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CFI applying censorship and restricting freedom of speech?
Posted: 30 March 2007 01:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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[quote author=“Paul”]the above is a model for how this should be done

Should be done? I think it is a model for how it can be done; I was never a big a fan of the word “should”.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 06:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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[quote author=“George Benedik”][quote author=“Paul”]the above is a model for how this should be done

Should be done? I think it is a model for how it can be done; I was never a big a fan of the word “should”.

I agree that the IIDB is a great place for such discussion which is outside the purview of CFI’s discussion forums. IIDB is a great model for such an online community, even if it has a somewhat different mission than CFI’s discussion forums do. IIDB moderators and administrators regularly remove topics, and suspend and ban users for breaking their rules, which can be found at http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=79154 In the history of CFI’s discussion forums, we banned/suspended one user, compared to the much much larger number at other such forums. The user was banned because he persisted in discussing a topic deemed outside the purview of these forums, and then because he was openly hostile to Moderator’s decisions, and then called for the firing of CFI staff. These actions, not only off topic to the original thread, were considered disruptive.

Especially noteworthy about IIDB is their rule regarding discussing and debating Moderators banning threads and topics:  “Users may disagree with the decisions or actions of the Moderators and/or Administrators, but disagreements, criticism and the like are not to be aired within the discussion topics.”

The CFI Discussion Forums are going to be revamped when CFI’s new network of sites is rolled out in the coming weeks. Expect more detailed rules and guidelines to be rolled out then as well, so we may avoid such protracted—and in my opinion unproductive—debate about whether or not CFI should decide some topics are outside the purview of its discussion forums or ban a user for being what was considered disruptive.

Regards, D.J.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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[quote author=“Paul”]

Note to DJ:  Glad to hear you’re planning to tighten up the rules on ‘unproductive’ discussions.  Presumably, many thought that the publication of the Danish cartoons was unproductive of anything but riot and anger.  But, then again, you’re ‘in charge’ and can decide to ‘circle the wagons’ if you so choose.

Paul

Paul: I’ll bet you a round of drinks that you are being insincere when you say you’re glad CFI’s going to make its guidelines for its forum clearer.

We’ll model our more extended set of rules on other similar forums. I agree with you that IIDB is a good expample. You can read their rules here—http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=79154  While not entirely applicable to CFI’s discussion forums, a similar set of rules would have limited much of the current rancor and ill-will, first, by greatly limiting the current discussion deemed outside the purview of CFI’s discussion fourms, and secondly, by limiting the hostile and disruptive criticism of the volunteer administrators and moderators, CFI and CFI staff.

And while I’m not in charge of the forums, I do have an interest in seeing them used to advance CFI’s organizational and educational goals. Volunteer Administrators and Moderators, not CFI paid staff, are the ones who have taken the primary responsibility of helping the forums run smoothly so as to create both an online community for secular humanists and skeptics and a place for civil discourse where important topics of concern to CFI and its supporters and others interested people can be explored, and friendships forged.

Thank you for trying so hard to be part of that process. I think with clearer rules such as the other discussion forums have, you may find it easier to participate constructively.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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[quote author=“Paul”]Presumably, you have no moral obligations at all? (Those are among the actions that ‘should’ be done.)

According to Marc Hauser the moral grammar functions in the same way as Chomsky’s universal grammar.

I am born with the morals and need not to worry about would I should or should not do when it comes to moral behaviour. The fact that I don’t kill (for example) doesn’t make me good, it makes me merely lucky.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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I find DJ’s responses… interesting.  Of course we can talk about rules, but those can be rules to encourage constructive discussion or rules to control what sort of topics are discussed - based on ideology and not on clear reasoning (there are ‘off topic’ threads provided at CFI for talks about cars or movie stars, afterall… as long as they are civil.)  The former - which it seems is what Internet Infidels employ - is certainly a good idea.  And I DO think Paul would be in agreement here (no drinking bets needed LOL  ). 

The latter, however, will most likely be snuck into the wording of the “rules” (and I suggest David Koepsell - a lawyer - check them out for this before they are implemented), so that CFI can control the very definition of humanism, and so the message itself - sort of what George Lakoff explains that the Right does with mainstream media - framing. 

As we all can see, DJ repeats in his post that it was the topic which was ‘not taboo’ (his words), but still outside the mission of CFI ... Which is to say outside of humanism or any other topic here, which is to say TABOO to these forums. 

What amazes me here more than DJ’s ‘from on high’ decision making on what is or is not outside of humanism, is that he exclaims that the topic is perfectly OK for Internet Infidels!  The Infidels are freethinkers and atheists and perhaps skeptics.  To be honest, I am not so sure how Fazyal’s topic has much to do with atheism, the paranormal, pseudoscience or even Freethought (outside free speech issues).  Yet they have seen it fit to allow a civil debate on an issue which is clearly outside their purview! 

What makes this debate fall WITHIN the purview of CFI is that element of CFI which is different from the Infidels… Humanism!  It is humanism which justifies and calls for such a debate and not atheism, skepticism or general Freethought, so it is the CFI/CSH forums where this topic is most relevant. 

Am I wrong?  Perhaps.  If I have the wrong idea of humanism.  But perhaps DJ can help us understand this if he’d agree to the ETFF radio discussion which thus far will include Paul, Galaga, Brennen & Fayzal.  But I might bet some drinks (if I drank, that is), that DJ will not feel he has to defend his ideas regarding this to the public outside of CFI circles.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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Neither CFI nor CSH can control “the very definition of humanism,” nor would either want to. There are many definitions of humanism, just as there are of religion, and everything else. Some are broader, some more narrow. What fits in CFI’s Discussion Forums has much less to do with a particular definition of humanism, and more to do with the forum’s aims.

IIDB’s mission is different than CFI’s and each’s forums have different missions. Still, IIDB’s rules serve as a great model, and I encourage everyone to take a look at them if you are interested in this tempest in a teapot.

Since this thread has long ago become an instance of beating a decomposing horse, let me point people to the earlier parts of this thread that discuss this forum’s mission and why the particular thread focusing on a man’s argued right (and he argues even his moral obligation) to masturbate his son was deemed outside the forum’s purview. The issue has never been about this discussion falling ouside of CFI’s mission, but of it falling outside the mission of CFI’s discussion forums, which are related but distinct. Again, check out the stated objectives of the forum. Even CFI’s mission, as interpreted by CFI principals and staff, don’t include an obligation to engage in long heated discussion of a man’s sexual activities with his son, for whatever reasons he gives, nor an obligation to provide a space for such debates. In addition, there were other reasons given for the thread’s deletion, such as potential legal considerations, and others reasons.

I know that almost nothing will satisfy a couple people here more than to put CFI on trial or to have a protracted debate wherein CFI or its moderators have to defend their decisions to firstly, remove a post deemed to not fit on these forums, and to secondly, to ban a user for behaving in what was felt to be a disruptive manner by volunteer moderators. (See #1 in the posting on etiquette: “1) Although vigorous, even passionate, debate is encouraged on even the most sensitive of topics, members should observe a civil tone while on the Forum. Uncivil posts or threads are subject to deletion, and members who are persistently uncivil, disruptive or harassing are subject to termination.”)

But, clearly, such a trial of CFI or its moderators doesnt serve the stated purposes of this forum, which are to discuss “issues of fringe- and pseudoscience, alternative medicine, superstition, religion, secularism, humanism and other issues of science, society and politics. “

Lastly, regarding devoting an episode of your radio show to a discussion disparaging CFI’s decision to remove a post about a man’s sexual activity with his son, and to topics concerning your disagreements with CSH’s definition of secular humanism: this seems to me to be a perfect example of “majoring in the minors.” There are big issues CFI and its supporters face as they work to advance the scientific outlook in our society, contra the reigning myhtologies that are so rampant. If we continue to turn inwardly, talking only to ourselves, and we continue debating only these insular questions, we risk continuing never getting anywhere as a movement.

To be a movement that has measurable positive impact in our society providing secular alternatives based upon the scientific outlook and our shared humanist values, we will need to begin showing some of the discipline shown by our cultural competitors, with whom we disagree philosophically and most of the time, strategically.
Can you imagine a religious or neo-con radio show, which is executive produced by a former employee of an evangelical organization or conservative think tank, being broadcast when it was devoted to criticizing the organization’s decisions to remove a certain discussion or ban a certain user on one of its online discussion forums or to debate the right definition of “Christian” or “neo-con”? I can’t, and I pride myself on my imagination.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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DJ:

The issue has never been about this discussion falling outside of CFI’s mission, but of it falling outside the mission of CFI’s discussion forums, which are related but distinct.

I am not sure I understand this.  You are saying that CFI’s mission (which includes CSH’s re the humanist movement), are related but distinct from the mission of the CFI Forums… Yet later you go on to say that the “stated purposes of this forum ... are to discuss ‘issues of fringe- and pseudoscience, alternative medicine, superstition, religion, secularism, humanism and other issues of science, society and politics.’  It seems to me that CFI and the CFI Forums are indeed about the same things, and there is no such distinction. 

And, this topic falls under humanism and social science so therefore it IS included vis a vis the “stated purposes of this forum.” 

What am I missing?


DJ:

Even CFI’s mission, as interpreted by CFI principals and staff, don’t include an obligation to engage in long heated discussion of a man’s sexual activities with his son, for whatever reasons he gives, nor an obligation to provide a space for such debates.

Well, CFI’s mission - one of freethinking and ‘inquiry into ALL area’s of human endeavor,’ not to mention its obligation to humanism - ought to include an obligation to discussions (“long”, “heated” or not is irrelevant so as long as it is civil), about human sexuality and other “sins of the flesh” as our cultural competitors would put it.  Your framing of this as “a man’s sexual activities with his son” or of “a man having sex with his son” is again where I refer to what Lakoff has suggested ... MISframming the real issues to control the discussion. 

No, CFI is not ‘obligated to provide a space’ for ANY debate it does not want to, or even to HAVE forums like this, but that is an entirely different matter.

DJ

In addition, there were other reasons given for the thread’s deletion, such as potential legal considerations, and others reasons.

No lawyers were consulted, so the legal considerations were baseless and irrelevant guess work.  No other legitimate reasons were given beyond matters of taste.
DJ:

from rules “Uncivil posts or threads are subject to deletion, and members who are persistently uncivil, disruptive or harassing are subject to termination”

No one was uncivil here, and you cannot describe the thread as disruptive in such a way re Fayzal’s posts or re those of us questioning the deletion of his post or the banning of his participation on these forums.  However, one can say that the reactions and actions of you, Smith and CFI made this thread disruptive (cause and effect).  As Paul as pointed out, had there been no deletion or banning, or had their been a legitimate reason why the CFI forums and ‘mission’ were being breached by Fayzal’s posts - in other words, had CFI et al saw this topic as the Internet Infidels see it, a legitimate Freethought (or humanistic) discussion, which it is - then the forums would not have been disruptive whatsoever (unless anyone did eventually become uncivil over the normal course of the thread/debate.)

As for harassment, that came from you and Smith, and not Fayzal ... And it is understandable why he may have called for the “firing” of harassing staff at CFI, as that staff - you - were calling him a pervert and a criminal by misframming the issue!  Quit blaming the victim.
DJ:

Lastly, regarding devoting an episode of your radio show to a discussion disparaging CFI’s decision to remove a post about a man’s sexual activity with his son, and to topics concerning your disagreements with CSH’s definition of secular humanism: this seems to me to be a perfect example of “majoring in the minors.”

The discussion would not focus on CFI’s decision per say (though Fayzal would be free to mention it as the catalyst for the actual discussion on the radio), but instead about what constitutes humanism and Freethought so the public can decide for themselves if such a topic would qualify in such a discussion.  It seems important to address this issue because it seems to go to the core of the difference between naturalistic humanism and puritan religious morality.

DJ:

To be a movement that has measurable positive impact in our society providing secular alternatives based upon the scientific outlook and our shared humanist values, we will need to begin showing some of the discipline shown by our cultural competitors, with whom we disagree philosophically and most of the time, strategically.

Discipline should and ought not ever mean we compromise humanist principles to ‘all get along.’  The Left in general has this same problem of not being a monolith or “all staying on message,” and it is true that the Right tends to speak in one voice; but that is because the Right does not care about nuance, details, morals or intellectual rigor, but instead about dominating the discussion and the social landscape. 

I think humanisms’ advantage is that we are willing to wrangle amongst ourselves on the important moral and ethical issues of our times.  What you see as our fault is really our strength.  This is why the capitalistic ‘branding’ of CFI is a major mistake; it neuters humanistic debate which goes beyond the CFI god’s definition of humanism or Freethought.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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[quote author=“Barry”]Well, CFI’s mission - one of freethinking and ‘inquiry into ALL area’s of human endeavor,’ not to mention its obligation to humanism - ought to include an obligation to discussions (“long”, “heated” or not is irrelevant so as long as it is civil), about human sexuality and other “sins of the flesh” as our cultural competitors would put it.

Human sexuality and sexual ethics are important topics addressed often through various CFI channels. However, not all topics within these fields fit on these forums. Administrators and moderators decided this particular discussion about a man’s sexual activities with his son was outside the forum’s purview, and clearly, you disagree. But as the moderators predicted, more than merely disagreeing with the moderators’ decision, you insist on trying to put CFI on trial or to have a protracted debate wherein CFI or its moderators have to defend their decisions to remove a post deemed to not fit on these forums, and to later, ban a user for behaving in what was felt to be a disruptive manner. Much of this is likely our own fault, by allowing such a protracted discussion to continue. It seems unlikely that it will lose steam on its own with such vociferous interlocutors as you and others here, and with people like me giving into the temptation to respond to each escalation.

[quote author=“DJ”]In addition, there were other reasons given for the thread’s deletion, such as potential legal considerations, and others reasons.

[quote author=“Barry”]No lawyers were consulted, so the legal considerations were baseless and irrelevant guess work.  No other legitimate reasons were given beyond matters of taste.

No lawyers need to be consulted before a decision is made to remove a post for potential legal considerations. Surely you are not saying CFI should pay a lawyer to examine user posts on its discussion forums. The forums are relatively low on the list of things for executives and staff at CFI to focus on, even as important as they are for our goal of creating an online community of like-minded people, forging friendships by discussing some of the big questions of the day from a secular, skeptical, scientific and humanist perspective.
[quote author=“DJ”](quoting from the forum rules) “Uncivil posts or threads are subject to deletion, and members who are persistently uncivil, disruptive or harassing are subject to termination”

[quote author=“Barry”]No one was uncivil here, and you cannot describe the thread as disruptive in such a way re Fayzal’s posts or re those of us questioning the deletion of his post or the banning of his participation on these forums. 

In my opinion, your obsession with this issue, and the impressively hostile reaction by one or two people on the forums to CFI’s decisions regarding the post and, especially, the user’s calling for CFI to fire staff, have been disruptive. This is a judgement call, but actually is not my judgement call, but the decision of the forum moderators. But as with all other ideas explored in this very long discussion, whether or not the discussion and reactions to it have been disruptive has been discussed itself as a topic many many times already. Some people seem to enjoy covering the same ground again and again and again. For instance, rather than talking about how best to advance humanism, or topics related to skepticism and science, more attention has been given to the topic of CFI removing a topic about a mans sexual activity with his son than any other recent topic.

[quote author=“Barry”]However, one can say that the reactions and actions of you, Smith and CFI made this thread disruptive (cause and effect).  As Paul as pointed out, had there been no deletion or banning, or had their been a legitimate reason why the CFI forums and ‘mission’ were being breached by Fayzal’s posts - in other words, had CFI et al saw this topic as the Internet Infidels see it, a legitimate Freethought (or humanistic) discussion, which it is - then the forums would not have been disruptive whatsoever (unless anyone did eventually become uncivil over the normal course of the thread/debate.)

This seems to suggest that only by not banning or removing threads, can forum participants not be disruptive. Or that if a moderator makes a decision that you or others disagree with and the thread therefore become disruptive, that it is the moderator’s fault. Check out other forums, including IIDB, and see how very firm they are about not even allowing any discussion, much less a long and heated debate, about moderator decisions. I invite you to get as involved in those boards as you are here. I’ll bet you a round of drinks you yourself would be banned there long before you would be banned here.

[quote author=“Barry”] As for harassment, that came from you and Smith, and not Fayzal ... And it is understandable why he may have called for the “firing” of harassing staff at CFI, as that staff - you - were calling him a pervert and a criminal by misframming the issue!  Quit blaming the victim.

I never called him a pervert nor a criminal. Even if others think your saying so here is itself disruptive, I’ll assume you are misremembering rather than deliberately mischaracterizing the discussion for personally motivated reasons.

[quote author=“DJ”] Lastly, regarding devoting an episode of your radio show to a discussion disparaging CFI’s decision to remove a post about a man’s sexual activity with his son, and to topics concerning your disagreements with CSH’s definition of secular humanism: this seems to me to be a perfect example of “majoring in the minors.” . . . . To be a movement that has measurable positive impact in our society providing secular alternatives based upon the scientific outlook and our shared humanist values, we will need to begin showing some of the discipline shown by our cultural competitors, with whom we disagree philosophically and most of the time, strategically.

[quote author=“Barry”] Discipline should and ought not ever mean we compromise humanist principles to ‘all get along.’ 

Agreed.

[quote author=“Barry”]The Left in general has this same problem of not being a monolith or “all staying on message,” and it is true that the Right tends to speak in one voice; but that is because the Right does not care about nuance, details, morals or intellectual rigor, but instead about dominating the discussion and the social landscape.

Agreed.

[quote author=“Barry”]I think humanisms’ advantage is that we are willing to wrangle amongst ourselves on the important moral and ethical issues of our times. 

Agreed.

[quote author=“Barry”]What you see as our fault is really our strength.  This is why the capitalistic ‘branding’ of CFI is a major mistake; it neuters humanistic debate which goes beyond the CFI god’s definition of humanism or Freethought.

On the contrary, I also agree that our ability to grapple with the central ethical and metaphysical questions of our time is a strength of the movement. But it is not our only strength. We need to begin to show discipline as the Democratic Party has begun to do lately, and as the Right has for nearly four decades, and not be so fractious, divided, and petty. If we can agree on some larger goals and work together to advance them, then we should be willing to work with right-libertarian humanists and leftist-anarchist libertarians and any and all others who share our humanist values.

It is when one of us holds up our singular view as Dogma or The Only Way, as I believe you do regarding your endless debates about who is and who does not qualify as a humanist, that we lessen our ability to have real impact.

Further, to incessantly rail against a leading humanist organization as being actually anti-humanist for removing a post about a man’s arguments for his sexual activities with his son, or to incessantly harp and criticize a leading humanist organization for suspending or banning a user on its discussion forums whom it (its forum’s moderators) decided was disruptive—well, both of these things seem completely counterproductive and reflects one of the chief challenges the movement faces: constant in-fighting and pettiness.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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I would like to discuss how best to advance Humanism, DJ, but not in this thread.  No insult intended to anyone, but a new thread to discuss how best to advance Humanism seems best.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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I’ve been watching this for far too long. It is time to shut this thread down and get on with the discussion of subjects that will advance CFI’s many missions or add to the wealth of knowledge in many interesting and worthwhile subject areas.
This is simply hashing and rehashing the same complaints over and over again. There is no reason to occupy DJ with the defense of CFI when he has much more to do that is not getting done while this occupies his time.

So everyone say whatever you have to say between now and 7PM EDT March 31st, 2007 when I will lock this thread. No further post will be permitted.
Jim

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Posted: 30 March 2007 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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DJ:

Human sexuality and sexual ethics are important topics addressed often through various CFI channels. However, not all topics within these fields fit on these forums.

Why or why not?

DJ:

Administrators and moderators decided this particular discussion about a man’s sexual activities with his son was outside the forum’s purview, and clearly, you disagree.

As do a few others.  What is the reason THIS discussion is outside the forum’s purview?

DJ:

But as the moderators predicted, more than merely disagreeing with the moderators’ decision, you insist on trying to put CFI on trial or to have a protracted debate wherein CFI or its moderators have to defend their decisions to remove a post deemed to not fit on these forums, and to later, ban a user for behaving in what was felt to be a disruptive manner.

This is more MIS-frames.  Saying the moderators “predicted” in this sentence is implying that folks who disagree with what occurred are somehow not wont to “leave well enough alone.” 

That is insulting and quieting. 

Let’s not get away from the facts because this dialogue has gone on for some time.  Fayzal posted what NO ONE thus far has made a satisfactory argument for as a topic outside of the mission of CFI, the purpose of these forums, nor humanism itself.  He tried to find out why on the forum and was given the run around and vague, meaningless responses when he was actually addressed.  He asked for a more reasonable response as to why his topic is not one for these forums, and neither he nor anyone has received any - even in your last post - but that it was just the opinion of a few CFI staff or moderators.  Arbitrary and unsatisfactory for a Freethought, reason-based organization, I would say. 

CFI did not have to DEFEND these decisions - this is not a court of law though you like to pretend this is some sort of trial - just offer good reasons.  All of us would accept a good reason which lead to the deletion of the topic and/or the banning of the participant, but no such reason has come forward. 

If we all are persistant here, it is because we hold CFI to its mission and take humanism seriously - or else would not be here - and the responses thus far from Smith, Thomas and yourself are not becoming of such an organization.  Indeed, they are more becoming of a conservative, big brother, religious styled organization which censors conversation and excommunicates people with no good cause beyond “we felt it was not a topic concerning humanists or members (loosely used here) of CFI.”

Again, the disruption - if there really has been any - and the length of this thread is due to the postings by Smith, Thomas and yourself, and not anyone else (no matter what any of us think about the topic itself or how to address it).

DJ:

Much of this is likely our own fault, by allowing such a protracted discussion to continue.

Allowing?  Gestapo measures ought to have taken place?  You did not censor folks soon enough?  You did not ban all of us who wish to get to the bottom of this?  You did not shut down this tread soon enough? Hmmm.

DJ:

It seems unlikely that it will lose steam on its own with such vociferous interlocutors as you and others here, and with people like me giving into the temptation to respond to each escalation. 

The energy has been supplied to this not by your lack of further censorship, but by your lack of offering a good reason as to why this topic is outside the mission of CFI or humanism.  If you offered one, we’d be gone and onto the many other threads at least I have posted on (and still do).  You made the bed and don’t like that we are lying in it. 

And why are we so engaged in this topic?  Because what has happened here (and not Fayzal subject matter by itself) underlies how seriously we can all take CFI at its mission claim across the board and in all other topics, as well as how it chooses to define humanism and what is or is not taboo to discuss re humanism with CFI’s blessing on such forums. 

All this goes very far to show just what CFI (or some of its staff) are really all about.  For those of us who care very much about Freethought and humanism, this is very disturbing, indeed. 

And let me remind folks that NOT all staff (including staff high up in the hierarchy) at CFI agree with DJ on this topic, so this is not really a CFI or CSH problem in the long run, but a CFI staffing problem.
DJ:

Surely you are not saying CFI should pay a lawyer to examine user posts on its discussion forums. 

Um, no.  But your Exec. Dir. of CSH IS a lawyer to be consulted for free; and while he agrees that as owners of these forums, CFI can pretty much legally do as it pleases, that is not what Freethought and humanism are about.  I believe David agrees that this topic was in no way outside the mission of CFI or outside of humanism.  Apparently, the non-humanist Internet Infidels - regardless of their own forum rules - understand Freethought and humanism better than some at CFI.
DJ:

Some people seem to enjoy covering the same ground again and again and again.

No.  We question bogus respondes to important questions regarding censorship and banishment - again and again - in the hopes that we will get a response respectful of the mission of CFI and of humanist inquiry.

DJ:

For instance, rather than talking about how best to advance humanism, or topics related to skepticism and science, more attention has been given to the topic of CFI removing a topic about a mans sexual activity with his son than any other recent topic.

1) As I have participated in many forums for long interview, this is just a silly remark.

2) More importantly, how can we advance humanism if discussion within humanist circles and humanism itself are centered, and humanistic participant are banished from humanist discussions.  Just what sort of humanism are you hoping to advance?  The kind we found married to the CFI/Mossad conference in Florida? 
DJ:

This seems to suggest that only by not banning or removing threads, can forum participants not be disruptive. Or that if a moderator makes a decision that you or others disagree with and the thread therefore become disruptive, that it is the moderator’s fault.

Blame is not what anyone is after.  Disruptive threads are not what anyone is after either.  You are calling this thread disruptive because your attempts at stopping the discussion has not worked. And your attempts have not worked because they are weak and meaningless attempts.  We all expect more from someone in your position.  As Paul has said, you are smarter than your responses to this issue have indicated. 

Also, none of us have a problem with deletions or banishment’s if they are properly explained and are reasonable.  This case is neither.  But it is the first deletion and banishment, according to you, so mistakes are bound to be made.  Unlike GW Bush, own up to them.

DJ:

I never called him a pervert nor a criminal.

Your comments about what his post was about implied the above…. And you know that, so let’s not play with semantics here.

DJ:

If we can agree on some larger goals and work together to advance them, then we should be willing to work with right-libertarian humanists and leftist-anarchist libertarians and any and all others who share our humanist values.

We do have to work with folks who are not humanists, or not even atheists, toward some of our goals.  I agree.  But we cannot dilute what we are about while doing so.  Case in point, there is no such thing as a right-libertarian humanist, only a right-libertarian atheist.
DJ:

Further, to incessantly rail against a leading humanist organization as being actually anti-humanist…

If the shoe fits…

Jim: Locking this thread would go further to prove Paul and I and others are correct, that critiques of sacred persons or organzations are not allowed, and will be instead seen as attacks that need defending.  Be a humanist and allow free thought.

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Barry F. Seidman
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Posted: 30 March 2007 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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[quote author=“jimmiekeyes”] 7PM EDT March 31st, 2007 when I will lock this thread. No further post will be permitted.
Jim

Et tu, Brute? :cry:

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Posted: 30 March 2007 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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[quote author=“Barry”]CFI did not have to DEFEND these decisions - this is not a court of law though you like to pretend this is some sort of trial - just offer good reasons.  All of us would accept a good reason which lead to the deletion of the topic and/or the banning of the participant, but no such reason has come forward. 

Barry: Moderators gave what—with the exception of possibly three forum members—have been accepted as multiple good reasons for the deletion of the post about the man and his sexual activity with his son and also have given their justifications for the banning of a particular forum member for persisting in being disruptive after his original post was deleted. This has been done many many times. (Not that they needed to—check the policies of similar forums such as IIDB about publicly debating moderators’ decisions on their forums, policies set up to avoid protracted and rancorous debates like this current one here.)

Barry, I understand that you disagree with the reasons given, and I just wish that you would accept that you disagree and move on. Persisting in your attacks of CFI for its forum’s moderators’ decisions, and your insults of CFI staff are probably going to be considered disruptive by many here, including the moderators. Check out the rules on other similar forums (such as IIDB or Randi’s) and see how lax it has been here comparatively.

Lastly, let me encourage everyone to follow the rules of this forum regarding civil discussion: “Although vigorous, even passionate, debate is encouraged on even the most sensitive of topics, members should observe a civil tone while on the Forum. Uncivil posts or threads are subject to deletion, and members who are persistently uncivil, disruptive or harassing are subject to termination.”

My bet is that the most recent behavior of some users may be considered disruptive and not to be conducive to the aims of this forum, and could get their posts deleted, or even get them banned. If you do get something out of the back-and-forths, follow the rules about keeping a civil tone. Take the attacks and vitriol down a notch or ten. Being civil and good-natured even while disagreeing is the best way to achieve our goals of having great conversation and of forming friendships—an online community— with people of like-mind who share our values (other humanists, skeptics, science-advocates, etc.)

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"Few have the courage of their convictions. Fewer still have the courage for an attack on their convictions." - Nietzsche

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Posted: 31 March 2007 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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Paul: We’ve all had experiences with people who are uncivil even though they didnt use uncivil language. Refraining from uncivil language is a necessary but I’d say not a sufficient quality of keeping a civil tone. We’d hope that people involved in these discussions here would be able to be civil both in the letter of the law and in the spirit of the law, to allude to my second favorite book smile  This obviously means not dropping the f-bomb on people, not telling forum moderators to f-off.

I certainly hope that by CFI’s moderating a particular discussion, as is done on countless other humanist and skeptic discussion forums (and forums on wine, magic, origami, and every other topic under the sun) that no one has been shown with contempt by CFI. Possibly you havent had much experience with online discussion boards, which tend to be moderated in a much stricter way than here on CFI’s discussion forums, for the purpose of encouraging fruitful discussions in keeping with the missions of the various forums. For instance, on a particular private magician’s online forum I’m part of, the moderators refuse to allow, even now 30 years after the initial pitched battles, much discussion of James Randi and his public education efforts debunking magician/psychic Uri Geller. Is this because the topic is unrelated to magic? No, I think it is because the discussions more often than not devolve into personal attacks and wheel-spinning, with heights of emotion that are normally only reached in big religious rows. Not all magicians on the forum agree with the decision to not allow such discussions, but it was made so as to avoid countless “flame wars” about the issue, which have occurred incessantly since this particular magician’s forum began. Possibly you feel that the simple act of moderating a discussion is contemptable, or showing contempt. If so, we’ll just have to disagree on that. For some thinking on the subject, check out  

We prize discussion and debate of the big controversial questions at CFI (something of a raison d’etre) but nonetheless, our moderators felt, rightly or wrongly, that this one discussion about a man’s justifications for his sexual activity with his son was outside the purview of these skeptic and humanist forums for various reasons elaborated on ad nauseum in this thread. The moderators explained the reasons for their decision publicly and privately many times. Later, a decision was made to ban the user for repeated disuptive posts, and this has also been explained and discussed ad nauseum. While not everyone agrees with the moderators’ decisions (I happen to agree, but I understand that intelligent people of good will can disagree on this and many other issues) most members of this community seem to feel that it has been time to move on for quite a while, and to enjoy other subjects for discussion. More than that, I think almost everyone agrees that any disagreement can be expressed with civility and respect for the current participants to this discussion. Despite this, a couple users can seem to think of no issue more weighty, and no issue to rally around (against CFI) more important than the fact that CFI (its forum’s moderators) moderated a discussion on its forums and banned a user.

I respect your decision that because CFI (or a forum moderator) has either removed a post deemed not to fit on these forums, or to have banned a user after repeated warnings for being disruptive, that you feel CFI as an international educational and advocacy organization has been “severely damaged” and no longer merits your support. Of course, I disagree, and only hope that as time goes on you will gain a different perspective on the matter.  Wishing you well,

Regards, D.J.

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"Few have the courage of their convictions. Fewer still have the courage for an attack on their convictions." - Nietzsche

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Posted: 31 March 2007 04:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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[quote author=“jimmiekeyes”]I’ve been watching this for far too long. It is time to shut this thread down and get on with the discussion of subjects that will advance CFI’s many missions or add to the wealth of knowledge in many interesting and worthwhile subject areas.
This is simply hashing and rehashing the same complaints over and over again. There is no reason to occupy DJ with the defense of CFI when he has much more to do that is not getting done while this occupies his time.

So everyone say whatever you have to say between now and 7PM EDT March 31st, 2007 when I will lock this thread. No further post will be permitted.
Jim

[quote author=“DJ Grothe”]most members of this community seem to feel that it has been time to move on for quite a while, and to enjoy other subjects for discussion.

I’m not exactly sure WHAT logical fallacy this all is…straw man? But anyway.  Jimmy, the only reason DJ’s time is occupied is because he chooses to do so. And both of you should know better than to assert that the community can not move on until this thread is closed. The idea that these few people who are quite upset with this unreasoned and unreasonable series of actions are somehow holding everyone up and wasting valuable time and resources of the whole is ridiculous.

It is the epitome of Orwellian.

War Is Peace!
Freedom is Slavery!
Ignorance is Strength!
We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

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