Dr Elizabeth Liddle conceived, created and grew this website to the success it is today. It was a new idea. Many other sites can be found where a particular worldview is being promoted or a particular sphere of interest draws people of like interest. TSZ was intended to address the problem that Lizzie saw first-hand at other sites I and many others watched her participate in. Her being turfed from one well-known ID blog was partly the catalyst to trigger this venture.
However Lizzie’s inclusiveness, readiness to put all her energy into taking all at face value in an attempt to achieve real understanding must have sapped her enthusiasm and she has been an elusive figure her in recent times. A huge distraction, I believe is that some participants don’t share her optimism that listening can be as effective as talking when promoting ideas. Dialogue has always been Lizzie’s aim; attempting to see and understand a different viewpoint.
To that end she framed a mission statement, supported by rules of engagement to facilitate productive discussion between people of widely differing opinion. She decided to be a benevolent dictator, inviting participation from anyone with an opinion to voice, news to bring for discussion, scientific discoveries to announce and explain, philosophical arguments to popularize, even religion to promote or criticise. Personally, I think this was a brave and worthwhile effort in view of the increasing polarisation that pervades modern politics and that entrains extremism, insult and ad hominem rather than reasoned argument.
During Lizzie’s absence there has been some dilution of these ideals and the signal to noise ratio has declined. I hope that Lizzie returns soon to reaffirm the ideals she set out originally. I suspect that the wrangles over moderation, argument over moderating decisions, enforcement and non-enforcement of rules don’t encourage her return. So I’m proposing a solution.
I invite ideas from anyone who shares Lizzie’s ideals on dialogue (or who doesn’t) to propose in the comments any suggestions that they think would help to improve how TSZ operates. The rules could possibly benefit from being collated in one place, as later amendments are scattered over several threads. What about a competition for the most concise and elegant summary of the aims, rules and guidelines? On her return, Lizzie could pick a winner, or she could cherry-pick from the best efforts and this would also save her time and hassle that she could better spend setting the World to rights.
So, ideas please!
My first plagiaristic attempt at a rules summary:
Another idea that Neil has suggested is to add a forum format. I also think this would be good to try. In fact I already did set up a forum using the Elkarte template to act as a demonstration. I invite all interested members to play around with the functionality. Anyone wanting to tweak it, just PM me for the permissions.
Edited 26/01/2018 17.41 CET to add an on-line poll: