On the Inevitable Imperfection of Moderators

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by exchemist, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. sweetpea Valued Senior Member

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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    You referred to rpenner, and I agree his expertise on his subject matter is professional although in most cases above the understanding of us mortals.
    Still the reason he has seen the need to involve himself in certain posts, is simply because the person initiating the OP, has no intentions of accepting or listening to the mainstream answer as put by us mortals.

    Is that right?

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    I beg to differ and the proof of the pudding is here for all to see.
    Perhaps though you are still smarting somewhat at the many quotes I have given in the past poo pooing philosophy to some extent....Quotes like "Philosophy is for the Birds"
    At this stage I'll repeat that philosophy although the basis of science, is limited in practical application.
    Science is what we know: Philosophy is what we don't know
    Philosophical Bullshit: The Universe is the way it is and is described and modeled accordingly: It does not need to justify itself to anyone.
    Again, this is first and foremost a science forum, and anyone claiming unscientific nonsense such as ghosts, goblins, magical Spaghetti monsters, Aliens etc, will be questioned via the scientific method.

    No, I'm stating well known fact.

    More unsupported crap from our Dean of Philosophy,
    Let me straighten you out......
    I simply admit to my limitations and am not as you so stupidly put it, proud of it. That's simply the way things are and I won't go into reasons at this stage for that.
    I do not act as an authority and for someone as expert in philosophy as you claim to say so, is nothing short of stupid.
    It is the reason that I do tell those asking questions, that I am a lay person, but by the same token have read plenty of reputable books, links and articles from professionals, and that the answers I give, in near all cases, align with mainstream.
    On your claim re my commenting on other people's thinking, I'm not sure who or what you are referring to, but despite your rather "over the top"application of pure philosophy" into anything you have a beef about, havn't you just done that yourself in this rambling post of yours. Oh, yes, I forgot, you are the Dean of Philosophy!

    The moderators like anyone else, has the right to post and express their feelings whenever they have a mind to.
    That's my business and my choice. OK?
    I say plenty on many of his articles and encourage him to keep posting them just as I do when I have a mind to and the time.

    Again, as a lay person who has read plenty, I believe I have a reasonable basic knowledge of cosmology in general and BH's, GR and such.
    I express my knowledge and views to the best I am able and in the majority of cases, that view is correct and aligns with the mainstream view.
    Sometimes when questions are asked by cranks [you know the ones to which I refer I'm sure] with no intention of accepting any answer, is the time when rpenner steps in and shows in mathematical language, the correctness of the answers being given to our anti science protagonists.

    My view though [philosophical if you like] is that you and others, see a victim when mainstream science is applied when scrutinising the fanatical anti science claims of some and sympathy for them and against the ogres that congregate to tell them the error of their ways.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    No, it would not be fair to say.
    It is a private forum, run by an owner, who has every right to impose rules as s/he sees fit.
    Note that that does not automatically mean they are arbitrary or unjust; it simply means they are not subject to acceptance by members.
    Anyone who doesn't like the rules can always start their own forum and attract the kind of traffic they want.
    Pretty much all private fora work that way.
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    This would be much trickier to enforce (if one chose to).

    Ad homs are, by definition, off-topic - since the topic of any thread is never the member.

    There are ways around ad homs, of course. Instead of "you're stupid", they will simply resort to "your argument is stupid". Same thing though. It's still an ad hom. People are stupid; arguments are invalid or unsupported.

    But shit-posting, as you call it, is in a much greyer, more arbitrary area - one that, if penalized, flirts with censorship.

    Best you can do is simply call it as 'attempting to derail a thread' (with their pet ATM idea) and delete it/ have it moved.

    But I wouldn't even try that. I'd simply stick with enforcing respectful treatment of other people, and see how that goes cleaing up the nonsense.
    Magical Realist likes this.
  8. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    It was a combination therein - that and he had a bad habit of, whenever he thought of a "change" to his "inventions", he would create an entirely new topic dedicated to it - towards the end, I believe he had a half a dozen different posts about the idea of using giant fans in an enclosed space to push a craft through space by having the fans circulate air within a circular enclosure; it became quite spammish. I think the eventual reason for dismissal was that, despite being given a unified thread for his "inventions" (including the idea of a veeg-hole, which was essentially a black hole but... victorized? I dunno how to explain it really) he kept parking stuff where it didn't belong.

    I would agree on premise - however, this is effectively impossible for a volunteer position such as this. I cannot think of many who would be candidate material for a professor's level position who would freely give up their time moderating the chemistry forum here, for example. It isn't impossible, but improbable; not to mention the difficulty in verifying those credentials without an utter abolition of security and anonymity (I guess we could require them to send us a live-feed video of them standing there with their diploma/degree/certifications?)

    Perhaps, but that wind blows both ways.

    Yes - posters can be restricted, and even banned from particular threads.

    To be honest, I generally stay out of the physics and higher math discussions because I know they are over my head - however, there have been times where it was easy to spot someone who was blowing smoke. I do not profess myself to be an expert in any field of science (at best, I consider myself an adept in computer technology, networking, and security, but even there I have plenty of gaps I long to fill); I do believe I am, in most cases, capable of stepping back and impartially and critically weighing both sides of an argument and coming to a rational conclusion based on facts at hand.
  9. The God Valued Senior Member

    I am still not sure what this forum as whole wishes to discuss in science sub fora, discussion here means creative ideas involving both + and -...let me guess.

    1. News based items, like Plazma is actively posting..

    We really do not need an active science forum for this. It will be extremely boring and mostly Plazma Threads pass without significant discussions, so we should respectfully create one more sub fora for Plazma...The Science News.

    2. Learning mostly in the from of Q & A

    Can this be a regular feature of a science forum ? For example is it the objective of this forum to answer questions on regular basis, what is the photo electric effect ? How the time dilation calculations are carried out ? what is the uncertainty principle ?.......I do not thin k so, khanacademy is there for that and there are many such sites doing this job in a much better and professional way.

    3. Discussing a theory or an issue

    How ? This neads to be explored how a difficult aspect can be discussed, more in words and less in mathematical symbols. For example there are many participants who support manstream but with incorrect understanding of the same, how to tackle such posters ?

    4. Animated discussions involving counter arguments or so called crank pots Vs mainstream

    Now this one is tricky, but this can be interesting, this can get in depth learning and this can get good site traffic too. But dissent and crank pottery must be identified, a genuine dissent should not be painted in the same brush as used for cranks. The biggest problem this site is facing is that those who are on the side of mainstream are quite rusty or plain ignorants, these guys tend to derail an argument involving dissent by cluttering or by posting something which is neither mainstream nor anti-mainstream. So if we can learn to handle this aspect in a mature way, then I am sure site can be more beneficial to many.

    On the Moderator role..

    1. Rpenner words are his maths, so he cannot possibly write more than a paragraph without involving mathematics. He has to learn to write more words than symbols. It is not that his maths is questionable, it is just that only a few understand that and rest agree that whatever this guy is saying must be correct.

    2. A Mod looses his judging power and respect if he involves himself in the argument. Let the Mods be invisible and Mods action posts should contain least words, pure professional posts. See, this is required, because Rpenner as a student of science deserves respect but as a Mod he is loosing my respect, his action of changing the title in derogatory way for BDS, Farsight and my threads clearly shows his personal bias and immaturity. None wants a judge to act so regularly this way with his personalized opinion. A judge is not expected to side openly till final decision, a Mod if visible cannot avoid that.

    3. Personal insult must be handled on the first appearance...any thing even remotely suggestive of insult must be spotted and acted upon. In an anonymous situation expecting mature behavious could be asking a bit too much.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
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  10. The God Valued Senior Member

    See, the incorrigible paddoboy, he has made this thread also as his personal fight...Post # 42.
    The biggest hindrance a thread faces is Paddoboy's cluttering.
    How to handle this ? Paddoboy is the key to successful handling of science forum, learn to handle him and we are through.
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


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    You sleep well tonight, OK?
  12. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    All the best my friend.
  13. river

  14. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

    in reality-- this site has an ethics problem.
    i find it odd that there are an abundance of so-called intellects on this site and as it appears that none are able to understand this. comical.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
  15. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    I have no complaints:
    Well, maybe one:
    When first I came here, I had used a different avatar, a female.
    As per my perspective, not much different than the current one.
    James R seemed troubled by it and advised me that this was not a porn site.

    'Twas just a sculpture, so perhaps I could take that as a compliment. And I did so, and chose a different sculpture for the avatar.
    "Twas but a small concession.

    And, well worth it.
    Great site, my continued thanx.
  16. Farsight

    Only he isn't. He likes to portray himself as such, but when I correct him and refer to the Einstein digital papers to back up what I'm saying about gravity, he dismisses my bona-fide references as "antique sources". And then he fabricates "don't misteach physics" warnings and suspensions so that I can't embarrass him with such corrections. Only these warnings aren't public, they're secret. So you can't see them, or my rebuttal which is backed by further robust references. And meanwhile he gives free rein to ad-hominem abuse.

    Ask to see rpenner's warnings instead. Oh, and see where sweetpea said this?

    "Perhaps this site could learn from... http://www.physicsdiscussionforum.org/index.php?sid=93679f56c45cf19f032f4abf1aecaf2b Just one mod and no insults or ad hominem arguments. but the traffic seems kind of slow".

    That's my site. I'm the moderator there. And there is no "inevitable imperfection".
  17. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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  18. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Will moderate for beer

    I'll promise to never get embarrassed... But, it would be much cooler if a moderater could (find time?) post things like Mr. Inferno.
  19. sweetpea Valued Senior Member

    I know it's your site and your the mod. Can you say why the traffic is slow there? Perhaps you could PM some of the free thinkers here with a link to there...
    Ps. I note you are still bound to forums and the comment sections of others blog sites.
  20. sweetpea Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps you could guest mod here for a time? Or, guest mod at Farsight's...free beer and lots and lots of free time there.
  21. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    My Mama used to say: 'If you don't have anything nice to say...''

    But I would do it for beer of course.
    sweetpea likes this.
  22. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

    You literally can't get more antique than going back to Einstein's 1914-1920 papers on General Relativity (GR, finished 1916). They use conventions and notations which are antique. They were proofread and typeset using tools that are antique and suffer from typos in equations. And they suffer from being devoid of later mathematical developments, notably the exact solutions to certain exterior solutions and various proofs.

    But I don't dismiss them. I've taken the time to use them to show one person with a very narrow and peculiar view of what constitutes scientific authority that Einstein defined straight lines in GR to be identical to the geodesics of late nineteenth mathematics of curved manifolds, and that Einstein claimed these geodesics/straightlines were the trajectories of material bodies. That's not dismissing them. That's understanding them better.

    I dismiss one particular autodidact's take on them when that person can't actually do GR calculations despite two instances where Einstein gives tutorials in GR maths. I dismiss that autodidact's view because he can't be bothered with any other sources, thus has a narrow, blinkered view of science that leaves him willfully and unnecessarily ignorant. And in his ignorance, he feels free to invent claims unfettered by the constraints of observation of phenomena which science holds as the ultimate authority. That's what I mean by misteaching science.

    Specifically, there is a publicly available written policy forbidding pseudoscience on the main science sub-forums. That policy has been provided to you via PM.
    All suspensions have been an automatic feature of the forum as result of picking up so many warnings. One of them happened mid-warning process and I was forced to wait for it to end before providing you with your explanatory PM. As far as I know you were not suspended during any part of June 2016, but after five formal warnings, your policy-driven exclusion from the main science forums covers that entire month.
    As noticed frequently in the PMs, you are free to invite whomever you choose to any of the threads, and in nearly every case, I have made the moderator action publicly visible on the affected post. So they are not conventionally secret. I've seen no corrections or rebuttals. Time and time again, you confirm that I understood the position you expressed which was the cause of the warning and rather than presenting any demonstration of correctness you simply deny the validity of the warning.

    If there is embarrassing content in the PM conversations, I would think it belongs to the one with the most sense of entitlement in the conversations, demanding specific actions without resting on anything more than soi disant authority. There is an art to writing an argument which is persuasive to undecided readers.
    As I've written before, it's the ad hominem fallacy of denigrating an argument by claiming its advocate is not a good person or verbal abuse by use of uncalled-for pejoratives, commands and explicatives. As a moderator of the science section, it's my duty to employ pejoratives descriptive of behavior when the job calls for explaining why I'm taking action. I don't issue warnings to posters who are doing a good job.

    The privacy the PM mechanism protects is your own. Rather than guess which PM's you want exposed, I will leave it to you to field requests from people to see your conversations with moderators and allow you the discretion of picking which PMs to allow them to see.
    Because that moderator never struggles with any question, no matter how complicated our outside his field of experience? Which of us is the unthoughtful, arrogant one?
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Rpenner quite clearly is recognised as an authority on physical science, by those of us on this forum who have university level physical science qualifications. But I quite understand that you don't recognise him as such.

    I also note that it seems a number of science forums appear to have banned you entirely, or at least from the hard science areas.




    So, frankly, if it's your word against rpenner's.............well.........I need say no more, really.

    P.S. Oh, and then there was this review of your self-published book:

    " This is a work of pure imagination. The author has come up with an imaginative idea (that does NOT meet the criterion for being considered a theory) about what comprises the universe we live in. This book claims that matter, energy and space are the same thing, with the particles we observe being 'knots' of space.
    Unfortunately, his ideas simply don't work. When one creates even the most rudimentary mathematical model of his theories, one finds predictions that contradict what we know about the universe. Even without doing any math, it is possible to find errors and false predictions in his ideas based on simply finding the logical conclusions of his claims.
    This book is self-published, after having been rejected by a number of publishers. I find it quite telling that even a company that would publish works by Deepak Chopra would turn down this author.
    Duffield has been shopping this theory around the internet for several years now. In that time, he's been banned from numerous science forums for various reasons, including refusing to accept correction, presenting his ideas as established science, and even attempting to intimidate others by describing his claimed prowess at boxing and willingness to travel.
    In short, this book is a waste of time, for the author as well as any reader. I would recommend that anyone wishing to learn more about physics purchase a book by an actual physicist."
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016

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