TSZ – The Future

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:

Attack ideas and not the people who hold them!

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:

Is it a good idea to have a poll...
  • occasionally? 33%, 3 votes
    3 votes 33%
    3 votes - 33% of all votes
  • on other issues? 33%, 3 votes
    3 votes 33%
    3 votes - 33% of all votes
  • on making changes at TSZ? 33%, 3 votes
    3 votes 33%
    3 votes - 33% of all votes
  • never? 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 9
Voters: 3
January 26, 2018 - February 28, 2018
Voting is closed

This is an example of the "Democracy poll" plugin in action.

380 thoughts on “TSZ – The Future

  1. Alan,

    Why? Nobody expressed the least curiosity till TomMueller mentioned it in passing. I’ve shared the count of responses and the fact that nobody who replied agreed with your statement. I agree with your criticism that it was not a poll, (not even a straw poll) but I didn’t intend it to be.

    But, no matter! I’ve installed a plugin called “democracy” which is an on-line poll. It’s quite flexible, allowing all logged-in members to agree to a list of questions, and responses are not restricted to a single choice. Members can also write-in a response of their own.

    Whilst I’m still hoping and fairly confident that Lizzie will return at some point, i see no harm in conducting a little market research. Would you like to suggest some questions to submit to the membership?

    Christ, Alan.

    I’ve addressed that nonsense already:

    Alan,

    You have got to be kidding. You’ve disgraced yourself through dishonesty and abusive moderation, and now you expect the readers to believe what you’re telling them about the “straw poll”?

    You’re the same guy who got caught closing the Moderation Issues (4) thread to hide your disgrace, and you expect everyone to believe you when you report the poll results?

    You actually expect them to believe that the poll results were wonderful for you, but you simply declined to mention it at the time? Or at any point thereafter, when your fitness as a moderator was question? Simply because no one asked you? Come on, Alan.

    Or that after selfishly imposing yourself on the entire readership, shoving the straw poll in their faces in hopes of assuaging your personal insecurity, you declined to mention the results because you thought that no one would be interested? That’s absolutely ridiculous.

    Do you really believe the readers are stupid enough to buy all of that, or is this just a desperate Hail Mary pass on your part?

    And:

    And let’s talk about the poll itself.

    First, it was irrelevant, because a moderator’s job is to enforce the rules, not to win popularity contests or to be swayed by public opinion. Second, it was an abuse of moderator privileges for personal benefit.

    Third, it was about as fair as a North Korean election. Consider:

    1. The announcement was made by Alan himself, and the replies were to go to him directly.

    2. Alan himself would tally the results. (No conflict of interest there! No, sir! Just a Fox in the henhouse.)

    3. The people receiving the “straw poll” had already seen Alan abusing his moderator privileges, not just in the sending of the announcement, but in the events leading up to it. The following exchange had occurred that same day:

    keiths:

    What is your justification for moving that comment to Guano? Be specific.

    Alan:

    Because I can, Keiths.

    4. So this guy, who had just shown himself to be a vengeful and spiteful idiot, and who had the power to screw the readers the way he had screwed me, was now asking them “Do you think I’m unfit to be a moderator?” And their replies were going to be personally identifiable. Gee, no pressure there. I’m sure everyone felt absolutely free to reply honestly.

    The whole thing was a sham, and for Alan to claim now that the results were favorable, but that he just neglected to mention them at the time (or at any time thereafter, until now) stretches credulity beyond the breaking point.

  2. DNA_Jock:

    Not that you asked, but : No, I am not on board with your no-guano proposal.

    But not to worry old chap, you don’t need to get Lizzie’s, or anyone else’s approval:
    Just find a youtube video and start commenting on it.

    Jock,

    You’re making the same mistake as newton, to whom I wrote:

    The internet is not a homogeneous entity. One blog [or website] is not identical to another. The contributors are different. The readers are different. The commenters are different. The vibe is different. To say that TSZ will “devolve” without guanoing is just speculation, and the evidence actually suggests the opposite.

    Even Youtube itself isn’t homogeneous. You don’t see flame wars breaking out on every video that has comments.

    You’ve jumped to conclusions again, and you’re supporting your poor judgment regarding TSZ with an overgeneralization of what happens at Youtube, of all places.

    Meanwhile, we have multiple lines of direct evidence showing that TSZ works just fine without guanoing. You are conveniently ignoring those.

    You’re doing it backwards, Jock. The right approach is to select your conclusion based on the evidence, not the other way around.

  3. keiths: You’ve jumped to conclusions again, and you’re supporting your poor judgment regarding TSZ with an overgeneralization of what happens at Youtube, of all places.

    ROFL
    All irony meters are OFF.
    My youtube reference was NOT an attempt to support my position. I was merely pointing out that if you desire a no-moderation environment, there are lots of places you can indulge yourself.
    Or, to put it another way, why don’t you just leave, already?
    Cue “pathetic cya grasping at straws” rejoinder…
    P.S. keiths has a ‘tell’. Wanna play poker?
    E4typo

  4. Jock,

    This thread is about suggestions for the future of TSZ. The OP title — TSZ — The Future — is a hint for those, like you, who are a bit slow on the uptake.

    The evidence, including from Alan’s experiments (that hilariously bit him on the ass), support the idea that TSZ functions just fine without guanoing. It’s certainly worth a trial, and that’s what I’m suggesting.

    You’re opposed. Can you support your position?

  5. keiths: You’re opposed. Can you support your position?

    Sure. I dispute your contention that the absence of moderation led to an improved environment here. I admit that there was less meta-discussion re moderation decisions, but I reckon the increased flaming was a significant negative. You see it differently. Your claim that your perspective is obviously, self-evidently correct is noted for the self-serving, self-unaware pile of bullshit that it is.
    You can keep asserting that your beliefs are obviously correct all you want. I disagree. You can keep asserting that the “evidence” supports your position as much as your little heart desires. Again I disagree and, given your history of playing fast and loose with the evidence, I give your assertions the weight they deserve and see little point in debating the evidence with someone with your track record.
    You appear unaware of the fact that the potential damage caused by your “no-guano” experiment could be irreparable. Unawareness seems to be your strong suit.
    My suspicion, based on the dearth of commenters who are willing to support you, is that most commenters here would rather you just went spew your bullying idiocy elsewhere, but I recognize (and largely agree with) your position that it shouldn’t be a popularity contest. Although I am curious, keiths, how do you think you would fare in a “keiths should just leave” referendum?
    Let’s just say that your inaccurate motive-mongering and endless self-quoting narcissism are not the compelling arguments you think they are.

  6. DNA_Jock:

    Sure. I dispute your contention that the absence of moderation led to an improved environment here. I admit that there was less meta-discussion re moderation decisions, but I reckon the increased flaming was a significant negative.

    What “increased flaming”?

    And why would you even expect to see “increased flaming”? The rules don’t prevent or even impede flaming in the first place, so it’s no surprise that things proceed normally when the rules are relaxed.

    And as I reminded newton:

    Civility is not the mission of this blog, though you may have gotten that impression from Alan and his repeated (and incorrect) insistence that Lizzie is aiming for “rancour-free” discussion. Lizzie is more realistic than that, and she’s even stated that politeness is not a particular goal of the site. The rules were not intended to keep people polite or to prevent hurt feelings; they were intended to keep substantive discussion flowing.

    Substantive discussion continues to flow when guanoing ceases. Guanoing isn’t serving its ostensible purpose.

  7. Jock,

    You can keep asserting that the “evidence” supports your position as much as your little heart desires. Again I disagree and, given your history of playing fast and loose with the evidence, I give your assertions the weight they deserve and see little point in debating the evidence with someone with your track record.

    Heh. Listen to yourself, Jock.

    The evidence does support my position, which is precisely why you don’t want to discuss it. You aren’t fooling anyone.

  8. Jock:

    You appear unaware of the fact that the potential damage caused by your “no-guano” experiment could be irreparable.

    That’s pretty melodramatic. Do tell us about this “irreparable damage” we would risk if we were to run the experiment.

    And then tell us why you were perfectly fine with Alan’s experiment, despite the “irreparable damage” he was risking:

    Or, as Alan suggested, make the “Do Atheists Exist?” thread a gloves-off environment.

    Oops.

    Then you can tell us how we need 24/7 moderator coverage on account of the irreparable damage we risk otherwise.

    Or not, since you know just as well as the rest of us that TSZ does fine when the moderators are absent.

  9. The rules don’t prevent or even impede flaming in the first place,…

    I guess we differ on what constitutes “flaming”. That might explain a lot…

    The evidence does support my position, which is precisely why you don’t want to discuss it. You aren’t fooling anyone.

    Err, you’re doing it again, keiths. This is not the killer rejoinder that you suppose it to be.

    Do tell us about this “irreparable damage” we would risk if we were to run the experiment.

    One or more of the commenters who are net positives here would leave and not return.

    And then tell us why you were perfectly fine with Alan’s experiment, despite the “irreparable damage” he was risking:

    I approve whole-heartedly with the idea of having one or two “no guano” threads. I disapprove whole-heartedly with the idea of having the entire site be that way. It’s a subtlety that may be beyond you.

    Then you can tell us how we need 24/7 moderator coverage on account of the irreparable damage we risk otherwise.

    Naughty boy, keiths. That’s a strawman. You pull this shit way too often. We have covered this already: remember, you asked – in a seemingly snarky manner –

    Could you explain the theory behind your belief? How does moving certain comments from one thread to another achieve its remarkable protective effect?

    I replied with my theory.
    Your response:
    [crickets]
    well, to be fair, it was more like:

  10. Neil Rickert: I added some boards.This is mostly experimental, and I’m experimenting as an admin.But give them a try.

    Neil and Alan. I was able to move my threads with ease to the appropriate forum. This is just a heads up that in case the forum is ever re-organized, threads can be moved with ease.

    Since I tend to like technical discussion and like putting some data points on display, the forum is appropriate for that vs. the shouting matches in blogs. So to the extent the discussion are technical, I expect the forum to be relatively drama-free, which would be good.

    Thanks again for your help.

  11. DNA_Jock:

    You appear unaware of the fact that the potential damage caused by your “no-guano” experiment could be irreparable.

    keiths:

    That’s pretty melodramatic. Do tell us about this “irreparable damage” we would risk if we were to run the experiment.

    And then tell us why you were perfectly fine with Alan’s experiment, despite the “irreparable damage” he was risking:

    Or, as Alan suggested, make the “Do Atheists Exist?” thread a gloves-off environment.

    Oops.

    DNA_Jock:

    One or more of the commenters who are net positives here would leave and not return.

    I approve whole-heartedly with [sic] the idea of having one or two “no guano” threads. I disapprove whole-heartedly with [sic] the idea of having the entire site be that way. It’s a subtlety that may be beyond you.

    Come on, Jock. I’ll bet even you can see how poor your argument is.

    You want us to believe that a site-wide experiment runs the risk, but not the same experiment on one of the most popular and busy threads at TSZ? Based on your intimate knowledge of “net positive commenters” and the precise amount of flaming each of them will tolerate? Please.

    And what about commenters leaving because of moderation abuses? or the amount of meta-discussion generated by them? or rules that punish honesty and reward dishonesty? No hand-wringing from you over those. What’s a little “irreparable damage” among friends, right?

    And when Alan suspends guanoing in a busy thread, no objection from you. You’re all for it, in fact. Why get upset over the possibility of a bit of “irreparable damage”?

    But if someone suggests the same experiment sitewide? SOUND THE KLAXONS! DANGER! IRREPARABLE DAMAGE ALERT!

  12. keiths: And when Alan suspends guanoing in a busy thread, no objection from you. You’re all for it, in fact. Why get upset over the possibility of a bit of “irreparable damage”?

    Oh keiths,
    I supported the offer to ALurker to make “Do Atheists Exist?” a gloves-off environment, but I made it perfectly clear that (since he objected) I disagreed with the decision to make it so. You may have missed this, either because it did not fit in with your tidy “clannish” narrative, or because it is yet another subtlety that is beyond you.
    I’m still laughing at your failure to see that having “one or two” threads be gloves-off is different from having the whole site be gloves-off. If you cannot see the difference, then what are you campaigning for, man?
    We’ve had Moderation Issues and Noyau for a while, now.
    <ggg>

  13. keiths: It’s the usual pattern.

    Yep, but not the one you claim. Not-keiths makes a mundane claim: “Not accusing, just asking” or more recently:

    You appear unaware of the fact that the potential damage caused by your “no-guano” experiment could be irreparable.

    [notice the qualifiers, keiths: “potential” and “could”, not “would”]
    and keiths, in his spoiling-for-a-fight, inimitable spirit, re-interprets the comment into something that it was obviously not. In this case, a claim to have an infallible net-positive-commenter-flame-threshold detector. Ranting about “irreparable damage” ensues.
    Stop blithering. I don’t know what the effect of your experiment would be, but neither do you. YOU are the one claiming certain knowledge, not I.

    keiths: So tell us, since you’re so concerned about “irreparable damage”, why haven’t you been up in arms about the moderator abuses, meta-discussion, and rules that punish honesty and reward dishonesty?

    Well, firstly because “up in arms” isn’t my style: I have found it singularly ineffective at producing changes I seek. Secondly, to deal with your laundry list:
    Moderator abuses: I have seen (and even commented on) moderator errors, but (as you and I have discussed many times) I disagree with your “abuse” allegations. And here’s a tip: repeating them endlessly does not make them more credible, it just makes you look childish.
    meta-discussion: well, I have criticized the whiney entitlement of people who indulge in endless meta-discussion (yet here I am, heh). You immediately accused me of complaining and tried a “you think only your complaints are valid” tu quoque. So, according to YOU, I have complained about meta-discussion.
    rules that punish honesty and reward dishonesty: my, but your memory is defective. I sided with Patrick in that particular debate, but I also noted that the rules, inevitably, have that effect. Re-read the Burden Tennis thread. Although you might not want to go there: you wrote some earth-shatteringly dumb things about black swans.

    keiths: The obvious answer: You pulled that “irreparable damage” argument out of your ass. You didn’t think it through, and now the chickens have come home to roost.

    Vintage keiths.

    I hereby request that keiths`s post not be guanoed. I view his accusation of ‘dishonesty’ as a delightful GSW to the foot.

  14. Jock,

    Of course you’re claiming knowledge of the threshold. Otherwise you’d have no basis for your dire warnings of potential irreparable damage from the sitewide experiment, but not from the two-thread experiment.

    You haven’t called for a cessation of the two-thread experiment. You are arguing against the sitewide experiment. You’ve obviously placed the threshold somewhere between two threads and the entire site, despite having no evidence whatsoever for such placement.

    And as I’ve already noted, you’ve started with your conclusion and are filtering the evidence to support it. If losing commenters were truly your concern, then you’d be comparing two things: a) the potential of lost commenters under the current scheme, vs b) the potential of lost commenters under the sitewide experiment.

    You didn’t do that. It was shoddy thinking, Jock.

  15. Jock,

    Also, your denial of moderator abuses is comical, given the sheer volume of them.

    Remember, you even excised an example of one when you quote mined me!

    Here’s the full comment, including the part you cut:

    Alan,

    You’re nursing a grudge — it’s obvious — but that doesn’t entitle you to flout Lizzie’s rules and abuse your moderator privileges. You’ve shown us again and again that you cannot muster the minimal self discipline required to manage your emotions and do your assigned job.

    This exchange was far more revealing than you intended:

    keiths:

    What is your justification for moving that comment to Guano? Be specific.

    Alan:

    Because I can, Keiths.

    That’s the problem, in a nutshell. You’ve got the power, and that’s all the justification you think you need. Lizzie’s rules go out the window and you abuse your privileges in service of your personal grievances. It’s a pitiful display.

    You are unfit to be a moderator, Alan.

  16. Well, keiths, you may not have noticed, but for the two-thread “experiment”, we have data. For the whole site experiment, not so much.

    Yeah, keiths, I excised that exchange when I complied with your request for your “deranged assessment”. Leaving an ellipsis and a link to the original, bad boy that I am. More importantly, I had already specifically addressed that exchange when I volunteered as tribute to answer keiths`s questions three, ere I the other side see.

  17. Neil and Alan,

    Thank you so much for conducting the experiment of TheSkepticalForum. Since it is uncertain whether there will be interest in the forum and plus the forum went into a technical glitch this morning (see below), I feel bad imposing on you two gentleman any further to cater to my requests since I might be the only user. So I think I’ll be continuing my posts elsewhere for the time being.

    If TheSkepticalForum comes back up, I might cut and paste a few of the threads there if anyone happens to be interested.

    God bless,
    Sal

    PS
    The most recent error message:

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  18. stcordova,

    Sal,
    Why don’t start your own blog? I’d bē happy to contribute… I’m working on the near-death-experiences-evidence for and against, atheism before Darwin, OOL first cell chicken and egg paradoxes etc…

    TSZ consists mainly of the unmovable Darwiosaurs unable to reason beyond their deeply ingrained materialism…

    ETA. It just hit me that you will not have much time working on projects and stuff like that…
    On the other hand what’s the point trying to convince deliberately blind people how beautiful colors are?

  19. J-Mac:

    Sal,
    Why don’t start your own blog? I’d bē happy to contribute… I’m working on the near-death-experiences-evidence for and against, atheism before Darwin, OOL first cell chicken and egg paradoxes etc…

    You could call it Dunning-Kruger Central, or DKC for short. And surely you’d like to team up with J-Mac, right, Sal?

    J-Mac,

    Weren’t you going to start your own blog?

    I’m starting my own blog where everyone can post anything that is not offensive to 12 year old kids. If they do, they are gone after 2 violations.

    This blog has become a haven for retarded and retired people who think they know everything and they have all the time in the world to try to prove it…
    Mung has already given up…
    Why?

    keiths:

    I’m sure it will be a resounding success, and that everyone except the “retarded and retired people” will follow you there, leaving TSZ forlorn and desolate.

    Does this mean you’ll be doing another “say goodbye to J-Mac” thread? Yay!

  20. J-Mac:
    stcordova,

    Sal,
    Why don’t start your own blog? I’d bē happy to contribute… I’m working on the near-death-experiences-evidence for and against, atheism before Darwin, OOL first cell chicken and egg paradoxes etc…

    TSZconsists mainly of the unmovable Darwiosaurs unable to reason beyond their deeply ingrained materialism…

    ETA. It just hit me that you will not have much time working on projects and stuff like that…
    On the other hand what’s the point trying to convince deliberately blind people how beautiful colors are?

    J-mac,

    Nice to hear from you.

    To get a little perspective, my participation at TSZ wasn’t to convince anyone or promote ID, it was to get free-of-charge editorial review and correction of some of my ideas. My promotion of ID and creation will happen in direct marketing and going through church and homeschool channels, not so much through blogs that hardly anyone reads anyway. The marketing will include publishing of books, videos, tracts, etc. You might be surprised but some of the biggest reaching channels are the most despised! For example, there have been over 800 million Christian comic books distributed world wide by Chick Tracts alone. Here is my favorite Chick Tract animated, btw:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHoNpm0ZDUc

    Part of working on projects was going to TSZ and finding out if my ideas were indeed correct. Here were two examples:

    Nylonase and Ohno’s hypothesis

    Alu elements and Ayala and Avise hypotheses

    In the process of participating at TSZ, I refuted Ohno’s hypothesis on Nylonases decisively and Aayla and Avise Alu hypotheses. Both of these crap “evidences” of evolution are still being used, even by Christian Darwinsits and even in some peer-reviewed literature. Here at TSZ, I also confirmed a few things on ENCODE, chromatin, phospho proteome, glycome, etc. etc. These will start appearing in creationist literature. The Alu stuff I put together is already appearing in a creationist book. Some of my micro-RNA research appeared indirectly in a bio-complexity paper too.

    I used to get good corrective feedback on stuff I posted here at TSZ, but I’m now moving beyond that because I’m now going to direct sources for information like the actual researchers themseleves — like at the NIH and university researchers.

    I got my training in Quantum Mechanics at Johns Hopkins. I have what I need to refresh what I learned 7 years ago in Quantum Mechanics. Same could be said of General Relativity and other topics in physics. So that project or re-learning what I’m starting to forget is a worthy project in and of itself. Some of the stuff I’ll put on the net will by QM stuff. Probably no else will really care to read it, but I’m putting it on the net as my public personal notebook on my journey to re-learning Quantum Mechanics. Oddly, some of the math is similar to math in Population Genetics and Casino Gambling and the FInancial Markets. 🙂

    There are some good things I learned here at TSZ, like DUONS! I didn’t really know about that till I encountered you, so thanks for that. Colewd was also helpful in other ways and also outside of TSZ. So I’m not leaving so much as having to focus on learning and working on publishing. I’ve sort of out grown my time in the blogsphere. I have few regrets for having participated.

    So, you’ll see me around on occasion. When I get some of my publications available, I’ll let you know. On the “low end” I’m working on a comic book tract with an illustrator. On the “high end” I’m helping a researcher at Vanderbilt University on the phosphoproteome as something of a data clerk.

    Anyway, that’s what I’m up to. I’m not unhappy with TSZ so much as I just have to start spending time elsewhere. In fact, if anything, I like it too much at TSZ. I can’t get enough of this place. 🙂 But I have more deadlines from present customers and prospective customers for my knowledge base that I didn’t have at all whatsoever 5 years ago….

    Sal

  21. stcordova,

    Sal,
    I don’t think there is anything wrong with what you’re planning to do…
    However, Creationism and ID are not that popular anymore because the fabric of the society has changed and continues to change… God, religion, Creationism, ID are boring to most and make them anxious that if God exist, there maybe someone they can be accountable to…

    They’d rather not know…

    All the best on your endeavours!

    J-mac

  22. God, religion, Creationism, ID are boring to most and make them anxious that if God exist, there maybe someone they can be accountable to…

    They’d rather not know…

    You’re projecting, J-Mac. Not everyone needs Sky Daddy supervision in order to behave well.

  23. stcordova: Thank you so much for conducting the experiment of TheSkepticalForum. Since it is uncertain whether there will be interest in the forum and plus the forum went into a technical glitch this morning (see below), I feel bad imposing on you two gentleman any further to cater to my requests since I might be the only user. So I think I’ll be continuing my posts elsewhere for the time being.

    If TheSkepticalForum comes back up, I might cut and paste a few of the threads there if anyone happens to be interested.

    It’s back!

  24. Alan Fox: It’s back!

    Studly Awesome! Thank you so much for salvaging my math and physics posts. I hope the site won’t be too much of a burden to you and that you’ll find some personal value in it for yourself.

    God bless,
    Sal

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