Shambles, you say that there were "some fine contributions" in that particular thread and that "it may be seen as a civil, intelligent and honest debate is mainly due to the restraint of the majority of Mudcatter's who did not contribute to it (not because they do not find the subject of interest) and the great care taken by those that did."
And then you say at first that you didn't contribute to it because of a unease about being patronised or bullied -but then that you would have contributed to it if you'd read it while it was going on.
I think there are some inconsistencies in there. Though I don't think that's a crime. As Walt Whitman said
"Do I contradict myself?
Very well, I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain mulotitudes.)
A free discussion setup like this can't avoid tensions and failures, above all when we are dealing with subjects where people feel strongly and which matter desperately. After all, if tempers can be raised about things like "what is folk?" or "is there too much BS?", it's not surprising that when we talk about the Irish troubles people can get heated.
I think that the Bobby Sands thread kept on the level remarkably well, far mre so than you'd expect to find in print or in broadcasting. It could have been better, most things can be better. It would have been better, I'm sure, if The Shambles had come in on it. (And that is not sarcasm on my part.)
But speculating as to why some peiople contribute and others didn't is just that, speculation.
Sometimes I don't post because I don't follow a thread. This may be for all kinds of reasons - I think it's probably going to be going over old ground, or I'm too busy, or I don't see it. Or it's not something I feel involved with, or its something I'm too involved with. And sometimes I follow a thread and don't post because someone else has made the points I'd make, but better.
And I'm wholly with The Shambles on the last point in the poist: "Again what's done is what's done, the only thing left to do is to learn from it, so we can do it better in the future. That can only be done if we are honest."