Asleep at the wheel?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Seattle, Mar 25, 2022.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Just curious...what is the deal with the ownership of this forum? No one seems to be able to make any changes. The forum format is dated. It's not a secure site. The tabs make no sense.

    There is no difference between the "home" tab and the "forums" tab. No one needs to see the "banned users" tab, the members tab only lists a few of the members and the "encyclopedia" tab has a message that is disparaging of the site itself and the encyclopedia function doesn't seem to be functional.

    There really is no point to the "On the fringe" or "Philosophy" sections.

    I'm curious as to what the motivation of the owners is with this forum? It's hard to picture someone having the interest or disinterest to run a site into the ground like this. Is there some (hopefully interesting) backstory?

    Even the section that includes "site feedback" is ridiculous with a "formal debate" section and "cesspool". Cesspool, a section where something is bad enough to not allow further comments but not bad enough to simply remove? Who came up with these concepts...on the fringe, cesspool and who is banned? It's very odd. Not to mention the convolution and complicated system for temporary banning.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2022
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  3. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    As someone who likes emojis

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    why are the vast majority of them not allowed?

    Also (winge winge) something seems to have changed. If I attempt to highlight a portion of text to reply to I have to now select the text from the bottom up, not from the top down as I was wont to do

    If I go the top down route I find the guide curser jumps and selects everything below

    Winge finished

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  5. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    thats probably your pc because my function works either way and with double click on a word

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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member


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    I take your point

    The function works top to bottom on other app text files
    For me correct your pc to your mobile smart phone

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  8. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Regarding the “banned users” comment - it's possible that this tab is to answer any questions members may have about someone who is ''MIA.'' It's a good place to check, because there may be a 50/50 chance that they'll be listed there, with the reason for their ban. That's my best guess.

    If you were the owner of this site, what improvements would you seek to implement?
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Think of it this way: The owners are some sort of software solutions firm. Any number of software questions, such as the hobbled search engine, are more easily explained by presuming it has something to do with the rest of their business. At no time have I presumed the lack of secure transfer protocol is an accident, but no, I don't know what the reason is.

    Capitalism. It costs money to build stuff. The original site was a university student project; we've tinkered with the format very little, over the years, but the difference between the Home and Forums pages occurs if you actually use different pages. After we got rid of the news clipper, the Forums page became the top level.

    The rest looks nearly default. I should note, though, that the Encyclopedia wiki add-on was an interesting idea, but the membership preferred a place for shitposting and humor, so the idea of a Sciforums knowledge base fell by the wayside.

    The Fringe forum was an attempt to reserve a place for tinfoil and crackpottery, in order to keep other discussions on topic.

    The Philosophy forum fails to make sense because of a manner of lacking interest. Philosophy is actually a necessary discussion in Science; the four subfora in the section are how things went at some point, and then they stopped changing. I could write you a long post about that, but the short form is that the section was organized according to principles that happen to disdain religion; the "Religion" subforum drove a lot of traffic, once upon a time, but the membership couldn't sustain that sort of discourse over time.

    What if the site is for something else?

    For instance, I could make up a story for you about our site owners being part of the fake-news industry, but that probably requires a long post. Nonetheless, one of those aspects runs through behavioral questions, and it is in this context that a lot of what goes on here can start to seem like it makes sense. But the flip-side of a conspiracy theory is a small-time, disorganized website owned by a British company and run for years by a depressed guy whose first language was Greek, which makes at least as much sense and doesn't rattle my nimby.

    But I'm also curious what motivates other people. If I ask what motivates you, why you come here when most of what you do seems like complaining about others and disrupting discussions in order to make them harder for other people to participate in, I'm not aiming to zing. Rather, we all have our reasons for continuing to show up and participate. I understand the trolls and crazies more than the rest of us

    I should note that compared to your conduct, the convoluted ban system is part of the reason you're still here. To walk anyone through the ban cycle takes a minimum of fifty-five days, or at least it did last time I counted. Moreover, given all the customized excuses we are to make for particular political outlooks, virutally nobody goes all the way through the cycle.

    The Cesspool was originally for threads that had run so far awry; we retained other people's work instead of deleting the thread, and then blocked bots and spiders from indexing the content. At some point, lacking any other solution, it became a dumping ground for a lot of stuff the staff was unable to clean up as their permissions have slowly and quietly been curtailed over the years.

    Formal Debate was just an idea that came up along the way. It would take a long post to explain how it now reminds me of a bunch of masculinists and altchans challenging, "Debate me!" like a dude bellying up and saying, "Go on, throw the first punch!" Once upon a time, the FD subforum seemed like it might be a good idea; quite clearly, it was too much to ask of members in general.

    Site Feedback is an important idea, but ... nah, I got nothin'. Within the format we have, sure, I have some feedback, but a lot of it won't happen. Yes, some might be complicated and laborious, and thus not on the schedule, but for other aspects, like the 10k character limit, or the weak search engine, and other stuff that could be fixed fairly easily, we can presume there are particular reasons why not.

    Try it this way: A lot of this was largely an organic process of people finding their way, and then one day the site stopped evolving, or perhaps shifted to evolve according to different priorities.


    Much of the rest has to do with the idea that Sciforums is what its members make it. The Philosophy section, including the Religion subforum, would make a lot more sense if the threads and posts therein did. But that's not what the people posting there want.

    The question of running a site into the ground is not entirely left to the site owners; while I would like some things around here to be different, much vital change depends on the membership.
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  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Improve my spelling caused by dyslexia

    Not planned but now sorting (untangling) out logic

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  11. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    fringe science ideas and off beat discussions by intellectuals freely discussing science and thoughts about the wider world

    if i want to really get into the sociological & cultural fiber of something i ill look to one of your posts
    or seek it.

    i recall the large interest in formal discussions
    it was not my thing
    but it was very popular at the time

    this site is one of the few sites where you can read concerted content of a scientific nature of fringe science
    unfortunately intellectuals have withdrawn a lot over the last 10 to 15 years and been shouted down by fascism in its many forms.

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  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I would make it a secured site. I wouldn't have those tabs that I mentioned. What other mainstream site has a banned tab?

    Most of the entries are just the nightly banning of bots that would be behind the scenes anywhere else. The focus on most sites isn't on banning members. There are only about 10 real members here. Why the constant threat of banning?

    I'm not someone that should even be in the discussion of being banned on any other site. Nor am I someone who has ever been called a racist (or any of the other pejoratives used ) by a moderator on any other site

    Tiassa, I think, if left to his own devices, would ban most everyone one, including James and therefore this site would turn into an annotated blog devoid of all reality. I could be wrong but that's my impression.

    I'd like to see this site become more of a friendly, general discussion forum with little moderation other than for hate speech or just generally uncivil behavior. The crazies come here because there is the fringe subforum and because that sort of thing is encouraged.

    Most other sites don't have this kind of attraction for crazies. I'm guessing that if you started a new forum (any forum) and didn't encourage crazies and didn't have heavy-handed moderators with constant talk of banning and disparagement of most of the would have a lot more traffic than this site (even without any effort).

    It's hard to have a discussion forum on the interest with this limited traffic.

    If someone checks on "new posts" every few days here, there will be little to respond to other than "proving God to 2 decimal points" or something similar.

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    Are there any changes that you would make if you were able to change anything?
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2022
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'm assuming it's lack of interest. After all what are they getting out of this site...nothing? I'm just surprised that they don't turn over more maintenance control to those who do come to this site.

    I'll give you my motivation and hopefully you'll give me yours. You seem to be here most of the time, don't like anyone and your main interest seems to be annotated blogging. Perhaps I'm wrong.

    Wegs and I exchange PM's every now and then so that's a main reason. I do post discussion topics from time to time. Usually the more generic ones go no where and the others trigger either you or Iceaura.

    I don't consider discussing something to be "disrupting" the discussion. I would like to see a friendlier discussion site more welcoming of more people (and I'm not talking about the crazies).

    Then why have the system at all? It seems it's just due to a need for excessive control?

    This is kind of a catch 22. You say that the site is what the members want it to be. There are very few members since most have been driven off. I'm sure most who remain would make changes if allowed. You would make changes (I might not like them). I would make changes (you might not like them) but only a few crazies would say that they like it as is.

    That's what happens when you drive off everyone else isn't it?
  14. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    What do you mean by a 'secured site?' I'm not sure if any forums are secure in the sense that they're open to the public, and anyone can join. So, just wondering what you mean by 'secure.'

    In truth, I'd say forums in general aren't as highly trafficked as say ten years ago. I think circa 2012 was perhaps their peak, but once Instagram and other social media platforms gained popularity, as well as Reddit, etc... forums based on one central theme (science in this case) became less frequented. You never know though, things have a way of making come backs, and maybe that will happen again with discussion forums.
  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Look at the address bar at the top of the page. It says "not secure". Now go to most any other site and you will see a "padlock icon". That means it's secure. It's not an encrypted connection. It's the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.

    I agree that forums aren't as popular as they were years ago but that's not really the issue here. Go to any other mainstream forum and they will have a lot more traffic than here. This site actively drives them away.
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Think of it as a relic from a former period.

    Also: What does a "mainstream site" have to do with Sciforums?

    I'm not trying to be difficult with that, but I already told you, the rest looks nearly default. Ban lists on old PHP discussion boards weren't unheard of; I think it was actually a feature of the old Jelsoft package, and like I said, we haven't tinkered much with the basic format.

    In my time here, your inquiry is the first occasion I can recall to wonder if there's a switch for that, or if someone needs to edit the style sheet.

    Focus? That's your own reading of the circumstance. The idea of a "constant threat of banning" strikes me as nearly hilarious, so I will leave that one for an Administrator to field.

    Meanwhile, the listing of temporary bans (suspensions) tells me, at the moment, "There are no banned users"; i.e., nobody is suspended right now. Even I'm surprised, but I can't promise the sorting criteria have ever changed or not; I do have a fragment of memory that once upon a time the main list was organized by Ban Time Remaining. And, no, I'm not going to suspend you for kicks in order to double-check.

    To the one: Says you. To the other, remember that your excuse, here, declared by an Adminsitrator, is ignorance↗.

    Actually, there is plenty of room between where we are and banning. Don't worry about being wrong; even James has trouble understanding that part. For instance:

    That's actually kind of funny, coming from you. Did you ever figure out what was wrong with your bit about "baby daddy"↗?

    That's an interesting thesis; my thoughts on the Fringe subforum are a little different. But it does originate as a way of trying to keep those threads out of Science subfora.

    What does that even mean?

    But what traffic?

    Remember, this place started out as a site for rational discourse, with the motto, "Intelligent Community". Also remember: You can justify anything by abandoning the principle to which it is compared. Here, the abandonment of rational discourse has resulted in a lot of unintelligent noise.

    Observing your use of words like "mainstream" and "most other sites", it occurs to wonder at your expectation. For instance, the first counterpoint to mind is, no, it's not so hard to have a discussion forum with this limited traffic. However, as you're also discussing increased traffic, you clearly mean something else. But that is a broad range.

    A test bed for software solutions is the first thing to mind.

    A proving ground for behavioral solutions is another.

    Well, if anyone can author solid CSS, maybe they can change the layout some.

    Beyond that, well, maybe that is its own discussion. The Company has its own priorities, and has never been inclined to share. I actually used to ask explicitly what the staff needed to do in order to be helpful, but do not recall any substantial answer.

    Again, that's kind of funny, coming from you.

    If I return to the question of your expectations, it is because the narrative leading to that question is your own. Having staff running around issuing infractions and suspensions according to their own prerogative, without reference to any common standard, would be an even bigger mess than leaving it to James to do that. No, really, there is much to discuss about the infraction system, but, "a need for excessive control", makes precisely no sense compared to history.

    So, one time I might have driven someone away by accidentally including them on a distribution list for a staff memo about that individual. To the one, sure, it was a stupid error; to the other, though, I could have said a lot worse. Another time, long ago, I might have driven off a right-winger by telling him, at a time when things like this ostensibly still mattered, that he couldn't misrepresent sources and needed better sources than someone else misrepresenting sources, though I wasn't the last to flag him for an infraction.

    If I count up the anecdotal bits, let's see, I chase people out by using too many syllables, writing long posts, or being too mean, and I'm sure there are lots of stories about that last, but inasmuch as nothing ever begins and thus our starting point becomes arbitrary, anyone else is welcome to sift through whatever; I'm of the opinion that history generally bears out, and for you, much like the complaint about cancel culture, the question becomes whether one can behave in certain ways and expect nobody should object.

    (e.g., If you don't want people thinking you're racist, don't make a point of pushing white supremacist tropes about baby daddies, scary black people, and redlining. If you think your conduct is above certain reproach, don't go asking a moderator why she is such a bitch. Or maybe we should have cut you a break for being ignorant and having no clue what you are saying.)​

    Other aspects of this have come up, recently, though it's a bit obscure. But please consider that, compared to a pretense of "Intelligent Community", we can only wonder how many would stick around to put such effort into being so directly disrespected. Looking forward, we might wonder how many would come here looking to put any effort into it. The question of what drives people away has diverse answers. Bringing more traffic is an intriguing question, but for all the time we could have been Facetwit or Instasnap or even Reddigg, that's not quite how it would have gone. Nonetheless, "a friendly, general discussion forum with little moderation other than for hate speech or just generally uncivil behavior", is a bit vague; we could have had that, here, without much change, but for particular reasons did not. One of those reasons is our membership. Ask yourself what you would do when members don't want to be friendly with each other, or when facing bad faith; consider your boundaries of civility, and hate speech. We know how that road goes, because it is part of how we got here.
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  17. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    there is nothing stopping you seattle from starting your own

    "general friendly discussion about nothing in particular as long as i dont feel offended by it"

    thread in free thoughts

    it begs the question why you have not already started one.

    i had to laugh when i read you suggesting you should be given power of administrator


    no doubt you will come back attempting to say there is no point in anything because there is not enough traffic so you must be considered in the right and given power.
    and around and around you will go
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I didn't say that there was constant banning. I said there is the constant threat of banning. It's used as a bullying tactic here. The topic shouldn't even come up.

    To the one, I'm not ignorant, to the other you (and James) just tend to read my comments in the worst light possible if I'm not agreeing with your point of the day. Both of you tend to read any comment as "Republican talking points" if it doesn't agree with your viewpoint. Either that or it's "trolling" or "ignorance".

    There is not a lot of nuance allowed on certain subjects with you two. You don't seem to be able to accept that, or humor.

    It means that most sites don't have crazies and yet they also don't have to have subforums for them.

    My point was that with increased traffic one tends to get more mainstream people (less crazies per 100k). If the fringe subforum wasn't here and moderators didn't allow it in the science forums then it would go to "free thoughts" where it would be greatly diluted by more sane conversation.

    That is a paranoid interpretation. It's like giving too much credit to Trump if something he attempted actually ended up working out well.

    I'm certain that this is no test bed for software solutions. Look at the place. It's archaic.

    It's not actually. I am friendly. You, generally speaking, are not. All 3 moderators are usually pretty judgmental, control oriented and anything but friendly.

    This is the longest actual 2-way conversation that you've ever had on this board that I can remember.

    I have a sense of humor, don't call people names and don't read every comment in the worst light possible.

    You never did respond as to your own motivations for your involvement here, not that you have to. You are here all the time, post in an academic style (for no apparent reason) and mainly blog rather than bringing any discussion to the table.

    When there is discussion you generally start labeling people and bring up banning. You don't even get along with the other moderators.

    Surely there is some backstory to your involvement here?[/QUOTE]
  19. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    and so the demand for censorship arrives
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    You did say:

    You also said:

    I observed your suggestion of a focus on banning is your own invention. And then I commented on the entries in the ban list.

    I think you managed to get every part of that wrong.

    You'd be amazed.

    The Venn diagram of people who think I have no sense of humor and people who don't laugh at my jokes is a circle.

    What sites are you referring to?

    Returning to the question of site owners, they've had years to bring this domain into a more mainstream circumstance. There's actually some history, there, but it's messy and uncertain.

    That wouldn't necessarily fit the motif of the Free Thoughts subforum.

    Paranoid? Moreover, "Look, at this place", doesn't work: Why is the idea that a software solutions company might have use for testing search returns, spam-blocking, indexing, and other solutions for their actual software product "paranoid"?

    Maybe in person, but the character you play considerably less so.

    Coming from you, that probably isn't going to hurt their feelings, either.

    I believe you.

    Your sense of humor is what it is; you call people names and attack them bitterly, sometimes; it would probably be impossible that you read every comment in the worst light possible, but still, that's kind of a meaningless point.

    Well, I'm not actually one of the site owners, and while I wouldn't expect much of a response from them, anything is possible. Meanwhile, what I could do was offer some insight↑ into the history of what you're complaining about.

    That's a pretty broad claim. Any particular episode on your mind? Perhaps there is some nuance to the circumstance.

    We have our reasons.

    The original owner invited everyone who signed a guestbook at another site he ran, and I've been here ever since. Beyond that, it can be a long story involving a bunch of stuff you probably wouldn't care about.
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I actually agree with quite a lot of what Tiassa said above. I'll add a few thoughts of my own.
    Another possibility is that you've missed the point.

    On the one hand, the "On the fringe" sections were put in place partly at the request of a portion of our membership, and I think you'll find that there is still a lot of support for their existence among our members. You are free to characterise those people as "crazies" if that makes you feel better about yourself, but perhaps it's worth considering that you aren't our only member, or our most important member (if there is such a one). Your preferences are not the only ones that we, as moderators or administrators, consider.

    Since you haven't explained why you think the "On the fringe" and "Philosophy" are pointless, I don't think there's anything I need to tell you about the "point" right now.
    You have not said why you consider "Formal debates" to be ridiculous, so again there appears to be nothing important that needs addressing in that.

    As for the Cesspool, there is some value in preserving a record of posts that perhaps you haven't considered.
    Our current warnings and ban system developed organically and has been put to an actual vote of the membership several times.

    This is actually something we could change in major or minor ways at any time, but our membership is not complaining about the process.
    Perhaps the focus on banning is on your side, not ours. Do you feel under threat of being banned? If so, you might like to think about why that is. Perhaps you feel that your preferred or habitual behaviours are unreasonably curtailed by our behavioural expectations? Are you feeling repressed?

    Frankly, I have to wonder how genuine your complaint is on this, given that you ran into moderation trouble with your racist views in the not-so-distant past. Are you worried about not being able to give free rein to your own racial biases here? And is that a problem on your end, or ours?
    Why do you think that sciforums should follow the policies of some other site you choose to post on? You choose to come here or go there. As long as the expectations are clear in both places, so are your options. Correct?
    I think you're wrong and you don't have much of an idea about what Tiassa would like from this forum.
    A moment ago you were complaining about the "crazies" being allowed to post here, weren't you? Now you're saying we should ease off on moderation. What exactly is your vision for this site?

    As for friendliness, perhaps that needs to start with you. Be the change you want to see, first. This isn't me picking on you, by the way; I could say the same about quite a few other members. You're the one who brought it up, that's all.
    Probably. Tell me what your problem is with that.
    Again with the "most other sites". Why do you demand that sciforums be "most other sites"? Which other sites are your preferred model sites, anyway; why don't you tell us what you like and why?
    No crazies would mean no disparagement of crazies, presumably. That would curtail your injection of negativity and lack of friendliness to a certain extent, at least. Are the "crazies" currently "most of the members", in your opinion? Where do you fit it, then?

    Who is constantly talking of banning? This isn't a certain paranoia speaking, is it?
    Not really. It is possible to have a wonderful discussion involving just two people. I'm guessing your real complaint lies elsewhere.
    Who or what has "driven off" "most" of the members, in your opinion? And where do you think all those people went?
    Can you give any examples? They should be easy to find given the "constant threat".
    From my end, these posts of yours seem to be full of opinionated (mis-)characterisations of various people, generally unsupport by actual examples or evidence.
    How many people have you come across who will have a good chuckle and back-slapping session with you while you're trying to sink the boot into them, Seattle? Just curious.
    I find this more than a little ironic, coming from the guy who posted this thread seemingly for the sole purpose of passing unfriendly judgment on individuals and on our site and community as a whole.

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