I have never suggested moderation of the list. It has been tried
before (not by me), and it doesn't work. Also, if you are aware of the
events on the FOR list leading up the the establishment of FOAR,
(http://www.hpcoders.com.au/blog/?p=5) you would realise that I'm in
perfect agreement with you about not moderating the list, and the most
effective treatment for trolls is to ignore them. Indeed, I am
currently deleting about 80% of the everything-list posts without
reading them, but it does require remembering what each thread is
about before pressing ^D.

I also have been careful not to single anybody out for blame. In fact
I think we're all guilty, to a greater or lesser extent. For example,
I have occasionally pipped in on off-topic threads when I should
better have just ignored them.

What I wanted to remind people of was the purpose of the list, and a
request that we get back to discussing that, rather than things
belonging in different fora.

On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 05:29:36PM +0100, Platonist Guitar Cowboy wrote:
> Now that the long time users have spoken, I feel the noobs should be
> represented as well, so my two virtual cents:
> On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 2:35 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> >
> > On 31 Jan 2013, at 11:05, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> >
> >  On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 12:46 PM, Kim Jones <kimjo...@ozemail.com.au>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >>> I'm getting a bit jack of this term "metadiscussion" becuse it only ever
> >>> gets applied to what other people are choosing to discuss. People talk
> >>> about what people want to talk about. It's about taste, perception,
> >>> preference and prejudice. Even WITH rigidly adhered-to rules and
> >>> conventions, this still applies. The challenge is to take WHATEVER is
> >>> spoken about and MAKE that relevant somehow (to whatever you want to make
> >>> it relevant to). That's harder, more interesting and dare I say it - more
> >>> relevant a process than simply corralling all thinking under one topic or
> >>> heading.
> >>
> >>
> Yup. I mean, do people really want posting to be restricted, in terms of
> relevance, to journal articles (relating btw to a somewhat fuzzy and
> controversial notion of TOE) with high impact factor? I wonder how people
> sort out the relevance issue in view of the halting problem. How do we know
> if this computation or question will take up more weight in say the
> Ensemble TOE frame as time goes by? How can you rule out that it might be
> an oracle, if you don't give it any chance?
> It is understandable that certain discussions don't interest people: but
> this doesn't prevent you from deleting and or blocking posts from certain
> authors to reach your inbox. I press delete everyday. Takes 10 seconds.
> > As soon as you start to set up rules, conventions and expectations the
> >>> population divides into those who feel that it is to their advantage to
> >>> play by the "rules" and those who believe that this is a constraint. This
> >>> list is remarkably troll-free. For that very reason I see no need to
> >>> restrict what is spoken of. The ensemble theories of everything probably
> >>> won't come from the brains of those who are exclusively obsessed by these
> >>> things anyway since by now their perception is circular and their belief
> >>> supports their belief. You need random thinkers, people who will break the
> >>> local equilibrium and who will introduce the creative concept of "idea
> >>> movement" from time to time.
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> I agree, but a dose of civility and humility makes that freedom more
> palatable, even though it's messy by default.
> > I like the idea of a moderator-free list, but nonetheless I agree with
> >> Russell. The list was set up with a particular purpose in mind but in
> >> the last few months the range of discussion topics has changed
> >> radically. The Internet is large and there are plenty of other forums
> >> in which to discuss politics and religion. Could we return to the old
> >> list please?
> >>
> >
> >
> Really? Sounds like: "Please let's return to the good old days, when there
> were only smart people, with proper scientific training, that posted with
> restraint and wigs." If you want people to just parrot what you expect,
> what falls into "the range of discussion topics possible", then why use the
> internet at all? Might as well set up a camp and force people to answer how
> we would like them to... this is taken to absurd extremes: my point is not
> anti-elitist, more that it shouldn't matter. Let people make up their own
> minds, and if somebody wants to spam the list with whatever brain droppings
> just pop up: ignore or delete.
> One could implement a weak "what people found relevant" filter: if a
> message gets ignored, then it is automatically deleted after some time.
> Everybody's restraint would help clean up the list and people that get no
> replies get the implicit, non face threatening message to stay relevant to
> the group's focus, rather than exclusively a fuzzy ideal. Also, whatever
> posting guidelines are adopted, the freedom of the list should headline it
> along with the group responsibility to keep something messy clean for
> people searching the list.
> > I agree. Religion might be discussed but only if it put a specific light
> > on the "ensemble" or "everything" type of TOE research, not on actual
> > problems like gun control which can be debated on better suited forum.
> >
> Is there a forum that tries to frame gun control as "universally chaotic"
> as here, with this kind of variety of characters and types? Because then we
> would also have to keep quiet on prohibition, an "actual problem", which
> turns out to be woven into beliefs and complex histories, that in turn
> bleed into conception of science and assumptions concerning Ensemble TOE's.
> > May be people could also try to make less posts, more acute on their
> > points, to help the mailing boxes to not explode!
> >
> >
> Sure. Restraint and good faith are good partners of freedom.
> Free forums resemble chaos/harmony in musical improvisation: we all know
> that less experienced players so excited by the novel attention their
> improvisations receive, tend to overplay. This can last some time, but
> eventually they take the environment more for granted and realize "Whoa,
> I'm occupying center stage and stealing the limelight from the more
> experienced players... I'm jabbering. In Public. Much too much! Gosh, do I
> feel naked, my vanity for attention drenching the whole stage for months!"
> Usually they start to underplay then, go all minimalist, until they balance
> out and start finding their voice. Once, we had a singer who didn't seem to
> get it all... kept overstepping, extending solos, and overplaying and never
> stopped... until our band leader at the time gave him a recording of one of
> the shows. He apologized to all of us.
> Therefore, excessive authoritative arguments, posting, and preaching should
> be called out honestly *and with a bit of class instead of toilet humor or
> other authoritative means*, even if they can't be unambiguously defined.
> And when things turn into slinging ideological mud of personal nature all
> over the place; you still have that magical "delete" button and can make
> your Inbox "look like the good old days"; if you clean house regularly.
> If not, then censoring this list or pushing for relevance won't help much
> anyway.


Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au

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