Advice from Moderators at Skeptical Zone?

Hello @nwrickert and @AlanFox. Glad have you visit. @vjtorley has been here for a while, and maybe he will make an appearance here too.

We are new to managing a forum like this, and are glad to see it grow really quickly. You’ve been managing SZ for a long time now though, and I am curious if you had any advice for us. Our goals are somewhat different, but I still think we can learn from you. Thanks.

1 Like

We are not exactly doing a perfect job at TSZ, so we may not have much good advice. Generally speaking, we have some good discussions. But some go awry.

Those involved in the discussion are humans. And humans can be cantankerous critters at times. So we try adapt to the personality quirks of our users and keep the discussions as fair as we can. But some members complain that trying to adapt is already unfair. To paraphrase Gilbert & Sullivan, a moderator’s lot is not an happy one.

If we were to start out afresh, here are some changes I would recommend:
(1) use forum software rather than blog software (you are already doing that);
(2) require moderator approval of all new topics. This would mainly be used to slow down people who want to start a large number of topics in a short time.

I’ll note that the three of our members who have caused the most problems (in my opinion) are already participating here. I will not name them.

1 Like

Thanks @nwrickert.

I have noticed the overlap. It appears this group includes the only user we perma-banned, and two of the three we’ve temporarily suspended. The accolades. :wink:

I don’t know how you manage on the blog comments. That has always been difficult about SZ.

Well what ever the case, I’m glad to have you here. You are welcome back when ever you like.

1 Like

Hi Dr Swamidass

I agree with Neil that a forum would, I believe, work better for TSZ. I think the stated aim to build a bridge that facilitates discussion among parties with widely differing views is a good one. That it leads to heightened emotions that are difficult to manage with any rule set is an experiment in progress.

BTW, I’m sorry about the defamatory post that Keiths posted at TSZ. We’ve tried to deal with it in a way that avoids the charge of censorship.

Not sure I’m the best person to give detailed advice. I looked at discourse as a candidate to suggest for TSZ to try but thought it cranky and very greedy on space.


1 Like

Any forum can sustain 1-2 high response rate, disruptive participants. This is like school classrooms. Much more and the single/noise tends to drive off others.

One has his own, 521-page (currently) thread at Panda’s Thumb, After the Bar Closes.

1 Like

Can you link to that?

I agree. I may just have to start putting a throttle on some of them. That seems preferable to outright suspension…

Maybe but it has been, by far, the best platform for sustained and deep engagement. The quoting functionality alone is just really good. It’s ability to do math typesetting is above the rest.

Yeah I saw that. Thank you for stepping in @AlanFox. I do not understand how or why he became so upset. The conversation degraded quickly too. Most of the moderator actions he was irate about I was not around for any how. What ever the case, I hope he comes back with a better approach, or he is going to get permabanned. Whatever his behaivior, I’m not holding it against TSZ. You guys are always welcome here.

So @AlanFox and @nwrickert, I know it is not your fault, but there are now three posts at TSZ in the last month gunning for me. They all seem “disgruntled.” Are posts like that the intended purpose of TSZ?

1 Like


The intended purpose is the discussion of ideas.

1 Like

I see that intention. I also see you don’t agree with those posts. I hope you can find a way to keep it in check.

1 Like

Just as a point of interest, I’m assuming it’s the two latest posts by Gregory that give you concern. There’s some discussion in progress on that. Is there some issue that I’m unaware of? Is Gregory able to post at Peaceful Science? How is BioLogos involved?

1 Like