1 Baxter 1 year ago I've been thinking about this for awhile. Definitely since Halloween, and really, quite awhile before.As many of you know, I was once -- in a long ago former life -- a journalist, and have retained a deep respect for freedom of speech.But at the same time, over the past few years we've seen freedom of speech weaponized in ways I don't think we've really seen before. I'm thinking of things like Reddit and Twitter and 4Chan, offering truly unfettered speech and allowing for the literal rise of Nazis, coordinated attacks on ... whoever and an elevated platform for every form of nastiness imaginable. And it's not just that these voices have a platform, it's that they are, as I said, weaponizing. They are creating coordinated efforts to shut down rational discourse, other viewpoints, and, for that matter, simple factual statements they don't like.I'm not saying that's happening here, but I am providing some insight into a pretty core-belief discussion I'm having with myself.So I find myself shifting position a bit, and wondering if the absolutely free exchange of ideas is really that great an ideal after all. Some ideas are patently stupid. Or dangerous.Some may be neither stupid nor dangerous, but simply require a level of intellectual commitment and nuance that is going to be in short supply on most internet venues. Or maybe I'm just getting over myself. It's a guitar site. We're not gonna solve the world's problems here. If we're lucky, we'll solve an intonation problem. Or teach me how to play the dang things -- that'd be an achievement.And I've also noticed that political discourse has reached an absolute nadir. I've been doing this since the Clinton administration. It was rough then, it was worse in the Bush years. And somewhere in the Obama years, it took an even deeper dive. Nowadays, it's not just nasty and partisan, it's aggressively stupid and non-factual. Worse yet (and maybe due to "aggressively stupid and non-factual") we're no longer listening to one another. And what's the point in talking at all if no one is listening?So, I intend to grab some wisdom from the not-too-far-past, courtesy of Mr. Linus Van Pelt: There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin. So, while I still have some tattered belief in free speech remaining, I am going to start curtailing threads that dive into the above three topics. To be sure I'm clear, we're gonna forgo any further topics diving into religion, politics, or the Great Pumpkin. I'm sure there are other forums that will be better venues for your thoughts on those things. As for me, I'm tired of it. Life is too short. And too good.Since I know someone somewhere will feel that I am applying this rule inconsistently.... If you are the last poster when I lock a thread, it may or may not be due to your post. Most likely, it's not, and you just happened to be the last person to post before I saw it. So don't take it personally. If you think something has fallen afoul of the Great Pumpkin rule PLEASE vote it down. Nothing gets my attention faster than a post marked as toxic. Don't hesitate to reach out to me, either, if you think a post needs attention. And for the love of all things holy, if I shut a post down, don't start another one to argue over it. That's just causing trouble, and you know it.I think that 'bout covers it, but if not, I'm happy to elaborate further.