The Trek BBS

The Trek BBS (http://www.trekbbs.com/index.php)
-   Science and Technology (http://www.trekbbs.com/forumdisplay.php?f=36)
-   -   Improving your Sci-Tech Forum (http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=102353)

Jadzia August 27 2009 03:17 PM

Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
People frequently come here with questions and ideas they want to talk about, but all too often these people are told that their ideas are absurd, which sets a trend of bias for whenever there are further questions from that person.

I don't really like this. I feel it makes sci-tech appear elitist. I want a forum which is welcoming and friendly to all people with questions and thoughts.

Furthermore, responding to questions with little more than "read a book" or "learn to use google" is not a constructive post. If questions are asked here, then the desire is for them to be answered here. Please respect that.


Questions don't always have to relate to practical engineering. Sometimes we ponder things just because we're curious. I feel it is perfectly fine to allow questions of an impractical nature. I don't like it when people mistreat these kind of questions with "if you expect this is going to be done one day you must be crazy" attitudes. When a question isn't trying to be practical, this wouldn't be an appropriate attitude to take. It only creates conflict.

On the other hand, some people would prefer sci-tech to be reserved for "serious" discussions, which if these people had their way would exclude a lot of these hypothetical "what ifs?" and exclude discussions about less practical ideas. This group doesn't like "what ifs?" people injecting impractical ideas and unsubstantiated opinions into their discussions. It unsettles them, and they PM me asking for "something to be done"


So there is often conflict between these two groups of posters. When "practical" vs "what ifs?" people collide, threads are often seen to deteriorate. But I don't see why we can't cater for both groups. You just try to not intrude one other's threads.

Also, I don't mind the occasional comedy thread here. We're not all work and no play in sci-tech ;) But it shouldn't be the case that genuine questions get derailed into comedy threads when these two groups collide.

I'm also happy to allow philosophy in sci-tech because I feel it is often relevant to our discussions.

If anybody has anything they want to say, then post your opinions here...

THE Robert Maxwell August 27 2009 03:33 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
My problem is not so much with the absurd engineering projects, such as the infamous "pyramid" question, but rather the conspiracy nonsense that people like Tachyon Shield promote in here.

I don't care to see this forum become a place for pseudoscience and hackery. Soft sciences like philosophy are one thing. Claiming vaccines are part of a global conspiracy to make the world's population stupid and docile in anticipation of the 2012 apocalypse in which our Reptilian overlords will finally make themselves known and bend us all to their will... yeah, I'm no genius, but I'm pretty sure none of that hokum is the least bit scientific.

Scientific learning is the best defense against ignorance, and it really concerns me that we'll happily tolerate ignorance and outright bullshit in the name of fairness. Science isn't about what's fair or what makes everyone comfortable. Science is what you can prove with evidence, logic, and/or reason. It's not what you heard spouted by some acid-dropping lunatic on Coast to Coast AM.

ZUUL-iet August 27 2009 03:40 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
I have something I want to say. :)

One of the problems as I see it here, which seems to annoy a lot of people here, are people who post opinions or conjecture while seemingly passing them off, or having them misinterpreted, as fact, and making no distinction between the two. Such claims inevitably lead to people demanding links to reputable sources that can confirm the background to their theory, especially when the OP doesn't provide such evidence (and sometimes insists on not doing so, much to the others' further annoyance).

Seeing as we're also talking philosophy of sorts here, today I was reminded of these quotations from Arthur C Clarke:

Quote:

Clarke's Laws:
  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Clarke's Law of Revolutionary Ideas: Every revolutionary idea — in science, politics, art, or whatever — seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases:

1 - "It's completely impossible — don't waste my time";
2 - "It's possible, but it's not worth doing";
3 - "I said it was a good idea all along."

which in itself is a paraphrasing of this famous quote popularly attributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi:

"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win."


sojourner August 30 2009 09:24 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
^agreed. If someone is going to post something, they should be willing to backup the claim. Refusing to site resources is not conducive to a productive conversation.

I also resent posts that are more metaphysical in content be used for more scientific conversations.

All Seeing Eye August 30 2009 09:41 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
Quote:

Robert Maxwell wrote: (Post 3341343)
My problem is not so much with the absurd engineering projects, such as the infamous "pyramid" question, but rather the conspiracy nonsense that people like Tachyon Shield promote in here.

I don't care to see this forum become a place for pseudoscience and hackery. Soft sciences like philosophy are one thing. Claiming vaccines are part of a global conspiracy to make the world's population stupid and docile in anticipation of the 2012 apocalypse in which our Reptilian overlords will finally make themselves known and bend us all to their will... yeah, I'm no genius, but I'm pretty sure none of that hokum is the least bit scientific.

Scientific learning is the best defense against ignorance, and it really concerns me that we'll happily tolerate ignorance and outright bullshit in the name of fairness. Science isn't about what's fair or what makes everyone comfortable. Science is what you can prove with evidence, logic, and/or reason. It's not what you heard spouted by some acid-dropping lunatic on Coast to Coast AM.

I have never once posted anything in Sci Tech to do with Reptilians or 2012 so you have absolutely no right to even claim that to be the case. Where the hell have I mentioned Reptilians or 2012 in here? It would appear you are confusing 2 different forums.

Please provide me with a link to anywhere in Sci Tech where I have said that "vaccines are part of a global conspiracy to make the world's population stupid and docile in anticipation of the 2012 apocalypse in which our Reptilian overlords will finally make themselves known and bend us all to their will".

I'd love to see this link. Reptilians or 2012 or even Coast to Coast AM for that matter have absolutely nothing to do with vaccines being toxic and my opinion on vaccines.

I have on merely 2 occasions (just 2!) in Sci Tech said that vaccines inject toxins into the Human body all of which is 100% true. There is no denying that this is the case the evidence and information can be found anywhere. What people get irate about is when we talk about the effects on the Human body.
My opinion is that these toxins have disastrous effects, the worst being neurological damage in children or unborn babies, other people disagree.
I don't see what your problem is with my having a different opinion to you.

If I feel these toxins being injected into people are deliberate I also have a right to say so. Who do you think you are telling me I should be quiet and not give my opinion. I have every right to give my opinion regardless of whether you agree with them or think they are crazy.
I provided links in the last vaccine thread here giving information about the toxins, the proof was there and as I said, if I want to express my opinion on top of this information then I can.

If I had not provided links regarding vaccines and their toxicity i'd understand why you might have a problem but the fact is I did provide links and information.

Nobody forces you to read peoples posts, nobody forces you to enter certain threads. You make that choice for yourself.
How does the creation of a thread alter your enjoyment of a particular forum?
You enter the Sci Tech forum and you are presented by nothing more than simple thread titles, it's entirely up to you which thread titles you click on, it's up to you which threads you read.
What is not up to you is who posts or what they post. If you don't like something don't read it, if you don't like a particular thread then simply don't enter it. If there are specific posters you have a problem with when it comes to reading what they have to say then use the boards ignore feature.

This is called common sense and there are two options:

1) use it

or

2) Stop complaining.

ZUUL-iet August 30 2009 10:06 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
Quote:

sojourner wrote: (Post 3351233)
I also resent posts that are more metaphysical in content be used for more scientific conversations.

The current regime has stated (for the record) that debate about the philosophy of some scientific theory is allowed. For example, take the "Do You Want To Live Forever?" thread. It initially disappointed me as most of us just wanted to talk about the philosophy and ramifications of life prolongation and infinite existence, and less of the science behind it, although I understand this changed later. Besides, this also brings us back to those Arthur C. Clarke quotations I posted above about thinking about the impossible. :)

sojourner August 31 2009 01:51 AM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
Quote:

Zion Ravescene wrote: (Post 3351329)
Quote:

sojourner wrote: (Post 3351233)
I also resent posts that are more metaphysical in content be used for more scientific conversations.

The current regime has stated (for the record) that debate about the philosophy of some scientific theory is allowed. For example, take the "Do You Want To Live Forever?" thread. It initially disappointed me as most of us just wanted to talk about the philosophy and ramifications of life prolongation and infinite existence, and less of the science behind it, although I understand this changed later. Besides, this also brings us back to those Arthur C. Clarke quotations I posted above about thinking about the impossible. :)

To clarify, I have no problem with that. I am more referring to things like "God created it" type posts. A metaphysical thread is different from a metaphysical rebuttal in a non-metaphysical conversation. Especially if it progresses to the point of ruining the original conversation.

ZUUL-iet August 31 2009 07:26 AM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
Quote:

sojourner wrote: (Post 3352020)
Quote:

Zion Ravescene wrote: (Post 3351329)
Quote:

sojourner wrote: (Post 3351233)
I also resent posts that are more metaphysical in content be used for more scientific conversations.

The current regime has stated (for the record) that debate about the philosophy of some scientific theory is allowed. For example, take the "Do You Want To Live Forever?" thread. It initially disappointed me as most of us just wanted to talk about the philosophy and ramifications of life prolongation and infinite existence, and less of the science behind it, although I understand this changed later. Besides, this also brings us back to those Arthur C. Clarke quotations I posted above about thinking about the impossible. :)

To clarify, I have no problem with that. I am more referring to things like "God created it" type posts. A metaphysical thread is different from a metaphysical rebuttal in a non-metaphysical conversation. Especially if it progresses to the point of ruining the original conversation.

I see. :) The example I described seemed to be the opposite problem: answering a seemingly philosophical OP with science. :lol:

Australis August 31 2009 10:18 AM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
One of the problems with recent threads can be boiled down to:

+ Person A posits problem. It;s a bit nebulous or beyond current technology or sheer impractical.

+ Persons B to K explain why the idea won';t work, some being a little derogatory,.

+ Person A gets huffy, says it will work and everyone else is wrong.

+ Persons B to K reiterate their positions, a little more heatedly.

+ Person A expresses the opinion (in various guises) that no one in the forum knows anything, except them.

+ Insults and heat begin..

Can we legislate against silly questions? Not really, and sometimes good discussions break out, against all odds.

What we might be able to do to mitigate such timewasting is an acknowledgement form Person A whether they are going to do anything with the answers provided by/ agree with the other posters, rather than just stubbornly hold a line.

If not, shut it down. Poster A might get the point that they need to interact, not lecture from a podium of non-knowledge.

Deckerd August 31 2009 10:40 AM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
Yes but how do you define a 'silly question'? Especially given that this is a science fiction board. I agree that if someone asks a question which appears to be silly the temptation is to say so but perhaps a slightly more open approach could be used at least until the intent of the OP becomes clear.

We all know why this thread has been started and I think it is the intent of OPs that should be established in a thread before mud starts flying or more hopefully an interesting debate starts flying.

[I should add that it's not Jadzia's intent but those of posters who post 'silly questions'. Re-reading it sounded a big ambiguous ;)]

ZUUL-iet August 31 2009 10:55 AM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
I understand if the original posters in those threads seem optimistic that their ideas might work, and are the sort of thing that is needed to keep science reaching new areas of understanding instead of stagnating, in the spirit of Clarke et al. Sometimes it takes an inspired idea to lead to the most brilliant discoveries, and at other times the idea is a very plausible solution to a real problem (hence the old saying "necessity is the mother of invention") and it is for this reason that I feel that such OPs of such threads are still being given the benefit of the doubt (and rightly so, otherwise this place would get dull very quickly).

Yet I get the impression that they feel they can carry their side of the argument solely by pointing out Mankind's need to push things forward instead of providing exact details of how and why to do it, without backing it up with scientific evidence or even their own working (and sometimes refusing to do so) to the point that their scientific method has more than a touch of blind faith about it. It's this stubbornness which clashes with the more rational thinking of others posting that causes a lot of the tensions in this forum.

That it seems to involve the same posters seems to have created a situation where the thread starter has developed a reputation which is being judged as opposed to the idea. On the one hand, there is an unfair air of persecution against the thread starter to the point of trolling, but on the other hand highlights the thread starter's need to get the better of their peers and to be proven right at whatever cost, even if it means reiterating their ideas to seemingly derail other people's threads.

Shaw August 31 2009 12:02 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
I'd point out that there are times (far too often) where someone asks a question, someone with experience in that area answers and because it runs counter to people's experiences (or their comfort level) they respond in a negative manner.

It leaves me asking what's the point?

Similarly, when someone asks a question I would think that giving them the best accepted answer first should be a priority over everything else. I'm not saying that fringe ideas and beliefs shouldn't be discussed too, but the foundations of the responses should be to help educate rather than confuse. I have tons of personal beliefs and theories which run counter to the best accepted answers in a number of areas, but I have not shared any of those and have done my best to present the current best accepted answers to the best of my abilities.

What I see a lot is that people see a question asked and view it as an invitation to push their pet theories (in the hopes that others will start repeating them I would guess).

Alternative ideas usually come from having a solid enough understanding of the current thinking on a subject to see where the weaknesses are and see alternatives in the data they are based on. What I see quite often is people not understanding the generally accepted point of view, not wanting to invest in understanding and putting forth something that is easy to understand (but has little to do with the evidence we have on the subject).

Maybe this is how SciFi writing is done, and that is why it is so prevalent here... but I would hope that this section would be a place to get foundational answers to science questions.

It hasn't been in my experience and I don't expect that it will change any time in the future.

The third type of responses I see which are worse than either of the first two scenarios is someone just posting a link to the Wikipedia article on the subject. Granted, I personally think Wikipedia is a flawed source of information (as people often use it as the final answer to a given question rather than a starting point), but beyond that is the fact that anyone can do a search and end up there and the person who asked the question most likely has already been there. Being able to provide an answer in your own words based on your own understanding should be a minimum for responding.

When giving an answer, I attempt to bring my understanding to bare. And it is an important exercise to do this in that you may find a deeper understanding of a subject which you thought you already knew while attempting to answer someone else's questions.

All Seeing Eye August 31 2009 12:58 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
Too many people forget where they are. They forget they are in a forum on a Star Trek Science Fiction message board and somehow get the delusion they are the ultimate scientists and that we are all located in planets Earths ultimate Science academy.
It's time to get back to reality, you are nothing more than some person sat at a computer getting angry and irate over trivial matters. Why anyone would choose to get angry and irate on a Star Trek Science fiction message board over someones opinion on an area of science confounds me.

If a person wishes to express an opinion they have a right to express that opinion whether it's in Misc, General Trek Discussion or Science & Technology. Too many times though someone will express and opinion and everyone demands links to support it as evidence.
This in itself is completely stupid. A person cannot always support their theory or opinion by the use of internet links to internet websites.

We can come here to discuss many things and they do not require the provision of links all the time. Where does it say that links or evidence must be provided? what makes you think that the rules here in Sci Tech differ from the rules in other forums?
Anyone can come here and offer their opinion on a subject and then leave, it is only you who work under the assumption that links and evidence must be provided. If the person with the opinion wishes to provide links then they can, it they don't have any then they can't provide them.
If they cannot provide them it does not mean you have the right to belittle or troll someone for it, they still expressed an opinion and had every right to do so. If the person expresses an opinion and is unable to provide links then you should accept that and move on, not troll them.


Also if the OP of the thread still stands by their own opinion even if others disagree with them then the OP has every right to do that, why should the OP conform to other peoples opinions??

The OP can start a discussion off, that's all it is though a discussion, it's not a thread created for the purpose of other people to change the OPs belief or opinion. This is where the problems are, everyone trying to argue with the OP to make them change their mind instead of understanding that we are only here to offer our own opinions and then move on.

That's all you need to do, offer your own opinion, by all means debate it but do not under any circumstances believe that it is your job to make someone change their mind, it is not your job to flame or troll someone because they do not conform to your way of thinking.

I've noticed a lot of people treat Science as a religion and treat this forum as their own personal church, they come in here and if anyone comes out with an idea or opinion that these people believe Science does not agree with they start foaming at the mouth and become aggressive.
It's almost like going to a deeply religious person and telling them God does not exist and the fireworks start flying.

Alpha_Geek August 31 2009 02:35 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
I propose a "torch and pitchfork" rule, whereby the most heinous offenders that have delved into territory they shouldn't may be tossed from the battlements by the populace.

Frankenstein deomcracy is cool. I saw it in a movie once. :techman:

Jadzia August 31 2009 02:40 PM

Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum
 
Quote:

tachyon shield wrote:
Too many people forget where they are. They forget they are in a forum on a Star Trek Science Fiction message board and somehow get the delusion they are the ultimate scientists and that we are all located in planets Earths ultimate Science academy.

Science isn't based on status, so this first remark isn't relevant. Eminent scientists have the distinction that their work hasn't been done before, and that it adds something significant in the grand scheme of things. But anyone can do science.

Quote:

If a person wishes to express an opinion they have a right to express that opinion whether it's in Misc, General Trek Discussion or Science & Technology. Too many times though someone will express and opinion and everyone demands links to support it as evidence.
This in itself is completely stupid. A person cannot always support their theory or opinion by the use of internet links to internet websites.
I agree only as far as an opinion doesn't need proof, because it isn't trying to be anything more than an opinion. But while I am open to freedom of expression, I feel there is some general etiquette that should be respected here, because this is a sci-tech forum. It isn't misc. It certainly isn't tnz.

An assertion is something different from an opinion. "X is true" is an assertion, and it does prompt for evidence and proof. It reads very differently from "It is my opinion that X is true". It evokes different reactions from readers.

Controversial assertions can appear arrogant and presumptuous.

I'm tempted to say that opinions are alright as long as they are clearly presented as opinions. People with opinions should make an effort to not derail discussions, and in return, they shouldn't be hounded for proof. Assertions on the other hand should only be made if you can provide evidence for them.


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:21 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.