Science: Explanation versus obfuscation

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by DaveC426913, Mar 3, 2023.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    ….and so the forum loses another of the few remaining thoughtful contributors.
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  3. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Not that you know the answer, but if you had to hazard a guess as to why that site doesn’t tolerate derailing threads off topic and SF does, what might be the reason? Moderation for keeping threads on topic can be time consuming ; I’m not sure there are enough mods here to do that. I’m further wondering if there was stricter enforcement of keeping threads on topic, if we’d see less offenses, to that end.

    Yea, I agree to an extent. Again, who knows why people abandon a forum over time, could be so many things, but this could fall under community conflict, and for good reason.
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    The .net site has evidently decided to be a real science site and benefits from active moderation, mostly it appears from practising scientists. It tries to be understanding to naive questions but comes down hard on bad faith arguments or what it calls “soap boxing”. Write4U would have been suspended for that almost immediately.

    This site has adopted a more laissez faire attitude. You do often get interesting discussions arising from cranks and nutters so maybe the idea is to tolerate some crankery and nuttery for the sake of the side discussions. But as you say, one can only speculate.
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  7. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    Maybe the mods are tired of the present lot. Or, weirdly, they are playing a game here.
  8. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I don’t think it was always that way, but it seems like there is an expectation from those who want more rigorous science discussions, to not permit the “On the Fringe” section to be just that - on the fringe. Hard science sections, totally agree - your issues with what some post that would be considered “woo,” don’t belong in those sub-forums. But chastising MR for posting what seems fitting in the “On the Fringe” section for example, I don’t know…that’s where the unnecessary community conflict comes in.

    Every forum has its own tone, and how far mods will allow members to push the envelope. I think more moderation would help any struggling forum to gain more interest and engaged members.

    For those sites that self-moderate, in theory that seems fine but in practice, there’s always that one bully or two, that take over a site, and if they’re not reigned in, they will damper new membership. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s a shame. So, they try to change everything else except address the bully, and it’s really just window dressing at that point. Even if the bully is intelligent and posts insightful comments, their behavior is driving a wedge between the current state of the site and what it could be.

    If a site has a lot of traffic, it’s way easier to get rid of the bullies but on smaller forums, it becomes more difficult to create a better “culture.” I belong to another forum non-science related that is pretty busy, and the bullies (as well as trolls or other disruptive types) are swiftly dealt with and they can either get on board or be banned. It seems to work.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2023
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Again, we're just going to check in with the other thread↗:

    That is, if you advocate for the advancement of behavior classified as sex offense, do so responsibly.

    Or is that too circumspect for you?

    It really does seem this is pretty much what it's about, Dave; the one consistent aspect these last several months↑ is that what you seem to want is to tell people off. It's pretty much all you've done the whole time I've been talking to you about this stuff.

    To wit:

    I don't know, Dave, what, do you think maybe a few more "Gamera"↗ posts↗ might do the trick↗?

    Part of the problem, Dave, is that solutions, and the pathways to finding and achieving solutions, don't always agree with internalized heroic narratives. It's a big part of why people generally can't tell us what they want, or, at least, in any manner that doesn't come down to arbitrarily settling this or that circumstance according to their personal satisfaction, and without any real regard for integrity and honesty↑.
  10. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    I told you Dave, the mods are playing games with our heads.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    You say that like it's a bad thing. Yes, I call out what I see as bad behavior. That's part of my job as a member.

    In an ideal world, the moderators pro-actively work to rid the site of bad behavior.
    In a more practical world, members alert the moderators to bad behavior and moderators act on it.
    In a more cynical world, members alert moderators, and the moderator(s) do (what the consensus seems to be is) not enough about it - except to criticize those who complain.

    Tell me: other than me drawing to your attention what I see as bad behavior - and then you criticizing me for it - what other ways do you think we could all get together and improve the site?
    What if we got past the shots at each other and just started talking about constructive things we could do to improve the site? Anyone interested?

    I have some ideas (nothing I haven't already expressed), but it will require a constructive venue to discuss them. Could we create such a venue?

    I guess I don't need to wait for permission; I can start a thread about things to improve the site. The thing is, it would have to have some ground rules (about ad homs, picking on members by name and general poo-pooing of ideas, stalling discussion by airing out old, dirty laundry), otherwise we would have just one more thread with members just pooping on scifo and each other. That would require moderator intervention though to keep it on-track. Which I cannot do without moderator blessing and oversight. Quandary?

    What say all?
  12. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    I don’t thick it can be done here.
    I have never seen a forum on the web where the three mods are popping at each other from time to time. That is not a foundation to build your dream forum on.
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Er. Who is the third?
  14. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    Dave, have you not heard Bells having a pop at each now and then. I admit it's not often with Bells, but there is something there now and again. Don't ask me for quotes. I can't be bothered because this is going nowhere. Sorry, but good luck.
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    OK, I may not frequent the places where I'd cross paths with Bells very often.

    OK, that's one nay/abstention.
  16. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    This site I have found has a very broad range of topics so I imagine it is tricky to moderate.

    Still fairly new here but some interesting threads and posters.
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Dave, I've asked you what you want, and you refused to tell me. I asked you what the appropriate circumstance looks like, and you refused the question.

    But here's the thing:

    Okay, so, we've been discussing these issues for a while, now, and at some point, what you're unaware of becomes significant.

    Because it does keep coming up.

    Maybe you weren't in that one discussion, or don't think you have a dog in this dispute, over here, and maybe you even carefully avoid that other stuff over there, but it is also true that those things affect address and resolution of your own inquiries and complaints. And maybe, just maybe, the guy who claims to not know what is going on shouldn't be so melodramatic in bawling about what is going on.

    I mean, really, Dave—

    —what the hell? Explain to me how I'm supposed to take that seriously.

    Maybe I was too subtle, before↗, when I said it's not that I expect people to outright imitate my form and style, but some of my posts offer what we might construe as a suggestion toward a better course. And I was probably making things too complicated when I explained there are ways in which I set certain examples, and if people don't want to follow the path suggestsed by the better of those examples, that's up to them. For instance, in those notes on a complaint, #124 above↑, I mentioned a post I had written:

    So it's not just theists, or how precisely we define a scholar. But I can think of a post I wrote, once, largely about the Gospel of Luke, and if any passing scholar or evangelist ever thought maybe they wanted to dance, we can understand why they would not want to do it in a room like ours, which prefers cacophony over communication. Indeed, what historian would, compared to easy cynicism disdaining scholarship; and you would know better than I what scientist would, compared to what goes on in those subfora.

    Actually, it only starts with Luke; most of that old post is about the Epistle of James and the brother of Jesus. Anyway, inasmuch as you complain about posts you don't like, and are reluctant to explain what you think is appropriate, go ahead and read through that old post (#3564734↗), and, yes, please do explain something about what you think an appropriate post looks like.

    Because, it's true, writing better posts, or, at least, turning efforts toward something more productive than ceaseless, exaggerated complaint, is one of the things anyone can do to help "improve the site"; see also, Wegs, #140↑, "why not post some new content that draws more members interested in science discussions".

    But, for instance, per the apparent purpose of this thread: What do we do about what disrupts that? One of the challenges you present—

    —is the need to dismiss the how and why in history. There are, historically speaking, reasons why this is the circumstance, around here. The history explains—

    what those reasons are, and
    how those reasons work, thus
    describing the challenges, limitations, and stumbling blocks
    in order that we might resolve them
    toward achieving positive, useful change​

    —something of the task ahead.

    And that history does not necessarily agree with internalized heroic narratives; indeed, given enough such narratives, it becomes inevitable that history will disagree with many tellings.

    Those other things you're not necessarily aware of are, and have long been been, part of the problem leading to the circumstances you find so discouraging. The problem actually starts outside your narrow range of focus. And insofar as perpetual complaint is part of your job as a member, maybe you might consider the prospect of your role in a constructive discussion.

    At some point, between the things you are apparently not aware of, tendencies toward both melodramatic and generalizing complaint, and lack of some affirmative assertion of what is right, appropriate, or satisfactory, it starts to seem like this is just about complaining. Are you complaining toward a solution, or just to complain?

    It's like saying you want to create a constructive venue while refusing to take part in constructive discussion. Maybe the key word, there, is constructive. To wit, perhaps what you really mean is satisfactory, that your ideas require a satisfactory venue. Because, and just to be clear on this point, the two words are not necessarily synonymous. And at some point, Dave, you're going to need more tools than complaint and ignorance.
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    My very first post in this thread is a very long, detailed description explaining what I want, so your repeated accusations that I refused to tell you are quite false. However, it seems you are not one to accept nuance or facety, so allow me to clarify. What I want is for you to


    Here are some examples:

    Sciforums is an intelligent community that encourages learning and thoughtful discussion. We expect and welcome contributions that inform as well as stimulate discussion and debate. At its foundation, sciforums focused on discussion of Science. As the forum developed, our interests broadened to include Philosophy and Ethics, Religion, World Events and Politics and other topics. However, we retain in all areas of debate an ethos of respect for the scientific method, which demands critical analysis, clear thinking and evidence-based argument. Vigorous debate is expected, but we expect all participants to treat each other with courtesy and basic good manners, and to abide by reasonable standards of intellectual integrity and honesty.

    • Post on-topic. Avoid going off on a tangent - if you have to, start a new thread.
    • Do not insult or harass other members.
    • Do not flame other members.
    • Do not engage in ad hominem attacks (i.e. attack the argument, not the person).
    • Behaviour that may get you banned:
      • Repeated off-topic posting.
      • Plagiarism.
      • Knowingly posting false or misleading information.
      • Repetitive or vexatious posting.
      • Being a repeat-offending drain on moderator time and effort.

    Is that clear enough? Can you stop accusing me of not telling you what I want now?
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2023
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I am trying to.

    Are you?

    D̶o̶e̶s̶n̶'t̶ t̶h̶a̶t̶ k̶i̶n̶d̶ o̶f̶ r̶e̶q̶u̶i̶r̶e̶ m̶o̶d̶e̶r̶a̶t̶o̶r̶ f̶a̶c̶i̶l̶i̶t̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶?̶ I̶s̶n̶'t̶ t̶h̶e̶ b̶a̶l̶l̶ k̶i̶n̶d̶ o̶f̶ i̶n̶ y̶o̶u̶r̶ c̶o̶u̶r̶t̶?̶
    W̶i̶l̶l̶ y̶o̶u̶ p̶i̶c̶k̶ i̶t̶ u̶p̶?̶ O̶r̶ w̶i̶l̶l̶ y̶o̶u̶ t̶h̶r̶o̶w̶ i̶t̶ b̶a̶c̶k̶ a̶t̶ t̶h̶e̶ m̶e̶m̶b̶e̶r̶s̶ a̶n̶d̶ c̶o̶m̶p̶l̶a̶i̶n̶ h̶o̶w̶ t̶h̶e̶y̶'r̶e̶ n̶o̶t̶ d̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ e̶n̶o̶u̶g̶h̶.

    W̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ d̶o̶e̶s̶ t̶h̶e̶ b̶u̶c̶k̶ a̶c̶t̶u̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ s̶t̶o̶p̶?̶

    OK, I've stated what I think need to happen, above. Here I go, starting a potentially constructive discussion.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2023
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    You yourself are a welcome addition, being neither a crank nor a nutter, knowing some stuff and being an articulate contributor.

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  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    —more Gamera posts, then?
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I've followed up on that, inferring what you're referring to.

    Twice I've made a one-off joke about Sodom and Gamera, friend of Children. You can see there is four years and four months between them.

    I'm going to go ahead and assume you're being totally facetious about whether that qualifies as either 'repeated' or 'off-topic' (not sure which you're citing). Smiley faces in your posts will go a long way toward letting people know you're posting tongue-in-cheek.
  23. Bells Staff Member

    When we did crack down in the past, many protest threads abounded and we were told that we were throttling discussion, thoughts and beliefs.

    In other words, there seems to be a bit of a chasm between what people want and their expectations and how people respond when said expectations become a reality. The irony is that we have lost a lot of members because we were considered too strict and too ban happy. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

    Secondly, we have an infraction system in place where after a certain number of infractions, the ban cycle automatically begins and once it reaches 100 points, the ban becomes permanent. But there is an expiry date on those infractions. What this means is that someone could post absolute rubbish and receive infractions and the ban cycle begins. What they then do is bide their time, the earliest infractions expire and they begin the cycle again. So, when I see complaints about how we don't crack down on certain posters or moderate enough, I check the infractions of that poster and I'll see they may have dozens of infractions, but they all expired. Those members are moderated, just not how some may wish.

    Yes and no.

    One of the biggest issues I see here is that people have a tendency to jump down the throats of people who may post a query that some disagree with. The post may be in bad faith. The poster is moderated. But then what would happen is that some people would then stalk that poster around and essentially flame them, even when that poster was posting in good faith. If someone makes a mistake here, it's never forgotten. Some simply can't move past it. Ever.

    Welp, I didn't realise I was 3 people on here!

    No wonder I feel tired.
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