Squawk box

I sense a disturbance in the force.

This thread is for people to tell me what they think is going on, going wrong, and what they think we should do about it.  I’m listening.

Lizzie

[Edit added 18.40 pm CET 20/08/2018 by Alan Fox]

As the comments have ballooned, Lizzie would very much like members to summarize their thoughts and suggestions into one statement and there is now a dedicated thread, “Summaries”, where they can be posted. Please just post one summary and please do not add other comments. You are welcome to comment on other people’s summaries in this thread. The idea of the “Summaries” thread is to make it easier for Lizzie to get your input. Comments judged by admins not to be summaries will move to guano.

Members who would rather keep their thoughts confidential are invited to use the private messaging system. Lizzie’s address is Elizabeth.

1,219 thoughts on “Squawk box

  1. Mung,
    Should we not consider the wishes and concerns of all our participants? There is a plug-in here which we can use to poll opinion.

    Let me say this is Lizzie’s blog, however benign, she is dictator here. So any poll would be non-binding.
    But I could put up an OP with a poll. I suspect there’d be objections if I chose the questions…

    So, any suggestions as to what to ask our membership?

  2. And yet again I find myself being repetitious, for which I apologize to all but keiths and Patrick, who seem intent on the continued perpetuation of a myth.

    If you simply cannot help yourself and simply must call someone dishonest or a liar there is no rule preventing it as long as you do so in Noyau.

    My own experience with keiths is that he makes false claims about people and then does not back them up or retract them when he is wrong. I see no reason to allow these false claims that go unsupported to clutter up the main threads. Let them exist in Noyau or Guano, where they belong.

    Address the post and not the perceived failings of the poster.

  3. Alan Fox: So, any suggestions as to what to ask our membership?

    My questions would be loaded. 🙂

    I also believe such a poll might be a bit premature. I am going to assume that Elizabeth still has goals, aspirations, and principles that she would like people to adhere to on her blog. My questions would assume that she would not change what she has already said. So perhaps once we know more on that.

    Or I could give you some examples of loaded questions. 🙂

  4. Mung: My questions would be loaded.

    Well, vulnerable to that criticism, sure. As would mine be. But the floor is open until Lizzie decides.

  5. Here is what I think is a great example. It is against the rules to state or imply that another poster is mentally ill or demented. Do you think that keiths is qualified to appropriately evaluate mental illness by reading someone’s blog posts?

    This is an example of a simple yes/no. Does the polling mechanism allow multiple choice?

  6. It’s highly unlikely that a given poster here is qualified to diagnose mental illness and even if they are this is not the venue for it. And how would they back up their claims?

    It’s a very reasonable rule. Yet there is a proposal on the table to allow this. I think those people are insane. 😉

  7. Mung:
    Here is what I think is a great example. It is against the rules to state or imply that another poster is mentally ill or demented.

    And I’m totally in agreement with that. (Trump and American psychiatrists contoversy?)

    Do you think that keiths is qualified to appropriately evaluate mental illness by reading someone’s blog posts?

    No one, unqualified and without meeting and interviewing (whatever clinical psychiatrists should do to form a diagnosis) can do that.

    This is an example of a simple yes/no. Does the polling mechanism allow multiple choice?

    Yes but how many of our members are psychiatrists? Should we ask that first? It’s a minefield!

  8. Mung: My own experience with keiths is that he makes false claims about people and then does not back them up or retract them when he is wrong.

    I don’t think that’s quite right.

    As I see it, keiths makes claims that he believes are true, but which everyone else at TSZ can see as false. And then he provides what he sees as evidence, but what nobody else at TSZ sees as evidence.

  9. Neil Rickert: As I see it, keiths makes claims that he believes are true, but which everyone else at TSZ can see as false. And then he provides what he sees as evidence, but what nobody else at TSZ sees as evidence.

    Do we have to go there, even? Generally, I say what I think. In the circles that I move, I’m accused of speaking before I think. That’s the Master and his Emissary. Accepting, at face value, what people say is disarming. Lizzie is the World master.

  10. Mung: I’ve considered preparing a summary. Perhaps you would like to do so?

    Ah, Mung, I wish I knew how to quit you. Here’s my summary (some of these have already been explicitly listed upthread):

    * TSZ should support freedom of expression. That Enlightenment value is under attack from both the left and the right. It would be a shame to see TSZ give up on it, when it is so well aligned with other site goals. TSZ should always err on the side of letting people speak.

    * Occasional instances of incivility are less disruptive to TSZ than the volume of meta-discussion arising from trying to eliminate them. The benefit/cost ration of moderation drops even further when we consider that it’s stochastic (leading to the appearance of bias) and that at least one of the admins has taken it upon himself to Guano comments that don’t violate the rules.

    * Enabling admins to censor posts and comments is not the only way to reduce name calling and insults. The Ignore button works for repeat offenders and social opprobrium suffices for most of the rest.

    * The fact that none of the risks that concern the pro-censorship members became issues when moderation was light-to-non-existant nor in threads declared “no Guano” shows that the benefits of moderation are overrated.

    * More broadly, the pro-censorship advocates tend to ignore the costs of their preferred approach, focusing only on the putative (and highly disputable) benefits.

    * The current rules reward dishonesty by making it a violation to call it out. It shouldn’t be against the rules to identify dishonesty as long as the person making the accusation can support it.

    * The members of TSZ should able to post and comment anything not explicitly prohibited by the rules.

    * The admins of TSZ should not be able to take any action not explicitly allowed by the rules.

    * The admins should straightforwardly address all concerns raised about their actions. Ignoring members’ concerns is not acceptable.

    * The current admins have violated the site rules and behaved in a manner that reasonable people can interpret as motivated by personal animus. They should revert their suspension and apologize to the member affected.

    * Three of the current admins have abused their privileges. As soon as practicable, they should be replaced and not reinstated for at least two years. Without the ability to move comments to Guano, fewer admins will be required.

    Finally, at the very least, TSZ should conduct an experiment in free expression. For three months, TSZ should operate under the rules and guidelines detailed below (very similar to the first draft I posted early in this thread). After that time, the results can be used to further tweak the rules.

    Now I’m definitely going back to only posting keiths’ comments. Hopefully, that will not be necessary for long.

    —–

    This is my proposal for the official TSZ rules, leveraging as much existing material as possible. One major difference is the addition of clear rules for admins. We need to hold them to a higher standard — they should not be making up arbitrary rules. Another difference is the elimination of Guano. That alone will dramatically reduce the amount of meta-discussion.

    **Goals**

    My name is Elizabeth Liddle, and I started this site to be a place where people could discuss controversial positions about life, the universe and everything with minimal tribal rancour (pay no attention to the penguins).

    My motivation for starting the site has been the experience of trying to discuss religion, politics, evolution, the Mind/Brain problem, creationism, ethics, exit polls, probability, intelligent design, and many other topics in venues where positions are strongly held and feelings run high. In most venues, one view dominates, and there is a kind of “resident prior” about the integrity, intelligence and motivation of those who differ from the majority view.

    That is why the strapline says: “Park your priors by the door”. They may be adjusted by the time 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.

    This venue values freedom of expression because, as John Stuart Mill notes in On Liberty, free speech is necessary to the search for truth. That means that discussions can get robust. Keep the other goals in mind and enjoy the openness.

    **Bannable Offenses**

    In order to legally protect the site owner, certain behaviors will result in an immediate, permanent ban:

    * Advocating illegal activities.
    * Posting NSFW (not safe for work) images or links to NSFW images.
    * Posting material or links to material that risks the integrity of another member’s computer.
    * “Doxing” or outing other members. This includes indulging in ad hominem speculations. This rule applies even if the person in question has published personal information elsewhere.
    * Posting racist material.
    * Editing, deleting, or hiding other members’ comments. If you have author permissions, you may find you have the technical ability to edit or move comments under your top level posts. Do not do so.

    **Administrators**

    Administrators (admins) help keep the site up and running. With four exceptions, they have exactly the same privileges as any other member of the TSZ community:

    1. Enforce the Bannable Offenses.
    2. Edit or delete posts or comments containing material constituting one of the Bannable Offenses.
    3. Restore material deleted by other participants.
    4. Pin particularly interesting posts to the front page, for as long as they are active.

    Admin privileges are limited to what is explicitly allowed by these rules.

    It is a principle of this site that posts and comments that do not include the Bannable Offenses are not edited, deleted, hidden, or moved. That restriction applies to admins as well as everyone else.

    **Guidelines**

    Reciprocating Bill summarized the expectations of TSZ participants succinctly:

    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.

    By participating on this site, you agree to support the site’s goals. Some guidelines that aid in that are:

    * Park your priors by the door.
    * Assume other members of the community are participating in good faith, until evidence shows that assumption to be untenable. Be ready to re-extend the assumption when the person’s behavior has changed.
    * Address the content of the post or comment, not the perceived failings of the author.
    * Participate in good faith. Don’t quote mine, spam threads, repeat arguments that have been previously refuted a thousand times (PRATTs), troll, or otherwise disrupt the discussions.
    * This is The Skeptical Zone. Expect to be challenged to support your claims. If you cannot or will not support your claims, either retract them or restate them as an unsupported opinion. Hitchens’ Razor (“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”) is a guiding principle here.
    * Finding closer approximations to the truth is more important than civility, but there’s usually no reason we can’t have both.
    * Don’t post more than two OPs per week (or otherwise hog the front page).
    * If you can’t restate an opponent’s argument, using your own words, in a form that is recognizable to your opponent, you don’t understand the argument. Fix that before continuing.
    * If you can’t resist flaming someone, use Noyau.
    * If you find you simply cannot get along with another member of the community, the Ignore button is your friend.
    * The goals are more important than the guidelines.
    * Be the change you want to see. TSZ is a site that values freedom of expression — use yours to improve the quality of the discussions.

    —–

  11. I found this contiguous block from keitrick very revealing:

    [Keitrick quoting Lizzie:]
    But the game we play here, as I envisaged it, is that you post as though they are.

    [Keitrick comments:]
    That’s quite different from actually assuming that they are. And to post as though they are, when you don’t actually believe it, is a form of dishonesty. I don’t see the benefit in that.

    [Keitrick quoting Lizzie:]
    My life experience tells me it’s often a useful approach, as it often turns out that my original assumption (that the person is NOT posting in good faith) isn’t actually correct.

    The conclusion here is that keiths has spotted the distinction between assuming honesty and posting as though you assume honesty, yet he cannot see the benefit.
    Acting as though your interlocutor is honest, even when you reckon he isn’t, is the whole point of the game. Perhaps keiths has never followed any of Lizzie’s conversations with IDists. Importantly, Lizzie explains one of the benefits of her approach in the sentence that keiths quotes next! [Benefit 1= avoiding making false accusations.]
    Some commenters may sincerely believe that they never, ever make false accusations. For them, NOT accusing someone of dishonesty is, in itself, a form of dishonesty.
    The other benefit of the game-rule is the opportunity to ever-so-calmly highlight the ludicrous nature of your interlocutor’s position. See Lorentz contraction. Or, perhaps, this comment.

  12. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Neil,

    As I see it, keiths makes claims that he believes are true, but which everyone else at TSZ can see as false. And then he provides what he sees as evidence, but what nobody else at TSZ sees as evidence.

    Under the no-guano scheme that Patrick and I are proposing, you’d be free to make claims like that. You’d also be expected to back them up, though this wouldn’t be enforced.

    What would you say if someone asked you to back up your claim?

  13. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    keiths:

    I’ve asked, more than once, for people to express their views and concerns regarding the no-guano experiment. This thread is the perfect place for that discussion. To those of you who oppose it: What are your objections, and why do you think it is a bad idea?

    Mung:

    feel I must live in some alternate reality. Why should I voice my concerns and objections yet again when they still have not been addressed?

    Pay attention to the question, Mung. I am not asking how you feel about no-guano. I’m asking you how you feel about the proposed site-wide test of no-guano. What are the pros and cons? If you object to the proposed test, then why, exactly?

    Same questions for Alan and Neil. And for Jock, too, if he’d like to give it another shot. His “irreparable damage” argument didn’t fly.

  14. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    For entertainment, readers may wish to click here to see what happened the last time I asked Alan and Neil to weigh in on the proposed site-wide test.

    Here’s a hint guys. It’s obvious that you are opposed, but the following is not an effective argument:

    Q: Are you opposed to a site-wide no-guano trial?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Why are you opposed?
    A: I’d rather not say.

  15. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Alan:

    In the circles that I move, I’m accused of speaking before I think.

    And acting before you think, too, as this ridiculous 30-day suspension illustrates.

    Just as with the Wine Cellar and the ALurker fiasco. You simply lack the restraint and self-control required of a moderator.

    And as in those two cases, Lizzie is now dealing with the mess you’ve made.

  16. Patrick-keiths: Pay attention to the question, Mung. I am not asking how you feel about no-guano. I’m asking you how you feel about the proposed site-wide test of no-guano.

    I can only shake my head in awe and wonder.

  17. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Jock

    The conclusion here is that keiths has spotted the distinction between assuming honesty and posting as though you assume honesty, yet he cannot see the benefit.

    Indeed, I don’t see a net benefit, and I’ve explained why:

    And to post as though they are, when you don’t actually believe it, is a form of dishonesty. I don’t see the benefit in that.

    A rule that requires dishonesty is a bad rule.

  18. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Jock,

    Acting as though your interlocutor is honest, even when you reckon he isn’t, is the whole point of the game.

    No, the whole point of the game is to promote open, substantive discussion. The “assume good faith” rule is not an end in itself. It’s a (presumed) means to an end.

    Importantly, Lizzie explains one of the benefits of her approach in the sentence that keiths quotes next! [Benefit 1= avoiding making false accusations.]

    Sure, if you never make an accusation, then you can never make a false one. But that means you can’t make a true one, either. Suppressing the truth is unhelpful and runs counter to the TSZ ethos.

    To take an extreme case, suppose Trump were to abandon his Twitter account and come to TSZ instead. Would you seriously argue that TSZ should allow Trump to lie with impunity while honest members were punished for pointing out the dishonesty?

    And if the goal is to avoid any possibility of a false accusation, then how about the following rule?

    A commenter may never accuse another of making a bad argument.

    That would prevent false accusations, so it must be a good idea. Right, Jock?

  19. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Jock:

    Some commenters may sincerely believe that they never, ever make false accusations. For them, NOT accusing someone of dishonesty is, in itself, a form of dishonesty.

    Not quite. What’s dishonest is to pretend to believe that someone is acting in good faith if you’re actually convinced that they aren’t.

    Forcing commenters to be dishonest is a bad idea.

  20. Patrick: Lizzie is now dealing with the mess you’ve made.

    I remind keiths it was his actions in publishing a potentially libellous OP that resulted in his suspension. As yet, I have seen no reflection on whether this was acceptable behaviour, using someone else’s blog as a vehicle to attack a respected academic.

    I repeat my offer that I will lift his suspension immediately if he will give an undertaking to comply with Lizzie’s rules and aims in future. (Of course there would also have to be compliance in future.) Otherwise the suspension remains in place unless Lizzie decides to rescind it.

  21. Alan:

    As yet, I have seen no reflection on whether this was acceptable behaviour

    Yeah Keiths, what do you say to that? Send Patrick 50 more e-mails to post here about why your behavior was acceptable.

  22. Patrick: To take an extreme case, suppose Trump were to abandon his Twitter account and come to TSZ instead. Would you seriously argue that TSZ should allow Trump to lie with impunity while honest members were punished for pointing out the dishonesty?

    Running with this:

    Donald arrives and claims he had a larger attendance at his inauguration than Obama. Members point out the clear evidence to the contrary. Do they need to call him a liar? I think it’s as likely he’s deluded. The important point is that the claim is wrong and can be shown to be wrong. How does Donald defend his claim? If he repeats the assertion without supporting it in the face of all the clear evidence against the claim, what should happen next?

  23. Patrick: And if the goal is to avoid any possibility of a false accusation, then how about the following rule?

    A commenter may never accuse another of making a bad argument.

    That would prevent false accusations, so it must be a good idea. Right, Jock?

    Wait a second, a bad argument is not the same as a false accusation (though the former category certainly includes the latter). Your email elides from the former to the latter without any justification for the change in category.
    It seems that we are discussing whether or not you were making a false accusation (about Joshua Swamidass in your original post), not whether your argumentation about him was bad (that would be within the rules). Bad arguments are par for the course on this site.
    So, please don’t make your case for reinstatement by conflating two different categories. A false accusation is manifestly false when the evidence doesn’t support it; but a bad argument may be bad for many reasons, and it may be a bad argument even when it is based on a true accusation.

  24. Alan Fox: I remind keiths it was his actions in publishing a potentially libellous OP that resulted in his suspension.

    Alan Alan, stop repeating this bald faced lie. It has be proven over and over that you don’t care about any libel in posts. You really think you are fooling people? Did you care when Lizzie libeled Stephen Meyer? You have shown that you don’t.

    Look Alan, people here already are well aware that you are a shameless bastard (proven fact). It is really necessary to remind us every day?

    You don’t like keiths so you banned him. You don’t like me, so I was also banned. Enough of your bullshit spin.

  25. Alan Fox: If he repeats the assertion without supporting it in the face of all the clear evidence against the claim, what should happen next?

    False claims are made all the time. Both sides present whatever evidence they have, and that’s the end of it.

    Consider the discussion of forest fires. Increasing or not. If the number of acres burned is increasing, what is the cause>

    http://wildfiretoday.com/tag/statistics/

    There could be a number of reasons for this huge increase:

    .Weather that is warmer and drier making fires more difficult to suppress.
    .One hundred years of fire suppression has led to forests that are more dense and fires that burn with greater intensity.
    A less aggressive strategy is being used on large fires more often for safety reasons.
    . More fires are allowed to burn naturally without full suppression for environmental concerns.
    . There may have been a change in the initial attack of new fires, responding with less equipment and personnel.
    .Another factor to consider is that there was a gradual 30 to 70 percent reduction in the number of large air tankers on exclusive use contracts from 2002 until 2014 when the fleet began to be partially restored.

    So what do you say if an elected official makes the flat statement that THE cause is global warming? And makes no mention of methods and policies.

  26. phoodoo: Did you care when Lizzie libeled Stephen Meyer? You have shown that you don’t.

    This is not complicated, phoodoo .It is her site, she can write whatever she wants. And any risk of consequences that result, she has to accept

    She,on the other hand, has no obligation to keiths to accept the same risk for what he chooses to write or to accept his assessment of the risk.

    The moderators made the decision that she had to actively choose to accept the potential risk.

    There may be problems with moderation but what happened to keiths is not an example of it. Hope this helps clear up your possible misunderstanding.

  27. phoodoo: You don’t like keiths so you banned him. You don’t like me, so I was also banned. Enough of your bullshit spin.

    Another note, neither you or keiths are banned. Both of you still posting on the site. Banning has a specific meaning.

  28. Patrick said:

    What’s dishonest is to pretend to believe that someone is acting in good faith if you’re actually convinced that they aren’t.

    The obvious solution here is that if you believe someone is not arguing in good faith, move on. That way you do not have to pretend that they are.

  29. Alan Fox: How does Donald defend his claim? If he repeats the assertion without supporting it in the face of all the clear evidence against the claim, what should happen next?

    At that point, the people that have presented their evidence to the contrary should move on. I’m not sure what anyone thinks the point is in a debate forum of calling other people dishonest or liars, when it is clearly against the rules.

  30. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Alan,

    Yes, my behavior was acceptable. So was Lizzie’s when she accused Stephen Meyer of lying. Each of us knew we could back up our claim, and each of us was willing to do so. That’s exactly what you want at a blog: people who take responsibility for the claims they make.

    Your hysterical overreaction was just that — a hysterical overreaction, fueled by a personal grudge. You’ve created yet another moderation kerfuffle, you’ve humiliated yourself publicly once again, and now you’re running around making demands as if that were even an option for someone in your weak position.

    You imposed a 30-day suspension in response to an OP that didn’t even violate the rules, and one that wouldn’t have warranted a 30-day suspension even if it had been in violation. Your action was an abuse of moderation privileges, pure and simple. Censorship.

    The error was yours. By backing you your fellow moderators have made it theirs, too. Each day you leave the illicit suspension in place is a day you dig your hole deeper. “Alan Arrington” is sounding more and more appropriate. As Patrick has noted, your behavior is shameful.

    Here’s the bottom line: The error is yours.. It’s your responsibility to fix it. No bluffing, no demands, no posturing, no negotiation. Just fix your damn error, Alan.

  31. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Just a reminder of the question that’s still hanging in the air:

    I’ve asked, more than once, for people to express their views and concerns regarding the [site-wide] no-guano experiment. This thread is the perfect place for that discussion. To those of you who oppose it: What are your objections, and why do you think it is a bad idea?

  32. Patrick,

    It’s a bad idea because without any consequences at all to bad behavior, bad behavior becomes the norm. Anyone with any experience on the internet (and in life, for that matter) knows exactly what this leads to – people with the dominant perspective making relentless, unchecked personal attacks against those they disagree with until it drives out all dissenting opinion. It’s an experiment that has been performed countless times with the same result. If you want to set up a forum that welcomes and encourages dissenting opinion, you have to have rules that keep the forum from becoming a shit-slinging contest.

  33. Alan Fox: Donald arrives and claims he had a larger attendance at his inauguration than Obama. Members point out the clear evidence to the contrary. Do they need to call him a liar?

    Isn’t the argument not to call him a liar is dishonest , the rules violate our fundamental human right to call others liars. Even more owners of blogs have no right force us to post on their sites and then cause us to be dishonest by creating standards of behavior.

    I think it’s as likely he’s deluded.

    He could claim his audience understands the intent and purpose of his statements are not to convey reality based information, rather to piss off those who don’t support him. And since the statement is so obviously untrue, if you are deceived it is your fault.

    He loves the story of the lady who saves the snake.

    And a lie requires a certain intent therefore he is not lying.

    The important point is that the claim is wrong and can be shown to be wrong. How does Donald defend his claim? If he repeats the assertion without supporting it in the face of all the clear evidence against the claim, what should happen next?

    Suspend him and let Patrick use his posts to allow him to continue to post.

  34. William J. Murray:
    Patrick,

    It’s a bad idea because without any consequences at all to bad behavior, bad behavior becomes the norm. Anyone with any experience on the internet (and in life, for that matter) knows exactly what this leads to – people with the dominant perspective making relentless, unchecked personal attacks against those they disagree with until it drives out all dissenting opinion.It’s an experiment that has been performed countless times with the same result. If you want to set up a forum that welcomes and encourages dissenting opinion, you have to have rules that keep the forum from becoming a shit-slinging contest.

    And William drops the mic.

  35. newton: This is not complicated, phoodoo .It is her site, she can write whatever she wants. And any risk of consequences that result, she has to accept

    She,on the other hand, has no obligation to keiths to accept the same risk for what he chooses to write or to accept his assessment of the risk.

    The moderators made the decision that she had to actively choose to accept the potential risk.

    There may be problems with moderation but what happened to keiths is not an example of it. Hope this helps clear up your possible misunderstanding.

    No No newton. If Alan wanted to come out and admit that what Lizzie did is just as libelous (or not) as what keiths did, but he simply has no power to prevent Lizzie from breaking the rules, because she is exempt, than he could say that. Then we can at least acknowledge the hypocrisy here.

    Furthermore, Meyers case is just one example of many here.

    But instead Alan wants to pretend he is fighting for the cause of protecting academics, when we all know full well that is a lie. Alan has a biased grudge, its nothing new here. Its goes back to the early days when he would move my posts when I would say the EXACT same thing as another (atheist of course) poster, and Alan would only admonish me…over and over he did this.

    Just because skeptics are suckers, that doesn’t mean everyone is.

    If Alan wants to admit the skeptics here are hypocrites, let him be man enough to do so.

  36. petrushka: So what do you say if an elected official makes the flat statement that THE cause is global warming? And makes no mention of methods and policies.

    With a politician one should always assume statements are slanted for political advantage, they may be literally true and yet misleading.

    Just as if a politician says the cause of the increase is not climate change.

  37. The idea that it is “dishonest” to PRETEND something is hilariously absurd on its face. Science fiction and fantasy books and movies are “dishonest”? Role-playing is “dishonest”? If you pretend in order to deceive someone else, then it would be fair to call such pretending “dishonest”. Who are you trying to deceive when you pretend they are arguing in good faith?

    Also, the idea that anyone is being “forced” to pretend is inane. Nobody is forcing anyone to respond at all. This is like going to something you consider a LARP event (of your own free will) and then bitching about being “forced” to “pretend” that dragons and faeiries are real. Jesus.

    Are all “ad argunendo” statements also “dishonest”? When someone says, “let’s assume X and Y are true …” is it “dishonest” to pretend X and Y is true for the sake of discussion in order to discuss the logic that proceeds from those assumptions?

    Keiths excels at bogarting every thread and turning it into a debate about whether or not someone is being dishonest, dragging up material he thinks the other person finds embarrassing. IMO, everyone here goddamn well knows this to be the case. Keiths cannot debate without (1) finding some reason to call the other person “dishonest”, and (2) trying to embarrass the other person and constantly referring to their “shameful” or “embarrassing” behavior. He re-litigates everything over and over.

    Keiths is the VERY REASON there should be a “charitable assumption” rule and there should be a gauano – because without it eventually every. single. thread. will be about someone lying. No wonder keiths wants to get rid of that rule and guano – he will be free to turn this whole site into the keiths “you’re lying” & “you’ve embarrassed yourself” shit-show.

    BTW, whoever found and installed the ignore feature, bravo!

  38. @ William

    My wife inherited a yoghurt maker that a friend was throwing out and was thinking of throwing out herself. But now she buys a carton of live yoghurt, blitzes it into a litre of sterilized whole milk (organic quality) and we always have home-made yoghurt in the fridge. That’s down to you. Thanks!

  39. @ keiths,

    Patrick: The error is yours.

    Unfortunately, I disagree.

    It’s your responsibility to fix it.

    I’ve told you that if you can reassure the admins that you will comply with TSZ rules as they stand now, I will reinstate your account

    No bluffing, no demands, no posturing, no negotiation. Just fix your damn error, Alan.

    I’ve made a decision I think is right for TSZ. There are all our members and former members to consider. I’ve suspended your account. You can agree to abide by TSZ rules in future and I’ll lift the suspension and, subject to you continuing to stick to the rules as they are, you will be able to comment freely.

    Of course, Lizzie may have a different view when she finds time to let that view known. Might be more productive to address your arguments to her.

  40. phoodoo: No No newton. If Alan wanted to come out and admit that what Lizzie did is just as libelous (or not) as what keiths did

    Assuming ,of course ,that it is the same. You are welcome to point it out, if you found it offensive.Probably need specifics and context, go ahead. People have alluded to it but I have yet to see the actually quote.

    To me ,you seem to be asking Alan to do the work for you and declare it is equivalent.

    but he simply has no power to prevent Lizzie from breaking the rules,because she is exempt, than he could say that

    I think there has been no ambiguity about whether the owner is bound by the same rules as the members.

    What you are ignoring one of the rationals for a rule against libel, it is to limit her liability. She can choose what risk she is willing to accept, keiths cannot choose for her.

    Then we can at least acknowledge the hypocrisy here.

    Not seeing it. If you beat the shit out of your car with a sledgehammer and nobody says anything, but if somebody stops keiths from doing the same thing to your car after you told him not to, they are hypocrites?

    Or that the owner is a hypocrite for not letting others have the same privileges with her property as she does?

    Furthermore, Meyers case is just one example of many here.

    Please provide the evidence so that we can judge.

    But instead Alan wants to pretend he is fighting for the cause of protecting academics, when we all know full well that is a lie.

    I am sure Alan understands reputation is more important in some fields than others, but again I think the main concern is for any possible harm Lizzie might suffer from keiths’ ‘temper tantrum’.

    Alan has a biased grudge, its nothing new here. Its goes back to the early days when he would move my posts when I would say the EXACT same thing as another (atheist of course) poster, and Alan would only admonish me…over and over he did this.

    Sorry, but not seeing keiths as being the victim in this.

    Just because skeptics are suckers, that doesn’t mean everyone is.

    And just because you aren’t a skeptic doesn’t mean you aren’t a sucker.

    If Alan wants to admit the skeptics here are hypocrites, let him be man enough to do so.

    Interesting challenge. Is keiths a skeptic?

  41. petrushka: False claims are made all the time. Both sides present whatever evidence they have, and that’s the end of it.

    I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sure, but there is a cultural difference here. A fact can be checked. How can whether the sun is shining be a question for debate? You look out of the window. There are no sides.

  42. First I let Mung pull me in, now Alan. It’s easier to stick the flounce when I’m not reading the responses to keiths. Hopefully one of the admins will do the right thing and unsuspend him soon.

    Alan Fox:

    The error is yours.

    Unfortunately, I disagree.

    You have yet to rationally justify your disagreement.

    It’s your responsibility to fix it.

    I’ve told you that if you can reassure the admins that you will comply with TSZ rules as they stand now, I will reinstate your account

    You have recognized that he hasn’t broken the rules. You have yet to take responsibility for breaking the rules yourself. I provided a point-by-point explanation of the issues and another detailed summary. You have not responded to either.

    As I noted above, you’re not making an offer to keiths, you’re simply restating your intransigent, arrogant refusal to engage in good faith discussion.

    You can save some typing time by simply changing your avatar to reflect your attitude toward other TSZ members:

  43. petrushka: So what do you say if an elected official makes the flat statement that THE cause is global warming? And makes no mention of methods and policies.

    I’d agree that the root cause is climate change and that we should be addressing it now. And of course there are sensible and practical things we can all do to lessen the impact of climate change and extreme weather events. It’s not “either or”.

  44. Patrick: You can save some typing time by simply changing your avatar to reflect your attitude toward other TSZ members:

    Which other TSZ members? Those that are lobbying for keiths’s reinstatement? The other members?

  45. William J. Murray: … without any consequences at all to bad behavior, bad behavior becomes the norm.

    We thought we would drop by to see what was up, and we find ourselves agreeing with William. How the heck did that happen?!

  46. Alan Fox: I’d agree that the root cause is climate change and that we should be addressing it now. And of course there are sensible and practical things we can all do to lessen the impact of climate change and extreme weather events. It’s not “either or”.

    I haven’t seen anyone in power proposing solutions to the CO2 increase. I reject virtue signalling as a useful public policy. Politicians who avoid taking responsibility for implementing practical and well tested solutions to problems are worse, in my opinion, than politicians who bluster about things that have no consequences.

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