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Thread: Dywyddyr's Suggestion

  1. #1 Dywyddyr's Suggestion 
    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    In a thread in the Site Feedback section, member Dywyddyr made the following suggestion (cf. post #22):

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr
    Would it be possible to have a forum policy along the lines of "Failure to produce support/ evidence after 3 (or whatever number) direct requests will result in thread locking"? Or something similar?
    Members Tranquille and John Galt stepped into the discussion, but the thread was locked soon afterwards, making further discussion impossible.
    Nonetheless, I think that the original suggestion is worthy of a civil and proper discussion. For the sake of completeness, I provide (part of) their answers that reflects their stance on the matter:

    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    I think this is a useful suggestion. It might be counterproductive to have a rigid number - some members make what they may consider a genuine effort to offer support that we would consider weak: logical fallacies, YouTube videos and the like. If they were showing a growing awareness of what they were doing wrong I would not like to shut them down.
    (cf. post #23)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquille
    (...) Personally speaking, I prefer more serious scientific discussion than pseudoscience and religious beliefs being passed off as science in the science forums. It is disheartening to see the level of pseudoscience making its way into the scientific discussions. A mere mention here or there about theories that have no place in scientific discourse is accepted. And it throws the discussion off course and tempers rise. Quality vs quantity. Which is more important? (...)
    (cf. post #25)


    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  3. #2  
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    Great idea . . . but it probably won't fly here. This idea of yours would work well on a true science site -- a site like BAUT. But it doesn't jibe with the current moderation philosophy of this forum.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    Great idea . . . but it probably won't fly here. This idea of yours would work well on a true science site -- a site like BAUT. But it doesn't jibe with the current moderation philosophy of this forum.

    Could you elucidate that sentence?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    Great idea . . . but it probably won't fly here. This idea of yours would work well on a true science site -- a site like BAUT. But it doesn't jibe with the current moderation philosophy of this forum.

    Could you elucidate that sentence?
    You'll be elucidated when (if?) you get responses from the moderation team.
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  6. #5  
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    The thread with Dywyddyr's suggestion was locked because a fight broke out.

    I probably would avoid hanging out with you guys in a bar because I would be afraid of you all starting a brawl and getting me gaoled.
    That is the behaviour that needs to be reined in instead of given free rein.
    Today I saw three threads degrade from civil Q&A to senseless childlike bickering. The constant infantile squabbling is boring and detracts severely from making the site a place people can learn from.
    If you want a quality science forum you can't act like that.

    It takes two to make a fight, so next time one of you decide to engage in a fight ask yourself if you are more acting mature than a 5 year old.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    . . . you guys . . .
    Don't include me in that.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    . . . you guys . . .
    Don't include me in that.
    What, are you trying to start a fight?
    I am bigger than you!
    Have you ever been punched in the nose through a computer screen before?

    Hey Chuck, all joking aside, the constant bickering is a real drag and it gets to me.
    I was so ready to leave a little while ago that I even posted a goodbye notice.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I'd think that if any moderator feels that the thread has veered off course enough that they should do as Dywyddyr says. After that if there's more discussion needed the members could always send PM's to whomever they want to further their discussion. Just because a thread is closed PM's are available to everyone.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    I like the idea a lot and I think a large portion of the current climate here is due to not pushing back and just slipping into tit for tat arguments. If there is more push back from the regular members against anyone that starts that, it will help the mods do there volunteer jobs much easier. Just being apathetic and accepting that "this is how it is currently" is not helping anything but the sniping.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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  11. #10  
    Forum Masters Degree Tranquille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    In a thread in the Site Feedback section, member Dywyddyr made the following suggestion (cf. post #22):

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr
    Would it be possible to have a forum policy along the lines of "Failure to produce support/ evidence after 3 (or whatever number) direct requests will result in thread locking"? Or something similar?
    Yes, sorry for my responding to the one who stepped in after me. I let my frustrations with what's going on get the better of me and diverted away from what I actually wanted to discuss with John Galt.

    I think Dywyddyr's suggestion is a really good one. I do see John Galt's reasons regarding whether it should be a rigid number, but I also understand Dywyddyr's reasons for having down to something like 3 requests for evidence, as it will cut down the absolute frustration of a protracted battle trying to get someone to provide some scientific evidence for their claims. What we're seeing now is a trickling upwards from the pseudoscience sub-forums and into the science forums, with certain arguments being accepted by some as being established scientific fact instead of what most would see as being quackery, for absolute lack of evidence or frankly, batshit insane theories (such as aquatic ape). Because of this, they drop those arguments into threads in the science forums, sometimes even one or two lines about what is absolute pseudoscience or religious beliefs and treating it as fact and reality and few bat an eyelid at it.

    And it's annoying and frustrating to see.

    A perfect example was the recent DNA thread, which saw one member virtually get trolled with stupid questions by another after he gave the correct and scientific response and another member simply troll it for his own reasons. By midway through the first page, intelligent design reared its ugly head and the trolling just got worse and people's frustrations built up and up. Yes, the thread wasn't that far from pseudoscience to begin with, but the opportunity to teach and explain something to another was completely lost when a couple of members trolled it. And it went on for over 100 posts before someone moved it to pseudoscience.

    And it was why I asked whether people value quality over quantity.

    I don't mean to insult the moderators here. My comments in no way critiques how you are doing your jobs. I think you are doing really well in the face of absolute insanity in many instances and frankly, your patience is exemplary. I do think that this is probably not something you are going to be able to control without stricter posting rules - and possibly looking at ways to ban certain members from posting in the science forums on this site.. I know, I know, mean and horrible me and not possible, but a girl can dream!
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    But it doesn't jibe with the current moderation philosophy of this forum.
    What is the philosophy of the current moderation team? As one of the team I should be keen to know what it is, since my recent actions are in the process of changing it and it might be useful to know what I am changing it from.

    And I still think the Duck's idea is sound and simply want to see if someone comes up with a better one before getting 'the team' on board.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    The thread with Dywyddyr's suggestion was locked because a fight broke out.

    I probably would avoid hanging out with you guys in a bar because I would be afraid of you all starting a brawl and getting me gaoled.
    That is the behaviour that needs to be reined in instead of given free rein.
    Today I saw three threads degrade from civil Q&A to senseless childlike bickering. The constant infantile squabbling is boring and detracts severely from making the site a place people can learn from.
    If you want a quality science forum you can't act like that.

    It takes two to make a fight, so next time one of you decide to engage in a fight ask yourself if you are more acting mature than a 5 year old.
    What he said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Today I saw three threads degrade from civil Q&A to senseless childlike bickering. The constant infantile squabbling is boring and detracts severely from making the site a place people can learn from.
    What threads were those Dan?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Today I saw three threads degrade from civil Q&A to senseless childlike bickering. The constant infantile squabbling is boring and detracts severely from making the site a place people can learn from.
    What threads were those Dan?
    Let me go look them up.
    I think one of the threads was started by Magimaster.
    Right now it is late, I just got back from the bar, and I am tired.
    See you tommorrow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    But it doesn't jibe with the current moderation philosophy of this forum.
    What is the philosophy of the current moderation team? As one of the team I should be keen to know what it is, since my recent actions are in the process of changing it and it might be useful to know what I am changing it from.

    And I still think the Duck's idea is sound and simply want to see if someone comes up with a better one before getting 'the team' on board.
    I'll repeat what I asked yesterday:
    "Who is going to do this asking? Can it be the same person 3 times? Will it be enforced both ways, like, if I ask someone and question them for evidence will I get the same response?
    If it was applied across everyone, fairly and evenly it might work."

    There has to be a reasonable amount of time given to respond too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    I'd think that if any moderator feels that the thread has veered off course enough that they should do as Dywyddyr says. After that if there's more discussion needed the members could always send PM's to whomever they want to further their discussion. Just because a thread is closed PM's are available to everyone.
    Have you tried to PM someone who hates you. Next thing you get on the main forum is an embarrassing message "do not PM me"
    So PMs are out. Either that or ban anyone who says "do not PM me".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    I like the idea a lot and I think a large portion of the current climate here is due to not pushing back and just slipping into tit for tat arguments. If there is more push back from the regular members against anyone that starts that, it will help the mods do there volunteer jobs much easier. Just being apathetic and accepting that "this is how it is currently" is not helping anything but the sniping.
    What is "push back"? Could you give us an example please?
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    What is the philosophy of the current moderation team?
    i don't think that as a team there is any agreed or official philosophy
    my personal philosophy is to follow Asimov's Golden Rule of the Second Foundation: "Do nothing unless you must, and when you must act - hesitate."
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    What is the philosophy of the current moderation team?
    i don't think that as a team there is any agreed or official philosophy
    my personal philosophy is to follow Asimov's Golden Rule of the Second Foundation: "Do nothing unless you must, and when you must act - hesitate."
    Yet you have always struck me as quite impulsive. You strike without warning.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    I like the idea a lot and I think a large portion of the current climate here is due to not pushing back and just slipping into tit for tat arguments. If there is more push back from the regular members against anyone that starts that, it will help the mods do there volunteer jobs much easier. Just being apathetic and accepting that "this is how it is currently" is not helping anything but the sniping.
    I agree. I shall make an effort to post more kitten images, and qualify whether such is an interjection of warm fuzziness or an act of malice.
    I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
    Lucky me. Lucky mud.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    I like the idea a lot and I think a large portion of the current climate here is due to not pushing back and just slipping into tit for tat arguments. If there is more push back from the regular members against anyone that starts that, it will help the mods do there volunteer jobs much easier. Just being apathetic and accepting that "this is how it is currently" is not helping anything but the sniping.
    I agree. I shall make an effort to post more kitten images, and qualify whether such is an interjection of warm fuzziness or an act of malice.
    That method will definitely cause confusion. GiantEvil trying to do good; makes no sense.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquille View Post
    I do see John Galt's reasons regarding whether it should be a rigid number, but I also understand Dywyddyr's reasons for having down to something like 3 requests for evidence
    The number 3 was merely a suggestion.
    A fixed number isn't a necessity, but I think the principle is.
    3 for someone who doesn't make any attempt to post evidence, rising as the attempt is made but the "evidence" is found to be not-evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    "Who is going to do this asking? Can it be the same person 3 times?

    Does it matter?
    (I suspect that here you'll try to interject with some comment about "hounding" from particular individuals, i.e. the same poster asking 3 times in a row. Yet, regardless of who asks, if the support isn't forthcoming then THAT would be the salient point).

    There has to be a reasonable amount of time given to respond too.
    Yeah sure.
    Having said that, it's not the time taken, it's whether or not the claimant continues to posts and make claims: if you've got the time to make further claims, or simply reiterate the initial one then surely you've also got the time to provide the asked-for support?
    If you can't establish the groundwork then why bother (or be allowed) to extend the claims?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    So PMs are out. Either that or ban anyone who says "do not PM me".
    Whut?
    How about banning anyone who puts other posters on ignore?
    How about banning anyone who doesn't respond to each and every thread? 1
    Who you choose to interact with on here, and the extent of that interaction, is bugger all to do with the mod team.

    1 And anyone who likes Marmite while we're at it.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquille View Post
    I do see John Galt's reasons regarding whether it should be a rigid number, but I also understand Dywyddyr's reasons for having down to something like 3 requests for evidence
    The number 3 was merely a suggestion.
    A fixed number isn't a necessity, but I think the principle is.
    3 for someone who doesn't make any attempt to post evidence, rising as the attempt is made but the "evidence" is found to be not-evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    "Who is going to do this asking? Can it be the same person 3 times?

    Does it matter?
    (I suspect that here you'll try to interject with some comment about "hounding" from particular individuals, i.e. the same poster asking 3 times in a row. Yet, regardless of who asks, if the support isn't forthcoming then THAT would be the salient point).

    There has to be a reasonable amount of time given to respond too.
    Yeah sure.
    Having said that, it's not the time taken, it's whether or not the claimant continues to posts and make claims: if you've got the time to make further claims, or simply reiterate the initial one then surely you've also got the time to provide the asked-for support?
    If you can't establish the groundwork then why bother (or be allowed) to extend the claims?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    So PMs are out. Either that or ban anyone who says "do not PM me".
    Whut?
    How about banning anyone who puts other posters on ignore?
    How about banning anyone who doesn't respond to each and every thread? 1
    Who you choose to interact with on here, and the extent of that interaction, is bugger all to do with the mod team.

    1 And anyone who likes Marmite while we're at it.
    I agree with everything you've said!
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Who is going to do this asking? Can it be the same person 3 times? Will it be enforced both ways, like, if I ask someone and question them for evidence will I get the same response?
    If it was applied across everyone, fairly and evenly it might work."

    There has to be a reasonable amount of time given to respond too.
    Yeah, who may demand evidence when and for what? Simply as proposed, this rule would be so easy to abuse e.g:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr
    A fixed number isn't a necessity
    ...and I demand a citation for your incredible claim. Or did you just make that up? This is your first chance...
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    ...and I demand a citation for your incredible claim. Or did you just make that up? This is your first chance...
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    1 And anyone who likes Marmite while we're at it.
    Such divisive statements are not conducive to keeping the peace! :P
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Yeah, who may demand evidence when and for what? Simply as proposed, this rule would be so easy to abuse e.g:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr
    A fixed number isn't a necessity
    ...and I demand a citation for your incredible claim. Or did you just make that up? This is your first chance...
    At which point a moderator would note that a citation was not necessary, but a reasoned argument to support the assertion was. If a member made a truly frivolous demand they would be warned and then suspended for repeated infringements.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    I like the idea a lot and I think a large portion of the current climate here is due to not pushing back and just slipping into tit for tat arguments. If there is more push back from the regular members against anyone that starts that, it will help the mods do there volunteer jobs much easier. Just being apathetic and accepting that "this is how it is currently" is not helping anything but the sniping.
    What is "push back"? Could you give us an example please?
    Push back is the regular members NOT dropping into the level of namecalling/sniping, and pointing out to those that do that they are in breach of the forum etiquette
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Okay, so I ask a second time for evidence that "a fixed number isn't a necessity"...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    ...At which point a moderator would note that a citation was not necessary
    Work for you. But you're right that does prevent abuse.


    Now I like the idea.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Today I saw three threads degrade from civil Q&A to senseless childlike bickering. The constant infantile squabbling is boring and detracts severely from making the site a place people can learn from.
    What threads were those Dan?
    Let me go look them up.
    I think one of the threads was started by Magimaster.
    Right now it is late, I just got back from the bar, and I am tired.
    See you tommorrow.
    There was the thread this one was spawned from.
    There was the something out of nothing thread.

    I don't remember the other one.
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Okay, so I ask a second time for evidence that "a fixed number isn't a necessity"...
    One would expect at least a modicum of rationality in respondents.
    I.e. able to see what "claim" was being made, in what context and whether or not it was expressed as an opinion or suggestion.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  33. #32  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    "Do nothing unless you must, and when you must act - hesitate."
    That pretty much sums it up.

    This inaction allows mostly-worthless threads to go on for days -- with the obligatory bickering. And the bickering is mostly because these threads have gone on for too long. Inaction also allows the OP of such threads to come back several more times and start the same worthless threads over and over again.

    But I understand the underlying reason for the inaction: forum activity. Without these willfully-ignorant pseudo-science, non-science, and generally crack pot posters, this "science" forum would be far less entertaining. And face it folks, most people will opt for entertainment over learning.
    Last edited by Chucknorium; September 23rd, 2014 at 10:20 AM. Reason: grammar
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    I'd think that if any moderator feels that the thread has veered off course enough that they should do as Dywyddyr says. After that if there's more discussion needed the members could always send PM's to whomever they want to further their discussion. Just because a thread is closed PM's are available to everyone.
    Have you tried to PM someone who hates you. Next thing you get on the main forum is an embarrassing message "do not PM me"
    So PMs are out. Either that or ban anyone who says "do not PM me".
    But they could also be put on the ignore list couldn't they and that would be the same thing.
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    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    This thread took an unexpected turn, yet I would like to provide my own thoughts on the original suggestion.

    Whenever someone asserts an idea, which fails to have sufficient evidence (for a science forum) in favor of it, it is a sign of hospitality to point out that out. This will work when an idea has no accompanying evidence, and when the idea is accompanied by inadequate evidence. In other words, we ought to say that there is a lack of good sources. The previous remark should also contain a short list of sources that are acceptable. The O.P. must indicate that (s)he understands this. Subsequently, the O.P. can then add sources to give more weight to his/her idea, or modify or abandon it. This approach might lead to an increasing number of users who are aware of what is regarded as scientific evidence and what is not.

    If, however, the O.P. continues to assert the same idea, regardless of the answer to the question if O.P. understands what sources are accepted on this forum,
    I believe that locking a thread is a good measure to deal with the repetitive posting of idle musings. Nonetheless, I want to note that a fixed value is not necessary (cf. post #22).

    However, there is a reason to believe that the O.P. might create other, similar threads to push the idea once again into this forum, or that (s)he creates sock-puppets to assert the same idea or to create false support (cf. post #32). This is something we must keep in mind if we were to implement this suggestion into this forum.
    Last edited by Cogito Ergo Sum; September 23rd, 2014 at 02:38 PM.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    I have another idea that makes things simpler for the moderator. When a member has a post or posts reported by three other members, they will receive an automatic 3 day suspension. On the second occurrence, it's a week, then permanent ban. This will relieve the moderators from having to make judgments about the quality of the evidence presented. If somebody is making such a nuisance of themselves that they are being reported by multiple other members, then they are just too much of a disruptive influence.

    However, I think the trash can, pseudo, and maybe personal theories forums should be exempt from the rule. This is where we send the crackpots to play unmolested.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I have another idea that makes things simpler for the moderator. When a member has a post or posts reported by three other members, they will receive an automatic 3 day suspension. On the second occurrence, it's a week, then permanent ban. This will relieve the moderators from having to make judgments about the quality of the evidence presented. If somebody is making such a nuisance of themselves that they are being reported by multiple other members, then they are just too much of a disruptive influence.
    I like this idea but it can be abused. If three PM-connected members don't like a member they could conspire to report the disliked member. Moderators are going to have to use some judgement for this idea to work.
    Last edited by Chucknorium; September 23rd, 2014 at 01:26 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I have another idea that makes things simpler for the moderator. When a member has a post or posts reported by three other members, they will receive an automatic 3 day suspension. On the second occurrence, it's a week, then permanent ban. This will relieve the moderators from having to make judgments about the quality of the evidence presented. If somebody is making such a nuisance of themselves that they are being reported by multiple other members, then they are just too much of a disruptive influence.
    I like this idea but it can be abused. If three PM-connected members don't like a member they could conspire to report the disliked member. Moderators are going to have to use some judgement for this idea to work.

    I agree with that. Also, it works both ways.
    A crank might create several sock-puppets and flag a post of another member multiple times, thereby leading to the suspension of the wrong person.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  39. #38  
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    The linguist in me says that it's much easier to determine that a member is trolling (verb) than to determine that the member is a troll (noun). This conundrum is very common: How much science must someone do in order to be called a scientist? How much teaching must someone do in order to be called a teacher? How much consulting must someone do in order to be called a consultant? However, having said this, I am no closer to determining a troll from their posts than any of you.

    One answer to the trolling problem could be sort of a "halfway" solution, which would be to force an "CAUTION: I AM A TROLL" avatar on the offending member for a certain number of days. It's like putting a "CAUTION: I DROVE DRUNK" bumper sticker on the bumper of someone convicted of DUI. In that way, all of a member's past and future posts throughout the entire forum will disclose his troll "status". The member would be allowed to continue to post, so no punishment there. The more posts a member has written, then the more exposure it would cause, and the less a member would want to be known as a troll ... one would think. The more trolling a member does, the longer the subsequent enforcement of the avatar. Of course, some people might consider this to be a badge of honor.

    Another method would be to use good poster points similar to the use of good driver points used in some countries. Members start with a full number of points (eg, 10), or with a partial number of points (eg, 3 out of a max of 10). Every instance of trolling eliminates a certain number of points according to the severity of the trolling. When the points reach zero (or less), the member is suspended. Points are restored over time (eg, one point per week), or whatever, and so everyone knows the length of someone's suspension. When a poster's points rise above zero, the suspension is lifted. To be fair, the point penalties for various offenses would be on display somewhere (eg, in the Announcements subforum). Each post would show the good poster points/status for that poster.

    Perhaps most importantly, the method for dealing with trolling should be something simple/easy for moderators to do. It must be doable.
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  40. #39  
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    Is an honest crank worse than an honest troll?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    i don't think that as a team there is any agreed or official philosophy
    my personal philosophy is to follow Asimov's Golden Rule of the Second Foundation: "Do nothing unless you must, and when you must act - hesitate."
    Yet you have always struck me as quite impulsive. You strike without warning.
    not quite the same thing - i rarely take action (some might say too rarely) but when i do i see no need to dress it up in a big debate


    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    "Do nothing unless you must, and when you must act - hesitate."
    That pretty much sums it up.

    This inaction allows mostly-worthless threads to go on for days ...
    i must emphasize that this is purely my own point of view, and not necessarily that of other moderators
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  42. #41  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    I like this idea but it can be abused. If three PM-connected members don't like a member they could conspire to report the disliked member. Moderators are going to have to use some judgement for this idea to work.
    A valid point, however, the truth is that we do not require any more rules, or any different rules. What we require are active moderators who objectively and promptly apply the existing rules.

    However, as has been pointed out there is a relaxed attitude to moderating. Since, my return to the forum a few weeks ago I have attempted to alter that approach. I am now abandoning that effort. While I have received some support from some members and some members of staff, this has definitely not been universal. I no longer wish to be subjected to the hassle (and the abuse) that being a moderator, who is seeking to change things, involves. I will therefore no longer be acting in a moderator capacity. I presume one of the admins will make the necessary adjustments to my status.
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  43. #42  
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    Whoa, whoa John. Stop! Take a deep breath.

    You can't leave. This forum needs you. You care -- and that is needed here. I'm sure dozens of others will chime in with the same sentiments.
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  44. #43  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    What we require are active moderators who objectively and promptly apply the existing rules.
    the sad truth is that only 6 moderators have been active in recent weeks, and of those some (including myself) don't cover all parts of the forum but tend to stick to a few of our favourite patches
    3 more moderators have stopped contributing over the summer months, for reasons unknown to me - also not clear whether this is a temporary hiatus or to continue ad infinitum
    there's 4 more names on the moderator list who have not been active for quite some time, and i know only of the death of MeteorWayne to account for one of these absences

    to be honest, i'm in favour of moderators dedicated to keep one or a few parts of the forum under their control clean, but that has obviously been abandoned under the short reign of the previous owners despite my protestations that i didn't have the time or inclination to police all of the forum
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  45. #44  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    A valid point, however, the truth is that we do not require any more rules, or any different rules. What we require are active moderators who objectively and promptly apply the existing rules.

    However, as has been pointed out there is a relaxed attitude to moderating. Since, my return to the forum a few weeks ago I have attempted to alter that approach. I am now abandoning that effort. While I have received some support from some members and some members of staff, this has definitely not been universal. I no longer wish to be subjected to the hassle (and the abuse) that being a moderator, who is seeking to change things, involves. I will therefore no longer be acting in a moderator capacity. I presume one of the admins will make the necessary adjustments to my status.
    It is thankless work. You will more often be insulted for doing what is right. You feel unappreciated when your efforts don't seem to be working.

    But they are working. Look at this thread and the previous one as a perfect example.

    I think your moral core is what this site needs.

    You draw out the best in posters, you make most people, I say most since a very recent example showed that not everyone is capable of that level of empathy and understanding, think about the true cost and value of what is being debated.

    The fact that you have the moral core, intelligence and empathy and you care enough to put yourself out there to try to steer this site back on track because you understand where the problems are, is why you should remain as a moderator.

    Losing you as a moderator, as a voice of reason, will be a huge detriment to this site. I am desperately sorry to see you feel that this is your only course of action left open to you. This site needs you and so do its members. You're a voice of reason.

    It should be noted that I am not adverse to begging at this point. Perhaps take some time off, refresh the mind? Anything but resign. Be the stubborn Scotsman you can be!
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  46. #45  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquille View Post
    It is thankless work. You will more often be insulted for doing what is right. You feel unappreciated when your efforts don't seem to be working.

    But they are working. Look at this thread and the previous one as a perfect example.

    I think your moral core is what this site needs.

    You draw out the best in posters, you make most people, I say most since a very recent example showed that not everyone is capable of that level of empathy and understanding, think about the true cost and value of what is being debated.

    The fact that you have the moral core, intelligence and empathy and you care enough to put yourself out there to try to steer this site back on track because you understand where the problems are, is why you should remain as a moderator.

    Losing you as a moderator, as a voice of reason, will be a huge detriment to this site. I am desperately sorry to see you feel that this is your only course of action left open to you. This site needs you and so do its members. You're a voice of reason.

    It should be noted that I am not adverse to begging at this point. Perhaps take some time off, refresh the mind? Anything but resign. Be the stubborn Scotsman you can be!
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    I'm comfortable with the idea of requiring supporting evidence for any claim that is subject to question. But I don't see any need to go "three strikes" on it.

    After one request, if they don't respond by either

    A - Providing evidence.

    or

    B- Withdrawing the claim (or at least admitting they have no support for it.)

    Then get out the banhammer.

    Or ,, I guess three strikes is a good idea in case maybe they don't read carefully, and might miss the first request. I'd hate to see someone banned for mere carelessness.

    However, there is another downside. Sometimes I've had people harry me for links to stuff they could easily google, or which really aren't in question. That can get tedious.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Sometimes I've had people harry me for links to stuff they could easily google, or which really aren't in question. That can get tedious.
    That's my chief concern. Like you say "storms help clear dead branches from the canopy" and an argumentative poster demands evidence. I don't want that sort of trolling supported by forum rules. And we can't ask moderators to judge these demands case-by-case.

    If they will, right on.
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  49. #48  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Sometimes I've had people harry me for links to stuff they could easily google, or which really aren't in question. That can get tedious.
    That's my chief concern. Like you say "storms help clear dead branches from the canopy" and an argumentative poster demands evidence. I don't want that sort of trolling supported by forum rules. And we can't ask moderators to judge these demands case-by-case.

    If they will, right on.
    If they aelre easy it find then supply of the links shouldn't be a problem for you. If the request is wholly trolling then the mods will not ban or suspend you and likely they will point it out to the other party/ies.
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  50. #49  
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    What about this idea?

    Along the lines of jrmonroe 's post#38 ( http://www.thescienceforum.com/site-feedback/46373-dywyddyrs-suggestion.html#post595430 )
    You allow posters to accumulate or lose ranking points.
    When they are too low then the poster may only post in designated areas of the forum.

    Additionally you could attempt to make these areas more attractive by dropping the accurate but demeaning description "Pseudoscience" and "Trash" .
    Call them "Out of the Box" and "under the Box"

    Just an idea .These people are not worth losing decent moderators on account of.
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  51. #50  
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    Additionally you could attempt to make these areas more attractive by dropping the accurate but demeaning description "Pseudoscience" and "Trash" .
    Call them "Out of the Box" and "under the Box"

    Nah, call them "Bullshit" and "Bat-shit crazy", more accurate and more fun
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  52. #51  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Sometimes I've had people harry me for links to stuff they could easily google, or which really aren't in question. That can get tedious.
    That's my chief concern. Like you say "storms help clear dead branches from the canopy" and an argumentative poster demands evidence. I don't want that sort of trolling supported by forum rules. And we can't ask moderators to judge these demands case-by-case.

    If they will, right on.
    If they aelre easy it find then supply of the links shouldn't be a problem for you. If the request is wholly trolling then the mods will not ban or suspend you and likely they will point it out to the other party/ies.
    Too much work for the moderators. I have seen these forums basically work well with a type of self moderation. We have ideas but we also have standards and if we start applying these standards new comers will see what is expected here.
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  53. #52  
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    What about this idea?

    Along the lines of jrmonroe 's post#38 ( http://www.thescienceforum.com/site-feedback/46373-dywyddyrs-suggestion.html#post595430 )
    You allow posters to accumulate or lose ranking points.
    When they are too low then the poster may only post in designated areas of the forum.

    Additionally you could attempt to make these areas more attractive by dropping the accurate but demeaning description "Pseudoscience" and "Trash" .
    Call them "Out of the Box" and "under the Box"

    Just an idea .These people are not worth losing decent moderators on account of.

    The proposal that a member with few points is restricted to creating threads in designated areas of the forum, is a good measure to keep the "hard science" part of this forum clean. Nonetheless, I do not think that you have to make the Pseudoscience and the Trash Can more attractive, since they are not supposed to be attractive.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  54. #53  
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    Another proposal:

    Suspensions could require a proper reregistration. Applicants might be obliged to prove that they had thought through the reasons that they had been suspended for in the first place.

    Is it possible to limit their posting frequency for a period (like wearing L plates. )?

    Can they be subjected to popups reminding them what the forum is for?



    I hope I am not starting to sound obsessed!
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  55. #54  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    I do not think that you have to make the Pseudoscience and the Trash Can more attractive, since they are not supposed to be attractive.
    Flypaper is attractive.
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  56. #55  
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    Originally Posted by Dywyddyr
    Would it be possible to have a forum policy along the lines of "Failure to produce support/ evidence after 3 (or whatever number) direct requests will result in thread locking"? Or something similar?



    The more incoming ideas you banish, the more stupid the collective intelligence becomes.
    Ideally, incoming - even bad - ideas should not be judged as a whole, but should be disected to pinpoint interesting lines of reasoning,
    even though they may not contribute to solving the problem at hand.
    Then put these partial ideas in a databank, that is ,
    make them available as an open source to anyone who might want to make use of these micro-ideas for the purpose of any research.
    It enables crosslinking, pattern seaking, context broadening etc.

    It is called "Pinpointing potential protagonists of future problem solving", and it leads to "more" than textbook knowledge.
    It leads to synergy, the whole becoming more than the sumn of the individual parts.




    The direction proposed in this thread is exactly the opposite of that...
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  57. #56  
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquille View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by john galt View Post
    a valid point, however, the truth is that we do not require any more rules, or any different rules. What we require are active moderators who objectively and promptly apply the existing rules.

    However, as has been pointed out there is a relaxed attitude to moderating. Since, my return to the forum a few weeks ago i have attempted to alter that approach. I am now abandoning that effort. While i have received some support from some members and some members of staff, this has definitely not been universal. I no longer wish to be subjected to the hassle (and the abuse) that being a moderator, who is seeking to change things, involves. I will therefore no longer be acting in a moderator capacity. I presume one of the admins will make the necessary adjustments to my status.
    it is thankless work. You will more often be insulted for doing what is right. You feel unappreciated when your efforts don't seem to be working.

    But they are working. Look at this thread and the previous one as a perfect example.

    I think your moral core is what this site needs.

    You draw out the best in posters, you make most people, i say most since a very recent example showed that not everyone is capable of that level of empathy and understanding, think about the true cost and value of what is being debated.

    The fact that you have the moral core, intelligence and empathy and you care enough to put yourself out there to try to steer this site back on track because you understand where the problems are, is why you should remain as a moderator.

    Losing you as a moderator, as a voice of reason, will be a huge detriment to this site. I am desperately sorry to see you feel that this is your only course of action left open to you. This site needs you and so do its members. You're a voice of reason.

    It should be noted that i am not adverse to begging at this point. Perhaps take some time off, refresh the mind? Anything but resign. Be the stubborn scotsman you can be!
    amen!!!!! Applause!! Ye!!!!
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  58. #57  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noa Drake View Post
    The more incoming ideas you banish, the more stupid the collective intelligence becomes.
    Ideally, incoming - even bad - ideas should not be judged as a whole, but should be disected to pinpoint interesting lines of reasoning,
    even though they may not contribute to solving the problem at hand.
    Then put these partial ideas in a databank, that is ,
    make them available as an open source to anyone who might want to make use of these micro-ideas for the purpose of any research.
    It enables crosslinking, pattern seaking, context broadening etc.

    It is called "Pinpointing potential protagonists of future problem solving", and it leads to "more" than textbook knowledge.
    It leads to synergy, the whole becoming more than the sumn of the individual parts.

    The direction proposed in this thread is exactly the opposite of that...

    I beg to differ. Member Dywyddyr suggested that threads should be locked when the O.P. fails to provide evidence for the idea (s)he proposes when asked.
    The suggestion is meant as a measure to diminish the number of derailed or excessively long threads that lead to nothing but pointless arguments.

    However, I concur that it seems as a hostile implementation, so I added my own thoughts in post #34, where I explained what should be done if someone comes to this forum and asserts an idea. They should be dissected to seek errors and unsubstantiated claims, and then we inform the O.P. about them. I fail to see how this quality control leads to an increase in stupidity of the collective intelligence.

    A quick overview at the Pseudoscience and the Trash Can subforum reveals that a lot of threads could have been closed a lot sooner if that suggestion was implemented. Think about the numerous (a)ether theory threads, or the threads about SHC, or threads about climate change denial, etc.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    I would certainly agree to measures that can prevent the amount of personal attacks, irritating for the sake of irritating etc.

    As for quality control : it should consist of 2 parts : seeking indeed errors, but also seeking valuable parts.

    Instead, most of the time whole threads are sent to the trash can, which is why i referred to 'making the collective more stupid',
    as you decimate all diversity, instead of keeping parts of the idea(s), let alone improving those parts.
    Perhaps i should have stated it less hostile : 'stagnation of collective intelligence'.
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  60. #59  
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    How specifically is trash can diminishing diversity, it is still y to all registered members and the threads are still usually open for comment. That a thread ends up there is an indication that there isn't enough to salvage for whatever reason, and is put there so lay readers can see that the information needs to be very carefully evaluated.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  61. #60  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    How specifically is trash can diminishing diversity, it is still y to all registered members and the threads are still usually open for comment. That a thread ends up there is an indication that there isn't enough to salvage for whatever reason, and is put there so lay readers can see that the information needs to be very carefully evaluated.
    And I thought it could still be readmitted if it was thought worthwhile (btw is anything in Trash ever deleted?)

    Some people posted directly into Trash.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    How specifically is trash can diminishing diversity, it is still y to all registered members and the threads are still usually open for comment. That a thread ends up there is an indication that there isn't enough to salvage for whatever reason, and is put there so lay readers can see that the information needs to be very carefully evaluated.
    And I thought it could still be readmitted if it was thought worthwhile (btw is anything in Trash ever deleted?)

    Some people posted directly into Trash.
    If you aren't registered I am certain you can't view the trash and it isn't searchable by Google either.
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  63. #62  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Sometimes I've had people harry me for links to stuff they could easily google, or which really aren't in question. That can get tedious.
    That's my chief concern. Like you say "storms help clear dead branches from the canopy" and an argumentative poster demands evidence. I don't want that sort of trolling supported by forum rules. And we can't ask moderators to judge these demands case-by-case.

    If they will, right on.
    If they aelre easy it find then supply of the links shouldn't be a problem for you. If the request is wholly trolling then the mods will not ban or suspend you and likely they will point it out to the other party/ies.
    Too much work for the moderators. I have seen these forums basically work well with a type of self moderation. We have ideas but we also have standards and if we start applying these standards new comers will see what is expected here.
    Since a moderator has to be present in order to enforce the rule anyway, perhaps instead of "three strikes", it should be up to the moderator to make an official request for evidence.

    If a moderator requests evidence and you don't either provide it, or withdraw your statements, then you get a week off. Sounds good to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Noa Drake View Post
    The more incoming ideas you banish, the more stupid the collective intelligence becomes.
    Ideally, incoming - even bad - ideas should not be judged as a whole, but should be disected to pinpoint interesting lines of reasoning,
    even though they may not contribute to solving the problem at hand.
    Then put these partial ideas in a databank, that is ,
    make them available as an open source to anyone who might want to make use of these micro-ideas for the purpose of any research.
    It enables crosslinking, pattern seaking, context broadening etc.

    It is called "Pinpointing potential protagonists of future problem solving", and it leads to "more" than textbook knowledge.
    It leads to synergy, the whole becoming more than the sumn of the individual parts.

    The direction proposed in this thread is exactly the opposite of that...

    I beg to differ. Member Dywyddyr suggested that threads should be locked when the O.P. fails to provide evidence for the idea (s)he proposes when asked.
    The suggestion is meant as a measure to diminish the number of derailed or excessively long threads that lead to nothing but pointless arguments.
    Yes, but you are ignoring the entertainment dimension of the site.

    If people are continuing to argue, then they're clearly interested in the thread. So long as they are entertained, why not just let them keep going?


    However, I concur that it seems as a hostile implementation, so I added my own thoughts in post #34, where I explained what should be done if someone comes to this forum and asserts an idea. They should be dissected to seek errors and unsubstantiated claims, and then we inform the O.P. about them. I fail to see how this quality control leads to an increase in stupidity of the collective intelligence.

    A quick overview at the Pseudoscience and the Trash Can subforum reveals that a lot of threads could have been closed a lot sooner if that suggestion was implemented. Think about the numerous (a)ether theory threads, or the threads about SHC, or threads about climate change denial, etc.
    I've seen other forums that implemented a strong "anti-troll" system. Within a month they were a dead zone. Boring, nothing going on.

    Thread closure just seems silly to me overall. If a thread isn't generating interest, then it will effectively close itself. If it is generating interest, then why end the party for the participants? That's just buzz kill.

    As a forum member, you are always free to not participate in an active thread if it offends or upsets you. It changes from freedom to oppression when you start to talk about going one step further and telling everyone else they can't participate in the thread either.

    Move it to trash or Pseudo, and then go on with your day.
    Last edited by kojax; September 29th, 2014 at 01:13 AM.
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  64. #63  
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    So true Kojax. ^^^^^
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  65. #64  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    If a moderator requests evidence and you don't either provide it, or withdraw your statements, then you get a week off. Sounds good to me.
    One should be allowed to withdraw one's statements or admit to an error without being suspended.
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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  66. #65  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJW View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    If a moderator requests evidence and you don't either provide it, or withdraw your statements, then you get a week off. Sounds good to me.
    One should be allowed to withdraw one's statements or admit to an error without being suspended.
    Long day?
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  67. #66  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    Yes, but you are ignoring the entertainment dimension of the site.

    If people are continuing to argue, then they're clearly interested in the thread. So long as they are entertained, why not just let them keep going?
    (...)
    I've seen other forums that implemented a strong "anti-troll" system. Within a month they were a dead zone. Boring, nothing going on.

    Thread closure just seems silly to me overall. If a thread isn't generating interest, then it will effectively close itself. If it is generating interest, then why end the party for the participants? That's just buzz kill.

    It is true that I did not consider the entertainment value of this forum, but I am not certain if people are entertained, rather than being frustrated by the behaviour or arguments of the opponent in some threads. Regardless the previous remark, if your experience tells you that locking threads decreases the entertainment value of this website, and thereby its activity, then it makes sense not to implement such a system as I described above. However, do you think that closing threads is ever acceptable?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  68. #67  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    However, do you think that closing threads is ever acceptable?

    You have to close a thread if people start saying stuff that could lead to a lawsuit, or which might constitute a crime.

    It might be wise to close it if people are starting to hurt one anothers' feelings, because that could motivate them to stop visiting the forum, and thereby diminish activity.
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