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2024

Sub-archives

Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Mar 26, 2024 12:56 PM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included reasons for not remarrying, shaming an unemployed brother, Northeastern University, and a selfish husband skiing with his family.

The most active thread yesterday was was a thread that I previously discussed that was about former President Donald Trump's inability to post bond that is necessary for him to appeal a fraud ruling against him. Yesterday the bond amount was reduced and Trump was given an additional 10 days to pay. So this thread will probably be back on top shortly. The most active thread after that one was titled, "Can someone explain to me why so many on here would never remarry?" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. The original poster says that she has read many posts from those who are divorced or thinking about divorce who say that they have no expectations of getting remarried and nor should anyone else. The original poster asks for the reason(s) behind those expectations and offers several proposals herself. Her own suggestions include the first marriage being so bad that it tarnished the entire concept, marriage being primarily about kids, not wanting to care for an older person, and skepticism that they would find a desirable partner or would be desirable themselves. Several posters respond saying that it is all of the above. As you would expect from a female-dominated forum, most of the responses come from women and, therefore, represent a largely women's point of view. Several posters say that in their previous marriages they were required to take care of everyone but themselves. Now they have the freedom to put themselves first and don't want to give that up. Several of those responding say that their financial independence is a factor in not creating an interest in remarriage. A number of responses amplify factors that the original poster suggested. For instance, one poster reported leaving an abusive relationship which was so bad that she no longer has an interest in marriage. A number of posters said that they have children from their earlier marriages with whom they have great relationships and have no interest in another family. The don't want to be responsible for someone else's children and either can't have or don't want more of their own. A common complaint was a lack of eligible and desirable men. Over and over posters questioned what the available men "brought to the table" and suggested that it wasn't much. To the contrary, the available men were generally seen as "entitled, demanding, and whiny". Males posters who weighed in were generally also not interested in remarrying. One expressed love for the "adult Disneyland that exists" due to online dating. He described a nearly endless supply of younger women that he could casually date and feared the financial implications of marriage. This caused the thread to get diverted into a dispute about prenuptial agreements and other ways that men could protect their wealth. Generally, the attitudes of the men justified the skepticism with which the women viewed them.

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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.

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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Mar 22, 2024 11:52 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included the murder of a Westfield High School student, a confrontation at school, surviving the COVID pandemic, and how trust fund beneficiaries view others.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Westfield HS-Student murdered" and posted in the "Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)" forum. The original poster provided a link to a Washington Post article about a shooting in Fairfax County in which a teenager was killed. The original poster says that individual was a student at Westfield High School. The original poster also says that her daughter who attends Westfield has told her that the school is "full of police". Because the shooter has not been caught and the original poster fears he may be in the school, she is concerned for her daughter's safety and asks if others would pick up their kids from school in such circumstances. Whenever an incident of this type is discussed, there are always posters who seem to be primarily concerned with protecting the reputation of the school and distancing it from the events as much as possible. B the fifth response in this thread a poster was already complaining that the title of the thread was inaccurate because the student was not killed at the school. The poster also reported the thread to me with the same complaint. I was confused because I did not understand the title to say that the student was killed at the school. But, I later figured out that the poster was interpreting the hyphen between "HS" and "Student" to be more like a colon and signifying that the event occurred at the school. At any rate, the discussion about the title continued throughout the thread. There was a second objection that the thread didn't even belong in the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) forum but rather in the metro politics forum because it didn't involve the school. A poster went on to write, "the posters who start these threads usually want to encourage trash talk about the schools". Multiple posters claimed that I was keeping the "click bait" title in order to generate traffic and ad revenue. To be clear, I didn't change the title because I correctly understand the purpose of a hyphen. Overlooked by almost everyone was the fact that the original poster's main concern was whether she should pick up her daughter from school early due to safety concerns. There is no indication that she is interested in bashing the school that her daughter attends. It later turned out that the suspected shooter had indeed attended Westfield in the past but was not currently enrolled in any FCPS school. Therefore he was unlikely to be at the school and the original poster's daughter did not face at threat related to him. But then a discussion broke out about whether the suspect and the victim should have attended another high school instead of Westfield with many posts devoted to school boundaries. The primary message that many want you to get from this thread is that regardless of anything suggested by thread's title, this incident had nothing to do with Westfield and any attempt to argue otherwise is either a right-wing attack aimed at making the school look bad or an effort to generate ad revenue.

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Tuesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Mar 20, 2024 03:15 PM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included violence among kindergarteners, Trump's inability to secure a bond, boys private school lacrosse, and a likely troll there about a reaction to a pregnancy announcement.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Violence in Kindergarten- Sligo Creek Elementary" and posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum. The original poster describes an unbelievable amount of violence occurring among kindergartners that has left children "knocked out cold", caused one teacher to leave, and sent a second teacher to the hospital. The original poster is frustrated because it does not appear to her that the school's principal is doing anything about it. When I say the violence is "unbelievable", I am not exaggerating as many posters don't believe it. Those who do believe it have a range of suggestions including contacting the media, switching to another school, or even contacting the police. Few think that the police can or should do anything about a 5 or 6 year old, but many see value in a police report that might motivate parents. Many posters complain about the lack of options available to the school, saying that it is nearly impossible to have a violent student removed from the classroom and the support required for the student is not easily obtained. While the original poster places blame with the principal, other posters say the problem lies further up the chain of command with the central office. The principal's hands are tied, they say, and the process for dealing with students with extreme needs takes too long and unnecessarily exposes the other students to trauma. While most posters were eager to publicize the violent incidents in hopes that might encourage a solution, many other posters seemed to be more interested in protecting the school's reputation or protecting the children responsible for the violence. Almost immediately after the thread was started it was reported to me with a request to delete the thread. I continued to receive reports throughout the day yesterday. Posts within the thread also suggest that it should be deleted and a number of posters accused the original poster of trolling and not being truthful. No students were named or even described in any detail whatsoever. Nobody who is not associated with the school would have any clue about the identity of the students involved. Anyone close enough to the situation to connect the dots likely already knows full well what is going on. So I don't have concerns about the chance of children being identified. I do have an interest, however, in posts being accurate. The original poster's claims seemed outlandish, but appear to be independently supported by multiple posters. I put quite a bit of effort into ensuring that the confirming reports were not sock puppeted and concluded that this would either have to be the best and most extensive trolling I've ever witnessed or the original post is largely accurate. Nevertheless, a number of posters throughout the thread make a tremendous efforts to deny or downplay whatever occurred.

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Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 19, 2024 09:18 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included Kate Middleton, another MCPS snow day, the proposed Maury-Minor partnership, and the plight of boys.

There are very few topics that can produce 40 pages of posts in less than 24 hours, but the British Royal Family is one of them. As a result, the most active thread yesterday was titled, "Kate Middleton in Hospital - Recovering from Surgery" and posted in the "Entertainment and Pop Culture" forum. This thread was started after news that Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, had undergone planned abdominal surgery and would be recovering in the hospital for the next 10-15 days and then would be at home until after Easter. Anyone even remotely familiar with this forum's obsession with British royals would know that this lack of detail was simply not going to be acceptable to BRF fanatics. Indeed, the same posters who have previously been experts in the intricacies of British tabloids, domain specialists on the topic of royal ancestry lines, authorities on royal protocol, and more familiar with the inner thinking of Harry than Harry himself, instantly anointed themselves experts on abdominal surgery. To say that speculation ran rife about what treatment Kate had undergone is a bit like saying that water flows over the Niagara Falls with some alacrity. It's true, but doesn't really do reality justice. I am fairly certain that there is not a single malady that could conceivably affect the abdominal region that was not authoritatively described as the reason for the operation. But, because many of the posters are wise enough not to accept a royal statement at face value, speculation did not stop with Kate's torso. Indeed, these posters, who are smart enough to know a ruse when they see one, adamantly declared that the whatever was going on, it had nothing to do with an abdomen and, for that matter, likely had nothing to do with surgery. Countering these suggestions, other posters put forth that non-surgical healthcare could more easily have been explained away by a lengthy vacation or something other than a hospital stay. Therefore, actual surgery must have been involved. Adding fuel to the fire was news that King Charles would also enter the hospital for prostrate treatment. This put William, Prince of Wales, in a bit of a pickle. Should he step up in place of his father and show leadership or should he be home with the kids while Kate is hospitalized, acting as the caring husband and father? Posters were divided and arguments were presented for both options. The best comment in the thread was one saying, "If there was a world cup of speculation, DCUM team would bring some sort of honorary medal for sure." My only disagreement is the suggestion that the medal would solely be "honorary". Certainly, the DCUM speculators would achieve a silver, if not a gold medal.

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Tuesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 18, 2024 10:03 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included a troll thread about yoga pants, a marital dispute about shoveling the deck, colleges for "C" students, and Trump's victory in the Iowa Caucuses.

The most active thread yesterday was one of the snow-related threads that I discussed yesterday and, therefore, will skip today. After that was a thread titled, "Are yoga pants ok?" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. Based on the title, I thought this thread might be more appropriate for the fashion forum. But the original poster explained that the issue was a complaint by her boyfriend about her wearing yoga pants when they went out to a bookstore and for coffee. He apparently doesn't consider yoga pants to be "real clothes" and expects that if he dresses nicer when they go out, so should she. That made this more of a relationship issue, though posters who responded approached the topic from both angles. I immediately had troll vibes from this post and checked to see what else the original poster has been posting. I was surprised to see several threads about her husband — written just days ago. I would think that brings up an issue more important than yoga pants. The original poster also started another thread just hours before this one in which she said she and her boyfriend had broken up. In the past week, the original poster has posted about going on dates with both a man and a woman. But, the real cherry on top was a thread in which she said that she didn't want to have sex until marriage and then — in a thread one minute short of 24 hours later — posted about having sex with her boyfriend for the first time and it turning out to be terrible. I would say that she would have been better off keeping her yoga pants on, except that back in October she started a thread complaining that her boyfriend didn't initiate sex as often anymore. So, clearly she hasn't waited for marriage to have sex, either good or bad. When a poster like this one posts so many contradictory threads, it is impossible to know which, if any, are true. Moreover, this poster has started nearly 100 threads since October. In that time, she has been in a struggling marriage, divorced, widowed, dating with all kinds of complications, and changed genders a number of times. She also started a thread saying that she is too good for most single men, though it is not clear whether those are real men or men who exist solely in her imagination. I'm always torn about disclosing this sort of information. Some posters howl that it is a violation of privacy. First, it's not. Second, trolls don't deserve privacy. But I know this adds to the perception that the forum is nothing but trolls and harms DCUM's reputation. Of course some would argue that DCUM's reputation can hardly get worse in this regard, but I hate to do more damage. It is doubtful that a poster like this can be shamed into changing her behavior, but we can always hope. At any rate, I've locked this thread and deleted a few of the more recent ones.

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The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 15, 2024 04:37 PM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included unsolicited fertility advice, Texas sending migrants to Illinois, celebrating college admissions, and an award for Prince Harry.

The most active thread since Friday was the Gaza war thread which, like the war itself, shows no sign of ending. Because I've already discussed that thread, I'll go on to the next most active which was titled "What is it with people given childless couples unsolicited fertility advice?" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. The original poster says that she is 36 and her husband is 34. They have remained child-free due to financial reasons. Others, generally people who are not even all that close to the original poster and her husband, constantly give them fertility advice such as encouraging her to freeze her eggs or not to delay motherhood. The original poster is fully cognizant of the issues involved and doesn't need other telling her about them. The original poster asks why some people are so concerned about other's fertility. I'm not sure the relationship forum is the best forum for this topic, but I am also not sure which forum would be better. So, I'll leave the thread where it is. The first several posters made at least half-hearted attempts to address the question, but ironically, they couldn't stop themselves from also offering fertility advice. In fact, the thread almost immediately became emblematic of exactly the phenomenon about which the original poster was complaining. Without knowing a single thing about the original poster beyond the sparse information contained in the original post, poster after poster presumed to be in a position to "fertilitysplain" to her. I didn't have to read very much of this thread before I concluded that the answer to the original poster's question about why people are obsessed with the fertility of others is that a huge number of them lack any ability to prevent themselves from commenting on the topic. The advice appeared to come so automatically to some posters that I doubt that they realized what they were doing. If this were not an important topic to the original poster, it would be funny. She basically asked, "why is everyone so concerned with my fertility?" and ninety percent of the responses were "you have to have children now, right now!" Probably because DCUM has such a generally affluent userbase, very few users seemed capable of understanding that someone realistically might face financial challenges. As the original poster responded with additional information, it emerged that she has had to support herself since age 18 and always worked in retail. She has not had the opportunity to go to college and has exhausted her earning power. Her husband is apparently in a similar situation. I wonder what the reaction would have been had the original poster started a thread describing her financial situation and stated an intention to have children? She probably would have been derided as a prospective wellfare queen or criticized for poor financial planning. As it was, one DCUM Marie Antoinette expressed shock that an adult works in retail. She may as well have advised the original poster to eat cake.

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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 12, 2024 10:05 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included judging men and women, a decline in White Army recruits, taking classmates' college spots, and college freshmen GPAs.

Yesterday's most active thread was one that I will skip because I discussed it yesterday. That was the thread about the college choice of a "donut hole" family. The most active thread after that was titled, "Do you judge men who are wealthy and well educated but choose to marry fitness influencer/dancer/yoga instructor" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. My first reaction to this is that the forum is really getting into the realm of the esoteric with this thread. Personally, I don't judge such men because I can't think of a single one who meets the description. As such, the question in the title is completely theoretical to me and, in theory as well as reality, I have better things with which to concern myself. But I guess my reaction is not widely shared because this topic managed to produce 12 pages of responses in a single day. There were a number of posters, perhaps maybe even a majority of those responding, who unequivocally claimed not to make such judgements and to consider the question to be ridiculous. One perceptive poster pointed out that this question actually implies judgement of the women rather than the men. Other posters pointed out that the assumption that yoga instructors or dancers are necessarily uneducated is a misconception. Much of this thread consists of off-topic tangents involving posters dealing with their own neuroses. One poster appears overly fixated on her financial advisor ex-boyfriend and a male poster touts the advantages of dating women who are significantly younger than him. While the original poster's premise appeared to be that the women in this scenario are educationally and socially well below the men, several posters pointed out that this is frequently not the case. As mentioned before, women in these roles are often well-educated. One poster who says she is a yoga instructor touted two master's degrees and the ability to speak four languages. Others pointed out that it is not uncommon for well-educated professional women married to wealthy men to give up their careers to raise children and take up yoga or dance instructing as a hobby, sometimes turning that into a second career down the road. The men married professional women who only became instructors or dancers later. The original poster responded throughout the thread, generally not identifying herself as the original poster but not really sock puppeting either. She was very argumentative and if there were a common theme to her posts it is that men generally choose poorly when picking a mate.

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Tuesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 10, 2024 11:30 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included MCPS early dismissal, unhappiness with the likely presidential candidates, the "dead zone" for upper middle class families for college admissions, and presidential immunity.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Possible early dismissal Tuesday?" and posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum. The thread was started Monday evening by a poster suggesting that, due to flood and high wind warnings for Tuesday, the Montgomery County Public Schools system might want to send students home early to ensure that they were off the buses before things got bad. If you are surprised that a thread on this topic could end up as the most active of the day, you are not familiar with this area's parents of school children. Parents are divided between those who expect schools to be open during anything short of nuclear war and who would rather have a voluntary root canal than be forced to change their schedules and those who constantly fear the worst and advocate for school closures at the drop of a leaf, particularly if that leaf dropped as a result of inclement weather. In this type of situation, schools face a no win situation. Decisions must be made in advance or they get criticized for last minute changes. That often requires working with imperfect information and changing weather forecasts. Failing to close when they should have can leave children stranded and in danger. But, closing and then having the weather turn out to be fine results in second guessing and complaints. A large system like MCPS that covers an extensive geographic area has an even more difficult time because the conditions in one part of the county might be considerably different than another part. Debates about what to do can be especially vehement when they are taking place at a time when the weather is particularly nice as was the case in this instance. Posts ranged all the way from those warning of the possibility of buses "floating away" to those complaining that DCUM posters were "cheering on the hysteria". When the school system finally announced that schools would close 2 and a half hours early, approximately a third of Montgomery County's residents rushed to post the news in this thread. There is nearly an entire page of posts repeating the same information. This provoked a round of scoffing from those scornful that schools would close "because of rain". One complained that "families shouldn't have to leave work for this nonsense." Those posters, in turn, faced their own pushback with one saying, "I assume these comments are coming from people who walked 10 miles to school each day, uphill both ways, in the dark, across live power lines, in five feet of snow, fighting off wolves, and they were fine so why don't we do that now?" The rest of the thread was spent with posters criticizing almost every aspect of the decision from almost every angle. For some, the decision was made too early, for others too late. For some it was justified, for others not. Some were bothered by repeated notices of the closure, others complained that they had not been informed. The debate about whether the schedule change was justified continued well into the evening and even into today with no agreement in sight.

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Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 04, 2024 11:19 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included not being invited to a wedding, unwanted gifts, college early decision applications, and the GOP and women.

Yesterday's most active thread was the one about Harvard's president resigning which I discussed yesterday and, therefore, will skip today. The next most active thread was titled, "Not invited" and posted in the "Family Relationships" forum. The original poster says that she is close with her cousins, normally celebrating holidays together and spending a lot of time with each other. A child of one of those cousins is getting married and seems to have intentionally not invited the original poster. The original poster is hurt and upset about being left out. In a subsequent post, the original poster added that she had talked with the parents of the groom and was simply told that the couple is paying for the wedding themselves, implying that she was not invited due to the expense. This did nothing to alleviate the original poster's feelings. Those that responded mostly agreed that it is understandable that the original poster feels hurt about not being invited, Several suggested possible reasons for the slight such as space constraints or an effort to save money. Posters advised not taking it too seriously and allowing the incident to harm her relationship with her extended family. A number of posters argued that not being invited demonstrated that the original poster's cousin's child does not view the original poster as being as close as the original poster does. While that is a sad, it is not an unusual situation, they argue. They further assert that if the original poster ever needs to cut extended family members from an event, she can begin with couple getting married. Other posters suggested a more forceful response including not sending a gift or even a card or going so far as ending her relationship with those relatives entirely. Some posters honed in on the exact relationship and the relationships of those who were invited. They drew fine lines between first cousins, first cousins once removed, aunts, and uncles. They made determinations about whether the original poster should have been invited based on the exact degree of relationship. The original poster and several of those responding emphasized that the groom celebrated Thanksgiving this year at the original poster's home, suggesting that indicates a close relationship that merited an invitation to the wedding. But, as another poster pointed out, the cousin's child was likely just "tagging along with their parents" and was mostly there as an obligation. A few posters believe that the original poster is being overly dramatic and should not make such a big deal out of this.

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