Originally Posted by Dark5455 Back when this forum was added (right when 1.0 went public), it was hands down the most intelligent forum on this site. As of late, this place has turned into a complete mess. While we've lasted for a long time on the old, simple rules thread, it seems that a change is needed. I wrote the old thread (before I was even a mod, by about a day), and I'm writing the new rules. That being the case, here are the new rules.
1. SEARCH BEFORE YOU POST. Don't make duplicate threads.
2. Don't - Mod people for their political views. Only clear examples of flaming/flamebait are appropriate for - modding in this forum. For example: "OMG U R THE SUXX0RS!" can be -1ed.
3. Do not post an extreme amount of no-content replies. No content replies are posts like: "lol," "haha," "srsly," "o rly?," "you suck," etc. While one is acceptable here and there, multiple in a row just hurts the real content.
4. If you can't tell the difference between satire and stupidity, then this forum is not for you.
5. Don't troll. And don't bait trolling.
6. Don't flame, and don't be flamebait.
7. Make use of the Blog thread for headlines that won't get more than 5 to 10 posts worth of discussion.
8. If you see a thread that needs to be locked, feel free to post in this thread saying why it should be locked.
9. This forum has thrived on intelligent discussion. If you're looking for something else, take it to another forum. Proper English is greatly appreciated (though occasional typos are understandable). 1337-speak and Internet shorthand are not welcome here. If you're going to make a bold assertion, at least attempt to back it up with something.
10. Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they stink when aired out in public. Nobody here cares what you think. What matters in a discussion is why you feel the way you do. Excessive amounts of posts that do nothing but spout opinions without any attempt at joining in discussion will get you booted from the thread.
WHY YOUR THREAD GOT LOCKED
1. There is already a thread on that topic OR 2. It does not have sufficient potential for discussion, IE It belongs in the Blog OR 3. It is something that has been discussed many times and no longer has any merit, like the 9/11 conspiracy theories 4. The first post is so embarrassing you should be ashamed of yourself.
Posting in the Politics and Current Events Forum, AKA why everyone is going to get angry at you if you say something stupid.
Originally written by Nimiety
Fact, Theory, Hypothesis, BullshitThis is a primer on discourse. READ IT.Just because I'm tired of these words being abused by people who's education stopped when their faces met their rectums...
A fact does not constitute a proven theory. A theory is not an unproven fact.
Let me give you a few minutes to let that sit in.
Ok, are we ready to continue? Good.
A theory is a detailed relationship of cause and effect that is built up from observations and tested hypotheses that tries to explain something. Theories are always being tested, as scientists want to weed out any crap that may exist in them. This is done by using the theory to make a prediction, and then performing the appropriate experiment to see if the empirical evidence (i.e. the observed facts) matches the theoretical predictions. If the theory passes the test, it is not necessarily correct. It's just passed another test. A scientific theory can never be proven, only disproven. The only proofs in science are mathematical.
Let me use an example.
There is a coffee mug sitting on my desk. This is an observational fact. There is a brown residue in this mug. This is also an observational fact. I wonder if that brown residue is coffee. This is a hypothesis.
The test for coffee is pretty straight forward. Finger gets licked; brown goo gets prodded; fingers gets licked again. The goo is very sweet, and does not taste like coffee. The hypothesis fails.
I wonder if that brown residue is cola.
The goo is very sweet, with just a hint of acidity. It's also very sticky -- almost syrupy. It could very well have been cola. The hypothesis does not fail.
Since there is no cola in the glass now, I'm forced to assume that, at some point in time, I drank a glass of cola and put the mug down on my desk. Since the cola was in a mug, and not a paper cup of some sort, or a pre-packaged bottle, I also have to assume that this cola was stored in a larger container elsewhere in the house. If this is the case, a chemical test on the residue should show signs of sugar, caffeine, and phosphoric acid. This is a theory.
Let's take a minute to note the restrictions on this particular theory. It doesn't tell us what brand of cola I was drinking. It doesn't say from where in the house this cola came from, or where it was puchased. It doesn't go into why a mug was used instead of a cup, or a glass. These are questions this theory doesn't even bother to ask, let alone attempt to answer.
The theory, of course, could be wrong. Perhaps the mug just spontaneously materialized on the desk. Maybe the residue is an inherent part of the mug -- forever stained to the bottom of it -- and is not an actual clue as to what was last consumed out of it. Who knows? Since these options will always be possible, the theory can never, ever be proven to be right.
A second example is that of gravity. Here, we look into Newton's theory of gravity, and Newton's law of gravity.
F = GMm/r^2 is Newton's gravitational law. It is a relation that describes a consistant observation (that being that the force due to gravity between two particles of masses M and m are inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them). It doesn't even bother to guess as to why. It's not designed to. It's a simple statement of observation.
Newton's theory of gravity is that of "force at a distance". Objects with mass have a gravitational "field" inherent to them, and the interactions of these fields cause the objects to feel forces attracting them to each other. This is an attempt to explain why Newton's law of gravity works.
Theories never become facts. Theories are basd on facts, and are tools used to help explain facts. A theory is forever a theory. Anyone claiming anything else is full of bullshit.
So I'm fairly sure most of you guys have noticed how there's been a bit of a palpable...shift in the quality of threads, posts, and general discourse over the past few days. Now, in the spirit of maybe getting things back on track, I offer this primer to anyone new who wishes to really be heard and engaged as an equal.
1. English is a rich and colorful language. Use it properly.
I am quite forgiving of the occasional flub in language usage. Lord knows that I slip on occasion. However, compare the two following sentences:
i tink wat happen in tailand wuz bad. I think what happened in Thailand was bad.
Notice how much easier it is to read the second sentence. Remember, what you write is not meant for you-- in other words, you have an audience. Mind your audience, and they'll be much more likely to ask for more.
2. Sources, sources, sources.
Sources can help bring background and legitimacy to a post. Now, we're not asking that you have blue in every other word; in fact, that's distracting and annoying. Sources help you when your claim is not general knowledge. For example...
However, a few corollaries are important to keep in mind:
- not all sources are equal Though we may not all necessarily agree on this, the general consensus here on P&CE is that The New York Times is a much better source than someone's blog.
- A link to an article is not an alternative to a well thought out argument Sources are not a crutch to stand on. They are frosting on the cake. Very important frosting, but not the center of your post.
3. You will be zinged. Live with it.
Zings, sarcasm, and even flat-out mean posts are a bit of a mainstay in forums devoted to these sorts of debates. I can't necessarily defend them as being conducive to discussion, but they do happen. I hate to be trite, but if you can't stand the heat, get the hell out. I don't know that anyone here can say that sugarcoating is their specialty. Sorry.
- Be Man/Woman enough to admit when you're wrong
We all make mistakes. Sometimes, our information is wrong and we present a wrong argument. However, through good discussion, not only can we realize our mistakes, we can learn from them. Keep in mind, that simply because you've made one bad argument, it doesn't make you stupid. However, don't make a habit of it.
- YOU DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING
Don't deem yourself an intellectual because you read 1984, think everything is a huge conspiracy, the government is out to get you, and the masses are brainwashed robots. Plug yourself into reality.
4. Degrees are not an "I win button," but they do help.
This has been done to death before, but I'll say it again: I doubt very much that most of you could keep up with me in Japanese, political science (e.g. the theoretical stuff), and East Asia in general. Similarly, I cannot keep up with Alsace on biology. I cannot keep up with Mexcello on Mexico or Latin America. Dark knows a lot more law than I do. And so on and so forth.
The point is, don't discount those who have some accreditation outright. You're a fool to do so.
5. READ THE WHOLE THREAD
If you respond to a post on page three, but the thread is on page seven and is now on a very different section of the topic, you'll look like a fool. Therefore, it's a good idea to read the entire thread you are about to post in. If the thread is of decent length, at least read the first page and last 5 pages. (Note that this means any thread 6 pages or less should be read entirely).
Another note: this doesn't mean you can't reply to posts several pages back. But if the thread has moved on, your post better offer a different insight than those that have already been posted.
6. THINK BEFORE YOU POST
I'm saving the best for last here. Think before you goddamn post, okay? Ask yourself if you've thoroughly covered your ground, dotted your i's, crossed your t's, and filled in every bubble with a #2 pencil. What will your post add to this discussion? 7. NO MORE REVOLUTIONARY THREADS
The Blog Thread is for Posting Links to news stories that will have less than 10 posts of real discussion, there is some room to slide on what should be in the blog and what should not.
However, if you think your thread might go in the Blog thread
1. You're better off putting it in the blog thread, if it sparks a lot of discussion, a thread can always be created about it later.
2. If you do make a thread about it, you better damn well write an intelligent and discussion producing first post, or it will probably be locked.
The Blog Commentary Thread is for discussing stories posted in the blog, it's extremely helpful to make a reference to the story that you're discussing unless you're relpying to a post where someone is already discussing it.
the P&CE Issues Thread is only to discuss issues related to the forum itself. Use it to post threads you think ought to be locked, or if you think something is getting out of hand in a thread, or if you're upset with something else.
the BAR thread is for off topic politics or current events related banter, mainly to keep it from filling up other threads.