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> How to Revive Interest, It's a matter of reverse psychology
AuthorMusician
post Feb 18 2015, 12:04 AM
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Seems that calling for the demise of ad.gif sparks more interest.

Maybe this should become a regular thing? So far it's been haphazard, but what if . . . what if someone were to try and make this case more often, but without the personal sniping? It could even be a bot with minimal AI.

I'm not volunteering, as I have a set of other projects that keep me occupied. One of them is waiting for the UPS guy delivering a weird musical instrument, a version of the theremin of sci-fi theme fame (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin), that Lydia ordered and will require a signature. So here I am in my office/doorman capacity, sucking down some suds and cheap bourbon. Nobody gets to her except through me, especially the unwelcome solicitors and yuppie neighbors who want us to cut down our trees for free. You know, so they have a better view.

Pfft, $10 large per each, nimrod.

No free lunch, not even for pilots and dentists.

But seriously, this site needs some real conflict to get going again, like a story needs it.

Any other ideas on how interest can be rekindled? Let the brain storms begin.

This post has been edited by AuthorMusician: Feb 18 2015, 12:11 AM
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Dontreadonme
post Feb 18 2015, 12:18 AM
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I've long been in agreement that AD seemed to reach a zenith years ago. My personal opinion is that when AD first started, social media was in it's relative infancy. Though I don't partake, it seems that many people with something to say, will often turn to Facebook to vent or gossip without adult parameters. Add to that, nearly every website on teh interwebz has a comment forum....from news and opinion sites to those for consumer goods.

I haven't surveyed other debate forums, so I don't know if AD can still fill a niche. I have no suggestions at the moment, but thank you for taking a constructive approach toward this issue.
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AuthorMusician
post Feb 18 2015, 12:32 AM
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QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Feb 17 2015, 08:18 PM) *
I've long been in agreement that AD seemed to reach a zenith years ago. My personal opinion is that when AD first started, social media was in it's relative infancy. Though I don't partake, it seems that many people with something to say, will often turn to Facebook to vent or gossip without adult parameters. Add to that, nearly every website on teh interwebz has a comment forum....from news and opinion sites to those for consumer goods.

I haven't surveyed other debate forums, so I don't know if AD can still fill a niche. I have no suggestions at the moment, but thank you for taking a constructive approach toward this issue.

Cool, DTOM. Even just saying that no ideas are yet flowing is a good start. It feeds the subconscious (nesses), and that can lead to bubble-ups.

Twitter and Facebook, along with the comment areas on various kinds of sites, are not what ad.gif actually is. First off, the interface is far superior, except maybe for Facebook. B, there's a longer-term relationship with posters, so a participant gets to know people better, even while they remain somewhat anonymous. Thirdly, a participant can PM others for out-of-forum discussions.

Think I'm writing a business plan here or ad copy. Habit. They seldom pay you for writing artsy stuff.

I've got a suggestion that just percolated up. What if ad.gif were to partner with some of the MOOCs (relatively inexpensive or free online college courses), and forums were created from there?

This post has been edited by AuthorMusician: Feb 18 2015, 12:34 AM
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Dontreadonme
post Feb 18 2015, 12:47 AM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Feb 17 2015, 07:32 PM) *
Twitter and Facebook, along with the comment areas on various kinds of sites, are not what ad.gif actually is.


Agreed. But those venues these days tend to be at one's fingertips, convenient, and unencumbered by requirements for cogent and constructive dialogue.

QUOTE
I've got a suggestion that just percolated up. What if ad.gif were to partner with some of the MOOCs (relatively inexpensive or free online college courses), and forums were created from there?


I think that's actually a pretty brilliant idea. As someone who's taken too many online courses to count, a major component for each of those was to post a question or idea related to the course content, and respond to X number of fellow students posts. I'm not sure if the logistics are in our favor, as most schools use an online 'blackboard' venue already....but for political scienc-y/communications courses.....a structured, online debate with an audience unrelated to the college curse, would seem like a great way for a professor to evaluate a students processing of the material.

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Dingo
post Feb 18 2015, 04:15 AM
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Any other ideas on how interest can be rekindled? Let the brain storms begin.

Yeah, rethink the ad.gif prohibition on discussing religion. With ISIS running all around and the bombings around The Prophet it is like shutting down much of what is going on in the world. I'm fine with taking religious advocacy out of the equation but acknowledging religion is imbedded in so much of what is happening and describing the psychology and process seems unavoidable to me if you want to be serious about modern politics, terror and war.

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JohnfrmCleveland
post Feb 18 2015, 04:39 AM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ Feb 17 2015, 11:15 PM) *
Any other ideas on how interest can be rekindled? Let the brain storms begin.

Yeah, rethink the ad.gif prohibition on discussing religion. With ISIS running all around and the bombings around The Prophet it is like shutting down much of what is going on in the world. I'm fine with taking religious advocacy out of the equation but acknowledging religion is imbedded in so much of what is happening and describing the psychology and process seems unavoidable to me if you want to be serious about modern politics, terror and war.


Yes! Not that I'm a fan of talking about religion, but it would certainly expand our potential user base. Blaming/defending Islam is today's hot topic.

I can understand why the ban was in place - when AD was hoppin' with political debate, it made sense to keep religion off the table. But now, we need the business. It's time to go topless.

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Trouble
post Feb 18 2015, 05:22 AM
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I think the owners of the site should comment on where they want things to go. The forums could simply be a ship searching for a captain sort of thing.

My observation was the site was most active during the blogging phase of the internet and once that fad faded, the mass appeal waned and interest became more a niche thing. And as stated above, once every article could be commented on the dynamics of collective debate changed.

I'd comment more if my health permitted, but I am not as able as I used to be. My one and only suggestion is that for other sites spin off capital from other projects played a role promoting the sites. Internet radio shows in conjunction with you tube kick starters helped expand a home steading site I frequent.

Then again the creators of those sites let the site grow so they could delegate the workload to larger degree. As this site was scaled small from the get go it went for the niche. I'm not sure if another direction will enhance or detract from the niche AD fills. We need input from above.
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Curmudgeon
post Feb 18 2015, 05:48 AM
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Any other ideas on how interest can be rekindled?

We need to develop our self confidence to a point that we do not need to take on-line attacks personally.

Someone on this thread once called me a Tory. I went to the dictionary and learned that they were a political party which supported the King during the American Revolution. I don't recall now whether I felt it was necessary to refute the point or not. I learned something. I moved on. If I were to see a similar post today, I would simply ignore it. That poster's ignorance of the language that he was using reflected more on his reputation than mine... A fellow poster may think that I am a threat to drinking men everywhere, but that poster does not know where I live.

On the other hand, the person who left a threatening unstamped unsigned letter in my mailbox Monday represents a real world threat that I need to respond to... PE and I disagree on that point, ao my response will be slow and measured...

I have noticed that if I check "View New Posts," and the last five posts have all been by the same lurker that I get discouraged and don't read anything...

I need to redevelop an old habit and ignore irrelevant posts and respond to earlier salient points in the rhread. There was a point where I had to go to work, discuss whatever was being talked about on breaks and try to present my views without getting fired. I had an interesting career where no-one I worked with ever called me by my legal name; but tried to get me to agree with them that the letters to the editors that I had written were false. slanderous, idiotic, communist propaganda, etc. They felt I was playing the "Devil's Advocate" by speaking the same words aloud that I had been quoted as saying (with my photograph) on the front page of the local newspaper. (Ergo, thirty years later, "a threatening unstamped unsigned letter in my mailbox still represents a real world threat that I need to respond to..." )

Retired, living in a different city, and chatting with a waitress while enjoying breakfast; I can listen to conversations at nearby tables and not judge either the veracity or the sanity of a fellow diner. Occasionally, someone will join us briefly and join our conversations. "Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Triple Cheese" is always in a rush, is always told that it is already cooking, and usually only eats half. She jumps in, discusses her life, says that it was nice to see us again, and we wpn't see her again for weeks. (My dining habits, not hers.) Someone who thinks he recognizes me may sit down and try to get me fired up about sports. In High School, I was a vendor who worked the crowds and never watched a game. Ted Turner lost the America's Cup and I quit watching the races as the venue moved. I have yet to attend a baseball game; but I can usually get the waitress to switch channels by pointing out that if we are aware they're playing, the Tigers will lose...

Those of us who feel at home here need to remember to relax, enjoy the give and take, and try to encourage an old friend or two that they can come back and relax.

(Aside to AuthorMusician's suggestion about contacting colleges. The professor's I have referred to this site over the past 12 years have all panned it as a site that does not meet course standards...)

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Dontreadonme
post Feb 18 2015, 11:16 AM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ Feb 17 2015, 11:15 PM) *
Yeah, rethink the ad.gif prohibition on discussing religion.


I agree completely. For various reasons, ISIS bores me to tears, but I'd take great interest in discussing notions of religious liberty, special privileges and Justice Roy Moore's position on "God's organic law".
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post Feb 18 2015, 02:19 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Feb 17 2015, 07:04 PM) *
Any other ideas on how interest can be rekindled?


Scads. You want that numerically or alphabetically?

However, Trouble has gotten to the heart of the matter:

QUOTE(Trouble @ Feb 18 2015, 12:22 AM) *
I think the owners of the site should comment on where they want things to go.

We need input from above.


Word. thumbsup.gif

Suggestions on how to breathe life back into ad.gif are sweet. Suggestions are wonderful, but unless the Powers That Be say "yea" or "nay" all we're doing is shooting the breeze, which can be enjoyable and maybe even edifying, but it's not gonna change a thing.

If they are content with the present state of the board, who am I to tell them differently? dry.gif
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Julian
post Feb 18 2015, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Feb 18 2015, 12:18 AM) *
I've long been in agreement that AD seemed to reach a zenith years ago. My personal opinion is that when AD first started, social media was in it's relative infancy. Though I don't partake, it seems that many people with something to say, will often turn to Facebook to vent or gossip without adult parameters. Add to that, nearly every website on teh interwebz has a comment forum....from news and opinion sites to those for consumer goods.

I haven't surveyed other debate forums, so I don't know if AD can still fill a niche. I have no suggestions at the moment, but thank you for taking a constructive approach toward this issue.


My take is a little different - ad.gif started at a time when the big events of the day (most notably the invasion of Iraq that was building up at the time) were being debated to death in the news media, but there was almost nowhere for people who weren't professional journalists or commentators to have their say.

Blogs were beginning to take off, but the problem with them then (and now) is that they're essentially somewhere between a pressure valve and an echo chamber - somewhere to vent your own views and frustrations, but with no particular expectation of ever getting any replies form anyone. Of course, the hope is that one might get a response or even get referenced by someone else with a bigger readership, but the reality is that a few online friends might swing by and make a relevant comment at the bottom to break the monotony of the Viagra and porno spammers.

And social media were 'in their infancy' to the max. Twitter didn't exist, Facebook was basically a way to 'poke' people you already know and 'Like' their photos (it still, even now, has no 'Dislike' button). About the biggest network in the early years of ad.gif was MySpace, which has all but died.

Now, pretty much everywhere that an ad.gif member, or someone who might suit ad.gif membership, can read about a news story lets you comment on it immediately below the story. To the same audience, skewed by editorial and journalistic preferences, that you belong to, so you already have more chance of getting some hearty "I agree" comments, recommendations, likes, etc. (as well as "You're an idiot", "How can you possibly think that?" etc.) than you would on ad.gif.

The readerships of most of the big news websites are huge - dwarfing even the salad days of ad.gif - so they feel more responsive somehow, and there is less of a sense of needing to start an ad.gif thread to comment on big breaking news stories. Even more thoughtful or philosophical debates that we might debate here are usually prompted by something someone's read in the news. And - yes - the bigger readerships of online news sites do feel more likely to take our posts seriously, whereas there's a strong temptation to think that raising it on ad.gif will just spawn the same tired old responses from the same tired old members along the same tired old faultlines. That we have (and - let's be honest - always have had) a small actively-posting membership means that we all think we know what kind of things so-and-so would say about such-and-such issue, so why bother posting.

The collapse in print circulation of the news media, and the knock ons to advertising revenue, have meant they've cut back dramatically on their journalistic teams; more often, news content relies on re-hashing press releases than going out talking to people or picking up the phone (both of which cost more than sitting in front of a PC or Mac). The only point of distinction they can offer is to frame each 'news story' in a way that best meets their perception of the prejudices of the readership (what used to be called 'following the editorial line'). And it has meant that, to pad out their content, they offer a lot more op-ed pieces which are, themselves, more or less the same in tone and format to pretty much any debate thread opener you could ever see on ad.gif, except without a clear question for debate at the bottom.

And it helps a little that news sites have a distinction between above-the-line and below-the-line that we don't have on ad.gif because members themselves start each debate topic, not some salaried elite, so everyone can safely snipe at the ATL poster in a sense of camaraderie without worrying about hurting their feelings, And the ATL poster isn't expected, most of the time, to venture BTL to defend their point of view - something that ad.gif gets right, IMO.

That's before we even consider the rise of social media, particularly Twitter. Why start a thread critical (or supportive) of a particular person in the public eye, with a possible audience of a few hundred people (likely many fewer), which will not include the target, here on ad.gif, when one can send 140 critical (or supportive) characters in a Tweet directly to that person themselves, get an audience potentially in the millions, and stand a chance (if you're timely enough) of getting a direct response from them (or their PA)? Or you could, of course, repost a funny animal video on Vine or Facebook or a faux-arty picture on Instagram or something.

In summary, ad.gif is still doing what it's always done. It's been overtaken in some areas, and the membership is a little jaded (beyond question). But in terms of what other sites do better, they've only really overtaken ad.gif in the last few years. Media and the internet are moving very fast - it's not impossible to think that Twitter, FB and the rest could, in another five years, be where MySpace or Bebo are today (i.e. all-but-forgotten).

ad.gif may yet come into its own; don't give up yet.
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Gray Seal
post Feb 18 2015, 03:01 PM
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ad.gif is the niche of moderated constructive debate. Emphasis on this is the best plan. None of us are looking for high traffic to improve ad.gif. Higher participation by people capable of civil discourse is the goal.

The site can be improved by more strict enforcement of expected constructive discourse.

Religion discussions were axed not because of the subject but because of the high number of trash comments they seem to stimulate. Religion discussion can be good but the need for oversight will be high.

I like Trouble's observations. External factors have an effect.

My musing is that there is a burn-out by posters. Those who participate get a chance to present their ideas and after a few years the posters have had a chance to have a say and there is not anything else they feel they have to contribute.

ad.gif may also suffer from being too good at presenting contrasting ideas. What I am getting at is that posts by our members become predictable. Posters believe they know what is going to be said before they read a post just by seeing who wrote it. The various ideas for looking at a problem are learned by those who frequent ad.gif. We are doing a good job of educating about ways to look at current events but it can become boring if the same ideas are presented over and over. Who wants to take the same favorite history class 6 times or more? Twice would be plenty. People who participate here have graduated and taken their experience on ad.gif with them and headed for other challenges.

We ad.gif old timers must strive to reach for new ways to present our thoughts. We are being tweeked by the passing of time and our experiences. Our ideas and means to expressing them should change and improve. Our efforts to communicate should be improving. Strive to bring in new wrinkles and ways to present ideas; change up our language. To me, there never seems to be a time when all ideas and situations have been discussed.

I do think some schools use ad.gif as a place where students can do research. There are always people, either through formal education or their own desire, who want to learn. With our constructive discussions this is a good place to learn.

Emphasis on discussing ideas and nixing the personal criticisms will do the most for making ad.gif the best site of its kind on the internet.

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Dingo
post Feb 18 2015, 10:57 PM
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QUOTE(Trouble @ Feb 17 2015, 09:22 PM) *
I think the owners of the site should comment on where they want things to go. The forums could simply be a ship searching for a captain sort of thing.

I really don't buy the idea that owners of ad.gif need to do anything other than maintain the site more or less as is and perform obvious changes like changing the present prohibition on religious discussion - the nonadvocacy variety.

Otherwise this site is what the posters make it. Jamie use to weigh in with her opinions and it would be great if she decided to rejoin the discussions but it's her life and maybe she has other priorities. In any case the direct presence of her and Mike is not necessary other than those matters associated with maintaining the site.

Having seen so many discussion forums hit the skids I appreciate AD's longevity. The small ones generally stay small and commonly get smaller. I take it to be the competition as others have related. I think part of the dissatisfaction with ad.gif is trying to make it the home it can never really live up to. It is what it is and although in my estimation it has been better it still offers enough to keep me coming back. I don't expect too much and I have other places to go. beer.gif
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Ted
post Feb 21 2015, 02:06 AM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Feb 17 2015, 07:04 PM) *
Seems that calling for the demise of ad.gif sparks more interest.

Maybe this should become a regular thing? So far it's been haphazard, but what if . . . what if someone were to try and make this case more often, but without the personal sniping? It could even be a bot with minimal AI.

I'm not volunteering, as I have a set of other projects that keep me occupied. One of them is waiting for the UPS guy delivering a weird musical instrument, a version of the theremin of sci-fi theme fame (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin), that Lydia ordered and will require a signature. So here I am in my office/doorman capacity, sucking down some suds and cheap bourbon. Nobody gets to her except through me, especially the unwelcome solicitors and yuppie neighbors who want us to cut down our trees for free. You know, so they have a better view.

Pfft, $10 large per each, nimrod.

No free lunch, not even for pilots and dentists.

But seriously, this site needs some real conflict to get going again, like a story needs it.

Any other ideas on how interest can be rekindled? Let the brain storms begin.


Post more topics. other sites use news stories to draw discussion. AD needs all of us to start more topics for discussion based on what is happening in the world.
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nighttimer
post Feb 21 2015, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 20 2015, 09:06 PM) *
Any other ideas on how interest can be rekindled?

Post more topics. other sites use news stories to draw discussion. AD needs all of us to start more topics for discussion based on what is happening in the world.


I agree with Ted.

Leaving now to check hell for ice. devil.gif

P.S. Ditch the goddamn profanity filter. We're all adults here so let's talk like adults do and that's closer to a scene written by Quentin Tarantino than a Disney flick.
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Gray Seal
post Feb 21 2015, 06:18 PM
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I agree with Ted. More current events discussion is a good thing.

-------

Let us keep the profanity filter and talk like adults do. We are not a bad movie. devil.gif
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AuthorMusician
post Feb 21 2015, 08:44 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Feb 21 2015, 02:18 PM) *
I agree with Ted. More current events discussion is a good thing.

-------

Let us keep the profanity filter and talk like adults do. We are not a bad movie. devil.gif

Heh, yeah, and it's true that kids use the Internet too.

Profanity filters have served to popularize certain words that were otherwise seldom used, such as chit.

QUOTE
1chit noun \ˈchit\
plural -s
1
obsolete : the offspring of an animal (as a cub or whelp) : kit
2
a : child
b : a person likened to a child; especially : a pert or forward young woman
<has no use for young chits of girls Christopher Isherwood>


- MWU online -

I've been thinking about possible threads to start, but so far nothing seems worth it. Boston is buried in snow, Hillary might run, Jeb is practicing language flubbary, Biden is creepy as ever, IS/IS/L sucks, we can eat eggs again (YAY! Except I never believed you anyway.)

Other general issues have been covered so much, there's nothing left to say. But I'll keep thinking about possible topics.
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BoF
post Feb 22 2015, 01:38 AM
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QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 20 2015, 08:06 PM) *
Post more topics. other sites use news stories to draw discussion. AD needs all of us to start more topics for discussion based on what is happening in the world.

Then by all means start a thread, Ted.

I would suggest closing the joke thread. It has become little more than a propaganda dump for stuff that isn't even remotely funny.

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Ted
post Feb 22 2015, 08:37 PM
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QUOTE(BoF @ Feb 21 2015, 08:38 PM) *
QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 20 2015, 08:06 PM) *
Post more topics. other sites use news stories to draw discussion. AD needs all of us to start more topics for discussion based on what is happening in the world.

Then by all means start a thread, Ted.

I would suggest closing the joke thread. It has become little more than a propaganda dump for stuff that isn't even remotely funny.

I have started many threads as you know. we all need to keep doing it ....
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Trouble
post Feb 25 2015, 06:39 AM
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Ted may have a point about being active but at the same time I am acutely aware that starting a thread can have its drawbacks. If there is low interest pertaining to the question it can suck the air out of the room so to speak. It kinda self censors you for the next question.

That said now is a great time to ask questions.

A number of discombobulated questions I've been roiling with but haven't had the time to explore all the sides so I never post are....... tongue.gif Please feel free to post them in whatever form people feel most comfortable with.
  • With continued expansion of the War on Terror against the Islamic State and elsewhere, is there disenchantment within the military with regards to policy? (Source: "Stop Thanking Me for My Service" - Former U.S. Army Ranger Blasts American Foreign Policy and the Corporate State)
  • With the adoption of the Minsk 2.0 agreement, what is the rationale behind the IMF's decision to loan 17 billion to Ukraine just hours after a prolonged negotiation? Does this undermine the effectiveness of the Minsk agreement? Is this action controversial because it suggests there are opposing view points within the NATO umbrella of countries? Further, if the agreement tries to deescalate actions from Ukraine, the Separatists and Russia, how will Britain's decision to send military advisers affect the agreement?
  • What is your opinion towards indebted nations like Greece, Italy, or Ireland having outside officials come in (to varying degrees) and manage the affairs of the country? Where do you stand when political parties like Syriza try and force a default because the debts have risen to a point where they can no longer be paid back but are prevented from taking action by parties who have something to lose? Could such an event occur in America?
And so on, have fun with it.

This post has been edited by Trouble: Feb 25 2015, 03:59 PM
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