I'm sure you've all seen the posts asking for the arguments to stop. I would like to present my own perspective, and I'll try to keep it short. (Edit: sorry, not very good at that, am I?)
Okay, first of all, response to the "civil war". I'd like to quote Abe Lincoln if you all don't mind. Ever heard this before?
"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."
Assuming that we are having a civil war, that could arguably be heathy. Yes, some people are gonna leave, which is sad, but if we never argue that either means that we're not talking about anything worthwhile, or that we've sunk into apathy.
Look guys, arguments are healthy as long as they're settled well. Which so far, for the most part I think people have been trying to avoid being destructive and have apologized for it. I'm fully aware that some people haven't, but then that is the real problem.
Second, have we really started a full-out civil war? No. The arguments have been fully contained in their own posts, which no one is required to read or respond to. If you decide to, then that's your responsibility. And speaking of war, we don't even have clear sides, necessarily. For example, as hateful the rhetoric between others and me got on evolution, we still basically agreed on what actions should be taken on homosexual rights. Guys, it's not a war. We may be discussing heatedly in one thread, but that doesn't mean we're at each others throats everywhere. Good arguments are part of a good relationship.
Now, on the subject of leaving Sparklers. Yes, the old crowd is mostly gone. But that's what happens. People come and go. We shouldn't bbe surprised by that. Yes, there are some that leave because of the arguments. And that's too bad. But we can't stop ever having a disagreement over that. Sparklife would lose the spark and the life. If you don't want to do any discussions then you still fully have the option of simply ignoring those posts. To my knowledge, none of the arguments going on ever slipped into the OTs or bracket wars, for example.
Now, it is true that we've been omitting some basic guidelines. Respect. Calmness. Willingness to accept other ideas. And yes, that is important. It's kind of the key point of arguments. And it doesn't mean you have to accept everything.
Example: I've learned much about evolution and views on homosexuality. On both, I evaluated some new ideas that I hadn't heard of. In the end I still rejected evolution, but on homosexuality I ended up agreeing with a lot of what the other viewpoint presented.
Key point: There wasn't actually a sudden outbreak of hostility. These subjects usually pop up every once in a while, and the results are largrely the same. The difference this time is that by fault of Sparklers, Manklers and Sparkitors, we had all three pop up within less than a week. Which blows everything out of proportion.
Final conclusion: Keep it cool. Keep it respectful. Keep it real. Let's not tear ourselves apart, but let's also not duct tape our mouths shut.
Originally published on March 22, 2013.