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Politics Forum Guidelines

Tags:
  • Politics
  • Tom's Hardware
October 11, 2011 5:52:02 PM

Patriots and pundits alike, hear me now!

As your steadfast and loyal Tom's Hardware Community Manager it is my responsibility to ensure that these forums are kept civil and discourse continues to flow in lively and engaging ways. For some reason, vitriol and inflammatory dialogue of political debate seems to overshadow even that of the AMD vs. Intel and PC vs. Apple wars. To that end, we've created some basic guidelines to govern the areas of political discussion.

For threads, here are the rules for this section:

Disallowed Websites
• No user-generated content (UGC) is permitted as source material for News & Leisure.

• InfoWars: If tomorrow, the Golden Gate bridge blew up, Alex Jones would be explaining on air the reason it did was the reptile aliens and the Bilderberger/Trilteral commission have formulated a diabolical plot for a false flag attack before the last of the debris landed in the bay.

• TheBlaze: Any news organization that tries to convince you the world economy is about to collapse (any minute now) as a result of a communist Muslim plot while interjecting solicitations to Buy Gold Now!, Save your Family with our Doomsday Bunkers and Survival Seed Packs! without a sense of irony is not permitted.

• WND: Editorial team staffed by avowed white supremacists who have no trouble going on white supremacist radio.

• CNSNews: Bias is indicated in the "About" and an ideology is stated as a founding principle.

• ThinkProgress: Contextually misleading, ThinkProgress cites self-recursive sources.

• MoveOn: Doesn't do news, but rather petitions as entertainment for slactivists.

• Any "News" site with an obviously specific domain purchased to make a point. IE - ProtectingLibertyFreedomNews.org, NewAgeHolisticCures.cc, RepublicanPropagandaStoppers.biz, etc.

A good rule of thumb for citing news or sourcing your evidence in debate - if your source could not be used as an academic source for a research paper, skip it. If it hasn't been reviewed, skip it. If fact-checkers have empirically debunked the premise of the article or item, skip it. Users should intentionally research their topics with 100% awareness of their own cognitive dissonance before posting. If you see something that sounds too good to be true, or seems to confirm your suspicions precisely, or fits in with your predetermined world view... check it and double-check it before you post it.

Do's and Don'ts

Do's

• Remember that the people debating with you here are likewise patriots. That they are involved at all and paying attention at all means they care considerably for their world. It takes a firm commitment in one's beliefs to put them forward and to champion an idea.

• Respect the dissenting opinion. Acknowledge the points of the opposition, but challenge the facts of their assertion.

• Link to supporting facts from credible* sources.

• Establish your own opinion backed up by confirmed information. Google first. Then Factcheck it, then Snopes it.

• Agree to disagree. There doesn't have to be a "right" and "wrong" to political views. Each individual sees politics through a different lens. Understand the other user's point of view before debating the basis of the argument.

• Keep to the topic and keep discussions germane to politics.

Don'ts

• Don't engage in personal attacks. Resist the urge to call the other poster a Communist Tree-hugging Baby-killing Drug-Dealing Islamofascist bleeding-heart Hippie or a Right-wing gun-toting redneck homophobic bigoted warmongering corporate-bought racist. Leave the labels for each other at the door.

• Avoid generalizations directed to groups of people.

• Don't copy/paste or link to someone else's opinion from somewhere else. Leave editorials, opinion columnists and external punditry out - unless the expression of that opinion itself is worthy of discussion. (IE- Michael Moore/Rush Limbaugh have something to say on the subject of a new treaty with Freedonia is not acceptable. Sean Connery and Rick Moranis emerging from seclusion to comment on National Weather Service programs would be.)

• Don't link to anything provably false with a simple Google search.

• Avoid regurgitating talking points from either side.

• If it fits on a bumper sticker, keep it there - not here. This is an area for rational, reasonable, intelligent discussion of the merits and flaws of a given political viewpoint. Leave the pile of cliche' sayings at the door with the labels. Love it or leave it, from my cold dead hands, for the children or the terrorists win.

• Don't post angry. It will come across in your post and reduces the quality of the discussion. Lose your composure and your side loses.

With these simple points in mind, please remember to show civility and respect to each other as you discuss your political views. Any breach of these points will be treated as an infraction of the Rules of Conduct and Terms of Use, and the Community Team will moderate to these guidelines in an unbiased capacity. Your cooperation in this is appreciated, and hopefully we can continue to see a lively exchange of ideas and debate in the News & Leisure section here.

Yours,
Joe

* - Credible: Trustworthiness and expertise with established reliability. Example - A news release from the Associated Press. Counter-example - Some dude's blog.

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