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Mindy's position, I have gathered, was that one can only act dishonestly in a legal (with an explicit contract) exchange by violating the legal contract. I don't agree with that, but that was her position. She wasn't saying that it was okay to misrepresent your true intentions, she was saying that you couldn't misrepresent you true intentions and act within the rules of the given contract.

Granted I don't know much about Objectivism at all yet..I am reading my first book by Rand so if I am wrong here please let me know, but from what I understand....

was that one can only act dishonestly in a legal (with an explicit contract) exchange by violating the legal contract.

That the characteristic in question: dishonesty (which is obviously a big deal since one of the 7 virtues is honesty) is dependent on the condition of the contextual actions being legal or not. This is clearly, to me anyways, incorrect. Law does not necessarily = something by which you can judge the ethics of an action, and dishonesty is certainly a characteristic attributable to a persons ethical decisions within a given context. It seems to me that suggesting that one can only act dishonestly in a legal exchange (an explicit legal contract) creates, necessarily, the implication that it is in fact okay to misreprestent your true intentions if that condition is not met. Regardless of the other parts of the discussion, that seems to me like a position very opposed to objectivist thought as I understand it.

There may be different considerations in moral judgment in a situation based on what is a law and what is not, what we are speaking about and the conditions of that event (context) but that does not mean that simply because there was not an explicit legal contract that there was no dishonesty, which is an ethical vice and is therefore suggesting ones actions were inappropriate, even if they weren't an explicit breaking of contract it certainly means that the book store owner is fully right for morally condemning the person if he is aware of his dishonesty and therefore can also choose to take action against him in the form of banning them from the store or refusing to fulfill the explicit agreement of allowing the book to be returned. I probably explained this in a more lengthy and complex manner than was necessary but I am new at this. So I think rationalbiker was probably right here as far as the book issue is concerned and its implications.

she was saying that you couldn't misrepresent you true intentions and act within the rules of the given contract.

This seems like a given to me, I don't really understand why this point would need to be made. Nonetheless that doesn't make the action proper in the realm of morality. As well all know, we should do our best to be moral individuals and to judge others appropriately when they act immorally, as such.

Also, as a personal comment saying "oh hell no" <-notice the strength of the statement means it certainly would be the polite thing to explain ones reasoning to the person in question (Mindy) but it certainly is not something required, and therefore RationalBiker is correct that if she feels she is, personally, owed some kind of explanation she has full right to exact a personal opinion of RationalBiker given that this event has occurred, but that does not change the fact that he did not have to answer and that the expectation in itself that he should is on shaky ground.

Edited by Shelby

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As I recall, there was a very very brief statement in Galt's speech about how a rational person owes something of an explanation to another rational person... I will have to find that reference. I believe that Rand was referring to the cost to ones self for failing to take an opportunity to help correct another person's error of knowledge...

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Ah that was easy:

"I am speaking to those among you who have retained some sovereign shred of their soul, unsold and unstamped: ‘-to the order of others.’ If, in the chaos of the motives that have made you listen to the radio tonight, there was an honest, rational desire to learn what is wrong with the world, you are the man whom I wished to address. By the rules and terms of my code, one owes a rational statement to those whom it does concern and who’re making an effort to know. Those who’re making an effort to fall to understand me, are not a concern of mine."

This debt to those concerned and making an effort to know is not explained, as far as I'm aware. Can someone cite any passages that elaborate?

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As I recall, there was a very very brief statement in Galt's speech about how a rational person owes something of an explanation to another rational person... I will have to find that reference. I believe that Rand was referring to the cost to ones self for failing to take an opportunity to help correct another person's error of knowledge...

Ok.. but if you break that down you have this:

the debt is owed to someone you have deemed to be rational and to be making honest errors in judgement.

If you have you determined that the questioner is not being rational and is not honest in their errors you owe nothing.

This topic does seem to be spinning out of control though. We now have 1/3 of a topic intended by the admins to recruit new mod volunteers/new mod ideas taken up by a personal dispute.

Out of respect for the admins that provide us with this forum could we get back on track?

The two people involved in this dispute seem strong willed enough to suss this out themselves one way or another.

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This debt to those concerned and making an effort to know is not explained, as far as I'm aware. Can someone cite any passages that elaborate?

John Galt "stopped the motor of the world" with the strike he led. His actions have had unpleasant consequences for everyone, even those who were still somewhat rational. To them he owes an explanation.

The strike has more value as a demonstration of the role of rationality in life if he publicly describes it that way rather than staying secret and silent and letting actions speak for themselves. Actions do not really speak for themselves, that is just a way of assuming everyone automatically reaches the same conclusion. Given a large enough crowd of people, someone can always be counted on to insist upon misunderstanding the obvious.

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As I recall, there was a very very brief statement in Galt's speech about how a rational person owes something of an explanation to another rational person... I will have to find that reference. I believe that Rand was referring to the cost to ones self for failing to take an opportunity to help correct another person's error of knowledge...

Other people and I have tried to point out her error in knowledge within the thread that lead to my opinion. But I choose if I owe myself something (or another person), not Galt. Though I appreciate your referencing that part of the speech, I'm not sure it's entirely relevant in this case though.

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Other people and I have tried to point out her error in knowledge within the thread that lead to my opinion. But I choose if I owe myself something (or another person), not Galt. Though I appreciate your referencing that part of the speech, I'm not sure it's entirely relevant in this case though.

Oh, I think it is - because Mindy claims that she is owed an explanation. That section of the speech makes it clear that there's a context in which explanations are and are not owed.

And after reading Grames' analysis, I'm convinced he's nailed the reasoning that explains the statement.

So the question becomes:

1) Does the negative vote of an existing moderator have consequences for a supplicant to become moderator? - Answer - yes.

2) Does the negative vote of said moderator initiate force against said supplicant? - Answer - no.

3) Is supplicant entitled to become a moderator? - Answer - no.

4) Is supplicant known to be making or not to be making an effort to know? - Answer - yes - supplicant is a prolific enough poster to evaluate their ability and willingness to evaluate counter arguments.

5) Since 4 is yes, is supplicant making an effort to know?

If #5 answers yes, then moderator owes an explanation to supplicant. If #5 answers no, moderator owes nothing.

Now there is a case to be made that since the forum is privately owned and operated, the moderators can actually do whatever they want as long as permitted by the owners. This is true - and the membership is free to leave at any time. But - if the forum community is to act as a rational society and not a dictatorship (within the bounds of the site of course) then ownership should not be used as an excuse not to give the membership explanations for their actions - be they votes for or against supplicants, or disciplinary actions.

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I don't mean to sound patronising, but if you people ever mean to set up an Objectivist government somewhere, you can count me in.

Those applicants for office, and the ones already there, have been displaying an impressive array of integrity and rationality and principle.

And if you can run this forum, a nation should be a breeze.

B)

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I'm sure I don't have the post count or steady activity to be considered for a moderator position, but since David asked for fresh ideas for the direction of the forum I thought I'd post. Hopefully some eager mod or future mod will take this to heart.

About a year and a half ago ObjectivismOnline.net became my first Objectivist community. It was here that I began to make friends and acquaintances that are Objectivists. I began to notice two phenomena as I looked through the posts. First, that there are eager trolls going around starting posts on subjects they know will quickly rouse posters on here into a heated argument over nothing, and second that there are many learned Objectivist minds on here who enjoy pouncing on these trolls, but sometimes also mistake a new person with a genuinely innocent question for a troll, and subsequently will scare them away quickly.

In one of his podcasts Peikoff is asked a question about whether he thinks the internet is a good place to learn Objectivism or not. The question excited me, because even though I have read a bit of Rand's fiction and non-fiction, I consider myself 'internet trained' in Objectivism. By this I mean, I learned most of the technical stuff I know from other people from this site. In his answer Peikoff said that he doesn't think the internet is a very good place to learn about Objectivism, and two reasons were laid out. In an internet discussion one follows a train of thought, maybe looks it over for spelling and grammatical errors, and then posts it. This is a far cry from a formal debate of any kind, where speakers will always educate themselves thoroughly on the topic before even coming, form their arguments with much consideration and have a plan laid out for what valid arguments the opposition will have and how to refute them. It is also important to note that in real debate, as in any public speaking, the speakers are always respectful and professional when addressing the opposing speaker.

On the second reason, Peikoff got some help from Yaron Brook. Brook said that further, when on a blog or a forum online, one is rarely sure whether a person one is 'learning' from actually should be considered an authority on the topic they're speaking on. Just anybody can get a forum account and talk authoritatively about what Ayn Rand said, what Atlas Shrugged means, or just about anything.

I think these are both valuable points to remember when considering what direction a forum like this should go. I think ObjectivismOnline.net could be a place where new students of Objectivism could get real, thoughtful, and encouraging help with their questions about the philosophy. There are several practical incarnations this idea could take.

There could be a separate forum section for new people to ask questions, and a list of forum members who are given a particular rank or role to respond to newbie questions. Other people would not necessarily be banned from responding, but the newbie helpers would have the authority to be in control of the topic. Newbie helpers would have to be people who are interested in responding to the same questions over and over and patient enough not to become angry if the person to get nowhere. This means more than simply teaching, some people who are new to Objectivism are not new to philosophy and can bring up pretty sticky questions. Newbie helpers need to be able to deal with those questions calmly, and also openly admit when they really have no idea how to answer a question, and be able to provide other resources for resolving it. This separate forum would also definitely have to be troll free, however the moderators of this forum also have to be adept at identifying when a person is a troll, who will really never learn anything about Ayn Rand, and when they are a newbie genuinely asking troll-ish questions. Perhaps some sort of quiz or questionnaire could be developed to help determine who is trolling and who isn't, and also would be able to help identify what sorts of help a new person might need.

Also, I think in general, in both chat and the forum, a better system of identifying who is trolling is needed. Also a clear definition of what constitutes a troll would be helpful. Is this a forum that considers itself aligned with the ARI, TAS or neither? Are libertarians and religious conservatives the kind of people we want on here? If so, what can we do to ensure that they are not taken to be any kind of authority on Objectivism while still allowing for their personal credibility as posters to be maintained? These are the types of answers that will help reduce the amount of grousing by regular members, since we'll have clearly defined rules in these areas.

If anyone else has suggestions on how to achieve these goals, I think it's important that we talk about them. Ultimately I think this forum needs a facelift. New students of Objectivism and regular member Objectivists deserve a community with a friendly atmosphere.

EDIT: I think it's TAS, I wrote TAC.

Edited by Jackethan

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I think you have made a lot of good comments Jackethan, and I don't really feel the need to elaborate or comment on any of it.

However I really really hope that this answer to this particular consideration:

Is this a forum that considers itself aligned with the ARI, TAS or neither?

Would be neither or I would automatically lose a certain degree of interest in this forum. Since I would assume this is a general consideration and not more specifically to...for instance..something like if its an open or closed system.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules

Respect for Ayn Rand and Objectivism

Participants agree to avoid making rude or insulting comments about Ayn Rand, her philosophy of Objectivism, the Ayn Rand Institute, the representatives and supporters of the Institute, or the adherents of the philosophy.

Is that going to be a problem for you, CS?

Ceterum censeo moscam Cordobae esse delendam.

Edited by ropoctl

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http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules

Is that going to be a problem for you, CS?

Ceterum censeo moscam Cordobae esse delendam.

I am willing to say here and now that it will not, not at this point in time or in the future, any moderator is welcome to hold me to that, be it here on the forums or in the chatroom. I was not implying what you think I was by my last post. They key part of that rule is rude or insulting comments, not criticism of Ayn Rand Institute individuals when it comes to discussing disagreements with them. My reason for my earlier post was because if this site was "aligned" with one of those organizations explicity, it could very well suggest that dissent from the views of the members of that organization, be it rude or polite, would not be allowed. That is something I would have no part of. Objectivism is about objectivity, which means the ability to voice civilized disagreements is of the utmost necessity. Disallowing criticism of a specific Objectivist organization would allow for cult-like influences to pervade intellectual discussion, negating any kind of intellectualism there was to be had.

Since you asked me a question, I will ask a similar one: will this be a problem for you?

Participants agree to avoid making rude or insulting comments about the adherents of the philosophy.

Because whether or not you agree with my views on certain subjects, I fit both Peikoff and Rand's definitions of an Objectivist, ignoring the occasional argumentum ad verecundiam and/or appeal to authority that is sometimes made, which I believe is not intended but stated at times incidentally during instances of discussion or presentation of a viewpoint to their audience. Regardless of intention however, that would not make such a statement any more valid, which is why it is considered a fallacious argument in the first place. If you do not think I am an Objectivist, as you have seemed to make quite clear in several instances, you have the right to hold that opinion, but please do not mention it continuously in chat in the form of snide remarks. I am asking this politely. I know we have had some heated arguments but I would like that to end and for mutual respect to be restored from this point on, as it should be. If I cannot debate with you on something specific without being civil I will restrain myself and not debate at all in that instance, I ask that you please do the same.

Thank you.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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My reason for my earlier post was because if this site was "aligned" with one of those organizations explicity, it could very well suggest that dissent from the views of the members of that organization, be it rude or polite, would not be allowed.
For your information, there is not and never has been any policy of whacking people who dissent from views of individuals officially or semi-officially associated with ARI (ARI does not express "corporate positions" to the best of my knowledge). The only whacking policy, in terms of viewpoint, regards using the forum to promulgate views orthogonal to Objectivism.

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So, when does the decision about moderators get made? I'm winning the unpopularity contest hands-down, I think I'm a shoe-in.

Mindy

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For your information, there is not and never has been any policy of whacking people who dissent from views of individuals officially or semi-officially associated with ARI (ARI does not express "corporate positions" to the best of my knowledge). The only whacking policy, in terms of viewpoint, regards using the forum to promulgate views orthogonal to Objectivism.

Understood. I always believed all of this to be the case, this was an unfortunate miscommunication due to the fact this is a text-based conversation and lack of clarification on my part:

My reason for my earlier post was because if this site was "aligned" with one of those organizations explicity, it could very well suggest that dissent from the views of the members of that organization, be it rude or polite, would not be allowed.

I was very sure to include the bolded part. I did not mean to suggest it has been that way that if that answer were to be given at this time to that answer by the site owner (of which I doubt it would based on my personal conversations with him on earlier dates) that it had the potentiality to mean that.

My apologies for not making my meaning clearer.

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So, when does the decision about moderators get made? I'm winning the unpopularity contest hands-down, I think I'm a shoe-in.

Mindy

I am not too personally concerned with the forum moderation myself since most of my time spent there is reading and all suggestions I would have made have been made by me or others here and will hopefully be implemented. As far as the chat room we desperately need to get a 2nd moderator on, to cover the large window of time that Knast is not available for (the man has to sleep). Obviously a few hours here and there and some chunks of time now and again when the two of them are busy will be understandable and fine but generally speaking its not good to have this large window of time every day, as it is right now, where all manner of shenanigans goes on because people do not feel like they can be under the scope when the moderator is not present. Why they think this I have no idea. I was not originally intending to do this but I will volunteer myself for that role if no one else that can be deemed suitable is willing to volunteer. It seems to me like the one or two people that have been suggested by us for this 2nd position have decided not to volunteer on this thread that they all should be well aware of at this point in time, if nothing else, by discussion of it in the chatroom when they were present.

I cannot say whether or not the majority of chat room frequenters will feel me to be appropriate for this position, but they can give their opinion here if they wish to. I am in the chatroom fairly often, I have been in a gaming clan run like (within reason via context) a military structure, run by ex-military individuals for the last 8 years, and I have moderatored a good number of other locales (more than 4) in the past, so I am certainly able to behave in the manner necessary for the position and would make especially sure that I do so if I am given such a position. I also feel I can be objective in handling events that may require moderation and that I will give fair warning to all people that may be in danger of evoking the, figuratively speaking, arm of justice. While me and Knast can be on at the same time fairly often I am also often in the chatroom when he is sleeping or otherwise away from it for lengthy periods of time. Not terribly hard given he is from Sweden. I can also assure to anyone I have had disputes with in the past I will not allow my personal feelings to be involved in such decisions and if I feel they might be I will put any moderator action on hold and address the issue with the rest of the moderator community. If anyone has concerns about that they can hold me to it and I want them to report any deviation from that they might see on my part in the future.

That is all I have to say about this at this time.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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I cannot say whether or not the majority of chat room frequenters will feel me to be appropriate for this position, but they can give their opinion here if they wish to.

It does some kind of off-topic for this thread, but I'll post anyway. I would trust most of the chat room frequenters to be a moderator there, you included, so it's mainly an issue of how would want to be one. I volunteer myself even since I am in chat frequently, though it should be known I have little to no experience in moderating anything.

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I don't mean to sound patronising, but if you people ever mean to set up an Objectivist government somewhere, you can count me in....
I refer you to the bitterness between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Get a good history of their fight, often conducted via the groupies (aka supporters) of each side. It clearly was not about politics alone: personality loomed large and did not paint either side in a good light. If those two ever meant to set up a government somewhere, they could count me in. ;)

Sorry, for aiding and abetting a post that could take us off-topic. So, here... back on topic....

From a quick read of this thread, I see the following people have volunteered: Dwayne, Eiuol, Mindy, CapitalistSwine (if I missed someone, please tell).

Anyone who uses chat (or would like to, but does not because of the atmosphere) and who wishes to volunteer or to recommend another name, please feel free to send a PM to any Forum Moderator, suggesting the name. Stating your reasons for the choice would help. In addition, if there are additional comments about the the names already proposed which anyone does not want to make in public, a PM would be appropriate for that as well. Again, reasons would help.

Edited by softwareNerd

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I am not too personally concerned with the forum moderation myself since most of my time spent there is reading and all suggestions I would have made have been made by me or others here and will hopefully be implemented. As far as the chat room we desperately need to get a 2nd moderator on,

That is all I have to say about this at this time.

This is a response to me? I don't see the relevance.

Mindy

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I'm winning the unpopularity contest hands-down, I think I'm a shoe-in.
I think you've accepted at least two false premises (I'll let you mull over what those premises might be). My question for you, though, is why popularity matters to you?

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This is a response to me? I don't see the relevance.

Mindy

I am not sure why you added the very last sentence of my post to that quote (which is at the beginning of my post) which makes it seem like the first part of my message means something other than it does, but I am going to guess it was on accident. It was not really a response to you, it was just a way of making it more clear what I was referring to: "when is the decision of who the new moderators are getting made".

Also, Odden is right that popularity is irrelevant regarding moderation, only that one can do the job and do it effectively. That is all that is really relevant with the exception of past experience. The relevance of past experience to the decision is obviously dependent on how relevant it is to the person deciding who the moderators are.

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Respectfully, no more chat moderators are necessary. Only that the current one is allowed to moderate, without being paralyzed by this site's policy of toleration.

Ceterum censeo moscam Cordobae esse delendam.

Edited by ropoctl

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