Welcome!

Discussion for all topics (until the forum becomes large enough to justify splitting things up this will be where all topics go)
theojones
Site Admin
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 2:18 am

Welcome!

Post by theojones » Mon May 01, 2017 4:36 am

This is a forum for the rationalist community.

Based on posts on rationalist tumblr and elsewhere there seems to be a demand for a forum-style website. So, here it is.

This is pretty much an open discussion forum for all subjects, not just rationality-type material. Currently, there is just one subforum, for open creation of threads on all subjects. I did this because I think that until the site becomes larger it is not worth the effort to subdivide content further. As the site grows I will make the forum more traditional in organization.

I thought of the idea of a purple-colored theme, along the lines of the namesake of this forum, but I could not find a well-maintained style that looks like that. I will work on the layout and style of the forum more eventually, but I wanted to get it up and running because I did not want to lose track of the idea.

I will spell out more of a moderation policy as the forum grows and it becomes necessary but for now, I will generally moderate obvious things like spam, along with personal attacks, and other cases of blatant incivility. I want to keep this a productive place for discussion and debate.

Please tell others about this forum and participate in it if you think it is a useful idea. Ideas and suggestions are welcome.

Immeska
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 11:31 pm

Re: Welcome!

Post by Immeska » Mon May 01, 2017 11:36 pm

Obligatory "first!" post.

(well, second)

Anyways hello people! I think a forum is a good idea and I'm surprised we went without one for so long actually.

metamarsh
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 2:30 am

Re: Welcome!

Post by metamarsh » Tue May 02, 2017 2:35 am

Hello! I'm new to forum etiquette, and not sure how to start off a discussion.

Vulture
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 2:06 am

Re: Welcome!

Post by Vulture » Fri May 05, 2017 3:33 am

Without a raison detre, I fear this is going to wither on the vine. What should people do/post here that hasn't already taken root with another platform as the focal point?
Let's try to make this a place where we can choose not to assign moral valence to empirical claims.

phaedrus
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 4:01 pm

Re: Welcome!

Post by phaedrus » Mon May 08, 2017 4:14 pm

A forum! This is probably my fault somehow.

The nice thing about forums is that, unlike Tumblr and Reddit, they aren't entirely public. It would be possible to establish a public half of the forum to draw in new members, and a private half for 'walled garden' discussion of things that can't be discussed publicly -- preliminary hypotheses, ideas that haven't been fleshed out yet, etc. In general, agency inheres in scenes rather than people -- the lone genius who pops up out of nowhere with a polished end-product is much more common in the pop-cultural idea of how things work than in reality, and even in pop culture he's usually a bizarre fringe figure whose contributions aren't terribly relevant in the grand scheme of things: the mad scientist, the outsider artist, etc. Often things that are developed by scenes end up attributed post facto to whichever person within the scene had the most pull with the crafters of narrative -- see minimalism. And scenes, of course, can't carry out all their work in public view, especially given the general hostility of certain sections of our broader social environment to everything new and potentially 'disruptive'. (How long will it be until this very post is cited in a panicked dissertation on the rising tide of technofascism...?)

An alternative would have been to make an invite-only/private forum and use ratblr or the like as the public face of the scene for us to draw people from, but we've already gotten the SSC endorsement, so...

Given the influence of certain forums and forum-like websites on global politics(!) in recent years, it would be unreasonable not to set one up and promote one at least as an experiment in modes of subcultural organization.

(PS: can we get a better theme?)

znk
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 2:43 pm

Re: Welcome!

Post by znk » Tue May 09, 2017 12:17 am

Yay forum! First off, I like that we can have some control over our platform (Where our data goes. What Google can crawl for the world to see. Public vs somewhat community-internal sections.) - if that is within the plans of our benevolent dictator Theo. ;)
Forums also allow for more structured discussions, keeping threads neatly organized and findable later, while also not fracturing into a dazzling tree of reblog chains talking past each other.
Without a raison detre, I fear this is going to wither on the vine. What should people do/post here that hasn't already taken root with another platform as the focal point?
Other platforms: SSC comments are moving fast, don't really allow for creating threads, and have a hellish interface. [EDIT: this applies to basically all Wordpress comment systems with one giant thread and indented subthreads. 'Hellish' is hyperbole, but I really don't care for it.]
Tumblr mostly has the problem that it doubles as a cats/aesthetics/memes-feed (besides being maybe on death row, and run by Yahoo anyway, so...) Diaspora is mostly like Tumblr (except federated and FLOSS and yes please), but almost no one is there right now. Idk what the hype around Discord is about - but afaiu it's a chatroom for live conversations, and not for asynchronous discussions over the course of weeks?
The SSC subreddit might be the most similar platform conceptually. Though I'd wager the clientele comes from a slightly different corner of the rationalsphere, and I still prefer this BB interface.
Overall I like this and I'm very thankful to Theo for setting this up! =) (Yay https! :3).
Last edited by znk on Sun May 14, 2017 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

znk
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 2:43 pm

Re: Welcome!

Post by znk » Tue May 09, 2017 1:11 am

metamarsh wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 2:35 am
Hello! I'm new to forum etiquette, and not sure how to start off a discussion.
HI! It's been quite a while, so I'm not very sure about that either. But off the top of my head I'd say:
  • Discussions are open, anyone can pop in if they have something to say about the topic (i.e. not "Those three have been arguing with each other for two pages, now this is their thread and it'd be rude if I say something.")
  • The discussion mostly revolves around the topic outlined in the first post. (Some special topics might be more like "open threads" where many small discussions happen in parallel. But that's not the usual case.) In bigger forums, mods might close a thread when the question has been answered, or the discussion is veering from the original topic.
  • if you have a question/thought you'd like others to comment on, or something interesting to share (which doesn't directly fit into an ongoing discussion), just open up a new topic. (Since there are no sub-categories yet, we don't have to worry about posting in the wrong one. ^^ )
    Don't open, like, a dozen new topics at once. (Maybe more relevant for forums more active than this one at the moment.)
  • Make the subject line for new topics descriptive (i.e. not just "WTF?", "help", "..." etc). (No one cares about the subject line for individual comments)
  • Cheesy smilies are essential for that early-2000s BB feel - but with great power... comes great responsibility. :mrgreen: 8-) :twisted:
Was that helpful metamarsh? Do those sound reasonable? Other things? Ultimately I think this is our space, we make the rules, we'll figure it out as we go. And I'm very much in favor of being kind to everyone as we do so. (:

walter
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 3:19 pm

Re: Welcome!

Post by walter » Wed May 10, 2017 3:32 pm

I don't want to steal pageviews from Slate Star Codex, or negatively impact Scott Alexander in any way, but as for raisons d'être we could do worse than to create discussion threads of each article he writes. The comment system on the wordpress clone looks abhorrent so I've never tried it.

Ideally, resulting traffic would then generate new content naturally.

Scott Alexander

Re: Welcome!

Post by Scott Alexander » Wed May 10, 2017 4:15 pm

Do I have your permission to post links here consistently in the open threads, same as I do to the subreddit and Discord?

Only reason I'm asking is I don't want to have SSC "take over" this space from Vague Amorphous Rationalism unless everyone agrees it's within the original design specs.

theojones
Site Admin
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 2:18 am

Re: Welcome!

Post by theojones » Wed May 10, 2017 6:57 pm

Scott Alexander wrote:
Wed May 10, 2017 4:15 pm
Do I have your permission to post links here consistently in the open threads, same as I do to the subreddit and Discord?

Only reason I'm asking is I don't want to have SSC "take over" this space from Vague Amorphous Rationalism unless everyone agrees it's within the original design specs.
Yup. It's fine to post links in the open thread. I want to get the word out about this forum to people.

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