I took away your social threads, and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. I had my reasons, though: off-topic threads were just getting too cliquish and leading to too much annoyance.
It wasn’t because I was trying to punish anyone. I want to encourage conversations, but productive, focused discussions. I’m going to try something new.
I’m going to create discussion threads on particular topics, with specific people appointed as curators. The model here is rq’s wonderful work on the ongoing racism thread. I’m going to formalize that, and have created a new thread titled “Racism in America“, where she and her co-curator Tony can continue to add links and commentary (and others can chime in, too!), and I’ll make it easier to find by adding a link to it on the sidebar. rq just needs to keep doing what she’s doing; I’m also going to require that discussion threads be free of argument and conflict, and if problems develop, I’ll step in and fix it in my usual tyrannical fashion, so any moderation duties should be minimal.
Now here’s the other part of this deal: anyone can propose a discussion thread. Just email me and tell me you’d like to curate one and on what topic, and I’ll make it happen, if I think it is a good idea. I could imagine, for instance, that we might want to have a discussion thread on the US Presidential Election, where you could share news, links, comments. It’s also OK to propose a temporary one: if you want to have a thread on some current theme for just a week or two, that’s fine. I also reserve the right to close a discussion thread if it becomes too wrangly, although I’ll normally just let them continue as long as the curators maintain an interest.
So email me proposals for discussions you think we ought to be having, and that you’re willing to add links and news to. Anything you regularly post links about in the comments? You can give it a little more attention with a discussion thread.