Comments on physics and maths content and moderation

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by prometheus, Sep 27, 2012.

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  1. prometheus viva voce! Registered Senior Member

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    Mod note: I have split these posts from the thread "rotation and gravity," and stuck it. Strictly speaking this topic doesn't really belong in this board but I think it's reasonably important for people to discuss what they want in the board and what the existing posting guidelines are.

    Farsight: your own personal brand of physics gibberish is not welcome on the physics and maths board. Kindly stop posting it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
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  3. Farsight

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    Look carefully, I didn't give any physics gibberish. Care to point out where I did? Feel free to suggest a better turn of phrase, but otherwise please respond faithfully to the OP and make a sincere contribution to the discussion instead of being abusive.
     
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  5. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    Prom, I'm siding with Farsight here. This thread shows him taking the time to respectfully respond to a new member's curiosities; exactly what this forum should be. On a quick once-over I don't even see any part of his responses that you should disagree with...do you?
     
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  7. prometheus viva voce! Registered Senior Member

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    You can side with whomever you like, but this is not a democracy*. The specific bit I was objecting to was farsight's remarks about space vs. spacetime, which anyone who has read this board in the last few months will know farsight simply does not understand, but thinks he understands it better than actual physicists.


    * the usual disclaimer about being butthurt by interactions with a moderator goes here: PM an admin or supermod if you feel the need to.
     
  8. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not butthurt, just pointing out that as a moderator your behavior should adhere to a higher standard than to simply stalk out posters you don't like, call them trolls, and keep your finger hovered over the "Move Thread To Pseudoscience" button.

    Your forum activity is easily searchable and what you may hold over Farsight in technical knowledge you lack in effort to spread wisdom in a constructive manner.
     
  9. prometheus viva voce! Registered Senior Member

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    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. Part of my job as a moderator is to move threads to other subfora if they stray from the remit of this subforum and when people post pseudoscience here it gets moved to pseudoscience - I make no apology for that. Interestingly if you glance through the threads on the boards I moderate you will see a number that could quite justifiably be moved to a fringe category board or the cesspool but I have left for various reasons. Really, the vast majority of what I do as a mod is deal with spam.

    On that note, your post was flagged as spam for some reason - probably because it contained a link. It was nothing to do with me and I don't have the power to change the post approval system. One of rpenners was flagged as spam the other day too.
     
  10. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    My apologies for the PM then...

    Also, under the presumption that you're not being paid, I don't mean to criticize too harshly. I appreciate a spam-free forum
     
  11. RealityCheck Banned Banned

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    Hi everyone.

    First off, I'd like to quote someone I know over the internet, who once prefaced a communication with the remark:

    This person (who will forever remain nameless except for the convenient alias of "Dear Sir"), seems not what you would call the most self-aware person, since he doesn't seem to be able to face his own faults while perfectly prepared to pick on others to bolster his ego; or maybe because he holds grudges; it's not quite clear yet which (maybe both?).

    I quote that because his quoted opening remark shows an alarmingly preconclusionary mind-set which already assumes to 'know' what will transpire in a discussion rather than being open-minded and waiting/reading objectively to see what actually transpires in a discussion. Hardly the best person to be personally judging others.

    To this day he has not even acknowledged my communication to him about that and other failings on his part. Too bad.

    One can only hope and trust the friendly criticism (with supporting example pointed out) will 'get through'.

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    Anyhow, from that other universe far far away, to the case in point here in our own little corner of our own little universe we call 'the internet'....

    Prometheus, why do you (and AN too) persist in making a mockery of moderators/moderation behaviour/standards?

    First AN makes that gratuitous trolling/stalking personal "irony" drive-by remark about Farsight. Which is stupid and irresponsible enough for a mod.

    And then, to make it worse for this site's image (by making it look like 'ganging up' by the mods for personal motives), you pile on with your own gratuitous and stalking post with that 'gibberish' remark and NOT justifying that UNSUBSTANTIATED PERSONAL OPINION in any way in order to prove that it was NOT a personal opinion!

    I repeat, do you and your mod mate/s ever YOURSELVES learn?

    And please stop pretending that PMs to admin/mods will ever solve the problem which you and AN just AGAIN demonstrated. That avenue of appeal/redress is more than once PROVED to be only a means for hiding/framing the problem and blaming the victim.

    Can't you just NOT make gratuitous personal/stalking posts and possibly ruining an interesting discussion of what is being covered from different perspectives, as science DEMANDS we do to test the status quo 'understandings/interpretations'?

    I have more than once requested the mods do NOT make threds their OWN playground for petty politics/stalking/personal agendas. But have you learned anything? Apparently not.

    So how much is that 'PM the mods process' worth? You only 'recommend' it as a way of putting the problem behind the scenes where you can ban the complainant and effectively reward secretive/ganglike etc mod behaviour and allow the problem to fester and reappear again and again. Are we scientists or kindergarten kids to carry on like this and pretend that "it's always the other guy's fault" even when it's YOUR fault as demonstrated yet again?


    I implore you to stop defaulting to pettiness and personal ego. Just either make contributions; keep out trolls and when criticizing anyone please justify it instead of making a snide/hit-and-run petty-sounding post like those mentioned.

    And if, as you say NOW, you really did have a problem with Farsight's distinction between space and spacetime, please DO post WHY and HOW he was posting 'gibberish' about that. Reasonable?

    RealityCheck.


    PS: If you are butthurt by these open forum objective CONSTRUCTIVE observations/criticisms of your personal/stalking/preconclusionary moderating style/intrusions, then you can PM me (what's good for the goose is good for the gander). Better still, you may TAKE HEED for a change and actually not continue to be part of the problem? Reasonable ask? And IF by chance you are tempted to kneejerk and decide to DELETE this post and/or ban me for speaking up in open forum when you are in the wrong and no other redress by PM is obviously going to work, then go ahead and prove me right even more than this already has. Good luck!

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  12. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    ...had to giggle.

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    Prometheus claims this is not a democracy, but I think that point is debatable; it certainly isn't and shouldn't be a tyranny. The culture on the forum is what we make it. While the users cannot ultimately decide anything we can operate under the presumption that the OWNER of the forum cares about our perception that of culture. I would personally rather see a bit more tolerance in ideas that the mods find objectionable.

    (...with the exception that "alternative ideas" be labeled as such by the authors to avoid confusing naive readers...what about a system of color-coding which allows easy identification of fact, currently accepted theory, and pet theory statements?

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    )
     
  13. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    Science should be a tyranny of fact over conjecture and of parsimonious tested theory over wibble-wobble.
     
  14. RealityCheck Banned Banned

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    Agreed. However, in this milieu, it's when the mods intrude with their own personal tyrannies/egos etc tendencies that the problems arise. This is a discussion of sometimes controversial perspectives on the INCOMPLETE science. There is no place for ANY kind of smug tyrannies/intrusions/preconclusions sometimes exhibited here by the mods as just demonstrated by the case just mentioned. Hiding behind "science tyranny of facts" to conduct one's OWN PERSONAL tyranny is inexcusable and totally against the spirit of free science discourse without fear or favour. Some people seem to cry 'science' while carrying out their unconscionable personal/political agendas; just as some people call out 'god' while carrying out their own unconscionable personal/political agendas. Neither is right to do such a thing. I trust you finally understand this?

    Tomorrow/later.
     
  15. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    RealityCheck does not seem to have learned anything in his absence. Same soapbox, and same probable end to any thread he starts ranting in.
     
  16. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    Conjecture is the very heart of progress. What's wrong with it if it's labeled as such? I'd say Farsight's only transgression is to push his ideas as fact and to blur the line between them and accepted theory.
    And what about simple manners? I've seen Farsight (and others) take quite a bit of punishment before the personal insults get thrown back at the detractors...
     
  17. RealityCheck Banned Banned

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    You posted personal opinion egregiously inconsistent with the facts/posts in evidence so far in the relevant thread and now in this offshoot thread. So what does that make your comment? Worse than useless for any purpose except trolling and more personal agenda/ego. Learn. Resist the temptation to keep proving me right by posts like that which provide more evidence for my observation's validity.
     
  18. Farsight

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    I think part of the problem with abuse on a forum is that people are anonymous. Years back I watched on another forum as people's behaviour degenerated, and said to myself that's not going to happen to me. Hence I'm fairly open about who I am (John Duffield). I think not being anonymous serves as a constant reminder to be civil, and would urge others to remain civil too. Especially if you're a moderator. Nothing is more ridiculous than a forum where the moderators constantly sling abuse. It discredits the forum, and it discredits physics too. Physics has problems enough with funding cuts without the public seeing what they construe as professional experts behaving in an emotional childlike manner. They might get the impression that it's a tyranny of wibble-wobble over fact. And if that impression ends up predominating, there's an awful lot of good physicists out there who are going to end up flipping burgers for a living.
     
  19. Farsight

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    Anyway, I ought to clear up this space v spacetime thing. It's really simple.

    Imagine I throw a red ball across the room, and you film it going past with a movie camera. Then you develop the film and cut it up into frames, and we form them into a block. If you look closely you can see a red streak in the block. That's like the the ball's worldline in spacetime - spacetime is often drawn as a block with one space dimension missing, wherein the x and y axes are horizontal and the t axis is vertical. Note that the ball doesn't move through the block, it's just a red streak. That's because that block is giving you an overall picture of the ball at all times. Hence an object like a ball doesn't move through spacetime, instead it moves through space over time.

    A lot of people tend to say "the path of the ball is curved because it's moving through curved spacetime". It isn't true I'm afraid. What they're doing is thinking of space as if it's the same as spacetime, when it isn't. It's more reasonable to say "the path of the ball is curved because spacetime is curved". Even that isn't quite right, but let's come back to it another day. Meanwhile the main thing to remember is that things don't actually move through spacetime. It's a myth I'm afraid. Sadly you see this myth all over the place, even on reputable websites, such as this one for teachers. What I've noticed about this sort of thing is the catch 'em young effect. When people are taught something from an early age, they tend to resist any challenge to that teaching. Try getting through to some Creationist, and it's amazingly difficult. The problem isn't religion, it's psychological. People find it difficult to think rationally about a drummed-in matter, and tend to reject calm clear logic with abuse. Once you're wise to this it's quite droll when you see it, but kind of scarey too. People can be such automatons at times. My advice is to watch out for it in yourself. Look in the mirror and say I must not trust my own assumptions and convictions.
     
  20. AlphaNumeric Fully ionized Registered Senior Member

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    I've tried many times to engage Farsight in discussion, both here and PhysForums. Each and every time the discussion has been steered towards 'the science', ie the details, the demonstrable, the quantitative, the rigorous, Farsight fails to step up to the plate. He claimed to understand things like electromagnetism and quantum mechanics better than people with Nobel Prizes in them. He claimed to be a world expert. He claims to grasp their 'barest essence'. Yet he couldn't pass a school level test on them nor can he provide any real world phenomenon which his work can model. He is functionally innumerate, utterly lacking any of the mathematics which mainstream physics is written in and is unable to put any mathematics into his own work. He fails on every level to be doing science or to understand science, proper detailed science. Yet he goes around telling people they need to learn more? I've told him he needs to learn more for years and he's learnt nothing. Hence my comment. Farsight pulls out the 'let's stick to the science' comment when he's backed into a corner, unable to justify his claims or provide details and instead needs to change the subject. The problem is that his notion of 'the science' is arm wavey wordy layperson qualitative stuff which lacks any substance.

    As for stalking, suddenly posting a comment is stalking? If I were 'stalking' him I'd be replying to the majority of his posts. There are lengthy sequences of posts he's been making recently which I've just ignored. So you show more of your own mentality then you realise when you use words like that.

    I'm sure it would do Farsight's ego a favour for him to think people 'stalk' him, particularly if those people are competent scientists. Plenty of cranks might think that means they have 'rattled' us. When I'm not on this forum I don't think about 98% of the people here. A friend and I occasionally joke about Farsight because he's a laughing stock to us. I don't stalk clowns, I point and laugh at them.

    So your personal opinion about 'stalking' from Prom and myself is fine but if anyone else comments on other people's behaviour you complain? Oh look, more irony.

    Do you? As has been said, you're back on your soup box. Don't like it here? Leave. You shan't be missed from the maths/physics forum, I can assure you. Perhaps some of the hacks in the pseudo forums might miss the occasional pat on their back you give them but they're detached enough from reality they might not even notice. After all, people like Mazula have space aliens and god to keep him company!

    So complaining in a forum we moderate and where we could just delete your posts, or even edit them to say "Wow, I love AN and Prom, they really are stand up guys", is going to achieve more?

    Besides, if we were really malicious why would we been allowing this thread? We could just delete it, if we were trying to run some totalitarian regime. Hell, if I were vindictive and abusing my power I'd prevent you and Farsight from posting in this forum. But I'm not so I don't. You both contribute little, sometimes even contributing unhelpful things. But you're given some slack to disagree with people and spout your misinformed nonsense. But that works both ways, ie other people can post things which you might disagree with, in ways which might not be 100% in line with the forum mandate. If we didn't do that we'd no 'chatter' in the forum, just robotic question and answers.

    Can you and Farsight NOT make misinformed, wilfully ignorant, misrepresentations of scientists and your own pet ideas? See, it works both ways. If we're to stick only to the science then most of the posts by Farsight or you would be removed or get warnings, since quite often you're wrong in what you say about science. Farsight cannot justify any of his claims, cannot provide any working models, cannot meet a single criteria of science, yet he goes around claiming to be a world expert in things. I'd say his delusions of competency are far worst personality traits to have than my propensity to call people hacks, wouldn't you?

    You complain to people like przyk about how we might be fooling ourselves, in the mainstream, supposedly sometimes not providing justification for ideas, yet Farsight provides nothing. Farsight likes to complain about string theory yet his work is worse than that, by every single reasonable measure. None of the professional scientists here deny that 'dissenting voices' are important in science but there's a difference between "I wish to present a clear and detailed counter to your claim" and "I've made **** up and I declare myself a world expert in electromagnetism and worthy of 4 Nobel Prizes". Guess which one Farsight is?

    Now neither you nor he have ever actually been research scientists, so you have no idea the level and the detail involved in a good 'scientific debate' between researchers. Oh I'm sure Farsight has read a few pop science books on such things but there's a difference between having a layperson account of a discussion and engaging in such detailed, high level discussions yourself. If you want the forum to involve constructive discussions from opposing points of view then, once again, neither you nor he can provide the opposing view because neither of you are even familiar with the details of which you speak.

    For example, Farsight claimed to be a world expert in electromagnetism. He doesn't understand Maxwell's equations. Oh I'm sure he can give a layperson analogy or two, culled from some pop science book or magazine, but he has no experience of working with them, how they fit into electrodynamics or quantum electrodynamics, how to apply them to real world problems, their generalisations. I know this because I can give specific examples over the years where I've had to school him on something basic I'd expect a 1st year undergrad to know. Likewise with space-time curvature in general relativity. Prometheus had to school him on that, yet Farsight thinks he has some insight into it. How? He hasn't ever done any experiments, he doesn't have any data from other people's experiments, he has no understanding of the mathematics so cannot consider the details of relativity and his own work has no quantitative side at all. So how can he know something about it? Where has the information come from? He made it up, plain and simple. And now he cannot justify it.

    Of course when he first started making claims people explained carefully to him his mistakes but now we all know he won't listen. He doesn't really want a discussion 'about the science', he just wants to proclaim his delusions of competency.

    Already done, many times. Come on RC, you've been here and on PhysForums enough with Prom and myself to know we've all been around the block 10 times with Farsight. He won't answer direct questions, he cannot present any details from his work, he cannot justify his claims about being an expert in anything, he deliberately misrepresents aspects of research and despite having absolutely nothing to show for any of his claims of competency he presents himself as if he's competent.

    I find it funny you talk about 'kneejerk', 'stalk' etc. As others have noted, you're the one who tends to jump to this action of throwing his toys out of the prom at the smallest provocation. You've already been kicked off places in the past for this kind of behaviour. And this isn't your first hissy fit on this forum.

    Since you don't like the interaction between Prom & myself and you & Farsight, next time one of you make a claim about something which you don't justify, I'll ask you to justify it. If you don't or it's easily shown to be wrong using basic science knowledge I'll give you or he a warning. Prom and I have no problem elaborating on what we say, giving the details and justifying what we said, when people ask. Part of my lack of patience with hacks, including you both, is your inability to engage in honest, informed discussion. Well next time you or Farsight can't engage in honest, informed discussion I'll give the responsible party a warning. Either you'll learn to engage in honest, informed discussion, I don't have to give out warnings and we all have nice informed discussions, or you amount so many you're no longer welcome on the forum. The whole 'carrot or stick' approach. Be warned, this includes me asking Farsight to provide an example of a real world phenomenon he's able to quantitatively describe with his work, next time he complains about string theory. He does that alot, if I retroactively gave him warnings for that he'd be banned several times over. But hey, you demanded it.
     
  21. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    Excellent point. I have no pseudonym, and perhaps if I did I would more frequently give in to childish impulses. As it is now, any late-night drunken blunders I make are forever tied to me

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  22. Emil Valued Senior Member

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  23. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    1) When and where did Einstein say or write this? This appears to be a June 2012 distortion of "Knowledge and ego are directly related. the less knowledge, the greater the ego." which is sometimes attributed to Einstein but without a source.
    2) How do you test if someone's pronouncements (like the one you make) are based on Knowledge or Ego? Aren't you demanding that people support their claims (like the one you make) with science, professional scholarship and intellectual honesty?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
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