None of my posts have been deleted or moved, I had a few warnings when I started but nothing for ages.
I have never been banned, so by your own rules, I am "behaving" so stop being an obnoxious prick - I know that's your thing, but it's pretty tiresome.
It's a good thing you're not a mod on here, you'd be awful. Just because my posts annoy you personally, that doesn't mean I'm not "behaving".
We've always had an robust and combative culture here. This isn't a place for snowflakes and feelings. The easily offended leave and you are left with people who will say what they want and to whomever they want, and they wont care about your whinging. It doesn't mean they are bad people, but they don't suffer fools gladly. If you contribute, are either fun to engage, interesting or helpful, you'll find people warm to you. If you play the victim card and complain about how you are treated, no one is going to care. Not the mods, not other users ... no one is going to invest energy into stroking your ego or nurture your desires. You'll get out what you put in.
I'm anything but a snowflake, the other board I'm on is much more "laddish" and combative, being a sport forum, than this one. I'm not whinging, nor am I reporting any posts and "telling on" people. I'm just calling Pete an obnoxious prick because he's being one. Most other people on here seem to manage not to be. He's the one whinging "waah! you're posting within our rules but now how I want you to". Well change your rules then, or shut up and get on with it.

Your comments on the FAQ are interesting. You like that it's vague and will cause people to have questions but then lament that it's the same questions being asked over and over. Seems to me you can't have it both ways.

As for the purpose of the place. Isn't it to spread the message that us poor saps are being lied to about the shape of the earth? I mean, if what you're saying is right then it's revolutionary. It would literally change the world. Isn't that an important message you should try and get out there? But I agree you guys need to figure out what you want this place to be and then you can think about how to try and make it that.
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Offline Baby Thork

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Your comments on the FAQ are interesting. You like that it's vague and will cause people to have questions but then lament that it's the same questions being asked over and over. Seems to me you can't have it both ways.
It is meant to be an introduction. "These are some of the most common objections, this is the answer to that".

Now that answer isn't meant to be satisfactory. Otherwise what drives you to create an account? For most people, they see a hole in it (we leave holes deliberately), and then you make your first post. That's important. The hope is it will show a wide range of objections and then you come up with your own. Innovative ones. Something new to talk about.

I don't think we can get away from the fact that you need a gradual slope to get you involved. We can't just start a person talking about the Mayan Calendar Long Count, its relationship to the cosmos and how it has a flat earth bent to it. There's too many other topics to cover before you get there. New comers would just feel excluded.

But it would be nice if having had flat earth gravity concepts explained to you, you pass it forward. You then tell someone else. They tell someone else. You help run people up to speed to include newcomers so that everyone as a whole can move on to more interesting topics. I can't create the more complex threads if half the people on the forum are still demanding answers to what causes tides. And you can't just say "well flat earthers think gravity is explained by the equivalence principle. " That's not engaging for the new person. They are just left with "Oh, so no flat earthers want to include me". You'd need to couch it as "Einstein explained how this is possible using the equivalence principle - here's a link". IE put the argument there. Draw the next objection from them. If round earthers would pitch in with the daily mucking in of onboarding new people, then we could have higher level debates as those that know the intricacies of FET can then focus more time to those frankly much more interesting discussions ...

But I've never figured out how to convince a round earther to just give the FET answer. Again they complain it is intellectually dishonest, rather than a necessary requirement to bring newcomers up to speed to join in in the debates everyone wants to have ... the challenging new ones. They are also only interested in their own enjoyment of the forum, and not creating an inclusive atmosphere for others. In fact some deliberately drive new comers away as they don't want competition for flat earther time. Again, I don't know the solution for this.
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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None of my posts have been deleted or moved, I had a few warnings when I started but nothing for ages.
Most moderation action is triggered by user reports (of which I'm told I'm a very substantial part). I haven't been reporting your posts because I believed you just need some encouragement to start behaving. Now that you've stopped improving and are instead ramping your antisocial behaviour up, I'll take the kid gloves off.

It's a good thing you're not a mod on here, you'd be awful.
The reason I'm not a mod here is because I stepped down myself. I did a fairly good job. Perhaps I should offer my services again instead of just emptily demanding that someone should do it.

Just because my posts annoy you personally, that doesn't mean I'm not "behaving".
That is fundamentally correct, but your claim rests upon a false assumption. I personally don't care what you say about me, but your insistence on bending the rules to pretend you're a reasonable debater are simply disruptive to the forum. There are a small handful (5, I reckon) of RE'ers who are trying to disrupt this place while proposing their own "solutions" to the problem they create. It's an extremely transparent attempt at "forc[ing] a board to be something it isn't" - you can rest assured that I won't allow this to happen.

Well change your rules then, or shut up and get on with it.
Amazing, you've done it again. You're responding to my suggestion that the rules should be altered by saying "well change the rules then". It's impressive how often you manage to accidentally say "Do everything Pete is saying but also he's dumb" - it's almost as if you secretly liked me.

We've always had an robust and combative culture here. This isn't a place for snowflakes and feelings. The easily offended leave and you are left with people who will say what they want and to whomever they want, and they wont care about your whinging. It doesn't mean they are bad people, but they don't suffer fools gladly. If you contribute, are either fun to engage, interesting or helpful, you'll find people warm to you. If you play the victim card and complain about how you are treated, no one is going to care. Not the mods, not other users ... no one is going to invest energy into stroking your ego or nurture your desires. You'll get out what you put in.
Fundamentally, Thork is spot on here. It doesn't matter how laddish you are, innit bruv, if all you can do is whinge about how we're running our own community wrong, then perhaps you should go and run your own community instead. You'll be much happier that way, and your delicate sensibilities will be catered to... in an extremely laddish way, of course.

As for Thork's "we don't know what we want to be" point, I think it's partially correct. There are different members with different goals, and that does cause some issues, but it also lends itself to some strengths. Consider this:
Parsifal has a thing for making the site work very well, but he doesn't seem to care (anymore) about debating FET. Is that a bad thing? No - we get a site that works reliably and with minimal downtime. It means that nobody else (other than, very occasionally, me) needs to think about that side of things. Remember the Daniel days when "oh no the website is down" was like a fifth of all threads? I found my niche in off-forum activities. Again, yes, this does mean that I'm less active here, but it does also demonstrably aid our growth. Etc. etc.

Personally, I don't think the general direction we're taking is wrong, even if not explicitly defined. We're growing fast, and improving slowly. Of course, this means that there will be some dissatisfaction while we're adapting. Of course, this means that this adaptation process needs to be continually discussed and improved upon. What I'm not convinced of is that we need a fundamental shake-up. I think that as long as we improve the enforcement of our rules and perhaps tighten them around a few weak spots, most of the issues will resolve themselves organically.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 01:42:07 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Offline Baby Thork

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Personally, I don't think the general direction we're taking is wrong, even if not explicitly defined. We're growing fast, and improving slowly. Of course, this means that there will be some dissatisfaction while we're adapting. Of course, this means that this adaptation process needs to be continually discussed and improved upon. What I'm not convinced of is that we need a fundamental shake-up. I think that as long as we improve the enforcement of our rules and perhaps tighten them around a few weak spots, most of the issues will resolve themselves organically.
That is a little at odds with Tom's OP. He's saying "we've become busier, we aren't able to cope with that". Or the organic approach isn't working and we need a little bit of a rethink as to some structured growth. Unfortunately I'm coming up empty on any meaningful solution to that problem.
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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I guess the key question is whether or not we've failed to adapt, or whether this is a work in progress and shouldn't be judged just yet. I can't pretend to know for sure, but I'm leaning towards the latter.

I essentially like the idea of a debate club, but the problem is that we'd have to convince the RE'ers to play along. I have little faith in that.
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None of my posts have been deleted or moved, I had a few warnings when I started but nothing for ages.
Most moderation action is triggered by user reports (of which I'm told I'm a very substantial part). I haven't been reporting your posts because I believed you just need some encouragement to start behaving. Now that you've stopped improving and are instead ramping your antisocial behaviour up, I'll take the kid gloves off.
Oh noes.

Luckily I have a scone and therefore and pretty much impossible to upset right now.

I am genuinely interested in what you think I'm doing wrong, what rules you think I'm breaking.


Finished my scone :(
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Offline Rushy

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None of my posts have been deleted or moved, I had a few warnings when I started but nothing for ages.
I have never been banned, so by your own rules, I am "behaving" so stop being an obnoxious prick - I know that's your thing, but it's pretty tiresome.
It's a good thing you're not a mod on here, you'd be awful. Just because my posts annoy you personally, that doesn't mean I'm not "behaving".

Start making more posts like these and you'll quickly get on the bad side of the moderation team. Do not do it again, warned.

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Offline Baby Thork

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I am genuinely interested in what you think I'm doing wrong, what rules you think I'm breaking.
Right now you are breaking the off topic rule. Take this angry ranting to AR.

This thread is about servicing our users without killing Tom Bishop.

I guess the key question is whether or not we've failed to adapt, or whether this is a work in progress and shouldn't be judged just yet. I can't pretend to know for sure, but I'm leaning towards the latter.

I essentially like the idea of a debate club, but the problem is that we'd have to convince the RE'ers to play along. I have little faith in that.
I too have little faith in that. But I think that is an exasperated suggestion from Tom who just wants a better solution. As for 'shouldn't be judged yet', this isn't a new website. Its got many years under its belt. When do we judge it and what are we working towards? This isn't a criticism, but I do feel a lot of empathy for Tom. I don't post anywhere near as much or with the same quality in the upper fora as I used to, and its because I find it hard to stay interested in the debates there because I've done them all before ... as have you, as has Tom, as has Parsifal etc.

I wonder if we can't gamify this in some way? Have a flat earth karma type system, where if flat earthers 'like' or approve your posts, you get points and ascend through certain ranks. Ie rewarded for posting the FE answers in a descent way. This way a little green tick might signify we are happy with the response to newcomers as well.

10 'likes' or approves ... your account title becomes flat earth beginner
50 flat earth novice
100 flat earth amateur
200 flat earth journeyman
500 flat earth proponent
1000 flat earth advocate
2000 flat earth expert
3000 Lady Blount's bitch
4000 Rowbotham himself
5000 NASA's worst enemy

And then make those titles open up the forum to users in certain ways.
Maybe at 10 you can now have your first whinge in S&C.
Maybe say at 500 you get access to the FE believers section or whatever.
At 1000 you can contribute to the wiki.
5000 and you can start dropping Karma points on people cos frankly you've done your bit.

Even as a round earther. If you put in say 300 pro FE posts and got 1000 approves from the flat earther's on the site ... sure you can be trusted to now join the fold and contribute more heavily to how the place runs. You've put a lot of work in helping the site to run.

Give the RErs something to work towards.

But ... would the RErs want to play?
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 03:27:30 PM by Baby Thork »
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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this isn't a new website. Its got many years under its belt
Ah, but the situation we're currently in is newfound. I appreciate that a lot of this is happening behind the scenes and might not always be visible, but as situations arise, we often need to put a lot of work into fixing them.

To give you an example, a few years ago we had a spambot problem. The problem wasn't always there - originally we were too small to attract them. And then there was a period where it was a reasonably serious burden on mods who had little choice other than manually ban them. Eventually, we figured out a range of solutions that made the problem disappear entirely. But, if you chose to judge our solution before it was fully figured out or implemented, you'd reach the conclusion that the system was failing.

I suggest that this surge of unprecedented popularity is our new "problem". We don't have a solution yet, but that doesn't mean it won't eventually work out. My suggestion is that the problem is not with the general approach, but merely with the fact that it hasn't yet finished organically developing to suit this new situation.

When do we judge it and what are we working towards? This isn't a criticism, but I do feel a lot of empathy for Tom. I don't post anywhere near as much or with the same quality in the upper fora as I used to, and its because I find it hard to stay interested in the debates there because I've done them all before ... as have you, as has Tom, as has Parsifal etc.
Agreed wholeheartedly. I think we're on the same page with regards to the challenge we're facing, and I don't think our thoughts about how to fix it are all that different from one another. A lot of this is just us phrasing similar concepts in very different ways.

I wonder if we can't gamify this in some way? Have a flat earth karma type system, where if flat earthers 'like' or approve your posts, you get points and ascend through certain ranks. Ie rewarded for posting the FE answers in a descent way.
It's an interesting idea, but I think it needs some polishing. It would be unfair to have just FE'ers approve posts, and I worry that people would over-correct for writing posts that (for example) Rushy likes instead of expressing their actual thoughts. Of course, the other extreme of letting everyone rank posts should also be avoided, or we'll end up like our now-defunct subreddit.
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Offline Baby Thork

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this isn't a new website. Its got many years under its belt
Ah, but the situation we're currently in is newfound. I appreciate that a lot of this is happening behind the scenes and might not always be visible, but as situations arise, we often need to put a lot of work into fixing them.

To give you an example, a few years ago we had a spambot problem. The problem wasn't always there - originally we were too small to attract them. And then there was a period where it was a reasonably serious burden on mods who had little choice other than manually ban them. Eventually, we figured out a range of solutions that made the problem disappear entirely. But, if you chose to judge our solution before it was fully figured out or implemented, you'd reach the conclusion that the system was failing.

I suggest that this surge of unprecedented popularity is our new "problem". We don't have a solution yet, but that doesn't mean it won't eventually work out. My suggestion is that the problem is not with the general approach, but merely with the fact that it hasn't yet finished organically developing to suit this new situation.

When do we judge it and what are we working towards? This isn't a criticism, but I do feel a lot of empathy for Tom. I don't post anywhere near as much or with the same quality in the upper fora as I used to, and its because I find it hard to stay interested in the debates there because I've done them all before ... as have you, as has Tom, as has Parsifal etc.
Agreed wholeheartedly. I think we're on the same page with regards to the challenge we're facing, and I don't think our thoughts about how to fix it are all that different from one another. A lot of this is just us phrasing similar concepts in very different ways.

I wonder if we can't gamify this in some way? Have a flat earth karma type system, where if flat earthers 'like' or approve your posts, you get points and ascend through certain ranks. Ie rewarded for posting the FE answers in a descent way.
It's an interesting idea, but I think it needs some polishing. It would be unfair to have just FE'ers approve posts, and I worry that people would over-correct for writing posts that (for example) Rushy likes instead of expressing their actual thoughts. Of course, the other extreme of letting everyone rank posts should also be avoided, or we'll end up like our now-defunct subreddit.
Approval could only be done by FErs. Otherwise you'd find RErs had all the Karma. That would suck. We want to encourage pro FE posting to everyday questions.

We could start with just mods and long time FErs who we know would have earned untold FE points over the years ... but if someone has been posting pro FE to help us out regardless of their actual conviction, I don't see why they couldn't then be trusted. It would take a lot of time and effort to get to the point where you'd abuse the system ... and to be honest, I think most people who get there, would by then have some love for TFES and wouldn't want to see it wrecked by other people.

It was an off the top of my head suggestion but it could be polished if it was a goer. Again would need to know if RErs would be interested in such a system to give them rewards and extra access for their efforts though.

By the way I've always thought there should be a post limit on S&C. What do we care about the suggestion of someone who has only made 3 posts here and contributed nothing? They just spam it up with petulant whining. Even a small limit like 50 posts.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 03:49:44 PM by Baby Thork »
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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By the way I've always thought there should be a post limit on S&C. What do we care about the suggestion of someone who has only made 3 posts here and contributed nothing? They just spam it up with petulant whining. Even a small limit like 50 posts.
Potentially a good suggestion. Could you make a separate thread about it so it doesn't get lost here?

EDIT: Actually, same goes for your karma idea. This thread is a bit messy and I doubt much will come out of it. If you separate your suggestions out, you'll have a better way of gauging interest and holding people to account if the ideas prove popular
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 04:00:04 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Offline Tom Bishop

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I know that there are many extracurricular ideas we would like to participate and execute. I would like to do that too. However, I firmly believe that we need to fix the fundamental issues with the debate forums first. We need to generate a movement. On this website the debate forums are the focus of it all. I think we can all agree that debates and the website in its current format are not working to generate momentum. I have identified here that the problem lies with the "we are the experts who have all knowledge, debate us" theme that people get, whether we are explicitly stating that or not.

Can we agree that we need to generate a movement first, before focusing on what else we would like to do?

Pete, you say that you have doubts that the RE'ers will play along with a debate club. I see your skepticism on this matter, but would like to show you that we already have examples of easily converted RE'ers who are willing to argue in favor of FET. Look at the Flat Earth YouTube Videos. After someone posts a video there are often dozens of people who jump on board:

Quote
someone name the experiment that proves we are on a spinning ball cause I can name one that proves we are motionless. Now i think about it no teacher K thru 12 ever proved it or explained how its proved except for that stupid ship over the horizon crap that someone used in their argument with me. lol Crazy is not questioning the status quo. crazy is believing it with no demonstration that its true.

...

Watching now another very good one you hit it out of the park. At 30:00 min very good explanation on the distance you would have to be to see the edges of the earth. Boy they have really hoodwinked us. I'm still shaking my head all of this is very new to me and very upsetting

...

Look at the NASA yearly budget. Look at all the minds of people they own too and the propaganda that comes with it. Control, power, and money. You can also hide land and resources from the people if you tell them they live on a ball where everything "has already been discovered".

..

The Earth's not a ball. A Grand Jury would clearly see enough evidence to proceed to trial. The helio-model has made plenty of claims that need piercing, diligent, and thorough scrutiny and dissection. Gravity is a theory, stop your crying. Big Bang is a theory. We've been lied to, stop your crying. Those who choose to not look into the errors of the helio-model will slip deeper into cognitive dissonance.

...

An excellent educational talk, Thank you

YouTube isn't just a special place full of crazy people. These are just normal people who use YouTube. There are hundreds of regular people willing to debate in favor of Flat Earth Theory on a dime. So what is the secret sauce?

The secret sauce is thus: The authors of those YouTube videos are inviting people to question our authorities, not debate their own authority. That is the secret. The secret sauce is the message people are entering with. The message isn't one of me vs. the experts. It is me vs. our authorities. This is why those videos are so popular.

This is exactly the success of the AboveTopSecret forum. The forum invites one to investigate the possibilities of UFOs and Aliens and the JFK murder, and so on. The forum turns the average user into the investigator. That is why there are so many people over there arguing in favor of aliens having visited earth and such. It is the presentation. If the presentation of the AboveTopSecret website was "We are the experts who know that aliens have visited us, debate us" people would be instantly combative. I know that I would be combative to that message.

We see with the above examples that our current path and the message we are sending is a bad one.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 07:01:06 PM by Tom Bishop »

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Offline Baby Thork

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This is something that I can get on board with and could be easily implemented.

We just need to change the boards.

Currently we have
Flat Earth General ...
Flat Earth Q&A ...
Flat Earth debate ...

We inherited them from Daniel. They probably weren't that well thought out to begin with.

And as Tom says, they are all combative.

FE Q&A is just asking for it. Ask anything you like, we'll answer and you can object for the next 10 pages.
FE debate is the exact same thing. Come debate us.
FE Gerneral ... well to be honest that ends up the same ting too.

So maybe changing these to leave ONE that is FE debate and then swap the other two, might go to alleviate the problem

So maybe have
Flat Earth Investigations. A place to examine RE Proofs and debunk the latest round earth propaganda.   --- This is a major switch up ... we aren't doing the defending any more. This is holes in RE, not FE. Got a complaint about the FET equivalent, take that to the right board.
Flat Earth Media A place to discuss earth shape videos, blogs, and other external content.
Flat Earth Theory A place to examine the flat earth theory and its doctrine.

So only the last one is a place where we need to put flat earth's case forward. The first an attack on round earth - defend it if you want. The second a neutral look at what's going on outside our web domain and more discussion on conferences, video content, what degrass Tyson has just said on Twitter etc -very neutral and civil from both sides. Just discussing content. The third the place to attack FET.

I'm not saying these should be the final forum choices ... but I like the idea that there aren't 3 pretty much identical sections that are all noobs complaining about FET. It also gives us another distinguishing feature from Daniel's site.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 05:08:18 PM by Baby Thork »
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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I agree, although I still like Flat Earth General in principle - we should have a place for discussing the community and tangential subjects rather than the theory proper. We just have a problem with people not understanding what it's actually for. It probably needs a rename, and a more rigorous execution.
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Offline Baby Thork

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I agree, although I still like Flat Earth General in principle - we should have a place for discussing the community and tangential subjects rather than the theory proper. We just have a problem with people not understanding what it's actually for. It probably needs a rename, and a more rigorous execution.
I'm guilty of that . I don't really know what flat earth General is for either. It is a bit vague.

Also ZC forum might be a good place to discuss the community and tangential subjects. We don't use it for much else. Just rename it Flat Earth Community or something. We already have threads like improve the wiki in there.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 05:24:38 PM by Baby Thork »
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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I don't really know what flat earth General is for either. It is a bit vague.
The understanding of that seems to have died over time, I'm not entirely sure why. Basically, it's the place you'd go to discuss the recent YouGov poll that determined 1/3 of millennials believe in FET, or the Economist article about the movement's growth in America. It's where you'd go to talk about the Flat Earth shop that opened in Scotland, or the little clashes we've had with Elon Musk and Neil DGT. Things that are very clearly related to FET, but which are not directly part of the debate.

I doubt it would be a very high-traffic board, but I do think its existence is justified.
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Offline Baby Thork

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I don't really know what flat earth General is for either. It is a bit vague.
The understanding of that seems to have died over time, I'm not entirely sure why. Basically, it's the place you'd go to discuss the recent YouGov poll that determined 1/3 of millennials believe in FET, or the Economist article about the movement's growth in America. It's where you'd go to talk about the Flat Earth shop that opened in Scotland, or the little clashes we've had with Elon Musk and Neil DGT. Things that are very clearly related to FET, but which are not directly part of the debate.

I doubt it would be a very high-traffic board, but I do think its existence is justified.
Perfect. That's the Flat Earth Media board I mentioned. :-)
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Perfect. That's the Flat Earth Media board I mentioned. :-)
Kind of but not completely. If you look at FEG's description, you'll also find that "conspiracy topics belong here". That's because the space flight conspiracy, while not strictly part of FET, will obviously warrant some discussion.

Basically, I agree with the idea, but I think the boards need more thought (you already expected that to be the case, so really I'm agreeing with you and throwing in some extra suggestions)
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Offline Baby Thork

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Yeah, I'd move the conspiracy stuff out into Tom's investigations bit. Its looking at NASA and Elon Musk and then takes the emphasis of "How many people are involved in the conspiracy?" and WHY are they hiding the shape of the earth? Its no longer FEs question to answer. Its a look at the flaws in the data those organisations present. Moon hoaxes, photoshopped images, again us (hopefully with the help of those Tom eludes to) on the attack, not defending.
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Offline Tom Bishop

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Thork, I like where you are going with the renaming of the forums. We know what the problem is. The problem is the "debate the experts" theme. I like your ideas for changing the forum names. I like the investigations forum idea. Lets keep talking about this and keep up this momentum.

Lets take a look at this with fresh eyes as a new user:



The user comes to our website and sees our name. "Okay, this must be an established society of people who believe that the earth is flat" the user thinks to himself.



Next the user is invited to come "engage in conversation with our community." "Our community" is already creating the idea that it is them vs us. "engage in conversation" creates a suggestion that we are inviting them to be combative. The user reads this as: "come debate against the Flat Earth Society".

Then, as Thork has shown, the user is presented with a list of combative names. Forum names with themes such as "Post your questions and we will answer," and "Come engage in debate!"

Not only do we need to change the forum names, we need to change the blurb on the front page. We can invite the user to investigate the subject matter. This is essentially the same as the debate club idea. They should not be expecting to come and engage in a debate against us at all, or have the faintest idea in their mind that we are asking them to do that. We need to move away from the "we are the experts, debate us" theme.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 06:57:57 PM by Tom Bishop »