Originally Posted by Baron
I kinda feel the same way. I think the very fact that this is one of those subjects that make some people freak out is the very reason it made for an interesting thread, and the posts seemed pretty thoughtful. I did see a shady post or two at the end - someone saying that "12 if it's just for sex" or something like that. Still, I hear where you're coming from. My grandmother was 16 when she got married and the Guatemalan woman that was a nanny and housekeeper for us when I was young was married at 14. Both boys and girls are infantilized in our culture compared to 100 years ago. That may be a very good thing, for many reasons, but it doesn't seem that it should be taboo to talk about.
Without weighing in on the moral/cultural issues, certain facts are relevant here:
1. Sex with minors (however that is defined in a given state) is illegal. Whether or not that should be the case, and whether or not there is room for reasonable debate about where the line should be drawn for the age of consent, that's the existing legal framework.
2. For what I presume we can all agree are understandable reasons, there are some fairly serious laws prohibiting not just actual sex with minors, but also portrayals of sex (or sexually suggestive/exploitative/whatever portrayals) involving minors.
3. Considerable law enforcement resources, backed by strong public/political sentiment, have been devoted (again, for obvious reasons) to cracking down on internet trafficking in child porn, solicitation, exploitation, etc.
4. Given the general abhorrence to the exploitation, etc. of kids, any person or medium accused of coming even close to crossing various lines (the exact placement of which may be a matter of interpretation or value judgment) tends not to get the benefit of the doubt.
5. This is a public forum, so pretty much anybody can join a discussion. What's more, there's a track record of some members -- sometimes openly, sometimes using aliases, getting a juvenile thrill out of crossing lines and deliberately attempting to offend others' sensibilities. Given that, even without having seen the thread in question I'd have to imagine there was a significant likelihood that the quality of discussion would have deteriorated, not improved, over time, and the incidence of "questionable" posts would have increased.
In light of all that, it hardly seems surprising that the thread got "squirrelled". There are plenty of places where some of the legal/cultural issues at play can be openly discussed -- but I'd tend to agree with the judgment of j et al. that this probably isn't the best place. As for those who suggest that canning a thread that appeals to what is, for some, a disturbingly strong interest in "discussing" sex with young girls makes this "blockbuster@corporate america", all I can say is: