Create an "Alternative theories" subforum?

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by James R, Sep 26, 2011.


Should sciforums have an Alternative Theories subforum?

Poll closed Oct 3, 2011.
  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Abstain/don't care

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  1. OnlyMe Valued Senior Member

    I have not been around long, but I have seen a few threads where it has been the bull in the china shop attitude keeping them going. Often these discussions amount to an individual with an off the wall paradigm and several others in the audience jeering them on. I know of at least two threads, one in pseudoscience and one in a subfolder of science, where had the peanut gallery just kept quiet the thread would have died long ago.

    Sometimes, people on the edge want attention and for the most part they don't care what kind. Call someone stupid or an idiot and they at least know, that you know they are there.

    I like the more open format here in SciForums than there is in PhysicsForums, the only two discussion groups I follow at all. I am not so fond of the relaxed stance on personalizing comments here. But, like I said I've not been around discussion groups as long as most of you and it may be a necessary evil, of the more flexible rules.

    I can add this, if the new folder is added to a subfolder with pseudoscience etc. it will have been work for no real gain. If it is opened under Science or Physics & Math and the jeering and name calling personal attacks are not deal with in a more vigorous manner it will also be doomed.

    If the intent is to separate serious discussions that do not quite meet the standards of current mainstream consensus, some measure of respect must be enforced or the only people posting there will be those currently labeled as cranks etc.

    One final word. Over the years I have discussed a number of not so mainstream ideas and concepts with working professionals and scientists in a number of areas, including a working particle physicist at Stanford, either one on one or by e-mail. It has been my experience that within the limits of their areas of expertise they have all been willing to discuss "fringe" ideas and not once have I heard any use words like , crank, idiot, stupid or ignorant. Generally people who are secure in their knowledge and understanding of a field, do not react to "stupid" questions with personal insults.

    Sometimes a discussion of off the wall ideas, old theories, models and just plain free associated what if discussions, lead to new insights involving more concrete aspects of accepted physics. And civil discussions have a far greater chance of changing a person's perspective, than does a debate style incorporating insult and personalized attacks that begin by putting them on the defensive.., personally.

    If the proposed new sub forum is intended for those now called cranks, it is not needed. If it is intended for any kind of real debate or discussion involving participants with ideas that are not consistent with general consensus and/or those who may lack the educational background for a rigorously define scientific discussion, where the folder is placed and some rules of conduct are important.
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  3. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Sigh. I suppose. But isn't it a reasonable object to allow the alternative theory types to run with it just a little? Sure, it looks like a load of hooey, but what if meandering thought experiments produce some end-result wisdom?

    Absolutely agree with that. If there are going to be strident claims made as to truth, then proper testing must be ponied up.

    Well, true. I think you mentioned something about a rating for posters...theoretically a complete woo-woo would eventually be excluded. Although a mod could do that anyway. Likewise hit-and-run BS like "I saw'ed a UFO full of green men and they turned me into a salamander!!11one!!" OPs should probably be sanctioned (against that is).

    Sorry, Dyw: I do appreciate what you do here. And I have no real reason to say that you're hard on the woo's other than my factually erroneous sentiments. My apologies.
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  5. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Good grief sir! No need for an apology. I took it the spirit intended (or at least as I thought you intended it).
    That, plus the fact that I never take you seriously.

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  7. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Oh. Well in that case the spirit was to make you cry like a leeeetle girl. Didja? Huh? Didja?

    That's it. You shall not treat me as one of your drabs.

    Have at you, Sir.
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Thankyou to all the people who voted.

    It looks like there is a majority in favour of creating a new subforum.

    I will do this in the next few days - as soon as I can get around to it. An announcement will be posted when it is up and running.
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