Rules

As this site is still a fledgling, I’m feeling my way with regard to rules.

So I’m going to start a bit vague, then get more specific as need arises.The principle is in the strapline: Park your priors by the door.  Everyone has priors, they are crucial to way we make sense of the world.  But the impetus behind this site is to be a place where they can be loosened and adjusted while you wait.  So leave them by the door, and pick them up again as you leave!

There are plenty of blogs and forums where people with like priors can hang out and scoff at those who do not share them.  There’s nothing wrong with those sites, and I’ve learned a lot from them. But the idea here is to provide a venue where people with very different priors can come to discover what common ground we share; what misunderstandings of other views we hold; and, having cleared away the straw men, find out where our real differences lie.  In my experience, when you reach that point, who is right becomes obvious to both parties 🙂

Edited 1/12/15 to change from third to first person plural.

 

So draft rules:

  • Assume all other posters are posting in good faith.
    • For example, do not accuse other posters of being deliberately misleading
  • Do not use turn this site into as a peanut gallery for observing the antics on other boards. (there are plenty of places on the web where you can do that!)
  • Address the content of the post, not the perceived failings of the poster. [purple text added 28th November 2015]
    • This means that accusing others of ignorance or stupidity is off topic
    • As is implying that other posters are mentally ill or demented.
  • Don’t advocate illegal activities.
  • Don’t post porn, or links to porn, or any material liable to risk the integrity of another poster’s computer*.

ETA 8th September 2013

  • If you have author permissions, and post an OP, you may find you have the technical ability to edit comments to your post, and move them.  Please do not do so.  Rule violating posts will be moved by moderators, and it is a principle of this site that comments are not edited, deleted, or hidden.

ETA 27th January 2014

  • Don’t use this site to try to “out” other internet denizens or indulge in ad hominem speculations.  Such speculations may, notwithstanding general principles regarding deletion, be deleted. ETA 13th June 2015: please read the guidlines in ETA6 below and note that the rule applies even if the person in question has made the information possible to find out)

That’ll do for starters!

Posts won’t be moderated unless I find there’s a problem – if your post is held in moderation it’ll just be because the spam filter caught it.

If you want to post OPs, let me know and I’ll register you as a Subscriber.  That means your OPs will be held in moderation until I click the publish button.  If all goes well, I’ll push people up to Author.

One last thing – I’ve set the nesting for threaded comments to be quite deep, because I like nested sites – derails are much less of a problem and I’m an inveterate derailer.  So use the nesting if it suits your post i.e. if you are replying to a specific post rather than making a general point re the OP.

And thanks for coming!

Lizzie

ETA: I’ve added the coloured text above for clarity (22.2.2012)

ETA2: Blue text added above for clarity (7.05.2012)

ETA3: New rule added in purple (12.05.2012)

ETA4: *Violation of rule in purple will result in immediate and permanent ban (14.05.2012)

ETA5: Peanut rule gallery relaxed a little (5th November 2012)

 ETA6, June 13th, 2015): Below is a copy&paste from a a post of mine in a discussion regarding the outing rule:

It is part of the founding philosophy of TSZ that no-one “deserves” to be banned. People are banned for one reason only: to ensure that we don’t get posts containing the very narrow range of material that is not allowed here, namely porn/malware (or links to); and material that gives the RL identity of people known to us by their internet names, without their permission (also known, I understand, as “doxxing”).

There are a couple of grey areas regarding that last one but I think I have made the boundaries clear, and will try to make them clearer still:

Firstly: If someone has made it clear who they are in RL, e.g. by linking to their publications, that is fine, and it is still fine for others to acknowledge the identity if their publications are being discussed. However, it is not OK to use that person’s RL name in personal attacks, which are against the game-rules anyway (“assume the other person is posting in good faith”; “address the argument, not the person”) but are not in themselves things I would ever ban anyone for. Such posts just get moved to guano, just as pieces get moved off a chess board. But if in breaking those rules, you invoke someone’s personal ID, that is not on, the reason being that I don’t want such personal attacks here to come up in a google search of that person’s RL name, as such things happen, as I know to my cost.

Secondly, if the person in here is not a regular poster here, but is nonetheless effectively party to the conversations we often have by loud-hailer as it were, at another site, then membership protections apply. In any case, in the case of kairosfocus, I think he is, or was, a registered member here, and you easily can’t tell in any case. So if in doubt, assume membership, either actual or virtual, and don’t link identity with internet handle. In other words, do not post the RL identities of people with whom our personal relations, as it were, are in their internet identities.

ETA 29th November, 2015:

This post by Reciprocating Bill sums up the ethos of the site brilliantly so I’m quoting it here:

Participation at this site entails obligations similar to those that attend playing a game. While there is no objective moral obligation to answer questions, the site has aims, rules and informal stakeholders, just as football has same. When violations of those aims and rules are perceived and/or the enforcement of same is seen as arbitrary or inconsistent, differences and conflicts arise. No resort to objective morality, yet perfectly comprehensible and appropriate opprobrium.

13th December 2015:

This post by DNA_Jock sums up how the implementation of the rules essentially works, and how I think it should work.  If you think it doesn’t, let us know:

DNA_Jock:

walto: it’s arbitrary and capricious which posts get guanoed

I think not. It is stochastic.
Things that increase vs. decrease the probability of guanoing:
1 Clearly breaks rules vs. may be interpreted as rule-breaking.
2 Guanoing requested vs. Target requests post not be guanoed
3 Author perceived to be “home” side vs. Author perceived to be “visitor”
4 Target perceived to be “visitor” vs. Target is an admin
5 Substantive content is low vs. Substantive content is high
6 Derailing active discussion vs. ancient bloody history.
As to the relative importance of the different factors, YMMV.
<snip irrelevant bit>
Discrete-choice modeling, it’s fun.

410 thoughts on “Rules

  1. Alan Fox:
    phoodoo

    If you think you have been unfairly treated, take it up in the moderation thread. I’ll move your comment there and respond there.

    Applies to anyone else who has a complaint about moderation.

    You have already demonstrated that you have no interest in discussing truth. This site simply exists to preach your biased viewpoint, with the false appearance of allowing a counter argument, which in reality you can’t accept. So conduct your little circle jerk propaganda without me.

    Shame on you.

    [Alan, would you mind moving this comment to Moderation, where it belongs? Thanks –Olegt]

  2. Alan Fox,

    Like this you mean:

    “olegt on January 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm said:

    phoodoo: Until someone shows the completed stats of each generation as I have explained, just claiming the math is good is pointless. You people seem to spend a whole lot of time making assertions about the value of your formulas, instead of just presenting the data and letting anyone see how good it looks.

    Write your own damn code, phoodoo, and investigate the output till your heart’s content. And if you are lazy or incompetent, politely ask others to share their results. No one here owes you anything.”

    This is how you apply the rules the same to everyone? Fuck you.

    I am well aware of the phony atheist society which calls itself skeptics, but really is just a bunch of pricks trying to tell everyone else what they need to think, and refusing to let the data speak, because they don’t like the results.

    You should thank me for contributing content to your BS site free of charge.

    Go jerk your friends and don’t try to tell me you apply the rules the same to everyone.

    Come some place where you can discuss facts without hiding under your moderation skirt.

  3. This is the text of the lost comment:

    olegt: That isn’t specific. Try again.

    W

    The results were ludicrous. That’s pretty specific.

  4. phoodoo,

    I’m sorry you feel unfairly treated. I repeat, that your comments and others were moved for not adhering to the rule “Assume all other posters are posting in good faith”.

    Your comments have not been deleted and you have not been restricted in your ability to post further comments.

  5. phoodoo

    Come some place where you can discuss facts without hiding under your moderation skirt.

    Does phoodoo have a suggestion for such a venue, free from such moderation issues? I have some code/results to post. Or I will have when I get home.

  6. I think in the history of this site, about three comments have disappeared mysteriously.Hardly a trend. I’ve done worse to myself by accidentally hitting Ctrl-A instead of Shift_-A.

  7. I do sympathise with phoodoo, even though one can see that they were not entirely the fault-free victim. Who is? But defending a minority position can get pretty frustrating, as most of us have probably experienced. You can’t have a discussion without 2 sides, and I’m genuinely grateful to phoodoo for offering his/her viewpoint.

  8. Allan Miller: But defending a minority position can get pretty frustrating, as most of us have probably experienced.

    Being in the minority amplifies the abuse quotient. Let’s say there are ten on team Red and one on team Blue, then one Blue must spread abuse over ten Red (impact = 1/10), while ten Red can concentrate their abuse on one Blue (impact = 10). The effective ratio is 100:1. That’s why it’s important to try to be patient with others, especially when they are expressing a minority viewpoint. They can often feel under siege, even when everyone is being generally polite.

    Phoodoo, please feel free to comment here or elsewhere on the blog.

  9. I have commented where I am the minority. I am only upset when I am threatened with bannation.

    Or when my posts stop appearing entirely.

    I think the situation is somewhat different when one is going up against the consensus of established science. It’s very unlikely you will have an objection that hasn’t been thought of before. I’ve been watching this debate for 50 years and haven’t seen it happen.

  10. Zachriel,

    You make a fair point, Zachriel. I just happened to be at a loose end and was monitoring the thread when the tempers started to fray. Maybe I intervened too soon. Maybe I didn’t intervene soon enough as some previous comments arguably were outside the rules. Mind you, phoodoo did say this:

    You have already demonstrated that you have no interest in discussing truth. This site simply exists to preach your biased viewpoint, with the false appearance of allowing a counter argument, which in reality you can’t accept.

    So perhaps his/her frustration was in the impression of not having his/her points considered. Anyway, he/she is welcome to resume posting whenever they feel like it. They can indeed post criticism and suggestions in this very thread. Any feedback as to how I could have handled the situation better will be gratefully received.

  11. Allan Miller:
    I do sympathise with phoodoo, even though one can see that they were not entirely the fault-free victim. Who is? But defending a minority position can get pretty frustrating, as most of us have probably experienced. You can’t have a discussion without 2 sides, and I’m genuinely grateful to phoodoo for offering his/her viewpoint.

    I appreciate your reply, but its like this:

    Alan has on three different occasions attempted to admonish my posts when I was replying to rubbish insults. When I asked why he was only directing his comments at me, he said, well, if he says it to me, others can still read it and get the point, as if that is a logical rationale as opposed to at least saying it to the others-who must assume their posts were fine.

    Secondly, in the last thread, he took my post, which was an almost word for word repeat of Olegts garbage post to me, and he chose to delete my post and leave Olegts! They were the same exact same post, almost down to the letter! How could mine possibly be unacceptable if Olegts wasn’t also?

    And this is happening in a thread that isn’t even particularly controversial. Imagine if I was really attacking your sides beloved beliefs, how could I possibly get a fair word in edgewise? And I have plenty thick skin. I could care less if some douchbags like thorton only exist here to show their inferiority complex, but when I am continually being the one who is called out, and I am practically the only dissenting voice here, well the reality is pretty obvious (and Lizzie has done the same thing frankly).

    Am I really going to waste my time in such an unashamedly biased atmosphere, when even the most blatantly obvious example as this is not even exposed as bullshit? Why would I think Alan or anyone else here would ever admit I was right, when even this you all will pretend is an example of even handed moderation. What expectation could I ever have of people admitting the truth here?

    I realize this is fairly standard practice by skeptic groups and the like (heck, they organize groups to infiltrate sites like Wikipedia and the like, to spread their worldview message with guerrilla tactics) , but when people here want to be right so bad, they will even pretend this is equitable, without even being embarrassed at the hypocrisy, and not a single person here even condemned this kind of action, why would anyone believe anyone here is open to accepting any reality other than the one they want to see?

  12. Alan Fox: Maybe I didn’t intervene soon enough as some previous comments arguably were outside the rules.

    We weren’t directing our comments at your moderation, but just making a general observation. We do appreciate the policy and moderation on this blog. Phoodoo’s comment was out of order. His nerves were frayed. He should simply have ignored the pins and needles, and redirected his comments to the topic.

    But people are what people are. Can’t help but like the little simians.

  13. I’m a moderator at another site, and it’a tough job. Any deletion of posts here is accidental. Moderation will always appear inconsistent to the person being miderated, but I can assure you that posts moved to guano get read. They are not deleted or edited.

  14. phoodoo,

    Hi phoodoo

    Let’s not confuse two separate issues here.

    Issue 1: Scientific rigour, correctness and truth.

    These are all open for discussion. There are no rules about this and you are welcome to make what arguments, assertions, denials, rebuttals that you wish. I would hope if they are convincing people will be convinced, especially when claims are supported by evidence. The problem is when people have a different point of view and are not convinced by your arguments. The only solution is to agree to disagree.

    2: Moderation rules and enforcement

    There are several admins here, all of whom have lives, which means that moderation is patchy and inconsistent. To my knowledge only two member accounts have been closed other than spam bots (one person for posting a link to a graphically pornographic image and one where I understand there were personal issues) otherwise nobody is being censored. No comments are deleted. Off-topic may be moved to sandbox and comments which infringe the rules may be moved to guano. No comments are post-edited except occasionally by request or to correct minor typos. Nothing has changed regarding your posting privileges and you are still able to comment in whatever thread is of interest to you. Admittedly comments that are marginally outside the rules get missed. There is also the problem that late moderation will make holes in the sense of a thread if it generates more than a few replies before being moved.

    So my apologies in not being as even-handed as perhaps you would wish. The blog owner, Dr. Liddle mentioned a month or so ago that she will have some time this month to look at improving how the site functions so maybe we can build in some kind of flagging or ignore system.

    I’ll leave you to read my comment if you wish and feel free to come back with any suggestions that might improve matters for minority-view commenters (without of course compromising the right of everyone to free expression of an honestly-held viewpoint.)

    Believe it or not, I am not personally in favour of any censorship other than for porn, spam and illegal stuff like libellous statements.

    Anyway I’ll leave it there for you to chew over.

    Alan

  15. Moved some comments to guano. Please note that replies to guano’d comments will tend to be moved too to keep continuity.

  16. Alan Fox,

    And you conveniently ignored how you had no problem whatsoever leaving Olegts (or thrortons, or cubists, or Richard Hughes) comments in without even a word, and yet you removed mine, which said exactly the same thing to him, that he said to me. They were the exact same content Alan!!!

    So you continue to peddle your dishonesty, so I won’t be waiting around expecting anything to change.

  17. phoodoo:
    Alan Fox,

    And you conveniently ignored how you had no problem whatsoever leaving Olegts (or thrortons, or cubists, or Richard Hughes) comments in without even a word, and yet you removed mine, which said exactly the same thing to him, that he said to me. They were the exact same content Alan!!!

    So you continue to peddle your dishonesty, so I won’t be waiting around expecting anything to change.

    I’ve had my posts moved just like you. Here’s your thread at AtBC:

    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=52d80f2afcbc47a3;act=ST;f=14;t=7650

    Nothing there will be moved or ‘off topic’.

  18. Phoodoo, as someone who endured being called stupid, having less than a five yer old mentality, dishonest immoral, and the like at UD, without complaining, let me suggest that you make your argument and let it be.

    We don’t win or lose in these discussions, except that we learn to make our best case.

    Whining and complaining about moderation on a site that doesn’t threaten banning for disagreeing with the owner, is unseemly. If you want to whine and complain,, go to AtBC and pols on the TSZ thread.

  19. Richardthughes: I’ve had my posts moved just like you.

    Rich, is the site down, because I’m getting an error from your link, as follows:

    invalid sid value

    This error was reported at: Sources/Lib/FUNC.pm line 107.

    @ phoodoo

    I’d be happy to pop in to “After The Bar Closes” for some less restrained discussion if you like. I’ll keep an eye out for you.

  20. Richardthughes,

    Same error from bookmarks and links from a current Google search. Could it be my end? I visited the site just to keep up with developments earlier today and no problem.

  21. phoodoo,

    A quick response to phoodoo.

    Firstly, moderating is a thankless job, but somebody has to do it.

    Secondly, I was getting ready to move some of your posts to Guano, when Alan did it. So this is not just Alan’s personal bias.

    And now, as a general comment:

    Sometimes a school teacher sees some misbehavior in the class. And the teacher knows exactly who started it. But the teacher punishes everyone involved, not just the one who started it. That’s because it is easier to find a reason to punish all (they all broke the rules) than to punish the one and get into an argument “X started it; no Y started it first.”

    A moderator is in a similar position to that teacher.

    When I look at the discussion, there are a couple of posters who are quick to make barbed remarks. But, from their point of view, they are only responding to something absurd from another poster.

    You cannot settle those disputes. The purpose of moderation is not to find blame, and not to punish. Rather, it is to try to keep the discussion focussed. So it might look as if a moderator was picking on you and blaming you. But that isn’t what it looks like from the moderator’s perspective.

  22. Speaking personally, I wouldn’t bother moving posts. It creates bad feeling, creates a conflict of interest for a moderator who would also like to contribute, something else to complain about on a site full of people already rendered beyond the pale by their opinions alone … perhaps instead a ‘Guano’ label, post stays in place. Though I realise it’s the labelling that irks, not the moving!

    But if post visibility options then allowed sensitive users (or those purely interested in the substantive posts) to operate in ‘Guano-filtered’ mode – sorted! I realise this may be beyond the bounds of the currently possible in WP!

  23. phoodoo:
    I am well aware of the phony atheist society which calls itself skeptics, but really is just a bunch of pricks trying to tell everyone else what they need to think, and refusing to let the data speak, because they don’t like the results.

    When accusing others of your own bad behaviors, you should at least ensure that your tu quoque is accurate. In this case, you are the only one ignoring the data because it doesn’t accord with your intuitions and prior beliefs.

    You should thank me for contributing content to your BS site free of charge.

    If you will point out your most valuable two or three contributions, I would be happy to thank you for them.

    Go jerk your friends and don’t try to tell me you apply the rules the same to everyone.

    Come some place where you can discuss facts without hiding under your moderation skirt.

    Once again, your jibe falls flat in the face of facts. You are allowed to comment freely here. Your comments are not deleted, nor are you banned, for disagreeing with anyone. Your comments may be moved to a more appropriate topic if you violate the rule about attacking arguments not people, but anyone can still read them.

    Compare that to UD and tell me again who’s hiding behind moderation.

  24. phoodoo,

    I realize this is fairly standard practice by skeptic groups and the like (heck, they organize groups to infiltrate sites like Wikipedia and the like, to spread their worldview message with guerrilla tactics) ,

    Oh, come on! Really? [I realise I am talking to phoodoo’s empty chair at this point!]

    You can post your arguments here for nothing. They stay visible. O/T snipe is moved, perhaps with exquisite judgement, perhaps not. Best not indulge in O/T snipe, really, if its being moved bugs you. It’s not hard to work out where the line might be. If others do and get away with it, you’re camped on the moral high ground. Rise serenely above the muckheap. Substantive posts don’t get moved, and I’d join you in calling foul if they were.

    But people – independent people, in different parts of the world and not (AFAIK) in secret contact by email (if so, the bastids don’t let me join the gang!) – will comment. That’s the whole point; it’s internet debate. And since you have taken a position opposing decades of published work, you will find more opposition than support. And the same goes for exercising your right to edit Wikipedia. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a bunch of individuals representing the consensus of knowledge. You want that consensus to change, argue your case, but try and understand the opposing one – they may have a good reason for saying what they say.

  25. Alan Fox said to me, in another thread:

    William, I think it is you that has neglected to read the OP, neglected to communicate with other commenters and continued to post off-topc “stream-of-consciousness” meanderings.

    You have author status. Put it in another thread.

    Thanks in advance.

    First, what could be more “on topic” than my first post which was an argument that Liz was making a logical error, since she originally believed in a god AND that humans had free will? I posted on-topic; I didn’t take the conversation from there off-topic; others did.

    I politely responded to their questions and statements wrt further fleshing out my objection to how Liz characterized her position as if her finding any evidence “not compelling” could be anything other than a reflection of her mind-brain state and not a characteristic of the evidence itself. Her error in giving up the original belief in god reflects a failure to account for free will (which I assume she believed in at the time); her explanation of not being persuaded by the evidence demonstrates either an a priori ideological commitment, or the existing material brain state, as being what actually produces the finding of “not compelling”.

    Some of their questions took the thread off-topic; it wasn’t my original post. Did you tell them to not take the thread off-topic by asking me questions that had nothing to do with the topic? I don’t really see where you did.

    Second, aren’t you a moderator? Isn’t characterizing my comments here as “off-topc “stream-of-consciousness” meanderings” something that should end up in guano? Is that really something a moderator should be telling one of the few ID supporters willing to post here?

    Third, how exactly have I “neglected to communicate with other commenters”, when several of my posts started with quotes from their posts and offered responses? And, even if I had neglected to communicate with them … so what? Am I obligated to “communicate with other commenters”?

  26. Alan:

    One more thing. Where exactly in the rules is there anything about taking a post “off-topic”? Are you telling me as a moderator to put it in another thread? Or just as a thread author? You didn’t word it as a request. Are thread originators here authorized to remove what they consider to be off-topic posts from their threads?

    If so, isn’t that really just free license to edit out posts you don’t want on your thread? If so, shouldn’t that be in the moderation rules – that thread authors have the capacity to remove your posts if the find them to be “off topic”?

    A little clarification here would be nice. Otherwise it might seem to someone that you’re going all Arrington on us.

  27. Has anyone actually moved any of your posts?

    I find your posts unpersuasive, but also inoffensive.

    I suspect the thread has drifted, but they always do.

  28. No, he didn’t move a post, but he told me to stop taking the post off-topic. He didn’t ask. When a moderator tells me to do something and says it with an implicit disdain for my posts, I would just like to know what the actual rules are so I can make a decision to STFU (obey the moderator’s warning) or ignore AF as just another poster making off-topic comments and trying to intimate those they disagree with.

    Either it’s an official statement and warning, or – IMO – someone using their moderator status to attempt to intimidate those they dislike by issuing what appears to be a directive.

  29. Hi William,

    You are right that I didn’t read your comments closely. I looked in briefly and sampled the last couple and my impatience with your inability to absorb what people tell you led me to comment impetuously. So long as the rule “treat all other commenters as if they are posting in good faith” is adhered to, I shan’t interfere. I’ll put my comment in guano.

  30. Alan Fox:
    Hi William,

    You are right that I didn’t read your comments closely. I looked in briefly and sampled the last couple and my impatience with your inability to absorb what people tell you led me to comment impetuously. So long as the rule “treat all other commenters as if they are posting in good faith” is adhered to, I shan’t interfere. I’ll put my comment in guano.

    While you’re pitching things in guano, how about :

    … your inability to absorb what people tell you … “

    Respond to the argument, Moderator, and don’t make it about the person.

  31. I’ve added a new rule today regarding speculative posts about the motivations and real life identity of other internet denizens. I do not want this site to host the “outing”, real or imagined, of anonymous posters on other sites. Such speculations are liable to be deleted.

    While this goes against a very important principle of this site (non-censorship) it gives way when it clashes with the even more important principle which is that the site is for the discussion of ideas, not of the identities of the people who hold them.

  32. I wouldn’t care about revealing my real life identity, except that I’ve had bogus charges made to my credit cards, and now I have to change everything again because of the Target fiasco.

    When I call up card companies, they confirm my identity using some of the same personal information people post online. I don’t enjoy being paranoid, but the web has become a dangerous place.

  33. As an atheist, Alan, of course you don’t see the problem. But Lizzie has messed up in this case and my OPs are now being stalled. (And seemingly you have the mod-power to change that, Alan. – *Note that you have now used that power to allow my OP. Thanks.)

    From my pre-publication record, this is what Lizzie chose to ‘redact’:

    “One could just as easily say “Serious universities aren’t concerned with the angst of IDists who masquerade IDT as science” and that would be just as accurate. It’s an Expelled Syndrome thing, which is unhealthy for IDists.”

    Does that in any way violate the rules of TSZ in your opinion, Alan Fox?

    In fact, please tell me in your opinion why you think this entire post was guano’d (by whom?): http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?page_id=57&cpage=9#comment-39759

    Trying to justify “A few home truths” in this thread when the reality is that Dr. Elizabeth Liddle has (intentionally) created a haven for atheists at TSZ who reject IDT is meaningless. The bigger and more important issue is the THEISTS who reject IDT. This reality should be highlighted here, though it is not because Lizzie is actually promoting atheism, not just welcoming it indirectly.

  34. Gregory,

    The bigger and more important issue is the THEISTS who reject IDT. This reality should be highlighted here, though it is not because Lizzie is actually promoting atheism, not just welcoming it indirectly.

    There is at least one theistic evolutionist here, and numerous IDers have entered the fray. Without such interlocutors, there would be nothing to talk about. But the site owner can’t take full responsibility for the community that drifts by, or what they say.

    For my part, atheism and science are two separate issues which mingle, because there is a vocal opposition to certain areas of science I know well, mainly from religious people. There’s no point hiding my religious position, but it is not the fundamental reason for my posting. Since the site grew out of discussions taking place at UD, religious issues come up frequently – I’ve started discussions in that vein myself, regarding bigotry towards atheists. But it’s not a major interest, and if this site was mostly about topics in which I have no interest, or veered in a direction I found unacceptable, I would simply disappear, rather than moan about it.

  35. I understand that this place has light moderation by design, but if topics are allowed to be derailed by every troll who drops by, what’s the point of having topics? Why not eliminate the main section replace it with Guano? It’s unfortunate when stupid people lower the quality of the conversation, but you can’t blame them for being stupid. At least they try to discuss in good faith (more-or-less). On the other hand, when topics are routinely derailed and filled with personal attacks and responses to them, that is much harder to tolerate.

  36. SophistiCat: I understand that this place has light moderation by design, but if topics are allowed to be derailed by every troll who drops by, what’s the point of having topics?

    It seems that it has become a hangout for William Murray and Gregory; and occasionally the disembodied vapors of Robert Byers. Murray makes no sense and Gregory strikes me as an Internet stalker or part of a phishing scam with his constant taunting for detailed personal information.

    I think I will stop posting here. These two characters are just not interesting, and they spoil the discussions at every turn.

  37. Discussion of real life identities needs to be deleted.

    Gregory, are you trying to get yourself banned? is death by cop your goal?

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