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Changes to the Richard Dawkins Forum

  1. Feb 25, 2010 #1
    Anyone notice that the Richard Dawkins forum has suddenly been terminated? Not only has posting been disabled, but the whole thing will be deleted within 30 days. It has almost the same number of posts as physicsforums. Its causing quite some anger among its members.

    Heres the story:
    http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/ [Broken]

    Dawkins forum: Threads: 85,842 • Posts 2,271,827 • Members 84,659 • Avg posts per dag 2,834
    Physicsforums: Threads: 319,346 • Posts: 2,420,591 • Members: 188,706

    21mgns7.jpg
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    ^ i can see the start of a drop in traffic. Will be interesting to see how far down it goes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2010 #2

    arildno

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    That is sad.

    I'm sorry to say I didn't read the whole of peter harrison's post, but I know him as a very conscientious forum admin.

    I don't think J.T. would have this arrogance unless he knew that Mr. Dawkins himself was indifferent to the forum community.

    Possibly, R.D. is showing signs of age, and do not understand the value virtual communities can have.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2010
  4. Feb 25, 2010 #3

    Evo

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    The truth is that the forum is being revamped and will be open soon. Apparently this will reduce the number of crackpots flooding his forum, I say an excellent decision.

    http://forum.richarddawkins.net/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=110356 [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Feb 25, 2010 #4
    Evo that message you posted should be read in the context of the full story here:
    http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/ [Broken]

    He says "The new discussion area will not be a new forum.". Also the posts of the forum will not be migrated to the new thing and will be gone in 30 days time. Im not exactly sure what the new thing will be, but it sounds a bit like a comment section one sees in blogs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Feb 25, 2010 #5

    arildno

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    Evo:

    I don't think the old forum has been overly burdened with crackpottery, although to be frank, I haven't looked too much.

    It is not sciforums-standard, anyway..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2010
  7. Feb 25, 2010 #6

    Evo

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    It sounds pretty bad to me

    Dawkins has every right to have the forum run the way he sees fit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
  8. Feb 25, 2010 #7

    arildno

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    Oops, I hadn't read that one!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2010
  9. Feb 25, 2010 #8
    The owner of PF also has the right to suddenly remove it from the web. But the members wouldnt like it.
     
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  10. Feb 25, 2010 #9
    It seems, though, there was a huge disconnect between Dawkins, the guys who were paid to run and maintain the server (basically Josh), and the 'in the trenches' volunteer staff:

    http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/ [Broken]

    The moderators couldn't get the guys running the servers to take care of any problems and they ran themselves ragged trying to keep the forum together for the members. Dawkins was not running the forum at all: he'd delegated all authority to Josh, who wouldn't communicate with the moderators.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Feb 25, 2010 #10
    This is obviously a plot by the Papacy to destroy atheism across the internet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2010
  12. Feb 25, 2010 #11

    Borek

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    We know only one side of the story, so it is hard to tell what have happened. RD for sure can do whatever he likes with his own site, but if the community was treated the way they tell they were treated, something was wrong.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2010
  13. Feb 25, 2010 #12

    Evo

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    Did you read the rest (or any) of the letter from Dawkins? Here's the rest

     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
  14. Feb 25, 2010 #13
    In my humble opinion, it was a bad idea for Dr. Dawkins to try to establish a public forum in his own name. It basically becomes a no-win situation from day one. I think he must have realized this at some point and is now taking the course of action to correct his original mistake. Being a no-win situation from the beginning, the act of correction will be a loss, in a certain sense. It's damaging to his reputation, at least in some people's eyes. However, a man of his credentials can take a lost battle or two, and still win the war.

    I wasn't part of that forum because I have no interest in mixing religion and science. They are separate entities to me. That's one thing I like about this Physics Forum. It does a good job of avoiding stupid conflicts and unresolvable debates. I'll check out the new forum to see if it is something worth keeping an eye on. If it isn't, I'll keep reading Dawkin's books to learn good science. I remember using "The Selfish Gene" as a basis for a project in an undergraduate zoology class in 1983. That was an eye-opener. In recent years I read his "The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution" which is truly an amazing book. Again, an eye-opener that moves your eye along a new and unique perspective.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
  15. Feb 25, 2010 #14
    Whats so important about reputation?

    I dont really understand why RD is surprised by a few vile comments. It shouldnt be anything new to him. It also shouldnt have any to do with closing down the forum, especially since mods there remove such things. Imagine PF getting shut down because a member posts an insult.
     
  16. Feb 25, 2010 #15
    Yes, I read the whole thing the first time. He's addressing a troll reaction to the recent decision to overhaul.

    The problems cited by the moderator are a different issue. You said he could run his forum as he saw fit. I'm not disagreeing with that. What I'm observing is that he doesn't seem to have been running the forum at all, nor was his delegated authority running it properly as he was refusing to have any dialog with the moderators.
     
  17. Feb 25, 2010 #16
    Whats so important about an atheist forum? I agree with that religion and science are separate entities.
     
  18. Feb 25, 2010 #17
    Well, reputation is important to most people for many reasons involving practicality and principle. Why do you ask this question with such an obvious answer?

    Who said that vile comments have something to do with closing down that forum?
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
  19. Feb 25, 2010 #18

    Evo

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    Maybe they weren't doing a good job of cleaning up such stuff. Another problem seems that some of the mods were inciting the members to try to intimidate Dawkins from making changes. Ultimately moderators are supposed to do the bidding of the forum owner, even if they disagree. They are free to leave if they don't feel the forum is the right place for them due to whatever reason. The members are guests that the owner allows into his forum. While the guests and their opinions are valued, if they start burning holes in the carpet, and refuse to leave then try to push you out of your own house, it's time to make changes.

    Luckily, as elect_eng stated "Physics Forum. It does a good job of avoiding stupid conflicts and unresolvable debates". We get excellent guidance from Greg and we do feel like more of a family here. I can't imagine trying to control a forum with such heated arguments as were happening at DR's forum. It's sounds like the new format will help to keep the forum under better control.
     
  20. Feb 25, 2010 #19
    The RD forum had lots of different sections, so its not just an atheist forum. Its like physics forums:it has sections too and isnt just a forum about physics.
     
  21. Feb 25, 2010 #20
    The mods got angry after being told the forum would shut down. Its not the other way around.

    I dont know how bad the mod inciting got so i cant comment on that. But either way, it seems either RD or that Josh guy did about as poor a job as could be done. Any decent IT specialist knows that implementing a new system requires user involvement, even if just for the simple reason of allowing them to get used to it and avoiding resistance.
     
  22. Feb 25, 2010 #21

    Evo

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    It's not so much a new system as a new policy. New threads will go into a moderation que and will need to be approved before showing up. Sounds like an excellent idea for such a heated subject.

    If Greg decided to shut this forum down, I wouldn't try to incite the members to send hate mail, I'd thank Greg for allowing me the opportunity to work for him for free, [STRIKE]heck I'd pay him to let me work here[/STRIKE]. Hope he can't see that. :biggrin: And then I'd by 50 pounds of dark chocolate, go to bed and cry for a week.
     
  23. Feb 25, 2010 #22

    Borek

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    Things can be done in many ways. As I have stated earlier - we know only small parts of the story, so it is hard to say what really happened. I guess one thing - there was no flow of information and the decisions were made without trying to explain them to moderating team. That's the sure way of getting people angry and making enemies and that was a bad idea.
     
  24. Feb 25, 2010 #23
    Why does it matter at all what the mods think or what the former forum community says?

    It's his website and if he decides it's going in the wrong direction he can change it to be anything he wants... he could even sell it to a pornographic website promoting beastiality under his name if he wanted.

    If the forums here started getting out of control and the team of mentors we have weren't effectively dealing with situations or the situations were getting way out of hand and Greg had decided to shut down physicsforums or change the format... or do whatever. SURE people would be like 'what the f---' and it would suck because people would have to go find a new forum for their science/general/homework/politics etc. needs but in the end it's still his.

    The way I see it is the internet is FULL of resources and if you don't like the way something is happening then GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. If you think you have a novel idea and others won't help you with it or you can't find a successful place for it to occur THEN DO IT YOURSELF.
     
  25. Feb 25, 2010 #24
    Ultimately it may not, but if RD wants to have a sense of community ever again it certainly matters. Given the succession of problems he may directly and indirectly have burned important bridges with mods and fan base. Question, was there much warning? Members hate a quick drastic change.

    Of course and this makes sense for the casual visitor, but forums are known for creating a sense of family and belonging. It's somewhere that feels safe and reliable. Like a Cheers bar where everyone knows your name and are interested in the same things you are. These are emotional connections that get severed. Obviously RD doesn't get it or care. And of course that is his prerogative. But he should now know it will be difficult in starting fresh.
     
  26. Feb 25, 2010 #25

    Borek

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    As a first approximation - it doesn't. But it also doesn't make sense to make enemies, and I suppose with some effort, or at least with a clear explanation WHY things are changing, he could avoid it.

    If memory serves me well discussion between Gould and Dawkins on the punctuated equilibrium lead creationists to the conclusion that Darwin's theory is simply wrong (when the discussion was just over minor details, not about the theory itself). I think Dawkins described the story in one of his books. Seems to me like he repeated the situation now - his antagonists will use the story as an argument against him and his views. Allowing it to happen was not a wise move.

    Edit: obviously Greg knows what I mean. I fell better now :wink:
     
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