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Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Apr 02, 2024 12:04 PM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included a service for snowflake college students promoted by a sock puppet, a professor who dislikes Elon Musk, comparing today's new hires to those of 25 years ago, and homosexuality and the Bible.

The most active thread yesterday was one that I already discussed. That thread was the one about the double murder in Fairfax County. There was a court hearing yesterday which not one, but at least two, DCUM posters attended and posted first-hand accounts. The most active thread after that one was titled, "College ‘Moms’ Service Provider" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. Let me start off by saying that I hate everything about this thread. Most of all, I hate that nobody reported it within the first few posts so that I could have deleted it before it really got started (some posters did report subsequent posts but I'll get to that later). The original poster posted a link to a site that provides "moms" to provide comfort and care to kids away at college and asked how she could find such a service at Cornell University. The original post looks very much like an ad. Removing any doubt of that suspicion was the second post in the thread which was sock puppeted by the original poster. The original poster would go on to post throughout the thread promoting the service. As most people would expect, there is a huge outcry from posters who think that such a service is a terrible idea created to coddle "snowflakes". There are repeated posts urging the original poster and others like her to cut the cord and allow their children to learn independence. The original poster simply sock puppeted replies defending and justifying the service. The original poster ultimately posted at least 12 times, not once mentioning that she was the original poster and occasionally responding directly to her own posts. There was a suggestion that this was an April Fool's joke, but the service is real. Moreover, adding to the things I hate about this thread, it took a decidedly unfunny turn when a poster made a snide reply about the demographics of two universities at which the original poster — sock puppeting — claimed the service was popular. This was interpreted by other posters as an allusion to the large number of Jewish students at those schools and, hence, as anti-Semitic. This led to discussion about anti-Semitism. I did receive a report of the first post and I removed it. But, unbeknownst to me, the post had already been quoted and provoked its own discussion that I didn't notice until this morning. While readers of this blog are probably aware, I want to reiterate a few things about how the site is moderated. I can't possibly read all of the posts. As such, I probably won't know about an inappropriate post unless it is reported. I try to respond to reports quickly, but sometimes a response may be delayed. Reporting a post, but then also replying to it, will only make things more difficult for me and make the thread harder to clean up. It also risks, as in this case, that I won't notice the replies. Because I removed the inappropriate post after it was reported, it continues to exist on the site only because it was repeatedly quoted.

The next most active thread was posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. Titled, "DD’s Professor called people who like Elon Musk Douches", the original poster says that her daughter's math professor recommended a book and then mentioned that the book had also been recommended by Elon Musk. The professor said that fans of Musk might find that a plus, but added, "If you’re a douche." The original poster considers this to be an insult to Musk fans and thinks that the remark is off base and inappropriate. Despite the length of this thread, there is very little to it. It is mostly the same sort of replies being repeated over and over. The most common response was to argue that colleges expose students to a range of opinions and only a "snowflake" would be upset by this remark. Similarly several posters, whether they agreed with the statement or not, argued that it was within the professor's free speech rights to say it. Posters who don't like Musk generally argued that not only was it acceptable for the professor to make the remark, but that she was correct. Even self-identified Tesla owners joined in to agree that Musk is a douche. One distinction is that while there was fairly wide agreement among those responding that Musk deserves such an appellation, the remark was actually directed at Musk fans. It is this that bothered some posters. But, that distinction was not particularly meaningful to many of those responding because they agreed that it generally applied to Musk fans as well. In particular, many posters noted that Musk, and by extension, his fans, are self-proclaimed free speech warriors. Except for when their own feelings get tweaked that is. Then all free speech concerns go by the wayside. There were a few posters, though a distinct minority, who appeared to be Musk fans and took offense from the remark. They thought that it showed poor form for the professor to not only be wrong, but potentially insult some of her own students. A number of college professors weighed in to say that while they would not make this remark themselves, they were not concerned about the professor — who likely was joking — making it. They said that they occasionally make jokes that fall flat. What I noticed about this thread was the evolution in opinions about Musk. Musk has been the subject of DCUM threads for years. During most of that time, barely a negative word was spoken about him. He was largely admired and respected. Now, he is widely viewed on DCUM as a conservative crank who has taken credit that rightfully belongs to others. Moreover, posters don't think much of his fans either.

Next was a thread titled, "New Hires Today Vs. 25 Years ago?" and posted in the "Jobs and Careers" forum. The original poster says that new hires these days are much different than they were when she was a new hire. The original poster says that today's new employees simply see it as a job rather than a career and don't seem particularly interested in either the job or the company. In contrast, the original poster says that she and her cohort were passionate about their jobs and the companies were part of their identity. The original poster was met with immediate pushback from posters who support and admire the attitude of younger employees. As the first poster to respond wrote, "The younger generation has seen that companies have no loyalty to you, so why should they be loyal to them?" The general attitude among many of those responding is that younger employees have seen the futility of devoting themselves to a company that has no loyalty to them. Rather than obtaining meaning in their lives through their career, they are multidimensional with broader interests and devote themselves to meaningful things outside of work. Alternatively, some posters wonder if the original poster is simply getting old. They remember being viewed by the older generation as less hardworking when they were just starting out. Another poster argued that it was actually slightly older employees who fought for better work-life balances and who managed to separate their identities from their jobs. This poster suggested that today's new hires are much more mercenary and not willing to do anything that doesn't benefit them. As I have written many times, I hate generational labels that I find to be lazy and not particularly useful. As such, I have not used any in this post. But, not surprisingly, much of this thread is devoted to posters from one generation disparaging other generations. While the younger generation suffers from its share of negative stereotypes, the group was subject to a tremendous amount of praise in this thread. Regardless of what older people may think of them generally, their attitude about jobs is greatly admired.

The final thread that I will discuss was posted in the "Religion" forum. Titled, "Did Christian homophobia come from a mistranslation of the Bible?", the original poster refers to a documentary that contends that Christian opposition to homosexuality has its origins in a mistranslation that occurred in 1946. This and other misunderstandings of Christian teachings have led to anti-gay positions that don't reflect early Christianity. I think that I have mentioned before that the religion forum is one of the most contentious on DCUM. The political forum is known for its craziness and other forums have their moments,. But, for true insanity I am not sure that anything on the site compares to the religion forum. That's not to say that there is an issue with the original poster of this thread or the intentions behind starting the thread, but it does somewhat explain why it is among the most active threads. I will add, however, that it doesn't take either a historian or a Biblical scholar to know that Christian hostility towards homosexuality didn't start in 1946. Regardless, this thread was started back in January had been dormant for nearly a month. Then it was revived two days ago by a pro-choice poster discussing abortion. What does abortion have to do with mistranslations and homosexuality, you ask? Beats me, but this is the sort of thing that is fairly commonplace in this forum. The response to that post was "Baby killers should be jailed", so you get an idea of where this is going. The thread did work itself back to discussion of the Bible and how literate it should be taken. One poster contended that "the Bible is quite clear that [homosexuality] is a Sin". Other posters point out historical or scientific errors in the Bible. Both are ignoring the point of the original post, that translations may not be dependable. If you cannot take the Bible literally about homosexuality, you shouldn't take it literally about anything else, including the things you think that it got wrong. This debate about the accuracy of the Bible turned into a fight between believers and atheists which is the tendency of most threads in this forum. These are never-ending fights which mean that this thread will likely continue indefinitely unless I am convinced to lock it.

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