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crosscountry
2011-May-02, 05:06 PM
I've actually said this for years, but had recently given up due to the amount of arguments, be they good or not, that we need all this moderation.


When I signed on today I almost expected to see a thread about Osama Bin Laden (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/115136-Osama-Bin-Laden-has-been-killed). Well, maybe not surprisingly, there was one: One that was so quickly locked that it will fall off the front page with only 3 posts.

You know, as some topics often derive into political or religious discussions there is a reason to keep them out, but every so often, something needs to be discussed. We stay polite on this board because children read it, and we want them to see how adults behave. Well, this is one time we should show them the truth.

Sure, there maybe disagreements on a thread so provocative as that one, maybe politics and religion. But some events are just too big to ignore. And by letting our moderators take that away from us, we are pretending that polite discussions are the only thing that exists. I find that offensive and pretentious. Why on earth can't we celebrate as a community that the greatest enemy of the United States of America is dead? Why must we pretend that nothing happened and go on as if nothing happened?

Today is a day when we deserve the right to discuss something beyond what is allowed. These rules need exceptions, and today that is more true than ever.

Moose
2011-May-02, 05:18 PM
The thread was closed three posts in because it only took three posts for someone to drag US partisan politics into it. _That_, above all else, is why we "can't have nice things". If the board membership, as a body, quits crossing the lines, then the mod team will be in a position to experiment with relaxing certain rules in certain circumstances.

Gillianren
2011-May-02, 05:25 PM
I wish we could discuss it in a non-partisan way. I think there are a lot of non-partisan things to say. However funny the across-the-line post was, it was still inappropriate to this particular forum. If we could all solemnly swear not to mention certain things, that would be great. But I thought we did when we joined. I thought it was part of the agreement to abide by the rules in the first place.

NEOWatcher
2011-May-02, 05:30 PM
But some events are just too big to ignore. And by letting our moderators take that away from us, we are pretending that polite discussions are the only thing that exists.
As Moose pointed out, it's the participants that make it cross the line.

Heck, even the Royal Wedding thread was even subject to the same problem. That side discussion was split allowing the regular discussion to go on. After 3 posts on this topic, there was nothing to split.

Besides, this story has hugely different meanings across various borders. The political, international, and religious connections are so intertwined, I'm not at all suprised it got knocked down as fast as it was.

So; If there's some science involved in how it all went down, I would love to know that. Other than that, I discuss it with my friends and acquaintences.

Swift
2011-May-02, 06:39 PM
I say the following as much as a member (versus as a moderator)... BAUT doesn't have to be all things to all people on all topics. I participate on other boards (one in particular), so that I can discuss topics that are not allowed on BAUT (such as politics and religion). That board has downsides too - there are only a couple of people there knowledgeable and interested in science (so I discuss that on BAUT), it is a much smaller community (for good and bad) and it is much more loosely moderated (for good and bad - I had one poorly moderated incident that lead me to not participate there for a few months).

I actually like things this way. I can choose how and where I want to discuss what.

agingjb
2011-May-02, 06:48 PM
Like others I value the careful definition of the scope of BAUT.

PetersCreek
2011-May-02, 07:15 PM
Moose and Swift have covered things pretty well (to the point of stealing words from within my head) but as the moderator who closed the thread, I'll add my 2¢.

First, I'll say that as someone who spent more than 20 years on active duty, the significance of the event is not at all lost on me. Sure, people want/need to talk about it. I have some strong feelings and opinions on the matter and I'm talking about them...just not here. Doing so would be against the rules for me, too. Call it pretentious if you wish.

I did give the thread a chance, though. I looked in on it just after it was started. I had my doubts about it's longevity but left it open with the hope that it wouldn't derail too quickly. I saw the second post and had no concerns at that point. Then along came post #3. If it had been on topic but a little over the politics line, I probably would have been satisfied to post some purple words to get it back on track. As it was...joke or not...the comment had little-to-nothing to do with the topic. As often happens with threads bordering such issues, it was lobbed in from left field and referenced another political hot button issue.

Halcyon Dayz
2011-May-02, 08:41 PM
[..] but every so often, something needs to be discussed.
It doesn't need to be discussed here.



So; If there's some science involved in how it all went down, I would love to know that.
Ballistics?

Jeff Root
2011-May-02, 09:00 PM
The only way I would know that Osama Bin Laden has
reportedly died is from that other thread. I didn't follow
the link to get more info, partly because the link URL
indicated it is a video, and I only have dial-up. So I
read the following posts, thought Tuckerfan's reply was
pretty funny while managing to be inoffensive, then got
annoyed yet again by moderation just because there is
some connection with politics. It made me forget all
about Bin Laden, so I'll have to go now and find out if
that is a true story or just a rumor or what. (I never
considered him to be of much importance, and his
passing isn't of any significance to me at all.)

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

pzkpfw
2011-May-02, 09:05 PM
The only way I would know that Osama Bin Laden has
reportedly died is from that other thread. ...

BAUT is primarily about astronomy and science.

If a member is relying on BAUT for their general news, well, that's just not going to work out well.

If a member wants to discuss certain of these non astronomy and science topics, again the answer is: there are other websites/forums.

That's not a "go away" message, it's a "don't expect BAUT to be all sites for all purposes" message.


... so I'll have to go now and find out if
that is a true story or just a rumor or what. ...

That's the correct action.

R.A.F.
2011-May-02, 09:10 PM
These rules need exceptions...

Why???...because you feel a need to "celebrate" on this particular board??

Sorry, but your "need" is simply not a good enough reason to make exceptions to rules that "work" perfectly well.

Sardonicone
2011-May-02, 09:11 PM
I agree the topic needs discussed. However, like many of the above posts, I agree that place isn't here. I personally have always viewed this site as being about science and space. Nothing else.

Sure there is the "off topic babbling". But even there I wouldn't expect current events to rule the roost, so to speak.

crosscountry
2011-May-02, 10:41 PM
I actually like things this way. I can choose how and where I want to discuss what.


Swift, that's fine except for one thing. WHen I go to those other boards I don't have the same educated and polite group to talk to. The discussions get waylaid with verbal tripe. Here we can expect more - except we are not allowed to discuss important things in the company of moderators.

I work at a university, and the issue was hardly mentioned at all. When I brought it up people seemed almost afraid to share their feelings. Only one person joined the conversation, and I was very glad to hear his insight. TOO BAD that cannot be shared on BAUT.

Gillianren
2011-May-02, 10:53 PM
Has it occurred to you that one of the reasons people are so polite here is that they aren't permitted to discuss the two subjects which arouse the most ire?

Garrison
2011-May-02, 10:55 PM
Swift, that's fine except for one thing. WHen I go to those other boards I don't have the same educated and polite group to talk to. The discussions get waylaid with verbal tripe. Here we can expect more - except we are not allowed to discuss important things in the company of moderators.


But the only reason the discussions here don't get waylaid is exactly because the mods jump on it ASAP. Topics that stray into politics, like the death of Osama Bin Laden are almost bound to generate a lot of heat and cross the line, heck it's bad enough when the subject of heavy Lift, or Mars v Moon, comes up in Space Exploration. :)

geonuc
2011-May-02, 11:34 PM
Swift, that's fine except for one thing. WHen I go to those other boards I don't have the same educated and polite group to talk to. The discussions get waylaid with verbal tripe. Here we can expect more - except we are not allowed to discuss important things in the company of moderators.

I work at a university, and the issue was hardly mentioned at all. When I brought it up people seemed almost afraid to share their feelings. Only one person joined the conversation, and I was very glad to hear his insight. TOO BAD that cannot be shared on BAUT.

That is too bad, but Gillian may be right. Swift certainly is, in my opinion. There are other forums populated by folks who can hold an intelligent conversation.

HenrikOlsen
2011-May-03, 12:25 AM
Swift, that's fine except for one thing. WHen I go to those other boards I don't have the same educated and polite group to talk to. The discussions get waylaid with verbal tripe. Here we can expect more - except we are not allowed to discuss important things in the company of moderators.
Because it got waylaid by irrelevant, inflammatory tripe.
That this discussion got killed has nothing to do with moderation and everything to do with a member who couldn't keep it focused.

There are lots of things I'd love to discuss here (*cough*White House Correspondents' Dinner moon hoax reference*cough*) with a lot of the people here, but I know that it would go wrong in seconds because some of the other people here can't stop injecting what they think are innocent jokes which are really inflammatory, so I won't.

tommac
2011-May-03, 12:36 AM
I agree with swift ... if you like overly moderated boards then baut is your place and post here ... if you dont post elsewhere there are plenty of other alternatives.

Swift
2011-May-03, 12:51 AM
I agree with swift ... if you like overly moderated boards then baut is your place and post here ... if you dont post elsewhere there are plenty of other alternatives.
tommac,

I'm not alarmed, I'm not concerned, I just found that a funny way to phrase things (truly, I laughed a little). On the one hand I was thinking of the stereotyped second grade book reports ("people who like books like this will like this book") and some kind of weird Monty Python type thing ("well, if you like to be bashed in the head with a brick and then have people dance on your grave, you'll love this place").

:D

tommac
2011-May-03, 12:55 AM
If this is the case then why not infract the offender rather than close the post?


The thread was closed three posts in because it only took three posts for someone to drag US partisan politics into it. _That_, above all else, is why we "can't have nice things". If the board membership, as a body, quits crossing the lines, then the mod team will be in a position to experiment with relaxing certain rules in certain circumstances.

tommac
2011-May-03, 01:01 AM
What is kind of funny is that I just went to the thread in question and read it for the first time and there is absolutely nothing political going on ... Tuckerfan made what is an obvious joke ... and really not very political just a good joke, actually quite funny regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum. Does anyone really find that post political?

Swift
2011-May-03, 01:02 AM
If this is the case then why not infract the offender rather than close the post?
That's a judgment call by the moderator. It has a lot to do with how close to the edge a topic is. A relatively safe topic is probably going to be given a lot more slack than a dangerous one. Frankly, I would classify that thread topic as high risk to violate our rules, and I think "one strike and you're out" was a good call.

Swift
2011-May-03, 01:03 AM
What is kind of funny is that I just went to the thread in question and read it for the first time and there is absolutely nothing political going on ... Tuckerfan made what is an obvious joke ... and really not very political just a good joke, actually quite funny regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum. Does anyone really find that post political?
Yes. It might be a joke, but it is a joke about politics.

tommac
2011-May-03, 01:06 AM
Would the 9/11 event be allowed to be discussed here ... or would say the bombing or Perl Harbor? Just curious where the actual line is? Discussion of North Korea? Discussions of how likely Iran is to have Nukes? Discussion of how much of a risk either Iran or North Korea is the rest of the world? how about health care and the baby boomers? roughly where is the political line drawn?

tommac
2011-May-03, 01:07 AM
Yes. It might be a joke, but it is a joke about politics. yes its about politics but its non political. It definitely bi-partisan ...

Swift
2011-May-03, 01:09 AM
yes its about politics but its non political. It definitely bi-partisan ...
There is no "... yes, but it was bipartisan politics..." exception to our no politics rule.

NickW
2011-May-03, 01:16 AM
Would the 9/11 event be allowed to be discussed here ... or would say the bombing or Perl Harbor? Just curious where the actual line is? Discussion of North Korea? Discussions of how likely Iran is to have Nukes? Discussion of how much of a risk either Iran or North Korea is the rest of the world? how about health care and the baby boomers? roughly where is the political line drawn?

Come on. How many of those topics do you think would spiral out of control rather quickly?

tommac
2011-May-03, 01:18 AM
There is no "... yes, but it was bipartisan politics..." exception to our no politics rule. but the point was that it was not political ... it was just about politics ... but not political ...

Does any of the post or thread fit in any definition for the word political?

From google:


po·lit·i·cal
adjective /pəˈlitikəl/ 

Of or relating to the government or the public affairs of a country
- a period of political and economic stability

Of or relating to the ideas or strategies of a particular party or group in politics
- a decision taken for purely political reasons

Interested in or active in politics
- I'm not very political

Motivated or caused by a person's beliefs or actions concerning politics
- a political crime

Relating to, affecting, or acting according to the interests of status or authority within an organization rather than matters of principle

NickW
2011-May-03, 01:26 AM
Does any of the post or thread fit in any definition for the word political?

Yes


Motivated or caused by a person's beliefs or actions concerning politics

And since you said:


but the point was that it was not political ... it was just about politics ... but not political ...

you kinda just answered your own question.

tommac
2011-May-03, 01:33 AM
????? something can be about politics without being political. There was no post that was "Motivated or caused by a persons beliefs or actions concerning politics". If so what number post are you talking about? Are you saying that the joke that was told about the Obama/Trump event was motivated by a persons beliefs? If so can you tell me what belief is being obviously promoted?

I cant tell anything from that joke ... that joke could have come from a liberal democrat, a conservative extremist or a middle of the road voter ... it is not political and not motivated or caused by a persons beliefs or actions



Yes



And since you said:



you kinda just answered your own question.

Swift
2011-May-03, 01:36 AM
Would the 9/11 event be allowed to be discussed here ... or would say the bombing or Perl Harbor? Just curious where the actual line is? Discussion of North Korea? Discussions of how likely Iran is to have Nukes? Discussion of how much of a risk either Iran or North Korea is the rest of the world? how about health care and the baby boomers? roughly where is the political line drawn?
9/11 - Was allowed for a while, particularly the CTs, but because of the problems, that was put off limits.
WWII / Pearl Harbor - Probably OK.
North Korea or Iran as current events - No
Health care (I assume you mean as an issue, not as in "what is this rash I have?") - No

The line is generally draw between history and current events. WWII is probably OK, current events in Libya - absolutely not.

NickW
2011-May-03, 01:39 AM
????? something can be about politics without being political. There was no post that was "Motivated or caused by a persons beliefs or actions concerning politics".
You know this how?

If so what number post are you talking about?
The point being is that it there was a possibility of it being a gateway comment to open it up to more political discussion.

Are you saying that the joke that was told about the Obama/Trump event was motivated by a persons beliefs?
It very well could have been.

If so can you tell me what belief is being obviously promoted?

Nope



it is not political and not motivated or caused by a persons beliefs or actions
Again, you know this how?

tommac
2011-May-03, 01:39 AM
So anything about any current event? So, and I am purposely trying to play devils advocate here, would it be OK to post something like "What is the best way to approach a reasonable level of healthcare for a developing country" ?

Where I realize that the post: Do you agree with the obamacare package? would definitely be out. Is that first question within the limits or out?


9/11 - Was allowed for a while, particularly the CTs, but because of the problems, that was put off limits.
WWII / Pearl Harbor - Probably OK.
North Korea or Iran as current events - No
Health care (I assume you mean as an issue, not as in "what is this rash I have?") - No

The line is generally draw between history and current events. WWII is probably OK, current events in Libya - absolutely not.

tommac
2011-May-03, 01:45 AM
You know this how? Because it did not come across in the post? He was not taking sides ... he made a very tame non-partisan joke about a current event ... my bet is that he didnt even make it up and may have heard it on letterman, leno or some viral facebook post ... even if he did make it up ( kudos if you did because I need to admit that I reposted it to my facebook ) it is not political at all. It is like saying that the statement " The whitehouse is white" is a political statement. Or even something like "The budget got passed" without there being a political motivation the post can not be deemed political.

NickW
2011-May-03, 01:50 AM
Because it did not come across in the post? He was not taking sides ... he made a very tame non-partisan joke about a current event ... my bet is that he didnt even make it up and may have heard it on letterman, leno or some viral facebook post ... even if he did make it up ( kudos if you did because I need to admit that I reposted it to my facebook ) it is not political at all.
Read my post again, tommac. I said that it is a post that has a potential to open the door to make for more political discussion. It was in the best interest of the board for it to be closed before it got that far and someones feelings got hurt. If you have a hard time seeing that, then I do not know what to tell you.


It is like saying that the statement " The whitehouse is white" is a political statement. Or even something like "The budget got passed" without there being a political motivation the post can not be deemed political.
Bringing up a possible political candidate as a punchline is a lot different then either one of those.

baskerbosse
2011-May-03, 02:01 AM
-I, for one, welcome our moderation overlords!


:-)

I don't think the moderation here is excessive.
I'm a member of other discussion boards that stay pretty much 100% on topic.
(there is a ship model forum for example that hasn't even mentioned Bin Laden yet)

/Peter

HenrikOlsen
2011-May-03, 02:24 AM
If this is the case then why not infract the offender rather than close the post?
You don't just scold the child with the match when the curtains are on fire, you also put out the fire.

Hernalt
2011-May-03, 02:28 AM
"Please do not bring food or drink into the class room."

Quantum Leap
2011-May-03, 02:45 AM
you could at the very least designate a discussion and limit it to one thread. Include a 'disclaimer' of sorts and let the discussion evolve on it's on with little or no intervention.

There is no need for multiple threads on Bin Laden , but considering the circumstances and the nature of this forum, heavily moderating and even locking threads isn't exactly confidence inspiring.

Moderation is a good thing....in moderation

Van Rijn
2011-May-03, 02:58 AM
You don't just scold the child with the match when the curtains are on fire, you also put out the fire.

But there was just one post on the subject that got the thread closed. It wasn't part of a flamewar, or part of a pattern of rule-breaking posts.

I do understand that this is a sensitive subject, but I would have liked to have seen the topic (as opposed to the political post) given a chance. In particular, I would have liked to discuss personal reactions to the news. I was a bit surprised at my own reaction, and would have liked to compare reactions here.

HenrikOlsen
2011-May-03, 03:06 AM
I would also have liked to discuss it here, but apparently not all people have yet learned how not to kill such threads.

It would have been the perfect springboard for a discussion on how everything in the american language sounding even vaguely like an aphorism is automatically attributed to Mark Twain.

NickW
2011-May-03, 03:27 AM
I also agree with Van Rijn and Henrik. I would have like to discuss it as well, because, like Van Rijn, I was surprised by my reaction to it as well. I do understand where the moderators were coming from on this though.

WaxRubiks
2011-May-03, 05:04 AM
I love these meta discussions. :)

Gillianren
2011-May-03, 05:06 AM
So anything about any current event? So, and I am purposely trying to play devils advocate here, would it be OK to post something like "What is the best way to approach a reasonable level of healthcare for a developing country" ?

Where I realize that the post: Do you agree with the obamacare package? would definitely be out. Is that first question within the limits or out?

Out. Of course. Because it necessarily requires defining what role the government should have, and that's inherently political.


It would have been the perfect springboard for a discussion on how everything in the american language sounding even vaguely like an aphorism is automatically attributed to Mark Twain.

I . . . I love you . . . .

NickW
2011-May-03, 05:14 AM
I . . . I love you . . . .

I think this will be my new CT. Henrik is sucking up to Gillianren, here is the proof! :)

Hernalt
2011-May-03, 05:47 AM
I misspoke. What I meant to say was

WISE Mission (http://wise.ssl.berkeley.edu/mission.html)
"WISE is an unmanned satellite carrying an infrared-sensitive telescope that will image the entire sky. Since objects around room temperature emit infrared radiation, the WISE telescope and detectors are kept very cold (below -430° F /15 Kelvins, which is only 15° Centigrade above absolute zero) by a cryostat -- like an ice chest but filled with solid hydrogen instead of ice."

Strange
2011-May-03, 07:54 AM
Because it did not come across in the post? He was not taking sides ...

That is your impression. Mine was completely different. I thought it was an amusing comment in a different context but I also interpreted it as an attack on one person (Trump) and, in fact, an entire political sub-group ("birthers").

Glom
2011-May-03, 08:39 AM
While I do think that the moderating policy often crosses the line into infantilising the membership, I don't think this is one of those occasions. I don't see a need for this issue to be discussed here.

Swift
2011-May-03, 02:05 PM
I do understand that this is a sensitive subject, but I would have liked to have seen the topic (as opposed to the political post) given a chance. In particular, I would have liked to discuss personal reactions to the news. I was a bit surprised at my own reaction, and would have liked to compare reactions here.
Given some reasoned requests for a reopening, I've brought up the topic with other moderators... we'll get back to you all.

ToSeek
2011-May-03, 03:11 PM
Oldtimers like me can remember when there was nowhere on the forum to discuss anything but science and astronomy. OTB was added later on and was always considered, by Phil, at least, to be a minor part of the forum there as a favor to the members who wanted to discuss other matters with their online friends.

R.A.F.
2011-May-03, 03:16 PM
I would have liked to discuss personal reactions to the news. I was a bit surprised at my own reaction, and would have liked to compare reactions here.

Actually, I could get behind that idea... although I'm not too surprised by my personal reaction, I am WAY surprised by the reactions of others.

Jim
2011-May-03, 05:07 PM
I . . . I love you . . . .

Didn't Mark Twain say that in Tom Sawyer or The Notorious Jumping Frog or something?

HenrikOlsen
2011-May-03, 05:32 PM
I think this will be my new CT. Henrik is sucking up to Gillianren, here is the proof! :)
So, besides Gillianren, how many realized that I was referring to a Clarence Darrow quotation?

Swift
2011-May-03, 06:03 PM
Given some reasoned requests for a reopening, I've brought up the topic with other moderators... we'll get back to you all.
After discussion, the thread in question has been reopened. The reopening warning I posted will be a good example for those who believe this forum is over-moderated ;).

captain swoop
2011-May-03, 06:44 PM
So anything about any current event? So, and I am purposely trying to play devils advocate here, would it be OK to post something like "What is the best way to approach a reasonable level of healthcare for a developing country" ?

I would say no because it would be an obvious trojan horse for introducing partisan politics.

geonuc
2011-May-03, 07:08 PM
So, besides Gillianren, how many realized that I was referring to a Clarence Darrow quotation?

Not me. I rely on you two, and others, for my literary references!

Strange
2011-May-03, 07:11 PM
So, besides Gillianren, how many realized that I was referring to a Clarence Darrow quotation?

Not me; I had no idea what you were talking about. But I think it has just turned up...

caveman1917
2011-May-03, 08:29 PM
Today is a day when we deserve the right to discuss something beyond what is allowed. These rules need exceptions, and today that is more true than ever.

I don't see why that is so. My guess would be that at least once a year someone (be it either a mexican drugsbaron, african rebel leader, ...) dies or is captured that has a couple of thousand deaths on his hands.


Why on earth can't we celebrate as a community that the greatest enemy of the United States of America is dead?

Not that i'm against discussing it (far from it, i think good arguments could be made for it), but an argument from the subjective status of a preferred political entity seems a bit circular ("today something happened that's really important to my preferred political entity, so the rules on politics should be relaxed").

slang
2011-May-03, 09:05 PM
Would the 9/11 event be allowed to be discussed here ...

One interesting thing about 9/11 was that almost all the news sites were unavailable very soon after it happened, unable to cope with the massive amount of traffic they got. I was active on Slashdot back then, and such sites with user comments kind of took over the role of news reporting on the web. Were BAUT around on that day, one could decide that the circumstances were special enough to allow the topic. Nowadays the net structure is a bit more robust, and big news sites generally have some sort of emergency light weight HTML option to cope with traffic spikes.

Van Rijn
2011-May-04, 06:10 AM
Just a quick comment . . . I wanted to thank the moderators for reopening the thread. Thanks!

HenrikOlsen
2011-May-04, 07:38 AM
Why on earth can't we celebrate as a community that the greatest enemy of the United States of America is dead?
Because this isn't a community of Americans.
Apart from that, he wasn't your greatest enemy, he was just a symbol for one small conflict.

Jason Thompson
2011-May-04, 08:06 AM
Why on earth can't we celebrate as a community that the greatest enemy of the United States of America is dead?

1: This is not a community solely composed of Americans.

2: Some of us just might find the idea of celebrating anyone's death utterly repugnant.

pzkpfw
2011-May-04, 08:45 AM
Some good points, but let's not make this thread political.

...in fact, how about we close this and the next time the mods upset someone a new thread can be started.

(This thread has become about one particular thread. Since that's been opened, the point is now moot.)