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Announcement: Politics Guidelines

Posted by AlanB



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We all know Amtrak is, by nature, a political animal. It was created by the government and is subsidized each year by the government. It follows, therefore, that from time to time we discuss Amtrak in a political light. Sometimes this happens when there are debates in Congress about reauthorizing Amtrak's funding. Other times, we discuss a particular politician's actions regarding Amtrak -- whether he/she is already in office, or is campaigning to assume political office. Much of this is completely acceptable discussion here, as long as it stays objective and factual, because it directly involves Amtrak and (often) its future survival.

However, in recent discussion threads, we have endured political banter that quickly devolves into partisan fighting. This has absolutely NO place on the forum. Debating the merits of a particular policy or bill as it regards Amtrak's development and funding is acceptable, but not when it means defense of a particular persuasion or agenda. This is the Internet, where nobody cares if you lean left, right, or center. The more respectful members understand this, and keep their political preferences to themselves as much as possible. Others, it seems, enjoy making their views known at every opportunity, turning what is usually a benign, neutral discussion into a needlessly political discourse. What for? Who cares? Posted Image

What this vocal minority doesn't seem to realize, or at least care about, is that for every one post extolling their favorite party's (or candidate's) virtues, numerous silent readers or first-time travelers take offense and may in fact not return to the forum. There is no need to polarize innocent discussions about train travel. I suspect this will only get worse as we near the elections this fall.

Beginning immediately:
  • No political mentions, references, insinuations, or likenesses permitted in forum signatures, avatars, or user names. I don't care if the person or party SUPPORTS Amtrak with a given policy -- just forget about it.
  • Any post that expresses favor or preference for or against a specific politician, political candidate, or political party, or what they stand for, may be deleted at any staff member's discretion. The goal here is to protect the good-natured civility we all enjoy here on the forum. Common sense will dictate whether a post is likely to provoke other members. If we are lucky, the member will exercise such common sense before posting, and no intervention will be required.
  • Any post that expresses favor or preference for or against another member's political views will be deleted.
  • Any thread that continues to attract posts of an overly subjective political nature will be locked, pruned of offending material, or in some cases, completely deleted.
  • If you disagree with a moderation decision made by a forum staff member, take it up with that person (or an Administrator) in a private message, NOT in public.
Any member who repeatedly feels the need to test this policy will be dealt with appropriately. This is a privately owned forum, and the First Amendment is upheld only to the degree that it pleases the forum administrators.

Let's talk about the facts and the issues as they concern Amtrak without making it personal or turning it into a discussion about each other's values. Why is that so hard?

I will also take this opportunity to remind everyone that the forum has an "ignore" feature. If another person is bothering you, please feel free to employ it against that person. You will no longer see their messages on the forum. If you would like some guidance on how to use the Ignore feature, please don't hesitate to contact one of the forum staff for a tutorial. This is a far better way to express one's displeasure with another user than to stoop to their level and respond in kind.