Questions regarding moderation on this forum

  • Thread starter Spathi
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In summary: Yes, I can. There are many science forums that are more welcoming to discussions about pseudoscience.
  • #1
Spathi
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A few months ago, I registered under the nickname Linkey, wrote here a post about the consumer society, and was banned for this with an explanation of “spam”. I'm not a spammer, I just wanted to talk not only about about physics. So far my first IP is still being blocked by the forum, can you fix that?

I would like to know more about how tough the moderation on this forum is, and for what reasons people are banned on it. Can I be banned, for example, if I will create many threads about time travel (Novikov's principle, etc.)?

I was trying to create a thread about homeopathy in which I cited a journal with an impact factor of 2.23. This thread was blocked and I received a warning. Do I understand correctly that on this forum the fight against pseudoscience is very tough? And regarding homeopathy, you are not interested in discussions, whether it is a pseudoscience or not, but consider it a pseudoscience by definition and ban any threads about it?

I have found my IP in the Stop Forum Spam website (http://www.stopforumspam.com/removal). As far as I remember, I was not banned on any other English-speaking forum besides PF (I live in Russia). Was this block related to my activity on PF? Can you restore my status?
 
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  • #2
If your original post contained elaborate text and links to some random sites, don't be surprised. This is a typical behavior of spammers. We have to delete hundreds of such posts, some of the moderation is done manually, some is automated. There is no way to say if a newcomer posting wall of text with links is a spammer or someone genuinely interested in starting a discussion, so some collateral damage is unavoidable.

This is kind of things our Admin, @Greg Bernhardt, needs to look in.
 
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  • #3
Spathi said:
wrote here a post about the consumer society, and was banned for this with an explanation of “spam”
Well, it must have had some very suspicious or bad stuff in it. Usually on a suspicious first post with some questionable links, the user will get a Minor Spam infraction, which does not result in an immediate ban.
Spathi said:
I would like to know more about how tough the moderation on this forum is, and for what reasons people are banned on it. Can I be banned, for example, if I will create many threads about time travel (Novikov's principle, etc.)?
Yes, as you can tell from the PF rules (see INFO at the top of the page), we take Moderation of PF very seriously, and strive to create a very high signal-to-noise discussion environment. If you want to discuss time travel, you should first do a forum search to see what approaches have been discussed. If you can find a mainstream article in a peer-reviewed journal about the topic, that may be allowed as a thread start (the final decision will be up to the Physics Mentors).
Spathi said:
I was trying to create a thread about homeopathy in which I cited a journal with an impact factor of 2.23. This thread was blocked and I received a warning. Do I understand correctly that on this forum the fight against pseudoscience is very tough?
I don't think we've ever allowed a discussion about homeopathy here, so please don't try to start any threads about the subject. Thank you.
 
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  • #4
Spathi said:
Do I understand correctly that on this forum the fight against pseudoscience is very tough?
That's an understatement. Pseudoscience is just flat not allowed.

And regarding homeopathy, you are not interested in discussions, whether it is a pseudoscience or not, but consider it a pseudoscience by definition and ban any threads about it?
Yes, because we consider it a pseudoscience, but only because it is.

Homeopathic treatment should be payed for with homeopathic cash ... that is, an envelope that used to have money in it but now doesn't.
 
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  • #5
berkeman said:
I don't think we've ever allowed a discussion about homeopathy here, so please don't try to start any threads about the subject. Thank you.
Homeopathy is on the list of disallowed topics, so yes - never has been allowed.
 
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  • #6
berkeman said:
Well, it must have had some very suspicious or bad stuff in it. Usually on a suspicious first post with some questionable links, the user will get a Minor Spam infraction, which does not result in an immediate ban.
I explained my idea, that the consumer society appeared in the 20th century, because TV channels have no way of earning money other than placing ads (unlike newspapers); and I posted a link to youtube video ("History of stuff"). Is is dangerous for me to create such threads here?
 
  • #7
phinds said:
That's an understatement. Pseudoscience is just flat not allowed.
Can you suggest me other science forums where such discussions are more welcomed?
 
  • #8
Spathi said:
Can you suggest me other science forums where such discussions are more welcomed?
reddit
 
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  • #9
Spathi said:
I explained my idea, that the consumer society appeared in the 20th century, because TV channels have no way of earning money other than placing ads (unlike newspapers); and I posted a link to youtube video ("History of stuff"). Is is dangerous for me to create such threads here?
On the face of it the way you explain it now, it might get deleted if it looked like you were just posting at PF to promote your personal YouTube channel, but that would rarely result in a full Spam Ban. There must have been more to it than what you are saying...

In any case, if you think that a thread you want to post may be problematic, please consider sending a PM to the Mentor assigned to the forum you want to post in so that you can ask them about what you want to post. Just look at the thread list in the forum you want to post in, and pick one of the Mentors who posts there a lot.
 
  • #10
Spathi said:
I would like to know more about how tough the moderation on this forum is, and for what reasons people are banned on it. Can I be banned, for example, if I will create many threads about time travel (Novikov's principle, etc.)?
Not out of hand, unless you do something really egregious. Repeated rules violations get an escalating series of warnings; the process is described in the forum rules (BTW, have you read them? Your question about homeopathy is answered there).

The things that lead to an immediate ban, as opposed to a warning, are:
1) Crackpottery. Here I'm not talking about honestly uninformed questions along the lines of "could it be that...?" but rather "I want to announce my monumental discovery of leptobosonic fusion vibrations which unifies all of physics and conclusively demonstrates Einstein's mistakes, here just take a look at this 98 page pdf which is being ignored by the powers that be".
2) Outright malicious spam, posts that are intended only to link to generally dubious commercial sites.
3) Posting only incoherent ravings about nothing, the internet equivalent of the mutterings of the guy living under the freeway overpass.
 
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  • #11
Spathi said:
Do I understand correctly that on this forum the fight against pseudoscience is very tough?
Yes, although "existential struggle" might capture our feelings better than "fight" :smile:
And seriously, no other internet forum has been able to bring laypeople and professional scientists together in a sustainable way. Keeping the pseudoscience and crackpottery out, keeping the signal to noise ratio up is essential to that success.
 
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  • #12
Spathi said:
I explained my idea, that the consumer society appeared in the 20th century, because TV channels have no way of earning money other than placing ads (unlike newspapers)
If this kind of discussion would be allowed anywhere on PF, it would be in General Discussion. Certainly this has nothing to do with physics or any of the other science forum topics here on PF.
 
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  • #13
phinds said:
Homeopathic treatment should be payed for with homeopathic cash ... that is, an envelope that used to have money in it but now doesn't.
Ha ha!
 
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  • #14
67402998_10206061263728535_6515533265695145984_n.jpg
 
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  • #15
berkeman said:
On the face of it the way you explain it now, it might get deleted if it looked like you were just posting at PF to promote your personal YouTube channel, but that would rarely result in a full Spam Ban. There must have been more to it than what you are saying...
This was not my channel, this was a popular video "History of stuff" about the consumer society (amateur film). I posted a link to this film, because there it was revealed that the consumer society appeared in 1950th - this was the time when television appeared, so this supports my concept.
I still wonder, whether it is dangerous for me to start this thread here again.
 
  • #16
Spathi said:
I still wonder, whether it is dangerous for me to start this thread here again.
Send me a PM (click on my avatar and "Start a conversation") with your proposed thread start, and I'll have a look.
 
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  • #17
Spathi said:
this was a popular video "History of stuff" about the consumer society (amateur film).
This would not be a valid reference as a basis for discussion in any of the science forums here.
 
  • #18
berkeman said:
In any case, if you think that a thread you want to post may be problematic, please consider sending a PM to the Mentor assigned to the forum you want to post in so that you can ask them about what you want to post. Just look at the thread list in the forum you want to post in, and pick one of the Mentors who posts there a lot.
I can write these questions to any mentor, or maybe better will be writing to Doc Al if I plan to make a thread in "Beyond the Standard Model"?
 
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  • #19
Spathi said:
if I plan to make a thread in "Beyond the Standard Model"?
How could a thread about "consumer society" possibly be on topic in the Beyond the Standard Model forum? "Consumer society" has nothing to do with physics at all, let alone fundamental physics models that extend the Standard Model.
 
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  • #20
Spathi said:
I can write these questions to any mentor, or maybe better will be writing to Doc Al if I plan to make a thread in "Beyond the Standard Model"?
Do you mean for your time travel question? Did you find an acceptable peer-reviewed paper to discuss?
 
  • #21
Spathi said:
I can write these questions to any mentor, or maybe better will be writing to Doc Al if I plan to make a thread in "Beyond the Standard Model"?
You can find out about current, relevant Science that is happening right now.
Are you interested in that?
 
  • #22
berkeman said:
Do you mean for your time travel question? Did you find an acceptable peer-reviewed paper to discuss?
1) yes 2) yes
 
  • #23
What number of warnings lead to the ban of a member? I didn't find this information in the rules.
 
  • #24
Spathi said:
What number of warnings lead to the ban of a member? I didn't find this information in the rules.
8 active infraction points gives an automatic 10-day temporary ban, and 10 infraction points gives an automatic permanent ban.

Warnings are usually 0 points. Infraction points usually carry an expiration time period (say 6 months or a year), but if a user gets enough infractions and seems to be spacing them out on purpose so they can keep breaking the rules and not get banned, we can make the infraction points non-expiring. That is rare, but it does happen.

Bottom line is just to try your best to post within the PF rules. Everybody makes a mistake now and then, but as long as we all learn from our mistakes, the PF is a great place to learn about and discuss mainstream science. :smile:
 
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  • #25
I am sorry that I did not read the rules from the beginning. I found a phrase in them that surprised me:

This forum may not be used to propose new ideas or personal theories. All threads of this nature that are started in this forum will be removed by Mentors.
What is this forum for, if not to discuss new theories? Are forums just for helping students solve tasks?
The question can be formulated as follows: if a person, not affiliated with scientific organizations, studies physics independently (with books, forums), and makes a discovery - how can he publish it? If not on the forums, then where?
 
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  • #26
Spathi said:
What is this forum for, if not to discuss new theories?
Not to discuss your new ideas until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal. That is the bar height that we set here.
Spathi said:
and makes a discovery - how can he publish it? If not on the forums, then where?
We have some Insights articles that may help you with this. Let me do a quick search...
 
  • #27
Spathi said:
What is this forum for, if not to discuss new theories?
To discuss mainstream published physics, as it says in the rules, hunam.
Spathi said:
If not on the forums, then where?
More or less any other forum will allow it. Or you could aim to get it published.
 
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  • #29
Spathi said:
What is this forum for, if not to discuss new theories?
To help people understand theories that have already been published.

Spathi said:
if a person, not affiliated with scientific organizations, studies physics independently (with books, forums), and makes a discovery - how can he publish it?
If he actually understands physics well enough to make a discovery, he will have made enough contacts in the physics world during his study of physics to be able to get the attention of someone who can help him publish his discovery. There is not a single example in history of someone who made an actual physics discovery but was not in that position.

The implication of the above, of course, is that if you are studying physics independently and you have not made any contacts in the physics world in the course of doing that, any discovery you think you have made is not actually a discovery; either it's something physicists already know (but you don't know they already know it because you haven't talked to any of them), or it's wrong. (Actually, it's more likely what Pauli called "not even wrong".)

Note also that there are people here on PF that are in the physics world. If you have convinced them, by your history of posts here, that you understand physics well enough to have a chance of making a real discovery, you might be able to get their attention about it. You just won't be able to do it by posting a public thread here on PF about your claimed discovery. That's not what PF is for.
 
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  • #30
Spathi said:
What is this forum for, if not to discuss new theories?
From the forum mission statement, with emphasis mine:
Our mission is to provide a place for people (whether students, professional scientists, or others interested in science) to learn and discuss science as it is currently generally understood and practiced by the professional scientific community.​

There are many previous discussions in this feedback section about why discussion fo persona theories is in inconsistent with this goal, and as well as https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/physics-forums-faq-and-howto.617567/#post-4664231 (linked from the forum rules) and the stuff linked from there.
 
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  • #31
Spathi said:
The question can be formulated as follows: if a person, not affiliated with scientific organizations, studies physics independently (with books, forums), and makes a discovery - how can he publish it? If not on the forums, then where?
In the same place all discoveries are published: In peer-reviewed journals (and potentially preprint servers and conference talks before). A person doesn't need to be affiliated with anything to do that. But it needs to be an actual discovery - and that's the challenge. How do you know it's an actual new discovery? You need to be very familiar with the existing research. Almost no one claiming to have made an independent "discovery" ever is. Often they are not even familiar with basic scientific principles.
The chance that someone who knows no expert in the field has made a new discovery is not just small. It's essentially non-existent.
 
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  • #32
mfb said:
The chance that someone who knows no expert in the field has made a new discovery is not just small. It's essentially non-existent.
I won't dare to say that, but maybe an equally relevant point is that the amount of people (*) who can discuss a really new theory is not that great to make it worth to post any of those 'Unification of Quantum and Relativity and Missing Socks' theories on a public forum in a hope of a deep discussion.

(*) As of now even the basic validation of a really new theory/big discovery would already require quite some teams of elite scientists and would take years (maybe decades).
 
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  • #33
Nugatory said:
From the forum mission statement, with emphasis mine:
Our mission is to provide a place for people (whether students, professional scientists, or others interested in science) to learn and discuss science as it is currently generally understood and practiced by the professional scientific community.
I think that this is not right. When “freaks” submit their ideas on forums, those ideas can push thoughts in the right direction, even if the ideas are initially wrong.
It would be interesting to compare attitudes towards science and pseudoscience in Russia and in the West. It seems to me that the essence of the problem is that in the West science is sponsored by business, and business can only support applied research, for which there is no difference between “official science” and “pseudoscience”. A businessman will not finance fundamental research - not because it is not needed, but because when a fundamental discovery is made, everyone soon knows about it, and, accordingly, everyone benefits from it (not only those who funded it).
 
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  • #34
Spathi said:
I think that this is not right. When “freaks” submit their ideas on forums, those ideas can push thoughts in the right direction, even if the ideas are initially wrong.

Experience of a lot of people show something different. Science is not done on any forum.

Spathi said:
It seems to me that the essence of the problem is that in the West science is sponsored by business

Nonsense.
 
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  • #35
Spathi said:
I think that this is not right. When “freaks” submit their ideas on forums, those ideas can push thoughts in the right direction, even if the ideas are initially wrong.
That doesn't happen.
Spathi said:
It seems to me that the essence of the problem is that in the West science is sponsored by business
In some cases, but not in general. Most of the crackpot nonsense we get is about things that have nothing to do with any business. There are no crackpots claiming that drug X should be 20% more effective than reported in age group Y under condition Z. There are tons of crackpots claiming relativity would be wrong or whatever else.
Spathi said:
and business can only support applied research, for which there is no difference between “official science” and “pseudoscience”
That makes no sense whatsoever.
 
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