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Thread: The death of ATM (Against the Mainstream)

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    And Noclevername likes "the constant and intelligent questioning of claims". But when I claim that BAUT is no longer fun because of various substantive reasons (and I am far from the only one making that claim), rather than intelligently questioning my claim, I'm told instead to shut up and go elsewhere.

    So how exactly do I intelligently question your opinion? Can you prove mathematically that you aren't having fun? What papers have been published on the subject of your personal enjoyment?


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  2. #32
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    =Warren Platts;1085617I'm fairly sure you enjoy reading the Banned Poster's Log even more than I do.
    That says a lot about you.

    (Keep in mind that Warren Platts is the same poster who said here that "secular humanists" (meaning, I suppose, anyone who thinks that scientific evidence of does not support the existence of supernatural) get their morals from "Satan".)
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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    I'm fairly sure you enjoy reading the Banned Poster's Log even more than I do.
    Transparency and consistency breed trust. I value that sense of trust far more than I crave the gossip. I've never spent a lot of energy on hate, so there really isn't much satisfaction to be found in bannings.
    "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.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    That's not true. Last I heard, both Nature and Science were making money.
    ah, but Nature and Science both accept advertising. That means a good chunk of their revenue probably comes from that source. A better comparison would be a journal like Physical Review Letters which is funded entirely by subscription and page fees. A journal like that cannot publish everything that is submitted to it. In addition, jounals have standards. Having been in on the process of getting articles accepted for publication I can tell you, Warren, that I have yet to see an ATM idea proposed here (aside from Arp) that meets even the minimal standards for publication in a third rate jounal, much less PRL, Science, or Nature. The proponents do not understand the background, do not provide quantitative analyses of quantitative questions, and often do not have the slightest comprehension of what it its they're criticizing or what the standards of proof that are expected of them given the massive overhauls of physics they are often proposing.

    Exactly what??? Moose that's exactly the type of carping, slattering "critique" that is ruining this site.
    Sorry if you find the attitude carping. Clearly you've never been in on a meeting like those I went through defending my thesis. I had to defend each and every assumption, each and every cut, each and every technique. I had to defend my results and demonstrate to the rest of the collaboration that they, and my interpretation of them, were valid. I was standing up there in front of my peers and advisors for hours arguing each point, often in the face of sarcasm that makes what happens here seem mild. It's irritating to have to submit to such an inquisition, but that's the real world of science. It ain't pretty and it's often painful.

    But that's as it should be As my advisor often told me "This isn't a homework set. There isn't an obvious right answer." All that I see happening here is a holding of ATM advocates accountable to the same standards that practicing scientists hold themselves to. It takes a thick skin and the occasional admission of error. Both of these are traits I find ATM advocates usually lacking in.

    I do, however, agree with Tim that there should be some way of discussing the "merits" (or lack thereof) of new, and even ATM ideas, without requiring that someone be an advocate of them. It would need to be moderated so that if someone did start to advocate the idea he, and it, would be held to scientific standards of proof. It would also help if the ATMer's would have a less messianic attitude than they usually display. "Everything we know is wrong" may have been a great motto for the 60's, but it's hardly reflective of how real science is done.
    "I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." - William Thompson, 1st Baron Lord Kelvin

    "If it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic!" - Tweedledee

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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eta C View Post
    I do, however, agree with Tim that there should be some way of discussing the "merits" (or lack thereof) of new, and even ATM ideas, without requiring that someone be an advocate of them. It would need to be moderated so that if someone did start to advocate the idea he, and it, would be held to scientific standards of proof. It would also help if the ATMer's would have a less messianic attitude than they usually display. "Everything we know is wrong" may have been a great motto for the 60's, but it's hardly reflective of how real science is done.
    I agree this is a real issue. Perhaps posters could be given some room with a short time limit for discussion of ATM questions without specific advocacy? If the same posters repeatedly ask questions as attempts to sneak in discussions about old ATM arguments, they could get warned and eventually banned if they don't stop.

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  6. #36
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    There is a section called "Questions and Answers", why not ask there?
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  7. #37
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    Q&A is a place meant to be for the discussion of mainstream science. A place where people who have a question about some facet of physics and astronomy can pose it and have it answered (or be directed to the answer) by the various people who post here. All too often, however, Q&A turns into "ATM on the sly" when a seemingly innocent question suddenly turns into a screed against GR, dark matter, dark energy or whatever other aspect of current theories has ticked off the questioner.
    "I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." - William Thompson, 1st Baron Lord Kelvin

    "If it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic!" - Tweedledee

    This isn't right. This isn't even wrong. - Wolfgang Pauli

  8. #38
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    A Concrete Proposal for a Peer Review System for ATM

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Thompson
    The point is that peer review . . . serves to assure that minimum standards of scientific methodology are achieved. In fact, the peer review system is far from perfect.
    For example, biased peer review may become a mechanism for maintaining the perks of an in-group. Peer review is also a good way to backstab individual colleagues you don't like.

    One thing peer review would do for the BAUT ATM, however, is that it would drastically reduce the "pile-on" effect. Besides causing overwhelming demands on time, the pile-on effect is quite the buzzkill. The effect is rather like being surrounded by a pack of yapping neighborhood dogs--it tends to cause thoughts of steaks marianated in ethylene glycol . . . . It's not pleasant. More importantly, it's not fun, and it's not entertaining. In the long run, it reduces page-views.

    So, a true peer review system for ATM--where posters must send their entries first to the review panel, and then the review panel actually makes the post to the board--would be a good thing.

    Since ATM is by definition ATM, the rules limiting topics for submission would be lax. The main idea would be to exclude the sort of topic that's just going to get immediately locked or moved anyway, and also to ensure that the original post is at least well written. Once the OP was accepted, it would be posted to the ATM board.

    Then comments would be sent directly to the reviewers, and not the board itself. The panel would be free to reject such potential posts, send them back to be rewritten, or accept them for actual posting. The main idea here is to eliminate the spume (the jokes, the insults, the off-the-wall comments), keep things on topic, and again ensure that the comment is well written. And the original poster would always be allowed the last word on the topic, just like in real journals.

    So, such a peer review system should be agreeable R.A.F. who didn't like Tim Thompson's one-on-one option because it was too exclusionary.

    Moose, however, might not prefer a true peer review system because it would not allow "all" criticism. I'm sure the reviewers would allow more than two or three challenges, but the comments would be restricted to those that the reviewers personally think are the best, nonredundant, and well written challenges.

    But the practical problems to implementing such a system are perhaps insurmountable.

    Where are the reviewers going to come from? The default option would be the moderators and administors. The review panel needn't be very large: two or three, or maybe even a single, unbiased referee. And it wouldn't necessarily take too much time, if the moderators were relieved of other non-ATM duties. Maybe the way to work it is that someone would submit an ATM OP, and then any one or two or three moderators could volunteer to referee the new thread. If no one volunteers, well, then the submitted original post gets rejected, and doesn't get posted. The actual job of referring might at first seem to be too much, but the mods are supposedly supposed to be reading every single post in the ATM section anyway. Presumably, the mere existence of such a peer review process would cause much self-selection among potential commentators, and the overall volume would be reduced, and the comments would be better written, and hence more enjoyable to read.

    The big problem as I see it, however, is the problem of bias. There is a strident, mainstream clique on this board that is clearly trying to dominate, and that the outsiders are now rebelling against. Most and probably all of the mods are not very strident in this regard, yet it is no secret where the sympathies of a few clearly lie. However, as in real life jury trials, what matters is the ability to temporarily set aside personal biases. I think it could be done. Mods who can't can ask to be recused from referee duty.

    But this leads to my next point: Should the review process be anonymous? Absolutely not. The trust of ATMers on this board has been broken almost to the point of nonrepair. But this shouldn't be a big deal: the entire group of mods and admins is in effect the review panel for the ATM section, and everyone already knows who they are. Really, all that's needed for acceptance is that at least one mod or admin volunteer to referee the new thread. But as a check and balance for the referee process, the ATMer submitting the original post would have the option of vetoing a particular referee, because it wouldn't be fair to the original poster if, for example, he or she had been temporarily banned by that mod, or for some other obvious personal bad blood.

    So, there you all go: you now have a concrete, practical proposal to rescue the ATM section from its impending death. Feel free to cut and paste any section you want right into the rules.

  9. #39
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    I don't believe BAUT has any reason to make presenting ATM claims easier, any more than I think streets should be sided with Nerf walls to make it easier for drunk drivers to stay on the road.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I don't believe BAUT has any reason to make presenting ATM claims easier, any more than I think streets should be sided with Nerf walls to make it easier for drunk drivers to stay on the road.
    Noclevername, what are you trying to do here? What is your point? The current system is broken. The adminstrator himself has said as much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser
    Like Tim, I'd prefer something which is more formal and resembles peer review. A way for the ATMer to propose their theory and list the evidence that supports it. People can then refute each piece of evidence, or ask the ATMer to clarify the theory to their satisfaction.

    If anyone has some ideas on how we could approach this, I'm all ears. . . .
    At least I'm trying to be constructive here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    Noclevername, what are you trying to do here? What is your point? The current system is broken. The adminstrator himself has said as much.
    I wasn't able to find anything in his post that said or implied that the forum is "broken"- he only suggested a possible improvement. One which I have no problem with. But my statement stands; ATM theories shoudn't be easy to present on BAUT forum, because that's not what this site is for. If someone does have a solidly-backed idea, then it will stand up to scrutiny. If not, then there's no particular reason to keep it around.

    Some drivers hold their liquor quite well, but that doen't mean drunk driving should be legal. Likewise, a small number of ATM enthusiasts present their case quite rationally and provide facts and data to back up their claims, and keep their claims within their thread. Others don't; instead they become overly insistent and argumentative, and should not be encouraged.
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  12. #42
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    I too do not read Fraser's remarks as saying it's broken. Maybe a little bent, but not broken.

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    Warren Platts, you have manged to violate Rule 2 Civility four times in this thread. Consider this a warning. Get yourself under control. (Your next to last post shows you can do this.)
    Last edited by Jim; 2007-Oct-10 at 03:08 AM. Reason: added post 38 link
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    ...posters must send their entries first to the review panel, and then the review panel actually makes the post to the board--would be a good thing.

    Since ATM is by definition ATM, the rules limiting topics for submission would be lax. The main idea would be to exclude the sort of topic that's just going to get immediately locked or moved anyway, and also to ensure that the original post is at least well written. Once the OP was accepted, it would be posted to the ATM board.

    Then comments would be sent directly to the reviewers, and not the board itself. The panel would be free to reject such potential posts, send them back to be rewritten, or accept them for actual posting. The main idea here is to eliminate the spume (the jokes, the insults, the off-the-wall comments), keep things on topic, and again ensure that the comment is well written. And the original poster would always be allowed the last word on the topic, just like in real journals.

    So, such a peer review system should be agreeable R.A.F....
    Sounds like this would take a lot of time and effort.

    Who would do this extra work??
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

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    Let me be clear here. In my opinion, ATM isn't broken. It's never felt healthier to me. I'm perfectly happy to keep it exactly the same as it is right now.

    But I'd also love suggestions on how it could be made better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I wasn't able to find anything in his post that said or implied that the forum is "broken"- he only suggested a possible improvement [peer review]. One which I have no problem with. But my statement stands; ATM theories shoudn't be easy to present on BAUT forum, because that's not what this site is for. If someone does have a solidly-backed idea, then it will stand up to scrutiny. If not, then there's no particular reason to keep it around.
    Kind sir, surely your point isn't that peer review would make life easier for ATMers. And let us not niggle about whether Fraser implied that the ATM section is broken or simply could stand a little evolutionary improvement--after all, we all could stand a little of that!

    I would, however, be in your debt if you could comment on my proposed framework to do what Fraser suggested might be a good idea: to institute peer review in the ATM section? Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Warren Platts; 2007-Oct-10 at 04:21 AM. Reason: tone

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
    Sounds like this would take a lot of time and effort.

    Who would do this extra work??
    Well, I figure the mods already have a lot of work on their hands in the ATM section--they have to read every post in that section. But what's the difference between reading a post before it's posted rather than after it's posted?

    And I figure if a commentator was going to submit a comment to a mod rather than posting directly to the board, he or she will:
    • think whether the comment is really necessary
    • make sure the civility algorithm has been fully activated
    • try to write clearly
    • make sure their comment isn't redundant
    • and otherwise think twice about wasting the moderators' time

    As it is, people waste the moderators' time willy nilly because the moderators are mostly in the background, unseen. By the time one realizes that one has wasted a moderator's time by not being as civil as one can possibly be, for example, it's too late to do anything about it.

    So to quickly sum up: the mods already have a lot of work, but my proposal shouldn't cause any more work, and might even result in less work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    And let us not niggle about whether Fraser implied that the ATM section is broken or simply can stand a little evolutionary improvement--after all, we all could stand a little of that!
    Yes, I think Fraser has cleared that up completely, in the post just before yours.
    I would, however, be in your debt if you could comment on my proposed framework to do what Fraser suggested might be a good idea: to institute peer review in the ATM section? Thanks in advance.
    I decided to parachute into this thread when I read your comment "The trust of ATMers on this board has been broken almost to the point of nonrepair." I consider myself to be an ATMer, and I'm not aware of any broken trust.

    Fraser's comment about peer review was: "Like Tim, I'd prefer something which is more formal and resembles peer review. A way for the ATMer to propose their theory and list the evidence that supports it. People can then refute each piece of evidence, or ask the ATMer to clarify the theory to their satisfaction."

    But that is in place at the present time. An ATMer can propose their theory, and list their evidence. People can refute and ask for clarification. I've seen a lot of threads like that. Let's let it happen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    And I figure if a commentator was going to submit a comment to a mod rather than posting directly to the board, he or she will:
    • think whether the comment is really necessary
    • make sure the civility algorithm has been fully activated
    • try to write clearly
    • make sure their comment isn't redundant
    • and otherwise think twice about wasting the moderators' time
    Well, that's the thing. If ATMers do that before posting, everybody will be happier. No submission to a mod necessary. Don't we have a sticky about this already?

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    Outside of initial submission to a moderator, this is how it is supposed to run, with the rules already in place. I think that "ATMers", although I don't like that tag, per se, are already supposed to present a succinct theory, one in which they have done research, and one in which they are prepared to defend. The rules already mandate such.

    A problem I see time and again, though, is that "ATMers" mostly present a blog-style random thought. Any questioning of their proposal is taken as a personal attack, however politely framed. After an initial post, they usually refrain from further participation in the thread. When questioned about their proposal, they, instead of directly answering the question, almost invariably, immediately turn to the "Ivory-Towers" attitude.

    If you notice, in the last few months I have taken to asking extremely simple, one might consider grade-school or high-school level questions, as jargon free as possible, because it's been my observation that most of the ATM posts are made by those without any particular knowledge of the subject, and are often confused by even this low-level, simplified approach. Usually, I quickly recommend further study, and liberal use of the QnA and General Science forums. It's made "high-level" discussion infrequent, for the most part.

    Simply posting in the style you recommend, Warren, sans the initial submission, is already what the ATM forum is ideally for. I think the problem lies largely in the OP's

    That said, any suggestions that can better any part of the forum are always welcome - I just don't see a need, beyond the rules already in place, at this time.
    Last edited by Serenitude; 2007-Oct-10 at 04:48 AM. Reason: Edit: Changed "answers" to "questions"

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    Yes, I think Fraser has cleared that up completely, in the post just before yours.I decided to parachute into this thread when I read your comment "The trust of ATMers on this board has been broken almost to the point of nonrepair." I consider myself to be an ATMer, and I'm not aware of any broken trust.
    Indeed sir, I must have been speaking for myself alone. I hereby retract the aforementioned statement.

    Fraser's comment about peer review was: "Like Tim, I'd prefer something which is more formal and resembles peer review. A way for the ATMer to propose their theory and list the evidence that supports it. People can then refute each piece of evidence, or ask the ATMer to clarify the theory to their satisfaction."
    Fraser said he was open to improvements and that perhaps a formal system resembling peer review might help out. The system I propose is certainly not a true peer review system such as exists for Physical Review Letters. But it resembles one in that there is at least a human filter present.

    Hence your point that:
    But that is in place at the present time. An ATMer can propose their theory, and list their evidence. People can refute and ask for clarification. I've seen a lot of threads like that.
    is missing my point. ATMer's would still be able to propose their ideas, list their evidence, refute to their hearts content, as well as ask for clarifications. But putting a human filter in place before an OP or comment gets posted would hopefully reduce the ubiquitous spuming that also takes place, reduce acrimony, and slow down the pace a bit so that an ATM thread will seem a little less like an internet chat room.

    We ought to try to keep in mind that this is not the America's Cup of science, it is the Little America's Cup, a local regatta on a little lake where the inhabitants of neighboring states are invited to ply the waters and participate in a race. The race is taken seriously, but everyone realizes the main idea is to have fun and enjoy the fellowship of your fellow man in a pleasant setting.

  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    Hence your point that:

    is missing my point. ATMer's would still be able to propose their ideas, list their evidence, refute to their hearts content, as well as ask for clarifications. But putting a human filter in place before an OP or comment gets posted would hopefully reduce the ubiquitous spuming that also takes place, reduce acrimony, and slow down the pace a bit so that an ATM thread will seem a little less like an internet chat room.
    I don't think I'm missing the point. We just disagree on where that human filter should be placed. My position is farther upstream than yours.
    We ought to try to keep in mind that this is not the America's Cup of science, it is the Little America's Cup, a local regatta on a little lake where the inhabitants of neighboring states are invited to ply the waters and participate in a race. The race is taken seriously, but everyone realizes the main idea is to have fun and enjoy the fellowship of your fellow man in a pleasant setting.
    Exactly.

    Have you ever been to Pinedale?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenitude
    A problem I see time and again, though, is that "ATMers" mostly present a blog-style random thought. Any questioning of their proposal is taken as a personal attack, however politely framed. After an initial post, they usually refrain from further participation in the thread.
    But then again, sir, there really are, if not, shall we say, personal attacks, there are inevitably numerous comments that do constitute spuming, such as these few examples from my own ATM thread:

    Sorry, Warren Platt,
    In the beginning was the word-salad, and the word-salad was with ranch dressing, and ranch dressing was the word-salad.
    Entropy would not be increasing in the word-salad if the salad had begun with honey-mustard dressing instead of ranch.

    Mmmmm...honey mustard....
    Are you asking BAUT members to do the work which you yourself could reasonably be expected to have done, before you started this thread?
    Super-neo-Empedoclesialistic-expialidocious!
    Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious.
    If you say it long enough you're sure to sound precocious,
    Super-neo-Empedoclesialistic-expialidocious!
    The Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't always serve up such tasty morsels every day! Must strike while the pasta fork is hot!
    And this is just from page one. And the thread goes on for three pages. And it would have gone on for more if I had not got lucky when lyndonashmore started his ATM thread; I was relieved and happy to allow him to take the attention away; thus I fully understand why ATMers cease participation--it soon ceases to be fun.

    But the fun could be restored under my system because it would ensure that extraneous comments be filtered out before they hit the board.

    There is precedent for this practice amongst the numerous blogs that require that all comments be subjected to editing before being allowed out on the net.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    Have you ever been to Pinedale?
    K thru 12. I was there last August, but I missed the regatta. However, the Butterfly restoration is coming along well, and I took it out for a spin and it performed admirably. Wouldn't mind moving back permanently. Maybe I will in a few years.

    Have you ever been to Pinedale?

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    Grew up in Cody. Took a second place in the cup one year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    But the fun could be restored under my system because it would ensure that extraneous comments be filtered out before they hit the board.
    I suspect your idea of "extraneous comments" and that of some moderators and some other board members might be quite different. I'm not going to argue that thread here (this isn't the place for it) but a number of your statements appeared to me to be rather tongue in cheek, and there were serious questions as to the scientific point to your arguments, as well as the specific application to astronomy and space - hence many of the (rather puzzled) questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Let me be clear here. In my opinion, ATM isn't broken. It's never felt healthier to me. I'm perfectly happy to keep it exactly the same as it is right now.

    But I'd also love suggestions on how it could be made better.
    Simple. There should be no requirement to support an ATM idea someone is merely inquiring about, in the exactly the same way there is no requirement to blindly support and defend a new theory which is mentioned in the Universe Today news stories.

    The existing restrictions still hold: no overt promotion, the 30-day rule, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iantresman View Post
    Simple. There should be no requirement to support an ATM idea someone is merely inquiring about, in the exactly the same way there is no requirement to blindly support and defend a new theory which is mentioned in the Universe Today news stories.

    The existing restrictions still hold: no overt promotion, the 30-day rule, etc.
    Although I am sure some people, maybe even most people, simply have questions they want answered and have no intention of secretly trying to promote the theory...

    The trouble is that there are those that do. And they will pursue relentlessly.(ETA clarity: this point refers to IF your request is granted) At this point- they have managed to promote ATM without the burden of supporting it.

    In the current set up, whether you can successfully defend and support the theory you are promoting or not, you are still getting your questions answered. So if your goal is to promote or to just get answers- such is achieved.

    So the current set up is logical. Changing that set up in such a manner that allows promoters to slip through the cracks promoting unsupported theories is not logical.
    I believe that saying that you want the ability for ATM theories to simply recieve answers, then that ability already exists. In fact, the more you promote it, the more answers you will recieve.
    Last edited by Neverfly; 2007-Oct-10 at 12:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I suspect your idea of "extraneous comments" and that of some moderators and some other board members might be quite different.
    No doubt, sir, but having all comments be approved by a moderator first would introduce some uniformity in this regard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    No doubt, sir, but having all comments be approved by a moderator first would introduce some uniformity in this regard.
    There are other moderated boards, and usenet groups, that are available. Why should this board duplicate that service?

    Besides, if you think a comment is out of line, the little triangle is a way to report it. I don't see the deficiency, really. A moderated board would slow things down a lot more than they already are.

    PS: and by "moderated" I mean, where the posts are reviewed and approved before they are disseminated

  30. #60
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    13,440
    Quote Originally Posted by iantresman View Post
    I've enjoyed my time on this forum, but it's time to call it a day. My philosophy has always been respectful discussion, supplemented with citations where required.

    But the closure of the recent thread on Plasma Cosmology and Math did surprise me.

    Someone asked what appeared to be a genuine question which was loosely attributed to the "Plasma People". Van Rijn's naturally assumed it referred to the Electric Universe people, I assumed it could equally apply to Plasma Universe people. Either way, I thought the thread appeared to make good progress.

    But it was closed on the grounds of not following policy, in this particular case, of "being a promotion tool". But it's not entirely clear who is supposed to be doing the promotion. Certainly not the person who posed the original question.

    My replies are can clearly be seen as promoting ATM ideas. But I have no idea how to present peer-reviewed papers, written by "plasma people", that do not come across as supportive.

    It's also been suggested that anyone who asks questions about ATM ideas, MUST defend them too. This is the George Bush dilemma: you are either with us, or you're against us. In other words, you can't be agnostic and ask about an ATM idea (as did the original poster in this thread), but you must DEFEND the idea whether you agree with it or not. i.e. you can't ask about ATM ideas.

    In my mind, this distinguishes skepticism from pseudoskepticism.

    I also note that critics have no obligation to substantiate their discussions, whereas unlike any other forum area on BAUT, ATM ideas must back-up everything with math. But when this thread brought up the subject, it was closed down.

    I see questions on UFO, doughnut theory, and nanotech Rocket Engines. But it's odd that we can't properly discuss a subject that appears in peer reviewed papers as recent as Aug 2007 (warning: papers appear to promote ATM ideas, and include maths!)

    Sigh, I'm sure I'll be back.
    It is, I think, worth looking at this question more finely.

    For example, questions about ATM ideas which have been aired before, in BAUT's ATM section, can be answered simply and quickly, with something like this:

    "at least some parts of the {insert name of ATM idea here} has already been covered in BAUT's ATM section, in {insert links to relevant ATM threads}. BAUT's policy regarding ATM ideas is to allow a BAUT member to present them (one per thread, preferably), provided that that member also answers direct pertinent questions on the ATM idea, as presented, and addresses challenges to it. BAUT also allows the ATM idea of a now closed thread to be presented anew, if there is something substantially new to be presented, such as a new preprint on arXiv. If you would like {etc}."

    That would cover both the specific example in iantresman's post (quoted above), the 'BBT must be wrong' ATM threads we still sometimes see, the variations on a theme by Arp, expanding Earth, and so on.

    Another example: Why do astronomers reject 72 km/s redshift quantization /periodicity? It's a thread in the Q&A section, and asks a very good (open) question, with references to papers published in major, peer-reviewed astronomy/astrophysics journals.

    Moving away from the OP somewhat, I do see a shortcoming in BAUT in general (not the ATM section in particular): how to have a good discussion on how certain ideas, published in major, peer-reviewed astronomy/astrophysics journals, ceased to be mainstream, or failed to become mainstream? A look at (recent) history is neutral wrt ATM ideas; why the idea that GRBs are somewhere in the Oort cloud, or in the Milky Way halo, is no longer part of mainstream astronomy is, in principle, no different than why a 72 km/s redshift quantization/periodicity isn't.

    There's one kind of 'ATM question' which may fall into a grey area: one phrased largely within the domain of the ATM idea, an idea which is not covered in any ATM section (old) thread (it's hard to give an example, since so many ATM ideas have been covered). For any such, I think the concern raised in the OP is valid; however, I also think there are likely to so few of them that they can be handled on a case by case basis.

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