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Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:20 am
by Logorrhea
Havent read all this yet but saw the Article in the London Times and thought it worth a post.

Dawkins is temporarily shutting down the forums in order to cut out the nonsense posted up there. He says they will be coming back up but with more appropriate levels of moderation.

The anonymous internet users of this forum are outraged :), The christians are saying he is restricting free speech, He is saying he is not interested in taking abuse from random kids on the internet. ... -fans.html


Personally I think he's dead right. When the crap in a forum / thread outweighs the fact, it should be locked down or heavily moderated.

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:59 am
by funkyderek
See ... open-soon/ for an insider perspective.

I wasn't a big user of the RDnet forum, I found it too large for my liking, but thousands of people did (hence the too-largness I mentioned), and it seems it was shut down merely because the site admin had little personal interest in the discussion forum even though it's by far the most popular - and for my money the most useful - part of the site. The rest of the site is largely a collection of links relevant to atheism, science and Richard Dawkins himself. There's virtually no original content.
It appears that some users have had their accounts - and with them thousands of posts - deleted, never to be recovered. The lockdown means that people won't easily be able to coordinate moving to other forums or to find each other. Three years worth of posts, millions of words, look set to disappear forever.
All in all, I think this is a very bad move. Hopefully, common sense will prevail and the forum will come back up, or at least remain as a searchable archive.

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:00 pm
by nozzferrahhtoo
This all started from an email that went around announcing a change in how the forum was to be moderated.

I quite literally can get nothing from this story except for the confirmation of the fact that many people hate change, and some react in the most abusive and childish ways when confronted with it.

If the users posting on the forum think that commenting on, to take one example, the physical appearance of the current moderator, actually constitutes an intelligent comment or useful argument... then I think they have said more about themselves than anyone else ever could.

I honestly rank those people on the same level as the Crazy Theist over on (posting as BadBob) who thinks saying "Who pissed in your cornflakes this morning" is a good argument in a debate about the existence of god, or FXR over on (posting as Arcus Arrow) saying "you need to have your mammy get more newspapers delivered to your pram" as if that negates another users valid points.

People who act like this deserve whatever sidelining they receive.

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:48 pm
by funkyderek

It seems the more vitriolic comments that Richard quoted were not made on the forum at all, but on other forums after the RDnet forum had already been locked down and moderators' messages and accounts deleted. This doesn't excuse the rudeness but on the Internet, some people will always overreact. But those comments are not the reason the forum was shut down, they are the consequence of it.
Or at least that's what the former moderators claim. It's impossible for us to know as any threads criticising the decision appear to have been deleted.

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:07 pm
by Logorrhea
Dawkins criticised the moderators as well. Excuse me for questioning their impartiality. Dawkins had issues with what was being posted. This whole thing wouldnt have happened if the forums had been moderated appropriately.

Changes announced, anonymous users freak out (who really cares), service shut down.

Queue outrage from 300 anonymous internet users who all feel betrayed (funny) and outraged (also funny) that the host of an internet forum has the nerve to play god and exercise the power they hold as the host. The fake persona they have invested so much time building has been removed in one click of a button.

It offers a nice little reminder that the internet is not the real world.

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:32 pm
by eccles
My registration is OK there and I can log in, but all threads are locked.

See what harm Christians can do if they are let loose.

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:48 pm
by Regens K├╝chl
There was real precious info, higly interesting debates and such on that forum that did not deserve to be deleted. It was not an intelligent move.

I registered only recently, but found the community and moderation there quit OK.

(I even made a Dr. Kent Hovind apprecation thread there :mrgreen: )

They say that in the new forum we will still have our old accounts in function.

However, if anyone is interested > I know quit a lot of atheist forums (cause I follow the evangelical Angelo around the virtual world) and can definitively tell you that there is one forum that resembles the RD forum by far the most >
:D THE HAPPY ATHEIST FORUM :D ... 099143fe9c

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:03 pm
by Ygern
I think its a pity, and maybe the whole chain of events could have been handled much more diplomatically.

But when users started openly abusing staff they crossed the line. The quotes in RD's statement may not have been posted on the forum, but there are similar examples of foul abuse against staff on that site (undeleted when I read them yesterday), so he is not exaggerating when he used those examples to show the sort of language some people have resorted to.
One thing people forget is that while most forum users are comfortably hidden behind their pseudonym Josh and Richard are not; which makes abusing them even worse. They know that their targets will never retaliate in kind, and they know there will be no repercussion on their personal life. It's quite frankly the act of a coward.

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:54 pm
by bipedalhumanoid
I very rarely ever bothered with the forum but it looks like it's become a place where a lot of like minded people can get together for mindless banter. I think the vitriol is probably coming from those who view the site as a community centre on which they feel dependant. Dawkins sees it as a place where serious minded people can post thoughtful articles and intelligent conversation can ensue. I like his vision for the site but don't really understand why, in addition to this vision, there can't be a chat thread for mindless banter between like minded people.

Re: Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fans

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:57 pm
by aZerogodist
I rarely used the RD-Forum, Maybe they should set up a AtheistUK site, RD is almost defined as Mr.Atheist UK and anything posted on the site is accountable back to him, even though the site was setup on his behalf and not by Richard.
The point I am awkwardly trying to make is the site is not an activist site for UK Atheists.

Doing a google search for "Atheist UK secular" (I know I'm using which gives region specific results) Atheist Ireland actually comes up no.9 in the results, strange but didn't come up.

The National Secular Society (UK) seems to be the Atheist site for the UK, but no Forum. I see they have a campaign "Protest the pope"
There is an interesting Article which I will make a new Trend on that.