You asserted this: "I want to look at the more general question of why there is apparently so little interest in such personal theories,independently of whatever rules a particular forum might have." You were assuming something intrinsic in the thought processes of those proposing theories with the added assumption that the ones of concern are non-scientists. You also assume something about the audience since your thesis is worded to question why they aren't reading.The answer to this one is easy: nobody. A scientific theory should stand or fall based on whether its predictions match experiments. No "authority" except experiment deems it right or wrong.
The issue I see here is that you are confusing the truth I just stated with a different statement: that, since a theory stands or falls based on whether its predictions match experiments, any time anyone comes up with any idea they think is a "scientific theory", it should get tested by experiment. That's not possible. People have to make judgments about what ideas are or aren't worth developing and testing. The fact that you think you have a great new theory does not mean anyone else either will or should agree with you. And in fact the odds are very heavily against you: that's why I went to the trouble in the article of pointing out that the vast majority of situations are of type A, not type B. Furthermore, the vast majority of "theories" that people come up with are not scientific theories--they're just vague ideas that can't even be put into a form that could be tested anyway. As Pauli said, they're "not even wrong".
I'm not sure how we can be sure of what does actually get read if this is based on others responding. An 'agreeable' posting by someone may justify a non-response because it may provide sufficient closure to others that they find no need to respond. Adding anything may only be of compliment in such cases and is interpreted by many to be unnecessary, superfluous flattery or ass-kissing. So it is not just threads that get active updated responses that assure it is or is not being viewed by others in all cases. And also given that non-active threads get buried relatively fast, there is a short window of time from the last poster of which those who may potentially all agree don't respond for this reason and so loses the likelihood of even being noticed long enough to be certain the lack of activity assures it as being purposely ignored.
The problem I think occurs though is that once someone gains a 'trust' upon something they've proven true with popular supports, just as one inversely may prove 'unpopular', reputation is inappropriately granted the deciding factor of whatever one's particular ideas are universally fair in their description of their own theory. Darwin, for instance, doesn't "own" his theory as some intrinsic characteristic of himself. That is, while we might lend his name to his own theory to help us remember which of many ideas are which, Natural Selection is NOT a property of Charles Darwin. This is why I find it odd, for instance, that some should bother responding to those asserting Darwin dismissed his own theory on his deathbed by attempting to show that he did not. If Darwin became a notorious evil criminal, would this matter to the relevance of his theory? So to me, giving relevance to the persons presenting a theory with either a good or a bad reputation is as much about politics and not necessarily to the virtue of the author.I'll have to be blunt here: no.[to asserting a political factor involved] Nobody's idea deserves respect just because they came up with it. The way to get respect for your idea is to do the hard work yourself of learning what is currently known, and being able to explain how your new idea provides something that is missing from what is currently known, and showing how your idea can be tested so we can see which way Nature votes. In other words, it's up to you, the person with the idea, to show that the situation your idea addresses is truly of type B, not type A. It's not up to anyone else to grant your idea respect just because you think it's a good one.
I agree thus that nobody deserves respect for coming up with some theory, if you include those who came with with valid ones as much as invalid ones. But I'm unsure if you are trying to justify some reason to dismiss those who put forward 'theories' online in forums? We are no longer in need of much concern today to screen or referee material for publication because that was only truly justified by the limits of it being practical for the costs involved in publishing through printed media. It is relatively becoming 'obsolete' given we now have the Internet and relatively cheap means to store data. So for those who even remotely feel they have a reason to contribute their ideas, they should do so, even if in error. Its politics if one thinks they should curb their enthusiasm in 'theorizing' for fear of appearing dumb or unpopular or just because they appear to be invisible. You are positively asserting that there IS NO INTEREST in non-scientists presenting 'theories' by audiences. I have now argued that you cannot determine this based upon activity and so wonder how you determine even this? And why should it matter?
'Narrow' only points to my reference of a minimal description uncontested by ALL people....that science AT LEAST is agreed to involve the act of observation. What is not so clear is to the degree of philosophy and logic involved is or is not 'science'.I think you have an extremely narrow view of what "science" consists of. Newton and Einstein were scientists. Newton not only developed his theories, he ran his own experiments to test them; look up, for example, his experiments with optics. Einstein, while he was not an experimentalist himself, kept in very close touch with experimentalists as he developed his theories, so that he was up to date on the latest experimental results. Look up, for example, his work on the photoelectric effect or his work with Perrin on Brownian motion--these are good examples because they're less well known than his classic work on relativity, so they often get forgotten about when Einstein is mistakenly thought of as an ivory-tower theorist.
Take the issue of 'predictability' for instance. If I predict X to occur and it does, while it may lend potential weight to those who witnessed my prediction prior to observing as validating some theory of mine, no matter how popular my theory is or even to how others are able to 'replicate' some experiment I might use to base my novel theory on, this is not sufficient to justify my unique explanation as the correct one or in need of someone else to propose a novel experiment to dislodge my explanation for their own. Yet it is rare to see anyone allow alternative explanations for some theories because credibility is extended to the original author's explanation by default even if one has some potentially better alternative explanation without a concern to defeating the actual theory, the math, or to its observations involved. The set of institutions involved rely on maintaining the credibility of their own heroes and agree to this among other institutes by default. As such, there is a tendency to conserve the original author's explanation with a demand that others MUST originate a new experiment, not simply an alternative explanation of the same theory via some alternative perspective. This is just one example of why some would put forward some 'alternative' theory. But note that I don't think the significance is on whether one's mere statement or preference of some "alternate" view exists makes them equally valid. The logic still MUST fit appropriately given all things accepted in observation as well as to predictions. This is logical just as it is true we can have a multitude of different architectures to design the same kind of computer with equivalent goals and use different languages to program them. It might be relatively arbitrary to care when given two computers with identical qualities which one explanation deserves any improvement. But when contrasting computers, say, with biology, for instance, one might have a form of explanation that combines what each area may seem conflicting at first by merely inverting some perspective component factors of one of those theories in their respective fields. (I think this can be done with QM and Relativity, for instance)
I agree to this in principle but see that some things with regards to living conscious things, like us people, tend to always find some means to still abuse any means when we use this rationale to justify some form of censure. Take the economics of Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" for example and how his arguments for a laissez-faire system is rational. This is valid on considering its evolutionary logic. But in practice, the business entities involved in fact DO tend towards monopolies now even without overtly conspiring by becoming virtually 'true' conspiracies. If we thus hand the right of some governments to demand censure of non-economic-liberalism with the best of original intents, it still leads to the abuses by businesses. The same goes for the opposing philosophies.If we actually adopted this policy in practice, we would be unable to have any kind of useful discussion of science. The extremely rare ideas that are worth considering would be drowned out by orders of magnitude by the noise of people who simply don't have enough understanding to have useful ideas, but who insist on being heard.
I think that the political aspects of censuring through even strict demarcation of science as one thing and philosophy as another leads to these problems too. But to get back to your article, I'm uncertain what you are suggesting beyond some "why's" about those posting 'theories' unless you felt a need to justify resistance. I can see that some might complain they may not be given attention by absent responses. But I'm guessing the actual complaints likely come from those being censured in some way, not to whether they are being read or not. In fact I'm guessing they are getting some form of attention you may personally think is too much in forums. The trick is to let people speak and if they don't contribute anything of value, they'll eventually get bored and not bother when no one responds nor censures them. It is the insult of being trivialized should censoring becomes apparent or to dismiss them as morons that leads to as much a rational reflective response to aid in the increased 'theorists' where they may exist.
Agreed. But not enough respect is granted to some of those people who actually DO put the time and effort into self-education with a clear understanding of the issues but get dismissed for their different ways of trying to communicate or, more often, to not conforming to some authoritative standards and 'etiquette' that those that who often go through the formal systems don't realize they possess as what others may call, 'elitist'. Formal education is more often about one's wealth and other inherent factors unnoticed as trivial factors. Something as subtle as being given a first vehicle before one turns 18 by a parent, even a junker, can make an extreme difference that gets overlooked. Give people charity up front. In time you might even influence them by your apparent acceptance rather than ridicule.Note, btw, that even people who have taken the time to understand what is currently known only very rarely have new ideas that end up being worth considering. The difference is that someone who has taken the time can quickly see that most of their new ideas won't work, all by themselves, without having to demand anyone else's time and attention.
Science is universal knowledge because anyone can learn it--if they put in the time and effort. Someone who wants the respect without having put in the time and effort is, as Robert Heinlein once said, like someone who wants to be a concert pianist, but does not want to practice.