Inviting Comment on Forum Reorganization

When I first joined I thought PS is going to be different than other religion forums. However, now I have to agree with @glipsnort’s post:

I find myself spending less time at PS, and even when I do post here I try to limit myself to physics/math posts where I can speak as objectively as possible.

There is too much toxicity and most of the discourse is low quality, both in terms of scholarly rigor and common decency. Sometimes the conversation devolves so much that I am reminded of YouTube comments. To wit, even in this very thread people are already starting this descend into madness. It seems that religious forums attract certain types of people (perhaps even the very same people), and PS is not an exception to that rule.

I would support the creation of a tightly moderated subset of the forum where more scholarly discourse can take place. This is very constraining, but it seems that we are not adult enough to properly discuss our ideas without said constraints.


Yeah, no, big brother is always watching. :rofl:

No, but, seriously, I agree with Patrick, there are dozens of ways to have a private conversation, no need to tweak a forum just to do that.


Then create one yourself.

We have having this discussion because PS has been wildly successful beyond the wildest dreams of its founder. Don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken.

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That is our aim to fix this. We are a moving target @PdotdQ. Don’t give up on us yet!


Yes, @PdotdQ your insights and commentary on Physics is one of the great things about PS.


After reading @PdotdQ’s comments and others on the painful amount of noise in the forum, I now strongly support the idea of creating more threads where only vetted users with a track record of constructive and peaceful engagement are allowed to post.

I would also like to add one other comment. I have not been following most of the Behe book review-related threads lately, because of how rapidly the posts proliferate and how most of the posts are short and there is so much noise, even if many of the participants in the threads have solid scientific knowledge. It’s very hard to follow for a non-specialist or someone not participating from the beginning. Thus, for platformed threads involving only scholars and/or high-level users, I think it would be highly beneficial to impose a limited number of posts per day limit for each user in that thread, and possibly a target number of words. In that way, people would be encouraged to think carefully about their replies, and write extended, coherent arguments which focus on concrete ideas instead of personal interactions. The end result would be somewhat more like a written debate that people can more easily follow from the beginning if they want to.

To some extent, the resurrection threads with @vjtorley were closer in this vein (Torley on The Resurrection: Take Two) - because of time, complexity and quantity of ideas, on average each of us would write one or two large posts per day at most. The end result is something that is somewhat Wiki’able (Guide to Alter and Torley on the Resurrection) - of course it was still not 100% ideal, due to the constantly changing topics, but there were several memorable posts that we have referred to when discussing the topic again.

Looking back in my experience on this forum, I have gotten the most personal intellectual benefit out of my participation whenever I write or respond to such extended posts, instead of trying to prove a point against some of the more acerbic commentators here. I think this rule will encourage more higher-level discussion by serious scholars who are not regulars, but here for the ideas, not the personal interactions.

EDIT: a good example of an extended written debate is the one held on the pages of PSCF regarding the RATE project and the age of the Earth.

EDIT 2: @Timothy_Horton’s one-sentence reply to my post is a good example of what I think contributes to the noise here, and prevents more thoughtful, patient scholars from participating more often. Instead of a substantial reply, he simply accuses me of censorship - no substantiation, no explanation. But imagine if that post is the only one he were allowed to post on the thread for today. Surely, he would reconsider whether his single post would be devoted to an unsubstantiated accusation of censorship or maybe more extended thoughts about forum reorganization.


Most places call that censorship.



Though you and I have collided at various times, I have to agree with you.

The one thing this site was not created for was to argue about the least negotiable aspects of I.D…
or the least negotiable aspects of Godless Evolution. It will take a a long time to forget some of these arguments…

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Right now its okay. As long as people can post on interesting subjects then a segregation is fine with me between them and us.
Sometimes people know better then scholars eh. are they all that?
Just kidding!
I understand there is a desire to be more influential and so belief scholars are/will be important in reaching conclusions.
I understand that means the PUBLIC is not to interfere when good discussions start up.
Its okay.
hey it might happen the public does better conversations about origins.
The scholars have not been very accomplished in origins since Darwin.
You have my vote.

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If people want it, why not? Some possible parameters

  • Post expectations for posting
  • Open it to anyone who requests entry, or anyone who’s reached TL1 or TL2?
  • Have a dedicated mod
  • If anyone violates the posting conditions, warn them, and remove them from the group if repeated
  • No need for secrecy to be maintained. It’s probably unworkable, will people even remember which part of the site something was posted in? People can use PMs if they want secrecy on an issue (incidentally, is there a rule that PM content should not be publicly revealed here?)
  • Make conversations visible to all? But only group members can comment. Again, anyone can request entry. The conversations could serve as a positive model. Anyone could mute that section if they don’t want to see them in their Latest list

People can see current members of Scholars group here:

Since the “scholars” list already includes grad students, any chance I could be added? I promise to behave! :smiley:


You are on the list. :slight_smile:

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Sounds like there is a lot of consensus on this. I’ll start implementing this ina stepwise way.

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No. We would call that throttling.

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Oh, great! For some reason, I was unable to find my name.

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Meaning: I will add you.

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I do want everyone, especially those in the scholar group, to consider Patreon support too. @dga471 has signed up, as a graduate student. I’ll explain more about why this is important in time.


In a previous comment in another thread @swamidass wrote the following:

[quote=“swamidass, post:74, topic:1780”]
Peaceful Science is not where scientific thought is usually going to change. Public debate is not how that happens.[/quote]

The proposed changes appear to be addressing that concern and I can appreciate that. If substantive dialogue is the goal I agree restrictions have to be in place.

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Okay, most of the changes are made. Please give me feedback here. Also, please let us know about conversations you think should be moved to featured.

I like the stated proposed changes, @swamidass, and agree with and support @Agauger, @T_aquaticus, @dga471, @PdotdQ 's comments.

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