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Forum rules: please read before posting

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  • Forum rules: please read before posting

    Some of you may have noticed that the forum is moderated. The goal is to improve the quality of the forum in a number of substantive ways. Please keep this in mind when starting new threads or posting in existing ones.

    For that reason, please keep in mind the following:

    1) This is a forum where we respect each other, regardless of beliefs. Personal attacks will not be tolerated from either side.

    2) Threads about forum members, unless they have something legitimate to say about the types of subjects covered in Alex's podcasts, will be either deleted or locked. This means that forum guests who are also forum members, and forum members who have published works, may be discussed in that context.

    3) Attempts at humor at the expense of other forum members will be deleted.

    4) Off-topic posts will be expeditiously moved to their own threads. Warning will be given if a thread appears to be derailing.

    5) If the OP of a thread specifies conditions for the thread, such as Johann's recent "only proponents for the first 10 pages/50 posts" then it will be moderated with that in mind.

    6) Posts that are designed to offend other forum members, even if they do not contain obvious triggers, such as profanity, will be deleted.

    7) If a thread descends into a circle of repeated questions and answers, it may be locked unless something new is added.

    8) If unjustified blanket statements are made and a reasonable request for justification is made, please be prepared to fulfill the request, or refrain from posting in that thread until you are.

    9) If you suspect that a post or thread violates these rules, particularly if you are offended by it, please do not respond to the post. Instead, flag the post and it will be checked by the moderator.

    10) References to inflammatory or personal material from deleted posts may be edited out of other posts, to prevent furthering the damage caused by the initial post.

    11) Flippant remarks devoid of substantive content may be deleted, particularly if they are of a derisive nature. Posts of this type, when made by newbies to this board are more likely to be deleted than not.

    Comments by PM are welcome. The goal here is to make this a more comfortable forum for everyone. If we can all respect the forum for what it is meant to be: a place for serious discussion, then we can all enjoy it together, regardless whether we are proponents or skeptics.

    Last edited by paqart; April 22nd, 2013, 03:00 AM. Reason: modified 2) for clarity.

  • #2
    Originally posted by paqart View Post
    Some of you may have noticed that the forum is moderated. The goal is to improve the quality of the forum in a number of substantive ways. Please keep this in mind when starting new threads or posting in existing ones.
    just a quick note to make public my appreciation for Andy's work in taking over this job... wow, I like the forum so much better now.

    we still have our occasional wingnuts, but they're a lot easier to spot and avoid thanks to your excellent, steady-hand moderation.


    • #3
      Thanks Alex, for your kind words, and to the forum members who make this such a nice place to visit. On the recommendation of one such member, this post is meant to explain some decisions regarding why some users, who will not be named, were banned and how this contributes to improving the quality of the forum overall.
      1. Trolling
      2. Attempts to re-enter
      3. Use of personal invective
      4. Degrades quality of forum
      5. Explicit violation of rules

      Some users have appeared on the forum for the purpose of interfering with discussions here. These have been banned as 'trolls.' All of these users have tried to get back in under various names, but they were all pre-emptively banned on their first post, or if they had it approved, were banned shortly thereafter.

      In one example, the poster made sadistic posts that on their own would have been enough to justify banning even if he hadn't been previously banned.

      Name-calling is uncommon here, but when it is used against forum members, it will lead to an immediate warning or ban, depending on the severity of the post. If it is used against people who are not members of the forum, like James Randi or Rupert Sheldrake, the rule is more flexible, but it is still frowned upon and a warning is likely.

      Temporary bans have been put in place for several members whose posts have a pronounced tendency to send a thread off-topic, irritate other forum members, inspire strong antagonistic responses, and characterized by flippant or condescending replies. Some of these bans have since been made permanent on the basis that the Skeptiko forum is not a place to have protracted annoying pointless debates with posters who either cannot or will not respect other forum members. This falls under 'degrades quality of forum' and is typified by long unintelligible posts interspersed with many posts by various users who express impatience for the thread to move on.

      A couple of posters have used sarcasm rather than more direct methods to insult forum members. Depending on circumstances, this may be regarded as equally serious to name-calling.
      If rules are broken, a warning or an immediate ban will be given, depending on the circumstances.

      It is interesting for skeptics and proponents to discuss parapsychology together, but it is important for civil discourse that we respect each other, even if we disagree on other matters.

      I hope this list helps make the forum rules easier to understand, and improve the discourse here.



      • #4
        The new Randi thread

        Due to the propensity for threads to derail whenever James Randi or the Million Dollar Challenge (MDC) are mentioned, "The Randi/MDC bin" thread has been created as a container for such posts. This notice is posted in the rules section because there will be rules related to posts about Randi and the MDC. As a preamble, the following is known and accepted by most forum members, therefore there is no need to discuss the following:

        1) The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) sponsors the MDC
        2) The MDC is purportedly a challenge that offers one million dollars to any person who can demonstrate any form of psi within the constraints of the MDC
        3) All MDC challenges abide by rules mutually agreed to by the JREF and the claimant
        4) The rules can be found on the JREF website at Jref - financing for emerging businesses
        5) No individual or group has ever won the challenge

        Discussions regarding the MDC generally center on the following:

        1) whether the challenge is scientific or valid as a test of the genuineness of psi. Because the JREF organization admits it is not scientific, all claims that it is will be summarily moved to the bin thread without comment.
        2) Forum members challenging other forum members to take the challenge to prove their claims regarding psi in general or specific personal experiences. These will be deleted as inflammatory or moved to the bin, depending on the contents of the post.
        3) Whether the MDC is a valid challenge. That is, whether the JREF actually has the money in question to give or whether the rules of the contest allow JREF to refuse payment under any circumstances. The money does appear to available, though not in an easily understood form, but the question of the rules is much more vague and prone to debate. Questions about about either of these subjects will be automatically moved to the bin.
        4) Questions of James Randi's honesty. There appear to be numerous instances of dishonesty by Randi, such as the sTarbaby incident and his televised remarks regarding having seen Sheldrake's dogs that know experiments. The details of these incidents and others are already present in the bin thread. Intrepid posters who would like to read about these incidents are invited to locate the posts in that thread. New questions on this subject will be deleted on the basis they have been asked and answered many times.
        5) The number of actual tests conducted by the JREF. Is it "hundreds", as claimed by JREF officials, or a much smaller number? Answers to these questions are already in the bin. Please look there if curious.

        Discussions about Randi and the MDC tend to betray a lack of knowledge of the parapsychology literature when put forward by skeptics. If this describes you, please read some of the books that are the subject of Skeptico podcasts before posting anything about Randi or the MDC. on the proponent side, posts tend to be either informational, but rarely ever provide information not already in the bin, or are emotional and provide nothing that isn't to be found already in the bin.

        General rule of thumb: If you feel like posting about Randi or the MDC, do not do it unless it is in a podcast thread that raises the subject within the podcast itself.



        • #5
          A new rule

          Due to a couple of recent threads ( now deleted), a new rule has been made. Here it is:

          Threads that attempt to showcase character issues rather than focus on subjects that are data-based or directly relevant to the psi study of psi may be deleted without warning. This is particularly true of threads that accuse others of some form of criminal abuse or sexual deviancy. Regardless of the pertinence of these topics to the credibility of the persons involved, it degrades the forum, and even worse, distracts it from much better arguments that can be made.

          Please avoid these types of threads if any are posted because they will be deleted without notice. Please do not interpret this as a free speech issue (in a moderated forum that is not offered anyway) but as an attempt to keep the quality of discourse here above that of gossip, innuendo, and character assassination. Even assuming that every accusation was true, it would have no bearing on fundamental arguments about the existence of psi, the afterlife, God, etc.