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Author Topic: Banning members  (Read 3180 times)

Offline Pmb

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Banning members
« on: 20/10/2013 05:37:38 »
Iíd like some input from the team of moderators here.

I created a forum recently and am in the process of making some decisions about how to run it. The software allows me to select certain members so that all of their posts go into a moderator queue.

The general rule of thumb to follow in my forum is - Play nice. Donít cause trouble by provoking others. Respect other members (whether you think they deserve it or not).

This means no ad hominems. Never use phrases such as Oh, for crying out loud. Essentially never place something in a post that shouldnít be printed in a science text. Scientists never use phrases like Oh, for crying out loud. in textbooks or journal articles to address their audience.

So with this I mind Iíve decided that when it becomes apparent that a particular user does not follow the rules then all of their posts will go into the moderator queue and will be edited for content. A PM will be sent to them stating what has been changed and why. For this reason I donít see a need to ban members.

It might be a waste of time editing too many posts. Iím sure there are some people who simply will never get it and will play games with the moderators just to be mean. I really donít want to ban anybody since far too many science forums do that, and for shameful reasons. E.g. in other forums it was the moderators who provoked me. For some reason they believed that moderator comments should be placed in open forum rather than in PM. This only has the effect of angering the member since the moderators have chosen to publicly chastise/humiliate them. It was shameful of them to do such a thing. For that reason no moderator of those forums will be allowed to join. However I donít see any of them wanting to join since they wonít be allowed to insult and be rude to people.

So my question is Ė Who should be banned? What have members here in the past done to get them banned? No names please. Iím thinking that a member whose posts need editing by a moderator too often should be banned if they refuse to follow the golden rule and are given numerous warnings about being banned.


 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #1 on: 20/10/2013 09:11:28 »
1. Your house, your rules. Play god if you wish, or appoint demigods to pre-mod.

2. I've been temporarily suspended elsewhere for straying into politics or religion. Served time on the benches, returned to the fray, and eventually became friends with the moderator's family. No problem. Publish the rules and apply them evenhandedly. 

3. You are right, scientists don't use "oh for crying out loud". We use phrases like "obviously", "see Landolt-Bornstein" or "what was the experimental result?" which are far more cruel.
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #2 on: 21/10/2013 02:52:39 »
Quote from: alancalverd
1. Your house, your rules. Play god if you wish, or appoint demigods to pre-mod.
Too many forums have moderators and administrators who act like that and that's what makes most serious scientists want to steer clear of them. I'm trying to do things differetly. I want to make this as much of a democracy as I can making it the public's place to discuss science. My goal is to make it as pleasant as possible so as not to irritate others into leaving.

Quote from: alancalverd
2. I've been temporarily suspended elsewhere for straying into politics or religion. Served time on the benches, returned to the fray, and eventually became friends with the moderator's family. No problem. Publish the rules and apply them evenhandedly. 
That's what I've always planned. This thread is about the topic of when to ban someone.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #3 on: 21/10/2013 09:13:45 »
Aha, a proper democracy, not that fake European stuff! Better yet.

The role of the State in a proper (Celtic Law) democracy is to serve the populace by deciding what would offend the majority and banning it. Unlike Roman Law where the citizen exists to serve the State, so the State permits or demands behaviour.

Fortunately in the case of an on-line forum you have the possibility of realtime consultation with the populace, so you can encourage your members to report whatever they consider offensive, and respond to the majority vote. Why not offer a vote on every posting: useful, interesting (includes controversial) , amusing, wrong, trolling, offensive.

Before uttering an outright ban you can PM anyone who has been consistently voted "offensive", but more importantly you could have a Timewasters Corner into which you shuffle any emergent trolls. The sting is that anyone labelled as a troll will be automatically posted to TC until bailed out by his peers.   
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #4 on: 21/10/2013 18:45:58 »
[q
Quote from: alancalverd
Aha, a proper democracy, not that fake European stuff! Better yet.

The role of the State in a proper Ö.
It should be clear that I used that term in the following sense
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy
Quote
an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights

Quote from: alancalverd
Fortunately in the case of an on-line forum you have the possibility of realtime consultation with the populace, so you can encourage your members to report whatever they consider offensive, and respond to the majority vote.
All forums Iíve seen have a report function for that purpose just as this one does.

Quote from: alancalverd
Why not offer a vote on every posting: useful, interesting (includes controversial) , amusing, wrong, trolling, offensive.
Far too impractical.

Quote from: alancalverd
Before uttering an outright ban you can PM anyone who has been consistently voted "offensive", but more importantly you could have a Timewasters Corner into which you shuffle any emergent trolls. The sting is that anyone labelled as a troll will be automatically posted to TC until bailed out by his peers.   
When doing that youíre publicly humiliating and embarrassing people. The results will be the opposite that desired.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #5 on: 21/10/2013 21:27:52 »
Banning a member should never be taken lightly (other than spammers).  However, after careful consideration, there are members that can be disruptive to a forum, do not offer useful insight, and are resistant to suggestions to change.  At which point, banning may be the best alternative.

Some forums have a simple "thumbs up/thumbs down" vote, or something similar, that can get a post recommended, or a contributor recommended.  Perhaps it is better to keep track of recommended posts than to keep track of the sheer number of posts.  But, you're right, on an individual post basis, it can be far too much data, and perhaps not accurate enough of data to make sense of.

It may make sense to separate new & unique theories/ideas from more traditional scientific principles.  It is up to you on how you wish to do so.
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #6 on: 22/10/2013 02:54:39 »
Quote from: CliffordK
It may make sense to separate new & unique theories/ideas from more traditional scientific principles.  It is up to you on how you wish to do so.
I intentionally left out a "New theories" section to my forum. I have no interest in such things. Almost invariably they're total nonsense. In those instances where I've seen that they weren't nonsense then they really didn't belong in such a section. If they're solid science then I don't want to see them seperated them out. Plus I'm concerned that it may draw the wrong crowd.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #7 on: 22/10/2013 14:53:59 »
OK so long as the next Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Pasteur, Lavoisier, Einstein, Bruno, Galileo, Columbus, Snow, Ross or Higgs isn't considered to be "the wrong crowd". Bloody mavericks, challenging the Establishment. Like those upstart Wrights who persisted with their lunatic obsession long after the American Academy of Science held a peer review and solemnly pronounced "there is no conceivable military use for the airplane". 

If you only stick to mainstream science, and don't invite controversy, aren't you just providing a homework channel for people too lazy to open a textbook or even use Google? 

Quote
When doing that youíre publicly humiliating and embarrassing people.
Yes, that's the whole point, but they won't see it that way. There's nothing a troll likes more than to be a victim of persecution.
« Last Edit: 22/10/2013 14:58:10 by alancalverd »
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #8 on: 22/10/2013 16:56:42 »
Quote from: alancalverd
OK so long as the next Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Pasteur, Lavoisier, Einstein, Bruno, Galileo, Columbus, Snow, Ross or Higgs isn't considered to be "the wrong crowd".
Absolutely not. These people worked according to the scientific method. Crackpots donít by any stretch of the imagination.

Quote from: alancalverd
Bloody mavericks, challenging the Establishment. Like those upstart Wrights who persisted with their lunatic obsession long after the American Academy of Science held a peer review and solemnly pronounced "there is no conceivable military use for the airplane". 
First off Iíd consider them to be engineers, not scientists. They didnít challenge any well accepted law of nature.

Quote from: alancalverd
If you only stick to mainstream science, and don't invite controversy, aren't you just providing a homework channel for people too lazy to open a textbook or even use Google? 
There are plenty of places to do that. I choose mine not to be one of them. My forum is not targeted for the general public but to scientists and science students. I hope that science enthusiasts want to post here to learn and think, perhaps out of the box. But Iím not banning controversy by any means whatsoever. Iím banning crackpots and nut cases.  I.e. I donít want to listen to people from the flat earth society try to prove that Iím closed minded.

Quote from: alancalverd
Yes, that's the whole point, but they won't see it that way. There's nothing a troll likes more than to be a victim of persecution.
I have no interest in publicly humiliating and embarrassing people and neither do most of the moderators here. Itís wrong to do that in my humble opinion.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #9 on: 22/10/2013 18:59:55 »
Quote
I donít want to listen to people from the flat earth society try to prove that Iím closed minded.
any more than Columbus's detractors didn't want to listen to crackpots determined to sail over the edge to their doom. 
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #10 on: 22/10/2013 23:29:02 »
Quote
I donít want to listen to people from the flat earth society try to prove that Iím closed minded.
any more than Columbus's detractors didn't want to listen to crackpots determined to sail over the edge to their doom. 
And they'd be correct in assuming they had that choice.

In anycase I don't see your point here.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #11 on: 23/10/2013 00:47:00 »
The point is that mavericks make progress. The rest of the herd just keep grazing over the same ground - and occasionally stampeding over a cliff. Given the choice I'd rather swap ideas with mavericks.
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #12 on: 23/10/2013 01:54:27 »
Quote from: alancalverd
The point is that mavericks make progress.
The people you listed above, the ones you call "mavericks," could never were correctly referred to as crackpots. And most of them never really challenged the establishment in the sense that you appear to be crediting them for. Consider Galileo as an example. A great deal of what he did was ground breaking in his field. He followed very logical methodology in his work. He was truly a genius. The work that you might be referring to him as a maverick for was good scientific work and logical to the core. It was society that was off, not him. And even then it was only the Catholic church that had a problem with him. There is in no sense of the term ďcrackpotĒ that he could now or ever have been made logically. When it came to Einstein he too was a great physicist and worked within the rigors of sound science. The only sense that he could be considered a maverick was when he challenged how everyone else thought of space and time. Again, there was never any situation where he could be called a crackpot.

And as I said, these people and the kinds of things they do I want posted in the regular areas of science and not require that they be set apart for all rest. These are good scientists, not crackpots and none of them had any crackpot theories.

Quote from: alancalverd
The rest of the herd just keep grazing over the same ground - and occasionally stampeding over a cliff.
Where did you get that impression? I  know of no scientist who spends all their time going over the same ground. Who are these people youíre speaking of? 

Quote from: alancalverd
The point is that mavericks make progress.
All scientists make progress.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #13 on: 24/10/2013 03:59:12 »
I don't think Einstein ran any experiments, although I assume he was a competent mathematician. 
What people think of as his greatest accomplishment today is not what he was awarded the Nobel prize for.
 

Offline JP

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #14 on: 24/10/2013 17:29:42 »
I don't think Einstein ran any experiments, although I assume he was a competent mathematician. 
What people think of as his greatest accomplishment today is not what he was awarded the Nobel prize for.

I also doubt Einstein would be posting on internet fora if he were alive today.  There are scientific journals with peer review and conferences dedicated to more "out-there" ideas.  The thing is that Einstein and others who radically changed science first deeply understood science so they knew what they were changing.  I'd say around greater than 99% of stuff posted on science fora as "revolutionary ideas" comes from people who don't understand basic science and who therefore have huge flaws in their theories that they can't identify.  Journals and conferences involve some peer review which rejects a lot of the worst theories. 
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #15 on: 24/10/2013 22:21:48 »
I think there is a place, somewhere between junk science, and peer reviewed journals where new ideas can flourish.

One of the problems that some people may encounter is not having the support structure necessary to bring an idea from conception to an experiment, and ultimately publication in a journal.
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Banning members
« Reply #16 on: 26/10/2013 18:43:46 »
Quote from: CliffordK
I don't think Einstein ran any experiments, although I assume he was a competent mathematician.
I did some checking into this and it turned out that he collaborated on several. Most notable is the Einstein- de Haas effect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein%E2%80%93de_Haas_effect

See also Einstein's Only Known Experiment Rebuilt
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=einsteins-only-known-expe

I asked a friend of mine where I can find a complete list of Einstein's experiments and he told me that the best book I know is by Joszef Illy

http://www.amazon.com/The-Practical-Einstein-Experiments-Inventions/dp/1421411717



John



Is there any place (such as Pais) where I can find a complete list of the experiments you referring to?
 
« Last Edit: 26/10/2013 21:35:42 by Pmb »
 

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Re: Banning members
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