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  • #31

    The political rants of late on WCI have driven me away. I have zero interest in getting involved in that stuff. So, I have found some good new blogs that I spend time on that do not tolerate political histrionics.


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    see that’s just strange and doesn’t make sense. i suspect it isn’t even true.

    i’ve been on these forums for at least a year. we’ve had a few political discussions mostly in the last month unless i missed some earlier, almost all of which have been surrounding specific policy.

    if that’s too much for you out of a website w/ dozens of hours of content and a forum full of other stuff, i think you might have a hard time ever being happy.
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    what part would you say wasn’t true?  i guess if s/he was truly completely driven away, they wouldn’t be posting here.  otherwise why would you say it is strange and doesn’t make sense and isn’t true?    ???

    there is a reason many sites prohibit political discussions.  the political discussions here lately are a drag.  just because they aren’t a drag to you doesn’t mean other people are liars for saying it bothers them and they prefer to spend time elsewhere.

    most of your posts are truly a pleasure to read.  i hope to see many of those.

    i share donnie’s opinion that it is pointless to discuss further.

    either wci will decide we need to stop derailing topics with politics or the topics are not being derailed, or alternately they decide that politics are intrinsic to the discussions and part of the experience here.  if they fail to decide, it is de facto a decision for the latter.







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    I don’t think it’s true that someone who has enjoyed WCI has been driven away from reading it because of 4-5 threads about extremely controversial issues veering into politics.

    Crixus posts insane garbage about the coming financial apocalypse and is treated with equanimity. Discussions of limiting his ability to post have gone no-where. He has been far more active on here than any political discussion.

    There are frequent posters on here who repeatedly try to advertise for their own blogs, and frequent posters who are simply advertising for their own financial services.

    Again, these are discussions of hot button and extremely partisan issues. I’m waiting for someone to explain how one can have a good discussion of a tax bill written by one party with no input from the other and totally out of regular order that is perfectly non partisan. What I suspect is happening is not that so many people are overwhelmingly turned off by politics as a generic topic but that this forum skews conservative and doesn’t like to see “their” legislation being discussed in unfriendly terms.
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    You are incorrect. I agree with the previous poster, while I'm not "driven away" by political posts on WCI, I definitely spend far less time on the site than I have in the past because of this. I come here to read about investing and finance, not to be told again and again how misguided and uninformed I was to have voted for Trump. I've enjoyed reading your posts in the past, but when you start your political rants I tune out. I've honestly started to just skip reading your posts completely, which is a shame since you often have some good points on finance. Crixus may be out there, but he leaves politics and name calling out of his posts. If I want to read a stream of hate, complaining, and anger, I'll go to Sermo or KevinMD. If I want to read about how I can improve my financial health, I'll come here. I hope that the mods can keep it that way. Personal political views, from either side, don't belong here.


    • #32


      What does a non political discussion of tax policy look like?
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      It’s a discussion of the tax policy purely on its merits without consideration of motives, intents, personalities or parties.
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      Merits meaning what? Just describing exactly how it affects my return?
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      You seriously don’t know how to think about taxes without involving politics?  If so, that sums up why it would be pointless to have a political debate with you.

      Anyway, I don’t care if you guys want to waste time debating politics.  I just skip over these posts.  But with so many new threads getting derailed by these pointless debates that significantly detract from actually helping people with their finances, I expect political discussions to be shut down more and more frequently.
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      1) i’m not talking about “thinking about taxes” i’m talking about what has been posted, namely discussions of specific bills and principles.

      2) not sure why you are feeling the need to throw in a fairly pointless attack about someone you barely know on an internet forum when i’m asking specifically for clarification on this topic.

      3) how many threads have been “derailed?”

      4) the threads that have veered into politics are not ones where a new poster is asking about 401k rules, they are for the most part discussions of specific bills in congress. not sure it’s a war crime to bring in politics when talking about pending legislation.
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      This is a personal finance site.  The purpose of the site is to help people with their personal finances.  The tax law knows no partisanship.  If a person can’t think about implications of tax code on personal finance without thinking about politics, it strongly suggests that person feels very passionately about politics because one has nothing to do with the other.

      Here’s an example:

      • Will the new tax bill reduce 401k benefits?  Can be quantified, not political or controversial.  Responses to this question could help people with retirement planning, etc.

      • Should the new tax bill reduce 401k benefits for people?  Non-quantifiable.  Pointless political question.  No one can use information shared in this debate to help anyone.

      If a person can’t separate these questions, then the person cares so deeply about politics that it is influencing logical discourse.

      I’m not attacking you.  It’s fine with me if you have strong feelings about politics.  Most people do.  I don’t.  I don’t expect a political debate with someone whose strong political views influence a discussion of any topic where politics can be tangentially introduced to be fruitful though.



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      2 points:

      1. Tax law and politics are not 2 completely separate issues. I’m not even sure how to respond to a statement like this. This current bill cranks up taxes on grad students and cuts them on private jets. Do you really think those things should just be interpreted in a vacuum on the “merits?” I worry that what you’re saying is that you understand tax changes that don’t affect you much are these totally neutral events.

      2. Your example is interesting, but once again are we really suggesting that what we want is just threads full of sterile descriptions of changes to the law? I mean maybe I favor a tax of $5 on every piece of ammunition so a box of trap loads goes from costing $20 to costing $145. Do we just discuss that by noting how much more it will cost a skeet enthusiast?
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      1. Yes, it should be discussed in a vacuum.  If you want to discuss whether a tax that “cranks up taxes on grad students and cuts them on private jets” is just or fair, do it in a political forum.  For the purposes of a personal finance discussion, I don’t care whether the law is just or not.  I can’t control the laws, I can only choose whether to follow them or not.  If you are talking about some tertiary or trickle down effect on society and eventually the economy that will impact the stock or job market, it would be better to have those discussions in an economic forum.  We aren’t going to come close to solving or quantifying these massively complex problems here. We can discuss how the laws directly impact our personal finances though because many smart people on here have taken the time to think through and quantify these things.  I’ll post a quote by Richard Feynman to sum up my thoughts on this.

      2. Personally, I don’t care what you favor for tax law changes.  You can’t influence tax law, so why should I care what your opinion is.  I think it’s great you want to tax trap loads (whatever that is), and I am glad you have spent some time thinking about it.  I suggest posting your thoughts in a trap load forum.

      Richard Feynman Quote - “There was a Princess Somebody of Denmark sitting at a table with a number of people around her, and I saw an empty chair at their table and sat down.

      She turned to me and said, "Oh! You're one of the Nobel-Prize-winners. In what field did you do your work?"

      "In physics," I said.

      "Oh. Well, nobody knows anything about that, so I guess we can't talk about it."

      "On the contrary," I answered. "It's because somebody knows something about it that we can't talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows anything about that we can discuss. We can talk about the weather; we can talk about social problems; we can talk about psychology; we can talk about international finance--gold transfers we can't talk about, because those are understood--so it's the subject that nobody knows anything about that we can all talk about!"

      I don't know how they do it. There's a way of forming ice on the surface of the face, and she did it!”


      • #33

        I’m waiting for someone to explain how one can have a good discussion of a tax bill written by one party with no input from the other and totally out of regular order that is perfectly non partisan. What I suspect is happening is not that so many people are overwhelmingly turned off by politics as a generic topic but that this forum skews conservative and doesn’t like to see “their” legislation being discussed in unfriendly terms.
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        For me, this has nothing to do with my political views or those of any other posters. Rather, I'm not interested in political arguments, or any arguments that degenerate into acrimony (i.e., every political discussion/argument).

        If I go to an art museum to view the paintings, I'd like to enjoy them in peace.

        Suppose I walk up to a painting only to find two people having a heated argument about the artistic significance of a painting nearby. They are gesticulating wildly and shouting at one another. Soon they begin maligning each other's moral and ethical character.

        I don't care what either of them thinks about the nearby painting, I'd just like to enjoy the museum without the unpleasantness.
        Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.


        • #34
          Editorial in the WSJ.  Republicans favor $500 Canine tax credit (per dog) and Democrats favor similar credit for felines.  Why should human Moms be favored over dog moms.  See where this bickering leads.


          • #35
            This is why bogleheads has such a strong policy. There is no grey zone that doesn't lead to bickering. I am fine with some bickering and appreciate that this place is less sterile than bogleheads. But I can also accept if the mods clamp down harder. I think it takes a lot of work for mods to police the way they do at bogleheads and wonder if that's too high an expectation for the much smaller forum here.


            • #36
              I would HOPE that education folk would have cooler heads and ability to be civil.  We are docs after all and learn to 'check it at the door'.

              With anything financial, there are differing points of view and how it should be handled.   Is there an intersect in politics in areas like Tax Reform?  Sure.  It doesn't mean that we can't be civil to each other like any other financial discussion on how it does or does not work --- and the how to get maximize our efficiency

              Here's to hope.


              • #37
                So my takeaway is I should probably stop posting  :P

                An alt-brown look at medicine, money, faith, & family


                • #38
                  This political posts will die down soon.

                  Passions are just high now (for those that care at all) with tax reform/health care bills active. Add in a healthy dose of Trump derangement syndrome, and voila, instant argument.

                  Should die down in a few months.


                  • #39
                    Well this has been a fairly interesting exercise. I'm going to type out one more post and then never post again about politics on this forum again or reply to this thread.

                    1. First of all, I am genuinely sorry and apologize if anything I have posted or discussed has materially altered other reader's experience of these fora.

                    2. Others have correctly pointed out that I shouldn't have "dragged" another forum member into this and they are correct about that. We don't know each other and I don't really know much about his politics other than what has played out on a very limited # of threads. I honestly put that on there a bit tongue-in-cheek and have been surprised by how this thread has played out. Apologies specifically to Zaphod.

                    3. Honestly I still find it a little bit hard to believe that these 4-5 threads over the last month have poisoned the well so much but I will retract prior statements and take people at their word. I still suspect that this is because of specific left-right dynamics rather than a general distaste for anything political, but I feel fairly bad if it had truly affected traffic to the forums. I think this a on the whole a right-of-center community and I realize I am probably out of that mainstream.

                    4. I don't think it's helpful for posters (as some have done on this thread) to act like I need some sort of rehabilitation or careful examination of my beliefs or sources. Unlike the vast majority of even fairly regular posters here I am not anonymous and have never really tried to be. You can surf over to my twitter or any of my guest posts and learn whatever you want. We are in a crazy, divisive, and dangerous time. You'll never get me to pretend otherwise. I have never found virtue in being silent in the face of horrible behavior. This forum was not the venue for that though and I do realize that.

                    5. I genuinely remain totally mystified as to how to have a productive conservative about specific partisan legislation while pretending like it has appeared out of a vacuum. But I acknowledge that others are seeing this as churlishness rather than genuine confusion and I won't participate in further discussions of that kind.

                    6. I repeat my apology, and while no place is worse than the internet for tone, I mean it sincerely.


                    MJP, MD


                    • #40
                      I agree this should die down quite a bit after the tax reform bill is passed. These things are fairly rare. It's been a decade and it was two decades before that. People are so interested in this obviously financial topic that I've let it run and even did a podcast about it.

                      But it requires extreme care to avoid slipping into a political bashfest on this most political of topics. Judging by the way the polls are going, we're going to have to tighten up the moderation a bit to walk the balance.
                      Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011


                      • #41

                        But it requires extreme care to avoid slipping into a political bashfest on this most political of topics. Judging by the way the polls are going, we’re going to have to tighten up the moderation a bit to walk the balance.
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                        Please don't let this site turn into Sermo!


                        • #42
                          It's all about tone, and being nice.

                          You shouldn't call people idiots, evil, etc.  Nor should you disparage the voters in general (i.e., everyone here on the forum who voted).  It's safe to say a bunch of people on here voted for both sides.  Calling them names doesn't help.

                          You can talk about the pros and cons, the merits, how much you don't like something or think it's fair.  But when you start name calling and disparaging people, it takes the town down from a discussion to drivel.

                          And then saying stuff like "Nope."  "Wrong." etc. is pretty aggressive and essentially the equivalent of calling someone stupid.

                          Just try to be nice.


                          • #43
                            My two cents - I would moderate it by forcing posts to stay on topic. No politics in personal finance threads. Politics allowed in broader discussions about societal impacts, deficits, or whatever it is that political people want to discuss.

                            In the 401k example:

                            If someone made a thread asking questions about the impact the tax bill would have on future 401k contributions, political responses should be moderated away.

                            If the person asks a political-leaning question like whether it is fair that 401k benefits are being cut or asking about broader societal / behavioral impact, political discussions should be allowed. Ad hominem attacks and really controversial stuff beyond political ideologies should be moderated away (like in the Salt Lake City thread). Political topics should be in lounge or their own subforum, maybe with a required note that it’s in the political subforum in the thread title. The issue is that I mostly use my phone to look at the site, and I can’t tell the subforum via phone very easily.


                            • #44

                              The issue is that I mostly use my phone to look at the site, and I can’t tell the subforum via phone very easily.
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                              Yeah, hard to tell the subforum unless I go out of my way to look, even on the computer. "This belongs in the lounge" type of stuff doesn't really make a difference.  I usually click on forum home at the top and read threads from there.


                              • #45
                                @Rogue -  You know better than that!

                                @Craigy - Amen.

                                Our Democracy is all about civil discord.  The unique characteristic of USA's democracy is we tend to root for the underdog that keeps the balance of the  tyranny of the majority that's not seen in other democracies.