Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by C C, Aug 23, 2015.
Log in or Sign up to hide all adverts.
I don't think there's much of a future in beershake's.
Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
It's why "people just [won't] leave him alone".
MR commits the inexcusable crime of posting about ufos, ghosts and monsters on the "Ufos, Ghosts and Monsters" forum. Then some of the board's dimmer bulbs follow right along attacking him whenever he posts, hurling insults at him. MR gets angry and expresses his anger, receiving infraction points for behaving no differently than others do towards him.
I've asked before why the "Ufos, Ghosts and Monsters" forum even exists if people aren't welcome to post on those subjects there. (Instead of answering that question, the board's management closed the thread in which I'd asked it.) Is the "Ufos, Ghosts and Monsters" forum only intended for true-believing debunkers, giving them a place to attack anyone who take those subjects seriously?
If that's so, why are the religion forums treated differently? Why aren't they restricted to atheists and why is an avowed Christian theist assigned to moderate them? And why is that particular theist leading the jihad against MR on 'Ufos, Ghosts and Monsters'? (When people live in intellectual glass houses, they shouldn't be throwing stones.)
One of the cute little innovations on Sciforums that gives the board an increasingly authoritarian feel is the repeated charge of "intellectual dishonesty". In real life that phrase means something like 'lying'. On Sciforums, it apparently means refusal to acknowledge that a moderator's view is (supposedly) far superior to your own. Failure to immediately surrender, in other words. It seems that some of our moderators believe not only that their views are the absolute Truth, but also that they argue so brilliantly that any failure to submit must indicate a knowing intention to spread falsehoods and lies.
It's ironic when people pose as "skeptics" while they are doing this. That's why I make a distinction between skeptics and debunkers who in my opinion are just another variety of true-believer. That's why JamesR's skeptic/true-believer distinction in the other thread is much more difficult than it first seems, and why I say that there are faith-driven true-believers on both sides of many of these Sciforums controversies.
If Sciforums wants to transform itself into some kind of increasingly doctrinaire Scientism-forums, there's nothing that I can do about it, except to continue as a voice of reason until I'm banned. But I will have far less respect for the board and its participants if things move in that direction.
Nothing wrong with that. That's what those forums are for.
THAT is the problem.
Both receive infraction points actually.
It is a UFO's, ghosts and monsters (i.e. pseudoscience) board on a science board. Thus when such things are posted, people interested in science will respond, since it is a science board. MR becomes angry when his claims are doubted and lashes out. That's why he gets banned. Other people behave similarly badly towards him as well. That is not an excuse for what he does.
If he (or anyone) wants to post on the pseudoscience sections of the board they are welcome to. They will be questioned, and their claims dissected, because this is a science board. If that will anger them, then the best solution is to not post anything to begin with.
Perhaps you'd have a better view of the situation if you actually read some of the threads.
MR's "crime" is to claim that he knows "the answer" while refusing any and all other explanations.
Are you quoting him? Can you include footnotes? Don't you find Agent Mulder sexy?
LIM.. i love the x files.
What exactly does LIM mean?
Or if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
No, MRs "crimes" are simply to refuse or to automatically "write off" any and all other possible explanations, for what he interprets as genuine ghosts, Alien origin UFOs and other unscientific aspects of the paranormal, while at the same time ignoring that this is first and foremost a science forum.
Whatever interpretations on intellectual dishonesty you wish to bestow, its obvious that it is what you are doing now in this rather tiresome boring thread.
The attempted derision you are attributing to this other "variety of true believer" is in fact deriding common sense and logic, which is what the scientific method is.
The scientific method is unknowingly and generally used everyday by you and every other normal logical person on this planet.
The scientific method rejects outright, the labelling of something that science is unable to explain as ghosts or any other aspect of the paranormal.
Except that all Sciforum does is apply the scientific method just as it should.
Whatever other conspiracy you constantly see the need to attribute to explain behaviour that does not adhere to the scientific method, is certainly not the voice of reason.
The confusing purpose of the Fringe section might be a reflection of the overall elusive identity of SciForums. Is the latter a strict workshop for students and instructors? Is it a relaxed, recreational outlet for science groupies to connect with each other? Is it a cathartic agent which enables relief for various thought-camps in the course of their venting / flaming each other? Only the mutable background logic which dispenses penalties seems to "No!" for sure. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
And to boot, he still is even after the nose correlation was debunked.
Yah, this isn't exactly helpful for Krash's contexts. If I was a Japanese commercial, this might be a Wasei-eigo moment for just picking the coolest sounding one to Nipponese ears: Lossy Inhomogeneous Medium. Sponsor: "Oooooooooo, that's so spicy! Rush down to your local vendor in Hokkaido today."
Part the First
The only thing I would add there is that the situation isn't static. If I propose that pre-emptively banning a member from a thread is an erroneous action, it is a lot easier to make that point if said member, upon having that thread ban lifted, does not turn around and immediately justify it.
Over the long run, MR has mocked the rules since day one; he arrived here and almost immediately started posting drive-by threads that, most often, could be subsumed under one or another extand discussion.
You know, I'll have to look for it, but not so long ago one of my colleagues posted a tale from youth, about feeling guided by a voice while lost, and he and I discussed that briefly, reaching not so much a specific conclusion, but affirmatively considering brain activity. Those few posts, to me, reflect at least one aspect of the potential of the Fringe discussions; this, historically, is why Sciforums has maintained digital space for such subjects. It's okay to believe; as I used to say of ufos and EBEs, and still maintain, it is nearly inevitable that intelligent life exists in this Universe, but the question of whether "they are here" remains. The functional problem with this outlook is that it does not suit some people's beliefs, who insist we have greater evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence running to and fro about the Earth than the existence of God. And this does create a certain degree of tension; in the long run, MR's self-superior evasions and taunting did him exactly no favors.
If it's a deliberate, calculated outcome I've seen no evidence of it. Rather, I've seen inherent personal biases render the Religion subforum so useless that I generally neither participate or moderate. To wit, for all we might fret about intellectual dishonesty, it is enlightening to see evangelical atheists refuse to apply the so-called objectivity of their antitheistic advocacy to anything else in the Universe; it is enlightening to watch them redefine the word "religion" in order to lessen their educational burdens and make their antireligious bigotry easier; it is absolutely hilarious when the occasion arises that one should then turn around and appeal to an abstract moral duty. Over the years, I've come to accept two things about the Religion subforum itself: (1) The Religion subforum now exists primarily as a means for attracting religious people to abuse. (2) This is not going to change anytime soon.
One of my favorite threads in Sciforums history is over thirteen years old: "The crucifixion was a fraud"↗. It is quite the contentious thread, but it asserts itself so prominently in memory because the discussion sought to work with the historical record. And that latter is what is generally missing today, and it makes a certain amount of sense that it would be; it's a lot easier to pick on a straw man than learn the real nature of what one is complaining about. Back then, people were still trying to learn; there isn't nearly enough of that going on in the Religion subforum today. Ultimately, this behavior derives from an original lack or cultivated exclusion of pathos; it is specifically anti-social.
Note our frequent use of the phrase "scientific method". It might seem obscure, but the results speak for themselves. Over the years, I have invoked, as a counterpoint, general academic standards, because at our valences of discussion it really is hard to test the historical record without a time machine. But this notion has gone not so much rejected as generally ignored. Combined with an outcome whereby there is no such rigor or scrutiny given certain subjects outside the range of the physical sciences, we should not be surprised that in considerations of history, politics, religion, ethics, morality, justice, &c., the idea that two plus two equals four becomes merely one side of the argument.
The flip-side, of course, is that the staff can figure a plan to bring all these problems within our reach, but historically it seems pretty clear-cut that many people who complain of problems also complain that we're being jackbooted thugs when we try to deal with those problems. As I've reminded a couple members recently, if this staff was as terrifying and tyrannical as people make us out to be, any number of our problematic members would not still be here.
And in trying to deal with certain problems, this staff has run into some strange boundaries over the years. I have no idea what people imagine our processes are like, but when demanding issues arise, things can get pretty crazy. I can remember one of my male colleagues responding to a legitimate question of sexual harassment by derisively telling a woman, "Sigh, it looks like I have to explain sexual harassment, again." See, the way it went was, "This must just be political", some back and forth suggesting the critic hadn't actually read through the posts in question. The next point was that the problem was never made clear to the offending member, to which one could easily point to five posts, including quotes of the material in question and an explanation of how the offense is derived, and the offending member refusing to even address those points. Facing a simple deadline, either address the issues or suffer consequences, the member publicly invited consequences. That the problem was not made clear to the member was an untenable argument, so it shifted to a variation. That new variation was that the member was too stupid to understand his offense, and therefore should have been given a pass. And this quite closely after the same colleague reminded that the defining aspect of Sciforums is its overriding respect for the scientific method. In the end, it came down to, Anything to help promote sexual harassment.
Or here's one: A member complains, but the complaint does not hold up to scrutiny. The member insists and insists, even opening a thread and straight up lying in order to rally the masses against this staff. The member is warned and eventually issued an infraction. The Administration then steps in and suspends the person the false complaint was about, rewriting the English language in order to do so. It even emerged at the time that one of our colleagues was just fine with this because it is what the "superstitious bitch" deserved. The staff ended up in a massive public brawl that carried through the end of one year and into the next.
So the question frequently arises: If I do this "right" thing, just how much of a disruption will it cause?
And the answer, more often than not, seems to be, "A greater disruption than the offense itself". Moderators often hesitate because they remember what happened last time. And the time before that. And the time before that. We have bent and broken our standards so many times over the years in order to protect diversity, and by that I mean the appearance is that Sciforums would be willing to allow the promotion of bigotry. At one point I had to campaign against phrenology.
So the general question comes up, over and over, and the Ownership-Administration won't explicitly say it's about traffic; indeed, they won't say very clearly what it is this staff is supposed to do, so we're constantly reverting to an e'er-receding memory of principles long forsaken.
―End Part I―
Part the Second
To put it bluntly, Yazata, you're generally politically conservative. Look around at the people who have passed through over the years; sure, you would still be here, but one of the reasons we've bent over backwards to permit and even protect so much of this terrible behavior is because without doing so, less than a quarter of the "conservatives" who have passed through here would have remained as long as they did. This isn't because they are politically conservative, but rather because they behaved that poorly. There was a member, for instance, who published all sorts of tinfoil wrapped around potsherds crammed into a basilisk's sunless region, including consistent violation of anti-bigotry rules by refusing to spell the word "Muslim" correctly, but, hey, he was picking on Muslims, so that was okay enough that his behavior should be protected ... or something weird like that, and I never have figured it out. What is the rest of the membership supposed to think? And the staff? This issue will come up again; indeed it does regularly, and our lack of action favors one of the "conservative" voices offering nothing but tinfoil-wrapped potsherds. And here's a fun one about political conservatives: The Administration seemed determined to chase a certain specific member from the community, such that the merit of complaints no longer mattered; that a bunch of people filing false complaints were making so much squeaky-wheel noise was evidence that the member needed to go. After all, the reasoning went, anti-Americanism is bigotry. It was in response pointed out that this alleged "anti-Americanism" was part of the American public discourse; an Administrator from another country then deigned to tell an American moderator what is and isn't the American discourse. These years later, we've never used the "anti-American" charge again as a basis for action. The issue arose recently, as members inquired about certain perpetual violations of the rules, but unfortunately the precedent is established: Denigrating, bigoted, deliberately inflammatory content is acceptable in specific contexts, such as anti-Americanism, as long as it comes from a political conservative hurling tinfoil-wrapped potsherds. This is how we are supposed to pursue "diversity" at Sciforums, by entertaining and protecting these people and their bigotry. It's a vaguely similar device to entertaining assertions of equality that require supremacism.
Consider, please, a common offense that goes almost entirely unpunished: Arguing from ignorance by simply asking questions intended to doubt an idea without ever making any substantial affirmative assertions. It's not so much a matter of those who forget history, but, rather, those who would render it irrelevant. Imagine how nice it would be to try to have a discussion without having to pretend such behavior is respectable. There are so many little things going on―e.g., it's one thing to argue hypocrisy but another to do so when one already knows the charge is false, such as accusing, "You never criticized ______ for the same thing!" and not only can you point to the discussion where you did, you can also point to the charging member's participation in that discussion, so it seems pretty clear the member knew before making the accusation that it wasn't true―that we might address in order to improve discussion quality and alleviate rancor, but those aspects are so far down the damn list because circumstances have raised a spectre of impossibility about larger, more immediate, and even dangerous issues.
Nobody should weep for us; we've decided over and over again that this or that day is not the day to make a glorious last stand. That is to say, we've done this to ourselves. But, to the other, neither would I overlook other people's contributions, including the allegedly intelligent members who plague our inboxes with perpetually stupid complaints that I wouldn't even call juvenile for the sake of not insulting children by the comparison.
But we can actually work through this as a community; the question is who actually wants to. It's one thing to complain about another member, quite another to consider our complaint in the context of our own individual behavior. Trying to parse the boundary between vices acceptable and unacceptable often seems a futile effort.
And one thing that would be helpful is that I need members to realize there are people on this staff busting their asses trying to keep up and do their jobs sincerely. A strange number and selection of issues have crashed together in this episode. They are, of course, interrelated, but also require their own specific address. One of the keys to navigating this complex is to try to follow myriad iterations of intellectual dishonesty. It's not quite the tumor whose excision will cure all, and human behavior generally defies the boundaries of such a simile. Still, though, it is a predictably growing behavioral phenomenon according to a principle of representational diversity that functionally required accommodating some intellectual dishonesty, and to, well, predictable results.
In the end, we narrow potential outcomes too much by trying to hold any one of these episodes isolated unto itself; there is a history connecting these occasions. To which I would specifically make the point that this time the dispute in the back room seems really strange, and this worried me until it occurred to me that we really do have too much practice at this, and now that worries me.
But while I'm on the subject of intellectual dishonesty, it's worth noting the problem with your generalization:
This kind of bullshit is exactly unhelpful. Please help me to illustrate by considering the following:
• Member deliberately omits (A) in order to argue (B), which is the exact opposite of (A), for the purpose of fostering ridicule.
Is that honest? Or is that whatever the fuck it is you just tried to assert about intellectual dishonesty?
• Redefining a word in order to disqualify the historical record and make one's own argument easier, including the exclusion from the definition of aspects a member doesn't want considered?
Generally speaking, it makes argument a lot easier if one is allowed to invent custom definitions of words to suit the argument itself. I'm not certain it really matters whether or not a moderator disagrees with the underlying principle or cause; if one must redefine something in order to argue against it, then there is a problem.
It's one thing if the redefinition can be asserted from the available data, but what if the redefinition has the effect of disqualifying the available data, such as the example I'm thinking of? What a convenient coincidence.
One problem with such simplistic denunciations of the staff and its actions is that it contributes to describing the boundaries and simplifications of one's arguments in general. It's more helpful for everybody if we try to constrict our pursuit of rational, decent discourse to reality itself.
it's my personal thing.
i hardly smile or laugh. but in my mind i smile and laugh, so hence LIM means, laughing in mind.
There has been a lot of debate among the moderator group about the appropriateness or otherwise of some of MR's recent warnings and bans. This is an ongoing discussion (and quite a heated one, too, from some quarters).
I have no problem with anybody posting about UFOs, ghosts and monsters in the forum dedicated to discussion of those topics. That's why it's there. People posting there can't expect to be immune from scrutiny, though. It isn't a support group for people who believe weird stuff. Since sciforums has a certain proportion of members who are keen on the scientific examination of all claims, anybody posting about UFOs or ghosts must expect their claims to be subjected to a certain level of scientific skepticism.
If people start "hurling insults", then we have a reports and infraction process to deal with that. Returning fire is usually a bad move. This is clearly suggested in our site posting guidelines. You are suggesting that there is a double standard in place, whereby some are free to personally attack others and those others are punished when they respond to said attacks. If that is true, then we have a moderation problem here that needs sorting.
I'm not sure why your thread was closed. Can you please link me to it? Was an explanation given by the moderator who closed it?
I see no reason why the religion forums should be different, other than the fact that the factual claims made by religions are often constructed in such a way as to make them unfalsifiable, so that the kind of scientific scrutiny applied to, say, ghosts, is harder do employ when it comes to something like the existence of a deity.
Personally, I try to avoid giving official warnings for "intellectual dishonesty", because that term is so nebulous and subjective. We do have a rule about deliberately telling lies, though, and I do apply that one from time to time.
How would you deal with the case of a person who refuses to acknowledge evidence that goes against his or her pet theory, even after it has been clearly presented to him or her on a number of separate occasions? Do you think this kind of thing should be subject to moderator action, or should the person be free to go on posting things that have been demonstrated are untrue, as if those disproofs were never posted? What about a person who cherry picks evidence, discarding everything that tends to go against their prejudice and keeping everything that tends to support it? If this cherry picking is clearly pointed out and the person continues to engage in it, what then? Would moderator action be appropriate?
There's certainly a line to be drawn.
sciforums does not have an official "party line" on such topics as UFOs, ghosts and monsters - or religion, for that matter. However, I hope that we do have a party line on having among our members voices of reason such as yourself. By allowing discussion of pseudosciences, we do not want to become a support group where cranks can gather, safe in the knowledge that nobody will challenge their claims. There are many places like that on the internet. Rather, I would hope that sciforums is a place where the psuedoscientists get a reality check. Who knows? They might even learn something about critical thinking.
This is not to say that our resident skeptics have nothing to learn about critical thinking. As I have said elsewhere, skepticism is not the same as debunking.
Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Separate names with a comma.