Useful things can indeed come out of it, and you are fooling yourself if you don't accept that fact. Over the years, I have seen people open their minds to new ideas and perspectives, even to the extent of radical personal change. Even for people who have been relatively consistent in their views over the years, the practice of going up against other points of view and arguments can serve to make them understand their own positions in a deeper and more nuanced way than before. How else is the world going to meaningfully change for the better, unless it is through communication and exp<b></b>ression of ideas? People who say that political discussions are meaningless hot air which never serve any useful purpose are themselves engaging in bullshit hot air pronouncements. 2 people arguing on the Internet might change each others minds and feel better about themselves but nothing real gets accomplished. Lets say there is a discussion over new health care one for and one against. It's a spirited discussion and both people even learn new things but one is still for and one still against. Nothing changed with new health care. It's an exercise in verbal sparring like these posts. That's my point and my opinion, there are plenty instances where minds are changed in a political discussion. it doesn't happen a whole lot on SOCN because most of those dudes are 50 and pretty much know where they stand on shit, but that doesn't mean it never happens. and who cares if nothing "real" is accomplished? define "real." I mean, damn, the attitudes from some on here, it's like if you aren't talking about van halen or queensryche, there's no point in talking at all! I've changed my opinion on lots of things since joining SOCN. Plus, I feel much more informed about the world. I'm having a hard time explaining. I'm talking about substantive change, not individuals. If its a hobby, have at it. I'm talking about people that feel like some real good comes out of political discussions. Some feel like the world is changing somehow when it is "an exercise in self indulgence" to a great extent. Even this "substantive change" you are talking about only comes through the change of many individuals.