Humoring cranks and racists

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by birch, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. birch Valued Senior Member

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    Thats a bit ridiculous. How is this place humoring racists or cranks? Do you really only care about one side of a viewpoint? Then dont engage the other. I noticed people engage them repeatedly and then complain. Respond to the posts and posters you think are worthy of your effort. Otherwise, you must be enjoying the interaction with them to do so.

    You can engage whoever you want. You dont have to reply to anyone you dont want to.

    You cant be that easily ruffled.
     
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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Didn't I answer your question before you posted?



    Maybe I should leave too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Because some behaviors chronically go beyond civil, adult discourse.
    Some behaviors aren't simply an opposing viewpoint, some are simply trolling - the intent to disrupt.
    Members should be able to expect some level of respectfulness, and have the right to complain and encourage the owners to act in a way that best meets the goals of the forum. Presmably, one of the goals of the forum is not 'let trolls and haters run roughshod over anything that smacks of constructive discussion.'

    It is not a case of 'you stay on your side of the street, we'll stay on ours'. There are no walls on the forum that separate badly-behaved people from the rest. If one is engaged in a civil discussion, one should be able to expect some amount of civility to be upheld.

    It doesn't mean it will happen, but one can still expect it from other adults, and one can alert the owners to the abuse.
     
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  7. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    And I've been using the forum as an outlet, not as a place to learn. So yeah, I can leave.
     
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    In part, PhysBang might have decided to leave because he received a 5-point warning for attacking another member using foul language, and calling that member a racist. He might think that he should be allowed to call other people racists and to hurl profanity at them. Perhaps he is upset that this behaviour was not condoned.

    Notice that 5 warning points is a low-level warning. It is very likely that, had PhysBang decided to express his objections to perceived racism in a less emotive and personal way, he could have avoided that warning all together.

    sciforums is not in the business of "humouring" racists.

    As for "cranks", it is easy to call people cranks and thereby avoid engaging with them. And, indeed, nobody is forced to engage with any other member here that they do not wish to engage with. In fact, we have an "ignore" function that means that somebody can blot out the posts of any member they do not wish to read.

    We have Fringe forums in which, inevitably, many "crank" ideas will be discussed. It is certainly a valid choice for PhysBang to choose to leave if he does not approve of the existence of those forums. On the other hand, we will and do enforce certain standards in the Science sections, and there cranks are not tolerated. Members are encouraged to report "crank" posts in the Science sections.
    ---

    On other matters:
    • The God now has 80 active infraction points and will be taking a 2 week holiday from sciforums.
    • We have a Site Feedback forum and an Open Government forum where members can suggest changes to any "wacky rules" that they perceive that we have. Rather than simply whining about rules that aren't working, I suggest that members might consider giving us some constructive feedback on how they think we might improve the forums.
    • The "Administration" very rarely overrules the actions of any moderator. There would have to be compelling reasons for doing so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    5,565
    Hear hear.

    We are, it seems, losing scientifically educated and serious contributors like Physbang and Sweetpea, because of the prevalence of perennially annoying people who are constantly looking for a fight.

    I would have thought it might be possible to be tougher on the rules of discourse, at least in the serious science sections, to stop the threads being wrecked by what in English law is known as "vexatious" conduct.
     
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  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Paddo, I am going to take the risk of criticising you here, too. It seems to me that you are one of the main people that these vexatious posters take aim at, because you also are aggressive and seem to be incapable of not rising to the bait. You allow yourself to get involved in prolonged slanging matches with people who really do not deserve the attention. If you really want to help keep up the quality of the serious science threads, then it would do us all a great service if you could ignore some of the troublemakers. "Don't feed the troll" is a very useful principle: sometimes, less is more.

    I say this as this as someone who - as I hope you know - enjoys a great deal of what you post

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    and who is himself far from perfect in this regard. I also find it hard to leave these people alone when I get annoyed. I now make liberal use of the "Ignore" function, which seems to help quite a bit.

    So I think you could have quite a role to play in improving things here, if you chose.
     
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  11. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    It would be a pity to see anyone leave.

    Maybe the events of the past week have worn hard on everyone.

    I suspect everyone fears the future a little more than before.

    I think interaction with others that may not share your views or opinions can be healthy.

    It is easy to build a world that you only let in folk who you favour but the real world has many different people so would it not be nice to have a place where you can interact a little and maybe find out what makes them tick.

    I do think one should be able to hear someone out and simply say I can only suggest that we agree that we disagree.

    There is no need to argue the toss to establish one is right there is no need to compell others to agree.

    If you are right why is there a need to make another wrong.

    We have so many problems which could be better if folk of different beliefs listened to someone with a different view.

    I found the god difficult but in time I think I glimpsed why he is the way he can be. Ignoring him was not the only way.

    I have grown by determining to engage with him rather than ignoring him.

    He is another human and I am sure we must have some common ground.

    I witnessed Russ and PhysBang going at it and it seemed each attributed to the other general characteristics that perhaps were not appropriate and things deteriated.

    I was only thinking before I logged on that I would really like to talk to one of these white supremesists, not argue, but to try and understand why they think the way they do.

    I can't fathom racial hatred.

    My first friend at school was German and the war was over but flavoured our world back then, next a Chinese kid, most thought Chinese and Japanese were the same, folk were rather ignorant back then...

    I treat folk as I find them not as a representative of their culture.

    Anyways the only way I will ever understand a racist is by hearing their story. Its easy to say they are mad not easy to work out why they are bitter.

    This forum is wonderful as there is a mix and hopefully if folk stay on it will help them understand how others, outside their world, act and think.

    Jesus had one great message...love your fellow man...I translate that into have respect for others.

    Folk think different because they have had different upbringing.
    That does not mean they are necessarily bad.

    I hope no one leaves, I was sad to see Spellbound permanently banned and he declared I was his enemy.
    I would have liked to understand why he could find me all that he regarded evil.

    I call for calm and for all to think about how taxing the recent events have been for everyone.

    Alex
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
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  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    29,990
    It's worth bearing in mind that as those people accumulate more and more warning points, they will be banned for longer and longer periods of time (eventually permanently). The expiry period on warning points is now 6 months, and repeat offenders are unlikely to be able restrain themselves from their usual poor behaviour for long enough for their points to drop below the hefty ban level.

    I'm happy to take that suggestion on board for the Science sections. I will also try to be more assiduous in giving repeat crank posters in the Science sections exclusion warnings for those sections.

    Please keep reporting pseudoscience and crackpottery in the Science sections. I'd really like to maintain a distinction between the Science and Fringe sections.
     
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    21,225

    Thanks exchemist...
    Most of what you say is true, and I accept your criticism.
    Like you say though, it is hard, but I do believe I am helping to improve things in the greater scheme of things by ignoring some of the nonsense.
    What annoys me is when certain claims made in the sciences, are shown to be false with reputable citations, and links, they are written off as "pop science" [the usual way out for the cranks] and then when asked respectfully for citations and/or links to support what they are claiming, it is annoyingly ignored.
    Thankfully we appear to at least have one mod trying to keep the conversation/debate aligned with the science and logic.

    Personally, as one who very rarely criticises mods and admins, my one beef is the "inconsistency" that seems to exist.
    On occasions it appears open slather for people/cranks to say what they wish, and then lo and behold, the hammer drops for short periods, And I have been hit by that hammer on occasion when caught up in the fracas [mostly deservedly so

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  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes I understand. But I do think a bit of holding back before reacting to the latest idiocy, or blatant come-on, might improve things for us all. Some of these people are terrible cnuts (an Anglo-Saxon king

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    )and not simply worth engaging with.
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I would concur with everything Ex said.

    Trolls/cranks feed on bickering, and they don't mind dragging the quality of a science forum down with them. You're better than that.

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  16. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    My best advice regarding this would be to report these kinds of posts/responses and withhold further interaction until they are reviewed. I know I make an attempt to send a resolution or rejection message when resolving a report, so at least you will get some sort of response

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  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    What is the likelihood of a report about someone being merely verifiably wrong resulting in Mod action that stops the behavior?
    My concern is that such reports could overwhelm the Mods to the point where they identify reporters as complainers, while not actually addressing the issue. (If I understand, MR was called out for over-reporting - abusive behavior notwithstanding).

    Not sure whether this meta-discussion should be split off to the feedback section.
     
  18. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    In terms of hard-science, it's hard to say. I do not, for example, hold a degree in advanced particle physics, astrophysics, or the like, so I mostly stick to watching for unsubstantiated claims and other poor debate form (fallacies, insults, trolling, etc). Someone being wrong is not an infractionable thing in itself - the issue arises when an argument is thoroughly refuted, especially via substantial evidence, and then the person simply restates the argument again, with nothing new to support it or otherwise counter the refutation. Likewise, simply ignoring something that counters an argument and continuing as though it does not exist is incredibly poor form, up to the point of being trolling. Obviously, if someone has a person on ignore and thus does not see the counterpoint, sure... but just putting everyone who disagrees with you on ignore seems to indicate that one is not here for discussion, but rather to soapbox and preach.
     
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  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes I rather agree. There is no shame in being wrong - in fact the last thing we should want is for people to be afraid of exposing themselves as wrong, as it would prevent any of us from learning from each other. It is incumbent on anyone pointing out what they think is an error made in good faith to do so graciously.

    The problem is people winding up others, through being unreasonable, deliberately obtuse, or abusive. This is a systematic defect in some posters on this forum. As you say, failing to address - suitably politely - sensible objections made in the course of discussion is a fairly good test.

    We all get cross from time to time of course so the odd flash of impatience or temper here and there can be tolerated, so long as it does not become a general posting style.
     
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  20. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    Aye - and yes, heated words are expected, especially in any subject where folks are passionate; often, that can be handled by a simple reminder to step back, take a breath, and calm down. This infection, insidious, and continual creep of fallacious argument and general disregard for supporting evidence though... it must stop. To quote Picard: "The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!"
     
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  21. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Sinse thats the position of managment... why does the prollem persist.???
     
  22. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    I'll probably catch hell for this... but in the interest of transparency...

    The reason is simple - that's the position of those of us "in the trenches" so to speak... the moderators and (former?) super-mods. The Upper Management, however, doesn't yet seem to be onboard for reasons that we have continually asked for, yet are not given. The best we've gotten is the vague notion that enforcing the rules as they were intended to be would result in the site traffic dropping... leading myself and a few others to the conclusion that it is, apparently, better for members to scream, shout, and insult one another (so long as they are making posts!!!) than to enforce civility and good, rational discourse and result in a drop in posts per day... though I'm convinced that said enforcement will ultimately result in an increase in traffic as those looking for knowledge and intelligent discussion come (back in many cases) to SciForums.

    But... *shrug* that's just my take on it.
     
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  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I'm curious. Are individual mods prevented from exercising their judgement?

    I know, generally, you all get certain reports, and probably have a consensus of a sort - but what if a Mod went with the tactic of 'better to beg forgiveness than ask permission' when dealing with a vexacious post/member?
    Is your action going to get reversed?
     

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