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Is anyone else disappointed in OT?

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#21 Bad Wolf

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 05:55 AM

Bossy, on Jun 24 2003, 11:54 AM, said:

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 24 2003, 01:45 PM, said:

^

What Bossy said.

:)
Is this another sign that the end of the world is near? ;)
It's a sign that two highly shy and timid wallflowers can occassionally come to the same conclusion..;)
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#22 Drew

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 05:55 AM

Frankly, I refused to set foot into OT until just a couple weeks ago because I was firmly against its creation. Nice little place you have here. I was starting to enjoy it.

But the message is clear: we damned proles just simply haven't got the massive brainpower required for this forum.

I suppose I should be embarassed that my posts contain "barely a trace of scholarly analysis."

But I'm not.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#23 Rov Judicata

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 05:59 AM

As far as I'm concerned, OT is a near-total success.

This forum is simply too busy for it to be mixed up with any other. I do believe the split was proper, and neccasary, and beneficial. (Compare the threads from before the split-- which were moved here-- to the threads after. There's been a marked improvement in the depth, length, and quantity of discussion).

Based on replies, this is our third busiest forum. Clearly, no matter what reservations people have, it *is* popular. Based on how its going, it will soon outstrip even GMD. We *do* need a place to discuss history, politics, and current events.

I humbly submit that if people think that OT is a hot topics forum, they visit a real hot topics forum.

I'm sorry if the threads aren't what you expected Christopher... but how a forum unfolds is freedom of expression in its purest form.

YMMV.

BTW: Christopher's position is most certainly not the official position of the Ex Isle Administration. Like me, he's speaking as a member of this community, nothing else.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#24 Bad Wolf

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:00 AM

Drew, on Jun 24 2003, 11:56 AM, said:

But the message is clear: we damned proles just simply haven't got the massive brainpower required for this forum.

I suppose I should be embarassed that my posts contain "barely a trace of scholarly analysis."

But I'm not.
Drew don't you DARE let one person's snobbery (and it is snobbery and I'm not at all pleased by it) drive you away.

You're a valuable contributor here and, as I've said to you more than once, you are one of the MAIN reasons that some of the touchiest discussions here have remained civil.

Frankly, I'll take your humor and reason over a bunch of bookish PRISSINESS (*glares at Christoper*) any freaking day of the week.

Lil

Edited by Una Salus Lillius, 25 June 2003 - 06:02 AM.

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#25 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:00 AM

I don't think it's a question of all or nothing. It's a question of balance. I'm disappointed, though not surprised at how political/current event discussions the larger portion of the threads.

I'm more interested in history and sociological discussions myself. Got nothing against controversy per se, though sometimes it's just an excuse to be rude in general--which I don't care for.

So, let's get some of those threads going, and see how we develop.

ETA: A taste for scholarly (or perhaps its better to say "researched and supported" since "scholarly" seems to hit hot buttons for some folks) discussion is hardly "bookish prissiness", or snobbery, Lil.

*glares at Lil in turn since it seems so popular a way to express disagreement*

Wanting something different doesn't necessarily mean that what's currently in place is bad, or a failure. Insisting that it is is simply bad melodrama.

Ro

Edited by Ro-Astarte, 25 June 2003 - 06:06 AM.


#26 Rov Judicata

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:05 AM

Replying to the initial post point by point:

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When we were discussing its creation, the idea behind it was to create a place for in-depth, scholarly discussion of history and social sciences.

And current events. That was *always* part of the mission statement.

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The routine current-events discussion, political debates and rhetoric would remain on The Beach, while OT (though of course we hadn't named it that yet) would be a place for more objective and analytical discussion of the social science and historical factors behind current events.  (Just as EtU is for discussing the science behind SF works rather than general discussion or reviews of the works themselves.)

I don't remember that at all. This was always intended as a clearinghouse for history, politics, and current events.

Quote

But in my opinion, it's completely failed in that objective.

It *is* a place for more in-depth discussion. For instance, the replies per topic ratio is higher than that of the beach, even though the beach has a few threads with hundreds of replies that bring up the average dramatically.

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It's become overwhelmingly dominated by current events, political debate and polemic, with barely a trace of actual scholarly analysis. Even those few threads which manage to touch on historical subjects always seem to end up turning into political debates.

As noted, you've done that yourself.

Quote

So it seems to me that the forum has ended up being exactly what the critics of the idea were afraid it would be, just a way to siphon off the hot topics from The Beach, and that those of us who wanted a forum about history and social science still don't have one.

This forum isn't remotely hot topicish. It's not even close. On the scale of internet flammability, it's a bucket of water with a match in it..

Quote

Now, I know that in a "free marketplace of ideas" like this one, the forum ends up being what the community as a whole wants it to be.  But it feels to me like the whole point of the original suggestion has been missed.  And I have to wonder whether there's anything about the discussions in OT that are fundamentally different from the political discussion in The Beach before the split -- in other words, if the split has turned out to have been really necessary at all.

It has. The number, depth, and replies have gone up dramatically. I'm very happy with how its turned out.

Quote

I'm not proposing any course of action here, just voicing my impressions.  Certainly it'd be pointless to try splitting off yet another forum just for those apparently few of us who are more interested in the social science behind the news, or in historical discussions unrelated to current events, than in debating the news itself.

You can start any thread you like. If somebody posts something you don't feel is appropriate in that discussion, you're under no obligation to reply.

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  Maybe folks could at least try a little harder to include such threads in the mix.

People will talk about what they WANT to talk about.  If it's not enough of what you like, I'm very sorry… but those are the breaks.

Quote

But as long as the forum is so dominated by current events and politics, I'm not really that interested in sticking around to make the effort, because current events and politics just depress me.

The whole point of a messageboard with various forums is that you participate in the ones that interest you.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#27 Rhea

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:09 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 24 2003, 11:45 AM, said:

^

What Bossy said.

:)
Me three.  :p
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#28 Bad Wolf

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:12 AM

Hey I have an idea!

If CHRISTOPHER is so hot to have more scholarly discussions, maybe HE ought to start some scholarly discussions!

I know it's a novel and not terribly ivory tower concept but it *just might work*.

*sarcasm most DEFINITELY intended*

:p
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#29 QueenTiye

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:17 AM

Drew, on Jun 24 2003, 02:56 PM, said:

Frankly, I refused to set foot into OT until just a couple weeks ago because I was firmly against its creation. Nice little place you have here. I was starting to enjoy it.

But the message is clear: we damned proles just simply haven't got the massive brainpower required for this forum.

I suppose I should be embarassed that my posts contain "barely a trace of scholarly analysis."

But I'm not.
!!!!!

What??? I'm am stunned that this is the interpretation...

Um.

O.k. first off, I don't think anyone has been called a "prole" or has been criticised for lack of intelligence.  My understanding of Christopher's complaint has been that there should be MORE scholarly discourses... not that there be none of the discourses that we have now.  And since there haven't been, the OT, which was intended to cover a broad spectrum of current events and history in the real world, has tended to focus on current events nearly exclusively - with debate on the various issues being opinion based, with very little research attached to it.  I think it would be a mistake to assume that this means the discussions we HAVE had were less than valuable...

the remedy for the complaint (so far as I've understood it) continues to be that people who want something else contribute it...in my humble opinion...

QT

Oh yeah, and regarding the Election threads - I had rather hoped some people way more brilliant than myself would seize the opportunity to be satirical...some have... but I leave it to the mods to determine where they most properly belong!

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#30 Ogami

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:18 AM

Lil wrote:

If CHRISTOPHER is so hot to have more scholarly discussions, maybe HE ought to start some scholarly discussions! I know it's a novel and not terribly ivory tower concept but it *just might work*.

Verily. Scholarly threads don't spontaneously appear, someone has to post them. If no one does, then vapid political discussions may be the default.  :hehe:

-Ogami

#31 Rov Judicata

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:20 AM

^

I think the statement that "If you want more threads of that type, you should start them." is valid. I've started dozens of thread on politics because that's what I'm interested in.

Excluding this thread from the sample, you have three threads in OT since the split. They are:

-- A plug for the history papers on your website (which are, of course, very good papers). Thank you for posting that, but it's hardly something that's going to spark an in-depth debate.
-- A topic about the Hitler miniseries.
-- A thread on "The 'mystery' of Croatoan", provoked by Andromeda.

I propose that if you want more discussions along the lines of what you're looking for, you *start* them. Don't ask others to take some sort of 'balance' in mind; post what you're interested in. I do, and while many of my threads die an ungraceful death, some of them do spawn endless discussions.

For instance, my thread about Toronto legalazing gay marriage spawned at least 4 daughter threads.

It takes effort and time. If you care enough about the discussion you seek, you should be able to invest it.

All IMO.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#32 Dev F

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:36 AM

As someone who didn't participate in the discussions that created this forum in the first place, but just sort of stumbled upon it, I had no idea that this wasn't primarily a place to move current events-type threads that were previously posted to the Beach. I thought that was the point, and I was happy to see it...

Seems to me that the Beach is a pretty informal, "chatty" kind of forum, and it makes sense to separate out the less social, more hard-newsy types of discussions and put them into OT.

(That being said, I was just thinking yesterday that some of the recent OT threads might be more at home on the Beach. Namely, the "Ex Isle Political Party" threads, which seem more chatty/social than political/philosophical in nature.)

--
Dev F

#33 Rov Judicata

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:42 AM

Dev F, on Jun 24 2003, 12:37 PM, said:

As someone who didn't participate in the discussions that created this forum in the first place, but just sort of stumbled upon it, I had no idea that this wasn't primarily a place to move current events-type threads that were previously posted to the Beach. I thought that was the point, and I was happy to see it...
As someone who did participate in the discussions that created this forum, this *is* a place to put current events-type threads that were previously posted to the beach

Quote

Seems to me that the Beach is a pretty informal, "chatty" kind of forum, and it makes sense to separate out the less social, more hard-newsy types of discussions and put them into OT.

Precisely.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#34 Christopher

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:46 AM

Uncle Sid, on Jun 24 2003, 02:17 PM, said:

This forum is not supposed to discuss current events?  That's news to me.  After all, it is in the subtitle of the forum....
But the point was that it was supposed to be about discussing the social science behind current events, just as EtU is for discussing the sciences behind SF.  It's still discussing current events, but in a more in-depth manner -- not just engaging in the debate, but providing background and context for the debate, and presenting hard data and scholarship as a counterweight to raw polemic.

Remember, Sid, what you and I did so much on the Andromeda Forum's periodic debates about Islam?  When some people would come along spouting anti-Islamic rhetoric or misconceptions or myths, we'd respond with a heavy dose of hard information, detailed explanations of the history and actual teachings of Islam and the political history and social science of the Islamic world, as an antidote to the stereotypes and misinformation that those people were basing their opinions on.  That's what I wanted OT to be -- a place where people could come to gain a full, nuanced understanding on which to base their opinions.

No matter what Ogami claims, that's what matters most to me -- that people base their opinions on the full range of evidence, absorbed with an open mind, rather than just swallowing the ideology or propaganda of one side or the other, rather than just reducing everything to some simplistic black-and-white caricature.  Like Aaron Sorkin, I care far less about right vs. left than I do about intelligent, responsible politics vs. shallow factionalism.  (Ogami, there are conservatives whose positions I respect, because I respect the thought that went into them.  But all I hear in your words is kneejerk, dumbed-down, us-vs.-them polemic, stirring up hatred and hostility between factions instead of seeking to synthesize opposing viewpoints for the good of everyone.  And there's nothing in that which I can respect, no matter which side of the political spectrum it's on.)
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#35 Bad Wolf

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:52 AM

Quote

But all I hear in your words is kneejerk, dumbed-down, us-vs.-them polemic, stirring up hatred and hostility between factions instead of seeking to synthesize opposing viewpoints for the good of everyone. And there's nothing in that which I can respect, no matter which side of the political spectrum it's on.)

At the risk of sounding polemic:

THAT IS A CROCK.

Nice going Christopher.  Way to insult everybody.

I hope you've got plenty to occupy you up there in your white tower because you're not going have a hell of a lot of company now that you've pronounced us all to be unfit to enter into discussion with one of such lofty intellect.

Or, as Spock might   say:

Go to hell.

:glare:
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#36 Rov Judicata

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:54 AM

Quote

But the point was that it was supposed to be about discussing the social science behind current events, just as EtU is for discussing the sciences behind SF. It's still discussing current events, but in a more in-depth manner -- not just engaging in the debate, but providing background and context for the debate, and presenting hard data and scholarship as a counterweight to raw polemic.

I'm sorry if you don't like how the rest of us debate. Frankly, I think it's just fine. You're more than welcome to show us how it's done.  :dontgetit:.


Quote

No matter what Ogami claims, that's what matters most to me -- that people base their opinions on the full range of evidence, absorbed with an open mind, rather than just swallowing the ideology or propaganda of one side or the other, rather than just reducing everything to some simplistic black-and-white caricature.

And who are you to make that determination? To be perfectly blunt, I find that entire attitude rather arrogant.

Quote

But all I hear in your words is kneejerk, dumbed-down, us-vs.-them polemic, stirring up hatred and hostility between factions instead of seeking to synthesize opposing viewpoints for the good of everyone. And there's nothing in that which I can respect, no matter which side of the political spectrum it's on.)

That's *precisely* the attitude many of my professors have that I hate. I hate in them, and I hate even more to see it here.

Guess what? People disagree with you. They may reach their conclusions through different means. They may disagree with you on every point of fact and logic.

But all I read in your post is a hubristic arrogance and an ivory tower mentality.

Physician, heal thyself.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#37 Rhea

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 06:57 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 24 2003, 12:53 PM, said:

Quote

But all I hear in your words is kneejerk, dumbed-down, us-vs.-them polemic, stirring up hatred and hostility between factions instead of seeking to synthesize opposing viewpoints for the good of everyone. And there's nothing in that which I can respect, no matter which side of the political spectrum it's on.)

At the risk of sounding polemic:

THAT IS A CROCK.

Nice going Christopher.  Way to insult everybody.

I hope you've got plenty to occupy you up there in your white tower because you're not going have a hell of a lot of company now that you've pronounced us all to be unfit to enter into discussion with one of such lofty intellect.

Or, as Spock might   say:

Go to hell.

:glare:
I'm afraid I agree with Lil, Christopher.

I've tried to add more hard information in a lot of threads, but I don't think it's actually incumbent on ANYONE to provide any specific bit of info. It either happens or it doesn't.

Each forum becomes what the people who participate in it make it.

I hardly ever post in EtU precisely because the few topics I've started were not responded to. It's obvious that people want to stick to hard science, and that's fine.

But don't expect the other forums to live up to your standards - they each have a unique personality, and there's no given - this is a community, for crying out loud!
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#38 GiGi

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 07:00 AM

Dev F, on Jun 24 2003, 11:37 AM, said:

As someone who didn't participate in the discussions that created this forum in the first place, but just sort of stumbled upon it, I had no idea that this wasn't primarily a place to move current events-type threads that were previously posted to the Beach. I thought that was the point, and I was happy to see it...

Seems to me that the Beach is a pretty informal, "chatty" kind of forum, and it makes sense to separate out the less social, more hard-newsy types of discussions and put them into OT.

(That being said, I was just thinking yesterday that some of the recent OT threads might be more at home on the Beach. Namely, the "Ex Isle Political Party" threads, which seem more chatty/social than political/philosophical in nature.)

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Dev F
My thoughts EXACTLY... especially about the ExIsle party threads...so "what he said!"
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#39 Jid

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 07:02 AM

Isn't it amazing how quickly both sides are willing to revert to labelling and other old habits?

Good day, Orbis Terrarum.
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#40 Rov Judicata

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 07:03 AM

Re: Ex Isle Party threads in here.

Strictly speaking, it isn't exactly what was intented for OT. However, a bit of topic drift is to be expected. I don't personally think it's out of hand...
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.



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