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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Feb 02, 2024 12:28 PM

Yesterday's most active topics included the expression "happy wife, happy life", test optional college admissions, a teacher who didn't give an unearned passing grade, and obtaining custody of children without going through the court system.

Yesterday's most active thread was the Gaza war thread which I will skip because I've already discussed it. The next most active was a thread titled, "Happy wife, happy life" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. The original poster asks, "Why men's happiness isn't considered as valuable?" This thread really could have ended after the first reply which was nearly perfect, saying:

"Because it's an old-fashioned saying that dates to a time when women's financial and physical wellbeing depended almost entirely on their husband's behavior, and men's emotional wellbeing depended almost entirely on their wife. The more current version is ‘happy spouse, happy house‘"

But, of course, the thread did not end at that point. Indeed, it continued for another 9 pages. That was mostly because a poster, obviously male, apparently saw a barrel of flammable material and couldn't stop himself from dropping a match into it. Starting his post by saying, "Women emote more", he went on to blame women's periods for family upheaval and to blame women in general for the shift of some men to the political right. The last point was fairly hilarious. According to this guy, males — who you must remember are not supposed to "emote" — are moving rightward politically because their feelings are being hurt by women complaining about "toxic masculinity". As one poster responded, "LOL men have really convinced themselves that their anger, depression, and anxiety aren't emotions." While the male poster didn't show much capability for self-reflection, he did show an incredible aptitude for stepping on rakes. Having entered the discussion by complaining that women emote, he later contended that society allows people to call men emotional but not women. He very emotionally expressed his displeasure with this state of affairs (which doesn't really exist). In a subsequent post he again accused women of relying "on your feelings too much and not on actual facts." This from a guy who hadn't presented a single fact and done nothing but make one emotional response after another. He provoked a poster to react by saying, "Goodness the men on this thread are so pouty."

Next was a thread posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. Titled, "Are colleges secretly factoring test scores into decisions for test-optional applicants?" the original poster answers the question contained in the title by saying, "no" based on a podcast. Apparently there is suspicion in some quarters that college admissions officers secretly assume a low test score for test optional applications and factor that into their decisions. The original poster says the podcast that she referenced is another data point suggesting this is not the case and "test optional" really means "test optional". A commonly-held belief in the college forum is that test optional is primarily a means for colleges to admit underrepresented minorities who are less qualified than White or Asian candidates. As a result, this thread really is a discussion of two issues: 1) whether test optional is really test optional and; 2) whether test optional is really a means for helping less-qualified URMs. Posters use examples of their own families or others that they know to suggest the first point is true and the second is false. Several posters know of non-URM students who were admitted to selective colleges without submitting test scores. This suggests that they were neither hurt by their race nor their lack of test results. There are a number of posters who insist that not submitting test scores is considered an indication that the test results were disappointing, but they offer little more than their own word as evidence that this is true. Common sense may indicate that such assumptions are made, but whether those assumptions also play a role in admissions consideration is another question. Moreover, it is one that is not really supported by any evidence in this thread. Beyond the two initial topics that I noted were being discussed, the thread also indulges in an extensive debate about test optional admissions in general. There are posters strongly supportive and posters equally strongly opposed. None of these posters make arguments that have not been made many times in this forum and really do nothing to advance this discussion. The problem with this discussion is that it is based so heavily on anecdotal experience. If a poster knows someone who knows someone who was admitted either with or without test scores, that is a data point but it is not necessarily statistically important. One other strange development in this thread was a poster who insisted that anyone who had experience with test optional applications must be from California and complained about posters from California participating in the forum. Apparently, students in California don't normally take standardized tests. The poster beng accused appears to be on the East coast and nowhere near California. I tried to remove all of those posts which were distracting from the primary topic, but to be clear, posters from California are welcome to participate despite that particular poster's unhappiness about it.

The next most active thread yesterday was one I've already discussed about covid lockdowns. Skipping that one, next was a thread titled, "Teacher didn't change a 59 TO D" and posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum. The original poster asks how others would feel about a teacher not changing a 59.10% score to "D". Given all the posts about Montgomery County Public Schools grade inflation, retakes, and other accommodations, I'm surprised that anyone would find themselves in this position. Practically no poster other than the original poster believed that the student should have been given a "D". Some posters said that they would be happy to see their kid held accountable and others simply took a "rules are rules" approach and sided with the teacher. Several posters said that passing the student even though he had failed the class would be more damaging than failing him. A number of posters wondered how the grade came about and why the parent hadn't intervened earlier. The original poster says her son has a learning disability and suffers from ADHD. Several posters were sympathetic with regard to the learning disability, but insisted that it was not an excuse. Several posters whose own children have learning disabilities shared their experiences in helping their kids pass classes that were challenging for them. One poster who did support the original poster call other posters "jerks" and argued that some kids struggle simply to pass high school and that diplomas are necessary for many things in life and, therefore, everyone should be more understanding. The class in question was Spanish 1 and, as several posters pointed out, passing the student in this case would only ensure that he entered Spanish 2 without the requisite knowledge, probably leading to further failure. Some posters proposed alternatives to Spanish such as American Sign Language. Much of the thread is devoted to MCPS's grading policy and when and why "F" grades had stopped being used. Some posters insisted that "F" grades were stopped because it was associated with failure and that hurt kids feelings. Implied in this is the belief that today's kids are snowflakes who must be coddled. Other posters said that their understanding is that there was no need for "F" because "E" is the letter in the alphabet that follows "D". Personally, I don't think a kid who is failing a class cares whether he is failing with an "E" instead of an "F" and I am equally sure that this sidetrack did not really help the original poster in any way. Multiple posters also urge the original poster to post in the Kids with Special Needs forum instead of the MCPS forum, suggesting that she will get better advice.

The last thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. Titled, "How to get ex to give me back the kids", the original poster explains that her ex-husband was previously awarded primary custody of their children but is now open to having the children live with the original poster. However, neither of them wants to go to Court to take care of this and nothing has been decided so far. The original poster wants to know how she can make this happen. The background of the original poster's story is complicated and posters ask about additional details to help understand the situation. Several posters misunderstand things completely, forcing the original poster to provide repeated explanations. Eventually, the original poster offered enough details to reveal that she is a poster who has been posting on DCUM for at least 7 years and has been nicknamed, "Western Maryland Stripper Mom", though I should emphasize that she is not now and has never been a stripper. Many posters have followed the saga of this poster's life over the years and have detailed knowledge of events. I don't want to recount the original poster's entire history, but she was not at fault when custody was awarded to her husband. The parents did not live close enough together to share custody and, at the time, the original poster was unemployed and struggling (so desparate that she considered becoming a topless waitress, but didn't, but did earn her monicker on DCUM). Since then, she has turned her life around and is now able to support the kids even forgoing child support. Her ex-husband is about to move, though he does not know to where at this time. Very little of the thread is spent offering the original poster useful advice. The bulk of the thread is devoted to learning details and trying to correct things that posters got wrong. For instance, posters accused the original poster of leaving her kids, something that she did not do. Several posters assumed the mother had to have done something terrible for the father to have been awarded custody, ignoring the explanation given by the original poster. In the course of correcting misinformation, some posters took it upon themselves to provide additional background on the original poster, with one poster linking to several earlier threads and one providing a very long summary (while long, the summary has a few errors). One poster reacted to the long summary by writing, "Man this isn't a country song, it's a country song album!" While I am sure that many posters are enjoying the drama of this thread, I am not sure that it has been particularly helpful to the original poster. What she really wants is advice about how to obtain custody of her children without involving the Courts. Perhaps that is impossible, or maybe it is as easy as asking her husband and getting him to agree. But, addressing that topic would be more useful than additional digging into her DCUM posting history.

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