Debatepolitics seems pleasant enough at first. Most of the people are nice, and the community is undeniably quite a bit more mature and intellectual, on average, than most. Beneath the surface, however, the board is actually something of an Orwellian nightmare in terms of moderation, administration, and the culture behind it.
Have you ever had the misfortune to work in a truly toxic environment? One where management always makes sure to be on their soft-spoken "Ps and Qs," but are backbiting and manipulative authoritarian low-lives underneath it all, making decisions based off of petty personal biases, rather than any sort of real professional interest? Yeah... That's DP's moderation team in a nut shell. They'll swear up and down that they're all just as professional and impartial as can be, and that they are absolutely bound by the board's rules in laying down judgement (and God help the poor fool who suggests otherwise on the open board).
In reality, however, they clearly show favoritism towards some posters, and negative bias towards others. What gets one person a slap on the wrist, or is allowed to pass entirely, will get another punished to the fullest extent possible. And if, for that matter, the mods decide that a certain poster needs to go, they will not hesitate to bend, twist, and distort the rules in basically any way necessary to make it happen as quickly as possible. They will usually do it all with a smile... At least where other posters can see the interactions in question.
That's before we even get to the "good ole' boy" circle jerk that is "the Basement." In theory, this "special" area of the board is a place, mostly free of moderation, meant for blowing off steam, and the settling of grudges. The reality of the place, however, is a veritable no man's land of clichish and caustic board vets, psychopathic trolls, and bullies. These supremely unplesasant people operate with near total impunity, and viciously rip into any new-comer unfortunate enough to cross their paths.
Which... Finally... Brings us to the board's last and most serious problem. It's - really rather bizarre - "troll culture." One fact serves to illustrate this point above all others: that among the number of those "Basement-dwellers" mentioned above one can even find a Senior Moderator - having served in his position for several years. This individual claims to be a psychologist in real life. However, he not only openly boasts about using his skills in that profession to manipulate the rest of the moderating team, but he also claims to use his advantaged position on the board to drive posters he dislikes into nervous break-downs for his own amusement.
Most shocking of all, however, is that - while this mod's antics draw numerous complaints from board members - no one with any power or influence seems to care in the slightest. Some even congratulate the probable psychopath on his "smack skills," and will gladly toast along with him to his many victims.
Likely due to the Basement's influence, this seems to be a sentiment shared by many - if not even most - of the board's longtime members towards trolls and trollish behavior of all measure; both in the Basement, and on the greater board. They feel that it's perfectly acceptable to be an actively malicious troll; deliberately lying, baiting, or otherwise trying to cause harm to other posters. It's just not alright for the intended victim to draw attention to it, or try to fight back. They feel that deserves to be punished. Hell! The moderators even count accusations of "trolling" as being an infractable offense, regardless of if the poster accused openly admits to being a "troll" in other contexts, or is well known by that reputation across the entire board!
Yes, I'm almost certain that this plays into the favoritism and biased moderation I mentioned above. Some people seem to be able to insult, bait, and abuse other posters with near impunity even when operating outside of areas in which the board supposedly deems this as being appropriate behavior. It is likely more than just coincidence that these favored posters also happen to be board vets, and usually the Basement's most well known agitators as well, more often than not.
In any case, DP can be a lot fun. Most of the rank and file membership is nice, and the atmosphere is generally fairly relaxed in most areas. It might behoove one, however, to keep their head down, and avoid some of the more corrosive subforums likely to draw attention to one's self from the board's more malicious and corrupt "elite" members. Simply speaking, no good ever seems to come from it.