# Censorship on this forum

1. Jun 15, 2010

### medphys

Do you think the censorship is unfair on this forum. some kind of users with more rights can just deduct your points at their own discretion and no appeal exists. those users tend to abuse this right in the long run. More needs to be done on this forum, that is to tolerate different opinions and stop being narrow-minded. This foeum is like communism propaganda.....

They only allow you to say what they want to hear, anything against them will be banned.

2. Jun 15, 2010

### cesiumfrog

You fear the socialist bogeyman? But here you are in a capitalist hell. This forum is the private personal property of a single individual, the good of the users is irrelevant to its control.

3. Jun 15, 2010

### Cyrus

Thats right! You fight THE MAN! Stick it to him! .......in his own place (Not too bright, this one).

4. Jun 15, 2010

### Pengwuino

No appeal? Wrong.
Abuse their rights in the long run? Proof?

Even if this non-sense was true, the 1st amendment does not apply to the internet.

5. Jun 15, 2010

### Staff: Mentor

You agreed to adhere to the rules of this forum in exchange for the privilege to post here.

I suggest that you read the guidelines.

Also, unless you have PM'd the mentor that gave you the infractions, this is a violation of the guidelines.

If you feel you did not violate the guidelines, build a case citing how your posts adhered to the posting guidelines and it will be reviewed.

Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
6. Jun 16, 2010

### BenTheMan

What did I ever do to anybody?

7. Jun 16, 2010

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
We get this kind of complaints periodically, and it is getting tiresome to have to keep on addressing it. It always makes me wonder if these members either (i) didn't read the PF Rules before they agreed to them, (ii) didn't think we would enforce them, or (iii) just didn't care and that their agreement is actually worthless.

The fact that we DO have such rules, and an extensive one at that, clearly indicated that there are things you can and CANNOT do in this forum. Right off the bat, anyone reading the rules could see that we not only limit HOW you conduct your discussion on here, but also what topics that are prohibited. It can't be any clearer than that! So already you know that you don't have total "freedom" in here to do whatever you wish. Yet, you agreed to that and then, complain about it? That makes as much sense as someone going into a vegetarian restaurant and complaining that it doesn't serve any meat!

Zz.

8. Jun 16, 2010

### Count Iblis

Some form of censorship is necessary to keep "crackpots" away. And it is almost unavoidable that from the point of view of such people the way they are treated will look unfair (simply because a moderator wont waste time to engage in lengthy discussions with such people).

But the way PF addresses this problem is i.m.o. too aggressive. E.g. I have received infractions for starting threads on physics problems that were not at all crackpot in any way.

I also see an "abuse or rights" in the following way. A few Moderators and Science advisors here promote fringe ideas. Personal opinions are sometimes uttered in a way that I find unacceptable. Abuse of citations were you back up your opinion by giving some misleading reference also happens from time to time here.

9. Jun 16, 2010

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
That is often the opinion of the person on the receiving end, even the crackpots.

And did you report those? Would you care to know that we do take actions on those when they are brought to our attention?

Please note that you also made flawed comparisons before on here (example: you compare PF with East Germany). So you'll understand if I don't quite buy into many of your arguments that's based on just similarities.

Zz.

10. Jun 16, 2010

### xxChrisxx

Don't post anything stupid, then it won't get deleted.

EDIT: I just read the locked thread and frankly it was nothing but a rant from the very beginning. I would have locked it much sooner that it was (then again the mods have more patience than I do).

Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
11. Jun 16, 2010

### Count Iblis

The impression I have from the infractions I got is that quite a few of the discussion problems posted on this website:

http://star.tau.ac.il/QUIZ/ [Broken]

would be off limits here, at least if I were to post such a problem.

Take e.g. http://star.tau.ac.il/QUIZ/96/Q10.96.html" [Broken]

Apperently, I have irritated quite a few Mods for having posted similar problems a few times in the last few years. Posting such problems now provokes a Pavlov reaction: The thread is closed, the problem is judged to be a stupid problem intended to troll for responses and I get banned.

Obviously, in case of legitimate not crackpot problems/discussions, you can have different views on how good the problem is formulated, how appropriate it is for a particular discussion forum.

However, this is supposed to be "Physics Forums" and moderating in such a way that you have people placed on wachlists and will assume bad faith every time they post something that you can argue with, defeats the purpose of a forum that intends to discuss physics.

About the problematic behavior of others that I have noted: I have not reported those. Let me give an example of what I mean here. D.H. some weeks ago in some thread about thermodynamics wrote that someone (Dr. Du if I remember correctly) had made a mistake regarding the number of degrees of freedom of a molecule. But it turned out that D.H is using a non-standard way of counting the degrees of freedom (he counts vibrational degrees of freedom double, because of the potential energy also contributes 1/2 k T to the energy at high temperatures).

I then discussed this issue a bit with him, explaining that his POV which apparently is in some textbook, defeats the purpose of the concept of DoF as a bookkeeping device allowing you to compute how many DoF of a certain type there are. Adding in a factor 2 for vibrations to compute energy is a triviality. Also his way of defining DoF is problematic from a purely theoretical point of view which I explaind in that thread. He decided to nitpick with irrelevant details of that argument instead of arguing the bigger picture.

But I'm not a type of person who wants to wave some flag saying: "I'm right, here are the rules, you are wrong, I'm going to report you if you don't change your position". I'm more in favor of discussing the issue; if one definition is the standard definition and another is not, then usually there are very good reasons for that which will become clear when you discuss it from first principles.

Note that we're here on this forum to discuss physics. This is not primarily some online game that has the PF rules as its rules to "win" discussions. So, the emphasis on the rules is wrong (except for the crackpot issue). Instead we need behavioral guidelines for how to conduct oneselves in discussions.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
12. Jun 16, 2010

### xxChrisxx

We really really shouldn't, we aren't children. We are all fairly intellectual and shouldn't need to be told how to discuss something civilly.

There are some on here who just argue to toss and nitpick just for the sake of it, they chronically wind me up so I simply refuse to respond to them in discussions now.

13. Jun 16, 2010

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
Why is this not trolling when you regurgitate the same thing over and over again? You are confusing a stop on that discussion versus the ability to discuss a topic.

And yes, the rules govern not just what to discuss, but HOW to discuss. We don't allow profanity, etc... that is how NOT to discuss.

That's your view. That's not how we operate, and upon reading many feedbacks on here, that's not how many people feels how we operate this forum. One of the last threads regarding this clearly have shown how your view is not shared by many. So you should not use your case as a representative on how the forum operates. You have a very narrow set of data to draw such conclusions - or is this something you are not aware of?

Then that is YOUR problem that you didn't report it. Others are not as silly with regards to your posts, i.e. they get reported.

As I've said in another thread, this is not East Germany and there are no walls preventing you from "escaping" to another forum. You obviously have no respect on how we run the forum. Why are you still here?

Zz.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
14. Jun 16, 2010

### Count Iblis

The problem is that the "many" are not on your watchlist and you don't close their threads and ban them for starting discussions you don't like (I mean here on other grounds than being crackpot discussions). So, my case is representative of how moderation works for those non-crackpot people who have somehow ended up on the watchlist of a moderator.

You write that:

But then, as I wrote before, I'm primarily interested in discussing Physics and math here, not playing some stupid game using the rules. And, of course, I'm not forced to do that here on PF, but then if I see interesting postings here, then why would I not engage in the discussions here?

I will always stick to the basic rules of decency and stick to discussing the subject in a way that is approporiate. I'm not primarily concerned what the rules say, not here, not anywhere else. Because if a rule would not allow me to give the correct response, then the right course of action would be to violate that rule. It is better to be banned while sticking to what you stand for than compromize on fundamental values by e.g. not giving the correct response to a physics or math question.

Common sense would suggest that with this attitude, I should not often face problems on decent internet forums. This is indeed the case. E.g. On Wikipedia, I've only been blocked once for less than an hour:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Log&type=block&page=User:Count+Iblis

As you see this was just for contacting people who advertise their religion on WP, I've never been blocked for edit warring in the 6 years I've been there, which is very unusual even for decent contributors.

The only two forums on which I have been blocked are the Free Republic Forum and Physics Forums

15. Jun 16, 2010

### Staff: Mentor

We really do not have any type of watch list.

16. Jun 16, 2010

### stevenb

No, but you do have eyes, and crack-pottery sticks out like a sore thumb. Anyone expecting the watchdogs to not watch is being unreasonable.

17. Jun 16, 2010

### NeoDevin

Am I the only person around here who got an infraction and agrees with the mentors that my post was in violation of the guidelines, and should have been removed?

I've only gotten one, for a joke that was in (very) poor taste...

18. Jun 16, 2010

### xxChrisxx

I've had one for losing my rag with someone, which was fair enough. As mods go, PF's lot are a very fair buch of people.

Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
19. Jun 16, 2010

### Staff: Mentor

Perhaps more directly than the way ZZ answered this: The moderators are, better than 90% of the time, on the same page about what is and isn't crackpottery and it is our job to be the ones to make such decisions. So whether the crackpots agree that what they are saying is crackpottery is really irrelevant.

However, you can save yourself some trouble by learning how we see things and acting accordingly rather than trying to fight that losing battle to convince us what you think should and should not be considered crackpottery. For the most part it is pretty simple. As Zz said, we have guidelines that are as clear as we can make them, but in addition to that, many forums have lists of unacceptable topics. And, of course, if a topic is locked for being an unacceptable topic or because a particular line of discussion in it is unacceptable, it should be obvious that that line of discussion or topic will still be unacceptable the next time it is brought up.

20. Jun 16, 2010

### Staff: Mentor

It doesn't happen often, but no, you aren't the only one. A great many people have posted when drunk or in a bad mood or when otherwise having a moment of unclear thinking and gotten infractions for it. I'm sure a lot of them have understood they deserve it. Occasionally some will acknowledge/apologize.

It is much rarer (but still happens occasionally) that someone who just comes here with a bad attitude or non-scientific worldview will recognize and acknowledge such a fault and make a sincere effort to change. When it comes to crackpots, sincere apologies go a long way in separating the genuinely clueless (who we may be able to help) from those who are just hostile toward knowledge and science.

Something else we do se a fair amount of: some people will make a post, realize it was over the line, and delete it. We see those (infractions are not given for such posts).

21. Jun 16, 2010

### Staff: Mentor

Also, infractions may be reversed. If you were rude, especially if it's a first time offense, but you explain that your cat just died, I'd likely reverse the infraction. Anyone can have a bad day.

But if you were rude and then your response is "you can't tell me what the @%$# to do", "*#$^ you", and definitely throw in "Nazi", "free speech", "censorship", and "you don't own the internet so you can't tell me what to do", etc... Probably not.

22. Jun 16, 2010

### Pengwuino

I received an infraction once and i was as sober as the day is long. It was great.

23. Jun 17, 2010

### Count Iblis

The issue with me really is not crackpottery (unless PF thinks that problems in university level physics textbook are crackpot problems, which is unlikely). The issue, as far as I can tell, has to do with some moderators not liking certain types of first principles discussions. It is then very hard for me to predict what is allowed and what is not allowed, because I can't read minds.

The best I can do is attempt some http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlinology" [Broken]. I have noticed that on some of the subforums here there is no issue. E.g. on the Math forums, everthing goes (except from crackpot, of course). This is because Hurkyl will allow all legitimate discussions.

There also seems to be a difference between the General Physics subforum and the QM and Classical mechanics forum. Posting in the General Physics subforum seems to be more dangerous than posting in e.g. the classical mechanics subforum.

This means that even if I were to think that a topic is more of a "general physics" topic because it has both classical mechanics and quantum mechanics elements in it, rather than a more specific classical mechanics or a quantum mechanics topic, I would have to consider the fact that I may step on some toes if this were posted in the general physics forum.

Then the "stepping on a toe" seems to happen because some moderators have a, what I call, a "high school mentality" when it comes to physics discussions. This means that they think that any problem should come with many hints and directions on how to attack the problem. If these are not provided, it is a bad problem to discuss.

But then, in the real world, problems do not come with hints. Good textbooks will train students so that they learn to think for themselves, instead of being handed everything on a plate to them.

Another aspect of this high school mentality is that if there is a standard high school answer, then when that answer is provided, it can be judged to be the end of the discussion, even if it doesn't apply.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
24. Jun 17, 2010

### Hurkyl

Staff Emeritus
That's partly because I'm lazy. :tongue: But there has been a few oddball posters that have racked up infractions because of things like posting an open-ended "How to prove ____?" and then nitpicking every response because they dared to leave some trivial detail to the reader. (and I'm even being generous there and not assuming it's a homework question)

25. Jun 24, 2010

### Char. Limit

I wish I'd have known this at the time I got my infraction... I'm not saying Russ was wrong, but I assumed that if I got an infraction, it was done and couldn't be changed. Ah well.