[IMPORTANT] Trolling and insulting users / Forum rules

  • Dear LENR Forum user,

    because we received a growing amount of complaints about the sceptical discussion which become rampant and increasingly caustically, we decided to let our users decide how to handle the situation.

    There are a few questions of which we hope we can answer them as community:

    • Which criteria should we use to classify a user as troll or troublemaker?
    • How long is a sceptical user just leading a critical but open minded discussion (= good), and when is he becoming a pathosceptic (= troll/troublemaker)?
    • And how should we handle such users? Just ban them? Ban them for a certain time?

    We should democratically set up a few forum rules which we will publish afterwards, so everyone has knowledge of them and we can take decisive action on the specific user profiles.

  • I think that true skepticism, the one that tries to find all possible explanations to observations and talks backed by evidence, is wellcome.

    What I consider unnaceptable is when the self appointed skeptic implies that the only possible explanation is fraud, and moreover, that anyone that is not considering seriously with the possibility that the only possible explanation is fraud, is a deluded/ignorant/wishfull thinking retard, or worse, a person in on the fraud.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • Problem is (said in different flavors) :
    - noise preventing understanding of the topic
    - repetitive statement out of context, off-topic
    - permanent reconsideration of discussion axioms, assumption, basics
    - insensibility to discussion, to data, to assumptions, to topic
    technical thread tried to solve the problem

    Best would be independent development of each other argument with few interaction, and effective assessment by each opposing side.
    Question is if it is there on different forums, or there and elsewhere.

    ECN is a place that mirror ECW and each other's arguments are developed locally, with clear bias, but also with sincere debate, which is accepted.

    Minority reports are seldom accepted and have to walk with light foots, to state with care.

    I propose mirrored forums with moderated interaction, with much lurking, taking good seed to the other camp.

    Those who think it is impossible should not interrupt those who are doing it.
    Even if one should check the arguments of the other camps, but it should be done voluntarily or quickly. Critic is data, not advertising or propaganda.

    Extreme unjustified oppositions develop radicalization, and negative emotions, which make believers believe more, analyst lose focus (FUD effect), and newcomers flee.

    I learned that by doing errors. Mea Culpa.

  • I'm relatively new here, so take these reactions with a grain of salt.

    Which criteria should we use to classify a user as troll or troublemaker?

    I think the basic principle is that no one should be labeled a troll simply for what they believe. Anyone who systematically disrupts civil discussion, regardless of what they believe, might be trolling. Whether someone is to be considered a troll should happen on a case-by-case basis, and not by way of some detailed Wikipedia-like procedure, and then only after a long period of time has passed since the problematic behavior began.

    How long is a sceptical user just leading a critical but open minded discussion (= good), and when is he becoming a pathosceptic (= troll/troublemaker)?

    Personal insults are the main problem by far. Snarky, contentless replies are also a big distraction and sour the mood (as intended). Another obstacle to reaching mutual understanding (if not agreement) is repetitive assertion of prior positions, which can be frustrating. But I think that's just bad form and not necessarily trolling.

    And how should we handle such users? Just ban them? Ban them for a certain time?

    Banning people is the nuclear option. You can go from having a lively, slightly irritating discussion to a discussion that is no longer informed by any opposing view very quickly if you ban anyone on the borderline of trolling, as sincere participants may also take offence and leave. For this reason I would not put a well-defined policy in place and instead just deal with cases on an individual basis. If someone does end up being banned, it should be obvious to everyone that it was going to happen, and it should be because they significantly decreased the quality of discussion on the site over a long period of time, especially with personal insults.

    There are some very smart skeptics who have followed LENR over the years and have been polite and made very insightful observations. The participation of such people should not only be tolerated but actively encouraged.

    Some people may be worried about a different situation -- that this site is now crawling with people who are profoundly unpersuaded by LENR. I wouldn't worry about this, myself. One thing that might be helpful here is to require people to give their real identity. I don't buy the whole argument about the usefulness of anonymity in the present context.

  • A) I propose to deny posting to anybody that will try to flood thread with something that can lead to offtopic development. Main purpose of the thread is then completely off and you can just read 30 pages where one or another person is trying to convince somebody about the truth. These users should create new thread and anybody that want to share or comment their skepticism can post there.

    B) Flooding with something as Tyy is unacceptable. Banning is not needed, but post denial in threads other than their own can be good.
    So everybody can express their feelings while main purpose of the thread can be untouched.

    C) If somebody is doing these things in each thread and is even the most active member, then use B)

  • From what I see, we are talking two people....MY and TYY. I see Thomas as an asset, not a liability to the discussions. I have been on talk forums since their inception. I have seen many slowly ruined, forcing their closure due to just a few trolls who ran everyone off. I have also seen a couple that lost their allure due to too much censorship.

    Those sites which successfully dealt with trolls without suffocating free speech, have generally banned certain types of inflammatory and accusatory language. Trolls seek the thrill of being offensive to others. It gives them a buzz...not for what they say, as they usually have little of value to say, but HOW they say it.

    Take away the tools of their trade, and problem solved.

  • The only way it can be contained is the way it is done in other forums. Unfortunately, that means the website owner has to be the censor and use their own judgement. As much as that may seem undemocratic and limiting open discussion, there does not appear to be any other way. Soliciting input form the community on any one post will not provide the necessary filtering. In my opinion, people are just not interested in spending their time doing that. You provide a great service here. You "own" the website. That entitles you to be the censor. "Dems 'da breaks." "If you don't like it, go somewhere else to spew your vitriol."

  • As a scientist i was not bothered by "pathosceptic's" uniformly negative posts and nether was the moderator until he made some irrelevant personal attacks. I think the forum should entertain all sides of the issue and if the skepticism is based on scientific foundations that might be justified it should be permitted.

    I want LENR to come into use as quickly as possible but this forum should still respect the free speech rights of people with scientifically valid reasons for disagreement. While i think the existence of LENR and and reactions that yield excess energy and some that make so much energy that they are commercially viable is proven- There is a lot off room for arguments about exactly what reactions are taking place and why they happen. Theories to explain LENR are incomplete and range from widom-larsen to the brilluoin theory to the theory that Rossi has expounded.

  • I hope it is OK to re-post a comment I made on the Cellani wire thread:

    There are a few posters here whose opinions are quite consistent and predictable. Since this site supports various discussions about developments in the LANR research world, specific criticism of particular developments are very useful. Relentless criticism of those who "believe" to one extent or another is, in my opinion, "trolling." The relentless and strident conclusion that all LENR research efforts are either incompetent or fraudulent is not useful. We all know that many people have made that conclusion, and it is not only useful, it is necessary for the correct scientific outcome. It is simply boring and at times insulting to sincere researchers not here to defend themselves, and so some of us, as surrogates do so. I, for one remain skeptical (believe it or not M.Y. et. al.) I also believe that continued research in the area is vital, not because it will "pan out", but because if we stop looking for the next breakthrough discovery it will surely never occur. If this, or any other blog site was reduced to the "I believe in LENR because it just must be true" vs. "all LENR research is pointless and stupid" it would be a stupid as some of the political crap we all are exposed to. Please consider this: I see far more of the "all LENR research is pointless and stupid" posts than I see "I believe in LENR because it must be so" ones. If you, the moderators can restore a balance in this regard you will have gone a long way toward having a site that focuses un news and ideas regarding LENR research rather than an oh so lame rehash of the conclusions of the already decided.

    How about a thread where admin takes a troll comment and starts off XYZ posted the following - we invite responses to this. XYZ will be prohibited from posting on this string. If more than <pick a number> request, XYZ will be banned for 1 week (first) banishment: 1 month (second banishment): permanently (third banishment). Or some other community response being involved.

  • As I see it a “legitimate” skeptic tries to convey a message from (what he considers to be) the harsh reality. Banning the skeptics does not make this (if it is) reality go away. But if a LENR searcher doesn’t want to listen it is no point in shouting louder or repeating the message ad nauseam.

    English is a rich language, no need to use defamatory words. Instead of saying “you are an idiot” you can say “most people believe that”. In so doing you also hedge your own reputation if it turns out that you are the idiot. Err … that you are the innocent victim of a derailed train of thoughts.

    Don’t say “this is a fraud”, instead say “this appears to be too good to be true”.

    Taste this example, please: “Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat X that is promised to produce heat and a lot of electricity appears to be too good to be true”. Well that didn’t heart, did it?

  • It is reasonable to limit personal insults and contentless posts which waste space. If you limit opinions you don't like, your forum will become worthless and mostly unread except by like-minded individuals and you will learn much less. As to accusations of fraud, they are not personal attacks when they are backed with supportive argument and/or facts. People keep talking about "pathoskeptics" which isn't really a word but I suppose is intended to mean people who can't be convinced no matter what the evidence. Such people are very rare. I am not one of them and I doubt that TYY, abrasive though he or she is, is one of them either. Provide good evidence for LENR and I will be happy to listen. Unfortunately, I can't be convinced by the sort of evidence which works for believers.

    If you ban dissenting views, you will have a mostly worthless forum and you will be confirming "pathoskeptic" opinions that you want to believe claims without proper evidence regardless of counterarguments.

    @Branzell: certain patterns of behavior, notably evasion, deceptiveness, contradictory claims, false claims (for example to associations with large companies or claims to sales which can not be confirmed), ever decreasing performance, tangential answers, and failures to test properly when told by many people exactly how to do it, all connote fraud if the claimant seeks and accepts money from investors. Sure, nobody can be absolutely certain that there isn't another explanation, for example, self deception. But fraud has to be considered strongly in these cases, whether or not someone likes that word. If more people had given serious consideration to fraud when Madoff made claims to absurd return rates on investments with him, fewer people would have been robbed of their life savings.

    By the way, there were a lot of believers who believed Defkalion. They clearly were a fraud and they cost some people in the millions of dollars. They cost other people their credibility. Why not call them what they were? Or does anyone still think this was a legitimate mistake? Or maybe that they really had kilowatt desk top reactors and went belly up because of skeptics?

  • I think it is all a question about having respect for others.
    Personal attacks is not acceptable.
    "You cannot judge the cat by the hair". In other words respect others and oppose their opinions if you think differently.
    To flood a discussion with garbage is also violent to others.
    To repeat the same opinion in the same thread is the same way.

    To have an open and sometimes heated debate is good. I see no reason to ban people because they have disbelieve in LENR. On the contrary we should have many of them and the more and stronger argument they have the better.
    If as a LENR fan you cannot meet such arguments - getting angry does not solve anything - more thinking is the answer.

    OK punishment. I think not. Most people will react to a warning about that they are out of bounds. Of course when people do not accept a warning then they have no place and they will not change over time so part with them in peace.

  • Dear pals, the question of this is of great importance. Who but me can estimate this trable.. In Russian 100% sites are ill with this illness.
    My English is too poor for to discuss such a questions..

    It can be used few before prooved strategies..

    1 The rooles of so called brain storm, the main of it is NOT TO CRITICISE ! Only positive support !
    2 To give to smb skilled enough the right to delete what ever he want, without explanation! But he mast use this right wery rare..
    3 To demand from all - the messages are do not close bonded with the CNS or LENR are not permitted, and will be deleted
    4 And, sure - nobody can use to decline in the region of private properties of participants.

    ..Would it be in Russian - it would easy for me to determine quickly looking throuth - what post is out of rules.. but in English.. sorry.. I'm not so quick with this..

  • 1. All posts are welcome till they present the different ways of discussion of scientific, technology problems of LENR and around it.
    2. A sceptical user is always good, and actually it is very useful, but pathosceptical behavior is bad for discussion, it destroys the discussion.
    3. User ban should exist if there are deliberate, repetitive and empty (in sense of discussion and information, containing a statement like “this is crackpot”) posts from this user. A simplified example - if you say one, two, three times - it is a fraud, you are skeptical. But if you are saying this in every posts, that is pathology or organized defamation.

  • For me, being a scientist, it is clear.
    Criticism is welcome if it is based on real facts ! For example, I found equation number X wrong because ... Or, I think, this artefact could make your experimental results wrong...
    We have this kind of problem in France and the solution is to oblige a respect of scientifical ethics like described above.
    But I think we have to be severe with people who don't respect scientific ethic by banishing them from the forum because it is a scientifical forum.
    Thank you for this discussion of great interest for scientists trying to propose new ideas.

    Kind regards

  • Mary Yugo, “fraud” is a legal term. If a fraud has been committed or not is up to a court to determine.

    If a LENR searcher tries to replicate E-Cat and fails he has fallen victim to his own judgement, not fraud. Bad luck, but it was he who chose to bet on this horse. But, of course we want to be helpful and try to rescue the searcher (and investors!) from spending resources on a lost horse.

    So I think that it should be allowed here to say something like “The Gadget X smells like fraud”. If we would like to vary the medicine I can tell you that at the same place I found 47 more or less synonyms to “fraud”.

    “A dear child has many names.”, as we say in Sweden.
    Also in Finland it seems: "Rakkaalla lapsella on monta nimeä."
    How many names do you have Tyy? :)

  • Personally, I strongly disapprove of any discussion that contains insult or violent language. Anyone can believe anything he or she wants, that is not a problem. And of course we must have skeptics in LENR-thought; but a skeptic must be an honest seeker of truth, willing to accept evidence to the contrary of his/her beliefs if the relevant evidence is produced. And exactly the same appiies to the believer: if we get irrefutable proof that LENR is bunk, we will be disappointed, but not so foolish as to say that is not the case.
    But attacking people personally has no place in a discussion forum.
    It's funny, but since we've had forums, this is exactly what has happened all over the place, time and again. It's almost as if every member thought that he/she had diplomatic immunity for any kind of disruptive behaviour. A member who feels justified about attacking another member most viciously would never do the same at a Faculty or Board of Directors meeting (though these too can be pretty vicious) — obviously for reasons of libel and the undersirability of getting a label of nastiness stuck to one's own person. But anonymity, immunity, and impunity go together, I fear.
    You state your beliefs, reply to those who do not agree, run a discussion. But the minute things turn nasty, there must be an "early warning system" on the part of the site moderators that determines when a clause of "let's agree that you guys disagree, so STOP RIGHT NOW" must be invoked. At this point, after being cautioned, anyone insisting on arguing in a sterile, disruptive, or verbally violent way should be immediately banned. For at least six months, if not permanently.
    I do not believe in too much leniency. Years back, I used to belong to a very scholarly discussion list, mostly philological in nature. At a certain point it became the target of certain individuals who had pre-cut views on a certain subject which were basically ethnoreligious in nature and not based on the scholarship the discussion list was centred on. Needless to say, they saturated the list with insult and garbage. The result? I signed off, it had become impossible to discuss anything else. The same happens all over, in many fields: bad currency drives out the good stuff. In this debate, I'm for harsh measures.