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Much of the discussion in this topic has focused on ways in which admins and mods can change their procedures to improve forum "atmosphere." I have two comments.

First, I think the most important characteristic of this forum should be its functionality, not its atmosphere. By functionality, I mean whether, and to what extent, the forums are achieving their purpose. Atmosphere in a forum is like mood in a novel: A consequence, not an essential characteristic. So, wouldn't it be better to concentrate on what can be done to facilitate trade among Objectivists wanting to know more about Objectivism?

Second, a (possible) fact needs to be considered by everyone concerned with the functionality (and consequently the atmosophere) of the forums: The very large number of non-Objectivists present in a site devoted to Objectivists. If the poll "Agreement with Objectivism in OO.net?" is an accurate reflection of active membership, then about 40% of the participants are not Objectivists. That is a very high number.

As a writer, I am concerned that I may need to try addressing two audiences at once, an Objectivist audience and a non-Objectivist audience. Or, as an alternative, I could simply ignore nearly half the readers and speak only to Objectivists (at varying levels of knowlege, but always eager to learn more about an admired philosophy).

One approach I am considering taking, whenever I have doubts about the other participant's philosophy, is to always ask him whether he is an Objectivist. With that question answered, I can proceed more efficiently. Ideally, I realize now, everyone's Viewing Profile should indicate whether he is an Objectivist, at least indirectly. Unfortunately, most Viewing Profiles are worthless for this purpose. They contain no information -- direct or indirect -- about the member's philosophy.

Edited by BurgessLau
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Since I began participating in ObjectivismOnline.net (and now only one other Objectivist forum), I have assumed:

1. The purpose of the forum is to offer value to Objectivists, including those who have set up and administered the forum. In other words, the motivation is selfish.

2. The burden of proof that a particular member is qualified to participate here is on the participant not on the moderators. The same guideline would apply to a guest in a house.

I want to elaborate on the second point -- for discussion, because I may have been making unwarranted assumptions.

I have often wondered if the administrators of ObjectivismOnline.net see themselves, at least implicitly, as judges in a criminal trial. Besides being objective, judges must be fair. That is, they must treat all individuals coming into their courtroom in the same way regardless of the nature of the observable character of those individuals. The reason is that, in such situations, fairness is a means to an end, justice.

Fairness is appropriate in a courtroom, but very few places elsewhere in life. I have noticed, and I wonder about, the possibility that moderators and administrators here are spending a lot of time and energy bending over backwards trying to be fair, and that that well-intentioned effort allows undesirable people to continue participating and thereby diminishing the quality of this forum.

I am not saying that non-Objectivists should be excluded. To the contrary, I hope that this forum welcomes a few non-Objectivists as participants, but only under rigidly controlled conditions (in the Debate Forum and perhaps in the basic questions section if they ask proper questions without defending non-Objectivist positions) and only when they identify themselves as non-Objectivists.

In summary, I think that participating here is a privilege not a "right" that somehow requires judges to agonize over the exact application of principles designed to make this forum productive for Objectivists.

Edited by BurgessLau
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In summary, I think that participating here is a privilege not a "right" that somehow requires judges to agonize over the exact application of principles designed to make this forum productive for Objectivists.

It seems to me that anyone that surfs in can sign up and participate, so long as they fill out the required form (user name, password, email address, etc.). Anyone who signs up, of course, agrees to the forum rules. The purpose, as I understand it, is not to be productive for Objectivists, but rather to help those interested in Objectivism understand it more completely.

From Section 1.1 of the Forum Rules, titled Purpose

This website facilitates trade among Objectivists and students of Objectivism. The primary -- but not only -- form of trade will be information about Objectivism and discussion about its applications.

Agreement with Objectivism is not required for participation. Anyone interested in Ayn Rand’s philosophy may join. However, questions, discussion, and posting of new threads must not contradict the purpose of the forum.

Therefore, it seems to me that, from the stated purpose of the board, anyone that has an interest Objectivism, has the right to participate. This is of course the Owner's domain, so the ultimate decision is left to him, and he can allow or deny whatever he feels like. This board is his property. How it is set up right now though, is that everyone has a right to participate on the board until they violate a rule. There is no burden of proof required to join. If this were a privelage, and the burden of proof that you are qualified to participate would have to be judged before you make your first post. Some boards do this, and it is an extreme pain in the ass to the moderator who has to screen all requests. Because of this, I agree that in principle, it is a privelage to participate on the board because it is the Owner's property. The practice, however, is that anyone who signs up has a right to participate until they prove otherwise. So, I disagree with you summary, and I think it stems from our disagreement on the purpose of the board.

The biggest problem I have with the forum atmosphere, as I stated before, is because the people here (to include BurgessLau on many occassions) have taken matters into their own hands and require the burden of proof stated above. When a new guy asks a question, typically, before any response is given, someone asks what all that new guy has read, how long they have been studying Objectivism, etc. If a new student to Objectivism reveals that they have read part of The Fountainhead, or otherwise just started, there have been several instances where the response they get is in effect "read more."

The actual forum atmosphere of the board can be pretty much defined by looking at a history of BurgessLau's posts and responses. A new person can come in, do everything right by reading and understanding the forum rules, and post a question. When the best response a person gets is "read more" that doesn't help them much at all. I'm not saying that anybody has a duty to help any other person here, but I do think that it certainly detracts from the stated forum atmostphere of facilitating "trade among Objectivists and students of Objectivism."

Often, a new student will ask a question about how they might have found a contradiction, and they want to see if one of their premises is flawed. Generally, the person's word choice in their original question in torn apart over the first 10 replies. Somebody down the line picks a possible interpretation from one of the first couple replies and runs with it. Then the rest of the thread is about somebody's suggested interpretation of the question, without waiting for clarification by the original author. I have read several threads on subjects that seemed like they might interest me according to the subject title, but then after 5 posts (of what I consider to be garbage, since the question is not answered) it veers off in some strange direction and it never recovers. There is so much emphasis put on the specific meaning of every word that a question is analyzed like a grad student would do to a poem.

The other huge turnoff to me, as a semi-student of Objectivism, is that when there is a post on something that is controversial. The best example I can think of off the top of my head is the abortion thread. (I know there are probably several, but one in particular.) This thread turned into a debate about abortion. One side was in favor of it, as ARI reports that Ayn Rand was in favor of it, while one guy, in particular (Sherlock), was opposed to it. He kept offering refutations to what people were saying, and eventually he was banned. Maybe it's because I haven't studied as deep as some of the moderators, but I saw value in every one of his posts to the end, and then he was banned. There have been a few other posts with similar results where the guy who came out on the wrong side of the argument was banned. I think, for someone like me who reads about 50x more than I post, that is a huge discouragement, especially to a student.

As a student, you are almost destined (don't shoot me for that word choice) to make mistakes and learn from them. I'm an mechanical engineering student, and just this morning on doing one structual analysis problem I settled on 3 different answers, all wrong, before I figured out the correct one. It is in the nature of students to make mistakes, and when they arrive to a conclusion, try to back it up. Students here, who come to a conclusion that is a mistake in the eyes of Objectivism, and try to back it up, are banned. True students are in search of the truth, and they are open minded. They understand that they can be wrong, as long as you show them how they are wrong, then they can get back to fixing the problem.

Therefore participants must not use the website to spread ideas contrary to or unrelated to Objectivism. Examples include religion, communism, "moral tolerationism," and libertarianism. Honest questions about such subjects are permitted. However, since the focus of this forum is the philosophy of Objectivism, such questions are not encouraged.

I realize I am making sweeping generalizations, but I think the forum "atmosphere" is a pretty personal, subjective evaluation. My generalized view is that this is not a friendly place for students. Because of this, it is not meeting the stated goal of facilitating trade between the Objectivists and the Students. Assuming my assessment is accurate, my logic says that either an effort should be made to fix the forum atmosphere (hard in practice, but might be what the owner wants), or rewrite the purpose of the board in the forum rules (easy in pracitce, but maybe not what the owner wants).

As for my burden of proof, I am not an Objectivist. I provide this so that any bias you think I may or may not hold is revealed, so that an honest assessment of my estimation can be made.

I consider Objectivism to be the philosophy that interests me the most, and I study it the most. For one reason or another, I do not agree with everything that people on this board say that the Objectivist thought process logically leads you to. I understand that it is very possible that I just need to study it more for everything to make sense. However, right now I tend to think that I don't agree with everything on here because I believe that ARI, like all organizations, has a central motive behind it that might distort their own interpretation of Ayn Rand's writing. I might be completely off, but I certainly don't want to spread anything that is anti-Ayn Rand, or anti-ARI, lest I be banned from this place. I'll be happy to entertain questions in private, but not on this board.

Regardless of the atmosphere of posting, I still learn a lot from reading here. I just don't think I will gain anywhere near as much by posting, because of the atmosphere.

(I know this is my second response, but I had more time to devote to this one, and Burgess' post motivated me to respond.)

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I can find at least two points in Sturmgeschutz's post that are entirely legitimate IMO.

1) When a new user signs up, a part of the sign-up process should be that they should be explicitly informed that anti-Objectivist arguments are not acceptable outside of the debate forum. If new users understood that anti-Objectivist arguments belong in the debate forum, then we would have a lot less newbies feeling "persecuted."

The essential point to remember, however, is that the error is theirs for not understanding this.

2) All too often a question is unclear and clarification is asked for. Instead of waiting for the original poster to clarify, however, people will "jump the gun" and respond to what they think the poster is asking or arguing. I have done this myself, since it is inevitable that if I don't "jump the gun" in this way and try to "cover the bases" of what the poster may be asking, then someone else will.

If I were more confident that people would wait for the poster to clarify, then there would be less chance that the thread will take off on "wild goose chases," as it were.

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The biggest problem I have with the forum atmosphere, as I stated before, is because the people here (to include BurgessLau on many occassions) have taken matters into their own hands and require the burden of proof stated above. When a new guy asks a question, typically, before any response is given, someone asks what all that new guy has read, how long they have been studying Objectivism, etc. If a new student to Objectivism reveals that they have read part of The Fountainhead, or otherwise just started, there have been several instances where the response they get is in effect "read more."

The actual forum atmosphere of the board can be pretty much defined by looking at a history of BurgessLau's posts and responses. A new person can come in, do everything right by reading and understanding the forum rules, and post a question. When the best response a person gets is "read more" that doesn't help them much at all. I'm not saying that anybody has a duty to help any other person here, but I do think that it certainly detracts from the stated forum atmostphere of facilitating "trade among Objectivists and students of Objectivism."

Part of the problem here might just be the nature of a forum devoted to discussing philosophy. Philosophy is difficult for me to comprehend. I may just be a bit slow, but I think most people have similar experiences with it. One of the things I like about Objectivism (as opposed to other philosophies) is that it is mostly written in a manner that is understandable for people of average intelligence - if they take the time to become familiar with the philosophy. You see, philosophical questions and their answers rest on a person's metaphysics, their epistemology and their ethics. If a person comes to the board and asks a question without any background in Objectivism, what good does it do that person to just give them an answer without telling them that they need some important background in order to fully understand what they are being told?

I think this is particularly true for Objectivism because it goes against so much of what is pounded into our heads by religion and the popular culture. When you tell someone that selfishness is a virtue, most people turn 3 or 4 different shades of blue. However, when you explain the logical basis for such a statement, they often recognize merit in the idea. Unfortunately, on a board like this one can't always take the time to explain in detail all of the logic that underlies Objectivist conclusions. That may be why it's so common to see newer people being told to read and then come back with informed questions.

Often, a new student will ask a question about how they might have found a contradiction, and they want to see if one of their premises is flawed. Generally, the person's word choice in their original question in torn apart over the first 10 replies. Somebody down the line picks a possible interpretation from one of the first couple replies and runs with it. Then the rest of the thread is about somebody's suggested interpretation of the question, without waiting for clarification by the original author. I have read several threads on subjects that seemed like they might interest me according to the subject title, but then after 5 posts (of what I consider to be garbage, since the question is not answered) it veers off in some strange direction and it never recovers. There is so much emphasis put on the specific meaning of every word that a question is analyzed like a grad student would do to a poem.

Again, the problem here may involve the nature of philosophical discussions. Words have very specific meanings in a given context and small changes in meaning can have profound philosophical implications. When people come here and start throwing ambigious terms around, it's difficult to even understand what they are saying without clarification. Personally, I like the fact that people here often ask a poster for their definition of a term. I like the clarity provided by these requests for definitions. Unfortunately, that process can be intimidating because many people never stop to think about what they really mean when they use certain words.

The other huge turnoff to me, as a semi-student of Objectivism, is that when there is a post on something that is controversial. The best example I can think of off the top of my head is the abortion thread. (I know there are probably several, but one in particular.) This thread turned into a debate about abortion. One side was in favor of it, as ARI reports that Ayn Rand was in favor of it, while one guy, in particular (Sherlock), was opposed to it. He kept offering refutations to what people were saying, and eventually he was banned. Maybe it's because I haven't studied as deep as some of the moderators, but I saw value in every one of his posts to the end, and then he was banned. There have been a few other posts with similar results where the guy who came out on the wrong side of the argument was banned. I think, for someone like me who reads about 50x more than I post, that is a huge discouragement, especially to a student.

As a student, you are almost destined (don't shoot me for that word choice) to make mistakes and learn from them. I'm an mechanical engineering student, and just this morning on doing one structual analysis problem I settled on 3 different answers, all wrong, before I figured out the correct one. It is in the nature of students to make mistakes, and when they arrive to a conclusion, try to back it up. Students here, who come to a conclusion that is a mistake in the eyes of Objectivism, and try to back it up, are banned. True students are in search of the truth, and they are open minded. They understand that they can be wrong, as long as you show them how they are wrong, then they can get back to fixing the problem.

I agree with you here. It seems to me that some people have been banned a little too quickly.

Regardless of the atmosphere of posting, I still learn a lot from reading here. I just don't think I will gain anywhere near as much by posting, because of the atmosphere.
I too learn a lot more by reading than by posting. Frankly, there are times when I'm amazed at how intelligent some people are on this forum. That's one of the main reasons why I keep coming back.

Phil

By the way Sturm, I love the name. I had and still have a major obsession with WWII German AFVs.

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How it is set up right now though, is that everyone has a right to participate on the board until they violate a rule.
I agree; but this does not mean that when a person does violate the rules (by using the board as a means of advocating anti-Objectivist ideas) that there should be a tall hurdle for the adminstrators to leap in order to stop such an abuse of the forum. This right to participate is not a legal right: it derives from the fact that permission is granted to post here until you violate the rules.

It is perfectly legitimate to ask for context, and asking whether a person has actually read any of Ayn Rand's writings is one way to find out if a person is simply ignorant or is actively working to subvert the purpose of the board. If you think that such questions are necessarily a demand for credentials, I think you're wrong. In particular, I think that a lot of people have not read ITOE and that it is both very important for understanding Objectivism but also tough. Rather than denounce someone for rejecting fundamental principles of Objectivism, it would be more productive to find out why somebody is saying the silly things that they are saying.

One side was in favor of it, as ARI reports that Ayn Rand was in favor of it, while one guy, in particular (Sherlock), was opposed to it. He kept offering refutations to what people were saying, and eventually he was banned. Maybe it's because I haven't studied as deep as some of the moderators, but I saw value in every one of his posts to the end, and then he was banned.
I reviewed a bunch of his posts, and it's clear that he was acting in violation of one of the basic rules of the forum, in using the forum as a platform for spreading ideas contrary to Objectivism. There are many places where you can legitimately do that (for example, HPO): this is not one of them. You yourself seemed to accept the conditional nature of access to this forum: has that changed?
My generalized view is that this is not a friendly place for students.
I'm curious about that. In part, I'm curious about the implication that students have special needs (low tolerance for criticism and correction) and need to be treated with kid gloves, unlike other people; and also, what are you suggesting is needed for the forum to be more welcoming? My observation of bad vs. good posts here is that 90% of the time, people making bad claims simply are not paying attention to what they are saying, so they pose meaningless questions and incoherent scenarios. This is nothing special to Objectivism, it's a general problem in philosophy. It would be simple to perfunctorily start every critical post by saying "That's a very interesting viewpoint, but I'm afraid that I have to personally disagree". Would such low-level social dishonesty solve the problem?
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If new users understood that anti-Objectivist arguments belong in the debate forum, then we would have a lot less newbies feeling "persecuted."

I do like this as an idea. I like the idea of the debate forum, so I think that was a good move by the staff. I don't think it should be so highly structured as it is (or was last time I checked) with the rules like an official debate team SOP, but I haven't really read much of what has been put in there so far. Last time I was looking around in that forum there were only about 5 threads, so I can speak intelligently about how it is or isn't working.

I appreciate the feedback.

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You yourself seemed to accept the conditional nature of access to this forum: has that changed?

I'm curious about that. In part, I'm curious about the implication that students have special needs (low tolerance for criticism and correction) and need to be treated with kid gloves, unlike other people; and also, what are you suggesting is needed for the forum to be more welcoming?

I accept the conditional nature of this forum. I took this thread as an opportunity to take the gloves off and give my honest opinion so the moderator could make the best use of this thread in deciding if they want to make any changes.

As far as not being friendly for students, I mean that the first time you make a mistake and settle on the wrong side of an issue, you seem to get banned. Sure, tell the guy how he is wrong and don't pull punches because he's a student. I've got no issue with destroying a guy's argument on here. I have an issue with banning him as a result of a position he held after an argument. It gives the impression of "Submit that you are losing this argument, or else...." (to me anyway).

I keep my mouth shut for 2 big reasons:

1. I learn better by reading.

2. I would rather see someone else get banned asking or arguing a similar point of view than me. I think that periodically I can add to the board (although I probably haven't really done that yet), and I would hate to see that privelage taken away from me before I ever got to actually use it. In doing this I both save myself and learn, because usually I take something from these posts that I hadn't thought about before, and I get a broader understanding of what I was talking about without having risked my neck, figuratively.

I have some poor word choice up there regarding rights.

The legal rights to this site reside with GreedyCapitalist (or the owner, I understood it to be him).

Therefore it is a privelage to use this site under whatever guidance is put out.

According to the guidance (my interpretation is)

A person has the right to participate until they violate their agreement (the rules). Ultimately this right is subordinate to whatever the owner feels like doing. If the owner of the board gets drunk tonight and decides to ban everybody but 4 random people because their names sound cool, or delete all my posts, or do something else that would be odd like that, it is his right to do it. This is his property. I view this as a similar parallel to the difference between natural rights and constitutional rights in the US. I doubt we should continue any debate on that in this thread.

I put a lot of my suggestions in during my first post on how to improve the site, as far as recommendations to the admin. softwareNerd expressed how he disagreed with me. I don't have anything else to add for recommendations really.

I haven't posted much of anything except in this thread for months on end, and I don't generally engage in anything that might be considered inflammatory. I viewed this thread as a safe zone where my honest opinion would be valued for whatever it is worth. I'm more than happy to retreat back into seclusion after I have lost interest in this thread.

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As far as not being friendly for students, I mean that the first time you make a mistake and settle on the wrong side of an issue, you seem to get banned.

This is a misunderstanding of why a person gets banned. A person gets banned for posting anti-Objectivist arguments outside of the debate forum, presumably after warnings have been given to stop. No matter what their mistakes or beliefs, they don't have to post anti-Objectivist arguments outside the debate forum. They can simply shut up. Or they can ask questions rather than make assertions.

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As far as not being friendly for students, I mean that the first time you make a mistake and settle on the wrong side of an issue, you seem to get banned.

If, outside the Debate Forum, you settle on the non-Objectivist side of a philosophical issue, you should be officially warned one level or banned.

For topics outside the Debate Forum, there are many proper ways to ask questions about an element of Objectivism: a straight-forward question; a question plus a note about anti-Objectivist arguments the writer has heard; and a question that will lead to clarification of the argument that Ayn Rand presented for her position. And in all cases I have seen, the questionner should provide background and context: Why is he asking this particular question? How much of Objectivism has he studied? Does he know the principles that underlie his question? Has he even looked up the topic in The Ayn Rand Lexicon?

Not all questions, and certainly not all first-posts in new topics are proper. Some are insulting or dishonest. They deserve no respect. The new book, Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A, pp. 57-58, 123, 132-133, 140, 143, and 146-147, addresses the issue of improper questions.

Edited by BurgessLau
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As far as not being friendly for students, I mean that the first time you make a mistake and settle on the wrong side of an issue, you seem to get banned.
Okay, and if that were the case I'd agree. My observation is that the only time people get banned for a first offense is when it is egregiously bad, i.e. posting pornography. I've only observed about 4 bannings of drive-by posters, and then only because I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Sherlock was not banned for any "first time" anything. I have never seen anyone banned for asking (honest) questions.
I have some poor word choice up there regarding rights.
And as far as I'm concerned, that's the end of it: oops, now we can move on.
I'm more than happy to retreat back into seclusion after I have lost interest in this thread.
That's your business. But I find that the retreat to seclusion on the part of intelligent people is often not motivated by rejection of Objectivism, but rather it's based on a non- or mis-understanding of it. The best way to test your understanding of a philosophy is to attempt to apply it in a novel context. There are enough people around who will correct you if your attempt is flawed, and I doubt you'd get banned. Depends on the question, of course.
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Those are some interesting suggestions.

Interesting maybe, but there's some problems here...

"But I think it is VERY important that knowledgeable Objectivists make every reasonable effort to be patient with non-Objectivists and newbies."

Yes. This is the most productive method if the goal is new adherents.

"But our default assumption should always be to initially err on the side of the person being merely confused or inarticulate as opposed to dishonest or hostile - because if the worst turns out to be the case, one can always ban them the next time."

This is a not-so-subtle contradiction to the above. Assuming someone is either confused or inarticulate is hardly "patient". This attitude will drive would-be objectivists away.

This shows clearly an presumptive disrespect for alternative viewpoints and is therefore irrational. This is anti-Objectivist in the sense that it assumes the dissention is not a case of honest error. In any case, the solution should easily be to refute or correct the position in accordance with Objectivism. This is of greatest value to newbies like myself.

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I realise that has been lots of debate since the first post - but as a non-objectivist, I would like to say that I would find it useful if there actually were limits. If it were clearly delineated where I could post and not. It would also, I think, be useful as a way of "streaming", making sure people are comparing apples with apples.

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This is a not-so-subtle contradiction to the above. Assuming someone is either confused or inarticulate is hardly "patient". This attitude will drive would-be objectivists away.

This shows clearly an presumptive disrespect for alternative viewpoints and is therefore irrational. This is anti-Objectivist in the sense that it assumes the dissention is not a case of honest error. In any case, the solution should easily be to refute or correct the position in accordance with Objectivism. This is of greatest value to newbies like myself.

What you're saying makes no sense. How does the statement:

err on the side of the person being merely confused or inarticulate as opposed to dishonest or hostile

…assume that “the dissention is not a case of honest error?”

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This is a not-so-subtle contradiction to the above. Assuming someone is either confused or inarticulate is hardly "patient". This attitude will drive would-be objectivists away.

This shows clearly an presumptive disrespect for alternative viewpoints and is therefore irrational. This is anti-Objectivist in the sense that it assumes the dissention is not a case of honest error. In any case, the solution should easily be to refute or correct the position in accordance with Objectivism. This is of greatest value to newbies like myself.

What you're saying makes no sense. How does the statement:

…assume that “the dissention is not a case of honest error?”

Rewritten (in language that hopefully you can understand)

Let's assume A or B, not C or D.

Do you see room for E? Where?

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The original post said, to paraphrase “Let’s assume that newbies are not being dishonest.”

You said, (direct quote) “This is anti-Objectivist in the sense that it assumes the dissention is not a case of honest error.

Explain to me please how your original post is not directly, on its face, false.

If you mean to say something else, then fine. But you need to admit that your original post is directly wrong.

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That is a totally inaccurate summary and is not worth responding to.

If it’s so inaccurate, then what do these words mean:

But our default assumption should always be to initially err on the side of the person being merely confused or inarticulate as opposed to dishonest or hostile

How do they NOT mean “Let’s assume that newbies are not being dishonest.”

Explain this.

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That is a totally inaccurate summary and is not worth responding to.

This is extremely rude and could result in disciplinary action.

Inspector, I'm going to suggest that you take this up with sparky via PM if it's bothering you so much that he is so confused and inarticulate. Maybe it's an honest error.

Sparky, who the heck's post WAS that?! If you're going to quote someone, attribute! And you also attributed something you wrote to Inspector! If you need help with the quote function please post in the Troubleshooting forum and someone will assist you.

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Oh, I also have some comments on moderation.

I think the mods and admins do try to be fair in moderation practice. Firstly, I'd like to define "fair" as "being in accordance with relative merit or significance", as opposed to a alternative meanings, which are along the lines of "Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias" or "Just to all parties; equitable" or "Consistent with rules, logic, or ethics" so that I'm being clear, here.

We are not here to dispense justice, we are here to gain values just like everyone else. If we see people as being a value to us, they are likely to be allowed a lot more slack than other people who have not demonstrated such; they've earned it. The values of the admins and moderators set the tone of this forum and determine who has merit or not. Ultimately, that all goes back to GreedyCapitalist, because he picks the mods and admins. Only admins can ban someone, by the way.

The mods and admins are also among the heaviest posters. So, yes, we set the tone of the forum. That's why we're here. If you wander into a large company and smart off at the COO, you're going to be shown the door. If you're the CEO and you do it, that's a different matter.

Felipe and I are also quite a bit different personality-wise from GC and SoftwareNerd. If you are accosted by a mod or admin you can always ask for a second opinion via PM and we do overrule each other.

As a final note, USE THE REPORT FEATURE. If you're a newbie and someone in a temper picks your statement apart, report them! Frankly I have a hard time believing that the forum is such a hotbed of dissent when I rarely see more than 1 report in a week.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Ariana, If your intentions are as you say, then you need to figure out why your post come across as "bait". You think Jimmy Carter is a great guy, calling him "...a kind of moral giant among politicians". You said "[Rand]... seems like a bit of a killjoy". You've told us that Objectivism has not made you any happier than you were before. You keep mentioning Nathaniel Branden favorably and say that any criticism of him reflects on Rand. You say "TOC is a friendly, generous, benevolent organization" and say this in contrast to ARI.. by which we would conclude that you think the opposite of ARI. You encourage us to go check out David Kelley. You say that Dr. Peikoff & Yaron Brook are guilty of loose, glib, cavalier strategies and moral appraisals.

Are you really surprised that people here question your intent?

With all that, and for all your complaints about the warning symbols, you have never been given a formal warning using the forum warning system. At most, you've received public posts and private messages from moderators, who have let you remain because of a lingering doubt that maybe, just maybe you're confused and mistaken.

Moderation on the forum is not always uniform. There are some present and past members who might legitimately complain about forum atmosphere and about not being given the benefit of the doubt. Your case is just the opposite. It is a clear demonstration of how lax the forum can be.

I haven't/hadn't been following this thread, but damn. That was a sweet post.

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