Backgrounds in moderation

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by GeoffP, Aug 19, 2011.

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  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Really? We're down to fifteen?

    Is it really down to fifteen minutes?

    It used to be, well, a bit longer to say the least, but I don't see those notes anymore because I have universal edit access.
     
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  3. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    I guess that could be Warhol's 15 minutes, although I think his meaning was a little different. 15 minutes to compose a post that will be locked forever after* (*With the exception of moderation)
     
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  5. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Good God. I was just having the exact same experience.

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    No, seriously. This one guy that I occasionally deal with reacts so strongly when I write something on one of his threads that one hopes he's taking the appropriate dosage of heart medicine; such contact produces an intellectual spasm so intense it would make a protestor being savagely tazered by the LAPD turn away in a kind of communal embarrassment.

    This is already becoming OT, but bear with me: and so, inevitably that comment is taken not as written, but through the less-than-worldly lens of preexisting, overwhelming prejudice. It's amazing the strange places our discussion can take us - into Bizarro-SF worlds so nearly anti-Euclidean in their logic that a pointed question about the relative stupidity of a off-topic post can then rapidly transmogrify into a Nuremberg rally for the elimination of banter. Coincidentally, it was not dissimilar to this position:

    Strange. Questions of appropriate representation already being well outside such rules, apparently. Anyway, from there, sometimes the hatred develops as a historical outburst that one might rightly call stream of unconsciousness. And this is, regrettably, not uncommon because the forum, whatever it was in the Golden-Days-As-Perceived-by-Hindsight, is now one of utter polarization. Fair discussion is gone. Personalities are all. But the poster is right in this: if this is the kind of world that SF wants, then it is the kind it gets, I suppose, in the current environment. In the same vein, a comment about whether or not a smiley on a thread about a recent tragedy is a little insensitive turns into a rant about whether or not banter should be illegal, with the antagonist nobly electing to defend a proposition that was never actually attacked in the first place. How did this discussion get to this parallel? :shrug: If I told you, it would scarcely be believed. Has further discussion served? Well, this phrase admirably sums up my experience:

    Again, I have exactly the same problem. The coincidence is so precise - minus the extremely strange injection of the relative value of banter - that I would swear we were talking about opposite ends of the same argument.

    Yet, that first part - the impossible juxtaposition of sensitivity vs. banter - sounds so strange and disjoint that one might well disbelieve in the mechanics of such a discussion. Certainly I would not have believed in it, if I had not seen it. But that's SF also: in the rush to clash personalities, the strange becomes commonplace. Tenuous leads are seized upon and yanked with Herculean effort but little or no perspective. Fumbling mathematics coupled with misdirection are substituted for reason. And this is not thought in any way unusual: the pride of the pride of prejudice takes the place of an apologetic concession to bias, now.

    Yet, perhaps there is something to be gained here. The OP has been awkwardly morphed by some into a demand for either better citation and/or a better postlitariat, presumably to be enforced by bannings and tongue-lashings. It was never about that, but really about whether some of the sub-fora deserve more rigorous management by those with experience. (Naturally I defer to Bells on her own appointment, with the news of her imminent degree, and I offer my apologies. In my defense, what would one expect a lawyer say of a legal forum run by a scientist? An artistic forum moderated by architects? An ethics forum, run by a primate? It seems less than sensible, prima facie.)

    But a lack of sensibility is what SF has become: a wending-way for carrion-eaters to leer at the others, huddling around their feeble logic and reason. Some of the former are thin beasts - at best - and can be sent scurrying with forbearance stiffened with firmness. Others wind much more poisonously round their targets and require much more extrication, often with a firmer hand; they are wrestled down by their betters and ejected. So be it. But it is hardly a stable system. To what does it benefit the users, or the owners, to continue it, as such, uncontrolled?

    I would never, unlike the odd accusation above, make the case that SF should be restricted; an extraordinary set of words to put in anyone's mouth. And so this thread, like this post, even, and like of much of what goes on around here has become what it was not: a discussion of issues that didn't actually happen, accidentally revealing those that genuinely exist. Rather like stumbling on a hornet's nest while painting the veranda; chipped paint is bad, but vicious insects far worse, until smoked out.

    And, thus, it has served - accidentally, certainly - to illustrate some of the problems with the forum. And, in that sense, I am well satisfied with it. There was little progress on the OP consideration - roughly, "should one have experience to run a forum?" - but inevitable the elements of interest have sifted down to an even better set of more serious problems. So: it has served. True, most posters contributed well and meaningfully, and that should also be said. To them, my thanks.

    My position is clear: I leave the bone-pickers to scavenge for what they will. There is scarce eating when the lions have already been through.

    Geoff
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
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  7. Mr MacGillivray Banned Banned

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    what's your position then?
     
  8. Gustav Banned Banned

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    hard to tell since much of it seems to be written in some ancient, yet to be deciphered text. from what i can glean, thru extensive discussions with famed linguists and anthropologists, i think he confesses to masturbating while on sci


    But a lack of sensibility is what SF has become: a wending-way for carrion-eaters to leer at the others, huddling around their feeble logic and reason. Some of the former are thin beasts - at best - and can be sent scurrying with forbearance stiffened with firmness. Others wind much more poisonously round their targets and require much more extrication, often with a firmer hand; they are wrestled down by their betters and ejected. So be it. But it is hardly a stable system. To what does it benefit the users, or the owners, to continue it, as such, uncontrolled?

    rather shocking, don't you think?
     
  9. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    People are dicks?
     
  10. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    He who smelt it, dealt it, Gus.
     
  11. Gustav Banned Banned

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    further consultations with famed scholars have conclusively determined that this individual is posturing; in a fugue of delusion and megalomania, as a "better"

    astounding yet comical, don't you think?
     
  12. Mr MacGillivray Banned Banned

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    A canadian tragedy.
     
  13. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Geoff...that was the most astounding piece of bloviating I have read in some time.

    Give yourself a hand...no not there...ew...
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Back to the thread topic for a moment.

    I don't see much of a problem with a qualified lawyer moderating a subforum that discusses issues such as psychology, sociology, anthropology and the like. I wouldn't necessarily see it as a problem even if said lawyer had no formal training in science.

    Most of the time, when a post calls for moderation it has nothing to with the scientific content of the post. My own impression is that what gets moderated most here are off-topic personal insults. You don't need a science degree to effectively moderate those.

    A background in science does occasionally come in useful if a moderator is called on to adjudicate a claim of trolling, or to decide if somebody's post or thread ought to be moved from a science forum to Pseudoscience or the Cesspool. But even in those cases the correct decision is often obvious to anybody with a little education (in just about any field).
     
  15. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, if only I could believe you knew any famed scholars. Or even infamous ones.

    Tsk tsk. How is it my fault when an intellectual inferior pulls a Tonkin? I bet you all believe in Santa, too.

    Anyway: James does have a point here. (Remember the OP?) Yes, most moderation concerns issues of etiquette and balance, for which the only achievement really necessary is not having been reared by wolves. Yes, few issues actually concern with qualifications. What can I say? I ask not because I'm interested in more rigorously chastising the unterposters - a strange digression - but to discover to what audience or range of audience SF intends to direct itself. Maybe this a gripe about a name: SciForums implies a great deal of Sci and not much else, but the reverse is true, really. W&P, Politics, the lot. There's nothing wrong with the range of interests presented, but are we also at all interested in anything more rigorous also? A transition to something else? Where is SF headed, and to what end? There seems to be some dissatisfaction with the status quo. What are we going to be? Is there a plan?
     
  16. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Geoff, this is a discussion site with a bias towards science. What would you like it to be?
     
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    GeoffP,

    Wasn't it Tiassa who answered your question previously?

    sciforums will be whatever its members make it - within certain constraints imposed by evil moderators, of course.
     
  18. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    There are many, many answers and subsidiaries to that question, and I will belabor you with only few.

    First: I don't know. Or more actually, as an instinctive generalist, I actually have no large-scale preference. (Some would say that as a critic, I have no specific plan, but lurk to pounce on the plans of others; and this would also not be too far wrong, as far as it goes.) It is possible that SF could become more like some of those other, rigid forums: but is that the direction that it should go? The object, fundamentally, is economic unless I have misheard, and as such the spice must flow. So what is the best strategy? Fill the niche that the hoity-toities don't fill? Become hoitey-toitey ourselves? Straddle the two extremes like a man suspended over a shark pit? It's hard to say, or even to decide, since I'm not familiar with the monetary issues driving the forum. And ultimately, they must, at least a little, n'est-ce-pas? And so I am curious, rather as to what the moderators and admins and even much-accursed owners think. It's not a public forum or a social service. It remains an economic prospect by means of support. Thus, I'm curious as to where the Captain of the Forum - he Peg-Leg Pete by name, or so the mermaids tell me - is guiding it. Yet the moderators and admins run the forum. It's as well to ask them also. Whither, in their bearings, are we bound? I ask not to criticize, but of interest, and possibly of discussion, alone.

    Sorry: it was lost in the not-quite-hypothetical vitriol.

    I don't know: I think the users have more say or effect, obviously, if for no other reason than the contribution of the bulk of the material, and for the potential for endless overlapping bitching and whining. I'm not - or at least I wasn't in the OP, although we kind of side-stepped that way eventually - taking up the character of the forum, but more of our direction. My question was about whether we'd go as is, with a diverse array of interests across some fora, or whether we would adopt a more formal guidance without concomitant changes in the population: simply put, cutting 'laymen' out of the readership by demands to formal debate, coupled with decapitation, would be both morally wrong and also guaranteed suicide. That's a change in population; bad for many, many reasons, clearly. Might we attract more readership via the appearance of more legitimacy in our subforum leadership? Hard to say: where does SF stand in the theatre of global blogship/forumship? What does the leadership think? Is there a plan? We seem critically short of readers and posters; a dying population. Ten chiefs and two Indians, if you will excuse the comment. How has the regular posting population changed, within the last few years? It strikes me that it has declined, and markedly. As the forum is supported privately, is this not an indicator of potential failure? If so, whither from here?

    Thanks for your indulgence.
     
  19. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Ach. I just realized: I admit fully, and unreservedly, my abject failure to also respond with the most obvious and parsimonious answer: a scrapbooking site on stitching and knitting. I have no one to blame but myself. I have failed my family, colleagues and the nation-state for which I stand. Mea culpa. I announce my withdrawal from the race to throw my weight behind Gustav and the bridge from under which he emerged.
     
  20. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    That wasn't what he accused you of pulling, actually...

    Hey, just because mom barfed half-digested caribou meat in my mouth for dinner...no need to get personal here...

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    Gustav, I believe you've been working out. Looking good there. Nice definition on the triceps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  21. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    But why is this even "necessary"?

    In the words of the esteemed, albeit entirely fictitious, Navajo elder, Alvert Hosteen:
    (from "The Blessing Way," episode 1, season 3, of The X Files)

    Fictitious or not, I've spent a not-insignificant portion of my life amongst the Navajo and other southwestern Indians, and I'm pretty certain that someone along the way said something not entirely unlike that to me, so...

    Anyhow, yeah: rigor, reasoned articulation of one's thesis, proper citation (and minimization of disingenuous decontextualization), and just the facts, ma'am--all that crap is over-rated, and quite possibly ineffectual, in this battle of battles against the onslaught of capitalism, globalization, and the genocidal war machine of the neoliberal elites. We (as in, those of us who are most emphatically NOT right-wingers) have all but forgotten the art of rhetoric and the potency of impassioned and highly emotive pleas. I mean, Hanns Eisler was right to abandon the rigors of twelve-tone and serial techniques for plebeians modalities when setting Brecht to music: he might otherwise have pleased some musicians and the elites, but in effectively appealing to the unwashed masses he made a worthy sacrifice.

    I intend this in no sense as condemnation of the former (rigorous, reasoned, etc.), but simply as a plea for balance--or at least, an accordance of tolerance and respect for the quite possibly dubious, "unproven," and/or unsound methodologies of certain parties which may or may not include myself. Yeah, some people are frankly incoherent, some are reliably inconsistent, some habitually spew nonsense which flies in the face of all sense and reason, et al; but on the other hand, some of the most thorough and disciplined cling so desperately to the altar of the bivalent, Boolean logics (in the church of Scientism)... It could get real boring real quick-like were the lupine among us, with our slinky spines, were banished. But I could do without the plagiarists.
     
  22. Mr MacGillivray Banned Banned

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    lol.
     
  23. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

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    ^^^ I was wondering how long Nikelodeon's sock would last.
     
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