The atmosphere of the forum...

Questions and comments
bigato
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by bigato » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:17 pm

thanks, that is useful, but sometimes i am just curious and don't really want to post anything at the thread, nor "polute it" with "posting to follow" or something

Campitor
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Campitor » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:30 pm

I was educated via the socratic method; grades 6 through 12. It isn't the most pleasant style of education but it really sharpens critical thinking. We were given problems first, had to defend the methodologies used for our conclusions, and point out the flaws in each other's work. We were expected to defend and argue vigorously but professionally. Only after this inter-student and proctor critique/debate phase was finished, were we given the actual lesson plan and shown how to resolve the problem properly. Bonus points were awarded to those who arrived/intuited the correct steps and answers. This teaching method was brutal but boy does it pay dividends in so many ways.

It's a shame that most people are not educated this way. Mental resilience and inductive reasoning skills are sharpened to a very high point. It makes you formidable in so many ways and less susceptible to binary thinking and charlatanism. And you're more apt to seek truth via facts and critical thinking than arriving at half truths pushed by demagoguery.

What I find most lamentable is that smart people would rather stay in their own echo chambers. They seek the warmth and safety of their erudite cocoons instead of exposing themselves to various viewpoints that push the boundaries of their beliefs even if it hurts their sensibilities. And even worse, the less erudite are deprived of the deepening of the mind that comes from reading topics of substance. If you don't like the way the wind is blowing adjust the sails and help tack the ship back on course. Don't just hop into the life raft and call it a day.

Who decides what is appropriate to read or express? What kernel of truth will be left undiscovered in the explosion of error? How are we to come to understanding if we shut ourselves off from those who don't think, talk, or write as we do? I prefer heated debate underscored by logic than a cordoning off of ideas which causes us to divide into increasingly narrow echo chambers. In the end the only means of being heard will be via violence or extreme vulgarity that can't be ignored. No thank you.

What drew me to this forum was Jacob. Where else will I get a nuclear astrophysicist's opinion on so many different subjects? But what kept me here were the different voices and opinions so tangential to my own. Yes some forum members may be crude at times or controversial or skirt the forum rules. But when someone does cross Jacob's line in the sand, he handles it professionally. At the end of the day this is Jacob's house. His house, his rules. I'm sure if someone wants to talk to Jacob about amending his rules, in a well reasoned manner, he would be open to changes that still conform to his overall blueprint of what a good forum is.

Everyday I open this forum to see what new topic is being discussed. I read a lot of it and just let it marinate. Other topics I join because they are interesting from a critical thinking point of view and seem to be good opportunities to strengthen fact finding and inductive skills. This place is a cornucopia of topics and dangling threads begging to be pulled. IlliniDave, Rigger, Jason, CS, Seppia, Jacob, 7WB, Jennypenny, Dragline, and too many more to mention - your posts are never dull and always interesting. If this forum devolved to nothing but topics about spreadsheets, the speeds of neutrinos, sipping tea with pinkies held out, and utterance of grey poupon, that would be a sad day.

jacob
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by jacob » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:56 am

Campitor wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:30 pm
Who decides what is appropriate to read or express? What kernel of truth will be left undiscovered in the explosion of error? How are we to come to understanding if we shut ourselves off from those who don't think, talk, or write as we do? I prefer heated debate underscored by logic than a cordoning off of ideas which causes us to divide into increasingly narrow echo chambers. In the end the only means of being heard will be via violence or extreme vulgarity that can't be ignored. No thank you.
I'd like to combine this into a compromise. It was suggested above that perhaps the forums need more subforums. This way it would be easier to divide the topics without dividing the people. As for mission statements, this forum has also---and I believe correctly---been described as "a place for FIREd people who talk about all things other than FIRE" cf. most other FIRE-forums that are better described as "a place for wannabe-FIRE people to talk about FIRE" (i.e. noob stuff). So primarily, this forum is about the people discussing the topics moreso than the topics themselves.

However, I'll second @Soumalainen's lament above about the gender wars. It's not that I mind the discussion per se (out of principle of not minding any discussion) but I do mind how the constant MGTOW/relationship bitching (for lack of a better word) tend to spill into other threads all the time---usually due to the same few people(*). I also understand that there are clearly some issues to be worked out there and that relationships have ERE relevance.

(*) There was even a relationship derailment thread established as a catch all.

Making up categories is super-hard classification problem (the "librarian's problem"), but I'm thinking that maybe adding (it's practically impossible to subtract) a subforum on relationships would be a good idea and take some of the pressure off the other threads. The risk is that [isolating] it will develop/devolve into its own little red pill/PUA hell scape. The benefit is that people who don't want to see it can ignore it. The downside is that it doesn't make the problem go or away nor does it solve it. In particular, I believe that this whole idea of establishing segregated safe zones that very many people seem to want/enjoy is the meta-problem in our current culture. I believe it's what led to the election of Trump... (and populists in general) in the sense that if people (the winning coasts) deliberately ignore a segment (the losing rust belts) for too long, the latter is going to find some destructive way to direct attention back to themselves. (We also see this in the rise of provocative internet vulgarity and extreme violence.) simply tossing out the "misfits" (or ignoring them with technological filtering) is not a systems-solution. While solving the individual problem, it does not solve the systems problem. It postpones and exacerbates it.

So in short, I'm kinda torn on what to do.

Running an adult daycare center is sometimes really hard... and not really my preferred way of spending my time.

Campitor
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Campitor » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:31 am

I find the gender war/PUA/MGTOW comments and threads to be so logically wrong. When I read these occasional comments, I'd love nothing more than to start poking holes in the logic and assumptions displayed therein. But I refrain because I either don't want to derail the thread or because I don't want to risk elevating the "heat" of the discussion to the point where I'm instigating or participating in forum rule breaking or a thread lock. But these PUA/MGTOW ideas are caustic. To assign behavior and mental functioning ONLY to a set of chromosomes ignores years of psychology and the effects of culture on beliefs and behaviors.

If these PUA/MGTOW ideas were placed into their own forum subtopic, I'd be more inclined to roll up the sleeves and tackle the bad logic implicit in this belief system. The real conundrum is whether these PUA/MGTOW adherents are open to having their minds changed or just perceive my writings as grenades being tossed by a "beta". LOL.

Riggerjack
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Riggerjack » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:47 am

Running an adult daycare center is sometimes really hard... and not really my preferred way of spending my time.
I can believe it. I wouldn't want to do it, and I admire the way you have done it so far.

That being said, it's part of what you seem to want. Being open to ideas and expression means being exposed to the ideas and expressions of all skill levels. The people with the highest skill levels tend to often have areas of extremely underdeveloped skills. One cannot get the best, without getting some of the worst.

You once said that poverty is a lack of skill, rather than a lack of cash. I believe this is true. But I also believe lack of skill applies to all of us in one area or another, to one degree or another, and exposing our poorly developed skills allows us to see and correct this deficiency. It ain't pretty, but it is useful. If one wants to be surrounded by the thoughts of highly skilled people, one must allow people to expose their deficiencies to a critical but mildly supportive culture, to correct these deficiencies.

So when male spinsters (MGTOW) clash with white knights, neither is likely to learn from the other, but people who could be tempted to join either low skill group can see the errors pointed out in the group for which they have an affinity. Allowing this flamewar to happen in a critical environment doesn't help members of each tribe, but I believe it helps those on the fringe to see their own issues and opinions in a different light, hopefully saving them from joining such low skill groups. This inoculation is good for the group, even if the flamewar is unpleasant to watch (or to host).

I agree it would be nice if we were all higher skilled in all aspects of our selves. But I also believe those skills need to be developed somewhere, and I think this is a very good place for that to happen, when it hasn't happened elsewhere. Low skilled people will never learn from similarly skilled people. Addressing one's own weaknesses engages all of the ego saving defense mechanisms that allowed one to get to this point without addressing them previously. So having criticism from someone that one has learned to respect in other realms is very helpful in disengaging the defense mechanisms, and actually developing the poorly developed skills.

When I post, it's with the intent of helping others to see things in ways I have found useful. Often, I discover the ways others have found useful, to be better than my own. I could not do that as effectively anywhere else. Exposing my own weaknesses, and being exposed to the weaknesses of others is necessary for this to happen.

So again, I thank you, and don't envy you. But maybe take a look at the long time posters, I think you will find a general improvement in skill levels; and maybe you can take some pride in that.

I know I do.

Jean
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jean » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:50 am

I think MGTOW are wrong on many things (right on some too), but that if there is one place were they could meet people with both the knowledge and empathy to help them, it's this forum.

theanimal
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by theanimal » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:56 am

bigato wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:17 pm
thanks, that is useful, but sometimes i am just curious and don't really want to post anything at the thread, nor "polute it" with "posting to follow" or something
You can do what you are looking for without posting. Go to the individual thread that you wish to follow. At the top near the title you'll see a wrench with a drop down button adjacent to it. Opening the list you'll see "subscribe to topic." Clicking that will give you a notification every time someone posts in that particular thread. Hope that helps.

IlliniDave
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:14 pm

I was labeled MGTOW by someone here along the way. I googled the acronym and it was certainly apt when taken literally. I didn't realize it set me apart as an object for pity and rehabilitation. I thought it was just a new way to say "incorrigible bachelor".

Jean
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jean » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:15 pm

Well, it usually include a strong belief that women are best aproximated as evil.

bigato
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by bigato » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:41 pm

Yeah, thanks, I know about the subscribe thing, but it's even less convenient for me than browsing everything (i think).

Also, I understand the positions written above about not ignoring people who disagree with you, the value of discussion, the echo chambers phenomenon and stuff. And yet I really prefer to use my time in another way that does not include arguing politics or watching people being rude at each other or at me. I may end up trying to find some kind of mechanics that works for me or just give up. I think some of you may want to read the Karl Popper's Paradox of Tolerance:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

jacob
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by jacob » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:43 pm

The Paradox of Tolerance is exactly why the forum is moderated for form and not content.

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C40
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by C40 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:51 pm

IlliniDave wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:14 pm
I was labeled MGTOW by someone here along the way. I googled the acronym and it was certainly apt when taken literally. I didn't realize it set me apart as an object for pity and rehabilitation. I thought it was just a new way to say "incorrigible bachelor".

Yeah, it's kind of funny. I'd say you are just doing his own thing, with an "I'm just doing my own thing" mindset. You are literally a man going his own way, but that does not mean you are a MGTOW dude.

MGTOW turned into a polarized meme of thoughts/opinions/behaviors. It (now?) includes a bunch of dogmatic and hyperbolic thought, writing off large groups of people, and a chicken-or-egg cycle of blaming others for their own problems and not recognizing that their own behaviors are the primary cause. [I'm writing this as an outside observer of the movement so I may be missing some things]
Last edited by C40 on Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

IlliniDave
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:52 pm

Jean wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:15 pm
Well, it usually include a strong belief that women are best aproximated as evil.
I was slandered! I thought it just meant what it said: men opting to pursue life as a single rather then the arguably more complicated alternative.

Augustus
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Augustus » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:05 pm

bigato wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:41 pm
And yet I really prefer to use my time in another way that does not include arguing politics or watching people being rude at each other or at me.
Every so often there's a gem of thought in a random thread. I ignore most things, but every so often I peruse when a whim takes me. It's good to be uncomfortable every so often. But more importantly it's also good to expose yourself to lines of thinking that you don't agree with.

A long time ago the Greeks were just about to stumble on to the scientific method, but instead Plato or one of those guys declared that getting his hands dirty and experimenting with new ideas was a waste of time. He reasoned that he already knew everything just from his thought experiments, and so it was a waste of time to explore arguments he disagreed with. If you think about it, he actually set our species back by 2000 years of scientific advancement, because instead of challenging themselves with new ideas and argument, they instead...invented astrology... Sagan discusses it in more detail in his book Cosmos. They had a theory of atoms, had determined the circumference of the earth to within a few %, heliocentric solar system theory, etc. But they dumped it all in lieu of keeping themselves pure or whatever.

I've noticed it in myself that I'll often delude myself into believing that I know how things work in the world. One of the most delightful things is discovering when I'm wrong.

Scott 2
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:25 pm

Containing controversial or off topic content to a private sub-forum is the best solution I've seen. Relatively easy to moderate, doesn't bait the public, and lets people have their voice.

Second best solution I've seen is to ban all of it. IMO this is a much more labor intensive moderation option, especially if impacted parties decide to escalate. It'd be trivial for a troll to overwhelm the limited administrative resources of the board.

Leaving it public sucks time for other content out of the board, as we are seeing.

jacob
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by jacob » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:50 pm

@Scott2 - Hopefully leaving it public also makes some of us better humans. I would credit moderating [the adult daycare center that is] the forums with making me a better diplomat. I've also seen this growth in others who have been on the front lines here for a long time or maybe alternatively, I've not always been able to recognize what wiser people have already been doing.

Riggerjack
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Riggerjack » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:01 pm

One of the most delightful things is discovering when I'm wrong.

That's poetry, that is. I have never quite been able to express that joy.

Scott 2
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:40 pm

@jacob - No criticism intended towards you or the mods. My interest lies purely in maximal signal to noise ratio. When someone like C40 spends pages convincing people to be civil, we miss out on his time for FIRE related contributions. It's a large opportunity cost.

Augustus
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Augustus » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:17 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:01 pm
That's poetry, that is. I have never quite been able to express that joy.
It means that you discovered more depth to something you already thought you understood and plumbed the depths of, it also means you still have room to grow as a person, to progress, to move forward. I'm always pretty happy when I'm proved wrong, thinking I know everything is like instant ennui, it actually depresses me.

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered."

daylen
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by daylen » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:49 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:40 pm
My interest lies purely in maximal signal to noise ratio... It's a large opportunity cost.
These are cringe worthy statements in absence of an objective.. or in relation to the functioning of any complex system. :? :P

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