Jason, not to be mean -- or to belabor the obvious -- but "occupy" style events aren't generally organized by the managers of the venues to be "occupied".
There is some interesting discussion on TDPF. You're obviously hoping to give that a boost with the appeal in this thread. Good luck with that (I mean this sincerely).
There's also a lot of worthless crap and trolling, too. You've generally chosen to avoid direct intervention -- e.g., you've kept Flanders around all these years, and when his trolling causes a thread to degenerate too far and too fast, you've typically blamed the forons for "feeding the troll". Well, it's true that we've often collectively failed to hold our tongues. We've fed
the trolls, responded to provocations rather than ignoring them. But you're the one who's chosen to house
the trolls. The ratio of crappy troll-infested threads is a function of both
how the forons respond to provocations and
how heavy or light a moderation hand you choose to employ.
Over the years I've seen at least three explanations for why you tolerate (or, in the case of Blaska, even promote) the presence of crappy and (let's face it) mostly right-wing trolls:
(1) They provide an alternative point of view to the dominant left-of-center position of most people here. In essence, it's a form of affirmative action for conservatives. What's ironic about this is that all of the standard conservative critiques of affirmative action apply here. Blaska and Flanders can coast by on name-calling, potty humor, regurgitated talking points, etc. because there's no actual incentive for them to make the effort to engage in thoughtful, rational, constructive interaction. Think of it as the soft bigotry of low expectations -- nobody expects much from Ned or Blaska, so there's no pressure for them to improve.
(2) The trolling is a feature, not a bug. According to this explanation, you actually prefer to keep Flanders etc. around, specifically to provoke others into responding. Yes, it may lower the quality of postings, but it increases the quantity. A heavier intervention by the moderator(s) would result in a DPF that was more civil, more rational ... and a lot quieter.
(3) Moderating TDPF takes work, and you're too busy to adopt a more active moderation role.
It's your Forum, and you can manage it as you see fit. I doubt that I'd do a better job of running this place (probably a much worse job, actually). But let's be absolutely clear that responsibility for the state of health of TDPF is shared between the forons and the management
. That applies to the good stuff -- good discussions only happen because you've created this venue to host the content and
people volunteer their time to provide the content. Yay for Isthmus, yay for Jason, yay for the forons. On the other hand, when things go downhill in a once-promising thread, that represents a failure on our part and
a failure on the management's part. Neither side here gets all the credit, and neither side deserves all the blame.