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!

dtrammel's picture

A comment about the new forum and the subjects on it.

At Greer's request we currently have a policy of no discussions on firearms and alternative medicine. He felt that firearms already have plenty of forums out there to discuss them on AND that firearms is a hot button issue which people have a very passionate opinion on. He felt that discussions could get out of hand and quite emotional.

As for alternative medicine, he felt the medical establishment and their State licensing have had a history of going after people who suggest that there is anything that you can use OTHER than the monopolistic medical and pharmaceutical industries products. Since he and his wife have a lot to loose should that happen, me would rather any forum that directly linked to him, not discuss herbal knowledge or alternative medicine.

Since the new website is owned, moderated and control exclusively by ME, and Greer has no official control over it or what is posted, I am going to relax both prohibiting somewhat.

The restriction on firearms and personal protection will still be heavily moderated but I feel given the current partisan environment in this country, and the over charged public World, it is a discussion we need to begin having. Please note, should I see a post and thread get out of hand I will privately warn the people involved, via message and email. If tensions continue to run high, I will close that post to comments.

Members who repeatedly post in a highly emotional manner, and who have been warned once, will receive a second warning to moderate their post. Failure to do so, will result in a 7 day suspension of their posting privileges. Should they continue, their account will be terminated and they will not be able to post here on this site.

Remember, we are all adults here, act like one.

As for herbal lore and historical associations of certain plants and their ability to remedy illness, I feel that knowledge would be useful to Future Green Wizards.

I have put a new forum in the "Green Wizard Library of Grimories" titled the "GW Book of Herbal Lore"

Rules for posting are simple, don't make claims someone may sue me over, lol.

We will play this by ear, and see what kind of format to the entries, informational background, and disclaimers will need to be put in this forum. I do want to have a few instructional threads on the historical methods that herbs were used. Such as in tinctures or tonics, and how to prepare one.

Any other suggestions would be welcome.

Some site upgrades are scheduled for this weekend (see the forum news topic for a complete list of scheduled and planned upgrades) but the good news is the software *will* support Special Interest Groups (SIGs)! We already have suggestions for the following: Horses Boats Shelter If you have any other SIG suggestions, please post them in this thread. We will be setting up a poll for each SIG suggestion in turn, and if there are enough people interested in joining it (say, half a dozen or so) and it doesn't take focus away from a Circle, then we will set it up after the site upgrades have been completed over the weekend. Each SIG will have it's own main page section, and forum or forums. Users will join the Groups that interest them the most to gain access to the discussions and other content. These SIGs will be in a separate area of the site from the main Forum, so those who are just interested in main Forum topics will be able to just focus their attention on that area. When the site upgrades have been finished, you will see a new "Groups" item on your main navigation menu on the left-hand side of the page. Clicking this new menu item will allow you to view all of the SIGs and to join those that interest you most.

ADMIN David Added: SIGs are no longer supported on this website, but I moved this thread because of its relevance to Hot Button topics.

What about the League of Doomer Librarians? I had put that into the search box 2 or 3 weeks ago, and nothing came up....

No one (that I can find, anyway) has addressed monetary issues nor precious metals nor true barter. I have seen several potential interests that interest me as well, especially distillation of spirits (as a barter item), weaponry and herbalism.

Might there be interest in a forum on low-tech small-scale production of alcoholic beverages? This may sound very shallow, but for many of us being able to enjoy a glass of good beer or wine is a real contributor to quality of life, and if you get into making beer from progressively less processed inputs, or making "wines" from whatever plants are available to you, it is something you can jaw about almost endlessly.

I was thinking just today that we could use a place to talk about healthcare and low tech medicine. We wondered if we need a Dog group to compliment the horses. Also, somebody mentioned, in passing, Entertainment.

Or firearms, I realize that some folks live in places where that's not an option that they're allowed, or at least not without a ton of governmental hoop jumping, but it's a subject that is practical to study regardless. Some folks may object to them on the grounds that they feel that they're intrinsically bad and the world would be a much better place if they didn't exist and we all settled our conflicts with warm fuzzy hugs, but they do and we don't. So to protect those heirloom tomatoes and heritage breed chickens when all the grasshoppers that didn't feel the need to prepare for the worst come to take them from you to eat them a few reliable firearms and a working knowledge or them may be very important.

Sophie, those are all good ideas. Unfortunately, I don't know that we'll be able to do a Health Care SIG, due to potential liability issues. I personally am a firm believer in alternative medicine and natural self-care, but I've been advised that the political and legal climate here around this issue is just too dicey to allow public discussion of things like herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, raw foods, alternative healing practices, and such. I wish it were not so, but, unfortunately it is and we can't afford to pay what it would cost to defend ourselves should someone in our community accidentally stray over the ever-changing line of what is considered okay by those in charge and we were deemed to be personally responsible.

I agree about the Dogs group - I am working on setting up a Animals SIG, with dogs, horses and poultry as sub-sections. I think an Entertainment SIG is also a great idea and will set one of those up as well!

thanks for your input

I'm disappointed by that, both because herbalism is my main interest and because once you start down the slippery slope of silencing potentially risky knowledge, where do you stop? You could burn your house down with a rocket stove; should we not talk about how to make one?

As far as the government is concerned, the First Amendment protects the right to make general statements of opinion about medical treatments or health practices; that's not practicing medicine without a licence. I can say, in a book, online, on television, or in person, "Hawthorn is traditionally used for chronic heart failure and arrhythmias," or "Hawthorn has been shown in over twenty clinical trials to benefit people with chronic heart failure," and there's no problem and no possibility of prosecution. If I say to a specific person, "You have angina? YOU SHOULD take hawthorn," then I'm giving medical advice, which is a big problem.

Or you may fear civil suits. Suppose someone dies of a heart attack and his next of kin learn that he read your website that mentioned hawthorn, and they say a-ha, it must be YOUR fault he hadn't gotten an octuple bypass, and now we're going to sue you for a zillion dollars. This is what a disclaimer is for. No publisher would touch books about the Atkins Diet if they were not 100% sure that their disclaimer would hold up in court if any of a million readers ever had a heart attack. You are even less liable for comments posted by others, since you didn't write them and since only a fool would take medical advice from anonymous strangers, so a disclaimer (and censorship of any obviously over-the-line posts) should more than adequately cover you. Also, there's the "blood from a turnip" legal principle - the greedbag lawyer will know that you don't HAVE a zillion dollars to be sued for.

All of which is a longwinded way of saying that if whenever someone on the free-range-chicken thread asserts that their eggs are more nutritious, you come running in going "oh, don't say that, Big Ag might get mad...", we might as well restrict our "planning for the future" to discussing how to avoid boredom while standing in line for our government cheese ration.


Dewey and all,

I am not happy with the legal situation here either. But, unless someone is willing to pledge several thousands of dollars to our defense fund in case someone posting on here crosses whatever the authorities deem to be the current line in the sand on what is acceptable and then holds we volunteers responsible (especially JMG, who is the head of the GW group, and me, who owns the dedicated server and the internet connection) then I'm afraid we will have to continue to play it safe on this site when it comes to medical advice.

As has been said by others, the climate here is pretty scary when it comes to this topic, and I'm sure we all know who (or what) we can thank for that. But it is what it is, and for my part, I am not willing to sacrifice my family or my freedom or my home over this, and I don't really think it's fair to ask me or anyone else involved here to take on those risks.


Is it really true that we can't discuss alternative health care and grass fed beef being superior? I don't understand? There are places all over the internet talking about all of that. Maybe I'm being naive, but don't we have freedom of speech? We are all just talking here right? I am sorry but when I read that, I kind of freaked out and got fairly frightened for my own survival...mentally.

Beachmum, scary, isn't it? Yes, thirteen states have passed food libel laws making it illegal to publicly criticize food products. See the wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_libel_laws So you can say that grass-fed beef is great stuff as long as you don't also put down grain-fed beef raised under less optimal conditions. And if we discuss alternative health care, we could be accused of practicing medicine without a license. Granted, a lot of people do it -- but it is risky business. Maybe some day the Supreme Court will rule that these laws violate freedom of speech, but in the meantime

I am a complementary health care professional, specifically a licensed massage therapist. What I can tell you from my perspective is that I'm not allowed to diagnose or prescribe, which would violate state law. It's considered outside of my scope of practice.

I can talk about the wellness practices I pursue in my own life, but I have to be careful about even that. Basically, I can chat about these things in a friend-to-friend conversation but recommending them in a professional capacity could potentially get me in trouble.

I empathize with your frustration, but I can also understand why the administration here has opted for the cautious approach.

Gaiasdaughter, you are absolutely right. Maybe you could win in court against an offended corporation or the federal authorities if you were ever targeted in this manner for something you said that was deemed to have crossed into the "libel" or "medical advice" realm, but it would probably be a Pyrrhic victory, because it would cost a ton to defend yourself - probably at the least tens of thousands of dollars.

Thank you also for the link.


I am completely outraged. Are people rioting in the streets? This is absolutely ridiculous. So, if I say that I use a certain herb to cure something will it not be posted here or will I get in trouble? Or if I say that a certain brand of food is crap...? So, is the internet going to be monitored for this kind of in-fracture? I just cannot believe that we cannot even discuss it...amazed!