A recommendation (consolidate the forums)
Posted: 20 September 2006 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I think that with the low about of traffic we have too many different forums, plus so much stuff overlaps.

Instead of the 11 different discussion forums, I’d do something like:

Introduce yourself
General Discussion
Off topic (Discussion not related to any CFI subject)

Off topic should be for like discussing cars and women or the latest music video, etc.

All of the different categories (Politics, Humanism, etc., etc.) is just too much and too spread out.

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Posted: 22 September 2006 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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At the very least, even if you don’t combine the forums as described above, I would:

Combine Psedudoscience and Paranormal with Alternative Medicine

Make a Religious discussion forum (This should be a forum for discussing religions, i.e. textual analysis, learning about religions, etc)

Combine Secularism with Politics (Secularism is a political issue)

Combine the Humanism and Philosophy forums

The material is just way too spread out.

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Posted: 22 September 2006 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hello rationalrevolution,

These are basically decisions that go on at the Admin level. The Admins are getting to work on a general site overhaul and redesign, so I imagine these are issues that may be better dealt with in the future.

(And I had nothing to do with these particular categories).

Part of the problem with coming up with new folder categories would be the work involved in deciding where existing threads go and then porting them over. Another problem is that any rough division into categories will be imperfect; speculation being what it is, there are always some topics that will overlap. Even the Dewey Decimal System has trouble ...

I don’t agree that these should be all tossed into a single folder. It’s just too hard to find stuff that way, and threads can get lost. That may seem questionable now, but with growth in the user base it could become more of a problem.

That said, I think the idea behind “Religion and Secularism” is that it is a folder where we discuss religious issues as versus secular ones. A separate religion folder I’m not so sure on ... I mean, that will tend to be seen as “the folder where we don’t critique religion”, and I am opposed to having such a folder. I think it’s easy enough now to start a thread, calling it, say “Textual analysis of Genesis” and then go through a textual analysis with no implicit criticism.

Humanism and philosophy ... again, not so sure. If we had a separate “Ethics” folder, maybe we could include Humanism & Ethics, but we don’t.

What I do think we should do (and I may try to do this) is to write up short intro paragraphs to each folder. This will give confused members more of an idea where to put their particular subject.

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Posted: 23 September 2006 02:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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My problem with the “Religion and Secularism” folder is, what the hell is this about?

Is this about Church / State separation issues?

Let’s take for example also, the recent “Jesus Movie”. That is a movie, so its a Media and Entertainment issue, its about religion so its a “Religion and Secularism” issue, its about politics, so it could go in politics, etc…...

I really don’t like the “Religion and Secularism” category because its so vague and Secularism, to me, is inherently political.

I think the categories at infidels make more sense.

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/index.php

I am specifically saying that I want a separate Religion folder specifically *so* it will be *clear* that it is the place to go to criticize religion, right now it isn’t IMO.

Secularism has nothing to do whatsoever with religious criticism or discussion of religious topics.

When I see the “Religion and Secularism” forum I think about current events, the Michael Newdow case, school prayer issues, the Roy Moore case, etc.

To me, however, on a message board of this size, all of that should be going into the Political forum.

The “Religion” forum should be basically like the Biblical Criticism and History forum at infidels:

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/forumdisplay.php?f=60

Except a little more broad to include all religions, and also some general theological discussion as well. In other words, a forum focused specifically discussing THE RELIGIONS or RELIGION itself, not Church / State separation issues, or “How do I tell my family that I’m not religious”, or “Our school board voted to include creationism”, etc.

It should be a forum for “What is the historical evidence for the existence of Muhammad”, “Does the Catholic trinity make any sense”, etc.

Just my opinion. I get frustrated with how spread out things are, and it seems to me like the categories aren’t well defined. Maybe its just me….

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Posted: 23 September 2006 03:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hm.  The IIDB folders that you cite are, if anything, even more narrow than the ones here at CFI ... speaking very roughly, I think our Religion and Secularism folder would include:

Existence of God(s)
Biblical Criticism and History
Church/State Separation
Non-Abrahamic Religion
General Religious Discussion

and at least some of:

Evolution/Creation
Positive Atheism

... depending on the particular subject.

Media and Entertainment is really more about the sort of stuff we find there now—mainstream-ish TV shows, movies, etc.

Given any list of folder topics it is a trivial matter to come up with a subject that overlaps two or more of them. For example, if someone were to start a thread on the history of the Biblical creation myth, would it go under “Biblical Criticism & History” or “Evolution/Creation”? If someone were to start a thread comparing historical criticism of the Bible to similar criticism of the Mahabharata, would it go under “Biblical Criticism & History” or “Non-Abrahamic Religion & Philosophy”? Well, it could go under either one.

Let me reiterate, I had no part in constructing these particular folder topics. I also like the ones from IIDB, although they are much more focused on religion in particular. At the moment, our “Religion and Secularism” folder gets the most use, so could probably stand being split into two or three more focused folders (something less true of the others, IMO). But this does require some work to do. I’ll keep it in mind, and see what others think.

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Posted: 19 March 2007 05:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Modifications needed

Forums become like newspapers from the day before; or closets stuffed with old clothes that hide the garments you really want.  The marketing appeal of having many posts disappears once the reader realizes the date.  Why respond to a post 6 months or older?  There are many journalistic website competing with CFI.  My proposal is to diminish the number of categories by making them more general and to set a time limit for clearing old posts.  If it hurts too much to drop precious posts, set an old-post category of favorite topics.

Another concern is the communities’ forums.  Communities are not using them.  I have taken much time posting messages for the Community of Miami.  People tell me they are too busy.  They prefer to communicate with me directly by e-mails or phone calls, or to meet face to face by participating in the group’s activities.  The other communities are not using these forums either.  Maybe you can send a letter to the coordinators.  If we are not going to use the communities’ forums, it is better to drop them.  They give the impression that communities are dead.  This is not the case.

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Hi!  My name is Argelia Tejada Segor, Argie for short.

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Posted: 19 March 2007 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Re. the community forums, I am also a bit frustrated by the lack of traction they seem to be getting. I expect that it might be better to have a single “offline information” forum where people could post notices of offline events of one kind or another. That might also break down some (artificial) barriers between neighboring communities.

I know that CFI is in the process of preparing new forum software. I am not privy to their internal discussions on potential changes, but that is certainly one that should be considered.

However, I don’t like the idea of clearing old posts. Time and again we have reason to refer to discussions which have taken place in the past. While some discussions are topical and news-related, many are not. And on many occasions old threads do get new life when a new member rediscovers them and continues the discussion.

And at any rate the tapestry of threads on this site should constitute a great learning example for potential CFI members or the general public. That would be hampered by any sort of wholesale deletion procedure.

In the longer term it may happen that the thread count will get too unwieldy for the forum software to deal with, and then older threads will have to be archived. But we are nowhere near there yet.

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