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Removing one of the most intelligent and rational communities from the political debate (albeit temporarily, although I fear that a permanent ban might be considered) will only make the overall political debate even less rational, in addition to taking away a space where technologists can discuss these matters.

I respectfully disagree that discussion of politics on HN cannot "meaningfully change or move forward the debate and is unlikely to be instructive". Indeed, I have witnessed proof that this is not so. I have seen numerous occurrences in comment threads where there has been spirited factual debate which ended up informing both sides. I have seen minds changed. I have experienced my own mind being changed.

I don't deny, of course, that there has been some...less useful discussion, as well. But I feel that overall, it has been positive.

Suggesting that mixing HN and politics will improve HN is like suggesting that mixing wine and poison will improve the poison. The political discussions on HN have been typified by flaming, bullying, groupthink, and appeals to emotion, which tends to ooze out into the less-political topics and damage them too. This site is far better off without them.

I don't know. Even if the flaming and groupthink rhetoric is there, it doesn't mean that there's no one on the other side listening. Maybe they are just spectating and not posting. There is an impact there, but it's not measurable in any conceivable way. That doesn't make it useless though.

I say this as someone whose been that spectator.

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