The demons of the Internet

What makes the internet imperfect? Many factors contribute to this situation. Here I want to address two general principles.

The sign on the outside of a discussion area has no necessary connection with the actual discussion inside.

If you allow people to use their liberty then their actions may fall short of your preferences.

These two are highlighted in contrast to the following critique.


I wouldn’t call your stance Elitist, but I would call it Idealistic. You point out flaws that aren’t against basic framing guidelines but are rather against a idea of how thing ought to operate here. Your ambition to cast out the habitual name-droppers, unoriginal thinkers, and the self-serving egotists is extremely high minded. That ambition would also be dependant on a higher level of imposed limitations. The limitations that get imposed here are as light as possible. The question arises again and again, are they too light? The appropriateness of the imposed limits depends on the goals of ILP.

What is ILP and what does she want to become? I had attempted to describe and predict this before and my efforts have fallen short of the mark. I don’t know what ILP is and I am unsure of what she will become.

What do you think?

I tend to agree with GateControlTheory. Despite the fact that I rarely even bother to login on ILP these days, I frequent the boards on an almost daily basis.

However, I personally think that there is no “magic bullet” for this problem. The mods here seem to do the best they can, and everyone (well, almost everyone) stays reasonably happy.

I personally, have been accused (in the past) of doing such things as GateControlTheory points out. That is why I rarely post.

But let me tell you, I cannot imagine not going through my morning ritual of reading the posts here at ILP! ILP is a priceless artifact of the internet to me.

Keep up the good work — I’m watching…:wink: :slight_smile:

There is actually a silent majority of ILP regular readers, who do not post.

There are times I visit this board and wonder if I’ve stumbled across the Oprah and Dr. Phil message boards due to specific content. I sometimes wonder what possesses certain people to start posting here when it’s pretty obvious that they don’t have a basic grasp or understanding of the schools of philosophy or the philosophers themselves.

My opinion is that this board is supposed to be geared toward true philosophical discussion. The material written on this board is not supposed to resemble something out of a junior high (ok, maybe high school) slambook.

While I believe that it’s great to have a Mundane Babble forum and a Rant forum, even the material contained within some of those threads borderlines on the ridiculous.

I’m neither certain what has happened to this board nor am I certain as to which direction this board is headed. There is the possibility that, in due time, this board will resemble every other board (with regard to content).

I don’t doubt that the ILPers seeking true philosophical discussion have since started posting elsewhere.

I think it’s a desirable feature of ILP that high-schoolers can post here. I think that those who post by quote at least add a little source material, a little text to the boards. I do not see any harm in that.

I have visited other boards, and despite a lot of minute analysis of trivial points (Did Liebniz mean “can” or “could” in the fourth sentence on page 32 of such-and-such?) I have not noticed anything like a more “elevated” overall discussion on these boards. I have seen a lot of eggheads pondering punctuation, though.

People here can at least talk like humans.

I’m not saying that no modification is needed - indeed I haven’t been here long enough to notice any change in tone. So I have no recommendations. Only an opinion.

Do I get irritated by some posters? Probably not as many as find me irritating. I think I make a positive contribution here, but there are those that think I’m just a dope. You will find dopes on any board.

I particularly find it ironic that infrequent posters complain about the content. There’s a simple logic to that view. Don’t think I have to spell it out.

Exactly. I don’t think it’s too difficult to figure this one out either.

Perhaps the Readers who find ILP and a majority of its members base and moronic should apply for a position at Yale, Harvard, Oxford University.

I thoroughly enjoy the site and its host of memebers, many of you may not know this, but I am not an Intellectual Giant, merely a creative mooncalf…by all means…Moderate with an Iron Duster…perhaps the Moderators could organise an ILP Entrance Exam.

Until then - let Gods and Flies attend the Marketplace!!


The number of viewpoints of what constitutes “appropriate” philosophical discussion is as varied as our 6000+ membership. At this point, our focus has been to find the middleground, and to interfere with members as little as possible. ILP structure has avoided demanding content and has only asked for civility between members. Sometimes, a 15 year old asks the most pertinent and exciting question while the philosophy pedant bores everyone to sleep with perfect logical inanities. This is community.

Ignoring the extremes or focussing on your preferred extreme is a choice made. The spectrum is open to all, and one may choose Mundane silliness or “high minded” pithiness of formal discussion. For those who find the content of ILP lacking, or not enough like-minded members, there are other forums catering to any particular taste, but ILP is what it is, and the membership is its collective heart and spirit.

That’s reassuring to me, Tent, for what it’s worth.

And Dunamis - you have managed to make my point in more ways than one.

Cleverly done, I would say.


I find all these help ILP discussions slightly puzzling, personally. I understand why we need to talk about this stuff, but I still am left pondering that understanding to a certain degree.

I mean, is this really about the moderation or is it about the people present at ILP? I really am having trouble discerning the two.

Just relax.

This is a web forum, let’s try not to get our hopes up too much here. It seems like every time ILP goes into a bit of a dry spell one of these threads inevitably pops up. And I dunno, like I said – maybe we do need them to rejuvenate the populace a bit. On the same token, it’s also occurred to me that perhaps this is just the natural ebb and flow of things around here. Threads and posters do not follow a uniform pattern, it would be so utterly ridiculous if they could somehow.

What makes this place so good is the variety in posters. Like it or not, that -is- our strong point. As a result however, our pattern is even more eradic than one might find at some dried up stale-bin of ‘proper’ academia philosophy. That’s why D-train stays around, it’s definitely why I stay around.

Try and be tolerant of the extremes; and if you are an extreme – try and remember it’s all in your head :wink:

piscis maximus, lacus parvus.

Dunamis - treading water is treading water, whether it is in your farm pond or the Adriatic. Opinon is opinion in any language, alive or dead.

I Love Treading Water

The only thing I would add at all to this discussion is that philosophy by and large is about questions. What I’ve noticed is that certain members are so “caught up” in whatever philosophies they’ve studied that they can’t step out of the framework long enough to consider basic questions without immeadiately snapping back into how “Kant thought about it” or “Wittgenstein” or whomever.

It is good to know how philosopher X thought. Yet, at the end of the day the big looming question is, “But did they really answer the question they sought to answer?” Is their formulation THE answer? If not, then we are left to discuss amongst ourselves the implications, strengths and weaknesses of a given philosophy. All too often it turns instead into a “You just need to study philosopher X more because your questions are so obviously answered by him.”

Familiarity with a philosopher is definitely necessary, but I think quite often people spend some much time and energy studying the philosophy they forget the question.

“Read more, learn more!” is not always an appropriate response to a given query. Quite often it is the case we’ve “read too much, and learned too much.”

I think you have found the nub of the gap between you and me, Dunamis. I cannot read philosophy as poetry (excpet for Hegel, I guess). That you wish to is not anything I can object to, nor am I inclined to object to it. But I think it points out why there is more than one philosophy board on the 'net.

I Love Opinion

Dunamis do you play chess at all?

I’ll bet your fairly decent…

Fair enough, albiet a little generous.

I don’t have legs like Witty to make the jump from language to chess.