PLEASE NOTE: The community policies and information on this page are a work in progress and changes may be made at the discretion of the maintainers to reflect current events or community issues.
Welcome to Livejournal's Progressive Discussion Forum
This is a meeting place for progressives of all stripes. We welcome Democrats, Greens, progressive-minded libertarians, and anyone else with an interest in discussing the challenges of the twenty-first century from the left of the political spectrum.
Topics may include, but are not limited to: supporting progressive candidates for public office, universal health care, our current energy crisis and environmental challenges, restoring civil liberties, promoting freedom and democracy, science and technology, poverty and homelessness, fighting discrimination, and opposing imperialism.
We make no claim of impartiality here. This is a progressive community designed to be supportive of individuals who hold progressive values. As part of this community's mission, we maintain a commitment to doing our part to heal the rifts between progressive factions through open and honest discussion based on mutual respect. Remember, most of us agree on many of the broader goals we'd like to see for the world, even when we may disagree about how to get there.
In this community, personal attacks are not allowed. However, spirited discussion is encouraged. And yes, there is a difference. It is OK to disagree with someone else's views, but it is never OK to not treat others with courtesy and decency. Remember, these are not just words on a page--there are fellow human beings behind every keyboard.
Members and visitors are encouraged to check the userinfo/profile page (ie, this page) regularly. This page will be updated periodically with community guidelines and policies. We expect all members to be familiar with and to respect the rules of the community. We will also be posting cartoons, pictures, information, new links, and whatever else might be of interest. You might want to bookmark this page or you can get here from the link in the sidebar of the recent entries page.
We in theleftunited believe in upholding the values of tolerance, openness, and diversity as much as possible. We want to create an environment in which members feel free to speech their minds in an atmosphere of courtesy and respect for other individuals. However, we must recognize the reality that some people will choose to be disruptive and then hide behind cries of censorship and intolerance. True tolerance and diversity must take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect and a sincere desire to learn from each other.
While we don't wish to create long lists of draconian rules which undermine the freedom of expression--and indeed, it is virtually impossible to create rules for every situation--the maintainers do reserve the right to uphold a certain level of decorum in this community. We ask all members, as a condition of their membership, to familiarize themselves with the guidelines and policies on this page, as well as any updates we make. We will make every effort to announce updates in the community. Any questions may be emailed to the community maintainers.
In general, anyone who makes a sincere effort to be respectful of others and focus on ideas, arguments, and facts instead of personalities or insults will not have to worry about running afoul of our rules.
A few notes to keep in mind.
Racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, and discriminatory language: We assume that by joining a progressive community, you reject discrimination or are at least willing to be respectful of the fact that discrimination of any kind is contrary to the values of this community. We believe in diversity and mutual respect here. Racist, sexist, homophobic, or other discriminatory language is not acceptable in this community. Likewise, posts or comments which seek to promote stereotypes of particular groups of people are directly contrary to the principle of individual freedom and are not allowed in theleftunited.
Example 1: "Homeless people deserve what they get, they're all just a bunch of lazy bums" Example 2: "All these Mexicans are taking jobs from hard-working real Americans"
A note on reclamation: We recognize that some groups believe they can "reclaim" certain insulting language if such language is used by those it has traditionally been directed against. However, please understand that the way you use certain words might not carry the same meaning with everyone and that the potential for misunderstandings or offending others is vast. Also, keep in mind that we as maintainers have no way of knowing the personal backgrounds or motives of everyone in the community. Because we seek to make this community one in which many different types of people can feel welcome, we ask that discriminatory language not be used in this community, whether for "reclamation" or any other reason.
A note on "political correctness": We reject the notion of political correctness and its frequent use as a tool to undermine the freedom to express ideas. It is important to keep in mind, however, that political correctness comes in many forms and examples can be found all over the political spectrum. We reject the false and slanderous accusation by many conservatives that political correctness is something only found on the political left. Also, many people will frequently whine about political correctness as a cover for disrespecting other people and this sort of bait-and-switch will not be allowed in this community.
A note on patriotism: The American flag and the American Constitution do not belong to any party, group, or ideology, but rather, to all of the American people. The same could be said about the common heritage of other nations. People can disagree with their government and still love their country. Questioning the patriotism of someone who disagrees is both a personal attack and a logical fallacy and is not acceptable in this community
Example 1: "Why do you hate America, why do you want the terrorists to win?" Example 2: "How can you be against invading Iraq, don't you support the troops?"
We want to keep membership in this community as open as possible. It should be kept in mind, however, that this is a progressive community designed for discussions among progressive-minded individuals. We do not wish to spend all of our time debating with conservatives or Republicans or dealing with trolls who make inflammatory statements merely to provoke others. In order to maintain the identity and intent of this group, requests for membership in theleftunited will be moderated.
We realize that it can difficult to determine who, exactly, is "progressive" or "liberal". We also realize that many people may be very progressive on some issues and very conservative on others. For these reasons, it would not be fair to establish overly broad membership guidelines. Membership decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. We will be looking at prospective members' personal journals, other community memberships, and whatever other information we have in making membership decisions.
If a prospective member seems to have at least some general agreement with the broader values of this community and a sincere desire to show respect for others, that person will most likely be admitted. You are always welcome to email the maintainers with any information about yourself that you believe might help our decision. In some cases, we may contact a prospective member requesting more information about themselves and the reason for their interest in membership in this community. This may happen if, for example, all of your journal entries are private or friends-only or if the reason for your interest in membership in theleftunited is unclear for some other reason.
Anyone rejected for membership in this community may email the maintainers and ask us to reconsider. Again, if you have a sincere and respectful interest in the values and topics of this community, we will most likely accept you. Please note that in most cases, we will not accept die-hard conservatives or Republicans for membership here. This is a progressive community and there are other communities that non-progressives would probably find more suitable.
Personal Attacks: Personal attacks are not allowed here and will result in a moderator warning or ban. If you disagree with someone, stick to facts and issues, not personalities. If you have some doubt about whether a comment or post is a personal attack, it probably is. You can always email the maintainers and ask if you are really unsure.
Humor, jokes, and sarcasm: It's OK to be sarcastic and it's OK to laugh. We just ask that you keep in mind that your humor or sarcasm may not translate well to text. Again, please try to keep the principle of "mutual respect" in mind. If you have some doubt about whether your joke will be interpreted as a joke, you may want to rephrase it or reconsider posting it.
Debate Etiquette: For factual statements, please try to cite sources as much as possible. It is easy to do this by using simple HTML to turn part of a statement into a link. If the source is not online, you should put a footnote at the bottom of the post. Also, please be aware of logical fallacies and try to avoid them. And again, stick to facts and arguments and avoid personal attacks.
Quizzes, surveys, and memes: These are not allowed and will be deleted by the maintainers. Repeated violations of this guideline will result in a moderator warning.
Polls: Polls are allowed, but please put all polls under a lj-cut tag stating that it is a poll and what the poll is about. Polls that do not follow this guideline will be deleted. Please try to keep posting of polls to a minimum. In most cases, polls are probably useless for the purposes of this community, since the number of people who agree with something tells nothing about whether it is a good idea.
Livejournal cut tags (lj-cut): Please put all polls, images, videos, materials containing graphic content, posts that have been cross-posted to multiple communities, and lengthy posts of any kind under a cut tag. Obviously, there is some room for judgment in whether and where in a post to use a cut tag. In general, if you have to scroll to reach the end of a post, cut it. If you have multiple lengthy paragraphs of text, leave the first one or two as an introduction, then cut the rest. If it's something you've posted to any other community besides this one, cut it. If a maintainer comments and asks you to use a cut tag, cut it. You get the idea.
Cut posts should include either a sentence or paragraph about what is under the cut or use the cut text itself to give us some information (Ex: The first paragraph or two of a long post followed by a cut tag saying "Cut for length"). Please warn of any content that is graphic or not "safe for work", since people might be reading this community from anywhere.
Adult Content: Please note that this community is set as "no adult content". We will rely on the good judgment of our members here. If you have some doubt about whether a post is considered adult content, you can always email the maintainers and ask. If you post something inappropriate, we'll let you know and tell you why.
Links to other blogs/journals: If you link to a personal journal in this community, always ask for permission and include a statement that you have been given it (Ex: "Linked/re-posted with permission"). The same applies if you re-post anything from another journal or community. Do not link to or repost any friends-only or private entries. Do not repost content from other blogs (Ex: Dailykos) without express permission--it is better to quote a short sentence or two and link to the original post instead. Please note that the maintainers may do spot checks to verify that permission for links or reposts has been given and that falsely claiming to have received permission may result in a warning or ban.
News Articles: We assume that our members are perfectly capable of reading the news on their own. Posts that are nothing more than links to articles (or blog posts or YouTube videos, etc) are not allowed. If you believe an article or something else on another site would be of interest in this community, tell us why and include your own thoughts and commentary. Or do some further research and use the articles/videos in question as sources for a post of your own. You never know, you might even find that the original article you wanted to link to is not even true. Please keep in mind that the purpose of this community is discussion and dialog between members.
Deleting posts or comments: You may edit your own posts or comments if you messed up your HTML, got a fact wrong, phrased something poorly, etc. However, we encourage you to proofread posts and comments before publishing to keep these errors at a minimum. Except for spelling, grammar, or HTML errors, it is better to make other corrections as an addition to your original post (Ex: "EDIT" or "CORRECTION" or "CLARIFICATION") rather than modifying what you already posted. This makes it a lot easier for maintainers to figure out exactly what is going on if we are asked about a particular post or thread or comment. It is never acceptable to delete or modify a comment or post to hide a rule violation or a moderator warning or ban. If you have some other reason for wanting to delete a post or comment, it will most likely be OK, but please email the maintainers and let us know before removing it. That way, we can tell why we have a "Comment deleted" in the middle of a long discussion or why a post we are asked about is no longer there.
Comment/thread screening or freezing: Reserved for moderators only.
Repetitive posting: Before posting, please check back through some of the recent posts and make sure the topic has not already been discussed. Members find it tiresome if people keep posting the same topic over and over again. If your post is too repetitive (Ex, if it's the fiftieth post on the exact same event), we may ask you to delete it.
Minimization: Please refrain from telling other members that something they posted is "too small" to talk about. If you don't feel that something is worth discussing, then simply don't discuss it--refrain from commenting and find another post that you find more interesting or write a post of your own. It is a waste of time to talk about something to say it is not worth talking about, after all. Also, please keep in mind that just because something is unimportant to you does not mean that it's not important to anyone. Another thing to realize is that sometimes, getting involved in activism over a "small" issue might lead the person to get involved in activism over bigger issues. Or someone might be involved in "bigger" issues as well as the "small" one they posted about. We believe that any action on the part of an individual to create a better world, no matter how seemingly "small", is worthy. History shows us, after all, that many times, movements that transform the world start out as something "small".
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" -- George Orwell
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free" -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"Liberal: A person subscribing to a political theory founded on the natural goodness of human beings and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority." -- (American Heritage Dictionary)
"A conservative is the opposite of a liberal." --(John Ashcroft)