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The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele — last modified Mar 25, 2024 10:49 AM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included the Princess of Wales' announcement that she has cancer, a wife that is not a good stay-at-home-mom, parental help when buying a home, and flying in a different class than your kids.

The most active thread of the weekend will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with DCUM posters' obsessiveness regarding the British Royal Family. Titled, "Palace making an announcement at 2pm" and posted in the "Entertainment and Pop Culture" forum, the thread was created in anticipation of an announcement regarding the health of Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales. As readers of this blog will remember, multiple Royal Family-related threads have been among the most active lately. One dealing with a Mother's Day photo released by the Prince and Princess of Wales turned into a litany of conspiracy theories about the health and well-being of the Princess. Some readers were certain that she was in a coma, others said she and Prince William were preparing for a divorce, and a few suggested that she had been stabbed or otherwise harmed through an act of domestic violence. According to other posters, none of those were true, but rather she was suffering from complications of an eating disorder. The announcement turned out to be a video by Kate revealing that she has been diagnosed with cancer. The reaction by many DCUM posters was shock, grief, and sympathy. But, other posters immediately smelled a rat. They demanded to know the type of cancer and immediately began piecing together timelines that they said were inconsistent with Kate's message. The fact is that the crazy, obsessive, conspiracy-mongers have been wrong about nearly everything. But they got lucky with the Photoshopped photo and, rather than considering that the exception that proves the rule, they thought that it proved them right about everything. Therefore, rather than accepting that Kate's announcement revealed the that most of their outlandish claims were baseless, they simply doubled-down in search of revelations that would again show the Palace's duplicity. On the other hand, Kate-defenders who had been forced to stomach a faked photo and one of the most bungled public relations jobs in history, suddenly saw their opportunity to hit back at the conspiracy theorists. They demanded apologies, retractions, and everything short of abject groveling. In the midst of this, other posters opined on the type of cancer from which Kate might be suffering and described their own experiences with cancer. In the absence of further details coming from official channels, posters found themselves with little of substance to discuss. As a result the thread turned to back and forth sniping and arguing. I had no interest in spending my weekend babysitting the thread and, therefore, locked it — less than 7 hours after it had been started. Even with that short lifetime, the thread was still the most active of the weekend. Take note those users who insist that I moderate with an interest in generating traffic. I spent much of the rest of the past two days playing whack-a-mole removing new threads that were created about Kate's diagnosis.

The next most active thread over the weekend was posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. Titled, "Wife is not a good sham", the original poster meant to say that his wife is not a good stay-at-home-mom. The original poster says that they have two children, an infant and a toddler. After the second child was born, his wife quit her part-time job to stay home with the kids. The older child is in part-time daycare and they have a part-time nanny. In addition, they have a housekeeper and the original poster says that he does 90% of the cooking. Nevertheless, their house is constantly a wreck and the original poster feels that his wife does not do much. He would like for her to be more involved in parenting and maintaining the house but is not sure how to approach the topic without hurting her feelings. Before going further, let's address what is sort of the elephant in the room with this thread. Is the original poster a troll? I received several reports suggesting that this was the case and there are many posts making that accusation in the thread. I can rule out sock puppeting. The original poster was very consistent about identifying himself as the original poster in subsequent follow-ups, of which there were many. However, there is an oddity in that less than a half-hour after starting this thread, the original poster started another thread about struggling with breastfeeding. I have seen men struggle with a lot of parenting activities, but breastfeeding is not one of them. As a result, I agree that there is something strange going on here. But I am not sure exactly what it is. My best guess is that the original poster has reversed the genders and her husband is actually a stay-at-home-dad. The original poster's responses make a lot more sense in that context. But that is purely a guess and there are a number of other possibilities. Often posters insist that they have to change details in their posts to prevent themselves from being identified. This can lead to posters responding with advice that is suitable for the scenario being described, but completely unhelpful for the real situation. At any rate, this is 21 page thread in which there were a lot of helpful responses assuming the thread is legitimate. There were also many posts questioning whether the original poster's wife might be suffering from postpartum depression, something the original poster insisted was not possible.

Next was a thread titled, "Did you get parental help to buy any houses you own?" and posted in the "Money and Finances" forum. The original poster asks whether others received any financial help either through a trust fund or down payment assistance when buying a house. In addition, the original poster also asked the value of other homes. As you might expect, many posters received various types of help and others didn't. Given the cost of houses in this area, it is no surprise that most of the posters have expensive houses, generally being worth more than $1 million. Among those who received help, some received significant monetary gifts, in one case $1 million which the poster described as "small". But in other cases the amounts were fairly small. One poster received nothing but a package of address labels from her mother. Others received loans from their parents and several posters went to lengths to describe how they had repaid the loans. One poster bragged about large trust funds which had allowed him to acquire significant real estate holdings. Several posters said that they had not been helped by their parents and some of them provided detailed accounts of how they had managed to purchase homes without such assistance. There is not much discussion in this thread but some revolved around attitudes towards parental help. One poster described purchasing a $1.1 million home with a $200,000 down payment without receiving parental help and said that he was proud of doing this. Another poster asked whether parental help in buying the house would have resulted in the poster not feeling pride. The first poster then responded to say that there is nothing to be proud about if you receive help from your parents because you didn't achieve anything. The second poster responded to that by saying obtaining a mortgage for an expensive house requires a decent salary and good credit which are things about which to be proud. Having a house simply given to you, however, even that poster agreed, is not something of which to be proud. Another perspective was provided by a poster who had helped his children by providing money for down payments. He was happy to do that because they were hardworking kids and he would not have done it if they were "deadbeats". He was proud of them for achieving the success they had and proud of himself for being in a position to help. In addition to parental help with purchasing a home, discussion diverged a bit into talking about help for kids' education. A number of posters received no help when buying their houses, but their parents have since contributed significantly to their children's college funds. In some cases, this involved a scenario that I see discussed with increasing frequency. Parents are aging and have accumulated significant wealth. Rather than leave large inheritances, they are giving away much of it now.

The last thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Travel Discussion" forum. Titled, "Dad rides in first while two young daughters ride in coach.", the original poster says that she took a flight to Orlando, FL on which there was a father flying in first class while his two adolescent-aged daughters sat midway back in coach. The original poster says that she can't help judge this father harshly and invites others to join in. While some posters agree with the original poster that this was a bad move on the dad's part, others take the father's side. Several posters say that they have done this themselves. Not all of those posters explained the reason for their choices, but some posters argue that it makes sense if the dad is big and would be cramped in coach while small children fit fine in those seats. One poster asked what kids have done to earn sitting in first class which, in my opinion, is a weird way of looking at the situation. Some posters justified sitting in a different class than their children by arguing that their children are well behaved and can take care of themselves if faced with a difficult situation. Other posters suggested that the kids were likely not as well-behaved as those posters believe and, instead, are cared for by other passengers. They criticized those who do this for pushing their parenting responsibilities off on others. Posters also discussed sitting in different classes than their spouse even when no children are involved. Often this was because one was offered an upgrade for which the other was not eligible. In both cases of separate classes for families and separate classes for spouses, attitudes toward being together differed. Some posters prefer to sit together because they enjoy spending time with each other and enjoy their children's or spouse's company. Other posters interpreted "enjoying" being together with "needing" to be together and offered advice such as "cut the cord" or ridiculed posters for not being able to be apart for a few hours. The views of posters are, of course, heavily influenced by their personal circumstances. In one case, a poster whose family travels frequently all know to take the best available seat and not worry about the others. They stay in touch by texting throughout the flight. Another poster whose teen child gets motion sickness is never able to relax on flights and would never sit apart from her child if she could help it. In a few cases, this discussion surfaced old resentments from childhood among those who were forced to care for their younger siblings in coach while their parents enjoyed first class.

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