Lord Antares

Suggestion about the Speculations forum

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Most threads in the speculations forum lead nowhere and are missing any kind of evidence or basis in math. I can understand the frustration of the mods who have to go though this and interrogate the posters to no avail (most of the time). They usually tell them to check the forum description and read the rules. So I did and it is a bit vague.

The sentences underlined in red contradict the sentences underlined in green:

gvawiwn.png


EvDT1Mf.png

How can one make things up for fun and have them be accompanied by evidence? Also, pseudoscience means false science; science not based on actual facts. How can pseudoscience then be based on evidence?

Another thing. Taken from dictionary.com, the word speculation means:

3.
a conclusion or opinion reached by such contemplation:
These speculations are impossible to verify.

4.
conjectural consideration of a matter; conjecture or surmise:
a report based on speculation rather than facts.

Taken from dictionary.cambridge.org:

speculation noun (GUESS)
the activity of guessing possible answers to a question without having enough information to be certain:

 

So it's more than a bit ambiguous. This might be the reason why so many people misunderstand the purpose behind that particular sub-forum.

Don't get me wrong, I like how the forum is policed. The fact that the pseudoscience is weeded out and real science accepted is immensely helpful for new members who might not realize which theories hold merit and which don't. I just think it should be made a bit clearer.

 

I suggest that the name of the forum be changed to ''New theories'' with the words underlined in red taken out. At the very least just remove the red words.

Or even make seperate forums for speculations and new theories. That way the speculations forum wouldn't have to be examined so rigorously by mods and the new theories forum would (hopefully!) contain mostly legitimate or plausible science.

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

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Most threads in the speculations forum lead nowhere and are missing any kind of evidence or basis in math. I can understand the frustration of the mods who have to go though this and interrogate the posters to no avail (most of the time). They usually tell them to check the forum description and read the rules. So I did and it is a bit vague.

 

The sentences underlined in red contradict the sentences underlined in green:

 

gvawiwn.png

 

 

EvDT1Mf.png

 

How can one make things up for fun and have them be accompanied by evidence? Also, pseudoscience means false science; science not based on actual facts. How can pseudoscience then be based on evidence?

 

Another thing. Taken from dictionary.com, the word speculation means:

 

3.

a conclusion or opinion reached by such contemplation:

These speculations are impossible to verify.

 

4.

conjectural consideration of a matter; conjecture or surmise:

a report based on speculation rather than facts.

 

Taken from dictionary.cambridge.org:

 

speculation noun (GUESS)

the activity of guessing possible answers to a question without having enough information to be certain:

 

So it's more than a bit ambiguous. This might be the reason why so many people misunderstand the purpose behind that particular sub-forum.

Don't get me wrong, I like how the forum is policed. The fact that the pseudoscience is weeded out and real science accepted is immensely helpful for new members who might not realize which theories hold merit and which don't. I just think it should be made a bit clearer.

 

I suggest that the name of the forum be changed to ''New theories'' with the words underlined in red taken out. At the very least just remove the red words.

Or even make seperate forums for speculations and new theories. That way the speculations forum wouldn't have to be examined so rigorously by mods and the new theories forum would (hopefully!) contain mostly legitimate or plausible science.

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

A theory has the highest level of scientific rigor there is. Speculations is not intended to be "Let's see what I can pull out of my backside to day after a skinful and spliff and put it on SFN". They should be hypotheses that aspire to being theories and therefore subject to a similar sort of rigor, although, in reality, they are given alot more leeway. I see it as a place for people to get a little taste of the peer review process and what it entails to put forward a hypothesis before your peers.

Edited by StringJunky

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I understand that. As I said, I am not arguing against this. I'm all for it.

I'm arguing that it may be unclear to some users.

 

Statements such as ''you can make stuff up for fun'' and ''this is where you can post pseudoscience'' do not help in getting accross the purpose of the forum.

Again, they don't have to change the name of the forum or add a new one based on me telling them to, but I think it would be reasonable to edit the description text.

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How can one make things up for fun and have them be accompanied by evidence?

 

Those are two separate categories. If you want to explore a what-if scenario of some sort, that's fine. The difference is in whether you are asserting something is true or not. If you are making assertions, you need to have evidence or a testable model to back you up.

 

True pseudoscience gets clamped down on pretty fast if it's already been debunked (not much astrology around here). But we have several members who are content to tell people why their new entry into the pseudoscience arena is wrong.

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I agree with Lord Antares that the current rules are ambiguous. The references to "making things up for fun" and - to a lesser extent - "postulate new ideas" suggest it's OK to throw out wild notions for consideration and discussion.

 

If I am interpreting swansont's post correctly, he agrees this is OK. What is not acceptable is claiming this is true without evidence. I don't think that distinction comes out in the rules. In practice it seems "fun ideas" are never welcomed, but perhaps that's because it very rare for the speculator to accept they may be wrong.

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Maybe you should create an infants section then - where people can just make up any old BS and throw it about for S&Gs. "What if we could all move stuff with our minds because we are evolving telepathic powers"? and the like. Any old crap could be discussed by the kids without ever any thought of it being real.... if something came up out of it then it could be moved to speculation.

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I see a very marked difference between

1. What would the universe be like if gravity fell off with 1/r^3

2. How do we know that gravity doesn't fall off with 1/r^3 but rather than 1/r^2

3. Why does gravity fall off with 1/r^2 and not some other relationship with r - say 1/r^3

4. I think gravity falls off with 1/r^3 - and this is why

5. Gravity falls off with 1/r^3 and if you don't believe me it is because you are blinkered

 

We get far too much of 5. Fun ideas are welcomed - but are rare. Personally, I think that rarity is in part real (and due to the batshitcraziness of some threads) putting off the honest enquirer and partly only a perception because you need to wade through lots of batshitcraziness to find the few gems.


...The references to "making things up for fun" and - to a lesser extent - "postulate new ideas" suggest it's OK to throw out wild notions for consideration and discussion....

 

Yes; toy theories and new ideas are perfectly acceptable. These stop being acceptable when they are not put on the forum for consideration and discussion - but rather for members to agree with hesitation and not dare to suggest that the OP might be wrong.

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Those are two separate categories. If you want to explore a what-if scenario of some sort, that's fine. The difference is in whether you are asserting something is true or not. If you are making assertions, you need to have evidence or a testable model to back you up.

 

True pseudoscience gets clamped down on pretty fast if it's already been debunked (not much astrology around here). But we have several members who are content to tell people why their new entry into the pseudoscience arena is wrong.

 

I see. I did not know this. But that only proves my point that it isn't clear.

In fact, if I remember correctly, when I first joined the forum, I avoided the Speculations forum because I thought it was about discussing pseudoscience, which the description text says. Also, when anyone brings up some pseudoscience in the forum, it quickly gets dismissed and closed as such - but that only means that it is actually NOT welcome, right?

 

 

I agree with Lord Antares that the current rules are ambiguous. The references to "making things up for fun" and - to a lesser extent - "postulate new ideas" suggest it's OK to throw out wild notions for consideration and discussion.

 

If I am interpreting swansont's post correctly, he agrees this is OK. What is not acceptable is claiming this is true without evidence. I don't think that distinction comes out in the rules. In practice it seems "fun ideas" are never welcomed, but perhaps that's because it very rare for the speculator to accept they may be wrong.

 

Yes, and it wasn't clear to me that this is OK if one doesn't claim it's true until he just posted this. In fact, I think I remember a thread where someone wanted to discuss some pseudoscience and asked if it held any water (which means he did not accept it as true) and he got questioned about providing evidence for it.

 

 

 

1. What would the universe be like if gravity fell off with 1/r^3

2. How do we know that gravity doesn't fall off with 1/r^3 but rather than 1/r^2

3. Why does gravity fall off with 1/r^2 and not some other relationship with r - say 1/r^3

 

I think these types of questions are almost invariably posted in the physics section. I had some questions like that, posted them there and received helpful comments.

This is because they are actually related to mainstream physics (at least 2. and 3. are). They're just questions about genuine physics, right? That's where I would post that.

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I see. I did not know this. But that only proves my point that it isn't clear.

In fact, if I remember correctly, when I first joined the forum, I avoided the Speculations forum because I thought it was about discussing pseudoscience, which the description text says. Also, when anyone brings up some pseudoscience in the forum, it quickly gets dismissed and closed as such - but that only means that it is actually NOT welcome, right?

Threads get closed because the thread-starter is violating the rules. That's what is unwelcome.

 

Yes, and it wasn't clear to me that this is OK if one doesn't claim it's true until he just posted this. In fact, I think I remember a thread where someone wanted to discuss some pseudoscience and asked if it held any water (which means he did not accept it as true) and he got questioned about providing evidence for it.

Provide a link and it's possible the circumstances could be discussed. Absent that, it's flailing in the dark.

 

I think these types of questions are almost invariably posted in the physics section. I had some questions like that, posted them there and received helpful comments.

This is because they are actually related to mainstream physics (at least 2. and 3. are). They're just questions about genuine physics, right? That's where I would post that.

And if they were they probably wouldn't get moved.

 

Something that was brought up in a previous discussion was that we've tries to crack down on the less rigorous threads in speculations in recent years, because of frustrations expressed by various members and by the staff.

5. Gravity falls off with 1/r^3 and if you don't believe me it is because you are blinkered

The only unrealistic bit of this is that it contains math.

 

More often it's "gravity is magnetic" accompanied by handwaving and no math at all.

I agree with Lord Antares that the current rules are ambiguous. The references to "making things up for fun" and - to a lesser extent - "postulate new ideas" suggest it's OK to throw out wild notions for consideration and discussion.

 

If I am interpreting swansont's post correctly, he agrees this is OK. What is not acceptable is claiming this is true without evidence. I don't think that distinction comes out in the rules. In practice it seems "fun ideas" are never welcomed, but perhaps that's because it very rare for the speculator to accept they may be wrong.

What part of http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/86720-guidelines-for-participating-in-speculations-discussions/ needs to be improved?

 

There's even a discussion thread for it

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/86721-guidelines-for-participating-in-speculations-discussions-discussion-thread

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Provide a link and it's possible the circumstances could be discussed. Absent that, it's flailing in the dark.

 

I searched for the thread but I couldn't find it, so I cannot argue this.

 

Anyway, maybe just make this small change:

Instead of it reading ''it has a few rules:'', maybe it should read ''for threads claiming a new scientific theory, these rules apply:''

 

I really don't think that would be too bothersome to add and would help with clarity.

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The part clearly and succinctly identified by Antares in his opening post. If you do not see the ambiguity, please accept that at least two members see it. I am perplexed by why you are unwilling to make a small change that will remove that ambiguity, but instead seem determined to argue that there is not a problem.

 

 

And? How is that relevant?

1. The last activity on that thread was in 2014. Members on this and other forums are discourage from reviving long inactive threads.

2. I haven't noticed that thread recently.

3. This is the active thread discussing one specific aspect of the topic.

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The part clearly and succinctly identified by Antares in his opening post. If you do not see the ambiguity, please accept that at least two members see it. I am perplexed by why you are unwilling to make a small change that will remove that ambiguity, but instead seem determined to argue that there is not a problem.

 

Who said anything about being unwilling to make the changes?

 

You stated "I don't think that distinction comes out in the rules." and I pointed to the page that summarizes them and ask for feedback. And your response is to get all pissy about it. At this point it's impossible to distinguish this from someone who wants to give honest feedback and someone who just wants to be contrary.

 

And? How is that relevant?

Because you brought it up.

 

2. I haven't noticed that thread recently.

Which is why I am bringing it to everyone's attention. You participated. One might assume you raised all of the concerns that you had. But maybe not.

 

3. This is the active thread discussing one specific aspect of the topic.

But not the thread for discussing the guidelines.

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You stated "I don't think that distinction comes out in the rules." and I pointed to the page that summarizes them and ask for feedback. And your response is to get all pissy about it.

 

No. His response was this:

 

The part clearly and succinctly identified by Antares in his opening post.

 

Anyway, I can add to that.

 

Alright, why would you not state all of that in the rules? Why would you not at least add a link to that thread to the rules.

I for one wouldn't think to check that thread after having read the rules posted in my picture in the OP. I would read the rules (which I might misunderstand because they are ambiguous) and I would assume I'm good to go. I wouldn't realize that there are more rules in more detail which are not explained in the rules section, because how would I know that?

 

The very least that could be done is to add a link to that thread in the rules saying ''for the full rules and guidelines, click here:''

 

The purpose of opening this thread is to help you and other mods get as few bad/unsupported threads as possible. Clarifying the rules might help do just that.

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Who said anything about being unwilling to make the changes?

It is quite difficult to maintain a polite demeanor in the face of intransigent obtuseness. You have been asked to make changes. The suggested changes have been specified. You have chosen not to implement them, but instead to proceed with fatuous arguments.

 

 

 

You stated "I don't think that distinction comes out in the rules." and I pointed to the page that summarizes them and ask for feedback. And your response is to get all pissy about it.

No. I am now going to get pissy about it. I gave you very clear feedback. Look at the fucking points made by Anatres in his opening post. Now, you have - by your words an inaction - clearly indicated that you do not see the ambiguity two members believe to exist. I pointed out that if it is thought to exist and can be easily remedied, then why the fuck don't remedy it.

 

 

 

 

At this point it's impossible to distinguish this from someone who wants to give honest feedback and someone who just wants to be contrary.

And at this point is easy to someone who does not realise the function of a moderator is to respond sympathetically to positive suggestions made by members and not make offensive remarks about their motives.

 

 

 

 

Because you brought it up.

Where the fuck did I bring it up? (i.e the discussion thread on forum rules)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which is why I am bringing it to everyone's attention. You participated. One might assume you raised all of the concerns that you had. But maybe not.

 

It was two fucking years ago. I barely remember what I was doing last week and I certainly don't recall what views I may or may not have written two or three years ago. You know, it is not uncommon for peoples views to evolve over time, or for one to recognise an opportunity for an improvement when it is drawn to ones attention, though one may have previously missed it.

 

It's really very simple. There is an ambiguity in the rules. It has been pointed out. A solution has been offered. You decline to implement the solution and instead argue and patronise. Seriously disappointing and meriting the several fucks that have peppered this post. Let me know when you are ready to apologise for your boorish behaviour.

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It is quite difficult to maintain a polite demeanor in the face of intransigent obtuseness. You have been asked to make changes. The suggested changes have been specified. You have chosen not to implement them, but instead to proceed with fatuous arguments.

 

 

No. I am now going to get pissy about it. I gave you very clear feedback. Look at the fucking points made by Anatres in his opening post. Now, you have - by your words an inaction - clearly indicated that you do not see the ambiguity two members believe to exist. I pointed out that if it is thought to exist and can be easily remedied, then why the fuck don't remedy it.

 

 

 

And at this point is easy to someone who does not realise the function of a moderator is to respond sympathetically to positive suggestions made by members and not make offensive remarks about their motives.

 

 

 

Where the fuck did I bring it up? (i.e the discussion thread on forum rules)

 

 

 

 

 

It was two fucking years ago. I barely remember what I was doing last week and I certainly don't recall what views I may or may not have written two or three years ago. You know, it is not uncommon for peoples views to evolve over time, or for one to recognise an opportunity for an improvement when it is drawn to ones attention, though one may have previously missed it.

 

It's really very simple. There is an ambiguity in the rules. It has been pointed out. A solution has been offered. You decline to implement the solution and instead argue and patronise. Seriously disappointing and meriting the several fucks that have peppered this post. Let me know when you are ready to apologise for your boorish behaviour.

 

Isn't there a rule here regarding civility? If not, there should be.

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Our volunteer moderators are going to decide what corrections to the section header are needed, based on suggestions made, and then we'll pass them along for Admins to approve. Sorry to cut this discussion short, but nobody, NOBODY has time to participate in ill-chosen and uncivil battles when more pressing matters hang above us all.

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