How should we deal with extreme opinions?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.

Recently there have been a number of threads expressing extreme opinions especially in regard to Covid-19. We want UKC to be a place where people can express their opinions freely but there is an international trend in promoting certain ideas that are contrary to the mainstream view. These cover topics like people opposing lockdown, 5G damage, vaccine dangers and vast international paedophile rings.

We don't want to provide a platform for conspiracy theories based on little factual evidence and promoted by companies/organisations with an unclear agenda. However, some of the more recent threads have been made by people presenting ideas that they believe and the subsequent debate has proved revealing, often debunking nonsense and occasionally highlighting some important questions.

What do UKC/UKH readers think?
(Votes are anonymous)

Post edited at 10:02

How should we deal with extreme opinions and conspiracy theories?

Allow all opinions to be expressed on the forum and open to debate.
123 votes | %
Move such threads to the Pub so that debate can take place but the topic is hidden from the wider public.
312 votes | %
Remove extreme opinions and conspiracy theory threads.
110 votes | %
Login to vote
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I wonder how many others are like me and have deselected "the pub" from their forum options on the basis of wanting to create some limits on how much time I spend arguing with people on UKC? 

I saw the thread yesterday regarding covid death-rates, but actually have no idea if there are already lots of these denialist types of posts in the Pub already? Or do they tend to pop up in the off belay forum?

 Offwidth 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

UKC forums are an incredibly useful facility for providing climbers and hillwalkers with an information exchange and a common social space. I think the moderation is currently working well but the forums are a bit dominated by argumentative older white men. The team could do with thinking more on how to get a more diverse UKC user profile.

Hence on your question I think it's really hard to generalise but you seem to be responding well.  At the risk of grandma egg sucking lessons some useful rules of thumb for a pub move might be:

Is this a standard conspiracy theory style post, if so pub (if its obviously identical to posts circulating elsewhere on the web, delete).

Has long has the poster been using the site.. a newish user maybe goes to the pub (and a first ever post of this type should probably get deleted).

Does this look like an obvious 1.00am bit of post drinking foolishness (if so pub).

If the post looks like a beginner muddle on a climbing subject, try and keep it on the main forums (and try and discourage regular posters being excessively rude in such threads)

 DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

It’s your forum, you decide what to allow. You wouldn’t allow hate speech. I know forums that have banned all political and religious debate. One forum has banned all Covid chat. There are places to go for that kind of thing. Forums that ban them in the rules are a lot more friendly and unlikely to develop echo chambers of either persuasion. 
 

I’m certainly getting bored of the Anti Brexit/Anti Conservative bias on this site, I’ve not seen many religious threads but certainly don’t get the impression that religious people are free to speak their views without being hounded by the atheists. 
 

Open debate is one thing - getting your views censored by the sheer weight of an opposing echo chamber doesn’t further open debate. 

 Hardonicus 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

The standard of discourse is very high generally on the COVID topic. I am concerned that there are also very strong views against anyone who tries to bring in non-mainstream viewpoints, that is not healthy. There are are lots of unknowns in this situation and lots of things stated as fact that may not be as clear cut as people are led to believe. Points should be refuted on a case by case basis. I would be very uncomfortable with anyone form of censorship - a move to the pub is clearly the best solution.

In reply to Offwidth:

'try and discourage regular posters being excessively rude in such threads'

Does that happen, except when a poster is obviously trolling or hasn't made the slightest effort to research or understand an issue? 

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> 'try and discourage regular posters being excessively rude in such threads'

> Does that happen, except when a poster is obviously trolling or hasn't made the slightest effort to research or understand an issue? 

I think it does, mainly when a new poster asks what appears to be a 'dubious' question and is immediately pounced upon as a troll, bot or sockpuppet.

There is definitely a need to move or remove posts that are repetitive, are obviously pushing a wider agenda or are abusive. I used to be a member of a forum for current and ex-military people. Over a period of about 5 years it slid into being an echo chamber of barely-suppressed racism, ranting Brexiteers, sockpuppets and Walter Mittys.

I'd hate that to happen to UKC.

 wintertree 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

For me it comes down to the motivation of the poster - at which we as other posters can only guess.  I think you will have more information on both the "pop-up Covid" posters and on what appear to have been several long-term dormant accounts that have sprung suddenly in to life to make an anti-lockdown post using a familiar writing tone and messaging.

From my outside view, these represent an open attack on the integrity of the site - one through participation, one through misuse of credentials.

I am not a fan of shutting down debate by deleting threads where the subject is a genuine disagreement - particularly here where the problem is not simple, different aspects of the media are pushing different agendas, the situation is evolving rapidly and is hard to really grok.

But... I do think that setting a precedent that your business is going to resist being (ab)used by those with an apparent agenda is going to protect it in the long run - make it a less fertile ground than the forums for the Bad Guys™ to exploit and they'll move on.  

I have no idea if the Bad Guys™ are a figment of my imagination, a couple of bored regulars or a genuinely malign influence.

One of the "pop-up Covid posters" (who shared specific attitudes and unusual turns of phrase with at least two others) shared an otherwise unique turn of phrase with another account on another website - posted to both within a day of each other and both of anti-lockdown sentiment.   The other account appeared to tie back to a professional social media marketing consultant.   

Thanks for asking the readers what they thing as part of the policy making.

 ianstevens 26 Nov 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I’m certainly getting bored of the Anti Brexit/Anti Conservative bias on this site, I’ve not seen many religious threads but certainly don’t get the impression that religious people are free to speak their views without being hounded by the atheists. 

Is that not a reflection of the wider climbing community? From my bubble of climbers most are anti-tory and Brexit. I appreciate that is however just my bubble - please take this as question and not anything else!

 Eric9Points 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I don't mind discussing anything with someone who's a climber but might have a nutty opinion on one subject or another. Those people are just expressing a genuinely held belief to their peers. They'll get shot down in flames and most of us will probably learn something from the dissection of their arguments.

What I do object to is posters with little or no history and little evidence that they actually climb presenting dishonest arguments. They've come onto the forum for only one purpose and they are passing themselves off as someone they're not. They do that because people are less sceptical of arguments if they believe they are coming from a "normal" person and not an activist who may well be part of an organised campaign and may even be getting paid for it.

I'd tolerate the former and ban the latter.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Chuck it in the pub, maybe implement a system where forum members can have threads removed if enough people vote for it but only allow established members to vote, ie must be a member for x years. 

 Andy Farnell 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Move to the pub forum, then make that forum only open during pub hours.

Andy F

 Graeme G 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

You could have added a 4th question. Should you delete The Pub and Off-Belay forums, with all political debates resulting in a ban?

It is a climbing website?

Says the bloke who gets drawn into political debates.....

 Graeme G 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Andy Farnell:

> Move to the pub forum, then make that forum only open during pub hours.

Which Tier or Level though? 

 baron 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I don't mind discussing anything with someone who's a climber but might have a nutty opinion on one subject or another. Those people are just expressing a genuinely held belief to their peers. They'll get shot down in flames and most of us will probably learn something from the dissection of their arguments.

> What I do object to is posters with little or no history and little evidence that they actually climb presenting dishonest arguments. They've come onto the forum for only one purpose and they are passing themselves off as someone they're not. They do that because people are less sceptical of arguments if they believe they are coming from a "normal" person and not an activist who may well be part of an organised campaign and may even be getting paid for it.

> I'd tolerate the former and ban the latter.

There are possibly a fair number of regular contributors on UKC who are not climbers.

It would be a pity to lose their contributions.

 Mike505 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Can't you just create another forum? Why clog up the pub with extreme views and conspiracy theories , when the threads can be moved to Toilet?

 StuPoo2 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> Remove extreme opinions and conspiracy theory threads.

The only problem with "remove extreme opinions ..." is that you then need to become an arbiter of what constitutes an extreme opinion and that's a mine field.

Political examples:  I for one think that Jeremy Corbyn opinions were extreme - but I didn't want them banned.  Similarly - I also think Nigel Farage's opinions were extreme - but I don't want them banned either.  Many would say Trump's opinions were extreme .. but he just went on to bank the 2nd largest number of votes in US history and I don't think his opinions should be banned either.

Covid examples:  "The government is lying to us in the charts" - there is some (a kernel) truth in that[1].  Most of us understand that it was an irrelevant error that wouldn't have changed anything and further deeply dislike the fact that others have clamped onto it to advance perhaps their other agenda's ... but it still isn't a lie or an extreme of opinion to state the government inadvertently presented false data to the public as part of its case for the 2nd lockdown - before going on to correct it.  (I am aware that is not what kicked this off yesterday)

Who's laws would be used to set the benchmark for extreme of opinion?  What is extreme in one country isn't what is extreme in another.  Maybe we would use UK law .. perhaps we would use the classic "in York, the law states that it is legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow upon seeing one, except for on Sundays." ... is it an extreme of opinion to come out on the UKC forums and state that I think this wrong?  Fair few posters based in France here - maybe we could use French law?  Does that mean it would be extreme to say that maybe it should be okay to wear a small religious cross on your lapel if you're teacher?

It's a wormhole.  People use "that guy has an extreme of opinion" to shut down and control debate they don't agree with.  Once you start banning stuff ... you can't stop and you'll be, ultimately, forced into taking a political stance on many matters.

I think you guys have it about right.  When there is clear trolling, malicious intent or on purpose misinformation ban the user and remove the post.  

I voted move to the pub btw.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/06/how-uk-government-misrepresented-covid-projections-lockdown-explained

 Andy Hardy 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Can you flag the threads as "fake content"? This could be done on a reporting basis, so the thread develops as normal, then when the troll, bot or tin hatter shows their hand, the thread is reported by normal user(s) mods take a look and can label the thread as compost? (if warranted).

Further to this, could you add a label to the poster's profile, with a score for each time they're reported for posting lies / "fake content"?

 Eric9Points 26 Nov 2020
In reply to baron:

> There are possibly a fair number of regular contributors on UKC who are not climbers.

> It would be a pity to lose their contributions.

Yes, I no longer climb. However the regulars have an affinity with some aspect of climbing or walking and still have a useful contribution to make on discussions about climbing and walking etc.

I think someone who searched out this forum simply to win people over to one particular point of view on one issue are a problem and should never be allowed a platform where they present themselves as something they're not. 

 kaiser 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

When two people disagree they often both think the other has extreme opinions.   Who decides what's 'extreme'.

Separately, IMV the forum is too tolerant of abuse, far far more than other forums (fora?) that I frequent.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Why not introduce a badge system to each user profile? Other users could then add 'heat' to each badge. I recommend we have the following badges for starters:

Legend

Gammon

Troll

Twat.

 baron 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Shani:

There are some posters who’d have all 4 badges straight away.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Putting them in the Pub seems a good balance as it reduces the risk to yourselves of getting a bad reputation.  I never support censorship of opinion under any circumstances, and there are enough "right thinking" people on here to rubbish that sort of thing.

In reply to baron:

True.

Think i qualify for at least three of them. 😭

In reply to Neil Williams:

> I never support censorship of opinion under any circumstances, and there are enough "right thinking" people on here to rubbish that sort of thing.

That's the crux for me; who gets to say what is extreme?

I prefer to see bad ideas and arguments taken apart.

 baron 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Shani:

> True.

> Think i qualify for at least three of them. 😭

😀

 DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

Maybe. Perhaps in that case we should have some kind of thread title/content rule. Where the thread title has to relate to the actual content and not be designed to be inflammatory or click bait. 
 

I get that people have political views but it’s just getting ridiculous having to scroll past so much dross and then unwittingly clicking on something that looks like it might not be, only to find, it is. 

Post edited at 13:01
 Rob Parsons 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> Recently there have been a number of threads expressing extreme opinions especially in regard to Covid-19. We want UKC to be a place where people can express their opinions freely but there is an international trend in promoting certain ideas that are contrary to the mainstream view. These cover topics like people opposing lockdown, 5G damage, vaccine dangers and vast international paedophile rings.

I wouldn't equate 'opposition to lockdowns' (a policy initially adopted by Sweden, for example), with the suggestion of 'vast international paedophile rings' ...

And of course, since you use the word 'extreme', you then to have some working definition of what that is. I see that someone has described Corbyn's views as extreme above!

In reply to DancingOnRock:

Does "dross" mean "things you disagree with"?  I'm not finding much actual dross on here.

 Andy Hardy 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Shani:

Tin-Foil Milliner?

Magic Bean / Herbivore Exchange Specialist?

Numpty?

 DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

It’s not too bad today. But Alan seems to think there may be, he’s started a poll.

 wintertree 26 Nov 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I’m certainly getting bored of the Anti Brexit/Anti Conservative bias on this site,

Sometimes I think you are tilting at ghosts.  

When I critiqued the conduct of Dominic Cummings and more importantly the government response, you immediately and repeatedly accused me of being motivated by a political agenda.

I can assure you that had it been a labour government, a labour SPAD and so in, I would have had the exact same criticism.

From my view it was and is an astoundingly bad precedent that sends an astoundingly bad message to the people in a situation where trust between the government and the people is of paramount importance to the compliance needed for effective pandemic management.

You continue to insist this is a political agenda from me.  

You are in control of how much bias and agenda you perceive from this site.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I think there's an argument that all the political threads should be in the Pub.  The content does not need to be archived indefinitely: maybe the time limit on the pub is too short but if they were cleared out after 6 months I don't think we'd lose anything.

 DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Where’s that come from? I haven’t mentioned you at all! This is a poll about political debate. 
 

In my experience if you question any Labour polices you’re immediately labelled a conservative scum.  That’s not my imagination. I’m not a conservative.


Get back in your box. 

Post edited at 13:32
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Or maybe there should be a separate Politics forum.  I know other forums I use have done that.

In reply to DancingOnRock:

I don't find that to be true at all.  I'm not a Tory either, but I do have right-of-centre views on some things.

 wintertree 26 Nov 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Where’s that come from? I haven’t mentioned you at all!

It is an illustrative example of why I think you perceive quite so much bias that you are complaining about.  Multiple times you have accused me of such a bias when I have other clear grounds for forming and sharing my view.  I think you are often tilting at ghosts.

> This is a poll about political debate

This is a poll about deliberately misinformed posts masquerading as political debate.

> Get back in your box.

This from the poster complaining about having views "censored" by opposition.

In reply to All:

Thanks, some good feedback here. There is certainly a consensus developing on the voting and opinions expressed.

We already do treat a lot of these threads carefully and adopt many of the suggestions made above about length of time a user has been on the site, whether it is posted as a genuine opinion or a cut-and-paste job from somewhere else. Any external sites linked to are also taken into consideration.

Alan

In reply to Neil Williams:

> Or maybe there should be a separate Politics forum.  I know other forums I use have done that.

This is an interesting suggestion - opt-in but not deleted like in the Pub. Only problem is that it might kill Off Belay and/or The Pub a bit.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I was never massively sure what the practical difference between those two was anyway

Another Forum I use has a dedicated COVID forum because that was crowding out their General Chat area.

 Harry Jarvis 26 Nov 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I think there's an argument that all the political threads should be in the Pub.  The content does not need to be archived indefinitely: maybe the time limit on the pub is too short but if they were cleared out after 6 months I don't think we'd lose anything.

I think this makes a lot of sense. This is, after all, a website for hillwalkers and climbers, and political discussions, interesting though they may be to some, are peripheral to the main purpose of the site. If people are desperate for other political discussion, I'm sure there are other places for them. Putting these threads in the Pub gives them a place without giving them prominence. 

 Graeme G 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Or maybe there should be a separate Politics forum.  I know other forums I use have done that.

Probably one of the better ideas. As a young man I was given sound advice of three things you never discus in the pub; football, religion and politics.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> This is an interesting suggestion - opt-in but not deleted like in the Pub. Only problem is that it might kill Off Belay and/or The Pub a bit.

Politics isn't a discreet subject. Take COVID/Lockdown policy and how it affects crag access? Discussions often stray/develop - it's part of the fun and value of them.

 gravy 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Label crank opinions with a warning flag, on the whole flat earthers get farily short shrift here

In reply to Graeme G:

Hmmm; those are the thing I  talk about in the pub the most.

 mondite 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> I wouldn't equate 'opposition to lockdowns' (a policy initially adopted by Sweden, for example)

I think it depends what form that opposition takes. There is a scale between being dubious about certain parts of a lockdown through to the "shouldnt be a lockdown at all and everything should continue as per this time last year". I think it is reasonable to consider the latter an extreme position.

After all Sweden did ban large gatherings earlier than the UK did. If the UK had done so at the same time we wouldnt have had Cheltenham and some of the football games.

There is definitely a lot of overlap when you look at people who are QAnon fans and anti any form of lockdown.

Sticking it down the pub seems a good compromise overall. With some deletes/bans when its the first/second post for someone and it looks suspiciously like a copy and paste job.

 Graeme G 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Might have been the pubs I frequented, which carried robust risk assessment? 

In reply to DancingOnRock:

> In my experience if you question any Labour polices you’re immediately labelled a conservative scum.  That’s not my imagination. I’m not a conservative.

It is. How is it that both myself and quite a long list of people that openly dislike Corbyn and the Momentum agenta never get accused of being conservative scum?

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

In an ideal world, it would be great to see some fact checking, with disclaimers put on posts that are misleading or dishonest, however I appreciate that this is time consuming and probably requires resources that UKC don't have. Perhaps forum user could contribute to this through an adapted reporting system.

Of course that can only deal with misinformation, which won't necessarily include extreme views. I guess it is difficult enough to moderate racism, sexism, homophobia etc, without for example asking should you moderate content which seemed to support a eugenics approach. I think someone being called out on their extreme view in something like that is sufficient.

In reply to DancingOnRock:

> In my experience if you question any Labour polices you’re immediately labelled a conservative scum.  That’s not my imagination. I’m not a conservative.

That is simply not true. It is your imagination and whilst I don’t know how you vote, you have certainly been very defensive of the government and their handling of COVID.

> Get back in your box. 

First rule of the internet as far as I’m concerned is “try not to be a dick” I suggest following that rule.

Post edited at 14:22
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Yes, I no longer climb. However the regulars have an affinity with some aspect of climbing or walking and still have a useful contribution to make on discussions about climbing and walking etc.

This is me too. I walk now and have a love of the hills.

Just say the word and I'll be offski if non climbers are to be ushered out.

 DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2020
In reply to The New NickB:

>First rule of the internet as far as I’m concerned is “try not to be a dick” I suggest following that rule.

 

Sorry, his constant picking is getting tedious now. Either he is stalking me or trolling me. I can’t decide which yet. 

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

If it isn't broken don't fix it. Who cares if someone posts something about anti lockdown or 5G conspiracy theories. I can't see how it is going to adversely affect people and like someone has already said, wildly misplaced theories get debunked pretty quickly anyway. Off belay and the Pub seem to suit the needs for non climbing related threads and shock horror, people sometimes post shite! As long as it doesn't contain racist, anti semitic or sexist material or is of an extremely violent nature then let it be. 

Post edited at 14:29
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> >First rule of the internet as far as I’m concerned is “try not to be a dick” I suggest following that rule.

> Sorry, his constant picking is getting tedious now. Either he is stalking me or trolling me. I can’t decide which yet. 

My interpretation is neither. 

 Red Rover 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I wouldn't ban anti-lockdown posts as, even though I am pro-lockdown, there are valid anti-lockdown points or at least we should be allowed to discuss it. Otherwise it is a slippery slope where only 'correct' opinions are permitted. If somebody is saying that 5G causes coronavirus then that is clearly nonsense, but that is what the pub is for! 

P.S. I would say it is more about regulating the posters than their opinions. There are a few anti-lockdown posters who look like bots or paid posters and these should be clamped down on, but if a genuine user here is questioning lockdown then I don't think that should be stopped. Even if anti-lockdown is wrong is it really an illegal opinion?

Post edited at 14:47
In reply to The New NickB:

> In an ideal world, it would be great to see some fact checking, with disclaimers put on posts that are misleading or dishonest, however I appreciate that this is time consuming and probably requires resources that UKC don't have. Perhaps forum user could contribute to this through an adapted reporting system.

Formal fact checking would be great but i think a strength of UKC is that you often get well informed opinions/takedowns/fact-checking on lively debate already.

> Of course that can only deal with misinformation, which won't necessarily include extreme views. I guess it is difficult enough to moderate racism, sexism, homophobia etc, without for example asking should you moderate content which seemed to support a eugenics approach. I think someone being called out on their extreme view in something like that is sufficient.

Misinformation is definitely tricky to address (and a way bigger problem, beyong just UKC). I'm not sure how we tackle it but there have been some good examples recently of sock-puppet/troll/Misinformation accounts being promptly challenged by the regulars.

I totally agree with your last sentence here; anyone with view that could be 'reasonably' deemed extreme will definitely be called out on UKC.

I guess this comes back to badges such as those used on Reddit. Awards and recognition for interaction, time served, valued contribution, along with corresponding increased privileges, would hopefully drive up quality and weed out the damaging and mischievous. 

 Yanis Nayu 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I think on FB etc those things can be given dangerous airtime and grow wings. On here, with lots of intelligent, engaged, engaging posters they get debated and debunked. So I’d say leave them. 

 nniff 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I don't mind discussing anything with someone who's a climber but might have a nutty opinion on one subject or another. Those people are just expressing a genuinely held belief to their peers. They'll get shot down in flames and most of us will probably learn something from the dissection of their arguments.

> What I do object to is posters with little or no history and little evidence that they actually climb presenting dishonest arguments. They've come onto the forum for only one purpose and they are passing themselves off as someone they're not. They do that because people are less sceptical of arguments if they believe they are coming from a "normal" person and not an activist who may well be part of an organised campaign and may even be getting paid for it.

> I'd tolerate the former and ban the latter.

This

 peppermill 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Throw them to the wolves and let the rest of us tear them to shreds. 

Plenty of well informed folk on here from all walks of life.

Post edited at 15:02
In reply to peppermill:

That definitely happened on this thread below. The user was quickly smoked out for having a hidden agenda:

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/off_belay/hospitals_are_not_full-727403

Climbing is such a niche hobby with it's own language, and UKC is smaller still with it's running gags (DJViper, 3PS etc....), that it's probably quite impenetrable to anyone who isn't either a genuine climber or invests a lot of time here. That alone might be a sufficient quality-gate.

 mullermn 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

What you need are two pubs. One nice, semi-gastro-pub with good ales and a nice fire and another full of people with suspiciously closely cropped hair, cheap lager and a skittles lane.

 Eric9Points 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Shani:

> Formal fact checking would be great but i think a strength of UKC is that you often get well informed opinions/takedowns/fact-checking on lively debate already.

> Misinformation is definitely tricky to address (and a way bigger problem, beyong just UKC). I'm not sure how we tackle it but there have been some good examples recently of sock-puppet/troll/Misinformation accounts being promptly challenged by the regulars.

I think it's important to make a distinction between "misinformation", information that is not correct and "disinformation" which is known to be wrong and used to deceive.  

The first is an honest mistake which should be corrected. The second is a lie which should be condemned and stopped from spreading.

 GrahamD 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

The pub.  With the warning that, like a real pub, opinions expressed therein may be utter bollox.

In reply to GrahamD:

> The pub.  With the warning that, like a real pub, opinions expressed therein may be utter bollox.

We should have 'The Pub' and a new addition called 'Flat Roof Pub', for the nutters.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  

The idea of censoring "...certain ideas that are contrary to the mainstream view" worries me.  In 1930s Germany Nazism was a mainstream view!

It seems to me to work very well at the moment.  Flushing out the trolls/bots seems like it is a fun pastime for some of our parish, and better to let the system self-govern than have to do it yourselves with all that entails.

 Doug 26 Nov 2020
In reply to mullermn:

or the public bar & the lounge ?

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

One problem with the 'pubbing' proposal is that evidence of previous disinformation warfare would be deleted, making detection of such warriors more difficult by the average forum user, not having an idetic memory...

I dont mind opposing opinions; they sometimes make me think, but the appearance of apparently concerted disinformation warfare campaigns are very worrying. UKC is, luckily, a haven of sanity compared to newspaper and TV/radio comments pages, where those warriors and useful/wishful idiot followers are in terrifying abundance. It's a huge threat to an informed democracy, and I am pretty sure we are already suffering from its effects.

As for UKC's approach, I was very happy to see you apply a 'disinformation warning' to one OP a couple of months ago. I'd be happy to see that, but I'm not sure how you would arbitrate it. Even counting reports is difficult, unless you can apply some means of automatically rating users with some 'sanity/trustworthiness/moderate' weighting factor.

Post edited at 16:15
 alx 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Shani:

> a new addition called 'Flat Roof Pub', for the nutters.

The Pig and Whistle or the Tin Foil Hat?

 GrahamD 26 Nov 2020
In reply to alx:

The Cock and Bull ?

 Tom V 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Bobling:

> Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  

Indeed, m'lud, we speak of little else round here.

 JHiley 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I think the language in the OP could do with being a bit more precise. E.g. What does 'opposing lockdown' actually mean? I'm guessing you mean people denying covid-19 exists or kills people.

For example I've mostly wanted tougher restrictions throughout the pandemic, however I think the policy of banning people interacting 1 on 1 with loved ones indoors while allowing pubs and climbing walls to open is absolutely disgraceful. I also don't support banning climbing outdoors. Does that make me an anti-lockdown extremist?

Or maybe I'm a pro-lockdown extremist because I don't support walls/ pubs opening and Christmas parties.

I don't think opinions on a policy as difficult, controversial and serious as lockdown should be restricted to "the mainstream view", whatever that is. Especially since "the mainstream view" on here seems to change from week to week.

In general I reckon UKC does a good job at moderation already. Abusive posts are removed. People like climate change & covid deniers get picked apart quite quickly. (though there is one particular poster who I'll call 'Daft Sausage' who disguises his drivel more effectively than most...)

Also, while facebook and the like have fake news which can sometimes be mistaken for the real thing, UKC forum posts are very obviously just comments from a random person and can't really be taken for anything else.

Post edited at 16:55
In reply to Andy Farnell:

> Move to the pub forum, then make that forum only open during pub hours.

> Andy F


Do you not have 24hour drinking in the UK these days?

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I think the pub best to prevent sharing of misinformation.  Aside from that, users can report individual posts to the mods with their associated reasons who can in turn use the additional information privy to themselves such as user IP address etc. and make an informed decision and take relevant actions.  When it comes to life and death, misinformation holds no valid place in society.

 Postmanpat 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

  Define an "extreme opinion"?

   To a small core of users it seems to mean not much more than "an opinion that I strongly disagree with" which they will then deliberately misportray and smear in order to justify their view. Should that extreme tactic be banned?

 The truth is arrived at through debate , not by suppressing, "non mainstream" views. That's been the basis of political, intellectual and scientific development since the ancient bloody Greeks. That should be the strength of UKC; that is has informed people on almost every debate who can explain why an alternative view is mistaken (or, occasionally, isn't). It could be a useful tool for doing that.

Suppressing non-mainstream views just helps them to flourish.

Post edited at 19:37
In reply to Postmanpat:

Nicely misrepresented!

 waitout 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

From my limited time here I've found the place to be infested with rough nut, tattooed, jacked up, gang thinking, knuckle dragging, blinkered, slack jawed and parochial acolytes. But by containing the boulderers you've done society enlarge a service, so should be commended.

If playing with the fire of thought-policing appeals, how about deputizing a gang of UKC's most ardent believers as a sort of strike force to root out conspirators with the climbers equivalent of the Voight-Kampff test? That be fun.

I don't know these fora very well, but as a platform of extreme or dangerous ideologies it ranks somewhere between macramé and bird watching. Any Qmoron thinking they're going seed their stupid ideas here won't get far due to the endemic level of critical thinking. Yes you may get the occasional weirdo, but you'll loose more from exorcising them than making rules to exclude them. It's just not British.

 Postmanpat 26 Nov 2020
In reply to The New NickB:

> Nicely misrepresented!

And so it starts......

In reply to Postmanpat:

> And so it starts......

Are you arguing that you didn’t misrepresent  Alan’s position? He referred to extreme views and gave examples such as certain conspiracy theories, you refer to shutting down “non-mainstream views”.

With statements such as “and so it starts” you are trying shut down criticism, I wonder how long it would take you to accuse me of being the kind of person who throws concrete blocks off motorway bridges.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Another thing that sprung to mind (don't know if your software can do it) is forums that have a general chat area like The Pub but only make it visible to people after they have made a certain number of posts in the main areas of the forum, e.g. about climbing.  Works best when you don't publish exactly how many that is so a bot can't sniff it out.  That way only genuine members get there, and trolls/bots etc don't.

Post edited at 20:15
 Postmanpat 26 Nov 2020
In reply to The New NickB:

> Are you arguing that you didn’t misrepresent  Alan’s position? He referred to extreme views and gave examples such as certain conspiracy theories, you refer to shutting down “non-mainstream views”.

> With statements such as “and so it starts” you are trying shut down criticism, I wonder how long it would take you to accuse me of being the kind of person who throws concrete blocks off motorway bridges.

>

   I wasn't attacking Alan's position because he is asking a question not providing the answer. (something which people on here often get confused about) although he does refer to the "trend in promoting certain ideas that are contrary to the mainstream view", hence my use of the term. You will note that I also raised a question. I'll reframe it for you; how do you (or Alan) distinguish between a non-mainstream view and an extreme view?

  I'm trying to shut down knee jerk ad hominem jibes ,yes. But not reasoned criticism.

Post edited at 20:24
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   I'm trying to shut down knee jerk ad hominem jibes ,yes. But not reasoned criticism.

Excellent. I’ll look out for that!

 Tony Buckley 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

It's worth taking the opportunity provided by this to congratulate everyone at UKC/H HQ for the successful 'light touch' forum moderation they've applied for many years.  A difficult job but a good job, well done.  Thanks, chaps.

Regarding the poll, I'm for placing things in the pub.  For better or worse, arguments have become more confrontational over the past years, not just here but across the globe, and we've seen that reflected in both discussions here involving genuine users and others here just to push an agenda.  Yes, there's no easy one-size-fits-all answer and it's been a long-standing charm of the site that a thread started about one subject can, with a mystifyingly elegant ease, end up discussing something utterly different, but the moderators have day jobs and to make things easier, I'd chuck anything to do with Brexit, Covid, or similar issue of the time, any election, vote on devolution or similar, politics, religion and sport in The Pub.  If people think that an individual discussion deserves wider attention then they have to make a case to get it moved otherwise, it stays where it is.

T.

 Postmanpat 26 Nov 2020
In reply to The New NickB:

> Excellent. I’ll look out for that!

Look out for what? Not trying to shut down reasoned criticism? 

In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Define an "extreme opinion"?

It's a tough call, and if you moderate an internet forum, then it's your job to make it.

>    To a small core of users it seems to mean not much more than "an opinion that I strongly disagree with" which they will then deliberately misportray and smear in order to justify their view. Should that extreme tactic be banned?

If it's reported as abuse, and the mods think "yeah, that's out of order" then it can be addressed. But do we want a culture where whenever someone feels attacked they go crying to mommy? Crap work for the mods to do.

From my perspective, I don't think I've ever reported another user for an attack against me (I've reported abuse of others), and those attacks have included calling me a paedophile because I'm gay, but they're generally milder than that. But, I've dished out a fair amount of abuse too, where I've been extremely angry about the bollocks that someone's said - I don't do it for no reason, when I sound angry, I have genuinely lost my rag. 

>  The truth is arrived at through debate , not by suppressing, "non mainstream" views.

It isn't.

There is an objective reality which can be studied by science (you can even disagree with that if you like and I can't prove you wrong!). Where the science is strong enough, we can claim something to be "true" for all practical purposes, and it's only at the obviously looney fringe that we can say a view like climate change denial or anti-vax is "false". The debate is trivial.

In politics, which is what we're talking about here, sometimes we're disagreeing about what the objective reality is, because there isn't enough evidence to be certain. In these cases, there are strong and weak arguments and they can be compared, but a debate doesn't arrive at the truth. It just allows the arguments to be explored. The reason we're having the debate is because there isn't enough evidence to arrive at the truth!

Then there are differences that arise because of deep philosophical disagreements about what matters. If my argument is based on a philosophy that all people are of equal value regardless of factors they can't control, but you don't buy that foundational principle, then we have a disagreement about philosophy. It doesn't matter how much evidence anyone brings to bear, it's irrelevant - you could try to prove the other person's position inconsistent/self-refuting I suppose, but short of that there is no truth to be found by debate.

Have you ever seen a philosophical debate arrive at the truth?

The statement "Brexit is shit" isn't true or false. A debate isn't going to prove it one way or the other. It will just show that the arguments in favour accurately describe our objective reality (facts about the economy), while the arguments against it won't (descriptions of feelings, predictions about the long term that can't be verified, etc). it's not a matter that can be subjected to scientific investigation to find the truth. Firstly, we can't predict economic events (so we can argue about how the world is and not arrive at an answer), and secondly, you can use arguments that have a different philosophical foundation (who cares about the economy? "freedom" is more important!).

> That's been the basis of political, intellectual and scientific development since the ancient bloody Greeks. That should be the strength of UKC; that is has informed people on almost every debate who can explain why an alternative view is mistaken (or, occasionally, isn't). It could be a useful tool for doing that.

Scientific questions have correct answers. Political questions do not, either because we'll never have the evidence to prove one policy is better than another (if we agree on the philosophical aim), or because we have different philosophical aims.

> Suppressing non-mainstream views just helps them to flourish.

That's why "the pub" is a better option than deleting these threads. The conspiracy theories fall into the area where there is enough evidence to say that they are bollocks. But some non-mainstream views are just unpopular because the people on here think that they're not in line with how the world really is (e.g. "Brexit will make us richer" - it won't), or because the people on here hold a different philosophical position ("who cares about the economy" - we do).

If you hold unpopular opinions, then it's hard work, everyone's against you. They're not censoring you, you're just coming up against an overwhelming tide of disagreement. Maybe you're the next Martin Luther King and will be shown to be right in the long run. Or maybe your views just don't line up with reality or are based on a philosophical foundation that others don't share. You'll probably never know which is true, and that's life.

Post edited at 20:39
In reply to Postmanpat:

I'm not that anyone has had fewer ad hom attacks than you have.

Even the most extreme reactions - when you're defending the likes of Hunt or Cummings - always we to he more in sorrow than anger.

I don't suppose it feels like that to you though!

 Myfyr Tomos 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Ah. It's not another BMC thread then. My mistake.

In reply to Andy 1902:

> I'd argue that the latter is not an extreme position - a fair number of politicians didn't back the lockdown and believe things should carry on in a near normal fashion. To call that an extreme position seems wrong to me.

It's a strange world we live in where members of the political party in power promote policies that would result in the complete destruction of society as we know it, with hundreds of thousands dead, but you're right. How can you call a view "extreme" when it's got a big voice in Parliament?

We let the lunatics run the asylum. Donald Trump was president. Once the world has gone completely mad the "old rules" no longer make sense. What we do about it?

Sorry, I haven't got any ideas.

 Postmanpat 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

  Yes, science can discover an objective truth in a way that politics can’t. But it achieves that by constantly challenging the existing understanding until other scientists run out of objections (or overturn the conventional wisdom). That is what I refer to as “debate”.

  If the science is clear, cut and dried then the objections to it can be easily and succinctly disproved without requiring them to be misportrayed and attacking the motives behind them. 

  You of all people should know that I’m happy to argue an unpopular case with people who will argue in good faith and well in return. 
 

  Anyway, Alan asked for peoples’ and I felt I owed him a response.

  

In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Yes, science can discover an objective truth in a way that politics can’t.

>   You of all people should know that I’m happy to argue an unpopular case with people who will argue in good faith and well in return. 

Absolutely. Part of my reply was really to someone else entirely, but I'm actually supposed to be doing something else right now, so I rolled it into one post for ease (unfairly, I know):

> I’m certainly getting bored of the Anti Brexit/Anti Conservative bias on this site, I’ve not seen many religious threads but certainly don’t get the impression that religious people are free to speak their views without being hounded by the atheists. 

> Open debate is one thing - getting your views censored by the sheer weight of an opposing echo chamber doesn’t further open debate. 

I disagree with this notion that it's somehow unfair ("not free to express your views") if you find yourself in the minority. I fully acknowledge that you didn't say that.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I like some of the suggestions made.

Move political and other contentious subjects to the pub.

Have a "Report Fake News" button for posts which make false / extreme claims without citing evidence.

E.g.1. "5G is used by pedophilic governments to spread covid" - clear violation and the poster gets a warning / ban for repeated infractions.

E.g.2. "The Tories / Corbyn are scum and will ruin Britain " - a very strong opinion but not in itself spreading lies.

 off-duty 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

UKC has a pretty diverse and well-informed membership.

It definitely benefits from that, in my humble opinion!

The pub and off-belay seem to cater for that pretty well.

If people want to post against the othodoxy they generally can, but they better be sure they have their ducks lined up, because on any given esoteric subject that  they try and propound on there is likely to be someone who has studied it, works in it, or lives it.

That seems to cover everything from sexuality to drugs, from 9/11 engineering and terrorism to COVID19 epidemiology and immunology.

We might never reach a consensus but we get a lot of pretty interesting perspectives.

Although I still haven't seen a concrete conclusion on the grade of 3 pebble slab.

 didntcomelast 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Andy Farnell:

That’ll be closed then in tier 3 areas! 

 cb294 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Thanks for asking for opinions, but I think you should step up to your responsibilties (social if not legal) that come with hosting a forum.

"Extreme opinions" is a weasely way to characterize the problem at hand, and a way for social media companies to pretend they do not have responsibilty for the content on their sites and that they act all even handed.

I regard this as some kind of copout. Posters, including me, have not reported others because of insulting posts by people diametrally opposed to our opinions. Instead, I have reported what I consider a concerted disinformation attack by either bots or paid shills on our Western democracy.

Popup accounts amplifying disinformation or conspiracy theories are not harmless, they are organized terrorism aimed at destabilizing our societies, often for the benefit of competing countries.

The recent juliaclimbs character was typical for that sort, possibly also the cp123 character who repeatedly posted the same brand of covid disinformation (not quite so sure, though, in that case).

Hard work as it may be, anybody who provides a platform for exchange of opinions has the responsibilty to combat such disinformation, especially when disinformation campaigns have become a bread and butter tool for influencing policy.

Deleting disinformation / propaganda accounts and blocking their source is almost an essential civic duty.

Unfortunately there are also some posts that superficially look like a bot attack but more likely (e.g. based on an extensive posting history on noncontroversial topics by the same poster) are just deluded tin foil hattery.

While I consider such beliefs extreme (as in extremely idiotic and dangerous), real people should be free to post such stuff, ideally in the pub.

Distinguishing these kinds of accounts is going to be hard work, but not removing disinformation accounts IMO amounts to collusion in the information war on our societies.

CB

In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Open debate is one thing - getting your views censored by the sheer weight of an opposing echo chamber doesn’t further open debate. 

Having the majority argue against you isnt censorship; it's demonstrating that you have a minority view. It's probably a minority view for a good reason.

A majority view isnt an echo chamber, it's just people agreeing because it's a majority view...

In reply to Kalna_kaza:

> Move political and other contentious subjects to the pub.

If the debate gets heated, it gets deleted (after a bit)?

I don't like the sound of that. Some of the discussions on here are genuinely worth referring to later. The pub is for stuff you don't want to be able to find later, Off Belay is for stuff that you're prepared to say publicly (have to admit I care less than I used to about this these days...) and could refer to later.

 wintertree 26 Nov 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

> A majority view isnt an echo chamber, it's just people agreeing because it's a majority view...

It's not uncommon to find the majority of posters disagreeing with a minority view on here, but whilst the disagreement is common there is rarely agreement to a high precision amongst the majority - so it is far from an "echo chamber".

 Lord_ash2000 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I don't think you should bunch opinions with conspiracy theories. Basically there is a difference between promoting things which are demonstratablly false, such as the royal family being lizard people or the Illuminati running the world, bill gates wants to put a micro chip in us all etc. And having an opinion on how we should proceed politically or on some other issue

Having an opinion as to how to go about things, such as for example Brexit, how to deal with covid, let the weak die, public spending or how to deal with any social issue really is just a matter of debate, it may be controversial, it may not be the best option and people should be free to voice there disagreement or support depending. But to basically ban anything that doesn't fit the UKC consensus relegates UKC to little more one of those meme based Jeremy Corbyn Facebook groups which ban anyone remotely Tory sounding. 

It's already dieing a death due to being dominated by a dozen or so posters with more or less one view point, one politics and one news paper who'll shout down anyone who sticks their head up.

Occasionally a poster will debate back but often, faced with a unified dozen people attacking you, posters just can't be arsed carrying on the conversation anymore and stop posting this killing any real debate. Leaving the conversations little more than 100 post threads debating some tedious detail of how bad a certain minor element of Brexit might be on a hypothetical poor person someone read about in the Guardian. 

The fourms really should mainly be about rock climbing and who's done what or asking for information on a climb, crag or area or the lastest gear or technique etc. I know there are categories for that kind of thing but what percentage of discussion does it make up these days?

Maybe just ban everyone who hasn't logged a climb in the last 6 months, that's might blow the cobwebs off things a bit and leave some room for fresh blood.

Post edited at 22:10
 wintertree 26 Nov 2020
In reply to cb294:

> The recent juliaclimbs character

I don't think (s)he liked me very much.

With due respect I have seen some of Wintertree's posts over on another thread and he comes across as narrow minded, a little bit hysterical and obsessive, with a rather strange way of picking selective facts, which he then distorts to fit his own narrative, whilst at the same time failing to see the bigger picture.

 wintertree 26 Nov 2020

In reply to Andy 1902:

I wouldn't disagree on the obsessive...  

In reply to captain paranoia:

> A majority view isnt an echo chamber, it's just people agreeing because it's a majority view...

If UKC is politically different to the UK norm then there is a very real possibility that it has become an echo chamber.  

 

 Tom V 26 Nov 2020
In reply to FactorXXX:

Was there ever any doubt? Most UKC ers would run a mile before being associated with the UK norm.

In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I agree with you. When the Moderators are happy to leave comments on line such as "x deserves to die", or "y deserves a painful death", then you really have to wonder why someone is asking their membership about what they should do about posts related to some crappy and largely harmless (at least on these forums) conspiracy theories. 

 DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

Tell me that if you walk into my local pub you’ll be faced with a large group of racists, homophobic, sexist 50 year old white men. 
 

Obviously their opinion would be right and mine would be wrong because of the ‘majority opinion’. Just because you’re in a group of people who share your views, doesn’t mean you’re right. That’s what an echo chamber is. And more people gather because they like it when they’re surrounded by people who share their views and none of them like it when you question them. 

 freeheel47 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

A bit rich given all the deleted gthreads regards race / ethnicity!  Have a think about yourself!

In reply to Wanderer100:

> I agree with you. When the Moderators are happy to leave comments on line such as "x deserves to die", or "y deserves a painful death", then you really have to wonder why someone is asking their membership about what they should do about posts related to some crappy and largely harmless (at least on these forums) conspiracy theories. 

Yes, but most of those type of comments are made by established well liked UKC'rs and against people who obviously deserve it...

 Tom V 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Maybe just ban everyone who hasn't logged a climb in the last 6 months, 

Unusual that you think that only active climbers have something worth listening to.

Is there some sort of hierarchy within that grouping where those  climbing at a given grade or operating in a particular subsection of the sport have opinions worth more weight than those of others?

I'm perfectly happy to bow out if your suggestion becomes UKC policy, though at any hint that it might be I'd jump before I was pushed.

In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Maybe just ban everyone who hasn't logged a climb in the last 6 months, that's might blow the cobwebs off things a bit and leave some room for fresh blood.

That's just mega bollocks!
For one, not everyone uses the Logbook facility.
Secondly, there's loads of retired climbers that can add massive content to UKC discussions.

In reply to Tom V:

> Unusual that you think that only active climbers have something worth listening to.

I think he was joking. 

In reply to cb294:

> Thanks for asking for opinions, but I think you should step up to your responsibilties (social if not legal) that come with hosting a forum.

I agree with the thrust of what you're saying about the seriousness of the issue, but I don't think you've found the solution by saying that the mods have to become detectives and anything else is dereliction of duty. I think credit is due for the invitation of opinion which was carefully worded to include those with unpopular, genuinely held views and balance the competing goods of open discussion and combatting disinformation. 

> Unfortunately there are also some posts that superficially look like a bot attack but more likely (e.g. based on an extensive posting history on noncontroversial topics by the same poster) are just deluded tin foil hattery.

This is why the OP used careful (I think, rather than "weasely") words. Without detective work, it isn't clear who's genuine and who's not and people who are genuine but full of shit need to be included in the discussion.

I think that the almost instant demolition of juliaclimbs showed how there is an element of shared community responsibility. When there's reasonable grounds to suspect a user of being part of a disinformation campaign, e.g. cp123, of whom I am deeply suspicious I'm not quite convinced it's reasonable to demand the mods immediately run a successful cyber-investigation. How social media companies might cooperate to combat this stuff is well outside my field.

> Hard work as it may be, anybody who provides a platform for exchange of opinions has the responsibilty to combat such disinformation, especially when disinformation campaigns have become a bread and butter tool for influencing policy.

I think that's what Alan's trying to address here. I think reporting posts as suspicious and moving threads to the pub when in doubt is quite sensible. As much as I find the juliaclimbs/cp123 stuff sinister and vile, I think UKC is doing a pretty good team effort humiliating them. UKC is a pretty "hostile environment" to bullshit, which is why some users feel like they're hard done by. There are responsibilities for us lot to look out for and report the suspicious disinformation, and there responsibilities for mods to do something once it's reported. This thread is canvassing opinion on the latter, and I'm not sure it's fair to say at this stage that asking opinions is a cop-out.

Post edited at 23:13
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I think he was joking. 

Unfortunately, I think he's serious...

 freeheel47 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Scientific questions have correct answers. Political questions do not, either because we'll never have the evidence to prove one policy is better than another (if we agree on the philosophical aim), or because we have different philosophical aims.

Science isn't really about being correct- it is about being not wrong (yet) and then changing your mind when new evidence comes up.

In reply to FactorXXX:

> Unfortunately, I think he's serious...

Yes, he appears to be serious about mass murder as well, which is one of the debating points of this thread.

 Tom V 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

You might be right but really it's for Lord Ash to say.

In reply to Wanderer100:

> I agree with you. When the Moderators are happy to leave comments on line such as "x deserves to die", or "y deserves a painful death", then you really have to wonder why someone is asking their membership about what they should do about posts related to some crappy and largely harmless (at least on these forums) conspiracy theories. 

Wow. Could you get further from the mark if you tried?

When someone says Priti Patel/Jeremy Corbyn/Peter Sutcliffe deserves to die (and it's sometimes me, obviously) you might not like the language. Hey ho. If you can say it about Peter Sutcliffe, then you can say it about Priti Patel or Jeremy Corbyn. That's a matter of taste, there's no content of any consequence (unless someone is making a believable threat of violence of course).

You don't seem to understand the consequences of deliberately spreading lies about covid. How anyone could consider that "largely harmless" is beyond me.

In reply to freeheel47:

> Science isn't really about being correct- it is about being not wrong (yet) and then changing your mind when new evidence comes up.

It's about describing the nature of objective reality. If you're on the cutting edge, you're in the game of "not being wrong (yet)" but the goal of science over the longer term is more ambitious than that, e.g. the theory that covid is caused by a virus not 5g isn't just "not wrong (yet)", it's an accurate description of the world. 

 Tom V 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

In the case of " deserve to die" type statements it's the sentiment I find more worrying, not the language.

In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Tell me that if you walk into my local pub you’ll be faced with a large group of racists, homophobic, sexist 50 year old white men. 

> Obviously their opinion would be right and mine would be wrong because of the ‘majority opinion’

It's an interesting question, isn't it?

Either you're a spineless moral relativist who believes that there's no such thing as right and wrong, just the majority view, or you can take a stronger position. I believe in reason, and that there are strong arguments and weak arguments. You don't get to be right by being in the majority, you get to be right by having a view that lines up with the facts of reality, and by being consistent with principles that you can explain and defend.

If you go into a pub with a bunch of racists, they won't be able to defend their views with facts and consistent arguments based on sound principles. If you could engage them in using reason, you'd show that their views were wrong. In the real world there's no point because you can't argue with someone who lacks the cognitive ability to structure an argument correctly. They won't know when they've lost, so what's the point?

Post edited at 23:24
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Just because you’re in a group of people who share your views, doesn’t mean you’re right

You will note that I never used the words 'right' or 'wrong'.

I'll grant you that I did suggest there might be a good reason for the majority view.

I think I might consider going to a different pub. Maybe I like my echo chambers...

In reply to Tom V:

> In the case of " deserve to die" type statements it's the sentiment I find more worrying, not the language.

Most people think it's OK when then person is deemed "bad enough" e.g. Sutcliffe, or Patel, but if that worries you, fair enough.

 DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>If you go into a pub with a bunch of racists, they won't be able to defend their views with facts and consistent arguments based on sound principles. If you could engage them in using reason, you'd show that their views were wrong. In the real world there's no point because you can't argue with someone who lacks the cognitive ability to structure an argument correctly. They won't know when they've lost, so what's the point?

 

Generally they’ll just close ranks, won’t listen to reason and will shout you down. Pretty soon more of their mates join in. 
 

Instead of logic and reason they use their limited real life experience and stuff they can see with their own eyes. Obviously that trumps any real life experience you have. 
 

But that’s the nature of politics. 

Post edited at 23:31
 DancingOnRock 26 Nov 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

>I think I might consider going to a different pub. Maybe I like my echo chambers...

 

Yes. I go to many different pubs. Gives me many different views. 

 freeheel47 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Not really- science is a method rather than a body of knowledge. You are absolutely right that the aim is to try and define objective reality- by testing. And when the tests fail then you change your mind. Unfortunately thi sis why many people get upset when scientists change their minds.

This is different from belief where you have your belief then stick to it whatever the evidence(like politics / religion or economics). Unfortunately people like people who stick to their opinions.

In reply to FactorXXX:

> If UKC is politically different to the UK norm then there is a very real possibility that it has become an echo chamber.  

How come I spend hours and hours fighting with Tories if I'm in an echo chamber? UKC is not politically balanced, and those in the minority feel hard done by because it's hard work when you're being bombarded by disagreement. That's not an echo chamber. 

Why should we expect the small subset of people who like both rock climbing and internet debate to be representative of the UK norm? It's not going to be. It sounds like the kind of thing that's likely to be dominated by educated left-leaning men to me...

 Tom V 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

No they don't, not on UKC.

If they did  I expect there would be majority UKC support for the death penalty but in reality I doubt they could muster 10%.

It seems to be ok to wish death on various people who don't fall in line with your politics or lifestyle but when it comes down to treating real human beings that way as a legal expression of justice, the words fade away.

So, to be clear, I'm against wishing death on Trump, Patel, Corbyn, Farage,  all those people on death row in US  prisons and all our own domestic life sentence murderers. And people who go foxhunting or watch bullfights etc etc.

 freeheel47 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Is there a UK norm? 

 freeheel47 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Tom V:

Homicidal thoughts are normal actually.

 Tom V 26 Nov 2020
In reply to freeheel47:

Is that a fact?

As they say.

 freeheel47 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Tom V:

see;

Douglas T. Kenrick, Virgil Sheets,
Homicidal fantasies,
Ethology and Sociobiology,
Volume 14, Issue 4,
1993,
Pages 231-246,
ISSN 0162-3095,
https://doi.org/10.1016/0162-3095(93)90019-E.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/016230959390019E)
Abstract: Actual homicides may be considered the tip of an iceberg, reflecting evolved coercive impulses and motivations found in normal individuals as well as the criminally violent. Two studies examined reports of homicidal fantasies in normal subjects. In the first study, subjects were asked whether they had ever had a homicidal fantasy, and if so, they were asked several questions about their most recent fantasy. In the second study, subjects were asked about the frequency of homicidal fantasies in several categories. The majority of subjects in both studies reported at least one fantasy. Males tended to recall more homicidal fantasies than did females (in Study 1, 73% vs 66%; in Study 2, 79% vs 58% of males and females, respectively). Males also reported longer and more detailed fantasies, and were more likely to imagine strangers and coworkers as victims. Females' recent fantasies were more likely to involve family members than were males, but that appears to be due to the fact that males had more fantasies about members of other categories, and not due to a tendency for males to have fewer homicidal fantasies about family members than do females. There was some evidence of greater fantasies involving step-parents, especially when one considered the amount of time subjects had spent living with step-, as opposed to genetic, parents. Results are discussed in terms of Daly and Wilson's evolutionary model of actual homicides.
 

In reply to freeheel47:

> This is different from belief where you have your belief then stick to it whatever the evidence(like politics / religion or economics). Unfortunately people like people who stick to their opinions.

Maybe. But I don't think politics or economics are by their nature just beliefs we stick to without justification. I think you can have a philosophical position and use reason and evidence to come up with the best policies or systems to meet goals of the philosophy. I'm not saying that's what we all do however.

Religion is, to me, a totally different category - it's culture.

 Tom V 26 Nov 2020
In reply to freeheel47:

Just proves what I've always thought: most people are abnormal in some way or other.     

 freeheel47 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Tom V:

yes

In reply to Tom V:

> If they did  I expect there would be majority UKC support for the death penalty but in reality I doubt they could muster 10%.

I don't think there's any connection. An expression of emotion e.g. "Priti Patel should f*ck off and die" is different to supporting a policy that people like Priti Patel should literally be executed. They really are different!

> So, to be clear, I'm against wishing death on Trump, Patel, Corbyn, Farage,  all those people on death row in US  prisons and all our own domestic life sentence murderers. And people who go foxhunting or watch bullfights etc etc.

That's a perfectly reasonable and consistent position, but personally I'm not bothered who wishes death on whom. I'm bothered about who's in charge on what they do to all our lives.

In reply to freeheel47:

> Is there a UK norm? 

There's the possibility of a sample that's representative of the UK politically. You are a stickler!

In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Generally they’ll just close ranks, won’t listen to reason and will shout you down. Pretty soon more of their mates join in. 

I don't know what you're insinuating...

My view on one of reasons some people feel that they're "silenced" and "shouted down" etc. is that there can be underlying philosophical differences. Then what looks to one person like "logic and reason" looks like confused nonsense to someone whose view has different foundations. Theologians, for example, see their work as employing reason to reach the truth; but to an atheist their whole life's work just seems like a huge edifice of worthless drivel. Different foundations.

Sometimes people being "shouted down" are just wrong about how the world is; particularly in the current political climate, what the consequences of x policy rather than y would be. In these cases, it's most likely that the mob is correct.

In reply to Tom V:

> Is it your wish that Priti Patel  or Farage or Trump should die tomorrow, by whatever means - road accident,  murder by angry constituent, overdose or brain aneurysm?

Yes.

Justification: it would lead to a world with less suffering.

(Edit: I'm probably on the fence re. Patel, I doubt her death would do much good, but the other two get the bullet)

Post edited at 00:18
 Tom V 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I call that an extreme opinion. 

I'd be interested to know if that qualifies as the sort of thing Alan is talking about or whether you would just be dismissed as a wild card.

Of course, if it turns out that the moderators don't consider yours to be an extreme opinion at face value, I will be really worried about UKC.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> but the other two get the bullet

Theres a strong argument that this country would be in a much better situation if the outcome of a particular light aircraft crash had been different.

In reply to Tom V:

> I call that an extreme opinion. 

I think they're extreme cases. Think about how many people wanted Osama Bin Laden dead. That wasn't an extreme opinion. Farage is to me what Osama Bin Laden was to them*.

People who cause that degree of harm are very rare, they have to have positions of great influence (so on reflection, with Patel it's just venting and not sincere).

> I'd be interested to know if that qualifies as the sort of thing Alan is talking about or whether you would just be dismissed as a wild card.

These cover topics like people opposing lockdown, 5G damage, vaccine dangers and vast international paedophile rings.

My comment is something totally different. You've specifically asked me what's basically a "trolley problem" for a utilitarian, and I gave you where I think the balance falls. I don't think that's extreme at all - except in the sense that the cases are extreme. The damage caused by Farage and Trump to people's lives is mind-boggling. As much as Farage and Trump are human beings with families, so are all the people whose lives they will have have ruined once their influence on the world has run its course. Everyone has equal value, and so if someone's making the world a pigsty for everyone for their own personal gain, it would be much better if that stopped.

A humane option of stopping them causing harm would be preferable, but that wasn't on the table.

*this isn't actually true, my reasons are a bit different. 

Post edited at 00:57
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I have voted to allow all opinions to be expressed and open to debate.

The idea of censorship in any form appalls me although there are very obvious caveats relating to abuse and pornography involving children. 

 freeflyer 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Thankyou for your efforts Alan. There is no right answer on moderation, but you are close enough imho.

The problem with setting a precedent for putting everything dodgy in the pub is that sometimes although some posts may be close to the line, others can have great insight, which it would be a shame to lose. Also OPs have already made a choice of forum usually in good faith and with intent. Please don't move threads just because they contain controversial material.

You could definitely consider a somewhat wider range of forums - but not too many! If you have to move worrying threads somewhere, how about a Controversy forum?

Please don't automatically remove conspiracy threads. They're funny! More seriously, there are plenty of posters only too willing to debunk them - it's simply not necessary. Repeated trolling is one obvious exception to this, however some conspiracy posts represent the poster's actual outlook on life, and that falls under freedom of speech for me. It's a bit like Hyde Park pedestals.

I also miss some of the banned posters, who were sometimes a challenge and an opportunity.

 Lewis Hamilton 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

> ... he is asking a question not providing the answer. (something which people on here often get confused about)...

On the other hand, many questions on here are really statements disguised as questions, are they not?

 Lewis Hamilton 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think they're extreme cases. Think about how many people wanted Osama Bin Laden dead. 

Quite.  Trump was, probably still is, a much greater danger to the world than Bin Laden ever was.

 DerwentDiluted 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Its a vote for free and open discussion from me. If ever there was a forum where bonkers was thwarted by a request for evidence then this is it, I think legitimate views can be held across a broad spectrum, and debate is good. I appreciate reading other peoples views and think I can decide for myself what to take from them.

If there is a bias here then its a bias the users create and probably says more about climbers than it does about UKC. I suspect that bias is different on forums dedicated to something else, like UKGrouseshooters etc, or dailyexpresscomments.com, so its all just cyberkarma balancing out.

I also think that anyone seriously thinking that there is a deep state out there intending to control them, and they are in possession of privileged knowledge of this that they need to share, will only be strengthened in that belief by removal of their content. Better to debunk it, ridicule it or flag it as fantasy bullshit requiring some actual evidence, out in the open than to sweep it under the carpet. Personally I'd love to see such content with a huge red faux rubber stamp diagonally across it that just says 'horseshit', but one persons horseshit is another persons fertilizer, so maybe not.

I think the moderation here is pretty good. I frequent another forum devoted to ww1 history, that is so heavily moderated that debate there rages only about what the correct rivets are for a pattern 07 bayonet scabbard. Result - its a useful resource but anodyne to the point of excruciating. I always log off feeling that i need at least 30 minutes of dirty Ucker banter to rough me up a bit.  It can be a robust place, but to me it feels like a family, a dysfunctional one granted, a bit like the Bacons. Always a bit of aggro, and 'wor Biffa' can get a kicking from Mutha an Fatha, but pulls together magnificently when needs must.

Personally though I think anyone with extreme views should be hanged, drawn and quartered, in front of their children, slowly, and with a spoon. And that's me being reasonable.

Post edited at 07:15
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Wow. Could you get further from the mark if you tried?

> When someone says Priti Patel/Jeremy Corbyn/Peter Sutcliffe deserves to die (and it's sometimes me, obviously) you might not like the language. Hey ho. If you can say it about Peter Sutcliffe, then you can say it about Priti Patel or Jeremy Corbyn. That's a matter of taste, there's no content of any consequence (unless someone is making a believable threat of violence of course).

I know its your style to shoot from the lip so to speak and I wasn't directly criticising you per se, more the tolerance of fairly extreme language and opinions. However,  if you think comparing Bin Laden and Peter Sutcliffe, both of whom were deranged  extreme mass murderers, to democratically elected politicians, then I consider that somewhat unhinged and definitely extreme. 

> You don't seem to understand the consequences of deliberately spreading lies about covid. How anyone could consider that "largely harmless" is beyond me.

I was referring specifically to the shite spouted on this site. I don't think anyone on here takes it too seriously and if they do then they should be able to take part in the debate in order to support the debunking.

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Hmmm; those are the thing I  talk about in the pub the most.

I go to the pub for a nice sit down and a quiet pint. I don't want anybody talking to me. 

 SteveX 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I do not like censorship but I suspect the Covid issue is starting to polarise. I defriended everyone on Facebook over the Brexit issue, people of both sides just became so hateful, and could not accept that other people had a perspective and opinion. It became tedious. But I do not have to read or respond to any thread, and whats an extreme view anyway, possibly something that may be mainstream in 5, 10, 30 years.

I tend to only post in the Pub because the threads auto delete and peoples views and opinions change over time, and sometimes its nice submit an off the wall idea to a wider audience outside your bubble and see what other peoples views are, but not sit there in the ether forever. 

Generally I think the site is well moderated and if there are issues that you take a pretty even handed approach.

 

In reply to Wanderer100:

> if you think comparing Bin Laden and Peter Sutcliffe, both of whom were deranged  extreme mass murderers, to democratically elected politicians, then I consider that somewhat unhinged and definitely extreme. 

You think it's unhinged because you're comparing how you feel about them as people, which is a valid way to decide if you think it's OK to wish death on someone. But I'm using a different criterion : how much harm do they cause? I reckon that's a more useful criterion. I'm not interested in revenge (you are?), I'm bothered about the future. Much more practical. 

> I was referring specifically to the shite spouted on this site. I don't think anyone on here takes it too seriously and if they do then they should be able to take part in the debate in order to support the debunking.

This is why it's best to move bullshit to the pub, because then we know who's reading it. As CB said, publishing disinformation that undermines our democracy is blood you don't want on your hands. 

 SteveX 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> I know its your style to shoot from the lip so to speak and I wasn't directly criticising you per se, more the tolerance of fairly extreme language and opinions. However,  if you think comparing Bin Laden and Peter Sutcliffe, both of whom were deranged  extreme mass murderers, to democratically elected politicians, then I consider that somewhat unhinged and definitely extreme. 

>

Why do you think Bin Laden was deranged, I have always considered he was an intelligent and an opponent of western values. I think this is actually a subject I need to read up on.
 

In reply to SteveX:

> Why do you think Bin Laden was deranged, I have always considered he was an intelligent and an opponent of western values. I think this is actually a subject I need to read up on.

Organising the destruction of the Twin Towers and hijacking and crashing 5 commercial airliners are not the actions of a rational sane human being.

 SteveX 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

You have not said why you think that, but this is going off Alans topic, so best to leave it there.

 

 wintertree 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> more the tolerance of fairly extreme language and opinions.

To me there is a critical distinction to make here:

  • An opinion is just that - someone’s view.  It can be challenged and left to itself it does no harm to others
  • Some of the recent covid content is not “opinion” in my view. it is - I am nearly certain - part of organised efforts to undermine public support for covid transmission control measures.  The intent of this is to benefit some specific groups by causing more harm to come to others.  UKC is a relatively benign place for such influencing but I think it should be resisted on principle.  I’m far more worried about the organised “grass roots” letter writing campaign to back bench MPs that presumably accompanies the shenanigans we’ve seen on UKC.

There is also the argument made by others more astute than me, that more erudite forums such as this provide a good proving ground for misinformation campaigns.  Forget “do not feed the troll”, it’s “do not train the human / bot”.  This risk (hypothetical or real) I think can be dealt with by deleting new accounts that follow a certain pattern.

In reply to cb294:

> Distinguishing these kinds of accounts is going to be hard work, but not removing disinformation accounts IMO amounts to collusion in the information war on our societies.

We block and remove accounts on a daily basis and have done for many years.

Alan

In reply to DerwentDiluted:

> Its a vote for free and open discussion from me. If ever there was a forum where bonkers was thwarted by a request for evidence then this is it, I think legitimate views can be held across a broad spectrum, and debate is good. I appreciate reading other peoples views and think I can decide for myself what to take from them.

I agree with this, even if it does sound a bit worthy.  When it comes to the cybersphere, I don't get out much, and to be able to encounter, observe and occasionally experiment on specimens from the parallel universe of alternative facts in a safe laboratory environment is quite educational. 

 cb294 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Good, thanks for the hard work! Nevertheless, there seems to be an increase in the number of blatant disinformation attempts that do get through.

I imagine that this is just a fraction of the total, as online disinformation has moved on from amateur trolls in their parents' basement to massive, state or business sponsored professional operations.

CB

 Snozzwanger 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

> It is a climbing website?

Is it?

Less climbing more reams and reams of anti-tory, Brexit bashing Covid chat...I too am a member of other forums where all the aforementioned have been banned. 

In reply to Snozzwanger:

On 2 forums there are threads which are often about politics, however the subject is clearly identified so if you're not interested don't click on them. And, frankly, if you can't be a*sed to share and justify your opinions in the face of critical scrutiny I'd rather you didn't bother.

Or you could just stick with the other 18 forums which are dedicated to outdoor activities and 'untainted' by political discussions.

For Goodness' sake, the term 'snowflake' really does seem to have some traction here.

 cb294 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Yes there is a bunch of whiny little right wingers on her who are happy to dish it out but keep complaining when they have to take it. Snowflakes does not even start to cover it!

CB

 baron 27 Nov 2020
In reply to cb294:

> Yes there is a bunch of whiny little right wingers on her who are happy to dish it out but keep complaining when they have to take it. Snowflakes does not even start to cover it!

> CB

Define bunch.

You’ll be lucky if you can name more than half a dozen right wingers on this forum.

Regular posters that is, not those who pop up and disappear just as quickly.

 cb294 27 Nov 2020

In reply to Snozzwanger:

I was not talking about you, if the date in your account is correct you are not even on here long enough to remember the true legends of that genre!

CB

 Snozzwanger 27 Nov 2020
In reply to cb294:

Pan-Ron and Coel? A sad loss!

In reply to baron:

It's interesting, people you could broadly define as 'right wing' have definitely declined on here, interestingly the same seems to have happened on the other forum I use, which is (surprisingly, perhaps) a yachting forum. So much for yachting and sailing being the exclusive preserve of the upper classes. 

I don't really know how to account for it, though 'events' may have something to do with it - 4 years ago even I could have done a half decent job of defending Brexit, even though I didn't agree with it, 4 years on the outcome seems to have got steadily worse, not better, as we have burned bridges that most  didn't even know existed  - Erasmus, Galileo, many security processes, work on climate change and international development etc etc etc - and have precisely zip to show in return. 

 Sir Chasm 27 Nov 2020
In reply to baron:

> Define bunch.

> You’ll be lucky if you can name more than half a dozen right wingers on this forum.

> Regular posters that is, not those who pop up and disappear just as quickly.

You wouldn't call 6 bananas a bunch? Well, I suppose it's one opinion.

In reply to baron:

See my post - why is that? I'm genuinely interested.

 baron 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> It's interesting, people you could broadly define as 'right wing' have definitely declined on here, interestingly the same seems to have happened on the other forum I use, which is (surprisingly, perhaps) a yachting forum. So much for yachting and sailing being the exclusive preserve of the upper classes. 

> I don't really know how to account for it, though 'events' may have something to do with it - 4 years ago even I could have done a half decent job of defending Brexit, even though I didn't agree with it, 4 years on the outcome seems to have got steadily worse, not better, as we have burned bridges that most  didn't even know existed  - Erasmus, Galileo, many security processes, work on climate change and international development etc etc etc - and have precisely zip to show in return. 

The Brexit debate certainly seems to have had an influence on the numbers of right wingers posting here.

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I don't really know how to account for it...

Try looking back at the content of some of your own posts and you might get a clue.

 wintertree 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> See my post - why is that? I'm genuinely interested.

I think one or two of the more vocal right got themselves banned recently, having thrown themselves enthusiastically into online debate post-lockdown.   Not that I think one of them is really gone... But they seem to have given up arguing contentiously in debates around equality, diversity and inclusivity.  

 stevieb 27 Nov 2020
In reply to baron:

I think there are plenty of Conservative voters or natural conservatives on here. But there are far fewer who want to defend Brexit or the current government. Even some of the biggest Tory posters on here have long considered Boris to be a charlatan.
I think the hard left / Corbynistas are even less represented on here, and even more isolated, but they are not in power, so are not attacked as frequently. 

In reply to wurzelinzummerset:

Hmm; I've looked. Still a mystery.

In reply to stevieb:

'I think the hard left / Corbynistas are even less represented on here'

I'm not sure about that, burn 'em I say!

In reply to Tony Buckley:

> I'm for placing things in the pub.  For better or worse, arguments have become more confrontational over the past years, not just here...

Interestingly, thinking back a decade or more, I used to get regularly accused of being on the CIA or Mossad payroll by a couple of posters here - one in particular. But the circle did seem smaller then, he knew who I was and I knew a reasonable amount about who he was. But anyway, no one has accused me of shilling for anyone recently. 

There have been plenty of conspiracy theorists doing their thing here in the past too.

In reply to Andy 1902:

Bl**dy hell, it might not have been very funny but I would have thought that the exclamation mark might have indicated it wasn't an entirely serious comment. 

 Offwidth 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

It's not worthy in my view, it's naive. Belief in free and open discussion and recognising the value of moderation is cognitive dissonance. I'd hope most here would want debate to be as free and open as it can be within the site rules. 

If freedoms were unbound on these forums the loudest and nastiest voices would  drown out most others and there would be no real debate. That's why site rules and moderation are really important. On a related topic there was never much value from debunking 'bots' as they don't care and just want public airtime, negative replies provide that just as well (the answer is to delete).

Practical limitations on absolute freedom of speech is why most European debate is way less scary than what has happened in the US, where religious cult nutcases and neo fascists are free to poison others and a compulsive public liar ends up as President (and even after the 4 years of intellectual chaos, retains support of almost half the voters). Popularism is an abuse of democracy: make facts, experts, detail, and real debate the enemy. All the vastly superior intelligent and factual counter arguments have barely dented modern popularist movements as they thrive on social media, as they never could in the old media in liberal society.

UKC is an island of sanity in social media... just a bit too white and male.

In reply to Offwidth:

> If freedoms were unbound on these forums the loudest and nastiest voices would  drown out most others and there would be no real debate. 

I'm not aware that this happens very often, and anyway, I'm not against moderation.  I agree that this is an island of sanity, and one sign of this is the difficulty conspiracists have in gaining any traction.  We're lucky in having a large selection of sensible, knowledgeable and articulate posters who are well able to give at least as good as they get.  Some may complain that there's something of a liberal consensus here, but there are nearly always enough dissenters to ensure the opposing point of view is expressed.

Anyway, I don't think that's the reason why debate here tends to be fairly civilised.  That's because, whatever our opinions on vaccination, Brexit, the left of the labour party or the right of the Conservative party, we have a lot of apolitical interests in common.  We aren't here because the only thing we want to talk about is Momentum or the malign reach of the Deep State, we are also here to argue about bolting Wildcat, climbing on wet sandstone and appropriate clothing for a ramble up Snowdon.  And don't forget all the genuine requests for advice that get genuine answers and, not infrequently, considerable generosity.  It's because the occasional bot or paid propagandist who does turn up doesn't get this that they are so quickly rumbled.  'What have they done on grit?' is a Shibboleth that actually works.    

I don't accept your contention that no good comes of reasoned opposition to populism.  Failure to offer any resistance ensures populism will win, and unreasonable censorship and banning confirms the paranoia of the truthers.  Just because there are forums that are echo chambers of misinformation and prejudice doesn't mean there's any danger of this one descending to that.  I think we can risk a little latitude.

Post edited at 15:14
 jimtitt 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I think they should stay, how else would I know there are bonkers people out there? I never meet them in real life for sure.

 Offwidth 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Many posts have been moderated and users banned under the UKC rules despite our common interests. I think the rules clearly matter. You only need to log on to newspaper comment forums to see what happens with lighter moderation.

The evidence is also pretty clear that dealing with popularists by debating with them under US freedom of speech laws hasn't been at all successful, given Trump etc. The US social media mega corps are absolutely complicit in that. The level of freedom of speech protection in the US is what libertarians and religious and political extremists want in western Europe as well. I'd rather we keep our current societal protections and apply more societal pressure on companies like Facebook.

 Stichtplate 27 Nov 2020
In reply to jimtitt:

> I think they should stay, how else would I know there are bonkers people out there? I never meet them in real life for sure.

You're either extremely lucky or you don't get out much.

 Stichtplate 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Many posts have been moderated and users banned under the UKC rules despite our common interests. I think the rules clearly matter. You only need to log on to newspaper comment forums to see what happens with lighter moderation.

Not sure on this one. I can think of a couple of posters I was at odds with more often than in agreement with and yet I still miss their input. Always find it a little hypocritical that so many of us can readily recognise diversity as a strength, just as long as it's not diversity of opinion.

Edit: should have put that last sentence in a separate paragraph. I fully realise having a different slant on things to the majority isn’t enough to get you banned.

Post edited at 16:52
 jimtitt 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

> You're either extremely lucky or you don't get out much.


Guess I've either deselected them from my social circle or move in the right social circles! Admittedly I know a luke-warm extreme-right sympathiser who was a kind-of Covid denier but then his father-in law snuffed it so his wife sorted his thinking out.

In reply to Offwidth:

> Many posts have been moderated and users banned under the UKC rules despite our common interests. I think the rules clearly matter. You only need to log on to newspaper comment forums to see what happens with lighter moderation.

Actually, I'd be interested to know how often this does happen and, without the details, why.  Would it be possible to get some rough numbers under some broad headings?  Other than personal abuse, what do you need to do to get banned?  

> The evidence is also pretty clear that dealing with popularists by debating with them under US freedom of speech laws hasn't been at all successful, given Trump etc. The US social media mega corps are absolutely complicit in that. 

What evidence?  I agree the presidential debates were pretty disgraceful but that was down to poor moderation.  I agree, I've seen very little evidence of constructive debate on US TV because I don't recall seeing any attempt to do it.  The polarisation of the stations means none of them wants to risk alienating their core viewers by airing the opposing view - and that's as true of MSNBC as it is of Fox.  To this extent the TV channels are no better than partisan online social media sites.  Very occasionally there's an attempt at something like BBC levels of discussion on PBS but it's rare.

And if by 'US social media mega corps' you mean Twitter, they did start labelling and blocking tweets they thought were untrue (and towards the end so did the TV channels).  Nothing yet approaching balance but it's a start.  

Free speech isn't perfect but the alternatives are all worse.  We have make sure we do our bit to make sure that lies and nonsense don't go unchallenged.  Let's be honest and admit that Remain simply failed to do that before the Brexit referendum.  Here on UKC, it's pretty easy to do.

 Stichtplate 27 Nov 2020
In reply to jimtitt:

> Guess I've either deselected them from my social circle or move in the right social circles! Admittedly I know a luke-warm extreme-right sympathiser who was a kind-of Covid denier but then his father-in law snuffed it so his wife sorted his thinking out.

My social circle is wonderfully sane (by and large), a couple of family members and a substantial minority of the public are another matter entirely.

 Offwidth 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I'd like to see a summary of the stats on the bad and the banned as well but its not like moderators haven't got enough to do already.

As I said on popularism the main undeniable evidence is nearly half the US voters voting for Trump. Brexit in my view wouldn't have happened if controls on social media were the same as the paper press and broadcast media; support for popularist parties would be smaller across the EU. Controls on the limits of free speech are there for good reasons in western european democracies and include legal controls on hate speech (that are regarded as censorship in the US).

In reply to Stichtplate:

> Always find it a little hypocritical that so many of us can readily recognise diversity as a strength, just as long as it's not diversity of opinion.

I've heard this said a few times - it's obviously catchy. It's not true though.

When someone says that they "value diversity" of ethnicity etc, that's predicated on the idea that people of different ethnic groups etc are of equal value, i.e. we don't judge one group as superior to another. So by including this diversity, you're not losing anything by including something crap.

With diversity of thought, we don't think that all opinions are of equal value (some people like to try to play this card, but it's obviously bollocks): racist opinions, or inconsistent, or dishonest opinions are all fairly judged to be crap. So yes, there are benefits of diversity of opinion where they happen to all be reasonable and not crap. But if you have community of reasonable people, you're losing something if you include something crap, e.g. racists, etc.

What you actually want is "diversity of opinion" within some bounds of what's judged acceptable, e.g. by the user rules of UKC. When people say they value diversity of ethnicity, etc, they don't mean "but up to a limit". The equivalence your catchy phrase relies upon is false, because it's fair to judge someone as being crap for their crap opinion, but it's not fair to judge someone as being crap because of their race, etc.

I'm glad this is in Off Belay because I expect to copy and paste it next time someone uses the catchphrase.

 Postmanpat 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Define an opinion "crap" enough to be banned, or one just "crap" enough to be moved to the pub.

Post edited at 19:20
 Tom V 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

 Always find it a little hypocritical that so many of us can readily recognise diversity as a strength, just as long as it's not diversity of opinion.

Probably the most telling comment I've read in over a decade on UKC. Easy enough to dismiss it as a "catchphrase" if it suits your purpose but  a valid point in the eyes of many, nonetheless,  I suspect.

Post edited at 19:38
 Stichtplate 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I think you’re slightly misinterpreting my point. Unclear as it was.

Diversity of opinion allows us to solidify and set limitations on our own attitudes. Unexamined and unopposed ideas and opinions often don’t stand up well when tested. If Brexit has shown us anything, it’s that a Hell of a lot of people interact solely with people that think as they do. Consequently, they were complacent before the vote and perplexed after.

It’s fine just branding the opinions of others as simply wrong, but if you banish and refuse to engage with them it’s not good for either party.

In reply to Postmanpat:

> Define an opinion "crap" enough to be banned

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/info/guidelines.php

> or one just moved to the pub.

That's the topic of this thread. My view is that where someone reports a thread as being full of suspect disinformation, and the suspicion is reasonable (e.g. it looks like the user account has been set up for the purpose of posting on a particular topic with current political volatility and on which disinformation is in circulation on social media generally) then that thread should be quarantined in the pub. 

Some of the crap established users were posting in the run up to the last GE should have been deleted IMO, e.g. where the user had pasted a wall of text made up of (genuinely) Daily Mail headlines circulated on facebook. That user didn't compile the nonsense themselves, they were encouraged to spread it by someone who had been paid. UKC should be above that, it's a pathetic "contribution" to copy and paste content from elsewhere on SM and I now regret not raising the issue at the time.

If you're genuinely expressing your sincerely held view, in your own words, for the sake of discussion, then so long as it's within the guidelines as judged by the mods then fine by me.

[This is not aimed at you]

But if it's a load of crap, don't then complain that you're being "silenced" when actually you're just being told it's a load of crap by 90% of other users. You're not being "silenced", you're being disagreed with. If you can't handle that, that's your problem.

Post edited at 19:41
 Postmanpat 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Some of the crap established users were posting in the run up to the last GE should have been deleted IMO, e.g. where the user had pasted a wall of text made up of (genuinely) Daily Mail headlines circulated on facebook.

>

  So , parts of the Daily Mail should be banned? How about the views of Sachs of Sumption?

  Some people may think that some of your views are utterly crap, not to say abhorrent. Should they complain to Alan and have them banned? Or should they just smear your motives and moral standards?

Post edited at 19:47
In reply to Tom V:

> Easy enough to dismiss it as a "catchphrase" if it suits your purpose

I gave a pretty detailed argument explaining why the charge of hypocrisy was false. That's not dismissing it. By all means attack the argument, but ignoring it is annoying.

In reply to Postmanpat:

>   So , parts of the Daily Mail should be banned?

Did you honestly complain about being misrepresented above, demand to be respected as posting in good faith, and then just post that? Do my eyes deceive me?

I said that copying and pasting a wall of text constructed by someone else from DM headlines and posted elsewhere on SM, was so shit it should be deleted.

> How about the views of Sachs of Sumption?

I have an absolute field day when those wankers' views come up on here. Why would I think they should be banned? 

If someone was paid to set up a user account to spread those views, that's unacceptable. As I just said, if you're genuinely expressing your sincerely held view, in your own words, for the sake of discussion, then so long as it's within the guidelines as judged by the mods then fine by me.

 Tom V 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>... there are benefits of diversity of opinion where they happen to all be reasonable and not crap. But if you have community of reasonable people,.....

But this presents a problem ; you think that your attitudes towards wishing death on politicians you don't approve of  still entitle you to call yourself a reasonable person, and I don't.  In my book, someone holding those sentiments would not be part of " a community of reasonable people"

Post edited at 19:56
 Postmanpat 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Did you honestly complain about being misrepresented above, demand to be respected as posting in good faith, and then just post that? Do my eyes deceive me?

> I said that copying and pasting a wall of text constructed by someone else from DM headlines and posted elsewhere on SM, was so shit it should be deleted.

>

   So, you're happy for people to share the views of the DM but not to cut and paste them together? I genuinely don't understand your distinction, or is there some other point you are making?

  I first came on the site twenty years ago to rebut some of the crap posted here. Should I have been banned?

  Can you define "disinformation"?

In reply to Stichtplate:

> I think you’re slightly misinterpreting my point. Unclear as it was.

I argued against it exactly as I saw it.

> Diversity of opinion allows us to solidify and set limitations on our own attitudes. Unexamined and unopposed ideas and opinions often don’t stand up well when tested.

I agree, as I said: yes, there are benefits of diversity of opinion where they happen to all be reasonable and not crap. 

> It’s fine just branding the opinions of others as simply wrong, but if you banish and refuse to engage with them it’s not good for either party.

But I don't "just brand" anything. I give reasons. I judge some people's opinions to be crap, and I give reasons. It's called disagreeing. If I can't do that, then there is no discussion. 

No one's been banned for supporting Brexit or voting Tory. Even when there has been really nasty transphobic attacks on trans UKCers, they've stood up for themselves and not just reported the dickheads and got them banned. You're making out that there's some culture of banning people when someone else "gets offended" and it's not true. E.g. the trans users stand up for themselves against the transphobes on here; I take the same approach; women don't report sexism, they call it out and ridicule it (and most of the men do the same). This culture of "silencing" is a myth.

The people who don't post any more because they broke the guidelines and weren't prepared to stay within them, or just got fed up because they felt like they weren't getting applause for their opinions, just being constantly having the piss taken out of them for saying the same thing over and over again, have made those choices of their own volition. They weren't silenced.  

Post edited at 20:31
 Cobra_Head 27 Nov 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I’m certainly getting bored of the Anti Brexit/Anti Conservative bias on this site,

can't you simply not engage and move on?

 Rob Parsons 27 Nov 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> There is also the argument made by others more astute than me, that more erudite forums such as this ...

You are beginning to sound like somebody who believes their own publicity.

Post edited at 20:17
In reply to Tom V:

> But this presents a problem ; you think that your attitudes towards wishing death on politicians you don't approve of  still entitle you to call yourself a reasonable person, and I don't.  In my book, someone holding those sentiments would not be part of " a community of reasonable people"

I call myself a reasonable person in the most literal way possible: I give reasons.

Do you know what I meant by the "trolley problem"? I think you're saying that people who won't throw the fat guy off the bridge are "reasonable" and should be allowed on UKC, but if, like me, you give him a shove for utilitarian reasons then that's "unreasonable". Despite the fact that the reasons have been explained...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOpf6KcWYyw&ab_channel=BBCRadio4

 Darron 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

One thing we perhaps should be concerned about is that if these forums become too difficult or ‘dangerous’ to UKC we may lose them vis a vis Supertopo.

In reply to Postmanpat:

>    So, you're happy for people to share the views of the DM but not to cut and paste them together? I genuinely don't understand your distinction, or is there some other point you are making?

You seem to be deliberately not understanding a very explicit and simple sentence:

I think copying and pasting a wall of text constructed by someone else from DM headlines and posted elsewhere on SM, was so shit it should be deleted.

>   I first came on the site twenty years ago to rebut some of the crap posted here. Should I have been banned?

I've no idea what you wrote. Did it breach the guidelines? What are you asking me?

>   Can you define "disinformation"?

I'm sure the criteria Twitter use is a reasonable starting point. Stuff that isn't true which is being disseminated as true deliberately by people with unclear motives in general for political purposes.

Feel free to pick holes in that. I can fill them in as we go all evening if you want, because everyone in this discussion, from the OP downwards knows exactly what is meant by disinformation and you're playing dumb.

Why? Because there's this little area of overlap between what you believe, and what we all know is lies.

Post edited at 20:29
 Sir Chasm 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

So, as a utilitarian, you're not a fan of the death penalty for crimes committed, but you're keen to preemptively kill Priti Patel because she's going to kill people? 

In reply to Sir Chasm:

> So, as a utilitarian, you're not a fan of the death penalty for crimes committed, but you're keen to preemptively kill Priti Patel because she's going to kill people? 

I think you need to check upthread on my views on Priti Patel.

 Rob Parsons 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Darron:

> One thing we perhaps should be concerned about is that if these forums become too difficult or ‘dangerous’ to UKC we may lose them vis a vis Supertopo.

This is business, not philanthropy. If this forum were to be shut down - for whatever reason - another one would pop up in its place.

 Andy Hardy 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:>   

>   Can you define "disinformation"?

This is the nub of the issue. Social media moves quickly and one of its effects is to shape opinions. It has been "weaponised" by AI and the only way of knowing it's happened is some hefty analysis of lots of sites for posting behaviours. What we can do is treat "opinions" as hostile until proven otherwise. So fire away with anti-lockdown anti-vax, pro-brexit, woke-war-cancel-culture stuff, but people might well view it as BS or worse and call it out accordingly.

 Postmanpat 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

    Alan is asking what the guidelines should be so appealing to them is meaningless. That’s the point at issue.

 I’m asking whether anybody appearing suddenly on here and arguing politics should be regarded as a “bad actor “ and banned.

  Are you genuinely pretending that you don’t know that the usual suspects on here spread what many regard as disinformation on here day after day and nobody, let alone Alan, bats sn eyelid? (actually, and incredibly, you possibly don’t).

  So, to clarify, you believe that tje views of the DM, Sumption and Sachs should be regarded as legitimate and welcome on here for you to criticise?

 freeheel47 27 Nov 2020
In reply to SteveX:

> Why do you think Bin Laden was deranged, I have always considered he was an intelligent and an opponent of western values. I think this is actually a subject I need to read up on.

Oh dear!  Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot and many other were idealogues rather than psychotic (Sutcliffe had schizophrenia).

Unfortunately being intelligent and charismatic are the necessary prerequisites for the most destructive type of violence that humans are capable of.

Ideological violence justifies unlimited violence in the pursuit of utopia - for Bin Laden an Islamic world or at least Caliphate. The horrific thing about terrorist and ideological violence is that the perpetrators really think that they are doing absolutely the right thing, whilst orchestrating the killing of millions. For example Mao declared that he would be content for 50% of the Chinese population (then 600 million) to die to achieve the end of capitalism / imperialism.

But maybe you are just teasing us?

 DancingOnRock 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Cobra_Head:

I try but this afternoon I was accused of defending the government again by one protagonist. All I was doing was explaining something. Some people have an agenda. They don’t want to understand things they just want to moan about the government. I’m finding it difficult to discern the people who genuinely don’t understand something and those that just want to complain. 
 

I moved on. 

In reply to Postmanpat:

>  I’m asking whether anybody appearing suddenly on here and arguing politics should be regarded as a “bad actor “ and banned.

It would really help if you were more attentive to what people say. You keep saying "banned" when I've said clearly "move to the pub in response to a report from another user". It takes ages when I have to start every post with

"I didn't say... [your text] I said [my text copied and and pasted]".

I feel like you're trying to wear me down. It's annoying.

>   Are you genuinely pretending that you don’t know that the usual suspects on here spread what many regard as disinformation on here day after day and nobody, let alone Alan, bats sn eyelid? (actually, and incredibly, you possibly don’t).

You're too vague. 

I've given the specific examples of accounts I suspect of being "bad actors". They were juliaclimbs and cp123.

Give me the specific usernames of people you are saying can reasonably be perceived as, and dealt with, similarly. Make your point clearly, as I have tried to do by naming names and giving reasons.

>   So, to clarify, you believe that tje views of the DM, Sumption and Sachs should be regarded as legitimate and welcome on here for you to criticise?

I have an absolute field day when those wankers' views come up on here. Why would I think they should be banned? 

If someone was paid to set up a user account to spread those views, that's unacceptable. As I just said, if you're genuinely expressing your sincerely held view, in your own words, for the sake of discussion, then so long as it's within the guidelines* as judged by the mods then fine by me.

Where is the need for clarification? I can only read into your weird request for "clarification" that you're playing some game where you want me to say "those views are legitimate" so you can claim that I agreed they were legitimate in whatever manner they were posted (e.g. by a pop-up account from someone posing as a climber getting paid to spread those views on SM). Is that your tactic? 

Or are you somehow genuinely confused by my entirely non-confusing text?

*published, linked above, not hypothetical new guidelines. I thought that was obvious since I even provided the link above...

Post edited at 21:24
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Some people may think that some of your views are utterly crap, not to say abhorrent. Should they complain to Alan and have them banned? Or should they just smear your motives and moral standards?

If they feel that way, they should express their objections as clearly and directly as they can. Can't you see from the style of my posts that I'm deliberately inviting precisely that?

They can try to smear my motives and moral standards if they like, that's fine, but it's only going to generate a sarcastic, scathing response. What I want is for someone to come up with a good argument to oppose what I'm saying.

 Postmanpat 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If they feel that way, they should express their objections as clearly and directly as they can. Can't you see from the style of my posts that I'm deliberately inviting precisely that?

No, I think you’re just finding an outlet for your inchoate anger with the world. Expecting rational objections to sweary rants is irrational.

> They can try to smear my motives and moral standards if they like, that's fine, but it's only going to generate a sarcastic, scathing response. What I want is for someone to come up with a good argument to oppose what I'm saying.

Me too, but there’s so much crap overwhelming the decent posts that it’s not worth the effort.

 bruxist 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I don't find the idea of 'extreme opinions' a good formulation for identifying the problem these forums are facing, because the very notion of extremity is defined in relation to a social consensus. 'Extreme' in this sense means whatever is far from current norms, or 'mainstream' opinion, if you like.

If we're to confine extreme opinions to the margin, then we're contemplating relegating all sorts of positions that are merely anachronistic - whether behind the times, or ahead of them - to a sort of sin bin where they cannot be debated on their merits. 'Extreme' opinions have in the past included all sorts of ab-normal opinions we now take for granted: having the vote; freedom of belief; the earth orbiting the sun. Weird ideas, but their time came eventually.  

I don't think these forums have a problem with extreme opinions. In fact, these forums are a great place for such opinions to be aired. But I do think we have a problem  with manufactured opinions, engineered to produce disagreement and confusion. In other words we have a problem with bad faith opinions, and those are best countered by what we already have, viz. expert opinions. Extreme opinions belong in pubs, art shows, libraries... bad faith opinions belong in a court.

[I am however with Wintertree on the unavoidable danger of becoming a useful training ground for bad-faith actors. That's because we have experts here. Universities are used in the same way, giving bad-faith actors a great opportunity to learn how to debate and undermine their expert opponents.]

In reply to Postmanpat:

> No, I think you’re just finding an outlet for your inchoate anger with the world. Expecting rational objections to sweary rants is irrational.

OK, sometimes they're sweary rants, guilty as charged; but sometimes I'm making something sound especially controversial to elicit a response. It usually works.

 Sir Chasm 27 Nov 2020

In reply to Andy 1902:

> Your an Idiot!

> Constructive enough for your highbrow opinion?

No, you're an idiot. 

 bruxist 27 Nov 2020

In reply to Andy 1902:

Oh exactly! The learning goes in both directions. I think the danger lies in the feedback loop set up by such interaction. It's a claw-armour dialectic: bad faith poster posts; debunker debunks; bad faith poster learns how to avoid debunking; debunker learns how to anticipate bad-faith avoidance of debunking... and so on. There's no solution to the current problem there other than some sort of social darwinism, but I for one don't see that as a viable or potentially successful solution.

 freeflyer 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I don't accept your contention that no good comes of reasoned opposition to populism.  Failure to offer any resistance ensures populism will win

I hope there'll be a discussion about that at some point. I agree with the resistance idea, clearly, but would argue that reasoned opposition is futile. Anyway, back to the thread ...

 waitout 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Anyone clicking on a thread with more than 30 posts knows they are going in for an ideological slap fest. Whatever the conspiracies, they don't infect the whole and represent no threat.

Sin binning to the Pub works fine, composts them away at about the same rate as they arise. If only the world at large could do same.

 Martin Hore 27 Nov 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

> Is that not a reflection of the wider climbing community? From my bubble of climbers most are anti-tory and Brexit. I appreciate that is however just my bubble - please take this as question and not anything else!

I agree. I'd be happy to welcome almost anyone to climbing/mountaineering regardless of their political views, as long as their views don't lead them to place others in danger or damage the environment the rest of us so enjoy. But I think if you join our community you should not be surprised that the majority of us are anti-Brexit and left of centre. I think it just goes with the territory.

Martin

 Martin Hore 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

My view - I think it concurs with others though I've not read the whole thread - is that the moderators do a pretty sound job at present. I wouldn't automatically remove posts from those who don't post a relevant profile and/or logbook entries. But I would be more tempted to censor and/or ban posters who fall into that category if they also post extreme views or are abusive towards other contributors. 

Martin

In reply to Postmanpat:

Here's another hypothesis: the future you argued for has come about, and it's even worse than we anticipated. No wonder you're less willing to argue your case - events have proven you profoundly wrong, and you know your beloved Tories are mostly indefensible on any number of grounds.

No wonder you are bitter.

In reply to Andy 1902:

> Who gets the sanctions and why?

If I report you for calling me names, Alan sends you an email. Don't ask me how I know...

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> No wonder you are bitter.

Bitter? Can't you see that he's the rational adult in the room?

I don't know why he suddenly went quiet when asked a direct question:

I've given the specific examples of accounts I suspect of being "bad actors". They were juliaclimbs and cp123.

Give me the specific usernames of people you are saying can reasonably be perceived as, and dealt with, similarly. Make your point clearly, as I have tried to do by naming names and giving reasons.

Post edited at 23:12
 Postmanpat 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

>

> No wonder you are bitter.

>

  Lol.  I’m not bitter. If anything I’m  just disappointed in the people that I wasted so much time  who are not worth it . My mistake, amongst many, was to think that they knew what they were talking about. I realised quite late that they actually believed some of the crap they’d read. It’s interesting , but I acknowledge also frustrating, that you and others are quite unable to move beyond the stereotypes you create about others or to have s clue about how you look from the outside.

 It’s a common misconception on here, despite repeated explanations, that I like the Tories. I like the Conservative philosophy relative to the alternative choices but can’t think of many Tories I like. I don’t regret my votes. Brexit? Bring it on!!

In reply to Postmanpat:

I have no idea what you are talking about, examples would be helpful.

And as for Brexit - we're certainly over the cliff now, and you'll be part of the same squidgy mess at the bottom when we land. I don't know how had it has to be before you acknowledge that it might have been a mistake. Do you?

 Postmanpat 27 Nov 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I have no idea what you are talking about,

>

  Which kind of makes my point for me.

   But, to be clear, in your case I don't have any bad feeling. I just disagree with you on many things but probably not as many as you imagine.

In reply to Tom V:

> You might be right but really it's for Lord Ash to say.

He won’t, though. He seems to like interjecting with single posts on threads, and includes a comment designed to appear throwaway yet provocative. I’m certainly not falling for it! 

 Postmanpat 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

  In case you’ve not got it yet, I can’t be bothered to get into endless arguments with people from whom I learn nothing ( I used to learn a lot, from you amongst others) and in most cases resort to silly rants and smears when challenged. Its just dull and irritating. I’m not going to name names or threads because I don’t feel the need and would get nothing out of retreading the same old tired debates.
  That you can’t see it is evidence enough.

 Stichtplate 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I argued against it exactly as I saw it.

And I acknowledged I’d perhaps phrased it poorly. The post was dashed off on my phone during a quiet moment in an otherwise busy day.

> I agree, as I said: yes, there are benefits of diversity of opinion where they happen to all be reasonable and not crap. 

But you can’t judge if those opinions are reasonable or crap unless they are aired There is no UKC minority report division.

> But I don't "just brand" anything. I give reasons. I judge some people's opinions to be crap, and I give reasons. It's called disagreeing. If I can't do that, then there is no discussion. 

I’m not suggesting you can’t disagree. I’m saying everyone should have the right to disagree, regardless of whether you think their opinion is crap.

> No one's been banned for supporting Brexit or voting Tory. Even when there has been really nasty transphobic attacks on trans UKCers, they've stood up for themselves and not just reported the dickheads and got them banned. You're making out that there's some culture of banning people when someone else "gets offended" and it's not true. E.g. the trans users stand up for themselves against the transphobes on here; I take the same approach; women don't report sexism, they call it out and ridicule it (and most of the men do the same). This culture of "silencing" is a myth.

Yeah, that whole paragraph is totally redundant as I’ve never suggested any such thing.

> The people who don't post any more because they broke the guidelines and weren't prepared to stay within them, or just got fed up because they felt like they weren't getting applause for their opinions, just being constantly having the piss taken out of them for saying the same thing over and over again, have made those choices of their own volition. They weren't silenced.  

Errr, justified or not, being chucked off the site is very definitely being silenced.

 Stichtplate 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I argued against it exactly as I saw it.

And I acknowledged I’d perhaps phrased it poorly. The post was dashed off on my phone during a quiet moment in an otherwise busy day.

> I agree, as I said: yes, there are benefits of diversity of opinion where they happen to all be reasonable and not crap. 

But you can’t judge if those opinions are reasonable or crap unless they are aired There is no UKC minority report division.

> But I don't "just brand" anything. I give reasons. I judge some people's opinions to be crap, and I give reasons. It's called disagreeing. If I can't do that, then there is no discussion. 

I’m not suggesting you can’t disagree. I’m saying everyone should have the right to disagree, regardless of whether you think their opinion is crap.

> No one's been banned for supporting Brexit or voting Tory. Even when there has been really nasty transphobic attacks on trans UKCers, they've stood up for themselves and not just reported the dickheads and got them banned. You're making out that there's some culture of banning people when someone else "gets offended" and it's not true. E.g. the trans users stand up for themselves against the transphobes on here; I take the same approach; women don't report sexism, they call it out and ridicule it (and most of the men do the same). This culture of "silencing" is a myth.

Yeah, that whole paragraph is totally redundant as I’ve never suggested any such thing.

> The people who don't post any more because they broke the guidelines and weren't prepared to stay within them, or just got fed up because they felt like they weren't getting applause for their opinions, just being constantly having the piss taken out of them for saying the same thing over and over again, have made those choices of their own volition. They weren't silenced.  

Errr...justified or not, being chucked off the site is very definitely being silenced.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

This will be a tricky decision for you. From the early days of urc through to UKC the forum has been a platform from strong opinion and robust debate, removing opportunity for this removes some of ukcs character. 

I enjoy a good discussion and equally enjoy a good conspiracy theory. Many CTs are almost Pratchet like in the alternate reality they present, this amuses me.

Removing such threads would reawaken the censorship accusations which flosted around previously and could lead to accusation of political bias.

Members themselves do a good job of debunking nonsense so in a way the forum is self policing.

Moving to the pub remove the ability to cite arguments in the future. This leaves a weakness. My pet CT that Johnson's covid what at the very least overexagerrated, if not completely manufactured will be gone, removing my ability to be a smart arse and say I told you so when the truth comes out. 😁.

Leave as is, things will settle post covid, we will return to flat earth and lizard overlord theories. 

 Offwidth 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

You're presenting a false position. No one here is saying we need to remove any robust debate from forum regulars. The main problem is an increasing misuse of the forums by new posters with single issue agendas that are often scientifically bullshit, like the identikit covid deniers. I'd say the suggestions made are pretty much continuing moderation as normal and I believe that this place is as civilised as it is because of that moderation.

On my wider point the vast majority of people in western Europe don't feel they are lacking freedom of speech because we limit the more dangerous extremist opinions allowed in the US, that are clearly spreading hate, dangerous religious dogma, and advice that contradicts medical science. Popularist politicians (especially Trump) have weaponised 'freedom of speech' to remove actual freedoms and bypass debate.

In reply to Tom V:

> You might be right but really it's for Lord Ash to say.

He won’t, though. He seems to like interjecting with single posts on threads, and includes a comment designed to appear throwaway yet provocative. I’m certainly not falling for it! 

 Gawyllie 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

It's hard to chastise users for being 'anti-lockdown' when articles like that shown below with such a strong headline are published on your main page.


https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/ukc/scotlands_outdoor_restrictions_are_senseless_and_unjustifiable-720576

Now that much of Scotland has softer restrictions than pretty much all the other parts of the UK, for some balance should there not be similar articles about how breaking restrictions are ok because they are apparently 'senseless and unjustifiable'?

Post edited at 10:51
In reply to Blue Straggler:

sorry for the repost! I must have still had the page open on my phone and accidentally hit the button. 

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I have only read the thread here and there. One or two of the posters (stand up Jon Stewart) are so wonderfully articulate that I could read them all day if I had time and there was nothing else of value to do. But neither is true, do at the risk of restating what may already have been said:

I voted for removing extreme opinions and conspiracy theory threads. It's not that I read these, but others might and I don't want this site to give them any sort of platform. I am still here after 15 years because I find that trust in the editorial judgement of Alan and his team is a good bet. Alan's opening statement only reinforces my idea that his team's notion of tedious crackpot bollocks with an agenda aligns closely with mine. 

I'd rather the site didn't have any of that so I'm all for a strong editorial line that removes irrational rubbish and leaves the air free for rational discourse, just as I find on the newspapers I choose to read. None of these print just anything.

 Offwidth 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Gawyllie:

That article wasn't an anti lockdown conspiracy theory post from a new poster based on bullshit ...it was a well argued opinion on some issues about a particular lockdown. There is no real connection at all other than being in a common subject area. We debate lockdown all the time in Off Belay. Some of the better threads have even been moved from Down the Pub to Off Belay.

Post edited at 11:41
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I don't like censorship in general, but there's something going on with deliberate, possibly professional, disinformation, and that isn't good.

You're already handling it pretty well, I think; of the three options you give, moving such stuff to the pub sounds best - it doesn't ban it, lets real discussion happen if people are interested, still hiding it a little and meaning it won't come up in web search results.

Expanding a bit, I think there's a big difference between people deliberately spreading misinformation and confusion (always bad, should be removed where possible), and people with extreme but genuine views (can be challenging and interesting, and often worth considering and engaging with, probably shouldn't be hidden), and genuine people caught up believing misinformation (may be worth discussing, but often results in dug-in, polarised arguments with nobody willing to think or reconsider, so probably best in 'the pub') - but I appreciate that they can be hard to distinguish and there's a limit to how much time you can spend micromoderating!

Have you considered doing what e.g. Twitter sometimes does - leaving such posts up but branding them with a 'this is pretty much nonsense'-style message? That can make the point without actually censoring anyone.

 Offwidth 28 Nov 2020
In reply to skog:

In the UK we live in a legal framework where UKC can get sued for content and where defense of that may well be financially impractical. Newspapers and Broadcast don't print stuff with warning labels (unless the news story is the problem with such content). Twitter's lack of standards on written content clashing with western European norms on the limits of freedom of speech is the problem. Some censorship is part of normal life in the UK. Just look at the US and see where allowing extreme views to be circulated has taken them.

We live in an increasing asymmetric society where obsessions on freedom of speech protect the rich and powerful and in the meantime we see real damage to the much more important freedoms of the rest. Access to law is rationed, freedom to protest is curtailed, freedom to take industrial action is curtailed, even citizenship freedoms of some are illegally removed (Windrush). Lets focus on the big issues shall we, instead of the rights of the likes of racists, religious cultists and extreme libertarians to spread hate

Post edited at 12:31
In reply to Offwidth:

> In the UK we live in a legal framework where UKC can get sued for content and where defense of that may well be financially impractical.

I hadn't thought of that, good point.

> Just look at the US and see where allowing extreme views to be circulated has taken them.

Mm, just look at the UK, even.

 Gawyllie 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

No it wasn't and people are entitled to an opinion however this wasn't a thread on the forums.

It was a posted as a main news item with a strong headline and with contents that completely undermined the then current public health restrictions in Scotland. 

I look forward to 'The better threads' being turned into similar articles on the front page of UKC now that there is a lockdown in England. For balance I hope they will contain similar stories of the author travelling miles from home to different areas with friends to then wander up some hills because he doesn't agree with it all.

In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Actually, I'd be interested to know how often this does happen and, without the details, why.  Would it be possible to get some rough numbers under some broad headings?  Other than personal abuse, what do you need to do to get banned?  

We don't have easily-accessible stats on this but generally, I'd say we ban existing real-people user accounts with proper profiles and posting histories at a rate of around 5-10 a year. Of these I'd say that around three-quarters of them are lifted after a short time and following communication.

In the old days we banned more than this and much of our moderation work was on people trying to freeload the FS forum. Now that we have stopped charging for that we have far fewer problems. These days it is almost entirely abusive behaviour much of which is blatantly obvious to the poster and they usually hold their hands up.

We have banned one or two people for continually starting fights on a single topic and using UKC to promote their own non-climbing political agenda (and usually doing nothing else). That is probably closer to what we are discussing on this thread.

Alan

In reply to Blue Straggler:

> He won’t, though. He seems to like interjecting with single posts on threads, and includes a comment designed to appear throwaway yet provocative. I’m certainly not falling for it! 

He might struggle to defend the indefensible. 

 Offwidth 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Gawyllie:

I'm a very strong supporter of early as possible lockdowns to face any sign of exponential covid growth and to allow us to keep the lockdowns as short as possible to cut economic damage. I think all UK governments have made mistakes in not acting quickly enough on obvious threats, especially the UK government and in particular the plain idiocy of Boris in the early days.  I still recognised the validity of arguments made in that article to a climbing and hillwalking community and that's despite disagreeing with some of them. There was never any scientific benefit of locking things down with almost no covid risk and massive health benefits, like socially distanced outdoor exercise (being extra careful with accident risk), nor much with some limited local travel to excercise; both of which were impacted in some of the first lockdowns.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Or create a new forum for them called Area 51?

In reply to Offwidth:

> Twitter's lack of standards on written content clashing with western European norms on the limits of freedom of speech is the problem. Some censorship is part of normal life in the UK. Just look at the US and see where allowing extreme views to be circulated has taken them.

You've got that totally wrong.  Twitter is not a free for all,  those guys ban people at the drop of a hat and blatantly misconstrue their own rules with zero due process or right of appeal.  If you've spent hundreds or thousands of hours in building up a Twitter following and they ban you for a week it has a real world cost, when you get back you have fewer followers and your posts get seen by less people because the Twitter algorithm has seen no interaction for a week.

For example, there is no rule on Twitter that says you can't swear.  There is a rule against racism, sexism and personal bullying or threats, which is actually quite reasonably drafted.  But if you call Boris a c*nt or say the EU should tell him to f*ck off and some Brexiteer complains then 30 seconds after you post you get banned for a week for racism/sexism/threats. There's is absolutely no due process or appeal, they don't even show how they managed to read their rule onto your post, they just state the rule and that if you do it again you will get a permanent ban. 

The effect is totally chilling to free speech of you say something that some guy in the Twitter office in London doesn't like you can lose hundreds of hours of work building a following.   Political organizations have noticed this and are intentionally using complaints to get Twitter to ban accounts supporting rival parties.

I think this is actually very dangerous.  Twitter is nothing special as a technology but the value of communications scales with the number of people using it so monopolies and quasi-monopolies naturally form.   This gives Twitter far too much control of what people can say - if they want to be heard - and because Twitter is a large company the state can exert pressure on  it to mute dissension.   Outright bans are bad enough but the same effect could easily be done behind the scenes by using the algorithm to reduce the reach of certain posts without the affected people even knowing it was happening.

Post edited at 13:49
 Offwidth 28 Nov 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Our two points are not contradictory. I'm saying: Twitter and co didn't act quickly enough to counter systematic abuse; and freedoms of speech in the US still protect hate speech. 

You could post particularly dangerous content (bullshit conspiracy theory and extreme religious nonsense) on some platforms until very recently. Even now stuff against the rules gets reposted so fast that the sites couldn't stop large numbers seeing illegal footage (like the NZ bomber) or potentially manufactured evidence  (like Guliani and the laptop) or antivax stuff. These companies are only acting now as they can see worse coming from the EU if they don't. They applied massive lobbying efforts in the US to avoid the responsibility of  broadcasters when that is clearly what they are. They tax dodge on a huge scale. Pretty much every dominant platform in my view need to be dealt with under monopoly regulations, as the US seems way too comfortable with market dominance that damages the fairness of markets for consumers. What happened with Bell would be impossible under current politics.

Just one of many links on the topic of failed controls:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-54001894

Post edited at 14:19
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> We don't have easily-accessible stats on this but generally, I'd say we ban existing real-people user accounts with proper profiles and posting histories at a rate of around 5-10 a year. Of these I'd say that around three-quarters of them are lifted after a short time and following communication.

Thanks for responding, Alan.  That answers my underlying question which was how big a problem are bots, lobbyists and organised conspiracy theorists?  I did wonder whether I’d need to rethink my soft libertarian position if you had said that you regularly caught and blocked hundreds of examples of QAnon or antivaxxer nonsense.

If that’s not the case, and what I can see and choose to engage with, or not, is a fair reflection of what’s being posted, then I don’t see a big problem with leaving things as they are.  That said, I don’t object violently to putting contentious threads in the Pub.  With all due respect, I don’t regard UKC as a publication of record.

 Cobra_Head 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

> No, I think you’re just finding an outlet for your inchoate anger with the world. Expecting rational objections to sweary rants is irrational.

You're obviously not a real postman, if you're worried about a bit of swearing, I work with real people, just about all of them swear, women included.

Swearing is rarely directed at people, it's a form of emphasis for many people. I've never understood, peoples ( esp. adults ) illogical fear of certain words, different if there were lots of children around.

In reply to Offwidth:

The thing is that Twitter and Facebook are large companies with shareholders and they are not going to stand up to government because fighting government costs you money.

If Twitter and Facebook do censorship and are heavily regulated it is going to be the kind of censorship you want when Labour/Democrats are in power and it is going to be the type you don't want when the Tories/Trump are in power.  

 bruxist 28 Nov 2020

In reply to Andy 1902:

I agree with you that if we become an insular bubble, those bad faith posters will go elsewhere; and yes, that's probably what a lot of people would like to see. The same pseudoscientific gibberish and 'just asking questions' nonsense cropping up again and again - it's getting to be a bit of a bore. And that's part of the way it works, I think: it wears people down until they can't be bothered refuting the same argument raised for the 99th time.

I'm not suggesting that challenging them is bad at all, though; quite the reverse. What I said was "[...] we have a problem with bad faith opinions, and those are best countered by what we already have, viz. expert opinions." That said, some of the threads herein have been masterclasses in countering and debunking bad faith pseudoscience, and I'm merely pointing out that this sort of expertise can benefit both those who wish to learn from it and those who wish to improve the plausibility of their pseudoscientific claims. I don't believe we can do anything about that.

In reply to Stichtplate:

> I’m not suggesting you can’t disagree. I’m saying everyone should have the right to disagree, regardless of whether you think their opinion is crap.

> Yeah, that whole paragraph is totally redundant as I’ve never suggested any such thing.

That's the problem - it's unclear what you're suggesting. I think you're saying users get chucked off this site because they have the "wrong opinions", and that this is bad, but maybe you're not?

Do you acknowledge that it's useful to have posting guidelines and moderation, so that racism, bullying, etc are not tolerated?

Or are you saying that you want a free-for-all with no rules? What do you think that would be like - do you think it would work well, or would it be a shitshow?

My view is that you've got choose whose freedoms you're going to protect, because some people's freedoms come at the expense of others. Homophobes and gay people don't get along, for example. If you run an internet forum (or any public space at all) you've got a simple choice to make: are we going to be welcoming to homophobes, or welcoming to gays? Welcome black people or racists? The freedoms of these groups are not compatible.

I suspect you realise that having rules to stop abuse is what makes the forums work, it's just that sometimes you disagree about whether a particular case has "crossed the line" or not. 

So, just for clarity, do you want a free-for-all with no sanctions for racism, abuse, bullying, etc. or are you just unhappy with specific calls made by the mods?

Have you got some different ideas for the posting guidelines to improve moderation, which you think would improve "diversity of opinion" without making the place welcome for those wanting to spread racist, homophobic, abusive, and dishonest views? If you think you can improve the balance, then this is the place to make those suggestions.

> Errr...justified or not, being chucked off the site is very definitely being silenced.

Perhaps you know more than I do, but from my understanding of how the forums are moderated, people don't just get "chucked off" the site. If they ignore the posting guidelines and won't change their behaviour, they'll get banned eventually, but that's their choice not to abide by the rules they signed up to. The responsibility for that lies with the user, not with the mods - they silenced themselves, no one did it to them.

 Tom V 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  If you run an internet forum (or any public space at all) you've got a simple choice to make: are we going to be welcoming to homophobes, or welcoming to gays? Welcome black people or racists? The freedoms of these groups are not compatible.

I don't think it's as simple as you say. 

The person running the forum will fairy obviously decide that they don't want to incude racist / homophobic comment That part is simple, as you say.

What is not simple is deciding what actually constitutes racist/ homophobic comment. People's tolerances for being offended and  capacity for finding offence vary greatly. Some people are also much more vocal and insistent than others. 

Added to which, some people find it a useful debating tool to slur  people with these charges if it helps them to make a point or they have some other reason for wanting to defame them. 

Picking your way through all these considerations must be very difficult.

 Stichtplate 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> That's the problem - it's unclear what you're suggesting. I think you're saying users get chucked off this site because they have the "wrong opinions", and that this is bad, but maybe you're not?

No, I’m not.

> Do you acknowledge that it's useful to have posting guidelines and moderation, so that racism, bullying, etc are not tolerated?

Of course. If someone’s being deliberately hateful they should be shut down, but I’d prefer other posters had the opportunity to remonstrate first, giving that person the chance to retract or moderate their language. I really dislike how threads are sometimes expunged with no context or explanation.

If someone is persistently being a tw*t, ban them, but leave their crap up there as evidence of their tw*ttishness and as an object lesson in what will and won’t be tolerated.

> Or are you saying that you want a free-for-all with no rules? What do you think that would be like - do you think it would work well, or would it be a shitshow?

A free for all would be a shit show, but you know as well as I do, if someone is totally out of order other posters will hand them their arse. Allow that process to play out and then see if the mods have to step in.

> My view is that you've got choose whose freedoms you're going to protect, because some people's freedoms come at the expense of others. Homophobes and gay people don't get along, for example. If you run an internet forum (or any public space at all) you've got a simple choice to make: are we going to be welcoming to homophobes, or welcoming to gays? Welcome black people or racists? The freedoms of these groups are not compatible.

There aren’t any simple choices I’m afraid. Some people are offended by bad language, disrespecting the church and not saluting the Queen. For instance, are you going to ban freedom of religious expression or homophobia, depending on stance the two can often clash.

> I suspect you realise that having rules to stop abuse is what makes the forums work, it's just that sometimes you disagree about whether a particular case has "crossed the line" or not. 

Yep.

> So, just for clarity, do you want a free-for-all with no sanctions for racism, abuse, bullying, etc. or are you just unhappy with specific calls made by the mods?

No, see above.

> Have you got some different ideas for the posting guidelines to improve moderation, which you think would improve "diversity of opinion" without making the place welcome for those wanting to spread racist, homophobic, abusive, and dishonest views? If you think you can improve the balance, then this is the place to make those suggestions.

See above. I’m not saying it’d work better, but I’d like the mods to give it a go.

> Perhaps you know more than I do, but from my understanding of how the forums are moderated, people don't just get "chucked off" the site. If they ignore the posting guidelines and won't change their behaviour, they'll get banned eventually, but that's their choice not to abide by the rules they signed up to. The responsibility for that lies with the user, not with the mods - they silenced themselves, no one did it to them.

Dunno, never been chucked off but I have emailed the mods to question why others have been. The mods have always been perfectly nice and reasonable in response.

Post edited at 19:46
In reply to Tom V:

> What is not simple is deciding what actually constitutes racist/ homophobic comment.

Absolutely agree. 

> People's tolerances for being offended and  capacity for finding offence vary greatly. Some people are also much more vocal and insistent than others. 

Yes. My perception of UKC is that generally where people feel that a remark has a racist, homophobic, etc, tone then rather than asking the mods to delete it because it's "offensive", they tend to defend themselves. I think, for example, that the way the openly trans UKCers reacted to the way they've been treated on here has been admirable. Unfortunately I don't think there are any Muslims on here who've been in a similar position.

> Added to which, some people find it a useful debating tool to slur  people with these charges if it helps them to make a point or they have some other reason for wanting to defame them. 

Oh I know. For example, I've been called antisemitic for criticising the policies of the Israeli government scores of times. But that's life - some people are arseholes and when someone makes and unsubstantiated slur that you're a racist when you're obviously not, you've got to go through the motions of explaining why they're talking crap. That, I'm afraid, is part of the debate, and an ugly one too. It's also popular to believe that making unfounded allegations of racism is something confined to "the left" but my experience tells me otherwise.

> Picking your way through all these considerations must be very difficult.

Totally agree. Which is why, while we don't want any racists or homophobes etc in the community (despite them bringing "diversity of opinion"), we all have a responsibility not to just click "report" when someone says something we don't like, unless it's an easy case of obvious racism etc. that can be dealt with quickly.

You thought what I said about Farage and Trump was beyond the pale. I think Lordash2000's call to "let the weak die" is despicable. Neither of us clicked "report" because wanted Alan to adjudicate on these matters!

Post edited at 20:23
 Tom V 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

For the record, the "Like " is mine, not the other 

In reply to Stichtplate:

> I really dislike how threads are sometimes expunged with no context or explanation.

Fair enough. Doesn't bother me. I'm quite trusting and think there's probably good reason.

> If someone is persistently being a tw*t, ban them, but leave their crap up there as evidence of their tw*ttishness and as an object lesson in what will and won’t be tolerated.

I think there's rational reasons UKC might want to take down persistent displays of tw*ttishness...

> A free for all would be a shit show, but you know as well as I do, if someone is totally out of order other posters will hand them their arse. Allow that process to play out and then see if the mods have to step in.

Which is exactly what happens isn't it?

> There aren’t any simple choices I’m afraid. Some people are offended by bad language, disrespecting the church and not saluting the Queen. For instance, are you going to ban freedom of religious expression or homophobia, depending on stance the two can often clash.

It's extremely easy. You can choose whether to spout religiously justified homophobia online, but you can't choose not to be gay. Where there's a conflict, applying that criterion will generally tell you who to back. If you can give an example where that principle is not at play, let's discuss it.

Post edited at 20:14
 Offwidth 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

It shows how as a country that we still have some distance to go that the resigning Chair of our largest sport said recently that being gay was 'a lifestyle choice'. In the US, important people say a lot worse more regularly, because there they can safely say it's part of their religion.

In reply to Offwidth:

I think there's quite a serious mistake being made when "religious freedom" is put on a par with the freedom to simply exist in the way you can do nothing about, e.g. in the protected characteristics in the Equalities Act. There are good reasons to protect religious groups from persecution, but that's not the same as excusing the religious from the obligations of basic decency.

 jkarran 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Organising the destruction of the Twin Towers and hijacking and crashing 5 commercial airliners are not the actions of a rational sane human being.

Is any decision to take your team to war (symmetrical or asymmetrical)?

Do you not even entertain the possibility you're lacking the imagination to stand in his shoes? 

Jk

In reply to jkarran:

> Is any decision to take your team to war (symmetrical or asymmetrical)?

> Do you not even entertain the possibility you're lacking the imagination to stand in his shoes? 

> Jk

War? Don't make me laugh. How is the deliberate destruction of over 3000 innocent lives war? You and I have very different notions of war. There's no defending the indefensible so why are you trying?

Why am I not surprised at comments like yours? Its typical of the views of some that people like Bin Laden are (were) some kind of anti American/Anti Western cult hero. Were you one of the people who agreed with the member of the Question Time audience who said 'America had it coming' the day after 9/11 and reduced the American ambassador to the UK to tears? 

Post edited at 21:58
 Duncan Bourne 28 Nov 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Yup! I don't mind arguing with people willing to put forward valid arguments and fight their corner but I get titsed off with those who keep repeating the same mantra of "it's all lies" without anything to back it up.

Honestly I got to the point to day of actually trying to find valid counter arguments to vaccines myself (spoiler alert I couldn't find any) to try and get where someone was coming from because they had nothing bar empty retoric

In reply to Wanderer100:

I won't argue that Osama Bin Laden was sane or reasonable; but I will argue that the category of insane and unreasonable is easily broad enough to capture Trump and Farage. As such, I can't agree that wanting OBL dead is OK, but wanting Trump and Farage dead is wrong. I've got more than three bullets, and I don't need one for OBL.

Post edited at 22:13
 jkarran 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Are you genuinely pretending that you don’t know that the usual suspects on here spread what many regard as disinformation on here day after day and nobody, let alone Alan, bats sn eyelid? (actually, and incredibly, you possibly don’t).

I have no idea who or what you're alluding you.

>   So, to clarify, you believe that tje views of the DM, Sumption and Sachs should be regarded as legitimate and welcome on here for you to criticise?

That really depends who's airing them and why. I'm happy enough to discuss nonsense with you, not with Vlad123 registered yesterday. Likewise crap from the fringes of momentum, tolerable from Cumbria Mammoth, not from Comrade246 whose only other post was to hay 'hi' in a thread about the cricket.

Jk

 jkarran 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> War? Don't make me laugh. How is the deliberate destruction of over 3000 innocent lives war? You and I have very different notions of war.

Are you contending the 911 attacks weren't an act of war? Because the target was in part civilian? The weapons unconventional? The motive hard to comprehend? The actor non-state?

> There's no defending the indefensible so why are you trying?

I'm not defending 911 or Bin Laden. What gave you that impression? I'm saying it's hard, maybe nearly impossible for you, and me for that matter to stand in his shoes, to see the world from his perspective.

Drowning thousands of German civilians in the Ruhr is still a celebrated part of our national myth. Right or wrong? From a different perspective things get murky. 

> Why am I not surprised at comments like yours? Its typical of the views of some that people like Bin Laden are (were) some kind of anti American/Anti Western cult hero.

Because you struggle with comprehension? I don't know. 

> Were you one of the people who agreed with the member of the Question Time audience who said 'America had it coming' the day after 9/11 and reduced the American ambassador to the UK to tears? 

No. Were you? 

Jk

Post edited at 22:42
In reply to Wanderer100:

> War? Don't make me laugh. How is the deliberate destruction of over 3000 innocent lives war?

Wasn't the deliberate destruction of over 100,000 lives in Hiroshima an act of war?

Surely "killing people for political ends" is the definition of an act of war?  Or is terrorism when it's not by a state and war when it's by one?

Post edited at 22:47
 Sir Chasm 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Wasn't the deliberate destruction of over 100,000 lives in Hiroshima an act of war?

Not really, an act of war is generally taken to mean an action taken to provoke war. 

> Surely "killing people for political ends" is the definition of an act of war?  Or is terrorism when it's not by a state and war when it's by one?

I'n't drink great? 

In reply to Neil Williams:

> Wasn't the deliberate destruction of over 100,000 lives in Hiroshima an act of war?

Of course it was an act of war. The penultimate act of the second world war as I'm sure you're only too well aware.

> Surely "killing people for political ends" is the definition of an act of war?  Or is terrorism when it's not by a state and war when it's by one?

It wasn't a political act. It was an act of terrorism,  without warning, without opportunity to protect or defend. Without thought other than reaping as much misery and suffering as possible. 

 wintertree 28 Nov 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Some people have an agenda. They don’t want to understand things they just want to moan about the government. I’m finding it difficult to discern the people who genuinely don’t understand something and those that just want to complain. 

By “understand something” do you mean “look at it the same way I look at it?”  I ask as it fits the pattern of about a dozen things you’ve “explained” to me and your “explanation” tends to be more of a perspective.   One I tend to really struggle to get me head around TBH.

I would be concerned if someone didn’t want to complain about aspects of our current government.  Shaking hands in a hospital in a pandemic and telling everyone about it FFS.  I didn’t need a PhD in the bleeding obvious when that happened to know what was coming.  Okay, I didn’t figure it was setting us up for a swathe of chumocracy spending etc.  

In reply to jkarran:

> Are you contending the 911 attacks weren't an act of war? Because the target was in part civilian? The weapons unconventional? The motive hard to comprehend? The actor non-state?

Of course I'm contending it wasn't an act if war. Declaring it as an act of war attempts to give it some justification, some credence. It was terrorism at its worst.

> I'm not defending 911 or Bin Laden. What gave you that impression? I'm saying it's hard, maybe nearly impossible for you, and me for that matter to stand in his shoes, to see the world from his perspective.

I have no interest in seeing the world from his perspective. 

> Drowning thousands of German civilians in the Ruhr is still a celebrated part of our national myth. Right or wrong? From a different perspective things get murky. 

I've got no idea what your referring to. The British celebrate thousands of Germans drowning in the Ruhr? Must have missed that party.

> Because you struggle with comprehension? I don't know. 

Moving on.

> No. Were you? 

No I wasn't but I'll never forget the anger in the audience and the feeble attempts of David Dimbelby trying and failing  to control the baying mob.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/media/2001/sep/16/terrorismandthemedia.bbc

> Jk

 jkarran 28 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Of course I'm contending it wasn't an act if war. Declaring it as an act of war attempts to give it some justification, some credence. It was terrorism at its worst.

Can't it be both? What is is the difference between terrorism and asymmetric war? Perspective?

> I have no interest in seeing the world from his perspective.

Clearly.

> I've got no idea what your referring to. The British celebrate thousands of Germans drowning in the Ruhr? Must have missed that party.

617, Dambusters. But you knew that.

> No I wasn't but I'll never forget the anger in the audience and the feeble attempts of David Dimbelby trying and failing  to control the baying mob.

Missed that. I was in the US trying to figure out what the hell was happening, watching a mate try to find out if his wife had missed the Pentagon flight.

Jk

In reply to jkarran:

Why do you think there is no difference between war eg, the Falklands, or total war, eg WW2, and the events of 9/11?

In reply to Wanderer100:

> It wasn't a political act. It was an act of terrorism,  without warning, without opportunity to protect or defend. Without thought other than reaping as much misery and suffering as possible. 

It was certainly a despicable act, one of the most despicable of the 21st century so far (and right at the start of it, too).

I don't agree that it was without thought - it was to make a point.  Indeed, I've heard it suggested that Bin Laden didn't think it was going to bring the towers down, rather cause fewer deaths and leave a visible scar on the buildings to create fear.

But whether something like that is "an act of war", "an act of terrorism" or just "murder" seems to depend on what your view is about it and not the actual act itself.  "One man's terrorist", as the saying goes...

(I think to many people "act of war" vs "act of terrorism" depends on who did it - the former for a recognised nation state, the latter for a renegade organisation of some sort not representing a recognised nation state - but the act could be identical)

Post edited at 00:22
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I try but this afternoon I was accused of defending the government again by one protagonist. All I was doing was explaining something. Some people have an agenda. They don’t want to understand things they just want to moan about the government. I’m finding it difficult to discern the people who genuinely don’t understand something and those that just want to complain. 

Is that my ears burning!

I say it as I see it based on the statements you make, you are obviously free to express another opinion.   My agenda is all about trying to get the best understanding of the world that I can. I'm not an expert in epidemiology, but I do know a bit about risk and public policy, I'm complaining based on performance, not ideology. I find your suggestion that people that don't agree with you either don't understand or they are just whiners, plain ignorant!

Post edited at 00:26
 waitout 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I propose, instead of the Pub, creating an unlisted category called 'Extreme' or somesuch, that contentious threads get relocated to and can only be accessed by people already in them. It appears to me it's often the same crowd who turn up to these things, willingly, to hone their debate skills or just rattle their cages. 

Even better, but perhaps more complex than is worth the trouble, the divergent post could be relocated and relabelled in the Extreme category, leaving the original to continue normally whilst the mutant version goes it's own way. Allow enough of it and you'd have a sort of dark simulation of a UKC alternative world. The controversial threads get a large and fast amount of hits which appeals to advertisers, so why not harness it?

By being so climbing specific, the bulk of proper weirdos is already filtered out. You'll never see the descent into truly twisted realities that some sites get. The only attraction UKC has to the weirdo fringe is it's relative size in the English speaking outdoor community and maybe some brands the Alt Right identify with. It's not much. I'd argue more interesting posts get mired from cries of "troll" than do from being conspiratorial.

 raussmf 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Just gotta suck it up and listen and hope they will do the same

 mondite 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> It wasn't a political act. It was an act of terrorism,  without warning, without opportunity to protect or defend.

Generally speaking thats the best way to launch an attack. Especially when your opponent is better equipped.

As for political objectives.

Use of attacks on civilians can be a political objective to damage their morale. The idea being is if they get concerned about dying then they put pressure on their government to quit. It was part of the rational behind some of the WWII bombing campaigns. Of course those campaigns, and subsequent terrorist ones, dont tend to support this. What seems to happen instead is those people get annoyed and rally behind the government and demand they do more of whatever annoyed the attackers. However as always some dont learn from history.

Conversely you have the boost to your "countrys" morale by carrying out a high profile attack on your opponents. Hopefully boosting your supporters morale and maybe getting some new ones and cash. A wartime example being the Doolittle raid. Minimal military gain but a very strong boost to the US morale.

There is the financial cost to the US both in direct response and then ongoing response. Stressing your opponents financial system can be a pretty effective attack mechanism (best displayed in the cold war).

Note this doesnt mean I am supporting the attacks in any way but simply that your claim that there wouldnt be any deeper reasoning behind them than misery and suffering is wrong. 

 Offwidth 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

"Why do you think there is no difference between war eg, the Falklands, or total war, eg WW2, and the events of 9/11?"

I think it's a very unusual act of war. A huge terrorist attack where all the main perpetrators were Saudi, yet the Saudi state complicity in the behaviour of its citizens was overlooked as they are important allies.... and somehow it became an excuse to start another war in Iraq. What's the point of the cult of freedom of speech in the US when on the negative side it allows so much hate speech and yet when its needed, after thousands of its citizens die, the government can play a conjuring trick with the truth and blame someone else.

 Offwidth 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I agree and find it sad that instead of just calling out the many abuses and crimes committed in the name of religion I now often end up defending the religious who do have common decency (and accept the western laws they live under) from fringe atheists who don't have such decency.

 jkarran 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Why do you think there is no difference between war eg, the Falklands, or total war, eg WW2, and the events of 9/11?

I didn't say that, I asked you for your thoughts. I think there is a difference but it's one of degree and perspective, not fundamental.

Jk

 wercat 29 Nov 2020
In reply to waitout:

How about "Verbal Punchup Room"?  Or AICS  (Argument in a Confined Space) Forum

That way people can go in gung ho expecting fisticuffs "volenti non fit injuria" style.

If heat arises in a normal forum one of the participants can invite the other(s) into the VPR or AICS Forum as in "CU outside" ...

In reply to bruxist:

> And that's part of the way it works, I think: it wears people down until they can't be bothered refuting the same argument raised for the 99th time.

Agreed. These people seem to have infinite time on their hands.

I've got dragged into supporting my sister on a Facebook thread. The bloke has cited Yeadon, so I've knocked that one down. He comes back with Hutchinson, so I've knocked that one down, too. But if he brings up Gupta, or the 'Great Reset', I'll lose the will to go on...

In reply to Offwidth:

> I agree and find it sad that instead of just calling out the many abuses and crimes committed in the name of religion I now often end up defending the religious who do have common decency (and accept the western laws they live under) from fringe atheists who don't have such decency.

I think there is very probably a link between religion, conspiracy theories and nonsense like Brexit and resisting Covid precautions.

We are training children to put faith over reason and accept beliefs which on any rational viewpoint both conflict with observation and are internally inconsistent.   If we train people to do this, it isn't surprising if they take the same approach to other theories which are emotionally attractive but rationally complete bullsh*t. 

In reply to captain paranoia:

> I've got dragged into supporting my sister on a Facebook thread.

Oh crap; another one has popped up. Apparently, we don't need to lock down, because the NHS wasn't overloaded the first time... When I pointed out that was only because we did lock down, quite hard, he came back with 'studies show lockdown had little effect'.

I'm going to guess that these 'studies' are either on YouTube, or have been banned from YouTube, or are on lockdownsceptics.

 Cobra_Head 29 Nov 2020
In reply to jkarran:

> Can't it be both? What is is the difference between terrorism and asymmetric war? Perspective?

Not sure it can be classed as war, Timothy McVeigh might have thought he was as war, but do countries really go to war with individuals?
 

 mrbird 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

A square go. 

"Lifts, partners or straighteners"

 wintertree 29 Nov 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

> time... When I pointed out that was only because we did lock down, quite hard, he came back with 'studies show lockdown had little effect'.

Bet you I can find an Oxford professor saying as much on their blog from early April.  I’ll give you two guesses...

In reply to wintertree:

>  I’ll give you two guesses...

Henegan? Gupta?

 Offwidth 29 Nov 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Really? Who trains kids to think such nonsense other than dishonest parents, families and religious groups who don't really believe in the western laws they live under. I know a good number of Profs who hold religious beliefs and don't struggle a jot with rational thought, let alone millions of ordinary UK citizens.

You even get lists of famous religious scientists, like this one for Christians:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christians_in_science_and_technology

 Roadrunner6 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

A friend moderates a face book group and you have to add links to support your stance with anything regarding Covid-19. She's a biochem Prof at Dartmouth so knows her stuff. But she's fine with anti-mask posts if the person can point to the scientific studies or official stats from states or the CDC. It upset people at first but people soon got used to it. There is room for controversial science but it needs to be grounded in some science, not just random myths that get repeated so much they become facts. 

 lithos 29 Nov 2020

In reply

>  Or AICS  (Argument in a Confined Space) Forum

is this  5 minute argument of the full half hour ?

 wintertree 29 Nov 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

One of H’s first proclamations on the matter back in April.  

In reply to Offwidth:

> Really? Who trains kids to think such nonsense other than dishonest parents, families and religious groups who don't really believe in the western laws they live under. I know a good number of Profs who hold religious beliefs and don't struggle a jot with rational thought, let alone millions of ordinary UK citizens.

It's nonsense to pretend there isn't a problem.  People go to church and they sit there in their best clothes listening respectfully to a guy in robes spout the most absolute bullsh*t.   A priest/minister can break every rule of logical discourse and instead of standing up and shouting 'Objection, assumes facts not in evidence!' the congregation sit there and let it wash over them.   They are being trained to accept obviously erroneous statements because they are emotionally appealing.  People reacting like that and not thinking analytically and critically is exactly what conspiracy theories and nonsense like Brexit depends on.

 Cobra_Head 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Perhaps you know more than I do, but from my understanding of how the forums are moderated, people don't just get "chucked off" the site. If they ignore the posting guidelines and won't change their behaviour, they'll get banned eventually, but that's their choice not to abide by the rules they signed up to. The responsibility for that lies with the user, not with the mods - they silenced themselves, no one did it to them.

Not always true though I've known someone be banned for swearing twice over 12 years, and yet I've seen people swear on a daily basis, so it's a bit arbitrary, plus the fact simply discussing banned people seems to be a bannable offence, it does all seem a bit random.

Obviously, it their web site they can do what they like, but the rules aren't applied evenly.

 Cobra_Head 29 Nov 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Why not let us , the users, vote if a thread should be "demoted" to the pub.

I think most of us are tolerant enough to weed out the plain bat-shit-crazy stuff from the genuine "alternative thinker".

More buttons, is what we need. The suggestion above was a serious one though.

 Offwidth 29 Nov 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I never said it wasn't a problem. I post when I'm particularly disgusted with such behaviour. I only defend those UK religious people on UKC (in the same way I defend anyone) who are broadly rational and law abiding and being unfairly attacked just for their faith;  that category is probably most of the religious people in the UK from most survey indications, speaking as someone who isn't religious.

Of the religious people I've know most seem immune to tin hat stuff with the exception of a few muslims who let their hatred of Israel lead to them falling for jewish conspiracy nonsense (those particular individuals probably don't believe in our laws either, but most were overseas PhD students).

 DancingOnRock 29 Nov 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Again. It wasn’t you I’m afraid. 
 

It was someone else, I was just putting forward some explanations of why I though something might have been done be the way it was. Apparently that’s defending the government.

As it happens you came along with your usual pages and pages of data and proved  something else that was completely different to what we were discussing and the thread went off on another tangent. 

Post edited at 19:19
 DancingOnRock 29 Nov 2020
In reply to The New NickB:

No not you either I’m afraid. 

I was always of the opinion a forum was a place to exchange ideas. It has become more a university debating society where people come to win arguments, every idea has to be backed by evidence, if you provide evidence then people start to sidetrack the debate using pedantry to try and reduce your point of view. No one seems interesting in discussing and trying to understand a point of view, just want to ‘win’ the argument. It often gets very tedious when lots of posters cherry pick evidence to support their dogma. I haven’t got the patience to reference everything I write or defend the difference between using ‘a’ in a sentence instead of ‘the’. 

Post edited at 19:17
 alx 29 Nov 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

2/10.

Missing references, and I notice your profile lacks a H index

 DancingOnRock 29 Nov 2020
In reply to alx:

Brilliant. 
 

What’s an H index? Apparently I’ve been here for 14 years!? 
 

Seriously, it’s only in the last 4 that it seems to have gone completely bananas here. I think that’s true for the whole of the Internet. 
 

Only my very narrow opinion though. No references. Based on gut feel. 
 

I blame it on Brexit and Trump. 

Post edited at 19:41
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Seriously, it’s only in the last 4 that it seems to have gone completely bananas here. 

Let me see, what contentious topic has there been in the last four years, that has divided the entire country...?

Completely bendy bananas...?

You seem to be forgetting the 'UKC Holy Wars' that raged for a few years.

In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I was always of the opinion a forum was a place to exchange ideas.

Sounds very noble. 

> It has become more a university debating society where people come to win arguments

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm just responding to posts that I think are wrong and saying why I think they're wrong. I'm challenging what I see as bollocks, because I believe bollocks should be challenged...

> every idea has to be backed by evidence

...and the best way to see if something is bollocks or not is to see if there's evidence. 

Sounds to me like what you want is an easy ride. 

 mondite 29 Nov 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> It was someone else, I was just putting forward some explanations of why I though something might have been done be the way it was. Apparently that’s defending the government.

Was that me when you were making extremely strong and confident claims which werent backed up by the evidence and refused to acknowledge you were wrong?

You were confidently claiming that the government position made perfect sense since people couldnt handle anything more complex than county level restrictions but then threw a hissy fit rather than explain why people in Somerset and Berkshire were more capable.

If I had several people unsure whether it was them who fit the description I would be wondering if the problem might just possibly be me rather than someone else.

 waitout 29 Nov 2020
In reply to wercat:

> How about "Verbal Punchup Room"?  Or AICS  (Argument in a Confined Space) Forum

> That way people can go in gung ho expecting fisticuffs "volenti non fit injuria" style.

> If heat arises in a normal forum one of the participants can invite the other(s) into the VPR or AICS Forum as in "CU outside" ...

A good idea. Be good too if we can all watch and comment on the participants blows and evasions. I'm thinking too, there could be a proxy robot version, where people with shared views could form a single avatar under a new name and punch on that way.

As I see it, the bun fights are one of UKC's main draws, so why not exploit it. Climbers seem to have ever evolving ways of splitting hairs, there must surely be a way to harness the momentum for some gain.

 Offwidth 30 Nov 2020
In reply to waitout:

JR came up with a new possible 'fight forum' title yesterday "A muerte".

 DancingOnRock 30 Nov 2020
In reply to mondite:

It was indeed. And it’s not the first time you have accused me of ‘defending the government’. It’s your MO. You have no interest in debating the issue, you are clearly  taking part to attack the government. 
 

That’s fine attack all you want. I’m not defending anyone, just putting forward reasons why certain polices are put in place. But don’t pretend you’re trying to understand why something has been done a certain way, if you’re not interested, and only want to complain. There are over 100 scientists on SAGE. I’m not sure why I’m the one who should be supply the evidence. This is just a forum, we aren’t going to change anything. If you want to know, and think they’ll be interested in a better way that you’ve spotted and they’ve all somehow overlooked, maybe email one of them.

Behave childishly if you want but I’m not sure I threw a hissy fit, just bowed out of the debate when I realised what your agenda was.  

Post edited at 08:29
In reply to captain paranoia:

I remember those! Back in 2005 I put up what I thought was a perfectly inocuous comment about evolution, it generated a thread with a 1000+ posts.

 mondite 30 Nov 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> There are over 100 scientists on SAGE. I’m not sure why I’m the one who should be supply the evidence.

Nice appeal to authority.

However to recap. Just one of the factual errors that you made on a single thread was the claim about it needing to be at a county level. I provided the evidence that, in two cases, that it wasnt apparently necessary.

You routinely make claims which arent supported by any evidence and when its demonstrated to you that it is incorrect you dont have the grace to admit you are wrong. 

As for pro government. Your position on any subject in my experience can be reliably predicted to follow the government line.

 DancingOnRock 30 Nov 2020
In reply to mondite:

I don’t follow any government line. All that happens is a lot of people here are very quick and keen to attack the government. I point out reasons why the government may have chosen to do something that way. At no point have I ever said they were right, or that I support them. 
 

As I said upthread, this place is an echo chamber. If you’re not with us you’re against us. As you have nicely demonstrated. 


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Loading Notifications...