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StrictlyLogical

Moderator deleted posts: Policy

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This is primarily directed to Jaskn:

 

 

Where can I find the forum's "objective" laws/ objective standards, tests and requirements, surrounding an individual moderator's deleting of posts?

 

 

 

In particular I want to know:

 

1.  What objective criteria the "target post" must be evaluated as having prior to deletion.

 

2.  Whether a deleted post is kept on record somewhere for another moderator to view

 

3.  Whether moderators can delete posts on whim without any other moderator's approval or input. 

 

4. Whether moderators are required to post a) an identification of the fact that a post was deleted and b )  a explanation generally of the subject matter of the post and in particular why the post was deleted i.e. how the post met the objective standard for deletion.

 

5.  Who moderates the "deletion" behavior of moderators.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Deleting posts is just one way in which forum moderators try to maintain and respect the forum rules. The enforcement and interpretation of those rules, however, has changed over ten years under different sets of moderators. In members' post tone, for example, prior moderators might have had less tolerance than current moderators.

 

So:

 

1. The objective criteria should be the forum rules. Those rules are old and not followed close to "the letter,"and could be due for some updating.

 

2. Invision software deals with removed content in two ways: "hide" a post in-thread, where only moderators can see the offending content, and delete the post outright, where it no longer exists in-thread and then shows up in another moderator-only area. It's possible but not typical for moderators to permanently delete content from that area (posts exist from 2005), though after a while there isn't much point in keeping it around.

 

3. Naturally, moderators do not need all other moderators' approval to moderate. That would defeat the purpose of having multiple moderators. However, for especially controversial issues, all currently active moderators usually weigh in.

 

4. If the offense is ambiguous, a moderator will usually give a reason for removing content (there's a built-in box for this). If he doesn't, he may be asked for a reason later if the issue is ongoing.

 

5. Ultimately, if there would be such a serious offense in moderation, the forum's owner David Veksler would likely get involved. That doesn't happen often.

 

I think that the moderator team generally does a good job. Even in heated matters (which are not common), in the past it hasn't taken long for the team to cool down and put on a more objective hat even when judging one's own behavior and moderating decisions.

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Deleting posts is just one way in which forum moderators try to maintain and respect the forum rules. The enforcement and interpretation of those rules, however, has changed over ten years under different sets of moderators. In members' post tone, for example, prior moderators might have had less tolerance than current moderators.

 

So:

 

1. The objective criteria should be the forum rules. Those rules are old and not followed close to "the letter,"and could be due for some updating.

 

2. Invision software deals with removed content in two ways: "hide" a post in-thread, where only moderators can see the offending content, and delete the post outright, where it no longer exists in-thread and then shows up in another moderator-only area. It's possible but not typical for moderators to permanently delete content from that area (posts exist from 2005), though after a while there isn't much point in keeping it around.

 

3. Naturally, moderators do not need all other moderators' approval to moderate. That would defeat the purpose of having multiple moderators. However, for especially controversial issues, all currently active moderators usually weigh in.

 

4. If the offense is ambiguous, a moderator will usually give a reason for removing content (there's a built-in box for this). If he doesn't, he may be asked for a reason later if the issue is ongoing.

 

5. Ultimately, if there would be such a serious offense in moderation, the forum's owner David Veksler would likely get involved. That doesn't happen often.

 

I think that the moderator team generally does a good job. Even in heated matters (which are not common), in the past it hasn't taken long for the team to cool down and put on a more objective hat even when judging one's own behavior and moderating decisions.

 

Please don't delete this but it sounds a lot like:

 

"Just trust us"

 

 

and while I trust some moderators....

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Like I said, controversial moderation (whether between moderators or between moderators and other users) almost always sees multiple moderators weighing in. So, it's not often you'd get "stuck" with any one particular moderator.

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Like I said, controversial moderation (whether between moderators or between moderators and other users) almost always sees multiple moderators weighing in. So, it's not often you'd get "stuck" with any one particular moderator.

Actually, Euiol for instance routinely deletes posts on his own, during arguments he starts with people. Just received a PM about him doing it to someone, today.

Happened to me before, too. When I complained, one of the other mods restored my post (because it clearly wasn't a violation of the rules), but refused to explain why it was originally removed. Instead, he snarkily suggested that I worry about what I post, not what the mods do.

This forum has by far the least transparent moderating team I've ever come across, with mods constantly removing posts not because they're off topic or against the rules, but to hide the (let's just say) antics they're up to. Don't take this personally, Jaskn, it's not directed at you. You're probably the only mod who's been fair, since I've been here.

Oh yeah, and Louie, feel free to delete this. Doesn't matter, you can't hide what you are forever.

Edited by Nicky

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Say the forum moderating was completely transparent. What would that look like? Would you have all the moderated content thrown into a forum area that is viewable by all users? I believe (not sure, though) that we used to have this very thing publicly viewable, before Invision updated the software and made it a mod-only area.

But say we could bring that back -- would it make a difference? If you were to see content that Eiuol removed and you disagreed with his decision, the process to restore that content would be pretty much the same: mod review followed by a final decision. You'd still be trusting the mod team with moderation decisions.

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Oh yeah, and Louie, feel free to delete this. Doesn't matter, you can't hide what you are forever.

Personally, I would have removed this post for this last sentence, had the topic not been specifically about the forum members who are moderators. I almost wanted to remove it anyway, since it is basically throwing the moderation back in moderators' faces. We can't really remove this, can we, since it would be proving the implicit thread criticism.

I am definitely for suggestions concerning forum moderating. But, it goes both ways. We're all people/users, and I think it would be best for everyone to strive to make the forum a better experience instead of promoting the conflict that we're presumably hoping to fix.

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Happened to me before, too. When I complained, one of the other mods restored my post (because it clearly wasn't a violation of the rules), but refused to explain why it was originally removed. Instead, he snarkily suggested that I worry about what I post, not what the mods do.

 

Not all mods will always agree.

 

Anyway, if people are worried about transparency, they still always can ask, and it's better to ask a mod than talk with non-mods. And of course, some mods you'll have better rapport with anyway. If you want to know, there are only two people who really happen to get modded during the sort of disagreements you mentioned first in your post. Not modded -for- disagreement, but during disagreements. It's when things are most heated, people get riled up and say things not appropriate, it happens. Even then, it doesn't happen a lot.

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This forum has by far the least transparent moderating team I've ever come across, with mods constantly removing posts not because they're off topic or against the rules, but to hide the (let's just say) antics they're up to.

 

The moderators here do not "constantly remove posts," unless we're counting spam.  It does happen occasionally, usually during a long-standing argument (within a thread, or across several) where the tone has turned toxic and the comments are more directed at people than ideas.  Honestly there are probably only a handful of users that experience "moderation" of any kind -- though these users sometimes tend to incite the same situations, over and over, through their routine behavior (so the fact that some users have a disproportionate experience, and perspective, is to be expected).

 

When posts are hidden, very often there is discussion between the mods about the propriety of their actions.  Sometimes there is disagreement, too.  But there are not, so far as I can tell, any "antics" that the mods are up to, except for trying to make this a place where ideas can be discussed with a reasonable amount of civility -- and as far as I can tell, that's fully consonant with the posted rules.*

 

Personally, I almost never hide posts -- I've maybe done it as many as... three times?  And I don't believe I've ever done so in the context of an argument in which I personally participated.  But hiding posts is a tool I would not take away from the others, or discourage them from using when they judge it to be the proper course of action.  Based on what I've witnessed thus far, I don't think they use it unreasonably (even if I sometimes disagree with a particular instance).

 

________

 

* Specifically, the rules read:

 

No personal attacks

Healthy debate is encouraged, but participants agree not resort to personal attacks, and do not belittle someone else's argument. Instead of making it personal, participants agree to use rational, persuasive skills to make a point or criticize another’s.

 

And

 

Forum Etiquette

Users should recognize that ObjectivismOnline is a website dedicated to facilitating intellectual discussion, and in response to this make every effort to maintain civilized interaction. Civilized discussion on the web requires observance of the common rules of online etiquette.

 

With respect to enforcing these rules, moderators here could be a lot more heavy-handed than they currently are.  Many users here are given a great deal of leeway to test the limits of "civilized interaction" before they are moderated in any official capacity.  Perhaps, at times, too much.

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Don said:

It does happen occasionally, usually during a long-standing argument (within a thread, or across several) where the tone has turned toxic and the comments are more directed at people than ideas.

This is an important issue to get clear. Objectivism, is a philosophy that demands one judge the character of others. If the rules of an Oist forum are such that one is prevented from sanctioning anothers actions then that rule is not an Objectivist one.

The difference between moral judgement and ad hominem needs to be clearly made. If it is the case that all responses have to be made in such a manner that one cannot tell what the evaluation is of the person one is responding to, this is a serious problem.

I want to add for sincerity that, of the current team, I only ever had Louie moderate in what I consider an unfair manner and only recently.

Edited by Plasmatic

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No moderator (and hopefully no user) would suggest that you withhold judgement concerning someone's character. But, when participating on the forum, what purpose does it serve to make your moral judgement explicitly or implicitly clear in each of your responses? Does it matter to the discussion what you think about your opponent?

I'm not suggesting we talk like robots, but for the same reason, how you respond makes a real difference to the progression of a discussion. Not taking into account the purpose of your response, and how your tone plays into that, in most cases will make the discussion worse for you, too, with distracting personal conflict.

I'm also not saying you should treat people you like the same as those you don't. By all means, choose to ignore and converse with someone else. It's a lot better than wasting everyone's time with petty moral proclamations on others' character.

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What constitutes belittling an argument?

 

What if the argument is simply fallacious, wrong, or has at its base a component of mysticism, rationalism, emotionalism... are we enjoined from pointing such a thing out?

 

What if an argument actually is "stupid"... as in weak, unintelligible, irrational, or incoherent.

 

Certainly if we called it weak or unintelligible or incoherent.... these are valid criticisms.  I agree we likely should refrain from actually using the word "stupid".

 

 

Substantive arguments about philosophy will have disagreements.  Once cannot simply delete posts because one does not agree with it, nor because one is embarrassed at the weakness of his own position..

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I agree. I did *not* mean that moderation should be based on argument disagreements. My point was that personality conflicts should not be fleshed out in our forum threads, where the purpose is to share and discuss ideas.

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This is an important issue to get clear. Objectivism, is a philosophy that demands one judge the character of others. If the rules of an Oist forum are such that one is prevented from sanctioning anothers actions then that rule is not an Objectivist one.

 

I agree with you on several points, not the least of which being the importance of judging character.  I am not suggesting that people refrain from making such judgements.  Believe me, I have what I consider to be well-grounded opinions on the character of many of the members here.

 

But those opinions are almost never relevant to the subject matter of a given thread.  If we were discussing socialism, for instance, it would not particularly matter whether I thought you a decent person or a rotter, smart or stupid, or etc.  What would matter are my arguments regarding socialism, and my ability to critically evaluate the arguments that you put forward in return.

 

(To the extent that such "personal" judgements do matter, I could always elect to avoid talking to someone I cannot stand, or I could desist from continuing a conversation when I have exhausted my patience.  And I have made that decision on more than one occasion.)

 

On the question of whether rules are "Objectivist" or not, I'll say that what I believe we desire -- or what *I* desire, at any rate -- are objective rules which facilitate intelligent/reasonable conversation about Objectivism, and related matters.  I think civility is defensible, and even required, on those grounds.

 

The difference between moral judgement and ad hominem needs to be clearly made. If it is the case that all responses have to be made in such a manner that one cannot tell what the evaluation is of the person one is responding to, this is a serious problem.

 

To be frank, I don't care about anyone's evaluation of me.  (At least, not in the context of typical board conversation here.  There are a few specific people whose judgement I've come to value such that their opinion of me, personally, might carry more weight.)

 

What matters to me, again given a conversation about socialism, is: what are the arguments you can make for your position?  And what is your assessment of the arguments I put forward -- and what is your basis for those assessments?  Honestly, that's all I care to know.

 

On "ad hominem," I think it's important to recognize that many people construe that term to mean "insult."  But that's not all of what "ad hominem" means; it means "to the man," which is to say a comment directed not towards the argument at issue, but to the person making that argument.  Beyond talking about "moderation" on this board, or the rules as written, I think that reasonable people should seek to avoid "ad hominem" in the context of the kind of intelligent discussion this board seeks to foster, even without being told.  Directing one's comments towards the people rather than the ideas does not help anyone to better understand those ideas, and it does not facilitate a better discussion, but it does make things unpleasant, and as I have argued elsewhere, it does disincline some individuals from their best and fullest use of reason.

 

Here's a personal example of the kind of thing I have in mind.  I participate in a fiction writing workshop, where we critique one another's stories.  There are only a few rules governing the critiques we make in the workshop, but the primary one is that we "address the manuscript, not the author."  Which means that we do not talk about our opinions of the writer, per se, but only their stories.

 

Why should we have such a rule?  Because it helps to avoid the kind of personal warfare and sniping that sometimes destroys groups such at these, and it focuses us on the very thing we come together to discuss: fiction writing.  This rule has proven to be very successful over the years, and accordingly, so has our workshop.  (And let's note that it does not prevent any member from having any opinion he'd like about another writer, personally, or in any other context.  It is just that those opinions have no place in our critique sessions, and are moderated accordingly.)

 

Here, I would like us to be similarly focused on the discussion of Objectivism and related ideas.  And so, for this very same reason, I believe we ought to restrict ourselves to sharing our views, our reasoning, and our evidence on those matters, and not the character of the other users of this forum.

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What if an argument actually is "stupid"... as in weak, unintelligible, irrational, or incoherent.

 

I believe that sometimes when a person describes an argument as "stupid," it is an effort to call the person who has advanced that argument stupid.  I'd rather be called stupid directly than to participate in such passive aggressive games, personally.  (And what is more, such "evaluations" can be a cover for the inability to provide any more substantive commentary.  Those who most readily use language like this, I have often found, are those who are the most insecure in their own arguments.  Usually for good reason.)

 

But yes, many arguments are stupid.  When I encounter them, what I typically choose to do (because I don't expect to achieve anything by labeling the argument "stupid," as such) is to demonstrate why I believe the argument is incorrect -- and then to provide what I believe to be a better argument and to demonstrate my reasoning, and etc.  I think that's the "constructive" approach.

 

Does it always work?  Hell no.  Does it ever work?  Not nearly so often as I'd like.  Has it ever happened that I've called an argument "stupid" or similar (for certainly I have), and that's provided better results?  Never once yet.

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Jaskn:

 

2 more questions and I think I've had my fill for this subject

 

 

1.  How are moderators moderated or otherwise monitored for objectivity and proper adherence to and enforcement of board rules?

 

2.  Is there an appeal process for anyone who believes their post has been deleted by a moderator capriciously, arbitrarily, unjustly, or simply incorrectly?

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1. Moderators are moderated by each other. When a user contacts another moderator about mod action he deems unjust, the situation is posed to all active moderators, including the mod in question. There is no "performance review"... This is a volunteer position!

2. The process is informal, but fairly consistent: if the moderators decide the original mod action is just and fair, the user will be notified as such, and that will be the end of it. If moderators aren't unanimous, a discussion will take place. Almost always, one side will wind up agreeing with the other after different aspects are considered by everyone. This is why I mentioned earlier that I think the team does a good job -- the issue is taken seriously and minds are usually changed. There was one significant time in the past few years where strong opinions on each side never did meet in the middle. In that case, we went by majority vote, more or less.

By itself, this thread seems simple enough. But, I suspect you had some motive for creating it. Before having had your fill, I would appreciate it if you would provide your opinion on the answers I've given you.

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1. Moderators are moderated by each other. When a user contacts another moderator about mod action he deems unjust, the situation is posed to all active moderators, including the mod in question. There is no "performance review"... This is a volunteer position!

2. The process is informal, but fairly consistent: if the moderators decide the original mod action is just and fair, the user will be notified as such, and that will be the end of it. If moderators aren't unanimous, a discussion will take place. Almost always, one side will wind up agreeing with the other after different aspects are considered by everyone. This is why I mentioned earlier that I think the team does a good job -- the issue is taken seriously and minds are usually changed. There was one significant time in the past few years where strong opinions on each side never did meet in the middle. In that case, we went by majority vote, more or less.

By itself, this thread seems simple enough. But, I suspect you had some motive for creating it. Before having had your fill, I would appreciate it if you would provide your opinion on the answers I've given you.

 

Moderators are a body of volunteers, not a funded Objectivist government...

there is a mechanism of appeal for anyone who deems themselves unjustly treated or their posts unjustly deleted. 

 

I am satisfied enough not to boycott or otherwise leave this forum.  :)

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Say the forum moderating was completely transparent. What would that look like?

Transparency would allow everyone to know what you are doing, and what you have done in the past, as a mod. By recording your actions, and publishing that record, thusly:

 

1. Nothing, other than spam, should be hidden, only moved out of the way (to a trash section, or an archive section, whatever you wanna call it)

 

2. Every moderator action, unless you're just deleting spam, should be logged, publicly. If you edit a post, you should have to replace it with a message stating who you are and why you removed it. (i.e. this post was removed by moderator Jaskn because Nicky said my beard needs work - if you're still interested in his off topic observations, look for them in the trash section)

 

3. All conversations between moderators, regarding moderator actions, should be public. There's absolutely no justification for mods talking things over behind a curtain, and then communication the result through a mysterious chimney smoke, like you're in the Vatican electing the next Pope. If a mod made a mistake, and the other mods correct it, why do you insist on doing it in the privacy of PMs or some hidden forum section? Why shouldn't everyone know about what a great job you're all doing keeping each other in check, and exactly how it is you go about doing it?

 

I doubt any of this requires any software changes. It doesn't need to be as seamless or elegant as Wikipedia. Plenty of forums do it without fancy version control or anything like that, just using regular forum tools, and even using software that is far more primitive than this board has.

 

Wikipedia is the site that takes transparency most seriously, by the way: on Wikipedia,  every edit and every moderator action is recorded for all eternity (and publicly justified - not in private messages or hidden conversations between mods, right there, a click away, on the public Internet for everyone to access). And it works just fine, it doesn't devolve into chaos or anarchy (which is the excuse people usually give for not being transparent).

Edited by Nicky

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The need for transparency arises when there is a possibility of unfair treatment. I don't think transparency would be required if everything went on in a just and objective manner. If the objective of this forum is to maintain very high standards relating to communication/forum etiquette, then am not sure to what extent individuals making their own judgement in choosing whom they should or should not exchange ideas, will contribute. But what will contribute is moderators enforcing strict forum rules in a just manner. And there justification for moderation should be the laid-out "forum rules" itself, that should be quoted when ever questioned for unfairness. And even ban repeat offenders. 

 

But by neither having 1.transparency nor 2.strict moderation with respect to adherence of forum rules nor 3.people themselves indulging to discuss in a civilized manners, goes to shows that this forum only wishes to maintain reasonable standards. 

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James said:

No moderator (and hopefully no user) would suggest that you withhold judgement concerning someone's character. But, when participating on the forum, what purpose does it serve to make your moral judgement explicitly or implicitly clear in each of your responses? [...] I'm also not saying you should treat people you like the same as those you don't. By all means, choose to ignore and converse with someone else. It's a lot better than wasting everyone's time with petty moral proclamations on others' character.

I don't know of any instance where it was the case that a moral evaluation was explicit every time someone responds to an individual and I think implicit moral evaluation sounds more like a psychologism (presumption of motive) than something one can glean from what someone actually says.

I notice you chose the evaluative term petty. Is it the case that you are saying any public display of sanction whatever in a forum discussion would be petty?

Does it matter to the discussion what you think about your opponent?

It can matter as much as it matters that an argument or philosophy is a cognitive choice that reflects the choosers character. In other words, it is unobjective to separate an argument from an arguer. To evaluate an argument as though it were a primary stand alone fact is to drop context. Still, I'm not arguing for a repeated announcement of moral evaluation only that if it is disallowed to make public sanction then there is a problem between that rule and Objectivist views on morality, integrity, appeasement, and justice.

However the above question, like the term evaluation, relates to more than just moral evaluation and I'm glad Strictly Logical brought up other types of evaluations being expressed because the deletion-Moderation of posts is related to the issue of expressing other evaluations like the ones he mentioned as well.

I'm not suggesting we talk like robots, but for the same reason, how you respond makes a real difference to the progression of a discussion. Not taking into account the purpose of your response, and how your tone plays into that, in most cases will make the discussion worse for you, too, with distracting personal conflict. [...]I'm also not saying you should treat people you like the same as those you don't. By all means, choose to ignore and converse with someone else. It's a lot better than wasting everyone's time with petty moral proclamations on others' character.

This is an important issue. The purpose of a forum post-discussion is not limited to the objective of making progress with the person you happen to be addressing in a response. If a person has shown repeatedly that they are not sincere, or are evasive, or just plain have poor comprehension skills and are constantly misrepresenting Objectivist tenets; then a rational purpose and tact for one whom desires for a factual representation of Oism can be to respond to that person for the benefit of others who might be mislead by that persons presentation of Oism. Again this does not mean anything like ending every response with an evaluation, moral or otherwise.

Not everyone has trouble being objective while expressing facts in the midst of personal conflict and in many cases to avoid addressing a comment that does pertain to your character would be immoral by a rational egoist standard.

I recommend these lexicon excerpts for context:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/appeasement.html

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/moral_judgment.html

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/character.html

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/sanction.html

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/justice.html

Edited by Plasmatic

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Don, I can only address a little due to schedule at this time:

those opinions are almost never relevant to the subject matter of a given thread. If we were discussing socialism, for instance, it would not particularly matter whether I thought you a decent person or a rotter, smart or stupid, or etc. What would matter are my arguments regarding socialism, and my ability to critically evaluate the arguments that you put forward in return.

This is a very important matter and your choice of socialism and opinion here is interesting.

The Objectivist position against socialism-for capitalism is explicitly and proudly a moral one. Socialism is a species of philosophy and as such within the genus of cognitive content. In other words it is mind dependent. That means that there is no socialism without socialist and that means moral agents.

How do you propose to apply the Objectivist view-argument on socialism without evaluating it morally?

Edit:

On the question of whether rules are "Objectivist" or not, I'll say that what I believe we desire -- or what *I* desire, at any rate -- are objective rules which facilitate intelligent/reasonable conversation about Objectivism, and related matters. I think civility is defensible, and even required, on those grounds.

This sounds alot like making civility, intelligence and reason something opposite Objectivism. A theory-practice dichotomy. Could you explain more what your intend by this?

Edit:

Don, what do you think of this quote as relates to your comments on fiction?

An artist does not fake reality—he stylizes it. He selects those aspects of existence which he regards as metaphysically significant—and by isolating and stressing them, by omitting the insignificant and accidental, he presents his view of existence. His concepts are not divorced from the facts of reality—they are concepts which integrate the facts and his metaphysical evaluation of the facts. His selection constitutes his evaluation: everything included in a work of art—from theme to subject to brushstroke or adjective—acquires metaphysical significance by the mere fact of being included, of being important enough to include.

Edited by Plasmatic

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Plasmatic makes an excellent point that posts are intended for everyone to read and consider, even in the case (and perhaps especially in the case) when responding to a particular posters comments, and their explicit and implicit reasoning.

 

If Descartes came here spouting off about "the cogito", and how "it's possible" Demons could be fooling me about 4 not being equal to 5, my responses to him would in part be motivated by an attempt to persuade him (although this would likely be a futile exercise) but more importantly, my responses would be motivated by the fact that a response to him shows others WHY he is wrong in his approach, WHY he is a rationalist and THAT it is very probable that he is motivated by mysticism. 

 

In some contexts, to be silent is tantamount to acceptance.  In a forum such as this one of Objectivists and near, and novice Objectivists responding with the firmness of rationality is in one's self-interest insofar as proper understanding of Objectivism by as many people as possible is in one's self-interest (which I think it eminently is).

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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First you wrote this:

Don said: "It does happen occasionally, usually during a long-standing argument (within a thread, or across several) where the tone has turned toxic and the comments are more directed at people than ideas."

This is an important issue to get clear. Objectivism, is a philosophy that demands one judge the character of others. If the rules of an Oist forum are such that one is prevented from sanctioning anothers actions then that rule is not an Objectivist one.

 

I took that to mean you believe evaluations of your opponent's character should be included in your forum replies. But then you wrote:

I don't know of any instance where it was the case that a moral evaluation was explicit every time someone responds to an individual and I think implicit moral evaluation sounds more like a psychologism (presumption of motive) than something one can glean from what someone actually says.

[...]

Still, I'm not arguing for a repeated announcement of moral evaluation only that if it is disallowed to make public sanction then there is a problem between that rule and Objectivist views on morality, integrity, appeasement, and justice.

 

So, I don't know what point you're trying to make. I didn't say anything about disallowing "public sanction." But, if you're going to make your posts a big public sanction in place of a solid argument and focus on the ideas, you should look elsewhere on the net to do it. Ideas *can* be separated from the person presenting them, and on a forum like this with a focus on objectivity, they should be -- again, as opposed to focusing instead on the character of your opponent. I wonder how you think you could accurately evaluate a person's character over the internet. Conversely, ideas can be pulled from sensible writing relatively easily (or not, from nonsense). A person's character doesn't come into play, either way.

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If a person has shown repeatedly that they are not sincere, or are evasive, or just plain have poor comprehension skills and are constantly misrepresenting Objectivist tenets; then a rational purpose and tact for one whom desires for a factual representation of Oism can be to respond to that person for the benefit of others who might be mislead by that persons presentation of Oism. Again this does not mean anything like ending every response with an evaluation, moral or otherwise.

It doesn't need to end in an evaluation of the person at all, actually. You could just address the nonsense at face value.

 

Plasmatic makes an excellent point that posts are intended for everyone to read and consider, even in the case (and perhaps especially in the case) when responding to a particular posters comments, and their explicit and implicit reasoning.

There are probably many cases where this is true. But, I don't believe some users need to go around for the "benefit" of other users proclaiming, "You're irrational!" You'll still need to explain why something is irrational, which you could have done without going after the person's character.

 

And yes, I realize, "You're irrational!" could *not* be an insult. Maybe there are some cases where it makes sense to allow banter like that to remain on the forum. That's where the forum rules get enforced differently, where different moderating teams maintain different forum standards of discourse.

 

At this point, to me it seems like we're discussing problems which do not exist on this forum. Like DA wrote earlier, if anything the forum has a lax standard of discourse (though I don't think a low standard).

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