While every member of the forum administration and moderation staff understands - more viscerally than many of you may suspect - the sense of overpowering urgency, of (completely justified) outrage, and of anxiety for the well-being of yourselves and your loved ones that has been powering one politics thread after another, we have arrived at a point where the situation is no longer tenable. Changes have to be made.
This probably isn't a surprise to most of you. Eyeballing it, it appears that the recent parade of Trump Administration threads has generated more reports (and more infractions and bans) than every other part of the forum put together. It's not just a question of it being a contentious topic; we've had those before. It's the combination of that and the fact that it's both too fast-moving to effectively moderate (any official notice sinks beneath the waves in a matter of moments as the thread gallops ahead another heedless three pages) and, frankly, to effectively participate in, as we see people skipping ahead to the last page, mashing "reply," and inadvertently restarting a fight from twenty pages earlier.
This isn't useful to anyone. It's not how the staff wants to (or even can) spend their day and it's not really delivering the kind of information or utility that you people deserve. The only people who are getting anything out of it are trolls and those who want to get a bit of catharsis by screaming at someone else, neither of which are things we want to encourage.
Here is the summary of the specific, concrete guidelines for threads discussing political topics that we hope will help pull the signal out of the wall of noise. Longer explanations of rules are spoilered. To wit:
No livetweeting in the thread
This is a forum, not a feed. A wave of posts in the vein of "lol can you believe Spicer just said that" take up space and add, essentially, nothing worth having - particularly when ten people are doing it at once. The guiding principle here needs to be "if someone comes back and reads my post later, will they have the slightest scintilla of a clue what the fuck I was talking about?" If the answer is no, then fire up Tweetdeck and take it there.
This is not an open mic.
That sick burn about Trump's hands may be the long-prophesied final joke
that will unite humankind and complete the art of comedy forever...but it's still off-topic. Take it to SE. That is literally why SE exists.
No stupid nicknames for public figures.
"Cheetoh," "Water Boy," etc. Don't do this.
Avoid pure speculation about upcoming news.
If not much is happening, a thread may sink down to the bottom of the page - this is okay. We don't need to spend ten pages spinning our wheels about what might happen or it's Friday lol what's going to happen today, etc. It clogs the thread and makes it hard for people to discern when something is actually happening.
No contentless Twitter embeds.
This forum has "discourse" in its name, after all. Twitter embeds should have their sources cited and relevant commentary supplied. Hijacking someone else's thoughts to take up an entire post to say, in essence, "me too! but less pithily!" is a waste of everyone's time. React to the content of the embed! Give relevant commentary. Expand on the point being made (it was a ~140 character point - I bet there's room for that!). A good guideline for this is to provide the classic journalistic W's: who, what, where, when, why. The more of those you're giving us, the more likely it is that you're contributing something helpful and worthwhile.
Further elaboration on how to post tweets:
No satire, or the "IT'S TOO REAL" rule
ON POSTING TWEETS
How not to do it:
(Joe did go back and edit this to bring it up to snuff, thank you)
If your post is only a tweet, with one or no words, then go ahead and retweet it on your twitter account. If you believe it has relevant news/information to share with the thread, please include contextual information (who said it, when, where, why is it important, etc).
This has been explained a few times now by various mods, so you will start to see warnings in this and other Trump threads if you can't comply.
Using your explanation of a tweet's author to make snide commentary on a media outlet is no bueno. Don't do that. If it's a tweet clearly from a national news network you don't need to let us know that "CNN is a sometimes news network" or whatever.
Re: Old Trump Tweets
Do not post these without CLEAR notation of when they were tweeted. If you are just posting it to show Trump has contradicted himself/is a liar/is a hypocrite - we know. We fucking know. So let's not post old Trump tweets unless there is something quite relevant to the thread topic in them.
If you can believe it, the reality of our political situation right now is real. Satirical posts and articles can be confused for a real news story and cause completely unproductive derails. So go ahead and post that Onion link to your FB, not here.
Cite your sources.
If you post new information, include a link to a news story or tell us which news channel you got the information from.
No relitigation of the 2016 primaries, and no rehashing of the result of the 2016 election.
These topics tend to factionize a thread's population and take over whatever topic is supposed to be discussed. Bernie vs. Hillary, why Hillary lost, what the DNC could have done better in 2016 - all topics that are not helpful to rehash as we talk about what's going on current day. Move on. This rule does not preclude discussion of Russian 2016 election interference, in the appropriate thread.
Learn to let it go. But seriously, let it go
You know that one poster that you always seem to be disagreeing with? And then you go back and forth for pages, maybe getting angrier, maybe getting exhausted because neither of you are budging on your position? Hey guess what, the rest of the thread is exhausted too. If you aren't making meaningful progress in a discussion with someone else on a heated topic, take a moment to delete that draft and channel your inner Elsa. Do not clutter a thread with repeated posts going in circles around an intractable personal disagreement.
Read the thread to the end before posting.
Mods will make announcements and rulings in the thread, and it's your responsibility to be up to date on those when you hit that post button.
Nihilism and doomsaying are not helpful to discussion.
Examples: Trump will never be impeached, Trump's voters will always vote for him no matter what, Congress isn't going to do anything, we're heading to an apocalypse, there's nothing anyone can do about this, Eat at Arby's etc etc. Your feelings of this nature are not invalid, but they don't advance the discussion in any of our politics threads. If you are truly in distress, there are many resources we can point you to to help with that, or other appropriate places to vent your feelings.