23rd Oct: It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
"Henry, I suggest you stick to two subjects: the weather and your health."If a forum is not specifically about political current events, then you are usually not allowed to talk about political current events there. Many forums not dedicated to politics have an official or unofficial ban on discussing current politics. (Historical politics, as long as it doesn't involve comparing others to Nazisnote , is usually okay if relevant to the matter at hand; 20 years seems to usually be the threshold for "current", with a few notable exceptions.) The reasoning is quite simple: Any discussion of current politics is likely to lead to a Flamewar. Unnecessary flamewars are bad. Thus, any discussion of politics is likely to be trolling, although you will get the occassional Na´ve Newcomer who genuinely doesn't know any better. Thus, the Ban On Politics. Politics is not the only subject that gets this treatment, but it is the most prominent; both sex and religion also get this treatment, but both are usually more prone to self censorship anyway. There is a long-standing belief that one should never discuss sex, politics or religion at dinner parties. Of course, in Real Life, dinner parties that do discuss these topics are always the fun ones. Regardless of that, the point is that some subjects can create fights, and thus many forums ban these subjects. Around here, we call our version of this the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment. The only exception is, obviously, articles about politicians, which we try to treat with all the delicacy and care typically reserved for land mines. Keyword being "try", since we usually have chronic edit wars anyway, but hey, we need the articles for completeness' sake. A worldwide Ban On Politics has been adopted by a large number of Freemason lodges (which frequently extends to a ban on religious talk as well, to discourage arguments between members of different sects or religions). Their dinner parties are said to be the most pleasant and friendly ones on the planet. A slight variation on the Ban On Politics often exists in environments with some degree of internal politics, for similar reasons of stopping incipent fighting. For example, a forum may ban some or all discussions of moderation or administrative actions if these discussions have previously led to Flame War, a venue/bar might ban a band if its presence leads to a Bar Brawl, or a group of any sort may bar an individual whose presence fractures the unity of the group for some reason or another. Another similar variation is the "ban on discussion," e.g. closing a post of some sort to comments entirely if it is in regard to a sensitive issue and/or people cannot stop fighting in the comments/attacking the poster. Ironically, the opposite of this trope is not too rare either. That it is allowed to talk about current political events, but against the (written or unwritten) rules to talk about general political issues. That is likely because that if you take a general political topic, like socialism vs. conservatism (or other types of ideologies), it will often be the same old forum members who come up with the same old arguments that they cannot account for and use them as an excuse to flame each other (or new members who interfere by doing the same or are ganged up by on older members). While with an actual political issue, it is often easier to research it thoroughly and have some facts to back your arguments up and there is a fair chance that the discussion will stop once the issue stops being commonly brought up in the media, while the formerly mentioned discussion of socialism vs. conservatism will likely continue as long as humankind is alive.
— Mrs. Higgins, My Fair Lady