This is the bi-weekly visible open thread (there are also hidden open threads twice a week you can reach through the Open Thread tab on the top of the page). Post about anything you want, but please try to avoid hot-button political and social topics. You can also talk at the SSC subreddit or the SSC Discord server – and also check out the SSC Podcast. Also:
1. Although I’m very happy with the quality of discussion here most of the time, I was disappointed with some comments on the Trump post. Part of this was my fault for going for a few jokes that made it more inflammatory than it had to be – but enough of it was your faults that I banned six people and probably should have banned more. Remember, if you see an immoderate comment that needs moderating, please report it using the report button in the corner.
2. Related: I am going to be stricter on the “necessary” prong of the comment policy. If it’s a thread about the poll numbers for some right-wing policies going down, and you post “The reason Trump won was because everyone knows all liberals are…”, you are probably getting banned. I’ve been reluctant to do this before because it’s the sort of thing that could be true and I don’t want to make it impossible to say certain true things. But now I’m thinking it’s so irrelevant to the topic that it will have to fit both the “true” and “kind” prongs to stay up without getting you banned. If you really can’t figure out whether something you want to post is like this, imagine someone on the opposite side said it about you, and see whether it feels more like a reasonable critique or like they’re trying to start a fight. I like the way Vorkon talks about this here.
3. In early October, I asked people to pick up anxiety sampler kits, try to use them at least twice a week, and send me the results. I gave out thirty kits and so far I have gotten valid results back from two of them (though it hasn’t quite been 10.5 weeks, so don’t worry, you’re not late). If you have a kit, please don’t forget to try it; if you’ve tried it, please don’t forget to send me your numbers.
4. Comments of the week are this discussion of “rods from God” as a nuke alternative; see especially Bean and John Schilling’s responses. Aside from everyone’s erudition, I also appreciate their ability to turn some good phrases – “like playing hide-and-seek while the seeker’s head is wrapped in a burning towel” is going to stick with me for a while.