A few site related questions...

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Seattle, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed, and I know why.
     
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe change the name to the Woo Forums and have a fringe area for the reality based folks.

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  5. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Why do you comment in those sections, then? lol Just comment in the science-only sections. See that? Problem solved.

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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I don't, to my knowledge, comment in the woo sections. I see them only because I'm trying to go though the new threads section.

    By having the woo sections it tends to draws those types to the mainstream sections. I was just curious why a "science forum" would have a large woo section.

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  8. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Okay, but what do you consider the woo section? I thought you were talking about all sections that were non-science related.

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  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Problem is that our woo woo trolls are bringing their woo woo into the sciences: By woo woo I mean alternative hypotheticals, illustrated just now as one troll has just done to get a raise out of me, claiming gravitational waves, BH's etc do not exist.

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  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    No, I was mainly looking at the Forum "front page" and going down the forums. About halfway down I think it's called "Fringe" and then gets into pseudoscience,alternative science, ghosts, aliens, and ufo's etc. I just didn't get why a science forum bothered with all these distinctions.

    I get that this forum in broader than the average specific science forum. I'm not criticising the more mainstream general forums including religion, philosophy, politics, etc.

    The fact that it's more broad than just science is probably its greatest appeal. It doesn't really need to attract craziness in my opinion and I'm not referring to religion by that remark.

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    If you've read much of this forum I'm sure you know what I'm referring to. There are certain posters that, to use the term loosely, are just crazy.

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    Why encourage that type of post?
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  11. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    lol okay, gotcha.

    Why, thank you. lol

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    Because the reality is that ''trolls'' will show up no matter what, and then you clutter good sections with their ''woo.'' So, maybe the thinking is (I'm just guessing) that if you have a separate section for them to post in, it will keep the non-woo areas free of it.
     
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I think that is the thinking, regarding trolls but it's still an odd response in my opinion. What other site have you been to that has to have a long, ongoing section called "banned users"?

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    If you want to get rid of flies you don't just dump garbage a little further from the house.

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  13. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    lol what do you think a good alternative would be?
     
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Don't have those sections. There are plenty of forum without inviting crazy discussions. At least make it so posts to those sections don't show up in "new posts" but seriously why have those sections? If they post nonsense in the other forums just delete it just as any other site would have to do. Most other forums aren't overrun with nonsense.

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    Why do parents not let their kids eat candy all day long? Shouldn't they just let them eat candy all day long as long as they stay in their room?

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  15. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    On some forums I've been on, you need 'x' amount of posts before you can post in certain sections. 25 posts or something, so that might deter a troll from joining just to troll.

    So, what do you have against ghosts??

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  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    The only thing I have against ghosts is that I've never seen one.

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  17. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Something I've observed on this site which I take as a positive, is that it's moderated well. There are sites out there that you wonder if a moderation team even exists, because of all the trolling that is left to go on unchecked, and the thread topics that are beyond inappropriate. No site is perfect, nothing in life is perfect but after being inactive on here for a while and returning recently, it's definitely an obvious, positive difference with what I've seen on other community forums.
     
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    "Staff" means moderators and administrators.
    Most of the time you'll only see two Administrators here - myself and Plazma Inferno! Plazma is one of the site owners (the others generally do not post here). You can think of me as essentially a super-moderator, which means I have a few privileges above those of other moderators, but not many. Tiassa and I are on a similar footing, regardless of titles. All other people flagged as "staff" are moderators. Moderators are nominally assigned to various subforums, but given the current small number of active mods we all tend to float around to some extent. In dealing with the report queue, in practice it usually comes down to whichever moderator sees the report first - unless we need to discuss it, which happens frequently enough.

    Yes. When a moderator is posting in his or her capacity as moderator, this will always be clearly indicated in some way. Different moderators use slightly different methods, but usually you'll see posting in a different colour, with a heading like "Mod Hat" or "Moderator notice" or similar. Any posts by staff that lack such a heading are posts made in their capacity as "regular members", or personal opinions given in their staff capacities rather than "official" actions.

    Not going to happen. Preventing moderators from actively participating in the forums would be a disincentive to a person wanting to be a moderator.

    We do try to maintain a policy that a moderator will not usually officially warn or otherwise take action against a member with whom he or she is having a dispute about a particular point in a discussion thread (i.e. not one involving the moderator in his or her capacity as moderator).

    Quite a few of those threads generate discussion. They are science news, and we are a science site.

    Right now we're not planning any such changes.

    From my personal point of view, I have always thought that sciforums provides a unique venue for the rational and "scientific" examination of claims on a very wide range of topics. There are very few similar forums on the internet where "cranks" can expect to have their feet held to the fire of rigorous examination. Some other places simply toss them out without giving them a hearing. Others embrace them with open arms and unbounded credulity. We provide a middle ground. We hope that we can play some part in creating a more scientifically literate populace who has some awareness of what it means to think critically about things (science or non-science).

    It takes a lot of time and effort and money to curate content. I think you may be expecting too much.

    There are other forums that provide that kind of thing. We have chosen not to be them. This is a considered choice, albeit one that is regularly revisited and debated. I am well aware that there is not a consensus on this matter across different forum members, or even within the moderator group.
     
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    One suggestion is to have a check and balance. A moderator who chooses to participate in a thread could recuse himself as moderator of that thread, deferring to any other moderator to be impartial.

    It would allow mods to participate in threads that interest them, only tapping a mod in the case of a dispute, and the mod could be all the more impartial for not being personally invested in the topic.

    It's an ideal solution - in theory.
     
  20. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for the feedback James. I have a couple more questions rather than feedback.

    I notice that, like most sites, there is a large number of guests at any one time relative to the number of members online. Often there are 8 members and 400 guests online at the same time.

    Does this make any difference as to how the site makes money? I'm guessing that you make as much on a guest as on a member but I'm not certain.

    Since guests can't post that means that only members are adding content to the site. Is there a way to convert more of those guests to members? I know sometimes there's little point to posting since you know that more than likely no one is going to respond anytime soon. With more members it's a much more active site.

    It just seems too bad to only have a few people who can respond and yet hundreds are reading the posts at any one time.

    This applies to most sites I think but I just wondered what your thoughts were as to how to increase the membership. I don't know the answer and am just curious.

    Is it possible to just let guests comment as well?
     
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Seattle:

    I'm not on the money-making side of this enterprise so I can't give you any definite answers on that. I, personally, get no money from sciforums.

    Since registered members don't see ads, it seems likely that guests actually generate more money than members.

    Make them interested enough to want to join in is the main way, though there are a few other perqs (like not having to put up with the ads, for example).

    A larger number of active members is certainly desirable.

    All public media is like that to some extent. There are always more consumers than there are content-makers. We are lucky in that we get quite a lot of good-quality content created here for free (which no doubt makes some money for the site owners).

    Realistically, to increase membership significantly would probably require a much greater investment of time, effort and money than sciforums currently gets. The site owners get to decide this kind of thing, ultimately.

    It's a good question, but also a big topic to discuss. You might like to open it up to the general membership (or they can just comment here if interested).

    Yes, it's possible, but it would be a nightmare. Fighting spam is a big enough problem as it is. Having to register to post provides a very necessary level of protection of the site's integrity.
     
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Regarding spam, I used to go to one site that had an interesting approach to dealing with that problem.

    Suddenly, during certain hours it was overrun with posts from China that was pure spam generated automatically. One post would repeat 20 times and then repeat in every thread.

    The site put up a "block" button accessible to every member. It wasn't a permanent ban, it just got the message off the public part of the site and administrators would deal with it in the morning. If any member saw what was going on your would just block the posts before it got going too far.

    It worked well.
     
  23. Kittamaru No more Staff Member

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    Unfortunately, with how certain members are here... I can say with absolute certainty that one morning, we mods would wake up to find 90% or more of the active members blocked.
     

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