Proposition: Increase or Eliminate 10k Character Limit

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Tiassa, Mar 6, 2015.


Petition the Administration to increase or eliminate current character limit per post?

Poll closed Mar 20, 2015.
  1. Yes

    7 vote(s)
  2. No

    11 vote(s)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    I have previously had a considerable admiration for Tiassa. His posts were always thoughtful, his threads often original, his concern for fair play and an objective view of the world evident. True - and relevant to this thread - I often thought he overindulged in a literary style of writing just for the sake of it, but since the content, theme and ethos of each post was sound this was something to overlook.

    Now we come to this astounding thread. For no obvious reason Tiassa explodes into a series of virulent attacks with no justification, filled with assertions that lack any support whatsoever. On those forums where I do, or have moderated, he would have received warnings by now. James asks that we consider the value of indulging in this "nuclear exchange". James, there is no value in it - and you should be putting a stop to what has caused it. And that is 95% down to Tiassa. I don't know what his problem is, but this thread is not the place to work it out and the members he has savaged are not the ones who should be expected to tolerate his outburst.

    It is turning a blind eye - at least publicly - to this remarkable behaviour by a member of staff that is one of the reasons the forum is a laughing stock among many. I've seen recent genuine efforts to tidy it up, which is why I have returned to activity here, but if you let this reprehensible behaviour pass without action I will not be the only one who is disappointed.
    Russ_Watters likes this.
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  3. Bells Staff Member

    I need to ask, what is it to everyone if someone responds and goes over 10k? Or whatever personal attribute you have as your reading limit?

    It doesn't affect you personally.

    You are under no obligation to write lengthy posts. You are under no obligation to read the lengthy posts.

    I am curious because from page one of this thread, people seem to be taking personally that someone wants that 10k limit removed because someone might write posts that are too long for them to want to read.


    So the question remains, so what if someone likes writing and writes a lengthy post?

    It is not against this site's rules.

    Why are some of you so personally offended by it that your initial response is to criticise those who want to remove the post limit by telling them that they should learn to be more concise, or just write less, or quote less, etc? Billvon, for example, suggests that someone could just write their "essays" elsewhere and link it here for people to read it.. Because reading it there is somehow better than here? There are no requirements for you to read it here, just as there are no requirements for you to read it there. Or when Billvon complained about the risk of the wall of text, but has no issues in posting those himself.. (Spacing and indentation is your friend, by the way.) I am not picking on you Billvon, I am just using your posts in this thread as an example and you were the first one that simply came up as I scrolled down, so please do not take it personally.

    I reiterate, no one is forcing you to read those lengthy posts. You are under no obligation to write them.

    This proposal has no real effect on you at all if you do not want it to have an effect on you.

    What this proposal asks is to make life easier for those who do exceed the 10k limit. As a member of staff, it certainly makes my life easier to not have that limit, because all of us in the mod forum have ended up having to split posts when discussing issues that arise on this site, because we are forced to sometimes post full quotations and links and provide proper explanations and broken down in exceptional detail so that nothing is left out or taken out of context in dealing with people's complaints on this site. I know that personally, I can exceed the limit without even trying if I dare to quote the person I am responding to and am so bold as to quote paragraphs from articles or books that I wish to link and are pertinent to the discussion.

    That said, there have been so many occasions when I would just link an article and am told why not just quote the relevant bits because the person is too lazy to read it, but to quote the relevant bit means that I would go over the 10k limit. The discussion kind of goes downhill from there, often requiring moderator intervention because a) the person refuses to read articles that are just linked, as some of you against extending the 10k limit suggest we do and b) they refuse to accept links that aren't quoted in threads, but to quote them will put the post well over the limit. Or when people complain with 'that post is too long, I am not going to bother reading it' and then later on, they whine if they have posted more than two paragraphs and they get a one word response, because they feel the reader did not give their post the time they feel that person should have given it in responding.

    The examples of absolute laziness I have seen on this site.. It has been getting worse. Some of the best memories on this site were discussions that contained detailed responses and made interesting because the person had obviously taken the time and effort to find articles to support their argument, quoted passages and were interested in discussion. Even if those individuals were arguing for something that I disagreed with, it made the discussion interesting, frustrating sometimes, and other times bloody annoying because they were presenting that was so good and interesting and then responding and hoping that you are able to rebut their proposition just as well.. What we have now are people who are keen on discussion if it does not exceed 3 lines and it is down to quips with no substance whatsoever. There is no discussion. No to and fro most of the time. No effort made in people's posts. And that is entirely your choice. You are free to do that. I am certainly not demanding you change. If that is how you enjoy this site, more power to you. I am under no obligation to agree with you or participate like you when I don't feel like it and vice versa.

    Some people like to participate on this site in a more verbose way. Myself included. We should not have to apologise for it. We are not forcing you to participate in the same way. We are not even asking you to.
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  5. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Bells, there is no personal offense taken by me, or I think by anyone else, at the idea of removing the limit. My first reaction when I saw the proposal was to agree with it. I recalled a couple of occasions in the decade I've been here where I had to work hard to trim a post to fit within the limits. So, why not extend it.

    But as I reflected on it I realised that would be contrary to something I consider important in writing, which is clarity through concision. This is something that informs my working life to the extent that I've written a standard guide to good technical writing that is used within the division of the multi-national company I work for. I require clear concise writing of colleagues, should I not encourage it among online acquaintances?

    Now, being concise is not the same as being short. Being concise means making ones case with the fewest possible words. In some instances ten times a thousand words may not be enough. However, in most cases on this forum that many words would be unnecessary. Maintaining the limit could act as a small discouragement to unreasonably long posts.

    You point out that why prevent someone from writing a long post if they want to, or if one doesn't like long posts, don't read them. True, but it rather defeats the purpose of communication. We should be writing for our readers, not for ourselves. If we wish to write for ourselves, keep a diary. If we wish to inform, educate, or entertain others then surely we should aim to be as clear as possible - and concise writing aids clarity.

    Frankly, I am at a loss to understand why anyone would favour verbosity. It is lazy and it is impolite. Sure, I can ignore verbose posts, but that - as noted - defeats the purpose of a discussion forum.

    But my main concern on this thread is that Tiassa turned what is simply a difference of opinion into a violent attack on members who simply saw things slightly differently.
    Kristoffer likes this.
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  7. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Mostly true. The more direct approach to the problem several of us noted would be to moderate the forum more strictly to remove the offending posts, rather than force everyone to limt the length of their addition to people who are a bit to verbose putting a little more effort into being concise....which might also enhance discussion quality. But failing that, I don't see making it easier for trolls to cut and paste huge volumes from crackpot websites to be a positive thing for the forum. And I don't consider it a positive thing to encourage people not to contribute. Believe it or not, I care about the quality of the forum.
    No -- I take personally explosive insults, not reasoned, differing opinions. Making the proposal is just fine and as you can see, the first few replies are all perfectly rational/reasonable. Tiassa is out of line with the vitrol he injected into the discussion starting in post #20. That's what I take personally.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
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  8. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    If anything, I think it'd make it more obvious who the crack-trolls are and would give them more rope to hang themselves with... but that's just me

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  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Tiassa, could you please add a decrease limit to the voting options?
    Say 5k.
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  10. Bells Staff Member


    You say that you require your work colleagues to write in a concise manner and that this is something that is important to you. That is great.

    I am not your work colleague. I am not bound by the restrictions you impose on yourself or others in your work place. If you wish to write in a concise manner, no one here is going to tell you that you should not or that you should. You write in the manner that you are comfortable with and enjoy writing. And I write in a manner that I enjoy and am comfortable with.

    I will put it this way. Say you are at a dinner table with a large group of people and someone is giving a speech. After they have warbled on for about 4 minutes, do you interrupt them and tell them to just be more concise? That they should just learn to speak better? Say they put in a lot of effort in their speech, did hours of research because they did not want to disrespect everyone at that table with something that was sub-par, but instead, wanted to give you a speech that was rich in information and substance. Would you say 'oh get on with it, be more concise, learn to speak better!'? Or would you consider that rude. Say you are giving a speech and you have put in an insane amount of time in your speech and you are told to just cut to the chase and keep it short and you find yourself having to leave out everything that makes your speech perfect, the nuances, context, references and history of the subject you are discussing.. Personally, I would find that rude.

    At the start of this thread, right from the start, that was the response given to the mere question of who wants to extend the character limit. Not to defend Tiassa, but he spends a lot of time on his posts. He researches, he finds articles and studies that matter to his response and the discussion itself, he puts in the effort in his posts because a) the discussion deserves that time and effort and b) he is probably doing it because he respects the person he is discussing it with to put in that time and effort. He doesn't expect similar lengths in the responses he gets. But it is a point of satisfaction that he has provided all the information he could find to support his argument and to ensure that what is important has been posted and can be read in the post itself. He will quote and then explain and break down the rest of the article, he then spends time referencing everything properly at the bottom of the post.

    He isn't writing for himself.

    I don't sit there for over an hour finding references, articles, books to write a proper response to someone because I am writing for myself. If I was writing for myself, I'd save the time and effort and simply tell the poster that he or she was a stupidhead.

    I write a long response to you and address each of your points because I respect you. I may not like you (as an example), but I respect you. There is a poster on this site and we can't stand each other. At all. But when I used to address this person, even when we would be at each other's throats in the worst way imaginable, I would still take the time and address each point, reference everything. It isn't for my benefit. It wasn't for myself. My benefit would have been to tell him to go and fuck himself... I mean that would have been for myself. But I would spend time responding, and yes, it was often verbose, because I respected him enough to put the effort in the post.

    There is one thing that I would like to address directly.

    We live in a time where language is being massacred by chat speak, sms speak, facebook and other forms of social media style communication. Everything has to be quick quick quick. "Oh my god" becomes "OMG", 'that's hysterical' becomes "LOL" or "LMAO". Even "fuck you" becomes "FU". "Because" has become "cos"... And so on and so forth. Why wouldn't someone favour verbosity in the face of it?

    I am not asking you to favour verbosity, Ophiolite. I am not even asking you to be verbose. I am just asking you to respect my choice to have the option to be verbose if I feel someone deserves my time and effort to be verbose.

    Do you know what I think is lazy and impolite? Someone who responds to a suggestion of extending the character limit on an online forum by telling them that perhaps they could simply learn to write better so that they can write less. He wasn't responding to you violently. It wasn't a violent attack. That kind of rhetoric is, frankly, ridiculous.

    Finally, removing the character limit is not going to affect you or anyone else who voted no or yes. It isn't going to force you or anyone else to be verbose. People who are verbose are going to be verbose anyway. It would just mean that I don't have to break up my posts into multiple posts.
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    That's the equivalent of perhaps 15 double-spaced type-written pages. That's pretty long, something like a university class term-paper. I don't anticipate ever writing anything that long. Or generally speaking, ever reading a post that long. I would need some reason why I would want to. I'm here for my own enjoyment, this isn't my job.

    If somebody else writes a long complex post that needs point-by-point rebuttal, that post will have probably raised multiple issues. It might be more user-friendly to break a response up into a series of shorter, better organized and more coherently written posts, each one addressing a single issue, instead of meandering all over the place.

    The only time that I've seen people crash into the 10k character limit is when they try to 'publish' longer essays that they obviously wrote elsewhere. Typically crankish essays, in my estimation. (If the only place that they could get their ideas heard is here on Sciforums...)

    Isn't that an abuse of the board? Should Sciforums be an interactive and conversational discussion board, or should it be an online journal or perhaps a small group's self-indulgent blog?

    You know James, you could easily do both. Here's a suggestion: Why not create a Sciforums blog, or online journal, or whatever you want to call it, with no character limit, and link to it up there on the board's top line next to the abortive 'encyclopedia'? That way, anyone who wants to 'publish' longer essays could do it there. They could link to their longer essay in regular discussion threads without destroying thread continuity for everyone else.

    I agree. A string of six one-liners is certainly easier to read, but rarely worth reading.

    That began with post #20 on the first page. You might want to review it and take appropriate action.

    I'll end by saying that in my opinion it's simply false to suggest (as some in this thread have) that longer posts are better posts, more "scientific" or more intelligent posts. Good posts are well organized, clear and concise, factually informed and well-reasoned. Posts really shouldn't be longer than what's necessary to accomplish that.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  12. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Verbose: Here are some online definitions:

    using or expressed in more words than are needed.

    using or containing an excess of words, so as to be pedantic or boring

    expressed in or characterized by the use of many or too many words

    And you are seriously defending this? Would you also defend posts that are unclear? Would you defend posts that are inaccurate, ambiguous? In short, would you defend the right of members to be poor communicators? You would not seek to encourage them to right clearly and thereby convey their ideas more effectively to their audience? Apparently not.

    And to suggest that Tiassa's gross insults were anything other than gross insults is asinine and is itself insulting.

    Here's an alternative version of the above: if you don't understand the meaning of verbose and concise - and your post indicates that you definitely do not - then you have no right to be pontificating on these points.

    @JamesrR: good luck mate. You really do need to replace the dickheads. Then some of the good people who have left might return.
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  13. Bells Staff Member


    As I said, I am not your employee or your work colleague. What you demand at work has no bearing on me whatsoever.

    At no time did I say that Tiassa did not insult you. I said he was not "violently attacking" you. There is a difference there. If you don't believe me, ask anyone who has been violently attacked or faced violence in their life, if this:

    Only someone with as poor reading comprehension as you have displayed could be so astounded.

    Constitutes as "violent". I am 100% certain that the look of utter disbelief on their face will not signal agreement.

    I would suggest you stop misrepresenting what I actually said.. Would I seek to encourage someone to write clearly? Certainly. Who wouldn't? I like to be able to understand what someone is saying. However that has nothing to do with the length of their post. Writing clearly has nothing to do with character limit. For example, I have seen people write 5 sentences and make absolutely no sense whatsoever and was a pain to read and I have seen others write 50k character's in a post and it was as clear as a day, made perfect sense and was a joy to read. Which post do you think I would value the most?

    Personally, I would equate that and comments like that to be akin to the 'learn to be more concise' and the 'learn to write' comments he faced in this thread. As I said, no one is forcing you to write as he does. No one is demanding you be verbose. How you choose to write is your business. Perhaps you should refrain from demanding we all be like you. Nor do I have to agree with you.

    Perhaps you should value posts by their content instead of their length.

    I have given you my time and effort in responding to you politely. And you respond by insulting my intelligence, referring to me as a "dickhead" and misrepresenting what I said and putting words into my mouth..

    You are complaining that someone is being rude and insulting to you. And then you are rude and insulting to me because I disagreed with you. Funny that, isn't it?

    At the end of the day, you are getting angry because people on an internet forum wish to increase the character limit and because you do not like it when people are verbose. I shall remind you again, no one is expecting you to be verbose or to read lengthy posts. No one is even asking you to do so. You are what you post on this site. If I post a lot and come across as a stupid windbag? That is my choice. And it has nothing to do with you and your requirement of concise writing. That is your choice.. If I want to partake in a verbose discussion with someone on this site, that has nothing to do with you.

    That said, I have wasted enough of my time in this thread tonight and since I have to be up in a few hours when the construction workers arrive, I am going to bed. Have a nice evening, Ophiolite.

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  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

    An excellent idea!
  15. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Longer posts, you mean? Perhaps, but for that to be a benefit, they need to actually be hung, and they only extremely rarely are.
  16. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    I'm just going to put it this way:

    If ya'll want this to be like Twitter or some other short-siped social media bullshit... perhaps it would be better for you to go there?

    When one is looking for information, and presenting said information in a proper way, posts can, and do, get quite extensive. It isn't being "verbose"... it's being thorough.

    In that case, I see no reason not to extend the post length - those that need it can use it. Those that abuse it will be punished. Those that go "tl;dr" can continue to wallow in... well, whatever they wish to call it.

    It seems to be a simple case of lets do it simply because it won't hurt anybody in any way and yet could provide some relief in certain situations.
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Part the First

    Ophiolite, your entry to this thread at #9↑ is an example of the problem with concision. You just told people that they should not have the right to write longer posts because they need to satisfy you. You continue that message in #16↑, and arrogantly repeat that "solution" in #19↑.

    You're not that important.

    Your post at #30↑ makes it clear that you are not considering Sciforums or the community, but your personal grudge and need to insult.

    By the time we get to #38↑ you have entered the realm of the absurd―

    "Really Tiassa? Really? It was blatantly obvious to me that your lengthy dissertation was about the evils of posts by "trolls" that were too long. That is self evidently support for Russ's perception and matches mine also. It did not require rereading his post to fully understand it and to simultaneously agree with it. You are not a foolish person Tiassa, are you seriously maintaining that you did not understand what he was saying?"

    ―and are flat lying in order to pretend you have a point:

    "Excuse me, lets examine the chronology.

    "1. You propose making permissible post length longer.
    "2. Some members remark that it is a good idea, other members questions its value.
    "3. There is no petulance, rather a mature discussion of options.
    "4. You come storming in with an offensive post in which you direct egregious insults at anyone who has had the temerity to disagree with your proposal.

    "Smart people communicate concisely and the petulance evident in this thread is coming from you. And now from me, because boy have you pissed me off."

    Check point three. You just tried a classic troll maneuver.

    See, when you stick a line like that in there, it stands out. Someone reads that, looks back to the beginning of the thread and sees posts denigrating writers (#3↑, 11↑), pretending this place you call a "science forum" (#38↑ is about some perverse sense of readership and ratings (#7↑), and suddenly your point three seems more than simply weak. Add in the petulant disrespect you showed Bells at #19↑, and your point three is clearly shown to be a lie.

    And that point, about lying, comes up in a different context:

    I can't speak for James' outlook, but I can speak to time stamps, which on this occasion will be listed in PDT.

    We received two complaints about this thread, one of which is still under consideration. One complaint is arguably presumptuous, but remains open. The other was closed for its factual misrepresentation as the basis for complaint. The complaint still open arrived at 15:01 yesteday; the other at 21:46. I can tell you the staff first heard from James on this issue at all in this thread, at 22:38. By this time, one of the complaints had been closed for its observable dishonesty, and one can reasonably estimate that James is aware of my basic outlook; we'll come back to that in a moment.

    At present, it would be safe to presume that he is aware of the complaint but has not yet matched it up with the reality of this thread sufficiently to act on it.

    In this case, since "turning a blind eye" is a phrase apparently meaning, "failing to give Ophiolite what he wants when he demands it", I might suggest if you're going to bother using so many characters, it might help everyone if you put them to some decent use. The problem here is that you've put yourself into a position where you can't actually go on to explain the detail of what you mean without risking this laughable definition of trolling the thread has established.

    In truth, there is so much wrong with your argument and behavior that your disappointment doesn't really matter.

    You call this place a "science forum", but side with those who either cannot or will not make any academically respectable argument. I mean, really, consider your argument here. You're just spouting opinions and have exactly nothing to back them with. Real "scientific" there, Ophiolite. And you lied, too. Very "scientific".

    But look at the idea of a science forum, and consider how much people are asking to constrict writing.

    And there are certain common aspects that come up in the objections. Russ Watters, for instance, is one who likes to make weird statements about reality without backing them up. Addressing his posts at all involves identifying the error, explaining what it is, and correcting the problem; good writing will also explain the significance of the error and the difficulties they bring to the discussion. In other words, addressing Russ' posts in any responsible manner risks what has been defined in this thread as "trolling".

    Consider his post #3269235/349↗. You can even call it concise at this point. But a question derived from his argument is whether law is justice. After all, however it might work in some other country, these are the United States we're talking about. We had a constitutional provision called the Three-Fifths rule; it was about taxes and racism. See, population affected taxation and apportionment at the time, so it cut both ways. In the South, they wanted the slaves counted so they could have greater congressional apportionment, but they didn't want the slaves counted because we did head taxes at the time. The "compromise" result was the Three-Fifths rule, which said black people were the legal equivalent of three-fifths of a person.

    Was it law? Yes, obviously. How about justice? Was it just? By Russ' argument, yes it was. And, to be honest, while I do wonder about some people's performance in that thread, it seems nearly quite believable that Russ would accept the justice of the Three-Fifths rule.

    And as I noted in that thread multiple times, questions of law in police conduct have resulted in an outcome whereby law enforcement has such a presupposition of good faith that they can lie in good faith. Shoots someone to death? Lies about what happens? Files a perjured incident report? Gets caught manipulating the physical evidence to match his report? According to prosecutors, the state had "no reason" to prosecute the officer; they could not overcome the presupposition of good faith, so they couldn't even charge him with subversion or obstruction of justice.

    Okay, that sounds like a bureaucratic, statutory outcome. And we Americans have seen this routine over and over and over again. But is it just? Does the outcome of the law equal, foster, or coincide with justice?

    Here's the sentence in question: "I won't speak for Joe here, but I'm happy that justice has won-out over mob rule."

    Mob rule? It is interesting to see "mob rule" defined as wanting a person who just killed an unarmed man to be subject to the same processes as anyone else.

    And as was predicted, and as came true, the Justice Department found no reason to prosecute as a statuory outcome, while also noting the tremendously affecting racial bias in the police department. Racism in the police department is "justice"?

    All of these implications from one sentence.

    And to address them is trolling?

    End Part I
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Part the Second

    Now, complain all you want that the preceding paragraphs reflecting on one sentence are somehow excessive, but all you could manage the first―i.e., comparatively concise―time around (#38↑) was to bollock up the point:

    "Really Tiassa? Really? It was blatantly obvious to me that your lengthy dissertation was about the evils of posts by "trolls" that were too long. That is self evidently support for Russ's perception and matches mine also. It did not require rereading his post to fully understand it and to simultaneously agree with it. You are not a foolish person Tiassa, are you seriously maintaining that you did not understand what he was saying?"

    Because, you know, it's a "science forum", which is why you have no need to support your argument. (Hint: When you throw in with someone whose description of events and circumstances is perpetually in error, you might want to double-check the point you're throwing in with.)

    "The evils of posts by 'trolls' that were too long"?


    "Blatantly obvious"?

    The concise version is to simply remind you to learn to read.

    A less concise version would be to ask you to explain what you think is self-evident.

    A functional version would be to point out―

    It seems to me that some would prefer shorter posts because that makes it easier for them to deceive. But they also need to realize that when they do that, others will still respond in full, and our rules about consecutive posting were never intended to prevent people from responding.

    But every once in a while there are arguments that simply require a lot of words to address; usually this is because the argument has some absurd aspect about it insisting on a surrogate reality.

    Given that it takes fewer words to just make up random bullshit than to explain what's wrong with it, I'm not surprised at who I see bucking for a discussion format that encourages dishonesty and discourages actual facts and explanations. (#20↑)

    ―the absurdity of your interpretation that the above, for instance, is blatantly obviously "about the evils of posts by 'trolls' that were too long".

    Seriously? At a "science forum" the best you can do is a straw man?

    No wonder you crammed that lie in at point three.

    • • •​

    There is a larger consideration here. I would ask you, who consider this place a "science forum", why you would want to limit a more sophistic discourse in favor of sound-bites and fisking?

    The vote, for instance, doesn't disturb me; it tells me something more about this community and the absolutely stupid pretense that this is a "science site".

    Russ? Of course he doesn't want people detailing the errors of his post all at once; he needs everything scaled down in order to maintain his pretense―like most fiskers, he seems to prefer the method because it is easier for not having to attend context.

    Bill? He and I once did this hilarious round where he complained of reducto ad absurdium while comparing the cancer an adult might experience to a miscarriage; his end argument was that the constitutional problem wouldn't exist if only people would ignore the Constitution. There's a reason he doesn't want his posts subject to more detailed scrutiny, and his whining about 5,400 characters is hilarious. Again, we'll come back to that.

    I don't have much of a personal problem with Yazata; he just reflects this weird trend I see in a broad swath of conservative and conservative-leaning argument that puts far too much authority in one's own opinion, disdains detailed analysis of the concepts involved, and tends to restrict other people's context to his immediate need. To wit, JTG, Madanthonywayne, Russ Watters, and Yazata are hardly identical, but they share common tropes with each other, as well as the conservative discourse in general.

    And while some run around trying to explain that longer, detailed explorations of issues are somehow trolling, there's Dr_Toad, who thinks not of the community but his own personal need for judgment.

    Losing a vote to petition the Administration as a community doesn't really bother me. I admit I was surprised to see people rally to the cause of superficiality, but that's been a fun and enlightening experience, too.

    Billvon, for instance, might like reductio ad absurdium in his own hands, but he whines if it's anybody else.

    And that's the point: People accused longer writing of being trolling, so I offered the "concise" version. And some of those people freaked out.

    Look, I can play your game any way you want. But, yes, as I told Billvon (#56↑), "Concise" is fun.

    We can certainly do it this way if you insist. It's not like this is the first time I've gotten into a one-liner catfight around here.

    But some of us do actually hope for more.

    Meanwhile, I do, in fact, owe apologies:

    Trippy: I'm sorry I trolled you a couple years ago when you asked me some relevant questions. (#3015386/29↗, 17014 characters; #3022402/126↗, 12940 characters; count from display, and therefore is actually low.)

    Bells: Shit, I guess I owe you an apology for trolling you about domestic violence↗. Now probably isn't the time to suggest we both owe everyone an apology. Hell, I figured they were staying out of it either because they wanted to stay out of the wrath, or simply wanted to see what it looks like when you and I throw down in a difficult discussion. It hadn't occurred to me that we were trolling the whole community.

    Capracus: I can only apologize for trolling you in the Ferguson thread↗ to the point that you were unjustly forced into undermining your own argument by citing sources you had just argued against. Had I not been so rude as to address the problems of your prior post, you would not have found yourself in a position where you had no choice but to wreck your own argument.​

    Look, those come to mind. I'm sure I owe more such apologies.

    And I'll burn some more characters to make this point directly: You're welcome to demonsrate how any of those posts I just apologized for constitute trolling.

    In the end, all the yes votes want is to be able to write posts like they did before, not constricted by this new, artificial boundary.

    But, you know, that's trolling, apparently. Like those posts I just apologized for.

    And here you are, at an alleged "science forum", arguing to constrict communication.

    Look, the vote will go how it goes, and when several immediate, consecutive posts are appropriately tied together in order to form what would previously have been a single post, the staff isn't going to enforce the rule against consecutive posts.

    You're still going to have to choose to ignore the words. But, hey, it's easy enough to allocate more files and space on the server by splitting those words up into multiple posts; we have, at least, accomplished that, and it seems to make some people happy.

  19. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Tiassa, if the opinions of the members don't matter on this subject, the thread should have been posted as an announcement instead of a poll.

    I had hoped that a night's sleep might have provided an opportunity to take a step back and start fresh.

    In another context, dredging up a months-old post of mine you disagreed with and spinning a fantasy from it to call me a racist might be funny, but I'm not laughing: it is unprofessional.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  20. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Then I would ask: what is the basis for the standards imposed on this site? This isn't a Katy Perry site, for teenyboppers: My expectation when I come to a site that claims to be about science is to see at least some identifiable level of professionalism. If that's not something valued here, so be it.
    Or walk away. Or avoid them altogether knowing they are someone who doesn't shut up. Or just avoid topics that might set them off on a tirade. Yes, these are all possibilities. Haven't you ever seen "the guy who won't shut up" meme in a sitcom? It's a real issue.
    If someone at a dinner party launched into a speech that they spent hours researching and got annoyed when I walked away in the middle of it, I'd probably tell them to email it to me and maybe I'd read it. Jeez, who does that? That just isn't appropriate dinner party conversation.
    But they did want to disrespect them by monopolizing the conversation and using the dinner party for their own personal bully pulpit? That's not respectful, it is rude.
    That's at best half-true. The closest any post got to a direct criticism of anyone else was Ophiolite saying to Kittamaru "This is a misunderstanding common among those who lack sufficient experience in tight writing and effective editing." (which there is nothing wrong with)

    None of the other posts, prior to Tiassa's outburst in post #20 are even vaguely directed at any individual, much less Tiassa himself.
    Again, nobody said that even obliquely in Tiassa's direction before Tiassa's outburst in post #20.

    A generic statement that "Posters should learn to be concise" (or whomever he was most after) does not deserve a flaming response. I'll note that neither you nor Kittamaru were disrespectful in your responses on page 1.
    I responded previously, but it wasn't addressed, so I'll say it again: forum quality affects everyone, so behavior that reduces quality should not be encouraged, even if the impact on individuals is only indirect.
    Ophiolite likes this.
  21. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Arguing against one extreme does not in any way imply a person supports the other extreme. Indeed, a reading of the posts of people who answered "no" shows that what we favor is professionalism. So I can't fathom how you (and Bells, too) could have gotten such a badly wrong impression of the concerns being described here.
    Will they, really? As a show of good faith, could that start now? I'd probably be willing to change my vote to "yes" if such abusers were dealt with. But you'll have to forgive me if I prefer to see the two issues handled separately, as I don't think I've ever seen any indication that moderators recognize, much less have taken action against, such abuse.
    Again, as with Bells, I and several others described the harm, but you didn't respond to that. I'm not sure if you are ignoring the point or what, but even at that, you demonstrate the need for brevity: when people make long posts, it makes it easier for others to ignore parts they'd rather not deal with, even when discussing the same issue.

    That has gone to the extreme in this case, but it often does. Unfortunately in such forums it is not always possible to compel a response. I had one thread where I was able to do so; a thread about Olbers' paradox, about a year ago. I was arguing with a crackpot/troll about it and decided to try the "play nice and try to teach him" angle -- for a month. Nobody else cared much about the thread, so I was free to drive the discussion as I saw fit. As is common, the person I was talking to wasn't really interested in learning and would ignore key points of the problem because he apparently recognized they were issues for his position. It forced me to go super-concise, often posting one-sentence responses, in bold, and demanding he respond to my key point before I'd move-on to his next argument. It largely succeeded in forcing him to address issues he didn't want to address.
    Ophiolite likes this.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Agreed! And when one is looking for ten page tomes, it would perhaps be better to go to a blog (or a journal, or an on-line educational site) rather than a discussion forum.

    Discussion forums are intended (IMO) for neither tweets nor tomes. They are intended for discussions.
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Thank you for a second example of why long, abusive posts make this forum a poorer, pettier, more rancorous place.
    Ophiolite and cluelusshusbund like this.
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