Fringe subforum

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by birch, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. birch Valued Senior Member

    I think it is very unfair, harsh and manipulative to have a fringe forum that is open for discussions of the paranormal etc but expecting scientific proof when we all know there isnt one, yet.

    Why have a subforum like that unless its just to bully people who open topics for speculation. The naysayers have nothing to add except the usual 'no proof, then its bs, the end' essentially wanting to shut it down. Its setting people up for them to be bullied, condescended to, or infracted.

    Also, the most obvious is those who arent even at least curiously open-minded just go into that subforum just to block any speculation or possibilities except the most banal explanation everyone already is aware of when it comes to the unexplained or yet to be proven. The one size fits all 'must be imagination, mental illness, mistaken identity so shut up now' to all and any attempt to start a topic. No, they then need to stay out of a topic they obviously arent interested in. Its like going into a certain hobby or interest convention telling everybody there how you think their interest is silly.

    Its just wrong. Period. Its not the science section. Repeat: its not the science section. Repeat again: its not the fuking science section. The way that subforum is not understood in context. If the moderators are going to be that much of an anvil, they should apply the same exacting, hard knock on wood, standards to the philosophy subforum since thats all personal opinion and interpretation touted as truth. It would stop any discussion from getgo. Heh.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

    To move fringe topics into and thus keep the other forums more on-topic.
    To discuss fringe topics in the setting of a science forum.
    To allow people to post interesting stories.
    It's a science forum. Repeat - it's a science forum. In case you missed the first two, it's a science forum. And if you missed those three, look at the title of the forum. And if you missed that, look at the URL that is in your browser's navigation window.

    People talk about science in science forums. This is easy for people to figure out because "science" is in the name.

    You can discuss fringe topics in a science forum quite easily. If you post illogical, unscientific stuff, people will call you on it, again because it's a science forum. It would be like posting in the miscellaneous section of an AA group about how great it is to get blasted off Everclear, or in a women's support group about this hot chick you banged when she got drunk. Even though both those websites have a section for miscellaneous comments, such posters will not get supportive comments in return - because that's not what those forums are for.
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  5. birch Valued Senior Member

    That is not a fair analogy because first, a miscellaneous or lounge subforum on a aa site isnt about posting ideas contrary to sobriety just as a christian forum wouldnt have a subforum to discuss devil worship or satanism as a subfora interest.

    If a forum creates space specifically for art, politics, philosophy, religion, paranormal, ufo's etc you have to respect the context of what those types of forums would entail and the interest/topics made when it is known those areas are not about hardcore scientific evidence either by nature or its on the fringe of what is currently known or understood. Otherwise, you have what happens now just people starting a topic and others blocking any discussion that its not scientific redundantly as if thats not known. Oh really? gee, wonder whose the real idiots. Its a different context and on the fringe. Of course it isnt scientific or have evidence yet! If you are only going to allow topics that already are proven, dont create those subfora, otherwise its rude to those who take the chance to speculate or open up!!!
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
    Magical Realist and Confused2 like this.
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  7. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I think it is exciting this forum has such a diverse range.
    I don't think folk are badly done by.
    Magical Realist for example gives as good as he gets.
    Anyways I will think more about all you have said.
  8. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    A hunch that this forum would become haughty by restricting discussion varieties - there's a chance weir posts to show up in hard science sections without having a designated spot already and flames to begin.
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Fringe phenomena are often discussed intelligently and explained with at least the occasional nod to measurable reality. In that way, some paranormal and otherworldly claims can be intriguing, entertaining, engaging, maybe even grist for the creative mill.
    I see no reason these topics should not be held to a minimum standard of plausibility. Without that quasi-scientific framework, they're just prattle.
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

    They might well have an "other religion" in a Catholic forum to discuss (for example) the issues involved in marrying a Lutheran. If someone took that as license to discuss Satanic worship and human sacrifice, they would get a lot of grief even if they protested "but Satanism is a religion! Why are you attacking me? I am following all the rules!"

    As an example, Catholic Answers Forum, which bills themselves as the largest Catholic community on the Web, has a non-Catholic religions forum. And most of the posters in that forum are able to discuss non-Catholic religion without bringing up their devout worship of Satan or how great human sacrifice is.
    Absolutely. And if someone posts evidence of a UFO sighting, then discusses what it could be, then I am all for that, and would help out if the topic was of interest.

    But when someone takes the position that all UFO sightings must be evidence of alien intelligence visiting Earth, then they are going to get feedback on that. And it's not going to be "oh, wow, you are such an out-of-the-box thinker that we are all in awe of you!"
    No, we have a very few attention-seekers who post things specifically to generate a rise out of other posters.
    Those who believe things that are untrue.
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    As billvon said, it's a science forum. That means that some of the people here are inevitably going to look at Fringe ideas from a scientific, critical-thinking, rational perspective.

    There are plenty of places on the internet where you can have an uncritical discussion of ghosts, or the yeti or close encounters of the third kind. People will cheer you on and share their own anecdotes about the times they were kidnapped by aliens too.

    Discussions in our Fringe sections are never shut down because of a lack of scientific proof of paranormal claims.

    I fail to see how making a place for consideration of such claims is "manipulative". Nobody is forced to go there. Nobody is forced to defend their beliefs. But they can expect their beliefs to be subjected to questions, rather than being accepted uncritically. Anybody reading those forums goes in with eyes open about what questions and objections they are likely to face if they post credulously on certain topics.

    It does not seem unreasonable to me to expect people who are making claims to make some attempt to defend the plausibility of such claims - whether they be in the Science sections or the Fringe.

    We provide a service not available in many other places on the internet. You give people who hold "fringe" views some latitude to test those views against the ideas of people who may not agree with them. If a poster would prefer a cosy bubble of agreeable like-minded people who will pat him or her on the back and heartily endorse his ghosts stories or the one about the time he thought his mum would phone and then she did, then places like that are easily found.

    And if moral support is needed, you will notice that it's seldom a case of one believer against an army of closed-minded believers in the Orthodoxy. We have our own cheer squad of paranormal believers right here.

    Our Religion subforums and our Politics subforums are similar. We have our atheists, but we also have our share of steadfast believers in various gods and religions. We have staunch liberals and staunch conservatives, some moderates, and even a few people who are out there on the outer edges of various political persuasions.

    If there is an overall philosophy that binds what we do at sciforums together it is to try to encourage critical thinking - about whatever subject we're talking about. And if there's a pattern to be discerned regarding posters to get a "hard time" from some of our regulars, I'd say that it is usually that those posters don't show much evidence of critical thought. [Very important here not to mistake "critical thinking" for "cynical dismissal", by the way, since they are very much not the same thing.]

    Condescension and bullying can sometimes be in the eye of the beholder, so it's difficult to make a general comment, as opposed to dealing with specific instances of behaviour. Poster X can claim that poster Y is being condescending in dismissing X's belief, while poster Y claims at the same time that poster X is being unreasonably arrogant in holding to that certain belief in the face of apparently reasonable arguments that might call the belief into question.

    As for infractions, moderators should never use their "powers" to preferentially shut down one side of an intellectual argument. The moderators' job is to enforce, where necessary, reasonable standards of discourse between participants in the discussion. This is not to say that moderators are forbidden from engaging in discussions as "normal" members, though it is understood that they should never invoke moderator privileges to force a "win" for "their side" of an argument or to shut down an opponent that they are personally engaged against. There are grey areas here, of course. Extreme intellectual dishonesty can on occasion amount to trolling, thus justifying moderator intervention, though even there it can be very bad form for a moderator who is involved in the discussion to switch roles from that of participant to enforcer.

    Have you considered that, perhaps, it's the people who start the Fringe threads who may be coming into a kind of Science/critical thinking convention (if that's what sciforums is), telling the people here that they are closed minded and should just accept certain things uncritically?

    What do you think the aim of the Fringe sections is? Is it for critical discussion of the topics there? Or do you think it is/should be more a place of fun, where people give free reign to their craziest notions without fear of being asked inconvenient questions?

    It is interesting that you mention philosophy. Philosophy is the subject that, perhaps more than any other, demands rigorous standards of critical thinking. Philosophy questions everything at the most fundamental level - what can be known, what things there are, what it means to be good, etc. - but it demands that ideas be connected logically, and that all positions taken be defended against objections.

    You're right that hardcore scientific evidence is not needed for those things. But would you agree that it's reasonable to expect somebody posting in any of those areas to be willing to defend (in the sense of support with reasonable argument or justification) any claims he or she makes? Or do you think they should be more places where people just express preferences - "I like modern art!", "Yay for alien spaceships!", "The Republican party is the best and Democrats are all idiots!", "My God is bigger than your God!" etc.?

    You speak about "allowing" topics, as if certain topics are disallowed in some official way - or maybe you just mean they are being suppressed unofficially.

    It seems to me that most topics here are open for discussion. You just can't expect a completely uncritical discussion.

    The fact that we have such an extensive Fringe section at all makes us, I think, quite unique among "science forums". Many similar forums have no patience for any of that "fringe" stuff, and immediately expunge any such thing that is posted. They choose to concentrate entirely on what you might call "hard science". I'm not saying that's the wrong choice. I'm just saying it's a different choice than we make here. On the other hand, there are also plenty of dedicated "fringe" forums out there on the interwebs, whose participants prefer not to hear, or otherwise ignore, all inconvenient facts and questions.
    Kristoffer likes this.
  12. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Those issues are a horse that has been well beaten to death in the past. You may have encountered a subforum like that on another board that catered to its ostensible function, but those appearances are not what they seem here.
  13. rakovsky Registered Member

    Is SCI FORUMS just a simpler way of saying "Science Forums"?
  14. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Since there are "science forums" and that label can potentially be exhausted in ways of distinguishing each one (as well their web addresses), "sciforums" was a practical, predictable, or inevitable development.
  15. karenmansker HSIRI Banned

    . . . .u-m-m-m-m . . . then why are all the unscientific politics and anti-Trump sentiments permissible on a science forum . . . . .OH! . . . I get it! . . . . .political SCIENCE. RIght?

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  16. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    You really, REALLY need to learn how to use the quote tags karen...
  17. Bells Staff Member

    Mod Note

    Karen, it would be really helpful if you a) used the quote tags properly; b) ensured that your words and what you are quoting is easily distinguished from the other..

    To use quote tags, you can highlight the part of the text you wish to quote, and more often than not, a little "reply" button will appear next to the part you highlighted, or you can copy the highlighted text you wish to respond to, paste it into your text window, and either highlight it and click on the insert button just above the text part and select "Quote", or type in the formatting code.

    You can then type in the line beneath it.

    Highlighting and just selecting "reply" next to what you highlighted, will automatically create a quote in your post, so that you can then just type your response on the next line.

    Here is a link, to the formatting codes used on this site:

    If you do not have rich text turned on, that provides you with little buttons on your text window, you can use the formatting codes, to do things like quote, indents, etc..
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Yeah it's a big frigg'n Science Forum. Forget the fact that it's named Sci Forums (plural) which refers to the first 10 forums listed under the heading Science. And so we must expect a purely scientific approach in all the other non-science forums--Ethics, Art, Philosophy, Religion, Economics, Politics, World Events, Free Thoughts, History, Technology, AND Fringe. All science all the time 24/7. Nothing said that can't be proven scientifically or you will be infracted. As if that were even possible.

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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  19. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    That is not the way I see it and I am surprised you wish to be unreasonably critical.
    Well actually not surprised more disappointed given the things you offer as proof.
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Is that a scientific claim? It better be. Where's your scientific evidence to back it up?
  21. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Its a hypothesis.
  22. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Have you tested it? We certainly can't be posting any wild untested hypotheses around here. I may have to report you to the Science Gestapo.
  23. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Sure I have tested it but I am not going to say more as it may come over as a personal attack on some in truth I have not tested it.
    I think one invites attack if unreasonable.
    I am thinking of what may be seen as a crack pot thread on gravity so it will be interesting to see how I am treated given I am a layman seeking to have a discussion on a matter that will be seen as controversial.

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