Its well known thing that every Linux distribution has its own Community Forums, Mailing lists etc., etc.,. We should also not forget that each such forum will have their own Forum Rules and Conduct. The forums tend to see different people from different culture, different country, different mood etc., etc.,
So, what should be the main goal ?
1) Let the users discuss anything,everything (which also includes political discussions,rantings etc., etc., not related to that forum) what they want along with the distribution discussions , (or)
2) Let the users discuss only Linux and Linux related topics along with the distribution discussions, (or)
3) Only allow the discussions related to the distribution and moderate all other posts which are off-topic
Now, you can see most of the forums stick to the Rule 2 and also partly fall into Rule 1 and Rule 3 wherein they allow Rule 1 but strictly moderate.
The difficulty I see is –
1) Every user are not same and every user is not from the same place/country from where other user may be and thus starting a political discussion is not going to be in favor of all members and some members sure are going to see why such an topic is started. For example, take a post titled – “What if Mitt Romney becomes the next president of America!”. Well, to be frank, I dont know much about Mitt Romney and how would you expect me to know and also how would the thread starter would expect others (majority of users) to know and reply to his post ??
2) I have seen most of the political posts end up in BIG fight either between users Vs users or moderators Vs users. There is no point in arguing how it may lead or why it should lead, but its the same everywhere.
3) Not only political discussions, but there are other certain topics like Microsoft Bashing – Some(many??) Linux users tend to be so angry against Microsoft (yes, angry :( ) and just start cursing Microsoft and Microsoft technologies. It doesn’t matter whether they are using it or not , the point here is – Microsoft isn’t Open Source (or) GNU/Linux (or) Free. The ethics come into action here. This really makes other Microsoft lovers move away slowly. Well, you may ask – What Microsoft users are doing in a Linux forum – I can also ask , What Linux users have to discuss about Microsoft in a Linux forum if they just don’t like it ? – See , even here it tends into argument :D , lol. And when Microsoft lovers, who also love Linux (and use Linux) along with Microsoft products get into and try to tell or atleast try to be real in saying that Microsoft isn’t that bad and its their way of doing Business , that User gets the bashing and loses his/her reputation.
Whats the point here ? Does these type of discussions be needed in a Linux forum ?
My answer would be a BIG NO – Why ?
You have many other places to discuss regarding these and need not choose the Linux Discussion forums for this. People should understand that one will find great diversity in the forums and it shouldn’t be made “locale”. To be more precise, stick to Linux and Linux related topics. Of course, one has to Respect the Community, but that doesn’t mean that you should go with everything and allow users to do everything. Help the Community -A User joins the Community in the intention that he/she seeks help in Linux or Linux related or Distribution related help and not in any other areas.
Why did I post this here – Klikit Linux Community is having the same problem and me being a moderator was not able to handle the political discussions and other things. I am not an American to know all the things whats happening over there and how will I know in such discussions that the user has crossed his/her limit or insulted someone. I found everything Greek and Latin to me and ofcourse this led to Moderators Vs Users fight – The reason is simple – Few of the Users demand that they need to be given freetalk and not moderated (not to even apply Godwin’s Law ) – Sorry , I am not for it !
And I am also a member of many other distribution forums as well Microsoft related forums and never ever Users discuss anything unrelated and even if they do so, they would be warned that its actually off-topic to the forum and thread removed or kept under review by moderators. Well, whats wrong in that !