Changes on CFI Forums
Posted: 24 April 2007 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I was away for a few days; on returning something seemed new. Occam, Mriana, and Mackenzievmd (pardon any misspellings, this is from memory) are listed under all forums as moderators and Doug Smith, formerly a moderator, I recall, is now Site Administrator. I looked for an announcement but found none. Was I oblivious before or is this really new? At any rate, the recognition is well deserved by all.

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Posted: 24 April 2007 05:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Acher,

Yup, this is a new arrangement (or should I say New World Order :wink: ?). Doug’s The Principal and we’re the Hall Monitors. I’m not sure if any formal announcement is planned, but I think some new software is coming in the indefinate future, so maybe there will be some discussion about how the site will be managed when that comes around. Anyway, still feeling my way through everything so patience is requested and feedback welcome!

Brennen

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Posted: 24 April 2007 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Basically we’re trying to get the Forum a bit spiffier and more professional. I can’t do all the work here, even if I wanted to ... which I absolutely don’t.

As things stand now, Thomas, DJ, jimmiekeyes and I are Admins. But the first three are pretty busy and will only be around infrequently. So yes, that sort of leaves me as “principal”, FWIW.

We’re really glad to have three very capable people in mckenzievmd, Occam and mriana to help pick up the slack, delete spam and keep discussion on an even keel. This allows some of us to be away on vacation, take a day off, etc., without leaving the forum totally unmoderated.

Things may be a bit top-heavy with Mods and Admins for awhile, but I expect that that problem will take care of itself in due course as we grow membership.

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Posted: 24 April 2007 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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One of the advantages of having too many moderators is that people tend to get burned out if they are constantely responsible for the forum’s well-being.  This way, if any of us decides to take a vacation, actual or from moderating, it doesn’t put a burden on the remaining moderators. 

And it balances well. Mac and Mriana are really nice people, and Doug and I have disgreed in the past so there shouldn’t be much built in bias to the board except for one against people being real jerks or against spammers. 

Occam

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Posted: 24 April 2007 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks Occam.  I think you’re pretty nice yourself.  smile

Yes, have several mods does help in many ways.  Real jerks and spammers are a pain, but I think that is where several mods comes in handy.  We can’t all be on at the same time and if things get out of hand, then hopefully one or two of us are here to help settle things down a little.

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Posted: 24 April 2007 09:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I wonder do any of realize that it may appear unseemly to some, that three of the strong voices in support of CFI and against recent criticism of CFI, are now “promoted” to a level of authority, while those who were critical have been banned?

Nothing personal against any of you, but it is an odd coincidence.

And as to real jerks, you might want to beware of confirmation bias.

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Posted: 25 April 2007 12:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Chris, those who were banned were banned for really egregiously disruptive behavior, of a sort no other forum would have tolerated, and which we will not tolerate here in the future. Indeed, going forward we will tolerate significantly less than we have in the past.

This has nothing to do with criticism of CFI in particular. None of us has anything against constructive criticism of the organization.

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Posted: 25 April 2007 01:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]no other forum would have tolerated,

I don’t believe this is factually true or supportable by any evidence. If I am wrong please show where these other forums have acted with less restraint than has been used here.

Though it is arguably a mute point as CFI is free to do as it pleases. The question is can it then still claim to be a centre for free enquiry…

I am involved in several skeptic/free thinker forums and they all have allowed much more up-front criticism than this. They even allow wacko people of every stripe to continue posting nonsense, and allow forum members to argue. Most even have flame war areas for when things get really nasty…though few ever have gone so far as to be moved. People in those places have been banned after they have become abusive to specific persons and have not heeded several clear public warnings.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]None of us has anything against constructive criticism of the organization.

The rub of course is that it is the same members of the organization who decide (with apparent arbitrariness) what is constructive or destructive.

I thought we’ve always been at war with Eastasia, but you say it was Eurasia all this time? Humph odd that.

At any rate…defending your decision to take action against these people that has little to do with my point. It is just a duck kind of thing. You know if it looks like flies like and quacks like…

It should have feathers, a bill, a verifiable sort of quack to it, webbed feet the usual duckie things and what not. Then you can be pretty sure it is a duck you have there.

Now let us pretend the free thinking movement is a flock of ducks…CFI being just one Mallard in the bunch

The new world order, along with the threat of the impending clamp down appears, rather un-duck-like, particularly in the context of an organization that is calling for free participation (evidenced in the pod casts) and is touting itself as a bastion of free enquiry.

You don’t see the conflicting messages? Cmon Doug.  :wink:

Unless…does the term Canard come into play here at all?  LOL

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Posted: 25 April 2007 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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[quote author=“cgallaga”]I don’t believe this is factually true or supportable by any evidence. If I am wrong please show where these other forums have acted with less restraint than has been used here.

Sorry, I disagree. I am familiar with several forums as well, of all stripes. I’ve been involved with them for years, as have been other Moderators and Admins. To take just one banal example, the IIDB does not allow criticisms of Moderator actions except in a specific “complaints” folder, with very strict guidelines on how they are handled. This is the tack we will be taking in the future.

[quote author=“cgallaga”]They even allow wacko people of every stripe to continue posting nonsense, and allow forum members to argue.

As do we. Plainly. And all the people who have been banned were warned explicitly or, in one case, engaged in clearly abusive personal attacks during an argument in which others had been warned explicitly about such behavior.

All bannings were done by agreement between two Moderator/Admins, as direct result of disruptive behavior on the Forum. Moderators and Admins have the duty to to ban members who are persistently disruptive.

[quote author=“cgallaga”]The new world order, along with the threat of the impending clamp down appears, rather un-duck-like, particularly in the context of an organization that is calling for free participation (evidenced in the pod casts) and is touting itself as a bastion of free enquiry.

Inquiry cannot be truly free if it is abusive. By general consensus this Forum has had recent problems with tone and civility. We will be making extra efforts to improve tone and civility, particularly in dialogues between members.

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Posted: 25 April 2007 05:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Chris,

I certainly agree that Doug, Occam, and I had roughly similar positions with regard to the argument previously held about the banned thread in which you were a participant. If you look through the thread again, you may notice, however that I specifically disagreed with the decision to ban it, and that I had previously argued against banning Barry from the forum (though I was seriously rethinking that opinion in the last couple of weeks he was here). Where I am in absolute agreement with Doug and CFI is that the organization has, as you say, the right to do as they please with the forum, and I do think that the tone of criticism in the thread you refer to had become narcissistic and abusive to Doug and others. I suspect people were offered the opportunity to moderate here because they showed a common attitude towards what kind of climate best promotes useful discussion, not necessarily because they share common opinions or prejudices on specific issues.

I especially enjoy this forum because the level of civility is higher than most other forums in which I participate, and I think that allows a much higher quality of discussion and inquiry. Flame wars and strident repetition of one’s position with snide slurs against those who disagree with you is a pretty poor form of “inquiry,” and I have no problem with a policy that prohibits these things. Though you and I have disagreed over some matters (and agreed over others) in the past, I think your participation in this forum has been quite valuable, and while you have lots of other places to go if you don’t care for the policies here, I hope you will stay and continue to participate. I, for one, have no personal prejudices against anyone as a result of previous discussions, and I trust if I seem to be moderating in a biased way the other moderators, and forum members generally, will let me know about it!  smile

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Posted: 25 April 2007 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”][quote author=“cgallaga”]I don’t believe this is factually true or supportable by any evidence. If I am wrong please show where these other forums have acted with less restraint than has been used here.

Sorry, I disagree. I am familiar with several forums as well, of all stripes. I’ve been involved with them for years, as have been other Moderators and Admins. To take just one banal example, the IIDB does not allow criticisms of Moderator actions except in a specific “complaints” folder, with very strict guidelines on how they are handled. This is the tack we will be taking in the future.

So have I.  I even admin. a board and frequent another.  Both of them are different, but there are limits to how much they will tolerate.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Inquiry cannot be truly free if it is abusive. By general consensus this Forum has had recent problems with tone and civility. We will be making extra efforts to improve tone and civility, particularly in dialogues between members.

I have to agree with Doug.  If there this abuse there is no freedom.

Another thing is, if people are like minded, they do better as a team and when it comes to moderating and adminstrating there has to be teamwork.

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Posted: 25 April 2007 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Damn, I hate it when I read through a series of posts, all the while formulating my answers, then Brennen and Mriana post what I was going to say, just before I do, and they say it better than I would have.  LOL

I agree with cgallaga that some of the skeptic boards I’ve been on allow more off-the-wall, abusive, off-topic, ad hominum posts than does this forum.  And that’s why I’m here rather than continuing with them.

I’ve had many years practice being sarcastic and insulting, so it’s not that I was driven off of those boards, it’s just that people phase out of intelligent discussion and into pettiness, and that becomes boring.  Certainly, one of the banned members was so extemely repetititve that I just learned that when I saw his name on a post to scroll past it.  Even that didn’t help because he causes others to waste their time responding to his silliness. 

You, on the other hand, tend to offer quite a few ideas disagreeing with the posts before you, but yours are always well thought out and challenging.  Even when I don’t agree with you, my response is to think about what you said and possibly modify my own position.  That’s different from my thoughts when I saw some of the ones that caused me to think, “Oh, s[expletive deleted], not more drivel.” 

However, if you see any of us appearing to be wimpy, drop us a PM.  I’m sure Doug, Brennen, and Mriana will consider your comments carefully.  I’ll do the same, but may respond by a) carefully examining and answering your note, and b) possibly calling you an a[more deleted expletives]. 

On the other hand, because I’m a cranky old fud, you won’t see the PMs to Doug where I may be calling him the same.

Occam

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Posted: 25 April 2007 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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LOL  I have yet to be called whimpy.  There is always a first though.  More often than not, I’ve been accused of being Lwaxana Troi.  :D I take it as a compliment.  Although the other choice ones were by Fundies on other boards- atheist, stupid, idiot, anti-Christian, and a few others.  I think the one that got me laughing was atheist.  Did the person really think I would be insulted by that?  Now the stupid, idiot, etc got me screaming verbal abuse and that I wasn’t going to tolerate it.  Needless to say and thanks to a good admin, she stepped in and told the other person to stop with the name calling.  Whimpy was not one of the names though.

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