Inviting Comment on Forum Reorganization

We are getting a major uptick in attention now. We need to make the forum more effective. Key goals:

  1. Encourage prolonged and deeper dialogue between scholars.

  2. Prevent quality conversation from off and on topic disruptions.

  3. Minimize reliance on moderator judgement, and activity.

  4. Highlight the best examples of Peace Science for visitors, and for regulars.

  5. Maximize freedom and inclusiveness, so even “bad actors” are not totally silenced and can have their voice heard.

  6. Reward good behavior, credentials, and Patreon support with increased visibility.

We are not the first group in origins to face this complex set of mutually contradictory goals. We now, however, have a critical mass of scholars. We can try and to do this in a different way.

Two Groups

I propose these general groups of participants, thought there will be tweaks:

  1. scholars, which will include those we manually add to the scholars group, trust level 3, and patreons.

  2. Public, which will include everyone else.

Inclusion in the scholars group will be by our discretion, and will include a mix of these factors:

  1. Noteriety
  2. Credentials
  3. Expertise
  4. Pattern of behavior
  5. Patreon support

We will actively seek a diverse group. Right now the scholars group includes @pnelson, @nlents, @jordan, @T_aquaticus and many more.

Many Categories

I propose these categories.

  1. Scholars categories, such as “Office hours” to function as it has done so far, only allowing scholars, but everyone can see. Though it would be renamed.

  2. Platformed conversation, a new category everyone can post and reply to, but will all posts will require moderator approval.

  3. Conversation category. This will work much as it does currently, though mess tightly moderated. One big change: it will no longer appear on “latest” view, and topics will have much less visibility. Quality topics will be promoted to platform often. So good posting behavior will increase visibility on a thread by thread basis.

  4. Private conversations will function like the back Porch, to take conversations off search engines though they will remain visible to logged in users. This will be less necessary going forward because most conversations will be off the front page anyway.

  5. Private scholars category. This will be a private category only visible to scholars. It will be the one place threads cannot be moved into public at a later date.

Scholars will be able to post everywhere. The public will not be able to post in the public or private scholars category. The most visible threads will be scholar category, but a approval-gated conversation thread will be portable to everyone.

What are your thoughts? Please let me know.


I agree we need a private scholars category where it is off the grid and by invitation only. Perhaps another moderated level. But I feel too much moderation can become the suppression of opposing views. And that way is bad

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@Agauger I propose we make a category that is only viewable to people in a group you control. You can include and exclude people from this group entirely at your discretion (though it will always be viewable by myself and the moderators).

Would this be helpful to you?


@patrick your thoughts? You frequent article links are excellent and would be in platformed categories.

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I don’t know if this is possible, but it would be nice to see if, for each semi-closed conversation, there is a public facing comments or notes thread created for others to participate. It would help with the freedom and protection, both.

Also, one needs to determine how anonymity factors into the process. Is internally-verified identity, but front-facing anonymity good enough?

@purposenation, @glipsnort would this help with the frustrations you’ve recently raised?

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That will be a factor judged case by case.

I’ve talked to a developer about building just this feature out.

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All of it sounds good to me. For reasons known to me, I will continue to be anonymous. If scholars can not be anonymous I will certainly respect that decision.

If @Agauger wants a private forum then that is the only justification we need. Even at scientific meetings there are front facing public presentations and private meetings over coffee/pints with trusted colleagues, so this is entirely normal in scientific circles. In order for there to be any change in our little corner of society and culture then we have to have a forum where we can start to have some earnest dialogue.


Anonymity is not blanked prohibited, but real names are rewarded. I think you’ve done this before, but I’d just request you let me know privately who you are. You would be in the scholars group @T_aquaticus.

Thanks for putting this out there appreciate the work and effort.

Some of these could be helpful, although I agree with others it seems to be stifling interaction when it doesn’t need to.

For me, my frustrations are much more basic although maybe not politically correct.

I really come here to interact about Christian faith and science issues with other Christians who are scientists or scientifically minded. Agnostics and atheists who are very respectful of the Christian faith are great too.

For me, honestly it’s only been one or two folks who come here to repeatedly bash Christians and to post negative commentary about the Christian faith.

To me that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere on the site, weather public or private. Seems to be totally against what this site is all about and it’s a strong discouragement for people who are seeking Jesus, and a distraction for everyone else.

I don’t consider myself a scholar, although I guess I can fake it now and then and keep up with many of the discussions amongst Scholars, but I also don’t see very many people on the board that I wouldn’t consider scholarly and engaging in intelligent discussions.

So I think creating a scholar level would exclude someone like me, but that’s the whole reason I come to this board is to interact with people who have coherent and intelligent thoughts about the intersection of faith and science. Yes, maybe there will be more from the general public as we go, and if that is starting to happen, then maybe that is needed, but I wouldn’t necessarily know where I would fall in that break down and it wouldn’t be an interesting to me be restricted to just the public space, at least in my case. Just one guy’s opinion.


Actually you would not be excluded. You would be included. Perhaps we create another name for the group to make this clear.


I was composing a response, but @purposenation has pretty much captured exactly what I was going to say. From my admittedly selfish perspective, a think the changes would reduce the value of the site to me for the reasons Brad has stated.


Actually, you are in the scholars group too @cdods.

People can see current members of Scholars group here:

Current members of TL3 are here:

I think this is a bit where I’m at as well. I certainly don’t mind some of the pushback from @Patrick or @nwrickert, for instance, but I do think there needs to be a space where Christian scholars, etc. can talk and work with some basic common understanding/language/assumptions.

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I really like this idea. There are times when folks need an arm’s length separation from their real lives, but when Joshua is able to say that he can verify and vouch for an identity, there’s a reasonable amount of accountability.

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Maybe we have a “peaceful” group, which includes people who are not scholars, but are trusted interact in the scholarly areas. That would solve the problem for you @cdods and @purposenation, in a more clear way than adding you to the “scholars” group.


:+1:t2::+1:t2:. Looks good to me

I’m a bit surprised to see my name there. I don’t think there has been a lot of pushback from me on Christian topics. I mostly avoid commenting in such topics, except when pushed too far (and that is rare).


I like that.

I think you have me in the scholars group. But when the discussion is on a topic that is outside my areas of expertise, the peaceful group would seem to be what I should go by.