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Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Administration on March 26th, 2014, 2:54 pm 

Hello Community! You can help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums by letting like-minded people know about our group:


Forum links:


Science Forum: http://www.sciencechatforum.com
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Philosophy Forum: http://www.philosophychatforum.com
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And don't forget to like/follow us on facebook and twitter!

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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby manishsqrt on June 13th, 2015, 3:44 am 

Sure, this forum is interesting and people who are interested in discussing science and philosophy topics would also love it. I will share it among my fb friends for sure.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Dave_Oblad on June 13th, 2015, 6:34 am 

Hi Admin,

Sure, I would love to share this site with all my friends.. but all my friends are already here.

I don't get out much...lol.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Watson on June 13th, 2015, 12:00 pm 

I'm with Dave, in as much as my real world friends would not be so much interested in this particular interest of mine. In fact, two good friends of mine would for sure share my interest in fishing, if there was 3 chairs, 12 beer and one rod.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Eclogite on June 17th, 2015, 1:00 pm 

I have recommended other science forums to friends and none have chosen to get involved. This seems to be an interest with a rather narrow client base.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Darby on June 18th, 2015, 5:12 pm 

In hindshight, I suppose it's too bad I'm mostly retired from past fora endeavors, or I could probably have spiked the membership a bit with just a few recommended links ... but then again, there's already a fair amount of overhead here for the core members who have to respond to the existing levels of fringe armchair theorists, lazy students looking for people to do their homework for them, and guru wannabes. More members means more work for them ...
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 18th, 2015, 6:09 pm 

Eclogite » 17 Jun 2015 12:00 pm wrote:I have recommended other science forums to friends and none have chosen to get involved. This seems to be an interest with a rather narrow client base.


That's been largely my experience as well, with the exception of SciAmeriKen, who happened to be of a similar mind and interests.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Darby on June 18th, 2015, 8:06 pm 

This seems to be an interest with a rather narrow client base.


Although somewhat true, a simple interest in sciences and/or philosophy is not overly rarefied. I've worked for/with some pretty rareified groups, and something like this should be a cake walk (relatively speaking).

IMO, the handicap for this site is not so much a statistical rarity of the target audience, but rather insufficent active outreach to same. There's plenty of potential members out there ... all you need are some non-negligable efforts to gain exposure to some of them. Put out flyers in the science and philosophy departments at local college campuses, and regional scifi/comicbook conventions. Send out those mutual linkage offers to relevant professional societies and honor societies, and encourage devout members to add links to this site on their web/social media pages. Cook up a site award and give it out once a year to someone visible and deserving ... an author, a teacher of note, an industry professional, whatever. Awards are free publicity ... everyone loves awards.

Yadda yadda ... there's plenty that could be done (this is just some of the lowest hanging fruit I've listed), ya just gotta get in the habit of doing it. Brainstorm and amass some ideas, then develop, refine and act on them.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 19th, 2015, 10:36 am 

The point that I (and I think Eclogite as well) was going for was not that it's rare on the www. But rather it's rare within one's physical surrounding to find people who like science/philosophy AND are also into online forums AND can become consistent users.

That's why we don't try to recruit in departments and real life events. I think it's a lot more productive to get people who are already online and enjoy this kind of thing to invite their friends who are already online and enjoy this kind of thing. We haven't done it actively though, because... well, why would we? Is more activity always a good thing? For Lincoln, it was, because he is vested in promoting himself and his publications. But most of us here don't share that concern.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby neuro on June 19th, 2015, 11:43 am 

is there any banner of our forums around the web?
is it very costly to set up one?
can one associate keywords to the banner when they propose it to google or such?

the point is that google and company monitor us all, and they show us the banners we may be interested in, based on what we type in and search over the web: so they might propose the banner of our forums to people who would actually be interested...
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Watson on June 19th, 2015, 12:39 pm 

I have heard from a few people that have found this forum because of an interest they were looking up online. If their curiosity leads them here, they are more likely to be interested in what they find, and more likely to explore it further, and stay longer.

If we get more traffic from banner clicks, and other traffic generation, we would probably get lots of short term traffic and abandoned soon after because there is no real interest in the first place. And maybe more trolls for the mods to deal with.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 19th, 2015, 12:48 pm 

Watson » 19 Jun 2015 11:39 am wrote:I have heard from a few people that have found this forum because of an interest they were looking up online. If their curiosity leads them here, they are more likely to be interested in what they find, and more likely to explore it further, and stay longer.

If we get more traffic from banner clicks, and other traffic generation, we would probably get lots of short term traffic and abandoned soon after because there is no real interest in the first place. And maybe more trolls for the mods to deal with.


That's how I feel about this whole subject. My provider gifts me free "google banner" campaigns every year. I don't use them.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Athena on June 21st, 2015, 1:22 pm 

Well, I just responded to a PM questioning why I am not here much. I don't really feel welcome here because I am interested in science, but really don't know much about it, and whoo is it a bad experience to say the wrong thing here. There is an elitism here that it makes posting here unsafe for people who are not well informed.

However, the forum that holds most my time is full of very small-minded, insulting people, who hold discussions down to their level, and that is a totally turn off for me. However, what makes it a super good forum is all the ways it hooks people in. If someone's name is mentioned, the person is notified. If a person is quoted, the person is notified. If someone likes a post, and clicks the like button, a person is notified. All the threads we post to are automatically listed in our profile, so it is easy to return to discussions we are involved in. We log on and immediately see all of our notifications and this keeps us involved. On days when I have no notifications, I wonder off to other forums. So you get me when I am being engaged elsewhere.

Like others said, my friends do not engage in forums. It seems forums are ruled by young, and aggressive males, who make the forums unpleasant places for older and more refined people. Laugh, in one forum, the most offensive person is a moderator who thinks moderators should have power and authority and the peasants should not. He insults people all the time, and defends this practice, making the rules to avoid offending people and turning them away, pointless, and also obviously biased by his likes and dislikes. The people I know, just are not going to involve themselves with this. Also, my friends are mostly female and females are interested in other things, like how we should educate children and prepare them to be adults. We are social creatures with human concerns, more than technologically interested in matter. Kind of the difference between the gods and goddesses you know.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby zetreque on June 21st, 2015, 1:49 pm 

Are you not getting email notifications from this forum? I always get notifications when I have PMs, new forum posts, likes, or am mentioned (with the tag feature).
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Re: Welcome feedback

Postby Faradave on June 21st, 2015, 2:55 pm 

Hi Athena,

This is the tag feature that zetreque mentioned. I hope you'll give us another try. Questions of all types are welcome. Unsupported assertions, contrary to science are another story but I wouldn't expect that from you.
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Re: Welcome feedback

Postby BioWizard on June 21st, 2015, 6:34 pm 

Faradave » 21 Jun 2015 01:55 pm wrote:Hi AthenaQuestions of all types are welcome. Unsupported assertions, contrary to science are another story but I wouldn't expect that from you.


Faradave said it. Athena the mods here work hard to make sure people don't get treated badly or disrespectfully if they simply make a factual error or say something incorrectly. However, when people refuse to be corrected and insist on disseminating erroneous information, that is when people are encouraged to correct them (hopefully respectfully as well). I and everyone else here make mistakes now and then and get corrected on them all the time. It's not personal and shouldn't be. And if someone makes it so, do let me or one of the other mods know.
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Re: Welcome feedback

Postby Athena on June 21st, 2015, 9:20 pm 

Faradave » June 21st, 2015, 12:55 pm wrote:Hi Athena,

This is the tag feature that zetreque mentioned. I hope you'll give us another try. Questions of all types are welcome. Unsupported assertions, contrary to science are another story but I wouldn't expect that from you.



Oh but you should expect unsupported assertions from me and Newton, we are both fascinated by the idea of lost knowledge, or cultural barriers to knowledge that is just waiting to be rediscovered.

I should try the system of notifications. It might do me some good to associate with educated people for awhile, even though that takes more mental energy than socializing with the commoners. It is suppose to be for old folks to exercise their brains.
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Re: Lost Knowlege?

Postby Faradave on June 21st, 2015, 9:54 pm 

Athena wrote:It might do me some good to associate with educated people for awhile,

It might do us some good too!

Athena wrote:Oh but you should expect unsupported assertions from me and Newton, we are both fascinated by the idea of lost knowledge, or cultural barriers to knowledge that is just waiting to be rediscovered.

If it's unsupported, should it really be presented as an assertion? I suggest offering things like that as a question. For example, "Do you think humans could have built the pyramids at the time, without the help of an advanced alien civilization?" as opposed to "The pyramids were guided by aliens!"

The idea is to encourage worthwhile replies. A good question along with justification can convey value of its own. That's when readers instinctively sense that everyone will benefit from the discussion.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby neuro on June 22nd, 2015, 7:09 am 

BioWizard » June 19th, 2015, 5:48 pm wrote:
Watson » 19 Jun 2015 11:39 am wrote:If we get more traffic from banner clicks, and other traffic generation, we would probably get lots of short term traffic and abandoned soon after because there is no real interest in the first place. And maybe more trolls for the mods to deal with.


That's how I feel about this whole subject. My provider gifts me free "google banner" campaigns every year. I don't use them.


You are probably right. However, the banners now are generally targeted. It is possible that people with an interest in serious discussion about science and/or philosophy simply don't know we exist and may get to know it through a banner... And some of them might possibly be some more than "short term traffic and abandons".
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Re: Lost Knowlege?

Postby Athena on June 22nd, 2015, 10:47 am 

Faradave » June 21st, 2015, 7:54 pm wrote:
Athena wrote:It might do me some good to associate with educated people for awhile,

It might do us some good too!

Athena wrote:Oh but you should expect unsupported assertions from me and Newton, we are both fascinated by the idea of lost knowledge, or cultural barriers to knowledge that is just waiting to be rediscovered.

If it's unsupported, should it really be presented as an assertion? I suggest offering things like that as a question. For example, "Do you think humans could have built the pyramids at the time, without the help of an advanced alien civilization?" as opposed to "The pyramids were guided by aliens!"

The idea is to encourage worthwhile replies. A good question along with justification can convey value of its own. That's when readers instinctively sense that everyone will benefit from the discussion.


That was an honorable reaponse. I think I have approached my interest with questions? But maybe not. It also appears there are more mature people here and perhaps the offensive ones have gone their way?
Assuming there is some really good talent here, how about if instead of attacking a person's idea, helping a person realize the difference between an incorrect assertion and offering a helpful question. I can see that as being helpful on several levels.

When someone starts attacking, it could then be helpful to remind the person of the importance of being open-minded and asking questions, and modeling how this is done, by turning an inappropriate assertion into a question. I really like the way you pointed out the importance of a question.

Getting us in the habit of asking questions, is engaging. Attacking what someone says, is apt to lead to disengagement. I don't have to be the person attacked but will disengage because the exchange of words is just unpleasant. I think this has become a serious cultural problem since replacing liberal education with education for technology? Education for technology makes us dependent on "authority" and tends to make us think in black or white terms, it is correct of not, true of false. This is a big cultural change from the culture liberal education manifest.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Athena on June 22nd, 2015, 11:08 am 

neuro » June 22nd, 2015, 5:09 am wrote:
BioWizard » June 19th, 2015, 5:48 pm wrote:
Watson » 19 Jun 2015 11:39 am wrote:If we get more traffic from banner clicks, and other traffic generation, we would probably get lots of short term traffic and abandoned soon after because there is no real interest in the first place. And maybe more trolls for the mods to deal with.


That's how I feel about this whole subject. My provider gifts me free "google banner" campaigns every year. I don't use them.


You are probably right. However, the banners now are generally targeted. It is possible that people with an interest in serious discussion about science and/or philosophy simply don't know we exist and may get to know it through a banner... And some of them might possibly be some more than "short term traffic and abandons".


Is there a way to control where you are in a google search when someone is googling for a science and/or philosophy forum?

Exactly what are the characteristics of a good member? How many of these characteristics can be taught?

Please, don't come down on me for attacking moderators and forum rules, because that is not my intention. But, there are two ways to have social order, authority over the people, or culture. When there is too much reliance on authority over the people, the job of moderators can be over welcoming! When there is a strong reliance on culture, everyone becomes an enforcing of what is desired. Smile, what is best autocracy or democracy? Social agreements can be very powerful.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 22nd, 2015, 12:11 pm 

Athena nobody's gonna come down on you for anything.

Though, me thinks this has become a discussion for the feedback section. Or maybe philosophy? Or perhaps just a split w/title change?

We can't control the way every member reacts to someone who makes erroneous assertions. But we can and do try to promote a culture of educational prodding over sadistic attacking (which we as a management team are aware has become some sort of sport in today's www). Many members (and some moderators) have tried to negotiate their right to perform that sport here, and justify it with credentials or scientific merit. Most and maybe all of these people are no longer active members here - for one reason or another. Does that say something about us as a community and what we value?

Finally, regarding opinion/perspective vs factual correctness - I think the problem there is that most people fail to appreciate that the latter is enforced in the science section because that IS what the science section is intended to serve (factual correctness), not because the dwellers of the science section are inherently offensive and too close-minded to consider anything else. I will happily consider alternative theories or philosophical musings in the alternative theories forum or philosophy section respectively. In other words, it's about keeping the content of each forum consistent with the title, goals, and mission of each sub-forum. Science forums ARE intended to comply with the respective scientific authority within each represented field. This allows readers to quickly gauge whether they can automatically consider what they're reading in a particular forum as accepted mainstream science or as personal musings. So many misunderstandings about science begin with someone mistaking opinion for valid science, and we feel that it is part of our responsibility as science mods to minimize that occurrence. Open mindedness has very little to do with it. As far as behavior and approach goes, though, I'm 100% with you. Feedback should be intended to guide and educate, not offend. Unfortunately, this is not as simple as one might think it is, and it's incredibly easy to become jaded as a mod when you see the same unresponsive behavior over and over again (most new mods end up quitting after a while because of it). But I believe that the current mods here make a consistent effort to remain respectful and generally propagate a culture of good intention. It'd be fair also if users remember that moderation can be very hard work, hard work for which moderators don't get compensated in any tangible way - other than maybe the sense of reward they get from serving the causes they hold dear. So you can understand why a science mod might care so much about the validity of what gets posted in his/her forum. It's virtually all the reward they get for their hard, payless, and almost always thankless job :)
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 22nd, 2015, 12:13 pm 

neuro » 22 Jun 2015 06:09 am wrote:
BioWizard » June 19th, 2015, 5:48 pm wrote:
Watson » 19 Jun 2015 11:39 am wrote:If we get more traffic from banner clicks, and other traffic generation, we would probably get lots of short term traffic and abandoned soon after because there is no real interest in the first place. And maybe more trolls for the mods to deal with.


That's how I feel about this whole subject. My provider gifts me free "google banner" campaigns every year. I don't use them.


You are probably right. However, the banners now are generally targeted. It is possible that people with an interest in serious discussion about science and/or philosophy simply don't know we exist and may get to know it through a banner... And some of them might possibly be some more than "short term traffic and abandons".


Good points neuro. If anyone would like to manage an ad campaign for the forums, I'll be glad to facilitate their task. We may have a defunct account that could in theory be activated and run.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Paralith on June 22nd, 2015, 2:17 pm 

I was going to add much of what Bio said - especially that this is for the most part not an opinion forum. In science, you can be wrong. In philosophy, you can also be wrong, especially on topics that have been well researched and covered by practicing philosophers. To discuss these topics, you have to be prepared to be wrong, and some people are simply unhappy/irritated/belligerent at being told they are wrong, no matter how kindly they are told.

That being said, Athena let me apologize to you personally if I have ever treated you unkindly here. I have actively tried to be kind and supportive in my posts here for the last few years, but I know that in the past I have certainly been guilty of going on the attack. I can attest to the fact that it takes some time and work to move past that kind of behavior, but it is certainly our goal here to move past it, even if some of us are less than perfect in accomplishing it. Myself included.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 22nd, 2015, 2:55 pm 

Paralith » 22 Jun 2015 01:17 pm wrote:That being said, Athena let me apologize to you personally if I have ever treated you unkindly here. I have actively tried to be kind and supportive in my posts here for the last few years, but I know that in the past I have certainly been guilty of going on the attack. I can attest to the fact that it takes some time and work to move past that kind of behavior, but it is certainly our goal here to move past it, even if some of us are less than perfect in accomplishing it. Myself included.


Thanks for saying that Paralith. I was going to include something like that in my post but got distracted by experiments and then I forgot. So, ditto to the above.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Darby on June 22nd, 2015, 3:44 pm 

BioWizard » June 22nd, 2015, 12:11 pm wrote:Finally, regarding opinion/perspective vs factual correctness - I think the problem there is that most people fail to appreciate that the latter is enforced in the science section because that IS what the science section is intended to serve (factual correctness), not because the dwellers of the science section are inherently offensive and too close-minded to consider anything else. I will happily consider alternative theories or philosophical musings in the alternative theories forum or philosophy section respectively. In other words, it's about keeping the content of each forum consistent with the title, goals, and mission of each sub-forum. Science forums ARE intended to comply with the respective scientific authority within each represented field. This allows readers to quickly gauge whether they can automatically consider what they're reading in a particular forum as accepted mainstream science or as personal musings. So many misunderstandings about science begin with someone mistaking opinion for valid science, and we feel that it is part of our responsibility as science mods to minimize that occurrence. Open mindedness has very little to do with it. As far as behavior and approach goes, though, I'm 100% with you. Feedback should be intended to guide and educate, not offend.


Well said.

Let's face it ... it's unfortunately easy to become frustrated trying to keep things reasonably aligned with accepted reality when repeatedly faced with the same disinformation or mistaken impressions over and over and over again, and it's often compounded when the content is tinged with laziness (usually students), ignorance, immaturity (such as taking personal offense to corrections instead of expressing gratitude) and entrenchment. Good moderators should always strive to maintain a patient attitude and (wherever possible and appropriate) evenhandedness, in the face of such adversity. It's thankless at times to be sure, but a healthy appreciative community helps a lot. Moderating a forum is a bit like gardening ... only you serve and nurture the community instead of plants.

Unfortunately, this is not as simple as one might think it is, and it's incredibly easy to become jaded as a mod when you see the same unresponsive behavior over and over again (most new mods end up quitting after a while because of it).


Yes indeed. I finally burned out after years of helping run several sites ... plus some serious medical issues didn't help. I'm happily retired to the peanut gallery for the time being, until my sensibilities and motivation replenish sufficiently.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 22nd, 2015, 4:13 pm 

Darby » 22 Jun 2015 02:44 pm wrote:Yes indeed. I finally burned out after years of helping run several sites ... plus some serious medical issues didn't help. I'm happily retired to the peanut gallery for the time being, until my sensibilities and motivation replenish sufficiently.


It took me a very long time before I figured out a good sustainable balance between enjoying the forum, moderating the forum, and everything else. And before I did, I went through periods where I fluctuated wildly, for example between refreshing obsessively every 5 mins on my phone on one hand, and not wanting to log on for months at a time on the other. I have to say though my ability to eventually balance things out is not entirely credited to me becoming - say - older and wiser, but also to the management team as a whole becoming better and wiser. Mods who were strictly interested in cultivating their own egos eventually realized this wasn't the right place for them and left. I can't remember the last time a moderator contributed counter-productively to a management level discussion. The same can be said about a core group of members that has been forming, who seem to understand what this forum is about and constantly nudge their fellow users in the right direction. Seeing that happen is the best - when the members take care of business before a moderator even enters the room.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby BioWizard on June 22nd, 2015, 4:21 pm 

And by the way, to whomever suggested it, I agree that the ideal forum is a place where the mods are only there to help users take care of business when extra, non-public access, measures are required. That of course takes time, time till the majority of users are ones who understand and align with the goals and purpose of the forum. Until that happens and the system becomes self-perpetuating, the "selective pressures" need to be applied by the mods.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Darby on June 22nd, 2015, 7:28 pm 

BioWizard » June 22nd, 2015, 4:13 pm wrote:
Darby » 22 Jun 2015 02:44 pm wrote:Yes indeed. I finally burned out after years of helping run several sites ... plus some serious medical issues didn't help. I'm happily retired to the peanut gallery for the time being, until my sensibilities and motivation replenish sufficiently.


It took me a very long time before I figured out a good sustainable balance between enjoying the forum, moderating the forum, and everything else. And before I did, I went through periods where I fluctuated wildly, for example between refreshing obsessively every 5 mins on my phone on one hand, and not wanting to log on for months at a time on the other. I have to say though my ability to eventually balance things out is not entirely credited to me becoming - say - older and wiser, but also to the management team as a whole becoming better and wiser.


I've seen different people handle the mental balancing act differently, and I've used different methods myself at different times on different sites over the years.

For example, one method I call 'hat swapping' ... whereby you have 2 separate logins for yourself - one as a regular member for 90% of your routine activity (default registered user privs), and a separate login as a community officer (read: mod or admin group) with a very slightly different title/avatar. The latter is used strictly for mod/admin duties (which BTW are logged and tracked by forum software as a safeguard against abuse) and posting to hidden officer-only areas (ex: housekeeping/how to/guidelines & policy discussion/spam-quarantine sub-fora, etc). Having the separate logins helps facilitate the mental segregation between the roles, and reduces tedium/stress ... but on the flip side, you have 2 partially redundant sets of threads in the new posts pane to winnow through, so it's slightly more work. That's ONE way. I tried it some years ago, and stopped after a while ... it's faster & easier to just mentally compartmentalize without the separate logins.

The single biggest quality to cultivate as an admin (besides the ability to compartmentalize) is cultivating trust and delegation of responsibility ... promote long term solid well rounded people from within the community (preferrably from different timezones around the world to improve response time for things like spam). If you need a few days off, take them and let the team do their thing ... albeit with a phone chain posted in the officer area, for things like Outtages or DoSA.
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Re: Help grow The Science and Philosophy Forums!

Postby Athena on June 22nd, 2015, 11:08 pm 

I did not mean to make myself the topic of this thread, and I am so uncomfortable with what has happened, I am withdrawing for while and please, just let this be. No one needs to apologize to me. I was speaking for the people who are not up to your standards, and only know opinions because I am one of them.

Us mortals may think we want to walk with the gods, but when we get in the hall with them, we may realize we are more comfortable with mortals.
Last edited by Athena on June 22nd, 2015, 11:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Athena
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Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon


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