Feedback wanted on the three links per week limit in the opt-in forums (and beyond)

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The current four board custodians recognise that our community's health depends in part on the maintenance of healthy ratios between:
  1. Top-down decision-making by us, and bottom-up decision-making by the general membership, especially via explicit consultation.
  2. Topical and non-topical posting.
  3. Fact-based content, and expressions of opinion.
  4. Balanced discussions, and campaigning - via the repetitive posting of external content such as videos and tweets - for causes.
The recently introduced rule to limit to three the number of links that may be posted to the opt-in forums in any rolling seven-day period by design affects the latter three. In the spirit of the first, we solicit your feedback on this rule. In particular, with respect to the latter three, by reducing the latter component of each, does it achieve a healthy ratio?

More generally, do we need to revisit the question of (especially controversial) non-topical discussions and content on this board, and in particular to reevaluate the compromise of (which is) the opt-in forums, which was democratically chosen early on in our board's existence?

We recognise that there is strength in a diversity of opinions which does not devolve into an outright incompatibility of opinions. We believe that our community possesses that strength, while also recognising the possibility on this topic of that bitter devolution into incompatibility. We encourage you, then, as we open up this conversation, to harness our differences in imagining a way forward rather than to divide over them.

With that, the floor is open to those who wish to contribute.
(This post was last modified: 2022-01-25, 06:10 AM by Laird. Edited 1 time in total.)
(2022-01-25, 06:07 AM)Laird Wrote: The current four board custodians recognise that our community's health depends in part on the maintenance of healthy ratios between:
  1. Top-down decision-making by us, and bottom-up decision-making by the general membership, especially via explicit consultation.
  2. Topical and non-topical posting.
  3. Fact-based content, and expressions of opinion.
  4. Balanced discussions, and campaigning - via the repetitive posting of external content such as videos and tweets - for causes.
The recently introduced rule to limit to three the number of links that may be posted to the opt-in forums in any rolling seven-day period by design affects the latter three. In the spirit of the first, we solicit your feedback on this rule. In particular, with respect to the latter three, by reducing the latter component of each, does it achieve a healthy ratio?

More generally, do we need to revisit the question of (especially controversial) non-topical discussions and content on this board, and in particular to reevaluate the compromise of (which is) the opt-in forums, which was democratically chosen early on in our board's existence?

We recognise that there is strength in a diversity of opinions which does not devolve into an outright incompatibility of opinions. We believe that our community possesses that strength, while also recognising the possibility on this topic of that bitter devolution into incompatibility. We encourage you, then, as we open up this conversation, to harness our differences in imagining a way forward rather than to divide over them.

With that, the floor is open to those who wish to contribute.

No quite sure what you’re asking…. But if it’s preventing persons posting more than 3 external urls a week, that is I think, daft.

The hidden forums were hidden so that they are completely unknown to nonmembers, and hidden opt-in only for members. With the terrible censorship that is taking place throughout the world on highly contentious issues that are designed to divide us, safe spaces for discussion are more important than ever. They are dwindling in number.

If members don’t wish to see these contentious issues, don’t subscribe to the hidden forums! Let’s not go down some daft road, that is designed to squeeze out freedom to discuss political issues we don’t personally agree with, without explicitly admitting that this is what we’re doing.

But if the purpose of increasing censorship is to prevent members getting angry with one another, and preventing contamination/overspill onto members behaviour on the visible forums, just take the hidden forums away completely, and have done with it. They are not a central purpose of this forum.

I don’t know about anyone else, but what is going on in the world has derailed my life, my friendships, my health, my business and my income. I’ve struggled to find the motivation and time to think about the main topics on this forum, whilst being constantly distracted by dealing with the day to day hand-grenades which are lobbed in from time to time, affecting me (and others), here in the UK.

Were members able to take their beliefs and experiences on to the forums, and discuss ways in which we might apply them *practically* to the everyday world that actually makes a practical difference, I might take more interest in them, than I do. But without that, and in the face of such withering global changes, it’s hard to devote much time to them.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
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(2022-01-25, 10:43 AM)Max_B Wrote: If members don’t wish to see these contentious issues, don’t subscribe to the hidden forums! Let’s not go down some daft road, that is designed to squeeze out freedom to discuss political issues we don’t personally agree with, without explicitly admitting that this is what we’re doing.

But if the purpose of increasing censorship is to prevent members getting angry with one another, and preventing contamination/overspill onto members behaviour on the visible forums, just take the hidden forums away completely, and have done with it. They are not a central purpose of this forum.


Thank you Max B, I think the picture you’ve painted is overall a very well balanced one.

On the second paragraph that I’ve highlighted, I think it’s too late. The worms are out of this particular can. 

I’m very sorry to hear how the Covid event has so affected all aspects of your life, that is one of the main reasons that I feel it was important to openly discuss these things with so called ‘thoughtful, caring people’. For me, Alex and Skeptiko’s big lesson was the one that still is the elephant in many rooms - facts (on either side) don’t matter when minds are firmly made up.
Oh my God, I hate all this.   Surprise
(This post was last modified: 2022-01-25, 11:13 AM by Stan Woolley. Edited 1 time in total.)
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  • Valmar
I've never been in these sub forums and have no particular desire to. It sounds to me like a place you can go to really get something off your chest and have a good row. Should that content be brought into the main forum? On balance, I think it shouldn't because I suspect it would turn the forum into a bear pit. But it's just my opinion, others will disagree (And not forgetting that the forum's modus operandi is psi, is it not)

On the question of the links, unless there is a technical reason why too many (links) shouldn't be posted, I would have thought that three is a bit arbitrary. But then again, allowing endless posting of links is surely no good either, I would have thought.
(This post was last modified: 2022-01-25, 12:18 PM by tim. Edited 1 time in total.)
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It gets to be like Youtube and other social media where everybody is trying to prove their political position correct by posting cherry picked links to their own confirmation biases.  It's a bit like the skeptic v proponent forum here too except that it's not about psi.  I wonder why people want that in this forum when they could easily get it elsewhere.  I'm in favour of off topic discussion for friendly discussions but those opt in forums encourage out and out war between people who might otherwise be friendly to each other, having an interest in anomalous (or seemingly anomalous) stuff in common.  Having said that, they are opt in forums and the rest of us don't have to look, although I get tempted from time to time and then I get angry and post comments that I feel embarrassed about in hindsight.
(This post was last modified: 2022-01-25, 01:43 PM by Brian. Edited 1 time in total.)
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I have no problem with removing the limit on third party content (e.g., YouTube) posts in the opt-in forums.

As Tim effectively demonstrated, our members should carefully consider whether they wish to participate or not.  If they decide to participate, well, then its in for a penny in for a pound.
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On this topic, I've expressed my own preferences and motivations for them here.
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel
I've been to the opt-in forums and then opted out. Campaigning is a really good term for what happens there. A couple of folks posting video after video of the "non-mainstream" viewpoint. And what  information "they" are keeping hidden from us. Except it isn't hidden. It's blasted all over 1000's of other forums, facebook, twitter, etc. 

My feeling is this is a discussion forum. And in my experience trying to converse with folks about why their favorite videos might not actually be 100% solid gold truth only ends up in nonsense.

I've been down the rabbit hole. I spent years drilling into volumes of material on all kinds of conspiracy theories, alternate information, UFOs, cryptids, etc. I understand the lure of feeling like you know something that everyone else doesn't know and if they would only listen to what you are saying, then they too would know the truth.

Posting tens of videos a week on this forum that campaigns for one viewpoint or another is useless.

What would be useful? Post an article or perhaps a video. Then begin an actual discussion about the article or video. Be ready and willing to talk about sources--to evaluate the pieces truthfulness. Where does the truth of the information stem from? Whenever in the past I tried to have these types of discussions by choosing one specific video and really trying to deep dive into the sources and the truthfulness, it inevitably ends up a wash. There simply is no way to really evaluate the truthfulness of most of the crap that circulates on the internet. No matter what viewpoint it comes from. So posting video after video of some "alternative" viewpoint is basically counter-productive.

If you want to have a discussion I'm 100% all for it. If you want to have an actual conversation about something and really be willing to drill in and evaluate the nature of the information, then I will gladly participate. But conversing with people who have already made up their minds on something is beyond pointless. It becomes a cultish religion of information and frankly it's deadly boring. Of course the world is going to shit and of course corporate interests are driving this planet into absolute extinction. Of course there are controls on the ebb and flow of information and of course politicians are so fucking corrupt that it boggles the mind. So what. Offer some solutions for discussion or at the very least find some of the nuanced, intelligent writers out there who are writing from a place of understanding and consideration, not just prosthlytizing.

I wouldn't have an issue with banning all videos. There is so much information out there in other forms. Videos, in my opinion, generally focus on the lowest common denominator and more often than not already have a viewpoint that they are pushing, rather than looking at an issue and making an attempt to honestly come to a deeper understanding of these complicated subjects.
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(2022-01-25, 05:10 PM)chuck Wrote: I've been down the rabbit hole. I spent years drilling into volumes of material on all kinds of conspiracy theories, alternate information, UFOs, cryptids, etc. I understand the lure of feeling like you know something that everyone else doesn't know and if they would only listen to what you are saying, then they too would know the truth.


Me too, to some extent. I used to think that some big cabal was controlling what we were allowed to see and hear. It started with JFK ... I became convinced by various theories, one after another but the Oliver Stone movie cemented in my mind the idea that the truth was being withheld from us. I even went to Dallas and stood in the Book Depository before visiting a bulding almost next door which was filled with conspiracy "evidence". If I'm honest, I still have some questions about the actual events and the motivations but my eyes were opened when I watched a video explaining scientifically how the bullet could have taken the trajectory the conspracists (including the Stone film) claimed was impossible. So I now saw two sides of the story and I was no longer convinced by the stuff I had been reading exclusively.

I apply the same reasoning to Psi ... I seek out reasoned argument against what I am inclined to believe. I have read a lot of popular science books which are almost exclusively materialist in tone. From Carl Sagan to Dawkins and I've found that few materialist scientists are interested enough to venture beyond an opinion and actually research some of the evidence. So much of the sceptical argument comes from those committed to debunking because of an ideological agenda, not an interest in the truth. But we need scepticism for balance: there are those who would use paranormal and spiritual evidence to push a different ideological agenda.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
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(2022-01-25, 05:10 PM)chuck Wrote: 've been to the opt-in forums and then opted out. Campaigning is a really good term for what happens there. A couple of folks posting video after video of the "non-mainstream" viewpoint. And what  information "they" are keeping hidden from us. Except it isn't hidden. It's blasted all over 1000's of other forums, facebook, twitter, etc. 


A lot of important information may be available in the places you mention above, but not in the mainstream media. How many people watch the BBC, ITV or read newspapers here in the uk - the majority of them - compared to those who go on forums, Twitter etc. 

Of course stuff is hidden, while other stuff is shoved down our throats, this has become obvious to a growing number of ordinary people. 

The assumption is, and you’re reinforcing that assumption here, is that what’s on social media is fake news, conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxers - basically ignorant people. I admit, a hell of a lot of it is indeed nonsense, but if you look carefully, there is a hell of a lot that isn’t. I’ve attempted to make this point before, to no real avail, but where else can the best people, Scientists, Doctors, and others go to tell their stories and make their opinions heard when they are not allowed a voice on mainstream? 

Quote:I've been down the rabbit hole. I spent years drilling into volumes of material on all kinds of conspiracy theories, alternate information, UFOs, cryptids, etc.

Well you may have been foolish enough to fall into that trap, but I haven’t. Not all of us are gullible. I have not followed many conspiracy theories or spent a lot/any time looking at many of the other material that you mention. The huge irony is that most people would say that you are preaching this new wisdom from a forum that is all about ‘woo’. Discussion of UFOs are allowed in the main forum, but not conspiracy theories! UFOs are a fascinating topic imo, but I don’t spend a lot of my time reading or watching videos. I have spent more in the past, and came to my own place where I remain open about the possibilities. 


Quote: But conversing with people who have already made up their minds on something is beyond pointless. 


That is priceless. Really priceless. 

I hold my hands up to perhaps acting unusually and yes Ian, pushing the non-mainstream material on Covid. I make no apology for doing so. 

Can any of you point to another time I’ve behaved in this way, pushing so hard? Is it my usual behaviour? 

I did it over the Covid narrative and I’d do the same again. 

I recently, in a post here, suggested to Ian that if he knew what my ideas were about the whole thing, maybe he’d like to write them down, get it in writing. No surprise, he didn’t accept the offer but swiftly moved onto another topic, this time it was God. 

I’ve been pushing hard on opening the discussion up. So as to shame those here who think that censorship is acceptable & necessary. Often those on the left, ironically. Kamarling is a typical example. You yourself say that you “wouldn’t have an issue banning all videos”. That would be a foolish thing to do. Who wants to hear a discussion among ordinary individuals like me or you playing zombie tennis? I used a video to help get across my ideas to Ian only yesterday or the day before, if I hadn’t had access to it, we would both be less educated. 

I’ve been posting videos & articles which question the tsunami of one sided info that was coming from the mainstream - I am of the opinion that many of these questioners were and are much ‘closer to truth’ than anything we heard either from the mainstream media, or indeed the members here that actually look through the ‘opt in’ bars occasionally.

I wasn’t saying that I was right, nor was I saying that the people in the videos were always right, what I was saying, was that these are often well educated, qualified, balanced people that deserve a hearing. 

The ideologies that Kamarling sees so clearly in others, are here in spades! 

Many of you deeply despise Trump, anti-vaxxers, anti- lockdown, and other aspects of things, this is clear as the noses on your face. 

( Comment about v——-s has been removed.)

Ethics and morals have been shamefully cast asunder. 

Quote:Offer some solutions for discussion or at the very least find some of the nuanced, intelligent writers out there who are writing from a place of understanding and consideration, not just prosthlytizing.

Discussion ? This requires a somewhat open mind. How can there be open discussion when I’m blocked, or people flat refuse to discuss things! 

Nuance and intelligence my arse. It’s mostly ego.
Oh my God, I hate all this.   Surprise
(This post was last modified: 2022-01-27, 04:46 AM by Stan Woolley. Edited 3 times in total.)

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