2011-05-14 11:21:00Tempted to reactivate Poptech
John Cook


I'm having an email exchange with Andrew (Poptech) who wants his account reactivated. I must confess I'm tempted to - particularly next week with the peer-reviewed emphasis. Anyone want to talk me out of it or provide advice on how to handle him - what conditions I could set - if we did reinstate him.

2011-05-14 11:21:48Addendum
John Cook


I'd also like to tweak the moderation rules too - add some more transparency and probably institute the rule that mods can't moderate discussions they're actively involved in. But that will have to wait till next week.

2011-05-16 18:45:11
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley

I'd advise against it, purely because he is unwilling to defend the science of the papers in his list, which means that any discussion with him ends up in discussions of anything but the science.

If he does make a return, perhaps any discussion of his list should be off-topic?

2011-05-18 16:01:23What about if we do a peer-review post or a Poptech post?
John Cook


Should he be allowed to post then considering it would likely be on topic?

2011-05-18 23:18:46Yes, with caveats
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

If we do a peer-review list or a Poptech list, then the ethical thing to do would be to allow him a chance to add to the dialogue.

However, we know this will result in the need for heavy moderation.  Thus, specific criteria will need to be put into place both between Poptech and Skeptical Science specifically and to the moderation policy (this really needs to be formalized like the comments policy is) & Comments Policy in general. 

Suggestions to start:

  • Posting comments at SkS is a priviledge, not a right
  • Adherence to the Comments Policy is likewise mandatory, not optional
  • Comments in violation of the policy will either have the offending portions snipped or will be deleted summarily, at the discretion of the moderator
  • Having 3 comments deleted in a 48-hour period results in a 7-day "timeout"
  • 2 "timeouts" in a month or 3 overall (3-strike rule) results in an IP-block of the offender

I can't imagine anyone suffering a 2nd "timeout" that actually wanted to be part of the dialogue at SkS would ever risk getting a 3rd strike.

I do note, with apologies, that the above suggested guidelines will necessitate more work on your part initially, John.  For that I apologize deeply.  The long-term payoff, however, is a much more robust moderation policy and more civilized discussion, free from invective and noise.