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Welcome to the General Election. So, what does this mean for Democratic Underground? [View All]

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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-11-08 12:33 PM
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Welcome to the General Election. So, what does this mean for Democratic Underground?
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Now that the Democratic presidential primaries are over, and the seven-day transitional period here on DU has passed, it's time to start looking forward to the General Election between Barack Obama and John McCain.

I think the switch to General Election mode has gone better than expected so far, and I honestly believe that the vast majority of visitors to this website have not had any difficulty moving forward and coming together to support our presidential nominee. Indeed, most of the people who were very active in the heated primary discussions of the past six to nine months have already made great efforts to rebuild the bridges they burned during that time. I'm very glad to see this - but not entirely surprised, considering that the differences between Senator Obama and Senator McCain are so vast and so glaringly obvious.

Unfortunately, there will be a very small number of people on both sides of the former Obama-Clinton divide who want to keep fighting the primaries. I know from previous experience that some of these people will not be able to let it go for years, and may never fully come to terms with what has happened. Hopefully these people will be able to find solace elsewhere because as of today there is no place on DU for those who seem committed to a never-ending rehash of the 2008 Democratic primaries.

If you are wondering what will be permitted here from now on, here is a short excerpt from our rules:

Constructive criticism of Democrats or the Democratic Party is permitted. When doing so, please keep in mind that most of our members come to this website in order to get a break from the constant attacks in the media against our candidates and our values. Highly inflammatory or divisive attacks that echo the tone or substance of our political opponents are not welcome here.

You are not permitted to use this message board to work for the defeat of the Democratic Party nominee for any political office. If you wish to work for the defeat of any Democratic candidate in any General Election, then you are welcome to use someone else's bandwidth on some other website.

That pretty much covers everything you need to know...

* Constructive criticism of Democrats or the Democratic Party: Permitted.
* Highly inflammatory or divisive attacks against Democrats: Not permitted.
* Using this message board to work for the defeat of any Democratic Party nominee for any political office: Not permitted.

If you follow those rules, you'll be just fine. If you try to find a way around those rules, you take your chances with the moderators. It's that simple.


It is really easy to tell you what is permitted and what is not but in practice it is often very difficult to enforce the guidelines that we set, and that is particularly true in this case. We want to make DU a more civil and unified community where members can support the Democratic nominee, but we do not want to go overboard and disallow honest and open discussion of certain issues. This means that we can rarely draw a bright line and say "Do not cross."

With this in mind, here are a few issues to consider:

Now that Senator Obama is our presumptive nominee, he holds a special position in the party, and on Democratic Underground. Barack Obama is now the only person on the planet who can stop John McCain and finally put an end to the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration. You don't have to love the guy. Heck, you don't even have to particularly like him. But if you act like you want him to lose in November we're not going to cut you a great deal of slack.

You're still allowed to criticize Democrats. And you're even allowed to criticize Barack Obama. But if your criticism smells like a partisan political attack designed to tear down our candidates and help our Republican opponents, we're likely to conclude that it is.

Believing or spreading certain right-wing smears about Senator Obama or Michelle Obama could earn you an immediate tombstone. Ignorance is not an excuse -- everyone on Democratic Underground should know better on this stuff. Some examples: The suggestion that Senator Obama is a Muslim; xeonophobic use of his middle name; spreading rumors about secret videotapes with racist rants. If you're acting like a Freeper or a "concern troll," we'll assume that you are one.

You may not post threats to vote third party, to vote McCain, to not vote, or to write-in a Democrat other than Barack Obama. As in 2004, we will permit some room for sincere expressions of ambivalence toward voting for the Democratic nominee. But we're not going to permit this website to be used for much beyond that. If it looks like you are trying to get people to withhold their votes from Senator Obama, then we're likely to conclude that that is your intent.

No more attacks against people based on the candidate they supported during the primaries. There are no more Clinton supporters, Edwards supporters, or Kucinich supporters on Democratic Underground -- at least not in the sense of supporting their candidacy for president. We are Democrats, and our opponents are John McCain and the Republican Party. So starting threads to attack Clinton supporters or Edwards supporters or Kucinich supporters makes no sense, and it is also counter-productive. Similarly, starting threads to attack Obama supporters would be pretty foolish and nonsensical.

No gratuitous rehashing of the primary fighting. We can't possibly give specific instructions about what is permitted or what is not. The Democratic presidential primary is recent history, and still very fresh in all of our minds, so it is inevitable that there will continue to be a number of discussions on Democratic Underground about it. But if you seem to be discussing the primary in order to inflame or divide our members, we will assume that that is your intent. This goes for people on BOTH SIDES of the former Clinton-Obama divide.

Don't trash the moderators. You all should know how this works by now. If you want the moderators to consider taking action on a post, the first thing you need to do is alert on it. No alert, no action. But more importantly, take a moment right now to re-familiarize yourself with the idea that the moderators are not always going to do your bidding. They arrive at decisions by consensus, and their collaborative process will not always produce the result you desire. If you believe they have truly screwed up then the proper procedure is to send a message to an administrator to see if you can get the decision overturned. Messages that don't contain threats or long passages all in capital letters are more likely to receive a positive hearing, but I'll be honest - in most cases you shouldn't be surprised if the administrator sides with the moderators' decision. What you should absolutely NOT do is start spamming the moderators with rude alerts or private messages, or start threads to slam them publicly. We have, and always will, take a very dim view of this kind of activity.

Have realistic expectations. This is a very active discussion forum filled with passionate, opinionated people. As such, there will always be plenty of robust disagreement. If you're expecting that from now on everyone will always agree with you, or that everyone will always say nice things about Democratic public figures you like -- particularly public figures who have always been controversial here -- then your expectations are not realistic.

I think the vast majority of DUers are relieved to have the Democratic primaries behind us, and are excited about the General Election contest ahead. It's time to look forward, not backward, and we hope that everyone here will do what is necessary to help unify our community, and help win the election in the fall.

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