If we were to follow your advice, Living Car Free would soon go the way of the Utility Bike sub-forum.
If we were to follow your advice, Living Car Free would soon go the way of the Utility Bike sub-forum.
And Living Car Free and the Utility Cycling forums should be re-merged.
No one is suggesting that Living Car Free should be all about nuts and bolts type conversations, but rather that those topics should be part of the Living Car Free discussions. After all, if one wants to be "car free" or "car light", those types of discussions are part of it.
I don't think you can really separate and compartmentalize living car free, utility cycling and advocacy & safety, and some politics. It is difficult to live car free or light without some cargo carrying bike or trailer. We also need cycling infrastructure and laws protecting us; and this has to involve some sort of political action, at the local state or national level. As I mentioned in another thread, those countries with both a high standard of living, and a high percentage of bicycle usage, eg; The Netherlands and Denmark have government programs encouraging cycling, walking and public transportation. This involves politics.
If you want government action you have to get involved in politics, in the broad sense of the word. Otherwise the Sarah Palins, and Rob Fords of the world will bury us.
And I was also car free without any particular cycling infrastructure, or any particular political involvement. I was certainly not car free because of any political statement or involvement ... politics had nothing to do with my being car free.
So while I think there are some overlaps between Living Car Free, Utility Cycling, Advocacy and Safety, Commuting, and a teensy bit of Politics ... I think we can safely leave Advocacy and Safety on its own, and we can put political stuff in P&R, but re-merging Living Car Free and Utility Cycling is a good idea. As for Commuting ... sometimes I wonder if we should merge Commuting, Living Car Free, and Utility Cycling, and just call it Commuting. :) But I suppose that Living Car Free/Utility Cycling encompasses a bit more than just commuting to and from work.
Out of curiosity, when is the last time you posted on the Utility forum? Do you ever spend more than 5 or 10 minutes a week there? Obviously you spend several hours a week on THIS forum, then you complain that there should be no political discussions.
(To clarify, by "Political" I don't mean electoral politics or campaigns or democrats/republicans. I agree that this has no place on this type of forum. I mean issues like how to spend transportation funds, social and economic problems, environmental concerns, and so forth. That's why I always put quotation marks around "political".)
I thought ironwood said it very well. For better or worse, carfree issues touch on many other issues in our society. People often get very defensive because they wrongly feel that we threaten their lifestyle. If you are carfree, you can try to be apolitical but "they" won't let you be. Unless you just live in the carfree closet, people will challenge you and some (a minority) will become ugly and defensive when you try to explain your life choices. There are Rob Fords all over this world, but luckily most are not mayors.
Those who want to avoid political discussions on this board can easily turn away from them. It's as easy as changing the channel on TV if you don't like Big Bang Theory. There are other threads they can enjoy, DIY stuff and how's the weather. I think they will miss some informative and entertaining discussions, but that's just my taste.
Sorry ... I've got no idea who "Rob Ford" is, and I managed to live for 6 years without a motor vehicle without it ever becoming a political issue. One person, in that entire time, asked me if I couldn't afford a car, but that was the only time anyone questioned it.
i have had a few run-ins with people about being carfree, but not too many. Some were interesting discussions with good give and take. The rest I walked away from.
Fifty years ago I didn't think much about cycling infrastructure. I don' know off hand how many more cars are on the road now as compared to fifty years ago but there are and the drivers are more distracted. There weren't that many drugs and electronic gadgets. Just booze.
But you live now in Australia or Tasmania, not near a large American city. Why do you want to stop us from talking about how to live car free inour country? We need an infrastructure, and that involves politics.
I looked at the P&R forum for the first time and I saw only one thread remotely related to car free living on the first page.
Also, I've never felt excluded and I own a car and drive it once a month or so (and my wife uses it regularly). I would never consider myself car-free, but who in their right mind would say I can't post here?
However, there is a forum for that, and it is called Advocacy and Safety.
One of the main reasons people come here is to see how it is done ... how it is possible to live car free or car light ... and to get some ideas for incorporating that possibility into their own lives.
That's why I think that the Utility forum should reunite with the Living Car Free forum, and that the description of the Living Car Free forum should include something about making use of public transportation, walking (and ... roller blading, using those scooter things, or any other human-powered method of transportation) as well as cycling.
As I said before, the Living Car Free should be pro-cycling, pro transportation alternatives, pro lifestyle alternatives ... rather than anti-automobile.
Unfortunately, I think that an emphasis on political discussions does turn people off ... as Roody mentioned, the Commuting forum wants nothing to do with the Living Car Free forum, even though they should be almost the same forum, and Utility broke off to get away from the political side of things.
If you want to attract people to the Living Car Free forum, provide them with positive pro-cycling, pro transportation alternative, pro lifestyle alternative information. And leave the bulk of the political in Advocacy and Safety.
IMO, the key to making everybody happy (not that it's ever totally possible) is to make sure that thread titles clearly and accurately reflect the content of the thread. That way, nobody has to be even briefly exposed to content that makes them uncomfortable. If the topic doesn't interest you, just pass it by. Any adult should be able to do that with a minimum of whining and name calling. For example, when I see something about internal geared hubs, my eyes glaze over. But I don't complain to a mod that that thread should be moved to the Utility forum. If the title mentions IGH or Rohloff, I simply fail to click on it. It's pretty simple, really.
The description should include comments about:
-- living car free
-- living car light
-- opting to use alternate transportation (including: bicycles, walking, other human powered transportation, and public transportation) for everyday activities (including: commuting, groceries, recreational activities, etc., etc.) whenever possible
And, because this forum already includes threads about lifestyle alternatives and wellness (i.e. the recent Sleeping thread, the Living More Simply thread, etc.), and those lifestyle alternatives are indeed interesting, I think the description should include a comment about that too.
IMO, that would make this forum seem more inclusive, and could open it up to a variety of interesting discussions.
And of course ... re-include Utility! :)
Sorry ... I've got no idea who "Rob Ford" is, and I managed to live for 6 years without a motor vehicle without it ever becoming a political issue. One person, in that entire time, asked me if I couldn't afford a car, but that was the only time anyone questioned it.[/QUOTE] As Roody mentioned ,Rob Ford is the mayor of Toronto. He is on record as saying roads are for cars, trucks and busses; he doesn't care if cyclists are injured as it is their own fault for riding on roads where they don't belong. He has removed bike lanes; and he has stopped a light rail project because he thinks street cars are a pain the ass.
But he isn't alone: we have Rush Limbaugh who doesn't care if he doors and injures a cyclist; we have Dorothy Rabinowitz, of the Wall Street Journal, who considers bicycles a blight on New York; and there are other policians and commentators who are anti cycling. They see an internationalist, socialist plot.
This LCF forum is most useful to me when we discuss and share ideas on how to live more car-free. I have found enough useful information and good exchange of ideas to keep coming back.
Having said that, of the sub-forums I regularly read on BF, this one is the most contentious. It's less fun to post in LCF because you can be sure that every word you write will be parsed by someone who doesn't like bicycling and wants nothing more than to stop the conversation by going negative and gumming up the works.
I suspect that the title of the sub-forum, "Living Car Free", specifically attracts some people who are either paid employees of auto or oil industry groups or those of the political bent of Rob Ford and Rush Limbaugh that just don't like treehuggers, bicyclists, socialists, etc. and are here just to go negative. I am surprised at times by the effort and time put into writing negative posts on LCF by folks that don't appear to like bicycling very much.
I am a bicycle commuter who got rid of a car. My wife still drives, so we are "car light" and don't neatly fit the LCF definition, however you put it. But that doesn't mean that I don't still have Living Car Free as an ultimate goal. Perhaps "Living As Car Free As Possible" would be more inclusive as a title, but it would be less effective.
The Bicycle Commuting sub-forum is a perfect match for me, is useful every day, and is 99% troll-free. It's great. This LCF sub-forum is more difficult, but still worth it, because it is aspirational for me and does include useful content not related to commuting from home to work. I'm sure others have different interests and needs; I'm just expressing mine here. The trolls won't keep me away. Some Troll-Away Spray would be welcome, though. If you are reading this and just absolutely personally hate bicycling, why don't you take the time you would have spent on a snappy cut-down reply and go out and do something nice for a fellow human instead? Leave this place for those who want to live car free, please.