Some have noticed and begun asking about some changes to the forum. We are provisionally testing out several changes to the forum, in preparation for an overhaul that makes them permanent.
We’ve changed and simplified the category organization of the forum, making some important changes. You can get a good overview in category view (Categories - Peaceful Science).
Some categories are now on the front page (#conversation, #peaceful, #public, #hours), and require moderator approval for posting. Everyone can post in these categories, but this requires approval on a post-by-post basis.
One category (#conversation:side) does not require moderator approval. This category is publicly accessible, but it is muted for new users, and will not appear on their front page. New users can bring topics in this category to their front page by unmuting the category in their preference page. You can see what the forum looks like to new users by adding #conversation:side to your muted categories, or by looking at the forum in chrome’s incognito mode.
Why Moderator Approval?
No one is being singled out. The purpose of moderator approval is:
To ensure that only high quality, professional content is on the front page, where most people will see it.
To give a way for all users to comment on front page posts, as long as their posts are high quality.
To make space for minority positions and voices to be heard and carefully engaged.
To raise the standards of the forum without singling any one out.
Our goal is not censorship, and we are committed to hearing out people with whom we disagree. Instead, we believe this may help us create the environment where minority views can be heard. To protect quality conversations from being disrupted by off topics or trollish posting, and to push us all to adopt the highest level of professionalism.
If you would like to post without moderator approval, the #conversation is public, will not require moderator approval, but will not be on the front page.
Our Mission and Values
I recently posted Our Mission and Values. These changes are being considered in their ability to align this forum with this mission and these values.
We take a trust-based approach to engaging the public. For this reason we expect those aligned with mainstream science, especially scientists, to follow the highest standards of professional conduct. There are many other forums to thump creationists, thump religious people, and thump atheists and mainstream science. We want to do better here, by engaging the public in a way that builds trust.
Request for Input
These changes are provisional. If they do not work, we will adjust. At this time, we would like to hear from the forum what they think about these changes.