Way too many categories
The main problem we are trying to solve, to me, is the politically-based polarization that is tearing apart society and preventing us from working together for a common goal."
I am a late-comer to this conversation, but will offer that how the forum frames itself to new registrants (and current registrants) can make a significant difference in encouraging posting "tone". Clear introductions re our expectations, both prior to official registration and perhaps as a prominent sticky to regularly remind posters might help.
Being personally active in both Campaign Finance Reform and Voting Theory communities, I do recommend separating those quite different topics. My estimate is that posters will rarely confuse them, and moderators can move the few exceptions. That guidance will encourage us all to take both topics seriously.
If we want to build this site as a go-to priority for people who appreciate serious, respectful, objective discourse for our chosen topic arenas, we can encourage our members to promote us to relevant communities in which they are already involved.
@toby-pereira thanks for the "lumpers vs. splitters" description, made me chuckle. It'd be nice if there was an interface that both lumpers and splitters could appreciate, like something that kept the tags and categories collapsed or expanded based on how you last set it.
In the context of this forum, maybe it could make sense to keep the most "general" categories and move everything else to tags? People would still need to agree on what counts as general though.
Some issues with tags though: they have a length limit, and the interface for browsing them and adding them isn't as organized or alluring (colorful) as the category browser.