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djellison
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.
PhilCo126
Well-said Doug!
Forum members have to stick to these clear guidelines in order to keep UMSF.com in optimum shape...
jasedm
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.
dvandorn
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
tanjent
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.
djellison
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.
climber
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
Zvezdichko
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.
Shaka
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

djellison
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
dvandorn
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
Zvezdichko
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.
centsworth_II
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
Del Palmer
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

nprev
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
lyford
I was very active over on the Bad Astronomy forum before it merged with Universe Today.... and before mer.rlproject.com even existed. bautforum has some very good people there, but it is too big for my tastes.

I would submit that the EVA section in a way serves a greater purpose for the board than the Manned section - I do think it is a good thing to allow members to build a sense of community in ways other than mission speak.... I know I have benefitted not only from the knowledge imparted on this board, but the humor and humanity shared as well in the Chit Chat section.

As one who called for an area to discuss policy and strategy many moons ago (as in months not Galilean satellites), I would be sad to see that go. I was asking for thread to program design: engineering tradeoffs, long term exploration strategies, mission piggyback opportunities, etc, but this had I guess some political overtones in the Better Faster Cheaper section.

I still am in awe of the signal to noise ratio of this board, and it has as much to do with the enforcement by the moderators - which keeps good people coming back to post.

Second the props to nasaspaceflight.com, but in my limited time I choose this board over many! (Sorry Slashdot.....)
dvandorn
And, hey -- this just gives me more impetus to get moving on my moribund blog. Now when I want to discuss space history and such, I can use that to motivate myself to go blog...

-the other Doug
stevesliva
Oh, speaking of, there was an excellent space history blog on on of the recent carnivals-of-space... [searches]
http://altairvi.blogspot.com/
(Since other outlets are being mentioned)
Greg Hullender
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 5 2008, 02:22 AM) *
Secondly - the politics rule is staying - and is to be enforced even more strongly than ever before.


I definitely welcome that, [political comment removed - Admin]

--Greg
jmjawors
UMSF and NSF are like two peas in a pod, in my opinion. They compliment each other very well.
Bernard

thanks Doug
I think you are absolutely right
PFK
QUOTE (Shaka @ Sep 5 2008, 09:18 PM) *
Forget about BBQs; we need to see this lair in all its gothic splendor, accompanied by a soundtrack of suitably blood-curdling moans!

This is what Kubrick would have made of it smile.gif
Click to view attachment
dvandorn
Gentlemen! You can't fight here! This is the War Room!

rolleyes.gif

-the other Doug
David
I've begun to suspect that Doug takes my presence on a thread as evidence of the thread's senescence -- being the most "civilian" of any of the posting members of UMSF (=not a space scientist; not an image tech), as soon as I start posting something on a thread, he knows that the thread has lost any scientific or technical value it might have had and it's time for him to shut it down.

At least it just seems to me that, over and over again, as soon as I post something to a thread the thread disappears -- I don't suppose anyone else has the same experience.

unsure.gif
ustrax
QUOTE (David @ Sep 6 2008, 06:54 PM) *
being the most "civilian" of any of the posting members of UMSF (=not a space scientist; not an image tech)


We can wrestle about that... wink.gif
I guess I'll win...man...I am known to see abysses where they're not... tongue.gif
centsworth_II
QUOTE (David @ Sep 6 2008, 12:54 PM) *
...as soon as I post something to a thread the thread disappears -- I don't suppose anyone else has the same experience.

I have. laugh.gif
Or, sometimes, it's just my post that disappears. ohmy.gif
djellison
QUOTE (David @ Sep 6 2008, 06:54 PM) *
I've begun to suspect that Doug takes my presence on a thread as evidence of the thread's senescence --


Utter nonsense. Don't take this the wrong way, but you're not a person who's posting I 'recognise' on the forum. Shaka, Centsworth, Ustrax, Stu - I know what I'm going to get when I see their name. Sometimes it makes me cringe, sometimes it makes me laugh. When it was ol' Bruce - it usually made me cry. But I've not built that sort of (for what of a better phrase) 'posting style profile' for you. You're certainly not a member of the esteemed 'I've got my own thread in the admin section' club. ( and no - I'm not telling everyone who we do have one for )

So I thought I'd look at your past posting with a simple search. A significant portion of your recent posts have been in the manned section, or about the pluto debate, or spectacular rule break in starting a thread about a hearing Griffin was at. So basically, yeah, if the majority of your posts are in a section of the forum that is troublesome, or about a subject on the 'not allowed' list - surely you should expect many to end up closed or culled?


Oh - and someone needs to put the admin team faces on that military conference room photo. But put party hats, streamers, and beer bottles on the table for added authenticity.

Doug
Shaka
...and perhaps the heads of some late lamented "guest" posters in jars of formaldehyde. laugh.gif
ustrax
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 6 2008, 08:48 PM) *
a person who's posting I 'recognise' on the forum. Shaka, Centsworth, Ustrax, Stu - I know what I'm going to get when I see their name.


Huuuuum...looks like I need to change my modus operandi... cool.gif
David
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 6 2008, 07:48 PM) *
Utter nonsense. Don't take this the wrong way, but you're not a person who's posting I 'recognise' on the forum.


Nor would I expect Doug to. It was a joke, with my tongue placed firmly in cheek. (And the joke only works because I know that I'm a pretty obscure poster.) In fact, I'm surprised that Doug bothered to take the time to look me up -- that's going well above and beyond the call of his duty. But his response more or less validates what I was saying -- by the time a non-scientist like me gets around to posting on a "popular" thread, it's probably well past its sell-by date. If Doug hasn't used my participation as an index of thread sourness, he might well consider doing so for the future! smile.gif

QUOTE
or spectacular rule break in starting a thread about a hearing Griffin was at.


I'd appreciate being informed of my 'rule breaks' at the time they occur, rather than a year or two or three later. Whatever this thread was, I have no recollection of starting it, or of any subsequent administrative response (which I think I would not forget; I recall less "spectacular" instances where I was only very tangentially involved). I certainly apologize for any violations of forum rules on my part, and I am reasonably sure they could only have occurred through ignorance of the rules on my part.
Zvezdichko
QUOTE (ustrax @ Sep 6 2008, 07:50 PM) *
We can wrestle about that... wink.gif
I guess I'll win...man...I am known to see abysses where they're not... tongue.gif


Hey, my friend smile.gif Welcome back smile.gif I was missing you.

Doug. Do you mean Bruce Moomaw? I know him on spacedaily.com and he has a lot of interesting articles.
David
I did a search of my own past posts to find out what Doug could be talking about, and I think I found it: a post that's one year and four months old. It starts "Doug, feel free to delete this if it's improper or misplaced".

I think that might evince an intention on my part to stay within the rules. If it was a "spectacular rule break", I'm surprised to find that it wasn't deleted. I have no problem if it's deleted now, of course, any more than I did at the time.

Most of my recent posts have been about planetary nomenclature in various threads. Before that, it appears my biggest burst of postings was on the occasion of Cassini's near flyby of Iapetus. As far as my posts on other issues go, as far as I can tell they were inoffensive, few, and within UMSF rules as they existed at the time.

At this point I think I may be taking too seriously what started as a humorous observation of a quirky fact. I'm just a little baffled to find myself charged with crimes against UMSF at this late date. laugh.gif
ustrax
QUOTE (Zvezdichko @ Sep 6 2008, 09:36 PM) *
Hey, my friend smile.gif Welcome back smile.gif I was missing you.


I'm here...for the despair of many...to make things worst I'm in a mood for wrestling...candidates? tongue.gif
djellison
QUOTE (David @ Sep 6 2008, 10:05 PM) *
At this point I think I may be taking too seriously...


I'd agree. Of course, it helps, when you're not being serious, to make it far far more obvious.
Stu
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 6 2008, 08:48 PM) *
you're not a person who's posting I 'recognise' on the forum. Shaka, Centsworth, Ustrax, Stu - I know what I'm going to get when I see their name. Sometimes it makes me cringe, sometimes it makes me laugh.


Cringe? unsure.gif
djellison
In a good way.
Stu
Ah, gotcha. One of those many ways there are of cringing pleasantly.

I feel much better now. smile.gif
ilbasso
I wanted to apologize to everyone if I got out of line. I was only trying to get clarity. I certainly apologize if my ham-handed attempts to do so resulted in the pulling of the Manned Spaceflight thread; that was inexcusable behavior on my part. I ask your forgiveness, and you can be assured that I will post nothing controversial from here forward.

I should have remembered Will Rogers' wise words: If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.
Greg Hullender
QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Sep 5 2008, 08:43 PM) *
I definitely welcome that, [political comment removed - Admin]

That was hillarious. :-) If the bar is set that high, I'll definitely have no complaints!

--Greg
hendric
I, for one, welcome again our old dictatorial overlords! Some day, we'll have to write a book "Doug's Rules of (Totalitarian) Order" for feeding and care of forums. I imagine they would be pretty relevant for other things too, like Astronomy clubs, that descend into parliamentary madness..
PhilCo126
UMSF.com is about Unmanned spaceflight... period!
There's only only "problem" with that, 75% of my Internet searches point to the forum wacko.gif
Seriously, wish we had UMSF around in 1976 rolleyes.gif
djellison
Despite quite clear rules, despite this very clear thread, despite very very direct and unquestionable instructions within the very thread in question, including

"If you can't discuss something without wandering into the fringes of politics - then don't discuss it here. "
and
"no politics means no politics"

Someone posted
"NASA is essentially operating under a 6 month continuing resolution to spring of next year (continuing at FY08 budget levels) until the new President submits a new budget, which may need to be approved through the legislative process. So this Friday's decision, if it is for continuation, may still be subject to political review."

For those that can not figure it out for themselves - that post contains politics. Do you get it now? This member has had that post deleted, and is now serving a 7 day suspension. I'm not sure what it is going to take to get people to follow the rules - let this serve as an example to that member, and everybody - that no politics means no politics.

If you're left thinking "But how can we talk about such-and-such without mentioning politics at all?" - the answer is that you shouldn't be talking about whatever it is that you somehow require politics to discuss.

I will repeat this once again

No politics, means no politics. No exceptions. Deletions, suspension, and bans will follow for those determined to ignore that rule and direct instructions from the admin/mod team.
djellison
Totally unnecessary over-analysis of what is or isn't politics deleted (David - seriously - step away from the keyboard )

99.9% of the people here understand and follow this very very simple rule.

That one or two people feel unable is down to them, and nothing else.

If anyone really can not figure it out - if they have to resort to a dictionary to figure out what a ban on political discussion is - then sorry, UMSF is not for them.
SFJCody
QUOTE (PhilCo126 @ Sep 8 2008, 06:26 PM) *
UMSF.com is about Unmanned spaceflight... period!


I've always thought of this place as 'planetary & solar spaceflight' rather than just umsf. The discussions are very heavily skewed that way.
Greg Hullender
QUOTE (SFJCody @ Oct 8 2008, 10:51 AM) *
I've always thought of this place as 'planetary & solar spaceflight' rather than just umsf. The discussions are very heavily skewed that way.

I'd claim the central thrust is even narrower than that; it's about amateur space/computer buffs sharing clever new visualizations of publicly-available raw data that data space probes have collected from other worlds. All on-topic discussion supports this one way or another. For example, the Falcon launches are intensely interesting because they're our best hope for all kinds of future missions.

The rule I'm trying to make myself follow is: if you're not showing off a picture you made, talking about a picture someone else made, or providing information that'll eventually be useful (or at least interesting) to someone making a picture, then you're probably off-topic.

--Greg
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