Not that I would miss them so much, but... why this deleting urge?
Are they doing any harm?
Will people suddenly start posting interesting stuff once the games has gone?
It seems a lot of people think that if you remove the foolish things from this site, it will become a good and interesting site. I'm not so optimistic- I think it's quite likely we'll end up with a dead site.
If we want serious and deep discussions on interesting topics we need to allow people to become emotional. Why? Because what interests us is important to us! We need to allow opinions. And clashes of opinions. Then the participants in the discussions need to be mature enough to differenciate between criticism of opinions/sources/interpretations and personal attacs, which sadly seem to be a point of confusion for some. When someone is unable to keep the discussion in a timely manner they should be removed from the discussion, not the discussion removed from the forum.
Now we close down the topics where the discussions has become heated. Why did it become heated? Because it was important to people! They took a deep interest in the topic. Deep personal interest WILL create friction between different views. This lead to interesting and fruitful discussions that can lead to much greater understanding and depth to a subject. If the discussion is kept in a mature and civilized manner! Friction between views is good, friction between people is bad.
If we want interesting discussions we need to stop banning all topics that create interest, and instead allow the discussions, but be firm on how the discussions are held. When someone instead of attacking the other parts arguments start attacking his/hers person, or otherwise ruins the constructive mood of the discussion, the culprit should in no uncertain terms be told to cool down or get lost. Now we are basically telling everybody to get lost...
When I first read this post I was very impressed because it seemed topical with some of the recent discussions the Council had been having. Post of the Week was originally conceived as a way of encouraging interesting posts and thus developing discussions. It seems, then, quite topical to award a POW to a post concerning itself with developing discussions. What is nice, is what has developed in that thread since I first proposed this post to the other Council Members. A very good, but calm discussion has developed from the seeds of this post. In a way some of the following posts are even better than this one, but as it was this post which instigated the whole discussion, it is this one that deserves the award.
I do not agree with all that Grev says in this post, particularly the parts about removing people from discussions or telling them to get lost, but most of these points have now been discussed in length, and I believe everyone concerned is now the wiser for having joined in that discussion (still ongoing, by the way).
Although, like I said, I do not agree with some of the points mentioned, the main crux of the post is very valid. I think in a PM to someone recently, I too identified that the best discussions are those involving people who believe passionately in something. It is that passion which gives the writer the fuel to research and develop their argument. It is that same passion, however, that can cause a few problems now and again. In such discussions, participants must remember not to personally attack those of differing opinions. Maybe it is a good place here to add, should you feel a discussion involving yourself is becoming heated, just step back for a while before it simmers over. You can use that time to check your references, ensure your argument is valid etc, before going back with a stronger but less personal response. It may be difficult at times to do so, but we are all friends here, and are here because of our love for Tolkien and his works.
As a last note, I'd encourage anyone who has found Grev's post interesting to go the Fans over Forty thread (about page 4 or 5 I think) and have a read at the discussion which developed from it. The theme is not exactly Tolkien, but it is definetly site related, and everyone's input is welcome.