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I'd just like to reiterate my complaints against the behavior of user athanasios in PRP. I cannot seem to find the "PRP is Dead" thread in General, so I thought I'd post this here. I'll try to be as succinct about this as possible.

1. After a long hiatus, I attempted to participate following our conversation in "PRP is Dead", seeing as PRP was dying out with only users athanasios and ErasOmnius posting frequently.

2. User athanasios repeatedly refused to engage in serious discussion in the thread "Osama bin Laden is Dead" (a fascinating coincidence), instead, flamboyantly disregarding any argument against him. Based on my interpretation of the "PRP is Dead" thread, I believe the consensus was that these users, however offensive they are, may stay so long as they actually participate in discussion. If they didn't participate by engaging in reasoned debate, then I understood that enforcement would follow.

3. Upon calling out user athanasios for refusing actually to have a discussion, it seems he deleted the thread where he engaged in said behavior, as well as baiting. (Which, I will admit, I responded to: another one of my understandings of the "PRP is Dead" conversation was that, if they bait, we're allowed to bait back--otherwise, what else is there to discuss? Rewarding baiting with actual conversatoin only encourages more of the unattractive behavior that's caused so much damage to PRP.) If I recall correctly from the "Evolution" fiasco a few years back, it was inappropriate for a user to close down an active discussion simply because he (or in that case, she) did not want to respond to other users. "Osama bin Laden is dead" might have been an active thread (as opposed to the dozens of threads started by athanasios which have only scant replies, and then only from ErasOmnius), but in this case was closed down much in the same fashion as the "Evolution" thread.

Come on, I'm making my best effort here: you know it's hard for me, and I'm trying, but you guys have to do something about this, too.

I will say, however, that I retract my complaints against user ErasOmnius: he at least attempted to have a serious discussion, however wrong he was, and I think he's an example of a user whose views are awfully offensive but at least goes through the motions. User athanasios clearly thinks of and treats PRP as his private playground--a playground that lax enforcement and the unwillingness of other users to deal with him has provided.

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I wanted to go to bed 20 minutes ago but instead am doing damage control. Hoping I did enough until tomorrow morning.

Osama thread hidden for now, since I didn't want it to go more out of control while I was sleeping.

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I'd just like to reiterate my complaints against the behavior of user athanasios... these users, however offensive they are

Anyone can read our (yours, mine and ErasOmnius) posts in the said thread and find out who is using vulgar words and offends other members of the forums and their culture.

calling out user athanasios for refusing actually to have a discussion

Do you think that you can repeatedly offend someone and then complain that he doesn't want to discuss with you? Also you cannot force someone to engage in a discussion. Anyway I didn't refuse to have a discussion, but there is RL too. I cannot stay in front of my monitor 24hrs/day. What I 'refused' was to agree with your opinion.

it seems he deleted the thread... it was inappropriate for a user to close down an active discussion simply because he (or in that case, she) did not want to respond to other users.

I didn't delete anything, neither have I done so in the past, so please stop accusing me and compare me with other members.

(as opposed to the dozens of threads started by athanasios which have only scant replies, and then only from ErasOmnius)... Come on, I'm making my best effort here: you know it's hard for me, and I'm trying, but you guys have to do something about this, too.

PRP is in a deplorable state-almost in a 'stasis cell'. I and ErasOmnius are making an effort to bring it to life. We post and post hoping new blood will come to the forums. After a long period of silence you come and post in our threads and then accuse us because we disagree. Is that your best effort? Do you want us to stop posting? Because I have thought about it. I am trying hard and I see my efforts are in vain. With only 2 people participating it cannot go on for long. We can simply email to each other and say buy buy to PRP. Also SandChigger who used to flame everything isn't posting anymore, so there no incentive left.

I will say, however, that I retract my complaints against user ErasOmnius

Let us see for how long and when you will ask again for him to be banned.

User athanasios clearly thinks of and treats PRP as his private playground

As you already stated it is almost only me and ErasOmnius posting in PRP. This doesn't mean, as I explained above, that it is my or his private playground.Why don't you join the club (aka post more frequently without offending others and demanding from them to agree with you)?

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It was me who expressed great concerns about Wolf's and Dante's insults and name-calling of myself and others.

Wolf, you have a lot of great things to say, and a good deal of info to share with everyone. Your sharing of articles from newspapers / traditional media outlets is invaluable as we talk about world events. Dante, it is no secret that you have a great mastery of the English language, and are a good writer.

But I am not sure why you would think that a 47-year old college Lecturer, with 2 university degrees, co-owner of a a Marketing-Real Estate firm, father of 4 children; would want to simply sit around and take your insults, as I attempt dialog with you?

I have done nothing wrong in the last year. I know that unequivocally. I have simply shared my particular viewpoint well within the constraints of all laws in North America. I have not asked for any change in statues or laws that would hinder people, as we have pressed forward and talked about moral issues over the last 12 months. I have not asked for anyone to be excluded, ostracized, or be left out, as we discuss weighty matters; just as people are in our legislatures and court systems are doing the same. I have not desired to hurt anyone, and have not hurt anyone.

If we look back over the last 3 months, we did have some successful Threads moving forward: Affirmative Action in Scholarships in North America, and The Death of Osama bin Laden. I think what everyone now will probably realize is that it is insults that are getting us off track...and it is insults that are hurting the PRP, not our differing viewpoints. Differing viewpoints are good for open debate.

But insults help no one.

We all have something to give to each other, as we dialog and debate. Let's do it without insulting each other.

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Dante, it is no secret that you have a great mastery of the English language, and are a good writer.

I'm smarter than you. It's ok, you can say it.
But I am not sure why you would think that a 47-year old college Lecturer, with 2 university degrees, co-owner of a a Marketing-Real Estate firm, father of 4 children; would want to simply sit around and take your insults, as I attempt dialog with you?
Wait, is this where we've been going wrong? All this time? No no no no no, you misunderstand me entirely. I don't want you to sit there and take it. I want you to leave. :)
I have done nothing wrong in the last year. I know that unequivocally. I have simply shared my particular viewpoint well within the constraints of all laws in North America. I have not asked for any change in statues or laws that would hinder people, as we have pressed forward and talked about moral issues over the last 12 months. I have not asked for anyone to be excluded, ostracized, or be left out, as we discuss weighty matters; just as people are in our legislatures and court systems are doing the same. I have not desired to hurt anyone, and have not hurt anyone.

I count... three inaccuracies in that paragraph. Also two generally dubious statements and four instances of reframing the issue without directly lying. You talk a lot, but you don't actually say anything, do you?

My problem with you is threefold, and can be listed thus:

> You have a vastly inflated opinion of yourself and everything you say and do.

> You're a bigot in every possible sense.

> You're really, really, really stupid.

Now, I'm not about to insist that you somehow magically become smarter, miracles can only do so much after all, and you are quite entitled to your bigotted opinions, you're not smart enough to understand my arguments to change them anyway. At the end of the day, regardless of intent, you're an incredibly negative presence on the board. And many people have tried many times to deal with that, through debate, through resoning, through evidence, whatever. After a while we just gave up and settled on vitriol. Now, I'd be happy to engage in rational debate, I really would, but you just don't seem capable. This recent spate of me-too spamming hasn't helped your case either.

I think what everyone now will probably realize is that it is insults that are getting us off track...and it is insults that are hurting the PRP, not our differing viewpoints. Differing viewpoints are good for open debate.

But insults help no one.

We all have something to give to each other, as we dialog and debate. Let's do it without insulting each other.

No, see, we tried. Look back, various people have tried and given up in disgust. The insults are just... leftovers. They help us cope with how pointless interaction with you is. You know why it's just you and ath here? Because nobody else can stand to talk to you. Doesn't that suggest to you, at all, that your behaviour is unwelcome? And that, perhaps, you'd get better reactions if you behaved differently? Call that a suggestion if you like.

Regarding the topic at large, I've said before that I don't much care about ath's spamming. I find it easier to ignore than idiocy. But Wolf has a point, and he's being far more gentlemanly about it than I would. Something has to change. And statistically speaking, it's not us.

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Dante, I apologize to you if I made 'gay rights' personal to you. It was not my intent, but as I look back over some of last Summer's posts that I made, I see how over-zealous I was in explaining my position. I view my position as an unchanging view that has been a bedrock of civilization for 6000 years. But that doesn't mean that I have to dwell on it, as it appears that I may have in the heady days of July and August 2010; and again, in February 2011. I feel sad that I hurt your feelings. I really do. I have put myself in your shoes...as you are someone who has loyally posted in earnest for almost 10 years...and here comes this fellow [myself] with his strong, traditional views in 2009...posting what could be construed as harshly. That is not, and was not, my intent. I hope that we can move forward.

But, as I have discovered a great Forum, it is my desire to share it with the people I know -- and I soon will be. I think it would be great if you, and others [you know who they are, I have a hunch, but it's just a guess], were a part. Soon people that I know will be joining, and I would like to think that you are going to make them feel welcome. Are they as strident as ErasOmnius? No...no one is as strident as myself. No one comes close. The tone of the Forum should welcome a great many new viewpoints, and soon will. Soon new tones of Christian Socialism, for lack of a better term, will be heard. So that is good news. Dante, you and I can move forward together; as my friends begin to join the Forum. Your views will be respected, and debated; and The Forum will move forward into 2011, and 2012.

I will tone down my stridency and zeal -- and everything will be alright.

Dune is great, and it attracts many types of people. It's great that Frank Herbert was able to write books that were loved by so many different kinds of people. People who appreciate novels about strong families, like the Atreides. People who are interested in evolution and biology. People who are interested in strange women like the Bene Gesserit; or strange families like the Harkonnens. And a myriad of other reasons.

I would like to think that all of us, people from the past decade, people from the present, and people yet to join, can all post together on The Forum. No one wants groups of people who have been posting for almost a decade to stop posting. However, for some groups of people to say a de facto, 'Traditional person, stop being yourself'. or 'Stop defending a viewpoint that is shared by almost two billion people worldwide'. Well, that is impossible, and it is wrong to ask for.

But in conclusion, I want you, and others, to be a part of the next chapter in the journey of this great Forum -- as I know I, and people that I will be inviting, will be.

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1. Eras: Why do you change your text color when you reply in anger?

2. Dante's 100% right about why we insult you: it's just the leftovers. The reason I'm furious with Ath right now is that I attempted to engage him in reasonable dialogue despite the fact that he was just saying crazy nonsense, but the response was just more crazy nonsense. All that says to me is that there's no point in reasonable dialogue, and that was the reason I posted about PRP Issues before, and is the reason I'm posting about PRP Issues now. To be perfectly fair with you, Eras, I do think you've actually made some improvement. Not a lot, and you still hold reprehensible views, but at least you'll go through the motions of having a real discussion. But, Dante has a point--you really do ignore the issues that other people bring up, and that's exactly what Ath did to me in the Osama bin Laden thread. Of course, Andrew deleted the evidence of that, which is highly unfortunate, but take my word for it: I tried, he ignored, so I opened up on him. What else am I supposed to do? Not post?

3. This is for Andrew: I'm sorry, I know you're in a difficult position, but I think you're going about all of this the wrong way. Firstly, you should not have deleted the posts between Ath and myself for a few reasons: (1) there weren't that many of them; (2) they weren't that offensive; (3) they are necessary to illustrate the point about what's wrong with PRP. I respect what you do a lot, and I respect your decisions--hell, I even thanked you for deleting my posts in a separate incident where I agree I went too far. However, that's not as important as what I'm about to say next, and harsh as it will be, I want you to know that I'm saying it because of that respect. Secondly, by temporarily hiding the Osama bin Laden thread, you made it look like Ath and I were equally in the wrong and that "we all just needed to cool down". That's not correct. I lashed out at Ath in cold blood because, pursuant to Dante's comments and point 2 above, there was nothing left for me to say. Ath did not attempt to have a reasonable discussion. It's not his goal, it never was. If it isn't, then why the hell does he get to spam PRP? No one responds to his posts because they are insanity, and when people do respond--and respond rationally--he ignores them. So what's the point? What are people besides Ath going to post about? All I can think of is more insanity and/or insults, but clearly, as I can infer from your reaction to this, Andrew, that's not what PRP's about. Your response would have been appropriate if this incident arose because Ath and I had radically different, but legitimate views, and supported them so passionately that our debate got a little heated. That's not what happened. I was vaguely interested in correcting a few of his irrational points, he responded with what was essentially gibberish, and I opened up on him because it was either that or stop posting. If you keep King Solomoning PRP, then eventually the reasonable people who can't (for the reasons above) respond to this insanity will just stop posting altogether, and then you might as well delete the sub-forum entirely because then it will really be just an echo-chamber of Ath and Eras agreeing about absolutely insane things. I mean, I think it's so grossly obvious that it needn't be said at all, but I also think it's so important that I'm saying it again: this is not a battle between two legitimate, but passionately-defended views. This is a battle between reason & decency and insanity & assholery. If you keep splitting the baby between them, you're going to reinforce the notion that they are equivalent and, eventually, destroy the distinction between them altogether. How many more people need to stop posting in PRP before you figure it out?

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I had not moderated PRP before, and somewhat ignored the long drawn out argument threads (wasn't interesting to me), but with forum software change it means I can now moderate anywhere (which turned out to be a good thing to combat spambots which normal users never saw). Seems most mods are busy in real life, so I've been trying to moderate keeping the flaming down (name calling is a big problem).

Thanks for the pointers.

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Well, to be fair, when I first joined, PRP was more or less self-moderating. There were enough people posting that the sort of ridiculousness that I'm complaining about now would have been shouted down by the crowd. Now there isn't any crowd, and in the absence of mob rule, we need real rules. I think you've done the best that you could have in the absence of real rules, but, it's never going to be sufficient. Essentially, what I'm proposing is we have a rule for PRP: posts that do not address the issue shall be considered off-topic and will be deleted. You can't just say someone is wrong, you have to say why. And if you don't say why, then you can't say anything. I know that's radical, but consider, PRP has always been set apart from the rest of the board. If we didn't want to have a special purpose for it, then it would just be a General board for Politics, Religion and Philosophy. With this rule, I'm proposing that we do something to elevate the integrity of the discussions happening here. A user cannot simply post an article or video and say, "THIS MAN IS A CRIMINAL WHO SHOULD BE KILLED". He should have a reasonable defense of that thesis that other users can comment on. And if he wants to reply to those comments, he needs to address the issues raised by those users. If he doesn't, then his replies are deleted.

I think this would help a lot. My only stake in PRP now is to try to preserve some integrity of discussion. Dante's happy letting this all just completely devolve so he can insult people, and while I approve (and have dabbled in that), that's not something that I'd be satisfied with and I'd just delete my account sooner or later. I thought about proposing this rule last year during the whole Evolution fiasco (which became a fiasco precisely because of issue-dropping). A rule against issue-dropping, that is enforced, of course, I think might save this ship from sinking.

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[colour=#005FFF]I feel like I should add my voice to this thread, since I have been witness to the Eras / Ath problem from the start and have participated in both arguments and "arguments" almost as much as Dante and Wolf. I will begin by agreeing with everything that Wolf and Dante have posted before me; this isn't being a "yes-man". It's not waiting in the wings and shouting "me, too!" at the popular opinion. Neither is it simply backing up friends, for while Dante is a friend outside of FED2k, Wolf and I have certainly disagreed in the past. I'd like to use that as an example.

In a previous discussion (regarding America, I believe), opinions differed. Without going into too many details, things got heated. We all know the feeling when someone is wrong on the internet and it can evoke a lot of emotion, especially when it seems like the other side isn't listening or just isn't understanding what's being put across. But what happened as a result of this? There was moderation. There was acknowledgement on both sides. Apologies were made. The respect I had for Wolf's opinions and his value as a poster on FED2k was only increased.

Does it matter to me now what the argument was about? The fine details, the ins and outs, the back and forth of point and counter-point? No, of course not. In all likelihood, any discussion had in PRP, whether it gets heated or not, is unlikely to result in either party backing down from their opinions or standpoint. What matters and what is remembered is that each party had their say. By this, I don't just mean that they got to post. At the end of the aforementioned dispute and subsequent resolution between Wolf and I, there was a real sense that both of our opinions had been expressed and valued by the opposing party. There are very few things in Politics, Religion and Philosophy that can be truly defined as "right" or "wrong"; what is important (for me, at least) is that everyone feels as though their viewpoint was adequately put forth, acknowledged and addressed for what it is. A lot of effort can go into these posts, as should be evident from the level of research and critical thinking that quality threads contain. It's vital - vital - that this be recognised.

Look, for example, at the level of respect shown to Edric from Dante and vice versa. These two have wildly differing opinions on certain matters and have expressed them in the past, but remain civil and agreeable throughout.

Now, look at ErasOmnius and athanasios.

Look again. Really look. Read their threads. Read the threads they have replied to. Start at the beginning, way back when a certain American woman was still in the picture. You will notice several things.

- When faced with the utter audacity and bigotry shown in Eras / Ath's posts, initial responses range from reflexive outrage to methodic dismissal or rebuttal.

- Afterwards, when it becomes clear that the opinions are not simple trolling, attempts are made at reasoned (albeit vehement) discussion.

- When reasoned discussion fails, on account of Eras / Ath either ignoring points / rebuttals and/or responding with more of the same inanity, the discussions become more pointed: the tone changes.

- When even outright logical breakdown of arguments fail due to continued ignorance and incessant, unchecked hate speech, sensationalism and suchlike, the opportunity for reasoned discussion is gone.

At this point, as Wolf and Dante have pointed out, all that remains is the expression of utter disregard for their "opinions". Their duplicitous "let's all just be friends" nature. The sheer nerve of them holding their hands up and trying to claim innocence in the face of every slight they have committed against decency. These things and so many more make us - the seasoned and otherwise reasonable few - outraged. It makes us angry. Hiding behind anonymity, these idiots use this forum as a place to voice their idiocy.

To those who ask, "Why don't you just ignore them?", I answer, "Look what happens when we do." Sure, the arguments go away, but the idiocy remains. Unchecked, it appears as though we have no comeback. Implicitly agreeing to their views by allowing them to go unassailed. It has come to the point where even those who are willing to take on the burden of trying to reason with these individuals are becoming disenchanted. But don't think for a minute that anyone is saying "Oh screw it, I know I'm right." No - the attitude is very much "Why do I even bother?"

FED2k has seen an increase in activity, but as I have pointed out in the past, not all activity is good activity. Eras and Ath are perfect examples of bad posters in all regards. Eras posts the most inconsequential drivel possible in General when he can't get his attention-seeking needs seen to in PRP. Athanasios seems to simply enjoy having a podium to stand on and blare out his paranoid delusions, no doubt feeling a rush of excitement every time the number of views goes up on one of his threads.

Is this what you want? Do you want FED2k to be left to the drooling and insensate blabberings of two very deluded men? Because I, for one, have become very, very tired of trying. Why don't I just ignore them? For the same reason most people can't ignore an itch. Except imagine an itch that doesn't go away. Imagine an itch that only gets worse as time goes on. Scratching that itch brings relief, but it might end up doing you some damage. In the end, either the underlying infection itself is treated... or it'll just end up being amputated.

I don't want to leave FED2k. A few months ago, I could have told you why that was. A year ago, I could given you three solid reasons. Three years ago? A dozen. But now?

...They seem to have slipped my mind.[/colour]

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eras, I apologise for eating the whole giraffe. Oh wait, we aren't apologising for things we didn't do? My mistake.

You don't hurt my feelings, you offend every standard I possess. I seek intelligence and find incomprehension, I craft arguments and am met with mealy-mouthed nothings. You understand nothing, not even your own point of view, yet you persist in proclaiming your hollowness as though it has any worth. That might even be the most annoying thing, your complete lack of self awareness. Well, that and the dreadful grammar. And wretched understanding of history. Oh who am I kidding, trying to pick the worst part is an exercise in futility.

But yipee, yet more people joining the forum who probably haven't even seen D2k, let alone know what it stands for. Fine, you want to bring "varied opinions," you do that. It'll be interesting to see if any of them have independent thought, and I could do with a linguistic workout.

Will I play nice? Sure. I always play nice, until I'm given reason not to.

But move forward together? No, just because you ignore what I say doesn't mean I never said it. You are scum, and it will take a truly legendary effort on your part to convince me otherwise. The platitudes you like to spout every so often don't cut it. I don't like you, I don't want to like you, and you are polluting the forum which, as you keep saying, I have been a part of for about a decade. I'm not even asking you to change anymore, I just want you gone. Out of sight, out of mind, doing whatever stupid things you do somewhere that isn't here.

Now... to add to what Wolf said, it's true that back in zer olde days, PRP largely regulated itself. Spats and arguments got heated, certainly, but moderators were more active and there was usually someone around to call out the stupids. Often it was the moderators themselves. AND there were arguments with nuance. Points that were disagreed with, but not actually poor arguments. You don't see that anymore. These days there just aren't enough people and, frankly, those of us with any sense are just tired. We're tired of bashing our heads against brick walls of stupidity with no discernable effect. We've tried logic, we've tried weight of evidence, we've tried reasoned debate, we've tried ignoring it in the hope that it goes away, but these people just keep going.

And, bringing in Dragoon's point, there is simply nothing left to do. Confrontation failed, ignoring failed. That's why I opted for venom: if everything you do is equally pointless then you might as well enjoy yourself.

But if I might disagree with Wolf on this point: it's not that I'm happy to watch everything crumble because I get to insult people. It's that I see everything crumbling and don't see an alternative. I suppose you could say that I'm losing hope for this place.

See Warlords? It's been very quiet of late. Know why? Because this place is just depressing.

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From the "insanity and assholery" replies to the decent post of ErasOmnius it is now very clear what your motives are.

No dudes you will never silence us. You have already failed. Even if you could take control of the forums and permanently ban us you would be 'making a hole in the water' You cannot shut or mouths neither those of many more to come. That I can guarantee to you. We have a mission: to awaken the masses. We will not fail it! Your World of deception is already falling apart.

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I think Dragoon's comments are really on-point. I understand, given the (quite apt) example he chose to illustrate the problem facing the forum currently, that this agreement is somewhat ironic, but it really does illustrate the difference between reasoned (albeit vitriolic) debate and insanity. As far as I'm concerned, the main issue that we're facing here is whether we can promote the former without the latter.

In that vein, however, I'd like to take apart what Dante's saying. Though he hasn't said it outright, he's right that not all of the decrease in activity is due to unpleasant posting on the part of Ath & Eras. Part of the overall decrease in activity (apart from a recent high last summer) is almost certainly their fault, don't get me wrong, but, at the same time, I have the feeling that many of us "old timers" have simply been moving on to bigger and better things. For many of us, real life has (thankfully) gotten squarely in the way of Fed2k. By comparison, the forum is at best interesting-but-boring and at worst, in Dante's words, downright depressing.

Yeah, that may true. But, I have the feeling that a lot of the "old timers" check back more often than they admit, and certainly more often than they post. Even then, Ath & Eras are not representative of the Internet: there are smart people doing Google searches for Dune-related intellectual property to consume. In both cases, I'm certain that seeing thread after thread of vaguely-threatening paranoia from Ath is not going to put this kind of person in the mood to post on this forum. For all I know, the casual viewer thinks this is some fringe Greek revolutionary group's website. In that vein, I think Andrew's made a good decision in giving him a warning and a temp-ban. I mean, just lookit the self-obsessed "I'm going to free the world" rhetoric he was throwing out there in the end! It's outrageous, I mean, who does he even think he is? Hopefully the temp-ban will calm him down, and if it doesn't, he just needs to be told that he isn't Neo, he needs to get over himself, that he's being banned because he's irritating, and not because he's telling anything resembling "truth", but, I digress. The real question here is rebuilding and then maintaining some level of substantive discussion that people feel is valuable. I think another unspoken implication of Dante's is that it might be too late for that. I have to concede that that's certainly possible, but if that's the case, then we lose nothing by trying, right? I think some reform for PRP is in order, and I think that comes in the form of rough, uncomplicated, and practical rules that govern debates that happen here. To me at least, that was always the implication-cum-dare underlying "not for the weak-minded".

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If I might take a point from Wolf's last post and run with it (which we seem to be doing a lot at the moment), there's something else that's been bothering me for a really long time.

I joined Fed2k because the official Westwood/EA forum had gone down by the time I arrived, leaving only a placeholder directing visitors to Fed2k. If I remember correctly (and this was ten years ago, so it's possible that time has clouded my memory), this place was deigned the "official" site for Emperor. I believe even a developer or two has dropped by since then. Technically the game ladders are still hosted here, to the best of my knowledge, though granted hardly anybody plays these days.

Fed2k is not just a social club, nor is it specifically a Dune site. Jacurutu has that covered. While this site has evolved beyond the games, we should not forget that this is still the online resource for people who could be interested in playing Emperor or Dune 2000, or even just looking at retro gaming itself. I'm not about to launch into a diatribe about how everything was better in the old days or how I remember when all of the Houses had their own sub-boards and strategy boards; clinging to the past like that always struck me as vaguely pathetic. No, my point is that, touching on what Wolf said about visitors to the site, anyone looking to join the (tiny, fragile) Emperor community is going to be met with "Brittany vs Lady Gaga" or, if they look a little deeper in PRP, bigotry and racism. This is not the kind of image we want to project, and it's not the kind of image that will encourage posting. I support free speech, but practically every free speech law has exceptions regarding harmful behaviour. Regardless of intent, this spate of zero-content posts and threads is harming the board. So let them post, but for the love of Louis Pasteur, moderate the content.

Which brings me to another point. I agree that far more people are visiting this place than post here, and I suspect that some of those people are moderators. Those with access to the hidden forums would be able to confirm, I'm sure they must have had a few discussions on what to do about us down here in the visible world. But moderation just isn't happening as much.

Now, let me first state that this is not intended as either a criticism or an accusation. One could realistically argue that, with less being said, it's understandable that moderator activity would be down. Likewise, low mod activity would probably correlate with low member activity.

But. But but but. I don't think this is the case. While Edric has said that his absences are due to school, and lets face it he is the mod with the most enthusiasm for bashing heads in PRP, I suspect that many of the mods are just as tired of this crap as Wolf, Dragoon, Lord J and myself. In other words, I hypothesise that some moderators are observing this trend with a kind of resigned hopelessness, feeling unable to do anything about it and therefore not doing anything about it.

Now hey, I might be wrong. Perhaps everyone's just busy and never visits anymore (Mahdi, care to sway the argument here?). If that is the case, and I don't think it is, additional moderators would be the answer. See, I have to agree with Wolf, PRP is crying out for a bit of discipline. Andrew's efforts are appreciated, don't think for a moment that I'm ungrateful, but I get the impression that he doesn't enjoy hanging out at the dingy southern end of the board. And yes, maybe moderators are hard to find, and yes, asking people to give up their time in order to herd cats is a bit rough, but that's how it's always been. Someone has to maintain the rules here. What happens when someone doesn't? You see the results all around.

So, while we're on the subject, where can we next find some civilised disagreement?

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Everyone needs to say what needs to be said, and then be done with it. Then we can move forward without insults.

So a friend of mine is joining the PRP later this week, or early next week. He's a good guy, my age, lives a couple miles down the road. Went to college together, played Dune 2 in 93-94, played Dune 2000 in 99 when it came out. He likes Dune; and the subsequent 5 novels. So I hope everyone will welcome him.

So, I hope we're not on some hamster wheel, where traditional reliigous-oriented posters who join or post, are going to be flamed by what seems to be the Wolf/Dante/Dragoon Group -- just for expressing their point of view. These traditional points-of-view that are shared by at least 1/4 of human-kind.

Can your Group allow others with differing viewpoints to post in peace, without being vilified, without being called names, or having near-porno FanFic written about them? Can we post in peace without constant requests of us to be banned, without your Group's endless so-called 'righteous indignation' being talked about day after day, week after week?

Because everyone has different expectations about PRP and General. I like to learn. I have learned so much about Canada, the Canadian Election, Canadian laws, and the 5 major parties, that I am happy. I understand the UK Election much better, as well. I understand that Scot nationalism is not the same as Quebec nationalism. I like to read about Eastern Meditteranean events, and I especially like athanasios' first-hand accounts. So I like to learn. Am I putting a positive spin on a lot of interaction over the past 2 months? Of course, because that's me.

I agree that fine-tuning needs to be done. I have already successfully fine-tuned the way I post. I am not going to talk about anyone's personal life anymore. That's where I have identified my trouble coming in over the last 12 months. That is over and done with. So in return I would hope for no insults, or for my friends who are on the way.

As far as The Group's so-called 'standard of proof'. It is ultra-high for those who disagree with you, and ultra-low for those who agree with you. So I hope you would stop beating that horse to death. And any proof that is offered is usually scoffed at, cast aside, and ridiculed ad infinitum. And usually, no proof at all is ever offered to the contrary.

So onward we go, hopefully with everyone playing nice, and everyone being a 'good person'.

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Here's an idea, eracist: stop bleating about how mean we all are and prove that you are capable of holding a rational debate. Actions speak louder than words, y'know. That means doing your own research, showing comprehension of the opposition's arguments, structuring your rebuttals properly, following some degree of logic, staying on topic and, perhaps most importantly, having an argument to begin with. You don't do any of these things at the moment, you just vomit forth words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words without actually saying anything. Acting like someone with a brain is far more likely to get you treated like someone with a brain than whining about it.

I might even start a topic for it. It could be an interesting arena to test Wolf's hypothesis.

In the meantime, however, just be quiet while the adults are talking.

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Eras, so often, I read your posts and I just don't know where to start. Lately, I've been ignoring them because it's too much work to try to get through to you with no hope of success. Do me a favor, really, actually read every word I write, and actually, really try to understand what I'm saying. When you were a child, I'm sure your mother, grade-school teachers, or other authority figures often told you that when you listen to people, you need to really listen. This is one of those times. Lately, you seem to have been making an effort, so I think there might be some hope for you yet.

You say you like to learn, well, it's learning time. Your problem, as I've alluded to before, is issue-dropping. You might not know what that means, necessarily, and that's okay--it's a term of art. So, let's start at the beginning. What is a conversation? A conversation is a sharing of ideas, a process by which ideas are presented, and a certain intellectual synthesis occurs--new ideas, or new perspectives of old ideas, arise out of the course of the conversation. Read slowly. The key word here is "synthesis". Simply stating a view is not conversing, otherwise you wouldn't need the other parties to converse with, you'd just buy a billboard. (Many people do.) This synthesis, which is key to the learning process, which you claim to love, is only advanced by discussions that are relevant not only to the subject of the conversation, but also to the issues raised by the subject. Let me give you an example:

Subject: God

Statement: "God is dead."

What issues are raised here? There are several, but I'll point out the main ones: the definition of God is at issue, because the original speaker may have a different, but nonetheless totally valid, definition of God than you might; also, another issue is obviously the circumstances which are sufficient to qualify as the "death" of God. A minor issue that is also apparent is the second speaker's use of the present tense: he or she feels that God is dead, not that he was, nor that he will be, but that he presently is. If you have a very specific definition of God, and a very specific understanding of what his "death" might be like, then you have to present evidence that supports your view for both issues. If you are attacked on one, it does not matter that you have not been attacked on the other, or even if others have conceded that you are right on the other. If you are espousing a view that implicates both issues, then you need to "win" at both. If you ignore some issues in favor of others, then you have "dropped" these issues--and the conversation necessarily breaks down. If you drop issues, then there's nothing to talk about, because synthesis can't occur, because the issues aren't being addressed and advanced. Although you may not be aware that you have dropped issues (most people are not), the other conversants will be, and will grow frustrated with you. This is the point at which insults usually get hurled--which you clearly don't like.

So, how do you make sure you don't drop issues? A good test is relevance: ask yourself if your statements are relevant to the subject at hand. But, even relevant statements may nonetheless ignore the issues being discussed. You also need to learn how to "spot" issues. Issue-spotting is a very important skill to learn, and if you've ever found yourself lost in a conversation, it was probably because you failed to spot a salient issue that became central to the conversation. Often, issue-spotting is dependant upon your ability to make an inference. What is an inference? An inference is the ability to determine that something, C, is true, given only information A and B. A and B may say nothing about C, directly, but they say enough things that you know that C is the only possible result.

So, let's go back to homosexuality and the Christian religion--a topic that you really like (I don't want to revisit it substance, I just want to show you a point where you dropped an issue, and where the ability to make inferences would have helped you). You (or others, I can't really recall) stated that the Bible clearly prohibited homosexuality. You're not alone in this: there are plenty of people who hand out flyers claiming that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and for our purposes, that may be a better statement to analyze, but, whatever. Taking this statement at face value for a moment, it allows us to make several inferences. The most important one, however, is the inference that "the Bible is wholly internally consistent". If you're making this argument, it has to be. Why? Because if it isn't, and the Bible is internally inconsistent, then it is unclear whether the portion you've cited correctly reflects the information the Bible wishes to convey. In other words, we don't know whether it's a consistent (likely true) portion or an inconsistent (likely untrue) portion. The Bible's consistency is therefore "at issue". If you fail to show that it is internally consistent, then you cannot use it to support your original thesis, because there will necessarily be ambiguity as to the value of its support. Any evidence contrary to the notion that the Bible is consistent must be responded to, if not, then that issue has been "dropped" and the discussion cannot go forward (or, it may, so long as you rely on different support that does not implicate this issue). However, you simply cannot make a statement, claim that it addresses the issue, and walk away when the statement actually does not. The statement you make in response must not only be relevant, but probative to (in that it sheds additional light on) the issue at hand. Does it clarify the evidence in the presence of the objections made? Or does it fail to do so? If you think it does, but other parties are not satisfied, then you need to evaluate something we call your "intellectual honesty". Plainly put, are you being honest with yourself and other conversants about the nature of the information you present? This is the most important notion underlying norms of human communication. Intellectual dishonesty renders the entire enterprise pointless, even if other forms such as relevance are obeyed. To put it succinctly, you can't lie. And you know when you lie. Even if you don't, everyone else will. Ath actually provided a good example of intellectual dishonesty in the ObL thread: when I answered his point-by-point rebuttal with my responses, he simply called them "irrelevant"--he did not say why, of course, and naturally, they were relevant, he simply did not want to address them, so he said what he thought were the "magic words" to dismiss them. This is wrong. If you do this, then you are subverting the entire discourse, and you really should be banned. That's not a threat, that's not spoken out of anger, it's the truth. You wouldn't let a student into the classroom who insisted on smashing everyone's computers, would you?

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First off, Dante, I am requesting that you stop calling me a 'racist'. It gets everything back on the hamster wheel. It's just plain wrong.

Wolf, if you consider The Book flawed, then why should you quote from it? I purposefully refrain from quoting from it. I don't need to constantly refer to The Book to justify what I believe in the world. The Book and The Universe are in complete harmony. That's what great about Life. I understand what you are trying to say...I really do.

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Everyone: I know it was lengthy, but if you read my last post, then read Eras' post above, I swear, you will die laughing.

Eras: You really, really don't get it, do you? Or did you purposefully do precisely the opposite of everything I said for humor value? I'm serious, I can't tell which! Even a supreme idiot would be accidentally right some of the time, I suppose, right? To be so totally off-base, with such perfect timing... I mean, if you really are a secret, long-game troll, man, I admire your work. It is incredible.

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I'm not saying that you quote from it. I'm not saying I quote from it. I'm saying it can be 'set aisde' for the time being, because the Universe is in harmony with it. That's been the foundation of everything I have ever posted. A good Christian apologist who is knowledgable about the world and its' subjects, doesn't need to quote from The Book.

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Alright, you know what, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Let's work with this.

1. Isn't "apologist" a term of derision? Usually used to imply that one attempts to defend an obviously invalid philosophy against intellectual honesty? I've just never seen someone call themself an apologist before.

2. Remind me of your basis for your condemnation of homosexuality vis a vis Christianity, if it is not Biblical proscription, then how do you support it ... in a separate thread, of course. Nothing prejudicial, though, I just want to know what you think makes homosexuality incompatible with Christianity. Or, you know what, I don't. Maybe. I have no idea, again, you see, I want to help enlighten you, but I also don't want to be exposed to hate speech. Up to you, buddy.

3. With respect to what I was actually talking about in this thread, however ... uh, your statements are merely unsupported assertions. What evidence do you have to support the notion that the "Universe" is in harmony with "The Book"? And isn't this just attempting to confuse the issue? If you think the Universe is in harmony with the Book, isn't that simply just saying that you believe in the inerrant Book? Problematically, also, you seem to concede that the Book is internally inconsistent (refusing to challenge the issue that I raised), but, coupled with your warbling about the Universe, wouldn't this also mean that the Universe is internally inconsistent, thereby conflicting with your statement that it's in any form of harmony? You see what I mean? You really need to be more introspective, Eras. The logic of your last post was not only completely circular, but paradoxically so. In other words, it was nonsense. Illogical. The same as saying the scissors that sky aplomb.

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First off, I am trying to guide an office as I post these things. So, one of the secretaries will give me something to sign or something, and I'll be trying to read what you have posted...and I may mis-read something.

1. An apologist can be a good thing.

2. Pick a different topic. We've all 'been there, done that'. And one person's 'hate speech', if defined broadly enough; can be another person's defense of what almost 2 billion people world-wide hold to be true.

3. Of course I believe that The Book is inerrant. But since the Universe was created by God, and The Book written by God through men, then they are in harmony. But it does take a type of faith to believe these things.

If you want to start a Thread, and I have something to offer, then I will post. Or you may want to post on any of the Threads I started.

I am intently interested in your opinion of the US Senate. Not the Party make up, or any particular member. But should it even exist, since it is so discriminatory towards large population states, and the people that live there? Hispanics are the ones who lose in this one. They are concentrated in TX, FL, NY, CA, NM, & AZ. The first four states are in the top tier as far as population goes. AZ is a big population center, as well. Only in NM does it play in their favor.

The War in Libya is another biggee to me. Affirmative Action, of course, as well.

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