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Thread: New Policies Regarding Against the Mainstream section

  1. #1
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    New Policies Regarding Against the Mainstream section

    Okay folks, we're implementing a new policy for the Against the Mainstream (ATM) section of BAUT.

    New ATM theories will remain open for 30 days, and then they'll be closed by the moderation staff. In other words, if you've got an interesting new theory about the Universe, you've got 30 days to deal with objections, and then we'll seal it up - preserved for all eternity. Any new topics started up by the ATM theorist will be shut down immediately, and/or deleted.

    Okay, so why did we make this decision?

    There are two kinds of people who post threads in the ATM section:

    1.People who have an interesting idea to explain some aspect of the Universe. They post their idea, community members generously donate their time to help think it through and provide ways to test the theory. It happens quickly and we all move on.

    2. People who are looking to use BAUT as a marketing platform for their alternative theories. Tell us your idea, that's fine. But we're not going to allow the forum to turn into a marketing vehicle for them. 30 days should be plenty of time to present your concept, deal with objections, answer anything else.

    The problem is that the people in group 2 were stretching the patience of the community and using up moderator resources. So we've decided to take this direction.

    We'll start this new policy a week from today - March 6, 2007. We'll close up every ATM thread older than 30-days, no exceptions. They'll all still be accessible by the search engine, and if you want to put in a hard link.

  2. #2
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    Wow!!!!

    Besides the Off-Topic Babbling forum, your ATM section is the highest posting forum youse have got!

    BAUT along with the BB theory is on the fast path to a singularity at that rate

    but it was a great site!

    Now all youse chums can buddy up, nod and grunt and stroke each others egos!

    Very very sad

    PS since it seems, in part, directed at me (starboy) I'd like to register my strong disaproval, the mods do a great job (and a thankless one at that) so may be instead of stepping on peoples heads you should employ more mods, you know distribute the work load?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Any new topics started up by the ATM theorist will be shut down immediately, and/or deleted.
    I assume you mean dealing with the same theory, yes?

  4. #4
    So if you present a new theory and people ask the same question and you do not give an answer for a month the thread will be closed?
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck View Post
    I assume you mean dealing with the same theory, yes?
    That's right, new and different theories are welcome.

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    Starboy,
    If the shoe fits...

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    is there much point in closing ATM threads started by type 1 poster?
    surely it could just drop like all other threads but remain open if someone wanted to add something new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frog march View Post
    is there much point in closing ATM threads started by type 1 poster?
    surely it could just drop like all other threads but remain open if someone wanted to add something new.
    The problem there is that it would very difficult to make a fair distinction between the two. A type 1 discussion that is still forging ahead after a month vs a type 2 that's on its third lap around the same small track are both still active threads, and which would require a Moderator to actively monitor them to see the shape of the track.

    I would suggest that there be a provision for a thread to be reopened based on PM's to the moderators from the members actually in the discussion. Maybe even preemptively. Have the moderator watching the clock post a 1 week warning or something. Then, see how many people who are not the person that proposed the idea PM a request to extend it for one additional month. Compare them to the post count in the thread to be sure that the PM's came from active thread participants, then post the decision about whether or not it will be extended with the default being "no".
    I'm Not Evil.
    An evil person would do the things that pop into my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tog_ View Post
    I would suggest that there be a provision for a thread to be reopened based on PM's to the moderators from the members actually in the discussion.
    I'm sure that alternative is always an option, and all the moderators would have to agree, but that takes time and effort. I would assume the majority of that kind of effort would be taken up by the people screaming "unfair".

    Another thing to consider: If the thread is a meaningful ATM thread, then at the end of 30 days, you know who the important and informed players are. By then, it can be taken "off-line", which would probably help since those are the only people that would have the knowledge enough to understand some of the finer details. And then, the debate will be meaningful because it will cut down on the noise.

    I hate to see open discussions closed myself, because there's things to be learned, but things do tend get out of hand sometimes.

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    We're trying to come up with a solution that stops the forum being used as a marketing tool by ATM proponents. They can just keep bump bump bumping a thread to keep it going at the top of the list. This isn't a popularity contest.

    The problem is that the true believers have stamina but not answers. They're willing to go and go, bringing up the same points over and over again. This has overwhelmed the patience of many valuable members of the forum.

    I'm sure you can think of some forum members who we don't see any more because the ATM section is out of hand. That mades me sad.

    We still value the ATM section. It's my hope that people with genuinely original ideas will have a place they can post their ideas. People with knowledge about the field of science will be able to spot the weakenesses in the theory. Or maybe, just maybe, they'll recognize the genuinely original theory and help get it promoted to working scientists who can take the idea further. That's my hope for the ATM section.

    But the days of BAUT being a promotion tool for ATM theorists are over.

  11. #11
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    I'm looking at the top 20 threads in the ATM and I'm not sure who was thought to be causing a problem here. Where's the soapboxing? But assuming such soapboxers are present, would it not be an alternative to just close those threads? While some threads do go on too long, the 30 day limit seems too short. It sometimes takes that long for a discussion to really get going.

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    Very sad. Some of the threads are chronicles: Are supernovae results ruling out all cosmology? New papers, new prospectives on supernova emerge daily. This thread has always been a borderline mainstream topic - It is not ATM to argue about the attributes of Dark Energy - perhaps it should be moved to the general discussion section.

    The Arp thread - there was a lot of true research, most of which occurred long after the thread was initiated. Anyone who has plodded through it should be aware MS interpretations face some difficult challenges here.

    Some of the threads have been philosophical - the Popper thread is an absolute classic of the principle of nullification.

    I tend to bump many threads when new evidence emerges, both pro and con; cosmology is a living topic, not one that expires in thirty days.

    I know the objective of the ATM board was and is to debunk bad astronomy, but I don't see it as constructive to just attack the dirty snowball model (which in my opinion is very bad) and not offer explorable alternatives.

    All the same, I am empathetic with the moderators: It should be a given that every ATM idea cannot be dispatched within limited resources.

    Finally I have openly and candidly used this site for theoretical development - rejecting ideas that do not work and updating hypotheticals with new evidence, knowledge and new predictions. The BB has no obligation to sponser such; but I believe I have inspired interest in the board - it (the board) is a good learning tool.

    Perhaps a new subsection should be created: Questions and/or controversies in astrophysics: Discussion of peer reviewed papers which challenge conventional thinking...No, just topics approved by board moderators - peer review is too much like a religious stamp of approval In such a section, the goal would not be to debunk: It would be to post and evaluate new and contraversial evidence. Astroscience is a living topic with lots of opinions. (There is a heated ongoing debate on the physics of neutron stars).

    In any case, I am glad to hear they will not be deleting this published record. Nobody knows how important it is.

    Thanks guys
    Last edited by Jerry; 2007-Mar-01 at 08:36 PM. Reason: Added a thank you
    “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

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    I think it will help in the long run. I haven't been active in the CT forum as of late because of the 40+ page long, absurd argument threads that have been running in circles for 39 pages. I think this is a positive step that will bring in more like-minded people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    That's right, new and different theories are welcome.
    Thanks for the clarification, Fraser.

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    Re: New Policies Regarding Against the Mainstream section

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Okay folks, we're implementing a new policy for the Against the Mainstream (ATM) section of BAUT....We'll start this new policy a week from today - March 6, 2007. We'll close up every ATM thread older than 30-days, no exceptions. They'll all still be accessible by the search engine, and if you want to put in a hard link.
    Thank you for soon eliminating all the various, endless ATM carousels. I'm sure many a BAUT newbie has come upon such a discussion and thought it was new territory being explored, and not aware that it was the SOSO.

    Mr. Inbetween, AKA, the ATM promoter ad infinitum, will not be pleased.

    Tough.

    Meanwhile, I'm know the newbies and oldbies (eventually) will thank you for this policy.


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    Why not be honest about it and just shut down the ATM section completely, I have asked this question earlier without getting a clear answer, why do we have an ATM section at all? If this new rule will be applied it means the end of ATM.

    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanderL View Post
    If this new rule will be applied it means the end of ATM.
    No. It'll be the end of ATM-without-end.

    Earnest ATM, though, will be presented, considered, corrected, and archived for posterity. Endless-ATM, that promotional stuff, just won't go on and on and on and on. Who will miss that?

    I am looking forward to the neurons freed up for some really wise and clever people, by their not having to explain the same things over and over to the endless-ATM promoters. It will be good that they can apply those neurons to more productive work, like improving their own lives, the lives of their loved ones, and of humanity in general. Hooray! Win-win!
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanderL View Post
    Why not be honest about it and just shut down the ATM section completely, I have asked this question earlier without getting a clear answer, why do we have an ATM section at all? If this new rule will be applied it means the end of ATM.
    Well, for one, would rather see all ATM and CT threads (particularly the carousel kind) in an easily avoidable forum, rather than sneaking through spread out willy-nilly. Carousels frustrate me. Having my time wasted by the obstinate frustrates me. I'm hard to get along with when I'm frustrated. Nobody wants that.

    In any case, it's clear (from experience dating before the ATM forum existed) that we'd never keep ATMers from trying to promote their ideas in Q&A or BABBling, regardless of how inappropriate these topics are there. Besides, there is some value to ATM threads. I'm told there are occasionally good ideas in there. Having ATM as such an incubator/proving ground could be useful.

    Better to have them redirected to a controlled environment where those who wish to participate can do so rather than seeing them snuck in everywhere else.

    As for the new rule, if you can't present your idea thoroughly in 30 days, it wasn't ready for publication. Consider it incentive to take the time and bake it fully before you involve those of us who will stress test it for you. Short of that, you're really just wasting everybody's valuable time.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanderL View Post
    Why not be honest about it and just shut down the ATM section completely, I have asked this question earlier without getting a clear answer, why do we have an ATM section at all? If this new rule will be applied it means the end of ATM.

    Cheers.
    Because ideas from outside the mainstream have a genuine value to science. Who knows where the next great idea is going to come from? It won't always be scientists; although, they've got the training to understand why some ideas won't work. I'd never want to shut down ATM.

    And showing the process, from the initial concept to seeing how it compares against current evidence is very valuable.

    It doesn't mean the end of ATM, it just means the end, I hope, of true believers using BAUT to promote their theories endlessly.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01101001 View Post
    No. It'll be the end of ATM-without-end.

    Earnest ATM, though, will be presented, considered, corrected, and archived for posterity.
    What exactly is earnest ATM? And if you think new ATM ideas will be presented in the future, they certainly will, just not in BAUT.

    Quote Originally Posted by 01101001 View Post
    Endless-ATM, that promotional stuff, just won't go on and on and on and on. Who will miss that?
    Isn't half the problem that challengers are also contributing to the "endlessness"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 01101001 View Post
    I am looking forward to the neurons freed up for some really wise and clever people, by their not having to explain the same things over and over to the endless-ATM promoters. It will be good that they can apply those neurons to more productive work, like improving their own lives, the lives of their loved ones, and of humanity in general. Hooray! Win-win!
    Wow, dream on.

    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Well, for one, would rather see all ATM and CT threads (particularly the carousel kind) in an easily avoidable forum, rather than sneaking through spread out willy-nilly. Carousels frustrate me. Having my time wasted by the obstinate frustrates me. I'm hard to get along with when I'm frustrated. Nobody wants that.
    Not posting in threads you don't like is much easier than getting frustrated, I'm not posting in threads I think aren't worthwhile, so where is the problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    In any case, it's clear (from experience dating before the ATM forum existed) that we'd never keep ATMers from trying to promote their ideas in Q&A or BABBling, regardless of how inappropriate these topics are there. Besides, there is some value to ATM threads. I'm told there are occasionally good ideas in there. Having ATM as such an incubator/proving ground could be useful.

    Better to have them redirected to a controlled environment where those who wish to participate can do so rather than seeing them snuck in everywhere else.

    As for the new rule, if you can't present your idea thoroughly in 30 days, it wasn't ready for publication. Consider it incentive to take the time and bake it fully before you involve those of us who will stress test it for you. Short of that, you're really just wasting everybody's valuable time.
    As I said, people will not post their fully baked ideas in BAUT, it's quite simple, the rule will be a barrier, just wait and see.

    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanderL View Post
    Not posting in threads you don't like is much easier than getting frustrated
    Of course. And it's much easier to not post in threads I don't like when they're pretty much all in two easily avoided, well-marked forums.

    Especially since I don't really have the training to sort through what's genuine science and what's mostly speculative. Better that the demarkation be as clear as possible.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Because ideas from outside the mainstream have a genuine value to science.
    Sure, but not as a result of the BAUT ATM section.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Who knows where the next great idea is going to come from? It won't always be scientists; although, they've got the training to understand why some ideas won't work. I'd never want to shut down ATM.
    But in effect you are!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    And showing the process, from the initial concept to seeing how it compares against current evidence is very valuable.
    Also true, but again it won't be on this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    It doesn't mean the end of ATM,
    Sure it does, just wait a few months.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    it just means the end, I hope, of true believers using BAUT to promote their theories endlessly.
    And where are the peer-reviewed ATM ideas going to be discussed? That's where true scientific breakthroughs will come from. This "30 days rule" won't work, or rather, it will work, to stop any ATM discussions.

    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanderL View Post
    As I said, people will not post their fully baked ideas in BAUT, it's quite simple, the rule will be a barrier, just wait and see.
    30 days is more than enough to present and defend a solid idea if you do your homework first like you're supposed to.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanderL View Post
    As I said, people will not post their fully baked ideas in BAUT, it's quite simple, the rule will be a barrier, just wait and see. Cheers.
    A barrier to what? I notice that you’ve spent over three years and almost 2,500 posts discussing various aspects of Plasma Cosmology. What has been accomplished as a result of that? What revolutionary breakthroughs? What brilliant new insights? How many mainstream members have you managed to convert to PC believers? What exactly are you clinging to? If and when a valid PC model ever becomes available, I highly doubt it will make its premiere debut on a message board.

    Personally, I think 30 days is more than enough. Most of the ATM discussions I’ve participated in consisted of about 10% directly supportive ATM material and 90% conflicting and misinformation that needed to be explained (often repeatedly, sometimes ad nausea) by other members and moderators. How is that productive?

  26. #26
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    Better Than Censorship

    Quote Originally Posted by VanderL View Post
    Not posting in threads you don't like is much easier than getting frustrated, I'm not posting in threads I think aren't worthwhile, so where is the problem? ...

    Cheers.
    This sounds like the most reasonable approach I've heard so far - much better than censorship.

    We talk of this place being a "learning environment" but then I read responses to kids ridiculing their apparent ignorance - why would any student risk such humiliation?

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    Well, given the fact that most of the subjects I'm interested in already have over 30 days old threads, this means that my ATM-forum posting days are over **. I'm also not interested of the 30 day format, VanderL may be correct that this will be the end of the ATM-forum, most of it anyway.

    This is sad.

    ** And as I have posted to other forums only a little, I probably won't bother with them either.

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    Re: New Policies Regarding Against the Mainstream section

    One thing I left off my first post approving of this policy had to do with the prediction that some of the die-hard ATMers, who love the carousel, would complain bitterly about this "censorship".

    Well, what do you know...

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamini View Post
    A barrier to what?
    A barrier to learning about new concepts, to critically investigating mainstream theories and thinking outside the box.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamini View Post
    I notice that you’ve spent over three years and almost 2,500 posts discussing various aspects of Plasma Cosmology.
    You forget redshift, dark matter/energy and just plain fun (in the UT days).

    Quote Originally Posted by jamini View Post
    What has been accomplished as a result of that?
    The accomplishments are not measured by what others get from it, but what it means for myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamini View Post
    What revolutionary breakthroughs? What brilliant new insights? How many mainstream members have you managed to convert to PC believers?
    Who cares?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamini View Post
    What exactly are you clinging to?
    ??

    Quote Originally Posted by jamini View Post
    If and when a valid PC model ever becomes available, I highly doubt it will make its premiere debut on a message board.
    Exactly my point.


    Quote Originally Posted by jamini View Post
    Personally, I think 30 days is more than enough. Most of the ATM discussions I’ve participated in consisted of about 10% directly supportive ATM material and 90% conflicting and misinformation that needed to be explained (often repeatedly, sometimes ad nausea) by other members and moderators. How is that productive?
    Productive in what way, do you really think this board is anything other than a discussion boeard, whether about mainstream or ATM concepts?

    And again if it nauseates you, then don't participate, is it such a difficult concept to realize that people are different with completely different backgrounds?

    Cheers.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maksutov View Post
    One thing I left off my first post approving of this policy had to do with the prediction that some of the die-hard ATMers, who love the carousel, would complain bitterly about this "censorship".

    Well, what do you know...
    What do you mean "complain bitterly", I predict the new rule is in effect the end of ATM, and of course some people are happier without ATM.

    Cheers.

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