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Thread: Discussion re the end of the RDF (as we knew it)

  1. #141
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    Default Re: Discussion re the end of the RDF (as we knew it)

    Quote The Irreverent Mr Black said View Post
    Thanks. With my sense of direction I might have wound up in Hong Kong.
    When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.~Erasmus

  2. #142
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    Default Re: Discussion re the end of the RDF (as we knew it)

    Here is the response directly to Richard Dawkins on behalf of the ex-staff of the forum, penned by Topsy. As you can see, they're very irrational, inflammatory and unreasonable people.



    Dear Richard
    We hope you will find time to read this letter, which is from all the forum staff.

    We are all deeply saddened that the forum will be deleted in 28 days time. In just over 3 years, it has grown to become the busiest atheist forum on
    the Internet. On average since last October, the forum has been getting 3,000 posts per day, of which about 2,000 per day are focused on science,
    reason and your work. The front page average is a fraction of that at 200 - 300. The social posts on the forum only comprise about 1/10 of all posts per
    day so there is a great deal of substance being discarded.

    Staff were told that the science and reason forum content would be migrated to the new site and we offered to help with this. Then 2 days ago, we were told that there was a change of plan and all the forum content would be deleted in 30 days. Members have been told that they can copy their posts and repost them on the new site. This is complete nonsense because it isn't individual posts that make up the forum, it's the discussion threads that are significant and members don't have the ability to migrate whole threads across. That's what the staff were going to do for them. This is now
    not going to happen and over 3 years worth of threads debunking creationism & woo, challenging theism, supporting new atheists etc will be wiped out.

    Andrew and Josh have now announced that the forum has been made 'read-only' due to the inappropriate actions of staff. This is 'spin' at its finest as it fails to acknowledge that their own inappropriate actions resulted in this debacle in the first place. The announcement that the forum was shut down because some staff posted the letter sent to them and made some public complaints is nonsense. The letter was exactly the same as the one posted publicly to the members with the addition of letting staff know that their services wouldn't be required at the new website. They also told staff what they shouldn't do:

    "Please understand that this transition is going to be a lot of work for us. I'm sure as you read this, you will have a lot of questions and concerns. We also know that this is a change from what we had been discussing previously. This announcement does not require a response, but we wanted you to be aware. Please do not email Richard with complaints, we have discussed this transition thoroughly with him, and he is currently on tour in Australia and New Zealand. Please do not attempt to inflame the users, start any petitions, or "relocate" groups of users to a separate forum. Do not use any of the data held by the foundation (such as email addresses) through the control panel to cause any trouble. Any behavior of this kind will not be tolerated. We don't expect you to do these things, but we say all of this only to discourage any well-intentioned moves that would only frustrate the situation."

    We decided to post this letter on the forum as it explained succinctly that staff wouldn't be required and also let people know that they shouldn't
    expect staff to take any action on their behalf. Andrew and Josh removed the letter and they could have also removed the staff's permissions as they said they didn't trust staff anymore. They didn't have to make the forum 'read-only' for everybody in order to gag the staff. The fact is that they needed the staff to deal with all the complaints that would inevitably have been thrown at the forum for the next 30 days. In other words, they expected the staff to give up their free time to act as police and lavatory cleaners for a month, without a word of dissent themselves, and then just stand aside and watch the forum they'd worked so hard for be deleted. Not much to ask was it?

    Since their announcement, you have made one yourself entitled "outrage" which contains copies of some insulting comments about Josh. None of these comments came from the RD forum. They were all posted on various other websites after the forum was locked. Someone has harvested these quote-mines from other websites and presented them to you as justification for locking the forum. Your announcement also contradicts the admin announcement which says that the reason the forum was locked was due to the staff.They are also saying that they aren't trying to stop people from going off into other forums but right from the start, they prevented members from having any links/information in their signatures and changed the PM system to make it virtually unworkable so that members can't contact each other easily.

    Andrew and Josh could have handled this so much better if they had taken up the offer we made a while ago to advise them on how to make the transition. They don't have any leadership skills or experience but several of us on the staff do this professionally and have years of experience managing change with large and diverse groups of people. This offer was ignored and instead, they have provided a textbook example of how not to do it. This also includes putting the blame on people for reacting badly to their ill-conceived actions. The fact that they either didn't expect such a reaction or just didn't care, serves to emphasise their ignorance of how to work with large groups of people and how to manage change.

    We have all worked so hard to support your mission because we passionately believe in it. You and your work have been our inspiration to keep going on days when we were verbally abused and threatened by trolls. The staff are highly intelligent people but we were prepared to spend hours of our own time doing low-level and mundane moderating tasks to keep the forum organised, facilitate focused discussions and solve people's technical problems. We were also able to use our skills and expertise in fostering a sense of community and ensuring that all people could post there, free from homophobic, sexist or racist abuse. That's a significant part of why it has become the most popular atheist forum on the Internet because it's a lively, challenging and supportive environment.

    The Foundation's decision to remove the forum is one we deeply regret but we acknowledge that as volunteers, it's not our concern. However, we could have used our skills and expertise to help develop the new discussion area, transfer content over and manage the transition for the membership as smoothly as possible. Andrew and Josh rejected that offer and as we were told recently that we weren't allowed to contact you about any forum matters, we weren't able to make that offer to you personally.

    At the moment, we feel deflated and dismayed while we watch the destruction of such a successful forum but despite that, we continue to wish you well and we sincerely hope that the new website is successful in achieving the Foundation's goals, which is what were striving for with the forum.

    Sincerely
    The forum staff

    Copied to Mike & Liz Cornwell and the Foundation Trustees
    That pretty much sums up the feeling of the ex-Mods.
    Last edited by Durro; 26th February 2010 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Fix formatting

  3. #143
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    Default Re: Discussion re the end of the RDF (as we knew it)

    Yes it does, Durro, yes it does.
    When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.~Erasmus

  4. #144
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    Default Outraged atheists lose faith in Dawkins as he censors website

    http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/...cle7041878.ece

    Richard Dawkins is accustomed to provoking the wrath of religious communities, but now a schism seems to have opened up within the atheist community who make up his fan-base.

    The split occurred after he announced that a discussion section on his website, considered one of the busiest online atheist forums, would in future be tightly moderated and “irrelevant postings and frivolous gossip” would no longer be allowed.

    The change was scheduled for next month but such was the torrent of abuse after the announcement that the forum had to be locked down, deepening the rift between Professor Dawkins and his 85,000 online fans.
    Writing on RichardDawkins.net yesterday, in a posting entitled “Outrage”, he said that there was “something rotten” in internet culture and pledged to rid his website of its abusive element.

    “Imagine seeing your face described by an anonymous poster, as ‘a slack-jawed turd-in-the-mouth mug’,” he wrote. “Surely there has to be something wrong with people who can resort to such over-the-top language, overreacting so spectacularly to something so trivial.
    “Even some of those with more temperate language are responding to the proposed changes in a way that is little short of hysterical.”

    The cloak of anonymity under which many people contributed to discussions had led to a culture of extreme language that would not be possible if people wrote under their name.

    Unwilling to be silenced, however, the members of the website and the 15 moderators, some of whom worked unpaid, vented their own outrage elsewhere.

    “A lot of people have lost respect for Dawkins after this, although I do still support the work that he does,” said Peter Harrison, a former moderator.
    “Thousands of loyal, intelligent, rational forum members have been misrepresented as a bunch of foul-mouthed, vitriolic thugs by the man who so inspired them.”

    Another former fan said: “It may sound ridiculous to those not involved with online communities, but I feel hurt and displaced. It was like coming home to find the locks have been changed. My respect for Richard’s work is still intact but my respect for him as a person is in tatters.”
    The forum typically attracted 3,000 postings per day, on subjects ranging from science to religion and ethics.

    Professor Dawkins now faces a confrontation with his adversaries at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne in two weeks.

    He denied that the forum was closing but said that it was being improved. “The forum is going to be more tightly controlled and will be under more central control. So it won’t be available for anyone who wants to sound off freely,” he said.

    He conceded that there was a good case for anonymity for some contributors and such contributions would still be allowed.
    “I can see why people in America who lost their faith and do not want their families to know, or perhaps people of an Islamic background who have lost their faith or become Christian, have every reason to be anonymous,” he said.

    The forum’s implosion has been jumped on by Christian groups as a sign that the Dawkins community is not as free-thinking as it is claimed.
    Last edited by Lee; 26th February 2010 at 05:10 PM.



  5. #145
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    Default Re: Outraged atheists lose faith in Dawkins as he censors website

    It will be interesting to hear about the GAC audience's general reaction to RD - if there will be a sour intonation to questions and answers.

    nari

  6. #146
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    Default Re: Outraged atheists lose faith in Dawkins as he censors website

    I hope not. As a non-RDer, I am feeling slightly awkward about the whole thing. Wanting to support ex-forum admins/contributors, but not having any reason myself to be miffed at Dawkins.
    “The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.” -Christopher Hitchens

  7. #147
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    Default Re: Discussion re the end of the RDF (as we knew it)

    A new forum has been set up for RDF refugees who would like to check it out.

    It's http://www.rationalskepticism.org/index.php


    (ps. if this is considered spamming let me know, I thought it would be OK to mention given the current circumstances )

  8. #148
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    Default Re: Outraged atheists lose faith in Dawkins as he censors website

    I don't understand where RD himself has gone wrong - or why this would ruin anyones "reputation" let alone just his.

    For me, it was just a business decision - and doesn't seem to have much personal malice in it. It doesn't seem that it was just a case of - "I don't like the swearing going on, it insults me, so I'm shutting you down" (even though I would still be fine with that). It seems more like a "Your behaviour is not an image we want associated with our brand, so to minimise any negative ramifications of individuals opinions, we will be limiting the exposure of them."

    Nothing wrong with that.

    Forums, whether or not intended - form apart of a website, organisations and in this case persons reputation / public image.

    Even here, everything posted ultimately reflects upon the AFA, and the AFA must take responsibility for everything posted here. Regardless of who originally posts it - anonymous or otherwise - everything here is as good to the public as if the AFA said it themselves.

    I am a monogamist 'forumer'. I tried to join others but this is pretty much it. As some of the opinions have expressed - this is a second home. But if the AFA forums closed, or were made inaccessible (Like when I was banned for a whole 24 hours lol) - my opinion shouldn't, nor did it - change for the AFA. I would be disappointed for sure, but this is their property - and I have no authority whatsoever to tell the moderators/owners how to maintain it.

    These people that are saying that they their opinion of RD is in tatters are just plain shortsighted and petty. If you really think of RD the man, as merely 'the forum host', then you really didn't know him to form any sort of opinion to begin with.

  9. #149
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    Default Re: Outraged atheists lose faith in Dawkins as he censors website

    I guess since it's his name attached to the site and forum, he has every right to do what he wants with it. I don't agree with censorship of any kind but if he doesn't like the way things are, he has every right to change it.
    I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death - George Carlin (R.I.P.)

  10. #150
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    Default Re: Discussion re the end of the RDF (as we knew it)

    I've just signed up over there. Its home for my Dawkinsish personality mode, I'm at home there. I haven't really lost RDF I seem to have simply gained Atheist Nexus and Rationalia so I never have to actually go to sleep any more. Bwahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

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