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I realised that many of the members I personally would expect to see on such a list are, for various reasons, no longer with us.
I'm having some difficulty agreeing with you. Is it elitist to offer membership to anyone who can be polite and respectful? Certainly, Captain Billy's Club (or whatever) won't have everybody in it, if for reasons of processing time if nothing else. And it won't have everybody who deserves to be in it, either. But that's not elitist.
And its just a tadge elitist and self-indulging.
But we know that doesn't happen, so let's do what we can to encourage it. Further, Captain Billy's Club isn't about getting respect, it's about recognizing the importance of giving respect.
And if I'm being honest, every member should be offered exactly the same level of regard, respect and simple common decency regardless of any 'status' or 'standing' they may have achieved.
Those who have been in the US for more than just a couple of years know that Martin Luther King, Jr. was an excellent American. Anyone who is even just a little bit curious can go to the public library to find out how excellent he was and how his life was regarded by others.
There are still lots of excellent active members and those who have been here for more than just a couple of months know exactly who they are and for anyone who is even just a little bit curious can easily find out just how constructive individual members have been and how their posts are regarded by other members and Admin.
So, after due reflection I think that the current 'WATS', coloured borders etc and profile details are ample enough and any other honorifics would simply be going too far.
I'd like to see most of it all go away.
Keep the number of posts .. the points if you must .. and the flags I understand.
But Karma and stars are just conditioning people for 'group think' ... IMHO.
or the staff will be accused of bias over certain isssues - something that happens already when we contribute to discussions in a number of topics.
Except... anyone chosen by the moderators will likley be accused of receiving special treatment
Sorry, but unless there is some kind of magical seed change in attitudes on the internet, this kind of thing is not really practical at all.
If the member is selected based on behavior in any of the threads he participates in, if he's respectful in 9/11, the Mid-east, and Atheism threads, how can the staff be accused of bias over certain issues?
Is it their character, to handle themselves so?
Did they simply develop that charisma?
Or - are they just a lot smarter...than most?
Were they born with silver tongues? --- Do you reward silver tongues...for being...silver?
What about everyone born with black and blue tongues...?
No matter how hard they try - they will not turn...silver.
So - in agreement with your desire to appreciate "silver & gold" on these boards... I am disheartened that too many, by no fault of their own, would ever be in the running.
Another 0.0001% vs the 99.9999% club.