[quote author=“Barry”]A couple comments re the last two postings.
Thomas works for DJ, so their responses will be the same.
I know (from other CFI staff) that NO CFI staff has the authorty to ban anyone from these forums. THAT power belongs ONLY to volunteers like Doug Smith. DJ’s posting here, threatening banishment, was against the rules of these forums, for such authority is not invested in him.
Doug may have acted alone on this (and he has that right, even if some of us think that action in this case is morally and ethically dubious and is a breach from the mission of CFI as a free thinking organization), or he may have gotten agreement from all the vounteers which would seem at least to be a bit democratic, or he might have been prompted by DJ or Thomas who ought to stay out of such decisions. But we don’t yet know WHO did this because there seems to be no public disclosure as Paul suggests their ought to be.
All: Hello from the Pittsburgh airport, where I am on a delay. It sure doesnt feel like 5:40 AM. ‘:o’
Fully aware that the following comments will only inflame some of the more contentious members of the forums, I want to make just a couple points of clarification, so that well-meaning people dont spend weeks arguing over inaccuracies:
1. Selected staff at CFI do have the authority to ban forum participants, but I have tried to limit the amount of work-time invested by CFI staff on the forums (as part of their job description, since they have so much other stuff to do). We’re doing this by trying to give some of the authority over to volunteer moderators, such as Doug Smith, who has himself been such an understanding unpaid member of this community, even as he has conveyed how frustrated the last week of rancor on the forums have been to him personally. Of course, CFI staff can be as involved as they want in the forums on their down-time, as long as they (and everone else) keeps generally within the purview of the forums.
2. Barry Karr (my boss) and others at CFI agreed that the offending poster should be banned, for the reasons reiterated numerous times to him both privately and on the forums in various threads. Not because the issue was too taboo, but because it was outside the mission of the forums. And for all the other reasons listed numerous times. He was given multiple warnings. After his insistence a number of times to talk about the topic deemed outside the purview of the forums, and then his calling for the firing of CFI staff, I relented to Doug and he was banned.
3. The decision was Doug Smith’s, although I encouraged him to give a couple other chances to the offending poster, hoping it wouldnt come to the point of someone being banned, which is a worst case scenario in my opinion. In retrospect, and after talking with Doug (who is currently traveling on vacation even as he is involved with this hubbub!), I now believe this was my mistake. I should have followed Doug’s lead originally and let him ban the offending poster after repeated warnings. Not doing so appears only to have exacerbated the whole issue, and given energy to the tempest in the teapot.
4. This issue is not about free expression. There are many forums to freely express and discuss one’s sexual activity with one’s son. I have decided and other management at CFI have agreed that CFI’s forums are not one of them.
5. To the couple of people who feel motivated to use CFI’s forums almost exclusively to criticize CFI for not being socialist enough, or to almost exclusively criticize CFI for not allowing a protracted discussion of a man’s sexual activities with his son on its forums, I want to encourage you to soften a bit and realize that CFI’s forums serve primarily a mission of outreach on CFI’s issues. They are not set up to primarily focus on an exploration of specific sexual ethics or criticism of CFI (in my opinion, there are other more effective ways of doing these things). In my opinion, being hard-hearted about these issues is inconsistent with our shared humanist values.
Because of limits on our time and human resources, this will be the last comment on this subject officially from CFI, although I predict that this will continue to be seemingly the central issue of concern for a couple CFI discussion forum particpants who can devise of nothing else to focus on. May I invite people to enjoy conversation about other issues of more import to organized skepticism and humanism and CFI’s public education mission.