Websites try to fight nasty comments, anonymity

Dec 26, 2013 by Barbara Ortutay
In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 photo illustration, hands type on a computer keyboard in Los Angeles. Companies including Google and the Huffington Post are trying everything from deploying moderators to forcing people to use their real names in order to restore civil discourse on online comment threads. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Mix blatant bigotry with poor spelling. Add a dash of ALL CAPS. Top it off with a violent threat. And there you have it: A recipe for the worst of online comments.

Blame anonymity, blame politicians, blame human nature. But a growing number of websites are reining in online commentary. Companies including Google and The Huffington Post are trying everything from deploying moderators to forcing people to use their real names. Some sites, such as Popular Science, are banning comments altogether.

The efforts put sites in a delicate position. User comments add a lively, fresh feel. And, of course, the longer visitors stay to read the posts, and the more they come back, the more a site can charge for advertising.

What websites don't want is the kind of nastiness that appeared under a recent CNN.com article about the Affordable Care Act.

"If it were up to me, you progressive libs destroying this country would be hanging from the gallows for treason. People are awakening though. If I were you, I'd be very afraid," wrote someone using the name "JBlaze."

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has long been home to some of the Internet's most juvenile and grammatically incorrect comments. The video site caused a stir last month when it began requiring people to log into Google Plus to write a comment. Besides herding users to Google's unified network, the company says the move is designed to raise the level of discourse.

A Cheerios cereal commercial featuring an interracial family met with such a barrage of racist responses on YouTube in May that General Mills shut down comments on it altogether.

"Starting this week, when you're watching a video on YouTube, you'll see comments sorted by people you care about first," wrote YouTube product manager Nundu Janakiram and principal engineer Yonatan Zunger in a blog post announcing the changes.

Anonymity has always been a major appeal of online life. Two decades ago, The New Yorker magazine ran a cartoon with a dog sitting in front of a computer, one paw on the keyboard. The caption read: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."

At its best, anonymity allows people to speak freely without repercussions. It allows whistle blowers and protesters to express unpopular opinions. At its worst, it allows people to spout off without repercussions. It gives trolls and bullies license to pick arguments, threaten and abuse.

But anonymity has been eroding. On the Internet, many people may know not only your name, but also your latest musings, the songs you've listened to, your job history and who your friends are.

"It's not so much that our offline lives are going online, it's that our offline and online lives are more integrated," says Mark Lashley, a professor of communications at La Salle University. Facebook, which requires people to use their real names, played a big part in the seismic shift.

"As more people go online and we put more of our lives online, we should be held accountable for things we say," Lashley said.

Nearly three-quarters of teens and young adults think people are more likely to use discriminatory language online or in text messages than in face-to-face conversations, according to a recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV. The poll didn't distinguish between anonymous comments and those with real identities attached.

The Huffington Post is also clamping down on vicious comments. In addition to employing 40 human moderators who sift through readers' posts for racism, homophobia, hate speech and the like, the AOL-owned news site is also chipping away at anonymous commenting. Previously, anyone could respond to an article posted on the site by creating an account, without tying it to an email address. This fall, HuffPo began requiring people to verify their identity by connecting their accounts to an email address, but that didn't appear to be enough and the site now also asks commenters to log in using a verified Facebook account.

"We are reaching a place where the Internet is growing up," says Jimmy Soni, managing editor of HuffPo. "These changes represent a maturing (online) environment."

Soni says the changes have already made a difference in the quality of the comments. The lack of total anonymity, while not a failsafe method, offers people a "gut check moment," he says. There have been "significantly fewer things that we would not be able to share with our mothers," in the HuffPo comments section since the change, Soni says.

Newspapers are also turning toward regulated comments. Of the largest 137 U.S. newspapers—those with daily circulation above 50,000—nearly 49 percent ban anonymous commenting, according to Arthur Santana, assistant communications professor at the University of Houston. Nearly 42 percent allow anonymity, while 9 percent do not have comments at all.

In some cases, sites have gone further. Popular Science, the 141-year-old science and technology magazine, stopped allowing comments of any kind on its news articles in September.

While highlighting responses to articles about climate change and abortion, Popular Science online editor Suzanne LaBarre announced the change and explained in a blog post that comments can be "bad for science."

Because "comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories," wrote LaBarre.

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julianpenrod
1.9 / 5 (23) Dec 26, 2013
All the business about "bigotry", "poor spelling", "ALL CAPS" and "violent threats" is just a dodge. Blogs, forums, chat rooms and all don't mind these. What they really want to avoid is valid, legitimate comments and posts that prove the lie in the propaganda being spread. Indeed, they may even send a number of these stereotypical items to themselves to "validate" this. From the "Bad Astronomy" blog to Scientific American to the staunchly anti white, heterosexual, Gentile male blog "Code Switch" on NPR, I've been banned for comments which addressed and disproved the lies they tried to spread. I have been banned from blogs on "Discovery" and from "Code Switch" just on my name! They never tried to disprove me because they can't! They don't judge the content, anymore, they just ban items based only on the fact that they have my name on them, so the "nasty" reference means nothing.
Liquid1474
4.3 / 5 (15) Dec 26, 2013
As much as the websites and companies hate 'em; the comments can be some of the funniest damn things I've ever read
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (10) Dec 26, 2013
If you own the site you make the rules...oh wait we've decided in the US at least that just because you own something doesn't mean everyone's civil rights go out the window. It's why we don't have restaurants that can refuse service to people based on their skin color. I'd love to see a first amendment case before the Supreme Court because a moderator removed a legitimate example of free expression.

It's my guess the only way to deal with it is not to allow the option, but if you allow comments and remove them willy nilly my guess is that at some point you're going to end up in court. Of course the reverse is true as well ;)
Zephir_fan
Dec 26, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
kochevnik
1.8 / 5 (17) Dec 26, 2013
Popular Science is a CIA rag. Banning comments for them is no different than droning families in Yemen or printing fake science articles about skyscrapers melting at 800 degrees
Zephir_fan
Dec 26, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Huns
3.6 / 5 (8) Dec 26, 2013
LOL. This website has plenty to worry about with quack articles. The commenters are kinda problematic as well sometimes!
julianpenrod
1.8 / 5 (15) Dec 26, 2013
Anonymous comments is only part of the issue. As comments, at least they make statements and prove their insipidity. Approval ratings don't even require the moronic to prove it by their imbecilic assertions. Such has been visible on this site for quite awhile. There seems a coalition of individuals who dutifully always apply a "1" rating to everything I say. It's supposed to suggest the person agrees with 20% of what's said, but the purpose here seems to be to deliberately dilute the average of any higher ratings I might get. The craven cowards who post those ratings never state what 20% of my statements they agree with, because it's all a lie, anyway. The system is a draw for sadistic liars. Like Zephir_fan's illiterate lie, born of their viciousness, that I "have never made a single valid anything". If Zephir_fan fails to prove that, it stands as a lie and Zephir_fan as a vicious liar.
Zephir_fan
Dec 26, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
FainAvis
3.2 / 5 (9) Dec 26, 2013
I would like a button that permanently blocks everything a particular commenter says. I would globally erase Zephyr_fan and some of his duelling buddies. Similarly Otto and Sucks. Put beside their names a score like "X has been blocked by n users."
Very soon the belligerents would be all hived off into their own little sand box.

ubavontuba
4 / 5 (7) Dec 26, 2013
I would like a button that permanently blocks everything a particular commenter says. I would globally erase Zephyr_fan and some of his duelling buddies. Similarly Otto and Sucks. Put beside their names a score like "X has been blocked by n users."
Very soon the belligerents would be all hived off into their own little sand box.
Or a way to close the comments you don't like, similar to a Facebook homepage.
Sinister1812
3.6 / 5 (9) Dec 26, 2013
All the business about "bigotry", "poor spelling", "ALL CAPS" and "violent threats"


Those were some of the tricks used by NikFromNYC. That's why he's banned now.
kochevnik
3.1 / 5 (8) Dec 26, 2013
Popular Science is a CIA rag. Banning comments for them is no different than droning families in Yemen or printing fake science articles about skyscrapers melting at 800 degrees
You must think very much of the CIA Skippy, I thought they were supposed to Intelligent. Do I need to slap together a tin foil hat for you like the one I made for the julianpenrod Skippy?
"Intelligence" means suppress the populace to impose the will of the ruling class. Why you find that funny is beyond my understanding. BTW a conspiracy is two or more people involved in a crime. Why do you think "conspiracy theory" is dismissive? It's a canned CONINTEL response designed to thwart idiots. It is effective on Americans trained like pigeons in public school. Most targets of CIA hatred know better
DirtySquirties
4.5 / 5 (11) Dec 27, 2013
Physorg is a pretty good example of a site with terrible commenters. I do not know whether the people are trolls, not very bright, or simply crazy, but almost every article has 'em. The decent comments tend to get buried or downvoted for no reason so filtering by score doesn't really work well.
OZGuy
3.8 / 5 (10) Dec 27, 2013
There seems a coalition of individuals who dutifully always apply a "1" rating to everything I say. It's supposed to suggest the person agrees with 20% of what's said, but the purpose here seems to be to deliberately dilute the average of any higher ratings I might get.


Based on the two comments you have posted on this article I can't believe that you honestly believe that anyone agrees with you 20% of the time.

Keep posting similarly nasty comments and you'll probably be adding Physorg to the list of sites that have suprisingly banned you.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (9) Dec 27, 2013
we've decided in the US at least that just because you own something doesn't mean everyone's civil rights go out the window.


Which really means then that the state really owns that something.
ryggesogn2
3.2 / 5 (12) Dec 27, 2013
I appreciate a level of at least public anonymity.
A few years ago on this site, another commenter thought he knew who I was, and where I lived and threatened me instead of discussing issues.
Another reason I can see for anonymity is if someone works in a science field, for a university let's say, and wants to make comments without being associated with that institution lest someone believe they are using that association to bolster the argument.
antialias_physorg
3.8 / 5 (10) Dec 27, 2013
At its best, anonymity allows people to speak freely without repercussions

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) that also lets people show their true faces. When he says that people should be 'held accountable to what they say' then that has its merits - but it also makes people cloak their true intentions in a veil of smooth talk and false pretenses.

We should always remember that when we move to public (and accountable) discussion and societal change: Underneath the civilized veneer lurk mostly nasty, petty minds.
Comments are a good reminder of that.

Banning comments for them is no different than droning families in Yemen

You're overreacting. Having/not having comments means nothing to anoyne, anywhere. Least of all to the science reported on (no scientists reads anything on these sites. They read the original papers).

Get used to the notion that comments are for your personal enjoyment, only. Beyond that they mean nothing and have no impact whatsoever.
antialias_physorg
3.8 / 5 (10) Dec 27, 2013
Keep posting similarly nasty comments and you'll probably be adding Physorg to the list of sites that have suprisingly banned you.

He already was banned. He doesn't take a hint well (even when it's spelled out in sky-high flaming letters). Like the truly incorrigible guy he is he keeps coming back.

There seems a coalition of individuals who dutifully always apply a "1" rating to everything I say.

If I'd bother to vote you I'd hunt around for the negative ratings button.
It's supposed to suggest the person agrees with 20% of what's said,

No. It's suppose to suggest that your 'contributions' are at the very lowest end of the quality scale.
Noumenon
3.2 / 5 (10) Dec 27, 2013
If I could some how charge people to argue on the internet, ala Monty Python, I would be a billionaire.
shavera
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2013
I think the surprise for some of the above crackpots who are shocked at the response they see, is that readers of a *science journalism* site want to see scientific discussion. Not how your own personal pet theory no one else buys for a moment is somehow the answer to the life the universe and everything. Seriously. Astronomy articles? polluted with cantdrive's electric universe nonsense. Any article remotely related to the planet? Check out my links to a random blog that totally disproves climate change. Other stuff? Check out my racism/sexism/and the stuff "they" don't want you to know about.

I wish phys.org had half the moderation of reddit's science sections.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.6 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2013
Unfortunately (or fortunately?) that also lets people show their true faces. When he says that people should be 'held accountable to what they say' then that has its merits - but it also makes people cloak their true intentions in a veil of smooth talk and false pretenses
I am imagining you have your webcam on and are watching a little vid of yourself typing this in realtime.

The PhysicsForums site is rather better moderated and has less tolerance for posturing and sloppy thoughtless postings.
If I'd bother to vote you I'd hunt around for the negative ratings button.
Indeed, and the more savvy and less fortright people here will use sockpuppets to do their downrating for them. I do notice that you rarely vote anyone down aa...?
A few years ago on this site, another commenter thought he knew who I was, and where I lived and threatened me instead of discussing issues
Yeah youre scott nudds arent you?
antialias_physorg
2.9 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2013
Figures that you would downvote people, Otto. Since you have been banned like what...3 times now since I've been here? Probably even more before that.

Yeah. You're another one of those who never take a hint that their kind is not appreciated/needed. The kind that makes every forum/comment section their private troll-fest.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2013
Figures that you would downvote people, Otto. Since you have been banned like what...3 times now
Uh once? I told dick wolf (not his real name) to go f+ck himself. Was that so wrong?
You're another one of those who never take a hint that their kind is not appreciated/needed. The kind that makes every forum/comment section their private troll-fest.
Well somebody has to keep you honest. Too many Arschkriecher-s looking for mutual pleasuring here to go unchallenged. Too many lazy and timid people who cant look stuff up because it might force them to change their minds.

Hey did you know that cubesats can rotate on any axis w/o attitude jets? Must be magik-

-I found an actual ufo rolling its way through the atmosphere...
http://www.youtub...BFhGlZTQ
Skepticus
3.5 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2013
"Get used to the notion that comments are for your personal enjoyment, only. Beyond that they mean nothing and have no impact whatsoever."

The Vox Populi Has Spoken: "Your insightful (or not) free-speech thoughts are worth crap to anyone of influence." If you bother and persist by registering with the sites to be able to post your (worthless) comments, it will just make the job of the ones in control of an agenda, issue, website, or parts of the government or intelligence communities easier in identifying, categorizing and monitoring you a lot easier and faster. Welcome to the free world!
Zephir_fan
Dec 27, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
kotyto
not rated yet Dec 27, 2013
They have ulterior motives.... The public tries to fend off commercial interests (spamming); As such, I actively boycott the worse offenders against online anonymity.
antialias_physorg
2.8 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2013
Uh once?

And you don't get it? You're not fit for this comment section. That's the message. You may delude yourself into thinking otherwise - but that's the whole point of a ban.
Well somebody has to keep you honest.

And a dishonest person is supposed to achieve that? Really? Really, really? A sockpuppet using ballot-box stuffer who sneaks back in after a ban? Your world must pretty twisted for that to make any kind of sense.

Hey did you know that cubesats can rotate on any axis w/o attitude jets?

Yes I did. Again: Attitude (read: orientation) - not longitudinal motion (as you claimed multiple times erroneously)
Noumenon
3 / 5 (8) Dec 28, 2013
Of the years, i've sent Phys.Org the suggestion of only allowing commenting by people who donate $$ to the site. This would remove the superfluous troll accounts, and provide revenue to support an active moderator, who only would have to read flagged comments and who flagged them.

The old phys.org mod with the "useless verbiage" post removals, was making his/her job way harder than it needed to be and causing themselves to be qualified in the process, ....by taking on the role of thought police,... when all that was required is weeding spam, trolls, threats, bad-language, name-calling.

Some sites motivation is to 'control the message', and use an obviously broken comments rating system for that purpose.
Noumenon
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2013
EDIT: "...causing themselves to be [unqualified] in the process...."
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2013
And you don't get it? You're not fit for this comment section
Ouch. Well I would never say this about you even though you express eurodisney political sentiments and often post without knowing what you are talking about.
sockpuppet using ballot-box stuffer who sneaks back in after a ban?
Sneak? I came back as otto. Everybody knows who I was and who I am. And they know I stand for truth, justice, and the American way.
Yes I did. Again: Attitude (read: orientation) - not longitudinal motion (as you claimed multiple times erroneously)
No. You claimed cubli things could not do 'something' in space. Who in their right mind would think that they could roll along from point to point? Why would you think this needed saying?

No, your original misconception was that these things could not reorient themselves without something solid to push off of, and you tried to bullshit your way out of it.

Bullshit or ignore. Pretty sad. But you're still welcome to post AFAIC.
antialias_physorg
2.8 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2013
And they know I stand for truth, justice, and the American way.

Oh the irony is too thick on that one. Contradict yourself within one sentence - that must be a new record.
You claimed cubli things could not do 'something' in space.

I claimed it could not move (x,y,z) - which you said it could. I always stated it could adjust orientation (as gyros are the standard way to do this for decades). Of course they can reorient (that is what attitude adjust means. That is why I told you to look it up). If you want them to move to another place they need something to push off of.
Sneak? I came back as otto.

You reregistered. How is that NOT subverting a ban? They didn't ban your moniker. They banned YOU. Because you were stinking up the commments section with your foul mouthed, childish posts (and if you lift your eyes to your own postings in this very thread: you haven't improved one bit). Q.E.D.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2013
You say:
I claimed it could not move (x,y,z) - which you said it could. I always stated it could adjust orientation
-But you said:
Once you would get this airborne this wouldn't work anymore as you would have nothing to push against while re-energizing the momentum in the reaction wheels. You'd only have the momentum stored before launch to counteract the rotation of the rotor blades - and that would be spent in seconds
...You were talking about angular momentum, not realizing that the reaction wheel could spin itself up against perpendicular wheels. Which is the same mistake you made in the original thread.
They banned YOU
They slapped my peepee for a specific incident. They obviously approve of my successful reformation.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2013
Oh the irony is too thick on that one
Aa is unfamiliar with US cultural memes
http://youtu.be/Q2l4bz1FT8U

-Looks a little like toot pbuh-
Because you were stinking up the commments section with your foul mouthed, childish posts
Looks like aa wants to ban the majority of the posters here. Here's what bothers you sir: I can be a little clever and witty and sophomoric and scatological sometimes and still be RIGHT and you wrong.

And I will continue to endeavor to do so.

And I will also continue to be rightfully offended by posters who are thoughtless, and ignorant, and who disrespect scientists because their preachers tell them it's ok or they think they can get away with it.

Stimmt?
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
.You were talking about angular momentum, not realizing that the reaction wheel could spin itself up against perpendicular wheels

Pop quiz - what do you think would happen if it got off the ground? That' s right - the angular momentum stored would be used up almost immediately to counteract the angular momentum imparted by the rotor. That's why helicopters have tail rotors - to CONTINUALLY counteract that with a CONTINUALLY fed angular momentum PUSHING off off the air. The angular momentum stores in the Cubli don't push off of anything so cannot continually supply that.

The thing will just run out of angular momentum stored in seconds and then do what a helicopter does without a tail rotor: spin in the opposite direction and drop like a stone.

This is high school physics. Didn't they teach you anything?
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
Looks like aa wants to ban the majority of the posters here.

No, why would I? The banning/not banning is up to the moderators. There seem to exist none at the moment.

I just have an opinion on people who abuse the comment section, get shown the door, then sneak back in. Whether you were banned for 'one little incident' is immaterial. You were thrown out. A ban is not a wag of the finger or a slap on the wrist.
Look up the word 'ban'.
Unless they specifically write you a mail to tell you that you are allowed back in then anything else is just trickery. So if you call yourself some kind of defender of 'truth' or 'justice' you couldn't be further from both. It's sorta sad to see someone live so much of a lie - even on an anymous comment section.

Stimmt?

Wrong. It's 'Stimmt's?'
At least learn the language. Your pidgin-german impresses no one. It sounds like "me want to speak heap big words but me no able to"
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
The banning/not banning is up to the moderators. There seem to exist none at the moment
Lots of people are gone. Frank and vendicar and open/toot/lite and others get regularly banned. But otto prevails. Wonder why? I think its because I have many good things to say.
Unless they specifically write you a mail to tell you that you are allowed back in then anything else is just trickery.
So I guess they didnt know I was back here for the last 2 years? Hey they even gave me a medal. Its on my profile page did you see it?
Wrong. It's 'Stimmt's?'
Grammar picking? Your character is getting smaller by the post. The 's' is silent btw. Na undies.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
Pop quiz - what do you think would happen if it got off the ground? That' s right - the angular momentum stored would be used up almost immediately to counteract the angular momentum imparted by the rotor. That's why helicopters have tail rotors - to CONTINUALLY counteract that with a CONTINUALLY fed angular momentum PUSHING off off the air. The angular momentum stores in the Cubli don't push off of anything so cannot continually supply that
Heres a control moment gyroscope doing work.
http://www.youtub...mmsMLCA8

-Of course it could be used to counter a helicopter rotor. But it would be an extremely inefficient use of energy.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2013
Ryggesogn2 writes
I appreciate a level of at least public anonymity. A few years ago on this site, another commenter thought he knew who I was, and where I lived and threatened me instead of discussing issues.


perhaps that person didnt like the name calling that you resort to when you decide you dont like an argument … like you did in "Not just the Kock brothers:" comments?
Perhaps you like the anonymity because it allows you to lash out with hostile comments that most people would pummel you for?

@Noumenon
...i've sent Phys.Org the suggestion of only allowing commenting by people who donate $$ to the site. ...


dont you think this would alienate many legitimate people? like students? fixed income? retired/ low income? some people who are forced to come to the site to learn?
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2013
having a different, or unpopular post and or comment is not always bad. You can learn a lot about how things work... such as the argument that TheGhostofOtto1923 and antialias_physorg are having about angular momentum and cubesats...

an outsider would have to read all the links posted and learn what they were talking about, and would perhaps learn a thing or two about science in the process...

although there are times that it does get a mite old... and there are some threads that get so long and stupid in the process, too (see: http://phys.org/n...firstCmt as a good example)
ryggesogn2
3.2 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2013
hat person didnt like the name calling

Name calling?
Most 'liberals' are are much better at that I.
Oh, is that the 'name calling' you refer to?
They just can't help themselves:
"Not just the Kock brothers:"

davidivad
2 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
when i went to school, i learned some very basic things about communication. lol, look at my typing skills. an important thing to remember about the individuals here is to remember that they have not been educated in a way that fosters healthy communication. the ideas in many of the threads are convoluted instead of simple. this is one of the first things i learned in school (K.I.S.S.). another fact is that ideas need to be constructive. I do not care how smart you are if you break down the progress of the group. i guess what i would like to see most is ideas that evolve into something that adds to the body of knowledge.

what would i do myself? read the article, decide what you want to contribute, support your simplified ideas with links to support them (this is where the complexities should be found), and use positive criticism. physorg would do well to have a mission statement along with their expectations for the threads before you get an account.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2013
Most 'liberals' are are much better at that I.
Oh, is that the 'name calling' you refer to?
They just can't help themselves:
"Not just the Kock brothers:"



typo - "Koch" brothers.
but i am sure you got that... i would have thought you were a bit smarter than that, but i guess i assumed too much. my apologies.

@Davidivad
asking some of the fanatics for links is not always a good idea. most because they will link to one or two pseudo-science sites that give you plenty of mumbo-jumbo and very little science.
but they are so enamoured of their "idea" that they spout it as certain and definitive for almost everything. it is hard to be constructive with that... although as i am learning,
some try to give it all a chance, unless they cannot produce good empirical data that can be verified.
ryggesogn2
2.9 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2013
typo - "Koch" brothers.

Sure, it was a typo.
I will give you the benefit of the doubt even though some who post here didn't grant me the same courtesy.
Instead, I was called a racist for stating BHO's father was a Marxist from Kenyan and misspelling 'Obama' as 'Obongo' (I think that was the typo).
I am not surprised as that is a 'liberal' tactic to shut down any critique of BHO's socialist policies. This tactic is, of course, truly racist, but many 'liberals' justify this as their intentions are 'good'.
ryggesogn2
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2013
i guess what i would like to see most is ideas that evolve into something that adds to the body of knowledge.


Like continuing to demonstrate the failure of socialism to 'liberals'?
Benni
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
No. It's suppose to suggest that your 'contributions' are at the very lowest end of the quality scale.


....... depends on your personal view of "contributions". Ninety percent of the "contributions" on this site have nothing to do with the subject material, yet the snarkier & more cleverly worded posts by certain contributors garner the most attention, when they should simply be ignored by followup postings. Post something of real scientific insight that may add brevity to the actual topic & see how far that goes in the star ratings game at this site.

What PysOrg ought to do at this site is ban voting under names of those who have never made a posting comment. This alone would eliminate 75% of the one star votes, because it would force the persistent one star voters off the site & into the 'open' when they must reveal what it is that makes them such intellectual giants.

Now let's see how fast the Open & Toot crowd start voting ones for this post.

antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
Post something of real scientific insight that may add brevity to the actual topic & see how far that goes in the star ratings game at this site.

Usually pretty high (if it's well thought out) if you look at postings of people like yyz.

There are many that do post on topic, but lack the fundamental knowledge to see that their contribution is naively flawed. Those get confused when their postings are downrated.
Science is hard! If you haven't spent a couple of years doing it at an intense level (read: PhD/postdoc level) the chances that you'll actually contribute an original (let alone correct) thought are virtually nil. It's like expecting to make a smart move in chess against a grandmasters when you don't even know all the rules. Not gonna happen.
The vast majority of people on here thinking they post insights or clever ideas are only fooling themselves (Ok, not only here - that goes for the net at large).
Noumenon
3 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
@ Benni, I tend to agree. If fact I would (and have) suggest that they turn off the comment ratings altogether.

BTW, ... the open/lite troll stopped their persistent 1-ratings right around the same time zephir_fan registered as a member,.... and given the nature of zephir_fan's posts and her "karma points",.. I'm thinking it is the same psycho.

i've sent Phys.Org the suggestion of only allowing commenting by people who donate $$ to the site. ...

dont you think this would alienate many legitimate people? like students? fixed income? retired/ low income? some people who are forced to come to the site to learn?


Probably, good point.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2013
What PysOrg ought to do at this site is ban voting under names of those who have never made a posting comment.

That would just lead to people posting a random comment for their sockpuppets.

If ratings are really important maybe this would work:
- Users get to rate one (2,3) others per post they make themselves. (alternatively users only get to rate in threads where they contribute themselves)
- If a poster gets consistently low scores from accross the community: take away the right to vote.
- Multiple votes from the same IP under different names in a short timespan is an automatic ban

but mostly:
- Bring back moderators and enforce the guidelines. That would be good enough.
Cocoa
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013

but mostly:
- Bring back moderators and enforce the guidelines. That would be good enough.


Agreed - Physorg - did you hear that???

Then the off topic politics would end.
Noumenon
3.3 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2013
As long as you don't post political opinions so that trolls don't form a personal dislike of you, .....otherwise no matter what you post, you will be 1-rated, ....as NOM, toot/open/
zephir_fan demonstrate in this thread.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2013
Science is hard! If you haven't spent a couple of years doing it at an intense level (read: PhD/postdoc level) the chances that you'll actually contribute an original (let alone correct) thought are virtually nil. It's like expecting to make a smart move in chess against a grandmasters when you don't eve
It is also illuminating to find people who have training and experience in one field, and are usually somewhat advanced in age, and who haven't bothered to update their Weltanschuung since Baader Meinhof was in fashion, thinking that their expertise in their narrow field of endeavor makes them authoritative in others.

I'm sure there is a formal name for such a condition. Anybody know what it is? In English please. Even amateurs can derive satisfaction from doing even a little research and deballing such posturers.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2013
Bring back moderators and enforce the guidelines. That would be good enough.


This would work assuming the moderators are not themselves bias and corrupt. I've personally witnessed the deletion of a posts that resoundingly exposed GhostofOtto1923's factually incorrect historical analysis. :) Luckily, I had by then quoted it for posterity.
antialias_physorg
2.5 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2013
and who haven't bothered to update their Weltanschuung since Baader Meinhof

Jeez, man. That was before I was born.

thinking that their expertise in their narrow field of endeavor makes them authoritative in others

No, it doesn't. It does, however, give me the experience to know people who can make contributions from those who only think they can. (For the very simple reason that those who only think they can never have gotten to the level of making a contribution. And therefore these people have no idea how ludicrously 'underpowered' they are in the brains department)
And that is why:
Even amateurs can derive satisfaction from doing even a little research and deballing such posturers.
attempts like these are so sad to watch.

I'm sure there is a formal name for such a condition.

In your case it's Dunnin-Kruger. Any other stuff I can help you with? How about some language lessons? Your german certainly needs a LOT of work.
Zephir_fan
Dec 29, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Cocoa
2.5 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2013
"As long as you don't post political opinions so that trolls don't form a personal dislike of you,"

One of the trolls on this board is actually correct in understanding that you cannot separate science and politics. The political corruption of science is often a pertinent topic. My objection is on two levels. Firstly this is an international forum (called the internet) - some posters see it as a forum to attack one side or another in the U.S. - that seems very ignorant to me. The other issue is taking every topic - and turning into a childish slam of political ideology - ie "all liberals are liars." Physorg does seem to have banned vendi - who did exactly that with hate for libertarians - perhaps there is hope.
Zephir_fan
Dec 29, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
What PysOrg ought to do at this site is ban voting under names of those who have never made a posting comment. This alone would eliminate 75% of the one star votes, because it would force the persistent one star voters off the site & into the 'open' when they must reveal what it is that makes them such intellectual giants.


@Benni
darned but that makes a WHOLE lot of sense! Have you suggested it to the site management?

@Noumenon
the open/lite troll stopped their persistent 1-ratings right around the same time zephir_fan registered as a member

I have serious doubts about this. Open/lite would NEVER vote me anything but a 1, and ZF has voted up more than one post of mine. That in itself excludes ZF from the open/lite list, especially considering the PM history between open/lite and I

Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2013
@antialias_physorg
If a poster gets consistently low scores from accross the community: take away the right to vote


this would include anyone like me trying to learn. I have been downvoted a LOT in the past just because I asked questions and people thought I was otto or socks.

Multiple votes from the same IP under different names in a short timespan is an automatic ban


this does not take into account school/library/public computers, or shared computers. This is not a good idea.

Science is hard! If you …. thought are virtually nil


I dont agree at all... case in point: amateur astronomers
or what about sites that are currently assisting in working out issues using gamers/etc to generate new ideas? Protein folding (I think that was one)...
Captain Stumpy
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2013
@Noumenon
This would work assuming the moderators are not themselves bias and corrupt


all humans are biased to some degree.
I have had a post removed for being irrelevant when it was actually answering a previous post. Given some of the drivel that is regularly posted and still gets on, it can be frustrating, yes, but... you take the good with the bad.

(fortune cookie answer of the week)
You cannot learn to pick yourself up without ever falling down

P.S. I dont know about yall but some posters (like Q-star, GSwift7 and even Otto) make me think long and hard about what I actually post... for different reasons
Noumenon
3.8 / 5 (8) Dec 29, 2013
BTW, ... the open/lite troll stopped their persistent 1-ratings right around the same time zephir_fan registered as a member,.... and given the nature of zephir_fan's posts and her "karma points",.. I'm thinking it is the same psycho.


No nounemom, I've told you I'm a completely independent operator. Why is so hard for you believe there could be more than one person who thinks you are stupid? Now Skippy, please quite whining and crying about pyschos and meanies picking on you. You're an idiot, accept it, and get over it. Bad karma points for you!


The above article is about trolls like You, ..who constantly and rudely calls other posters stupid, without ever providing counter arguments or corrections, conveniently. Like open/toot/lite, you canstantly 1-rate without actually saying anything of substance yourself. Like them you should be banned.
Zephir_fan
Dec 29, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Zephir_fan
Dec 29, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Osiris1
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
The new government's Christmas carol reallllly welcoming this 'change':

NSA......are you lis-ning?
.....FBI.......are you hungerin?
...as we go about..
...shoutin' like louts
Beggin ta destroy our future for all time....

...Who do you sue..
....When sites stop you?
...The sites started this..
......So people could disss..

While walkin in da political (Alice ..in) Wonderland!
Captain Stumpy
4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 29, 2013
You, ..who constantly and rudely calls other posters stupid, without ever providing counter arguments or corrections, conveniently.


@Noumenon
you could always ignore it... usually I do. Sometimes I get my dander up (as with Ryggy the other day)...
if you feel threatened with what someone says, it is not necessarily the individual that said it who is at fault... and you DO have a choice as to HOW you respond. I got irritated the other day (for MY OWN reasons) and had to belittle someone. The sad truth is, we are NOT that much different. Excepting that I live in a manner MOST people would never consider... so...

I rather ENJOY the silly postings at times... brings humor to the forum

besides.... it SHOULD make someone THINK before actually hitting the SUBMIT... if you dont like ridicule, well... there are PLENTY of other places. grow thicker skin or fight back... either way, we ALL contribute at times...
gjbloom
3.4 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2013
"We are reaching a place where the Internet is growing up," says Jimmy Soni, managing editor of HuffPo.

Actually, a transition away from anonymity accomplishes the precise opposite of maturity. Just as the imposition of Social Security inhibits the development of individual financial responsibility, removing anonymity will mean people will grow old without having learned why they should consider the impact of their words carefully, and without coming to know the craven creature that lurks behind the public face many present. Some will be haunted for decades by intemperate remarks they made under the intoxication of youth while using their real id. Some, having grown up ignorant of how vile humans can be, will be fleeced by sociopaths.

Any time you remove the opportunity to learn why freedom requires responsibility, you diminish us all by removing not only freedom, but also the opportunity to be responsible as an anonymous participant in society, instead of conforming to a mask.
Old Guy in Stanton
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2013
All the business about "bigotry", "poor spelling", "ALL CAPS" and "violent threats" is just a dodge..... What they really want to avoid is valid, legitimate comments and posts that prove the lie in the propaganda being spread.


It's a mixture, I believe. There are, indeed, idiots on all sides of the political spectrum who need to be ignored. And there are, indeed, websites - also on all sides, but mostly (in my experience) liberal or progressive - that ban people because their views don't pass the modmin smell test.

Moderators are the choke point of free discussion, and mods with agendas have far too much power.
antialias_physorg
3.2 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2013
this does not take into account school/library/public computers, or shared computers.

Valid point. But I'd think that these account for a tiny fraction of users.

amateur astronomers
or what about sites that are currently assisting in working out issues using gamers/etc to generate new ideas? Protein folding (I think that was one)...

Looking at data or running algorithms on your machine that others have written isn't 'being a scientist'. That'd be like calling the guy who carries the water a 'pro football player.'
It's an important contribution - and I'm not trying to diss people who do it (done it myself in the past) - but it's not the stuff that requires the kind of mind that can generate an important insight.

If people want to have a chance to really contribute they have to slog through the basics. And by basics I mean multiple years of hard studying in a field.

Anything else is just kidding yourself.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
But I'd think that these account for a tiny fraction of users.


@AA
you would be surprised. every child/grandchild of mine is on phys.org and it is required by the school minimum twice weekly. Even my nieces/nephews are on, for the same reasons. School. From jr high to college age.

Looking at data...Anything else is just kidding yourself.


again, refer to amateur astronomers. Tom Boles has found more Supernova than anyone. http://philosophy...lds.html
so... non scientists can contribute... not all science is the theory and glory, a LOT of science is just slugging through the menial work. Usually undergrads are used, right? But it is still a contribution, non-the-less. At least in MY opinion.
Science is not just built on the shoulders of giants, but also on the shoulders of the WORK that has been done, and some of that is done by amateurs. Just sayin.
Noumenon
3.6 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2013
The comment section of a science news site for the general public is not conducive to 'original contributions' anyway. Plus it is unreasonable to suppose that comment raters are especially qualified as judges over and above the common poster.
VENDItardE
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
I appreciate a level of at least public anonymity.
A few years ago on this site, another commenter thought he knew who I was, and where I lived and threatened me instead of discussing issues.
Another reason I can see for anonymity is if someone works in a science field, for a university let's say, and wants to make comments without being associated with that institution lest someone believe they are using that association to bolster the argument.


Yep, Scott (VendicarE amongst a dozen others) used to be famous for that.
Captain Stumpy
4.5 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2013
The comment section of a science news site for the general public is not conducive to 'original contributions' anyway. Plus it is unreasonable to suppose that comment raters are especially qualified as judges over and above the common poster.


that wasn't the point, nor is it reasonable to assume that the original poster will not monitor feedback in order to learn something.
my argument was based upon this comment:
Looking at data or running algorithms …. just kidding yourself.


and therefore negates your statement. there are amateurs in science that contribute to the whole. just because it is not in physics/biology/whatever does not mean that you MUST be a doctorate to understand, or contribute. technically, Einstein was just a patent clerk...right?
Noumenon
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
Sorry Stumpy, It wasn't the point because my comment was meant in support of you and counter to the overly high standards impled by AA for this type of forum

Einstein was just a patent clerk...right?

No, he was an uncommon genius that still, by his own admission, had to struggle with learning the then obscure differential geometry to properly formulate his ideas,... and only then did he "have heart palpitations" upon seeing his theory solve he Murcury problem.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
i see.
my sincere apologies.
Old Guy in Stanton
3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
....a transition away from anonymity accomplishes the precise opposite of maturity. .... removing anonymity will mean people will grow old without having learned why they should consider the impact of their words carefully, and without coming to know the craven creature that lurks behind the public face many present. Some will be haunted for decades by intemperate remarks they made under the intoxication of youth while using their real id. Some, having grown up ignorant of how vile humans can be, will be fleeced by sociopaths.

Any time you remove the opportunity to learn why freedom requires responsibility, you diminish us all by removing not only freedom, but also the opportunity to be responsible as an anonymous participant in society, instead of conforming to a mask.

In addition, the smart people will realize that certain sites are modded by nanny control freaks, and avoid them. they then become echo chambers with slowly dying (and stupid) readership.
Old Guy in Stanton
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
What they really want to avoid is valid, legitimate comments and posts that prove the lie in the propaganda being spread.
How can you say that Skippy? You have never made a single valid anything at any time in your life.
.....[various refs to other sites, with absolutely no links to prove the points]
Because you are stupid.
Yep, because you are stupid.
Let guess, were you being stupid? I thought so.
Because they know you are stupid.
They judged you to be stupid.
Maybe they think your name is stupid Skippy


Well! I guess you masterful mastering mastery of ad hominem proves your point! LOL!
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
Tom Boles has found more Supernova than anyone

I'm talking about the kind of brains that can generate insights. The part you are impressed by is Tom Boles 'just' looking at patches in the sky and labeling them (a great effort. Kudos to him). Boles is sure to be knowledgeable about what he's doing. This guy has spent years learning everything he could about the stars as noted in the article (effectively doing the same as others do at university) - and THAT is where his ability to make valuable contributions come from. Not from the nights spent gazing at the stars and listing them in catalogs (that's not science - that's bean counting).
Hard work. Years of study. A trained mind underpinned by solid knowledge in the field. If you don't have that don't kid yourself into thinking your theories are anything but fluff.

(Also: Don't confuse this newly coined phrase of 'citizen scientist' with what a scientist is. It's like confusing javascript with Java. )
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2013
But it is still a contribution, non-the-less

I totally agree. But none here in the comment sections are doing this (some are even actively refusing to do work on their theories - all the while claiming that they must be true)

and counter to the overly high standards impled by AA for this type of forum

Just yearning for the good ol' days - when these comment sections actually did have a high standard (and anything that wasn't related directly to the article AND contained substance was removed immediately)

nor is it reasonable to assume that the original poster will not monitor feedback

It happens. I've gotten a few mails from authors of articles on here regarding comments I've made. Still, I don't think that's the norm. While I was actively doing science I never checked sites like this. I had WAY too many original articles to read. The articles on here have relatively little substance (look into an original paper and you'll know what I mean)
Old Guy in Stanton
3.3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
I would like a button that permanently blocks everything a particular commenter says. I would globally erase Zephyr_fan and some of his duelling buddies. Similarly Otto and Sucks. Put beside their names a score like "X has been blocked by n users." Very soon the belligerents would be all hived off into their own little sand box.


Blocking by individuals has a tendency, I think, to fragment website commentary and is probably a bad idea. Pretty soon there are a few "camps" of partisans, all whom live in their custom-designed echo chambers.

If it MUST be done, however, your idea about "X has been blocked by n users" has some merit.

What should NOT be done is for the site mods to totally block someone from being seen by anyone. THAT is agenda-driven shenanigans, and is dishonest and manipulative on the face of it.
Zephir_fan
Dec 29, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Old Guy in Stanton
3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
"Get used to the notion that comments are for your personal enjoyment, only. Beyond that they mean nothing and have no impact whatsoever."
..."Your insightful (or not) free-speech thoughts are worth crap to anyone of influence." If you bother and persist by registering with the sites to be able to post your (worthless) comments, it will just make the job of the ones in control of an agenda, issue, website, or parts of the government or intelligence communities easier in identifying, categorizing and monitoring you a lot easier and faster. Welcome to the free world!


That actually makes a certain amount of sense. Arguing on the Internet is not the most efficient way of having your opinions count. This is particularly true since it there are a HUGE number of Socialbots infesting various discussion forums. You are often arguing, in other words, with a bunch of 1's and 0's artfully arranged to make a Chinese Room.

It is a fun way to work off steam, however....
Old Guy in Stanton
3.8 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
"I'm not gay Skippy, but we don't allow making gay slurs here, so tone it down."

WTF are you babbling about?

"Don't start disrupting the peace here, or you will find yourself sitting in the corner, possibly WITH the silly looking pointy cap on your head. When you attract my attention, I like to give out the karma points. Just be thankful that the nice peoples at the physorg don't allow negative karma points. They do that so ..... [blah blah blah] ... Are you him Skippy?

First, don't call me Skippy. It's Old Guy in Stanton. Please show some respect for your betters.

Second, please don't threaten me, even in jest.

Third, I really don't care. From a quick glance at your comments in various threads, you appear to be either a very obtuse Troll or a Socialbot with a very sophisticated Chinese Room module.

Whatever.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2013
I'm talking about the kind of brains that can generate insights...Hard work. Years of study. A trained mind underpinned by solid knowledge in the field. ... fluff.


@antialias_physorg
...and my point was that there WERE contributions to science by amateurs. And it still stands.
Just because you are starting out/starting small does not mean you cant grow into the role, like Tom Boles. And that is pretty much where I am coming from. I am not insinuating anything else. Amateurs have contributed to science.

Like I said before, the work still must be done. Maybe you are no Einstein for doing the drudgery, but maybe the next Einstein will be able to asses things more clearly based upon the work done before him, and that will INCLUDE the work of cataloging etc
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
The articles on here have relatively little substance (look into an original paper and you'll know what I mean)


@antialias_physorg
I do know what you mean. But this forum is created for those with the interest in science, not for those with the background in it. AAAS is more for that (as an example).

BUT... you have to start somewhere. and why not here. this is the reason i come here: to learn. i am on a journey, learning what i can. i am also taking courses, when possible. but i come here because there is no local forum for people who love science. in fact, there are no local forums period.

today i may be an "amateur", but who is to say where i will be in ten years. or how about my grandchildren? the ones who are interested like me... they may well be the next Einstein or Tyson or Carroll, etc, etc,etc.
but without a forum to develop their interest and sharpen their minds... like here, then they are apt to fall for just about anything.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
@Old Guy in Stanton

re:
Second, please don't threaten me, even in jest.


no point getting worked up. there is nothing you can really do about it. just have fun with it.

as i said before, sometimes the malicious/inflammatory or other types of posters that may ridicule others make you think long and hard about what you are putting out there. just think of it as mental exercise.
Zephir_fan
Dec 29, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Zephir_fan
Dec 29, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antialias_physorg
2.7 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
...and my point was that there WERE contributions to science by amateurs. And it still stands.

If you mean that amateurs can do the menial labor part of science (collecting data) - I agree. But that doesn't make them scientists.
If you mean that amateurs can - especially through scientific discussions - make valuable contributions to the understanding in a field (e.g. by pointing out new theories), I disagree. (There may be a handful exceptions out there, but I can't think of a single one off the top of my head.)
Science isn't art, where you can just call yourself an expert and expect to create masterworks from the get go (that doesn't even work in art, BTW...it only works for those who know nothing of it)

I do know what you mean.

Try to find the original papers behind the articles. Try to read one. I'll bet you'll give up after the second paragraph. The articles on physorg are PR pieces written by journalists - not scientific articles.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
Zephir_fan

call me whatever you wish. i have a great sense of humour.

not smart. just old... and broken.
i've been young and stupid and pounded many a person for many a reason. it didnt make me tough, just made others afraid. you live and learn.

but i really, think it is funny when people get pissed off and attempt a fight on the internet...
i mean... really... what is the point? you can make all the threats you want... who is going to enforce it? anyone with ANY tech savvy and decent on a computer can get around just about ANY block or ban, so... really, what is the point?

not to say that i dont lash out sometimes... but i think getting pissed over being called "Skippy" is just ... well... silly!
let alone MAKING a threat after feeling like they were threatened. silly.

like i saw Otto say in another post: who are you gonna call? Mossad? (now THAT was FUNNY!- props to Otto for that one! laughed my BUTT off)
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
Just because you are starting out/starting small does not mean you cant grow into the role,

I agree. Everyone starts small. But that growing takes hard work, years of dedication to a subject. THEN you can start to think about working on one small aspect of a field and (maybe) make a contribution in that. Brainfarts on comment sections from amateurs certainly aren't going to.

this is the reason i come here: to learn.

Good for you. But this is only a news site. You'll learn as much here as you would on CNN, ABC or FOX news about being a politician or (watching the weather report) about being a meteorologist.
All looking at these articles does is get you an idea what some people are working on (in a very vague way). if you expect in depth knowledge from these articles then you may have to reassess that sentiment.

If you really want to learn science: MIT has an excellent repository of online lectures. That should get you started on that road much more efficiently.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
@antialias_physorg
If you mean that amateurs can - especially through scientific discussions - make valuable contributions ... exceptions out there, but I can't think of a single one off the top of my head.)


if there is an exception, then the rule cannot stand as all encompassing and inviolate. Like I said earlier, Einstein started writing as a patent clerk, and was "technically" an amateur. Yes, he had education and training, but was an amateur. just like Tom above. i am NOT calling amateurs "scientists". i am saying that amateurs CAN contribute. that is what i have been saying, i will continue to say it.

Science isn't art, where you can just call yourself an expert and expect to create masterworks from the get go (that doesn't even work in art, BTW...it only works for those who know nothing of it)


not arguing this point. There is much truth to it. although, to be an "expert", all you really need to do is simply call yourself one. that's semantics, though.
Captain Stumpy
4.7 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
@antialias_physorg
Try to find the original papers behind the articles. Try to read one. I'll bet you'll give up after the second paragraph.


When I DONT understand something like that, I tend to research it, especially when I am interested. I get AAAS Science publication because of my profession. I dont always understand, but I DO research when I need to understand.

f you really want to learn science: MIT has an excellent repository of online lectures. That should get you started on that road much more efficiently.


taking Lewin's course now online.

Brainfarts on comment sections from amateurs certainly aren't going to.


i have actually learned a lot here. not always about science, true, but some people have helped me put some things together quite well.(like Q-star)

all i am really saying is that you can learn from anyone. and i do. even those i dont always agree with; in fact, especially those people, at times!
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
Otto has taught me caution. Obama_socks has taught me about my prejudices, and my hatred of mixing science with religion.
Zephyr_fan keeps it light and makes me smile, and sometimes he has much truth in what he says, but there are many who will ignore it because of the persona, or the fact that he may target them for something.
Q-star has taught me about cosmology and some other stuff. And given me an AWESOME book list to check out.
Rug taught me about computers and some engineering.
antialias_physorg, cantdrive85, and others have taught me how to formulate my thoughts better, as well as solidify things that I feel, but cannot always express in a functional manner.

the list goes on...

You can LEARN from ANYONE. Even the idiots have something to teach, if only patience.

and therein lies the foundation of what i am talking about... about amateurs contributing.
Old Guy in Stanton
3.5 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2013
Noumenon >>> "If I could some how charge people to argue on the internet, ala Monty Python, I would be a billionaire."

I've been pondering the idea someone made somewhere several years ago, about charging a penny for every single email sent and every discussion post made. A cent per email would not be a super hardship for 99% of people who send email for work or pleasure. Bulk spammers, however, would be wiped out. And a cent per discussion post would tend to eliminate Trolls.
Old Guy in Stanton
1.5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
Of the years, i've sent Phys.Org the suggestion of only allowing commenting by people who donate $$ to the site. This would remove the superfluous troll accounts, and provide revenue to support an active moderator, who only would have to read flagged comments and who flagged them.

The old phys.org mod with the "useless verbiage" post removals, was making his/her job way harder than it needed to be and causing themselves to be qualified in the process, ....by taking on the role of thought police,... when all that was required is weeding spam, trolls, threats, bad-language, name-calling.

Some sites motivation is to 'control the message', and use an obviously broken comments rating system for that purpose.


Hmmm... So when you create an account you give a cc or dc number and get charged a cent per comment to help fund the site?

Yeah, I'd do it.
Captain Stumpy
4.7 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2013
@Noumenon
No, he was an uncommon genius that still, by his own admission, had to struggle with learning the then obscure differential geometry to properly formulate his ideas,... and only then did he "have heart palpitations" upon seeing his theory solve he Murcury problem.


what I meant: Einstein was a patent clerk when he started writing and submitting to publications, and as he was not in the field, nor employed as a professor, he can be considered an "amateur". This is regardless of education.
As I am retired, I cannot still be considered a "professional investigator", and before I was paid to do the job, even though I was educated, I was considered an amateur, albeit with skill and education.
Noumenon
3.3 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2013
@Noumenon
No, he was an uncommon genius that still, by his own admission, had to struggle with learning the then obscure differential geometry to properly formulate his ideas,... and only then did he "have heart palpitations" upon seeing his theory solve he Murcury problem.


what I meant: Einstein was a patent clerk when he started writing and submitting to publications, and as he was not in the field, nor employed as a professor, he can be considered an "amateur". This is regardless of education.


He had his doctorate by then, which was AA's point I think, and his job at the patent office did have relevancy to physics, even if not theoretical physics,... "Much of his work at the patent office related to questions about transmission of electric signals and electrical-mechanical synchronization of time. I would consider him a physicist then.
ryggesogn2
4 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
So when you create an account you give a cc or dc number and get charged a cent per comment to help fund the site?


Don't all sites use traffic data to set ad rates?
More churn, higher rates.
Zephir_fan
Dec 30, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2013
@Zephir_fan
Hey Captain Skippy. I checked on the google, and you are exactly right.


yep! that was pretty much my point... he wrote his thesis in 1905...

@Noumenon
but again, read lower in my post
As I am retired, I cannot still be considered a "professional investigator", and before I was paid to do the job, even though I was educated, I was considered an amateur, albeit with skill and education.


i may have had the education/training, but until i was put into the field as a professional, i was essentially an Amateur. it does not matter that i was educated or trained. i could not be considered anything BUT amateur until i was put into a position that used my education/training.
that is part of MY point. we are all amateurs. but we can ALL learn something from each other. from the Dr.'s to the Down Syndrome children. and even ryggesogn2
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2013
Einstein started writing as a patent clerk

Einstein had finished university by then.
The year his groundbreaking works were published (the 'annus mirabilis') is the year he got his PhD. He was not an amateur but a hard-core scientist at the time. Looking at his entire biography you will notice that he was always exceptionally gifted in maths and physics (and we're not talking US high-school maths and physics here, but REAL maths and physics that was taught in Zurich at the time. If you dig up the lecture notes you will find that this is way, WAY beyond what highschool kids get to see in the US)
You can LEARN from ANYONE.

Sure. Sometimes it's just not worth the time. There's a difference between learning ephemeral things and actually studying a subject. Degree of intensity.

That amateurs contribute: on some menial level, sure. But if an amateur thinks he'll make a significant contribution (e.g. find a new or just modify an existing theory) - then he's kidding himself.
Maggnus
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 30, 2013
And on that same note, it should be pointed out that Einstein took that job as a patent clerk for a couple of very pragmatic reasons. The job allowed him time to work on his thesis, it paid him better than any job he could get as an undergrad physicist and he had a young family to feed, and it was fairly easy work. It was not the case, as Cap Stumpy seems to intimate, that he was a patent clerk who became a physicist, he was a physicist working as a patent clerk. So Noumenon is essentially correct in his description.

One thing though AA - he was not exceptionally gifted in math or physics, just very good at them (he was doing calculus at 12!) and had a hard time in grade school due to his weak language skills.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
It was not the case, as Cap Stumpy seems to intimate, that he was a patent clerk who became a physicist, he was a physicist working as a patent clerk.


@Maggnus
i am not even suggesting that he was not a physicist. Nor what you posted, i am saying exactly what i said earlier.
regardless of training and education, he was technically an amateur, as he was not being paid to be a physicist.
my example still stands.
when i was educated and trained, i was an amateur until i was hired to fill a position in my field, and only then could i be considered a professional, and only then (with a little experience and proving myself) could i be considered a leader in my field.
I could submit all i wanted prior to my job, but it would not be considered until later.
so... i think it still fits. it is essentially the same thing as what happened with Einstein (only i did not get fame and world recognition lol)
IMHO it is essentially the same situation. NOT knocking Einstein or his accomplishments
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
That amateurs contribute: on some menial level, sure. But if an amateur thinks he'll make a significant contribution (e.g. find a new or just modify an existing theory) - then he's kidding himself.


@antialias_physorg
pretty much what i am saying too... the only thing we disagree on is that menial work is a contribution to science. it has to be done by someone. sometime.

i am not saying that a rank amateur 12 year old down syndrome (or other affliction) boy with 6 months to live and a IQ barely out of double digits is going to reconcile QM with Relativity... but citizens helping do the menial work (like cataloguing stars) CAN add to a discovery (if only menially) by allowing a trained person to see a pattern in the bulk data. etc.

just differences of opinion. different perspectives based upon different lifestyles, that is all, really.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2013

@stump:
"The article itself reported on victim Jeanne Doucette and her boyfriend Marc Adams being pummeled into unconsciousness by a group of three black males."

"After one commenter responded with a quote from George Orwell – "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear" – Morris shut down the thread. He wrote, "This comment stream has been closed due to the hateful nature of the discussion the story generated. Sorry for the inconvenience.""
http://www.truthr...l-nature
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
the only thing we disagree on is that menial work is a contribution to science.

I don't think we're disagreeing here. It is a contribution.
It's like the clothes/equipment manufacturers contributing to sports.
Do the athletes need clothes? Yes.
Is it good when they have good clothes? Sure.
Do athletes appreciate good equipment? No doubt.
Will a clothes manufacturer therefore ever beat the 100m sprint world record - no matter how long he contributes clothes to the sport? No.

Are clothes manufacturers therore "citizen athletes"? No.
They are suppliers, that do necessary work.

And that's the crucial difference:
If A can do anything B does but B can't do what A does then B is not an A.
(replace A by scientist/athlete and B by "citizen scientist"/clothes manufacturer). A Contributing (e.g. by funding something with money or data) is not the same as doing the thing.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2013
"After a year of seeing President Obama's approval ratings plummet, the president's pollster is offering a strikingly candid and pessimistic New Year's resolution.

Reporters should go the next "year without reporting any public polling data," Joel Benenson, president and CEO of Benenson Strategy Group, said.

Read more: http://dailycalle...p4b4IdpE

And web sites shouldn't allow comments critical of Dear Leader.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
antialias_physorg wrote:
If A can do anything B does but … is not the same as doing the thing.


the first thing I thought of was: the Olympics were originally done in the nude. LOL sorry.

Contributing (e.g. by funding something with money or data) is not the same as doing the thing.


I dont think we really disagree all that much
maybe just on the definition of "amateur"... thats about it...

@Ryyg-gurgitator... still trying to prove that everyone else is a socialist or liberal? perhaps you should keep your fanaticism and psychosis in the threads that are applicable?

even then, you are WAY too predictable... you just won me ANOTHER $50! i just KNEW you would carry over into another thread! (i really SHOULD have bet more!)

KEEP UP the GOOD WORK! i am making a KILLING off of you!
alfie_null
5 / 5 (2) Jan 01, 2014
Will a clothes manufacturer therefore ever beat the 100m sprint world record - no matter how long he contributes clothes to the sport? No.

A troubling analogy. In the same vein, if you gave Larry Ellison a bucket of sand, would he ever be able to build a SPARC? Yet he can arguably claim he does build them. And I know of many who, after attaining a PhD, have contributed nothing. I guess I don't see things as quite so black and white.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jan 01, 2014
the Olympics were originally done in the nude.

Good point (and exactly the point). Scientists would continue to do science without the amateurs with the same results. It just might take a bit longer.
Being a scientist is not intellectual work 24/7. A lot of the time is dealing with data acquisition/preparation. In itselft that is important and shouldn't be outsourced 100% to others, as the hands-on approach gives you a valuable feel for possible systemic flaws.

Case in point: For our work on osteoporosis and osteoarthritis ( and my own PhD) we relied on CT data acquired by ourselves and also sites in Belgium, France and Russia.
Through a 'happy' accident we found out that one of the sites in Russia was using a wrong machine/setup - so we ended up having to discard their data.
If we hadn't that would have introduced a serious bias in the results (and we triple checked with the other sites after that that everything was according to spec).
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jan 01, 2014
And I know of many who, after attaining a PhD, have contributed nothing.

If they stay in science as postdocs they contribute - as the funding for these posts are tied to publishing records and results.
(And their PhD work is already a valuable contribution to science. You're expected to do something no one has done for your dissertation. Reimplementing someone else's work will not get you a PhD)

Most go into industry afterwards (where scientific contribution is not seen as valuable, as it takes too long and costs too much. They like to outsource that to PhD students at affiliated universities. Much cheaper.)
The few that stay in academia to become professors mostly move into a 'science manager' direction - supervising PhD students and postdocs in addition to teaching.
At that stage it's not so much a question of not being able to do research but of just not having the time.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2014
The few that stay in academia to become professors mostly move into a 'science manager' direction - supervising PhD students and postdocs in addition to teaching.
At that stage it's not so much a question of not being able to do research but of just not having the time.


Like most AGW 'experts'.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2014
If you think that, just because they don't do the hands-on research anymore, they are no longer on top of their game then you're fooling yourself.

Just like in any other profession that requires a brain they keep up on the latest. How else could they organize the research for the upcoming generation of scientists or apply for grants successfully? You can't do that if you're not fully knowledgeable in a field.

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