Question for the members, why not get rid of "On the fringe" section...

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Seattle, Sep 19, 2022.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I did the math, my added value it turns out is greater than yours so there's no need for you to worry about that.

    I've contributed to many threads. Most you probably don't read or appreciate but I've rarely read a comment from you that appears to appreciate anyone on here so I don't feel offended.

    If you feel like writing a book, or a pamphlet you can write about "What I, James R., add in value to this forum." If you are going to ask the question, I'm sure you'll have no problem answering that question as well.

    For bonus points (optional) you can answer "Who I value on this forum".

    Personally, I value everyone on this forum but then again, I'm a people person.
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    How interesting! What math did you do? How did you compare values? Please explain in detail.
    Yes. I'm aware of that. That's not what I asked.
    I do read, and I do appreciate some contributions. I'm not offended by what you rarely read. I'm glad you're not offended either.
    I don't feel like it right now. Thanks for the suggestion, though!
    I asked you because I wanted your opinion.
    I don't think I need your points.
    So you said, earlier.

    Do you think it's your people skills that most contribute to this forum, then?
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I like the 'fringe' fora.

    Personally, I'm not a scientist so I don't participate a whole lot in the science fora. Although I was a biological science undergraduate back in the day, so I do check in on the biology forum since some topics there do interest me. (The origin of life, the history of life on Earth, astrobiology, evolution, cell biology more generally, phylogeny... lots of stuff I guess.)

    My education is more in philosophy, and in religious studies. (I can sense atheist hackles rising...) So my interest here has historically been in the philosophy and religion fora. But interesting conversation there has largely ceased recently.

    So "fringe" is the most stimulating place these days, because it's where the most interesting (to me, anyway) issues arise. The 'demarcation' science/pseudoscience distinction, the nature of evidence, what sort of assumptions we should bring to our analysis of evidence, hypothesis generation, objective/subjective, science/scientism and all kinds of stuff like that.

    There might arguably be too many 'fringe' categories. They could perhaps be reduced to one 'fringe' forum. But that's not a big deal in my opinion.

    'Cesspool' is an interesting question. I personally think that board participants should be free to post there, without any moderation apart from removing posts that might be a legal threat to the board. Rename it "Anything Goes". If a thread turns into a flame-fest, warn participants that the thread will go to 'anything goes' if it doesn't get back on track, and move it if it doesn't clean up its act. Some of the more psychiatric numerology threads might go there too. But crank threads should probably go to 'fringe' if they have actual content that makes sense.

    But don't confuse it with "Free Thoughts", which I take to be more of an 'off-topic' forum for lighter conversation.

    Personally, if my desires be known, I'd eliminate 'politics', 'ethics' and fora like that, which seem to serve as little more than left-political clubhouses for bashing conservatives. They are hugely divisive and there's nothing even remotely scientific about their content, which is even more off-topic on an ostensible science board than 'fringe' is. But I don't expect their elimination, they are too popular with some of the moderators. Which is ok, it's not a big issue for me.
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You can't resist having a dig, can you?

    Why should an atheist be upset that you've studied religion? More than a few atheists have quite extensive backgrounds in studying religion, just like you.

    As an atheist, I think that if you believe in a god or gods than you most likely don't hold that belief for reasons that have a strong rational defence. But that's something atheists have to live with, given the sheer numbers of people who believe in gods and the supernatural for what are, in the end, not very good reasons.

    If anything, I feel sorry for you if you're stuck believing in some sort of god. On the other hand, people can and do extricate themselves from religion, so maybe you will too.
    That probably happened about the time you put me on your mental "ignore" list, when the list of ideas you preferred not to hear or think about it got too long for your personal comfort level. Funny, that.
    Back in the day, we had a since Pseudoscience forum. Some members complained. The matter was put to a vote, and here we are.
    This is not an "anything goes" forum. This forum is moderated. Our tag line is "intelligent community". The idea is that whatever ends up in the cesspool is largely unintelligent. The point at which a thread finds its way to the cesspool is the point where we want to stop encouraging further stupidity or time-wasting disruption.

    If you think you want an unmoderated forum, there are a few out there. Please try them out, by all means. This will not happen here - at least, not while I remain a moderator/member.
    They already do. Lots of them.
    Note that there's already a "Post whatever" thread in "Free Thoughts". I'm in two minds as to whether that thread serves any useful purpose. At the moment, I'm coming down, slightly, on the side of saying that it does (which is why it is still open), but it's a fine line.
    With that, you're telegraphing your own political leanings, I think. Perhaps you missed some of our more provocative right-wing contributors. Perhaps you're unaware that a few are still with us.

    Discussions of ethics demand a certain level of maturity because there are inevitably disagreements. That is tre of a lot of philosophical issues, but people tend to me more emotionally invested in what they consider to be ethical questions. Ethics, as a philosophical discipline, ought to be about reasoned arguments (as academic philosophy is more generally). Reasoned arguments don't have an inherent political bias. They stand or fall on their merits, intellectually.

    Strange idea: "left political clubhouse ethics".

    I think that, increasingly, people these days confuse ethical questions with political ones. That's not to say that ethics is inapplicable to politics - that's a different matter.
    You're not very consistent.

    If your real concern was that all topics here should be "scientific", that would seem to eliminate discussion of a lot of the favorite topics you listed: the 'demarcation' science/pseudoscience distinction, the nature of evidence, what sort of assumptions we should bring to our analysis of evidence, hypothesis generation, objective/subjective, science/scientism and all kinds of stuff like that.

    What you seem to want is that topics you approve of or enjoy should be discussed, while those that you're not interested in, or less interested in, should not be allowed.

    Also, as I have said before, sciforums has never been a dedicated "science board", in the sense that we have restricted discussions here to scientific matters. Religion, for instance, has been here from the start.

    Perhaps you should re-read our mission statement, such as it is, as expressed in our site Posting Guidelines. Your image of what you think sciforums is or ought to be is somewhat different from what I think it is and ought to be, for starters. More generally, I think that the majority of our membership has expectations that different somewhat from yours.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    On Disincentive


    This off-topic response to a technical issue with the site is an example of how you are a disincentive. Up until February, or so, people were expected to take at least a little bit of this along the way, but that was always a messy, uneven standard, and now appears to be on the outs. Or maybe not. You'd have to ask James; it's tied into the Star Trek standard you violated↗ a couple months back.

    But inasmuch as you have anything to say about site traffic¹, you should probably take a moment to consider who is going to see people like you running amok, here, and sign up for our forum in hopes of receiving that kind of abuse. Yet despite pretending you would "like to see this site become more of a friendly, general discussion forum with little moderation other than for hate speech or just generally uncivil behavior", you continue to behave this way.

    So maybe ask yourself anew what you really, really want. And in that, also take some time to consider which standard you would prefer, the one in which, sure, someone might behave like an asshole but nobody is really supposed to come out and say it so directly, or the one in which you can be drummed out because someone is personally annoyed². Compared to your prior concerns about excessive control and ban threats↗, look at the actual prevailing reality during your time here, i.e., you're still here.

    Anyway, it's been a long time, here, and if once upon a time in the world, Darwin understood some pleasure of quarrelsome nights at the pub, the difference these days is that some people are antisocial, belligerent, and disruptive because that sort of thrill is what they need in order to get by. If anyone should complain about site traffic, it probably shouldn't be you. People have made decisions about whether or not to participate, here, for years, according to the spectacle of our two-bit horror show. It is easy enough to wonder who would look forward to it.


    ¹ See, "Asleep at the Wheel" #9↗, for instance, or #15-19↑, above.

    ² Neither of those are actually my standard; the circumstance you're accustomed to originates with convoluted efforts to protect and excuse certain speech and behavior. But inasmuch as the old way of doing things was intended to protect behavior like yours according to a pretense of free speech, a question that arose along the way to St. Ives is whether it turns out I should have been attending self-interest the whole time.​

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