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Politics and Manned Space-flight
djellison
post Sep 5 2008, 09:22 AM
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Over the past 24 hrs, several members have demonstrated that they strongly object to and are unable to follow the 'no politics' rule, citing words such as 'censorship' and 'subjective'. How or why people find it so hard to not discuss politics still amazes me and fellow admins. So - I'm going to make it a little easier for you.

Three things in terms of Forum admin are happening as of today.

Firstly, the manned space flight section is to be turned into a read-only archive. This is NOT a statement regarding my or the forum's support or otherwise for Manned Spaceflight. It is simply a symptom of the sorts of discussion that happen there that so many brush against or dive straight into issues of, around or referencing politics. I thought (perhaps naievly) that UMSF members would be able to use an enjoy such a subsection without political issues creeping in as often as they have. Time has demonstrated that assumption to be wrong. Time has demonstrated that the vast majority of administrative headaches have their genesis in that sub-forum. If you try to argue that it's impossible to have discussions without politics, I would suggest you look at the 117,000 posts and more than 5,000 topics that managed to do exactly that. If you honestly can't see a way to have a discussion without politics, please find another forum, UMSF is not for you. Given that the manned-v-unmanned debate is against forum rules, and there is now no platform for manned spaceflight debate - this will almost certainly mean the end of any manned spaceflight discussion at UMSF. I repeat, this is not a statement regarding the pros and cons of one versus the other.

Secondly - the politics rule is staying - and is to be enforced even more strongly than ever before. So often I have heard comments such as 'I really like UMSF but.....' with that 'but' always citing one of the key things we do as an admin team to make UMSF the forum the person says they really like. Zero-tolerance of fringe theories, conspiracies etc is one. Zero-politics is another. Dictatorship style administration is another. Because UMSF is a good place to discuss image processing, MER, Cassini and so on, that does not mean it should be a good place to discuss anything any visitor wants to. It is precisely because they CAN'T that it is the place that it is. This forum was started as and will remain focused on particular discussions.

Thirdly - the Policy and Strategy subforum is to be renamed . I can understand that some might see a 'no politics' rule, but a 'policy' subforum as see confusion. This forum will be renamed 'Exploration Strategy' and is a home for debate about mission selection, pre-mission approval debate, ideas for new missions and so on. But, it does NOT become a new home for political debate.

Administration by its nature is subjective. If you are unable to establish for yourself what is or is not acceptable at UMSF, please find another forum. The forum guidelines make it rather obvious. It is when people decide to selectively ignore them that we have to subjectively enforce them.

As for censorship - this still strikes me as the most blinkered criticism I can imagine. No one is saying that you can not discuss Politics, or Cydonia. The rules simply state that you can not discuss them here.. There are plenty of other forums that you can visit if you want to have discussions outside the remit of UMSF - four popular ones are listed below.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com : Well moderated, the closest thing to UMSF for manned spaceflight.
http://www.bautforum.com : Well moderated, has conspiracy and against the mainstream sub-forums with well crafted rules to insist such discussions make progress and are well structured within a time frame. Religion and Politics not welcome.
http://www.habitablezone.com : Little moderation, has a current-events section for political debate.
http://www.marsroverblog.com : Near zero moderation, anything goes.

I frequent all, contribute to some, and enjoy (for a variety of reasons) all of them.

If you have a problem with forum rules - send us a private message (the 'report a post' tool is probably useful for this). The reason I have assembled the admin team that I have, is because I trust them more than I trust the general UMSF membership when it comes to decisions about UMSF. Emily, Dan, Glen, Nico, Joe and I have a similar vision of UMSF. We're not all immature 20-somethings ( infact, I'm the only 20-something out of the lot, and that's not true much longer). I picked that team because they're not me - because they're older (sorry guys - it's true), more worldly, and certainly wiser than I. It's no secret that we have a virtual underground lair where we discuss the forum, most major forum decisions, and generally moan about the more pedantic and troublesome UMSF members. If a decision has to be made about UMSF, it will happen there. We may ask you for your input, but until we need it, that decision making process happens in the admin section with the mods and admins tossing ideas around.

Ultimately, however, UMSF is my responsibility, and I've made decisions this morning, on my own, that I was hoping the maturity of UMSF members would mean I wouldn't have to make. Sadly, that's turned out not to be the case. Some will inevitably accuse me of another baby+bathwater reaction. In response, I will say yes - some interesting and good discourse may well fall by the wayside because of this. I have contributed to and enjoyed the manned section myself. However, as the source of so much trouble, it has been a thorn in the side of UMSF as long as it existed, and I have hinted at it's future demise for some time. It helps clarify a grey area and of course, there are many other forums where those debates can happen instead - indeed, far better and more appropriate places where more fruitful and informative discussions can take place. If you think it's a shame that it's gone - ask yourself why you come here, and if that sub-forum really was a key part of what UMSF is about. All we're really doing is enforcing this..

- 1.1 The clue is in the name of the forum. If what you are posting is not related either to Unmanned Spaceflight, or a directly related matter, it may be deleted without notice.

The forum guidelines ( http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?act=boardrules ) have been appropriately adjusted. Further tweaks to the 'EVA' section will happen over the next day or so.
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Guest_PhilCo126_*
post Sep 5 2008, 11:12 AM
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Well-said Doug!
Forum members have to stick to these clear guidelines in order to keep UMSF.com in optimum shape...
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jasedm
post Sep 5 2008, 11:59 AM
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Don't want to appear a toady, but fair enough, rules is rules.
The politics ban is probably one of the major reasons (along with the moderation of course) that frayed tempers and ad hominem attacks are not evident on the forum.
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dvandorn
post Sep 5 2008, 01:51 PM
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Nope -- can't complain at all.

There will be times, I'm sure, that in appropriate context, scientific lessons learned and applicable data that has been generated from things like Apollo may be acceptably cited, especially in such fora as the lunar exploration forum. (It's impossible to discuss lunar origins, geochemistry, etc., in an Apollo vacuum, after all.) But that kind of thing isn't what has been causing problems, anyway.

So -- as one of the guys here who has a lot of things to say about manned space flight history, I'm totally satisfied with these developments. Thanks for being good admins, guys.

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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tanjent
post Sep 5 2008, 02:32 PM
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Question: Would it be possible to extract the Hubble thread, or perhaps start a new one in a different location? I have read (OK, quite a long time ago) the guidance material related to the forum's intended scope and I recall that Hubble did not fully qualify, but this topic will surely get a lot of attention in the next couple of months. At this stage the political issues seem to have largely been resolved - at least those related to whether to proceed with the imminent servicing mission. What remains are many technical challenges that, despite the element of human intervention, seem to have a lot in common with other robotic missions. Just a thought.
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djellison
post Sep 5 2008, 02:45 PM
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No. There is far too much scope for debate about the benefits of manned servicing, the relative merits of Hubble etc. There is no debate suitable for UMSF regarding it. Hubble data from the PDS - chat away. Servicing itself - no. What has become clear is that people can not distinguish for themselves, especially when the border is fuzzy, what is or is not acceptable. So a strict, obvious, unquestionable line is being drawn. The hubble servicing mission is off topic. Use of Hubble data, details of the instruments themselves, that's fine. But I'm not pulling threads out of the closed section (and no exceptions)

For this to work - it has to be an unquestionable, undeniable, un-fuzzy, clean break.
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climber
post Sep 5 2008, 04:39 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Sep 5 2008, 03:51 PM) *
So -- as one of the guys here who has a lot of things to say about manned space flight history, I'm totally satisfied with these developments. Thanks for being good admins, guys.
-the other Doug

When I first discovered UMSF I was surprised that a manned section even exist but over the years I get used of it. Anyway I fully agree with administrators decision.
The only thing I was feeling I was going to miss was your (dvandorn) knowledge regarding Apollo's missions. After your message I'm now confident I'll not miss everything. smile.gif


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Guest_Zvezdichko_*
post Sep 5 2008, 07:47 PM
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UMSF is one of the best sources of information (along with NSF). I decided to give a try to one forum from Doug's list. Some of the people there have a very offensive behavior (For example - we know everything, it's time for you to learn because I know more than you, our fringe theories are better). No... this is not I'm looking for. UMSF is a good source for valuable information and I find it sad the Manned section was closed.
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Shaka
post Sep 5 2008, 08:18 PM
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As one who has reportedly been the cause of a significant percentage of the "moaning" in the "underground lair" *, I will nonetheless vote my support for the continued ban on politics (WHOOOPPS...did I say vote?) This despite the fact that I myself recently transgressed the political line, unintentionally of course...BTW, you never saw that post. cool.gif

* I hope Astro0 recognizes the brilliant possibilities for image artistry in this revelation of the Virtual Underground Lair.
Forget about BBQs; we need to see this lair in all its gothic splendor, accompanied by a soundtrack of suitably blood-curdling moans!
Astro0, Photoshop awaits you! wheel.gif



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My Grandpa goes to Mars every day and all I get are these lousy T-shirts!
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djellison
post Sep 5 2008, 08:35 PM
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QUOTE (Zvezdichko @ Sep 5 2008, 08:47 PM) *
I find it sad the Manned section was closed.


So do I. I don't take decisions like that lightly. But I've taken it because I think it's the right thing for UMSF.

BTW - I saw you have a look around the URL on the bottom of the list - try the one at the top, it really is UMSF for manned space-flight in their forum. Having a manned forum here is essentially redundant once you've had a look around there. The depth and breadth of knowledge is very analogous to that regarding MER / Cassini etc. here.

And sorry Shaka - the admin forum runs on Fight Club rules so that the admins and mods can say what they want about who they want without fear of repercussion or causing offense.

Doug
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dvandorn
post Sep 5 2008, 08:40 PM
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I also note that you merged the two "Miscellaneous" categories into a single one, Chit Chat, which is fine by me. I was always a little unsure as to which of those categories I should post for truly miscellaneous observations.

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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Guest_Zvezdichko_*
post Sep 5 2008, 09:15 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 5 2008, 08:35 PM) *
BTW - I saw you have a look around the URL on the bottom of the list - try the one at the top, it really is UMSF for manned space-flight in their forum. Having a manned forum here is essentially redundant once you've had a look around there. The depth and breadth of knowledge is very analogous to that regarding MER / Cassini etc. here.


Oh, I'm already registered there, but under a different nick (I'm Svetoslav Alexandrov there). I'm interested in the Russian space program and participate in threads I like. You know I do the same here - Phobos-Grunt, Chandrayaan, Luna-Glob threads...

My personal opinion is that this list should be expanded. For example, I'm still looking for a good forum that allows astrobiology or is astrobiology oriented.

I joined the bottom list for a reason - I wanted to debunk several of their theories. Just to see whether there will be an effect, but sadly - most people are ignorant and choose what to believe in - no matter whether their sources are credible or not.
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centsworth_II
post Sep 5 2008, 10:22 PM
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QUOTE (Zvezdichko @ Sep 5 2008, 05:15 PM) *
Some of the people there have a very offensive behavior...


QUOTE (Zvezdichko @ Sep 5 2008, 05:15 PM) *
I wanted to debunk several of their theories. Just to see whether there will be an effect...

Ah! Now I see why your welcome there may not have been as warm as you had hoped. laugh.gif
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Del Palmer
post Sep 6 2008, 12:36 AM
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I never posted in that forum, but found it to be very useful in keeping up-to-date with the latest happenings in that area, so sad to see it go, too. With all the amazing things happening in the Solar System and the Universe, why anyone would burn their time discussing politics is beyond me... blink.gif

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nprev
post Sep 6 2008, 12:55 AM
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Too right. I'm beyond the saturation point already with that stuff here in the US this year; UMSF is a most pleasant and informative sanctuary! smile.gif


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A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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