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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 22nd, 2015, 11:21 pm 

I'd say don't over think it. If you don't feel it's for you, then it probably isn't. This is the kind of thing that either is your thing, or just isn't. It can't be forced and nobody needs to change anything about themselves to become comfortable with it/like it. That's the nice thing about the www. If it's very important to you to feel en par with everyone on all discussed matters, then of course you're not gonna be happy talking to a bunch of specialists. Some people simply don't care about that and are purely attracted by the search for accurate information. Others have knowledge they want to share. Most fall somewhere in between. To each their own. Goal is to remain comfortable and have fun. Otherwise, what's the point?
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Athena on June 23rd, 2015, 1:09 am 

I walked my dog and spoke with some friends and come back with a quote:

Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.
Thomas A. Edison

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/autho ... YsGisPL.99


That statement fits nicely my idea of the fun of science.

The Hollywood High school science building has these words above the door "Science is truth". I am sure that is what science aims at, but this statement lacks the history of all the times men thought they knew truth, only for someone to make a discovery that invalidated yesterday's truth. The classic example is the supporting arguments for the earth being the center of the universe.

To believe a statement is either true or false, might be technologically correct in our technological society, but a touch of humility is a social grace. The subject of this thread is help growing the forum, and my suggestion was about social grace, rather than a focus on being technologically correct. Of course you are right BioWizard
Some people simply don't care about that and are purely attracted by the search for accurate information.
But the OP seemed to ask for suggestions so I gave one. Now I think I regret that.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 23rd, 2015, 8:29 am 

Athena » 23 Jun 2015 12:09 am wrote:OP seemed to ask for suggestions so I gave one. Now I think I regret that.


And why exactly is that Athena? Did anyone disagree with you about social grace? Or did someone lack it while agreeing with you on it? Did all the mods and admins who posted after you not largely echo your sentiments?

Grace and humility is two way. While the responders need to have humility and grace to avoid offending, the respondees need to also have the grace and humility to not get unnecessarily offended by the slightest level of disagreement (though I know, it's always easier to just blame the other guys). Otherwise, I fear that no level of grace will ever be enough unless it is accompanied by complete agreement on every single point - which isn't likely to happen a lot in a forum intended for evidence-based discussions.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Darby on June 23rd, 2015, 8:37 am 

ATHENA: I think a good alternate quote for that high school might be something like "Science: Seek and Verify Truth". An amusing image to reside below it might be Diogenes holding a Starfleet Tricorder instead of his metaphorical lamp. ;^)

BTW, just to echo what BW said in the prior post, there's no need to apologize ... quite the opposite. A healthy and happy online community experience is (or should be) the paramount goal of any caring fora, so rather than taking the thread offroad, I thought you helped steer it to an area it needed to go, so that people could share what they needed to share. Community health is intimately interwoven with community growth, so I thought it was 100% on topic.

If I might add a footnote about your namesake: she wasn't just the Goddess of Wisdom, she was also the patron spirit of (among other things) free will, critical thinking, courage and inspiration. Don't just wear her name, channel her with confidence.

If I was an Ancient Greek, Athena would definitely be my diety of choice.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby neuro on June 23rd, 2015, 9:18 am 

BioWizard wrote:
Athena » 23 Jun 2015 12:09 am wrote:OP seemed to ask for suggestions so I gave one. Now I think I regret that.

And why exactly is that Athena?
My impression, Bio, is that Athena fears she/he was misinterpreted: I believe she was simply trying to "help grow the Forums" and guessed that we might "reject" some possible users by setting high standards and making them feel inadequate.
Then she felt bad because the thread has become some kind of a "stop complaining about our attitude! we do our best, and if we have to maintain a certain level of rigour in our discussions we have to be a little rude, every once in a while...".

I do fully agree that we must keep the standards high, even though this may make us "reject" some users.
I also agree that Athena's suggestion (we might be more tolerant) is not what we need.
But I feel that was not a complaint on her part: just a suggestion.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 23rd, 2015, 9:31 am 

Understood, neuro. But my impression is that nobody rejected any of her suggestions. In fact, several went way further to agree with her, commend her, and even apologize for the possibility that they may have not been up to par with those suggestions in the past. So why she might be fearing anything or feeling that she needed to regret her suggestions is what I didn't understand.

I wasn't at any point trying to counter act anything Athena said, but rather trying to show that it's even more beneficial to implement those suggestions in both directions while always remembering the actual purpose of each individual forum. Is there anything wrong/offensive/accusing/etc. in anything I've said here? I'm simply saying that if everybody tries to put themselves in the other person's shoes, everyone might learn something and the community as a whole will benefit.

Just as users fear that the admins/mods are sometimes not being sensitive enough, the mods/admins also fear that users are sometimes being overly sensitive. Just how much grace is enough grace? If I simply and directly (without disrespect) correct somebody's errors but don't have time to write a preamble of how highly I otherwise regard their feelings, is that considered too brute?

Once again, I'm not counteracting Athena's suggestions. I'm adding to them and asking my own set of questions.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 23rd, 2015, 9:57 am 

And by the way, this might come as a surprise to Athena, but I appreciate the fact that she is speaking up about matters that are important to her a lot more than she thinks. I just wish she would confidently stand by them and then listen to what I'm saying rather than take it all as me defensively trying to put her on the spot. I'm not. When I enter these discussions, I try to leave my Admin badge at the door. The real reason I come to this site is so that I can have the interactions I enjoy. Not so that I can spend time doing management stuff - that's just the tax I pay in order to have a group I enjoy. So please, nobody feel bad if I don't immediately agree with you on something. I'm just trying to have a discussion with you. And sometimes I intentionally disagree so that you can make your point clearer and stronger for me and others. Or maybe I just have a different opinion and want to bring a different perspective to the table. It is not meant to offend or undermine you.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby neuro on June 23rd, 2015, 10:36 am 

On the other hand, what's a discussion forum for, if not to discuss?

I like this intentionally disagreeing: it's kind of maieutic isn't it?

I'd like I could do it as well, but I'm somewhat too keen on spitting out my own baby ideas to be able to help others deliver theirs... :°)
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Darby on June 23rd, 2015, 10:45 am 

Good WOTD ... "Maieutic".

I'd +1 that, but it's not enabled for this subfora. ;^)
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 23rd, 2015, 10:48 am 

neuro » 23 Jun 2015 09:36 am wrote:I like this intentionally disagreeing: it's kind of maieutic isn't it?


Precisely. That's how I was trained as a postdoc. My PI was a huge advocate of this method, although at times he'd venture into what could be better described as "grilling" (that, I'm not a fan of). It's not the only technique I use in my teaching now, but I do incorporate it frequently, especially with the newbies when I want them to think critically about the underlying science and assumptions of any new technique they're learning before they start using it in the lab.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby zetreque on June 23rd, 2015, 3:08 pm 

May have scared her away, it's a full time job just keeping up with this one thread :p
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Athena on June 24th, 2015, 11:47 am 

BioWizard » June 23rd, 2015, 6:29 am wrote:
Athena » 23 Jun 2015 12:09 am wrote:OP seemed to ask for suggestions so I gave one. Now I think I regret that.


And why exactly is that Athena? Did anyone disagree with you about social grace? Or did someone lack it while agreeing with you on it? Did all the mods and admins who posted after you not largely echo your sentiments?

Grace and humility is two way. While the responders need to have humility and grace to avoid offending, the respondees need to also have the grace and humility to not get unnecessarily offended by the slightest level of disagreement (though I know, it's always easier to just blame the other guys). Otherwise, I fear that no level of grace will ever be enough unless it is accompanied by complete agreement on every single point - which isn't likely to happen a lot in a forum intended for evidence-based discussions.


Today I regret what I said more than ever! I just got a huge insight in another forum, where someone dared to argue with me in a subject where I consider myself to be "an authority". I had to rush over here and apologize to everyone here. It is not easy to handle some disagreements tactfully, and I am not good at it! At least it doesn't come naturally to me when I am really sure of what I think I know. Shock, shock, I hope I do not forget this lesson in humility!

I am reminded of an old saying, "We hate most in others, what we dislike most about ourselves."

BioWizard, I think you were the angel sitting on my shoulder, and raising my awareness of my own difficulty with being tactful. Thank you. I want to thank everyone else as well because others did reply with such good statements.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Watson on June 24th, 2015, 11:51 am 

Well, welcome back.

I do find when the intentions and feelings on any subject are reduced to the anonymous written words, there is a loss that leaves it open to a personal interpretation that may likely be false, as in when we first met. In time it is still just the written words, but they become less anonymous.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Darby on June 24th, 2015, 12:19 pm 

I think this is one of those very rare circumstances where a thicker skin and a sense of moral superiority might actually be beneficial. ;^)
Last edited by Darby on June 24th, 2015, 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Watson on June 24th, 2015, 12:26 pm 

As an artist I developed the thick skin a long time ago, and have been working on the other ever since.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 24th, 2015, 1:42 pm 

Athena » 24 Jun 2015 10:47 am wrote:Today I regret what I said more than ever! I just got a huge insight in another forum, where someone dared to argue with me in a subject where I consider myself to be "an authority". I had to rush over here and apologize to everyone here. It is not easy to handle some disagreements tactfully, and I am not good at it! At least it doesn't come naturally to me when I am really sure of what I think I know. Shock, shock, I hope I do not forget this lesson in humility!

Athena Kudos to you for being a bigger person than most.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 24th, 2015, 1:45 pm 

Darby » 24 Jun 2015 11:19 am wrote:I think this is one of those very rare circumstances where a thicker skin and a sense of moral superiority might actually be beneficial. ;^)


In most of what I do, I've found almost no other option than to grow thick skin. Everything else seemed like way too much work/high maintenance.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Watson on June 25th, 2015, 2:19 pm 

I just got a huge insight in another forum, where someone dared to argue with me in a subject where I consider myself to be "an authority".


Athena, what was the subject? If it is not a sore point from the other forum.
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