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C. David Henderson
09-27-2009, 04:21 PM
I missed the part where the Open Discussions forum was declared the David Skaggs Right-Wing Axe-Grinding Forum. While it's fine to have an open forum (because off-topic crap is going to get posted, and by having an open forum you at least have somewhere to point to when people post their off-topic crap), I think it's taking it a little far when it's turned into a soapbox for posting diatribes and politically-minded sniping. You can argue that that's "open" as all get-out, but it sure as hell is not a "discussion".

At the top of this page are the words"AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information." Yet, as Mary points out, the Open Discussions forum seems dominated by threads that are purely political.

I am a guest in this house, but I wonder why? There are plenty of forums on the internet where, if that's your desire, you can chat with like minded people about the political issues of the day. There are plenty of forums where you can do battle with those with opposing beliefs. It's not as though if these threads were not posted here, the discussions could not be had.

They have nothing to do with aikido, budo, or martial arts. They don't have anything to do with the community that posts here except, really, to point out divisions.

I never have rancorous political discussions at the dojo (or at holiday gatherings); and I don't think the threads here about martial art topics have anything like the tone or tenor of these purely political threads.

So I wonder, why are they being posted HERE.

I sometimes feel my urge to answer them is like an urge to answer a knock at the door on one's wedding night -- yet I also feel there's something a little passive aggressive about choosing the opportunity Jun's provided for an aikido community to share information in order to repeatedly throw out topics that are pretty much designed to spark argument.

If the internet is supposed to provide a marketplace of ideas, it seems appropriate to me to hawk certain wares in the appropriate venue.

I'm curious what other people think.

Regards,

cdh

Voitokas
09-27-2009, 04:31 PM
I'm with you.

Shannon Frye
09-27-2009, 09:35 PM
As there are SO many sites on the internet for political based debates, perhaps the OPEN forum should be disabled or eliminated. There certainly are plenty of other categorized forums here to cover most any topic that is AIKI related (or even martial arts related). If it's not aiki related, what place does it have on this site? I come here to aiki related thoughts.

Abasan
09-27-2009, 09:47 PM
Its probably something to do about the Matrix you see...

They used to do a perfect simulation of utopia and human beings couldn't handle it and everything had to be destroyed.

So Open Discussion had to be created to provide an outlet for wanton digression. Otherwise Aikiweb will be destroyed forever!

Kevin Leavitt
09-27-2009, 10:40 PM
It is in "Open Discussions" so if you don't like that area, don't go there. I don't get involved in poltical discussions much...not my interest.

But, I do think that there are alot of folks that know each other out there in aikido, they are in aikido for the same reasons we are all friends and training partners...we enjoy each other and the challenge, brains, itellect, opinions and perspective each brings.

Therefore, I think it is perfect acceptable, and fine that we should get together here and talk about politics.

What would you limit budo to? Why not discuss this important area of the spectrum as well.

C. David Henderson
09-27-2009, 11:05 PM
Thanks to all for the feedback.

Kevin, I want to affirm that I hear you in particular, as you have a different view.

My concerns are, however: (a) a lot of the quality that makes other threads worthwhile, including the existence of some shared reality and interest that provides a lodestar for discussion. seems missing; (b) as I said, there seems to be, intended or not, a de facto passive aggressive quality to posting politically provocative topics on a site that is largely devoted to something quite different.

I admit that I've let my temper get the better of me lately in these discussions. I've thought about just saying "plonk it." I may end up doing that.

But I want to talk it out a bit before I decide what to do.

I do belive a lot of the problem stems from the nature of semi-anonymous virtual interaction over issues that evoke deep emotional responses on all parts. I kind of think it's one reason why so many political sites have forums that are fairly poisonous, irrespective of the ideological flavor (or discernible lack thereof) of the site in question.

I feel that niche marketing of information makes it all the harder to communicate about these topics, as we have no commonly held universe of facts to which to relate statements and opinions; it's like echo chambers clanging against one another with little prospect for any real discussion. That's not to fault anyone in particular, at least not more than I fault my self; but it does cause me despair.

To me, it doesn't seem these discussions are consistent with the values I associate with "budo."

I may be wrong as well as at fault, but in any event I appreciate your opinion.

Best,

cdh

dps
09-28-2009, 12:25 AM
To me, it doesn't seem these discussions are consistent with the values I associate with "budo."

The "Budo Charter" by the Nippon Budokan.
(http://www.nipponbudokan.or.jp/shinkoujigyou/budochater.html)

If you accept the above as a description of Budo then Budo is for building character by way of martial arts. The values include; discipline, sense of judgment, courtesy, respect, and modesty. All things that can be used not only in your martial arts training but in your everyday life, including discussing politics.

It is not a test of your Budo values when you are agreeing with someone. It is a test when you don't.
David

P.S.

Member Organisations of the Japanese Budo Association
Zen Nihon Renmei
(All Japan Judo Federation) Zen Nippon Renmei
(All Japan Kendo Federation)
Zen Nihon Renmei
(All Nippon Kyudo Federation) Nihon Renmei
(Japan Sumo Federation)
Zen Nihon Renmei
(Japan Karatedo Federation)
Aikikai (Aikikai Foundation)
Renmei
(Shorinji Kempo Federation) Zen Nihon Naginata Renmei
(All Japan Naginata Federation)
Zen Nihon Renmei
(All Japan Jukendo Federation) Nippon
(Nippon Budokan Foundation)

Mark Freeman
09-28-2009, 05:33 AM
Personally, I think the open discussion forum is a valuable addition to aikiweb.
I'ts traditional where I come from to go down the pub after practice for a little 'fluid replacement therapy' and general chat. Even though we are all aikidoka the discussions are rarely centred on aikido. We get into politics, religion, sport, movies, tv, work related stuff etc etc.
I see the OD forum as a sort of on-line bar, where people having a common interest can go to unwind. How you conduct yourself inside that bar, gives away how much importance you attach to 'budo' or whatever that means to you. As with all bars, if you don't drink or don't like the place, there is no compulsion to go there.

regards,

Mark

Hogan
09-28-2009, 07:26 AM
I missed the part where the Open Discussions forum was declared the David Skaggs Right-Wing Axe-Grinding Forum. ...

Where were you when it was the Neil Mick Left-Wing Bush-Hating Axe-Grinding Forum?

gdandscompserv
09-28-2009, 07:35 AM
Where were you when it was the Neil Mick Left-Wing Bush-Hating Axe-Grinding Forum?
:p

Kevin Leavitt
09-28-2009, 08:41 AM
Neil is one of my Facebook friends! I will let him know we are thinking of him!

While I don't necessarily agree with many folks, actually I disagree with much of what Neil opines, I have learned alot by taking the time to listen to what he has to say and essentially embracing it.

It is way to easy to ignore one side of things that make us mad or uncomfortable instead of facing it and challenging it.

I do agree however, that if someone is gonna throw it out there (what ever IT may be), they need to make a clear and concise as possible argument, then back it up with facts and/or assumptions and finish the argument instead of simply throwing out an emotional flurry of activity.

I am very tired of this in the media. It seems that our population is not so much concerned with understanding deeply the complexity of issues, rather than getting the 140 word "twitter" play to the emotions and then running off on tangents, getting angry etc.

I think a big part of budo in general is facing adversity and controversy, studying it, understanding it, understanding how it affects us, and then making a deeper, more intellegent choice of action.

I think if the "Open forum" quality moved more towards this, then we would all be better. That said, I still believe that we need to keep it truely open and allow ideas and issues to be shared.

thisisnotreal
09-28-2009, 08:48 AM
Why are we having these conversations?


This is what I came up with (not all apply to me!)
-connection / exchange
-testing your knowledge
-searching for answers
-boredom/loneliness
-looking for a fight
-looking for attention

If you are lucky:
-make a friend
-help someone
-learn something

dps
09-28-2009, 10:46 AM
Where were you when it was the Neil Mick Left-Wing Bush-Hating Axe-Grinding Forum?

Neil is one of my Facebook friends! I will let him know we are thinking of him!

Aaaah!!!!!! The chosen one that will bring a balance to the force.:D

David

C. David Henderson
09-28-2009, 11:15 AM
There are two interesting aspects to this discussion that are coming up for me: One is from David's citation to "Budo Charter," and, somewhat related to that, Kevin's discussion about the "how" these discussions take place; the other is from Josh's compendium of reasons "why" people choose to exercise their prerogative to start threads such as those described in the OP. (From whatever point of view.)

I think they are sometimes connected; the "how" reflecting the "why," and vice verca. Of the many possibilities as to the why, however, "they do/did it too" seems to bode ill for the how.

cdh

Trish Greene
09-29-2009, 12:27 PM
I think you all have too much time on your hands if you think having an open discussion forum on Aikiweb.com is an actual issue....

personally I enjoy reading it just so that I can get another viewpoint on the current issue. WE all have one common ground together, but so many varieties!!!

C. David Henderson
09-29-2009, 12:44 PM
Glad you had just enough time on your hands to let us all know your thoughts.

Trish Greene
09-29-2009, 12:48 PM
Slow day at work Dave, thanks :-P

jonreading
09-29-2009, 01:24 PM
Censorship on a community forum...hmmm.

1. The Aikiweb is focused on aikido, but it is a community forum. As previously said, many users share non-aikido threads and we have an area for those threads. As Kevin said, if you don't like the topic, don't read it. Jun does a great job of stepping in when a conversation goes out of bounds - more than most moderators of community forums. I do not believe in censorship and I support open forums that are conducted in the spirit of respectful and truthful information exchange.
2. As aikido is part of our lives, it is expected that our lives spill into our aikido. To share our personal beliefs, religions, political views, cooking recipes, sports idols and other on Aikiweb is something natural. We learn about each other through these [trivial] gossip threads and I enjoy reading many of them.

Now, the heart of the matter is that users are angry at the passive-aggressive political posts by other users. Specifically, we are talking about David's specific fanatical right-wing soapbox :). Since I did not see another reference to a left-wing post which causes issue, I will read into the initial post that we are discussing censoring political discussion from the right...I do not agree with that implication - either politics is in bounds or out.

As I have said before, never talk politics and religion with mixed company.

dps
09-29-2009, 01:38 PM
Now, the heart of the matter is that users are angry at the passive-aggressive political posts by other users. Specifically, we are talking about David's specific fanatical right-wing soapbox :)

Fanatical :eek: I prefer the more political correct term devotee. :)

David

C. David Henderson
09-29-2009, 02:47 PM
Actually, Jon,

(a) I tried to be honest about why I started the conversation, but I recognize annoyance can be a two-way street here. Other posters, in fact, have pointed out their own issues with an argumentative poster from the "left," which I felt was completely legitimate.

(b) I didn't suggest abolishing or censoring these threads -- I asked why we were having these conversations on this forum. That led into some discussion of how the conversations were taking place as well.

(c) I think only one poster suggested limiting or abolishing the Open Discussions Section, and that person didn't in any way limit the suggestion to just people with disfavored viewpoints. (At this point, based in part on this thread, I wouldn't advocate limiting or censoring anything except as Jun might think necessary in applying existing forum rules.)

(d) Realizing I may have been unclear -- allow me to say I agree with you that either politics is in-bounds or it's not, irrespective of political point of view.

(e) I found it interesting that one of the people who made what I thought a positive contribution to this thread was David himself, who also gave a pretty decent self-illustration of what he was saying by not taking things personally, which I appreciated.

and

(f) I think your aphorism about "mixed company" is pretty much what I've decided should guide my own reading choices.

FWIW

Regards,

cdh

Michael Douglas
10-01-2009, 04:05 AM
...I am a guest in this house, but I wonder why? There are plenty of forums on the internet where, if that's your desire, you can chat with like minded people about the political issues of the day. There are plenty of forums where you can do battle with those with opposing beliefs. It's not as though if these threads were not posted here, the discussions could not be had.

They have nothing to do with aikido, budo, or martial arts. They don't have anything to do with the community that posts here except, really, to point out divisions.

I never have rancorous political discussions at the dojo (or at holiday gatherings); and I don't think the threads here about martial art topics have anything like the tone or tenor of these purely political threads.

So I wonder, why are they being posted HERE....

It could've been read like that, kinda... ;

...(b) I didn't suggest abolishing or censoring these threads -- I asked why we were having these conversations on this forum.

I for one thought your were suggesting such discussions were not welcome in here = suggesting censoring...

C. David Henderson
10-01-2009, 12:25 PM
Michael,

Thanks for your post. I see how you drew that inference, but it wasn't my intent.

My personal opinion hasn't changed, BTW -- I don't much like these threads here.

But I never believed it likely that everyone would agree with my opinion, and I did not delude myself that the rules would change just because I gave my opinion and asked others for feedback.

One of the things I've learned from the responses it that many if not most other people responding find nothing wrong with the way things are.

I've also legitimately been reminded of the personal responsibility attached to the choice whether to read or contribute to those threads, which I accept.

It makes sense that "freedom" in communication including the idea of responsibility,

I also think its legitimate to talk about personal responsiblity in the choice to institute a thread as well as participate in it, about the reasons behind the exercise of these choices, and about the manner in which the choices are exercised.

In fact, some of the posts in "Open Discussion" right now reflect on these issues, IMO.

Of course, reasonable minds may differ.

Regards,

cdh

Aikibu
10-01-2009, 12:38 PM
I am not....I just don't participate....I was on another Martial Arts Forum a few years back where some of this same stuff occurred...

BOOOOORING....

My Aiki approach is simple I think. :)

William Hazen

mathewjgano
10-05-2009, 10:09 PM
I've enjoyed chatting online because it's been a good way to meet a very wide variety of people. I've enjoyed chatting here because I like the people...and in my view, martial artists tend to be interesting people and make for interesting conversations.

jonreading
10-06-2009, 12:39 PM
Thanks David, I appreciate you taking time to clarifiy the discussion.

While I don't recommend talking politics, I think the revelance of our leadership to aikido is important to discuss. The problem is often that we can not discuss issues beyond our party line political messages. Rather, we should discuss the impact of leadership decisions as they relate to our lives. I think sometimes we are hestitant to move beyond the political frontline to discuss real issues because we don't know as much about the issues as we need to, and we rarely know both sides of the issue to begin with.

For example: whether or not I support a public care option, you can bet healthcare reform will impact aikido (and our lives). What will happen to our personal insurance, what about our dojo insurance? Will dojo dues need to rise to cover new costs? What will protect dojos against liability claims under a new insurance structure?

Political? Yes. relevant? Absolutely. I would be interested to hear what some of our large dojo anticipate when healthcare reform is passed [in some form or another]...

akiy
10-06-2009, 12:49 PM
I would be interested to hear what some of our large dojo anticipate when healthcare reform is passed [in some form or another]...
Just a request here to please start another thread if folks here wish to pursue a topic which differs from the original intent of the current thread (such as the above).

Thanks,

-- Jun

C. David Henderson
10-06-2009, 01:13 PM
Thanks David, I appreciate you taking time to clarifiy the discussion.

You are welcome, sir. Thank you for your thoughts about bringing these kinds of discussions back to our individual lives.

Regards,

cdh