View Full Version : Moderators

2003-Aug-26, 09:55 PM

I am wanting to know how you choose your moderators.

Do you do it by their knowledge? Or do you do it by the amount of posts they have? If you base your decision on knowledge, how do you confirm their claims?

I would be interested in knowing where the experts you have to answer questions, spend most of their time with this forum. Meaning what topics they address in this forum.

I am interested in learning facts, and in order to do so with this forum, I believe i would be best to follow these credited experts in the topics they mainly deal in. Quite honestly, im tired of reading the same posters and their"views" over and over again, and im tired of the whole evolution thing being brought into most of the topics. They are tainting your wonderful forum, and when your moderators begin bashing presidents, I question your choices!

Its begining to be offensive fraser. I didnt come here to have your moderator bash president bush, much less try to force feed us with "views". It wouldnt be bad if they posted once or twice in a topic, but to re post over and over again, to every post they dont agree with, and to have them monopolize the forum with crap is no learning environment or much fun!

So please, educate us on your choices and how you came to them, and where the real experts are PLEASE... Before they make a joke of your efforts...

2003-Aug-26, 10:55 PM
I chose the moderators based on people who have been regular supporters of Universe Today and the forum for a long time. Most of their involvement so far has been to get involved in discussions and help answer people's questions.

They've also been on hand to remove the truly offensive posts. It doesn't happen often, but we do need to remove the occasional, truly offensive comments.

So far, I'm largely happy with the tone of the conversations that have been happening on the Forum. Bush's foreign policy is a very controversal subject, and to try and remove controversals conversations from the forum would be largely impossible; almost everyone finds something offensive.

Forums are often postocracies. Whoever can post the fastest and lengthiest gets to dominate the conversations. I'm definitely not interested in supporting what can essentially become bullying.

That said, I'm also not really interested in moderating free speech to any great extent. The moderators and I will probably start cracking down on non-space related conversations and usher them into the appropriate categories, but beyond that, we're probably not going to censor what people have to say.

2003-Aug-27, 02:03 AM
Personally, I haven't seen anything offensive so that only goes to show what a good job Fraser and the moderators do.

I've set up a couple of forums now and it's impossible to avoid people posting offensive remarks and/or people being offended at someone else's words.

I'm a member of a forum that's very strictly moderated and to be honest, there's no fun in that. Anything even remotely off-topic gets deleted without warning so people are literally afraid to post something for fear of it being removed.

Likewise I'm also a member of a forum that has no moderation at all (unless a number of people ask the administrator to intervene) and there's so much bad feeling there it's unbelievable. Some very real and personal attacks take place and even those who plead for peace and sanity are shouted down.

So I say congrats to Fraser and the moderators and congrats to the members of the forums for keeping this a decent, informative and above all entertaining place to be. :-)

philip slater
2003-Aug-27, 10:12 AM
Hi, Fraser.

I have sent a message to Stephanie:

Just read your post about moderators. I can't help at all with any info about how or why Fraser selected his first batch. He just asked me and I said ok.

If there is anything I have said that you particularly disagree with, let me know where and what and I'll have a look and either try to defend it or I'll say sorry if you convince me I can't.

I hope you keep on telling it like it is and how it seems to you.

I am posting this here to extend the invitation to everyone.

If anyone thinks that I have said anything which is factually incorrect, unpleasant, disagreeable, grouchy, excessively inadequate or seems to them to be trying clandestinely or covertly to achieve any political, religious or commercial purpose separate from the declared aims of the Universe Today forums I would appreciate it if they would let me know.

You can do this either by a message to me directly or via Fraser or you can post your views and criticisms just as, I am glad to see, Stephanie has felt free to do. It would be helpful if you could give a specific reference or some examples.

As far as political and other values-based differences are concerned it's worth remembering that as soon as we are able to achieve three quarters light speed some of us can head off in one direction whilst others take a course that's 180 degrees different. We'll be able to wave each other goodbye, exchange a few parting insults and be on our way. From then on, no problemo. Until we find out just how curved reality might be. Or find that we are wondering if they didn't have a point after all. Or begin to miss the chance of proving them wrong. Or decide that maybe we were. Or find that some of the first new starborn generation are coming out with a load of pernicious, arrogant and ignorant nonsense we seem to have heard somewhere before. Whatever.


2003-Aug-27, 06:43 PM
I was a little upset over the Bush/USA bashing, but it is the popular thing to do and many are jumping on the bandwagon. While I think the USA has the best thing going, others have the right to their own opinion. I think the moderators are doing a great job for the most part. I disagree with some of what I read, but it does make me think. If I don't like the post I simply skip it. Just like with TV or radio, I always have the right to hit the off button! :P

2003-Aug-27, 09:36 PM
Tina, your right. I have the option of not reading it, or turning it off. Thats why I came to a forum, so that I could ask certain questions, and have people change the question to whatever is better for them.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with Fraser as a human being. Yes indeed he is doing a good job. I am guessing that my agenda for learning was way off base. It is my mistake for coming to this forum with the expectations of good/factual answers. At least direct answers. And no, what the moderator said was not offensive, its the immaturity of how she did it and the apparent lack of judgement thats offensive. There are Americans on this forum, who, are quite proud of it. I would NEVER bash or stand in judgement of Canadas leader, Russias leader and so on, especially in a place it shouldnt be, I have to much respect for the people in different places of our world.


I must be to old or to kind for this forum stuff. I care what I say about others, I care about education, I care about fairness, I care about what my words might do to others, and I respect Fraser enough to try to be the best person I can be when I address others he has also welcomed to his forum. I think our world is so full of hate as it is, why bring it to a place where we go to find peace? I wanted to learn about space/astronomy because when I looked into the skies it made me feel good and happy and blessed. I didnt come here to listen to bashing, or agendas.

Its just like this whole evolution thing. I respect peoples opinions about it, but in an environment like this where there are MULTIPLE opportunities to speak specifically about it a million times over, is it not the proper thing to do to keep it in a topic of its own? You have never seen me once tell all you "belivers" how silly you sound, I read your posts & then and move on. But its becoming the subject in quite a few topics, and to respect those of us who dont have that belief, is it not the proper and kind thing to do to keep it where the question calls for peoples opinions about it? I dont think im asking for to much here. I dont even go to the questions about evolution, so Im doing my part, im staying away, im not interfering in those topics whatsoever, give the same respect back. If i ask about the moon, I dont want to hear about apes.

I am a 37 year old lady who is cooked. I am done. My belief system is set, my views are set and all the opinions in the world arent going to change me. Does that mean that my questions will "evolve" into a completly different topic because people decide its the funner thing to talk about? What is the use of asking questions if they cant be answered by topic? Never mind how i feel about allowing/accepting a moderator to be out of line. If my limousine drivers "moderators" EVER dis-respected another, they would be looking for a new job, because my drivers are a reflection of me and my business, and I dont care if your the most evil person in the world, you will get the respect you deserve with me because you are another human being&#33; PERIOD

I can see that I most definitely am in the wrong place here. If anyone can guide me to a forum maybe where i could get direct answers to my questions about space, or even speak to others who are not motivated by agendas/or bias then please email me. I am so anxious to actually learn&#33;&#33;

2003-Aug-28, 01:22 AM
Stephanie, I&#39;m honestly saddened by your words... :( but not because I think you&#39;re wrong (I don&#39;t) but because you&#39;ve allowed other peoples&#39; thoughts and opinions affect you this way.

Someone once told me that you can&#39;t "make" someone happy and that&#39;s certainly true. The reverse is also true. Whether we realise it or not, our emotional state is often decided by how we unconsciously choose to react to another.

It&#39;s been a hard battle for me, but with a few extreme exceptions, I&#39;ve learnt to just shrug my shoulders and say "fine" - because I&#39;m not going to let anyone make me unhappy just because their views, for whatever reason, come into conflict with my own.

Please stay... post your questions. I, for one, give you my word - I will always try to answer them to the best of my knowledge and ability.

And I&#39;m sure I&#39;m not the only one :)


2003-Aug-28, 02:34 AM
First of all, it is pretty much impossible to rationally discuss the possibility of life on other planets without mentioning the origin of life or the evolution of species. Sorry to be blunt, but evolution is not a belief or an opinion, it is a well established fact. It is continuously being refined - Stephen Jay Gould&#39;s concept of punctuated equilibrium being among the more recent refinements - but it&#39;s as real as the earth is round. Anyone wishing to learn how the universe actually works needs to first put aside beliefs and opinions, no matter how dearly held, and start from the facts.

2003-Aug-28, 09:52 AM
I for one am an 18 year old jazz piano student, and I have no agenda to push other than contributing to this forum in a way that helps other peoples&#39; understanding of space and astronomy related issues, as well as my own. I always try and inject something new into discussions so that they don&#39;t "frizzle out", and to spark some debate. I think that difference of opinion is what makes any forum interesting. If nobody were to challenge my opinion, understanding or beliefs, I would get bored of posting here very quickly indeed&#33; Science is afterall, about continually questionning our beliefs and the models we use to explain why the universe is the way it is&#33;

I for one think Fraser has done a fantastic job, and that the level of moderation is healthy as it is.

Kashi :D

2003-Aug-28, 02:18 PM

Needless to say, some of your "injections" have upset me, a Very Proud American. Maybe you could use John Howard&#39;s name instead of Bush&#39;s in your posts. He seems to be in Bush&#39;s backpocket. :D
Maybe you don&#39;t realize that our (USA) gov&#39;t is supposed to be &#39;for the people, by the people and of the people,&#39; so when you bash a leader of ours you are, in effect, bashing the people. The people, who&#39;s tax monies, are spent on so many of these wonderful space missions and research.
You seem like a pretty smart kid. Find a different way to inject excitement into posts&#33; Debate = good, Resentment = baaad.
But, far be it from me to limit free speech or condone censorship.


You are the voice of reason.

2003-Aug-29, 05:57 AM
Stephanie, while I mostly agree with you, I also found some entertainment in some of the replies that came forth on the various topics. While I was tempted to respond, I didn;&#39;t for the very reason you are expousing--this is not the place for a discussion on theology.

I HAVE learned a few things reading here, and I thought I was pretty knowledgable about astonomy.

I hope you stick around and keep asking questions. I think you will get your answers--you might just have to get through the gook first&#33; :o

philip slater
2003-Aug-29, 08:16 AM
Hi Duane.

You say
Stephanie, while I mostly agree with you, I also found some entertainment in some of the replies that came forth on the various topics. While I was tempted to respond, I didn;&#39;t for the very reason you are expousing--this is not the place for a discussion on theology.

I HAVE learned a few things reading here, and I thought I was pretty knowledgable about astonomy.

I hope you stick around and keep asking questions. I think you will get your answers--you might just have to get through the gook first&#33;

Could you take on a task, please? Could you act for a while as a mentor/ tutor/ pathpointer, whatever, for Stephanie. Every time Stephanie posts a question (about astronomy) could you kindly have a go at answering it? If it is outside your personal range just use the standard procedure and holler for help. If that would be acceptable to Stephanie, that is.

Somewhere within the borders of this domain, I don&#39;t know where or when, she has had an unpleasant experience having asked a question, and that really shouldn&#39;t be allowed to happen. I’m sure there are plenty of people who will jump in to elaborate answers where necessary. If anyone sincerely and genuinely wonders what is going on when they look up at the stars there is a lot there for them to learn.

It will be up to Stephanie to do the best she can to ask the questions that mean the most to her. By the time you have done direct naked-eye astronomy, what NASA&#39;s four great space telescopes are revealing day by day (SIRTF in action soon), cosmology, a bit of particle physics, relativity, quantum mechanics, strings and things, and GUT and suchlike, we will all doubtless have learned something new.

And, Stephanie, don&#39;t get put off by that list. After all, it&#39;s not rocket science. And don&#39;t, if you can help it, get put off by the silliness of silly people. (Take Dips&#39; advice, and use his method, maybe?) And try not to take offence at remarks from people who are being offensive who one day might be granted the grace not to be.

Keep asking the questions. As far as understanding astronomy, you are already half way there when you stand under the night sky and wonder what, and wonder at, what you see. As you do.


philip slater
2003-Aug-30, 12:14 PM
Here&#39;s a thought, or two. Perhaps.

Fraser&#39;sForumsland is still only less than two months old. Curiously that may seem an immensely long time to some of our silicon based components, the speed that they sort of think, but it is still a very small proportion of their possible lifetimes given that computers functioning today may still be healthy and active in millions or billions of Earth Sun orbits around their mutual gravitic median point.

However, for any MOSH (Mainly Original Substrate Humans) folk who have devoted six weeks or so to considering the future wellbeing of Fraser&#39;s latest project (as it is right to do with any infant potential prodigy, which of course every single human baby or computer spec is) that amount of time represents a noticeable fragment of their projected possible functionality.

Even a full two months is still not yet enough time to carry out a reality check for Fraser&#39;sForumland. It will probably take at least one whole year before the inhabitants can agree amongst ourselves the meaning of the term &#39;reality&#39;.

It might be time already, though, to carry out a terminology check on just one word.


Waste of time to discuss "What does the word mean?" Much quicker, cheaper and better perhaps to discuss "What do we want it to mean?" and "can we agree what we will choose to have it&#39;s meaning be for us here and now for a while?”

(Worth noting that Fraser is not categorised as a "moderator". He has defined his role as he sees it already, elsewhere. Presumably voluntary participants or asylum seekers in this land accept that definition).

Should moderators (whilst accepting and carrying out the title, tasks, duties and responsibilities of a moderator) be moderate? Should they be moderates, in any of the multiple meanings of that term?

Do the Forumites want the role of a moderator (whilst accepting the title etc. of a moderator) to be the moderation of contention, as in the insertion of control rods into a running-away nuclear reactor? Or would it be more fun if moderators were expected to liven up the level of the chat show by pouring hypergolic rocket fuel and oxidant on the campfire?

I dunno.

All depends on how much you value the launch site, I suppose.

Comments welcome and much appreciated. Views also valuable. And thoughts.


2003-Aug-30, 08:19 PM
I think if we can respect one anothers views, keep to the subject, and avoid personal attacks, we can keep these forums exciting and interesting without a lot of intervention, or censorship.

We also have to keep in mind that this is still pretty new.
None of us really know each other, so our only commonality is that we all have and or do enjoy the news and information put out in Universe Today.

Frasier has been corisponding with some of us via E-mail for years. But then others are brand new. There is bound to be some growing pains, and even though many of us differ from each other in opinions, we are all pretty intellegent people.

And I&#39;ll go so far as to say that those asking the questions are likely the most intellegent of all of us. Because they are asking, and learning from our successes and mistakes. We could all take that cue, and ask each other and teach each other. Isn&#39;t that what these forums are all about after all? :)

2003-Sep-02, 01:05 AM
Hi Philip,

What do I expect from a moderator?

I expect a person who is a bit like a referee, keeping things within the rules. If the rules say "no insulting language, obscene language, personal attacks" then moderators should step in and enforce the rule. I use this as an example because it&#39;s an easy one that everyone understands.

I also expect that a moderator should know a fair bit about the topic discussed. Granted in an area such as this, where higher education and understanding of some pretty heady subjects is required just to follow the threads, it is not common among the general public, this limits the choices. That&#39;s why I put it lower in priority to being a referee. And also why I&#39;ll never be a moderator on this site.

It would be ideal for a moderator to be able to guide others and keep things &#39;on topic&#39;, hence prior knowledge in the subject.

Moderators should be above politics/religion/sex/race of any sort. They must be above reproach in their dealings with us mere posters.

In short it&#39;s a dog of a job that stirs the ire of many people who have never been in the position of remaining unbiased. Keeping things unbiased ain&#39;t easy. I speak as an ex-cop of 20 yrs.

philip slater
2003-Sep-13, 03:39 PM
Hi Cambo.

Please accept my apologies for not responding sooner. I was off line for a number of reasons for a while due to a number of factors including ware problems both soft and hard. Then I didn&#39;t notice till just now the action on this thread.

Thanks for your thoughts. Some of the requirements that you touch on are pretty demanding and seem to call as much for judgement as for knowledge. As usual everyone will just have to try to do the best with what they have. Success or failure will ultimately come down to the judgmental capability of the forums&#39; creator in hiring and firing volunteer moderators. Or his gift or aptitude for getting lucky in his choices. Which brings us back nicely to the topic of the thread which quite a few people believe is what should happen now and again.

One of your points may not just be difficult to comply with, but actually impossible.
There are currently four main ways of thinking about what science is, how it should best be done, how it can best be discussed and how its performance can be evaluated.

i) The way we all used to think about understanding hard reality and causes and effects up until the time of Newton and his contemporaries. Still very popular.

ii) The way we all used to think about such things up until the the Austrian-born philosopher of science (and several other areas), Karl Popper, who worked in New Zealand throughout the second world war and in Britain mostly thereafter was born in 1902. Still very popular.

iii) The way people think about science who have read the writings of Popper and who, for whatever reasons, are unable to accept his conceptualisations and therefore prefer to stick to their pre-Popperian view of things. Still very popular.

iv) The way people think about science who have read and understood Popper, or had his concepts well explained to them, and who are prepared to accept them as the best working tool we have for thinking about these things until something better comes along. Very popular amongst quite a lot of well respected scientists and thinkers in general. Not yet amongst all scientists (which curiously doesn&#39;t greatly matter). Nor amongst all journalists, which funnily enough does.

According to Karl Popper’s hypothesis it is not possible for anyone to think about any issue, including the value or menace of any words included in a post on the net, without bringing to the task a pre-existing framework of evaluation, what might possibly be called pre-judgements or pre-judices.

Popper&#39;s thinking about the nature of thinking on the topic of science (and hence, whether we like it or not, on the topics of astronomy and space voyaging) has been introduced into the thread started by kafkas_hat discussing the thoughts of Peter Lynds on the subject of time. Poppers approach may have within it the capability of resolving several tricky points that are currently being wrestled with over on that particular thread, not far very from here.

Back soon, I expect, if the electrons carry on doing their thing in the right sequence along what may or may not usefully be thought of as a river of time.


2003-Sep-14, 05:13 AM

If politics has caused so much trouble in these forums, then why not ban political discussions entirely? This is after all a place to discuss the exploration of space, and science. Bush’s foreign policy and the Iraq War should have no place here.

Just a suggestion . . .

2003-Sep-14, 05:48 AM
Well, space exploration and politics are tied together. Even the Iraq war has a tenuous connection to space exploration (where money gets spent). But a discussion purely about politics, etc, shouldn&#39;t really be happening in any of the main forums. I&#39;m planning on creating an off-topic forum for people to yack about stuff that has nothing to do with space.

2003-Sep-21, 03:45 AM
If you change the word evolution to "change" and remove the "progress" which does not occur, there is no evolution argument to have.
I&#39;ll have to go back and read the bottom half of the posts...
Dont give up Steph...
I&#39;ve watched a couple moderators and your replies are pure.
Politics? like they ^^^ said up there...
Steph, I like you, what is/was your question?

2003-Oct-06, 09:48 AM
This is the best forum I&#39;ve ever been apart of, other forums people will abuse everyone else, that is not so. For once I have found a forum which people are nice to each other. It seems that even where some have been offended to a degree it has been overcome without anyone insulting each other. This &#39;issue&#39; occured before I signed on and too me it is in the past, I think we should now all continue talking about what we talk about best, space.

Give praise to where praise is deserved and Fraser and his team of moderators should be congratulated. We should congratulate ourselves too for keeping this forum a great one. ^_^

2003-Oct-06, 01:43 PM
Glad to have you on board Matthew. Keep up the good work.

2005-Oct-21, 09:41 AM
I think this forum has obviously evolved a fair bit over the past couple of years, but in my experience, this is a very friendly and welcoming forum. On any topics to some degree political beliefs and discourse are inevitably going to find a way to intrude, but to be fair, i don't really think that is the least bit out of control in these fora. I think they're well managed and moderated and a good environment to be a part of.