Avoiding Hot Buttons
One of the things the forum administrator, the moderators and I have been discussing since the forum went live is how to keep discussions here relatively calm and productive -- which is not a guaranteed thing anywhere on the internet! Those who've spent any amount of time following The Archdruid Report already know that there's a definite moderation policy there, and that's been carried across to this setting. Some of the rules are obvious -- no profanity, no personal attacks, and so on -- but there are also topics that (a) aren't relevant to the specific purpose of this forum, and (b) tend to be hot buttons in online discussions, and we've ruled those out as well.
One example that's particularly relevant is discussion of how fast/slow/mild/severe the ending of the industrial age is going to be. That's something you can discuss on very nearly any forum in the peak oil scene, or in the dozen or so related scenes that overlap with it; it's not actually relevant to the specific purpose of this forum, which is to encourage people to develop skill sets relevant to almost any process of decline/collapse/whatever; and it's one of those subjects about which people tend to talk past one another rather than listening to one another.
That's been my experience, at least. Fairly often I field criticism that assumes I believe in a fast-crash collapse; just as often I field criticism that assumes I believe in a slow, gentle transition. This is almost funny, as I've spent the last four years arguing that neither of these scenarios is very likely! A lot of people have very strong feelings related to one or another future scenario, and a lot of people also seem to have trouble seeing that there are alternatives other than the two that define the far ends of the spectrum of decline and fall; both those feed into the tendency for "how fast, how hard, how soon" discussions to turn into circular arguments and, far too often, internet flamewars.
If you've tried to post something in the "how fast, how hard, how soon" category, then, that's why it hasn't gotten past moderation. Again, there are hundreds of forums where you can have that discussion; this just doesn't happen to be one of them -- we have other things to talk about, after all. Many thanks for understanding!