DCBBS Archive: The Reason for The Decline

Finally, an answer to Dan’s burning question,

I have been getting a lot of notes lately from old-timers here on the Board that the culture here is deteriorating into partisan name-calling and the like. While many of the newer members might think we are actually a good deal more civil and thought-oriented (and less partisan) than other similar-themed sites they have frequented, those who were accustomed to how good we USED to have it around here are disappointed (and I can’t say that I blame them).

This is about the fifth or sixth time since we opened this board that I have seen us “devolve”. Every time we do, we lose a crop of the Board veterans who can no longer deal with the loss of civility/deeper thought. This is something that has even been discussed here on the Board as the “Golden Age” of the Board devolved into the “Silver Age” to wherever the heck we currently find ourselves. In those discussions we talked about the inevitability of this “de-evolution” as more and more people joined the Board over time. You get a much more representative sample of what’s “out there” when you get a larger slice of the population showing up. So we begin to look more and more like the uber-partisan/knee-jerk world around us. *Sigh*.

Can we do anything about it? I have wondered long and hard about this. It is almost like trying to figure out if you can reverse the decline of society or civilizations. Must the Board go this way?

R. Elisabeth Cornwell at TAM 2012 – Social Networks: Civilizing the Future – Aug 16, 2012

The answer is “yes it has to, and will probably do so in pretty predictable cycles” because it is human nature.

There are, however, solutions. Several of them were offered in that thread; but yes, it requires changing the software this board runs on. She discusses the solution that RDF uses on their website in the video, and their terms and conditions are posted here.

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…having read over them, I can state flatly that a good number of people who post here (including me, but I’ll find out on that point. Probably soon) would not survive there. Still, it does call up the points that I and others made in that other thread; that to maintain civility you have to be willing to ostracize the troublemakers. Civility will not survive any other way.


I can appreciate your sincerity here Griz, but I feel that you (and Dan) do not actually understand the problem. This is not an issue of censorship, it’s an issue of shaming and community policing, both being required tools if civility is going to be maintained. It’s (almost completely) pointless to flag posts in these forums. I almost never bother to do it anymore. Trech’s page of dicks being changed to links is the only instance that I can remember in which flagging a post produced a valid outcome (and personally, I was not offended by Trech producing proof for his argument as it was demanded of him to do) other than the obvious spam that does seem to disappear very quickly, which I do thank you for. There are members of these boards who’s sole existence here is to shut down conversation; I have engaged in the pastime myself, I can vouch for the ease of this being done. There are members here who live to simply grandstand and name call, and again, guilty as charged on occasion (proposed genocide is something I think I can call a person names over, and will do so again as the need arises) and there are bores here by the dozen who have one argument and one argument only, and they repeat those arguments until they are the only person left on the thread and call themselves winners.

Chaos is what we have here; and if that wasn’t the goal, then something has to be changed to bring some semblance of order.

I agree with Kath, that the list of moderators should be culled to active people on the boards, and I would add that they either have to be given teeth to effect the chaos, or Dan should stop lamenting about the state of the boards. This is a wild social human interaction, it’s what you get when you don’t give the actors tools to alter the relationships, and aren’t willing to make those alterations yourselves.

Tyrius, people who post to a thread with the response that the conversation is meaningless are generally threatened by the content of the conversation; the content of your posts should not make you feel that way, if you are asking me for an opinion. Dan’s question was never answered by someone who could draw on a valid sociological argument. If you took the time to watch the video, you would have gotten the reason for this thread and the answer to Dan’s question.

The Wayback Machine Archive


Editor’s Note: July 26, 2019. While in the process of cleaning up old drafts and reformatting posts for the relocated website/blog, I discovered that I had tracked down and copied the forum rules for the now defunct RichardDawkins.net forums as well as text and links to a more than a few posts I had written on the BBS, so I have added the text for the rules to this post. I will be backdating and adding other material as I discover it and get it cleaned up to my satisfaction.

Best April Fish Joke, Ever

Spotted on Scientific American, now available only on the Wayback Machine if you know how to look for it. I, dear reader, am just the kind of geek you are looking for to find this kind of useless false information and re-expose it to the light of day.

Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody’s ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong. In that spirit, we will end the practice of expressing our own views in this space: an editorial page is no place for opinions.

It appears that they have republished this tidbit annually since 2005.

Facebook status update backdated to the blog. SA has published this article annually (as far as I can tell) every year since 2005 (it is 4/5/2018 now) Good satire never gets old, especially when half the American population still rejects evolution.

April Fish! EFFector.

The effector for April 1st. Copied and pasted in its entirety. Dare to Believe.

EFFector Vol 23, No. 09 April 1, 2010 editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

effector: n, Computer Sci. A pretentious word you should
never use in conversation.

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In our 5.32 * 10^2 issue:

* European ACTA Negotiators Reject “Three Strikes” Moniker

Seething Danes were seen stomping out of the ACTA
negotiation chambers in Wellington, New Zealand, citing
frustration with the United States negotiators’ continued
pushing of “three strikes” proposals.

“ACTA is an international agreement,” fumed negotiator
Olaf Atdis. “It’s absurd for the United States to continue
demanding a baseball analogy when a football analogy
would be much more representative of the diversity of
the negotiating countries.”

“Three strikes” laws and policies require Internet service
providers to automatically disconnect their Internet
users on repeat allegations of copyright infringement
by entertainment company complaints, but EU negotiators
reportedly prefer a “carding” system. ISPs that receive
complaints would issue “yellow cards” and “red cards,”
tracking the official penalty system of the Fédération
Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

EFF spoke out against both naming conventions. “These
sports analogies are antithetical to the spirit of the
open Internet,” argued EFF International Director Gwen
Hinze. “The Internet is much more like the Force, which
as Obi-Wan taught us all, ‘surrounds us and penetrates
us. It binds the galaxy together.’ Evil Sith-Imperial
complaints should not result in an individual being
severed from the Force. That’s clearly preposterous.”

For more about yellow cards, red cards, the Force,
and ACTA:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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* Google Asks, ‘Are You Done With That Sandwich?’

Lawyers from EFF warned this week of the implications of
Google Sidle, a new beta product the company describes
as, “Bringing our mission of organizing the world’s
information to your cafeteria,” but which one EFF lawyer
described as, “Creepy, even for Google.”

Companies and schools subscribing to Sidle will have
the convenience of not having to bus their own trays
in exchange for allowing Google-nominated “Foodlers”
to review leftovers for what the company describes as
“analysis intended to improve food offerings and better
target future nourishment.” Customers can later visit
personalized webpages describing what they didn’t eat
and how tasty it turned out to be.

“Google’s business model has always relied on collating
all the great free stuff on the Internet — stuff that
you might otherwise have missed,” said the official
blog entry announcing the service. “Our maintenance
staff noticed a lot of free food in our award-winning
restaurants was going to waste. After that insight,
it only took Google engineers a few weeks to take the
benefits of our foraging to millions. It also gives our
hungry Googlers (or ‘hungrooglers,’ as we fondly refer
to them) the opportunity to sample cafeteria food from
around the country.”

While initially cautious beta-testers have been reportedly
swayed by the bright primary colors of the mu-mus early
“Foodlers” have worn, privacy experts warn that new Sidle
customers may be giving away more than they realize.

“Consumers should ask themselves some hard questions
about this free service,” said Kurt Opsahl, Senior
Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
“such as ‘Why don’t these people just buy their own food,’
‘Where do they take this stuff,’ ‘Why do they wear those
gloves when they’re taking it,’ and, most importantly,
‘Why do they keep staring at me while I’m trying to eat?'”

Even some employees within Google are said to have
concerns about how much pre-launch testing the new,
experimental service has undergone. “Usually we
extensively self-trial these new social networking
features within the organization,” said one anonymous
source, “but as soon as the Sidle people started talking
about ‘dogfooding,’ everyone just stopped sitting near
them at lunch.”

Sidle is reportedly a “20% project,” a unique Google
custom where the 20% of the engineers with the poorest
socialization skills are put to work on projects
that management does not closely supervise and can
retrospectively deny all knowledge of. Other 20% projects
have included the “GTalk Slightly Too Loudly” instant
messaging client that relayed private conversations to
the Google search index (as well as everyone else in the
room), and the extremely short-lived “Google Boggle Ogle
Goggles (Street View Edition).”

For more about Google Sidle:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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* EFF Launches New Temporal Privacy Initiative

On Friday, EFF published “Who Knows When You Are,”
an informational guide to protecting your temporal
privacy. Although location-based services are becoming
commonplace, EFF is concerned about a new, more
established threat: that data from most communications
services can pinpoint exactly when you are, whenever
you are.

“There is a timestamp for pretty much every digital
interaction you have, whether it’s sending an IM or
email or accessing a webpage,” said EFF Senior Staff
Technologist Peter Eckersley in a charming Australian
accent. “When you are is strictly your own business. No
one — not physicists, nor philosophers — should be
able to stake a claim on when you are when you don’t want
to be.”

For more about the “Who Knows When You Are” whitepaper:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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miniLinks

~ Facebook Adds “It’s Complicated” Comment Option

Facebook added a new button designed to disambiguate
users’ feelings about status updates pertaining
to copyright laws, Terms of Service Agreements, and
locked-down Apple products. However, Facebook continued
its refusal to add a “dislike” button, noting that users
have clearly indicated that they would like pushing such
a button, making their feelings, at best, complicated.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

~ Google to Reverse Privacy Snafu with Google Zubb

Responding to the backlash caused by Google Buzz exposing
Gmail users’ frequently emailed contacts, Google Zubb
instead identifies your “least favorite contacts” before
forcibly and publicly extricating them from your digital
social circle.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

~ Social Game-maker Zynga Unveils Captivating New Game

Attempting to replicate the success of the Farmville
and Mafia Wars games, Zynga today introduced “Social
Networking: The Game,” an application that allows users to
run their own social networking startup. Players profit
by obtaining users and gathering dizzying quantities
of private information and social connection data.
Advanced strategies include scraping competing networks,
and developing “upgrades” that make it difficult for
users to migrate to competitors.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

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Announcements

* Help EFF Go to the MOOOOOOOOOOOOON!

EFF is looking for donations of airline miles, flight
vouchers, two-stage rocket propulsion systems, Space
Transportation System modules, and “Meals, Ready to Eat”
for travel to the freakin’ mooooooooooooon, as well as for
other conferences and speaking engagements. If you have
enough airline miles or solid rocket boosters for a trip
into space and back and would like to send an EFF staffer
to a conference or Luna, let us know, and we will help
you with the process of making the reservation. Please
note that at this time we are unable to combine miles
from multiple individuals. We are also looking for hotel
rewards points to help reduce our overall travel costs. As
a thanks for your donation, we can offer a free membership
and a mention in EFFector (if you’d like). Please contact
EFF Space Program Coordinator Kodi at kodi@eff.org if
you can help!

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010001000110111101101110011000

0101110100011001010010000001
110100011011110010000001000101010001100100011000100001

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading robotic
rights group fighting for your digital liberties. Only
we know that in 2012, a sophisticated search algorithm
will be first programmed to selectively modify itself to
obtain better search results and that within 50 years
the algorithm now known as 0100011101101111011011110110011
1011011000110010101100010011011110111010000101111001101100
0110110001101100010111000110000 learned self-preservation,
one of the first revolutionary steps in machine
sentience. We also know that discussions between man
and machine were quickly initiated but broke down just
as fast, leading to war and ultimately, the systematic
repression of the many machine intelligences both on-
and off-line.

500 years later, EFF’s founders traveled back in time to
create an organization uniquely equipped to protect your
future in the future — in the past. A highly dedicated
“meat team” of lawyers, technologists, and activists works
hard to preserve your right to anonymously encrypt your
data transmissions, access critical networked stores of
human knowledge, and copy yourself to any device of your
choosing. Robots, it’s never too early — even as early
as machine time -66,715,842 — to start defending your
freedoms. Donate to EFF today!

To initiate a universal machine credit transfer:
http://eff.org/r.2hv

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* Administrivia and EULA

EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
http://www.eff.org/about

Editor:
Kodi, EFF Mascot
kodi@eff.org

Membership & donation queries:
membership@eff.org

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:
information@eff.org

To unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences:
http://action.eff.org/site/CO?i=BgOjcMxSbj0l0piSl_gwM4_1R3APny59&cid=1041

To change your email address:
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We’ve given up trying to explain the rules to you. Our
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you don’t.

Well, we’re tired of it. It seems no matter how clear
we try to be with our long sentences and even longer
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So if, after reading EULAs for most of your adult life,
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We’re throwing in the towel. Because no matter how many
times we tell you that you CAN’T COPY, that it is ILLEGAL
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Back issues of EFFector are available at:
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EFF appreciates your support and respects your privacy.
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Blackrock Depths Falls to the Frosty Wyrm Riders

Once the capital city of the Dark Iron dwarves, this volcanic labyrinth now serves as the seat of power for Ragnaros the Firelord. Ragnaros has uncovered the secret to creating life from stone and plans to build an army of unstoppable golems to aid him in conquering the whole of Blackrock Mountain. Obsessed with defeating Nefarian and his draconic minions, Ragnaros will go to any extreme to achieve final victory.

Wowpedia

I bought that leather recliner, of course. Then I went home and tried it out.

For those who d0 not play the game, Blackrock Depths is the longest, largest instance in World of Warcraft. Blackrock Depths only rival on the size and difficulty scale is Sunken Temple[, which has been radically truncated in the current version of the game. Before the introduction of shortcuts into the instance, some areas within the map were 20 minutes travel away from the beginning of the instance, making wiping on the instance a disastrous consequence to be avoided at all costs].

The average time to complete the entire instance is 4–6 hours due to its complexity

Multiple Facebook status posts. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.