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Good evening ponies. Unfortunately, our testing period for Plan A has not yielded the result the staff was expecting.

As such, we are moving forward with Plan B, and issuing bans to a small pool of users who have been found to be particularly uncivil in their conduct on the board.

We will start with just a few bans, and escalate as needs must. Thank you for your understanding. I'm sorry it has come to this measure.

I truly hope this can help to resolve some of the civility issues and reports present on /townhall/.


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Welcome to /townhall/! This is an anonymous-only board for debates, dialectics, and discussions of a serious nature.

As the topics discussed on this board may deal with sensitive or controversial subject matter, we expect a higher standard of conduct than elsewhere on the site, and will enforce the board's rules with a greater degree of strictness. Inability or unwillingness to follow the rules will result in a /townhall/-only ban.


1) All posts in a given thread must contribute constructively to the conversation, whether agreeing or disagreeing. Off-topic, contentless, inflammatory, or hostile posts will be deleted and result in a ban.

1a) Derails that occur as a natural result of discussion progressing from the original subject will generally not be interfered with; however, if these hinder discussion of the original topic, making a new thread is preferred.

1b) Part of contributing constructively is understanding and addressing the reasoning behind an opposing view. While this can be a tedious task and will generally not be officially enforced, please make an effort to at the very least avoid "talking past" someone when presented with a counterargument. Simply doubling down on your initial point does not advance a discussion.

1c) Be as willing to "lose" as you are to "win", and above all else, be willing to learn and understand. You will not get the most out of this board if your only goal is to persuade, and you will not even be effective at that unless you understand what you are arguing against.

2) Ad hominems and other uncivil behavior will not be tolerated. You may have a significant personal stake in some subjects discussed here, and it is normal to be frustrated when someone cannot relate; however, lashing out is not an effective way to engender sympathy for your position, and will not advance the conversation in a constructive way. Even if you find someone's argument morally abhorrent, there are constructive ways to express this.

2a) Attempting to deliberately provoke an uncivil reaction is prohibited, even if it is done within the letter of the law.

2b) Snark and other forms of mockery are strongly discouraged and may result in warnings or bans.

2c) "Strawmanning" an "opponent" deliberately will be regarded as uncivil conduct and will be dealt with accordingly. This will not apply to genuine misunderstandings.

3) While we do not claim to be arbiters of absolute moral or empirical truth and aim to moderate this board in a fair and even-handed, politically agnostic manner, the following extreme positions are considered "off-limits" regardless of how they are put forward, including attempts to "hint" or dogwhistle:

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Is there an unmoved mover?


I don't think they're any evidence for such a thing, nor reason to believe one might exist.   Even deities are subject to the laws of physics.


Our universe likely exists as a part of many universes in a kind of hyperspace superstructure.

What lives out there in hyperspace? Who can say! Gods? Goddesses? Intelligent robots? Creatures identical to ourselves? Creatures we couldn't even see let alone relate to?

The possibilities are exciting! Hopefully, humanity will travel to see what is out there someday!


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There exists a hypothetical poster who might go by the name Flower and use pictures of skunks sometimes.  Perhaps this person reads a book on Marijuana and finds out skunks and Flower(s) -- as in Flower Power, and the part of the plant potent in cannabinoids -- both have associations with this schedule 1 narcotic.  Maybe some people were worried about this.  To be helpful, I will make a thread about the harms of cannabis.  (You don't need drugs to be cool.)

Cannabis is know to the United States Federal Government to be highly harmful,  immoral, and not at all good, but if you use some other authority, I guess you could talk about other things, maybe.  If nobody is worried about that.
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Cute skunk is not for lewd Amiable Cat



Recreation is the highest good. Pun intended. Any negative effects it might display are morally counterbalanced by have fun.


Cannabis isn't the demon that it's made out to be, but there are still legitimate health concerns to be worried about, although this applies far more to teenagers than to adults.

I find that NPR is a good source of reliable information: https://www.npr.org/tags/421783217/cannabis


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>Picture a very beautiful woman. How sexually arousing would you find it to imagine *being* her?
Answering "a lot" to this question would signify autogynephilia: getting aroused by imagining oneself as a woman.  (Likewise, "autoandrophilia" means becoming aroused by imagining oneself as a man.)

Blanchard and Bailey speculated that auto{gyne,andro}philia are the most common cause of transgender.  The Slate Star Codex survey data suggests a different hypothesis: if you identify as a gender and you’re attracted to that gender, then it’s a natural leap to be attracted to yourself being that gender.  This hypothesis can also explain other things that Blanchard and Bailey can’t explain.

Is this subject of interest to you?  And if so, do you have any thoughts on it?

For more details, please see: https://slatestarcodex.com/2020/02/10/autogenderphilia-is-common-and-not-especially-related-to-transgender/
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Seems reasonable. The different experience alone is likely to be interesting and that is about half of the interest in porn
No reason to assume it must or is likely to mean one is actually trans. If anything, I would presume that would be less of a sexual item in that case.


I wanted to add to this. You often have to be sexually positive if you're transtioning.

You've been in the wrong body for years, been denied engaging with other people in the way that feels right for you, and now you have to make up for potentially decades of sexual and intimate inactivity.

Add to that the world certainly isn't going to praise or accept your sexuality, or know anything about it at all, and that you have to defiantly assert your sexual nature in order to be recognized as having one at all, and you can start to get the perception that people who are transitioning are overly sex-focussed or sex-positive.

In reality society really really really really really wants trans people to dissappear, or failing that, they definitely don't want them to have a sex life or to be any kind of open in public. Once you're on the margins like this, already completely rejected and incapable of being socially acceptable, there's no reason to not just do exactly what you want  all the time. Snuggle up to someone you like in public? Yeah, why not, society retches when it sees my adams apple anyway, so its not like some weird stares are gonna discourage me.

Talk openly about my cabinet of sex toys or the threesome I wanna have tonight? Yeah, definitely, I've already got enough people calling me a freak tonight, it's not like them reasserting it is going to make me feel less safe.

I think everyone really has similar desires to sex-positive trans people, they're just holding on to society's acceptance by their fingernails instead of letting go entirely.


I was going to post something, but really these four comments do a fantastic job of speaking the truth. I've really nothing to add here, at least, nothing that I can think of at the moment. Ditto.


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Which presidential candidate would do the best job managing the pandemic?
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The market doesn't know what will happen. It just knows we are totally unprepared for whatever comes.


I would probably lean more towards a dem for a disease problem. Republicans like the free market healthcare system, which is going to be garbage for managing a pandemic. The American health system is good at providing the best treatment for a small number of cases, not for a widespread pandemic, as people just won't be able to afford to go to the doctor without it ruining them financially, so they just won't go, and so the disease spreads and kills.

A dem is a lot more likely to prioritize American lives over stock market numbers, and as such be willing to do things like quarantine and provide treatments that don't destroy people financially for the rest of their lives.


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One that doesn't go playing musical chairs of who is in charge of actually dealing with it, and lets the CDC do its job.


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The 1960's and 1970's saw some rudimentary online communities, and futurists predicted increasingly better audio and visual links would allow people to diffuse from cities, presumably people wanted to live in more natural settings if jobs and social opportunities weren't concentrated.

Things didn't pan out that way, at least as far as I see.  It is true that most Americans live in suburbs, but rural areas are in decline, and younger people are more likely to end up in cities.

My question: is there something about face-to-face contact or being on site that technology isn't going to replace anytime soon -- from the perspective of employers, friends, and partners -- or is tech too clunky now, and as soon as we get good VR or something, location won't be a deciding factor in people's work and social life?
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>There's been online internet communities in the 60s?
I guess 60's is pushing it a bit.  PLATO and ARPANET birthed in the late '60s, but how much there was an online community, in the first few years, I don't know.

>I didn't consider the internet mainstream until the late 80s or 90s...

I guess it's somewhat a matter of terms, the world wide web didn't begin until the 80's or 90's.  The 70's was a time of large mainframes, however since these mainframes serviced many simultaneous users, some at remote stations, and some mainframes were interconnected as well, the small group that had access were using things much like discussion boards, e-mail, and instant messaging.  It was pretty siloed, not until later would worldwide standards for communication between systems be developed.

>I still get the message accross better in face-to-face interaction.

I'd mostly agree there.  Face-to-face seems more efficient, at least for some things.

>retail, drone delivery
The book The End of Man, which is classed as satire, so I think in part it was suppose to be making fun of all the futuristic predictions at the time by taking it to the extreme, imagined a conveyor belt to everyone's house.

People still do a lot of shopping offline, supporting local business is one reason certainly.  Living in apartments, I've found delivery uncertain (for example, the UPS guy can't get into our building so unless I want to wait all day at the door, getting my package is a bit of a questionable thing), but that's a bug that I assume will be worked out by the likes of Amazon eventually.


Touch is still always going to matter when it comes right down to it.

But as long as its in there somewhere, the sky's the limit on remote togetherness.


I think economic factors explain it sufficiently, no need to square it with the fact that social media exists and is more technologically advanced than it was in the 70s.


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Maybe it'd be fun to do a thread where we post cryptographic intelligence, that is, we invent ciphers for others to decrypt.  You may make rules about not using given automated tools, if you like, but by default, anything goes.

6 12 21 20 20 5 18 19 8 25 9 19 2 5 19 20 16 15 14 25


fluttershy is best pony, numbers correspond to letters of alphabet Not sure i can figure out anything much more complicated, but i'll do my best!

Ok, i've got one.

op, sbsjuz jt cftu qpoz


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Im unqualified to participate but what a great thread!

i'll spectate.


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Perhaps I am not using this site respectfully enough, as I am not really bringing up topics with probable ad hominem temptation.  So, I thought about it for awhile and I think I can turn up the heat, and be a good townhall poster.

Debate Question:  Prison rape -- hurtful stereotype about incarcerated communities, a problem to be fixed, or a healthy feature of criminal justice, especially for perpetrators of sexual or violent crimes?  Explain your answer as best you can without posting more than people will probably read.
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I don't think most people think about it that way. Though i also think that if everyone had the choice to be employed or unemployed, with both having equal pay, then everyone would choose unemployment, society would grind to a halt, and we'd all starve. Someone not being able to find a job isn't the same to me as someone who is perfectly capable of contributing to society choosing not to work and living off welfare. I don't think anyone owes someone like that anything, including the government owing them funding to survive.

That being said, i don't think we should actively incarcerate these people, which is what ends up happening. Police should no harass the homeless, and we should have more robust systems to guide people who are homeless or jobless into employment. Right now, there's a cliff which, if you fall down, you'll have a very tough time climbing back out of.


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> I suppose you're saying to some an increased probability of rape is a fair cost

I'd go further and say that people are quick to ignore any amount of suffering if they can compartmentalize it with a dehumanizing label:  freeloader, criminal, jew, whatever.

Yet still consiser themselves compassionate etc.  Its more a rule for our species than an exception, too.


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I see authoritarian enforcement as fulfilling a human need for justice, and to be honorable it must meet the needs of all involved.  I don't think I understand dehumanizing in the context of justice.


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What does a college degree mean?  What does  it signify to be college-educated?

I'm going to try to remain detached in the discussion from my personal perspective in an attempt to understand wider social perceptions.  I have strong opinions for me (and perhaps those like me).  I was going to write my idea out, but I realized it's a bit unfair to say:  here's what I believe, I don't intend to see it otherwise, so I'm just going to think of this thread as leaning how others see things, or how things are in general.

So anyway, I often hear demographers grouping people by education.  Employment opportunities are sometimes contingent on a college degree.  Some people mortgage their future earnings to get their degrees early.  I gather college graduation is pretty important.
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Sounds like you see a college degree as representing the actions to get that degree.

>Would a college degree be of a much better worth if the price was a lot less?
I'm not sure if you're asking that of me, or if it's rhetorical.  If to me, cost factors into my judgement of college (for me), but not primarily.  It's more college doesn't feel right.

>evaluates how well you are at grasping the material
That's an important element.  Many people don't see it this way, but I think people who chose to make hiring decisions based on the educational attainment of the applicant expect college guarantees a minimum standard.

>say developer
Part of the reason I thought people might want to share their ideas on college is I'm part of a Facebook group for programmers (who are often also software developers), and posts related to the value of a college degree in the software fields tend to get a lot of attention.


I don't use college for job searching, but rather, if there is something I really want to learn about and the only way I can learn more is from the experience that others (at college) can offer me.

I've never been career focused though and have have tended to lean more towards a simple job/life. As long as my bills stay relatively low, I'm happy with just minimum wage jobs.


That sounds reasonable.  College can teach people things, I don't deny that.  I understand liking simple jobs.  I  have one of those (but I also multi-career.)


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To what extent is hyperbolic discounting a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic?
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>I think you're underestimating the loss of quality-of-life caused by diabetes.

Quality-of-life Years is a neat concept when imagining stuff like this, but there's no concrete agreed upon method for even determining a QALY, much less a full consensus that it's a useful tool.  At the very least, every method used to determine QALYs involves subjective questionaires, and you can't really take the average of what people answered as accurate to any given individual.  There are no doubt people out there who could go down every single thing associated with diabetes and say "Yeah, that's perfect health."  And surely there are people who would prefer that to giving up their lifestyle for even a short period of time.


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>There are no doubt people out there who could go down every single thing associated with diabetes and say "Yeah, that's perfect health."
And there are people who believe that the Earth is flat, that the moon landing was faked, et cetera.  Nephropathy is objectively a disease, by any objective definition of the word "disease".

>And surely there are people who would prefer that to giving up their lifestyle for even a short period of time.
Such people would be a tiny minority.  And I'm not sure how much we should credit such 'preferences' anyway.  There are people who 'prefer' death to living and who accordingly commit suicide.  For some of those people, it is a legitimate preference (in particular, for people near the end of their life with progressively worsening disease), but for most, it is a result of a chemical imbalance in their brain.  Many people who preferred suicide received psychiatric treatment that reversed their preference and now they are glad that they didn't commit suicide.


There's a leap here that makes me uncomfortable.

The data and theory do not demonstrate that unsaturated fatty acids *prevent* insulin resistance but rather that they fail to trigger it.

Furthermore, I think that intentionally producing ROS in order to induce insulin resistance is missing the forest for the trees. Considering the role that frequent insulin resistance would play in developing actual diabetes and that ROS are more implicated in vascular disease than anything else, especially in the presence of high blood sugar, I am skeptical of the health benefits of weight loss via this method.


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Is assassinating the second-most powerful military leader of a foreign country generally an act of war?

And specifically, was Trump's airstrike that intentionally killed Soleimani an act of war?

And, keeping in mind that the Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war, did Trump violate the Constitution in ordering the airstrike without authorization from Congress?  And if so, should he be impeached for it?

Relevant source: https://www.vox.com/2020/1/3/21048012/iran-general-killed-qasem-soleimani-legality
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>Wait a minute, the President CAN pardon State offenses.
Nani???  The president only has "power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment".


Well how bout that.

My ignorance has no limits.



No.  First, it was not a declaration of war.  Second, every president since at least Clinton has been involved in undeclared wars and/or targeted strikes.  Impeachment for it would simply be another partisan instance of Democrat hypocrisy.


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How would you define "general intelligence"?

I think most people would agree that, for example, AlphaGo Zero is intelligent but not generally intelligent (i.e., it is intelligent only at the specific task of playing Go).  GPT-2 is a little more general, but still nowhere close to human general intelligence.  Do you think existing deep machine learning will ever lead to general intelligence, or is a completely new paradigm needed?
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So...IQ measures a ceiling of success.  If a successful group scores low, the test is to be revised.  If high scorers are not successful, the test is acceptable.


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>So...IQ measures a ceiling of success.
Only certain types of success, in particular, success that requires intelligence.  And IQ isn't a perfect measure.  For most humans it is a decent measure of intelligence.  But it doesn't work well for everyone.  Just like the Glasgow Coma Scale doesn't work as well for people who have an eyelid infection that makes it hard for them to open their eyes.


OK, IQ measures a ceiling of success, in tasks involving intelligence, for many people, but not everyone.  (Perhaps mostly for people who are neurotypical, if that's the psychological analog to having eyebrows?)


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One of the things they don't really explain well in America: we are to value religious freedom, to not prejudice someone for their religion, however this duty obliges religion to fit into a box where God or The Gods can not encourage criminal or antisocial behavior.  Or perhaps even unprofessional behavior.  Organizations that see God commanding otherwise are called extremist or fundamentalist, and will not be legitimate parts of a religious or faith community.

People who do not understand can see a person obeying Holy commands in a literal sense, attribute that behavior to a religion, and begin to fear or hate other people associated with the religion.  They may become Islamophobic, for example, but that's because they don't understand box theory.

I guess my argument is that a) box theory is correct, and b) not understanding box theory is a big cause of religious prejudice.
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>Because they don't understand box theory? Or because the person obeying the holy commands doesn't understand box theory?
Well, unless an islamophobe and Muslim exist in the same person, these are two separate, although interconnected problems.  I was raised religious, and although The Christian God, when asked whether it was right to pay taxes, said "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's, Give unto God what is God's," to mean, I think, a degree of subjectivity to the state, it was taught that God reigned above all, and when it really came to it, following God's will outranked obedience to law or social order.  So that is one problem.  Believing God can oblige criminal or harmful behaviors in others is the problem that creates fear of religion, I think.


Its not the law itself, well, I mean it kindof is, but I think the bigger issue is inconsistency. If youre rich and famous, you can rape someone on the street or kill someone and lawyer your way out of it, but if you're poor and not famous, you could end up in a private prison that squirms its way into essentially making you a slave for the rest of your life, for something like smoking weed. Depends on the judge and jury's mood and your budget to an astronomically larger degree than the actual laws on the books.


So, a rich person would have greater freedom for religious practice because not so confined by the box of state enforcement?  Or put another way, their Gods will be more powerful?


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Every mainstream article attests that there is huge focus on recruitment among young especially in college.  And that its all on the rise in a big way.  And a huge problem.

Without advocating squelching free speech (any position purporting this will be considered a derailment), what can be done about this?

My opinion is that this is the product of our education system in the US (maybe others but i know only the US) and that we have to start there.  Obviously even if we did fix that, which we wont, its a bit late to deal with the existing problem.

So.  Lets have some ideas from brains with IQs between 1 and 200 and see if we can get some kind of positive perspective on a dismal problem.  Help!
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>How do you imagine we can create a computer that is more just than its creators?  Wishful thinking?

Oversight. I think bad results end up happening because judges know what they're doing isn't the right decision, but that they've got enough local authority and enough of a lack of eyes on them that they do it anyway. I don't think the judge who let brock turner off easy did it because he thought it was the correct application of justice, i think he did it either because he was being bribed, he had some bias against this woman or for turner, or some other personal reason not related to how he thinks the law should be applied. A computer with open-source code wouldn't have that issue. We can make good laws, so it's just a matter of making sure they actually get used and it's not just a clusterfuck of inconsistent enforcement. If all eyes are on the computer and what it does, than all we have to do is put in the best of humanity and leave out the worst. Leave out any affinity to a particular race/gender/ect, leave out desire for money or fame, just pure logic. Every line of code would be tied to it's coder, so the moment a coder tries to program something evil, they're on blast immediately, and because it's centralized, there will be eyes on it all the time, and shit like that won't slip through the cracks.

Yes we have public gallery and judicial review, but they're slow and clunky, and won't be applied to the however-many judges just like Michael Aaron Persky there are out there who pull shit like that but don't reach media fame. It's not a very efficient system.



So here's a good way of thinking about it. Do you think there is value in a republic? Of informed representatives working on behalf of citizens? Do you think the average congressperson is not more able to make informed decisions about political matters than the average citizen? The computer here would essentially be the perfect representative. It would have all the values we want it to have, while being perfectly informed, and, if we allow it to be, totally unbiased. If you feel like a republic is a terrible way of conducting government, then fair enough. I disagree, but you may have your reasons, and they may be reasonable. If you do not think that a republic is useless, than there stands my argument for computerized public servants. They are potentially the perfect representatives.


Well, if dictating uniform sentencing from on high, executed coldly regardless of circumstance, creates "justice" then mandatory sentencing guidelines would have done exactly that instead of the opposite.

How far are you willing to take this?  Let Roe v Wade be decided by your fone?

>judges act without regard for oversight
This is simply untrue.  I have argued issues before several trial court judges who follow the high court to avoid being overturned even though they personally disagree.  Your opinion is not supported by fact.

I haven't taken a position on representative government.  However, the complete spaghetti the legislatures in this country produce really doesnt support your argument about politicians being more capable to make law then regular people.

Your assumption that representatives work "on behalf" of citizens also isnt supported by any facts.  Politicians spend many times their salary to get elected.  They work for their financial backers, not their constituency and frankly you should check your assumptions before making arguments.

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