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  1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The goal of Metabunk.org is honest debunking. Exposing and removing falsehoods. It has been my experience that being polite is very helpful when debunking. If someone feels that you are not being polite, or that you have in any way denigrated or belittled them, then they will start complaining about that instead of addressing your points, and will be far less likely to listen to you with an open mind. It also greatly affects the perception of more neutral readers, who respond similarly to the person being insulted.

    On a more fundamental level, everyone deserves your respect until you really understand where they are coming from. It's easy to jump to conclusions about people just because they say something a little strange. But immediately labeling people, in whatever way, is a sure way of shutting down an honest and open conversation. Polite respect and openness must be the starting point.

    So, please:
    • Do not insult people either directly or indirectly
    • Do not call them names, such as "stupid", "ignorant", "uneducated", or "liar"
    • Do not describe their theory as "stupid", "moronic", "idiotic", "delusional", etc
    • Do not suggest they get an education, or take some classes
    • Do not criticize their spelling or grammar
    • Do not respond to the tone of their post instead of the content
    • Do not mock people, or make jokes at their expense
    • Do not suggest they are mentally ill, or that they need help
    • Do not suggest anyone who believes in [any particular theory] is mentally ill.

    The above applies regardless of if it is true or not. If someone perceives something as rude, then it is impolite.

    Instead, please:
    • Show them where they are wrong
    • Try to help them understand their misconceptions. Politely.
    • Stick to the facts
    • Ignore any insults that they might use
    • Focus on individual key points, not the general tone

    The above policy will be enforced. I will delete or edit posts that do not conform to it, and I will ban people who repeatedly violate it (initially for 24 hours, then for longer periods).

    It will not be applied evenhandedly. Since censoring the bunk believers is often viewed as impolite and is hence counterproductive, then they will be given more leeway. Debunkers generally have far thicker skins. The bunk believers' insults do not help their case, and so it's not so important to remove them. I will still remove more extreme insults that would derail the conversation.

    It will be relaxed to allow criticism of credentials and skill level only in the case of appeals to authority. For example, suggesting something is correct because someone is a "doctor" (when they actually have a mail order doctorate). Or for people with seeming relevant qualifications on paper who demonstrate ineptitude in the actual work or statements.

    Threats of any kind will not be tolerated, and will likely lead to a ban.

    Remember, this is not about politeness per se. It's about debunking. We are being polite so that the debunking is more effective, not to conform to some code of manners, and not to avoid hurting their feelings. The only goal here is honest debunking. Politeness just helps a lot.

    I greatly appreciate your help with this. I know this is not for everyone, but there are many places on the internet where you can interact with bunk believers with no such restrictions. The politeness policy is the basis for the nature of Metabunk.org, and for this to remain the unique little debunking site it has become, the politeness policy needs to be observed.

    Thank you,

    Mick West
     
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    • Agree Agree x 3
  2. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    It certainly helps critical thinking, but is a hard reaction to discipline.
    One is ultimately better off for the effort though.
     
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  3. Ross Marsden

    Ross Marsden Senior Member

    Excellent. Totally agree.
     
  4. Jazzy

    Jazzy Closed Account

    I especially value the "not even-handed" idea. And I expect to visit the cooler. It's not easy to be effective without some emphasis... LOL.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    A timely article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/opinion/sunday/this-story-stinks.html?_r=0

     
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  6. Quantumbeliever

    Quantumbeliever Banned Banned

    Mick,
    As one who often takes the "other side" in this forum, thanks for this post. I would like to say that you and most of the users of this forum have been respectful and not insulting in my experience. This is a breath of fresh air that I think is critical if we are ever to start improving our understanding of a range of phenomena and issues.
     
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  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks, and based on your posts you might find this article by Karla McLaren interesting, relating to the above:

    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridging_the_chasm_between_two_cultures
     
  8. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    Mick, I do fully support the politeness policy...... however, I think that there is value in having on display, for the world to see, the ad hominem attacks that occur and the evasiveness of the persons that (say they) come here to debate the facts, yet they do anything but. I think that reasonable people that come to the forums for information and debunking of disinformation, ought to be privy to the tactics that are being employed to muddy the water rather than to debate facts. As for myself, I take into account not only the merits of an argument but also the manner in which someone makes their case.
     
  9. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That's true if you are debunking an individual. But if you are addressing a theory of some particular claim of evidence, then the the tactics of insults actually DO muddy the waters.
     
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  10. F4Jock

    F4Jock Active Member

    Do I get a glove and ball?
     
  11. Jazzy

    Jazzy Closed Account

    I was in for a day. It was nearly worth it. You'll have to ask the old lag: Lee H Oswald. When he gets out, in three weeks' time... LOL :)
     
  12. Marcus Mudd

    Marcus Mudd Member

    this article is really not about bridging gaps at all, its about changing a persons way of thinking, from acknowledging the unknown, to ignoring it and relabeling it as knwn. A actual bridge, however, must be achieved to merge these two ways of thinking, and not sacrifice one for the other. ;)
     
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  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps you missed this bit where she's specifically asking skeptics to try to see things from the New Age point of view:



    And science is about the unknown. That's really the big thing in science.

    "The unknown" is what most scientists are working on.
     
  14. Marcus Mudd

    Marcus Mudd Member

    that is still an appeal for reason to bestow humanity upon the irrational, which is an irrational approach. A brtter approach is to concede that there is a misunderstanding of reality at a fundamental point, and new interpretations are just that, and since we are still at a basic lvel of understanding, they too deserve attention and understanding, not just tolerance, as that blurb suggests
     
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  15. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    So you are saying that the best approach for scientists is to accept they are wrong about everything?

    Anyway, getting a bit off topic here.
     
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