2010-08-18 03:37:19Moderating blog Introductions of basic arguments
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

John, could we get some guidance on what level of defense we want to employ as basic arguments are introduced via the blog?

Point being, basic arguments are necessarily truncated somewhat and thus afford easy pickings for lazy assertions. Chris Canaris suggested that it's inappropriate to get into detailed discussions on basic intro threads, but following that advice is not going to stop the usual suspects from leaving a lot of rubbish hanging in the air, unopposed. Indeed, Chris took the opportunity to further promote irrelevancies even as he acted as tone sheriff on the "Good, bad, ugly..." post.

As a general remark I'll offer that these blog intros tell us that comment threads on basic rebuttals are going to be a pain as well as counterproductive, reinforcing my belief that  a unified comments thread should be available only on the intermediate and advanced tabs.

2010-08-18 07:25:44Canaris' comment
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.17.49
I'm not sure I agree with chris' comment. If a basic post goes wrong due to oversimplification, let people point it out and we'll refine the wording. If people want to discuss more detailed aspects, who are we to get in the way? I always saw my blog posts (intermediate or basic) as simpler summations with the nitty gritty usually hashed out in the comments. I see the same here. So I suggest no special rules for "basic" posts - just the usual moderation guidelines.
2010-08-18 10:22:02Ray of hope?
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

John, just in case you can throw me a bone, may I look forward to comment threads being visible only on intermediate and advanced arguments as they being to appear in tabbed versions? And I do hope you can tell me they'll unified!

 


2010-08-18 17:10:56Basic comments
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
118.208.41.102
Doug, to be honest, I'm not convinced of the need to have no comments on the basic version. I hate going to a website and seeing the "comments closed" message. To me, its a question of either "grand unified comments" or "separate comments". Convince me of why it's such a good idea :-)
2010-08-18 19:55:10Encouraging commenters to first read the intermediate rebuttal?
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
109.85.57.89

Could it help to put a notice next to the comments-box on the basic-version that folks should first check out the intermediate explanation (add the link) to see if their concern is tackled there? Obviously, this will only work if folks actually read notices/hints like that - which is certainly not a given!

 Generally, I'm in favor of showing all comments together with - as mentioned elsewhere - an icon of where the comment originated (basic, intermediate or advanced)

2010-08-19 05:09:29Basic rebuttals no comment persuasion
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

First let me make clear  I'm not suggesting comment be closed on blog introductions of basic arguments. Although the comments coming in there are annoying, they're also valuable feedback on weaknesses in the basic arguments. I think I introduced some confusion by bringing up tabbed comments in this thread.

With regard to the tabbed rebuttals, the "static" core content of the site as opposed to the blog:

As we know from past experience, skeptics and particularly the drive-by variety post in haste, without bothering with context, past discussion history etc.  As well, they enjoy the benefit of asymmetry; it takes just a moment to blurt out a (likely redundant) error, more time to correct it. Every one of these comments -must- be dealt with because leaving an error as the last word on a comment thread is unacceptable.

We can already see that basic rebuttals because of their inherently ambiguous and less than comprehensive nature are inviting lazy potshots. Appearing in tandem with the basic arguments this noise degrades the efficacy of basic rebuttals, is beyond the scope of these rebuttals and in sum adds nothing to the productivity of the site, in fact saps valuable time contributed by moderators while yielding no benefit.

"Comments closed" need not appear, instead comment threads may simply appear in conjunction with intermediate and advanced tabs, not on the "basic" tab.  If a person encountering a basic rebuttal has a genuine question about what they've read, they'll naturally move to the intermediate tab. If the intermediate tab does not serve, they can either ask a question on the comment thread appearing there or move to the advanced tab.

So in sum I am suggesting that as the final presentations of these new tabbed treatments appear in their permanent form, comment threads are only available on the  intermediate and advanced tabs so as to improve the efficacy of basic rebuttals and avoid us wasting valuable time dealing with dull arrows hitting the large target presented by basic rebuttals.