Besides being a member and poster here at ILP I sometimes read two other philosophy sites, when time allows me to do so. And one thing that keeps being brought up by established members, good posters I might add, is the “quality” of posts or the board in general. These members complain that the “board has become mediocre, populated by idiots, who contribute nothing but one or two-liner moronic, idiotic, responses.” They suggest different ways to deal with these “idiots”:

“Ban them!! No mercy, just ban the hell out of them. They deserve it.”
“Post their names in public so other members could know who these idiots are.”
“Why treat them with kindness. We must be ruthless, be firm with our intellectual abilities.”
“They deserve to be called names. They are idiots, stupid, morons, who don’t know that they are. So, they must be told what they are.”
“Ridicule them. Humiliate the shit out of them. For they are clueless.”
“The good and intelligent posters have fled ever since these idiots have increased their numbers. Let’s bring back the intelligent posters and prevent these idiots from posting.”

It’s hilarious and petty really if you think about it. These self-proclaimed “intelligent, good posters” have developed this intense fear of the idiots. They beg the administration to get rid of them. ‘Let’s not associate with these kind of people.’ As if, their own intellectual capacity is going to be diminished, wasted, tainted, or whatnot, if people of a lesser kind share the same forum board with them.

A new thing is dawning!! Wait. No. This is an old system of discrimination that’s been around for ages. The rich doesn’t want to associate with the poor. Let’s have expensive, exclusive clubs where members know Armani and Bently. The beautiful don’t want to hang out with the ugly, because, man! ain’t they scary. My beauty will diminish if I become acquainted with these uh-guh-ly individuals. The academics—wow! Hey, I’ve got letters following my name, I’m so the intellectual. And you are? What university? PhD? Post-doc? The Christians make sure they wup your ass if you’re gay. Legislate, damn it. Show these substandard humans they are an environmental mistake.

The thing is, one’s strength, ability, intelligence, competence, etc, etc, etc. does not depend on others’ fault or misgivings or shortcomings—when you’re talking about things in the sense I have mentioned. We don’t need to ostracize others for fear that our own capacity will diminish. If they don’t suit your fancy, ignore them. This is a decent reaction. But there is something you could do to put your intelligence to work—educate these “idiots”. Teach them something. This is a more becoming behavior of those “who know better”, those who are established members and profess to have wisdom and knowledge. Because what is wisdom for? What is knowledge for? To keep them for show? For awards night? For competition? See if anyone “in-the-know” is watching then post your well thought-out response?

Don’t leave for fear that your intelligence is somehow compromised because chachacha123, meowmix66, and hornybastard69 have signed up. Ignore them and move on. Or teach them. But complain and whine “Ten ways to discriminate and show your prejudice”?

Are the people being complained about really just being singled out because they are less intelligent, or is it be that they are less intelligent AND they use offensive language AND they post ten times as much as anybody else AND they make personal insults instead of philosophical argument AND seem to be on the forum only to stir up trouble? I don’t know, I’m just asking, but there’s a big difference between the two.

This is a real problem for admins! To keep a site fertile and develop a good community of interesting posters is hard to do and even harder to maintain. The only reason you stay on a site like this is if you are learning. Once you stop learning the site becomes boring and it won’t be long before you loss interest. Most of the people who I would have discussions with rarely post now, even I don’t post 1/8 of what I used to. This would best be described by generations, I’m of an order generation to most now posting. There is a new group of members who are breeding vitality into what would otherwise become a dead forum.

The cries from the gallery to ban, ban, ban is there to try and protect the good discussions from becoming replaced by those who don’t yet have the right level of philosophical knowledge to understand what’s being discussed and partake in an intelligent manner (meaning they bring the discussion backwards, as you have re-explain what everybody currently knows and takes for granted). Plus those same posters come along with the old questions that the first generation of posters have grown bored with as they understand them to their liking and are already happy with the conclusions obtained. Just take a look through the really, really old posts in the philosophy section of this board, you’ll find some brilliant discussions! But you need to have a certain amount of understanding of the classical works of philosophy, while in the contemporary sense they’re a load of BS, you do need to read them, to be able to understand the problems currently at hand.

For this and any other Philosophy site to be fruitful the people posting on the site must be reading a wide range of philosophical works. You can’t do Philosophy without reading stuff from Plato, Aristotle, et al. Plus you can’t just go read Nietzsche and think you’re now a philosopher! There’s over 2400 years worth of thinking! You need to read a lot of this to understand what philosophy is and what are the problems and weakness as you develop as a philosopher! There’s no way around it. These people calling for the heads of others are normally those who have done this and are seeing people ask questions that Plato or Socrates have already answered. Plus when they’re told go read a classic work like Meno by Plato, don’t, and come back with more questions that this work would have covered helping them grow philosophical more mature.

For every one hour reading this site you should be spending 4 hours reading some real classical philosophical work! This type of site is becoming home to the next generation of MTV 4 minute music videos offspring; that have a need for constant flashing lights or gyrating bodies to hold their interest. I miss the old MTV ‘Free your mind’ read a book campaign. The Philosophy ‘Heavily Moderated’ forum is a product of what I’ve just discussed here. If your not familiar with the classics you will be talking without an idea of what is already considered common knowledge among philosophers. The hope of a site like this is to use it as a place to discuss the ideas proposed in the classic philosophical works, while bring your own ideas about the problem to the table. Not just making some smart-ass comment to get your post count up. While old topics will get rehashed by new people the worry is these new people won’t take the time to read what’s already been said. I currently want to add a new function that will limit the number of times you can post to about 3 posts a day. This way people will take more time thing about what they want to say, and with a bit of luck will piss off those who just post because they’re bored and don’t really have anything to say. So, if you want too post 3 quick two liners fine, but you’re only getting those 3 posts for the day. It also stops some newbie coming along and making 100 posts while high thinking they’re solving the world’s problems.

There are too many pretentious youngsters thinking they know philosophy; the teenage know it all complex. Then there are old dogs like myself who have seen enough to know something, but know enough to realise we known nothing! The worry is you lose some future philosophical talent because all the idiots drowned out the one that really wants to learn.

Mr. Jon, I do hope your not talking about me when you mention teenage-know-it-all compelxes, considering that I really do appreciate the thoughts of others, and do not attempt to be a burden to those in charge nor the ones I converse with. (although sometimes it comes out, only human you know)

Oh yes, and as a proof of some of the philosophical knowledge on behalf of those wanting teenagers whom enjoy this site, Socrates answered no questions which we have proof of, we learn ABOUT Socrates from Plato’s dialogues and Xenophon, the only proof of Socrates we have (rather than being just a fictitious mirror character in their dialogues) is his trial and deatyh records kept by those in Athens (btw, he was not persecuted for ‘corrupting the youth of Athens’ back then it was illegal to go against the beliefs of the monetary church, as it was throughought the known world until about the 1600s when the reformation took place). :sunglasses:

I have been on philosophy forums, and the such, for upwards of 2 years, and there always the “old class” on every site. They all seem to have a common complaint, that the recent discourse has desintigrated into stupidity, and that they “know” things that others do not. They always start off such a discussion by saying things like “you need to read tons of philosophy before you’ll be on my level”, or “you’ll find brilliant discussions at the beginning”, and they always end the discussion with some sly Socrates reference(it’s always socrates), “and we’ve realized that we infact know nothing”. They always abhor people that like Nietzsche, who take the position “we know nothing” but don’t add the “You need to read alot before you know what I know” :evilfun: . Interestingly enough they reference our generation vs. there generation usually with a witty MTV reference. :imp:

The problem is that the “old group” has been discussing on the forums for so long that they lose interest in going over things they have gone over 100 times. Everytime they see another thread about “The allegory of the cave” or “Why does essence precede existence” it’s a slap in the face to them because they have dogmatically decided what is philosophically valid and what is not. So instead of deciding to once again question what they “know” that they don’t “know” they make posts about the “old days” to remember what it was like to actually “not know”. Once you’ve decided that you “know” and that examining what you “know” is too laborious an activity to entertain, philosophy becomes stagnant. And you too will long for the days when discussing the most important questions of philosophy wasn’t simply a matter of “common knowledge”.

Hmm, that means I fall into the second group.

Damn I hate Nietzsche. :slight_smile:

I can understand both sides… getting bored w/ the same crud getting brought up… and also getting bored w/ the same whining about the same crud getting brought up…

But I think it’s awesome… just gnarlay rock on!… when some ignoramus beginner makes me rethink something I was pretty sure I had all figured out…

not that I count in the group of the philosophically educated elite; been-there-philosophized-that crowd Thankfully I am able to see that I have not yet begun to philosophicate (I coined it, you owe me five bucks every time you use it) (*not to be confused with philosufficate).

****** <— hehe

Uccisore, yeah, I think those “idiots” refer to anyone of the posters you mentioned: They can be just posting to be funny, to make insults, to ask something that is not philosophical, etc. So, one or the other lump together as “idiots”. Of course, there is a forum for those here at ILP under Mundane Babble and Rant. So, I suppose, those “idiots” are only idiots because they are at the “wrong place”, or forum. Lol. Oops, I don’t want to insinuate those who post under Mundane Babble and Rant as idiots. This is not what I mean. (also, for the record, I don’t like to use this word against anyone).

Pax Vitae has a good idea for posters like the above. Limit their posts to 3/day. But I think a better idea is to actively moderate the site—where posters get edited, told that they cannot make insulting remarks, or re-directed because their post is either at the wrong forum or they are way-off topic in what they say. But again this requires a good deal of moderating which, I believe, would bring vitality and more intelligent discussions to the site. I’d like to see that happen for the older, established posters and for the new and not-so-new posters.

Btw, Pax, why not also make a disclaimer under any forum—philosophy, religion, social science, psychology, natural sciences—a header of minimum (basic) suggested reads, so that would-be posters are aware of the level of discussions that good posters would want to see. This way, you guys don’t have to bar anyone (meaning not make it exclusive or limited to certain individuals), but you put up a warning what the level of reading these people have done to be able to discuss anything at the very basic. Again, this should be done as “suggestions” to warn would-be posters.

ApocalypseofWar and Nihilistic have made some very interesting and, I think, insightful comments about the old generation and the new generation of posters (there is always this division, I agree). I’ve read some very intelligent posts by fifteen year olds and I was very impressed. To me, nothing beats interest, drive, and motivation towards philosophy or anything for that matter. New posters bring in life to a site that has gone stagnant and complacent, where nothing gets challenged anymore and everything is already decided. New posters may sound they are repeating what has been discussed a hundred times ad nauseum, but they do raise doubts and bring in new insights to an old thought.

OxfordBrookesWill, you always make good posts and I think you are right; you fall under the second generation. Cheers to you. And She, you are right on about boredom on the site. Your word “philosophicate” sums up what I think is some people’s mistaken impression of philosophy—the sophisticated thinking of those who already “know”. My professor in philosophy of law scoffs at this way of thinking. He would say, there is no such thing as thinking sophisticatedly in philosophy—there is no need to show off. I think he is right and you are right to point this out. Oopps, now I owe you 5 bucks.

Good morning everyone! And remember:

Forum life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re goin’a get.

Philosophy: The one subject you need not know anything about, to do.
Yes, forums is not a very good place to philosophize, now that I have been here a little longer I have realized that all these beginners who come in to ask the same old questions hich had already been answered to large degree, and all the people who ARE serious have already given their opinions on the matter and would share those opinions with begginers, but become tired of repeating themselves.

The thing this site tries not to be is intimidating, I’ll leave it to the people to draw their own conclusion on that one. As for the minimum reading, this has been talked about a lot behind the scenes. But the standard Philosophy forum is meant for all to come and enjoy. The site has now grown very large very quickly, it was only about 14 months ago we hit 10,000 posts (and on the 20th January 2004 we hit 20,000, but this took 2 years! from the grand opening of ILP) as of typing this we have some 58,250. Also we hit the 1,000th registered user on the 7th of March 2004, now there are 2429. I would have to say the moderators myself included haven’t coped as well as one might’ve hoped with this sizable increase in usage in such a short-time.

Back to the minimum reading, it’s hoped that ‘Philosophy HM’ forum will help in this roll, as the original idea of a FAQ of philosophy is just to mammoth an undertaking at the moment to be able to complete. This doesn’t mean we have given up on the idea, just that it will more then lightly be easier to find all the good posts and move them into ‘Philosophy HM’. But since not everybody can post to this forum only topics that have run there course will initially be moved. Then from this newly compiled list of posts a first basic stab will be made at the FAQ, as this list will have a very general overview of all the different subjects in the philosophical syllabus.

One finial point on Generations, I didn’t mean to imply age of posters, just that in most cases those who have been here longer will have read more & studied more then the newer posters.

To be honest, most of the threads like this at a certain (but yes, we all know the forum I’m talking about) forum showed up once the admin had banned…me. Then everybody could freely start calling others idiots.

But now, it’s getting out of hand: CLICK HERE: :wink:


Okay, got it. :slight_smile:


That was hilarious. :stuck_out_tongue:

I found this post by Paul in relation to the banned members forum:

…how ironic…but yes, funny indeed. :smiley:

Who is this? Sounds like Oxfordbrookeswill. Damit I thought you were long gone together with Cambridgegavamecc.

I love Nietzsche.

i do think this board has solved the problem with the heavily moderated forum. Allowing the various levels of idiocy to occupy various parts of the site has allowed everyone access. A genius, is the person who came up with that idea.