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Old 09-05-2011, 10:47 PM
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Default Spirituality subforum

Vote in the poll here!

Because of the attention this has gotten the past days, I am creating a discussion thread for this issue.

Note that I may create a poll to decide on this matter later - but for now, I think it's better if we just discuss the issue before we make any hasty decisions. Also, note that below are my personal opinions on this matter - and unless otherwise indicated, I am putting them forth as a user, not an admin.

To sum up the events that have taken place the last few days...
There has for a while been suggestions to introduce a Spirituality subforum - essentially, this would mean a place where people could discuss anything from a non-scientific perspective. This has been requested, because some (me included) feel that it's impossible to have such kind of discussions at this moment.

The matter has been discussed over the ToS IRC channel the past days, and met with both severe hostility and support. Some people would gladly introduce such a subforum - some would never wish to see it introduced - and some would be willing to, but only if a strictly scientific forum was to be introduced as well.

So, since this is a discussion thread, here are my opinions on the matter - of course, do contribute with yours below.


For the people who think a Spirituality subforum is a good idea:
I wholeheartedly agree. Recently, it has been nigh impossible keeping strictly non-scientific conversations - and we all have to remember, such conversations should be equally respected as any others. If it's the OP's decision to make a non-scientific discussion thread, it should remain as such - or it'd to just as offtopic as discussing Neytiri in a thread about cars.

So seen from a purely administrative perspective - there have been non-scientific threads made recently, and there is an increasing demand for such threads. Thus, it's definitely worth - in my opinion - to implement a dedicated subforum for those kind of threads.


For the people who do not want to create such a subforum:
Let me begin by saying I definitely respect your opinions in this matter - but, I do have some things I'd like to mention. First off, I think much of the dislike is merely because the purpose of the subforum is being misunderstood. If we could get past that, maybe we could avoid much trouble. To begin with, spirituality is not necessarily the same thing as organized religion. It is for some people, but hardly everyone. I'd say that by the absolutely widest definition possible, spirituality is seeing things non-scientifically, or the belief in such. And for the purposes of this sub-forum, that's all there is to it.

It's no "religion forum" - some of the threads may be, but that holds true for all of ToS. The subforum would merely be, as I mentioned above, discussing anything from a non-scientific perspective. That's it.

Secondly, I understand your concerns for flamewars - but that's a possibility for everything, and I don't think that should dictate our decisions. If nothing else, it's worth a *try* - I, at least, am not asking for anything else. Discussions related to organized religion has proven to cause troubles in the past, yes - but that's not the topic here. As i mentioned above this subsection would be just as general in regards to organized religion, as any other section. In fact, I'd say it's *less* likely to lead to flamewars, since such often appear when religion is analyzed scientifically.

So in conclusion here - I'd wish for you to reconsider your reasons for not wishing this subforum to be created. If you still strongly feel against it - I respect that, and will take those opinons in consideration in the eventual future poll.


And lastly,
For the people who are ok with creating the subforum, but only if a strictly scientific alternative is also created:
I'm all fine with this. It wouldn't hurt anyone or cause any harm. However - from some who have suggested this, I feel it has mostly to do with making a point - and this I really don't see the meaning of. So if you truly would feel some use for this scientific forum, I have nothing against it. If you want to see it made just out of principles though... I urge you to reconsider.

That'd be all. I look forward to some constructive discussion being had here - and hopefully we can reach a conclusion, together.

And again, please remember that none of what I've said has been as a staff member, these are my personal opinions only.

Regards,

Eltu
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:57 PM
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I completely support the creation of a spirituality subforum, both as an user and as an administrator.

From the user point of view, I'm a spiritual but not religious person, and I'd like to read and maybe participate in such threads.

From the admin point of view, it's obvious a lot of people would like such a subforum, and that's really the only thing I think matters. We've never refused a section on any subject that enough people are interested in (assuming of course it's not illegal or something).
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:11 PM
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What happened to the theology subforum idea?

It would be a mistake not to at least consider it. It would give both sides what they want, without making anyone feel bad.

So long as it is moderated well (very well) it would work.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zongtseng View Post
I completely support the creation of a spirituality subforum, both as an user and as an administrator.

From the user point of view, I'm a spiritual but not religious person, and I'd like to read and maybe participate in such threads.

From the admin point of view, it's obvious a lot of people would like such a subforum, and that's really the only thing I think matters. We've never refused a section on any subject that enough people are interested in (assuming of course it's not illegal or something).

He lives. O_O



On topic, can we sort how the "show new posts" button displays? Because I have a nagging feeling that me avoiding this new subforum will be in everybody's best interests.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:13 PM
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I imagine the objection to that is that Theology generally refers to strict religious ideas rather than those that are just "Spiritual" and can exist independently of any organized religion.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:21 PM
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I am fine with creating a new spirituality subforum, and I am also fine with a scientific alternative subforum. I'd certainly be curious to see what people would write in both subforums.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:21 PM
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I do not want anyone (from either side) to be given a 'dissent-free zone' - this is on par with if I created a 'metal is the only music worth listening to' subforum, and not allowing dissent there, when there is already a music subforum, which is open to all types, as well as it being in its nature that some people may disagree.

Once again, having a 'spirituality' subforum looks like an official endorsement of a very subjective view - much like there is an 'environmentalism' subforum, and I doubt that anyone here would claim that doesn't imply a specific view. I could not in good conscience admin a website that had such a position on 'spirituality'.

In addition, if, for example, I wanted to point out how 'spirituaity' can be attributed to the placebo effect and confirmation bias, I would only assume that such a thread would not be allowed, despite it actually dealing with the listed topic - what people are asking for here is a 'dissent-free zone' for their particular beliefs.

I have been subjected to passive-aggressive personal attacks over this, for simply standing up for the fact that some people would want an equal alternative, as well as generally disliking the idea of giving special privileges to anyone based on a belief.

Eltu actually had a great idea, which he later abandoned, of dropping the 'spirituality' name for something more neutral and allowing both scientific and unscientific views, but simply not allowing 'debates' (aka arguments), which I would be FAR more receptive to.

Creating this subforum would set a precedent of giving certain people who are of a specific view a special subforum where others are not allowed, which is honestly typical of the sense of entitlement so often shown by people with beliefs, despite the fact that nobody is banning their threads at the moment, despite numerous ad hominem accusations of such.

Not having a subforum for something does not preclude threads on it.

"'Spiritual': what a weaselly word that is! Much like 'Intelligent Design' as a euphemism for 'Creationism,' 'spiritual' is a word that believers throw in when they'd like to claim something for religion, but suspect they wouldn't get away with it."
-Paula Kirby, Washington Post


Read On division, entitlement and accusations. for my thoughts on the accusations and ad hominem attacks around this, as well as pointing out how people are never going to be entirely happy because the site is not run the way they please.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Isard View Post
On topic, can we sort how the "show new posts" button displays? Because I have a nagging feeling that me avoiding this new subforum will be in everybody's best interests.
Sadly, no
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
I do not want anyone (from either side) to be given a 'dissent-free zone' [...] allowing both scientific and unscientific views, but simply not allowing 'debates' (aka arguments)...
I feel there is a problem here. How do you avoid giving someone a "dissent-free zone" when you stop debate of an issue?
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
I feel there is a problem here. How do you avoid giving someone a "dissent-free zone" when you stop debate of an issue?
Quote:
this would mean a place where people could discuss anything from a non-scientific perspective. This has been requested, because some (me included) feel that it's impossible to have such kind of discussions at this moment.
That's a dissent-free zone. I also assume that based on the typical sense of entitlement, it will only go one way and that the people who are given special privileges for this subforum will still feel free to complain about anything that doesn't follow subjective belief.

Creating this will only serve to divide the userbase between those who are 'allowed' to use it and those who aren't, and creates a 'them and us' situation. Resentment does not stay within subforum boundaries, one of the main reasons I have always said the 'debate' forum is completely harmful and a legacy of AF, which had far better policies protecting its equivalent.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:39 PM
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I'm so lost. How is it that some people won't be ALLOWED to use it? Give me a break, it's not like we're going to give individuals different access rights to things. I also don't see any reason to think it's a "dissent free zone". There's nothing wrong with dissent, as long as it's respectful. The problem in the past has been that it's been anything but respectful.

Also, that quote from the Washington Post writer is just offensive, and way off base. It's certainly not how or why I use the term spirituality. I detest religion, and they are not the same thing, at all. My spirituality is simply a deep connection to the earth, and to nature. That writer is ridiculously paranoid.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zongtseng View Post
I'm so lost. How is it that some people won't be ALLOWED to use it? Give me a break, it's not like we're going to give individuals different access rights to things. I also don't see any reason to think it's a "dissent free zone". There's nothing wrong with dissent, as long as it's respectful. The problem in the past has been that it's been anything but respectful.
Again, that would be fine, but that is not what the OP implies in any way, it implies that it would be a section where only unscientific views would be allowed/discussed.

Quote:
Also, that quote from the Washington Post writer is just offensive, and way off base. It's certainly not how or why I use the term spirituality. I detest religion, and they are not the same thing, at all. My spirituality is simply a deep connection to the earth, and to nature. That writer is ridiculously paranoid.
That's why it needs a better name, and one that can be inclusive to logical/rational views as well.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:42 PM
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HumanNoMore... I will comment on your points in order.

Like with any other subforum, anything would be allowed that stays on topic. I do not see how this is any different. The topics allowed in the spirituality subforum would be *any* non-scientific topics. Just like the Books subforum allow any threads regarding books.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HumanNoMore
In addition, if, for example, I wanted to point out how 'spirituaity' can be attributed to the placebo effect and confirmation bias, I would only assume that such a thread would not be allowed, despite it actually dealing with the listed topic
Again, you are misunderstanding the purpose of this subforum. It would *not* deal with the listed topic. The topics allowed would be non-scientific ones. That's the purpose of this subforum. Scientific analyzes would take place outside this subforum. Again, just like movie discussions take place outside of the books subforum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HumanNoMore
I have been subjected to passive-aggressive personal attacks over this, for simply standing up for the fact that some people would want an equal alternative, as well as generally disliking the idea of giving special privileges to anyone based on a belief.
You have? Rethink that statement again. You know what I mean. Also, who said anything about privileges? You are reading into this FAR too much. It's a subforum - with a specific topic (non-scientific discussions), just like any other subforum. Nothing else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HumanNoMore
"'Spiritual': what a weaselly word that is! Much like 'Intelligent Design' as a euphemism for 'Creationism,' 'spiritual' is a word that believers throw in when they'd like to claim something for religion, but suspect they wouldn't get away with it."
-Paula Kirby, Washington Post
That's just flamebaiting. And you know it, so please stay on topic in a mature manner.

EDIT: I would like to add - I agree with zongtseng to 100% in his above post.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zongtseng View Post
I'm so lost. How is it that some people won't be ALLOWED to use it? Give me a break, it's not like we're going to give individuals different access rights to things. I also don't see any reason to think it's a "dissent free zone". There's nothing wrong with dissent, as long as it's respectful. The problem in the past has been that it's been anything but respectful.

Also, that quote from the Washington Post writer is just offensive, and way off base. It's certainly not how or why I use the term spirituality. I detest religion, and they are not the same thing, at all. My spirituality is simply a deep connection to the earth, and to nature. That writer is ridiculously paranoid.
There's no way to debate spirituality before it becomes face --> sandpaper bad.

And "alternative science" makes me want to strangle kittens.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eltu View Post
Like with any other subforum, anything would be allowed that stays on topic. I do not see how this is any different. The topics allowed in the spirituality subforum would be *any* non-scientific topics. Just like the Books subforum allow any threads regarding books.
This is more like if instead of a books subforum, there was one that was specifically for discussion of a single book series and no other - the logical solution would be a general books forum that dealt with all books, but if there were only two books in existence (for the sake of this analogy) then having two equivalent ones, one for each, may still be a preferable compromise.
Again, since you've never cared to answer this, if someone had proposed the secular alternative, would you have wanted a 'spiritual' one as well?

Quote:
Again, you are misunderstanding the purpose of this subforum. It would *not* deal with the listed topic. The topics allowed would be non-scientific ones. That's the purpose of this subforum. Scientific analyzes would take place outside this subforum. Again, just like movie discussions take place outside of the books subforum.
In that case, then yes, it is a special privilege. Not everyone can or cares to believe in such a viewpoint.

Quote:
That's just flamebaiting. And you know it, so please stay on topic in a mature manner.
Perhaps so, but perhaps I have had enough of being subjected to ad hominem attacks all day as a 'face' of this.

Again: I would tentatively support a section with a neutral name and implication which allows discussion of both where the perspective can be given from the context of the thread, but this counter-suggestion has been consistently ignored as it was not what was originally asked for. Again, look at the thread for Community Support - it reached an agreeable state, which was highly improved from the original idea.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isard View Post
There's no way to debate spirituality before it becomes face --> sandpaper bad.

And "alternative science" makes me want to strangle kittens.
First off - it would not be a debate section, so there would be no debating spirituality.

Secondly, no science would be involved at all - "alternative" or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
This is more like if instead f a books subforum, there was one that was specifically for discussion of a single book series and no other - the logical solution would be a general books forum that dealt with all books, but if there were only two books in existence (for the sake of this analogy) then having two equivalent ones, one for each, may still be a preferable compromise.
I cannot see your point, sorry to say. Maybe someone else can reply to this in a way that does it more justice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
In that case, then yes, it is a special privilege. Not everyone can or cares to believe in such a viewpoint.
And not everyone is interested in books. Can't you see this? It's a subforum for a specific interest - discussing non-scientific matters. It's no privilege, it's no special group of any kind - again, I think you are reading into this way too much. It'll just be a subforum like any other.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
Perhaps so, but perhaps I have had enough of being subjected to ad hominem attacks all day as a 'face' of this.
Then talk to the people attacking you in private, and keep this discussion thread on topic.
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