Why is sciforums traffic so low now?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Magical Realist, Apr 7, 2016.

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  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Well we could talk about science. That might draw some people back...
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    We can all surmise......
    I do remember Grumpy saying he had had enough of what was let pass as science......AqId is another that has grown tired of what is let pass for science.
    We also at this present time have three threads started with "supposed" questions, with absolutely no intention of the questioner accepting any answers: The object obviously in all three is to try to deride accepted standard cosmology and push some other imagined unsupported scenario.
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I swear, I did not know pad was posting this. Nor did he know I was.

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  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    I see it as common sense. The rules are lax here and pseudoscience and fraudulent questions with no intention of accepting any answer appears to be the go of one in particular within the sciences section.
    God bothering religious agendas by fanatical ratbags, is a powerful impetus to those people to deride science since it has pushed the need for any mythical deity into near oblivion.
  9. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    The forum can't seem to decide if it wants to be about science or woo.

    I'm not surprised that people are losing faith in it (no pun intended).
  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    It seems that traffic is down on "the science forum" by a like amount.
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Maybe science interest in general is waning. How long's it been since you've seen a real science program on TV? They're very rare now. I think science is boring to most people.
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    There is plenty of science on tv. Granted, it's on public stations that get little attention when not running Downton Abbey, and most of it is on a Grade 5 level and unbearably cute. It's also mostly about mummies and about brain function these days, but there are also some nice things on astronomy and that big underground doughnut in Switzerland. The Cosmos remake wasn't bad... on second viewing: I have to confess being blinded by nostalgia the first time.

    I find the same lassitude on several other forums, only one of which is concerned with science. Philosophy and literature are the same.
    I have a half-baked theory (since two minutes ago, so cut me a little slack) that all the people who participate in forums on science and philosophy have said - with increasing concision and exactitude - everything they know and expressed - with increasing authority and certitude - all of their convictions and opinions, and explained all these things, over and over, to three hundred unheeding idjits and half a dozen wide-eyed youngsters, and they're pretty much all talked out.
    This coming November will mark the 20th anniversary of my own participation on internet forums.
    Maybe it's just time to do something else.
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    There's plenty of good science shows on TV. Boring? Possibly, but then again, there's not much in this great big wide wonderful world we live in that we havn't got science to thank for.......including our health and well being.
  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    My impression is that it is the issues and questions arising from misconceptions or unorthodox ideas that generate the most discussion. This entails a certain level of tolerance for cranks. If everyone is in violent agreement, discussion soon peters out.

    However one does still need a mechanism to eject egregiously stupid, incoherent or tiresome posters, as without that, the forum is soon dominated by imbecile rubbish that is not even worth responding to.

    The other forum I belong to (The Science Forum) has a tougher policy. Discussions there tend to be shorter, but possibly get to the point and finish the topic more efficiently, as people with crank agendas are not able to keep recycling the same ideas. On the other hand it is possibly a slightly duller place.

    The question I would pose, though, is whether the volume of traffic is the best measure of the health, or the quality, of a forum.

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  15. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Its is because we do not have a section for cats.

    Could it be that there is an increasing number of things that can attract interest.
    Interest may be diluted by more sites, blogs, face book to start a ever growing list.

    Science sites in my view present as unwelcoming. That may deter folk from getting involved.
    I am thinking upon this for the first time and only have my personal experience to draw upon.

    I am a member of an astronomy forum.
    In the early days I would help new folk but after a while it became repetitive and so my contribution fell off.
    I became tired of posting my astro photos and looked less and less at photos posted by others.
    From my experience I propose that folk come and go.
    If that is so maybe the problem is more go than come or simply there may be a need to attract folk and hold onto them by being better than the competition.
    What can be done to change the numbers.

    A survey perhaps

    Why did you join this forum.
    What do you like about it.
    What do you dislike about it.
    What single change do you think will generate traffic.

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

    I have reported several posts that I felt were advertisement.

    Which would lead me to question - Is that statistic taking into account advertisements?
  17. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

    actual science individuals--excluding the wannabes and pretenders(whom control these sites), are finally,realizing what cesspools these sites are.

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  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Sciforums is an old-style internet discussion board. It isn't Facebook or whatever, one of the go-to social media sites that all the teenagers frequent. I read several boards like this and traffic is declining at all of them.

    Pitching Sciforums at too high a technical level might just drive laypeople without much education in science away and intimidate new arrivals.

    If people want to emphasize that distinction, then they need to have some way of distinguishing between the two. That's the 'demarcation problem' from the philosophy of science. It seems to me that many/most of Sciforums' threads (at least the ones that aren't obsessed with left-politics) revolve around the issue of what does and doesn't count as legitimate mainstream science and how the distinction should be justified.

    That's a perfectly fine topic of discussion, if the board would just let themselves accept it.

    Exactly. What generates the most interest on a board like this isn't the arcane mathematical expression of string-theory, that virtually noone would understand anyway. It's the epistemological issues at the boundaries of science, where it comes into contact with religion and "pseudoscience". That's what fires everyone up and makes them feel like they have something to say.

    There are plenty of disagreements among scientists about scientific matters. But discussing those matters intelligently requires more technical background than most of our participants have.

    I don't think that they should be ejected entirely. But I agree that the moderators should perhaps be more aggressive in moving threads from the 'science' forums up on top down to the 'alternative' categories. I think that those fora should be pretty-much 'anything goes'.

    But again, that requires that a sound and convincing demarcation can be drawn between 'real' science and what our board oddly calls "woo". (I always thought that was what young lovers did to each other.) I was just skimming through that latest issue of New Scientist yesterday and it had a cover article about a minority of astrophysicists proposing modifications to Newtonian gravity's inverse square law as an alternative to the currently trendy dark-matter speculations. (That isn't new, but some recent mathematical models seem to accord better with astronomical observations than the dark-matter models do.) It's a legitimate alternative hypothesis, but I suspect that anyone proposing it here on Sciforums would immediately get their asses flamed off and the discussions would have to take place in the 'alternative theories' forum.

    I'm still convinced that some of the board's best and deepest discussions are likely to take place down there in 'alternative' exile, and that's where most of the board's intellectual interest might ultimately lie.

    That raises the question of what Sciforums' owners want the board to be.

    Do they want to maximize traffic and advertising revenue? Or do they want to discuss science?

    If they want to discuss science, how do they propose doing that? What kind of science discussion board do they want it to be?

    A place for informed discussions of the latest theories and hypotheses? I don't think that our current readership would sustain that. To do it properly would require that Sciforums' participants be working scientists with advanced degrees in the subjects they are discussing. Enforcing that would leave Sciforums with one or two participants at best, none of which would be me. I don't see Sciforums ever becoming a scientists' shop-talk forum.

    A place for discussion of basic scientific concepts at the level of beginning undergraduate classes? (I personally would fit in best at that level.) But making that work would require that we have some participants who not only are knowledgeable about science at that level, but are willing and able to teach. I've seen little sign of the necessary patience and teaching ability here in the several years I've been posting.

    A place for posting layman's-level news stories about scientific 'discoveries' (they often turn out to be somebody's speculations), the more counter-intuitive the better, where everyone goes 'Oh wow! That's cool!' and then has nothing more to say? That's kind of what it is now. I sense that a few people here treat science like a religion and these news stories provide them with a constantly expanding store of revealed holy doctrine about the Secrets of the Universe. I find it boring and a little stupid, unless there's some inquiry into where the new ideas come from and what justifies them.

    My own interests lie in the philosophical questions that science raises. Questions of what science is, what its relationship is to other areas of life like religion, ethics or everyday phenomenal awareness, what its boundaries are (are the "social sciences" really science in the sense that physics is?), what science's methods are, what kind of reasoning takes place in science (what's 'scientific evidence'? How does scientific evidence make hypotheses more or less confirmed?), what science really tells us about existence and fundamental ontology, and how these various ideas vary between sciences and change over time in the history of science. I'm not convinced that Sciforums' current readership will sustain those kind of discussions either, but it takes less specialized training to engage in them and we do approximate university-level discussions pretty well at times.

    In my opinion the best discussions usually arise at the boundaries, in response to problem cases, which is why I think that heretics are valuable and why the alternative fora might end up the most stimulating places on the board.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  19. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Could it be part of a general trend? The message board medium is where the old-timers or usenet folk moved after that pioneering network died from the cascading effects of Eternal September (unruly posters, spam, etc). It's difficult to imagine this particular social landscape -- the sterotypical forum -- being replenished much by a steady or reliable influx of Millennials, who favor other interactive platforms.
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I certainly fall into that category of old-timers. (I am 61.) But I do think discussion limited to 140 characters is bound to be fairly superficial - or else appallingly tedious to follow, point by laborious point.
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Many points there I agree with, though I think there is only a handful of individuals who commit the sin of "scientism". (I have a theory that the offenders are generally either autodidacts or engineers. The relationship between engineering and science is somewhat ambivalent, in my view.)

    As for the teaching side of it, I think several of us are definitely up for that, myself included. For example I recall a series of very rewarding exchanges a year or two ago, with a 14yr old from India. And just look at Fednis now, up in the Physics section. He or she is a practising quantum mechanician and is doing a great job, very patiently, with an engineering autodidact of some sort. The problem so often is that what seems an innocent enquiry proves - about 50 posts later - to be a Trojan Horse for some kind of entrenched silliness, or trolling to annoy. The thing that pisses me off most of all is to have spent time and effort trying to explain something, only to find my interlocutor is stringing me along and has no interest in learning anything. Anyway, it is what it is: the trade-off between boredom and silliness is inescapable, I think.
  22. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    I thank that those who enjoy teechin woud be much more effective... an content... if they woud just chuckle an move on when they conclude that they are bein "trolled"... insted of diggin in ther heels to force a confession from ther abuser... which often includes demands that mods hand out ponts... flags... warnins... bans... an on an on an on... ie... you wont get so frustrated if you dont feed you'r Troll.!!!

    In concluson:::
    People wit diferent ponts of view will have a chance to speek ther mind leadin to less frustration for all an site traffic will benifit.!!!
  23. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    In a utopian world, the top section could be overhauled and have a distinct workshop subforum coupled with a light banter subforum for each of the science categories (or at least those considered most in demand for such status). The "workshop" designation meaning it was purely for legitimate inquiry / help / instruction, with civil standards. The number of subforums in the bottom section could be reduced by combining many of them, to lessen the appearance of a board overpopulated with divisions.
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