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.

1,218 thoughts on “Squawk box

  1. William J. Murray: His assertion has been refuted; his repeating it doesn’t change that fact.

    I’m not going to get into this again but will post just a summery/review for any lurker

    You can’t possibly refute the assertion that you have subconscious knowledge while that knowledge remains subconscious?

    I would say that my assertion is confirmed each and every time you act as if you know God exists.

    For instance you act as if the universe is governed by laws and that objective reality exists.

    You do so despite having no warrant for this behavior.

    My asking you how you know stuff is simply an attempt to draw your attention to the underlining subconscious knowledge that you base your actions on.

    The only way that I can see to refute the assertion is sufficiently answer the question in a way that does not include God and is not subject to further regress. You certainly have not done that

    peace

  2. William J. Murray: What if a zero-tolerance policy was initiated wrt comments that even so much as imply something (positive or negative) about the mental state, character, honesty or motives of a person (outside of Noyau)? How many comments would end up in guano? What would happen to TSZ – would most people leave because they could not, or will not, self-edit their comments? Would they flood the threads with such comments to overload the moderators to rebel? Would TSZ die out because of lack of participation? Or would most people here more carefully edit their comments to abide the rules?

    I think that TSZ would be vastly improved, and that a lot of lurkers who have been turned off by the mud-throwing would come back.

    I’d even be willing to take it one step further: get rid of Noyau. No comments about the mental states, intentions, character, beliefs, desires, etc. of other posters permitted, period. It would be a difficult adjustment for some of us (including myself) but it would make TSZ a much more pleasant and interesting forum.

  3. Kantian Naturalist:

    WJM: What if a zero-tolerance policy was initiated wrt comments that even so much as imply something (positive or negative) about the mental state, character, honesty or motives of a person
    KN: I think that TSZ would be vastly improved, and that a lot of lurkers who have been turned off by the mud-throwing would come back.

    That’s asking a lot of moderators. It would make the possibility of bias higher. And if moderation and Guano remained public, moderators would need even thicker skin. More importantly, they’d be spending more time moderating and justifying their actions. I suspect those burdens will make it harder to recruit new moderators or possibly keep the current ones.

    We ask ourselves why people leave the site, but we never seem to ask why people who violate WJM’s admirable standards of posting behavior remain.

    I say it is s because others posters continue to engage with posters whose behavior they dislike, despite that disliked behavior. To me, that suggests a more practical solution to the issue.

  4. BruceS: I say it is s because others posters continue to engage with posters whose behavior they dislike, despite that disliked behavior. To me, that suggests a more practical solution to the issue.

    I think you’re ignoring some basic facts of psychology here, the main one being that it is easier for one who is not personally embroiled in a food fight to be dispassionate. Patrick’s (a moderator’s!) fights with FMM and me are good examples. When someone makes fun of you or calls you an idiot or insists you don’t know what you’re talking about on some issue you have studied closely, it is quite difficult to just let the remark sit there–even if that would be the sensible, Buddhist response. In any case, I acknowledge that I want assistance from the administrators of this site in improving my behavior.

    I think that will be the attitude of rule-breakers like me who (whether truly or not) at least BELIEVE that they haven’t started the ruckus. It is mostly those who actually LIKE the fights and the opportunity to insult who back loose moderation.

    I suppose those who believe that it is intrinsically impossible for moderation to be unbiased may also support little or no moderation–but civility is such an important goal, that, IMO, it is better to try to handle the bias issue separately by, e.g., getting a diverse crew of mods, and requiring a confab prior or subsequent to acting on a post. Insisting that moderation simply cannot be fair is basically giving up on civil discourse. One could do the same with police, and just make every society a Lord of the Flies opportunity. For those who don’t think it’s better for every dispute to be settled by which disputant has bigger guns or is more likely to use them, It’s better to do what one can to regulate the use of police power.

  5. William J. Murray: I don’t really think it’s a morass at all; I think it’s very clear and easy to spot when someone is violating the good faith rule and not applying a charitable interpretation.

    Obviously, FMM isn’t calling everyone a liar because he included the caveat that a person may not realize they believe in god – so, if they say they do not believe in god, that would mean (according to FMM’s theory) that they do either subconsciously or unconsciously, depending on how you map your brain/mind. You cannot be lying about something if you are not consciously aware (realize) you are lying. Therefore, FMM is not accusing anyone of lying, but rather of having subconscious/unconscious commitments they are unaware of.

    A good counter-argument to have been made would have been if it is appropriate to call subconscious commitments “beliefs”.It might have led to a re-phrasing of the principle of the argument in a more palatable way.

    It’s up to FMM to make his case.Frankly, I agree that most or all of us havesubconscious commitments, but I thought it was at least an interesting concept to think about to see if he could support his perspective.

    What did claiming he was calling everyone a liar add to that discussion?

    newton: So does keiths.

    How can you tell someone holds a certain unconscious belief rather than holding no belief? Their conscious mind is unaware of the belief in either case, else you would be calling them a liar, what is the tell?

    Why does a subconscious belief trump a conscious belief?

    The question is how do you know things about them that they do not know?

    Is this like with Patrick and keiths , don’t shoot the messenger?

    newton: I believe it is Biblical.

    newton: Think the caveat made its appearance after unconscious objections were raised.

    fifthmonarchyman: I’m not going to get into this again but will post just a summery/review for any lurker

    You can’t possibly refute the assertion that you have subconscious knowledge while that knowledge remains subconscious?

    I would say that my assertion is confirmed each and every time you act as if you know God exists.

    For instance you act as if the universe is governed by laws and that objective reality exists.

    You do so despite having no warrant for this behavior.

    My asking you how you know stuff is simply an attempt to draw your attention to the underlining subconscious knowledge that you base your actions on.

    The only way that I can see to refute the assertion is sufficiently answer the question in a way that does not include God and is not subject to further regress. You certainly have not done that

    peace

    As I said, this is a morass. I hope this discussion demonstrates that the good faith rule is simply not so easy to implement as it may first seem.

  6. 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.

    William,

    There are an infinite number of “truths” that are inappropriate, counter-productive or irrelevant to 1. debates in general and 2. particular debates.

    What do you think of the “choose your own moderators” proposal? Under that scheme, you could choose personal moderators who would filter out all the stuff you consider “inappropriate, counterproductive, or irrelevant”.

    It would give you exactly what you want, while allowing others the freedom to discuss the things that they want to — including things that you, personally consider “inappropriate”.

  7. keiths:

    If Trump were here at TSZ, and he were lying, and an honest member pointed that out, why would you object?

    William:

    Because the rules say to assume (meaning, respond as if) everyone is arguing in good faith, and accusing people of lying sidetracks the debate topic.

    There is no single debate topic, William. Threads go all over the place, and if sidetracking were prohibited, more than half of TSZ’s content would be in guano.

    And if Trump were here, blurting out lie after lie, it would be entirely appropriate for the good of the discussion for someone to call him on his repeated dishonesty. You think it’s “inappropriate”, but it clearly isn’t. It’s exactly what would be needed in that situation.

    Now, please tell us what you think of the “choose your own moderators” scheme. It would allow you to filter out, via your personal moderators, the stuff you consider “inappropriate, counterproductive, or irrelevant”. Perfect, right?

    P.S. Also, don’t forget to address the foot shots I keep mentioning.
    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.

  8. 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.

    Patrick:

    No, it takes away the choice. It moves comments, sometimes without notice, out of the context of the conversation. It restricts what people see and requires additional effort for them to read what they want.

    newton, to Patrick:

    Sorry, it may provide a slight inconvenience not a restriction.

    You seem to have forgotten our earlier exchange, newton:

    newton:

    Sometimes even providing a link for those too lazy to move their finger twice…Seems to me everyone has a choice that allows the post to be read with the most minuscule effort.

    keiths:

    Good. Then you won’t object to the following rule:

    All of newton’s comments will be immediately guanoed. No exceptions.

    That wouldn’t be an injustice at all, right, newton? Everyone could still read your comments with “the most minuscule effort”.

  9. 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.

    newton, to Patrick:

    I do agree if a moderator moves a post there should be notice in the original spot.

    Jock doesn’t:

    keiths, to newton:

    You’re forgetting that DNA_Jock, when he feels like it, refuses to even announce the guanoed comment, much less link to it.

    It was a remarkable display of contempt for Lizzie’s aims. Jock knows perfectly well that Lizzie does not want guanoing to be used as a form of punishment. So what does he do? He uses it as punishment, and when he feels like it, he worsens the punishment by refusing to announce or link to the guanoed comment.

    It’s a slap not only to the guanoed commenter, but also to the readers, many of whom would like to know that a comment was guanoed and would like to be able to read it easily.

    Jock knows what Lizzie wants, but his attitude is “I have the power, and I’ll use it for my personal benefit, in service of my personal grudge. Lizzie and the readers can go fuck themselves.”

    This, folks, is what happens when you put power in the hands of a corrupt moderator.

    From an earlier comment:

    We can virtually eliminate the endless, distracting discussions of moderation and moderation abuses by putting an end to guanoing. The moderators, bad as they are, can’t abuse powers that they don’t possess. We should make them admins, not moderators.

    Of course there’s still the potential for abuse, though much reduced, even under a no-guano scheme, so it would be wise to replace the current corrupt trio of moderators with trustworthy admins. The good news is that it should be easy to recruit admins, since the workload under a no-guano scheme would be light.

  10. 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.

    newton, to Patrick:

    she [Lizzie] verbally supported the decision taken with keiths post with good job if I recall , correct ?

    That was based on a false report from the moderators. Lizzie had been told that my OP was rule-violating. Alan has since confirmed that it was not. Oops.

    Keiths had the choice to resubmit an self edited version of his post, correct?

    I did exactly that:

    Alan,

    Subsequently, keiths was utterly immune to any request to desist.

    Oh, please. Here’s what actually happened:

    Even though I disagreed that the original OP was rule-violating — a position that you have now validated (oops) — I went ahead and modified it so that it didn’t accuse Swamidass of lying, but merely referred to his falsehoods. The modified version can be seen here.

    I submitted the modified OP. What happened? Neil refused to publish it, giving the following bogus reason:

    I will not be publishing that. If you want to have a public fight with Dr Swamidass, you will need to find another site for it.

    Thus proving that it had nothing to do with rules, and everything to do with Neil’s childishness and desire to censor someone against whom he holds an intense grudge.

    You guys are just pitiful.

  11. 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.

    walto:

    As I said, take it up with your bully buddy. He claimed fmm’s posts were rule-violative maybe a thousand times. (And the rules DO require guanoing such remarks, whether you happen to approve of those rules or not.)

    Why would I “take it up” with him? Patrick and I are in agreement: neither of us wants any comments to be guanoed (unless it’s the virtual, personalized guanoing of the “choose your own moderators” scheme).

  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.

    As far as I can see, the “choose your own moderators” [CYOM] scheme, if implemented, would satisfy everyone except for two categories of people:

    a) the moderators, who are clinging to their unearned powers; and

    b) people who want to control — or want others to control — what TSZ members read and write.

    Lizzie doesn’t want to control what members read and write, fortunately, so the folks in category (b) are out of luck in that regard.

    People who should be pleased with CYOM:

    1) Folks like Patrick and me who don’t want any guanoing to be done on our behalf. We can simply opt out altogether by selecting no “citizen-moderators”.

    2) Folks who want guanoing to be done for them, but are unhappy with the way it’s currently being done. Those folks can select citizen-moderators who are better in tune with their own ideas of what should and shouldn’t be guanoed.

    3) Folks who, for whatever unaccountable reason, think that the current moderators are the best people for the job. Those folks can select the current moderators as their citizen-moderators.

    And everyone would benefit from the massive reduction in moderation-related discussion and kerfuffles.

  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.

    William,

    Your argument is comical. As of August 1st, according to the Washington Post:

    President Trump has made 4,229 false or misleading claims in 558 days

    (Back when the count was 2,000, Jimmy Kimmel referred to it as “Lie 2K”).

    Trump is a liar. His lying is a national problem, and the people in the press who are pointing that out, and keeping the pressure on, are absolutely doing the right thing.

    You’re arguing that what they’re doing is a bad thing, and that no one should be calling Donald Trump a liar. They should just stick to the issues and refute his claims one by one without ever mentioning the fact that the man is deeply dishonest and dangerous to the United States because, among many other things, of his contempt for the truth.

    Dishonesty is a problem in national life, and it’s a problem for blogs. There is no reason why Donald Trump, whether speaking to the press or posting at TSZ, should get a free pass for his dishonesty.

    Dishonesty needs to be discouraged, and one way to accomplish that is through social pressure. It’s entirely appropriate.

  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.

    While looking for something else, I stumbled upon this old comment of William’s. It’s too funny not to share:

    Hey petrushka: if you don’t like what I’ve got to say, here’s a clue: stop reading my posts. Ignore me. Be an adult and stop demanding that rules be erected and enforced by others on everyone to do what you lack the self-control to do for yourself as an individual. People behave badly on the internet! Get over it.

    LMAO. Perhaps William of 2018 would like to invite William of 2014 into the parking lot to resolve this man to man.

    William, you crack me up. You are indeed a master of the foot shot.

    For the record, I think William of 2014 is right. People should take responsibility for what they read instead of demanding that others be censored.

  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.

    faded_Glory:

    To get to nuggets of interesting insight one has to wade through pages and pages of pointless personal attacks, mud slinging, trolling and abuse. I am just not interested in having to wade through a bar fight to get to my drink.

    Sounds like “choose your own moderators” is the perfect solution for you and William (of 2018, not 2014 🙂 ). Just pick citizen-moderators who share your concept of what constitutes “pointless personal attacks, mud slinging, trolling and abuse” and all of that will be filtered out for you. You can go straight to the stuff that interests you instead of “wading through a bar fight.”

  16. fifthmonarchyman: I’m not going to get into this again but will post just a summery/review for any lurker

    I second your thought, sorry to have responded earlier.It was a pointless exercise.

  17. America takes a Master Class in Trolling
    ———————————
    Gray suit: Trump lies. Here are my reasons for saying so: 1) 2) 3) …
    Trump: No, you LIE.

    Gray suit: You’re lying when you say I’m lying.
    Trump: no, YOU lie.

    Gray suit: {sputters}
    Trump inaugurated as President using the best-selling Art of the Deal for the oath of office.

    —————————-
    Whenever a new form of communications is invented, it takes a while for society to adjust. With the printing press, all sorts of slander and diatribe, true and false, flooded the marketplace of ideas. With the radio, new leaders emerged who could rally the people: Churchill, Roosevelt, Hitler; albeit with different aims. With television, you had the McCarthy hearings and the Making of a President. With the proliferation of radio stations, you had rage radio. With email, Nigerian princes made their fortunes. And with social media, every manner of “poisons that lurk in the mud hatched out.” Eventually, people build up a resistance to these new forms of persuasion.
    —————————-
    Trump: FAKE NEWS!

  18. There is no single debate topic, William. Threads go all over the place, and if sidetracking were prohibited, more than half of TSZ’s content would be in guano.

    There can be many different topics of discussion within a single thread. Accusing someone of lying and character smears sidetrack and devolve these discussions.

    And if Trump were here, blurting out lie after lie, it would be entirely appropriate for the good of the discussion for someone to call him on his repeated dishonesty. You think it’s “inappropriate”, but it clearly isn’t. It’s exactly what would be needed in that situation.

    I mean “inappropriate” in terms of the rules and standard rules of civil debate.

    It’s exactly what would be needed in that situation.

    Needed for what?

    You’re arguing that what they’re doing is a bad thing, and that no one should be calling Donald Trump a liar.

    I never said or implied that no one should call Donald Trump a liar, or that calling him a liar was a “bad thing.” My point is about the value of the “assumption of good faith” rule in a forum like this in order to narrow the focus to topics OTHER THAN the character, mental state, and honesty of those contributing to the discussion. Which, IMO, was why EL set up the rule about assumption of good faith and addressing the content of the post and not the poster.

    There is no reason why Donald Trump, whether speaking to the press or posting at TSZ, should get a free pass for his dishonesty.

    Sure there is. That reason would be to limit conversations in this forum to subjects other than the honesty, character, and mental state of others.

    Dishonesty needs to be discouraged, and one way to accomplish that is through social pressure. It’s entirely appropriate.

    Not in forums where such “social pressure” is against the rules.

  19. fifthmonarchyman,

    I was just saying that if, from someone’s perspective, a claim has been refuted to their satisfaction, the next thing for that person to do is move on to the next topic.

  20. walto: As I said, this is a morass. I hope this discussion demonstrates that the good faith rule is simply not so easy to implement as it may first seem.

    I never doubt that Fifth is posting in good faith, I can see how my comment could be construed as that. Thanks.

  21. faded_Glory,

    Exactly. This is the same reason I don’t discuss much here. Would I like to have a discussion about Trump, society, science, philosophy, the nature of reality and experience, etc? I’d love it … but I know exactly what is going to happen here in such discussions because it’s happened every single time – and that’s WITH the current rules that are supposed to encourage open, attack-free discourse.

    I also enjoy just being able to talk to people with views different from my own – not because I want to convert them; I couldn’t care less if they are “converted”. I enjoy exploring my own ideas and subjecting them to criticism and exploring the ideas of others for that which I might find useful in my own experience and enjoyment of life.

  22. Patrick: That was based on a false report from the moderators. Lizzie had been told that my OP was rule-violating. Alan has since confirmed that it was not. Oops.

    Do you have a link for that?

    When you emailed EL , did you include a copy of the OP?

  23. BTW, there is a form of “social pressure” that is entirely legal within the rules of this forum: non-interaction. Just because someone keeps posting a refuted claim doesn’t mean anyone has to respond to it. I would argue that giving such a poster negative attention may be giving them exactly what they want – attention, and attacking them may have the unintended effect of creating sympathy for that person (and their position) and animosity towards those who are doing the attacking (and their positions).

    This is a basic aspect of human psychology those who constantly attack Trump (and his supporters) don’t seem to be aware of. IMO, if you think the Trump critics are not doing **exactly** what Trump wants them to do, you don’t understand what Trump is doing. At all. Unfortunately, most of the anti-Trumpers are oblivious to his tactics. The more they attack, ridicule, and accuse him, the more they validate his narrative of “Fake News” and a corrupt “deep state” in bed with mainstream media, and the more people become sympathetic to him and his views.

    Trump has flipped the narrative, and the anti-Trumpers have left themselves without any other play to make – other than violence, intimidation and coercion, which still feeds into his narrative. It’s really been quite an amazing thing to watch unfold.

  24. walto:

    I think you’re ignoring some basic facts of psychology here, the main one being that it is easier for one who is not personally embroiled in a food fight to be dispassionate. Patrick’s (a moderator’s!) fights with FMM and me are good examples. When someone makes fun of you or calls you an idiot or insists you don’t know what you’re talking about on some issue you have studied closely, it is quite difficult to just let the remark sit there–even if that would be the sensible,

    I agree it is not easy. But is is not fair to shift the burden of forbearance to moderators (assuming public moderation is kept).

    For those who don’t think it’s better for every dispute to be settled by which disputant has bigger guns or is more likely to use them, It’s better to do what one can to regulate the use of police power.

    I don’t agree that disputes are settled by someone claiming that you did not reply, therefore I am right and everyone can see that. Nor are they settled by mutual name calling or continuing a process when neither side is offering new arguments.

    But I am open to the following compromise.
    Make the rules as strict as WJM suggests but at the same time make the moderation and complaint processes private, with an escalation to the moderators as a group and then to Lizzie. As well, Lizzle could provide a private email address for people who thought moderators were biased.

    I have never seen a justification for public moderation beyond subjecting the moderators to public scorn, which is no justification at all. Some have mentioned that it will help uncover bias in moderators, but I don’t see what a public moderation forum adds to private complaint processes for doing that. It’s up to LIzze, not to a public referendum, to draw such conclusions.

    The cost of public moderation in wasted time and public scorn for moderators is much too high for the questionable benefits public moderation brings.

  25. BruceS,
    I agree with KN’s suggestion to get rid of Noyau and I think guano should not be public, but rather where moderators copy/paste rule-breaking posts so that other moderators can double-check and have internal discussions about it – perhaps re-instating it, perhaps using them as the basis for suspensions or bannings so they have a record.

    I agree that there should be no public criticism or discussion of moderators – if you have an issue, use private message or email to address them. IMO, the “moderation” thread should be removed.

  26. William J. Murray,

    I agree with BruceS and William J. Murray. No ‘rules free attack zone’ and no public discussion of moderation. All this does is generate noise, splits participants into camps, and causes escalation to the point where we are now: far more energy is spent on discussing how the board is run, and on who are the bad guys and why, than on the actual topics this board was set up for.

    Mimimal moderation was a noble try, but humans being humans it simply doesn’t work. That doesn’t have to mean a draconic zero-tolerance regime, moderation could range from light (a warning in the thread) to medium (offending posts being removed) to severe (temporary or permanent banning). The rules would be simple: post as if you were talking with someone in the bar, in the pub or at a party – and sober, if possible 🙂 .

    If you can’t do that, you are not welcome. Simples.

    I do think that a mixed team of moderators is needed to try and keep some balance. Humans being humans, there will undoubtedly be some bias from time to time but that is for the moderation team and Lizzie to address.

    Just my 2 cents. It is of course up to Lizzie what she wants to do with this board.

  27. BruceS

    Apologies, August festivities have been back-to-back running up to and over the weekend.

    Maybe I’m breaking the no-attributing-motivation rule here, but I’m wondering if she cares about polls or if that poll thread was just created as a place to let off steam.

    You may say that; I couldn’t possibly comment.

    If at some point in her deliberations she decides to let users pick between options, then I could see a poll with those specific options being useful to her.

    It was in my mind when I put the recent polls up that Lizzie might like to try her own version.

    I will hold off on writing anything summarizing my thoughts until I see more input on format from you or her.

    I’m running with her endorsement of your idea as “brilliant”. She also confirmed the chances of wading through this thread are minimal.

    To that end, I’ve set up a separate page, entitled “Summaries” and I invite everyone who has an interest to add their summary as a comment. I will rigorously police “Summaries” to ensure that there is no noise. Any comment that is not a summary will go to guano. If people want to meta-comment on others summaries they can do it here.

    Lizzie did not pick up on the idea of a dedicated email address for those wishing to submit their ideas confidentially. I can only suggest anyone wishing to do so try the private message system. Lizzie’s address is Elizabeth.

    I’ll paste in a brief edit to the OP with a link to the “Summaries” page. I think I should also put up an announcement as I suspect a fair few members are already turned off from this discussion and may otherwise miss the opportunity to pass on their thoughts to Lizzie.

    Lizzie is now on holiday for a couple of weeks and then the new University term will be starting, so I don’t think we can expect her to return to full participation before term ends which is why I hope members will post summaries and try to keep them succinct.

  28. William J. Murray: This is a basic aspect of human psychology those who constantly attack Trump (and his supporters) don’t seem to be aware of. IMO, if you think the Trump critics are not doing **exactly** what Trump wants them to do, you don’t understand what Trump is doing. At all. Unfortunately, most of the anti-Trumpers are oblivious to his tactics

    Not to slide too far off target, it does not matter what those who do not support Trump do, Trump will attack them, Mueller for instance. That is his only strategy. That is what his supporters like. Wonder why being a troll seems to work for Trump but those opposed are always advised to against it?

  29. newton: Not to slide too far off target, it does not matter what those who do not support Trump do, Trump will attack them, Mueller for instance. That is his only strategy. That is what his supporters like.Wonder why being a troll seems to work for Trump but those opposed are always advised to against it?

    I disagree with all of this, but maybe some day in a world of unicorns and faeries we can have a no-mudslinging discussion about it.

  30. Patrick: That was based on a false report from the moderators. Lizzie had been told that my OP was rule-violating. Alan has since confirmed that it was not. Oops.

    Correction. I said the OP did not break an explicit rule. That OPs are not subject to the same rules as comments is an oversight that will be rectified. The fact it needs to be explicit is still a matter of amazement to me.

  31. Alan Fox: Correction. I said the OP did not break an explicit rule. That OPs are not subject to the same rules as comments is an oversight that will be rectified. The fact it needs to be explicit is still a matter of amazement to me.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  32. Patrick: newton, to Patrick:

    I do agree if a moderator moves a post there should be notice in the original spot.

    Jock doesn’t:

    Do you mean notice or a link? Notice for sure, link optional.

  33. fifthmonarchyman: I would say that my assertion is confirmed each and every time you act as if you know God exists.

    For instance you act as if the universe is governed by laws and that objective reality exists.

    That synopsis cleared up a misunderstanding I had, thanks.

  34. faded_Glory: I agree with BruceS and William J. Murray. No ‘rules free attack zone’ and no public discussion of moderation.

    Amen

    Those are some great suggestions

    I’d add making guano private and bringing in some diversity in the moderator role…. also a limit to the number of posts per day per participant would be nice

    peace

    PS thanks moderators and Lizzie for making the effort to create a place where folks can discuss sensitive ideas with people they would not normally cross paths with.

  35. Alan Fox: Correction. I said the OP did not break an explicit rule. That OPs are not subject to the same rules as comments is an oversight that will be rectified. The fact it needs to be explicit is still a matter of amazement to me.

    Remember when you were quitting as moderator?

    Ah, Nostalgia.

  36. 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.

    Bruce, to KN:

    That’s asking a lot of moderators. It would make the possibility of bias higher. And if moderation and Guano remained public, moderators would need even thicker skin. More importantly, they’d be spending more time moderating and justifying their actions. I suspect those burdens will make it harder to recruit new moderators or possibly keep the current ones.

    The current scheme depends on trustworthy moderators. We don’t have them. Despite her best intentions, Lizzie has ended up with a trio of untrustworthy, childish and vengeful moderators who don’t share her values and don’t support her aims for TSZ.

    Just look at Neil’s behavior here, or Jock’s bratty behavior here, or Alan’s behavior in the ALurker affair.

    If you put power in the hands of petulant and abusive little boys like these, you get bad results.

    One of the great advantages of the “choose your own moderators” approach is that you don’t need trusthworthy and mature moderators. You just need admins who are able and willing to do routine things like fishing comments out of the spam queue. Their moderation duties are limited to notifying Lizzie when a potentially bannable offense has occurred.

    The workload would be vastly lighter for these admins than it is for moderators, so it should be much easier to recruit them. And by limiting their powers, you’ve limited the potential for abuse, so it becomes far less important to vet them for personal integrity and temperament.

    And since moderation would be self-imposed by the readers, via citizen-moderators of their own choosing, moderation complaints and meta-discussion would be dramatically reduced, if not eliminated altogether.

    There are some huge advantages to the CYOM approach. It’s certainly better than what we have now.

  37. 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.

    William,

    Dishonesty in society is a bad thing, and social pressure against it is good. Dishonesty on blogs is a bad thing, and social pressure against it is good.

    If you create an environment where social pressure against dishonesty is forbidden, but dishonesty itself is not penalized, then you have incentivized dishonesty. You’ve punished the honest and rewarded the dishonest.

    That’s counterproductive.

    Also, I’d be interested in seeing you fight it out with William of 2014, who thinks your position is ridiculous and childish:

    Be an adult and stop demanding that rules be erected and enforced by others on everyone to do what you lack the self-control to do for yourself as an individual. People behave badly on the internet! Get over it.

    I’m also interested in hearing your thoughts on the “choose your own moderators” proposal, which allows you (William of 2018) to filter out precisely the stuff you’ve been complaining about in this thread.

  38. 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.

    newton, to Patrick:

    she [Lizzie] verbally supported the decision taken with keiths post with good job if I recall , correct ?

    keiths:

    That was based on a false report from the moderators. Lizzie had been told that my OP was rule-violating. Alan has since confirmed that it was not. Oops.

    newton:

    Do you have a link for that?

    Here:

    Patrick:

    1) Neither you nor any other admin has been able to point to any rule that keiths violated.

    Alan:

    There was no specific rule. There should be.

  39. 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.

    newton, to Patrick:

    Keiths had the choice to resubmit an self edited version of his post, correct?

    keiths:

    I did exactly that:

    Alan,

    Subsequently, keiths was utterly immune to any request to desist.

    Oh, please. Here’s what actually happened:

    Even though I disagreed that the original OP was rule-violating — a position that you have now validated (oops) — I went ahead and modified it so that it didn’t accuse Swamidass of lying, but merely referred to his falsehoods. The modified version can be seen here.

    I submitted the modified OP. What happened? Neil refused to publish it, giving the following bogus reason:

    I will not be publishing that. If you want to have a public fight with Dr Swamidass, you will need to find another site for it.

    Thus proving that it had nothing to do with rules, and everything to do with Neil’s childishness and desire to censor someone against whom he holds an intense grudge.

    You guys are just pitiful.

    newton:

    When you emailed EL , did you include a copy of the OP?

    No. She indicated that she was going to come here and deal with all of this, so I didn’t.

  40. 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.

    faded_Glory:

    I agree with BruceS and William J. Murray. No ‘rules free attack zone’ and no public discussion of moderation.

    That’s a recipe for disaster.

    We already have three corrupt moderators who are willing to abuse their powers, as I’ve explained above and as the current suspension illustrates. Prohibiting public discussion of moderation decisions would create a dangerous incentive for even worse abuses.

    It’s extremely important that moderators be publicly accountable, to reduce the temptation to abuse their privileges. Lizzie’s instinct in creating the “Moderation Issues” thread was a good one.

    Of course, the problem goes away completely with the “choose your own moderators” scheme. If you don’t like what one of your citizen-moderators has done, just replace him or her with a different one.

  41. 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:

    That was based on a false report from the moderators. Lizzie had been told that my OP was rule-violating. Alan has since confirmed that it was not. Oops.

    Alan:

    Correction. I said the OP did not break an explicit rule.

    Correction. You said it didn’t break any specific rule:

    There was no specific rule. There should be.

    The rules are explicit, Alan, and Lizzie has stated them clearly. My OP did not break any of them, as you have confirmed.

    You don’t wish to be bound by Lizzie’s rules, as you’ve told us repeatedly.

    Now you’d like to pretend that I violated an implicit rule. What’s an implicit rule? Whatever Alan says it is, in order to cover up his moderation abuses.

    Here’s another example. There is no rule permitting you to issue 30-day suspensions to commenters. Will you be telling us next that there is an “implicit rule” allowing you to suspend people? What is wrong with you?

    You don’t give a rat’s ass about Lizzie’s rules or aims, Alan. You just make up new rules as you go, to cover whatever whims occur to you.

  42. 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.

    newton,

    Do you mean notice or a link? Notice for sure, link optional.

    No. No notice, no link. You’re underestimating what a vengeful prick DNA_Jock is.

    He did it here:

    Heh. DNA_Jock is now guanoing comments without notice and without linking to them. Just to show he can.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Link, Link

    And no, it wasn’t an oversight. He explicitly stated his intentions earlier:

    I may or may not provide a comment with or without a link when I guano a post.
    I do so as a courtesy to the other readers of the thread.

    I commented to Jock:

    We’ve been over this already. Moderators are supposed to act on Lizzie’s behalf and for the benefit of TSZ. Lizzie has made it clear that she does not want guanoing to be used, or seen, as a punishment or a reprimand. You are of the opposite opinion. You very much want to use it as a punishment, and you want to make it worse by refusing to provide notice of the guanoing or a link to the guanoed comment(s).

    It’s typical Jock behavior: accept a job, then refuse to do it, because you’re an angry little boy who wants to abuse his authority in order to punish those against whom you are nursing grudges.

  43. 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, to Alan:

    Here’s another example. There is no rule permitting you to issue 30-day suspensions to commenters. Will you be telling us next that there is an “implicit rule” allowing you to suspend people? What is wrong with you?

    Here’s the remarkable thing: This isn’t the first time Alan has pulled this bogus suspension stunt.

    He did exactly the same thing during the ALurker fiasco, suspending both ALurker’s and Patrick’s accounts, despite having no authority and no reason to do so.

    He was forced to issue a humiliating public apology for this.

    Thus chagrined, you might expect him to be a bit circumspect about suspensions. But no, he barges in and does exactly the same thing in this case, suspending me despite having no authority and no reason to do so.

    It’s an amazing and appalling spectacle.

  44. 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.

    I stumbled across this old comment regarding the “address the post, not the poster” rule:

    A couple of days ago, I ended a comment with this:

    Calm down, Walt, for both of our sakes. I would much rather debate someone who is at his intellectual best.

    Alan insisted that I remove it…

    Please edit this out or I’ll have to move the comment.

    to which I responded:

    OK, Alan, but I don’t see how asking someone to calm down is against the rules.

    Alan replied:

    …you are assuming Walto is upset and that it is affecting his judgement. It’s unnecessary and provocative. It’s directed at the commenter not the comment.

    I’m bringing this up not because that particular moderation decision was a big deal — I was easily able to rebut Walt without those two sentences — but because I think it represents a misapplication of the “address the post, not the poster” rule.

    First, I did not assume that Walt was upset, I inferred it from his comment. Next, the rules don’t prohibit commenters from making remarks that the moderators happen to regard as “unnecessary and provocative”. Third, and most importantly, I was not calling Walt a hothead or a dolt; I judged from his comment that he was upset and I implied that this was affecting his judgment.

    To regard that as a violation of the rules would be absurd, because then we could never say things like “you haven’t thought this through carefully enough” or “that makes no sense”, because the first is directly about the commenter and the second necessarily implies that the commenter is not making sense.

    As I commented to petrushka:

    As you point out, it’s sometimes hard to attack a statement or belief without seeming to attack the person.

    I think the key is to distinguish between criticisms of a person generally, which are against the rules, vs criticisms of a person with respect to a statement or argument that they’re making, which aren’t.

    If you say X, and I respond that it’s crazy to assert X, then I am not calling you crazy in general. I’m just saying that your assertion of X is crazy, which is within the rules as I interpret them.

    Alan agreed…

    That’s how I try to interpret the rule.

    …but I think that Alan didn’t interpret the rule that way when he asked me to amend my comment.

    Again, this particular moderation decision was of little consequence, but I think the principle is quite important. The rule was not intended to protect commenters’ egos or to shield them from criticism. Rather, I think Lizzie was trying to prevent discussion from devolving into name-calling slugfests in which the focus was entirely on people and their virtues or flaws, rather than on the issue supposedly being discussed.

    [Note that some of the links are broken due to a software change that occurred after the comment was posted.]

    Does anyone, including Alan, really think that a comment asking someone to calm down is impermissible and should be guanoed?

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