Both forums need an introduction

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Sometimes I go to the Skeptiko front page (either of them) and wonder how I would react to it if I cast my mind back to when I was a newby to the subject. I guess my answer when I look at the forum is that my reaction would depend heavily on who had posted most recently in each forum. I might never dig any deeper. I get the same reaction when I come to this forum - and indeed I am sure it contains many interesting discussions that I am unaware of.

I puzzled about this problem some time back, and came up with the idea of the Skeptiko Index, which Laird took over and greatly expanded and polished. I hope that helped, but I have come to realise that Skeptiko and PScience Quest both need a nice front page with some kind of introduction to the subject and judicious links down into the body of the forum. As it is, a newcomer to either forum has to leap in, rather as if you visited a university and simply plunged into a lecture or discussion at random! 

I think the top priority is that at least one of our two forums keeps focussed and continues to grow. I know from past experience that Alex is extremely reluctant to change the top pages of his forum, so maybe PSQ could try this out. 

I have no say regarding (or knowledge of) future Skeptiko podcasts - and to be honest, Alex seems to have hit something of a dry patch with his podcast guests Sad I'd like to get him more interested in Intelligent Design, because IMHO evolution is a very weak part of the conventional materialistic platform, with considerable infighting. But Alex goes where Alex goes. 

The way I imagine this front page, it would extend to several pages (or one long page) with several titles - meaty enough that it would be interesting to read in itself, and would contain links to particularly interesting discussions to be found in PSQ and probably links to some other places, such as books. It would try to explain why ψ should be taken seriously, and would reflect the POV of the person writing it - not try to present a boringly balanced view. It might be best if the author(s) names were not displayed - it would be the voice of PSQ. I don't think it should mention the forum split, because people don't come to either forum to read about dissent of that sort. 

Above all, to be useful, this front page would contain lots of informative text - not just an evocative picture or two.

David
(This post was last modified: 2018-05-31, 11:26 AM by DaveB.)
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What I think would be very useful is a classified list of links to online resources - podcasts, videos, scientific papers, online journals, books, blogs and so on. A lot of these are posted in discussion threads but they're hard to find after a few days. 

I wonder if it would be hard to set it up as a wiki, so that anyone could add links. If a wiki were confined to collecting links - indeed perhaps just adding links rather than editing or deleting existing links - hopefully it wouldn't need too much policing.
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I personally love both of these ideas.

Re a wiki: they're quite easy to set up, and in fact I even set one up some time back in case anybody wanted to help with the Skeptiko Index: http://skeptiko-resources.creativeandcri.../Main_Page. It could be repurposed, perhaps under http://psiencequest.net/wiki/, for more general use by the community of both forums. The introduction could "live" on that wiki, and any of us could edit it. Perhaps we could even integrate logins so that one could log in to the wiki via one's PQ account, without having to create a separate account.
(This post was last modified: 2018-05-31, 01:25 PM by Laird.)
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(2018-05-31, 01:24 PM)Laird Wrote: Re a wiki: they're quite easy to set up, and in fact I even set one up some time back in case anybody wanted to help with the Skeptiko Index: http://skeptiko-resources.creativeandcri.../Main_Page. It could be repurposed, perhaps under http://psiencequest.net/wiki/, for more general use by the community of both forums. The introduction could "live" on that wiki, and any of us could edit it. Perhaps we could even integrate logins so that one could log in to the wiki via one's PQ account, without having to create a separate account.

That's very impressive. But looking at it, I wonder whether I underestimated the complexity of the task - at least if the items in the list can relate to several different categories, such as subject matter, format, people and so on. If one wants to add a discussion thread about a podcast dealing with Uri Geller's PK abilities, does one have to manually add it to several different lists - threads, podcasts, Geller and PK - or have I misunderstood how it works? If the former, is there any way it could be done by attaching different tags to the items?
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(2018-05-31, 02:27 PM)Chris Wrote: That's very impressive. But looking at it, I wonder whether I underestimated the complexity of the task - at least if the items in the list can relate to several different categories, such as subject matter, format, people and so on. If one wants to add a discussion thread about a podcast dealing with Uri Geller's PK abilities, does one have to manually add it to several different lists - threads, podcasts, Geller and PK - or have I misunderstood how it works? If the former, is there any way it could be done by attaching different tags to the items?

Yes, at the moment, manual addition to several different lists is the way it currently has to be done. Tagging is not currently supported - that would require custom code - but you're right that it would be easier that way.

In any case, I'm not suggesting that this specific Skeptiko Index page ought to serve the purpose of the page(s) that you had suggested (which didn't necessarily involve categorising forum threads - and PQ has pretty decent categorisation of those already via its system of subforums), although it might very well serve as a useful resource to mine/adapt.
(This post was last modified: 2018-05-31, 02:55 PM by Laird.)
(2018-05-31, 01:24 PM)Laird Wrote: I personally love both of these ideas.

Re a wiki: they're quite easy to set up, and in fact I even set one up some time back in case anybody wanted to help with the Skeptiko Index: http://skeptiko-resources.creativeandcri.../Main_Page. It could be repurposed, perhaps under http://psiencequest.net/wiki/, for more general use by the community of both forums. The introduction could "live" on that wiki, and any of us could edit it. Perhaps we could even integrate logins so that one could log in to the wiki via one's PQ account, without having to create a separate account.

Thanks for your positive comment, Laird,

I take it the editing would be done with permission - not as with Wiki itself, where anyone could edit it.

Also, I notice the trouble you had with Psst, so it probably should not be open to just any forum member to edit it.

Is there a way on this forum to jointly edit a shared document? If there is, we could prepare the first draft that way, perhaps.

David
(2018-05-31, 03:01 PM)DaveB Wrote: Thanks for your positive comment, Laird,

I take it the editing would be done with permission - not as with Wiki itself, where anyone could edit it.

It's possible to configure the wiki as we prefer. We could choose whether or not to allow anonymous editing.

(2018-05-31, 03:01 PM)DaveB Wrote: Also, I notice the trouble you had with Psst, so it probably should not be open to just any forum member to edit it.

I'm currently testing this bridge which allows for logging in to the wiki via forum accounts:

https://github.com/Modding/MyBB-Mediawiki-Bridge

It seems to prevent users banned on the forum from logging in to the wiki, but I haven't tested that functionality just yet.

(2018-05-31, 03:01 PM)DaveB Wrote: Is there a way on this forum to jointly edit a shared document? If there is, we could prepare the first draft that way, perhaps.

Not that I'm aware of. The best way I'm of which I'm aware to jointly edit a shared document (prior to configuring the wiki) is Google Documents. Am happy to help you with that if you need any help.
(2018-05-31, 02:37 PM)Laird Wrote: Yes, at the moment, manual addition to several different lists is the way it currently has to be done. Tagging is not currently supported - that would require custom code - but you're right that it would be easier that way.

In any case, I'm not suggesting that this specific Skeptiko Index page ought to serve the purpose of the page(s) that you had suggested (which didn't necessarily involve categorising forum threads - and PQ has pretty decent categorisation of those already via its system of subforums), although it might very well serve as a useful resource to mine.

I'd been thinking that associating items with discussion threads might make the lists a lot more useful than I'd thought. For example, it would be very useful to have a list of books on a particular topic, and then click through to find a list of reviews and discussion threads for each book. But perhaps it's better not to try running before we can walk.
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(2018-05-31, 03:14 PM)Laird Wrote: I'm currently testing this bridge which allows for logging in to the wiki via forum accounts:

https://github.com/Modding/MyBB-Mediawiki-Bridge

It seems to prevent users banned on the forum from logging in to the wiki, but I haven't tested that functionality just yet.

It seems to work just fine. Have set it up live and migrated the existing wiki from http://skeptiko-resources.creativeandcritical.net/wiki to http://psiencequest.net/wiki

Feel free to create a new page for which to draft the introduction and edit at will - you and any other forum members!
(This post was last modified: 2018-05-31, 04:20 PM by Laird.)
(2018-05-31, 03:14 PM)Laird Wrote: It seems to prevent users banned on the forum from logging in to the wiki, but I haven't tested that functionality just yet.
I'd feel much happier if it were set up to only permit founding members to edit the front page - that would exclude me of course, but I could always write some text and offer it to you.

Without that restriction, I think the front page will attract attention and someone will join in order to hack that page! Remember, if that page works well, this forum will become a red flag for materialists!

David

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