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The Grand Spiderweb Poll, 2017 Edition: Demographics & Favorites

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5 minutes ago, Triumph said:

Really?! Perhaps you have an unfair view of some people if you think "trample minority rights" is a substantial part of what it means to be "socially conservative."

 

Thinking something is wrong doesn't necessarily mean that one hates people who do it or wishes to trample on individual rights.

 

There is plenty of room between "should uphold" and "trample" (which is not language I used for any of the options).

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As I understand it, American centrist is international conservative. American liberal is international centrist. American conservative is international fascist. Our politics skew heavily more conservative than the rest of the developed world. Bernie Sanders simply proposes the standards of government the rest of the developed world actually uses to good effect, in reality, and is called an unrealistic crackpot like it could never in a million years work.

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I've said this before, but making up definitions of terms is worse than employing standard definitions of standard terms. Even if you just lift definition out of Wikipedia or something, you'll still have something a little more plausible than something that you made up yourself. And it looks like these political definitions were basically just made up, rather than drawn from some outside source.

 

And I get that there is some value in maintaining continuity with past survey questions, but how great is that value when the questions themselves aren't very good? Do you want to keep asking a biased/unclear question over and over again for comparison's sake? If the question is invalid, the comparison is also likely to be invalid.

 

Also, just as a general reminder, italics, bold, and all-caps convey emphasis. If you fill up your post with these kinds of emphatic markers, you seem like you're shouting.

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Kel, I can't tell you what the original source for those definitions was -- it was five years ago and I don't remember.  My guess is they were paraphrased from Political Compass threads.

 

What I can tell you is that last time around, despite some hearty discussion and criticism of other questions on the survey, over multiple threads, no one gave any suggestions, criticism, or feedback about those questions (with one exception: Dantius suggested adding a fifth "moderate" or "liberal" option to the economic views question).  No one had any criticism for the labels used in them at all.  So, forgive me for being a little surprised by the complaints this time around.

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13 hours ago, sylae said:

yeah because trans people and gay people dont exist outside of america

 

?

 

The concepts and labels of various queer identities are different in different cultures. Think of the hijra of India, or the two-spirits of various Native American tribes. Are hijra trans women, or non-binary? It depends on the individual, when you introduce them to the Western identities. The concepts don't always map well. Or look at how labels and definitions have changed through time in the Western world. Do you separate sexual behavior from sexual identity/attraction? Sexuality from gender? Gender roles/performance from gender identity? Sex from gender? We do in Western cultures (sort of), but historically we didn't always, and some cultures have entirely different ways of looking at these identities. Heck, even the switch from "transsexual" to "transgender" and "trans" happened within a generation, and there are still people who identify as transsexual because that was the most common concept around at the time they were developing their gender identity.

 

Dikiyoba repeatedly misspelled generation as "genderation" while typing this post. Make of that what you will.

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22 minutes ago, Dikiyoba said:

 

The concepts and labels of various queer identities are different in different cultures. Think of the hijra of India, or the two-spirits of various Native American tribes. Are hijra trans women, or non-binary? It depends on the individual, when you introduce them to the Western identities. The concepts don't always map well. Or look at how labels and definitions have changed through time in the Western world. Do you separate sexual behavior from sexual identity/attraction? Sexuality from gender? Gender roles/performance from gender identity? Sex from gender? We do in Western cultures (sort of), but historically we didn't always, and some cultures have entirely different ways of looking at these identities. Heck, even the switch from "transsexual" to "transgender" and "trans" happened within a generation, and there are still people who identify as transsexual because that was the most common concept around at the time they were developing their gender identity.

Yeah, I totally agree its a mess trying to reconcile everything. But, at the end of the day it's an argument about labels, and "cis" and "trans" does a pretty good job of generalizing everything down to a usable set of data. Certainly better than a dropdown with 8,000,000 options, which can be a problem when trying to look at demographics and such (especially with a small sample size).

 

Yeah, lumping some people in with "cis" and "trans" as the only option (which it wasn't, in this case, there were also "neither of those terms" and "?????" for options for transness, and the gender field was M/F/NB/Other, so I'm pretty sure our hijra forumgoers would be able to be at least somewhat-accurately represented) is a bad idea, but for the purposes of this survey, I think it's the best option? This isn't a national census, it's a fun poll for, like, 100 forumgoers.

 

But, my problem with the original commenter's remarks was not that the language was US-centric (which, yeah, it is, but like 90% of this forum is america, so sorry?) but more that the idea of even suggesting that GSM people exist (by way of giving them a couple radio buttons?) was a political issue. (if this is not the case, i apologize, but that was certainly the gist i got). gay people dont exist in chechnya. there is no war in ba sing se.

 

You can argue "hey why does this even need to be a thing" and I'd argue by comparison, why does this entire poll need to be a thing, then? Like, the entire purpose of this poll is to look at demographics of the forum population, right?. A thread just came up that suggested we have a disproportionate number of trans people here, so i dont thing anyone would be against a fun question in a fun poll to get some harder data on that than "i remember these people saying they were trans, which is a lot of people compared to the number of people that go into the forums".

 

this has been: a rant brought to you by sleppy sylae.

Edited by sylae
seriously this entire thread is just people complaining about semantics, even though the poll did a pretty good job of saying "hey this is the semantics we're using in this poll just fyi"?
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5 hours ago, Triumph said:

Really?! Perhaps you have an unfair view of some people if you think "trample minority rights" is a substantial part of what it means to be "socially conservative."

 

Thinking something is wrong doesn't necessarily mean that one hates people who do it or wishes to trample on individual rights.

Dude, the USA elected a president who was endorsed by the KKK and went out of his way to ban Muslims from entering the country. American conservatives are all about trampling minority rights. They've just deluded themselves into thinking that they aren't trampling minority rights, or rationalized said trampling as "justified."

 

Dikiyoba.

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4 hours ago, Blink of Terraxia said:

So, forgive me for being a little surprised by the complaints this time around.

Come on, it wouldn't be Spiderweb if we weren't pointlessly arguing semantics about something:p

 

Question: Is there an option for displaying a public e-mail contact in one's profile information? Perhaps Dikiyoba is just being dumb, but Dikiyoba cannot find a way to do that.

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no diki, it's not trampling minority rights, it's protecting god-fearing Americans from the rapists and pedophiles and drug runners and Mexicans.

 

i've got 40% unemployment in my former-coal-town hovel in west virginia ever since the mine closed fifty years ago, but it's that damn obama's fault i can't get a job. better defund that libtard money-wasting TVA so i can give all my tax dollars to the rich and it'll trickle down.

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3 minutes ago, Dikiyoba said:

Question: Is there an option for displaying a public e-mail contact in one's profile information? Perhaps Dikiyoba is just being dumb, but Dikiyoba cannot find a way to do that.

my jabber ident is publicly-listed, and it's startlingly-similar to my email. you could prolly put it in the "filler" fields though.

 

"Interests: being emailed at dikiyoba@diki.biz"

Edited by sylae
i'm sure there's a config option. barring that, a new profile field "Public Email" might do the trick.

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2 minutes ago, Dikiyoba said:

Question: Is there an option for displaying a public e-mail contact in one's profile information? Perhaps Dikiyoba is just being dumb, but Dikiyoba cannot find a way to do that.

 

There is not.  This is probably for the best, given spambots and email address collectors.  I suppose you could just put it into one of the other contact info fields, though -- I don't think most of them check for particular entry formats.

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4 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

As I understand it, American centrist is international conservative. American liberal is international centrist. American conservative is international fascist. Our politics skew heavily more conservative than the rest of the developed world. Bernie Sanders simply proposes the standards of government the rest of the developed world actually uses to good effect, in reality, and is called an unrealistic crackpot like it could never in a million years work.

ADOS, you are conflating social and economic terms to a point that is frankly insulting.  An American with Libertarian, Classical Liberal or Free Market views on the economy is generally farther to the right than their European counterparts, but is in no way shape or form a fascist (a term which has a pretty significant negative connotation to all of us).

30 minutes ago, Dikiyoba said:

Dude, the USA elected a president who was endorsed by the KKK and went out of his way to ban Muslims from entering the country. American conservatives are all about trampling minority rights. They've just deluded themselves into thinking that they aren't trampling minority rights, or rationalized said trampling as "justified."

 

Dikiyoba.

Dikiyoba, I am in no way about trampling minority rights.  Nor are most American conservatives.  Some conservatives do not support an expansion of rights (sometimes without justification, sometimes with), but they generally do not go around attempting to curtail existing rights.  In general, the conservative side of American politics is too likely to oppose the creation of new rights and the "liberal" side of American politics is too likely to curtail existing rights sometimes in support of creating new rights.  Neither approach is very good, but as both parties have moved away from the center, both sides have gotten worse about rights, just in different ways.

 

As to the so called "Muslim Ban", the executive order effects around 13% of the world's Muslim population.  So calling it a Muslim ban is a pretty far stretch.  If its purpose is to prevent the movement of Muslims into and out of this country, it is completely ineffective.  If its purpose is to prevent the movement of nationals of the countries that supplied the 9/11 terrorists, it is also completely ineffective.  About the only thing that it does do is make it harder for nationals of six war torn countries that have a somewhat significant number of Daesh and Daesh affiliated groups from traveling to the US, plus of course Iran (because I guess Iran is Iran and I certainly have a lot of personal reasons to hate Iran and they do support terrorist groups, but Daesh is not among the terrorist groups that they support thanks to that whole Sunni vs Shia thing).  Of terrorist attacks in Europe in the last couple of years that were committed by people who claim that they are Muslim, the attackers were significantly more likely to either claim Daesh affiliation or be claimed by Daesh than by any of the traditional terrorist organization that claim they are Muslim (and are more prevalent in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, etc).  

 

The vast majority of the 13% of Muslims effected by the executive order are not terrorists.  The text implies that this measure will lead to enhanced screening of visitors into this country from those countries in order to prevent the movement of terrorists into this country.  If I wrote an opinion poll where the question was "Do you support screening of visitors to this country to prevent terrorism" I suspect that most of us would say yes, but of course the devil is in the details.  One of the problems with being the government is that as soon as something bad happens, the question is why didn't you prevent it, how could you let this happen.  That attitude from the public drives politicians to make bad policies (terrorism, natural disasters, finance, crime, etc, etc, etc).  

 

I am not saying that this executive order is a good policy, I am saying that its merits need to be debated based on what it actually is (a travel ban from seven countries) and not what the majority (who haven't actually read it) are saying it is.  

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5 minutes ago, Edgwyn said:

As to the so called "Muslim Ban", the executive order effects around 13% of the world's Muslim population.  So calling it a Muslim ban is a pretty far stretch.

 

Per Wikipedia, 'Critics have accused the order of being a "Muslim ban" because the order only targeted Muslim-majority countries [2] and because Trump's advisers called it a "Muslim ban" [3]'

 

It is obviously not a ban on all Muslims, but it affects mostly Muslims, and that is the language its progenitors use to describe it, so...

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10 minutes ago, Edgwyn said:

Some conservatives do not support an expansion of rights (sometimes without justification, sometimes with), but they generally do not go around attempting to curtail existing rights

"hey please treat us like humans" "NO THIS IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE NOW THE PEDOPHILES WILL BE MARRYING TOASTERS AND HAVING POLY RELATIONSHIPS WITH DOGS AND THINK OF THE CHILDREN*" is usually how this goes.

 

so, the whole "we're not taking rights away, we're just not granting them" argument doesnt hold a lot of water IMO, especially when these minority groups are asking for treatment they should already be getting as human people. saying "no we dont want to give you that" is fairly equal to "we are taking away your human rights".

Edited by sylae
but what do i know about discrimination, i only grew up in the us state with the most hate groups per capita.

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Sylae, marriage for any two people who are 18 or over would qualify in my mind as an expansion of rights that many conservatives did not support without justification.  I suspect that a number (though probably not a majority) of the people who did not support it were concerned about it trampling on their right to freely exercise their religion (Church X does not recognize marriages which is recognized by the US government and so refuses to host certain marriage ceremonies in their facility, so Church X should lose its tax exempt status and be sued out of existence).  While many of us hope that a Church would be seen as different under the law than a commercial enterprise (baker, restaurant, etc), the dividing line between church as religious institution and church as commercial enterprise is gray and wavy making it not unreasonable for some people to be concerned that the government would attempt to dictate policies inside of the church.

 

The question becomes even greater when you get into how much religion is one allowed to practice in your private life.  For example, can an Amish, Orthodox Jew or devout Muslim establish a separate school system that instead of differing in relatively small (but important) ways from the public school system the way that most Catholic and Christian schools do, differ in larger ways from the public school system.  The answer has been yes, especially with the Amish and Orthodox Jewish population.  I am not sure that I personally approve of some of the exceptions that have been made for their boys and girls, but I am not sure how to properly and fairly split the baby between what I would like to forbid and what I would like to allow.  Some "liberals" would say tear it down right away (after all, all religion is wrong), some "conservatives" would say as long as there is a religious motivation it is fine (as long as it is a religious motivation they believe in).  I firmly believe that the better public policy is somewhere in the middle and that given the lack of center we will never see it.

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1. There already were religious denominations that did accept same sex marriages.  By picking a definition of marriage that lined up with some religions, but not others, wasn't that exactly parallel to the "trampling on the rights" you're discussing?

 

2. Churches are treated differently under the law than commercial enterprises in many, many, many ways.  A better comparison in most cases would be secular nonprofit organizations.

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16 minutes ago, Edgwyn said:

Sylae, marriage for any two people who are 18 or over would qualify in my mind as an expansion of rights that many conservatives did not support without justification.  I suspect that a number (though probably not a majority) of the people who did not support it were concerned about it trampling on their right to freely exercise their religion (Church X does not recognize marriages which is recognized by the US government and so refuses to host certain marriage ceremonies in their facility, so Church X should lose its tax exempt status and be sued out of existence).  While many of us hope that a Church would be seen as different under the law than a commercial enterprise (baker, restaurant, etc), the dividing line between church as religious institution and church as commercial enterprise is gray and wavy making it not unreasonable for some people to be concerned that the government would attempt to dictate policies inside of the church.

why should we treat religious institutions any separately from their secular counterparts (non-profit org or business, depending on the church, i guess) in a secular government.

 

also, saying "we should be allowed to be bigoted because we're religious" is silly. why does your religion get to impact someone else.

 

because of tax exemptions for religious institutions, my tax dollars are effectively going towards gay conversion camps[citation needed]. not okay.

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1 hour ago, Edgwyn said:

Sylae, marriage for any two people who are 18 or over would qualify in my mind as an expansion of rights that many conservatives did not support without justification.  I suspect that a number (though probably not a majority) of the people who did not support it were concerned about it trampling on their right to freely exercise their religion (Church X does not recognize marriages which is recognized by the US government and so refuses to host certain marriage ceremonies in their facility, so Church X should lose its tax exempt status and be sued out of existence).

There's kind of a long way between recognizing same-sex marriages and enacting an antidiscrimination law stripping tax exempt status from nonprofits that discriminate in their services on the basis of sexual orientation. Heck, we don't even have a federal antidiscrimination law that expressly bars employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and that's a lot less of a leap. So the slippery slope argument here, like most slippery slope arguments, seems grossly overwrought.

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Religious institutions are considered protected as one of the freedoms enshrined in our constitution.  They should by treated differently because the power to tax (like many other government powers) is the power to destroy.  The area subject to debate is when the church runs a commercial enterprise such as a day care or school.

 

Everyone is allowed to be (and practically everyone is in one way shape or form) bigoted.  Again, under our fundamental rights as Americans, we are allowed to be bigoted in our own personal lives.  You have the right to choose not to associate with me because I am white, left handed, male, believe in Xenu, do not like ponies or any one of a thousand reasons (or for no reason at all).  [please note that three of the five things listed at not actual characteristics of mine].  In general I believe that most forms of bigotry are morally wrong (including bigotry agains Muslims and LGBT individuals), but that does not take away my right to be bigoted.

 

I do not have the right to be bigoted in my professional life (nor should I have that right).  The nature of the employment that I have chosen puts me in (what I consider) the highest category of not allowed to be bigoted in my professional life.  If I cannot carry out the duties of my employment without discriminating against people in any category protected by law I should resign.  If I cannot carry out the duties of my employment without discriminating against people in a non-protected way (say because they like Shapers) I should really look at myself and figure out why I can't be nice to people.

 

So, my religion gets to set whatever standards it wants for its members.  That is religious freedom, free speech and free association.  That does not mean that my religion gets to set standards for non-members.  

 

Tax dollars going to gay conversion camps is of course a stretch, but you can make the stretch.  Realistically, I can make the same stretch to abortions after the first trimester where the life of the mother is not at risk, the mother was not raped and incest was not involved.  Neither one of us is ever going to like all of the things our tax dollars are spent on.

 

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14 minutes ago, Kelandon said:

There's kind of a long way between recognizing same-sex marriages and enacting an antidiscrimination law stripping tax exempt status from nonprofits that discriminate in their services on the basis of sexual orientation. Heck, we don't even have a federal antidiscrimination law that expressly bars employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and that's a lot less of a leap. So the slippery slope argument here, like most slippery slope arguments, seems grossly overwrought.

I agree and I did not oppose federal recognition of same sex marriages, but lots of people from every side of the spectrum like, and believe, in slippery slope arguments.  My position during the debate on recognition of same sex marriages was "why does the government recognize marriage at all?  I would have loved for their to have been an answer to that question first, but since that was not going to happen, marriage equality was the right thing to do.

 

You are the legal expert not me, so I had assumed that when President Clinton signed the executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in federal government employment that it was part of a broader policy.  I assume that I am wrong.

Edited by Edgwyn
Employment

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16 minutes ago, Edgwyn said:

I agree and I did not oppose federal recognition of same sex marriages, but lots of people from every side of the spectrum like, and believe, in slippery slope arguments.  My position during the debate on recognition of same sex marriages was "why does the government recognize marriage at all?  I would have loved for their to have been an answer to that question first, but since that was not going to happen, marriage equality was the right thing to do.

 

answer: it's actually pretty important for a government to have some formal definition of who counts as a member of your family for purposes like inheritance, immigration, and medical decision-making, and marriage is socially recognized as a way for two people to become part of the same family. the consequences of being legally recognized as family members add up to a big enough deal in everyday life that before same-sex marriage, there were a number of same-sex relationships where one partner resorted to adopting the other as their child because that was the only way for them to have a legally recognized family relationship. in some countries where same-sex marriage still isn't recognized, this still happens

 

imo the "why does the government recognize marriage" position is one of those things that sounds good until you dig deeper into the practical implications of it

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4 hours ago, Edgwyn said:

As to the so called "Muslim Ban", the executive order effects around 13% of the world's Muslim population.  So calling it a Muslim ban is a pretty far stretch.  If its purpose is to prevent the movement of Muslims into and out of this country, it is completely ineffective.

If the only argument you have is a silly semantics game about how "sure, it predominately effects Muslims, but it doesn't effect all Muslims so it's not a Muslim ban," then you might as well concede now. It may not impact every Muslim, but it impacts 13% of them, and it does so almost exclusively. That's what discrimination is.

 

Dikiyoba.

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4 hours ago, sylae said:

no diki, it's not trampling minority rights, it's protecting god-fearing Americans from the rapists and pedophiles and drug runners and Mexicans.

Almost every term could be applied to Donald Trump except possibly Mexican and drug runner. He's admitted to groping women and entering dressing rooms of beauty pageants with naked underage girls in them.  His family claimed to be from Sweden instead of Germany.

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27 minutes ago, Lilith said:

answer: it's actually pretty important for a government to have some formal definition of who counts as a member of your family for purposes like inheritance, immigration, and medical decision-making, and marriage is socially recognized as a way...

 

This is true, but it can also be fulfilled by something other than marriage if legislation backs that up.  It would be 100% possible to sever the civic and religious aspects of marriage, whether both are still called marriage or one is called something else.  Civic marriages are available to everyone; religious marriages are at the discretion of a given religion, and can be aligned with civic marriages or not, again at that religion's discretion.  This was always my preferred solution.

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Freedom of speech allows religions to have ceremonies for, and recognize, marriages that are not legally recognized or binding. This isn't just academic; this happens, although not all that often. So the distinction already can exist. Where the problem exists is significantly in trying to keep civil and religious marriage equatable even if they aren't necessarily equated. Whether that's a reasonable or good goal is, of course, a matter of dispute that often aligns with the social values liberal-conservative axis.

 

—Alorael, who can see some tempers flaring a bit in this thread. Please remain polite. In particular, no demonizing people for political affiliation or painting with too broad a brush. Keep accusations of bigotry down and disagree with statements, not the fundamental nature and moral value of your interlocutors.

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50 minutes ago, Edgwyn said:

You are the legal expert not me, so I had assumed that when President Clinton signed the executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in federal government employment that it was part of a broader policy.  I assume that I am wrong.

Yeah, not so much. The federal government sometimes prohibits discrimination in its own ranks more broadly than it prohibits in private employment (and occasionally vice-versa as well — it can exempt itself from federal antidiscrimination law). So no, there's never been an explicit general federal ban on employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, or discrimination in public accommodations, or (as far as I know) anything else. People have tried to pass a federal ban on employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the last few efforts have failed.

 

Generally, blue states have such a law, so I suspect expect that it will pass at the federal level the next time that Democrats have unified control of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.

20 minutes ago, Blink of Terraxia said:

It would be 100% possible to sever the civic and religious aspects of marriage, whether both are still called marriage or one is called something else.  Civic marriages are available to everyone; religious marriages are at the discretion of a given religion, and can be aligned with civic marriages or not, again at that religion's discretion.  This was always my preferred solution.

Not just possible — this is essentially the system that we already have.

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1 hour ago, Lilith said:

 

answer: it's actually pretty important for a government to have some formal definition of who counts as a member of your family for purposes like inheritance, immigration, and medical decision-making, and marriage is socially recognized as a way for two people to become part of the same family. the consequences of being legally recognized as family members add up to a big enough deal in everyday life that before same-sex marriage, there were a number of same-sex relationships where one partner resorted to adopting the other as their child because that was the only way for them to have a legally recognized family relationship. in some countries where same-sex marriage still isn't recognized, this still happens

 

imo the "why does the government recognize marriage" position is one of those things that sounds good until you dig deeper into the practical implications of it

I agree that it is important, and I think that a review would have found it important and would have better articulated why the right of marriage should be extended. It hopefully would also have resulted in a national standard (in the US, there are differences at the state level) as to what age one has to be in order to be married.  The other part of the question though is why is two the magic number for a secular legal contract?  The question of what is the maximum number of people who could be married to each other would need to be part of any realistic study of the secular benefits of marriage.

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37 minutes ago, Kelandon said:

Not just possible — this is essentially the system that we already have.

 

Sort of.  I mean, you're right, those things are technically possible according to our laws, but in cultural terms they aren't possible.  Most people treat civic and religious marriage is one synonymous entity, and the government makes no effort to suggest otherwise, even using the same term.  ("Civic marriage" vs "religious marriage" is a very different story than "marriage" vs" marriage" is.)  And where other terms have been used (e.g., civil unions) a very clear line has been drawn indicating that they are different from marriage.

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1 minute ago, Blink of Terraxia said:

Sort of.  I mean, you're right, those things are technically possible according to our laws, but in cultural terms they aren't possible.  Most people treat civic and religious marriage is one synonymous entity, and the government makes no effort to suggest otherwise, even using the same term.  ("Civic marriage" vs "religious marriage" is a very different story than "marriage" vs" marriage" is.)  And where other terms have been used (e.g., civil unions) a very clear line has been drawn indicating that they are different from marriage.

Other than adding a modifier to the term "marriage," is there any other separation that you would want? Because I don't really understand what you mean other than that we don't use separate words for the two concepts (except when we do).

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54 minutes ago, Edgwyn said:

I agree that it is important, and I think that a review would have found it important and would have better articulated why the right of marriage should be extended. It hopefully would also have resulted in a national standard (in the US, there are differences at the state level) as to what age one has to be in order to be married.  The other part of the question though is why is two the magic number for a secular legal contract?  The question of what is the maximum number of people who could be married to each other would need to be part of any realistic study of the secular benefits of marriage.

 

well, in fairness, the idea of poly marriage does raise legal questions that monogamous marriage (same-sex or otherwise) doesn't; having one spouse means there's one go-to person for any issue where the spouse gets the first bite at the apple, while with multiple spouses you need some kind of decision-making process to work out how they're prioritized. there's also the question of transitivity: if A marries B and B then marries C, what kind of legal relationship does that create between A and C, and how much input should A have in whether B and C's marriage can happen given that it may have financial and legal consequences for A

 

on the otoh hand there are existing legal procedures that already handle similar questions. for example, many countries that accommodate spousal immigration already impose a lifetime limit on how many spouses you can bring over. and when it comes to inheritance or medical decision-making authority, the situation of someone with multiple spouses is arguably comparable to a person with no living spouse but multiple children, which we already manage to handle well enough most of the time. so it's certainly not impossible in principle to establish an equitable legal framework for it

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17 minutes ago, Kelandon said:

Other than adding a modifier to the term "marriage," is there any other separation that you would want? Because I don't really understand what you mean other than that we don't use separate words for the two concepts (except when we do).

 

my understanding was that in most US states, ordained ministers of religion have a significantly easier time gaining legal authority to officiate marriages than anyone else, which i suppose is a relatively minor issue in the scheme of things but does seem a bit like giving special treatment to religion

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7 minutes ago, Lilith said:

my understanding was that in most US states, ordained ministers of religion have a significantly easier time gaining legal authority to officiate marriages than anyone else, which is a minor issue in the scheme of things but does seem a bit like giving special treatment to religion

The "than anyone else" part is a bit overbroad; judges and various other officials generally can officiate marriages as well. So there is a parallel, totally secular system.

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12 minutes ago, Kelandon said:

The "than anyone else" part is a bit overbroad; judges and various other officials generally can officiate marriages as well. So there is a parallel, totally secular system.

 

i mean, i'd say having to become a judge counts as having a significantly less easy time of it

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Yeah, I became a minister through American Marriage Ministries to officiate Neb and Sylae's marriage and it was real simple and inexpensive. I think I had to send one letter to the governor's office and most of my expenses were a voluntary donation. And, I mean, technically and legally AMM is a religious organization, but it's clear that the actual purpose is to enable anyone who wants to officiate a marriage to do so. There are at least two large nationwide organizations that do this. Probably the intent of the law is to privilege religious officials, but in practice the definition of "religious official" is so arbitrarily large as to be pointless. Something something first amendment.

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My thoughts on marriage:

The state has a vested interest in stable relationships between two people. This desired stability has both economic and social benefits. Whether or not marriage is the best way to create stable relationships is open to debate, but the desire to have stability is fairly universal outside of anarchist circles. Poly-marriage is inherently less stable as adding additional humans to almost anything is inherently less stable.

Separate but equal never is. The reason why we don't have marriage and civil union is because civil union would never be the equal of marriage. Personally, I see marriage as a civil contract, with any religious significance layered upon that. I see it that way because I do not live in a theocracy. Mind you, I was married in a Catholic church, and I fully understand that marriage is seen as a sacrament within that faith. My wife and I have a contract between us (and the state) that has important economic and social advantages. I see zero reason to deny those advantages to someone whose sexual preference varies from mine. The religious significance of my marriage is not affected in any way by anyone else's marriage. It certainly is not affected by a semantic argument over the meaning of the word marriage.

 

To argue that a religious institution (or its potential officiant) could be compelled to perform a marriage against its will seems a specious argument. I am not Catholic and my wife is. We were married in a Catholic church, but many Catholic churches would not have married us unless I converted. The idea that we could have sued to compel them to marry us is conceivable, but it would have been thrown out of court in a heartbeat. The simple reason (we live in the US) is the first amendment of the US constitution. It reads, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." 

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Thanks for the apology sylae.
I'm not clear how you think I might have suggested things on a web forum other than through the words I posted. And the words I posted are unrelated to the gist you got.
I assume there's a reason you're defensive about this particular topic but if you were to examine the other responses in this thread I think you'd see that's not the only topic people are being defensive about.
US-centric language isn't a big deal. And if I may restate my what I said in my first post, the problem isn't the gender/sexuality questions either. It's the answers to the following questions:
What are your political views when it comes to social issues?
What are your political views when it comes to economic issues?
I'm perplexed about the hand-wringing about cultural barriers considering there's an easy fix: make the questions optional. Then no one will be required to commit to a statement along the lines of "the government this, the market that" in order to finish filling the survey.

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As an outsider, I would like to state my opinion:

I feel this thread about an optional survey nobody was forced to take or finish, has turned (again in my opinion) too hostile and political.

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6 hours ago, Soul of Wit said:

To argue that a religious institution (or its potential officiant) could be compelled to perform a marriage against its will seems a specious argument.

Under existing law, sure. The concern, apparently, is that the law could change, and it's not clear how the Constitution would apply to this. By way of example, back in the early '80s, Bob Jones University — a private, non-denominational (but conservative) Protestant institution — prohibited interracial dating among its students. The federal government threatened to strip the university's tax-exempt status because the ban on interracial dating was contrary to public policy (eradicating race discrimination). Bob Jones University refused to eliminate the ban; it said that the ban was grounded in its religious principles. In the ensuing lawsuit, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment didn't prevent the federal government from ending Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status on this basis.

 

At oral argument in the last same-sex marriage case (Obergefell v. Hodges), the lawyer for the federal government (the Solicitor General) conceded that it was an open question whether the same sort of thing would be constitutional if done in the context of gay marriage. That is, it's not entirely clear whether the government could strip the tax-exempt status of religious institutions or religiously affiliated institutions that refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.

 

To be clear, no one has proposed such a step, and it's not clear to me that anyone ever would. As far as I can tell, this is not a thing that anyone actually wants. So I don't think it matters at all. But just quoting the First Amendment isn't quite enough to address this.

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1 hour ago, Kelandon said:

...just quoting the First Amendment isn't quite enough to address this.

 Agreed. I am a zealous believer that the first amendment will win out against extremists from both ends of the political spectrum.

Edited by Soul of Wit
Did I just break the record for longest time to reach 500 posts?

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7 hours ago, msazad said:

I'm perplexed about the hand-wringing about cultural barriers considering there's an easy fix: make the questions optional.

 

This is an easy fix but it comes with a drawback: a lot of people skip most optional questions regardless of whether they are inaccessible to them.  In designing the survey, I therefore weighed the possible discomfort of having to choose an option that isn't a perfect fit, with having a smaller dataset with less ability to produce interesting correlations.

 

This is why questions that are typically sensitive issues (the gender and sexuality questions) ARE skippable, but most of the others aren't.  (Edit: I also tried to consider the likelihood of someone who didn't want to answer just picking a random answer, which is why the element question is also skippable, but questions with answers that probably anyone can respond to off the top of their head, like how they feel about the RPG genre, are not.)

 

Here's the thing.  There are basically two directions for a survey like this.  One direction is to focus on the small-picture and to have a copy-and-paste, text-based survey.  This gives everyone complete control over their answer to every question.  The priority is allowing everyone to express themselves with perfect precision.

 

The other direction is to focus on the big-picture, on patterns and trends that cover the group rather than details that cover the individual.  In theory you can still do this with a free-answer survey (or with a survey like this one, but that had an "Other" option on every question).  However, when you go that route, one of two things happens:

 

1. You have an extremely limited ability to find patterns and correlations, due to all the unique answers

2. The person doing the analysis makes judgment calls about how to group answers, thus colouring the results with their own personality and way of thinking to a potentially extreme degree

 

By not allowing free expression on most questions, the judgment call is instead made by the person answering the survey.  OF COURSE their personal political opinion is a lot more nuanced than the options given here -- that's true for most of us -- but this way, they are the one making the call as to which category is a better fit.  I think that is more respectful of their ability to articulate who they are; and it is definitely more neutral for purposes of the survey results than having the analyzing party make that call.

 

A similar point is relevant when deciding how many options to give for each question.  Do you satisfy every possible answer, or do you force people to make compromises and choose the best one?  In unusual cases (as with Nikki on the dog/cat question) this can put someone in an impossible position, for which I sympathize but do not apologize.  No categorizing task can ever reflect reality perfectly; if you expect it to, you are walking into a trap, whether you are taking a survey or reading about its results.  There are always places where the pattern doesn't line up.  I am not going to pretend there aren't, but neither am I going to abandon the whole analytical enterprise on their account.

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I think it's clear that the survey was constructed in a reasonable way with a lot of consideration given to various priorities but that a notable portion of participants think two or three questions could use rewording or additional options. The minor issues people have had - really, mostly just the political categories being unclear or seeming misapplied to some - are not condemnations of the entire effort of survey-making and aren't calls for any kind of major restructuring or change in ethos. Like, the rationale you have supplied for these minor criticisms is reasonable and I think everyone gets that you aren't any kind of weird survey tyrant. Just, maybe reword them for next time?

Edited by Sudanna

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@Yell Wallpaper:
But it ain't a matter of nuance or imperfection. Assuming so isn't respectful.
You can't possibly articulate who you are by ticking a box anyway. What's at issue instead is what can be inferred about people from box ticks. And that depends on the question's quality and the assumptions underlying it.

What you are arguing for is optimizing the answers you're getting from a group you understand and the cost of excluding others. Which is of course your priviledge.

Edited by msazad

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You know what I miss about the old Spiderweb?  (edit for clarity: relatively old, circa 05-09)  When someone took a chance on some creative endeavor, no matter how imperfect the end result was, people were happy it was there.  Criticisms and suggestions would get shared -- of course.  We're super critical here, I as much as anyone else.  But people did not take imperfections in the endeavor as some kind of personal affront.

 

 

EDIT FOR CONTEXT: Per Kel's suggestion, he is removing a comment and I am removing the second half of this post, which was a direct response to it.

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I don't really do social media. But now that I think about it, some of the people I've unexpectedly set off or who've randomly wished me a violent death these past few years were social media users. When I've been able to get an explanation, it was along the lines of "THEY say that as an insult".

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