I am sick and tired of Forum culture…… no matter how good the intentions are once you let the public in it inevitably turns to shit…
For starters even if the forum is supposed to be discussing science and reason you ALWAYS get the inane “Woo Hoo! I’ve clocked up 10, 000 posts in 3 months!!” threads, the “what’s your favorite….” threads and so on. I ask you what does a thread cataloguing peoples favorite LOL Cats have to do with reason and science? Come on I’m waiting.
As some of you may know there has been a MAJOR falling out over at RD.net. And from what I understand there is blame enough for both sides of the fence to get their equal share.
The old site is creaking at the seams. In its short life it has become hugely successful, and that – frankly – has the software and servers struggling to cope. It’s is without any reasonable question that something needed to be done to re-factor the site and systems to cope with the demands placed upon it.
Now there is nothing to say that RD.net HAS to have a forum, but most sites tend to include one because at first glance it seems to be a quick and easy solution to the problem of delivering feedback.. But the trouble with fora is that they can run away and develop into something thing with a life and agenda of it’s own that only superficially serves the original intent.
Don’t get me wrong there is some cracking material in there. Good strong reasoning, good science, good discussion, and that stuff does need to be preserved. If fact there is a lot of it but all that was drowned out by the noise, the inane, facile and irrelevant. For a place intended to be an oasis for reason and science it had strayed far from that particular watering hole.
Then we get the announcement that a new system is coming and the forums as we have known them will be no longer and the new discussion area will be more focused on the actual focus of the main site. I.e. Science and Reason. The discussion system will not be the sprawling mess it is now and will need a far smaller moderation team. The Mod team are privately told this before the forum in general, and are cautioned that, though it is understood that many may be upset by this, they should not use their position as mods and the power and information this position holds to de-rail the transition process.
Having read this note to the mods I have to say it was more than a little heavy handed and may have been seen as quite cynical. But considering the fallout over a previous incident were the denizens of the fora threw a massive hissy-fit over being told to curb their language and the NSFW threads. Josh would have been guilty of extraordinary naivety if he didn’t expect reprisals over this new decision.
Now take note… it’s not as if RD.net was being permanently stripped of the ability to talk and discuss subjects, just that this would take a different format were the discussion can be better focused on the subjects at hand… And it’s isn’t as if Reason and Science is an especially narrow topic. Just look at PZ’s blog. That has a thriving community and it doesn’t have a forum, but it enjoys a healthy and vigorous world of commentary.
Then came the backlash. Some of the mods did the very things they were asked not to do. There was vitriol poured on to Josh and Andrew, some even aimed at Richard. Knowing how nasty this got the last time it’s not surprising that the forum was prematurely closed and the key offenders shown the door.
Again did Josh act too harshly and to suddenly. Quite possibly, yes. But it stopped the problem dead. Well save for the angry bleatings from other forums and blogs. I was there for the last schism and the protracted wailing and gnashing of teeth rumbled on for months and that was simply not good for any one.
With the account deletions (those personal attacks did warrant banning) came the deletion of the offending posts and in an over zealous purge many, many other posts. Was Josh wrong in arbitrarily deleting all the posts of deleted users? Yes. Prune the abusive posts yes, but the site lost lots of valuable stuff in those purges that is a major bone of contention for many of the unhappy and disgruntled.
Just because the public are granted access to something does not mean that have a right for continued access to that thing. Nor does granting the public access to something grant them the right to become the controlling voice.
We don’t have a right to enter our favorite pub, it’s a license extended to us by the establishment that can be revoked at any time. We don’t have a right to dictate how the establishment runs its business. We don’t have a right to demand that the pub doesn’t change, ever! We don’t have a right to insist it doesn’t become a wine bar in the best interests of its own needs. We most certainly don’t have the right abuse the staff and management for any reason. And we shouldn’t be surprised if we are kicked out and even banned if we do.
If Richard has come to the conclusion that the forum no longer serves the best interest of RD.net and intends to replace it with a more focused discussion system, then we have absolutely no right to tell him he can’t. We certainly have no right to get abusive towards him or his staff. We can be upset, we can be disappointed, we can even voice out dismay and misgivings but the abuse and vitriol spewing forth from some people is an utter disgrace and somewhat let’s the side down.
Most people will immediately see the chronic social error of taking a dump in the middle of their neighbour’s living room, but utterly fail to see that behaviour like we have seen recently on RD.net, at the mere announcement that change was imminent, is a virtual equivalent.
The prevailing internet notion that you have a right to do what you like, when you like and where and to whom you like leaves a lot of people utterly failing to grasp that RD.net is Richard’s house, his space, his property and that if it were Richard’s fine Oxford residence and these angered people came in and crapped on the floor-boards, sprayed graffiti on the walls and abused the gracious host upon being told he was going to rearrange the furniture … Well. Being shown the door would be the least of their worries.
As I sit here, munching on my very delicious ‘flying hawian’ baked spud, I can hear what sounds suspiciously like the v8s charge round Albert Park Raceway.
Yes it’s that time of year again where non- petrol heads bemoan the cost to the taxpayer and those of a more race enthused nature bask in the glory that is F1.
They have spent the last month converting the normally placid Albert Park in to a world leading race track. And I live and work not 3 mins away from it.
Tomorrow I begin a three day stint of motoring hedonism that will culminate in the only Australian Gig for those aging but clasic megga rockers ‘The WHO’.
It’s gonna be a good weekend.
Also dont forget earth hour this weekend… for Melbourne it’s Sat evening 8:30pm to 9:30 pm… Buy some candles, bottles of wine and go sit on your patio-drive ways with your neighbours and shut off all electrical lights and all unessential electronic appliances….
What is the world coming to?
I just edited an entry on Wikipedia. Admittedly it was because an interesting fact had been omitted from the article, but surely that is beside the point. Am I really that kind of person??
Ok so it is a subject I am rather well versed on, and the Black Morris is an extremely important idea that the phrasing ‘the Autumn Morris Dance’ simply does not convey.
Though, I was reading through the entries on the massive (yet shockingly incomplete) list of characters that inhabit the world that rides through the cosmos supported on the backs of the cosmic Elephants – Berilia, Tubul, Jerakeen and the Great T’Phon – who in turn are carried by the star turtle, Great A’Tuin, and realised that I know these people.
And I don’t mean I know their analogues in this world, but I know them.
It surely is the greatest gift of Terry Pratchett that he has given us this entire complete (but never finished) living world. Full of people of all species, and vitality, who actually exist. Who you know so well, you just know how they are going to react given each situation. I swear I can hear and see Mistress Weatherwax sniff in her haughty way when she doesn’t approve of something.
He himself once said that he couldn’t see how much more he could get from this world he had created. Then, in 1993, someone made a map of Ankh-Morpork. (something Terry said couldn’t be done) Terry realised that rather than being a random thing, made up from fractions of narrative necessity, he had somehow traced the shape of an entity as real as any earth bound city.
From this realisation he discovered that his worries that pinning his world to the page in the fixed and definite form of a map would limit his options and stifle creativity were greatly mistaken. The world was revealed in it’s true connected and fully realised glory. It is entirely possible to take a mental pub crawl through the city, visiting all the notorious and hidden drinking places ending up at either the Curry Gardens or Gimlet’s.
There really should be an online version of the map that is revised and up dated as we learn more.
Alas and alak, the old wound flares once again. Fills my empty heart with sorrow, loss and unbearable love. I am dreaming of my long unrequited love again. For years I though my self free of such unquestioning devotion: I guess I will never be free of this. Am I doomed to forever be enslaved to this love? This complete and unquestioning, honest and loyal love?
Damn my wretched heart that It remains truthful to my pledge to give my heart but to one woman for ever. I miss her. I miss her company, her laugh, simply holding hands on the way back from the center of town, the welcoming embrace of friendship: never to be anything more.
Even half a world away I love her still and it seems there is nothing I can do to change this. I would be free of this if I could.
My darling I love you, I always have and always will. I know you do not echo my feelings but I simply can’t help my self.
Yours forever in love
I love you.
I got a new game for my PS3. It’s called Buzz TV. It’s a Quiz show game. The neat feature is that you can create your own content… Neat
I’ve been hammering out a few Quizzes on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
Everyone should boycott the Olympics.
China do not deserve this festival of openness and inclusion through competition. Their appalling human rights record. The recent crackdowns that are a direct result of a purging of dissent ahead of the games, the stupid bans on banners, t-shirts and other methods of protest. All of these and more are grounds enough to suspect that they do not hold to the ideals of the organization they are hosting this year.
In going to their Olympics, we give tacit approval of them and their regime. We shouldn’t
On a slightly brighter note the BBC have done a really cool animation, created by the driving forces behind Gorillaz, showcasing the BBC’s Olympic mascot.. It’s seriously cool but such a waste to throw such work after such a flawed event.
In case you have missed it, recently there was a story recently that focused on Catholic outrage (a word more normally associated with those lovely friends of the prophet) caused when a Guy called Webster Cook smuggled a Eucharist (a small bread wafer) out of mass rather than eating it as he was supposed to.
The Catholic community have simply gone nuts over this calling it a ‘hate crime’ and even calling it a ‘hostage situation’.
I’m not kidding.
Mr Cook has received death threats, and so has Dr PZ Myers who commented on this story on his blog (Phayngula)
No matter how you look at this, the story is just plain crazy.
Either they really are upset over the theft of a small wafer OR, if you really believe the ‘miracle’ of the Eucharist, they are upset because Mr Cook refused to perform a sanctioned ritual act of cannibalism and then had the gall to run away with the sacrificial victim!! And the Catholics accuse Mr Cook of desecrating the body of Christ!!
They want us to be tolerant of this utter stupidity.
Sorry, but Fuck right off.
Ridiculous beliefs, no matter how strongly held, deserved to be ridiculed. And it doesn’t matter how many people hold that belief, it doesn’t make it true and most certainly doesn’t diminish the amount of ridicule it deserves.
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