Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by James R, Sep 26, 2011.
Is the forum indeed struggling?
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I was once a member in a site that had one of these. If a regular member did not behave they got restricted to posting there and nowhere else on the site. You could not even see that forum until you had been a member for a specified time. There were warnings at the top of the opening page that told you there were only 2 rules (no pedophilia and no murder speech) but that everything else went.
That site also allowed socks. Note that the more one invests in running a bunch of socks, the less depth their main handle acquires. There was a karma/manna/respect tally under the handles sig line too. Made it easier to see who to be careful with.
Costs vs benefits. If you folks can actually make things different here you could make it much more entertaining, but there would be costs as well as benefits. Let me know if you want further thought on this from me, eh?
"Let thread starters moderate their own threads to remove comments they don't like."
That's a terrible idea, it will simply amount to thought policing and drowning out dissenting opinions.
Sciforums already has kind of an informal forum hierarchy, ranging from science on top to the cesspool on the bottom.
So I guess that my suggestion is to moderate these categories accordingly. The science forums shouldn't play host to pseudoscience, crankery, personality-battles or political or religious argument. I'd like to see these forums looking more like a university class discussion (except without a professor). Many/most of Sciforums' participants don't seem to have very much formal education in these subjects, so it would probably have to happen at an introductory level, but that's perfectly ok.
Of course, that presupposes that the moderators have had some university-level exposure to the subjects of the forums that they are moderating. One (rather minor) problem that I've noticed with the philosophy forums is that none of the moderators seems to have ever been a philosophy major.
If 'comparative religion' is going to remain up there in the science category, then it needs to shape up be something more like a university religious studies discussion. I disagree with Tiassa's suggestion that it be renamed 'theology' though. Theology typically takes place within the presuppositions and world-view of a particular religious tradition. Sciforums is too diverse for that and it would beg way too many important questions. 'Comparative religion' is a perfectly good title for the forum, its problems aren't the result of its name.
I'd suggest a 'philosophy of science' forum up there in the more heavily moderated 'science' area too, that would be dedicated to all the epistemological, methodological and foundational isues that science generates.
Then kind of draw a horizontal line across Sciforums and let the forums below the line operate on a looser layman's standard with less moderation. That would be the place for the atheist-theist battles, the political bullshit, and stuff like that.
I strongly oppose any suggestion that theists and atheists be treated differently by the moderators or that they be held to different standards. While I'm on that subject, I also oppose moderators on the political forums promoting and enforcing a particular political line.
Moderators should ideally try to stay reasonably impartial, promoting intelligent discussion and civility. They should be Sciforums' referees. If moderators want to join in heated arguments and post their own personal views, then they should be able to do that. But perhaps they should use a different posting persona to do it, one that isn't perceived as possessing a moderator's authority to ban anyone who disagrees. So the board should consider relaxing the sock-puppet ban in the case of moderators, provided that the board administrator is kept informed of what's happening.
There should be a 'speculative science' area too, that could host (or absorb) pseudoscience and parapsychology. Quite a bit of what's posted up in science might be better off down there. There needn't be any moderator expectation that the "science" in this area will be the kind of orthodox science that one learns in school. I'm sure that if what's being promoted there gets too far off the tracks, there will be combative skeptics who will happily jump in and challenge it. That could lead to interesting and stimulating arguments (and endless back-and-forth personality battles).
The chat type forums, sci-fi and so on would be down here somewhere too, like they are now.
And yeah, I kind of like the idea of allowing people to continue to post in cesspool. If a thread is just spam, or if it has porn or criminal threats or something like that in it, then it should be removed entirely and not left visible for people to read. But if a thread is being closed simply for having become a flame-war, religious preaching or something like that, then why not let things continue down there in the trash dumpster with minimal moderation?
As far as bannings go, it probably should be easiest to get temp-banned from the scientific/academic-style forums up on top, but simultaneously unlikely that anyone except spammers, people who create danger for other participants or legal worries for the board would get banned from cesspool.
So I guess that what I'm imagining is a sliding-scale sciforums, ranging from a fairly professional environment up on top, to (almost but not quite) anything-goes down at the bottom. Visitors could just kind scroll up or down until they reach their comfort level and whatever it is that they might be looking for. The board could simultaneously be welcoming both to secondary and university science students, to amateur scientists and to anyone truly fascinated by science on one hand, while also still being a fun place for the bored controversialists and even for the nuts and for the trolls among us.
Here is a thought. What if the threads in some subforums (e.g. cesspool, pseudoscience, religion, or whatever you think fit) don't get to appear at the "Today's posts" or "New Posts"? This way, we can have less strict rules (people get to be less moderated in those forums), but the posts or threads in the "Today/New Posts" which should be dominated by scientific discussions don't get buried in less scientific discussion? Trolling posts in hard science section can just be sent to the cesspool or anywhere else which fit.
I made this following request yesterday, but deleted it, now I'll post it again, I think I should give it a try. Could we have draqon, kadark, Roman, nickelodeon & friends (and some other long time members who get permanently banned) back in here?
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Yeah Stoni . I hear you . There is always a price . It may be a bigger price for some than others . I believe in careful consideration my self so anything more you got about it is good discussion
interesting. more please
like you said we already have it to some extent.......but
the mods need to be advised by management as to the degree of moderation they can impose. no more private fiefdoms. no more unilateral bullshit like fraggle's kafir and quotas. no more zero tolerance crap in world.
on the other hand, in the hard sciences, i would not care if one gets banned for a typo. if one cannot handle the heat, stay the hell out of the kitchen
as i see it, this community does a good job in pointing out illogic so there is no real need for mods to intervene. i like benign neglect. ignore all but the most serious of reports and can the mollycoddling
as for the mod sock idea......no
I agree with you on that Lucy. If I put up a thread I want the nastiest of naysayers . Consider this : If you got a problem you got to deal with and you present at S.F. yoy got a pretty good sampling of the thoughts in your live problem you got to deal with . I like the bald face reaction with no retribution . I don't know if you all realist how valuable that is ? Understanding stances people take become much clearer when you heard it already . You all are wonderful teachers in that respect . Your doppleganners have not a chance .
I agree Me - Ki, thread starters should not be allowed to moderate their own threads. That leads to a very narrow perspective being put out there without anyone being able to disagree with the OP's stated viewpoint. Egocentric thread starters will start threads with the sole purpose of hurting or angering particular members or moderators. I have seen this in practice, it was tried on a site I was at. Some folks reveled in the power tripping, others got really pissed off, management shit-canned it after a few days trial due to the one - sided nature of the practice.
V - Bulletin forum site management software has a function that allows individual members to express their approval or disapproval of other members (moderators inclusive) with karma/respect/manna/approval points. There is a display of dots under the members title line. Green dots are approval, red dots are disapproval, a new members dots are gray. When a member accumulates enough dots they turn into a bar that gets bigger as approval points continue to build. Mousing over the dots or bar gives a comment note according to the members score, like "this member is well respected" or "this member is a legend in their own time" and the like.
When you agree with another member's post (or if you are just sweet on them) you click on a little icon that puts up a requester box with 3 options: 1) give respect to this user (+), 2) give disrespect to this user (-), 3) comment only (no change either + or -) After you click on an option you cannot engage with them again until you have interacted with a set number of other users in like manner. This prevents a person from just sitting there beating or buttering another member up. Moderators need to be restricted in this as well to prevent abuse of the system.
The respect system tends to moderate individual members postings and style. We will recall that I have previously stated that we all develop a reputation as others read what we say here. After a while you get to know that a certain member has a personal issue that they are pushing or they have an axe to grind. Certain moderators consistently do things that many members do or don't like. Under the respect system this become obvious to all as the green or red bar grows. Like PM's, karma notes are private, sharing them without prior permission is a TOU violation.
A new member can see at a glance how well someone they don't know gets along with the other members. If someone wants though, they can shut down this function in their control panel and there will be no karma display under their title line. (opt out) While there are a few folks who will not participate and there are a few who will actively try to get a big red bar for being a total arse, most folks play along and act a bit better for the knowledge that other can see right away how they act on the boards.
Another change that I have found to be beneficial is allowing for a larger avatar. Many folks here as elsewhere express their personal creativity with their avatar. If it is a bit larger they can be a bit more creative.
One site I was a member in was free to participate in under the TOU, but had a contribution option for those who wished to subscribe. For a fee a member could get a larger avatar and access to a private subscribers forum that had a few bells and whistles that the regular fora did not have. They also had a note that said "subscriber" under their title line. It was a way for the site to gain revenue without having to go to sales or banner ads to pay for its upkeep. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
if i could change one thing about sciforums i would add more topics, 2 to be precise.
motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters.
ideally, all that should matter to us is the rationale of the current post.
it is what you say now that is under consideration and nothing else.
remove the avatars, remove the community/social groups/pictures and albums
while we have a community here, it is one we have forged by ourselves by way of the discussions that take place here. it is organic, fluid and whatnot.
this aint no social media site
a tree of subforums
black font on a white background
Nay. Avatars actually help to make posters easily noticed, especially when usernames are similar. Why not make things easier? *still looking for the right avatars*
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Imagine if these people would all posts in the same thread (just an example):
James K Polkin
Registered Senior User
Registered Senior User
Just this guy, you know?
Greek Island Holidays
If you don't like, simply don't join. It's not like it is excessive. Some people want to have cat lover group, some don't. Etc
well it is not a proposal because that is pretty much what sci is already. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
I suppose you turned off many of the features (like avatars)?
but thats just it
a stern unforgiving place is the image i would like to project
best hone your perceptive and analytical skills then
still though, the "community" tweak has been a resounding failure and that pleases me
fairly recently tho
For stern and unforgiving people...
You must not like it here much anymore.
Wow, Gustav...You're a Klingon.
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Gee Gustav, we haven't spoken much about "posers" and "posing" yet, but considering that you have posted up more pictures here than anybody else I can think of, I must suggest that you are being a tad........creative with your criticism Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! . Methinks that you are taking that "social" stuff too seriously for it to be a serious complaint....doing a bit of trolling are we? Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Anyhow, with some few exceptions, there are not very many real rocket scientists here and most all of the 'discussions' involve a lot of spurious speculation based on gut instinct rather than actual education/experience on the topic.
When many of the members seem to just troll the fora looking for drama, why not just go with what is out front? Why pretend that it is other than it is? How serious a science site do you think you can have when most of the membership hasn't completed a university science degree program - or even high school?
For the record, I am niether a member nor a participant of Facebook or any other 'social networking' site. I get my social stimulation from my daily life and face-to-face social dialogue with real world friends and colleagues.
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