posters imagined scenarios where a student was suffering from a medical or mental health problems and checking in could be important. But such concerns did not apply in this case. Moreover, many posters felt that even such situations were for parents to address, not professors. Perhaps due to the tone of the responses, the original poster disappeared. But, this did not stop the abuse. Even on the 12th page of the thread posters were still piling on. For instance, one poster wrote, "Professors are not there to baby your kid. It was your job to raise your kid well." The most recent post on the thread says, "Your [child] needs ramifications - from you."

The final thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum. Titled, "[Washington Post] Ex-Montgomery superintendent McKnight to get $1.3M in separation deal", the original poster excerpted a Washington Post article about the settlement former Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Monifa McKnight will receive as a result of her separation from the school system. McKnight will receive $1.3 million, most of which is the agreed upon compensation in her contract as well as attorney's fees. McKnight has been subject to numerous threads in the MCPS forum, many of which were among the most active threads and discussed in previous blog posts. When her departure from MCPS was announced, many posters expected a settlement of just this sort. It was always clear that the Board of Education would be eager to avoid any litigation that McKnight might pursue and, given that she likely knows where plenty of bodies are buried, would prefer not to have a disgruntled former superintendent in the wild. Nevertheless, plenty of posters are outraged by this settlement. Teachers were not happy with McKnight from the beginning, even voting their disapproval while she was still the interim superintendent. During McKnight's administration, teachers often felt that they bore the brunt of her policies. As such, many posters argue that teachers, not McKnight, deserve compensation at this point. Several of those responding chose to use this thread to rehash past controversies, especially that involving Joel Beidelman, a former principal who was promoted while under investigation for abusing and harassing employees. McKnight's involvement in that controversy, if any, has never been revealed. But there is no doubt that it contributed to her departure. Many posters are angry with the Board of Education for approving this deal and urge others to demonstrate their anger at the voting booth. Several members of the Board are up for election this year. While McKnight has always had her detractors, she has also had supporters. The supporters contend that McKnight was a scapegoat for many unavoidable problems and unfairly targeted. To them, this settlement is justified and they are happy that she was able to obtain it. Throughout the thread some posters arguie that McKnight deserved to be fired and, therefore, doesn't deserve compensation. Others argue that if there were really grounds to fire McKnight, the Board would not have agreed to this settlement. The second group sees the agreement as basically exonerating McKnight. Realistically, even if the Board had indisputable justification to get rid of McKnight — something it does not appear to have — payment could not have been avoided without an expensive legal battle. Given the actual circumstances, the Board might not even be confident of winning such a case. Therefore, regardless of how angry it makes some of the public, the settlement was a reasonable move.

hiitsme says:
Mar 18, 2024 01:42 PM
"What will posters complain about now?" lmao, I think we'll find something.
anon says:
Mar 18, 2024 08:10 PM
Looks like they are now complaining that they bought so long ago that they cannot sue under the new policy!
Anonymous says:
Mar 19, 2024 02:49 PM
Man, you always have the funniest way of phasing things! Love the realtor commission synopsis.
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