After enjoying involvement with the members of this forum for some time, I stopped visiting the forum several months ago and cancelled my subscription to Stereophile. I had two reasons: the content of the magazine and the forum included what I felt was excessive political commentary by the writers and the Editor, and much of the interaction in the forum was decidedly uncivil.
Curious to see whether things had changed during my absence, I dropped in on the forum today. I noted "The Open Bar" and its definition with a smile, assuming that discussions and debates on topics not related to music or audio appeared to be relegated to an area set aside for those who enjoy such discourse. Good Show.
Since I have a Marantz CD player, I began reading the thread focussing on the review of the Marantz SA11S2 (or is it SA1152?) in the February Issue. The thread began, sorry to say, with a complaint from a forum member about the use of such terms as "modestly priced" with reference to a $3500 CD player. Not what I'd hoped to find. Rather than ignore the complaint, some writers and the Editor offered mildly testy replies. When the original poster continued to press his argument, JA moved from chiding the poster for being patronizing and insulting to comparing him to Rush Limbaugh. Soon enough, the debate was centered on whether or not Limbaugh is a hypocrite. It is a rather long thread and I dropped out well before the end. Never got any hint about how that player compares to mine, nor any resolution of the hypocrisy issue either .
I'll concede that there was, as far as I read, one minor improvement compared with the past. While the sarcasm of the discourse began to stretch what one would call civility, at least it didn't draw heavily from George Carlin's list of words one can't say on TV. Perhaps their really is some hope in this time of Hope and Change.
Maybe I'll drop in again, someday. In the meantime, I presume, JA, that you're aware of the many politically oriented websites where you could engage in the sort of verbal combat you seem to enjoy with lots of willing and able participants and there would be no digressions related to music or audio.